Malaria vaccine trial disappoints

WASHINGTON - The numbers were so bad that Dr. Stephen Hoffman did not even want to say them out loud.

"It was a low number," he said. Pressed, he added, "Only a handful." Finally he squeezed the numbers out. "We had five."

Out of 80 volunteers vaccinated with Sanaria's experimental malaria vaccine, only five were protected from infection in the company's first clinical trial.

The Maryland-based company, which opened its doors in 2007, has not given up. But its disappointing results illustrate the uphill battle to develop a vaccine against an infection that kills 800,000 people a year, most of them young African children.

Hoffman gave details about what his team of scientists learned from the trial at a conference of malaria vaccine makers and their backers being held in Washington this week.

Tests in animals suggest that perhaps giving the vaccine intravenously might provide better protection, and Hoffman, founder and chief executive of the small, privately held company, is planning ways to test the idea in people.

"The vaccine was used to immunize 80 volunteers and it was safe and well tolerated," he said in an interview. It did, as expected, stimulate an immune response against the malaria parasite - just not nearly as much as Hoffman had hoped. (Reuters)


The flu: It’s about variance

If you averaged the highs and lows of a rollercoaster, it wouldn’t be much of a thrill ride; same with the threat of flu.

As summer draws to a close, news organizations are already looking to this year’s flu season, perhaps wary of the way Swine flu fears fizzled. Now the the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has given reporters, it seems, another reason to be suspicious of flu as a threat to public health.

The CDC has acknowledged that estimates of deaths due the flu have been misleading. According to CDC, there are two ways in which the numbers are misleading. First, the “average number of deaths per year” during the period 1976-2007 is not 36,000, as the CDC has often claimed. Second, the notion of average is itself misleading.

The reason that the average is misleading is that the variance is so high. The variance measures how far the data fall from the average. The CDC noted that numbers of flu deaths have been as low as 3,300 and as high as almost 50,000 in various years. For any particular year, the actual number of deaths could be vastly different from the average number of deaths. They could be so different, in fact, that the average number itself does not communicate the scope of the issue.

In light of the widespread use of the average number of deaths (which, news organizations noted, were closer to 23,000 than 36,000), the CDC explicitly encourages news organizations to use vaguer numbers, such as “tens of thousands” rather than referring to 23,000. The true news about the flu is not the average number of deaths, but rather that the number of deaths varies widely from one year to the next, and could in fact be much higher in one year compared to another. By reporting averages, the CDC and news media suggest that the actual flu deaths are close to those averages. (Rebecca Goldin, Stats)


Hmm... National study finds strong link between diabetes and air pollution

Findings unchanged after adjustment for obesity and other diabetes risk factors

Boston, Mass. -- A national epidemiologic study finds a strong, consistent correlation between adult diabetes and particulate air pollution that persists after adjustment for other risk factors like obesity and ethnicity, report researchers from Children's Hospital Boston. The relationship was seen even at exposure levels below the current EPA safety limit.

The report, published in the October issue of Diabetes Care, is among the first large-scale population-based studies to link diabetes prevalence with air pollution. It is consistent with prior laboratory studies finding an increase in insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes, in obese mice exposed to particulates, and an increase in markers of inflammation (which may contribute to insulin resistance) in both the mice and obese diabetic patients after particulate exposure.

Like the laboratory studies, the current study focused on fine particulates of 0.1-2.5 nanometers in size (known as PM2.5), a main component of haze, smoke and motor vehicle exhaust. The investigators, led by John Pearson and John Brownstein, PhD, of the Children's Hospital Informatics Program, obtained county-by-county data on PM2.5 pollution from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), covering every county in the contiguous United States for 2004 and 2005.

They then combined the EPA data with data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Census to ascertain the prevalence of adult diabetes and to adjust for known diabetes risk factors, including obesity, exercise, geographic latitude, ethnicity and population density (a measure of urbanization).

"We wanted to do everything possible to reduce confounding and ensure the validity of our findings," says Pearson, the study's first author. (Children's Hospital Boston)


Phony Cancers and Self-Inflicted Acid Attacks: A National Outbreak of Munchausen's?

The stories boggle the mind: in August, a 28-year-old Washington woman claimed to be the victim of a mindless acid attack, and almost won the ultimate prize in attention-seeking — an appearance on Oprah — before admitting she had actually disfigured herself. Another woman, a 23-year-old Canadian, faked terminal cancer. She shaved her head, starved herself, tattooed "won't quit" on her fingers and solicited thousands of dollars in donations for a fake charity, before turning herself over to police this summer.

But, wait, there's more: another woman in New York City recently faked leukemia to wheedle the community into paying for her dream wedding — complete with a honeymoon in Aruba — before she was revealed as a fraud and lost her husband, too.

And September saw the revelation of another case in Colorado, a woman who also pretended to have cancer and raised some $60,000 from friends and neighbors before being unmasked.

What's going on? Is the tanked economy creating incentives for scammers? Or are we in the midst of a national outbreak of Munchausen syndrome? (Maia Szalavitz, Time)


Study finds big risk of cancer in the family

CLOSE relatives of women diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 35 have a much higher risk of developing other cancers, including brain and lung cancers, research has found.

In the largest study of its kind, Melbourne University researchers looked at the health of 2200 siblings and parents of 500 women diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 35 in Australia, Canada and the US.

In an effort to find new causes of the disease, they excluded families with mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes - those already known to increase the risk of breast cancer.

The researchers found that while the women were not thought to be genetically predisposed to breast cancer, their fathers and brothers had a fivefold increased risk of prostate cancer and their mothers and sisters a twofold increased risk of ovarian cancer, as well as a fourfold increased risk of breast cancer.

Close relatives also had a threefold increased risk for brain cancer, an eightfold increased risk for lung cancer, and a fourfold increased risk for urinary tract cancers.

Professor John Hopper, director of research at the Centre for Molecular, Environmental, Genetic and Analytic Epidemiology at the University of Melbourne and a lead investigator in the study, said he was surprised by the links that could point to a new genetic cancer syndrome.

He said that overall the close relatives of these women had twice the risk of developing cancers of the rest of the population.

''The results suggest there could possibly be undiscovered genes causing breast cancer in these young women and perhaps other cancers in their families,'' he said. (SMH)


Is The EPA About To Shut Down Urban Renewal Across The U.S.?

At the beginning of August, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed an agreement that could revivify thousands of acres of wasteland contaminated by industrial pollution in New York City. Speaking at the first so-called “brownfield” site to be reclaimed under the plan, and soon to be graced with an affordable housing complex, Bloomberg declared a victory for everyone.

In many respects, it was precisely the kind of public-private venture that should be applauded. The city would give incentives to developers to clean up the kind of sites that fell in the light to mid-range of the pollution spectrum and thus languished in state and federal clean-up programs for their lack of severity: if developers complied with environmental guidelines and submitted to oversight, they would be spared the specter of future liability. New projects could, therefore, be financed without massive insurance costs to guard against future lawsuits.

Unfortunately, there’s a much bigger specter hanging over this and other municipal and state plans to reclaim 450,000 to a million “brownfield” sites in the U.S.: It’s the Environmental Protection Agency, and its quixotic — one might say bizarro — obsession with dioxin in soil, which threatens to play havoc with urban renewal. (Trevor Butterworth, Forbes)


Hmm... Research Examines Vicious Cycle of Overeating and Obesity

Newswise — New research provides evidence of the vicious cycle created when an obese individual overeats to compensate for reduced pleasure from food.

Obese individuals have fewer pleasure receptors and overeat to compensate, according to a study by University of Texas at Austin senior research fellow and Oregon Research Institute senior scientist Eric Stice and his colleagues published this week in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Stice shows evidence this overeating may further weaken the responsiveness of the pleasure receptors (“hypofunctioning reward circuitry”), further diminishing the rewards gained from overeating. (University of Texas at Austin)

Usually the less rewarding something is the less people do of it. If food is bland or boring then you generally don't find great demand for it (isn't that why food nannies want to cut salt, fats, sugars... ?).


We Deserve a Break Today (from the Food Fascists)

It’s enough to make Ronald McDonald join the Tea Party.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors is seriously mulling a ban on the Happy Meal and other toy giveaways associated with foods containing more sugar, sodium, and fat than the proponents of the ban regard as appropriate. The proposed “Healthy Food Incentives Ordinance” also conditions a free trinket on half-cup servings of both a fruit and vegetable.

Obnoxious as this is—although not by California standards, perhaps—the proposal is the latest attempt by government officials at every level to do something about the “obesity epidemic.” Unable (just yet) to dictate what we eat at every meal, they are instead limiting consumers’ choices by cracking down on restaurants and food manufacturers. Continue reading... (The Foundry)


?!! Bottle-feeding babies can lead to adult obesity, says study

Research shows using formula can cause health problems in later life, as children can develop unnaturally large appetites

Bottle-feeding small babies can set them up for a life of heart disease and obesity, according to a new study.

At least 20% of adult obesity is caused by over-feeding in infancy, according to Professor Atul Singhal from the MRC Childhood Nutrition Research Centre at the Institute of Child Health in London.

While breastfed babies limit their own intake of milk because they have to work hard to get it, bottle-fed babies lie back and swallow what they are given. The danger, according to Singhal, is that they will be offered more than they need, building up an appetite for the future.

"When they are exposed to high-protein, high-fat foods, they are more likely to become obese," he said. (Guardian)

As anyone who has overfed bubs from a bottle knows, too much input generally results in more cleanup, not overfed babes. To a limited extent it is true that bottle fed babies can "lie back and swallow what they are given" but they generally give back any excess in short order.

People should try a little common sense, if baby is getting fat, ease up on the amount of food offered, from whatever source. Maybe ease up on the "breast is best" zealotry too.


Green Firms Face Prolonged Funding Drought: Bank

Green firms seeking bank financing will have a tough time for at least five years as banks shy away from taking on risk due to the economic downturn and new regulation, a senior banking executive said Wednesday.

"I don't think we will see a turnaround very quickly," Harro Pitkaenen, deputy head of lending at the Nordic Investment Bank, told Reuters. "We must come back from quite deep down, and we see that concerns about the macro-economic picture remain."

"Probably four to five years would be, in my view, sufficient to build up the necessary confidence and heal the wounds," he said on the margins of a conference on renewable energy.

However it is unlikely to be sufficient time for the world to get over its collective delusion so eco scammers will still manage to sup at the public trough while hampering development and human endeavor.


Green Money: The Perpetual Motion Machine

Part III of the Washington Examiner/PJM special report on the environmental movement looks at how Big Green funds itself through a never-ending parade of lawsuits aimed at the productive sector of the economy. (Charlie Martin, PJM)


Like orphanages and Irish families, always room for one more -- crisis of the moment: World's Rivers In Crisis, Study Says

The world's rivers are in crisis including in North America and Europe where governments have invested trillions of dollars to clean up freshwater supplies, a study showed Wednesday.

"Threats to human water security and biological diversity are pandemic," Charles Vorosmarty of the City University of New York, co-lead author of the report in the journal Nature, told Reuters.

The international team of scientists estimated that almost 80 percent of the world's population -- or about 5 billion people -- lived in areas with high levels of threat to water security, caused mainly by river mismanagement and pollution.

"Rivers in Crisis," Nature said on its front cover.

A map showed high levels of threat, in red, for much of the United States including the Mississippi basin, along with almost all of Europe. India, including the Ganges basin, and eastern China with the Yangtze River were also shown in red. (Reuters)


Leave the extinctions to Mother Nature, not the Red List

We should abandon our crazy obsession with counting species, says Christopher Lloyd. (Christopher Lloyd, TDT)


President Klaus Highlights UN’s Limits

The United Nations General Debate (the traditional opening of the annual General Assembly session featuring speeches by heads of state) is very predictable. World leaders use their speeches to laud themselves, their countries, and praise the United Nations with assurances that the world body is indispensable amid calls for it to assume even more projects, initiatives and responsibilities. The predictability of the speeches by most world leaders serves to highlight the speeches that are bizarre and, sometimes, appalling. However, even these bizarre speeches have become troublesomely regular and sadly tolerated.

However, we saw a truly unusual speech before the United Nations on Saturday. Czech President Vaclav Klaus interrupted the rote calls for increased global governance – centered, of course on an expanded role for the United Nations – and instead called for the United Nations to be pared back and refocused on its founding principles and divested of the extravagant smorgasbord of its current agenda and budget: Continue reading... (The Foundry)



Another Energy Tax: The RES

by Daren Bakst
29 September 2010 @ 11:42 am

Since cap and trade legislation looks like it is dead, many in Congress are still adamant about imposing an energy tax on Americans.

Senator Bingaman (D-NM), along with a bipartisan group of Senators, is pushing a renewable energy standard (RES).  This particular RES mandates that utility companies generate 11 percent of their electricity from high-cost and unreliable renewable sources such as solar and wind power.

Consumers, of course, pay for these higher energy costs on their electricity bills.

Since the massive subsidies for solar and wind power haven’t been enough to generate demand for renewable energy, Congress wants to mandate that Americans buy renewable electricity, not unlike individual health care mandates.

It is a bit troubling that Republicans, who for the most part, have been opposed to cap and…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


Don't let this tax die, be proactive! Kill the damned thing! Renewable Electricity Standard Bill Stands Alone or Dies, Senate Sponsors Vow

A Senate bill to implement a national renewable electricity standard should be brought to the floor this session as a stand-alone measure or not at all, a leading co-sponsor of the legislation said today.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) said the point of introducing the stand-alone RES bill is to get enough co-sponsors to show the bill can pass without amendments.

"If we aren't able to do that, then I think it will make a lot of sense for Senator [Harry] Reid [D-Nev.] not to bring it up," Bingaman told reporters after the Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing. "But I hope we are able to do that."

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), the other lead author of the bill, backed up Bingaman's plan.

"If our best shot is going stand-alone, then we should do it that way," Brownback said. (Greenwire)


Sen. Graham's Plan for Clean-Energy Bill Could Drain RES Support

Backers of bipartisan Senate legislation establishing a renewable electricity standard hit a stumbling block today as Sen. Lindsey Graham made plans to introduce an alternative energy measure that could draw Republican supporters.

The South Carolina Republican plans to float a new bill today that would establish a mandate requiring utilities to source a percentage of their electricity from clean energy sources, including renewables, nuclear and "clean coal."

The measure could draw supporters away from a measure sponsored by Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) that would require utilities to draw 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources, like solar, wind and geothermal.

"From my part of the country, that's a bad proposal because it doesn't acknowledge nuclear power as being a low, carbon-free source of energy, and it disadvantages nuclear power," Graham said today. "But I could support a clean energy standard, which I will introduce today." (Greenwire)

Is there anyone, anywhere who seriously believes that mandating more expensive energy is good for people?


Hopes dim for energy bill in Senate

Senate Democratic leaders are backing away from plans to tackle any type of energy legislation during the upcoming lame duck session, including a renewable electricity standard and a response to the BP oil spill.

Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Wednesday that the legislative agenda is quickly filling up for the post-election session, with priority going first to the START arms reduction treaty with Russia, tax cuts and the fiscal year 2011 omnibus spending bill.

"I think it's unlikely we'll have time to take up a bill that's controversial, that would take a longer period of time," Durbin said when asked about the renewable electricity standard, or RES. "Already, there are at least three in the queue. It's going to be difficult." (Politico)


Senators agree with Obama call to break up climate bill

Key Senate Democrats and Republicans indicated Wednesday that they agree with President Barack Obama's call to tackle energy and climate legislation "in chunks" come 2011.

From John Kerry to Lamar Alexander, the reaction on Capitol Hill to the president's remarks in a Rolling Stone magazine interview suggest there's room for compromise on energy and environmental issues when Congress returns next year. (Politico)


China says climate talks to focus on differences

China's top climate change official said Wednesday that countries have little expectation of reaching a binding climate treaty this year but instead will focus on narrowing their differences ahead of the year-end summit in Cancun. (AP)


China Says Emissions Goal Already Tough, No Cap For Now

China's goals to slow greenhouse gas growth will be tough and costly, the nation's top climate change official said on Wednesday, presenting an absolute cap and major carbon market in the world's top emitter as distant plans.

China's key policy for fighting global warming is to reduce its "carbon intensity" -- the amount of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, emitted for each dollar of economic activity -- by 40-45 percent by 2020 compared to the 2005 level.

That domestic goal will let China's overall emissions grow with the economy, while shrinking the average amount of carbon dioxide emitted to make each car, build each home and so on. (Reuters)


Abbott attacks PM over changing carbon tax policy

JULIA Gillard has again declined to commit to a timetable for introducing a carbon price.

The Prime Minister said yesterday she will allow the government's multi-party climate change committee to finish its deliberations at the end of next year before making a final decision, and would not play "rule-in rule-out games" before the committee had even met.

"The committee will start, the committee will work, it'll do it diligently and we'll see where it gets to and what the outcomes are," Ms Gillard said. (Sid Maher, The Australian)

For those needing translation from Australian, this is a convoluted way of saying Australia will do exactly nothing on carbon. Gillard can say anything while delaying beyond 2011 because the chances of the Green-Labor-random_seat_filler Government's surviving that long are not statistically different from zero. So unstable is the current government it lost its very first lower house floor vote (first time an Australian Government has lost any floor vote since 1941).


We Are Not Thinking The Wrong Thoughts; We Just Don't Know How To Think The Right Thoughts

Written by Dennis Ambler

In a just published paper for SPPI, We Are Thinking The Wrong Thoughts, I highlighted the intensive efforts by government funded research groups, to categorise and explain away the non-acceptance by ever-increasing numbers of the general public, of the IPCC and UN creed on global warming. It is obviously very galling to some of the Lead Authors at IPCC that not everyone, including very many scientists more qualified than they, accepts their modelling claims.

Read more... (SPPI)


White House science advisor Holdren’s climate slide show at Kavli

While Obama seems to be a non-starter on climate, John Holdren is out stumping for climate change issues. For those who wonder what we are up against, watching this slideshow is enlightening. Comments on specific slides welcome. – Anthony

Via Eurekalert -Public Release: 28-Sep-2010
John P. Holdren addresses climate change, stressing need for international cooperation
At the 2010 Kavli Prize Science Forum, John Holdren, science advisor to US President Barack Obama, detailed the need and efforts to mitigate “global climate disruption.” The complete presentation, as well as a transcript of the address, is available at


Ministers, Ambassador White, Mr. Kavli, distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen. My topic today, as is obvious from the screen, is climate change science and policy: what do we know, what should we do. And the secret bottom line is what is the Obama administration doing.

Holdren PowerPoint presentation

[SLIDE 1] I will get to that, but I want to make a few general observations first to put these remarks in context. I’ve given the broad focus of this symposium on international cooperation in science. President Obama was clear from the very outset — clear in his campaign, clear in his inaugural speech, clear on many, many occasions since – that he places a very high priority on science and technology, on the federal government’s stewardship of an investment in science and technology, of international cooperation in science and technology, and the reason he places such a high priority on these activities — and indeed on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education – is that he recognizes with crystal clarity the relevance of science and technology to the full array of great challenges that we face in the United States and indeed that most societies around the world face in common. Of the challenges of maintaining viable and growing economies; the challenge of delivering better health care outcomes to all citizens at affordable cost; the challenge of addressing the great problems at the intersection of energy and environment; above all, the challenge of climate change; the problems of maintaining peace and security in the world. Continue reading (WUWT)


Royal Society Bows To Climate Change Sceptics

Britain’s leading scientific institution has been forced to rewrite its guide to climate change and admit that there is greater uncertainty about future temperature increases than it had previously suggested.

The Royal Society is publishing a new document today after a rebellion by more than 40 of its fellows who questioned mankind’s contribution to rising temperatures.

Climate change: a summary of the science states that “some uncertainties are unlikely ever to be significantly reduced”. Unlike Climate change controversies, a simple guide — the document it replaces — it avoids making predictions about the impact of climate change and refrains from advising governments about how they should respond.

The new guide says: “The size of future temperature increases and other aspects of climate change, especially at the regional scale, are still subject to uncertainty.”

The Royal Society even appears to criticise scientists who have made predictions about heatwaves and rising sea levels. It now says: “There is little confidence in specific projections of future regional climate change, except at continental scales.”

It adds: “It is not possible to determine exactly how much the Earth will warm or exactly how the climate will change in the future.

“There remains the possibility that hitherto unknown aspects of the climate and climate change could emerge and lead to significant modifications in our understanding.”

The working group that produced the new guide took advice from two Royal Society fellows who have links to the climate-sceptic think-tank founded by Lord Lawson of Blaby.

Professor Anthony Kelly and Sir Alan Rudge are members of the academic advisory council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. They were among 43 fellows who signed a petition sent to Lord Rees, the society’s president, asking for its statement on climate change to be rewritten to take more account of questions raised by sceptics.

Professor John Pethica, the society’s vice-president and chairman of the working group that wrote the document, said the guide stated clearly that there was “strong evidence” that the warming of the Earth over the past half-century had been caused largely by human activity.

Meanwhile, the Government is planning an exercise to test how England and Wales would cope with severe flooding caused by climate change. Exercise Watermark will take place in March and test emergency services and communities on a range of scenarios that could occur.

The Times, 30 September 2010 (Via GWPF)


You just knew Nude Socialist would have to screw it up: Emission control: Turning carbon trash into treasure

Carbon dioxide may be bad for the climate, but it's good for the roses. Perhaps it's time we rehabilitated this gaseous villain

IT'S LIKE standing at the edge of a giant patchwork quilt. Stretching into the distance are broad bands of bright yellow alternated with patches of delicate white, all beneath a vast glass roof. This greenhouse full of flowers is just one of hundreds that dot the Dutch coast, where row after row of chrysanthemums, orchids and roses are fed carbon dioxide-enriched air, helping them to grow up to 30 per cent faster than normal.

While plenty of commercial greenhouses top up their air with extra CO2, what is unusual about this one is where its CO2 comes from. Until a few years ago, the greenhouse's operators used to burn natural gas for the sole purpose of generating CO2. Today it is piped from a nearby oil refinery. Each year, 400,000 tonnes of CO2 are captured and then piped to around 500 greenhouses between Rotterdam and The Hague, where it is absorbed by the growing plants before they are shipped for sale around the world (see "Cash for carbon").

As governments ramp up their efforts to cut carbon emissions, carbon capture is moving closer to the top of the agenda. The current plan to deal with all of our excess CO2 is to just pump the stuff underground - a kind of landfill for gases. Looking at this carpet of flowers, it is hard not to think that we are going about this in the wrong way. Shouldn't we look to pioneering schemes like the Dutch greenhouses to find ways to recycle the captured CO2 instead?

It turns out that a growing number of researchers, start-ups and even industry giants are also beginning to think like this. And not just for growing flowers; they believe whole cities could one day be built and powered with the help of exhaust fumes.

"It's time we stopped thinking of CO2 solely as a pollutant and viewed it as a valuable resource," says Gabriele Centi, a chemist at the University of Messina, Italy. "With carbon capture and sequestration, we'll essentially have a zero-cost feedstock." (Phil McKenna, New Scientist)

No, carbon dioxide is not "bad for the planet" and yes, it is a magnificent and highly valuable resource for people and the biosphere. That CO2 has been rebranded an atmospheric "pollutant" is simply a nonsense and it should never be so conceived. Hopefully Centi was seriously misquoted with "With carbon capture and sequestration, we'll essentially have a zero-cost feedstock" because there is nothing anywhere close to zero-cost carbon capture and artificial sequestration is just plain dumb. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is an asset, leave it alone.


Eye-roller: Coral reefs 'could disappear by 2100'

Copenhagen targets too weak to combat climate change, new report by Institute of Physics (IOP) suggests

Weak climate change targets could mean the end of coral reefs by 2100 if ‘urgent action’ isn’t taken. A new report by the Institute of Physics (IOP) suggests nations have failed to commit to high enough targets to reduce emissions, and warns, unless these are raised, CO2 levels leading to ocean acidification could destroy coral reefs by the end of the century.

The IOP’s analysis of the Copenhagen Accord, the international pledge agreed at last year’s Copenhagen climate change conference, criticises individual nations’ targets to reduce emissions as too 'low' and 'weak' and states a global temperature increase of up to 4.2 º C and the end of coral reefs could become reality by 2100 if national targets are not revised.

Rick MacPherson, Conservation Programs Director at the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL), says: ‘This is a global crisis. We all receive direct or indirect benefits from healthy coral reef ecosystems.’ (Ecologist)


The Great Climate Crunch Of 2010

Haven’t posted much of late. For two reason: one, a super-secrete Earth-shattering project (or rather, a smaller version of it), and two, because with the whole catastrophic climate change narrative imploding around me, I do not really find much in pleasure in flogging a comatose horse…

We have the BBC’s Richard Black severely reprimanded by the illiberals at Climate Progress. The UK Government might get rid of its Climate Department and doesn’t want to keep foraging the solar power industry no more. The New Statesman, no less, forces itself into recognising the importance of Stephen McIntyre. There’s Scientific American stating that “the leaked “Climategate” e-mails painted researchers as censorious”, whilst Lord Turnbull is allowed to write in the pages of the Financial Times that “a climate overhaul is needed to win back public trust”

Of course Obama wants no solar panels for the White House, and Revkin gives up on the climate fight. Keith Kloor finds out some people want to censor what they don’t perfectly like.

If another bunch of hidden, dodgy emails shows up now, the “catastrophic climate” discourse will go the way of the Dodo.

UPDATE: Climategate keeps popping up with what a few weeks ago were unlikely comments. For example at the UN University:

“the emotive exchanges surrounding the so-called climategate affair [show] that the climate scientists at the University of East Anglia did not feel completely comfortable sharing all their data with those sceptical of their work, and intrinsically [highlight] how this situation has undermined the credibility of the science involved, to a degree”

(Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)


Ameren, feds sign agreement on FutureGen

WASHINGTON – Ameren has officially signed an agreement with the federal Department of Energy that could lead to the reuse of an old western Illinois power plant in the revamped FutureGen project, the St. Louis-based energy company announced Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the DOE also announced Tuesday that it had formally committed $1 billion to the FutureGen project, which originally had been slated for Mattoon. The Coles County community withdrew from the project last month after DOE made significant changes to FutureGen, including eliminating a coal-gasification plant that was supposed to have been built in Mattoon. Part of the reason for DOE's changes was to reduce the cost of the project, which was said to be nearing $3 billion.

DOE's announcement Tuesday had been anticipated because it needed to commit the $1 billion in Recovery Act funding before Sept. 30. (News-Gazette)

FuturGen? Hardly! CurrentWaste is more accurate.


Give us lots of money to trade in useless crap: UK firms demand at least $7 billion for green bank

The UK government must ensure its Green Investment Bank has at least 4 billion to 6 billion pounds ($7 billion-$9 billion) over the next four years for low-carbon investment, a group of businesses said on Wednesday.

Britain, which is lagging European Union targets to cut carbon emissions and deploy renewable energy, wants to shift toward a low-carbon economy, including upgrading its grid infrastructure and rolling out electric cars.

More than 20 companies including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Axa Investment Managers, F&C Investments, Jaguar Land Rover, Microsoft, and British Airways wrote to the government, fearing it could reduce capital for the bank amid spending cuts.

"This (amount) is the minimum required to ensure the bank fulfils its potential to help make the UK a world leader in the supply and deployment of low-carbon technology and the catalyst for a green jobs boom," the Aldersgate Group said. (Reuters)


U.S. Government To Unveil New Drilling Rules By Thursday

The Obama administration was set to release its latest set of requirements for offshore oil drillers by Thursday as the government moves toward lifting its contested ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Interior Department has said it will release new drilling regulations by the end of September aimed at increasing safety in the industry, which was rocked by the BP oil spill disaster.

The new rules are one of the conditions the department said must be in place before it lifts its temporary ban on exploratory drilling in waters more than 500 feet deep. The freeze is supposed to expire in November 30, but the Interior Department has said it hopes to end the ban early. (Reuters)


Energy efficiency increases energy consumption

Many people think that if we switch to more energy-efficient light bulbs or TVs (e.g. LED lighting, LED TV, and so on) and other energy-efficient technologies, the total consumption will decrease.

Some people even believe in a kind of proportionality: if the same activities will only consume N times less energy, where N is a coefficient greater than one, then we will consume N times less energy in the future.

This is preposterous, of course. Andrew Revkin has pointed out that one of the co-authors of a recent study, Harry Saunders, has just clarified their paper about this issue:

Why Energy Efficiency Does not Decrease Energy Consumption (Breakthrough Institute)
I would classify the Breakthrough Institute as a relatively sensible and technologically loaded organization that nevertheless promotes left-wing values and utopias.

The essential effect is that if some gadgets that consume energy become more efficient, the people also have to pay less for the energy, and they can afford more of it. Alternatively, they may also afford other activities that consume energy. Clearly, if the "average" or "aggregate" efficiency increases N times, the total amount of consumed energy will be greater than 1/N of the current energy consumption - because of the stimulated extra consumption.

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)


Wind will power fossil fuel-free Denmark in 2050, report predicts

Danish climate commission report predicts the country could switch to renewables by the middle of the century* (BusinessGreen, part of the Guardian Environment Network)

* as long as neighboring countries continue to generate real power to meet our massive shortfalls...


Is Windpower the Ethanol of Electricity? (Part II: Environmental Issues)

by Ben Lieberman
September 29, 2010

Part I examined the true costs of ethanol and windpower to find that both were highly uneconomic compared to their alternatives. Both government-dependent fuels are also inferior products, making a straight comparative cost comparison misleading.

The environmental characteristics of both ethanol and windpower are also problematic compared to their more energy-dense, consumer-preferred alternatives.

Is Ethanol Green?

Given the high cost of the ethanol mandate, the putative benefits – energy independence, green jobs creation, environmental improvement – come at a steep price. But costs aside, there are other reasons to doubt whether these benefits are real. The gulf between hype and reality is perhaps greatest when it comes to environmental performance.

The negative environmental externalities associated with petroleum-derived fuels – particularly oil spills, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions – have long been a major focus of the environmental movement and federal regulators. Thus, many simply assumed that ethanol, by supplanting some of the gasoline supply, would be an improvement. Unfortunately, the mandate is teaching us, the hard way, that ethanol has plenty of its own environmental negatives.

Environmental organizations have raised concerns about the increased inputs of energy, pesticides, and fertilizer to grow the additional corn now needed to meet fuel as well as food demand. The same is true for the stress on water supplies, especially now that corn production has been expanded into locales where rainfall is insufficient and irrigation is needed. Land previously in its natural state has been converted to cropland. The facilities that distill the corn into ethanol also require significant energy and water inputs and produce industrial emissions.

The use of ethanol in motor fuel has had a mixed impact on air quality. It lowers some types of pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, but increases others, such as the evaporative emissions that contribute to smog. In fact, certain high-volatility components of gasoline must be removed before adding ethanol in order to prevent the overall blend from violating Clean Air Act requirements in high smog areas. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Windfall: Documenting the Backlash Against Wind Energy

On January 25, I got an email from Charlie Porter, a Missouri-based horse trainer. The issue: noise from wind turbines. His emails said that in 2007, a phalanx of wind turbines had been around his family’s farm near King City and that “The overwhelming noise, sleep deprivation, constant headaches, anxiety, etc., etc., etc., forced us to abandon our home/horse farm of 15 years. [Read More] (Robert Bryce, ET)



Frivolous Lawsuit Aimed at Silencing Critics of Eminent Domain Abuse

Posted by David Rittgers

In Kelo v. City of New London, the Supreme Court ruled that a locality could use its eminent domain authority to seize private property to sell to private developers. Cato’s amicus brief opposing this abuse of the Takings Clause is available here, and an article on Kelo and other property law rulings of the 2004-2005 term by law professor James W. Ely, Jr. is available here.

One positive outcome of Kelo was the legislative restriction of eminent domain usage in state houses across the country. On the other hand, developers and localities have attempted to muzzle their critics with frivolous lawsuits. The Institute for Justice is currently litigating one of these actions in Texas:

Investigative journalist Carla Main wrote a book about eminent domain abuse in Freeport, Texas.  The city is attempting to force out a generations-old family shrimp and marine supply business to make way for a luxury marina development that was to be owned and operated by Royall’s private company.  When the victims of this eminent domain abuse complained, Royall sued them for defamation.  Main’s book, Bulldozed: “Kelo,” Eminent Domain, and the American Lust for Land, tells the story of the Gore family’s generations-old shrimp business and how Royall and the city tried to take their land.  Prominent law professor Richard Epstein (University of Chicago and New York University) contributed a blurb to the back cover of Bulldozed.

Royall sued Main, Epstein and Encounter Books (the publisher) for defamation over the contents of Bulldozed.  He also sued two newspapers and a journalist who published reviews of Bulldozed.  Royall is attempting to use the power of the courts to silence his critics.

A Dallas trial court ruled last year that the lawsuit was not barred by the First Amendment, even though Royall could not point to any statement in Main’s book that came close to the legal standard for defamation. The Institute for Justice is appealing the trial court’s decision. As Bill McGurn writes in today’s Wall Street Journal, this suit is one of the “high costs of Mr. Kennedy’s concurrence” in Kelo. Here’s hoping that rights protected by both the First and Fifth Amendments can prevail.

Susette Kelo, the owner of the Little Pink House at the center of the Kelo case, spoke at the Cato Institute about her ordeal, and her story is the subject of this Cato Institute video. (Cato at liberty)


Hmm... WHO chief defends her agency's pandemic response

GENEVA - The World Health Organization did not hype the risks of H1N1 flu, and made the best decisions possible with the information available about the new virus, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said on Tuesday.

Addressing an external review panel, Chan defended the steps she took from finding out about the strain to declaring it a pandemic, a move that set in motion global vaccination campaigns that were later criticized as unnecessary.

"I personally do not believe that WHO exaggerated the threat," she told the experts at her U.N. agency's headquarters, describing a decision to err on the side of caution about the bug that eventually caused only mild illness in most people. (Reuters)


Parents' drinking may be risk factor for SIDS

NEW YORK - Parents and caretakers who drink alcohol may put infants at a higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), new research suggests.

Researchers at the University of California-San Diego found that SIDS cases occur 33 percent more often on New Year's Day than any other day of the year, which is also when more people drink alcohol than at any other time of year.

Because the rate of SIDS has dropped since the 1990s to some 2,500 cases per year-about 7 per day-that 33 percent spike translates to only two more cases of SIDS on New Year's than any other day. However, the researchers report finding other links between caretaker drinking and incidence of SIDS, in the journal Addiction.

SIDS cases and drinking occur more often on weekends than during the week, and infants whose caretakers drink were more than twice as likely to die from SIDS as those whose caretakers do not drink, the study concludes. (Reuters Health)

Is it the consumption of alcohol or the soundness of the parents' sleep? How about an increase in socializing at weekends and New Years disrupting the infants' sleeping patterns, leading to increased tiredness and subsequent deeper sleep? Associating alcohol consumption seems a really arbitrary selection here and would be difficult to justify.


The glycemic index, and why you don't need to worry about it

The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating. Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

The GI has been promoted as a method to construct a healthy diet, and has been touted to diabetics as a way to control their blood glucose levels. The definite implication is that low GI equals healthy.

The only problem is that the concept is a grotesque oversimplification that has no applicability to the real world. My latest HND article discusses the GI and its limitations.

To calculate the GI, testing of an individual food item is performed on ten healthy subjects, who consume a measured amount of the food. Their blood glucose levels are monitored at frequent intervals over a two hour period. The data is then averaged and the GI for this food is established. However, GI data for a particular food can vary widely from lab to lab.

Those familiar with blood glucose levels will tell you that they can be affected by a host of things, including stress, and any inflammatory processes going on in the body. It is remarkable that even the most basic physiological controls are not done on the subjects, to eliminate confounding factors. Besides, foods, being biologic, are not identical from sample to sample.

The random errors alone could be substantial, and let's not even bother with the systematic errors inherent in the blood glucose measurement itself.

Moreover, even if consistent data on the pure food could be obtained, there are few real life instances whereby a single food item is actually consumed. White bread could have a particular GI, which would be drastically lowered if butter were applied. Depending on the vinegar content and amount of time it has been refrigerated, the GI for potato salad can be affected—and not by a small amount, either.

Finally, low GI does not equate with healthy. There are many decidedly unhealthy foods with a low GI.

It is appalling that so-called scientists are promoting this nonsense. It is long past time that someone exposed the GI for what it is: Just one more diet scam. Read the complete article. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)


Fighting obesity: Revisiting schoolyard games

A study in the Journal of Pediatrics systematically measured both energy expenditure and enjoyment in 30 different schoolyard games. Its findings offer a menu of effective games that could be played during gym and recess to address the growing child obesity problem. (


Heightened suicide risk after weight-loss surgery

NEW YORK - Severely obese people who undergo weight-loss surgery may have a higher-than-average risk of suicide in the years following the procedure, a new study finds.

The report, in The American Journal of Medicine, adds to evidence that patients who have bariatric surgery to lose weight have an increased risk of suicide compared with the general population.

But the reasons for the pattern, researchers say, remain unknown. (Reuters Health)


Ultrafine air particles may increase firefighters' risk for heart disease

CINCINNATI—Firefighters are exposed to potentially dangerous levels of ultrafine particulates at the time they are least likely to wear protective breathing equipment. Because of this, researchers believe firefighters may face an increased risk for heart disease from exposures during the fire suppression process.

Coronary heart disease is the No. 1 killer of American firefighters, with many of these incidents taking place during or just after a firefighting incident. Researchers say exposure to these harmful ultrafine air particulates could predispose firefighters to heart disease—particularly in those at a less-than-optimal level of physical fitness or personal health.

In a study conducted collaboratively by the University of Cincinnati (UC), Underwriters Laboratories Inc. and the Chicago Fire Department, researchers have found that more than 70 percent of particulates released during fires are "ultrafine," invisible to the naked eye but able to be inhaled into the deepest compartments of the lung.

These findings were reported in the August 2010 issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. This study was the first to characterize the size and distribution of particulates, including those in the ultrafine range, during domestic fires. (University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center)


End Drug War, Save Billions in Wealth

Posted by Tim Lynch

A new Cato Institute report examines the budgetary impact of ending the drug war and concludes that $88 billion could be saved each year (about $41 billion from canceled spending and about $47 billion in new tax revenue).

Here’s the executive summary:

State and federal governments in the United States face massive looming fiscal deficits. One policy change that can reduce deficits is ending the drug war. Legalization means reduced expenditure on enforcement and an increase in tax revenue from legalized sales.

This report estimates that legalizing drugs would save roughly $41.3 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition. Of these savings, $25.7 billion would accrue to state and local governments, while $15.6 billion would accrue to the federal government.

Approximately $8.7 billion of the savings would result from legalization of marijuana and $32.6 billion from legalization of other drugs.

The report also estimates that drug legalization would yield tax revenue of $46.7 billion annually, assuming legal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco. Approximately $8.7 billion of this revenue would result from legalization of marijuana and $38.0 billion from legalization of other drugs.

Saving money that is otherwise wasted is just one of a dozen good reasons to end the drug war.  But since policymakers have placed all of us into a financial jam, this report shows one way to improve our position.  Voting against the drug war remains a risky vote but more politicians are concluding that it is a less painful vote than voting against other things the government spends money on.  

Harvard economist Jeff Miron and his co-author Katherine Waldock have data on the federal budget and all the states.  Check out how much money your state is wasting and spread the word to others.

(Cato at liberty)


Global Acidification: The Next EU Bought-And-Paid-For Science Hoax

P Gosselin 28. September 2010

Now that man-made catastrophic global warming has been exposed as a hyper-inflated problem, proponents are now scrambling to save their movement. Here comes global acidification (sounds much more menacing than climate disruption, doesn’t it?). Expect a flood of sewage media reports on this in the days ahead.

Now that global warming is exposed as a hoax, the EU wants you to believe in global acidification.

The Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) for Polar and Marine Research in the German Hemholtz Association is hosting a 4-day conference with more than 200 scientists from all over Europe expected to attend at Conference Center Bremerhaven. See details here. The AWI press release is titled:

Oceans acidify much faster than ever before in Earth’s history

This conference undoubtedly is designed to produce new, future horror scenarios of oceanic death and destruction. These scenarios will then be avidly spread as science by Europe’s established publicly-funded media. The idea of course is to keep the public in a state of elevated fear, while governments move to regulate every aspect of human life.

The greenhouse gas carbon dioxide not only leads to global climate warming, but also to increasing acidification of the oceans.

So says the AWI press release, and:

Since the beginning of industrialisation the CO2 absorbed by the sea has led to an increase in surface ocean acidity by 30 percent.

Wait a second. There’s a huge difference between ocean surface and ocean, i.e. the complete ocean. But whatever.

Many marine organisms such as calcareous algae, mussels and snails have difficulties in forming their shells or skeletons. As a result of this, entire ecosystems such as coral reefs may be affected.

Emphasis added. Don’t you just love how they appear to be so sure about everything, yet admit they actually know almost nothing? But hey, they have begun to study this closely.

In conjunction with the three large-scale research projects, at national and international level the Alfred Wegener Institute is examining the impacts of ocean acidification, particularly on the biotic communities in the Arctic Ocean.

The Arctic is again the canary in the coal mine. One partner in research they happen not to mention is the scientifically balanced and objective Greenpeace organisation, read here Research Assisted By Greenpeace.

Much of the research funding comes from global regulator wannabe: The European Union and its European Commission.

The conference sponsors are BIOACID (Biological Impacts of Ocean ACIDification) funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). The Leibniz Institute for Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR) in Kiel is responsible for project coordination and management. Another sponsor is UKOARP (UK Ocean Acidification Research Program) UK’s first research programme, launched in 2010. And the third sponsor is EPOCA (European Project on OCean Acidification) launched in May 2008. It’s a four-year long project and is partly funded by the European Commission.

The European Commission is precisely the body that has been making it clearer than ever that it wants to run the rest of the planet, together with the UN. And what better place to start than with the global airline industry. Right now it is threatening the rest of the world with a flight ban. Read here: EU Threatens World With Flight Ban/.

However, banning flights, along with regulating people’s lives, is bound to be quite unpopular with the masses, unless of course you can produce compelling arguments to do so. Global warming is no longer compelling, and so in comes global acidification – due to carbon emissions.

Vaclav Klaus needs to add a couple more chapters to his recent book, and rename it to: “Blue Planet In Green Chains, Forged By White Euro-Elitists”.

Let’s not kid ourselves. This whole environmental movement is a bid by a certain class of elitists in Europe, and America’s east and west coasts, who want to tell the rest of the world what to do. Wasn’t that tried last century?

This elitist enviro-establishment needs to get toppled from the bottom up. (No Tricks Zone)


PJTV Special Report: The Big Money & The Global Governance Agenda That Fuels Environmentalism

The environmental movement is not just a well funded special interest, it is a big bully gaining increased control over the U.S. economy. (PJM)


How the ‘Long Green’ Becomes Green Power

The second in a series on "Big Green": the alliance of the Democratic Party, environmental groups, and activists in the progressive movement. Today, where the money goes, and how it's spent. (The Washington Examiner is publishing a five-part special report this week in association with PJM on "Big Green.") (PJM)


This seal was declared extinct in 1892. So what is it doing alive and well today?

Guadalupe fur seal: feared extinct in 1890s. Photograph: Visuals Unlimited/Corbis

The Guadalupe fur seal was feared extinct, gone the way of the dodo after being slaughtered by Russian and American hunters for their skins. None could be found at breeding grounds and as sightings elsewhere tailed off the species was consigned to history.

So why are there thousands of Guadalupe fur seals swimming off the coast of Mexico now? As naturalists gladly admit, reports of the species' demise at the end of the 19th century were premature. Small numbers of the animals clung on in island caves and were rediscovered only decades later. The population is now thriving, with the latest estimate putting their number at 15,000 or more.

But the case of the Guadalupe fur seal is far from unique – and more animals feared extinct could be waiting to be rediscovered. A survey of the world's mammals published today reveals that more than a third of species once feared extinct have since been spotted in the wild, in one case 180 years after the last confirmed sighting. Rare mammals that were considered dead but later rediscovered were typically missing for 52 years. (Ian Sample, The Guardian)


Looking beyond the glamour of conservation

Mammal ecologists call for greater focus on non-charismatic species.

Yana Balling

With species going extinct at an alarming rate worldwide, scientists are calling for a more targeted approach to conservation efforts. Rather than desperately searching for surviving individuals of charismatic, but probably extinct, species such as the thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), conservationists should concentrate their efforts on less-iconic species that are missing, but may still exist.

"People just haven't thought hard enough about where they should put their effort," says Diana Fisher, a mammal ecologist at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, who led the study. The findings are published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B today. "There is no chance that species are still alive that have been looked for 20 times or more," she says.

But there is good news. The study suggests that by no means all of the species classified as extinct have actually disappeared from the planet. When consulting the scientific literature and comparing past and present Red Lists of threatened species, compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Fisher and her colleague Simon Blomberg, a mathematical ecologist who is also at the University of Queensland, found that more than a third of mammal species thought to have become extinct since the year 1500 have in fact been rediscovered. (Nature News)


It's alright though, you can still worry about weeds: One in five plant species face extinction

First ever comprehensive study of plants, from giant rainforests to common snowdrops, finds 22% of all species at-risk (Juliette Jowit, Guardian)


Peter Foster: Ecuador’s eco blackmail

Pandora: As if its natives said, “Send money or we’ll trash our own planet.”

For US$3.6-billion, Ecuador’s socialists are prepared to make the effort of, well, doing nothing

Almost 40 years ago, satirical magazine National Lampoon had a famous cover featuring somebody holding a pistol to the head of a cute canine. The caption was: “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog.”

The “21st-century socialist” government of Ecuador has come up with a non-joke variant: “Pay us US$3.6-billion or we’ll drill for oil in the Amazon.”

That this blatant attempted eco shakedown comes the week posturing Avatar director James Cameron is touring the Alberta oilsands should be embarrassing for the Hollywood carbon spewer. It’s as if the natives of Pandora had sent a message to Earth saying: “Send money or we’ll trash our own planet.”

Details of the Ecuadoran scheme — which is “strongly backed” by the United Nations — were laid out before the UN General Assembly on Monday by Ecuador’s Vice-President, the appropriately named Lenin Moreno Garces. Mr. Moreno stressed what a big favour Ecuador was doing the world by not drilling in the Yasuni National Park , a tropical rain forest that contains primitive tribes and a fount of biodiversity. “ Ecuador,” he said, “has decided not to receive 50% of the potential income that oil will generate, just as long as the international community makes a similar effort to our own.”

Read More » (Financial Post)


EU-Poor Rift Could Derail Conservation Talks: Group

Tension between the European Union and poor countries could undermine U.N. talks on agreeing 2020 targets to preserve nature's riches that provide clean air, water and medicine, a top conservation official said.

The October 18-29 talks in the Japanese city of Nagoya also aim to seal a treaty that outlines rules for access to genetic resources and discoveries, potentially a big source of cash for poor nations when dealing with drug and agricultural firms.

"This is going to go to the wall in terms of brinkmanship," said Jane Smart, director, biodiversity conservation group, of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). (Reuters)


Trade in mammoth ivory 'is fuelling slaughter of African elephants'

Conservationists fear that legal trade is being used as a front for laundering of poached tusks

It is 4,000 years or more since the last woolly mammoths, with their spectacularly curved tusks and heavy shaggy coats, roamed the icy wastes of Siberia and Alaska. Climate change and hunting by prehistoric humans are thought to have driven them to extinction.

But the trade in ivory from the tusks of the ancient animals is now booming – and may present a risk to the future of the African elephant, conservationists fear.

The bodies of thousands of woolly mammoths have been found preserved in the frozen Siberian tundra, and the tusks are the best-preserved part of all.

According to a report, as much as 60 tonnes of Siberian mammoth tusks are being exported from Russia every year, mainly to China, where they end up in the workshops of its flourishing ivory-carving trade, being turned into brooches, pendants, figurines and thousands of other ivory objects, and sold around the world.

Conservationists are concerned that this legal trade could be used as a front for the laundering of illegally poached elephant ivory, thereby fuelling the poaching of elephants. (Independent)


The Watery Future of East Germany's Coal Mines

Swathes of land in eastern Germany are undergoing an ambitious facelift: Derelict open-cast mines dating from communist East Germany are being flooded, transforming the area into Europe's biggest artificial lake district. Developers hope it will become a tourist magnet as well.

What to do if you have a series of gaping hole twice the size of Berlin in your backyard? That unusual conundrum has dogged Germany's Lusatia region for decades.

Not long ago, this was the smoky, dusty powerhouse of communist East Germany. Some 80 villages were razed to make way for brown coal mines with 40,000 people forced to leave their homes. But following reunification, most of the inefficient brown coal mines were abandoned, leaving behind a barren moonscape of massive proportions. Measuring 80 kilometers by 35 kilometers (50 miles by 22 miles), it stretches as far as the eye can see, and beyond.
Now, belatedly, the region has embarked on a dramatic and costly project to revamp the derelict and deeply scarred landscape. Vast craters, left behind by the coal mines, are being filled with water, creating a brand new lake district, the biggest of its kind in Europe. Brochures show pristine waterways, neat cycle paths and happy holiday makers. This, it is hoped, will be Lusatia's future. Holiday heaven, so the plan goes, will fill the void left by coal -- and will boost the local economy, which is still in the doldrums some 20 years after reunification. (Spiegel)

Mine ponds and leachate from mines -- environmental evil. Deliberately flooded mines to make mine ponds -- environmental resurrection...


NYC To Curb Water Runoff With Blue And Green Roofs

New York City wants to catch and store rainwater temporarily in new roof systems to stop heavy storms sending sewage spilling into city waterways.

The catchment systems would consist of "blue" roofs that have a series of drainage pools and "green" or grass- or ivy-covered roofs, under a plan unveiled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg estimates the city could save $2.4 billion over 20 years if the state allows it to use this kind of green technology instead of relying on so-called grey infrastructure, such as storage tanks and tunnels. (Reuters)


Digging deep for ways to curb ammonia emissions

Dairy farmers can greatly reduce ammonia emissions from their production facilities by injecting liquid manure into crop fields below the soil surface, according to research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

These findings, which resulted from a study conducted by soil scientist April Leytem and agricultural engineer David Bjorneberg with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), could help Idaho dairy farmers increase nitrogen capture in the soil and protect air quality from agricultural ammonia emissions. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency. (USDA)



Obama Says Energy Policy A Top Priority Next Year

President Barack Obama said revamping U.S. energy policy would be a top priority next year and may have to be done "in chunks" rather than through one piece of legislation, according to Rolling Stone magazine.

In an interview published on Tuesday, Obama lamented that more progress to fight climate change had not been made since he took office, and blamed the economy for that failure.

"One of my top priorities next year is to have an energy policy that begins to address all facets of our over-reliance on fossil fuels," Obama told Rolling Stone.

"We may end up having to do it in chunks, as opposed to some sort of comprehensive omnibus legislation. But we're going to stay on this because it is good for our economy, it's good for our national security, and, ultimately, it's good for our environment." (Reuters)

RS interview


Senators See Renewable Energy Bill as Christmas Tree for Pet Projects

With a renewable energy bill gaining legs in the Senate, lawmakers are increasingly eyeing the measure for their own pet projects.

Because the bill to implement a renewable electricity standard is probably the Senate's last chance at tackling energy issues this year, lawmakers also see it as a prime opportunity to advance other energy measures, including proposals to stall U.S. EPA climate regulations and advance nuclear energy and biofuel tax credits, among others.

A nationwide renewables mandate, or RES, is a longstanding pillar of Democratic energy plans that requires utilities to source certain amounts of their electricity from renewable sources. The bill currently under consideration in the Senate would require utilities to derive 15 percent of their electricity from sources like wind, solar and geothermal by 2021.

The bill's primary sponsors -- Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairman, and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), said yesterday that the measure should be brought to the floor this session as stand-alone legislation -- or not at all (Greenwire, Sept. 23). But their colleagues are still looking to attach other measures.

"Well, it's like everything else that comes up for a vote on the Senate floor. Virtually everybody voting would like to have some variation on it," Bingaman said yesterday. "But I think at the end of the day you have to decide whether this, as it stands, is worth supporting. And I think it is." (Greenwire)


CHESSER: Another government mandate

First they force you to buy health insurance, then wind power, too

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico Democrat, and Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican (and the party's gubernatorial nominee) must be gluttons for punishment.

Mandates to buy things - pushed by Washington - have fouled the political air. The public, which is shown in polls to hate Obamacare, hate most the part that obligates them to buy health insurance. What else do they despise? The ban on the incandescent light bulb, which begins to take effect in 2012 and will force everyone to buy higher-priced mercury-filled compact fluorescents for the rest of their lives. More than a few people hope for a repeal of both measures after the November elections.

So Americans are tired of the dictating, but what do the aforementioned senators do? They dictate more, with a proposed law that will force you to procure part of your electricity from windmills, solar farms and other costly sources. It's called a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), brought to you by politicians who think they know what's good for you. (Paul Chesser, The Washington Times)


New EPA Rules Will Cost More than 800,000 Jobs

by Hans Bader
28 September 2010 @ 5:47 pm

New EPA rules will cost more than 800,000 jobs, probably far more, according to a newly released congressional report.  That includes the EPA’s first set of rules “for Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” and “new standards for commercial and industrial boilers.”  Indeed, the boiler rules alone could cost close to 800,000 jobs.

This shouldn’t be a surprise.  In 2008, President Obama admitted that under his greenhouse gas regulations, people’s utility bills would “skyrocket,” and coal-fired power plants would go “bankrupt.”  The EPA’s own internal documents show that the administration’s global warming regulations will result in a massive “loss of steel, paper, aluminum, chemical, and cement manufacturing jobs.”

It’s not just the administration’s global warming regulations that will wipe out jobs. The stimulus package contained so-called “green jobs”…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


Global warming critic plots revenge

By: Darren Samuelsohn

Most House Republicans envision killing Nancy Pelosi’s special global warming committee if they claw their way back into the majority this November.

But one senior GOP lawmaker has another idea in mind: sweet revenge.

Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner wants to keep the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming alive so it can investigate climate science and police President Barack Obama’s green policies.

The 16-term congressman said he’s well-positioned to take on that leadership role, touting credentials as a former chairman of the Judiciary and Science and Technology committees, where he pried information out of the Clinton administration without ever signing a subpoena.

“I’ve had a reputation of really being a tiger on oversight,” he told POLITICO.

Any decisions on the future of the select committee, where Sensenbrenner is the top Republican opposite Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.), won’t be made until after the midterm elections. (Politico)


Durbin says energy legislation in lame-duck a 'long shot'

Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) Tuesday threw cold water on suggestions that the Senate would respond legislatively to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill or take up a renewable power mandate during a post-election lame-duck session.

“There are many choices and most of them are controversial, so to think that we could do them quickly in a lame-duck is a long shot,” Durbin said. “I think it is when you just look at the limited time and the three major issues that we face, not to mention many other issues in the second tier.”

Those top three issues, he said, are dealing with the New START nuclear reduction treaty with Russia, expiring George W. Bush administration tax cuts and an omnibus spending bill. (The Hill)


The Economics of Napoleon Obamaparte: Spread the Wealth Around

by Christopher C. Horner

I just returned from speaking to two terrific groups about California’s looming ballot initiative, Proposition 23, to delay implementation of the state’s climatically meaningless, economically suicidal state-level adoption of the Kyoto agenda, called AB 32. (Big Government)


How Big Brother Is Using the National Parks and Other Agencies to Promote His Climate Religion Using Your Tax Dollars

Alan Carlin | September 28, 2010

The Obama Administration has made many efforts to support its climate religion (climatism). Since this viewpoint has no basis in the scientific method, it is not science and would seem best characterized as religion. For a list of what the Administration believes they have done see page 27 here. The first item listed is $80 billion (with a “b”) for “clean and efficient energy in ARRA” (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more commonly called the stimulus bill). Since most of this expenditure will not stimulate anything except the income of politically favored alternative energy providers and their suppliers and future higher cost energy for rate-payers, it is highly unlikely to be very stimulative for the economy as a whole. (Carlin Economics and Science)


UN not getting enough of your money: UN sees funds threat to climate campaign

International agreements to fight the threat of climate change will not make any further progress unless rich countries deliver on their promises of almost $30bn in short-term funding for developing economies, the UN’s senior climate official has warned.

Christiana Figueres, who took over as executive secretary of the UN framework convention on climate change in July, said the climate talks in Cancún in November could make progress on practical measures for tackling global warming, such as holding back deforestation, if the money is forthcoming.

The Cancun meeting had been intended to codify the accord reached at the Copenhagen climate talks last year. Ms Figueres indicated this was now unlikely but said she hoped the Mexico meeting would strengthen the accord’s legal standing.

She also raised the prospect of ministers agreeing measures for monitoring the promises of emissions curbs that were made at Copenhagen. However, Ms Figueres said, the “fast-start” funding from rich countries, supposed to be paid in 2010-12, would be the “golden key” to any further agreements. (Ed Crooks, Financial Ties)


Administration Inflates Green Jobs Numbers

Are you a financial adviser? You may not know it, but you've got a green job. Are you a wholesale buyer? You've got a green job, too. Or maybe you're a newspaper reporter. You, too, have a green job -- at least according to the Obama administration.

For months, Republican Sen. Charles Grassley has been pushing the administration to substantiate its claims of having created nearly 200,000 green jobs. More fundamentally, Grassley has asked Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to state clearly what a green job is. So far, he hasn't gotten an answer.

Now, Grassley has learned that, in lieu of a settling on a straightforward definition of a green job, the administration has adopted an extraordinarily broad description of such jobs that could include not only financial advisers, wholesale buyers and reporters but also public-relations specialists, marketing managers and many more occupations that have nothing to do with protecting the environment.

If federal money has created any of those jobs, then the administration can claim to have created a green job. (Byron York, Townhall)


EU Clampdown On Gas-Guzzling Vans Suffers Setback

Europe's efforts to wean itself off costly oil imports suffered a setback on Tuesday when a European Parliament panel threw out plans for speed-limiters on vans and light trucks.

In the finely balanced vote, the parliament's environment committee approved the main goal of the regulation -- cutting van emissions by around 14 percent to an average of 175 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer by 2016.

But that target is widely seen as unambitious, given rapid gains in efficiency recently by van makers -- 15 percent by Renault's Master van and 13 percent by Mercedes' new Sprinter van. (Reuters)


Leo Hickman wants to pound his head on a brick wall... there's a lot of that going around: Middle East's largest theme park makes a gimmick of global warming

The ice-themed water park is based on the story of a clan of penguins who lose their 'Arctic' home and settle in the waters of the Arabian Gulf (Guardian)


Suzuki off his warming planet


Tom Harris of the International Climate Science Coalition reviews the latest book of eco-alarmist and crank David Suzuki:

Some of the book delves into what one may consider environmental mysticism.  Saying that, because air is in and around us, we are air and since we all share that air, then “I am you”.  Because plants and animals ultimately come from the soil and we eat plants and animals, then “we are earth.” In referring to animals and plants, Suzuki says, “All life on Earth is our kin. And in an act of generosity [a strange concept to attribute to species other than humans], our relatives create the four sacred elements for us.”

There are many science mistakes in the book too numerous to list ...but here is one that illustrates how far Suzuki has strayed from a rational assessment of main stream science (p. 17):

“We have become a force of nature ... Not long ago, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, drought, forest fires, even earthquakes and volcanic explosions were accepted as “natural disasters or “acts of God.” But now, we have joined God, powerful enough to influence these events.” ...

And of course tonight, Suzuki strongly, even angrily, promoted the human-caused climate catastrophe hypothesis - no one dared contest him in the question period.

(Andrew Bolt)


Treehugger buys a clue, or two

Hippies at Treehugger have realized that once-favored green talking points are old and busted by comparison with the harsh reality of actual events.

This year’s Cancun climate talks are going nowhere fast after the Copenhagen Hopenchangen blowout of last year, in fact no political leaders are even expected to attend. In the US, the GOP has skewed skeptic and is thriving as the Democrat party hides the fact that their candidates are Democrats. In typical leftist fashion, now the battle is lost, Treehugger wants to change the terms of engagement and depoliticize global warming. Good luck with that. (Daily Bayonet)


Telling porkies: Munich Re: 2010 Cats Cause $18B In Insured Losses, Likely Linked To Climate Change

A total of 725 weather events between January and September this year have caused insured losses of $18 billion and indicate a probable link between the increasing weather extremes and climate change, Munich Re said.

The global reinsurer said weather-related natural catastrophes from January to September have caused total losses of more than $65 billion and have taken around 21,000 lives.

Munich Re said its natural catastrophe database shows a “marked increase” in the number of weather-related events. “For instance, globally there has been a more than threefold increase in loss-related floods since 1980 and more than double the number of windstorm natural catastrophes, with particularly heavy losses as a result of Atlantic hurricanes,” Munich Re said.

Last month, a report by Laurens M. Bouwer, from the Institute for Environmental Studies at Vrije University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, indicated that increases in economic and insured losses in recent decades can be tied to increasing exposures and value of capital at risk, rather than climate change.

Munich Re acknowledged as much in its statement, noting that the rise in natural catastrophe losses “is primarily due to socio-economic factors.” The reinsurer said that populations are rising, more people are moving to exposed areas, and greater prosperity is leading to higher property values.
(National Underwriter) [em added]


2010 Pakistan Floods: Climate Change or Natural Variability?

By Dr. Madhav Khandekar

Among the extreme weather events of summer 2010, the extensive floods in Pakistan and their widespread impacts garnered maximum attention in the media as well as in the scientific community. Several climate scientists expressed concern about such weather extremes becoming more common with future climate change, while the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) issued a statement that the weather related cataclysms of July and August (2010) fit patterns predicted by climate scientists. The extensive damage due to floods and plight of thousands of people marooned over waterlogged areas were graphically covered in heart-wrenching details by most newspapers and TV news stories in Canada. Per latest estimates, the floods have claimed over 1500 human fatalities so far and over two million more have been rendered homeless.

From a personal perspective, the TV footage of women & children in knee-deep water brought back poignant memories of a similar situation I witnessed in Pune, my former home-town (a city 200 km southeast of Mumbai, the largest Indian city on the west coast) in July 1961 when incessant monsoon rains in the first week of July 1961 led to the breaking of a dam resulting in massive flooding of the city, destroying hundreds of homes and drowning dozens of people living along the riverside. Several other cities and regions suffered from similar flooding during the 1961 summer monsoon. As it turned out, the 1961 summer monsoon over India and vicinity was the rainiest monsoon season in the 150-year instrument data which caused extensive flooding and loss of life and property in many regions of the country (India Meteorological Department 1962). This year’s monsoon has been quite vigorous since the third week of July 2010 and heavy rains have caused flooding in the peninsular regions of India and also in the northwest regions bordering with Pakistan. Has the vigorous Indian monsoon of 2010 led to the historic floods in Pakistan? Let us briefly consider the monsoon climatology. (Icecap)


This Just In -- Upcoming Debate with Benny Peiser

This just in -- I will be debating Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London on November 16th.  The event will start at 5:30PM, so mark your calendars.  I'll ask if it can be streamed or otherwise made available.  I'll share further details as they are firmed up. (Roger Pielke Jr.)


Comments On NOAA’s Report Of Deep Ocean Warming

I was alerted by Leonard Ornstein to a NOAA news article titled

Scientists Find 20 Years of Deep Water Warming Leading to Sea Level Rise

The article includes the text

“Scientists analyzing measurements taken in the deep ocean around the globe over the past two decades find a warming trend that contributes to sea level rise, especially around Antarctica.

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, cause heating of the Earth. Over the past few decades, at least 80 percent of this heat energy has gone into the ocean, warming it in the process.

“Previous studies have shown that the upper ocean is warming, but our analysis determines how much additional heat the deep ocean is storing from warming observed all the way to the ocean floor,” said Sarah Purkey, an oceanographer at the University of Washington and lead author of the study.

This study shows that the deep ocean – below about 3,300 feet – is taking up about 16 percent of what the upper ocean is absorbing. The authors note that there are several possible causes for this deep warming: a shift in Southern Ocean winds, a change in the density of what is called Antarctic Bottom Water, or how quickly that bottom water is formed near the Antarctic, where it sinks to fill the deepest, coldest portions of the ocean around much of the globe.

The scientists found the strongest deep warming around Antarctica, weakening with distance from its source as it spreads around the globe….”

I wrote in the paper

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

“An assessment of the heat storage within the earth’s climate system offers a unique perspective on global change. If the heat actually remains within the earth system in the deeper ocean, for example, while the heat content of the remainder of the heat reservoirs in the earth system remains unchanged, sudden transfers of the heat between components of the system (from the ocean into the atmosphere) could produce rapid, unanticipated changes in global weather. “

Since I wrote that statement, I have become convinced that since deep ocean heating is diffused through relatively large volumes of the ocean (as indicated in the NOAA study), it cannot suddenly reappear in the atmosphere.  Indeed, we can now monitor with the Argo network in order to assess if there are large amounts of heat (in Joules) migrating towards the surface of the ocean.

There are several  comments and questions that result from this study:

  1. First, since the warming is concentrated in the higher southern latitudes, how did was this heat transferred through the upper ocean without being sampled by the Argo network or in the satellite measurements of ocean surface temperatures?
  2. If a significant fraction of the radiative forcing is transferred deep into the ocean, it is effectively “sequestered” and is not easily available to affect atmospheric climate.
  3. The heating of the deeper ocean does assist in part with explaining sea level rise in the absence of upper ocean heating.
  4. The fraction of heating that is within the deeper ocean reduces the magnitude of heat available to increase the global average surface temperature.

Since the data density of this study was relatively coarse, however, further study is needed to confirm their values. Nonetheless, this is the type of diagnosis we need, along with the Argo network, to obtain a more accurate diagnosis of global warming and cooling. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Vindication of Craig Loehle

F.C. Ljungqvist has published a new climate reconstruction from the birth of Jesus Christ to the present:

Ljungqvist, F.C. 2010.
A new reconstruction of temperature variability in the extra-tropical northern hemisphere during the last two millenia.
Geografiska Annaler 92A(3):339-351.
Here for $43, sorry (free abstract)
On Anthony Watts' blog, Craig Loehle argues that the paper is a vindication of his 2007 tree-less reconstruction in E&E. You don't need a 20-20 vision to see that the two (or three) are strikingly similar:

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)


Report On Sea Level Rise And Ground Water Extraction

There is a news article from the University of Utrecht [thanks to Erik  Waeijen for alerting us to this!] titled

Rising sea levels attributed to global groundwater extraction

The article starts with the text

“Large-scale groundwater extraction for irrigation, drinking water or industry results in an annual rise in sea levels of approximately 0.8 mm, accounting for about one-quarter of total annual sea-level rise (3.1 mm). According to hydrologists from Utrecht University and the research institute Deltares, the rise in sea levels can be attributed to the fact that most of the groundwater extracted ultimately winds up in the sea. The hydrologists explain their findings in an article to be published in the near future in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.”

The article is based on the paper

Y. Wada, L.P.H. van Beek, C.M. van Kempen, J.W.T.M. Reckman, S. Vasak, and M.F.P. Bierkens (2010), Global depletion of groundwater resources, Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2010GL044571, in press.

This is yet another paper that shows the interconnection among the components of the climate system. The attribution of a climate effect (in this case sea level rise) to just one cause (e.g. ocean warming and glacial melt due to positive radiative forcing from anthropogenic greenhouse gases) is too narrow of a perspective. (Roger Pielke Sr., climate Science)


From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 39: 29 September 2010

Feeding the Future World: What are the needs? ... and what are our chances of meeting them?

Subject Index Summary:
Health Effects of CO2 (Health-Harming Substances): How does atmospheric CO2 enrichment impact the production of health-harming substances produced by plants?

Journal Reviews:
How Does Global Warming Impact the El Niño-Southern Oscillation?: The more we learn, the less we seem to know.

The Changing Climate of Canada: Implications for Agriculture: What are the changes? ... and what do they imply?

Human Mortality in Castile-Leon, Spain: How is it related to temperature?

Global Warming and Malaria: Does the former promote the latter?

The Peatlands of China's Changbai Mountains: Have they been giving up their carbon in the face of what climate alarmists claim is unprecedented global warming?

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: Blackeyed Pea (Singh et al., 2010) and Thale Cress (Lau et al., 2010).

Medieval Warm Period Project:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 883 individual scientists from 525 separate research institutions in 43 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record comes from Sierra de Manantlan Biosphere Reserve, West-Central Mexico. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here. (


US energy companies rush into shale oil projects

A band of entrepreneurial oilmen have found an economic way to extract oil from shale rock, fuelling a frenzy for prospects that has pushed up lease prices and lifted hopes of the first rise in onshore US oil production in decades.

Mineral leases in shale oil territory that would have sold for $10 an acre in the Niobrara Shale – which runs under parts of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming – just two years ago are going for $5,900 an acre, according to Wood Mackenzie, the consultancy.

These small independent oilmen had used hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling to triple estimates of US natural gas supplies and are now applying that same technology to get oil from shale rock.

“Oil shale is booming,” says Raoul LeBlanc, senior director at PFC Energy, the consultancy. (Financial Times)


Gas producers consider cutting production

Natural gas producers are teetering on the fourth consecutive winter of low demand and prices, but relief could be at hand, analysts said Monday.

Even though North American storage inventories are marginally lower than they were at this time last year, ConocoPhillips CEO Jim Mulva told an oil and gas conference in Houston that his company is shutting onshore natural gas production in Canada and the United States while it awaits higher prices.

"We've had a small amount of production that we've shut in because we feel it's not that economic to produce," Mulva told reporters at a conference. "And so we'd rather keep it in the ground for when we can produce it at a later date."

Conoco didn't disclose how much gas it shut in, but the move was seen as the latest sign producers in the U.S. might finally be getting ready to cut production and drilling in the face of low prices, following the cue of Canadian producers that have dramatically slashed drilling since the third quarter of 2006.

According to the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration, natural gas in storage is about five per cent lower than this time last year but still more than six per cent above the five-year average. (Calgary Herald)


The Light Bulb Switchover: In the Dark

So, are you ready to comply with the federal government’s ban on incandescent light bulbs? Me neither.

Starting in January 2012, a little over a year from now, the phase-out begins. Simple, inexpensive lighting will become a time-capsule item. Compact-fluorescent lights, or CFLs -- the bulbs that look like a twisted ice-cream cone (and won’t fit in many light fixtures where space is tight) -- will become the new norm.

Anyone who has priced CFLs knows they’re not cheap. Supposedly they’re worth the extra money because they’ll last longer. That’s cold comfort, though, given the dull, unnatural glow that these bulbs throw off. (Ed Feulner, Towhall)


Lights Out

It's should be called the law of unintended consequences, and Congress should learn to abide by it, taking enough time to discover whether the road they choose to follow is smooth or filled with ruts. (Michael Reagan, Townhall)


The Bright and Dark Sides of the Smart Grid

As I was catching up on email that accumulated during my travels last week, I ran across two items highlighting the contrast between the shining potential of the emerging "smart grid" for energy and its darker, more dangerous side. In his keynote address at the first annual GridWise Global Forum, IBM''s CEO Samuel J. Palmisano described the vision and opportunity of a closely interconnected, highly efficient global energy system, while the unfolding story of the Stuxnet computer worm infecting the control system of Iran''s Bushehr nuclear reactor and other facilities serves as a chilling reminder of the vulnerabilities that will likely accompany this revolution. [Read More] (Geoffrey Styles, ET)


Norway Concerned By Power Supply Ahead Of Winter

Norway's oil and energy minister said he was concerned about electricity supply this winter due to lingering troubles at Swedish nuclear reactors and low reservoir levels at hydro power plants.

Last year spot power prices reached all-time highs in the Nordic countries due to lower-than-usual temperatures and unexpected outages at some of Sweden's nuclear reactors.

Terje Riis-Johansen acknowledged that it was a concern that some outages at Swedish reactors occurred unexpectedly or were longer than anticipated. (Reuters)

So, uh... they don't think Danish wind can save them? Oh, that's right! Norway commissioned a study of wind power in Denmark in 1998 and concluded that it has "serious environmental effects, insufficient production, and high production costs." Things haven't improved over the last decade or so. Sensibly, hydro-intensive Norway is looking to nuclear power to make up for cyclical hydro shortfalls.


Is Windpower the Ethanol of Electricity? (Part I: Economics)

by Ben Lieberman
September 28, 2010

Repeating past mistakes is an unfortunate but common part of federal policy, and perhaps no more so than with  energy. Indeed, much of the Obama administration’s “clean energy economy” and “energy independence” agenda is a virtual repeat of the follies from the 1970s – failed attempts by Washington to pick winners and losers amongst alternative energy sources and energy-using technologies, as well as taxes and regulations that exacerbated the very concerns they were supposed to address.

One of the Reagan Administration’s lesser-remembered successes was the repeal of much of this government meddling beginning soon after taking office in 1981. Reagan’s turn away from energy central planning and towards free markets brought down energy costs and helped launch a long period of economic growth.

Of course, this decades-old lesson may be lost on younger politicians, bureaucrats, and activists who seem unaware that their energy policy ideas are proven failures from the age of disco. But the same cannot be said of efforts to enact a federal renewable electricity standard (RES), as this would be a near-exact repeat of a blunder that was launched just a few short years ago – the renewable fuels mandate.

Part I of this two-part post will review the lessons of the RFM, or ethanol. Part II tomorrow will turn to windpower, the central energy of the RES. Indeed, the requirement that ethanol be added to the gasoline supply has quickly proven to be an economic and environmental failure. Congressional proposals mandating wind and other renewable sources of electricity show all the signs of becoming a similar flop, but with far more serious implications.

The True Cost of Ethanol

It should come as no surprise that the renewable fuels mandate has raised the cost of driving. After all, if ethanol was cost competitive with petroleum-derived gasoline, it would have caught on without substantial government intervention. Nonetheless, despite repeated promises during the 2005 energy bill debate to help provide relief for high pump prices, Congress mandated that a specified amount of renewable fuels –mostly ethanol derived from corn – be added to the gasoline supply.

The 2007 energy bill increased the mandate substantially. The law raised the targets to 13 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2010 -12 from corn, and the rest from non-corn renewables like cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel. This is a near-tripling of ethanol use over the last five years. The mandate increases each year and will reach 36 billion gallons by 2022, with 15 billion gallons coming from corn and 21 billion from non-corn renewables. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Rent seekers not getting enough of your money: UK biogas company folds after green subsidy delay

UK-based biogas company Renewable Zukunft folded in the summer, administrators Leonard Curtis confirmed on Tuesday, a collapse key investors Climate Change Capital blamed on confusion over green incentives. (Reuters)



How Much More Can They Get Wrong? The New Obamacare Impact Calculator Answers

There's been a lot of misinformation when it comes to the new health care law-but not in the way Obamacare supporters have been claiming. We heard early on in the health reform debate that a massive overhaul of the private health care sector would bend the health care cost downward.

But when that looked unlikely under the best scenarios, Obamacare proponents pivoted and said the American public would embrace this law. Even former President Bill Clinton recently admitted he was wrong in saying that Democrats would pick up additional support with Obamacare's passage.

So how much more could the new health law impact Americans and the health sector if other forecasts, such as those from the Congressional Budget Office, turn out to be false? Heritage's brand-new Obamacare Impact Calculator shows the real-time results of what these changes could mean to you, the federal budget and the US economy if the CBO is wrong. Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Wealthy live three years longer: report

A new report shows that the poorest Australians are dying on average three years earlier than the wealthiest.

The Health Lies in Wealth report, released on Monday, states there's a three year life expectancy gap between people ranked in the lowest 20 per cent when it comes to socio-economic status compared with those in the top 20 per cent.

It finds that household income, work status, education level and support networks all determine health outcomes.

"The report indicates whether or not you completed school is a better predictor of if you will die of cardiovascular death than cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking combined," Catholic Health Australia chief executive Martin Laverty told ABC Radio. (AAP) [em added]

I've highlighted this piece not so much because there is anything startling about low socio-economic status and poorer health but rather because the difference is actually quite trivial compared with say, world rankings top to bottom. Australian average life expectancy is 81.4 years so we are talking about a 3.7% difference here. This difference in socio-economic status, long associated with educational level, is a better cardiovascular predictor than the combination of cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking and look at the amount of public money and overbearing nanny-statism devoted to cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking.

Are we getting enough bang for our societal buck or simply misdirecting it on politically correct (and connected) causes? Smoking isn't good for you and having your blood pressure off the charts isn't either, while cholesterol... meh. But could we do more good just by making the lowest quintile more employable and revving the economy than by squandering so much effort and funding hectoring people on things less relevant?


Obviously true, just a shame they spoiled it with "climate change" nonsense: Slum Dwellers Most Vulnerable To Disasters: Red Cross

About one billion slum dwellers in developing countries are vulnerable to disasters because they live in congested and poorly built houses without emergency services, the Red Cross said in a report released Tuesday.

Fewer people die from cyclones, floods and earthquakes in countries with planned housing, infrastructure and emergency teams, but lack of financial capacity in developing countries, worsens the impact of disasters.

"A very large deficit exists in the infrastructure and services that reduce disaster risk for much of the population in Latin America, Africa and Asia," said Bekele Geleta, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The saddest thing is that all the misdirection of funds and effort in the name of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is actively inhibiting development and wealth generation so desperately needed by these particularly vulnerable people.


The great inequality debate, part 1: Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks


Extreme ­inequality is on the rise. Is Alex Rodriguez really 30 times better than Hank Aaron?

By Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks

Billionaires are on the rise. While workers' wages have stagnated over the past 30 years, the rich have gotten richer, and the very rich have gotten wildly richer.

We're no longer amazed to hear that Tiger Woods is making US$100-million a year, or that Oprah Winfrey ranks among the billionaires. Thirty years ago, CEOs of large corporations were content to make 20 or 30 times the average income; now they feel hard done by if they only make 200 to 300 times as much. Things are even more out of whack in the financial world. In 2009, the 25 highest-paid hedge fund managers earned an average over US$1-billion each - about 24,000 times the average income.

These anecdotal reports of rising inequality have been confirmed in countless empirical studies. Perhaps the most widely cited have been a series of studies led by University of California economist Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics. Using income tax data, the Saez-Piketty studies show that the share of market income captured by the top 1% in the United States rose dramatically from 8.9% in 1978 to a staggering 23.5% in 2007. But even that understates the windfall at the very top. Those in the top 0.01%, for instance, increased their share more than sevenfold, from 0.86% in 1978 to 6.04% in 2007. This is the largest share of national income this very top group has received since the introduction of the U.S. income tax in 1913.

Read More » (Financial Post)


The great inequality debate, part 2: Alan Reynolds


The real income of the rich has been steady, while U.S. taxation is heavily progressive

By Alan Reynolds

If only tax policy could be so simple: Tax the rich and everybody else gets richer and incomes get equalized. Even more complicated is the underlying assumption of the equality seekers, including Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks, whose premise is that there is some optimum level of inequality. They seem to like the 1947-73 period when, they claim, the top 10% in the U.S. allegedly earned a relatively steady share of close to 35% the total.

The graph supporting this assertion looks impressive. But as Terence Corcoran pointed out in his original article in this series, it's full of holes. For one thing, it masks the fact that almost all of the increase in income shares of the top 10% can be attributed to the top 1%. Even that doesn't accurately tell a credible story, because the data behind it are faulty.

There is no dispute about the increase in inequality since 1979 - only about whether that increase ended in 1988 or 1993. Nobody doubts the obvious benefits to high-income investors (and to the low-income unemployed) from the rebound in stocks, bonds and the U.S. economy in 1983-89. But what happened since then?

Read More » (Financial Post)


Two promising developments in the fight against malaria:

1: Protein critical in malaria parasite development identified

Research led by The University of Nottingham has opened up a new area of malaria parasite biology which could lead to new methods of controlling the transmission of this deadly disease. (PhysOrg)


2: Major breakthrough in war against malaria

Australian researchers discover new pathway through which malaria infects the body

Researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) have discovered a new pathway through which malaria is able to infect the body, opening up the possibility of new vaccines to combat the virus. (Australian Life Scientist)


MILLOY: Republicans green with Democrat envy

GOP activists pursue a liberal eco-agenda

Just who are the Republicans against environmental protection? That's the intriguing question posed by the activist group that calls itself Republicans for Environmental Protection (REP).

At first glance, REP violates in spades former California state Republican Party Chairman Gaylord Parkinson's Eleventh Commandment, later adopted by Ronald Reagan: "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican." REP implicitly and sanctimoniously defames all Republicans - or at least the vast majority who haven't signed on to its dubious agenda.

REP formed in 1995 when a network of anti-development, nominally Republican activists gelled to fight the new Republican-controlled Congress' effort at regulatory reform, including the oft-abused Endangered Species Act (ESA).

So as Contract With America Republicans tried to get a meaningful grip on the alphabet soup of laws and regulations empowering federal agencies to be impervious to sound science, cost-benefit-analysis and even common sense, REP was helping Clinton administration EPA chief Carol M. Browner portray the newly empowered congressional Republicans as pillagers of the Earth and threats to the public health.

In that landmark battle of the 104th Congress, REP actions were indistinguishable from those of any radical environmental group. The consequences can be seen today in the greens' use of the ESA-protected snail darter to block much-needed water from farmers in California's Central Valley.

Fast-forward to the current 111th Congress, and the REP is again working against the interests of Republicans and America. (Steve Milloy, The Washington Times)


How the Environmental Movement Became Just Another Washington Power Bloc

It's not just a band of flannel-shirted environmentalists any longer; it's become a big-money, major player in Washington power politics and American elections. (Starting today, the Washington Examiner is publishing a five-part special report in association with Pajamas Media on "Big Green.") (Charlie Martin, PJM)


Environmentalists may seek President Obama challenger

Call them crazy, but a handful of environmentalists are so peeved with President Barack Obama that they are talking openly about the need for a Democratic primary challenger in 2012.

The green activists don't have any formal organization going for a presidential campaign - or a candidate.

Yet some are ready to buck the party establishment if it means getting more attention to global warming and other environmental issues that they contend were tossed into the trash bin before the president even made it to his first midterms. (Politico)



Do this, don't do that, sit up straight, be quiet, that lawn won't mow itself €¦ younger readers may detect a parental note in modern science. Older readers may be reminded of the reasons for that first divorce:


(Tim Blair)


Tile drainage directly related to nitrate loss

URBANA - Tile drainage in the Mississippi Basin is one of the great advances of the 19th and 20th centuries, allowing highly productive agriculture in what was once land too wet to farm. In fact, installation of new tile systems continues every year, because it leads to increased crop yields. But a recent study shows that the most heavily tile-drained areas of North America are also the largest contributing source of nitrate to the Gulf of Mexico, leading to seasonal hypoxia. In the summer of 2010 this dead zone in the Gulf spanned over 7,000 square miles.

Scientists from the U of I and Cornell University compiled information on each county in the Mississippi River basin including crop acreage and yields, fertilizer inputs, atmospheric deposition, number of people, and livestock to calculate all nitrogen inputs and outputs from 1997 to 2006. For 153 watersheds in the basin, they also used measurements of nitrate concentration and flow in streams, which allowed them to develop a statistical model that explained 83 percent of the variation in springtime nitrate flow in the monitored streams. The greatest nitrate loss to streams corresponded to the highly productive, tile-drained cornbelt from southwest Minnesota across Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.

This area of the basin has extensive row cropping of fertilized corn and soybeans, a flat landscape with tile drainage, and channelized ditches and streams to facilitate drainage. (University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences)


Europe Seeks To Protect Mid-Atlantic High Seas

European nations agreed on Friday to set up fishing-free zones in remote parts of the Atlantic Ocean in the world's first high seas network of protected areas beyond the control of national governments.

Environment ministers from 15 European states, forming the OSPAR group overseeing the North-East Atlantic, said they would seek recognition of the six areas at the United Nations and from the United States and Canada on the other side of the ocean.

"This is a historic step," Norwegian Environment Minister Erik Solheim told Reuters after the September 23-24 talks in Bergen, West Norway. "We will try to inspire other nations to do the same, like in the Indian ocean, the Pacific and other oceans." (Reuters)


Yes, let's reduce efficiency... Consumer backlash again 'super dairies' could create new label for 'free range milk'

A backlash against the increasing prevalence of superdairies comprising herds of thousands of animals will lead consumers to demand more 'free range' milk, farmers predict.

... and increase costs.


Back on the "functional food" hype trail: Nestle to invest $500M in medicinal foods business

LAUSANNE, Switzerland - Nestle will plow some $500 million into expanding its medical nutrition business over the next decade, in a bid to capture a slice of the growing market for foods to treat chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity, the Swiss consumer company said Monday.

Nestle SA said it wants to "pioneer a new industry between food and pharma" by creating a medical nutrition institute in Switzerland and a stand-alone subsidiary called Nestle Health Science SA. (AP)


Scientists arrive in Senegal to give African hunger a black eye

At the World Cowpea Research Conference, crop experts embrace one of agriculture's oldest legumes -- prized for protein and resilience to hot, dry climates -- as food for people, livestock and astronauts

DAKAR, SENEGAL (27 September 2010)-A long neglected crop with the potential to halt hunger for millions in Africa, sustain the livestock revolution underway in developing countries, rejuvenate nutrient-sapped soils, and even feed astronauts on extended space missions, is attracting scientists from around the world to Senegal this week for the Fifth World Cowpea Research Conference.

"It's hard to imagine a more perfect crop, particularly for Africa, where food production lags behind population growth, demand for livestock products is soaring, and climate change is bringing new stresses to already challenging growing conditions," said Christian Fatokun, a cowpea breeder at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), which is co-organizing the conference in collaboration with Institut Senegalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA), Dry Grain Pulses Collaborative Research Support Program, and Purdue University.

"But fulfilling the promise of this marvelous legume requires intensive efforts to deal with threats that inhibit production and long-term storage," he added. "The good news in Senegal is that researchers will be revealing new and innovative approaches to dealing with the pests and weeds that attack cowpeas at every stage of their lifecycle and with the voracious weevils that devour dried cowpeas." (CGIAR)


Hilarious :D GM maize 'has polluted rivers across the United States'

An insecticide used in genetically modified (GM) crops grown extensively in the United States and other parts of the world has leached into the water of the surrounding environment.

The insecticide is the product of a bacterial gene inserted into GM maize and other cereal crops to protect them against insects such as the European corn borer beetle. Scientists have detected the insecticide in a significant number of streams draining the great corn belt of the American mid-West.

The researchers detected the bacterial protein in the plant detritus that was washed off the corn fields into streams up to 500 metres away. They are not yet able to determine how significant this is in terms of the risk to either human health or the wider environment. (Independent)

Corn plant detritus was discovered near corn fields... Good work, Sherlock!




U.S. Set To Propose New Auto Fuel, Emissions Rules

The Obama administration this week will propose new fuel efficiency and emissions requirements for cars and light trucks for model years 2017 and beyond.

The plan, a centerpiece of President Barack Obama's energy agenda geared toward reducing oil imports, is under review by the White House budget office. It is due on Thursday, but could be released sooner,

Leading environmental groups have called on the administration to set a target of 60 miles per gallon by 2025 but officials have said that is unlikely.

Environmental and auto industry experts close to the process believe transportation and environmental regulators will propose a yearly average increase ranging from 3 percent to 6 percent. The 60 mpg figure would require a roughly 6 percent annual improvement. (Reuters)


Raese to Bank on Cap and Trade Against Manchin

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Republican Senate nominee John Raese is hoping that concerns over Democratic cap and trade proposals will help propel him to a surprising victory in the special election to fill the late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd's seat.

In an interview with RealClearPolitics on Sunday, Raese said that his campaign will launch a new television ad on Tuesday hitting his opponent-Democratic Governor Joe Manchin-for pushing through the state legislature last year the Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Act, which compelled West Virginia's utilities to obtain 25 percent of their electricity from alternative energy sources by 2025.

"We call it cap and trade Manchin-style," Raese said. "Do the people of West Virginia trust a governor in the state of West Virginia who has already implemented cap and trade here in West Virginia? They're a little concerned about sending him to Washington right now."

In an interview later in the day during his visit to the National Hunting and Fishing Days event in Roanoake, Manchin laughed off Raese's criticism of the law and said that he would not have done anything differently in enacting it.

"Tell him he should read it first," Manchin said. "The coal industry helped put it together."

Manchin said that he would not support a cap and trade bill at the national level and has "gone toe to toe" with President Obama on the issue, even as Raese has worked relentlessly to portray the two Democrats as kindred spirits politically. (RealClearPolitics)


Arnold Shriver Schwarzenegger blasts big oil, defends climate law

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is blasting oil companies that are trying to undermine California's global warming law with a ballot measure, saying they are motivated purely by greed.

Opponents of the law say it will place a financial burden on businesses and cost California jobs.

The governor told the Commonwealth Club during a speech Monday in Santa Clara that Valero, Tesoro, Koch Industries and others are spending millions of dollars to manipulate the will of Californians. 

Out-of-state oil companies are sponsoring a ballot measure that would indefinitely suspend California's 2006 law that calls for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

He says their motivation is "self-serving greed."

The speech came on the four-year anniversary of the law. (Associated Press)


Not silly: Businesses urged to grow ... trees

City wants to offset concrete heat. St. Laurent borough targeted as part of effort to raise island's green cover from 20 to 25 per cent

The city of Montreal is calling on corporations to do their part for the health of the city and their employees by planting a tree. Or preferably several dozen trees -and bushes, too. 

In particular, they're looking to businesses located in industrial parks and commercial malls, surrounded by massive expanses of global-warming cement parking lots that can raise temperatures 5 to 10 degrees Celsius above the regional averages, to transform themselves into real parks. 

Trees act as natural filters and air conditioners in urban heat islands that have been found to cause averse health effects. (Montreal Gazette)

This can significantly affect urban heat island effect.


Gillard ups the ante on carbon charge

The Prime Minister has wiped the slate clean on climate change policy and launched a new approach in which business, unions, green groups and other interested parties will have a stake.

Julia Gillard did not discount putting a new policy to the Parliament before the next election, or taking it to the people at the election to seek a mandate. (SMH)

This is a perfect situation for Conservative politics down-under, giving Opposition Leader Tony Abbott endless opportunity to highlight the great big new tax on everything. The fragile rainbow conglomerate -- it ain't no "coalition" -- of Socialist Labor (72), a Green (1), a former Green now Independent (1) and 2 nominally Conservative but highly erratic Independents (both former Nationals) representing staunchly Conservative rural electorates (76) but having to supply the Speaker (who has no deliberative vote, so 75) faces an invigorated Coalition of Liberal (city conservatives) and National (country conservatives) numbering 72 plus one non-formally affiliated National (1) and one (former National) Independent (1) totaling 74. Even worse for the Gillard Socialists they have to pander to the Greens since they will hold the Senate balance of power when new Senators take their seats in the Upper House next July. This means the unionists have to pander to the anti-industry tree huggers rather than specifically their own base, which the Conservatives will delight in highlighting for as long as this farce staggers along. Anyone hoping Australia will actually implement a carbon scam is headed for disappointment.


PM invites Greens to join closed-door cabinet committee on climate

GREENS leader Bob Brown will sit at the cabinet table with Prime Minister Julia Gillard under a deal to design the minority Labor Government's climate change policy.

Ms Gillard has invited Senator Brown and colleague Christine Milne on to the climate change committee, scheduled to meet monthly until the end of 2011 at least.

One of the major issues to be resolved will be the size of cuts in carbon emissions.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet yesterday said the Greens wanted bigger and faster reductions than the Government, which backs cuts of five to 25 per cent by 2020, depending on international action. (Malcolm Farr, The Daily Telegraph)


Gillard's rigs her warming "consensus"

The fix is in, and shame on any commentator who falls for this childish spin:

THE Australian Greens have secured a deputy chair position on a new parliamentary climate change committee, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced.

The committee will receive independent advice from four experts - Ross Garnaut, Will Steffen, Rod Sims and Patricia Faulkner.

Ms Gillard will chair the committee while Climate Change Minister Greg Combet and Greens climate spokeswomen Christine Milne will serve as co-deputy chairs.

Ms Gillard said the committee would start from the position that a carbon price was required to reduce pollution and encourage investment in low-emission technologies.

Note already that the committee skips what should be the start of any discussion. As in: is a carbon price actually worth the pain? Will cutting our emissions actually achieve anything? Is a rise in global temperatures actually good for us? Isn't it suicidal to slash our tiny emissions before the rest of the world - and especially the biggest emitters - agree to do likewise?

So right away this committee is fundamentally rigged to dodge debate and produce the "right" result. What's sold by Gillard as an exercise to achieve "community consensus" is a con - this is the consensus you reach simply by excluding everyone who doesn't agree with you. In fact, Gillard today made that explicit:

"Parliamentary members of the committee will be drawn from those who are committed to tackling climate change and who acknowledge that effectively reducing carbon pollution by 2020 will require a carbon price," Ms Gillard said.

This is why the Coalition will not be taking up of the offer of two seats on the committee, which will be stacked instead by ideologues, including Greens leader Bob Brown:

There will also be two Greens and representation from the independent MPs. Independent Tony Windsor already has indicated his willingness to be a member of the committee.

Another con. On the committee's agenda will be the carbon "levy" - actually tax - that Gillard repeatedly ruled out before the election, when there were nervous voters to fool:

The committee will consider mechanisms for introducing a carbon price, including a broad-based emissions trading scheme, carbon levy, or a hybrid of both.

Contrast that to this solemn promise of just six weeks ago:

There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.

A carbon tax is actually a demand of the Greens, which now seems in charge of Labor's global warming agenda. After all, Ross Garnaut had already done an extensive report for the then Rudd Government on exactly these questions, among others, and settled on an emissions trading scheme. Holding yet another inquiry just buys Labor more time for further delay, but also offers the Greens a prize - the hope of getting something even tougher and more damaging to our economy. Note that this committee aims to produce a "consensus" among its members (two of them Greens) that will actually form the Government policy.

But let's get to the remaining deceit here. The four "independent experts" appointed by Gillard to advise the committee include people who are either not expert (in global warming policies, at least) or not independent.

Take Patricia Faulkner, who has no expertise in global warming policies at all and seems to have been chosen instead for her Leftism, social activism and bureaucratic skills - all the hallmarks of a classic apparatchik:

Patricia Faulkner has had an extensive career covering both the public and private sectors. She is currently the chair of the Australian Social Inclusion Board and the Chair of Jesuit Social Services. Jesuit Social Services is a small welfare based organisation that looks after people at the margins of society. She is also a Chair and Member of a range of health care and government advisory services boards, including the Federal Government Health and Hospitals Infrastructure Fund; and, the Council of Australian Governments Reform Council. She has spent 10 of the last 20 years as a partner with KPMG leading both their health and social policy sectors.

Then there's the alarmist Will Steffen, who is indeed a climate scientist, but not one independent of this Government;

Professor Will Steffen is Executive Director of the ANU Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, and is also Science Adviser to the federal Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

Add Treasurer Wayne Swan to the committee, and the Government's global warming policy is being decided (so far) by three Labor ministers, two Greens and an independent who knows little about global warming but is sure we must Do Something. And the six of them will be guided by four experts who turn out to be an alarmist scientist, a welfare activist, a big business representative and an alarmist economist.

Be scared.

This committee is little better than a propaganda outfit, designed to sell a "solution" already agreed upon in the broad - and which in detail may break one of Gilllard's most solemn election promises. The "community consensus" it pretends to be developing is no more than a fix and a fraud.


Need more evidence of deceit and broken promises?

Julia Gillard, September 9. on her deal with the independents:

Indeed, this process, born of parliamentary deadlock, has resulted in more openness, transparency and reform in how we conduct our Parliament and the business of government than at any other time on modern Australian politics.  Throughout this process of forming a new government we've been open with the Australian people. To quote Rob Oakeshott, sunshine is the best disinfectant, and we've agreed to far-reaching reforms that make me as Prime Minister and our government and how it functions more accountable to the Australian people. So, let's draw back the curtains and let the sun shine in; let our parliament be more open than it ever was before. That's real reform, and that's the direct result of the election.

Julia Gillard, September 27, on her deal with the Greens for this climate committee:

The Committee will ensure its deliberations and papers remain confidential to the Committee and the Cabinet until a final position is agreed or all parties to the Committee agree otherwise.

(Andrew Bolt)


Carbon committee 'Marxist': Mirabella

Prime Minister Julia Gillard's climate change committee has been labelled as Marxist for its refusal to include opponents of a carbon price.

The new-multi party body, announced on Monday, will include Australian Greens leader Bob Brown and his deputy Christine Milne.

The coalition has declined to join despite calls by Prime Minister Julia Gillard to participate and an invitation for it to put forward two representatives.

Ms Gillard has urged Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who opposes a carbon price, not to "wreck" the committee process or seek to "fearmonger about it".

Opposition frontbencher Sophie Mirabella on Tuesday accused the committee of having a communist attitude for excluding MPs who are against a carbon price.

"What is Marxist is saying you cannot be on this parliamentary committee unless you agree with a carbon tax," she told ABC Television's Q and A program.

"That is absolutely absurd, ridiculous. It lacks transparency and it lacks absolute goodwill." (AAP)


1st wobbly wheel: Food cost risk with climate action: Tony Windsor

KEY independent Tony Windsor has expressed concern about the impact of a carbon price on the cost of food.

Mr Windsor has joined Julia Gillard's top-level climate change committee.

As the Prime Minister announced she would chair the committee herself with "all options on the table" to find a consensus - including a carbon tax, an emissions trading scheme or a hybrid of both - Mr Windsor said the impact of a carbon price on food prices was at the top of his concerns.

"We have to make sure that we don't start to change land use away from food production," Mr Windsor said.

He said a carbon price could make the creation of carbon sinks or the growing of biofuels more profitable than food production and this would have to be factored in to any carbon pricing regime. With the government holding a one-seat majority, Mr Windsor's ultimate position will prove pivotal to the government's success. (Sid Maher, The Australian)


Why is Gillard now pushing what she told Rudd was poison?

Andrew Bolt - Tuesday, September 28, 10 (10:48 am)

Terry McCrann is mystified by Prime Minister Julia Gillard's decision to consider imposing the carbon tax she ruled out just six weeks ago, when there was an election to win:

Why did she earlier lead the push in the Gang of Four to dump the Government's ETS - the move which destroyed Kevin Rudd's credibility and ultimately sealed his fate?

Presumably because she thought it would cost votes and possibly government. Yet now, at the first opportunity after the election, she's grabbed what she thought was the hottest of hot potatoes!...

No, Julia's experience could mirror that of the Canadian government that tried a similar slick trick to her - promising in the election campaign no GST and then slipping it in after winning the election.

At the next election, it was reduced to two seats. Yes, two seats. And Julia is supposed to be the smart one.


No kidding, Sherlock:

KEY independent Tony Windsor has expressed concern about the impact of a carbon price on the cost of food.

Wait until it dawns on Windsor that a carbon dioxide tax will also send power bills through the roof.



Reader Stephen wonders just how high an Australian carbon tax would have to be to actually force people to slash their emissions, when the overseas data is so discouraging:

How effective are taxes (and similar schemes) at significantly and meaningfully reducing emissions? As the stated goal is to save the planet from the "dangerous" levels of CO2, the actual levels need to be reduced substantially. This is especially the case where other countries are increasing their emissions and will continue to do so.

Some interesting data:

Both Sweden and Finland implemented carbon taxes in the 90s, how effective have they been at reducing CO2 levels? Almost meaningless up to 2006.

By 2006, Finland had grown its emissions by 2.5 metric tons per capita, since implementing a tax. Sweden on the other hand had reduced its emissions by 0.8 tons per capita, since implementing a tax. According to the "science", I'm assuming this is inadequate.

Over this same period, Australia grew its emission by 0.8 tons per capita. Between these two countries and our own, there is no meaningful difference in emissions with or without a tax. The question then becomes: how painful does the tax need to be for it to actually be meaningful (from a believer's perspective)?

Dates obtained for carbon tax implementation here.  Data set for emissions here.


The Greens MP for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, boasts on Twitter that the Greens forced Julia Gillard yesterday to set up her rigged committee to work out how to tax emissions:

Because Melb went Green on Aug 21, we could negotiate a committee to put a price on pollution. Today the c'ee was set up. Well done, Melb.
about 16 hours ago via TweetDeck
Retweeted by 28 people

The Government really is a Greens-Labor coalition.


Meanwhile, the rest of the world keeps refusing to do what Gillard says we must - and that includes even Barack Obama's US:

President Barack Obama's dream of passing a big bill to battle global warming is likely dead for the rest of his term, according to a leading Democrat and long time backer of climate legislation.

"I don't see a comprehensive bill going anywhere in the next two years," Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman told the Reuters Washington Summit on Wednesday.

Bingaman's comments are the most frank to date from a Democratic senator on legislation that Obama has said was key to giving the United States a lead role in global efforts to fight climate change.

(Thanks to readers Deb and Alan RM Jones.) (Andrew Bolt)


And Reuters gets to the meat: No Carbon Price In Sight For Australia Before 2012

Australia will not put a price on carbon emissions until at least 2012, after Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that a committee examining the issue would not finish its deliberations until end-2011.

Australia, one of the worst per-capita greenhouse gas polluters, is reviewing its policy to tackle climate change after elections last month left the ruling Labor party relying on a Greens MP and three independents to retain power.

The multi-party committee will meet monthly from October 2010, producing confidential papers to the government until cabinet makes a decision, Gillard said Monday.

"It's envisaged that the committee will work through to the end of 2011 when there will be a consideration at that time about the further need for the committee to continue," Gillard told a news conference in Canberra. (Reuters)


Scientists debate root causes of Earth's warming

Hundreds of people packed Purdue University's Loeb Playhouse Monday night for a discussion on global warming.

The event titled "Global Warming Forum: Examining a Hot Topic" explored the trends and causes of global warming as well as the role of human activity in the problem.

The forum was moderated by Moira Gunn, host of NPR's Tech Nation and BioTech Nation, and featured presentations from four global warming experts from around the world.

Each presenter expressed his or her views on why global warming exists.

Following the presentations, panelists were given the opportunity to cross-examine one another by participating in a brief debate.

"This (event) is a great opportunity for all of us, and especially our students, to use critical thinking and listening," said Leah Jamieson, dean of engineering. (Journal & Courier)


For U.S. Wildlife, a Climate Change Blueprint

New efforts to measure what warming temperatures are doing to forests, streams and animals at a regional level are at the core of a strategic plan by the Fish and Wildlife Service to respond to the effects of climate change.

The service said Monday that it had created a scientific team charged with identifying animals that are particularly vulnerable to climate change - not only obviously susceptible cold-weather species like polar bears and walruses, but also animals less visibly at risk like the wolverine, for example. 

The service said it would also be working with eight new climate stations run by the United States Geological Survey that will take detailed measurements of how local ecologies are changing as global temperatures rise. The new centers, three of which are already active, will measure things like changes in snow pack, soil moisture and stream temperatures - seemingly small details that can mean life and death to some creatures. (NYT)

They mean if temperatures rise.



CHURCHVILLE, VA-On the10th birthday of the UN's Millennium Development Goals, officials are lamenting that the world has made little progress in meeting them. No one should be surprised.

Goal # 1 is to cut greenhouse emissions by 50 percent. The UN says this clearly within reach if there's the "political will." "Economic death-wish" would be a better term. The UN wants us to give up 85 percent of our energy system, and use expensive, erratic solar and wind that would do little to reduce greenhouse emissions.

More importantly, we haven't gotten the massive warming so long predicted by the computer models. If James Hansen had been correct in his 1988 predictions to congress, the planet would already some 2 degrees warmer today than it is. Nor did the computer models predict the Pacific Ocean's 2008 shift into a massive cool phase, which now looks likely to cool the planet for the next 30 years. Let's wait for the current La Nina to fade and see what sort of actual warming cycle we are facing. (CGFI)


Global Cooling and the New World Order

Bilderberg. Whether you believe it's part of a sinister conspiracy which will lead inexorably to one world government or whether you think it's just an innocent high-level talking shop, there's one thing that can't be denied: it knows which way the wind is blowing. (Hat tips: Will/NoIdea/Ozboy)

At its June meeting in Sitges, Spain (unreported and held in camera, as is Bilderberg's way), some of the world's most powerful CEOs rubbed shoulders with notable academics and leading politicians. They included: the chairman of Fiat, the Irish Attorney General Paul Gallagher, the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, Henry Kissinger, Bill Gates, Dick Perle, the Queen of the Netherlands, the editor of the Economist€¦. Definitely not Z-list, in other words.

Which is what makes one particular item on the group's discussion agenda so tremendously significant. See if you can spot the one I mean:

The 58th Bilderberg Meeting will be held in Sitges, Spain 3 - 6 June 2010. The Conference will deal mainly with Financial Reform, Security, Cyber Technology, Energy, Pakistan, Afghanistan, World Food Problem, Global Cooling, Social Networking, Medical Science, EU-US relations.

Yep, that's right. Global Cooling.

Which means one of two things.

Either it was a printing error.

Or the global elite is perfectly well aware that global cooling represents a far more serious and imminent threat to the world than global warming, but is so far unwilling to admit it except behind closed doors.

Let me explain briefly why this is a bombshell waiting to explode.

Almost every government in the Western world from the USA to Britain to all the other EU states to Australia and New Zealand is currently committed to a policy of "decarbonisation." This in turn is justified to (increasingly sceptical) electorates on the grounds that man-made CO2 is a prime driver of dangerous global warming and must therefore be reduced drastically, at no matter what social, economic and environmental cost. In the Eighties and Nineties, the global elite had a nice run of hot weather to support their (scientifically dubious) claims. But now they don't. Winters are getting colder. Fuel bills are rising (in the name of combating climate change, natch). The wheels are starting to come off the AGW bandwagon. Ordinary people, resisting two decades of concerted brainwashing, are starting to notice.

All this, of course, spells big trouble for the global power elite. As well as leading to food shortages (as, for example, it becomes harder to grow wheat in northerly latitudes; adding, of course, to such already-present disasters as biofuels and the rejection of GM), global cooling is going to find electorates increasingly angry that they have been sold a pup. (James Delingpole)


Recognition, kind of... 50 People Who Matter 2010 | 32. Stephen McIntyre

Published 27 September 2010

Climategate keeper.

Stephen McIntyre. Credit: Getty Images

When the mining expert Stephen McIntyre challenged the basis of climate science on his blog, he became a figurehead for many climate-change sceptics.

His subsequent involvement in the 2009 "Climategate" controversy at the University of East Anglia (he was referred to in the hacked emails over 100 times) emboldened the sceptics further and changed global opinion: the number of people who believe man is responsible for global warming has fallen.

The influence might not be positive, but there's no doubt he has shaped the debate. (New Statesman)


A climate overhaul is needed to win back public trust

When in November 2009 an archive of some 1,000 e-mails sent and received by scientists at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia was leaked to the blogosphere alarm bells started to ring. Was this evidence of serious malpractice by scientists on both sides of the Atlantic? Had scientists sought to prevent views critical of their work from appearing in scientific literature? Had scientists deleted e-mails to avoid disclosure under the UK's Freedom of Information legislation? In passing information to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had they omitted inconvenient evidence?

These allegations could not simply be brushed aside as the rough and tumble of academic discourse. The UK's climate policy has been based on the assessment of the IPCC to which the CRU has been a major contributor. The UK has enshrined in legislation a duty to ensure that carbon emissions in 2050 will be reduced by 80 per cent. Allowing for growth assumptions, this means in 40 years we will have to create a unit of gross domestic product producing 5 per cent of the carbon dioxide currently emitted, an objective that is totally unconditional on what other countries do. (Andrew Turnbull, Financial Times)


Munich Re Goes too Far

Munich Re, the global resinurance company, has always had a complicated relationship with the science of disasters and climate change due to the emission of greenhouse gases.  On the one hand, its technical staff have published solid work in the peer reviewed literature.  On the other hand, its marketing statements often go beyond what the science can support.

Today, Munich Re went way over the line when it issued a highly misleading press release attributing disasters in 2010 to climate change.  The press release is titled:

Two months prior to Cancun Summit/Large number of weather extremes as strong indication of climate change
The text of the press release would seem to suggest that Munich Re can't back up this claim, other than with empty speculation (emphasis added):
The rise in natural catastrophe losses is primarily due to socio-economic factors. In many countries, populations are rising, and more and more people moving into exposed areas. At the same time, greater prosperity is leading to higher property values. Nevertheless, it would seem that the only plausible explanation for the rise in weather-related catastrophes is climate change. The view that weather extremes are more frequent and intense due to global warming coincides with the current state of scientific knowledge as set out in the Fourth IPCC Assessment Report.

There are at present insufficient data on many weather risks and regions to permit statistically backed assertions regarding the link with climate change.
The press release then goes on to list a number of phenomena that it asserts are being driven by climate change:
[T]here is evidence that, as a result of warming, events associated with severe windstorms, such as thunderstorms, hail and cloudbursts, have become more frequent in parts of the USA, southwest Germany and other regions. The number of very severe tropical cyclones is also increasing. One direct result of warming is an increase in heatwaves such as that experienced in Russia this summer. There are also indications of a higher incidence of atmospheric conditions causing air mass formation on the north side of the Alps and low-lying mountain ranges, a phenomenon which can result in floods. Heavy rain and flash floods are affecting not only people living close to rivers but also those who live well away from traditionally flood-prone areas.
The actual state of the science is that no connection has been shown between greenhouse gas emissions and thunderstorms, tropical cyclones, Russian heatwaves or European floods.  Regrettably, Munich Re has made a jump from making a tenuous assertion to propagating incorrect information.

The press release concludes with this statement:
In the two months preceding the World Climate Summit, Munich Re will be drawing attention to the climate change issue with a series of communications and publications. The ERGO Insurance Group and MEAG, the asset manager of ERGO and Munich Re, are also planning to issue press releases in the next few weeks on insurance products related to natural catastrophes and renewable energy as well as business activities designed to reduce carbon emissions.
Enough said. (Roger Pielke Jr.)


Invited Letter Now Rejected By Nature Magazine

UPDATE: September 27 2010 - see the post  "You Are Invited To Waste Your Time"

I was invited by Nature magazine to write a Letter in response to the September Exeter meeting, and have been working with a member of their staff on edits over the past two weeks.

This morning, I received the startling e-mail below from Nature's Chief Commissioning Editor. Quite frankly, the only way I can interpret this behavior is as an example of the continued bias in Nature's reporting of climate issues. Their statement that "We have now reflected on the matter, and on some information from attendees at the meeting in question"  is a remarkable admission.

Dear Professor Pielke,
Thank you very much for taking the time to write to Nature, upon request. And for the revisions you've made, again at our request.
We have now reflected on the matter, and on some information from attendees at the meeting in question. We have, I'm afraid concluded that we cannot offer publication on this occasion. We feel that there are too many nuances to this situation to be properly communicated by a short item (or items) on our letters page.
We will however continue to track the evolving story for news or leaders, as appropriate.
We apologise for having taken up your time in this way.
Sara Abdulla
Chief Commissioning Editor
Opinion [incl Correspondence and Books & Arts]

Temperature dataset effort vulnerable to problems

by Roger A. Pielke Sr.
Peter Stott and Peter Thorne recently conducted a meeting in Exeter to improve the quality control and archival procedures for global surface temperature data, at which I was not present. I applaud the aim of this meeting (doi:10.1038/4661040d) - to solicit multiple views from the climate community on how to create confidence in raw data and metadata, and to provide a set of blind benchmarking tools for the assessment of data adjustment algorithms. But I worry that the group seemingly has yet to tackle some valid concerns about that data.
I was glad to see in the meeting notes several candid admissions of the shortcomings of existing surface temperature data assessments. The group acknowledged the problem of undocumented changes to temperature records and a lack of international exchange of detailed stations histories,  as well as the recognition that non-traditional climate scientists are now playing a significant role in constructing a better climate dataset. They recognized that there may be important, unresolved systematic biases and uncertainties in the current data, and acknowledged the value of efforts such as, which has prodded the US National Climatic Data Center and others to examine their analyses more rigorously. The group's commitment to quantifying and reporting statistical uncertainties and data adjustments is to be commended.
But the meeting notes suggest that the group did not sufficiently address other valid concerns about data collection [Pielke et al 2007]. These include the need to  improve the improve the documentation of humidity at temperature stations [e.g. Davey et al 2006; Fall et al 2010],  the height of the observations [Klotzbach et al 2009, Lin et al 2007] and to pay more attention to the siting of surface stations. Many stations still have not been documented with photographs, for example - this is a simple problem that should be addressed immediately.  
I would like to see the Exeter group address these issues explicitly, and, importantly, make a commitment to having all analyses and findings from these data sets assessed by independent scientists [Mahmood et al 2010]. All too often in the past, results have been assessed by scientists associated with the agencies that performed the analyses. This should not continue.
Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229.
Davey, C.A., R.A. Pielke Sr., and K.P. Gallo, 2006: Differences between near-surface equivalent temperature and temperature trends for the eastern United States - Equivalent temperature as an alternative measure of heat content. Global and Planetary Change, 54, 19-32.
Fall, S., N. Diffenbaugh, D. Niyogi, R.A. Pielke Sr., and G. Rochon, 2010: Temperature and equivalent temperature over the United States (1979 - 2005). Int. J. Climatol., DOI: 10.1002/joc.2094.

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.
Lin, X., R.A. Pielke Sr., K.G. Hubbard, K.C. Crawford, M. A. Shafer, and T. Matsui, 2007: An examination of 1997-2007 surface layer temperature trends at two heights in Oklahoma. Geophys. Res. Letts., 34, L24705, doi:10.1029/2007GL031652.
Mahmood, R., R.A. Pielke Sr., K.G. Hubbard, D. Niyogi, G. Bonan, P. Lawrence, B. Baker, R. McNider, C. McAlpine, A. Etter, S. Gameda, B. Qian, A. Carleton, A. Beltran-Przekurat, T. Chase, A.I. Quintanar, J.O. Adegoke, S. Vezhapparambu, G. Conner, S. Asefi, E. Sertel, D.R. Legates, Y. Wu, R. Hale, O.W. Frauenfeld, A. Watts, M. Shepherd, C. Mitra, V.G. Anantharaj, S. Fall,R. Lund, A. Nordfelt, P. Blanken, J. Du, H.-I. Chang, R. Leeper, U.S. Nair, S. Dobler, R. Deo, and J. Syktus, 2010: Impacts of land use land cover change on climate and future research priorities. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 91, 37-46, DOI: 10.1175/2009BAMS2769.1

(Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Weather And Climate - Well Summarized By Tomas Milanovic On Climate Etc.

Tomas Milanovic has a accurate succinct summary of the relationship between weather and climate on the weblog post The Uncertainty Monster at Climate Etc.

The comment reads

"Weather is chaotic, nobody disputes that. The "climate" is exactly the same system, obeying to the same laws and described by the same equations like weather. The only difference being that the variables of the system "climate" are space and time averages instead of the instantaneous values. In addition for practical purposes the weather time scale is defined in days so that many slow variables are considered constant what spares computing time. However it is clear that if the system is chaotic with these constant coefficients , it will be chaotic with variable coefficients on longer time scales too."

The issue of what is climate is discussed further in the article

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

where I wrote

"weather prediction is a subset of climate prediction. Societally useful (i.e. reliable, accurate,etc.) requires that all of the feedbacks and other physical processes included in weather prediction be represented in the climate prediction model. In addition, longer-term feedback and physical processes must be included. This makes climate prediction a much more difficult problem than weather prediction."

Indeed, climate models must not only be able to simulate weather features such as high and low pressure systems including tropical cyclones are well as operational numerical weather prediction models, but must be able to accurately simulate a diverse variety of physical, chemical and biological processes. Even then, nonlinear interactions between the many components of the climate system (e.g. as illustrated in Figure 1 in Rial et al 2004) can result in limiting skillful prediction decades into the future.  The Milanovic comment on Climate Etc. effectively summarizes this issue. A subject that is not properly assessed in the 2007 IPCC report. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


AMO Impacts Temperatures Globally - CO2 Gets No Respect

P Gosselin 27. September 2010

In my last post I summarized the results of Ed Caryl's analyses of stations far up in the Arctic, where temperature trends appear to follow the 60-year AMO cycle, and do not correlate at all with CO2.

Now I've been made aware that temperatures following the AMO are not exclusive to the Arctic. Blogsite digging in the clay has plotted temperatures from other cities located about the globe and came up with the same AMO sine wave trend, see below:


And what follows are more plots from Iceland, Norway and Russia on the left, and from USA on the right (Sorry about the poor quality. Better quality graphics can be seen at diggingintheclay here). Again the AMO wave appears there as well. Moreover, the 1930s and 40s in USA even look a bit warmer than today's temps.

So poor little trace-gas CO2 just doesn't get no respect, no matter where it goes. Every corner of the globe is ignoring this pip-squeak, climate-driver wannabe. CO2 is fading from the picture.

If the temperature has followed the AMO sine trend over the last 150 years, then why do we keep seeing hockey blades (nowadays without the stick-part) showing temperatures straight-lining up over the last 100 years or so?

Probably because GISS and others have changed historical data to make them fit their ideologized models - as unbelievable as it may sound. Steve Goddard's site here explains how GISS has precisely done this with US temperatures by going back and flattening the graph.

The above comparator is from: Steve Goddard's site. His post is short, but a very worthwhile read.

Before 2000, GISS showed a warmer 1930s and cooler current period. The AMO wave is clear to see.  But today, after having fiddled with the data, GISS now shows a cooler 1930s, a warmer present day and a somewhat straighter line that tries to cloak the AMO effect.

Now you really know why they call it "man-made global warming". (No Tricks Zone)


Examining Trenberth's 'The heat will come back to haunt us sooner or later' statement

Inspired by a WUWT comment from Bill Illis in the Maybe they've found Trenberth's missing heat thread, I've elevated this to full post status and provided the relevant graphics from the links Bill provided. From a National Science Foundation article on April 15th, 2010:

"The heat will come back to haunt us sooner or later," says NCAR scientist Kevin Trenberth, the lead author. "The reprieve we've had from warming temperatures in the last few years will not continue. It is critical to track the build-up of energy in our climate system so we can understand what is happening and predict our future climate."

Ocean heat content estimates show that energy in the form of heat is building up on Earth.Credit: NCAR/courtesy Science


Bill Illis writes:

Trenberth is looking for about 0.8 watts/m2 of the projected increase in energy held in the Earth system that is not going into heating the surface.

Either this energy is not being held in the Earth system (and is just escaping to space and hence climate theory is not correct) or it is hiding and the most likely place for that would be the deep oceans (or continental ice sheets warming up and melting that we have not observed). Continue reading †’ (WUWT)


Melting of Arctic Ice Opening up New Routes to Asia

The decline in the amount of ice floating on the Arctic Ocean is clearing the way for new shipping routes to Asia. Traffic was already brisk this summer. New ships are being designed to cope with icebergs during the voyage.

They were expecting pack ice, icebergs and storms. As a precautionary measure, a Russian icebreaker had been dispatched to protect the freighter MV Nordic Barents from the ravages of the Arctic Ocean.

In the end, though, only a few broken up ice floes drifted by on two occasions. "The nuclear icebreaker was more for decoration than anything else," says Felix Tschudi from the shipping company that chartered the freighter loaded with iron ore concentrate. This week, after traveling 5,700 km (3,500 miles) through the Polar Sea, the ship will arrive in the Chinese port of Lianyungang -- "and we didn't have to stop once," says Tschudi with satisfaction.

With a mixture of hope and suspicion, shipping companies, politicians and environmentalists have observed how far the sea ice has withdrawn towards the North Pole this year. Will the shrinking polar ice cap soon turn global shipping routes on their head? (Spiegel)


German States To Oppose CO2 Storage Law

Workers at a carbon capture and storage test facility operated by Swedish energy giant Vattenfall in the state of Brandenburg in eastern Germany near Berlin.
The German government is set to approve new rules this week that would require states to allow the construction of test facilities for underground carbon storage and capture. But two regional states plan to oppose the draft law in the Bundesrat upper house of parliament.

Leaders in two German states have expressed their opposition to legislation planned by the federal government to require states to permit utility companies to create test facilities for the capture and storage of carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants. The governments of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony have said they would oppose the draft legislation from Chancellor Angela Merkel's government in the Bundesrat, Germany's upper legislative chamber representing the 16 regional states.

Initially, German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen had told state leaders that they would have the fundamental right to reject the construction of the gas storage facilities.
But in a recent answer to an inquiry by Oliver Krischer, a member of the federal parliament with the Green Party, the Federal Environment Ministry said the states' powers regarding carbon storage facilities would be limited to the plan-approval procedures. (Spiegel)

Certainly there are good reasons to oppose CCS, mainly that it is a monumentally stupid idea, waste of energy and valuable biospheric resource.


Third-Party Panel To Study Canada Oil Sands Impact

Alberta is forming an independent panel of scientists to study data on water pollution near the Canadian province's oil sands after a report by a noted ecologist concluded the industry's operations were contaminating a northern river system.

The move, announced by Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner on Friday, is aimed at ending an emotional debate over the impact of oil sands activity on the Athabasca River, which flows north through the massive industrial development.

Renner said his department and the University of Alberta's well-known biologist, David Schindler -- co-author of the study that said oil sands operations are sending toxins including mercury, arsenic and lead into the watershed -- will choose up to six panel members.

Until Schindler's study, the Alberta government and oil industry had stuck to the contention that any contaminants in the Athabasca River occurred naturally.

"We need to get to the bottom of this issue so we can look ahead toward the future of oil sands development, and that is exactly what we're going to do," Renner said.

"We're creating a third-party committee of scientists to review environmental data coming out of the oil sands region." (Reuters)


Cooling the Arctic hype

The Arctic bilateral border agreement signed by Norway and Russia earlier this month rekindled media hype over the so-called race for the region's energy treasures, which could amount to as much as 30 percent of the world's undiscovered gas and 13 percent of its undiscovered oil. [Read More] (Andres Cala, ET)


Scare over rare-earth minerals underlines fear of a rising China

For a panicked moment last week, it seemed China had decided to cut off exports to Japan of a little-known, yet vital, ingredient in everything from iPhones to cruise missiles and wind turbines.

The report by London's Industrial Metals magazine, taken up by The New York Times, was quickly proved false. But the scare riveted much attention on China's quiet near-monopolisation of the raw material for the high-tech industries - rare-earth elements.

China controls 97 per cent of the global output, according to the US Government Accountability Office. Rare-earth minerals are 17 metals whose magnetic properties allow the manufacture of light-weight, super-miniaturised components. They are essential for gadgets such as iPods and digital cameras, flat-screen TVs and smartphones.

They are key to military hardware such as the laser guidance systems in the US F-22 Raptor fighter jet, and are indispensable in renewable energy technologies such as batteries for electric cars, wind turbines and high-efficiency light bulbs. (SMH)


Study: Electric cars hold greater promise for reducing emissions and lowering US oil imports

Electric cars hold greater promise for reducing emissions and lowering U.S. oil imports than a national renewable portfolio standard, according to research conducted by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy. (Rice University)

As far as carbon dioxide goes, who cares? With regard to reducing oil imports that's relatively easy -- get out of the way of domestic exploration and extraction, open up shale oil and get on with coal to liquids. What's the problem?


Subsidy farmers want more: Business leaders call for more incentives to invest in renewables

Before the renewables financing conference, major players say government guarantees are vital to meet ambitious climate change targets (Guardian)


Windpower: Not as Free As You Think

by Lisa Linowes
September 27, 2010

We've all heard the pitch about how wind is free and that once a windpower facility is constructed, the cost of generation is appropriately set low thanks to no fuel expense. We're also often reminded that no fuel cost means wind will help insulate consumers from wildly fluctuating energy prices.

The concept is easy to grasp, and rural communities considering whether to host a wind facility are likely to conclude that the project will produce local and regional benefits in the form of lower electricity bills.

Think again

The fact is, the price of electricity within a grid region is set at a single price known as the market-clearing price (MCP). In most organized electricity markets, electricity generators are encouraged to participate in a daily or day-ahead auction process whereby a uniform market price-the MCP-is established. The MCP is the offer price of the highest-priced generation accepted within the market.

Ross Baldick states in his paper, Single Clearing Price in Electricity Markets:

Consider a simple electricity system with baseload coal generators having low production costs of approximately $25/MWh, and gas-fired peakers having higher production costs of approximately $100/MWh. Off-peak, when demand is lower, only the coal generators may be necessary to meet demand. The market-clearing price for energy is set by the coal offer price, which can be expected to be around $25/MWh. However, on-peak, when demand is higher, both the coal and the gas-fired generation may be required to meet demand and the market-clearing price will be set by the offer of the gas-fired generation, which can be expected to be around $100/MWh. On-peak, both the coal and the gas-fired generation receive the market-clearing price.

How It Works

The New England ISO (ISO-NE) and New York ISO (NYISO)[i] typically operate using a day-ahead auction where generators are required to offer firm levels of production for each hour of the next power day. The energy price, in turn, is determined based on those bidding into the system; all generators receive the same price per megawatt hour of generation. Significant penalties are applied if a generator is unable to meet his commitment. [Read more †’] (MasterResource)


Britain's offshore windpower costs twice as much as coal and gas generated electricity

Off shore wind farms cost twice as much to produce electricity as gas and coal powered stations and will need subsidies for at least 20 years, a major report warns. (TDT)


From the rubber room: Scotland To Get 100 Pct Green Energy by 2025

Scotland should produce enough renewable electricity to meet all its power demand by 2025, First Minister Alex Salmond said Tuesday.

"Scotland has unrivalled green energy resources and our new national target to generate 80 percent of electricity needs from renewables by 2020 will be exceeded by delivering current plans for wind, wave and tidal generation," Salmond said.

"I'm confident that by 2025 we will produce at least 100 percent of our electricity needs from renewables alone, and together with other sources it will enable us to become a net exporter of clean, green energy," he said a statement ahead of a renewable energy investment conference. (Reuters)



Time to Topple Keynesian Economics

Peter Smith

When we look at profligate governments, those in debt and getting deeper into debt, like those responsible for governing the UK, the USA, Greece, Portugal, Spain, France, Ireland and others; there are presumably professional economists in the background. Over the past ten to twenty years of government overspending, some senior public servants, trained in the rigorous discipline of economics, must surely have been giving consistent and fearless advice that it would all end in tears. Or have they?

Take the massive government spending employed by most countries to combat the GFC. There was no evident sign that senior public sector economists were urging some modicum of restraint. The reverse appeared to be the case. Ken Henry was certainly not urging restraint. We need a stimulus package and we need it now, summed up his position. The US Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, was an enthusiastic advocate of stimulus spending and apparently remains wedded to still more, if his comments at the G20 meeting in Toronto in June are any guide.

Wherever we look, the economics profession in government service appears to have been hijacked by interventionist Keynesian economists. Politics is part of this but it is by no means the whole. Some so-called economists are left-wing ideologues. Most, however, are simply victims of someone described colourfully by Thomas Woods in Meltdown as "one of the twentieth century's crackpots": John Maynard Keynes.

Crackpot or not, Keynes has spawned generations of economists and politicians who think that spending money is the same thing as making money. You might recall Michael Douglas's character in War of the Roses saying to his wife (played by Kathleen Turner): "It's a lot easier to spend it than it is to make it, honeybun!" Well, not according Keynesian economists, it isn't. (Quadrant)


Lawrence Solomon: Radiation's benefits

Will a gamma ray a day keep the doctor away? A new book says low-level radiation may prevent cancer

By Lawrence Solomon

"There is no safe level of radiation." For the last 30 years, my colleagues and I at the Energy Probe Research Foundation have held that view, and espoused it through books, media appearances and presentations to regulatory bodies, helping in no small measure to tighten Canada's radiation standards. The science on radiation as published by official bodies, we knew, made clear that any dose of radiation, no matter how small, carries with it an additional risk of contracting cancer. The upshot was a better-safe-than-sorry stance: Don't frivolously accept X-rays; take special care in disposing of smoke detectors, worry about routine releases of radiation from nuclear facilities.

This stance is now reeling. Low levels of radiation, science is increasingly telling us, are not only safe, they are actually healthful. It may be more prudent to worry about getting too little radiation than too much.

Read More » (Financial Post)


Cancer treatment found among junk DNA

Australian scientists have found a new and potent way to fight cancer among what was once thought of as junk DNA.

The experimental technique, proven to shrink tumours in mice, involves "microRNA".

Dr Alex Swarbrick said this new class of genes was until recently considered to be junk DNA, the term used to describe the bulk of information contained in the genome that has no apparent purpose.

But far from being junk, he said one specific type of microRNA (microRNA 380) has been found to play a pivotal role in allowing certain types of cancer to grow.

Dr Swarbrick and his research colleagues also found that blocking the action of this microRNA in mice with neuroblastoma cancers caused their tumours to shrink.

"The revolutionary thing about this finding is that it's the first time anyone has blocked the growth of a primary tumour by the simple delivery of a microRNA inhibitor...," Dr Swarbrick, from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research, said.

"That, of course, makes this microRNA a potential therapeutic target for all cancers that depend on it." (AAP)


There's nothing unhealthy about being bottle fed

Alexandra Carlton

What is it about the fanaticism of the breastfeeding lobby? Why do they fixate so intently on this tiny aspect of childrearing?

Wouldn't they do better to divert some of their energy to shouting about child protection? Housing for kids in low-income families? Water safety, perhaps?

Aren't there dozens more pressing children's issues where they could better channel their blusterings?

Last week, Dr Jennifer James, a nursing and midwife expert based at RMIT, announced that the government should make baby formula available only on a doctor's prescription. The general idea being, I presume, that a mother who is unable or unwilling to breastfeed for whatever reason would be forced to go to her GP to try and make a case for why her baby should be permitted to consume a synthetic food instead of being left to starve.

Dr James, I have every confidence, would dearly like the GP to be a towering, thunder-faced matron in a starched uniform who will stand over the cowering woman and force "baby" (sans pronoun) onto its mother's overworked nipple. "Brrrrreast is best!" she'll trill bossily, like a character from a Carry On film, as the infant yowls and the poor beleaguered mother berates herself for her inadequacy.

I accept this scenario is a touch cartoonish. But that's the response the breastfeeding lobby prompts in me. Their dogged extremism seems so utterly overblown and hysterical that the only way I can tolerate them is to mentally reframe them into objects of mirth. (The Punch)


Told to Eat Its Vegetables, America Orders Fries

The baby-carrot industry tried to reposition its product as junk food, starting a $25 million advertising campaign whose defining characteristics include heavy metal music, a phone app and a young man in a grocery cart dodging baby-carrot bullets fired by a woman in tight jeans.

On the East Side of Manhattan, crates of heirloom vegetables with names like Lady Godiva squash were auctioned for $1,000 each at Sotheby's, where the wealthy are more accustomed to bidding on Warhols and Picassos than turnips and tomatoes.

Both efforts, high and low, are aimed at the same thing: getting America to eat its vegetables. (NYT)


Nanny rules simply take retail profits from schools: Bodegas put school kids at obesity-risk

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 -- No matter how healthy the food may be in school New York City school children have easy access to junk food close to their school, researchers say.

Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health researchers find 92.9 percent of students had a bodega -- a small grocery store that typically carried fewer healthy food options than larger grocery stores --within 500 yards of their school.

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, finds 70.6 percent of school children had a pizzeria nearby, 48.9 percent were similarly close to a convenience store, 43.2 percent were less than 500 yards from a national chain fast-food restaurant, such as McDonald's or Burger King, and 33.9 percent were that close to a local fast-food chain restaurant.

"The data confirm that nearly all New York City public school students have access to inexpensive, energy-dense foods within a 5-minute walk of New York City's public schools," senior author Andrew Rundle says in a statement.

Racial/ethnic minority and low-income students were more likely to attend schools with unhealthy food outlets nearby -- with bodegas being the most common source of unhealthy food, the study says. (UPI)


Fashionable nonsense: Calorie counts on menus to fight obesity

Minister launches voluntary scheme urging food industry to highlight healthy options for diners

Leading restaurants and takeaway chains would advise customers how many calories were in every dish on their menus under plans being discussed by ministers and the food industry.

The health secretary, Andrew Lansley, wants the information routinely displayed on menus, tables and counters of burger bars and sandwich shops to reduce obesity. He hopes to encourage people to choose healthier options -- and so reduce the estimated £4.5bn annual cost to the NHS of treating patients with diet-related conditions. (Observer)


Should journalists second guess the scientific truth?

My agreement with Sean Carroll couldn't have lasted. Today, he wrote something pretty incredible.

In June, medical journalist Jeremy Laurance wrote a wise sentence about the science journalists' job:

Second, reporters are messengers -- their job is to tell, as accurately as they can, what has been said, with the benefit of such insight as their experience allows them to bring, not to second guess whether what is said is right.
Sean Carroll hysterically disagrees. The job for the journalists is not to be messengers but to authoritatively separate the scientific truthiness from the falsity, and promote the truthiness, we learn. I kid you not.

(Carroll uses the word "truth" instead of "truthiness" but it is an obvious mistake because the carefully described method how he found the T-word shows that the T-word is truthiness rather than the truth.)

How could a scientific journalist possibly determine what is the scientific truth? The scientific truth is gradually being approached by the scientific method (you know, the exercises that include experiments, calculations, logical reasoning, and possible exchanges with others who work on similar problems) - and journalists, pretty much by definition, are not too skillful when it comes to the scientific method. To say the least, they haven't dedicated enough time to the actual scientific research.

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)


Where the particulates are (and aren't)

This press release from NASA has the usual FUD in it, particularly with the "health-sapping" title. But what I find most interesting is the lack of 2.5 μm particulates in the USA and Australia. Yet another USA map further down (link)  in the article shows an entirely different view for the same period. It shows a lot of particulates in the San Joaquin valley of California where there is little industry, and a lot of farming, suggesting dust from ag operations. Likewise, the Sahara is full of dust, and dust laden winds coming off the Sahara and towards Cape Verde islands may have a role in hurricane formation. Dust is important in the scheme of things meteorological, as another NASA press release says it's important enough to launch a broad study of.

Global satellite-derived map of PM2.5 averaged over 2001-2006.  <b>Credit:</b> Dalhousie University, Aaron van Donkelaar Global satellite-derived map of PM2.5 averaged over 2001-2006. Credit: Dalhousie University, Aaron van Donkelaar - click to enlarge

New Map Offers a Global View of Health-Sapping Air Pollution

In many developing countries, the absence of surface-based air pollution sensors makes it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to get even a rough estimate of the abundance of a subcategory of airborne particles that epidemiologists suspect contributes to millions of premature deaths each year. The problematic particles, called fine particulate matter (PM2.5), are 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, about a tenth the fraction of human hair. These small particles can get past the body's normal defenses and penetrate deep into the lungs. Continue reading → (WUWT)


Right... UN to appoint Earth contact for aliens

THE United Nations was set today to appoint an obscure Malaysian astrophysicist to act as Earths first contact for any aliens that may come visiting.

Mazlan Othman, the head of the UN's little-known Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), is to describe her potential new role next week at a scientific conference at the Royal Society's Kavli conference centre in Buckinghamshire.

She is scheduled to tell delegates that the recent discovery of hundreds of planets around other stars has made the detection of extraterrestrial life more likely than ever before - and that means the UN must be ready to coordinate humanity's response to any "first contact". (NewsCore)

... and henceforth she will carry a big sign reading: "Inbound aliens, please speak to me first". Not sure Unoosa is the right acronym, maybe Un's Local Office Of Non Indigenous Earthlings (Uloonie) would be more appropriate. She certainly does appear suited to the task:


I wonder what planet Melchett is on? Public opinion stopped GM, says campaigner

Global resistance has halted the biotech giants, reports Environment Editor Michael McCarthy from the IoS co-sponsored Sustainable Planet Forum

The tide has turned globally against the introduction of genetically modified crops, Lord Melchett, the former director of Greenpeace and campaigner for organic farming and food, said yesterday.

Fifteen years ago, many governments thought GM crops and food would become the norm, but it has not happened because of rising public resistance around the world, and it will not happen, he said.

"This is a redundant technology and many people in Europe may be unaware of the extent of the resistance to GM in places like India and China, because they swallow the GM industry line that it is supported all across the world," he said. "I have to say that where we are now with GM leaves me feeling very optimistic. (Independent)

Maybe Melchett should have checked in with Mazlan Othman, above.


GM food battle moves to fish as super-salmon nears US approval

Consumer groups fear green light for engineered species will bring environmental disaster to the oceans (Observer)


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.

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 Paul Ehrlich, 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.

Pessimism is of course a proven fund-raising tool; "save the whales!" is always going to bring in more cash than "the whales are being saved!" But much more than that, we have today the amusingly ironic spectacle of tenured professors with salaries, health insurance, lifetime job security, and excellent retirement plans courtesy of TIAA-CREF being showered with worldly rewards (bestselling books, "genius" awards) for telling us that progress is an illusion and the end is near . . . while still preening themselves as daring outsiders courageously taking on the mighty and powerful. The fact that it takes no daring at all to adopt such an intellectual posture these days does not stop any of the practitioners of this business model from invariably announcing themselves to be the bearers of "dangerous" or "heretical" ideas and congratulating themselves for "speaking truth to power."

So there are understandable reasons why it pays to say that things have gone to hell and will continue to go to hell.

What I find almost inexplicable in all of this, however, is how the scientific doomsayers get away over and over again with making predictions that are fabulously, ridiculously -- and demonstrably -- incorrect, without the slightest repercussions upon their credibility or careers. Predictions of impending doom are published based on absurd methodologies and threadbare evidence of a kind that in the normal course of scientific affairs would be sufficient to ruin careers ten times over, and the authors walk away from them without a scratch. (Stephen Budiansky's Liberal Curmudgeon Blog)


Working to Keep a Heritage Relevant

HAMBURG, Pa. -- To millions of Americans, autumn means not just N.F.L. games and the World Series but also the start of hunting season -- a few months packed with chances to stalk deer, bear, ducks and doves with rifles, shotguns, bows and even black-powder muskets.

"Hunting is one of those sports where you can't have too much stuff," said Dan Gechtman, 46, one of many customers streaming into Cabela's, a hunting and fishing megastore here, on a balmy afternoon. "This store is on steroids," he said while trying on a camouflage suit that fluttered with artificial leaves and taking in the dazzling array of products, stuffed animal dioramas and a laser-shooting arcade.

In some rural areas, hunting is still so universal that schools close on the opening day of deer season. President Obama, in a ritual White House act requested by sporting fans and manufacturers, proclaimed Saturday National Hunting and Fishing Day. But as the hunters revel in their preparations for their annual forays into the wild, hunting enthusiasts are gearing up to reverse the long-term dwindling of their ranks.

As the nation becomes more urban and teenagers seek other recreation, the popularity of hunting is declining. The latest federal survey, in 2006, found that 12.5 million people hunt each year, down from 17 million in 1975. Other studies suggest that perhaps 18 million people hunt occasionally, but in any case, hunters represent a shrinking part of the population. (NYT)


Federal Register Notice: Call For Public Comment

Public comment is sought on the development of the next USGCRP National Climate Assessment. visitors are encouraged to submit comments as requested by the FR notice.

The reason for doing this is to ensure that climate realists' views are adequately represented in the NCA and any ignoring of those views is done at the USGCRP's legal/political peril.


Senators Aim To Keep Renewable Power Bill "Clean"

Senators backing a bi-partisan bill that would make big utilities begin embracing renewable electricity believe they can get enough votes to pass it without having to add oil or nuclear incentives to the measure, a Congressional aide said on Friday.

Democrat Jeff Bingaman, the chair of the Senate's energy committee, and Senator Sam Brownback, a Republican, introduced the bill this week that includes a Renewable Electricity Standard, or RES.

The RES is backed by environmentalists and other groups as a consolation prize after the failure by the Senate to pass a more comprehensive climate bill, one of the key priorities of the Obama Administration. The law would help reduce greenhouse gases by cutting back on fossil fuel consumption. (Reuters)


Renewable Electricity Standard: Same as a National Energy Tax

The probability of cap and trade becoming law rapidly diminished as more and more people saw it for what it truly is: a national energy tax. Since 85 percent of our energy comes from carbon-emitting fossil fuels, and the goal of cap and trade is to reduce carbon dioxide, a cap-and-trade system would raise the price of energy to discourage its use. Politicians knew very well that Americans wouldn't stand for a national energy tax--especially during an election year--so despite several murmurs, the Senate failed to move legislation forward.

Now, Congress is working on another plan that would mandate higher electricity prices. What makes it more threatening than a cap-and-trade program is that it's garnering bipartisan support. Senators Jeff Bingaman (D--NM) and Sam Brownback (R--KS) introduced legislation that would require utilities to provide 15 percent of their electricity from government-selected renewable energy sources (primarily wind and solar) by 2021. Known as a renewable electricity standard (RES), it may sound less intimidating, but it's nothing more than a plan that would cause electricity prices to skyrocket, leading to unnecessary hardship for American families. Why?

Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Trying to prop up the scam: The future of carbon reporting

Carbon reporting by U.S.-based companies today has broad similarities to financial reporting before the enactment of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934. Just as market forces and regulation evolved then, so too now are we seeing a similar trend.

We expect that within this decade, more companies will regard carbon as significant and will develop and implement increasingly sophisticated and accurate programs to track, manage and report emissions data. And to the extent that carbon emissions are monetized through, for example, a cap-and-trade system, they will become subject to conventional accounting and reporting, with their demands for high levels of accuracy, reliability and timeliness. (Reuters)


Carbon scammers say carbon important: Climate Change Climbs the Boardroom Agenda

Carbon management is becoming a strategic business priority and competitive driver for the largest global companies, despite the lack of global agreement on climate change. These are among the findings of the 2010 Global 500 report and leadership index released today by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), produced by PwC. (SustainableBusiness at Matter Network)

And in fact carbon is important -- we mine it for the express purpose of oxidizing to recover some of the energy bound when it was originally split form oxygen during photosynthesis and we will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.


EU Climate Policy after the Crash of 09

By Gwyn Prins

It is now plain that something has gone badly awry with the European Union's policies and views on the issue of climate change. Plain to any observer, it seems, other than the EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, and her colleagues inside the shiny towers of the Brussels quartier européen. They continue to assert in a triumph of hope over experience that it will all come good with more of the same polices that have just failed.

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme and associated promotion of so-called "cap and trade" carbon trading has crashed and is burning. The carbon price had already crashed twice before the present time. That isn't to say that nothing is happening: much is. A false market in the non-emission of carbon has been created by fiat and is having a dampening effect on already fragile EU economic recovery. But it is fertilising a luxuriant undergrowth of consultants and "carbon traders', rather in the way that speculators in other classic "bubble' markets have been enriched in the past.

"Bubble' markets are quite familiar and the motives driving them never change. In 1841 Charles Mackay observed in one of the first works of modern sociology, entitled Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, that greed, ingenuity, credulity and the capacity for self delusion are pretty constant in human nature. Famous examples of bubble markets were for tulip bulbs in the Netherlands in 1636, or the Mississippi Scheme of John Law in France in 1719-20 or the best known -- the South Sea Bubble a couple of years earlier in England. By the way, the promoting motive of the South Sea Company has a cautionary contemporary ring in post-Brownian Britain today as we are told of ever-promised and never materialising "green growth': it was supposed to pay off the government's debt painlessly, by privatised venture. (European Business Review)


Cancun climate talks hopeless: Goldstein

It's time for Canada to emerge from the Kyoto stupor and take control of its own energy future

George Monbiot is the world's most famous global warming journalist.

So when his weekly column in the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper appeared Monday under the headline "Climate change enlightenment was fun while it lasted. But now it's dead," people on all sides of the issue perked up.

Monbiot predicted failure at the next round of United Nations' climate change negotiations in Cancun in November, to again try to draft a successor treaty to the Kyoto accord, which expires in 2012.

Canadians may recall the last time we heard from Monbiot was just before last December's UN conference in Copenhagen on the same subject.

He called us a "corrupt petrostate" and a threat to world peace.

He accused Canada of doing more than any other nation to scuttle a global climate deal.

He said it was to protect our development of the oilsands, which he described as "a scene from the end of the world … a churned black hell on an unimaginable scale."

Monbiot concluded: "The immediate threat to the global effort to sustain a peaceful and stable world comes not from Saudi Arabia or Iran or China. It comes from Canada. How could that be true?"

Anyone who understands we're responsible for 2% of global emissions and the oilsands for one-tenth of 1% realized it wasn't true -- just Monbiot being his hyperbolic self.

As if to underscore that point, in his latest column describing the imminent collapse of climate negotiations in a warming world less than a year later, Monbiot doesn't even mention Canada -- a point the Globe's Norman Spector picked up on, just as I did. (Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun)


China Seeks Binding Climate Treaty Late 2011: Report

China wants the world to seal a binding climate change treaty by late 2011, a Chinese negotiator said in a newspaper on Friday, blaming U.S. politics for impeding talks and making a deal on global warming impossible this year.

Li Gao, a senior Chinese negotiator on climate change, said his government would remain unyielding on issues of "principle" in the talks aimed at forging a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. The first period of that key treaty on fighting global warming expires at the end of 2012.

Li also vowed to keep pressing rich countries to promise deeper cuts to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from human activity that are stoking global warming, said the China Economic Times, which reported his comments. (Reuters)

The Chinese have proven very adept at exploiting Western ecochondria.


Smoke and mirrors: PM seeking 'certainty' on carbon

JULIA Gillard and Wayne Swan have appealed to the new parliament to let them put a price on carbon in this term to deliver certainty for business.

As politicians travel to Canberra ahead of the return of parliament tomorrow -- and as Alcoa warned that a $3 billion alumina project was on hold pending a resolution of the carbon issue -- the Treasurer said yesterday he looked "forward to the new parliament adopting a more co-operative approach to tackling the key issues for our future".

This included "putting a price on carbon and delivering certainty for business", he said. (The Australian)

Certainty is easy, PM Gillard has merely to sign a guarantee there will be no carbon price under a Labor-led government, ever -- she'll get an immediate mirror guarantee from the Opposition and business can go ahead today. End of story and the "crisis" that never was can finally be out to bed.


Scammers seek legislated profits: Green firms in limbo over carbon credits inaction

THE Minister for Climate Change, Greg Combet, is under pressure from green firms to quickly resolve a policy bungle that is forcing businesses in search of carbon credits to head overseas.

Companies that certify carbon offsets, such as forest plantations, have been unable to guarantee customers they are providing accredited offsets since the end of June, when the Greenhouse Friendly program lapsed.

The carbon pollution reduction scheme was intended to fulfil this role, but its deferral has left offset companies in regulatory limbo. As a result, the industry says companies looking to offset their emissions voluntarily are heading to competitors overseas. (SMH)


Wishful thinking form the scammers: Combet set to join carbon price push

CLIMATE Change Minister Greg Combet is expected to be part of a high-level federal government committee to pursue consensus on a carbon price.

Cabinet will discuss today membership of the committee, which will have an expert group attached, likely to include Professor Ross Garnaut, who prepared the government's original report on climate change.

The Greens have been involved in negotiating the membership of the committee. (The Age)

There is no possibility of a carbon tax passing the Senate before next July and virtually no chance of the minority rainbow conglomerate government lasting much beyond there, so this nonsense is gong nowhere.


As if they could: PM to move quickly on climate change

Julia Gillard will move fast to try to reassert the government's credentials on climate change when Parliament sits for the first time since the election tomorrow.

The Prime Minister will announce as early as today the make-up of a committee to forge the way to a price on carbon, a signal of the government's wish to gain the initiative on an issue that bedevilled its first term in office.

The committee is expected to include the Minister for Climate Change, Greg Combet, the Greens' climate change spokeswoman, Christine Milne, and academic experts. (SMH)

Such risk-free posturing might look good for the gullible media but there is no risk of Australia ever implementing carbon cost regimes even if this lot muddle through setting up such an idiotic scheme. Heck, in 5 weeks they haven't even managed to nail down such formalities as Parliamentary Speaker and Deputy.


What a surprise: Greens senator to be co-deputy of multi-party climate change committee unveiled by PM

THE Australian Greens have secured a deputy chair position on a new multi-party climate change committee.

Julia Gillard today unveiled the membership of the committee she negotiated with the Greens, which will explore options for the introduction of a carbon price and report to cabinet through Greg Combet, the new Minister for Climate Change.

The government said parliamentary members of the committee would be drawn from those who are "committed to tackling climate change and who acknowledge that effectively reducing carbon pollution by 2020 will require a carbon price". (Joe Kelly, The Australian)

No room for skepticism in the rainbow conglomerate's greenie appeaser ;-)


No: Super funds at the mercy of climate change

Just one week after the world's biggest miner belled the cat saying Australia's economic competitiveness was at risk by delaying action on pricing pollution, Australia's first climate change shareholder resolutions have been launched by the innovative Climate Advocacy Fund.

BHP chief executive Marius Kloppers highlighted that Australia has the most emissions-intensive electricity industry in the OECD but we also have one of the most emissions intensive stock exchanges in the world. As a result, Australia's superannuation funds, who own about a third of the ASX, are more exposed to climate change than any other superannuation industry in the world. To protect our retirement nest eggs, the long-term returns of the superannuation funds, it is clear the funds should be vitally interested in the carbon competitiveness plans of the companies they own on our behalf. (SMH)

The truth is that funds are at the mercy of climate hysterics and the only risk is that politicians will be stampeded into taking foolish "action".


Enviro and Media Agenda on Extreme Weather - State Climatologist Invited, then Uninvited to Rally

David R. Legates, Ph.D., C.C.M


On Wednesday, August 25, I was invited by Environment America to speak at its September 8 press conference on "Extreme Weather in Delaware", to promote the release of their new report on the subject at Legislative Hall. Ms. Hannah Leone was pleased to have me speak because my "knowledge on climate change and weather would be a great asset to the event."

On Friday, August 27, I was uninvited from the event by Ms. Leone, who noted that "I believe it is in the best interest of the success of our report that you do not participation [sic] in this event" but "as lead climatologist in the state, your opinion would be beneficial to us." She had earlier indicated to me in a telephone call that she wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page at the event.

I believe that it is in the best interest of the citizens of Delaware that my "knowledge on climate change and weather" is made public, in light of the biases that are potentially inherent in the Environment America report. I say "potentially inherent' because, although I was promised a copy of the report, even after I was uninvited, I have yet to receive it. However, Ms. Leone was kind enough to indicate the premise of the report in her first e-mail to me: (Icecap)


Blog Warfare -- Warmist attacks their own

Then today Richard Black of the BBC finds out how ugly it can be when you make the mistake (the travesty!) of missing a chance to tell everyone that the Earth's falling apart due to Man-made Global Warming.

It's the first time Richard Black has been on the receiving end. He's a bit put out.

It seems that something new, and not altogether welcome, may be happening in the politicking over climate change.

I have written before of the orchestrated villification that comes the way of climate scientists from some people and organisations who are unconvinced of the case for human-induced climate change -- "sceptics", "deniers", as you wish.

This week, for the first time, I am seeing the same pattern from their opponents.

Joe Romm, the physicist-cum-government-advisor-cum-polemicist, posted a blog entry highly critical of the Arctic ice article I wrote last week.

Joe Romm took him to task for doing a story on the hottest year without "mentioning the primary cause of global warming" (according to climate models which are known to be wrong). Romm set lots of emailers onto Black. The original "dreadful" story is just reporting how arctic ice melted fast, but didn't shrink as much as 2007.

Then you can see the cogs turning in Black's mind with the implications:

What about scientists? If researchers publish papers on climate change that do not include cataclysmic warnings of where the world is heading, will they receive the same treatment?

Hello, Richard, yes, exactly, and you are catching up fast on the world in 1990. Around then, an intolerant culture was established that scorned anyone who so much as asked difficult questions. Some eminent scientists were sacked. Al Gores staffers attacked Fred Singer so viperously, that he took them to court and won. But what message did that send to the world's scientists? You can speak your doubts on the hypothesis of man-made-catastrophe, but be prepared to spend thousands on lawyers, risk your job, and lose your friends. Singer won the battle, but Al won that war.

If Richard Black would like the debate to be less polarized and more scientific he could start by getting over his own noxious use of the derogatory term "denier". More » (Jo Nova)


More on that propaganda: Red Redemption: Fate of the world

In 2006, Red Redemption, openly supported by Oxford, BBC, and the Environmental Change Institute, released a Flash game called Climate Challenge.

Click to zoom in.

In the game, you were a "European president" who had to suppress the whole European population as Hitler and Stalin combined with the goal of reducing the CO2 emissions, screwing the people, bribe politicians from other continents, and keeping yourself in power (play now the monstrosity directly at the BBC website).

Of course, these folks haven't been arrested so they continued to "work". At the end of October 2010, they will release a game that is more ambitious,

Fate Of The World (game website, trailer)
In the new game, you are no longer just a European dictator which was way too modest a job.

Now you are chosen the global dictator - the head of the G.E.O. junta - who is hired immediately when the 2010 climate talks fail (see the trailer) and whose task is do everything to reduce the emissions of CO2 in the world. Here are some of your basic options; they became much more "juicy" relatively to the bureaucratic elimination of power plants etc. in the 2006 game:

Click to zoom in.

On each continent, you can introduce "mandatory euthanasia" for $100 billion - a policy to kill all the old and ill people. Or you can pay the same money to develop special bio-weapons to predictably exterminate whole nations. For the same payment, you may also induce a regime change just to overthrow politicians who are climate skeptics or who are otherwise hostile to your world government and replace them with "biddable", corrupt politicians of your choice.

So this is what they plan if the 2010 climate talks will fail, and be sure that they will? Even if the creators of the game don't intend it, it's clear that some groups will worship the game as a computer model whose lessons justify "action". After all, the likes of the IPCC are already taking much less realistic computer games seriously today.

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)


No, 99 per cent of climate scientists do not agree

A newly released survey done in 2008 of 375 climate scientists - mostly mainstream ones - reveals not quite the certainty and unanimity we're so often sold by the Leftist media:

66.5% agreed or strongly agreed that future climate "will be a result of anthropogenic causes."

Even so, there are areas of climate science that some people want to claim is settled, but where scientists don't agree.

Only 12% agree or strongly agree that data availability for climate change analysis is adequate. More than 21% disagree or strongly disagree…

Perhaps most importantly, only 17.75% agree or strongly agree with the statement, "The state of theoretical understanding of climate change phenomena is adequate." An equal percentage disagreed or strongly disagreed.

A third also agree or strongly agree that "external politics" has influenced the direction of climate research this past decade. (Andrew Bolt)


IPCC on Extreme Events: Getting Better but Still Not Great

Yesterday, Michael Oppenheimer from Princeton University and coordinating lead author of the IPCC special report titled Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation, provided a briefing to the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming of the US House of Representatives (here in PDF).  Oppenheimer's testimony was far more in line with the state of the science on this subject than have been recent IPCC reports and press releases, but remains slanted and focused on advocating action on emissions.

Oppenheimer states:
So-called "joint attribution" the assignment of cause for the damaging outcomes of such extremes, such as wildfires or human mortality occurring during hot and dry spells, is a relatively new field, and it remains difficult to associate recent increases in most such impacts directly with greenhouse gas emissions, but indirect evidence is strongly suggestive of such a link in many cases.
This is a convoluted way of simply saying that the present state of the science does not support claims of attribution.  In suggesting that this is a "new" field he notably avoids discussing a large body of literature such as on tropical cyclones (in the US, Australia, China, India, Latin America, etc.), floods, European storms, Australian bushfires, etc. where peer reviewed work has explained damage trends solely in terms of increasing societal vulnerability.  Why is it so hard for IPCC authors to acknowledge any of this literature?  But, even so, I give Opeenheimer some credit for moving in the right direction.

Oppenheimer's conclusion acknowledges the importance of societal factors in driving disasters, but then completely ignores adaptation (which he does mention elsewhere in the presentation), which indicates to me that the desire to advocate among IPCC leaders will be a habit hard to control:
Finally, while extreme events are generally a physical phenomenon, circumstances where such events translate into disasters, like Hurricane Katrina or the great European heat wave of 2003, depend in large measure on individual and societal anticipation, planning, and response capacity and implementation. In other words, disaster is partly a social phenomenon. In both of these episodes, the toll was much higher than was imagined possible before the events. Unfortunately, if history is a guide, such situations may become ever more common. Even as we learn to cope better with certain extreme events, the climate may change faster than we learn about it, and faster than our ability to implement what we have learned. The only remedy for such a situation is to act to slow the climate change by slowing greenhouse gas emissions.
Oppenheimer's statement is a move in the right direction, but it is highly selective, slanted and gives some misleading policy advice.  The reality is that actions today to reduce emissions will not have an discernible effects for many decades.  By not mentioning the time scale of the effects of mitigation and the relative role of mitigation and adaptation for addressing future losses (another literature not mentioned), Oppenheimer is arguably misleading.

If I had to give a grade to the presentation -- if the IPCC 2007 was an "F," then Oppenheimer gets a "C-."  The IPCC leadership still has a ways to go on the issue of extreme events.  Its extremes report is not due out for another year (remarkably), so they have lots of time to up their game. (Roger Pielke Jr.)


Ongoing BoM utter incompetence

September 25th, 2010 by Warwick Hughes

Every month the Australian BoM published a three month "Outlook" (prediction based on models) for rainfall and temperatures. The Outlook press releases are often picked up by the media who quote them with reverence as though "written on tablets of stone". I am only aware of one journalist who has had the temerity to draw attention to Outlook shortcomings -- that is Andrew Bolt.

I have been critical of the hopeless inaccuracy of their results for years when compared to real world anomalies. I tend to comment more on failed rainfall Outlooks but this winter the temperature Outlooks were pathetic.

Winter 2010 BoM  Outlooks

For a start -- the entire Outlook map areas are predicted to be far too hot. This has been a common fault in BoM temperature Oulooks for a long time -- look for yourself. What are these people smoking ?

Maxtemp panels: The Outlook is for daytime temperatures to be higher than average across all Australia and yet the actual weather turned out to be cooler than average over much of the continent.

Mintemp panels: Not quite as bad as maxtemp -- but still overall far too warm -- did not predict any green areas. They could not even get the overall shape right -- the Outlook has east and west hot areas separated by a N/S axis. The weather was actually warmer in north -- cooler in south -- separate by an E/W axis.

My main gripes about the mostly failing BoM Outlooks are:

  • the BoM is advising Govt that future temperatures multi decades ahead will be warmer in line with the IPCC predictions, which Govt takes on board to justify their "great big new tax" carbon reduction policy -- yet the BoM fails to have any predictive skill 90 DAYS ahead !!!
  • the Dept churning out these defective Outlooks is simply a waste of our taxes, so I say fire the lot of them.

(Warwick Hughes)


Pacific Warming, Atlantic Hurricanes & Global Climate Non-Disruption

In an example of what Presidential Science Advisor John Holdren would label "global climate disruption," a 2009 report claimed that warming surface water in the Pacific Ocean was having an impact on the frequency of tropical storms. Moreover, landfalls along the Gulf of Mexico coast and Central America were supposedly increased. Now a new study appearing in Geophysical Research Letters has found these claims to be untrue. It seems that there is little correlation between the Atlantic hurricane activity and Pacific Ocean warming. In fact, the increased tropical storm frequency in 1969 and 2004 can be readily explained by increased warmth in the Atlantic where the storms form. Once again, those looking for a smoking gun in the form of human caused climate change are forced to look elsewhere.

In July 2009, Kim et al. suggested that the influence of sea surface warming events in the Central Pacific Ocean contributed to more frequent landfall of North Atlantic tropical cyclones in the Gulf of Mexico and Central America. Their Science report, "Impact of Shifting Patterns of Pacific Ocean Warming on North Atlantic Tropical Cyclones," concluded that the location of the Pacific warming affects the location of cyclone (hurricane) formation and the tracks of tropical cyclones.

"Two distinctly different forms of tropical Pacific Ocean warming are shown to have substantially different impacts on the frequency and tracks of North Atlantic tropical cyclones," the report stated. "The eastern Pacific warming (EPW) is identical to that of the conventional El Niño, whereas the central Pacific warming (CPW) has maximum temperature anomalies located near the dateline." If that were true, the predictability of Atlantic hurricane behavior could be improved by taking into account the state of the Pacific.

Composites of SST anomalies during August to October.

Shown in the figure above are composites of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies during the August to October period for (A) EPW, (B) CPW, and (C) EPC. (D) The average number of North Atlantic tropical cyclones per month from June to November for climatology (gray bar), EPW (red), CPW (green), and EPC (blue). The time series has been detrended to eliminate the effects of decadal variability or climate trends. The claim is that this correlation represents a causal relationship and, because the IPCC reports had predicted such a link to climate change, some hailed this as proof that global warming was increasing hurricane activity.

To be fair, Kim et al. do not make the direct assertion that anthropogenic climate change is responsible for the warming events. Their report cites uncertainty caused by inadequate models and a lack of data:

At present, it is difficult to assess why there has been an increased frequency of CPW events during the past few decades while EPW events have declined. Determining whether the CPW is a new mode associated with a general warming of the tropical oceans, or is connected to decadal modes of Pacific variability that have strong SST expressions in the central tropical Pacific such as the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation, is hampered by both data and model inadequacies. Many of the models used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR-4 constructions do not reproduce major elements of interdecadal variability. Furthermore, SST data in the equatorial central and eastern Pacific before the 1920s were sparse, and it is difficult to determine what form of Pacific warming took place during earlier phases of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

But Kim et al.'s apologetics may be moot. A new analysis in Geophysical Research Letters, entitled "On the impact of central Pacific warming events on Atlantic tropical storm activity," researchers from NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, Florida, assert that temperature fluctuation in Atlantic waters is sufficient to explain the variation in hurricane frequency and landfall patterns. Sang-Ki Lee, Chunzai Wang and David B. Enfield directly refute Kim et al.'s conclusions:

A recent study by Kim et al. (2009) claim that central Pacific warming (CPW) events in 1969, 1991, 1994, 2002 and 2004 are associated with a greater-than-average frequency of tropical storms and increasing landfall potential along the Gulf of Mexico coast and Central America. Based on an independent data analysis of tropical cyclone activity in the five CPW years, it is shown here that only 1969, 2002 and 2004 were characterized with significantly greater-than-average cyclone activity in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, whereas 1991 and 1994 were characterized with significantly lower-than-average activity. Coincidently, the Atlantic warm pool (AWP) was significantly larger than average during 1969 and 2004, and significantly smaller than average during 1991 and 1994. By performing multiple sets of ensemble model experiments using the NCAR atmospheric general circulation model, it is shown here that the increased tropical storm frequency in 1969 and 2004 can be readily explained by a large AWP and the associated vertical wind shear reduction and enhanced moist convective instability in the main development region for Atlantic hurricanes, without invoking a remote influence from the tropical Pacific. Therefore, we conclude that it is premature to associate CPW events to an increasing frequency of cyclone activity in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.

Scientific disagreements are seldom stated more clearly than that. Lee et al. note that an earlier paper by Yeh et al. argued that, as the CPW has been occurring more frequently since the 1990s, the modification of El Niño pattern due to anthropogenic global warming is already in progress (see "El Niño in a changing climate" in Nature, Sept. 24, 2009). "However, it is shown in this study that neither our independent data analysis of Atlantic tropical cyclones nor further numerical modeling experiments supports the suggested impact of CPW events on increasing Atlantic tropical storm activity," counter Lee et al.

In yet another recent study, scientists measured historical changes in El Niño. Lead author Tong Lee of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Michael McPhaden of NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory measured changes in El Niño intensity since 1982. They analyzed NOAA satellite observations of sea surface temperature, checked against and blended with directly-measured ocean temperature data. The strength of each El Niño was gauged by how much its sea surface temperatures deviated from the average.

El Niños Are Growing Stronger.

The NASA investigators say the stronger El Niños help explain a steady rise in central Pacific sea surface temperatures observed over the past few decades in previous studies--a trend attributed by some to the effects of global warming. Lee and McPhaden found the intensity of El Niños in the central Pacific has nearly doubled, with the most intense event occurring in 2009-10.

While Lee and McPhaden observed a rise in sea surface temperatures during El Niño years, no significant temperature increases were seen in years when ocean conditions were neutral, or when El Niño's cool water counterpart, La Niña, was present. "Our study concludes the long-term warming trend seen in the central Pacific is primarily due to more-intense El Niños rather than a general rise of background temperatures," said Lee.

Lee added that further research is needed to evaluate the impacts of these increasingly intense El Niños and determine why these changes are occurring. "It is important to know if the increasing intensity and frequency of these central Pacific El Niños are due to natural variations in climate or to climate change caused by human-produced greenhouse gas emissions," he said. Tong Lee's party line closing comment cannot change the fact that, once again, no smoking gun for anthropogenic global warming has been found.

On August 5, NOAA released its mid-season 2010 forecast. It was revised slightly downwards, to 14--20 named storms, 8--12 hurricanes, and 4--6 major hurricanes. The agency noted that the new estimate was revised downwards from the initial estimate since the latter included the possibility of even more early season activity. However, NOAA indicated that a La Niña event had in fact developed, and that the conditions for an active season remained in place.

The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season as of Sept. 16.

Combine over-hyped claims of increased hurricane danger with the news media's strident coverage of even minor storm threats since the Katrina disaster and the public is left believing that this all may be true. The fact is, without an occasional tropical storm the US Southern and Gulf states rapidly descend into drought--hurricanes are a normal and necessary part of the area's climate cycle. This fact is not new, nor is the observation that, as more people crowed the US coastal regions, the deadlier and more damaging hurricanes become. In 2006, MIT climate scientist Kerry Emanuel and colleagues issued a statement on the perceived US hurricane problem:

As the Atlantic hurricane season gets underway, the possible influence of climate change on hurricane activity is receiving renewed attention. While the debate on this issue is of considerable scientific and societal interest and concern, it should in no event detract from the main hurricane problem facing the United States: the ever-growing concentration of population and wealth in vulnerable coastal regions. These demographic trends are setting us up for rapidly increasing human and economic losses from hurricane disasters, especially in this era of heightened activity. Scores of scientists and engineers had warned of the threat to New Orleans long before climate change was seriously considered, and a Katrina-like storm or worse was (and is) inevitable even in a stable climate.

Though they obviously should have known better, this spate of new research must still disappoint global warming boosters like Obama's science czar John Holdren, who has recently tried to re-brand global warming as "global climate disruption." Sorry John, this is an example of global climate non-disruption. It should be obvious even to the clueless that employing such evasive verbal tactics is just another sign of the troubled state of climate science.

While the frequency of strong El Niños is increasing, at least as measured over the past quarter century, science doesn't have a clue why. Ocean surface temperatures in the central Pacific are up, but only part of the time. Regardless, CPW does not seem to be affecting hurricane frequency or storm paths. Even so, despite their own evidence to the contrary, scientists cannot help but reflexively blame hurricane activity on global warming. Bottom line--Central Pacific Warming is not caused by global warming and CPW does not influence Atlantic hurricane frequency.

Never have so many scientists looked so long and so hard for corroborating evidence to prop up a theory. After looking for a smoking gun for 50 years, it is about time for the eco-alarmists and warm-mongering climate change supporters to admit that their pet theory is not supported by the facts. The reason they have not found the proof they seek is simple--the anthropogenic global warming theory is wrong and changing its name to global climate disruption will not make it right.

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


Northern Hemisphere Temperature Reconstruction Clearly Shows the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age (Plus a Whole Lot More)

Ljungqvist, F.C. 2010. A new reconstruction of temperature variability in the extra-tropical northern hemisphere during the last two millennia. Geografiska Annaler 92A: 339-351.

The pattern of temperature change over the past 2000 years is important for several reasons. First, if there has been no long-term pattern to it, then any warming in recent decades can more easily be attributed to human activity. On the other hand, if there have been natural cycles or centennial-scale excursions of temperature, then it is more difficult to claim that recent warming is unnatural or unprecedented. Second, impacts of climate change are often based on the assumption that "unusual" warmth is harmful to life and human society; but if it was equally warm, or warmer than today, a thousand years ago, then there is much less basis for predicting harm. (NIPCC)


Thermometer Magic

September 26th, 2010
Source: Real Science
by Steve Goddard

Most people probably assume that measuring the US temperature is as simple as this. And perhaps it should be.

Prior to the year 2000, the GISS US temperature graph appeared as below. Note that 1998 was more than half a degree C (almost 1ºF) cooler than 1934.

In the year 2000, they switched places. 1998 became warmer than 1934. How did this magic occur?

Read the rest of this entry » (SPPI)


Der Spiegel: The Ocean's Influence Greater Than Thought

P Gosselin 24. September 2010

Alex Bojanowski at Germany's online Der Spiegel reports here on a new paper appearing in Nature that shows climate change in the 1970s was caused by ocean cooling. Climate simulation models once indicated that the cooling in the 1970s was due to sun-reflecting sulfur particles, emitted by industry. But now evidence points to the oceans.

I don't know why this is news for the authors of the paper. Ocean cycles are well-known to all other scientists. The following graphic shows the AMO 60-year cycle, which is now about to head south.

Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Source:

Computer models simulating future climate once predicted that it would soon get warm because of increasing GHG emissions, but, writes Der Spiegel, citing Nature:

Now it turns out that the theory is incomplete. A sudden cooling of the oceans in the northern hemisphere played the decisive role in the drop of air temperatures.

The paper was authored by David W. J. Thompson, John M. Wallace, John J. Kennedy, and Phil D. Jones. The scientists discovered that ocean temperatures in the northern hemisphere dropped an enormous 0.3°C between 1968 and 1972. Der Spiegel writes:

A huge amount of energy was taken out of the oceans. The scientists said that it was surprising that the cooling was so fast.

 This shows, again, that the climate simulation models used for predicting the future are inadequate. It's not sure what caused the oceans to cool. But scientists are sure that aerosols were not the cause. Der Spiegel describes a possible scenario how the oceans may have cooled: 

Huge amounts of melt water from Greenland's glaciers poured into the Atlantic at the end of the 1960s, and formed a cover over the ocean. The melt water cooled the ocean for one thing, and acted to brake the Gulf Stream, which transports warm water from the tropics and delivers it to the north. The result: the air also cools down.

But, as Spiegel reports, that hardly explains why there was also cooling in the north Pacific. Der Spiegel:

 The scientists will have to refine their climate simulations. The new study shows one thing: The influence of the oceans is greater than previously thought.

I'd say that's a very polite way of saying: Your models have been crap, and it's back to the drawing board. This time don't forget to properly take the oceans and every thing else into account. Yes, there's a quite a bit more to climate than a single trace gas in the atmosphere. Hooray -- the warmists are finally beginning to realize it! (Maybe) (No Tricks Zone)


Arctic Temperatures Coincide With AMO -- And Not CO2

P Gosselin 25. September 2010

Guest writer Ed Caryl recently looked at 9 "rural" stations scattered over the Arctic: from Alaska, to Canada, to Northern Europe western Russia and Siberia, and found Arctic temperatures follow the AMO, and not CO2. Read here A Light In Siberia. It's important to note that the 9 stations were selected because they appeared to be NOT influenced by man-made heat sources.

First, here's the AMO going back more than 150+ years. The cycles are clear to see.

Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Source:
North Pole, 17 March 1959. Image from NAVSOURCE

The AMO shows warm periods centering at about 1880, 1940 and 2005, i.e., 60 year cycle. We recall seeing photos of submarines surfacing at the North Pole back in the 1950s, see photo left, meaning it was relatively balmy back then too, as the AMO chart suggests.

Well how do the temperature curves of Ed's 9 untainted Arctic stations match up with the AMO? The following are the GISS graphs of these 9 stations, each shown individually. Take a look at each of them:

What happens from 1940 -- 1980, a time when CO2 was increasing? What happens after 1980? How do these charts match up with the above AMO chart? Fit pretty well? It seems so.

Some of the temperature records shown above are shorter and some are longer. But they all show that temperatures between 1940 and 1980 were dropping. Remember that the Arctic is called the canary in the coal mine. When the globe cools or warms, you really see it in the Arctic, so they say.

Next Ed Caryl plotted each of the above graphs on a single chart. Ed calls these "rural" stations isolated because they are not impacted by man-made heat sources like asphalt, light bulbs, etc:

Plot of the 9 "rural" (isolated) stations.

And then he normalized the plots and generated an average. He explains how here, scroll down to "The averaging of station data".  The resulting plot with a linear trend line is shown as follows:

Average of the "rural" stations

Sure some hot-shot statisticians out there are going to say you can't do this, or that, or whatever blah blah blah…but that's just nitpicking. Attention to tiny detail is a later thing.

Ed's method suffices for now to generate a good general picture. If the math hotshots out there want to do it with micrometers, no one is stopping them. I doubt the general picture is going to change that much, though.

If you look at the 9 individual plots above and imagine how a composite of all 9 would look like, it would look like Ed's chart -- common sense.

Doesn't the shape of above curve look eerily similar to the shape of the AMO from 1920 to today? Ed thought so too, and so he superimposed the average of the 9 isolated stations and the AMO:

Gee, do you think Arctic temperatures correlate better with CO2? 

Of course this is only a preliminary analysis that examined only 9 isolated stations scattered over the entire Arctic perimeter. But I suspect that if all stations were thrown in, except the crappy ones equipped with light bulbs and of that sort, you'd end up with similar results.

Could the AMO possibly drive climate? Well, the latest paper authored by Phil Jones and others seem to be hinting at this. Read my post from yesterday

Obvious conclusion: Trace gas Co2 drives the Arctic climate about as much as a sea breeze drives a loaded freight train. (No Tricks Zone)


A MUST READ: European climate, Alpine glaciers and Arctic ice in relation to North Atlantic SST record

In my opinion, this essay is a must read because it clearly illustrates correlation between ocean cycles to; Arctic ice loss and gain, glacier advance and retreat, and land surface temperature rise and fall. As I said graphically in a previous post…

From -- click

Guest post by Juraj Vanovcan

The following article shows, that decadal oscillation in North Atlantic sea surface temperature is the driving force behind observed variations in European climate during 20th century. Long-term North Atlantic SST trend is well correlated to European temperature station record, Alpine glacier retreat/advance and changes in Arctic ice extent as well.

Considering the problems with ground station record being contaminated by urbanization, land use changes and selective use, SST record offers an alternative metrics of changes in climate record, since it is free of at least some issues mentioned above. North Atlantic SST record is unique in this view, since it is quite reliable also in the early part of 20th century, when the ship measurement coverage of Atlantic between American continent and Europe had been much denser than in other parts of the globe [1].

Here is presented North Atlantic sea surface temperature record since 1850. While the pre-1880 data are rather noisy, probably because of sparse coverage, the 20th century record shows regular cyclical pattern of warming and cooling. The cycle length is 65 years, with cold minimums reached in 1910 and 1975 and warm maximums in 1940 and 2005.

Figure 1: North Atlantic SST record, expressed as monthly anomalies against 1971-2000 period (HadSST2 dataset)

Let's now compare the North Atlantic SST record with the European ground stations within 40-70N and 10W-30E. Continue reading → (WUWT)


Climate Wars: EU Threatens Rest Of The World With Flight Ban

Friday, 24 September 2010 14:58, Thomas Ludwig, Handelsblatt

EU threatens international airlines with banning of landing rights

Foreign airlines are threatened with a flight and landing ban from 2012 in the European Union if they do not participate in emissions trading.

The ban is proposed in an internal document by the EU Commission seen by Handelsblatt. Summarised on nine pages, the guidelines describe how such a ban could be implement. The Commission considers a flight and landing ban as a last resort to make the airlines surrender over its Emissions Trading Scheme.

An EU Directive stipulates that airlines from Europe and third countries are mandated to be included in the trading of emissions rights. On their flights to and from Europe, they may then only emit as much CO2 as the CO2 certificates they hold. 85 percent of the certificates are free of charge while 15 percent of the allowances have to bought via auctions.

"The whole project has not been thought through. The EU cannot impose its law on third countries," Holger Krahmer, environmental spokesman for the German Liberal Party in the EU Parliament told Handelsblatt.

In fact, international resistance against the EU plan is growing. Several American, Asian and African airlines are suing the EU over its emissions trade project. The US Aviation Association ATA is attempting to have the policy suspended by the European Court of Justice. And the Russian government has also voiced its displeasure in Brussels.

Not even critics of the project believe that the European Commission will actually ban flights by American and other foreign airlines. "They will use it as leverage, and accept compensation measures," estimates Liberal MEP Holger Krahmer. The EU Commission is looking for a face-saving way out: "What remains are the costs of CO2 allowances, which will only burden European airlines and make them uncompetitive" Airlines such as Lufthansa and Air Berlin had already warned of this danger in the legislative process.

"The EU has once again overestimated itself," said Krahmer. "The project was not thought through. The EU cannot impose its legal authority on third countries."

At the end of September, the general assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) will take place. Some countries, such as the U.S. want to adopt a resolution, which will make clear that emissions trading systems may only be applied by mutual agreement.

"Greenhouse gas emissions have increased dramatically, particularly in air traffic," said Social Democrat MEP Matthias Groote. The climate expert warns against granting exemptions to noncompliant airlines from third countries. "If the U.S. and other countries try to suspend the EU emissions trading regime for third countries, it would lead to a huge distortion of competition for European airspace." It is more important than ever to integrate international aviation into the EU's emissions trading system. After all, the emissions of greenhouse gases in air traffic have doubled in the past two decades.

The EU Directive, which includes aviation in emissions trading, is part of a package of regulations with which the EU wants to meet its climate protection goals. Emissions of greenhouse gases should fall by a fifth by 2020 under the 1990 level […]

The inclusion of aviation in the Emissions Trading Scheme will impact consumers too. According to calculations by the EU Commission, a ticket for a return flight within the EU could become more expensive by up to nine Euros because of emissions trading. For long-haul flights, larger price increases can be expected, a return ticket to New York could be up to 40 Euros more expensive. [transl. Philipp Mueller]

Handelsblatt, 22 September 2010 (GWPF)


Short Circuit: Surmounting the Many Barriers to A National Electricity Grid

This week, the Manhattan Institute (disclosure: I'm a senior fellow at MI) released a pair of reports that look at the obstacles to building and financing a nationwide electricity grid. [Read More] (Robert Bryce, ET)


Energy and the Dodd-Frank Act: More Bad from the Party in Power (more employment for lawyers and consultants)

by Sam Van Vactor
September 24, 2010

U.S. energy markets face a new regulatory framework arising from the failings of the financial sector. Trading costs will rise, threatening liquidity. However, many key elements of the Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act)  have been passed on to regulators. Their true nature will emerge only with time. The Act does little to streamline oversight activities, while the biggest problem may prove to be "regulatory creep'.


The Dodd-Frank bill cleared the U.S. House-Senate Conference Committee back on April 25 following intensive days of negotiation, lobbying, and a final all-night drafting session. The House of Representatives quickly approved the legislation, but it stalled in the Senate where a super-majority is required to avoid filibuster. After considerable maneuvering, the bill passed on July 15 and was signed into law by President Barack Obama the next week.

Many superlatives have been used to describe the Act -- historic, all encompassing, groundbreaking, etc. But it is far too early to judge its long-term impact. This is because many, if not most, of the key elements have been delegated to regulators to work out over the next year. The Act only provides an outline. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce counts more than 350 rules and regulations, not to mention dozens of studies that regulators will be required to craft.

Like so many policy decisions taken in response to the 2008 financial crisis: "the can has been kicked down the road." Now the real lobbying can begin.

Treasury on Top

For the energy sector, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) will make the key decisions. Its authority expands to include the market for Over-The-Counter swap trading, which until now has been largely unregulated. However, from another perspective, the independence of the CFTC and other Commissions has been constrained. The CFTC, along with nine other agencies and financial regulatory bodies, will form the body of a newly created Financial Stability Oversight Council. The Secretary of the Treasury chairs the Council.

To support the Council's work the Act establishes an Office of Financial Research at the Treasury. According to the House's press release, the Office will "be staffed with a highly sophisticated staff of economists, accountants, lawyers, former supervisors, and other specialists to support the council's work by collecting financial data and conducting economic analysis." For those not familiar with the bureaucratic vernacular, this means that the Treasury Department is more or less going to run the show.

A number of federal regulatory agencies -- particularly the Securities and Exchange Commission -- were criticized during the financial crisis for inadequate oversight and insufficient interagency coordination. For a time, Congress considered merging the SEC and the CFTC, or setting up completely new regulatory bodies. The FSOC may be a reasonable resolution of the obvious difficulties surrounding either of these alternatives; it remains to be seen.

The Act also mandates much closer direct coordination between the CFTC and the SEC. Indeed, much of the Act's language provides parallel directions to the two Commissions, and it orders them to prepare a joint memorandum of understanding on jurisdiction. Clarity may be difficult to come by, since the line between securities and commodities has blurred and promises to become even fuzzier. This obfuscation is further compounded by the plethora of electronic exchanges, "dark pools," bulletin boards, hedge funds, high-frequency traders, and related computer systems that have grown up around the OTC market. Attempts to rationalize regulation broadly through all markets will be a major challenge. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Brazil's oil prospects break all records of share placing: 70 billion US dollars

Brazil's government managed oil and gas company raised 70 billion US in the world's biggest-ever share offering Thursday. The success of Petrobras issue showed the extent of investor interest in Brazil's massive offshore oil reserves, one of the world's fastest-growing regions for energy production. (MercoPress)


Low-Emission Shale Gas to Discourage Nuclear, Carbon Capture, Chatham Says

Cheap, low-emission shale gas, with double the global reserves of conventional sources, will discourage investment in nuclear reactors and carbon storage that would fight climate change, a British study shows.

"In a world where there is the serious possibility of cheap, relatively clean gas, who will commit large sums of money to expensive pieces of equipment to lower carbon emissions?" Paul Stevens, senior research fellow at Chatham House, a London- based institute for the study of international affairs, wrote in the report published today.

Global shale gas reserves are estimated to be 456 trillion cubic meters (16,110 trillion cubic feet) compared with 187 trillion cubic meters for conventional gas, the London-based World Energy Council said in a 2010 report. More than 60 percent of shale gas deposits, or plays, are in North America and Russia. (Bloomberg)


Sure are worried about darn CO2 emissions, eh? Germany To Lobby For EU Support Vs Commission's Coal Subsidy Plan

BERLIN -- Germany will lobby for support among other European Union countries to change European Commission plans to end state aid for coal mines in 2014, four years earlier than previously scheduled in Germany, a government said Wednesday.

"The issue will have to be discussed on a European level. We will have to try to exert influence on a European level," government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters. Belgium, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, will discuss the coal subsidy issue. "A decision should then be made either at the Council of Competitiveness on Dec. 10 or if needed at the European Council on Dec. 16-17," he said.

The European Council, representing the national governments of EU member states, must approve the commission's proposal before it can become EU law. (Dow Jones)


Bob Barr, [un]Principled Supporter of Ethanol

by Brian McGraw
24 September 2010 @ 1:20 pm

Bob Barr, the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential nominee, had a piece in yesterday's Huffington Post titled Extending Ethanol Tax Credit Makes Sense. It's depressing to see such a high-profile libertarian completely sell out, and I hope he receives flack over this return to special interest politics, as just over a year ago he said "How about the still-active ethanol subsidy scam?" Thankfully, the online comments from the left-leaning Huffington Post suggest few are buying into his spiel. If this was some ploy by the ethanol industry to gain support from free-marketers, let me suggest that will not succeed. The entire article is full of misinformation.

Barr attributes a "lack of public awareness," and the tax credit's apparent complexity to the trouble ethanol…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


Solar Stocks Mostly Rise After California Move

Solar panels sit on the roof of SunPower Corporation in Richmond, California March 18, 2010. SunPower is a San Jose, California-based maker of high-efficiency solar panels.
Photo: Kim White

Stocks of solar power companies were mostly higher on Friday after California regulators voted on Thursday to raise the state's renewable energy target.

California's Air Resources Board approved an increase in the share of electricity in the state that is produced from renewable energy sources to 33 percent by 2020 from 20 percent by 2010.

However, an initiative in front of California voters on November's ballot aims to overturn the law that authorizes regulators to create the 33 percent target. (Reuters)


The Thanet wind farm will milk us of billions

The media remain conspicuously silent about the real price we pay for wind energy, says Christopher Booker.

In all the publicity given to the opening of "the world's largest wind farm" off the Kent coast last week, by far the most important and shocking aspect of this vast project was completely overlooked. Over the coming years we will be giving the wind farm's Swedish owners a total of £1.2 billion in subsidies. That same sum, invested now in a single nuclear power station, could yield a staggering 13 times more electricity, with much greater reliability.

The first all-too-common mistake in the glowing coverage accorded to the inauguration of this Thanet wind farm by the Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne, was to accept unquestioningly the claims of the developer, Vattenfall, about its output. The array of 100 three-megawatt (MW) turbines, each the height of Blackpool Tower, will have, it was said, the "capacity" to produce 300MW of electricity, enough to "power" 200,000 (or even 240,000) homes.

This may be true at those rare moments when the wind is blowing at the right speeds. But the wind, of course, is intermittent, and the average output of these turbines will be barely a quarter of that figure. The latest official figures on the website of Mr Huhne's own department show that last year the average output (or "load factor") of Britain's offshore turbines was only 26 per cent of their capacity.

Due to its position, the wind farm's owners will be lucky to get, on average, 75MW from their windmills, a fraction of the output of a proper power station. The total amount of electricity the turbines actually produce will equate to the average electricity usage not of 240,000 homes, but of barely half that number.

A far more significant omission from the media reports, however, was any mention of the colossal subsidies this wind farm will earn. Wind energy is subsidised through the system of Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs), unwittingly paid for by all of us through our electricity bills. Our electricity supply companies are obliged to buy offfshore wind energy at three times its normal price, so that each megawatt hour of electricity receives a 200 per cent subsidy of £100. (Christopher Booker, TDT)


Bulgaria Plans Caps On New Green Energy Assets

Bulgaria plans to put limits on new renewable energy assets to avoid a spike in sensitive energy prices and a collapse of its aging power grid, Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov said on Friday.

Traikov said the Balkan country can add up to 2,000 megawatts of new solar, wind and hydro power plants by 2020 without jeopardizing the security of power supply and keeping the energy prices at affordable levels.

The European Union country, where lucrative incentive schemes to support renewable power created wind and solar energy boom, has already tightened rules for environmental permits and aims to ban building of energy assets on quality arable land. (Reuters)


Wood fired power plants help reduce climate change

A retro idea in the UK is already in the US, I'd say it is a better method than some traditional power plant operations, but only works if you have an unlimited supply of trees nearby.

From the University of Manchester: How heating our homes could help reduce climate change

New Hamsphire's wood power project - from click

A radical new heating system where homes would be heated by district centres rather than in individual households could dramatically cut the UK's greenhouse gas emissions.

In a series of reports to be presented at a major conference this week, scientists at The University of Manchester claim using sustainable wood and other biofuels could hold the key to lowering harmful greenhouse gases. Continue reading → (WUWT)



The Fight to Protect Your Employee Health Care Coverage

A year ago, the President addressed Congress and the American people to explain his vision for the health care plan that would later be signed into law. During that speech, President Obama said that “if you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, or Medicare, or Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. Let me repeat this: Nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.”

In an attempt to fulfill this promise, Obamacare includes a provision to allow existing plans to be “grandfathered” under the new law, so that Americans won’t have to change coverage they like to adhere to the new law’s numerous rules and regulations. Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Still No Good News for ObamaCare

ObamaCare addresses every healthcare problem, with every solution further centralizing power and decision making in Washington. The promises do not come cheap. (Joseph Antos, American Magazine)


Side Effects: Premiums Will Rise Because of Obamacare

By now, most Americans who have been following the effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) realize that the health care overhaul is going to cause health insurance premiums to increase. Even President Obama admitted that his health care plan was “going to increase our costs—we knew that.”

However, the number of provisions in Obamacare that will increase premiums is likely far larger than most people realize. In recent research, Heritage analysts Brian Blase and Rea Hederman, Jr., highlight a dozen ways in which Obamacare will raise premiums. Three of the reasons they cover are listed below. To read about all twelve, check out this link. Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Promoting misery


The Misery Index has been soaring under Barack Obama, due to his own errors and government failure

By Steve H. Hanke

President Barack Obama has been marked by the curse of government failure. But you wouldn’t know it by listening to the political and chattering classes in Washington, D.C. and other world capitals.

In a classic response, the great dissemblers have done what they do best: When trouble strikes, they dissemble. Indeed, following the Panic of 2008, they have been busy burying their mistakes by pointing fingers, covering up and rewriting history. Alas, their assertions are rarely subjected to what they regard as the indignity of factual verification. Never mind.

When it comes to pointing fingers at the alleged culprits of our current economic troubles, the Obama administration has reached back to the rhetoric of class warfare. Who is better to blame than the usual suspects: bankers, businessmen, speculators and, of course, the “rich”?

Read More » (Financial Post)


Millennium Development Goals: Failing to Alleviate Poverty

This week at the U.N. General Assembly President Obama is set to address U.S. efforts to reduce global poverty by reaffirming support for the Millennium Development Goals. After 10 years and trillions of dollars spent, little progress has been achieved. With a ambitious 2015 deadline for the MDG’s completion, the U.N. has a lot of work to do.

In his chapter in ConUNdrum, Heritage Director for the Center of International Trade and Economics, Ambassador Terry Miller, states that while U.N. Millennium Development Goals are noble aspirations, they are unachievable. U.N. development programs fail to recognize that development is ultimately a process of individual change that governments can, at best, facilitate. Success is achieved primarily through the efforts of the poor themselves, entrepreneurs, businessmen, and other private actors that organize productive economic activity.

A system that lends itself to the inefficiencies created by central planning does little to help those who are in greatest need. A better way to alleviate global poverty is to transform the U.N. system into one that promotes transparency, competition, and democratic values. (The Foundry)


President Obama to the U.N: Do as I Say, Not as I Do!

President Obama said a number of good things in his address yesterday at the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Summit in New York.  Unfortunately, he has not been following his own good advice.

Saying his administration will no longer rely exclusively on metrics of money, food or medicine distributed to the world’s poor but judge the effectiveness of development programs by how successful they are in helping countries move “from poverty to prosperity,” the president advised other world leaders to direct taxpayer-funded foreign aid to countries pursuing economic growth by promoting “good governance and democracy; the rule of law and equal administration of justice; transparent institutions with strong civil societies; and respect for human rights.  Because over the long run, democracy and economic growth go hand in hand.”  He also urged others to adopt policies that “unleash the next generation of entrepreneurs.” Continue reading... (The Foundry)


EPA rules threaten the economy

By Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) - 09/22/10 09:27 PM ET

On Labor Day in Milwaukee, President Obama vowed to “keep fighting every single day, every single hour, every single minute, to turn this economy around and put people back to work and renew the American Dream.” Stirring rhetoric, no doubt; but to the employees at Thilmany Papers, a company that employs 850 people in two specialty paper mills in Wisconsin, it means little.

That’s because the Obama Environmental Protection Agency is threatening their livelihoods. The threat comes from EPA’s proposal to regulate industrial boilers, the Boiler MACT rule. As with most EPA rules, the Boiler MACT (maximum achievable control technology standards) sounds arcane, and seems to be the remote province of federal technocrats. This is certainly true, but its impact will be pervasive and damaging. Here’s what Thilmany had to say about it: “Our business, like many others, encounters many challenges. However, none threaten the continued existence of our business like this [proposed rule].” (The Hill)


Environmentalism as Religion

Traditional religion is having a tough time in parts of the world. Majorities in most European countries have told Gallup pollsters in the last few years that religion does not “occupy an important place” in their lives. Across Europe, Judeo-Christian church attendance is down, as is adherence to religious prohibitions such as those against out-of-wedlock births. And while Americans remain, on average, much more devout than Europeans, there are demographic and regional pockets in this country that resemble Europe in their religious beliefs and practices.

The rejection of traditional religion in these quarters has created a vacuum unlikely to go unfilled; human nature seems to demand a search for order and meaning, and nowadays there is no shortage of options on the menu of belief. Some searchers syncretize Judeo-Christian theology with Eastern or New Age spiritualism. Others seek through science the ultimate answers of our origins, or dream of high-tech transcendence by merging with machines — either approach depending not on rationalism alone but on a faith in the goodness of what rationalism can offer.

For some individuals and societies, the role of religion seems increasingly to be filled by environmentalism. It has become “the religion of choice for urban atheists,” according to Michael Crichton, the late science fiction writer (and climate change skeptic). In a widely quoted 2003 speech, Crichton outlined the ways that environmentalism “remaps” Judeo-Christian beliefs:

There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.

In parts of northern Europe, this new faith is now the mainstream. “Denmark and Sweden float along like small, content, durable dinghies of secular life, where most people are nonreligious and don’t worship Jesus or Vishnu, don’t revere sacred texts, don’t pray, and don’t give much credence to the essential dogmas of the world’s great faiths,” observes Phil Zuckerman in his 2008 book Society without God. Instead, he writes, these places have become “clean and green.” This new faith has very concrete policy implications; the countries where it has the most purchase tend also to have instituted policies that climate activists endorse. To better understand the future of climate policy, we must understand where “ecotheology” has come from and where it is likely to lead. (Joel Garreau, New Atlantic)


Gotta start indoctrination young: Congressman Calls For Schools To ‘Promote The Agenda’ Of Climate Change, Population Limitation

Rep. John Sarbanes says more environmental education in public schools will promote the agenda of climate change and population growth.

Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) told at a "Sustainability Education Summit" hosted by the U.S. Education Department on Tuesday that environmental education in schools can "promote the agenda" of climate change and population growth through the influence it has on children.

“Like I keep saying over and over again, if you get young people invested in those ideas early on, that will result in those kinds of positive policy developments," Sarbanes told "So, whether it’s climate change, whether it’s population growth, whether it’s all these factors that impact the health of our world, raising that awareness early among young people is only going to promote the agenda.” interviewed Sarbanes after he spoke at a U.S. Department of Education event--"Sustainability Education Summit: Citizenship and Pathways for a Green Economy"--hosted by Education Secretary Arne Duncan. (


U.S. Education Secretary Vows to Make American Children 'Good Environmental Citizens'

"Today, I promise you that under my leadership, the Department of Education will be a committed partner in the national effort to build a more environmentally literate and responsible society," said Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan vowed on Tuesday that his department would work to make American children into "good environmental citizens" through federally subsidized school programs beginning as early as kindergarten that teach children about climate change and prepare them "to contribute to the workforce through green jobs." (CNS News)


The enduring myth: The world's lungs (pretty picture though)

There is hope for forests, but mankind needs to move faster if they are to be saved

THE summer dry-season, now drawing to an end, is when the Amazon rainforest gets cut and burned. The smoke this causes can often be seen from space. But not this year. Brazil’s deforestation rate has dropped astoundingly fast. In 2004 some 2.8m hectares (10,700 square miles) of the Amazon were razed; last year only around 750,000 hectares were.

This progress is not isolated. Many of the world’s biggest clearers of trees have started to hug them. Over the past decade, the UN records, nearly 8m hectares of forest a year were allowed to re-grow or were planted anew. This was mostly in richer places, such as North America and in Europe, where dwindling rural populations have taken the pressure off forestland. But a couple of big poorer countries, notably China, have launched huge tree-planting schemes in a bid to prevent deforestation-related environmental disasters. Even in tropical countries, where most deforestation takes place, Brazil is not alone in becoming more reluctant to chop down trees. (Economist)


Seeing the wood (the picture with this one, however, could just as easily be smoke-laden wasteland anywhere)

Purveyors of water, consumers of carbon, treasure-houses of species, the world’s forests are ecological miracles. They must not be allowed to vanish, says James Astill (Economist)


All is Not What It Appears to Be

Hey! Did you know that what is depicted in those nature documentaries is not always genuinely "in the wild?" It's often set up in controlled circumstances, according to Chris Palmer, author of a new book that uncovers the tricks used by wildlife videographers. From the Washington Post: (Paul Chesser, AmSpec)


A Troubling Decline in the Caribou Herds of the Arctic

Across the Far North, populations of caribou — an indispensable source of food and clothing for indigenous people — are in steep decline. Scientists point to rising temperatures and a resource-development boom as the prime culprits. (Ed Struzik, e360)


Model deaths: Talking to death: texts, phones kill 16,000

WASHINGTON - Drivers distracted by talking or texting on cell phones killed an estimated 16,000 people from 2001 to 2007, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday.

The estimate, one of the first scientific attempts to quantify how many people have died in accidents caused specifically by mobile telephone distractions, also suggests a growing number of these drivers are under 30.

"Our results suggested that recent and rapid increases in texting volumes have resulted in thousands of additional road fatalities in the United States," Fernando Wilson and Jim Stimpson of the University of North Texas Health Science Center wrote in the American Journal of Public Health.

Wilson and Stimpson used details on road deaths from each state, on cell phone ownership and data on text message volume from the Federal Communications Commission.

They got reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on deaths attributable to distracted driving.

"Since roughly 2001-2002, texting volumes have increased by several hundred percent," Wilson said in a telephone interview. In 2002, 1 million texts were sent every month; this rose to 110 million in 2008.

"Since 2001 our model predicts that about 16,000 people have died since then that we attribute to the increase in texting volume in the United States." (Reuters)


EU finds no narcolepsy link to flu vaccine

LONDON - There is no evidence to link GlaxoSmithKline's H1N1 swine flu vaccine Pandemrix to cases of narcolepsy, European drugs regulators said on Thursday, but a full review is needed and will take three to six months.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said its Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use had reviewed all available data on the suspected link between narcolepsy and Pandemrix.

"The committee concluded that the available evidence was insufficient to determine whether there is any link between Pandemrix and reports of narcolepsy, and that further studies were necessary to fully understand this issue," it said in a statement. (Reuters)


Norwegian research questions benefit of mammograms

BOSTON - Routine breast screening with mammograms is less effective at preventing cancer deaths than expected, Norwegian researchers said on Wednesday in a study that reignites a fierce debate over the value of screening.

They said inviting women aged 50 to 69 to have routine mammograms and offering them better care from a team of experts helped cut the breast cancer death rate by 10 percent.

But the death rate in women over 70 - a group that also got better care but were not urged to have mammograms - fell by 8 percent, indicating that the mammograms only produced a slight benefit.

"There is a reduction in mortality, but it's lower than we anticipated," Dr. Mette Kalager of Oslo University Hospital, whose study appears in the New England Journal of Medicine, said in a telephone interview.

The researchers had expected a 30 percent reduction. (Reuters)


Not getting too hot can save you from heat-related problems? Just don't know how they do it... Air conditioning drives down hospitalizations

NEW YORK - Air conditioning not only keeps you cool during the summer heat, it may also keep you alive.

A new study of California residents suggests that people with air conditioners at home are less likely than their neighbors without the technology to develop serious heat-related illnesses -- including pneumonia, cardiac disease and heat stroke -- during temperature spikes.

Although the differences were generally small, given the population size in the nation's largest state, the public health effects of air conditioning could be substantial, the researchers say. (Reuters Health)

</sarcasm> One of the reasons we get really cranky with the vast array of dipsticks lining up to make people's energy more expensive and less available is because cheap, abundant energy is a tremendous health aid. Those who suffer the costs carelessly applied by the climate superstitious and fear profiteers are the elderly and the young, the infirm and particularly the less well off. The idiots airily waffling about "decarbonizing" and "renewables" might be able to afford indulgences from the church of global warming but the real cost is in human suffering and death visited on the less fortunate.


University of Western Australia seeks survey respondents: Attitudes Towards Science*
*Not recommended or endorsed in any way by

This study explores people’s beliefs about a wide range of topics, ranging from scientific propositions to claims made in the media and on the internet. In addition, the survey is interested in your attitudes towards your own life and issues confronting modern societies at the moment. The survey consists of around 40 questions and should take less than 10 minutes to complete.

Participation in this study is entirely voluntary. The completion of this internet survey is taken to constitute your consent to participate. If you do not wish to participate, exit this webpage now.

The data will be analyzed without regard to your identity. If the results from this study will be published, only aggregate results will be reported and individual responses will not be identifiable.

If you have any questions or comments about this research you may address them to the experimenter, Charles Hanich, at

The Human Research Ethics Committee at the University of Western Australia requires that all participants are informed that, if they have any complaint regarding the manner in which a research project is conducted, it may be given to the researcher or, alternatively to the Secretary, Human Research Ethics Committee, Registrar’s Office, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009 (telephone number +61 8 6488-3703).

I went through the above and felt it has numerous problems - questions are framed in absolute terms but lack useful definition (climate change is used frequently but is not defined, do they mean CAGW, natural variability with some anthropogenic component or what?). Climate scientists is used as a generic term without distinguishing between modelers (PlayStation® Climatology) or physical scientists (very few geologists are impressed by claims of CAGW, for example).

Basically it seems to be fishing for conspiracy theorists in an effort to associate them with CAGW skepticism. I suspect Hanich & HREC are likely to get a lot of complaints about this framing.


Federal Register Notice: Call For Public Comment

Public comment is sought on the development of the next USGCRP National Climate Assessment. visitors are encouraged to submit comments as requested by the FR notice.

The reason for doing this is to ensure that climate realists' views are adequately represented in the NCA and any ignoring of those views is done at the USGCRP's legal/political peril.


Issa calls for 'relook' at climate science

By Darren Goode - 09/23/10 07:44 AM ET

House Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is promising to give a “careful relook” at climate change science in the wake of last year’s “Climategate” scandal if Republicans take over the House.

“That doesn’t mean that global warming isn’t happening,” Issa told The Hill on Wednesday. “It means that we have to make sure that when we recalibrate what’s happening, why it’s happening, how much it’s happening, we need to ensure that we get a careful relook at the figures so that we’re accurate.

“It could be happening faster or slower,” he added, “but it’s very clear that those people played fast and loose with both the truth and our money.”

Issa is referring to e-mails from climate scientists at Britain’s University of East Anglia that appeared to include discussing ways to massage data and squelch views of researchers to strengthen the case for global warming. (The Hill)


Sigh... California's Whitman Against Climate Law Challenge

Republican candidate for California governor Meg Whitman said on Thursday she would vote against a challenge to the state's vanguard climate change law, although she would still suspend it for a year if elected.

In a good sign for the renewable energy and clean technology industries, both candidates for governor, Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown, have now come out against the measure known as Proposition 23. (Reuters)


Immelt Has Some “Thought Bullets”

by Fran Smith
23 September 2010 @ 12:22 pm

Mr. “Ecomagination” — GE’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt — called on the U.S. to put a long-term price on carbon so this country could compete with China in being “green, green, green, green - four greens,” according to a news article today in Bloomberg.

In his speech, the article notes, Immelt said that a carbon pricing scheme would create jobs:

The U.S. needs to establish a “long-term price signal” on carbon emissions, in order for companies to provide “appropriate funding for innovation” regardless of fuel, as well as revive nuclear energy. Such moves would create jobs rather than shift them overseas, Immelt said.

So taxing energy use — raising the price of energy — will be a job stimulator.  Doesn’t sound like it, if he…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


Pressure mounting for Rajendra Pachauri to resign as IPCC head

Pressure is mounting for Rajendra Pachauri to resign as head of the UN climate change panel over fears that his increasingly troubled tenure is hampering efforts to halt global warming. (TDT)


Et tu Harrabin? UN climate chief resignation call

Several environmentalists, UK MPs and scientists has called for the resignation of Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN's climate science body.

Dr Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has in the past been criticised by climate "sceptics".

They have claimed that some of his comments had become politicised.

Pressure increased recently when a report recommended that IPCC chairs serve only a single term of office.

Dr Pachauri has yet to comment on the matter. (Roger Harrabin, BBC News)

Raj is in trouble when even Dodgy Rog is writing about calls for his removal.


Climatism: Redoubling Misguided Efforts

Undaunted by Climategate disclosures and the failure to pursue climate legislation in the Senate, the climate movement is stepping up the attack. At an August 10 virtual town hall held by Repower America, former Vice President Al Gore stated, "We are not defeated. We are redoubling our efforts ...We need to solve the climate crisis." Thousands of supporters listened to the call. Inspired by Mr. Gore, they intend to "roll up their sleeves" and "turn their attention to the future." Unfortunately, the climate movement is long on enthusiasm and ideology, but short on science and economic sense.

Climatism, the theory that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth's climate, is increasingly in doubt. It appears that the world jumped to conclusions in 1992 at the Rio de Janiero Earth Summit, when 41 nations signed a treaty pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For the last eighteen years, political leaders have been arguing about how much to reduce such emissions. But more and more science shows our climate to be dominated by natural cycles of Earth, driven by solar activity. Man-made carbon dioxide emissions play only an insignificant role in global warming. (Steve Goreham, American Thinker)


Disasters mirror climate models: US environment chief

The flurry of exceptional weather disasters in recent years is completely consistent with scenarios about an aspect of climate change, the head of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Tuesday.

Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the top US agency for meteorology and environmental science, said extreme weather events, when viewed individually, should not be considered as firm evidence that climate change was under way.

"At the same time, (what) we are seeing, with more and more of these extreme events, is completely consistent with what we would expect to see under a climate-changed world," Lubchenco said in response to a question at a press conference during her European visit. (AFP)

Um, Jane? Is there anything at all that is not mirrored in the warmer; cooler; wetter; drier; more; less climate models?


Eilperin with more of the manufactured "emergency": Signs of climate change fail to improve political environment for cap-and-trade

The evidence for climate change grows: The first eight months of 2010 put this year on track to tie 1998 as the hottest year on record, global bleaching is devastating coral reefs and Arctic summer sea ice is reaching new lows.

But for all the visible signs of global warming, weakened political support for curbing emissions means the United States is unlikely to impose national limits on greenhouse gases before 2013, at the earliest. Several leading GOP candidates this fall are questioning whether these emissions even cause warming, while some key Democratic Senate candidates are disavowing the cap-and-trade bill the House passed in 2009.

"I don't see a comprehensive bill going anywhere in the next two years," Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told a Washington policymakers conference sponsored by Reuters on Tuesday.

This disconnect has left environmentalists and many climate scientists pessimistic. For years, activists argued that it was hard to limit greenhouse gases, because, unlike other forms of pollution, they are impossible to see, smell or touch. Climate effects are increasingly plain to see but no easier to address. (Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post)


Accuweather's Joe Bastardi thrives on controversy swirling around his beliefs

STATE COLLEGE -- Summer is just so yesterday.

Or is it?

Today may be the first day of autumn, but Joe Bastardi, the exuberant, colorful, controversial Accuweather hurricane forecaster -- indeed, the only meteorologist probably ever to appear on both Stephen Colbert's and Bill O'Reilly's shows -- was hunched over three computer screens Tuesday shaking his head.

"I don't think you'll need your fall clothing in October, but you're going to need it in November," he said, noting that after Wednesday's late-day storms cooled things off a bit, Friday's temperatures in Pittsburgh would be 10 to 15 degrees above normal and will remain relatively mild through the end of next month -- when it will suddenly get cold. (Mackenzie Carpenter, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


Rebranding exercise: China's great green wall grows in climate fight

China is speeding ahead with its massive tree-planting project to combat climate change - but questions still remain over the great green wall's effectiveness

Dubbed "The Great Green Wall," a human-made ecological barrier designed to stop rapidly encroaching deserts and combat climate change is coming up across China. By 2050, the artificial forest is to stretch 400 million hectares – covering more than 42 percent of China's landmass. (Mitch Moxley for IPS, part of the Guardian Environment Network)

That China has long had a tree planting program is true. Its purpose is and always has been reduction of the dust storms that sweep out of the west and make life somewhat difficult in China's populous east. How nice that it can be rebranded as "combating climate change" and possibly even qualify for indulgence money from the self-loathing, guilt-tripping ecochondriacs of the West.


Trying the alternate "crisis" of "acidification": Some North Atlantic Pollution Falls, New Threats Loom

Efforts to clean up and protect the North East Atlantic have made some progress since 2000 but new threats are looming such as ocean acidification linked to climate change, a study said on Thursday. (Reuters)


Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, Sep. 23rd 2010

Global warming has a new name to scare the kids with, California has something called ‘air activists’, there is something rotten in Finland and the age of discovery is dead. (Daily Bayonet)


Funnier by the day: UK’s shipping emissions six times higher than expected says new report

Carbon dioxide emissions produced by UK shipping could be up to six times higher than currently calculated, according to new research from The University of Manchester.

As the shipping industry’s emissions are predicted to continue to grow in the future, the UK will fail to meet its commitment to avoid dangerous climate change if additional cuts are not made to other sectors.

According to a University of Manchester study, the global shipping industry, despite being traditionally viewed as one of the most energy efficient means of transport, releases increasing amounts of harmful emissions into the atmosphere every year.

Indeed, as the rest of the world strives to avoid dangerous climate change, the global shipping industry’s carbon emissions could account for almost all of the world’s emissions by 2050 if current rates of growth – fuelled by globalisation – continue.

What an idiotic propaganda piece. Shipping could account for almost all emissions in 40 years? China is building all those new coal-fired power plants as decorations which it will not use, right? They mention but apparently didn't realize the significance of "the majority of vessels refuel at nearby ports, such as Rotterdam in Holland, where prices are more competitive" -- so when you tax things out of competitive price ranges consumers purchase elsewhere? Who'da thunkit? U.K. taxpayers pay these clowns through the Tyndall Centre -- they should demand their money back.


Oh... Richard Branson on climate change



Paper: Current Arctic Sea Ice is More Extensive than Most of the past 9000 Years

A peer-reviewed paper published in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences finds that Arctic sea ice extent at the end of the 20th century was more extensive than most of the past 9000 years. The paper also finds that Arctic sea ice extent was on a declining trend over the past 9000 years, but recovered beginning sometime over the past 1000 years and has been relatively stable and extensive since. The paper also demonstrates that even though annual sea ice extent has been less than the present throughout most of the last 9000 years, low sea ice has consistently failed to cause a planetary albedo 'tipping point' claimed by warmists. (Hockey Schtick)


Grudging admission from Nude Socialist: The sun joins the climate club

Editorial: The sun's activity has a place in climate science

THE idea that changes in the sun's activity can influence the climate is making a comeback, after years of scientific vilification, thanks to major advances in our understanding of the atmosphere.

The findings do not suggest - as climate sceptics frequently do - that we can blame the rise of global temperatures since the early 20th century on the sun. "There are extravagant claims for the effects of the sun on global climate," says Giles Harrison, an atmospheric physicist at the University of Reading, UK. "They are not supported."

Where solar effects may play a role is in influencing regional weather patterns over the coming decades. Predictions on these scales of time and space are crucial for nations seeking to prepare for the future.

Over the famous 11-year solar cycle, the sun's brightness varies by just 0.1 per cent. This was seen as too small a change to impinge on the global climate system, so solar effects have generally been left out of climate models. However, the latest research has changed this view, and the next report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), due in 2013, will include solar effects in its models.

So far, three mechanisms have come to light (see diagram). The best understood is what is known as the top-down effect, described by Mike Lockwood, also at the University of Reading, and Joanna Haigh of Imperial College London. Although the sun's brightness does not change much during solar maxima and minima, the type of radiation it emits does. During maxima the sun emits more ultraviolet radiation, which is absorbed by the stratosphere. This warms up, generating high-altitude winds. Although the exact mechanism is unclear, this appears to have knock-on effects on regional weather: strong stratospheric winds lead to a strong jet stream. (New Scientist)

In fairness, NS did run Sun more active than for a millennium back in '03

Image source: New Scientist

Soon after, The Sun is More Active Now than Over the Last 8000 Years came from Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science in '04.

The image at right was accompanied by the caption:

Top: Reconstructed sunspot activity (10 year average) for the last 11,400 years based on C-14 data (blue curve) and the directly observed historical sunspot data since 1610 (red curve). The reliable C-14 data ends around the year 1900 so that the sharp increase in sunspot activity in the 20th century does not appear in the graph. The reconstruction shows clearly that a comparable period of high sunspot activity previously existed over 8000 years ago. Below: An enlarged section of the upper graph (hatched area) with several episodes of higher sun activity; comparable to the 20th century.

Image source: Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research


Comment To Andy Revkin On The Dot Earth Post “A-Sharp-Ocean-Chill-And-20th-Century-Climate”

Dot Earth has a post titled A Sharp Ocean Chill and 20th Century Climate

David W. J. Thompson, John M.Wallace, John J. Kennedy & Phil D. Jones, 2010: An abrupt drop in Northern Hemisphere sea surface temperature around 1970. Nature. doi:10.1038/nature09394

The abstract reads

“The twentieth-century trend in global-mean surface temperature was not monotonic: temperatures rose from the start of the century to the 1940s, fell slightly during the middle part of the century, and rose rapidly from the mid-1970s onwards. The warming– cooling–warming pattern of twentieth-century temperatures is typically interpreted as the superposition of long-term warming due to increasing greenhouse gases and either cooling due to a mid-twentieth century increase of sulphate aerosols in the troposphere, or changes in the climate of the world’s oceans that evolve over decades (oscillatory multidecadal variability). Loadings of sulphate aerosol in the troposphere are thought to have had a particularly important role in the differences in temperature trends between the Northern and Southern hemispheres during the decades following the Second World War2–4. Here we show that the hemispheric differences in temperature trends in the middle of the twentieth century stem largely from a rapid drop in Northern Hemisphere sea surface temperatures of about 0.3 C between about 1968 and 1972. The timescale of the drop is shorter than that associated with either tropospheric aerosol loadings or previous characterizations of oscillatory multidecadal variability. The drop is evident in all available historical sea surface temperature data sets, is not traceable to changes in the attendant metadata, and is not linked to any known biases in surface temperature measurements. The drop is not concentrated in any discrete region of the Northern Hemisphere oceans, but its amplitude is largest over the northern North Atlantic.”

In response to Andy’s alerting me to this post, I replied 

Hi Andy

 This is a very good Dot Earth post. The Thompson et al paper is an example of what we discussed in our paper

Rial, J., R.A. Pielke Sr., M. Beniston, M. Claussen, J. Canadell, P. Cox, H. Held, N. de Noblet-Ducoudre, R. Prinn, J. Reynolds, and J.D. Salas, 2004: Nonlinearities, feedbacks and critical thresholds within the Earth’s climate system. Climatic Change, 65, 11-38.

As we wrote in the abstract

“The Earth’s climate system is highly nonlinear: inputs and outputs are not proportional, change is often episodic and abrupt, rather than slow and gradual, and multiple equilibria are the norm. While this is widely accepted, there is a relatively poor understanding of the different types of nonlinearities, how they manifest under various conditions, and whether they reflect a climate system driven by astronomical forcings, by internal feedbacks, or by a combination of both.”

We present examples of this nonlinear behavior across a variety of space and time scales in our paper.

Among our conclusions is that we recommend to

“[i]mprove our vision of the climate’s future through a better understanding of its history. Paleoclimate and hydroclimate records exhibit abrupt changes in the form of rapid warming events, the irregular oscillations of ENSO, catastrophic floods, sustained droughts, and many other nonlinear response characteristics. Extracting, identifying, categorizing, modeling and understanding these nonlinearities will greatly help our ability to understand the present and future state of the climate”


“Understand the global connectivity and variability of ocean-atmosphere coupled phenomena, such as the North Pacific Oscillation (NPO), the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), the Arctic Oscillation (AO), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO).”

In the comments on Dot Earth, I note that there remains an impression that models can be used to explain the observations. However, models are only hypotheses which must be tested in terms of their skill at prediction. It is clear that the multi-decadal global models remain unable to skillfully simulate regional ocean/atmospheric features such as exemplified in the Thompson et al paper.

I also agree with the comments of Carl Wunsch that there is a limited selection of papers that are highlighted. We need a way to be more inclusive and your weblog is serving as an excellent venue for this purpose.

Best Regards

Roger Sr.

P.S. My comment above can be posted if you chose to.

(Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Schmidt, Mann, Rutherford: just clueless

Mostly off-topic: Yesterday, Czech President Václav Klaus gave a talk at Johns Hopkins University in D.C. about the EU, the evolution of the recent crisis, and a new case for capitalism: full transcript. In a discussion with the students, our leader has also identified plans for a "world government" to be an utter left-wing cosmopolitan nonsense that he will attempt to annihilate.
One month ago, we discussed the
paper by McShane and Wyner (MW)
in Annals of Applied Statistics that has demonstrated something we have known for years - namely that the methodology behind the hockey sticks is not a reliable tool to reconstruct the temperatures. The very method is flawed and can be seen to produce hockey stick graphs out of red noise, as McShane and Wyner have explicitly concluded, too.

The journal has just published a Mannian reply,
reply to MW by Gavin Schmidt, Michael Mann, and Scott Rutherford.
It's quite incredible: they're clearly completely clueless, or at least they pretend to be.

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)


Own Weather Records Contradict Germany’s Weather Service Director

P Gosselin 23. September 2010

Berlin temperature record for the last 300 years

The European Institute For Climate and Environment (EIKE) in Germany recently had a piece at it’s blogsite here, which I have summarized.

The USA has James Hansen, and England has Phil Jones. Germany now has Prof. Dr. Gerhard Adrian, the new President of the German Weather Service. His mission: to produce a trend to climate catastrophe as quickly as possible. Recently he said:

The average temperature in Germany has risen by in 1.1°C from 1881 to 2009. It could go up another 2 to 4°C by the end of the century.


We’ll have a completely whole new set of extremes to deal with; that’s the threat.

This is the new message from the once respected German Weather Service. Suddenly, doom and gloom are the forecast.

Inconveniently for Dr. Adrian, his own data and earlier statements made by German Weather Institutes seem to contradict his claims.

Firstly, why choose a timescale that starts in 1881 when records go back as much as 300 years in Europe? The following graphics are temperature charts going back more than 200 years for some European cities (visit EIKE for better quality graphics (here).

Temperature plots for some European cities.

Here’s the temperature chart for Berlin going back 300 years (same as above in the introduction):

Berlin's weather record

There we don’t see much going on until about 1990. In fact the total trend is 0.08″C rise per century – statistically insignificant. Surely Dr. Adrian is aware of this.

Now let’s take a look at the temperature CO2 correlation.

Berlin temperature vy CO2 concentrations.

Poor correlation there too. While atmospheric CO2 concentrations climbed from 1750 to 1980, Berlin’s temperature did the opposite. But when one is hired to promote global warming alarmism, then 1881 is a good place to start.

Let’s go back and look at the last 2000 years. Maybe that’ll reveal something more earth-shattering.

Pre-Mannian temperature reconstruction for the last 2000 years

All the climate catastrophe talk put out by Hansen, Jones, and now Dr. Gerhard Adrian, simply do not materialize when you take an honest look at the statistics.

As far as weather extremes occurring, here’s what the German Weather Institutes said in the pre-Gerhard-Adrian days, just a couple of years ago. According to the German Weather Service, recently quoting the German Meteorological Society, 3/2002, p. 2:

When it comes to extreme weather events, no significant trend can be observed up to now. Also such events like the flooding of 2002 are part of the norm in our climate.

According to a German Weather Service press conference 24 April 2007, Berlin;

Up to now there has been no increase of extreme events:  Up to now – with the exception of the already mentioned heavy summertime precipitation – there has been no detectable systematic changes or shifts of extreme values

And again, according to the German Meteorological Society 3/2002, S. 2, on the flood of 2002:

Also such events, like the big flood of 2002, are part of the norm in our climate.

Dr. Adrian ought to listen to his own data. (No Tricks Zone)


Court-ordered released document shows University of Ottawa suppressing critical global climate research

(Photo: Dean of Science Dr. Andre E. Lalonde sends vehement email to quash research of AGW critic, collateral damage student. Credit: University of Ottawa.)

The University of Ottawa has a notorious record regarding access to information and protection of personal information: LINK-1, LINK-2, LINK-3, LINK-4, LINK-5, LINK-6, LINK-7, LINK-8.

In a recent access to information (ATI) case in which a graduate student sought access to his personal information, the University made sustained but failed attempts over a period of two years to subvert the ATI law of Ontario.

In the end, on August 27, 2010, the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) Adjudicator Diane Smith ordered the University to immediately release the last contested document (IPC Order PO-2909-I).

The student, scholarship physics graduate student and elected University Senate member Joseph Hickey, has made the entire ordeal public on the web: HERE. (U of O Watch)


More dirty pool by NCDC’s Karl, Menne, and Peterson Embedded with permission from - click to see original

I’ve mentioned more than once in the past how the Tom Karl managed National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) team has taken to using my data without my permission. They even ignored my letter sent direct to Tom Karl. I’d written to him to explain how Menne et al took that data, against my protestations of it being incomplete and not yet quality controlled, but planned on using it to write a paper refuting my work anyway. This was done before I could even get the surfacestations project survey completed. The goal of course was to preemptively refute what I and the volunteers had exposed: the pathetic condition of the USHCN climate observation network in the USA where only 1 in 10 stations meet the NOAA’s basic 100 foot exposure rule.

When you are faced with budget killing criticisms, I guess in their view playing dirty pool doesn’t seem so bad. Dr. Roger Pielke Senior voiced some similar criticisms of this amateurish behavior on the part of NCDC, Karl, and Menne, saying it amounted to professional discourtesy. Even NCDC GHCN guru Tom Peterson got into the act early on, writing a ghost authored “talking points” memo about the surfacestations project. Dr. Pielke weighed in on that too. Forgetting to clear his PDF editor document properties, Peterson was promptly busted for writing a ghost paper:

Here is a screencap: Continue reading (WUWT)


Further Confirmation Of Klotzbach Et al 2009


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

we concluded

“This paper investigates surface and satellite temperature trends over the period from 1979 to 2008. Surface temperature data sets from the National Climate Data Center and the Hadley Center show larger trends over the 30-year period than the lower-tropospheric data from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Remote Sensing Systems data sets. The differences between trends observed in the surface and lower-tropospheric satellite data sets are statistically significant in most comparisons, with much greater differences over land areas than over ocean areas. These findings strongly suggest that there remain important inconsistencies between surface and satellite records.”

In our paper,

Christy, J.R., Herman, B., Pielke, R., Sr., Klotzbach, P., McNider, R.T., Hnilo, J.J., Spencer, R.W., Chase, T., and Douglass, D. What Do Observational Datasets Say about Modeled Tropospheric Temperature Trends since 1979?. Remote Sens. 2010, 2, 2148-2169.

in which this issue was explored further we reported that

“However, at this time, the evidence implies that in the satellite era, the relationship between the surface and tropospheric trends in the tropics is significantly different between observations and models. This result is consistent with that of [7,8] who compared global surface and tropospheric trends between observations and models and found significant differences over composites of both land and ocean.”  [references 7 and 8 are Klotzbach et al 2009 and 2010].

An ideal candidate for explaining this divergence between the lower tropospheric and surface temperature records is a systematic warm bias in the surface temperature trend data. As presented yesterday (see), even the research groups who are using this data to admit to a lack of information on the siting history of these surface (GHCN) observing locations. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Russia’s Pre-emptive Arctic Strike

(Moscow) Let’s face it, though the UN Law of the Sea Department has yet to confirm it, at least 60 percent of the Arctic is Russian territory. [Read More] (Peter C. Glover, ET)


“Why They Go Green” (WSJ editorial says much in few words)

by Robert Bradley Jr.
September 23, 2010

When will Democrats and true environmentalists wake up to windpower, or what Robert Bryce calls the ethanol of electricity? Industrial wind is a scam when seen in all of its dimensions–economic, environmental, and esthetic. Bryce has identified five myths of green energy–and post after post at MasterResource by Kent Hawkins, Jon Boone, and John Droz Jr. have shown that meaningful CO2 reductions from windpower are highly debatable.

Industrial wind is chock full of environmental negatives and isn’t nearly as effective at reducing air emissions than advertised. Big Wind is  corporate welfare with companies like GE and FPL skipping their federal taxes. Wind today is the legacy of Enron, the Ken Lay model of political capitalism. Wind is an assault on lower-income energy users, not only taxpayers. (And Democrats are supposed to be for the little guy….)

Yet the Left marches onward with no inkling of a need–given their own purported values–to make midcourse corrections.

Industrial wind and on-grid solar were supposed to be competitive by now. Beginning in the 1980s, the (false) promises have come again and again from wind and solar proponents. Read the quotations here.

And now, desperation has set in for an industry that needs more government (point-of-a-gun) energy policy to continue its artificial boom. And so a fundraiser yesterday was held by the renewable lobby for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D. Nevada) that caught the eye of the Wall Street Journal, which published this short op-ed, Why They Go Green: [Read more →] (MasterResource)


The Government’s Light Bulb Ban Is Just Plain Destructive

The economic theory of “creative destruction” is important when understanding the value innovation has on long-term economic growth.

Popularized by Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter, the theory says the short and long-term benefits of entrepreneurial activity and competition will far outweigh the short-term losses caused by a new product replacing an old one. Audiotape makers may lose their jobs to the makers of compact discs, who may lose their jobs to the digital age.

When it occurs organically, it’s a beautiful process that begets economic progress and benefits the consumer. When forced on businesses and consumers by our government, it does far more harm than good. And that’s exactly what’s occurring with the federally mandated incandescent light bulb ban.

In 2007, Congress passed an energy bill that placed stringent efficiency requirements on incandescent bulbs in an attempt to phase them out beginning in 2012 and replace them with more expensive but more energy-efficient bulbs, the most popular being compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). Politicians used a distorted view of creative destruction mixed with global warming concerns to sell the regulation. They said it would create jobs, save consumers money, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But what’s really happened? Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Will High Costs Kill Merkel's Green Revolution?

Chancellor Angela Merkel's vision of completing Germany's conversion to renewable energy by 2050 is bold and ambitious. But she has remained silent about the risks and the tremendous costs the green revolution will entail -- for Germany and all of Europe. (Spiegel)


Germany Could See Solar Power Cap: BlackRock

Rising costs for solar power in Germany could either trigger a further large cut in sector subsidies or a cap on new installations in the world's No.1 solar market, a BlackRock fund manager said.

Power transmission grid operators are obligated to pay feed-in tariffs (FIT) to producers of solar power, which are then added to customers' bills, and critics have noted that ballooning demand for photovoltaics leads to higher costs.

The German government agreed in January on a large one-off cut of at least 16 percent to the tariffs, which took effect in July, but analysts have repeatedly mentioned that further action was likely to make the subsidy-dependent industry more competitive. (Reuters)


Analysis: Firms Jump On UK Offshore Wind Bandwagon

The promised vast expansion of the UK's offshore wind resources is proving to be a powerful lure for companies not normally associated with renewables but keen to generate eco-friendly and reliable sources of revenue.

Engineers, consultants and oil rig makers, from GKN to Lamprell and Singapore's Keppel, are setting up new divisions and partnerships in order to get a foothold in the market, which offers secure returns to those building and running the turbines. (Reuters)


Bad news for green technology

Rare Earths used in Hybrid cars - Image from - click

From Slashdot:

The NY Times reports that the Chinese government has placed a trade embargo on all exports to Japan of a crucial category of minerals used in products like hybrid cars, wind turbines and guided missiles.

China mines 93 percent of the world’s rare earth minerals, and more than 99 percent of the world’s supply of some of the most prized rare earths, which sell for several hundred dollars a pound. Continue reading (WUWT)



Resistance To Health Reform Still Runs High

Happy Birthday, ObamaCare. Six months old today and raising the cost of medical care, restricting patient options and causing employers to drop workers three years before even being fully implemented. (Kerri Houston Toloczko, IBD)


Reform's Victims

ObamaCare: The first provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act take effect Thursday, and casualties are already piling up. This week's include children who'll have to go without health insurance. (IBD)


Tell me again why Democrats want socialized medicine? German government passes health reform to plug funding gap

BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet passed a controversial reform on Wednesday meant to overhaul the country's cash-strapped health system and plug a funding gap, Health Minister Philipp Roesler said.

Merkel's centre-right cabinet agreed a compromise that includes a rise in healthcare levies on workers and employers to plug an 11 billion euro gap for next year.

The health bill, due to be debated in the Bundestag lower house of parliament this autumn, would raise a mandatory health insurance charge split between workers and employers to 15.5 percent of gross wages from 14.9 percent from next January.

Increases in doctors' and hospital costs would be capped and health insurance company administration costs frozen at 2010 levels.

Employer contributions would be fixed at the new level, while the insured would have to shoulder increasing costs alone through extra contributions. (Reuters)


The U.N. Wants to Tax the World Out of Poverty

At the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Summit in New York this week, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Spain’s Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero both called for a global financial transaction tax to fund foreign aid projects to lift the world’s poor out of poverty. Sounding more like a populist politician than an international civil servant, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon chimed in supportively, warning developed countries not to “balance budgets on the backs of the poor.”

Trouble is, there is little evidence that the vast sums of tax dollars expended on Official Development Assistance (ODA, or foreign aid) by U.N. donor governments in the past 50 years have made much of a difference. In fact, foreign aid may actually impede the economic growth needed to achieve the MDGs. Continue reading... (The Foundry)


The U.N.’s Perpetual Effort to Attain the Power to Tax

Tell me if you’ve heard this one. The United Nations champions many good ideas and efforts afoot that would vastly benefit people around the world if only it had the resources to pursue them. Standing in the way of all of this “good” are stubborn, stingy nations (like the U.S.) that do not give the U.N. enough resources to pursue their goals. If only the U.N. could circumvent the pesky issue of national sovereignty and tax individuals directly the U.N. could do wonders.

Although this may sound reasonable to those unfamiliar with the U.N., it is a recipe for disaster considering the U.N.’s extensive record of mismanagement, ineffectiveness, unaccountability and opacity.

Creating an international tax to fund the U.N. and other multilateral programs has long been a dream of global government advocates. Over the years, various U.N. reports and government officials have proposed taxing currency transactions and carbon, airline flights, international arms sales, resources harvested from outer space or the oceans, and e-mail. Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Criticism Grows of Afghanistan's Bloated NGO Industry

The NGO community in Afghanistan has grown into an industry where a large part of aid budgets is spent on security, and money gets frittered away on pointless projects. Afghans are becoming increasingly skeptical about the foreign organizations that are supposed to be rebuilding their country. (Spiegel)


Red Tape Rises Again: Cost of Regulation Reaches $1.75 Trillion

Red tape chokes economic freedom

How much does federal regulation cost Americans each year? The question is not an easy one.

While the revenues and expenditures of the government are budgeted and accounted for each year, the costs of regulation are largely hidden from view, paid for indirectly via higher prices, fewer choices, and less innovation. The best estimates of the total cost, however, have come from a series of reports commissioned by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The latest such report was released today by the SBA’s Office of Advocacy, and the results are startling.

Rules and restrictions imposed from Washington now cost Americans some $1.75 trillion each year. That is sharply higher that the $1.1 trillion in costs reported in 2005 in the SBA’s last such study. Continue reading... (The Foundry)


This will have the antivaxxers baying at the moon :-) All pregnant women should get flu shot, say ob-gyns

NEW YORK - Despite landing in the hospital more often if they catch the flu, no more than a quarter of pregnant women in the U.S. get vaccinated against it.

That's according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which has issued a recommendation urging all pregnant women to get the flu shot.

While the recommendation itself isn't new, the statement, published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, adds evidence on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, said Dr. William M. Callaghan of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

He said the CDC and several medical associations back the statement, which notes that the shot not only protects the woman, but also her baby.

Flu vaccines aren't approved by the Food and Drug Administration for infants younger than six months of age, but babies can get the protective antibodies naturally through breast milk if their mother got the vaccine.

While some flu vaccines contain the mercury-based preservative thimerosal, a study out last week found the compound did not increase the risk of autism, as some have worried. (See Reuters Health story of September 13)

The statement does not recommend against vaccines containing preservative, but notes that thimerosal-free alternatives are available.

It adds that there have been no reports of side effects in pregnant women or their babies, but that women should only get the inactivated vaccine. (Reuters Health)


Eye-roller: Expert Jennifer James calls for infant formula to be prescribed to boost breast feeding rate

INFANT formula should be available only on prescription to boost breast feeding rates, an expert says.

But Victoria's peak doctors' group and Melbourne mothers say the proposal goes too far.

Jennifer James, of RMIT University, said formula manufacturers should also be banned from marketing their products to the public.

"When women are having problems, and it's very challenging learning to breast feed, the formula is readily available and the marketing suggests that babies will thrive on it, so women go for it," Dr James said.

"The majority of women and new dads that you speak to will give you some reasons why it's important to breast feed but there's still this pervasive belief that 'I'll try it and if I can't do it, formula's just as good'.

"I would like to see formula prescribed by a health professional rather than being available in supermarkets and chemists." (Herald Sun)


PC nonsense: Environment Key To U.S. Security: Congress Briefing

Environmental degradation and waning natural resources threaten U.S. security in the 21st century, in a shift from "kinetic" security threats, defense experts told a Capitol Hill briefing Wednesday.

The loss of renewable natural resources, including forests, fresh water, fish and fertile soils, can drive political instability and conflict in the developing world, according to the briefing. (Reuters)

Radical ideologues and religious zealots preach hatred of the West and this lot want to worry about tree hugging?


Lack of development: Water, sanitation vital to poverty goals: U.N.

UNITED NATIONS - The lack of clean drinking water and sanitation in the world's poorest nations threatens U.N. goals to cut poverty and disease, and raises the risk of conflict, leaders and aid groups said on Wednesday.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said the Millennium Development Goal on increasing access to sanitation services had become the "the orphan MDG."

"The sector is under-discussed, under-prioritized and therefore under-resourced," Johnson-Sirleaf said at an event during a U.N. summit to assess progress on the goals. (Reuters)


Merkel's Backpedaling on Aid Is 'Cynicism, Pure and Simple'

On Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told world leaders gathered at the UN in New York that the Millennium Development Goals would not be met and that recipient nations must be more efficient in their use of the aid they get. In Germany, some commentators found her new stance cynical, while others welcomed it. (Spiegel)


Guest post: only trade-fuelled growth can help the world’s poor

By William Easterly

The Millennium Development Goals tragically misused the world’s goodwill to support failed official aid approaches to global poverty and gave virtually no support to proven approaches.

Economists such as Jeffrey Sachs might argue that the system can be improved by ditching bilateral aid and moving towards a “multi-donor” approach modelled on the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria. But current experience and history both speak loudly that the only real engine of growth out of poverty is private business, and there is no evidence that aid fuels such growth.

Of the eight goals, only the eighth faintly recognises private investment, through its call for a “non-discriminatory trading system”. This anodyne language refers to the scandal of rich countries perpetuating barriers that favour a tiny number of their businesses at the expense of impoverished millions elsewhere. Yet the trade-related MDG received virtually no attention from the wider campaign, has seen no action, and even its failure has received virtually no attention in the current MDG summit hoopla.

This is all the more misguided because trade-fuelled growth not only decreases poverty, but also indirectly helps all the other MDGs. Yet in the US alone, the violations of the trade goal are legion. US consumers have long paid about twice the world price for sugar because of import quotas protecting about 9,000 domestic sugar producers. The European Union is similarly guilty.

Equally egregious subsidies are handed out to US cotton producers, which flood the world market, depressing export prices. These hit the lowest-cost cotton producers in the global economy, which also happen to be some of the poorest nations on earth: Mali, Burkina Faso and Chad. (Financial Times)


Clinton unveils U.S. funds for clean cookstove push

NEW YORK - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on Tuesday a U.S. contribution of some $50 million toward providing clean cooking stoves in developing countries to reduce deaths from smoke inhalation and fight climate change.

The U.S. funding, which will be spread over five years, is part of a Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves launched to combat a problem officials equate with malaria and unclean water in terms of its health impact worldwide.

Some 1.9 million premature deaths, mostly among women and young children, occur every year due to smoke inhalation from rudimentary stoves, which in many cases consist of a few stones and an open fire inside or outside a shelter, officials said. (Reuters)

Cleaning indoor pollution is a really good thing, one that would best be achieved by making sure there was adequate affordable electricity for industry (to provide jobs and income) and run cheap domestic cooking appliances. The gorebull warbling thing is pure nonsense and does not belong in health and development efforts.


Radical Environmental Groups Extorting Federal Money with Lawsuit Threats

A federal project comes up, radical groups threaten to entangle it in litigation, the government pays them to go away. Fundraising! (Karen Budd Falen, PJM)


'Lost' species of frog rediscovered

Three ‘extinct’ species of frog have been rediscovered as part of a search for the world’s ‘lost amphibians’.

Conservation International launched the campaign to find lost amphibians just a month ago and already scientists from around the world have reported exciting new findings. (TDT)


Bypasses seal deal for eels to return to Britain

They are as fragile as their name suggests, yet glass eels survive being hurled about by terrifying storms as they evade sharp-toothed predators on a 4,000-mile, three-year odyssey from the North Atlantic. Then they arrive in Britain only to find that the barricades are up.

Concrete walls, tidal flaps, sluice gates and weirs are just some of the many obstacles these tiny creatures come up against as they try to swim up rivers to reach the inland waterways where they can grow to adulthood. Consequently, the number of eels in Britain's waterways has slumped.

Now a review of British rivers will identify structures that can be pulled down, or sites that are suitable for eel-friendly bypasses. In some cases, a pipe lined with grippy mesh is all that is needed for the eels to get past a man-made obstacle. (Independent)


Biodiversity Balderdash

Evidently 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, a year long celebration of Earth's glorious variety of species and ecosystems. Unfortunately, the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has failed to meet its ambitious goal: a significant slowdown in biodiversity loss by 2010. The AAAS journal Science has acknowledged this celebration with special News Focus section and a Review article. “After failing to meet its major conservation goal, the Convention on Biological Diversity is setting new targets for stemming the loss of species,” its lead article states. But the news is not all bad. In some countries, conservation efforts have helped species recover and reportedly large-scale deforestation in the Amazon has declined by 47.5% over the past 12 months. With eco-alarmists shifting their panicked attention from climate change to biodiversity, it is time to look at the facts.

Biodiversity is the variety of genes, species, and ecosystems that constitute life on Earth. It represents the diversity of materials available from nature that we humans turn into food, timber, medicines, and fibers for clothing. Some estimate that the economic value of benefits from biodiverse natural ecosystems may be 10 to 100 times the cost of maintaining them. So how are we doing in this International Year of Biodiversity? In “Despite Progress, Biodiversity Declines ,” Science reporter Erik Stokstad lays out a number of key areas, taken directly from the CBD report Global Biodiversity Outlook 3:

Degradation of Habitat
The Good The Bad
Some progress. Canada's largest timber companies agreed to caribou protection and ecosystem-based management of 72 million hectares of boreal forest. Many regions rich in biodiversity, such as Indonesia, continue to lose habitat. In the Amazon and a few other places, conservation action or economic recession has slowed the loss. Sustainable forestry is expanding but remains small.
Conservation Status of Species
The Good The Bad
Some progress. In some countries, conservation efforts have helped species recover. The golden toad (Incilius periglenes) of the cloud forests in Costa Rica was declared extinct in 2008. Global warming, pollution, and disease contributed.
Funding for Conservation
The Good The Bad
Some progress. New money being invested to prevent climate emissions from deforestation will help save biodiversity. In 2008, Norway contributed $1 billion to Brazil's Amazon Fund. From 2005 to 2007, official aid increased from about $3.1 billion to nearly $3.9 billion, but the emphasis is shifting to fighting climate change. Even rich countries spend just a tiny fraction of their national budgets on biodiversity.
Consumption of Biological Resources
The Good The Bad
None. The goal has not been met globally and is a major reason for biodiversity loss. Prized for sushi, the northern bluefin tuna is considered critically endangered. In March, conservation groups failed in their attempt to get an international ban on trade.
Protected Areas
The Good The Bad
The target has been achieved for more than half of the terrestrial ecoregions. The United Kingdom recently designated the Chagos Archipelago as the largest marine reserve in the world, setting aside 544,000 square kilometers. Overall, 12% of all land is protected, but less than 0.5% of the oceans.
Invasive Species
The Good The Bad
Some progress. Global trade and travel continue to spread alien species, some of which become invasive. Most countries don't have management plans. The voracious snakehead fish (Channa striata) of tropical Asia has spread around the world. Around 2007, it arrived in southern Papua New Guinea and is eating native fishes.

While things could probably be better, this report does not sound like humans are creating a sixth major extinction event as some have claimed. Progress is being made all but one area, consumption of biological resources, and that is to be expected. We will either hunt/harvest some species to extinction or learn to conserve and manage those resources. If you are really into sushi, learn to protect the bluefin tuna. Many nations are taking active steps to protect and restore marine harvest, from cod to krill. What's more, nations like Brazil and Indonesia are taking steps to preserve their forests. Perhaps things are not as bad as some eco-alarmists would have us believe.

Besides, it is hard to judge humanity's impact on biodiversity when science still doesn't have a firm idea of how many species share the planet with us. Appearing in the same issue of Science, a news focus article by Dennis Normile, “Joint Expedition Discovers Deep-Sea Biodiversity, New Volcanoes,” report that scientists are still discovering new species by the thousands:

The shallow water reefs of the Coral Triangle, which stretches across Indonesia and north through the Philippines, host the world's greatest diversity of corals, fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and marine plant species. Now preliminary results from a joint Indonesian–U.S. marine survey indicate that the biodiversity runs deep. A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) has captured stunning images of massive corals, as well as unusual crustaceans and fish living at depths never before surveyed, thousands of meters below the surface.”

The deep ocean “is hugely unexplored,” states Stephen Hammond, chief scientist for ocean exploration at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Meryl Williams, a former director general of The WorldFish Center in Penang, Malaysia, and a member of the Census of Marine Life steering committee adds that large swaths of the oceans “haven't been touched yet.”

Some new species of ocean life recently discovered. Photos NOAA.

Back on land, large-scale deforestation in the Amazon has declined by 47.5% over the past 12 months, according to a preliminary survey by the Brazilian Ministry of Environment using a low-resolution satellite. This is one of the largest declines since measurements began 20 years ago. If confirmed by a second set of satellite measurements due out later this year, it would mean more than an 80% drop in forest loss since a 2004 peak.

According to the report “Brazil Says Rate of Deforestation in Amazon Continues to Plunge ,” by Antonio Regalado, recent decisions by large food processors and supermarkets not to buy soybeans and beef from newly deforested areas has helped to slow the rate of deforestation. Naturally this report is not welcome news to the professional eco-alarmists and green NGOs. Greenpeace in Brazil labeled the government's use of such preliminary figures as “propaganda.” Evidently, environmental activists are incapable of accepting good new.

In the review article, “Biodiversity Conservation: Challenges Beyond 2010,” Michael R. W. Rands et al. paint a grimmer picture. In 2002, scientists with WWF published a map of 238 ecological regions selected to represent the range of Earth's ecosystems. The color coding, shown in the figure below, groups the terrestrial regions into 14 biome types. The eco-regions include areas with particularly rich biodiversity or unusual ecology or evolutionary phenomena, such as the radiation of Galápagos finches. Many of these areas face dire threats, whereas others are better protected.

Rands et al. claim that continued growth of human populations and rising individual consumption have resulted in unsustainable exploitation of Earth’s biological diversity. Exacerbated by climate change, ocean acidification, and other anthropogenic environmental impacts, biodiversity continues to decline. “We argue that effective conservation of biodiversity is essential for human survival and the maintenance of ecosystem processes,” the authors state. “Moving beyond 2010, successful conservation approaches need to be reinforced and adequately financed.” They sum up the current state of affairs this way:

Pressures on biodiversity continue to increase. The key pressures driving biodiversity loss are overexploitation of species, invasive alien species, pollution, climate change, and especially the degradation, fragmentation, and destruction of habitats. Agriculture is an expanding land use in about 70% of countries, generally at the expense of biodiversity. Much of the global timber trade is based on unsustainable or illegal logging that destroys biodiversity-rich habitat, as shown across five major timber-producing countries in 2009 where, on average, only 14% of licensed logging area was sustainability-certified, while up to half of all harvesting was illegal.

Increasing demand for vegetable oils—for food, cosmetics, and biofuels—has put further pressure on biodiversity. Expanded corn, sugar cane and palm oil production threatens uncleared forest lands. Marine biodiversity is also under increasing pressure, with steep declines in fish populations and loss of marine habitats resulting from over fishing. As though rapacious human nature isn't bad enough, some say we are also threatening biodiversity through anthropogenic climate change:

Further anthropogenic climate change and rising human resource demands will pose immense interlinked challenges. Climate change may force species to shift their ranges and disrupts ecological communities. Lack of continuous semi-natural habitat or networks of connected habitat patches can restrict the capacity of species to adjust to changing conditions. Enhanced levels of atmospheric CO 2 also threaten corals through ocean acidification. New initiatives and technologies aimed at mitigating climate change may have negative effects on biodiversity. For example, technological developments in biofuel production from cellulose could drive the planting of high-yielding perennial C4 grasses, such as Miscanthus, on millions of hectares of temperate-zone land not currently used for agricultural production.

Some how you knew that AGW would enter the argument. And evidently, we are damned if we do and damned if we don't—mitigation strategies like biofuels make the cure worse than the disease. That is why this blog has called for the end of all government backing for the biofuel industry. Wind, solar, hydro and geothermal can also damage ecosystems. These facts have become clearer over time but that has not stopped fatuous ecotards like John Holdren from calling for the “de-development” of the industrial world.

I'm sorry, but all of this wailing and gnashing of teeth has a familiar sound to it. One would think that species had never before gone extinct or been forced to shift their ranges. I guess the all those glacial-interglacial and interglacial-glacial transitions don't count, only the supposedly man made changes. Or maybe, because it takes a long time for continents to bash into one another, it is only a terrible thing when humans introduce “invasive species.” Species invade new habitats all the time, and an invasion doesn't always require a new land bridge.

There used to be giant ground sloths in South America. The first sloths arrived in North America about 7 million years ago, presumably by swimming between islands from South America. Some sloths even evolved into fully aquatic creatures similar to modern seals, though they are now extinct. By 13,000 years ago, all North American ground sloths were also extinct, except for a few populations on Caribbean islands. H. sapiens did not create them, did not move them from continent to continent, and did not drive them to extinction. Face it, when it comes to killing off species, nature is the champion.

Aquatic sloths evolved and went extinct, with no interference from man.

Those who would vilify humanity while ignoring the sanguinary 4 billion year history of life on this planet are contemptible. No matter how bad you think humans are, nature is worse. Humans have even come close to going extinct. I have repeated this statement from the Smithsonian's paleobiology web site before:

Extinction is the complete demise of a species. It takes place when all individuals of a species die out. Extinction has occurred throughout the history of life on Earth. It is the ultimate fate of all species. In fact, it has been estimated that 99.9% of all species that have ever lived on Earth are now extinct.

And while humans have undoubtedly become a significant additional cause of extinction for many species over the past 25,000 years, our impact is trivial compared with nature's own killing sprees. Again quoting from the Smithsonian site:

Species are constantly going extinct, often for reasons that are not particularly obvious, and at other times for reasons that are peculiar to the species in question. The processes that lead to this pattern of constant background extinction occur continuously, so that at any given time, while some species are going extinct, others are making their appearance for the first time. Over time, this process of continual turnover produces great changes in the species composition of the Earth’s ecosystems. However, there have been times in the past when rates of extinction have been significantly higher than normal background rates. These are referred to as mass extinctions. During such events, vast numbers of species disappear in a relatively short period of time.

Personally, I am all for preserving biodiversity. All of those field tested, successful genomes running around represent a wealth of useful information that mankind can tap. According to a PNAS article, “What lies underneath: Conserving the oceans’ genetic resources,” by Jesús M. Arrieta et al., “human appropriation of marine genetic resources (MGRs), with over 18,000 natural products and 4,900 patents associated with genes of marine organisms, with the latter growing at 12% per year, demonstrates that the use of MGRs is no longer a vision but a growing source of biotechnological and business opportunities.”

This reflects my long standing opinion that if you wish to save a species put it on the menu—cows and chickens are certainly not endangered species. While the growing commercial importance of MGRs bodes well for their future preservation, Arrieta et al. further state that diversified human use of marine resources calls for an urgent revision of the goals and policies of marine protected areas.

The protection of MGRs or any other natural genetic resources is a good thing, and better international laws, treaties and cooperation in this area are certainly called for. But trying to elevate biodiversity decline to the level of “crisis” or declaring the beginning of an Anthropocene Epoch will backfire, just like the climate change “crisis” self-imploded.

The CBD will meet soon to adopt a new strategic plan. The new plan revises several of the 21 previous sub-targets, such as controlling invasive species, creating more nature reserves and of course, climate change. “The challenges of addressing the social and behavioral contexts for biodiversity conservation are daunting,” state Rands et al. “This is the year in which governments, business, and civil society could decide to take seriously the central role of biodiversity in human well-being and quality of life and to invest in securing the sustainable flow of nature’s public goods for present and future generations.”

It could be, but I wouldn't bet on it. People are more interested in raising themselves out of poverty, curing the ravages of childhood diseases or simply eating regularly. Nature lovers and ecological NGOs must learn that people do not respond well to hyped up claims of a biodiversity “crisis.” Particularly calling humanity evil for the piddling impact we have had on biodiversity.

If the goal is to have people value nature more, then nature must be made more valuable to people. Stop trying to frighten people and work on the harder problem of convincing them that biodiversity is a good thing. Spreading frightening and accusatory biodiversity balderdash will not work, and for everyone's sake, stop yammering on about climate change.

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



Why does Brownback push RES?

By Steve Milloy
Kiowa County Signal, September 22, 2010

Will Sam Brownback’s last act as a senator be to sellout Kansas and the rest of America on capping greenhouse gas emissions?

Sen. Brownback joined Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and several other senators earlier this week in introducing a bill to establish a national renewable electricity standard (RES), which Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has indicated he would try to make the consolation prize in this Congress’ final lame duck-clash over global warming regulation.

Sen. Brownback called RES a common-sense energy policy and said, “the beauty of this is it is not cap and trade.”

What is RES and why should Sen. Brownback not let an RES bill stain his senatorial legacy?

An RES would require that electric utilities generate a set percentage of their power from so-called “renewable” power sources, like solar and wind, by a certain date. The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, which was disastrous-for-House-Democrats, passed in June 2009 and would, for example, require that utilities generate 20 percent of their power from renewables by the year 2020. Sen. Bingaman’s bill would reduce the Waxman-Markey standard to 15 percent as per Sen. Brownback’s request.

But even a 15 percent RES would be quite the monumental challenge given that solar and wind power provide less than 2 percent of current electricity generation and require massive subsidies to do even that much. According to the Department of Energy, solar and wind are each subsidized at a rate 55 times that of coal, 97 times that of natural gas and 15 times that of nuclear power. Solar panels and windmills aside, it’s only the taxpayer wallet that makes these forms of energy “renewable.”

But cost is not the main reason for rejecting the arbitrary targets and deadlines of a national RES.

Imagine a utility that generates 100 percent of the electricity it sells by burning coal or natural gas . Impose the Bingaman-Brownback RES standard on that utility and, all of a sudden, only a maximum of 85 percent of its electricity can be generated by fossil fuels. In other words, the utility’s use of fossil fuels has been capped.

Since the passage of the Waxman-Markey bill, Americans have been up in arms against cap-and-trade. But the same reasons for opposing cap-and-trade can, and ought, to be applied to RES, which should be labeled “cap-and-subsidize.”

Under cap-and-trade, electric utilities would be compensated for higher generation costs by charging consumers more for electricity and by selling billions of dollars of carbon credits, received for free courtesy of taxpayers. Under RES, electric utilities would be similarly compensated for higher generation costs, courtesy of over-charged consumers and untold billions in taxpayer subsidies. So the difference between RES and cap-and-trade is merely a change in form, not a change in substance of an economy-killing consumer/taxpayer rip-off.

Sen. Brownback hasn’t yet figured out that the effort to regulate greenhouse gases is not spurred by good faith intentions to protect the environment as much as it is spurred by the left-wing political agenda to increase government control over the U.S. economy through energy rationing.

It is ironic that just as Kansas succeeds in beating back the radical green agenda — witness the likely permitting this year of the controversial Sunflower coal-fired power plant in southwest Kansas — Sen. Brownback would surrender the state and nation to the agenda of the Obama administration’s admitted socialists, energy czar Carol Browner and former green jobs czar Van Jones.

America has rightly rejected cap-and-trade and its associated political agenda. Sen. Brownback should too; and if he returns to Kansas as governor, he needs to leave such bad green ideas in Washington, D.C.

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

Tell Sen. Brownback that an RES is a bad idea and he’s being played for a sucker by Harry Reid.


Motion to Stay Makes Strong Case Court Should Overturn EPA Global Warming Rules

by Marlo Lewis
22 September 2010 @ 5:15 pm

Last Thursday (September 16, 2010), three groups, each led by the Coalition for Responsible Regulation (CRR), filed motions with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to “stay” (put a hold on) the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently finalized greenhouse gas regulations.

The EPA regulations at issue are:

The Endangerment Rule, which finds that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions endanger public health and welfare, thereby obligating EPA to develop and adopt GHG emission standards for new motor vehicles.

The Tailpipe Rule, which, per the Endangerment Rule, establishes first-ever GHG emission standards for new motor vehicles.

The Triggering Rule, which holds that when the Tailpipe Rule takes effect (Jan. 2, 2011), “major” GHG emitting facilities will be “subject to regulation” under the Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) pre-construction permitting program and Title V operating permits program.…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


<chuckle> Environmentalists need a new president

I confess that when I initially heard of it, I thought Bill McKibben's drive to return solar panels to the White House was essentially a waste of time: of all the things to ask the president, it seemed like the smallest, most insignificant, and easiest. It certainly wouldn’t solve the climate crisis. And it would allow President Obama to cloak himself in a symbolic green action that let him cover a rapidly worsening environmental record.

I realize now that its very simplicity made the solar panels a masterstroke that clearly exposed, more than any big policy ask ever would, President Obama's unwillingness or inability to confront our great planetary crisis. Because even in this smallest of disappointments, Obama responded in a way that was a caricature of his failure-by-committee administration: sending mid-level officials to tell the greatest American environmental activist of our time that the president was rejecting their request out of hand in favor of a continued "deliberative process." Huh? It's a solar panel, not the Afghanistan war strategy. Politico, in the course of its daily "mind-meld" with top White House officials, probably captured the truth behind the White House's craven response when they wrote that "the White House won’t like the symbolism" of anything associated with Jimmy Carter.

Of course, rejecting the solar panels, taken alone, is no reason to pass judgment on the entire administration. But this cowardly act came on the same day that the administration rolled out the latest plank in a growing legal assault on independent actions to fight climate change. (Glenn Hurowitz, Grist)


New propaganda: Can a video game help us adapt to climate change?

A new video game attempts to shock young people out of ecological apathy.

A new video game, 'Fate of the World,' presents a scary future to encourage young people to take action to fight global climate change. The company released 'Climate Challenge' in 2007. (CSM)


Kremlin Adviser Says Kyoto Can't Stop Climate Change

The Kyoto Protocol will have virtually no impact on slowing global warming unless it expands to take in the United States, China and more developing countries, Russia's chief climate negotiator said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

No and even advocates admit complete implementation of the silly thing could not make a measurable difference to global mean temperature, which is why they say it's just a start and we need, ooh, lots and lots of Kyotos.


Cancún talks may not reach a deal but there are still reasons for optimism

There is time to agree a new commitment period of the Kyoto protocol from 2012 if rich countries face their responsibilities (Guardian)

If countries [' leaders] face their responsibilities to their citizens then there will be no more "climate treaties" and associated nonsense.


Combet admits carbon tax an option

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has given a clear sign the Federal Government is prepared to consider introducing a carbon tax.

Before the election, Prime Minister Julia Gillard ruled out using a tax to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But the Greens advocate a tax as an interim measure and the chief of BHP has also endorsed the idea.

Mr Combet says the Government is determined to put a price on carbon and the new parliamentary committee on climate change will consider all options. (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)


Chris Huhne fights Treasury to save his climate department

Chris Huhne's climate department is under threat from the Treasury which wants to swallow it up

Climate change secretary Chris Huhne is fighting to defend his department's funding and independence, fending off a suggestion that his civil servants should be moved to the Treasury to cut costs.

Huhne is having to resist the Treasury on numerous policy fronts. He has rejected the relocation idea, fearing his department's civil servants would "go native" if they moved into offices in the Treasury. (Guardian)

Presumably by "go native" he means bureaucrats might actually begin to care about real-world costs of tinkerbell policies?


Access to Energy, Poverty Alleviation and Policy Blinders

The NYT has a story today on a new report from the IEA (here in PDF) issued in conjunction with a meeting of the UN general Assembly:

More than $36 billion a year is needed to ensure that the world’s population benefits from access to electricity and clean-burning cooking facilities by 2030, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday.

In a report prepared for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals meeting in New York, the agency said the goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2015 would be possible only if an additional 395 million people obtained access to electricity and one billion gained access to more modern cooking facilities that minimize harmful smoke in the next few years.

“Without electricity, social and economic development is much more difficult,” Fatih Birol, the energy agency’s chief economist, said by telephone. “Addressing sanitation, clean water, hunger — these goals can’t be met without providing access to energy.”

The problem of energy inequality mirrors the gap between rich and poor countries, Mr. Birol said. “The amount of electricity consumed by sub-Saharan Africa, with 800 million people, is about the same as that used in New York State, with about 19 million people,” he said.
But as anyone who understands the Kaya Identity knows, bringing people out of poverty will necessarily lead to greater greenhouse gas emissions.  Birol tries to sidestep this issue:

Mr. Birol played down concerns that bringing more of the global population into the modern energy economy would be bad for the environment.

He predicted that meeting the development goal would raise global oil consumption just 1 percent, while raising carbon emissions only 0.8 percent.
I have discussed these estimates before, and they simple to not stand up to the most basic of arithmetic.  As I wrote last November, when I critiqued a similar statement from Birol:
[T]he IEA is arguing that electricity can be provided to 1.3 billion people by 2030 and it will add only 0.24 GtCO2. Somehow I don't find that to be credible.

By contrast, if each of those 1.3 billion people had average emissions at the 2007 world average of 4.4 tCo2 they would add about 5.72 GtCO2 to the 2030 total, or an increase of 14% over the [450 ppm stabilization] Reference Scenario.

What this exercise shows is that you can have a lot of fun with Reference Scenarios and Stabilization Scenarios, none of which is too closely connected to the real world. To suggest that access to electricity for 1.3 billion people can be provided at a marginal emission increase of 0.24 GtCO2 is misleading at best, and yet another example of how international assessments serve to dramatically understate the magnitude of the decarbonization challenge.
I understand what Birol is trying to do -- he wants to avoid any perception that poverty alleviation comes into conflict with efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  So he is arguing that you can lift people from poverty with almost no effect on carbon dioxide emissions.  This argument is just wrong.  While this argument allows the poverty alleviation and carbon dioxide reduction agendas to seemingly co-exit harmoniously, it dramatically downplays the challenge of emissions reductions.

This is a shame, because the best path forward to accelerating decarbonization of the global economy lies not in pretending that a conflict does not exist between poverty alleviation and emissions reductions, but precisely the opposite.  The only way that we will meet the world's energy needs of the future -- especially the needs of the 1.5 billion lacking access -- is to diversify and reduce the cost of energy via a commitment to innovation.

When we put on policy blinders to avoid seeing things we'd rather not, sometimes the result is that we miss out on seeing some pretty important things as well. (Roger Pielke Jr.)


It'll get worserer! Vulnerable Arab World Lags On Climate Change Action

The Arab world will be one of the regions worst hit by climate change but still lacks any coordinated response to its potentially devastating effects, experts said at a conference this week.

With hotter, drier and less predictable climates, the amount of water running into the region's streams and rivers is set to fall 20 to 30 percent by 2050, worsening desertification and food insecurity, the United Nations Development Programme says.

Arab states, many rich in petroleum and grappling with fast-growing populations, lack the political will to act, experts said at the UNDP regional meeting that ended on Tuesday.

"They are leaving entire generations who will wake up and find a disaster on their hands that they will be completely unequipped to handle," Mostafa Tolba, former executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, told Reuters.


Well, it is a conference on climate change and creativity: Samoan clerics finger homosexuals over global warming

Clerics in the South Pacific have fingered the key cause of climate change - homosexuals.

The revelation came at a conference at the University of the South Pacific considering the implications of Climate Change and Creativity.

Academics were apparently thrown off their consideration of "Arts in the Age of Global Warming" and "Ecology in Poetry / Poetry in Ecology" by reports of Church Ministers who maintained that climate change in Samoa are clearly attributable to to homosexuals. (The Register)


Old, Pressed Flowers Give Climate Clues: Study

Flowers picked up to 150 years ago in Victorian England show that old collections of pressed plants around the world can help the study of climate change, scientists said on Wednesday.

Ecologists compared samples of early spider orchids, held in collections with notes showing the exact day in spring when they were picked in southern England from 1848-1958, and dates when the same flower blossomed in the wild from 1975-2006.

"Warmer years were associated with earlier flowering ... In both cases flowering was advanced by about six days per 1 degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) rise in average spring temperature," they wrote in the Journal of Ecology after cross-checking with local temperature records.

The match between higher temperatures and quicker flowering for both old and modern orchids showed for the first time that botanical collections could be a reliable source to study climate, even if temperature records were lacking, they said. (Reuters)

Since we are pretty sure it has been warming longer than the age of the oldest collections we are expecting what, exactly, besides learning it has been warming since the depths of the Little Ice Age? Oh well, nice little earner for someone, I guess.


Questioning the Arctic Ice Melt and Temperature Scare

BY JACK DINI –Whatever we hear about the Arctic these days we should keep in mind that most information is based on satellite measurements of Arctic sea ice since 1979. With a little over thirty years of data many scientists and environmentalists use decreases in Arctic sea ice as a sure sign of man-made global warming. A little over thirty years of data is hardly a blink of an eyelid in terms of geological time. As Richard Lindzen, a prominent global warming skeptic and professor at MIT puts it, “this is a primitive field where nobody has much idea of anything.” (Hawaii Reporter)


Back to "it's hiding in the deep ocean": Scientists Find 20 Years of Deep Water Warming Leading to Sea Level Rise

Scientists analyzing measurements taken in the deep ocean around the globe over the past two decades find a warming trend that contributes to sea level rise, especially around Antarctica.

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, cause heating of the Earth. Over the past few decades, at least 80 percent of this heat energy has gone into the ocean, warming it in the process.

“Previous studies have shown that the upper ocean is warming, but our analysis determines how much additional heat the deep ocean is storing from warming observed all the way to the ocean floor,” said Sarah Purkey, an oceanographer at the University of Washington and lead author of the study.

This study shows that the deep ocean – below about 3,300 feet – is taking up about 16 percent of what the upper ocean is absorbing. The authors note that there are several possible causes for this deep warming: a shift in Southern Ocean winds, a change in the density of what is called Antarctic Bottom Water, or how quickly that bottom water is formed near the Antarctic, where it sinks to fill the deepest, coldest portions of the ocean around much of the globe.

The scientists found the strongest deep warming around Antarctica, weakening with distance from its source as it spreads around the globe. While the temperature increases are small (about 0.03°C per decade in the deep Southern Ocean, less elsewhere), the large volume of the ocean over which they are found and the high capacity of water to absorb heat means that this warming accounts for a huge amount of energy storage. If this deep ocean heating were going into the atmosphere instead – a physical impossibility – it would be warming at a rate of about 3°C (over 5°F) per decade. (NOAA)

Since there are more than 300 atmosphere's worth of ocean to absorb the dreaded gorebull warbling this would be a really good thing since modeled atmospheric warming would only be 0.3% as large. Let's see... 1.5-4.5 °C x 0.003 is, um really tiny.


Ocean cooling contributed to mid-20th century global warming hiatus (and so did the PDO)

NOTE: As is typical these days, and in keeping with co-author Phil Jones tradition of not giving up anything, the publicly funded scientific paper is not included with the news, and is hidden behind a paywall. All we can get is the press release and abstract and this silly picture of the researcher grinning like a banshee. Speculate away with impunity. I wonder why he has the ozone hole in Antarctica next to the HadCRUT temperature series?

Caption: David W.J. Thompson, professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University, is the lead author of a Nature paper that shows sudden ocean cooling contributed to a global warming hiatus in the middle 20th century in the Northern Hemisphere. Credit: Colorado State University

FORT COLLINS – The hiatus of global warming in the Northern Hemisphere during the mid-20th century may have been due to an abrupt cooling event centered over the North Atlantic around 1970, rather than the cooling effects of tropospheric pollution, according to a new paper appearing today in Nature.

David W. J. Thompson, an atmospheric science professor at Colorado State University, is the lead author on the paper. Other authors are John M. Wallace at the University of Washington, and John J. Kennedy at the Met Office and Phil D. Jones of the University of East Anglia, both in the United Kingdom. Continue reading (WUWT)


Pollution not to blame for rapid ocean cooling, says Phil Jones paper

Research from UEA finds drop in temperature is too quick to be caused by the build-up of sulphur aerosols from fossil fuels

Scientists studying a rapid cooling of the oceans around four decades ago have found that the traditional explanation for the phenomenon, which involved pollution in the atmosphere, does not stack up. (Guardian)

There was never any empirical support for the sulfate cooling hypothesis to begin with, it was just the best excuse modelers could come up for why the world wouldn't warm as they insisted it must.


Deja Vu '72?

Quite a difference of opinion between Dr. Hubert Lamb and the subsequent director of Alarm Central* - a.k.a. the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit (HADCRU)- the infamous post-whitewash-reinstated Dr. Phil Jones. Also curious, Dr. Lamb said in 1972 that the global temperature trend had been slowly dipping for the past 20 years. But a plot today of the 'same' HADCRU data shows an increasing trend from 1952-1972:
* in association with NASA/GISS
UPDATE: Dr. Lamb was also the source of the paleoclimate graph used in the 1990 & 1995 IPCC reports which shows an inconvenient hotter Medieval Warming Period than the present. The following IPCC report threw away Dr. Lamb's graph in favor of Michael Mann's hockey stick graph, which served to eliminate the the Medieval Warming Period. This was the purpose of Mann's hockey stick -to eliminate the MWP- as stated in the climategate emails.
UPDATE 2: A 1974 newspaper article interview of Dr. Lamb says that the global temperature had dropped by 1/3 to 1/2 of a degree C in the last 30 years, followed by "The decline of prevailing temperatures since about 1945 appears to be the longest-continued downward trend since temperature records began," says Professor Hubert H Lamb of the University of East Anglia in Great Britain. However, a plot today of the 'same' HADCRU data from 1944-1974 also shows an increasing trend:

(Hockey Schtick)


E-mail Exchange With Joshua Willis On The Diagnosis Of Global Warming From Ocean Heat Content Changes

With the permission of Joshua Willis of JPL, I have posted a set of e-mails that he and I have exchanged over the last month. I present from the earliest to the latest (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Good luck with that: Countries lay claim to Arctic in battle for oil and gas reserves

Nations laid out their claims to territory in the polar North yesterday and the vast untapped mineral wealth that lies under the Arctic Ocean.

Shrinking polar ice has opened up new opportunities, with five nations – Russia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and the US – claiming jurisdiction over parts of the polar region which could contain as much of one quarter of the world's undiscovered reserves of oil and gas. (Independent)


Crackdown On Coal Subsidies Overdue

Dozens of Spanish coal miners just spent their 20th night underground in northern Spain. They're not trapped, as in Chile, but are there voluntarily, to protest an EU decree that will force governments to phase out coal-industry handouts by next year. This week hundreds more miners are joining the cause in strikes around the country.

If anything, the European Commission's crackdown on coal-production subsidies is long overdue. Until now, Brussels has spared coal mining in its long-running war against industrial subsidies thanks to the miners' political clout, and so politicians have been able to keep high-cost and low-quality production alive on public life-support. In Spain, that amounts to an estimated €1 billion per year total being shoveled into the industry. Given this public largesse, it's hardly surprising that the EU's order could endanger the livelihoods of the country's 8,000 coal workers, and up to 40,000 jobs in peripheral sectors. Spanish coal workers have never had to conform to market demands before, so being forced to now may well be an existential threat to the entire industry.

Rather than make the case that ending the subsidies will benefit all Spaniards and reduce a €1 billion drain on Madrid's overstretched public fisc, Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has instead fed coal miners' expectations of public charity. He had previously assured them that Madrid's subsidies would satisfy EU antitrust rules—even its scheme to pay utilities to use domestic coal over foreign imports or gas. That plan is now on hold, and many of Spain's coal workers say they haven't been paid in months. (GWPF)


'Merkel Will Regret This'

In an interview with SPIEGEL, Green Party floor leader Renate Künast, 54, discusses her opposition to Chancellor Merkel's plan to extend the lifepans of nuclear power plants and her party's dramatic recent surge in the polls (Spiegel)


What’s New About Windpower? Erich Zimmermann in 1933

by Administrator
September 22, 2010

Excerpt from Erich Zimmermann, World Resources and Industries: A Functional Appraisal of the Availability of Agricultural and Industrial Resources (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1933), pp. 556–58.

“The Place of Wind in Modern Energy Economy”

Not only are new uses of water as a source of energy being studied, but the power of the wind is likewise being subjected to renewed scrutiny. Two recent proposals are mentioned here in order to indicate the trend of this development. The first is a German proposal which was reported in a wireless from Berlin, February 11, 1932, as follows:

Harnessing the air for generating electric power is advocated by Hermann Honnef, an engineer, whose perfected designs for that purpose are engrossing the attention of scientists and technicians and may revolutionize the German electric industry. Honnef claims to have solved the technical difficulties in a way to efficiently convert the force of the wind into electric power and to overcome the drawback of the inconstancy of air currents which hitherto has been a handicap to the utilization of this source.

His plan is to tap the winds at altitudes of 1,000 to 1,400 feet by means of great steel towers equipped with gigantic windwheels several hundred feet in diameter. Such an aeroelectric unit, requiring 6,000 tons of steel for its construction, would generate 20,000 kilowatts a day, and so economically that a rate of less than a quarter of a cent per kilowatt hour can be figured out, the inventor asserts.

In expounding his project at the Physics Institute of the Charlottenburg Polytechnic, before physicists, electrical engineers and technical representatives of the Reich government, Herr Honnef emphasized that water power suitable for developing electricity was confined to certain localities and that hydroelectric plants were costly, whereas the winds were everywhere available and therefore the logical source for electric power. Forty to fifty of his power towers could be built annually in Germany, he said, and the low rate at which power produced by them could be furnished to consumers would lead to hitherto unthought [line missing]. He urged the immediate construction of a wind tower, preferably in Berlin, to serve the twofold purpose of initiating the new process and affording means for further observation and experiment. A representative of the Reich Transport Ministry suggested beginning with a smaller tower to be built for testing purposes.

The second proposal is based on the application of the rotor principle of Anton Flettner, whose ill-fated rotor ship attracted wide attention some years ago. It was seriously discussed by Waldemar Kampffert, an authority on scientific subjects, under the headline “Harnessing of Wind in New Jersey Plant May Hold Importance for Industry.”

An excerpt from the lengthy article follows: [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Electricity collected from the air could become the newest alternative energy source

Imagine devices that capture electricity from the air — much like solar cells capture sunlight — and using them to light a house or recharge an electric car. Imagine using similar panels on the rooftops of buildings to prevent lightning before it forms. Strange as it may sound, scientists already are in the early stages of developing such devices, according to a report at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

"Our research could pave the way for turning electricity from the atmosphere into an alternative energy source for the future," said study leader Fernando Galembeck, Ph.D. His research may help explain a 200-year-old scientific riddle about how electricity is produced and discharged in the atmosphere. "Just as solar energy could free some households from paying electric bills, this promising new energy source could have a similar effect," he maintained. (ACS)



As they must: Short of Repeal, G.O.P. Will Chip at Health Law

WASHINGTON -- Republicans are serious. Hopeful of picking up substantial numbers of seats in the Congressional elections, they are developing plans to try to repeal or roll back President Obama’s new health care law.

This goal, though not fleshed out in a detailed legislative proposal, is much more than a campaign slogan. That conclusion emerged from interviews with a wide range of Republican lawmakers, who said they were determined to chip away at the law if they could not dismantle it. (NYT)


Side Effects: The Obamacare Threat to Your Liberty

Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that several health insurers “plan to raise premiums for some Americans as a direct result of the health overhaul.”

Starting this year, Obamacare prohibits plans from placing lifetime limits on coverage, severely limits rescissions, and requires all plans to cover children up to age 26. Plans also have to fully cover preventive services and are prohibited from denying children due to pre-existing conditions. The list goes on. Since extra benefits cost more, it makes sense that insurance premiums would climb as a result of the new law. Insurers cited increases between 1 and 9 percent.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius responded to the insurers’ claims in a letter to America’s Health Insurance Plans, where she wrote that “there will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases.” Continue reading... (The Foundry)


ObamaCare’s Premium Refunds: Bad News for the Sick

Posted by Michael F. Cannon

USA Today and Politico Pulse report that ObamaCare has prompted BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina to rebate $156 million to its customers in the individual market.  This may seem like good news.  It’s actually bad news, particularly for BCBS’s sickest customers.

Pre-ObamaCare, BCBS’s customers – whether healthy or sick – had coverage with an insurer that had already pre-funded their future medical needs. Competition protected them from BCBS skimping on care: if BCBS got a reputation for skimping, it would have a hard time enrolling new customers.

Post-ObamaCare, BCBS no longer needs that pile of cash, so they’re returning it to their customers. That hurts sick enrollees because BCBS is doling it out to all enrollees – not just the sick enrollees whom that money is supposed to serve. This cash-out is actually a transfer from the sick to the healthy.

Also, every BCBS customer who is sick or becomes sick in the future will have less protection against their insurer skimping on care. Competition used to discourage insurers from providing lousy access to care, but under ObamaCare competition will reward skimping. Under ObamaCare’s price controls, insurers that gain a reputation for providing quality coverage to the sick will attract sick people and go out of business.  Insurers that gain a reputation for providing lousy access to care will drive away sick people and thrive. (Cato at liberty)


OMG, Unintended Consequences!

Posted September 21st, 2010 at 2:30pm in Health

“Some of the country’s most prominent health insurance companies have decided to stop offering new child-only plans, rather than comply with rules in the new health-care law that will require such plans to start accepting children with preexisting medical conditions after Sept. 23,” the Washington Post reports.

The Post quotes one Ethan Rome, executive director of the liberal advocacy group Health Care for America Now: “We’re just days away from a new era when insurance companies must stop denying coverage to kids just because they are sick, and now some of the biggest changed their minds. … [It] is immoral, and to blame their appalling behavior on the new law is patently dishonest.”

This type of posturing is the pat move of liberals every time their designs for society are frustrated by the reality that other people pursue their self interests. Continue reading... (The Foundry)


The rewards of fear mongering and eco lunacy: 2010 Heinz awards announced

This year's Heinz Family Foundation awards include honors for a scientist documenting the effects of endocrine disruptors, a champion on the global seed vault and one of the giants in the field of 'green,' or non-toxic, chemistry.

The awards come with an unrestricted cash prize of $100,000. They recognize outstanding individuals for their contributions in the areas of Arts and Humanities, the Environment, the Human Condition, Public Policy, and Technology, the Economy and Employment. They were established by Teresa Heinz in 1993 to honor the memory of her late husband, U.S. Senator John Heinz. (USA Today)


Environmentalism – What Has It Become?

BY MICHAEL R. FOX – On May 18, 2010 Vice president Al Gore gave an incredibly depressing commencement speech at the University of Tennessee ( According to Gore, doom was imminent, even if he had to fudge the climate data to make it sound frightening. Glaciers are melting (some are growing, some are receding, as they have for centuries--Antarctica, for example, is growing, sea levels are rising--but very little. Just check with world expert Nils Axel Morner, ( It is difficult to measure Gore’s impact on those who were there at Commencement or had read his speech, but it could not have been good.

Then on September 1, an environmental extremist named James Jay Lee took hostages at the Discovery Channel’s office in Silver Springs, Maryland. He was armed and claimed also to have explosives with him ( Lee made some very extreme demands which he posted on the web. ( (Hawaii Reporter)


Eat local organic food if you like, but don’t kid yourself that it’s ‘green’

Don’t get me wrong, I love farmers’ markets. I love going to the fashionable one in Borough, London, and that wonderful rich feeling you get whenever you don’t buy anything. And I love going to the one near me in south London and bantering and haggling with the fish man till he succumbs to giving me some amazing bargain like five decent-size Dover sole for a tenner.

I also really like the idea of putting money direct into the farmer’s pocket rather than helping finance yet another bloody edge-of-town Tesco. And I like the espresso man with his espresso machine. And the jolly sausage ladies. And the free-range eggs. And the Eastern European man who gives me a discount on the veg. All these are the kind of good reason as to why one might support one’s local farmers’ market. But what isn’t a good reason is this notion many people have that by shopping local they’re helping to save the planet. Because they’re not. Quite the opposite is true, in fact. (James Delingpole, Spectator)


US obesity rates remain 'disturbingly high'

NEW YORK - Chances are slim to none that the US will meet its public health goal of sharply reducing the number of obese adults by this year, according to federal health officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

While just 13 percent of adults were obese in the early 1960s, more than 30 percent were by 1999. In Healthy People 2010, a series of health objectives published in 2000, the US government set forth the goal of reducing the percentage of obese Americans to 15 percent by 2010.

To investigate trends over the past decade, and determine whether the US had any chance of meeting this objective, Dr. Earl S. Ford and his colleagues from the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion looked at data on nearly 23,000 people aged 20 and older from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 1999-2008. (Reuters Health)


Finding Patient Zero in the High Fructose Corn Syrup Hate Epidemic

| September 21, 2010

mmm...energyIn the Atlantic today, food writer and contrarian James McWilliams traces the roots of the Blame High Fructose Corn Syrup First movement:

Begin with the December 13, 2009 issue of the London Times. In it, Lois Rogers summarized a University of California study that evaluated the impact of fructose on obesity. She quoted the lead scientist as saying, "This is first evidence we have that fructose increases diabetes and heart disease independently of causing simple weight gain." Put simply, fructose--which is simple fruit sugar--can be bad for us.

But Rogers, as Dan Mitchell reported in Slate, somehow got it in her head that fructose and high-fructose corn syrup were the same thing. Here's her lead: "Scientists have proved for the first time that a cheap form of sugar used in thousands of food products and soft drinks [that is, HFCS] can damage human metabolism and is fuelling the obesity crisis."

This viral sentence--one that should have referred to fructose--infected the entire article. Unsuspecting readers were led to believe that fructose was a sweetener solely derived from corn and, more alarmingly, that it was interchangeable with HFCS. The scientist quoted in the piece later remarked that "almost every sentence in the article contained at least one inaccurate statement."

The article, of course, proliferated. Two days after the Times piece ran, Tom Laskawy, writing for the popular environmental website, rehashed it. High-fructose corn syrup, he began, was "fueling the obesity crisis." He then replicated the same errors that marred Rogers' debacle. 

Of course, there are good reasons to hate corn sugar--as it shall henceforth be known--including the subsidy-sucking industry behind it. But the nutritional reasons were always dubious, and even some of the most sugar-hostile experts are coming out against the idea that corn syrup is uniquely culpable for American obesity.

Reason has been on this beat for a while now. (Reason)


No link seen between moderate drinking, dementia

NEW YORK - While some research has suggested that light drinking may do the aging brain good, a new study finds that older adults who drink moderately may be no more or no less likely than abstainers to develop severe cognitive impairment.

The findings, from a study of nearly 3,900 Spanish adults, add to a conflicting body of research into whether moderate drinking is related to a lower risk of developing dementia.

A number of past studies have pointed to a potential protective effect. However, the researchers on the current work speculate that this may be because many of those studies lumped lifelong non-drinkers and former drinkers into one group. (Reuters Health)


Suspension of disbelief? ITV embarrassed by report of polar bear washed up on beach

When reports came in that a polar bear had washed up on a Cornish beach, television presenter Naomi Lloyd was first with the news. (TDT)

Must just be a case of townies no longer seeing bloated animal carcasses but being all too familiar with Disney production poley bars. The mind sees what it expects to see, I guess. Wonder how anyone expected a dead polar bear to float from summer ice to Cornwall? The Shetland Islands perhaps but southwest England?


Tanzania's Serengeti National Park facing 'collapse' due to highway plans

One of world's last great wildlife sanctuaries, the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, would be destroyed by plans to build a highway through it, experts have warned (TDT)


Researchers develop protein-packed potato in India

SHANGHAI - Researchers in India have developed a genetically modified potato that is packed with up to 60 percent more protein and increased levels of amino acids.

In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Tuesday, the scientists expressed hope that the transgenic potato would find more acceptance because it uses a gene from the amaranth seed, another edible crop.

"Because potato constitutes an important part of the diet of many people in developed as well as developing countries, it is apparent that this can add value to potato-based products with enhanced benefits for better human health," they wrote.

Amaranth is a tall, broadleaf plant that produces tiny seeds. It was a major food of the Aztecs and earlier American cultures, and started to be grown as a grain crop in the United States in the late 1970s.

One of its genes, Amaranth Albumin 1 (AmA1), is regarded as agriculturally important because it endows the plant and its seeds with high protein levels and higher concentrations of several essential amino acids. (Reuters)


Biotech Salmon Leaves Many Questions

The first genetically modified animal aimed at consumers' dinner plates faces an uncertain future following a federal advisory panel on Monday that gave a mixed assessment on whether such food -- a salmon -- is safe to eat.

A number of the Food and Drug Administration's panelists raised concerns about the fast growing fish, made by Aqua Bounty Technologies Inc, saying there was not enough data to answer key questions about allergens and other potential risks.

"There are questions that have not been answered by the data that has been presented," panelist James McKean, a veterinarian and professor at Iowa State University, said.

But other panel members argued there was no difference between the altered salmon and its natural counterpart.

"I would not feel alarmed about eating this kind of fish," said Gary Thorgaard, a professor and fish researcher at Washington State University.

Aqua Bounty is seeking U.S. approval to market its engineered Atlantic salmon, which contains a gene from another fish species to help it grow twice as fast as normal. (Reuters)


GM Salmon and Science Arbitration in Practice

Often, decision makers have questions that can be resolved through science.  In such instances, they typically do not want scientists to tell them what action to take, but rather to render a judgment on the scientific questions.  In The Honest Broker, I call this process "science arbitration."  It is not the only role for scientists in the political process, but a critically important one.  It is also a situation where scientists might wish to take a step back from policy advocacy.

Science arbitration is on display this week at the Food and Drug Administration, where the agency is grappling with issues associated with genetically modified salmon.  The Washington Post describes the context:
[A] panel of experts convened by the Food and Drug Administration, . . . is poised to make a landmark decision that could mark a turning point in the way American food is produced.

AquaBounty, the company seeking permission to market the fish in the United States, wants to incubate genetically modified eggs in Prince Edward Island, Canada, then ship them in plastic coolers to Panama. There they would be raised in land-based tanks and eventually processed before being transported to the United States for sale.

In developing its fish, AquaBounty took an Atlantic salmon and inserted a growth hormone gene from a Chinook salmon as well as an "antifreeze" gene from the ocean pout, a large, eel-like species. The result is a genetically modified fish that can grow to market size in 18 months instead of three years, according to AquaBounty. That means farmers can speed production and increase yields, the company said.

The advisory panel did not vote on the matter, but individual members offered a range of comments - sometimes conflicting - after two days of testimony from AquaBounty, the FDA and the public.
Why didn't the advisory panel actually vote on the matter?  Wouldn't be important to actually hear what the scientific experts recommend related to regulation?  Is the diversity of views harmful to policy making?

Actually, the answer to the to the last two questions is No.

The advisory committee -- called the Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee -- is empaneled to provide scientific and technical  advice.  Here is how the background document to the meeting explains the role of the committee:
The VMAC is composed of members in technical specialties necessary to provide recommendations on the scientific and technical issues before the Center.
The committee is not comprised of experts to provide guidance on regulatory or policy matters. Its function is to arbitrate scientific and technical questions.  The FDA faces a number of decisions related to the scientific and technical questions, such as how to label the product and whether or not to approve it.  Science can inform but does not determine the outcomes of these decisions.

Because science plays an important role in the FDA decision making process, significant effort is made to ensure the legitimacy and credibility of the advisory process:
Members [of the VMAC] are thoroughly vetted to determine whether they have conflicts of interest with the matter before the Committee. As part of that process, members are required to provide detailed information to permit evaluation of possible sources of conflict of interest. . .
Scientific members of the Committee are generally technically qualified experts in their field (e.g., veterinary medicine, animal science, microbiology, biostatistics, and food sciences) and have experience interpreting complex data in a public health context. In addition, the VMAC contains one member representing consumer groups. . . 
In the case of the AA Salmon, CVM determined that additional technical expertise was needed to address the issues presented by genetic engineering and the specific issues associated with salmon in general. Additional members have been added to the Committee on an ad hoc basis,  to address expertise in molecular biology and the production of GE animals, and issues associated with Atlantic salmon, and salmonids in general.
The importance of advisory panel composition and conflict of interest is not unique to FDA, and is fairly standard in most high-level processes of scientific advice.  In this case, the scientific experts on the committee presented a range of opinions on genetically modified salmon:
A number of the panelists raised concerns about the fast-growing fish, saying there was not enough data to answer key questions about allergens and other potential risks.

"There are questions that have not been answered by the data that has been presented," said panelist James McKean, a veterinarian and professor at Iowa State University.

But other panel members argued there was no difference between the altered salmon and its natural counterpart.

"I would not feel alarmed about eating this kind of fish," said Gary Thorgaard, a professor and fish researcher at Washington State University.
Such diversity of views is a characteristic of a healthy process of science arbitration.  The messy reality is that on many issues -- especially those at the leading edge of science and policy -- uncertainties and ignorance abound.  Policy making is best served with a clear-eyed view of these unknowns.  As we will see in the case of GM salmon, such unknowns will present no obstacle to the FDA making definitive decisions (one way or the other) on this issue.

There is no shortage of advocates for and against GM salmon, including members of the scientific community.  Such advocacy is an important part of democratic processes.  Sometimes however, decision makers would benefit from experts who render judgments not on what to do, but on what the science says about particular questions related to risks and uncertainties.  A formal process of science arbitration helps to distinguish between advice and decision making, which serves not only policy making, but democratic politics as well, as it is the decision makers who are ultimately accountable to the public for their decisions, not the experts that they rely on to provide advice. (Roger Pielke Jr.)



Proposed Energy Taxes Would Send Billions in Investment, Value Overseas

The Obama Administration’s proposed new taxes on the oil and gas industry are threatening a consistent, value-producing component of millions of portfolios and pensions. Energy stocks have remained one of the most fertile long term options throughout the recession. [Read More] (Michael Economides, ET)


US envoy plays down expectations for climate talks

NEW YORK -- The top US climate negotiator warned Tuesday against expectations of any binding deals on cutting greenhouse gas emissions at the next UN conference on the issue in Mexico later this year.

Climate change special envoy Todd Stern also insisted the United States still had a major role to play in the battle against global warming, despite its failure to get a bill cutting greenhouse gas emissions through Congress.

Stern said after a high-level international meeting on climate change here that nations would seek progress on non-binding "decisions" at the talks in Cancun, Mexico, which some experts believe will produce another stalemate.

"No one is anticipating or expecting in any way a legal treaty to be done in Cancun this year," he said. (AFP)


Recommended Reading – A Weblog Post On Climate Etc Titled “Pakistan On My Mind” By Judy Curry And Peter Webster

There is an excellent post on the weblog Climate Etc by Judith Curry and Peter Webster titled

Pakistan on my mind

Their text includes the insightful recommendations

“While climate researchers and policy makers ponder whether the flood can be attributed to global warming, it seems to us that this emphasis diverts attention from actually using climate, meteorological and hydrological knowledge and research in the application of pressing current needs in the developing world.  Substantial benefits would accrue directly for developing countries, as well as indirectly for other countries concerned with global security, by applying advanced research and technologies to support:

  • improved river routing models for major rivers
  • advanced techniques for providing probabilistic flood forecasts on timescales exceeding two days and integration of these forecasts into early warning systems, preparedness and contingency plans, and rehabilitation measures
  • improved probabilistic rainfall forecasts on timescales of days to weeks to enable farmers to optimize agricultural decision making regarding planting and harvesting.”
  • application of advanced dynamical and statistical methods to assess future risk of floods and droughts, and integrate this information into engineering assessments for future water structures

Their weblog provides a very well written and effective documentation of the application of the reduction of societal and environmental vulnerability perspective that has been discussed, for example, in the weblog post

A Way Forward In Climate Science Based On A Bottom-Up Resourse-Based Perspective

Judy Curry and Peter Webster weblog post Pakistan on my mind should be required reading. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Sigh... 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)


NOAA/NCDC – USHCN is broken please send 100 million dollars

While this would certainly put an end to the poor siting problems discovered by the project, I can’t help but think almost everything related to climate can be solved with money:

Here’s the letter: Continue reading (WUWT)


Rethinking Climate Sensitivity: Roy Spencer Speaks

by Chip Knappenberger
September 21, 2010

The Holy Grail of climate change is a quantity known as the climate sensitivity--that is, how much the average global surface temperature will change from a doubling of the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. If we knew this number, we would have a much better idea of what, climatologically, was headed our way in the future and could make plans accordingly.

Thus far, however, this prize has been elusive. Back in 1990, in its very first Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggested that the climate sensitivity was somewhere between 1.5°C to 4.5°C. In its latest Fourth Assessment Report published in 2007, the IPCC said the climate sensitivity was likely to be between 2.0°C and 4.5°C, and unlikely be to less than 1.5°C. Not a whole heck of a lot more certain than where things stood 20 years ago--and this despite a veritable scientific crusade to determine a more precise value.

A predominant member of the quest is the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Dr. Roy Spencer. Dr. Spencer has, for several years now, been trying to untangle climate feedbacks from climate forcings. If apparent feedbacks are really forcings, or vice versa, then the determination of climate sensitivity is confused and prone to being wrong (and likely erring on the high side).

Dr. Spencer has long held that what has generally been taken to be a positive feedback from cloud cover changes in response to climate warming (i.e. cloud changes act to further enhance a CO2-induced warming) is actually the other way around--random cloud cover changes force temperature changes. However, trying to demonstrate that this is the case has proven challenging, and trying to convince the general climate community has been virtually impossible.

To help bring his ideas to a wider audience, Dr. Spencer has written a book about his hypothesis and his research in support of it, and has now, after years of tireless pursuit, published a paper in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

Realizing that his findings run counter to the extant mainstream view of things, he has taken the step to ask for “physical scientists everywhere” to try to debunk his ideas. The appeal for scrutiny is intended to serve both science and Dr. Spencer in helping to solidify and illuminate a potential new way forward to finding the elusive Grail.

Recently, Dr. Spencer has written a nice summary of his on-going research and what, in his views are its implications. Rather than having me rehash his synopsis, Dr. Spencer has graciously permitted us to reprint a piece that originally appeared on his excellent website (a site well-worth checking from time to time).

Hopefully, readers of MasterResource will find this cutting-edge climate research interesting, and I am sure that if any of you have any pertinent suggestions for Dr. Spencer regarding his work, he would be happy to hear them.

Here is the excerpt: [Read more →] (MasterResource)


<chuckle> Big Warming responds: 'Chemical nonsense': Leading scientists refute Lord Monckton's attack on climate science

Nine 'profoundly wrong' claims made by Ukip deputy leader refuted by climate experts in a document filed with US Congress (Guardian)

The Guardian seems a little restrictive in what you can do with their copy but never mind, we'll provide you with easy access and a direct download link (1Mb pdf) too. It has responses from the usual suspects: James Annan; David Archer; Ken Caldeira; David Easterling; James Hansen; Ove Hoegh-Guldberg; James Hurrell; David Karoly; Jeffrey Kiehl; Nancy Knowlton; Lee Kump; Norman Loeb; Michael MacCracken; Peter Reich; Reto Ruedy; Benjamin Santer; Gavin Schmidt; Pieter Tans; Kevin Trenberth; John Veron and; Bruce Wielicki. What? No Mikey? Don't worry, he's in the "would be pleased to respond" list of: John Abraham; Barry Bickmore; Winslow Briggs; Michael Mann and; Ray Weymann.

Moonbat is ever so impressed:

Are the climate change sceptics with no evidence just naturally gullible?

To dismiss a scientific canon on the basis of evidence that has been debunked evinces an astonishing level of self-belief (George Monbiot)


Further Evidence Of The Diversity Of Human Climate Forcings

There is a news report today by Eryn Brown of the Los Angeles Times titled

“Dust cuts Colorado River flow, scientists say – Dark particles settle on Rocky Mountain snowfields and alter the melting rate, a study shows.”

The article starts with the text

“The dark dust thrown up by human activity in the deserts of the Southwest hastens the melting of Rocky Mountain snow and ultimately reduces the amount of water flowing into the upper Colorado River by about 5%, scientists reported Monday.”

Excerpts include

The lost water amounts to more than 250 billion gallons -- enough to supply the Los Angeles region for 18 months, said study leader Thomas H. Painter, a snow hydrologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge.

Researchers had already shown that dust emissions in the Southwest have increased fivefold since the mid-19th century, when settlers and their livestock poured across the frontier, breaking up the fragile crusts atop desert soils. That extra dust absorbs more sunlight, melting the snowpack sooner and shortening the duration of snow cover each year by three to four weeks, Painter said.

To quantify the effect on runoff, Painter and his colleagues plugged historical data into a computer model that projected what annual runoff would have been from 1916 to 2003 under the cleaner snow conditions that existed before 1880.

Accelerated melting due to dust exposes surface vegetation earlier in the year, and the growing plants suck water out of the soil. As a result, the team calculated, there is 5% less runoff available to flow into rivers.

The model did not factor in the likelihood that a longer-lasting snowpack also cools the atmosphere, probably resulting in less evaporation and more runoff, Painter said. This means the 5% figure is a minimum estimate of the amount of Colorado River water that is lost, he said.

As we have discussed 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

“…the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment did not sufficiently acknowledge the importance of these other human climate forcings in altering regional and global climate and their effects on predictability at the regional scale. It also placed too much emphasis on average global forcing from a limited set of human climate forcings. Further, it devised a mitigation strategy based on global model predictions. For example, although aerosols were considered as a global average forcing, their local effects were neglected (e.g., biomass burning, dust from land use/land cover management and change, soot from inefficient combustion).”

This new report on the role of dust on the climate in the western United States is an example of the range of influences of humans on the climate system. This is also another issue that the 2007 IPCC failed to adequately assess. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


New Paper “Recent Energy Balance Of Earth” By Knox and Douglas 2010

There is an excellent new paper by Bob Knox and David Douglas that provides further insight into the issue of the monitoring of global climate system heat changes. The paper is

R. S. Knox, David H. Douglass 2010: Recent energy balance of Earth  International Journal of Geosciences, 2010, vol. 1, no. 3 (November) -- In press doi:10.4236/ijg2010.00000.

The abstract reads

A recently published estimate of Earth’s global warming trend is 0.63 ± 0.28 W/m2, as calculated from ocean heat content anomaly data spanning 1993–2008. This value is not representative of the recent (2003–2008) warming/cooling rate because of a “flattening” that occurred around 2001–2002. Using only 2003–2008 data from Argo floats, we find by four different algorithms that the recent trend ranges from –0.010 to –0.160 W/m2 with a typical error bar of ±0.2 W/m2. These results fail to support the existence of a frequently-cited large positive computed radiative imbalance.

This paper provides new evidence with respect to the comment and discussions of this climate metric on the weblog post on Skeptical Scientist titled “Pielke Sr and scientific equivocation: don’t beat around the bush, Roger”. The new Knox and Douglas 2010 paper is an important benchmark study to use when the data is further fine tuned and updated into 2010 this Fall. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 38: 22 September 2010

Climatic Change Effects on Earth's Biosphere: What have we learned over the past three decades?

Subject Index Summary
Health Effects of CO2 (Health-Promoting Substances of Wines): How does atmospheric CO2 enrichment impact the production of health-promoting substances found in wines?

Journal Reviews
Floods of the Eastern United States: How have they varied over the past 75 years?

The North American Summer Arctic Front: How far north did it march from 1966 to 2007?

The Medieval Warm Period at Lake Silvaplana in Switzerland: How did its warmth compare with that of the mid- to late-20th century?

The Greening of the Russian Arctic Since 1942: How was it assessed? ... and how significant is the finding?

Shrub Expansion Along a Coastal Soil Chronosequence: Does it enhance or reduce soil carbon and nitrogen contents?

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: Italian Ryegrass (Jia et al., 2010), Perennial Ryegrass (Jia et al., 2010), Tobacco (Ye et al., 2010), and White Teak (Reddy et al., 2010).

Medieval Warm Period Project
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 881 individual scientists from 523 separate research institutions in 43 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record comes from Kyoto, Japan. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here. (


U.S. Government: No Sign Of Undersea Plume From BP Spill

The government is unable to confirm reports of a miles-long plume of oil lurking beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico from BP Plc's giant oil spill, a government scientist said on Tuesday.

The government confirmed on Sunday that BP had permanently "killed" its deep-sea well that ruptured in April and unleashed the worst spill in U.S. history.

Some private scientists and academic groups say sizable amounts of oil remain trapped deep beneath the ocean surface, after a government report in August found that more than half of the 4 million barrels spewed by the well had dissipated, and much of the rest had been neutralized by natural processes.

Undersea monitoring by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration failed to detect significant concentrations of oil, NOAA scientist Sam Walker said.

"We are continuing to find lower and lower concentrations," Walker told reporters on a conference call.

In recent weeks, U.S. monitoring vessels have seen "very clear trends of diminished concentration," with oil detected beneath the surface in the "parts per billion" level, "which is not actionable," Walker said. (Reuters)


Unsustainable Cow Manure

Seek a sustainable future! Wind, solar and biofuels will ensure an eco-friendly, climate-protecting, planet-saving, sustainable inheritance for our children. Or so we are told by activists and politicians intent on enacting new renewable energy standards, mandates and subsidies during a lame duck session.

It may be useful to address some basic issues, before going further down the road to Renewable Utopia. (Paul Driessen, Townhall)


Peter Foster: Ethical oil

Oil sands opponents are motivated by anti-capitalist, anti-development ideology and organizational self-interest

An Alberta government delegation came east this week to sell the embattled oilsands as a good news story for all of Canada. The Pembina Institute took a group of Athabasca aboriginals to Washington to claim that they were being poisoned.

One of the frustrations of observing the oilsands “debate” is how one-sided it is. The Albertan government officials couldn’t stop apologizing for how much harder they had to work -- like the carthorse in Animal Farm -- to be more “sustainable.” Their opponents -- who never created a productive job in their lives -- continued to unload factual garbage by the dump truck, to be faithfully served up by the media.

Read More » (Financial Post)


Campaigners Board Shetlands Oil Drilling Vessel

Environmental campaigners have boarded an oil drilling ship operating off the Shetland Islands under contract to U.S. oil giant Chevron, the second such boarding in European waters in recent weeks.

Greenpeace said in a statement that its activists had climbed up the anchor chains of the Stena Carron drill ship and were now hanging suspended from the chains in a tent.

The green group said the UK should follow the U.S. example and in the wake of BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill impose a moratorium on deepwater drilling in European waters. (Reuters)


A new oil rush as Cairn Energy reports first find off Greenland

Cairn Energy has struck oil off the coast of Greenland, just weeks after an earlier exploration well found traces of gas in the region.

The latest strike found traces of oil and gas "intermittently" in a 400-metre section of rock in the Sigguk block near Disko island. The earlier well, which discovered non-commercial gas volumes, has now been sealed and exploration costs of $84m (£54m) written off. But the two finds are the first positive evidence of hydrocarbons in the region, and Cairn's shares shot up by 2.27 per cent to 436.5p yesterday.

Sir Bill Gammell, the chief executive of Cairn, said: "The presence of both oil and gas confirms an active, working petroleum system and is extremely encouraging at this very early stage of our exploration campaign."

Cairn is making a major bet on Greenland. The Arctic island – three times the size of Texas but home to just 57,000 people – is tipped as one of the world's largest undiscovered hydrocarbon reserves, with some analysts estimating it could hold as much as 20 billion barrels of oil and gas under its freezing coastal waters. (Independent)


Speech - Brownlee: Opening Address To The New Zealand Petroleum Conference

The theme of this year's New Zealand Petroleum Conference is "Transformation".

It's a highly appropriate theme, because New Zealand's natural resources, particularly oil and gas, have the potential to significantly boost our economy.

The government I am a part of is serious about taking advantage of our natural resources to create a more prosperous and secure New Zealand.

For far too long, New Zealand has not taken advantage of the wealth hidden in our hills, in our oceans, and in the ground.

New Zealanders have believed that as a country we are bereft of natural resources in comparison with places like Australia.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that New Zealand has the 4th largest exclusive economic zone in the world with 15 recognised basins which are potentially capable of producing hydrocarbons.

Incredibly, only one basin - Taranaki - currently has producing fields.

In my time with you today I'd like to talk about what this government has done so far to unlock New Zealand's petroleum potential, and what we're looking to do in the future. (Voxy)


Free Trade and Green Jobs

At the Climate Change Law Blog, Daniel Firger has an interesting post on an emerging dispute between Japan and Canada over subsidies for "green jobs." Firger explains:
In what may be an ominous shot across the bow for green jobs advocates, Japan on September 13 submitted a complaint to the World Trade Organization alleging that a Canadian renewable energy law violates WTO non-discrimination rules. [1] At issue are a set of domestic content requirements built into Ontario’s landmark green energy law, [2] which are designed to guarantee that local producers – and local jobs –supply a minimum percentage of the technology used to meet the province’s ambitious goals for renewable energy generation. [3] While Japan’s “Request for Consultation” with Canada does not formally initiate a case before the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), it nevertheless sets the stage for a high-stakes showdown between the two countries, with potentially global repercussions for energy and industrial policy linking renewable power to high tech employment opportunities.
What does this mean for the US? Firger says that is not yet clear.  What is clear that efforts to prop up industries using government subsidies are unlikely to go unnoticed in our globalized world. (Roger Pielke Jr.)


Huhne Sees Nuclear, Renewables In UK Energy Mix

Nuclear and renewables both have a part to play in meeting Britain's future energy needs, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said on Tuesday, adding it was not a choice between one or the other.

Huhne's statement is in line with Britain's coalition agreement but he made it to delegates at the Liberal Democrat conference, challenging skeptics in his own party who oppose nuclear power.

"A deal is a deal, and I will deliver. I'm fed up with the stand-off between renewable and nuclear which means we have neither -- we will have both. We will have low carbon energy, and security of supply," Huhne said.

Huhne stressed that there would be no subsidy for new nuclear power stations.

Nuclear power policy is one of the main compromises in the coalition agreement reached between the Conservatives and the smaller Lib Dems after they took power in May.

Lib Dems have agreed to abstain on any vote in parliament on new nuclear construction. (Reuters)


Huhne says yes to £22bn green tax: Petrol could soar under LibDem minister's drive

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne yesterday backed plans for an extra £22billion in green taxes – in a move which could send petrol prices soaring.

The Liberal Democrat minister backed a call by his party’s activists which would see 10 per cent of all Government revenue come from green taxes within five years. (Daily Mail)


Central America Taps Volcanoes For Electricity

Dotted with active volcanoes, Central America is seeking to tap its unique geography to produce green energy and cut dependence on oil imports as demand for electricity outstrips supply.

Sitting above shifting tectonic plates in the Pacific basin known to cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the region has huge potential for geothermal power generated by heat stored deep in the earth.

Geothermal power plants, while expensive to build, can provide a long-term, reliable source of electricity and are considered more environmentally friendly than large hydroelectric dams that can alter a country's topography.

Guatemala, Central America's biggest country, aims to produces 60 percent of its energy from geothermal and hydroelectric power by 2022. (Reuters)


Seeing the Light

At the Albuquerque Journal, John Fleck has an excellent piece on technological advances in lighting technology and Jevons Paradox.  Here is an excerpt:
Jeff Tsao's 1999 white paper on the case for next-generation, super-efficient light bulbs makes a point so obvious that it seems to require no explanation.

A solid-state light bulb that uses half the electricity of conventional bulbs would cut lighting-related energy consumption in half, right?

"The worldwide amount of electricity consumed by lighting would decrease by more than 50 percent," the Sandia Labs researcher and his colleagues wrote, "and total worldwide consumption of electricity would decrease by more than 10 percent."

A decade later, Tsao's thinking has evolved.

In a new paper, a team led by Tsao has drawn international attention by arguing that, instead of leading to reduced energy consumption, super-efficient bulbs may instead lead to people simply using more light.
What is this?  Advances in efficiency might presage greater energy consumption?!

That is right.  Fleck explains:
To understand why, take a trip to the villages in rural Costa Rica where Michael Fark has been working.

Fark heads a Canadian nonprofit called Lighting Up The World, which has been trying to get the super-efficient light bulbs developed by people like Tsao into the hands of the people who need them most.
There, one- or two-room clay brick houses are usually lit by candles or kerosene lamps.
It is lousy light by our standards, barely enough for the young Costa Ricans to do evening schoolwork after a day of helping in the fields. But that light, dim as it may be, is so precious that families spend up to 30 percent of their cash flow on candles or kerosene for a few hours of light per day, according to Fark.
Give the Costa Rican farm families a more efficient way to light their homes, as Fark's organization is doing, and they will choose to consume more light, not less energy.
Multiply their predicament by some 2 billion people in poverty around the world, and you enter the counterintuitive world of "the Jevons paradox."
Here is how I described Jevons Paradox one year ago:
The paradox was described in 1865 by William Stanley Jevons as follows:
It is wholly a confusion of ideas to suppose that the economical use of fuel is equivalent to a diminished consumption. The very contrary is the truth.
As a rule, new modes of economy will lead to an increase of consumption according to a principle recognised in many parallel instances. . .

Now the same principles apply, with even greater force and distinctness, to the use of such a general agent as coal. It is the very economy of its use which leads to its extensive consumption. It has been so in the past, and it will be so in the future. Nor is it difficult to see how this paradox arises. . .

And if economy in the past has been the main source of our progress and growing consumption of coal, the same effect will follow from the same cause in the future. Economy multiplies the value and efficiency of our chief material; it indefinitely increases our wealth and means of subsistence, and leads to an extension of our population, works, and commerce, which is gratifying in the present, but must lead to an earlier end. Economical inventions are what I should look forward to as likely to continue our rate of increasing consumption.
Some people have suggested that Jevons Paradox means that efforts to become more efficient are misguided. Others, seeing such arguments being made have tried to claim that Jevons Paradox actually does not exist. Both lines of argument are badly misguided.

Jevons Paradox is very real. It tells us that increasing efficiency is necessary if we are to met energy needs, because those energy needs will continue to grow even in the face of rapid growth in efficiency. Thus, the practical consequences of the paradox are that we need to become more efficient and we need more energy, all at once. How efficient we can become will of course influence the amount of energy that we need, so improving efficiency is a worthy goal. But no one should imagine that efficiency gains alone can eliminate the need for more energy -- they can't and they won't. Policy needs to be able to focus on advancing efficiencies and creating ever greater sources of energy.
(Roger Pielke Jr.)



Western surge in obesity may have been caused by a virus

The obesity explosion that has swept the Western world over the past 30 years may have been caused by a virus, scientists have said.

Researchers have discovered new evidence for an illness they have called "infectobesity" -- obesity that is transmitted from person to person, much like an infection. The agent thought to be responsible is a strain of adenovirus, versions of which cause the common cold. It has already been labelled the "fat bug". 

There are more than 50 strains of adenovirus known to infect humans but only one, adenovirus 36, has been linked with human obesity. (Independent)


Children Exposed to Virus Weigh 52 pounds More, Obesity Researchers Find

Children who tested positive for a virus strain that causes respiratory and gastrointestinal illness weigh more than those who didn't, suggesting that infections may cause or contribute to obesity, a study showed. 

Obese children who were found to have been exposed to a strain called adenovirus 36 weighed about 35 pounds more on average than obese children who tested negative, researchers said today in the journal Pediatrics. Children, whether obese or not, who tested positive were 52 pounds heavier on average than those showing no evidence of the virus, according to the study of 124 kids, including 67 who were obese. 

While the number of obese children in the U.S. has tripled since 1980, the proportion of kids with the condition appears to have leveled off during the past decade, at about one in five, U.S.-sponsored researchers said in January. The latest study provides a possible link between obesity in children and a strain of adenovirus, author Jeffrey Schwimmer said. 

"Our study is one example of the complexity of obesity," said Schwimmer, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego, in a telephone interview on Sept. 14. "It can't simply be reduced to eating too much and moving too little. That's not the whole story." (Bloomberg)


Poor biological clock leads to obesity

UC San Diego biologists have discovered biological clocks of mammals are related to development of obesity and diabetes. 

It also raises the possibility that some of the rise in diabetes could be a consequence of disturbances in sleep-wake cycles from our increasingly around-the-clock lifestyles. 

"We know that mice that don't have good biological clocks tend to develop diabetes and obesity. And we know that mice that have developed diabetes and obesity tend not to have very good biological clocks," Nature quoted Steve Kay at UC San Diego, as saying. 

"But what we found that's so significant is that a particular biological clock protein, cryptochrome, is actually regulating how the hormone that regulates glucose production in the liver works in a very specific way," he added. 

The study also indicates why shift workers, whose biological clocks are often out of step, also have a greater risk of developing obesity and insulin resistance. (Times of India)


Report: Obesity hurts your wallet and your health

WASHINGTON -- Obesity puts a drag on the wallet as well as health, especially for women.

Doctors have long known that medical bills are higher for the obese, but that's only a portion of the real-life costs.

George Washington University researchers added in things like employee sick days, lost productivity, even the need for extra gasoline -- and found the annual cost of being obese is $4,879 for a woman and $2,646 for a man.

That's far more than the cost of being merely overweight -- $524 for women and $432 for men, concluded the report being released Tuesday, which analyzed previously published studies to come up with a total. (AP)


Boston Officials Consider Sugary Drink Ban

Boston, the city that has already banned smoking in bars and trans-fats in restaurants, now wants to keep sugary drinks out of city-owned buildings.

The city has convened health, education, and housing leaders to develop a policy that aims to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas and other beverages. (


Not definitive but plausible: Flu shot linked to reduced heart attack risk

NEW YORK - Middle-aged and older adults who get the flu vaccine may be less likely to suffer a first-time heart attack in the following year than those who skip the shot, according to a study published Monday.

The findings, reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, do not prove that the flu shot itself can prevent heart attacks. But they add to evidence that flu infection can trigger heart attacks in some people, and that preventing the flu through vaccination might curb that risk.

They also support existing recommendations that older adults and people with established heart disease get a flu shot each season, researchers say. (Reuters Health)


Scavenger seagulls carry superbugs

Seagulls from a species that feeds on garbage are harbouring drug-resistant superbugs, a study has found.

Researchers analysed 57 samples of droppings from the yellow-legged gull Larus cachinnans. They found that one in 10 carried superbug bacteria resistant to the "last resort" antibiotic vancomycin, which is used when most others have failed.

The white and grey birds are scavenging omnivores and opportunistic marine feeders. They can often be seen flocking on rubbish tips, and are common in many southern parts of the UK. Scientists collected the samples from an island off the Portuguese coast.

Lead researcher Dr Gilberto Igrejas, from the University of Tras-os-Montes and Alto Douro in Portugal, said: "We used a novel technique called proteomics to detect the maximum number of bacterial proteins which are thought to be connected in some, as yet unknown, way to antibiotic resistance.

"Migrating birds that fly and travel long distances can act as transporters, or as reservoirs, of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and may consequently have a significant epidemiological role in the dissemination of resistance."

The research is published in the online journal Proteome Science. (Independent)


Keeping it real: Food authenticity

My latest HND piece is about food authenticity--not the most exciting topic in the world, but one that should appeal to more than just foodies. After all, most of the knock-offs are done by giant agribusiness, while the genuine items tend to come from smaller, often family-owned companies. Sadly, as current events have shown, our government has seen fit to prop up failed enterprises such as GM, and tends to run away from defending the legitimate claims of the little guy.

It might have something to do with political contributions and unions.

The French lead the way on regional authenticity with their oft-imitated Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC), meaning controlled designation of origin. Naturally, the Eurocrats have expanded on this, and have come up with a Europe-wide designation Appellation d'Origine Protegée (AOP).

As you might expect, there have been all sorts of turf battles, and we cover one of the more recent skirmishes, dubbed the "Gruyère War." This one pitted France against Switzerland. Even though the Swiss are famously not members of the EU, they prevailed.

We also touch upon the formerly Golden state of California talking the talk, but not walking the walk on protecting its own food companies, and the importance of regional authenticity to the locavore movement.

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


Global Warming Alarmist Calls For Eco-Gulags To Re-Educate Climate Deniers

Finnish philosopher says oppressive and brutal government should exert "tireless control of citizens" in shocking insight into threat of eco-fascism movement -- Linkola openly calls for Nazi-style mass extermination policies to "kill defectives" (Paul Joseph Watson, Prison


Why We Need a New Green Revolution to Stop Hunger

World leaders are meeting in New York this week to discuss progress on the UN's Millennium Development Goals. The world's nations have failed miserably in addressing one of the main goals, the fight against hunger. Researchers believe that small farmers, not large-scale farms, are the key to feeding the planet. (Spiegel)


FDA panel to consider GMO salmon

WASHINGTON - The first genetically modified animal could move one step closer to the U.S. market on Monday, when a federal advisory panel makes its recommendation on whether such food - a salmon - is safe for consumers to eat. (Reuters)


We can build whatever animal you want to eat, say scientists

This Chinook salmon proves Mother Nature still has a few freaky tricks left in her bag.
Source: California Department of Fish and Game

TINKER with the genetics of salmon and maybe you create a revolutionary new food source that could help the environment and feed the hungry.

Or maybe you're creating what some say is an untested "frankenfish" that could cause unknown allergic reactions and the eventual decimation of the wild salmon population.

The US Food and Drug Administration hears both arguments this week when it begins a two-day meeting on whether to approve the marketing of the genetically engineered fish, which would be the first such animal approved for human consumption.

The agency has already said the salmon, which grows twice as fast as conventional salmon, is as safe to eat as the traditional variety.

Approval of the salmon would open the door for a variety of other genetically engineered animals, including an environmentally friendly pig that is being developed in Canada or cattle that are resistant to mad cow disease.

"For future applications out there the sky's the limit," David Edwards of the Biotechnology Industry Association said.

"If you can imagine it, scientists can try to do it." (AP)



CHURCHVILLE, VA--When, O Lord, will the public turn its back on the ill-founded "concerns" of the Green movement that misinformed us about DDT, salmon extinction, deformed frogs, man-made global warming, and a host of other fake "calamities"? When will we support more high-yield farming research to meet redoubled world food needs in 2050? Especially since the alternative would be to plow down more wild species' habitat to plant additional low-yield crops. (CGFI)



The Last Green Puppy: Still a Dog Named 'Cap'

Should Senate Republicans turn the "last living puppy" out in the cold this fall?

Yes, because in this case the "last living puppy," according to writer David Roberts, is the so-called renewable electricity standard (RES), which Sen. Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) says he will try to make the consolation prize in this Congress' final clash over global warming regulation.

What is RES and why should Senate Republicans--pay attention Sen. Sam Brownback (R.-Kan.) and Sen. George Voinovich (R.-Ohio--make sure it is put to sleep (permanently)?

An RES would require that electric utilities generate a set percentage of their power from so-called "renewable" power sources, like solar and wind, by a certain date. The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill passed in June 2009 would require that utilities generate 20% of their power from renewables by the year 2020.

This would be quite the monumental challenge given that solar and wind power provide less than 2% of current electricity generation and require massive subsidies to do so. According to the Department of Energy, solar and wind are each subsidized at a rate 55 times that of coal, 97 times that of natural gas and 15 times that of nuclear power.

Solar panels and windmills aside, it's the taxpayer wallet that makes these forms of energy renewable. (Steven Milloy, Human Events)


Climate Change Skeptics Sweeping GOP Senate Primaries

Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe stood on the Senate floor last year to declare 2009 "the year of the skeptic."

Turns out he jumped the gun.

This year, a host of Republican Senate hopefuls are trumpeting their rejection of climate science on the campaign trail. Christine O'Donnell became the latest to enter the spotlight last week when she rode tea party support to knock off Rep. Mike Castle -- one of eight House Republicans who voted for cap-and-trade climate legislation last summer -- in Delaware's open-seat GOP Senate primary.

She joins Nevada's Sharron Angle -- who has dismissed man-made global warming as a "mantra of the left" -- Wisconsin's Ron Johnson -- who blames warming on "sun spots" -- Florida's Marco Rubio, Alaska's Joe Miller and Colorado's Ken Buck as tea party-backed Republican Senate candidates who reject the science connecting human greenhouse gas emissions to climate change.

But the tea partiers are not alone. Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO and challenger to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), says Americans need to "have the courage to examine the science of climate change." And at a debate last month in New Hampshire, all six Republicans seeking their party's nomination to replace retiring Sen. Judd Gregg (R) expressed their skepticism, including former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, the eventual nominee.

As skeptics knock on the Senate door, many GOP climate moderates are headed out. Along with Gregg, Republican Sens. George Voinovich (Ohio) and George LeMieux (Fla.) are retiring at the end of this session. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski -- a Republican who acknowledges global warming but is leading the charge to block U.S. EPA from regulating greenhouse gases -- lost her party's nomination last month and will likely be gone next year.

The swelling rank of skeptics running for office stems from a public backlash against liberals' global warming "alarmism," said Inhofe spokesman Matt Dempsey. Democrats' attempts to pass greenhouse gas limits and the commercial success of Al Gore's climate science movie "An Inconvenient Truth" brought more scrutiny to the issue, Dempsey said.

And then there was "Climategate," the publication last November of a series of private e-mails between British climate scientists that skeptics say exposed holes in climate science and a conspiracy to hide them. The e-mails "vindicated Inhofe and everything he's been saying for the past seven years," Dempsey said. "That's why the bottom fell out on the global warming movement." (ClimateWire)


Democrats fighting election battles ask environmentalists, 'Where are you guys?'

Energy companies and businesses are ramping up spending on candidates and issues, while environmental groups face lagging donations and enthusiasm for campaigns key to climate change action. (LA Times)

Well duh! Enviros have moved on to their next fundraiser because they never actually cared about climate to begin with, only having a scare and this is past its use-by date.


US companies not so stupid: U.S. Companies Lag Global Ones On Carbon Disclosure

European companies are working harder at disclosing their financial risks associated with greenhouse gas emissions than North American companies, according to an annual report.

Every year for the last decade, the Carbon Disclosure Project has asked 500 global companies on behalf of 534 institutional investors representing more than $64 trillion of assets under management, to measure and report their emissions. (Reuters)


German Parliamentarian Under Massive Fire -- For Skepticism

P Gosselin 20. September 2010

Marie-Luise Dött.
Intolerant German establishment demanding she be politically burned at the stake for expressing skepticism.

It was bound to happen sooner than later. A high level German politician speaking out against dubious climate science. Marie-Luise Dött, German Parliamentarian and a central figure on Angela Merkel's environmental committee, expressed scepticism on climate change, the Financial Times Deutschland reports here in an article titled: The Climate Revisionists.

Now she is at the receiving end of brimstone and hellfire from all sides, including the media.

Here in Germany, climate skeptics face a level of intolerance not seen here in 65 years.

Last Wednesday, she made comments at a parliamentary forum discussion on the economic  impacts of climate protection held by the FDP Free Democrats, the junior coalition partner of Angela Merkel's CDU/FDP coalition government.  Fred Singer - "a tobacco lobbyist" - was a guest speaker.

Dött's comments not only left environmentalists and climate protection activists speechless and gasping for air, but exposed Dött as a climate skeptic. She is reported to have called climate protection a

…replacement religion, and that anyone who dared to express doubt could be branded an outlaw, forced to confess sins, sent to purgatory, or even cast into hell, if being really bad.

Free scientific thinking is a myth here.

Well, the vicious intolerant reactions she is now reaping confirm that her views are accurate, more than ever imagined. Even colleagues from within her own CDU Party piled on:

The next days are going to be very uncomfortable for her.

The intolerance from the opposition came swiftly. Hermann Ott, a spokesman for the German Green Party, blasted Dött and her CDU Party:

The CDU and the FDP Free Democrats are moving outside of the common community when they provide a forum in the German Parliament for the blind theories of climate change deniers.

(Note: denying the Holocaust in Germany is a crime. Ott is de facto calling Dött a criminal of the worst kind).

A member of the SPD was said to be in "shock" and demanded Dött be fired. He added it all confirmed the "real intentions of the coalition government."

I'm not even going to get into what the media snobs are saying. Noses could not be higher.

Frau Dött not only has revealed herself to be skeptical of climate science, but has exposed Germany's return to last century's intolerance. (No Tricks Zone)


Yeah! Australia trailing world in climate policy

AUSTRALIA is trailing the rest of the world in climate change policy and risks becoming uncompetitive, a leading climate change economist says.

"There is no risk of Australia taking a leadership position,'' said Cameron Hepburn, a senior research fellow at the University of Oxford.

"We are so far behind the post we risk coming last." (AAP)

Way to go Aussie!


Has The UK Establishment Got Any Confidence In Climate Science?

Among the few things I have learned after thirteen years of living in England, there's an appreciation for understatements and reading between the lines.

Prurient, tight-lipped local society is in fact constantly trying to verbally channel its anger and other frustrations in "acceptable" ways, so the language is hammered day-in day-out by the search of new ways to speak the unspeakable (eg the number of objects whose names can't be used for sexual innuendos is dwindling if not already zero).

That's why I am developing a feeling that the botched, inconclusive, confused Climategate inquiries have actually been yelling their underlying message loud and clear.

See? Neither Parliament or Lord Oxburgh or Sir Muir Russell of the "independent" UEA commissions tried to deal with climate science as such: to the point that Oxburgh himself wrote:

"The panel was not concerned with whether the conclusions of the published research were correct"

And what made them all think unwise to touch climate science with a long pole? Why, it's all easy to understand under the hypothesis that very few people, either in Parliament, or at the UEA, or among the top echelons of British Science, have got the confidence that climate science would survive any serious scrutiny… (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)


IPCC Studies And Reports Have Nothing to Do with Climate Change

Most people have no idea what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) actually studies. They believe their reports are complete reports of climate change. This misconception is mostly because the IPCC arranged it and does little to correct it. In fact, they only look at that portion of climate change caused by humans. Here's how they limit their study. (Tim Ball, CFP)


Physicist says fossil fuel burning is insignificant in the global carbon pool

Physicist Dr. Denis Rancourt, a former professor and environmental science researcher at the University of Ottawa, has officially bailed out of the man-made global warming movement, calling it a 'corrupt social phenomenon'.

He writes this in an essay on science trust issues plus adds this powerful closing passage about climate science:

And there is a thorough critique of the science as band wagon trumpeting and interested self-deception [4]. Climategate only confirms what should be obvious to any practicing scientist: That science is a mafia when it's not simply a sleeping pill.

Now he thinks that fossil fuel burning isn't a problem of significance based on the scale. Excerpts below.

Is the burning of fossil fuel a significant planetary activity?

by Denis G. Rancourt
This essay was first posted on the Activist Teacher blog.

After all, the Earth is a planet. Is even the presence of humans significant on the rough and diverse thin surface of this planet?

We certainly make every effort to see ourselves as significant on this spinning ball in space. We like to point out that the lights from our cities can be seen from our extra-atmospheric "spaceships" at night and that we have deforested continents and reduced the populations of large wild mammals and of fishes but is all this really significant in the planetary web known as the biosphere?
Continue reading â ?' (WUWT)


Enlightenment George? How apt: Climate change enlightenment was fun while it lasted. But now it's dead

The collapse of the talks at Copenhagen took away all momentum for change and the lobbyists are back in control. So what next? (George Monbiot, Guardian)

enlightenment: the action or state of attaining or having attained spiritual knowledge or insight, in particular (in Buddhism) that awareness which frees a person from the cycle of rebirth.


Amazon Rainforest Resiliency

Do a search on "Global Warming and Amazon Rainforest" and enjoy over 200,000 sites mostly proclaiming that "Amazon rainforest may become a desert" or "large portion of the rainforest will be lost" or you name it. Throw in the 200 indigenous cultures in the forest, add in some clever phrases like "lungs of the planet," argue that the rainforest is being destroyed faster than anyone expected, and then claim "incalculable damages" all because of global warming. The cure for everything and anything is surely hidden in the rainforest of the Amazon, and the loss of that ecosystem could spell the end of us all.

Three recent papers appearing in leading scientific journals spell trouble for the alarmists' claims about global warming and the precious and delicate Amazon rainforest. (WCR)


Windborne Dust on High Peaks Dampens Colorado River Runoff

Dust-on-snow: on spring winds, something wicked this way comes

On spring winds, something wicked this way comes--at least for the mountains of the Colorado River Basin and their ecosystems, and for people who depend on snowmelt from these mountains as a regional source of water.

"More than 80 percent of sunlight falling on fresh snow is reflected back to space," says scientist Tom Painter of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the University of California at Los Angeles. "But sprinkle some dark particles on the snow and that number drops dramatically."

The darker dust absorbs sunlight, reducing the amount of reflected light and in turn warming the now "dirty" snow surface.

The result? Dust-on-snow events, as they're called. (NSF)


News from the Non Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

I have great respect for the team that put together the exhaustive, comprehensive NIPCC report. This team is constantly updating their information on the NIPCC site. If you want information on the peer reviewed references related to the climate, it's a resource par excellence.

Here's just a sample of new material posted on the NIPCC Web site:

  • The Glaciers of Greenland were smaller 5000 years ago;
  • African savanna trees thrive with increases in CO2;
  • It was hotter in China a thousand years ago, and by a whole degree;
  • Marine-life-with-shells can't agree on their favourite CO2 level and
  • Temperatures make no difference to the 5000 year record of hurricanes.

Details follow:

More  ? (Jo Nova)


Candid Admissions On Shortcomings In The Land Surface Temperature Data [GHCN and USHCN] At The September Exeter Meeting

At the meeting in Exeter, UK September 7-9, 2010 ,

Surface temperature datasets for the 21st Century

there were several  candid admissions with respect to the robustness of the global and USA surface temperature record that are being used for multidecadal surface temperature trend assessments (such as for the 2007 IPCC report).

These admissions were made despite the failure of the organizers to actually do what they claimed when they organized the meeting. In their announcement prior to the meeting [and this information has been removed in their update after the meeting] they wrote

"To be effective the meeting will have to be relatively small but, as stated above, stringent efforts will be made to entrain input from non-attendees in advance."

In asking colleagues (such as my co-authors on our 2007 JGR paper)

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

which has raised serious issues with the USHCN and GHCN analyses, none of us were "entrained" to provide input.

Nonetheless, despite the small number of individuals who were invited to be involved, there still are quite important admissions of shortcomings.

These include those from Tom Peterson

who stated in slide 8

"We need to respond to a wide variety of concerns -- Though not necessarily all of them"

[from Introductory remarks - Tom Peterson];

Matt Menne, Claude Williams and Jay Lawrimore who reported that

"[GHCN Monthly] Version 2 released in 1997….but without station histories for stations outside the USA)"

"Undocumented changes [in the USHCN] can be as prevalent as documented changes even when extensive (digitized) metadata are available"

"Collectively station changes [in the USHCN] often have nearly random impacts, but even slight deviations from random matter greatly"

"Outside of the USA ~60% of the GHCN Version 3 average temperature trends are larger following homogenization"

"There is a need to identify gradual as well as abrupt changes in bias (but it is may (sic) be problematic to adjust for abrupt changes only)"

"Automation is the only realistic approach to deal with large datasets"

"More work is required to assess and quantify uncertainties in bias adjustments"

"Critiques of surface temperature data and processing methods are increasingly coming from non traditional scientific sources (non peer reviewed) and the issue raised may be too numerous and too frequent for a small group of traditional scientists to address"

"There is a growing interest in the nature of surface temperature data (reaching up to the highest levels of government)"

from Lessons learnt from US Historical Climate Network and Global Historical Climate Network most recent homogenisation cycle -- Matt Menne;

and Peter Thorne from Agreed outcomes -- Peter Thorne who wrote

"Usage restrictions

Realistically we are not suddenly going to have open unrestricted access to all withheld data. In some areas this is the majority of the data."

There are very important admissions in these presentations.  First, outside of the USA,  there is inadequate (or no) publicly available information on station histories, yet these data are still used to create a "homogenized" global average surface temperature trend which reaches up to the "highest level of government".  Even in the USA, there are undocumented issues.

While the organizers of the Exeter meeting are seeking to retain its leadership role in national and international assessments of the observed magnitude of global warming, it is clear that serious problems exist in using this data for this purpose. We will  post information on several new papers when ready to introduce readers of this weblog to quantification of additional systematic biases in the use of this data for long-term surface land temperature trend assessments.

There is a need, however, to accept that the primary metric for assessing global warming and cooling should be upper ocean heat content, since from 2004 onward the spatial coverage is clearly adequate for this purpose (e.g. see).  While there, of course, is a need for regional land surface temperature measurements including anomalies and long-term trends, for obtaining a global average climate system heat content change the oceans are clearly the more appropriate source of this information. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Low-tech garbage heap makes for simplest carbon sequestration

File:Mt Trashmore.jpg Photograph of the front of Mount Trashmore Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia Image: Wikimedia

From the Washington Post

By Hugh Price

In New Haven, W.Va., the Mountaineer Power Plant is using a complicated chemical process to capture about 1.5 percent of the carbon dioxide it produces. The gas is cooled to a liquid at a pressure of about 95 atmospheres and pumped 2,375 meters down to a sandstone formation, where it is meant to remain indefinitely. The objective is to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being added to the atmosphere from the coal burning at the plant.

This certainly seems to be doing it the hard way. Extracting just this 1.5 percent of the CO2 from the plant's flue requires a $100 million investment, and whether the gas will remain underground or bubble to the surface is in question. Continue reading â ?' (WUWT)


A 132-Year Payback On The All-Electric Car

There are few examples where government interference in the economy is more pervasive than energy. Now, 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 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 lobbyist today carries the mantle of great authority and prestige as a high level government bureaucrat.

We economists call such lobbying "rent seeking" and those who engage in it as "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. And 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. (Patrick Barron, The Bulletin)


Good luck with that: Geothermal Power Waiting For Its Renaissance

all the talk of a geothermal renaissance fueled by government incentives and the quest for clean energy, Canadian investors are cool on the sector, despite a list of compelling business advantages.

Industry claims lauding the renewable, round-the-clock and profitable power source are more than just hot air, say analysts, who believe better times are ahead.

All that's needed are more examples of companies with money-making power plants, a better investor understanding of the business and a dash of economic recovery.

That's a tall order, but for patient investors prepared to take a risk, now may be the time to buy these distressed stocks. (Reuters)


China Power Generation by Source

The figure above is created from data in this news article, which notes that today, China's energy generation capacity exceeds 900 million kilowatts for the first time:
Zhang Ping, director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), hailed the achievement as "a new stage of development" for China's power industry at a forum held in Beijing on nuclear power development.
"Starting from a weak basis, we have explored a path of healthy development for the country's electricity industry," Zhang told the forum.

According to the NDRC, it took China 38 years to raise its power generating capacity to 100 million kilowatts in 1987 from 1.85 million kilowatts when new China was founded in 1949.
Before topping the key mark of 900 millon kilowatts, China lifted its electricity generating capacity to 500 million kilowatts in 2005.

Zhang said China will continue to transform the growth pattern of the electricity industry and further facilitate its restructuring by producing more clean energy.

He said during the Eleventh Five-year (2006-2010) period, China has cut capacity at small thermal power plants by 71 million kilowatts to reduce heavy pollution emissions.

China now has the world's largest hydro power capacity of about 200 million kilowatts, and 22 million kilowatts of wind power capacity.

With 10 million kilowatts of capacity at six nuclear power plants, China plans to raise its nuclear power capacity to 60 million kilowatts by 2020, Zhang Guobao, director of the National Energy Administration (NEA), said in an interview last month.

China has long relied on coal to fuel its economic growth as about three quarters of its electricity output is produced by coal-fired power stations.
(Roger Pielke Jr.)



NYTimes critic on DDT doc: Ongoing genocide isn't news

On the bright side, New York Times film critic Neil Genzlinger reviewed the new DDT-malaria documentary "3 Billion and Counting" on the morning of the film's premier in New York City.

On the less bright side, Genzlinger was decidedly less than impressed by the film's message:

As for the argument, it's not exactly new: advocates have been speaking out in support of increased DDT use for a decade, contending that its negative effects were exaggerated or misrepresented when it was banned by the United States in 1972 and that in any case they are outweighed by the millions of deaths caused by malaria.

No, it's not news that millions of poor Africans (mostly children under 5) continue to die preventable deaths. That's been going on for decades -- ever since the New York Times helped advocate for DDT to be banned in the 1960s. The Times was even warned about the coming "genocide" in 1969 letters-to-the-editor by Thomas H. Jukes.

Then again, the Holocaust isn't news either, yet when Genzlinger reviewed "Verdict on Auschwitz" in 2007, he found that film to be "emotionally draining."

AIDS has been around since the early 1980s, but an HBO show about AIDS in Africa was "compelling." That show's producer told Genzlinger,

"Hopefully [the show] makes people who are maybe in more fortunate positions try to make a difference in whatever way they can. Even if they just think about [AIDS in Africa], that in itself is a significant thing."

Apparently, the same consideration is not merited for the millions who have already died and will continue to die from malaria in Africa.

Genzlinger credited CNN's "Planet in Peril" with being "thought-provoking" for showing how the introduction of the wolf into Yellowstone National Park had affected the ecosystem. But millions of kids allowed to die preventable deaths? Bo-ring. (Green Hell Blog)


Dr. Washington

Health Care: The Census Bureau reported last week that the number of uninsured Americans jumped to almost 51 million last year. Is this a reason to become panicked and reform the system? No.

Yet "reform" is already here -- in the form of a government-heavy overhaul the public did not want and still doesn't like but which had to be done, according to Democrats, because too few Americans have medical insurance.

For them, the numbers released Thursday -- 50.7 million uninsured in 2009 vs. 46.3 million in 2008 -- are proof their bold action was needed.

"The increase in uninsured Americans last year is clear evidence of how critical it was to take action to protect patients," Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus, D-Mont., an ObamaCare author, said in a written statement. "And that's exactly what the Affordable Care Act will do."

Leaving aside for now the fact that the higher uninsured rate is tied directly to the job losses that Baucus' party is making worse, let's look at the historical data to see if his rhetoric is justified. (IBD)


Obama's Great Leap Forward

The White House released a report entitled "100 Recovery Act Projects That Are Changing America" to counter criticism of the stimulus as a failure. Vice President Joe Biden said,

"With Recovery Act projects like these, we're starting to turn the page on a decade of failed economic policies and rebuild our economy on a new foundation that creates good middle class jobs for American families."

And the Vice President is spot on. The Recovery Act has created some great jobs.

The report covers some $7.5 billion spent to create about 27,400 jobs -- as best as can be gleaned from the report, including giving the projects the benefit of doubt when the jobs figures are unclear.

That works out to about $273,723 per job.

The top ten egregious projects described in the report are:

  1. $4.38 million/job to build an elevated highway in Tampa, Florida. (Project #14 in the report)
  2. $3.67 million/job to rehabilitate the 107-year old Atlantic Avenue Viaduct in New York City. (Project #27)
  3. $2.91 million/job to provide broadband service in western Kansas. (Project #38)
  4. $1.87 million/job to seismically retrofit the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. (Project #37)
  5. $1.46 million/job to rehabilitate the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. (Project #19)
  6. $1.39 million/job to install smart meters in Chattanooga, TN. (Project #51)
  7. $1.02 million/job to conduct cancer research. (Project #2)
  8. $985,000/job to install solar panels at the Denver Federal Center. (Project #41)
  9. $967,000/job to build houses/roads in Nevada County, CA. (Project #30)
  10. $940,000/job to widen I-94 in Wisconsin. (Project #10)

Applying the outrageous average cost/job for these 100 projects to the $787 billion stimulus plan means that the Recovery Act should have produced 2.88 million jobs. However since the Recovery Act, we've actually lost about 2.5 million jobs.

Recovery Act? Indeed. The nomenclature is reminiscent of Chairman Mao's own "recovery" program -- the Great Leap Forward. (Green Hell Blog)


Unfortunate side-effect of throwing money at a "problem": Disorder in the classroom on the rise

THE nation is in the grip of an epidemic of autism, with at least one state reporting an incidence as high as one child in 50. But a growing number of medicos, parents and politicians are questioning the validity of the diagnosis, arguing that many children are being labelled for life with a disability they simply don't have in the pursuit of extra education funding.

Mick O'Keeffe is passionate about helping children with learning difficulties and as a developmental pediatrician he knows early intervention can turn around young lives around. But in his home state, Queensland, a diagnosis-based funding arrangement with the state Department of Education and Training means every week parents knock on his Brisbane surgery door begging for their child to be diagnosed with autism, even if he knows they are not autistic.

It is the reason, he says, the rate of autism spectrum disorder in Queensland is officially one in 50 children.

"There's no reason Queensland should have three times the rate [of] the rest of the world or any other state in Australia," he says. "It is being driven by diagnosis-based funding models within the education system."

Does that mean two-thirds of the children carrying the label are misdiagnosed? "Quite possibly, yes," says O'Keeffe, who is a member of a group of private medical and education professionals called the Child Development Network.

Under the state's funding model, certain conditions attract resources to a school to support the student. They include intellectual and physical impairment, speech and language difficulties and ASD.

Autism is a lifelong condition that affects a child's development. Some children are gifted in one or two areas, but most of them have difficulty relating to others. At the severe end of the spectrum, some may never learn to talk. The accepted rate of ASD in the Western world is about one in 160.

Across town, in the surgery of Catherine Skellern, another Brisbane-based developmental pediatrician with the Child Development Network, a parent is telling her the guidance officer from the southern Brisbane school her young son attends disagrees with the diagnosis Skellern has given the five-year-old.

"I diagnosed the boy with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and the school told this mother they could not help the child unless she came back to me for a diagnosis of autism," says Skellern, adding ADHD does not attract funding.

"I'm so angry. They are blackmailing parents by saying: 'We won't help your child unless you get an autism diagnosis.' "

In Queensland it's a case of where there is a dollar, there is a diagnosis, according to O'Keeffe. Despite the high levels of ASD in the Sunshine State, there's not a single case of oppositional defiant disorder in Queensland schools. ODD is marked by a child's ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behaviour towards authority figures that goes beyond the bounds of normal childhood behaviour. It exists south of the border in NSW because the disorder is recognised and funded in schools.

"It doesn't attract funding, so it doesn't exist in Queensland schools," O'Keeffe says. (Jane Hansen, The Australian)

It seems so compassionate, so well-intentioned but all it does is drive pressure for diagnosis of a specified "disability". There are many societal pressures forcing up ASD numbers but we have no evidence of any real increase in incidence. The epidemic of diagnoses, however, comes at a cost to society and provides cover for the scammers and charlatans pressing their little agendas, peddling their crackpot books and wares and degrading public health with their fear campaigns. Our society has gone collectively nuts creating victims out of lively kids and medicalizing everything. A large percentage of currently diagnosed "behavioral disorders" would not exist if kids were allowed to challenge themselves and their environment by climbing trees and engaging in competitive play between classes and discipline maintained during class, including judicious use of corporal punishment if necessary. We have spared the rod and categorized, labeled and drugged the child.


U.S. invests in drug to protect against radiation

CHICAGO - Tiny biotech Cleveland BioLabs Inc has won a $45 million contract from the Department of Defense to conduct clinical trials of a drug to prevent cell damage in the event of nuclear attack.

The experimental drug has already been shown to protect mice and monkeys from the damaging effects of radiation.

If it works in people, it would be the first drug of its kind.

In animals, the drug has been shown to protect bone marrow and cells in the gut from being destroyed by radiation.

"There are no drugs which protect humans from radiation," Michael Fonstein, the company's chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview.

The drug works by interfering with a process of programmed cell death called apoptosis - basically a form of cell suicide. This helps the body rid itself of damaged cells,

Fonstein said interfering with this process appears to strengthen the body's ability to recover from radiation exposure. (Reuters)


Drywall Flaws: Owners Gain Limited Relief

Linda and Randall Hunter own their dream house in Plant City, Fla., with an oversize master bedroom, granite countertops in the kitchen and a screened-in pool.

The problem is they cannot bear to live there. For the last several months, the Hunters have been camped out in the side yard in a trailer -- uncomfortable mattresses and all -- because faulty drywall left the house smelling awful.

"Living in the trailer is no easy thing," Ms. Hunter said. "But I count my blessings that I have someplace to go."

The Hunters are among thousands of homeowners in 38 states who have been searching for alternate housing because of worries about drywall in their homes that emits sulfur fumes and, many believe, makes them sick. (NYT)


A nanny too far: When Citizens (Gasp) Are the Smoking Police

Would you mind putting your cigarette out?

It was said politely, timidly, even plaintively. But to New Yorkers who were smoking in parks and were asked that simple question this week, it sounded darkly Orwellian, even threatening.

"Yes," said Mikey Quackenboss, 25, slowly, with gravity, as he puffed away in Brooklyn in McCarren Park. "I would mind. Very much."

In Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan, a sleekly dressed woman, teeth clenched in barely suppressed rage, asked, "Is it illegal?"

Informed that soon it might be, she grudgingly snuffed out her cigarette in the grass: "The last time a government endeavored to keep people from smoking, it was actually Hitler. You should look into it."

A smoker nearby who was approached with the same request marveled, "You came all the way over here to tell me that," gesturing to the sea of empty lawn chairs around him on a cloudy day. (NYT)

Smoking definitely won't do you any good but other people's smoking in the free atmosphere won't hurt you either. This is simply discrimination against a politically-incorrect minority group.


 Some truth in it: Why exercise won't make you thin

Got a few pounds to lose? Cancel the gym membership. An increasing body of research reveals that exercise does next to nothing for you when it comes to losing weight. A result for couch potatoes, yes, but also one that could have serious implications for the government's long-term health strategy (Emma John, The Observe


Sigh... Efforts to protect ozone layer from depletion have been successful, says UN

International efforts to protect the ozone layer shielding life on Earth from harmful levels of ultraviolet rays have stopped additional ozone losses, potentially averting scores of millions of cases of skin cancer and eye cataracts, according to a new United Nations report released today. (MercoPress)

Standard UN operating procedure. Fabricate a "crisis", throw truckloads of [other people's] money at it, wait a suitable time and claim success, thus justifying the UN's existence and entrenching global governance. They are following the same formula with atmospheric carbon dioxide.


EDITORIAL: The left's war on home appliances

European nanny-state regulations are coming to America

If ever there were any doubt that the new environmental movement's primary goal is reversing progress made since the Industrial Revolution, look no further than Europe, where bureaucrats systematically are targeting the conveniences of modern life. To fight the imaginary problem of global warming - sorry, "global climate disruption" - the European Commission has before it a proposal to reduce the electricity used by the humble family vacuum cleaner, the London Telegraph reported. It's only a matter of time before the bureaucracy on our side of the Atlantic sucks up this bad idea.

According to the final report on the subject prepared for European Union regulators, vacuums have steadily increased in power from 500 watts for an average upright 50 years ago to 2,500 watts today. The study asserts that "more power does not necessarily equate to better cleaning" and recommends a scheme to cut the allowed power level for vacuums to just 500 watts by 2014. Forget modern Hoovers and Dysons; it's time for something out of the 1960 Sears catalog. (The Washington Times)


Not just appliances: Cleaner for the Environment, Not for the Dishes

"My dishes were dirtier than before they were washed," one wrote last week in the review section of the Web site for the Cascade line of dishwasher detergents. "It was horrible, and I won't buy it again."

"This is the worst product ever made for use as a dishwashing detergent!" another consumer wrote.

Like every other major detergent for automatic dishwashers, Procter & Gamble's Cascade line recently underwent a makeover. Responding to laws that went into effect in 17 states in July, the nation's detergent makers reformulated their products to reduce what had been the crucial ingredient, phosphates, to just a trace.

While phosphates help prevent dishes from spotting in the wash cycle, they have long ended up in lakes and reservoirs, stimulating algae growth that deprives other plants and fish of oxygen.

Yet now, with the content reduced, many consumers are finding the new formulas as appealing as low-flow showers, underscoring the tradeoffs that people often face today in a more environmentally conscious marketplace. From hybrid cars to solar panels, environmentally friendly alternatives can cost more. They can be less convenient, like toting cloth sacks or canteens rather than plastic bags or bottled water. And they can prove less effective, like some of the new cleaning products. (NYT)


Guardian: Ecofascism isn't working, let's execute corporations instead

The Guardian has a commentary piece that you have to read to believe. Entitled 'An alternative to the new wave of ecofascism', Micah White exposes the inconvenient truth that green groups have been radicalized by 'ecofascists' who yearn for authoritarian solutions to combat global warming. White illustrates his point with James Lovelock's call to suspend democracy: (Daily Bayonet)


Pitiful Little Protest Leads to Reporter's Firing

By Paul Chesser on 9.17.10 @ 1:17PM

According to the Washington Post Doug McKelway, a reporter for the city's ABC affiliate WJLA, has been fired after he was suspended last month over a confrontation with his boss. The conflict arose because of a McKelway report about a demonstration by environmental groups, who protested during the BP/Gulf disaster over oil industry campaign contributions to members of Congress. Here is the report he delivered on July 20 from Capitol Hill:

(American Spectator)


Vinci Says Undeterred By Russian Environmentalists

France's Vinci, the world's largest construction group, said on Saturday it was undeterred by environmental protesters who forced President Dmitry Medvedev to suspend its $1 billion project in Russia.

Vinci is building a 15-km toll section of the road between Moscow and St.Petersburg, a project seen as a litmus test for infrastructure investors since it is the first concession deal involving a major foreign firm.

Medvedev in August halted plans for the motorway in the face of growing public outcry against its route, which bisects a forest on Moscow's outskirts.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, widely regarded as the country's paramount leader, spoke in favor of the construction.

"We have no indication from the state that they are about to change the alignment," Louis-Roch Burgard, CEO of Vinci Concessions told reporters on the sidelines of Sochi Investment Forum. He said he did not know when Vinci could resume work. (Reuters)


Look how "climate change" even pollutes wildlife policy: In Search of the Grizzly (if Any Are Left)

PASAYTEN WILDERNESS, Wash. -- Past the asters and aspen and subalpine fir, past the quick, cold creeks and the huckleberry hillsides, the bear hunter stopped and cocked his tweezers.

"Here," said Bill Gaines, a wildlife biologist for the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, "is the mother lode."

Caught on a prong of barbed wire that he had strung weeks earlier in these remote mountains was a tantalizing clue: strands of light brown bear hair.

"Oh, look at that, look at that root right there," he said. "That's really good."

It will be months before DNA tests tell the full story: did those hairs belong to a black bear, a relatively common resident here, or were they snagged from the far more elusive grizzly? The last confirmed sighting of a grizzly in the North Cascades was in 1996.

Now Mr. Gaines is leading the most ambitious effort ever to document whether grizzlies still exist here -- a century after fur trappers and ranchers killed them off by the hundreds -- at a time when tension is high in the West over the fate of wild predators like gray wolves. While many people want the grizzlies, an endangered species, to make a comeback here, others worry that more bears will mean more conflict.

"Grizzlies are a threat to livestock and to humans," said John Stuhlmiller, the director of government relations at the Washington State Farm Bureau. "People might think they're neat and they might want to go see them in the zoo, but in the wild they're not a friendly, cuddly creature."

People whose livelihoods are not threatened by predators do not get it, Mr. Stuhlmiller said. "If my 401(k) was being raided by grizzly bears, I would think differently," he said.

For nearly 30 years the federal government has had a program to help restore the grizzly bear population in Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming. It has made a difference in places like Yellowstone National Park and the Continental Divide region of Montana, but not in the North Cascades, one of six designated recovery zones. Instead, this area has been locked in a virtual standstill as political winds shift over the preservation of large predators.

Grizzlies were named a protected species in 1975. Under protection, their population tripled in parts of the Rockies and by 2007, they were removed from the list. But last September, a federal judge in Montana ordered grizzlies back on, citing threats that included changes to their habitat caused by climate change. (NYT)


Mass extinction: Scientists prune list of world's plants

A project helping conservation work has deleted more than 600,000 species of flowering plants that were duplicated or not 'new' (Guardian)

Wonder how long before the "biodiversity" clique claim "more than half of flowering plant species lost..." "60% extinction rate in named plants..." and so on.


Ancient Seeds In Mexico Help Fight Warming Effects

More than 500 years after Spanish priests brought wheat seeds to Mexico to make wafers for the Catholic Mass, those seeds may bring a new kind of salvation to farmers hit by global warming.

Scientists working in the farming hills outside Mexico City found the ancient wheat varieties have particular drought- and heat-resistant traits, like longer roots that suck up water and a capacity to store more nutrients in their stalks.

They are crossing the plants with other strains developed at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in El Batan to grow types of wheat that can fight off the ill effects of rising temperatures around the world.

"It's like putting money in the bank to use, in this case, for a not rainy day," scientist Matthew Reynolds said of the resilient Mexican wheats his team collected.

Seed breeders say they are the first line of defense protecting farmers from climate change, widely expected to heat the planet between 1 and 3 degrees over the next 50 years. (Reuters)

Breeding drought resistant crops is good but ridiculous claims such as "expecting" the world to warm 1-3 °C over 50 years are not helpful. The world has an equal chance of being warmer or cooler but probably not by any significant amount. We have no reason to "expect" any particular change.


World leaders warned that approach to African aid needs a total rethink

As key summit on Millennium Development Goals begins, experts cast doubt on conventional approach to poverty reduction

As world leaders gather in New York today to decide the future of aid, an influential new lobby has emerged calling for a total rethink of foreign assistance. At the end of a decade dominated by slogans such as "Make Poverty History", in which development has been defined by a series of sweeping targets -- known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) -- experts are warning heads of state at the global poverty summit not to sign up blindly to more of the same.

A draft declaration being circulated by the UN deplores the lack of progress and calls for "redoubling of efforts" towards 2015 targets such as slashing poverty and improving access to education. International NGOs concerned at "aid fatigue" are demanding a "rescue package" to save the goals.

But a third way is being called for by some experts, who warn that ignoring the shortcomings of the past 10 years in favour of staying the course risks destroying public faith in aid. "While laudable and important aspirations, the targets are actually the wrong measures of development progress," says Phil Vernon from International Alert, a London-based group calling for a radical rethink of aid. "It is not just the MDGs which are at fault. Despite some brilliant thinking and actions within the development sector, the prevailing paradigm has become tired, confused and is in need of renewal." (Independent)


Federal Register Notice: Call For Public Comment

Public comment is sought on the development of the next USGCRP National Climate Assessment. visitors are encouraged to submit comments as requested by the FR notice.

The reason for doing this is to ensure that climate realists' views are adequately represented in the NCA and any ignoring of those views is done at the USGCRP's legal/political peril.


State hammers EPA on science of global warming

In legal briefs, attorney general says science is unreliable.

Essentially putting global warming science on trial, Texas officials on Thursday expanded their arguments in a lawsuit meant to prevent the federal regulation of greenhouse gases.

In motions submitted Thursday to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott accused the federal Environmental Protection Agency of relying on faulty science for its proposals to regulate greenhouse gases.

The briefs build on a federal suit filed in February by Texas and other states against the EPA, which in December issued an endangerment finding that carbon dioxide emissions threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.

The endangerment finding, which opens the way to further regulations, spun out of a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the EPA had the authority to regulate greenhouse gases.

The EPA said its scientific conclusions were based on work by three groups: the U.S. Global Climate Research Program, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Research Council, which synthesize thousands of studies to convey a consensus on what scientific literature shows about climate, according to the agency.

In February, Abbott, who is seeking re-election this year, said that in relying on the U.N. panel's data, the EPA "outsourced the scientific basis for its greenhouse gas regulation to a scandal-plagued international organization that cannot be considered objective or trustworthy." (Statesman)


CEI Seeks To Delay EPA Climate Regs

by William Yeatman
17 September 2010 @ 5:50 pm

Soon the U.S. Circuit Court for Appeals in Washington D.C. is expected to address legal challenges (brought by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, among others) to the EPA's plan to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. In the meantime, CEI this week filed a motion to delay the implementation of the regulations until the Court makes a decision. To read the motion, click here. (Cooler Heads)


Sen. Inhofe Confident He'll Be EPW Chairman After Midterm Elections

The Senate's top global warming skeptic is confident he'll reclaim the gavel of the Environment and Public Works Committee next year, and he's got big plans in store.

"I'll be chairman," Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe said in an interview yesterday.

Inhofe was chairman of the panel from 2003 to 2007 and has served as ranking member since Democrats seized control of the chamber and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) took the gavel.

With an outside chance that Republicans will win back the Senate this fall, Inhofe is already making plans to overhaul the powerful panel.

His top priority, he says, is to stop "wasting time" on global warming hearings and get down to business on issues he says have been neglected, like overseeing U.S. EPA and passing major transportation and water infrastructure bills.

"We haven't really been doing anything because they've been wasting all of our time on all that silly stuff, all the hearings on global warming and all that," Inhofe said.

He wants to start probing some EPA regulations that he called "pretty outrageous," like rules dealing with airborne dust and lead in ammunition. Inhofe said he is also eager to hold investigations into who is really pulling the strings at the agency -- Administrator Lisa Jackson or White House climate and energy advisor Carol Browner, a former EPA chief.

"I'd like to know when you have someone who is put in a czar position and is not confirmed, just what their role is and what is her relation to Lisa Jackson," he said.

Inhofe also wants to scrap some of the subcommittees that Democrats created when Boxer took over.

When Inhofe was in charge, the panel had four subcommittees: Transportation and Infrastructure; Clean Air, Climate Change and Nuclear Safety; Fisheries, Wildlife and Water; and Superfund and Waste Management.

Boxer renamed several of those panels and created three new subcommittees: Children's Health; Green Jobs and the New Economy; and Oversight.

"I think we need to restructure the committees," Inhofe said. "Maybe back the way they were before, because if you get too many of them it gets a bit out of hand."

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), ranking member of the EPW oversight panel, said he would be thrilled to see Inhofe take charge.

"I'm all for it. I'm all for it. I would love to serve on the committee with Senator Inhofe as chairman. I think he'd be absolutely terrific," Barrasso said yesterday.

Democrats and environmentalists, however, are far from eager to see Inhofe reclaim the gavel. (Greenwire)

It's up to voters to turn out and make it so.


For crying out loud! The time is right for a carbon tax

The case for a carbon tax is a compelling one, given our current macroeconomic quandary and our apparent inability to deal with climate change. Each of these factors alone can make the case persuasively. When we take them together, the tax becomes even more convincing as a solution to some seemingly insurmountable problems.

Like it or not, for the foreseeable future tax increases are a necessity. The United States' 2009 federal deficit was $1.4 trillion -- almost 10 percent of GDP. By comparison, at about 10 percent the U.S. did better than newsmakers Greece (13.6 percent) and Spain (11.2 percent) but worse than, for example, Portugal, France and Romania.

Even if we assume that the U.S. economy returns to health with robust growth, the long-term full employment structural deficit was estimated at $475 billion earlier this year. While many would like to erase the structural deficit by slashing spending, we know from past legislative behavior that once elected, lawmakers have little appetite for axing special projects in their own districts or states. (Houston Chronicle)

How about electing politicians who actually believe in smaller government and spending less?


Thomas Friedman's Tall Tale

Thomas Friedman, columnist for the New York Times, again trots out the "if only we were doing as good as China" story:
[B]ecause runaway pollution in China means wasted lives, air, water, ecosystems and money -- and wasted money means fewer jobs and more political instability -- China's leaders would never go a year (like we will) without energy legislation mandating new ways to do more with less. It's a three-for-one shot for them. By becoming more energy efficient per unit of G.D.P., China saves money, takes the lead in the next great global industry and earns credit with the world for mitigating climate change.
It is a great story.  Except for the fact that it is not true (see also). (Roger Pielke Jr.)


More on the "Iron Law" of Climate Policy

In The Climate Fix, I discuss an empirical reality that I summarize as the "iron law" of climate policy.  The "iron law" simply states that while people are often willing to pay some price for achieving environmental objectives, that willingness has its limits.  Such limits may fall at different thresholds for different places at at different times.  The iron law seems so common sense that I am always surprised when I hear objections to it.

It shows up on the front page of today's NYT, in a comment by Elke Weber at Columbia University:
"Most Americans want to do things that are good for the environment, but not everyone wants to pay the price"
Here is a thought experiment that you can conduct to see if you too follow the "iron law":  Imagine some environmental objective, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Would you agree to pay $1 to achieve that objective?  Most everyone would say, "sure, why not, it is just a dollar."  OK then, would you agree to pay $1 million dollars to achieve that same objective?  Most people would say, "I don't even have a million dollars, and if I did, I could probably find other uses."  

If you are like most people as I've characterized them above, then you have a preference function that runs between $1 and $1,000,000 which shows a decreasing willingness to pay as the price goes higher.  Certainly in the aggregate such a function accurately characterizes public opinion.  A decreased willingness to pay might be because of competing values (you'd rather send your kids to college than pay for environmental objectives) or because of means (your ability to pay is financially limited). 

Such a preference function using actual public opinion data is illustrated in Figure 2.4 of The Climate Fix, which draws from the bottom panel of the figure at the head of this post, for the US in 2009.  The Figure show support for a "climate bill" decay rapidly as a function of annual household cost.  The implications of the "iron law" for both climate policy and politics will be the subject of later posts. (Roger Pielke Jr.)


Better late than never: California Braces for Showdown on Emissions

LOS ANGELES -- A ballot initiative to suspend a milestone California law curbing greenhouse gas emissions is drawing a wave of contributions from out-of-state oil companies, raising concerns among conservationists as it emerges as a test of public support for potentially costly environmental measures during tough economic times.

Charles and David Koch, the billionaires from Kansas who have played a prominent role in financing the Tea Party movement, donated $1 million to the campaign to suspend the Global Warming Solutions Act, which was passed four years ago, and signaled that they were prepared to invest more in the cause. With their contribution, proponents of the proposition have raised $8.2 million, with $7.9 million coming from energy companies, most of them out of state.

This latest embrace by the Koch brothers of a conservative cause jolted environmental leaders who are worried that a vote against the law in this state -- with its long history of environmental activism -- would amount to a powerful setback for emission control efforts in Washington and statehouses across the country. (NYT)

Businesses wouldn't need to fight these desperate rearguard actions if they stood up to be counted in the beginning. Mostly they are afraid to draw attention in case the lovely greenies say unkind things about them.


Obama's Plan May Be on Hold, But Cap-and-Trade is Still Advancing in the States

While the prospects for passing a federal cap-and-trade law in the Senate are dwindling, this economically-damaging energy policy is alive and well in the states.

Ten northeastern states are currently implementing a regional cap-and-trade system known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont are mandating that utilities reduce their carbon dioxide emissions 10 percent by 2018.

Examination of the RGGI experience unmasks cap-and-trade as a con game from progressive governors to transfer taxpayer money to bloated state coffers and to special interest groups. Initiated in 2003 when then-Governor George Pataki (R-NY) sent a letter to regional governors calling for states "to develop a strategy that will help the region lead the nation in the effort to fight global climate change," RGGI became the first program in the nation to use cap-and-trade to reduce greenhouse gases. (Tom Borelli, Townhall)


EPA to Drop Climate Leaders Program for Corporations

WASHINGTON, DC, September 17, 2010 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has decided to phase down services the agency offers to companies under its eight-year-old Climate Leaders program, including technical assistance and setting greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Climate Leaders was started in 2002 under the Bush administration as a voluntary program for organizations to complete a corporate-wide greenhouse gas inventory, set a reduction goal and meet that goal.

The EPA said there are many new developments in regulatory and voluntary programs that address greenhouse gas emissions, including the first-ever mandatory greenhouse gas reporting rules that took effect on January 1, 2010. (ENS)


Climatism: Redoubling Misguided Efforts

By Steve Goreham

Undaunted by Climategate disclosures and the failure to pursue climate legislation in the Senate, the climate movement is stepping up the attack. At an August 10 virtual town hall held by Repower America, former Vice President Al Gore stated, "We are not defeated. We are redoubling our efforts ...We need to solve the climate crisis." Thousands of supporters listened to the call. Inspired by Mr. Gore, they intend to "roll up their sleeves" and "turn their attention to the future." Unfortunately, the climate movement is long on enthusiasm and ideology, but short on science and economic sense.

Climatism, the theory that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth's climate, is increasingly in doubt. It appears that the world jumped to conclusions in 1992 at the Rio de Janiero Earth Summit, when 41 nations signed a treaty pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For the last eighteen years, political leaders have been arguing about how much to reduce such emissions. But more and more science shows our climate to be dominated by natural cycles of Earth, driven by solar activity. Man-made carbon dioxide emissions play only an insignificant role in global warming. (American Thinker)


Climate change falling off public radar, speakers say

A year after the Copenhagen conference on global warming that failed to produce a comprehensive international agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions, climate change has taken a back seat to issues such as the recession but continues to influence economic and government policy decisions, the Global Business Forum heard Friday.

But business leaders such as Trans-Alta CEO Steve Snyder said that industry needs to be mindful of balancing economic growth with environmental sustainability. Copenhagen broke down partly over the inability of Western nations to convince developing countries such as China and India on the need to curb carbon dioxide without damaging their emerging economies.

Although Snyder agreed some were "disappointed" that Copenhagen failed to achieve an agreement, he said the outcome underscores the need to develop solutions that tackle carbon emissions without sacrificing prosperity.

"Hopefully we can now have a much more realistic conversation about where we are, where we need to be and how best to get there," he said. "Telling people to reduce their standard of living is not nearly as motivating as saying there is a way to reduce emissions and still use all the energy you want."

Gwyn Prins, a research professor at the London School of Economics, said governments which put environmental issues over economic ones are generally kicked out of office. Although he said he supports taking action to reduce carbon emissions, Prins said government policies have done little to achieve that goal.

"The best climate change policy is no climate change policy," he said.

He stated that polls show that public concern with climate spiked between 2005-9 and is now rapidly subsiding and that the Gallup Longditudinal Poll which has been conducted continuously since the Second World War shows that man-made climate change is currently top priority for 0.25% of Americans polled. He also stated that the alternative to a formal "climate policy" is an aggressive policy of energy innovation. (Calgary Herald)


Oh dear... Torpor on emissions must end

Renewed co-operation is needed as the world continues to warm.

THIS year has seen outbreaks of extreme weather in many regions of the world. No one can say with certainty that events such as the flooding in Pakistan, the unprecedented weather episodes in some parts of the US, the heatwave and drought in Russia, or the floods and landslides in northern China were influenced by climate change. Yet they constitute a stark warning. Extreme weather events will grow in frequency and intensity as the world warms. (Anthony Giddens and Martin Rees, SMH)


Slanted inquiries

Probes into the Climategate emails used biased ­panels and carefully restricted terms of reference

By Andrew Montford

At the end of 2009 hundreds of emails were hacked or leaked from the ­servers of the Climatic ­Research Unit at the ­University of East Anglia. The emails ­appeared to show scientists at the very centre of global warming science manipulating and ­withholding data, perverting the peer review process in order to keep their critics from publishing in the academic literature and having much more sanguine private views of climate science than the ones they presented to the public. There was a worldwide furore as the possible ­implications for policymakers sank in.

A number of inquiries were set up in the wake of the allegations. In the U.K., the House of Commons science and technology committee held a brief investigation, regrettably ­curtailed by the impending ­general election. The University of East Anglia, meanwhile, set up two panels, under Lord Oxburgh and Sir Muir Russell. All three inquiries have now presented their findings and, while making minor criticisms of the scientists involved, all have largely ­exonerated them of serious wrongdoing.

Read More » (Financial Post)


George Monbiot: scrubbing the record clean

This is a guest post by Shub Niggurath


Last November things began to go seriously wrong for the IPCC version of science.  Things started after a leading Indian glaciologist called VK Raina publicly pointed out that he disagreed with the IPCC conclusion that the Himalayan glaciers would melt away within 30 years.  Raina said studies showed that at the present rate of melting, the glaciers would take hundreds of years to do so.   The Indian public had previously been told that the waters from the Himalayas would dry up within their lifetimes, so this good news was published on the front pages of the Indian newspapers.

Click to read more ... (Bishop Hill)


How sad... 'Green degrees' target solutions to climate-change issues

Universities are meeting the growing demand for environmental skills with a range of 'green' degrees (Guardian)

Some years back James Cook University found a niche to exploit, churning out Marine Biologists (what kid wouldn't like to "study" snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef?). The inevitable result being the standing joke in Townsville: "What do you say to a marine biologist?" with the response: "Big Mac & fries, please" and it is unfortunately true. Every reef tour, fishing charter and whale watching vessel has its de rigueur marine biologists serving drinks and snacks and attempting to sound erudite for the pale tourists who paid their money to see the pretty fishies. JCU found a lucrative funding source but at the expense of research and real education, exchanging it for green pap and sight seeing. "Green degrees"? Spare us.


BHP boss's call to action on carbon price is just smoke

MARIUS Kloppers' big call to put a price on carbon before an international agreement is unlikely to persuade his peers to follow suit.

Rio Tinto, for example, has been conspicuously silent in response. Tom Albanese makes regular speeches emphasising Rio's commitment to reducing carbon emissions but focuses far more on the importance of developing technology breakthroughs to enable that.

Other business groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Industry Group have pointedly referred to the obvious effect on Australia's competitiveness should the government take a lead on pricing carbon before most comparable countries.

So what was BHP Billiton boss Kloppers up to with his spectacular intervention? (Jennifer Hewett, The Australian)


Kloppers' call for a carbon tax mixes self-interest and silliness

BHP Billiton chief Marius Kloppers' call for a carbon tax was a mix of self-interest, unknowing corporate self-loathing and silliness.

Oh yes, and a gratuitous willingness to volunteer you -- all of you, individuals and businesses alike -- to pay more, potentially much more, for your electricity. Ahem, but not BHP and its peers.

Not bad from the head of our biggest company. Shareholders must be chuffed at what they get for the $12 million they paid him last year. No doubt he'd be more than willing to pay the higher electricity bills in his personal capacity.

Kloppers' call was based on one core assumption and one core assertion. The first was heroic to the point of inanity, the second just inane. (Terry McCrann From: The Australian)


Silliness down-under: State carbon plan puts heat on Julia Gillard

PRESSURE is growing on the Gillard government to come up with a price on carbon.

The extra heat comes with NSW preparing a national launch of its carbon emissions abatement scheme.

The NSW Labor government is modelling a national version of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scheme, which has operated in NSW since 2003 and has reduced carbon emissions by 90 million tonnes.

While the Keneally government is tipped to lose office before it has a chance to convince the other states, via the Council of Australian Governments, to adopt GGAS, NSW opposition climate change spokeswoman Catherine Cusack confirmed yesterday the Coalition would support the push to take a "modernised" version of GGAS national.

But the plan has sparked warnings energy companies are being forced to comply with a growing array of greenhouse reduction schemes across the nation as the states rush to fill a carbon policy vacuum left by the federal government. Energy Supply Association of Australia chief executive Brad Page warned this was saddling power suppliers with significant compliance costs, and this was passed on as increasing electricity prices to consumers. (Imre Salusinszky and Annabel Hepworth, The Australian)


Firms in secret plan to flee power bills

SOME of the state's biggest employers are secretly planning to leave New South Wales after rises of up to 50 per cent in their power and gas bills, with Victoria and Queensland most likely to benefit.

Steel, construction, manufacturing and mining companies are fed up with successive NSW Governments that have not delivered an effective power grid.

Energy Markets Reform Forum spokesman Bob Lim said predicted increases in electricity and gas bills - as well as rises in water charges and rates - had forced big companies to look elsewhere and scale back their operations in NSW.

Mr Lim, who represents dozens of big energy users including Tomago Aluminium, VISY, Bluescope Steel, Kimberly-Clark and OneSteel, said the long-term impact on the NSW economy would be severe.

Job losses and the closure of factories were a reality as companies eyed overseas and interstate options before an emissions trading scheme was introduced, he said. (Geoff Chambers, The Daily Telegraph)


They wish: Climate change could benefit UK farmers

Climate change and global food shortages could bring unexpected benefits for British farmers in the next two decades, ultimately relieving taxpayers of the burden of subsidising them, Caroline Spelman, environment secretary, has claimed.

Ms Spelman said the UK was unlikely to suffer the severe water shortages that scientists predict will afflict other parts of the world, and that British farmers should be able to exploit greater demand for their produce.

"Countries that have water are going to be better placed than those who don't in a climate change world," Ms Spelman told the Financial Times. "I think we will see globally a rise in commodity prices as a result of that." (Financial Times)


The Anti-Engineering Crowd

Engineers have to get things right. They design things which have to work in the real world. When bridges fall down, there are consequences. If your computer doesn't work, there are consequences. If a rocket crashes, there are consequences.

By contrast, many scientists have the luxury of living in the world of thought. They can toy around with ideas and models and concepts, normally without consequence for being wrong. You would not want a scientist designing a bridge, or performing surgery. They generally don't have the necessary skills.

We see the disconnect between climate science and reality constantly. One of my favorite examples is the idea of the "ice shelf collapse" due to "global warming."

An engineer looks at this picture and sees stress fractures in a thick piece of ice. A polar scientist with global warming on his mind, might see CO2. There is no evidence of melt in this picture. None, zip, nada, nil. The idea that this clean, smooth crack is due to melt is ludicrous. (Real Science)


Conclusions From Allen and Sherwood (2008) and Thorne (2008) Are Refuted

In 2008, there were two papers published in Nature which received quite a bit of  attention. The papers are

Robert J. Allen & Steven C. Sherwood, 2008: Warming maximum in the tropical upper troposphere deduced from thermal winds Published online: 25 May 2008; | doi:10.1038/ngeo208

P. W. Thorne, 2008: "Atmospheric science: The answer is blowing in the wind;  Published online: 25 May 2008; | doi:10.1038/ngeo209

I posted on these two papers in

Use Of Winds To Diagnose Long Term Temperature Trends -- Two New Papers

Comments On The Science In The Nature Paper By Allen and Sherwood

It has taken over two years but in our paper

Christy, J.R., Herman, B., Pielke, R., Sr., Klotzbach, P., McNider, R.T., Hnilo, J.J., Spencer, R.W., Chase, T., and Douglass, D. What Do Observational Datasets Say about Modeled Tropospheric Temperature Trends since 1979?. Remote Sens. 2010, 2, 2148-2169

we refute the findings in the Allen and Sherwood (2008) and Thorne (2008) papers. In our paper in Section 3.1.3, we write

"The temperature trends derived from the thermal wind equation (TWE) (AS08 and C10) are indirect estimates and their magnitudes are significantly higher than the other products which measure the temperature directly."  [AS(08) = Allen and Sherwood (2008) and C10 = Christy et al (2010)]


"[W]e conclude that these trends calculated from the TWE, as applied for AS08 and here (C10), using the current radiosonde coverage and observational limitations (consistency, accuracy, etc.) do not produce results reliable enough for studies such as ours. In particular, AS08 and C10, with TLT trends of +0.29 and +0.28 °C decade−1 are almost three times that of the mean of the directly measured systems, and are values that are, in our view, simply not consistent with the countervailing, directly-measured evidence."

In other words, The Allen and Sherwood (2008) finding that

"Over the period of observations, we find a maximum warming trend of 0.650.47 K per decade near the 200 hPa pressure level, below the tropical tropopause. Warming patterns are consistent with model predictions except for small discrepancies close to the tropopause ? ?The agreement with models increases confidence in current model-based predictions of future climate change"

has been refuted as reported in the Christy et al 2010 paper. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Solar flares could paralyse Britain's power and communications, Liam Fox says

Britain's electrical system, financial networks and transport infrastructure could all be paralysed by a solar flare or a nuclear attack, Liam Fox will warn next week. (TDT)

As opposed greenie hysteria doing so?


Britain's energy policy is in crisis

The Government's policy on renewable energy is wasteful and counter-productive, says Christopher Booker.

Forget the latest proposal by Caroline Spelman, our Environment Secretary, that all hospitals should in future be built on hills, to stop them being submerged beneath the rising seas brought by global warming (even that serial panic-monger Al Gore predicts that sea levels will rise by only 20 feet). A more serious problem is the chaos inflicted on our energy policy by our willing compliance with an EU obligation to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 34 per cent within 10 years.

Behind the fog of official spin, it becomes ever more obvious that the schemes devised to meet the EU target of generating nearly a third of our energy from renewable sources by 2020 -- six times more than at present -- are a massive self-delusion. Even though they will cost us hundreds of billions of pounds, paid largely through soaring electricity bills, the energy they produce will be derisory -- certainly nowhere near enough to plug the looming 40 per cent shortfall in our supplies, as many of our older power stations are forced to close. ( Christopher Booker, TDT)


Lawrence Solomon: Are you frying your eggs at 4 a.m. yet?

Instead of retooling the technology, retool the people

By Lawrence Solomon

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is under fire for forcing smart meters onto the province's electricity customers.

The meters make no economic sense for consumers, critics point out, costing consumers far more than can ever be offset through lower power bills.

The meters, in fact, make perfect sense when understood from Mr. McGuinty's viewpoint, despite a total price tag estimated to run as high as $10-billion.

Read More » (Financial Post)


Gulf of Mexico 'Idle Iron' Oil Wells Must Be Plugged

WASHINGTON, DC, September 15, 2010 - Oil and gas companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico will have to set permanent plugs in nearly 3,500 nonproducing wells under a new federal government policy aimed at preventing more oil leaks into gulf waters.

In addition, oil companies must dismantle about 650 oil and gas production platforms if they are no longer being used for exploration or production, the Department of the Interior directed today in a Notice to Lessees effective October 15.

"As part of our sustained effort to improve the safety of energy production on the Outer Continental Shelf and strengthen environmental protections, we are notifying offshore operators of their legal responsibility to decommission and dismantle their facilities when production is completed," said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The order comes five months after the explosion at BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico caused one of the biggest oil spill in U.S. history - 4.9 million barrels.

"We have placed the industry on notice that they will be held to the highest standards of planning and operations in developing leases and today's notice reiterates that mandate," Salazar said. (ENS)


Subsoil Privatization: The Ultimate Post-BP Spill Reform

by Robert Bradley Jr.
September 17, 2010

Editor Note: This post complements a previous entry at MasterResource by Guillermo Yeatts,
Subsoil Oil and Gas Privatization: Private Wealth for the Common Good.]

Government intervention in free markets is prefaced on market failure. But no such rationale explains why federal and state governments have owned and managed hydrocarbon-bearing onshore and offshore lands. Government involvement can be explained by little more than the historical precedent of sovereign ownership of unowned property and of habit.

In a private property world, surface and subsurface areas would be unowned until the positive acts of discovery and intent to use. Under the "homestead" theory of first property title, the state of nature (unowned area) would not be the property of government but the first resource entrepreneur who, in the immortal words of John Locke, "tills, plants, improves, cultivates and can use the product of" the surface or subsurface to "enclose it from the common."

Sovereign ownership would be displaced by a rational ownership system within the private sector, and individual accountability and economic incentives would reign over the inherent land-use conflicts on behalf of "all of the people." The privatization process can follow many forms--such as a Cato Policy Analysis by Terry Anderson, Vernon Smith, and Emily Simmons, "How and Why to Privatize Federal Lands," espousing a 20--40 year transfer. But other things equal, the sooner the transfer the better, so long as meeting the basic criteria as outlined by Anderson et al.: 

  • Allocation to the Highest-Valued Use
  • Low Transactions Costs
  • Broad Participation in Divestiture Proceedings
  • Recognition of Squatters' Rights

As it is now, government ownership of a resource transforms authorities into central economic planners to answer the questions of who does what, when, where, and how much. Such is the position of the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (formerly the Minerals Management Service) in regard to offshore leasing and publicly owned onshore development.

If all subsoil rights had been socialized in the United States, a severe economic calculation problem would have existed for the Department of Interior. But a coexisting (and much larger) private lease market, at least on dry lands, has provided crucial information that Interior over many decades has used to make decisions.

Nonetheless, political control over swaths of mineral-bearing subsoil for over a century has led to administrative problems at Interior such as: [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Oilsands 'acceptably clean': U.S. senator

Lindsey Graham is one of three U.S. senators in Alberta who toured the oilsands. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)A U.S. senator is rejecting the 'dirty oil' tag pegged on Alberta's oilsands by some environmentalists, saying that label should instead be applied to some oil sources in the Mideast.

"That's one of the myths being perpetrated," said South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who along with two other senators, spent Friday visiting some of the oilsands operations in northern Alberta. "It's oil I feel very comfortable Americans consuming."

Graham said the oil is secure and comes from a reliable neighbour, adding that a lot of the money the U.S. gives Canada to buy its oil comes back to America in trade.

"Dirty oil and dangerous oil come from rogue regimes in the Mideast. The oil coming from Alberta in my view is not only acceptably clean, it is safe," Graham told CBC News. "Dirty to me would be oil that you buy from parts of the world where the people that sell it to you hate your guts and part of the money winds up in the hands of terrorists." (CBC News)


Chinese oil company after BP's stake in Argentina's Pan American Energy

CNOOC, Ltd, China's biggest offshore oil explorer, may bid 10.2 billion USD for BPs 60% stake in Argentina's Pan American Energy LLC and will probably seek a partner in the acquisition, Citigroup Inc. said. (MercoPress)


Successful testing of ninth out of ten oil-wells in extreme south of Chile

Latin American oil and gas firm GeoPark Holdings Ltd said on Thursday it successfully drilled and tested a new well in the Guanaco oil field on the Fell Block in the extreme south of Chile. (MercoPress)


U.N. Panel Delays Ruling On Green Rewards For Coal

A United Nations panel has delayed key decisions on a scheme meant to reward projects that cut carbon emissions in developing countries, including whether to approve a modern coal plant for such incentives.

The U.N.'s clean development mechanism (CDM) allows rich countries to meet caps on carbon emissions by paying for carbon cuts in the developing world, under the Kyoto Protocol.

Countries and companies in the developed world last year paid $2.7 billion to developers in poorer countries for such emissions cuts under the scheme, mostly to big industrial projects, wind farms and hydropower plants in China and India. (Reuters)


Five States Sue Allegheny Energy Over Downwind Air Pollution

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania, September 16, 2010 - Trial has begun in a lawsuit filed by New Jersey and four other states to force coal-fired power plants hundreds of miles away in western Pennsylvania to clean up emissions of pollutants that degrade air quality in the downwind plaintiff states.
New Jersey is joined by Connecticut, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania in seeking to require Allegheny Energy Inc. and its subsidiaries to install pollution control equipment, as required by the federal Clean Air Act and Pennsylvania law, to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide at three power plants.

Prevailing wind carries pollutants from these plants to the east, causing ozone smog pollution and acid rain, the five plaintiff states allege.

The trial is taking place in U.S. District Court for Western Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh before Chief Judge Gary Lancaster.

"Air pollution does not adhere to state boundaries," said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin. "Even though Allegheny's power plants are hundreds of miles away, they affect New Jersey's ability to meet federal clean air standards." (ENS)

What will they do when it makes no meaningful difference?


Will this boondoggle never end? Agriculture Secretary, Producers Confident On Ethanol Hike

U.S. regulators are likely to approve a higher blend of ethanol in U.S. gasoline shortly, an ethanol producers group and the top U.S. agriculture official each said on Friday, and the new fuel mix could be selling at the pump by next spring.

Ethanol companies and corn traders are anxiously awaiting a decision from the Environmental Protection Agency -- expected within weeks -- for a waiver to allow cars built in 2007 and after to burn regular gasoline blended with ethanol levels of 15 percent, a fuel that would be known as E15.

The ethanol blend level now is 10 percent. (Reuters)


Fifteen Bad Things with Windpower--and Three Reasons Why

by John Droz Jr.
September 20, 2010

Trying to pin down the arguments of wind promoters is a bit like trying to grab a greased balloon. Just when you think you've got a handle on it, it squirts away. Let's take a quick highlight review of how things have evolved.

1 -- Wind energy was abandoned well over a hundred years ago, as it was totally inconsistent with our burgeoning more modern needs of power, even in the late 1800s. When we throw the switch, we expect that the lights will go on -- 100% of the time. It's not possible for wind energy, by itself, to ever do this, which is one of the main reasons it was relegated to the dust bin of antiquated technologies (along with such other inadequate sources like horse power).

2 -- Fast forward to several years ago. With politicians being convinced by lobbyists that Anthropological Global Warming (AGW) was an imminent threat, a campaign was begun to favor all things that would purportedly reduce CO2. Wind energy was thus resurrected, as its marketers pushed the fact that wind turbines did not produce CO2 in their generation of electricity.

3 -- Of course, just that by itself is not significant, so the original wind development lobbyists then made the case for a quantum leap: that by adding wind turbines to the grid we could significantly reduce CO2 from fossil fuel electrical sources (especially coal). This argument became the basis for many states' implementing a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) -- which mandated that their utilities use an increased amount of wind energy.

4 -- Why was a mandate necessary? Simply because the real world reality of integrating wind energy made it a very expensive option. As such, no utility company would likely do this on their own. They had to be forced to.

[Read more →] (MasterResource)


Mafia 'Hits' EU Wind Subsidies

With Europe's public subsidy regime for wind and other green energy projects being slashed, all it needed was for the Mafia to blow into town. Unfortunately, organized crime has already hit town -- and I do mean hit -- to make local officials offers they couldn't refuse. [Read More] (Peter C Glover, ET)


Centrica alert over a nuclear snub

British Gas owner Centrica will be forced to spend billions of pounds on new gas-fired power stations to keep the lights on if it does not secure consent for the Hinkley nuclear reactor by early 2012.

Delays in the planning system could also spark a dash for gas among other energy providers.

Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw warned that would jeopardise the security of energy supply as Britain would need to import about 75 per cent of its gas needs. (Daily Mail)


Thousands Surround Merkel Office In Nuclear Protest

Tens of thousands of Germans surrounded Chancellor Angela Merkel's office Saturday in an anti-nuclear demonstration that organizers said was the biggest of its kind since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

The protest, which organizers said drew 100,000 people, could help to mobilize growing grass-roots opposition to Merkel's ruling center-right coalition, which has suffered a slump in popularity since taking office last October.

Near the start of the protest, police said there were close to 40,000 demonstrators. They declined to give a later estimate.

In a peaceful march around Berlin's government quarter, protesters converged on Merkel's chancellery to call for a stop to her unpopular plans to extend the lifespans of Germany's nuclear power stations by an average of 12 years. (Reuters)



Aaron Hillis: Inhuman Idiot Film Critic?

What does a connoisseur of erotic gay cinema think of a documentary that's trying to save children's lives?

First-time film producer Dr. Rutledge Taylor's new epic/call-to-action on DDT and malaria, "3 Billion and Counting," opens Friday at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

Sadly, Left-wing media is already on the attack in its typical ad hominem, knee-jerk, ignorant and misanthropic ways. Take Village Voice movie critic Aaron Hillis who opens his commentary on the film as follows:

"The death toll is mounting," shrieks the tagline of this dawdling, hysterical documentary that may as well be named Every 12 Seconds a Child Dies From Malaria, and Why Haven't You Done Anything About It?

Compare that with Hillis' opening line in his review of "No Impact Man" last September:

The bold environmental project Colin Beavan began in the fall of 2006--to expunge his carbon footprint by giving up material consumption, electricity, non-local foods, and basically all worldly pleasures in Manhattan for one full year--was always destined to have some naysayers crying "publicity stunt."

So to Hillis, eco-self-flagellation is "bold" while trying to save millions of real children from dying real deaths from a preventable disease is "hysterical."

Hillis criticizes "3 Billion and Counting" because it,

… hinges only on Rutledge Taylor's findings…"

Aside from the fact that any documentary filmmaker can only ever present his findings, Hillis omitted mention of the numerous opportunities in the film that Taylor provided environmentalists and other DDT opponents to defend themselves. For the most part, DDT opponents don't take Taylor up on his offers because they aren't willing to defend their indefensible actions on camera.

Hillis objects in ad hominem fashion to Taylor's vilification of William Ruckleshaus and Rachel Carson while erroneously writing that malaria is responsible for "hundreds of millions of deaths each year." [Earth to Hillis, the annual malaria death toll is on the order of 1-3 million per year. If you had paid attention to the movie, you wouldn't have made such a basic mistake.]

Aaron Hillis is too stupid to realize his good fortune in growing up to be a Manhattan-based film critic -- as opposed to dying before the age of 5 years, which is what happens to about a million African children every year due to malaria. Worse, perhaps, is that once presented with uncontroverted facts about this ongoing tragedy, Generation Me's Aaron Hillis is too callous to to care.

Until he can complete some sort of program in compassion/humanity/empathy, maybe Hillis should just stick to reviewing films more up his alley, like gay zombie movies. (Green Hell Blog)


Tyrone Hayes--A Frog in His Throat

Dr. Tyrone Hayes of UC Berkeley--in his personal quest to demonize the herbicide atrazine just as a previous generation successfully demonized Alar--gave an encore performance before the EPA's fourth Scientific Advisory Panel on this subject on Wednesday.

I say encore, because Hayes mostly recycled old claims that the EPA has previously investigated and discarded. Hayes attacked me before the panel for claiming that he refuses to release his data. Of course, all I did was quote a senior EPA official who publicly distanced the agency from Hayes in a letter earlier this year to an Illinois state senator. In that letter, the EPA explicitly tries to put the Hayes-generated controversy to rest, clearly stating that Hayes has indeed refused to make his data public. Hayes ignored this letter completely.

He must know that the EPA won't be fooled. But that wasn't his purpose. He was playing to the cameras. You see, he brought a documentary film crew with him.

The sad part is that a lot of this will actually look good when edited down into the now-familiar hero-scientist narrative. Viewers will not know that most of what Hayes presented to the SAP is old data that has been thoroughly refuted by the EPA already.

One example: Hayes went on at length about a study of elevated incidences of prostate cancer in workers at an atrazine plant in St. Gabriel, Louisiana. EPA looked closely at this years ago and determined that the "x" factor at work wasn't atrazine, but the manufacturer's aggressive health screening for employees.

Another example: Hayes purported to show that atrazine renders frogs infertile, transforms many males into females and other males into "homosexual frogs." Viewers of the Hayes documentary hagiography will never know that EPA also looked into this too --and dismissed it.

Hayes' biggest problem, however, is that all these massive assaults on frog fertility simply don't show up in the field -- quite literally, in farmer's fields, where atrazine use is the highest. In fact, frogs seem to do just fine there.

This is an important point about the quality of Dr. Hayes's "science." It deserves to be explicated at length.

Hayes has claimed to find subtle hormonal impacts of atrazine at specific, low concentrations in his California laboratory. These claims arose after studies using the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, a non-native species to North America and considered the "lab rat" of the amphibian world.

However, seeing as there are no African frogs native to North America, Hayes did subsequent laboratory research using laboratory-reared specimens of the Northern leopard frog, Rana pipiens, obtained from a laboratory supplier in Boston, Massachusetts.

Hayes reported finding subtle hormonal impacts in these lab experiments in this species, too.
Subsequently, Hayes set out on a major field expedition to corroborate the impacts seen in the lab with real-world observations. Yet instead of finding proof of the laboratory findings, Hayes found conflicting and contradictory observations. He found higher numbers of "malformed frogs" in places with no history of atrazine use and/or barely detectable atrazine traces. There was no dose response and no dearth of frogs. In fact, it takes a careful reading of his papers to find that Northern leopard frogs were abundant at all surveyed locations.

This was especially in areas where corn was grown under irrigated conditions, indicating habitat was a critical factor, not atrazine use.

We now know from Yale researchers that Northern leopard frogs have higher numbers of gonadal abnormalities in urban areas than in rural, agricultural areas.

As Hayes's own field research with native leopard frogs failed to further his grand narrative (and, in fact, showed their relative abundance despite 50 years of atrazine use) and other researchers findings undercutting his past claims that atrazine posed a serious risk to amphibian populations, Hayes has returned to his artificial crisis world of the laboratory using an African species of frog that has thrived in Africa despite widespread and decades-long atrazine use in farming.

Crises are so much easier to propagandize and hype when they are unencumbered by inconvenient truths like abundant frogs and conflicting data. (Alex Avery, CGFI)


Lawyers aim to harass and intimidate growers in atrazine issue

Sometimes, individuals and groups decide to stand up for something. 

In the case of many crop producers and the associations that represent them, they have decided to stand up for atrazine. Atrazine is a vital herbicide that is under attack by environmentalists, activist researchers, activist media and slick trial attorneys. These well-financed groups worked together last summer to garner enough attention to spur an unscheduled re-review of atrazine by the Environmental Protection Agency.

While farmers use atrazine in smaller and smaller concentrations, it is still an important tool to control weeds, especially in environmentally friendly "conservation" farming practices. For example, using no-till, an increasingly popular conservation farming practice, farmers leave the previous crop stubble on field and plant the next crop in that stubble. This practice reduces runoff and holds on to nutrients and other stuff that helps crop grow in the field. 

Atrazine's ability to provide residual weed control makes no-till an option for many farmers. Without it, they'd better grease up the old plow. I read an apt quote on Twitter recently-"If EPA says bye-bye to atrazine, can we get cultivators rolling fast enough?"

Looking at the information above, it's no wonder farmers and farm organizations are standing up for atrazine in a big way. It's no wonder that they work with atrazine's major manufacturer, Syngenta, to support this product. (Jere White, The Record)


Making healthy food is easy. Making people eat it is not

A SERVING of Kraft's Ranch dressing boasts 370mg of sodium and 12g of fat. That is what nutritionists would describe as "far too much" and consumers would describe as "yummy". The Kraft food company has brilliant scientists, of course, so it can easily take the salt out of its dressing. Alas, what remains tastes horrible. (Economist)


Uh-huh... Air pollution linked to deadly cardiac arrests

NEW YORK - Breathing in soot and other fine particles from the urban air may increase the risk of suffering a deadly heart stoppage, suggests a new study of more than 8,000 cardiac arrests in New York City.

"As the levels of particulate matter air pollution increased, more cardiac arrests occurred," lead researcher Dr. Robert A Silverman of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, in New York, told Reuters Health in an e-mail.

Research had already linked air pollution to health problems such as cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, asthma and chronic lung disease. But Silverman and his colleagues wanted to know if these airborne chemicals, particularly tiny particles and liquid droplets produced by the combustion of cars and coal-fired power plants, might also raise the risk of sudden death from a cardiac arrest -- a severe event brought on when the heart muscle's rhythm becomes erratic. Cardiac arrest accounts for more than 300,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

When cardiac arrests occur outside of the hospital, victims typically have less than eight percent chance of survival.

So the team compared readings from air quality monitors around New York City with the records of 8,216 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests that happened between 2002 and 2006.

When they looked at fine particulate matter (particles 2.5 micrometer or less in size), they found that the risk of having a deadly cardiac arrest rose by between four and 10 percent with every 10-microgram-per-cubic-meter increase in fine particulates. (To protect public health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set the safe air quality standard for this pollutant to 35 micrograms per cubic meter.)

The greatest risks appeared in the warm weather seasons. No differences in effects were seen between men and women, or between middle-aged and older individuals. (Reuters Health)

What was each individual's particulate exposure? What temperature/weather conditions/changes were involved (storms/cooling after warm weather can precipitate asthma attacks, for example). Were any preconditions particularly prevalent? RR 1.04-1.1/10 ?g/m3 might be a weak dose response -- or a marker of something else or nothing at all. That's why the release opens with the weasel words "may increase" "suggests"...


<groan> Ozone Recovering But Will Take Longer Over Poles: U.N.

An outhouse sits by itself in a small inlet across the harbour from Iqaluit, Nunavut in the Canadian Arctic August 24, 2009.
Photo: Reuters/Andy Clark

The ozone layer that shields life from the sun's harmful rays is projected to recover from harmful chemicals by mid-century, but it will take longer over the polar regions, a United Nations study said on Thursday.

Ozone depletion -- blamed for higher ultraviolet radiation that causes skin cancers and cataracts and damages agriculture -- will continue for decades as several key damaging substances stay in the atmosphere for a long time after emissions end.

While many cooling agents or other compounds harmful to the ozone are no longer being produced or emitted, some of their industrial replacements are greenhouses gases that contribute much more to global warming, the report said.

"The ozone has bottomed out. It is no longer really decreasing. But there is also no real sign yet of an increase in ozone," Geir Braathen, senior scientific officer at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), told a news briefing. (Reuters)

What a wonderfully apt photo Reuters provided with this piece for Planet Ark. The bottom line is: what ozone depletion?


A U.N. Internet Governance Power Grab?

At the Internet Governance Forum meeting earlier this week in Vilnius, Lithuania, Rod Beckstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) expressed his concern and worry about efforts by some governments to constrain the independence of the Internet at the upcoming U.N. General Assembly session.

For those who are not familiar with ICANN, the organization is a nonprofit corporation charged with regulating and managing the Domain Name System under which Internet Protocol addresses and registration of top-level domains (such as .org and .com) are assigned. "Governance" of the medium has been historically minimal and led by non-governmental entities and overseen by the U.S. government, which has exercised a light regulatory touch. This freedom allowed the Internet to grow and develop at a truly remarkable pace. Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Terence Corcoran: The myth of inequality

For several years now the American left has been fixated on the idea that the United States has become a divided nation in which an aristocracy of the rich, the super rich and the stinking rich have subjugated the poor, the middle class and everybody else, turning America into the equivalent of some pre-Robespierreian France. This Marxist class war message was embedded in President Barack Obama's first budget: "For the better part of three decades, a disproportionate share of the nation's wealth has been accumulated by the very wealthy."

The basis for that claim and others in the Obama budget is the work of Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, two economists who in recent years have become the darlings of activists and politicians whose prime aim appears to be to foment class envy and promote new higher tax rates and bigger government. One of their graphs appeared in the Obama budget, apparently showing that the "top 1% of earners have been increasing their share of national income" to the point where the stinking rich 1% earn 20% of the total, double their share from 10% in 1980.

Read More  ? (Financial Post)


Mao's Great Leap Forward 'killed 45 million in four years'

Mao Zedong, founder of the People's Republic of China, qualifies as the greatest mass murderer in world history, an expert who had unprecedented access to official Communist Party archives said yesterday.

Speaking at The Independent Woodstock Literary Festival, Frank Dikötter, a Hong Kong-based historian, said he found that during the time that Mao was enforcing the Great Leap Forward in 1958, in an effort to catch up with the economy of the Western world, he was responsible for overseeing "one of the worst catastrophes the world has ever known".

Mr Dikötter, who has been studying Chinese rural history from 1958 to 1962, when the nation was facing a famine, compared the systematic torture, brutality, starvation and killing of Chinese peasants to the Second World War in its magnitude. At least 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death in China over these four years; the worldwide death toll of the Second World War was 55 million. (Arifa Akbar, Independent)


Price of greenie anti dam hysteria: Desal plant a $570m-a-year drain

VICTORIANS will pay an average $570 million a year for the next three decades to have the southern hemisphere's largest desalination plant - even if no water is needed.

Detail buried in a barrage of reports tabled in Parliament on Wednesday contained highly sensitive figures that the Brumby government has fought to keep secret: the real cost of the massive Wonthaggi plant, one of the largest public-private partnerships undertaken worldwide.

The Department of Sustainability and Environment report shows that in cash or nominal terms taxpayers will pay at least $15.8 billion to the Aquasure Consortium to operate and maintain the plant for 28 years after it begins operation at the end of 2011.

According to the government's calculations, the so-called water security payment is equivalent in today's dollars to $4.6 billion. In all, the government says the plant will cost $5.7 billion in today's money for the construction and operation of the site.

Revelation of the payments comes at a difficult time for the government in a surprisingly wet election year that has allowed it to ease water restrictions but raised tricky questions about the cost of major water projects including desalination and the contentious north-south pipeline.

Now, with reservoirs filling and taxpayers liable for hundreds of millions of dollars a year to pay for desalination, doubters both without and within government are questioning whether the plant was a costly overreaction to Melbourne's water woes. (Royce Millar and Ben Schneiders, The Age)


Eris O'Brien campaigns to 'Save the Locust' as huge swarm looms

UPDATE 1.28pm: FARMERS have slammed a radical environmental activist's "Save the Locust" campaign that aims to teach us to value the ravenous insects.

Sheep farmer and campaign founder Eris O'Brien says the threat of agricultural Armageddon has been grossly exaggerated by Premier John Brumby to win back rural votes at the next election, and that spraying threatens hundreds of other insect, bird and reptile species.

The Mitiamo farmer who is based about 55km west of Echuca and in striking distance to some of the first hatchings, says the biggest plague of locusts for 75 years is actually a "migration" and that we should learn to live with the insects.

He has launched the Save the Locust website to draw attention to the benefits that locusts can bring and the dangers of widespread pesticide use to the state's flora and fauna.

But farmers and the Agriculture Minister Joe Helper have slammed the group's battle to give locusts "a fair go".

"I'm sure if the Save The Locust group had their way, we'd all be left in a field singing Kumbaya while the locusts merrily went on their way eating as much as $2 billion out of Victoria's agricultural sector," Mr Helper told The Weekly Times.

Victorian Farmers Federation president Andrew Broad also lashed the campaign as "ill-informed nonsense".

"We live in the real world, not the ideal world," he said. (Matthew Schulz, Evonne Barry, Herald Sun)

The enviroloon wants to use alternative methods, like squishing with heavy rollers (not recommended for standing crops, soil compaction-prone regions, other flora and fauna); cooking with flame wands, steam or hot water (also not recommended for crops, pasture, critters...); vacuuming (hey Doll, grab the Hoover & the really long extension lead!); covering crops and pasture with locust-proof netting (mixed grain and grazing concerns in the region frequently run to tens of thousands of acres and the expected outbreak spans more than 250 miles across Victoria, not to mention South Australia and New South Wales); making crops and pasture unpalatable (oils, some sort of chemicals but don't know which) or; just let the plague locusts eat everything. Oh dear...


France Still Opposed To EU Plan On GM Crop Growing

France remains opposed to a plan by the European Union's executive to let each member country decide on whether to approve the growing of genetically modified (GM) crops, the French farm minister said on Thursday.

The proposals unveiled by the European Commission in June aim to overcome divisions between countries that have made EU approval of GM crops extremely difficult.

But they have again divided EU members on the issue, with some like France and Spain rejecting the idea of devolving responsibility to national governments. (Reuters)



Federal Register Notice: Call For Public Comment

Public comment is sought on the development of the next USGCRP National Climate Assessment. visitors are encouraged to submit comments as requested by the FR notice.

The reason for doing this is to ensure that climate realists' views are adequately represented in the NCA and any ignoring of those views is done at the USGCRP's legal/political peril.


Kerry forecasts cloudy future for comprehensive Senate climate bill

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) -- whose never-say-die attitude fueled months of long-shot climate talks -- admitted defeat Tuesday.

"Anything that's comprehensive or with a cap … will not pass right now," he told reporters. In fact, he said, even something as limited as a renewable electricity production mandate faces very long odds of getting through this year. (The Hill)


EU Will No Longer Commit To Unilateral CO2 Targets

Whether intended or not, this timing offers the EU the opportunity to make its future climate policy conditional on the moves by the world's other regional powers. By linking its decision to that of the rest of the world, Europe would begin to act as a mature competitor on the stage of international power diplomacy. It would appear that the EU, at long last, is on the brink of breaking away from its unilateral and self-destroying climate policy. -- Benny Peiser, Financial Post, 20 October 2008

Der Spiegel, 14 September 2010: EU will no longer commit to unilateral obligations to reduce CO2 emissions. The EU climate change commissioner sees especially the United States under an obligation to commit to binding reduction targets. Only then Europe would do the same.

Setting a good example - this strategy will no longer apply for Europe at international climate negotiations. Climate change commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the EU will no longer unconditionally play the lead role in the haggling over CO2 reduction targets. "We will only accept new commitments if others accept commitments too," Hedegaard said on Tuesday in Brussels.

Thus, the EU will not necessarily sign a new international climate agreement. In particular, the U.S. should commit to binding targets for reducing carbon dioxide, the Danish commissioner demanded. "It is not possible to persuade China, India or Brazil if the largest industrialized country is not contributing enough."

Hedegaard - then as Danish Environment Minister - had organised the ultimately unsuccessful 2009 Copenhagen summit negotiations on a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol that expires at the end of 2012. In Copenhagen, the EU countries had committed to CO2 reductions and pledged initial funding for climate protection projects in developing countries even before the negotiations started.

But at the Copenhagen summit the other key emitters - especially the U.S. and China -- refused to follow the example of the EU and did not to commit to reduction targets to prevent global warming of more than two degrees Celsius. [transl. Philipp Mueller]

Full story (in German) (GWPF)


Obama's Science Adviser: Don't Call it 'Global Warming'

John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, says that the term "global warming" is "a dangerous misnomer" that should be replaced with "global climate disruption."

At the Environmental Protection Agency's 40th celebration of the Clean Air Act on Tuesday, Holdren said, "I think one of the failures of the scientific community was in embracing the term 'global warming'. Global warming is in fact a dangerous misnomer." And in a speech last week in Norway, echoing remarks he made at a 2007 speech at Harvard University, Holdren said the term "global climate disruption" should be used instead of "global warming." (


White House Science Czar Says He Would Use 'Free Market' to 'De-Develop the United States'

In a video interview this week, White House Office of Science and Technology Director John P. Holdren told that he would use the "free market economy" to implement the "massive campaign" he advocated along with Paul Ehrlich to "de-develop the United States." (


An alternative to the new wave of ecofascism

By liberating humanity from the compulsion to consume, climate catastrophe can be averted without recourse to authoritarianism

It is time to acknowledge that mainstream environmentalism has failed to prevent climate catastrophe. Its refusal to call for an immediate consumption reduction has backfired and its demise has opened the way for a wave of fascist environmentalists who reject democratic freedom.

One well-known example of the authoritarian turn in environmentalism is James Lovelock, the first scientist to discover the presence of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere. Earlier this year he told the Guardian that democracies are incapable of adequately addressing climate change. "I have a feeling," Lovelock said, "that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while." His words may be disturbing, but other ecologists have gone much further.

Take for example Pentti Linkola, a Finnish fisherman and ecological philosopher. Whereas Lovelock puts his faith in advanced technology, Linkola proposes a turn to fascistic primitivism. Their only point of agreement is on the need to suspend democracy. Linkola has built an environmentalist following by calling for an authoritarian, ecological regime that ruthlessly suppresses consumers. Largely unknown outside of Finland until the first English translation of his work was published last year, Linkola represents environmentalism pushed to its totalitarian extreme. "An ecocatastrophe is taking place on earth," he writes concluding several pages later that "discipline, prohibition, enforcement and oppression" are the only solution. (Micah White, Guardian)


Green movement needs a different approach to appeal beyond the usual audience

Campaigners should focus on things people care about, not polar bears and melting ice caps

What if the biggest obstacle to solving climate change was the environmental movement itself?

You know what I'm talking about- the yearly cycle of petitions and celebrity endorsements, the "big" campaigns that only those of us in the world of campaigning ever hear about, and "humorous" stunts where only the organisers understand the joke. Solving climate change? Sometimes it feels more like being part of a stamp collecting club. (Ben West, Guardian)

Ben flatters himself, philatelists are way more interesting than climate cranks and other enviroloons.


So what's new... Prince Charles baffled by 'extraordinary' climate change scepticism

The Prince of Wales said he found the views of climate change sceptics ''extraordinary''.

He also made an impassioned plea for the country to adopt greener ways as he gave a breakfast television interview.

He warned that living on the planet would be ''no fun at all'' for future generations unless people took action to combat climate change.

Charles has spent the week touring eco-projects across the country and emphasised how some local people were taking up the challenge of adopting more sustainable lives.

The heir to the throne's comments were made in a pre-recorded interview with Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley, the hosts of ITV's new breakfast show Daybreak.

The royal chatted to the presenters in the garden of his London home Clarence House yesterday evening and even showed them his small vegetable garden with its neat rows of lettuces and leeks. (TDT)

... Charlie Prince of Wails appears baffled by everything beyond the level of the plants he so famously converses with. The more I hear of this clot the more Farmer George-like he seems.


How science will shape climate adaptation plans

Scientists must press on in developing the emerging tools that will help governments make decisions on adapting to climate change (Vicky Pope, Guardian)


Climate change committee will assess carbon tax: Julia Gillard

JULIA Gillard refused today to commit to a tax on carbon despite public pressure from BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers.

The Prime Minister said the government would assess the options in "good faith" through the climate change committee.

"I think the rule in, rule out games are a little bit silly," Ms Gillard said this morning.

"Obviously many members of the business community, Mr Kloppers included, have made statements and have called over quite a long period of time now for government to deal with the question of pricing carbon."

Ms Gillard said the government was committed towards working towards a price on carbon and that a market-based mechanism could provide that price. (Joe Kelly, The Australian)


Business condemns carbon price call

MICHAEL Chaney has joined the chorus of business opposition to BHP Billiton chief Marius Kloppers's call for a price on carbon.

Mr Chaney, a former BHP director, said yesterday he believed that taking action before the rest of the world would damage Australia's economy and international competitiveness.

He also said a carbon tax, which was suggested by Mr Kloppers on Wednesday, would have little impact on overall carbon emissions.

In a major speech on Wednesday, Mr Kloppers said placing a price on carbon should be done with a mind to anticipating an eventual global price. He said Australia should look at power generation solutions other than coal. (Andrew Burrell and Matt Chambers, The Australian)


<chuckle> Graft could jeopardize Indonesia's climate deals

(Reuters) - Billions of dollars Indonesia stands to earn every year in climate change deals could be at risk if it fails to stamp out corruption in its forestry sector, long notorious for graft and focus of an ongoing investigation.

Norway is preparing to pay the first $30 million of $1 billion it agreed to give Indonesia in return for a commitment to preserve valuable forests, part of a UN scheme in which rich nations will pay developing countries not to chop down trees.

"Our emission reduction potential from forestry and peatland is about 1.5 gigatonnes by 2030. So if the price of emissions reductions is around $10 per ton in 2030, then our potential revenue is $15 billion per annum by 2030," Agus Purnomo, head of Indonesia's National Council on Climate Change, told Reuters.

There'll be no such carbon price in 2030, only the traditional price of mining it for oxidation to recover some of the energy bound during primeval photosynthesis.


HWGA: Exploring the Links Between Ocean Warming and Hurricanes

One of the more contentious issues facing climate scientists is whether rising ocean temperatures will cause more frequent and powerful hurricanes. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Kerry Emanuel, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says that amid the uncertainty, one thing seems likely: an increase in the most potent -- and destructive -- storms. (e360)


Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, Sep. 16th 2010

Coal dust kills in a spectacularly expensive fashion, Prince Charles will sheep with the fishes in a woollen coffin and Canada will be the place to be and be seen when the warmpocalypse comes. (Daily Bayonet)


Lawrence Solomon: Chilling evidence

Two years ago, William Livingston and Matthew Penn of the National Solar Observatory in Tucson, in a controversial paper that contradicted conventional wisdom and upset global warming theorists, predicted that sunspots could more or less disappear after 2015, possibly indicating the onset of another Little Ice Age.

As they stated then, "the occurrence of prolonged periods with no sunspots is important to climate studies, since the Maunder Minimum was shown to correspond with the reduced average global temperatures on the Earth." The Maunder Minimum lasted for approximately 70 years, from about 1645 to 1715, and was marked by bitter cold, widespread crop failures, and severe human privation. They concluded their 2008 paper by noting, "Finally, observations of this type during the onset of the next sunspot cycle will be critical in determining if the observed trends continue."

We are now in the onset of that next sunspot cycle, called Cycle 24 -- these cycles typically last 11 years -- and Livingston and Penn have this month published new, potentially ominous findings in a paper entitled Long-term Evolution of Sunspot Magnetic Fields: "we are now seeing far fewer sunspots than we saw in the preceding cycle; solar Cycle 24 is producing an anomalously low number of dark spots and pores," they report.

Their conclusions have potential "dramatic implications." Cycle 24 could have just half the number of sunspots as the recently completed Cycle 23, and there could be "virtually no sunspots in Cycle 25." The implications of their research points to decades of spotlessness.

The authors base their conclusions on the assumption that recent trends will continue, an assumption that, they note, may well be proven in time to be false. At the same time, given that their findings are consistent with those of other solar scientists, and given the stark implications of another little ice age for society at large, they felt compelled to publish a warning.

"It is important to note that it is always risky to extrapolate linear trends; but the importance of the implications from making such an assumption justify its mention," they state.

The upshot for scientists and world leaders should be clear, particularly since other scientists in recent years have published analyses that also indicate that global cooling could be on its way. Climate can and does change toward colder periods as well as warmer ones. Over the last 20 years, some $80-billion has been spent on research dominated by the assumption that global temperatures will rise. Virtually no research has investigated the consequences of the very live possibility that temperatures will plummet.  Research into global cooling and its implications for the globe is long overdue.

Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers. Click here for the authors' 2008 and 2010 studies. (Financial Post)


Global warming could cut number of Arctic hurricanes, study finds

Research says storms that hamper the exploitation of Arctic reserves may halve by 2100, but experts warn against oil rush

Global warming could halve the frequency of Arctic hurricanes -- extreme storms that strike the north Atlantic during winter -- by 2100, according to a new study, potentially encouraging exploitation of the region's oil reserves.

"Our results provide a rare example of climate change driving a decline in extreme weather, rather than an increase," says Matthias Zahn at the University of Reading. His study, published in the Nature journal, is the first to use a global climate model to assess how Arctic hurricanes may behave in a warmer world.

The results of his study may provide encouragement to oil and gas companies that currently consider drilling in the northern north Atlantic very risky, he says. "As the likelihood of hurricanes destroying oil rigs declines, drilling in the region may become a more attractive option."

Arctic hurricanes, also known as polar lows, are explosive storms that develop and die over a few days. They form when cold air from the Arctic flows south over warmer water: the air takes up heat, expands and rises, generating convection currents that sometimes snowball into storms. (Guardian)

Well, less extreme temperature gradients do generally mean less extreme weather, which is why the activist claims of enhanced greenhouse warming (which can only primarily affect cooler, drier regions and reduce the tropical-polar temperature grade) causing more extreme weather events are viewed as a total nonsense. However, the expectation that there will be significant Arctic warming? Very dubious.


More PlayStation ? "climatology": Avoiding dangerous climate change: An international perspective

The world will need to make substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions below current levels over the next few decades if the worst impacts of dangerous climate change are to be avoided. This was a key conclusion from UK and US climate scientists at an international workshop on the UK AVOID program in Washington, DC exploring the most policy-relevant aspects of understanding dangerous climate change.

Latest results from AVOID have shown that strong mitigation action to limit temperature rise to below 2  ?C avoids many of the climate impacts, but not all of them. Examples show that 50% of the impact of water scarcity, and almost 40% of the impact of decreasing crop suitability can be avoided through early action on greenhouse gas emissions. Time is short and delaying action reduces the chance of limiting temperature rise to 2  ?C and increases the chance of significant impacts. (NCAR/UCAR)


Media Climate Change Bias; Only Melting Ice Makes News

Figure 1 shows the extent of Antarctic sea ice for 2010 up to September 10. Ice extent has been about 1 million square kilometers above the 1979 -- 2000 average. Notice the 2009 ice amount was above average as well. This matches reports of record cold temperatures around the Southern Hemisphere. On July 27, 2010 we learned from Peru, "Temperatures plummeted to below -20 ?C prompting the government to declare a state of emergency for nearly half of the country Friday."- Source

From Argentina, "Local newspapers reported that the temperature plunged to -1.5 ?C in Buenos Aires, on Friday--making it the coolest day in a decade for the capital. Even the beaches saw white powder. The coastal resort city Mar del Plata was blanketed by snow for two days straight.

One report with the headline "South American winter starts with a severe cold snap" reports, "Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil are also experiencing the cold snap, which has killed millions of fish and an untold number of livestock."

While the mainstream media ignore cold and recent changes in sea ice, it's a good time to give an overview of different ice conditions. Melting ice has two attractions for global alarmists. It is supposedly a sign of warmer temperatures and it plays to people's unjustified fears about rising sea levels. This is why it was a central part of Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth." (Tim Ball, CFP)


CA Climate Change is Caused by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, Not by Carbon Dioxide

Written by Roy Clark

The analysis of minimum temperature data using the PDO as a reference baseline has been demonstrated as a powerful technique for climate trend evaluation. This technique may be extended to other regions using the appropriate local ocean surface temperature reference. The analysis found no evidence for CO2 induced warming trends in the California data. This confirms prior 'Null Hypothesis' work that it is impossible for a 100 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration to cause any climate change.

Read more... (SPPI)


Yet more from the virtual realm: Optimizing climate change reduction

Palo Alto, CA--Scientists at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology have taken a new approach on examining a proposal to fix the warming planet. So-called geoengineering ideas--large-scale projects to change the Earth's climate--have included erecting giant mirrors in space to reflect solar radiation, injecting aerosols of sulfate into the stratosphere making a global sunshade, and much more. Past modeling of the sulfate idea looked at how the stratospheric aerosols might affect Earth's climate and chemistry. The Carnegie researchers started out differently by asking how, if people decided what kind of climate they want, they would go about determining the aerosol distribution pattern that would come closest to achieving their climate goals. This new approach is the first attempt to determine the optimal way of achieving defined climate goals. The research is published in the September 16, 2010, issue of the Environmental Research Letters. (Carnegie Institution)


Aerosols Control Rainfall in the Rainforest

Precipitation-controlling aerosols over the Amazon rainforest originate from the forest ecosystem

A team of environmental engineers, who might better be called "archeologists of the air," have, for the first time, isolated aerosol particles in near pristine pre-industrial conditions.

Working in the remote Amazonian Basin north of Manaus, Brazil, the researchers measured particles emitted or formed within the rainforest ecosystem that are relatively free from the influence of anthropogenic, or human, activity.

The finding, published in a paper in the Sept. 17 issue of the journal Science, could provide crucial clues to understanding cloud formation, determining the specific chemical differences between natural and polluted environments, and modeling how changes in the Amazon Basin might affect the regional and global atmosphere.

"This study shows that in this very pristine environment, there is a close linkage between emissions from plants, aerosols, clouds, and precipitation," says Anne-Marie Schmoltner of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, which funded the research.

"By doing a thorough chemical analysis of the aerosols in the Amazon region, this team could show that organic compounds can be predominant in the formation of atmospheric aerosols." (NSF)


U.N. Gives CO2 Auditors Time To Study Liability Plan

A United Nations panel will give clean energy project auditors three weeks to study a proposal to make them liable for over-issuing Kyoto carbon offsets, according to a webcast of a panel meeting on Thursday.

An executive board meeting of the U.N.'s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) draws to a close this Friday in Brazil, after which auditors have three weeks to consult on a proposal to force them to buy back excess carbon offsets, in cases where the board finds the developers claimed too many.

The board was given the power to implement such procedures at a U.N. meeting in Canada in 2005. (Reuters)


Carbon Capturing Technology Doomed In Europe: Study

Innovative carbon-trapping technology might barely get past the testing phase in Europe after the economic crisis and a shift to green power destroys incentives, a new study warns.

Massive European investment in renewable energy will reduce demand for carbon emissions permits in 2020, dragging down their price and undermining investment in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), says the report "EU Energy Trends to 2030" by the National Technical University of Athens.

The complex computer modeling exercise, commissioned by European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, factors in all of the EU's latest climate and energy legislation, most importantly the 2008 renewable energy directive.

"The lower carbon price does not allow a competitive marketing of CCS," says the report. (Reuters)

Kind of but not for the reasons they cite. CCS will collapse simply because it is a ridiculous thing to do.


Spending Review May Axe CCS Subsidies For Coal Companies

The Treasury's public spending review has cast doubt on the future of Longannet power station's ambitious carbon capture programme, despite a commitment by ScottishPower to invest  ?5 million in university research on the project.

The question mark comes despite commitments by the UK coalition Government to maintain the previous Labour government's plans to finance four large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration projects.

The projects are needed to prove that 90 per cent of the carbon emitted by coal-fired power stations can be removed and stored underground without making the cost of the electricity produced prohibitive.

Because power firms are unwilling to pay the costs of  ?1 billion or more to prove this, a government competition was announced in 2007. The prize is payment of all the costs of fitting CCS to a commercial-scale power station.

In March, the Government whittled competitors for the first demonstration project down to two -- ScottishPower's Longannet scheme and a plan by E.ON to build a new CCS-fitted power station at Kingsnorth in Kent. The companies were given  ?90 million to produce full designs by early 2011.

But now the Treasury spending review threatens these schemes. Although the cost of them is to be financed by a levy on electricity bills rather then by taxes or borrowing, the Treasury is understood to regard this as public spending. This is because any increase in electricity bills will reduce the spending power of consumers and businesses, cutting the yield from taxes such as VAT.

In July, Chris Huhne, the Energy and Climate Change secretary, announced that he was setting up an Office for Carbon Capture & Storage and would launch the selection process for the remaining three projects this autumn. But yesterday his department confirmed that a Treasury review was under way. A spokeswoman said: "It is right that the Government carefully scrutinises all major capital projects given the current economic circumstances -- CCS projects are no different in this respect.

Full story (subscription required) (GWPF)


Elbowing a place at the public trough: Aerospace Firms Float "Cash For Carbon" Plan

Airlines that reduce carbon emissions would receive billions in government financing to help pay for aircraft upgrades tied to U.S. air traffic modernization under a proposal advanced by aerospace manufacturers on Thursday.

The so-called "cash for carbon" plan, unveiled by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) in a report on civil aviation, is viewed by the trade group as a creative and shared solution to the stubborn problem of funding an overhaul of the aging air traffic network.

It is also a vehicle for tapping into $50 billion of new infrastructure spending proposed this month by President Barack Obama to stimulate job growth. Congress must approve that plan, and its election-year prospects are uncertain.

Additionally, the financing scheme would be an incentive for airlines and manufacturers to meet voluntary targets for reducing carbon emissions that are blamed for climate change. (Reuters)


Well gosh! China Admits Energy Efficiency Goals Unrealistic

The NYT reports today that China does not expect to meet its short-term energy efficiency targets.
Despite huge investment in new technologies, China is finding it difficult to make its economy more energy-efficient, a senior official said Thursday.

The acknowledgment of difficulties by Zhang Laiwu, deputy minister for science and technology, comes as China has become the world's largest auto market and is spending heavily on high-speed rail and other infrastructure projects that require a lot of steel and cement, which are energy-intensive to make.
That China is unlikely to hit its targets should not be a surprise (see also this PDF).  What I did find eye-popping in the article was the projections of the size of the automobile market in China in coming years:
While China is investing heavily in electric cars, they are still years away from reaching the market in numbers large enough to affect overall Chinese energy consumption, executives said Thursday at the Global Automotive Forum in Chengdu.

Xiao Guopu, the director and vice president of the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, one of China's largest automakers, said his company planned to sell 20,000 plug-in hybrid cars in 2012 and 50,000 in 2015, with electric cars still being developed.

Wang Dazong, the president of Beijing Auto, said that China's vehicle market would rise to 40 million in 2020, from about 17 million this year.

By comparison, the American market leveled off at 16 million to 17 million in its best years before the current economic downturn and is on track for closer to 12 million this year, said Yale Zhang, a vehicle market forecaster in Shanghai, who added that he expected the market in China to be closer to 30 million in 2020.
Wow, 30 to 40 million (!) cars sold in China every year by 2020, and electric cars still a ways off. (Roger Pielke Jr.)


Americans can't afford the offshore drilling moratorium

At a time when the economy is reeling and national unemployment hovers just under 10%, the President and Congressional leaders are ignoring the wishes of the American people; seemingly working overtime to drive up energy costs and send jobs overseas by punishing our own energy industry. The President's insistence on maintaining a ban on deepwater exploration and drilling for oil and gas along with the de facto ban on near shore activity is wreaking havoc on the Gulf Coast's economy and could easily impact national energy prices this winter.

This week, Congress holds hearings to discuss what is widely seen as a politically-motivated moratorium on deepwater drilling. The President is fully aware that an extended drilling ban would cost thousands of jobs; energy officials within Obama's own administration have predicted that an extended drilling ban would reduce domestic oil production by 82,000 barrels per day in 2011. The Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association states that nearly 80% of the oil produced in the Gulf comes from wells in the deeper waters. They estimate that the costs of the exploration suspension range between $8.25 million and $16.5 million per day in rig costs; $1 million per day in costs for support boats; and $165 million to $330 million per month in lost wages for all 33 deepwater rigs.

Several left-leaning media outlets recently reported that few jobs have actually disappeared in the wake of the Gulf spill, but those reports are either naive or are deliberately hiding the fact that many energy companies are waiting in costly limbo -- hoping that a moratorium will be lifted so they can get back to work. Time is running out for many of these companies that are now forced to look at drilling locations overseas where they can take their rigs and employees for fulltime work. Already two of the 33 deepwater oil rigs have moved to Egypt and the Congo where they are able to explore for oil and natural gas. (Daily Caller)


As Europe Kicks Coal, Hungarian Town Suffers

OROSZLANY, Hungary -- When the directors of Hungary's last remaining coal-fired power plant announced that they would close the coal mine and begin dismantling the plant at the end of this year, the news sent shock waves through this weathered industrial city, where a statue of three miners stands in the square.

It was well known that the legendary Vertesi plant and its mine were kept afloat only by more than $30 million in annual state subsidies. But more than 3,000 of Oroszlany's 20,000 residents work in industries related to coal. The government-owned plant is one of the town's biggest taxpayers. And the area's 5,000 homes, its stores and its factories all get their heat from the Vertesi plant.

"We know that coal is an old technique that is not sustainable here, but we have not found an alternative," said Gabor Rajnai, Oroszlany's mayor. "Everyone is thinking about how are we going to keep warm in winter."

The Vertesi plant will be allowed to continue limited operations for three years after the mine's closure, in part to buy time for the town to find a heating alternative.

Determined to reduce Europe's reliance on coal, the European Commission is fighting a complicated battle against the subsidies that have long sustained coal, an influential but polluting industry in Europe and in the United States. In May, the Brussels-based governing body for the European Union announced that economic bailouts and favors for coal mines and power plants were forbidden after this year, precipitating Vertesi's demise.

As countries endeavor to reduce their fossil fuel emissions, many are trying to wean themselves from over-reliance on coal, the most highly emitting fuel. But coal is also the lifeblood of communities from Hungary and Germany to Kentucky and West Virginia, providing jobs, power and warmth. Last year, when President Obama's budget proposal included the elimination of some tax credits and deductions tied to coal, as well as oil and natural gas, there was furious protest from coal states, and Congress never enacted the changes. A similar presidential budget will be voted on again this fall.

Though the European Union generally prohibits national subsidies, coal, considered a vital source of energy, had long been an exception. But that logic has shifted as concerns over global warming have grown and better sources of renewable energy have become available. (NYT)

And how much is "renewable energy" subsidized in Europe? What about the extraordinary feed in tariffs for solar and wind? So coal is hardly an exception then, more like a poor relation.


Recycling the Big Green Lie

So with the news today reflecting the recycling-mania of the very same peoples' republic I voted against with my feet just a few years ago -- installing "tracking chips" in recycling bins (now in Cool Ranch flavor!) to assist the Green Police -- I see another, written example of the environmentalist's fetish. (Of course, when I lived in Alexandria, I had Greenpeace tracking my garbage already, removing it every Sunday night. Think of the possibilities with this scheme had I not moved.)

Anyway, coincidentally the Washington Post runs this cute item in the center of its opinion page by environmental scold Bill McKibben. Its on-line title is something less risible than in my print edition, tossed at the gym earlier, which was "Solar's Shining Moment at the White House" or something very close to that. Fittingly, it is accompanied by a photo of Jimmy Carter. (Christopher C. Horner, Big Government)


The Paradox of Success for Germany's Green Party

Never before have so many Germans been prepared to vote for the Green Party. But its success comes at a price. The party's mobilization against Merkel's plan to extend nuclear lifespans means its hoped-for path to power has now been blocked.

The good news for Germany's Green Party just keeps on coming. In survey after survey, the erstwhile protest party is receiving record support: 23 percent in Bavaria, 27 percent in Baden-Württemberg and, in a poll released on Wednesday, an amazing 22 percent countrywide, just two percentage points behind the center-left Social Democrats.

But help isn't just coming from German voters. Chancellor Angela Merkel's government, by announcing concrete plans to extend the lifespans of Germany's nuclear reactors by up to 14 years, recently provided yet more wind in the party's sails. The Greens cut their political teeth on massive anti-nuclear power protests back in the 1970s. Now, after years of watching other parties -- including Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) -- encroach on their environmental territory, the Green's have their signature issue back. (Spiegel)


Greens think locally, act stupidly on uranium

The Australian Greens want to stop all uranium exploration, close all of Australia's existing uranium mines, oh, and while they're at it, they'd also like a nuclear free world.

Guess what: It's not going to happen. It's bad policy, naive politics, and exhibits an undergraduate response to federal politics which is unbecoming in a party soon to hold the balance of power in the Senate.

Added to that, it's a stance which assumes that the debate about the utility of nuclear power for climate change reduction is over, and that it's been found wanting. This is far from the case. (Cameron England, The Punch)


World's Largest Solar Plant Wins Key Approval

The world's largest solar power plant cleared an important hurdle on Wednesday, laying the groundwork for a dramatic expansion in solar energy generation in the United States and around the world.

The proposed $6 billion-plus Blythe, California plant, originally proposed by Chevron Corp. and Solar Millennium AG, won clearance to build from the California Energy Commission. (Reuters)


OVERBLOWN: Where's the Empirical Proof? (Part IV)

by Jon Boone
September 16, 2010


 --Marcello Truzzi

How can an ancient source of energy, which

  • continuously destabilizes the balance between supply and demand,
  • is highly variable and unresponsive, and
  • provides no capacity value while inimical to demand cycles

effectively replace the capacity of modern machines and their fuels, in the process removing significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions that are the by-product of the burning of those fuels?

This final post in our four-part series discusses the nature of the scientific method and shows that there are a number of challenges to the claims wind technology can abate meaningful greenhouse gas emissions--challenges that require access to actual wind performance data showing how wind affects thermal behavior throughout the grid.

Any explanation about causation must honestly and transparently account for all variables at play. It should not consist of cherry picked items favorable to a particular agenda while ignoring other, less favorable factors.

Dr. Truzzi (above) also recounted who is obligated to do what in the process of investigating, vetting, and validating explanation:

"In science, the burden of proof falls upon the claimant; and the more extraordinary a claim, the heavier is the burden of proof demanded. The true skeptic takes an agnostic position, one that says the claim is not proved rather than disproved. He asserts that the claimant has not borne the burden of proof and that science must continue to build its cognitive map of reality without incorporating the extraordinary claim as a new "fact." Since the true skeptic does not assert a claim, he has no burden to prove anything. He just goes on using the established theories of "conventional science" as usual. But if a critic asserts that there is evidence for disproof, that he has a negative hypothesis--saying, for instance, that a seeming [paranormal] result was actually due to an artifact--he is making a claim and therefore also has to bear a burden of proof."[i]

AWEA's extraordinary claim is this: That an ancient source of energy, which relentlessly, continuously, destabilizes the balance between supply and demand, is highly variable and unresponsive, and provides no capacity value while inimical to demand cycles, can effectively replace the capacity of modern machines and their fuels, in the process removing significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions that are the by-product of the burning of those fuels. This claim is particularly egregious given that wind does not even provide modern power performance--only desultory energy. Since energy is the ability to do work and power is the rate work is done, wind technology delivers fluctuating power at a rate appropriate for 1810, not 2010.

The assertion that wind technology is a necessary, let alone sufficient, cause of reductions in the use of fossil fuels and their various emissions cannot withstand even casual scrutiny, for there are, in virtually every case, other much more plausible causes for any CO2 or fossil fuel reductions--viz, a falling away of demand, substitution of other fuels, improvements in conventional machine efficiencies, even changes in weather conditions. [Read more â ?'] (MasterResource)



U.S. judge sets Dec. 16 hearing on healthcare suit

PENSACOLA, Fla. - A Florida judge said on Tuesday he would hear arguments on Dec. 16 on a lawsuit by 20 U.S. states seeking to block President Barack Obama's overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, who is weighing a motion by the Justice Department to dismiss the lawsuit, ordered the follow-up hearing on the lawsuit led by Florida and involving 19 other states, which was originally filed in March by mostly Republican state attorneys general.

Vinson said he would formally rule on the dismissal motion by Oct. 14, but Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said the judge had already strongly indicated that the case would not be dismissed.

"The judge's apparent decision today means we will proceed," McCollum told reporters. (Reuters)


Another dangerous loon who wants to "protect" people from vaccinations: The man who encourages the sick and dying to drink industrial bleach

Vulnerable people with cancer, Aids, influenza and malaria are being urged to drink Miracle Mineral Solutions (MMS) -- described by the FDA as 'industrial bleach' (Guardian)

Unfortunately the antivaxxers pop up from time to time, attempting to waste everyone's time and create fear and havoc in health care. Here's a small sampling of recent community health problems due to lower than optimal vaccination uptake:


Vaccine superstitions have consequences: Baby boy dies from whooping cough

A five-week-old South Australian boy has died from whooping cough, as state health authorities report a rise in the number of cases of the highly contagious disease.

The five-week-old boy was admitted to hospital last Saturday but died in intensive care on Tuesday, SA Health said.

He was the first infant to die from whooping cough in the state since 2001.

SA Chief Medical Officer Professor Paddy Phillips said "babies and young children are the most vulnerable to complications following infection, as tragically demonstrated in this case".

"Vaccination provides the best protection against whooping cough," he said.

"It's important that everyone makes sure their vaccination is up-to-date."

Prof Phillips encouraged families to protect babies by ensuring everyone who has regular contact with them is vaccinated.

"Babies under six months of age are not able to complete the required series of vaccinations so they remain especially vulnerable," he said.

There have been more than 1000 additional cases of the disease in South Australia so far in 2010 compared with the same time last year. (AAP)


Deadly Whooping Cough, Once Wiped Out, Is Back

California is in the midst of its worst outbreak of whooping cough in a half-century. More than 2,700 cases have been reported so far this year -- eight times last year's number at this point. Seven of the victims, all infants, have died.

And here's what really worries pediatricians like USC's Harvey Karp: Doctors thought they wiped out whooping cough when they developed vaccines decades ago.

The disease hits young children hardest, especially ones who are not vaccinated or who have not yet built up full immunity. The prescribed vaccination regimen begins with a shot at two months and continues until children are 5 years old. For many children, it can take that long for complete immunity to develop -- and until then, they're vulnerable. (NPR)


Deadly Diseases Making a Comeback 

Whooping cough, measles, rickets: These diseases, once considered Victorian plights, are making a comeback in the U.S. Decades ago, such diseases bloomed due to poverty, malnutrition and a lack of health care; these days, they're in due mostly to anti-vaccine anxiety and a modern lifestyle. Dr. Camille Sabella, who practices pediatric infectious diseases in the Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases in the Pediatrics Institute and Children's Hospital at Cleveland Clinic, gives us some insight into why these illnesses are once again causing outbreaks. (AOL)


Measles outbreak alarms health authorities

Health authorities across New South Wales and Queensland are urging residents to make sure they are immunised against measles.

A spate of outbreaks across the eastern seaboard has doctors worried that a pandemic that was raging in South Africa during the World Cup is quietly spilling across the Indian Ocean.

GPs say the reluctance by some parents here to immunise their children has put the public in danger of a major outbreak. (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)


Americans' immunity to mumps less than ideal

About 90 percent of young to middle-aged Americans have antibodies against the mumps virus -- a level of immunity that is at the low end of what's needed to prevent significant outbreaks of the infection, a government study finds.

The findings underscore the importance of having children receive the recommended two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

Mumps is a viral infection that causes fever, headache, muscle aches and swollen glands around the jaw. Most people recover in a few weeks, but in a small number of cases the infection can have complications such as inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) that can be life-threatening; hearing loss (usually temporary); or painful inflammation of the testicles or ovaries. (Reuters Health)


UN health agency reports on spread of polio outbreak in Angola and DR Congo

8 September 2010 -- The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reported today that the recent outbreak of polio in Angola is spreading into other, previously polio-free parts of the country and the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The wild poliovirus 1 (WPV1) outbreak that began in April 2007 has now been recorded in the DRC's Kasai province, which borders Angola. (UN News Centre)


Antivaxxers take note: vaccines stop polio outbreak in Tajikistan

This is wildly good news! Through Vaccine Central I learned that a major polio outbreak in Tajikistan has been stopped!

How? Through vaccination.

Yup. The first reports of polio were confirmed in April -- 413 of them. However, that ended in late June, when no new cases were reported. That is credited to the thousands of doctors and nurses who not only vaccinated at least 97% of the children in each region of the mountainous country, but also flooded the area with multi-lingual informational leaflets, posters, and banners.

And they succeeded! With no new reports, it appears this outbreak was stopped cold.

And with the AVN in Australia getting hammered repeatedly in the press, I can now have some hope that the movement here in the United States, spearheaded by Jenny McCarthy, will die off as well. Vaccinations work, and they save a lot of lives. (Bad Astronomy)

Herd Immunity - How it works
from Chain of Protection on Vimeo.


Malaria fight saves 750,000, report finds

WASHINGTON - Programs to fight malaria, such as distribution of bed nets and drugs and spraying insecticides, have saved nearly 750,000 lives over the past 10 years, according to a report released on Tuesday.

An additional 3 million children could be saved by 2015 if the world continues to increase investments against malaria, the report projected.

Researchers including Thomas Eisele at Tulane University in Louisiana and teams at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the World Health Organization and the non-profit PATH initiative used a computer model to calculate the effect of malaria programs in 34 of the worst-affected African countries.

"From 2001-2010, scaling up malaria prevention is estimated to have saved nearly three-quarters of a million (736,700) children's lives across 34 malaria-endemic African countries (representing 98 percent of the at-risk population in Africa)," they wrote. (Reuters)


Swine flu can become drug-resistant quickly - study

WASHINGTON - A swine flu virus infecting a woman in Singapore mutated into a drug-resistant form virtually overnight, doctors reported in a study that they say shows the limitations of using drugs to treat influenza.

While the woman recovered, the mutation developed within 48 hours, rendering the infection increasingly resistant to the effects of Tamiflu, the main drug used to fight flu and which is known generically as oseltamivir.

"Our data indicate that oseltamivir resistance developed within two days," Masafumi Inoue of the Agency for Science, Research and Technology in Singapore and colleagues wrote in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal.

The H1N1 swine flu pandemic is over, but the virus has joined the mix of seasonal influenza viruses. (Reuters)


DNA 'Volume Knobs' May Be Associated With Obesity

When it comes to our expanding waistlines, we usually blame either diet or genes. But a new study fingers a third culprit: chemicals that attach to DNA and change its function. A survey of millions of these modifications has uncovered a handful associated with body mass index, a measure of height and weight. Although the findings don't prove that the modifications cause obesity, they may one day help doctors better predict who should be counting their calories. 

The chemicals in question are known as methyl groups, and they act a bit like volume knobs on our DNA. They can turn the activity of a gene up or down, and even on and off. Some of these modifications--known as epigenetic changes--are inherited; some are acquired throughout life. Only in the past 5 years have researchers begun to comprehensively map which DNA sequences in a person are methylated. (Science NOW)


U.S. Meat Farmers Brace for Limits on Antibiotics

RALSTON, Iowa -- Piglets hop, scurry and squeal their way to the far corner of the pen, eyeing an approaching human. "It shows that they're healthy animals," Craig Rowles, the owner of a large pork farm here, said with pride.

Mr. Rowles says he keeps his pigs fit by feeding them antibiotics for weeks after weaning, to ward off possible illness in that vulnerable period. And for months after that, he administers an antibiotic that promotes faster growth with less feed.

Dispensing antibiotics to healthy animals is routine on the large, concentrated farms that now dominate American agriculture. But the practice is increasingly condemned by medical experts who say it contributes to a growing scourge of modern medicine: the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including dangerous E. coli strains that account for millions of bladder infections each year, as well as resistant types of salmonella and other microbes.

Now, after decades of debate, the Food and Drug Administration appears poised to issue its strongest guidelines on animal antibiotics yet, intended to reduce what it calls a clear risk to human health. They would end farm uses of the drugs simply to promote faster animal growth and call for tighter oversight by veterinarians.

The agency's final version is expected within months, and comes at a time when animal confinement methods, safety monitoring and other aspects of so-called factory farming are also under sharp attack. The federal proposal has struck a nerve among major livestock producers, who argue that a direct link between farms and human illness has not been proved. The producers are vigorously opposing it even as many medical and health experts call it too timid. (NYT)


The Clean Air Act's Birthday Is Not Worth Celebrating

Yesterday marked the 40th birthday of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Air Act (CAA), and environmentalists celebrated by reminding us how beneficial the regulation has been at improving air quality in the U.S. Now the EPA wants to turn the Clean Air Act's birthday party into an all-out rager by allowing them to do what elected officials could not: regulate carbon dioxide (CO2).

First things first. Air quality was improving before the passage of the 1970 CAA. Environmentalists should give more credit to innovation and less to top-down regulation. The air quality improvements are attributable to the cost-saving, energy-efficiency gains made by business and industry that go hand-in-hand with environmental improvement. Engineer and environmental expert Indur Goklany explains: Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Dispatch: No Re-Re-Respect For Atrazine

The FDA today began re-re-reevaluating AAtrex, Syngenta Crop Protection's brand name for the 50-year-old herbicide atrazine, which opponents allege is a potential carcinogen and "endocrine disrupter." The EPA estimates that banning atrazine would cost more than $2 billion annually, while University of Chicago economist Don Coursey believes that a ban would lead to 21,000 to 48,000 jobs lost from corn production losses alone. Addressing fears over the presence of "harmful" chemicals in pesticide-treated foods, a blog-post references P.J. O'Rourke's book All The Trouble In The World and ACSH's Holiday Dinner Menu, illustrating that many common food plants naturally contain "carcinogens" and "toxins" -- but at doses that do not cause us any harm.

"The only reason they are doing this hundredth-plus re-evaluation is because of a political campaign generated by the NRDC, propelled by The New York Times, and at its genesis a bunch of research reports from the lab of one person, University of California at Berkley biologist Tyrone Hayes, who clearly has a vendetta against atrazine," says ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. "His work has been condemned by various objective authorities and has never been replicated in any other lab." 

"This is clearly an alarmist campaign by the EPA to curry favor with their friends in the enviro-activist camp," adds ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. (ACSH)


New Studies Reaffirm Atrazine is Safe

Study methodology parallels potential real-world exposure. No adverse effects shown at any possible environmental levels. 

Greensboro, NC September 15, 2010 

In a scientific meeting convened by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today, scientists for Syngenta presented data that more closely replicate real-world exposure, supporting the safety of the trusted herbicide atrazine. 

One of the studies measured the potential effects of atrazine on animals using two delivery methods: 1) after distributed doses or 2) after a large, single dose. Because the rats received atrazine in distributed doses over time, data from this study are more applicable to how humans may be exposed to minute quantities of atrazine in reality. Doses delivered in a distributed manner showed no effects up to and including the highest dose given (500 parts per million in the diet). 

"This highest dose was tens of thousands of times higher than the current EPA water standards for atrazine. People would never be exposed to this level in the environment," said Tim Pastoor, Ph.D., principal scientist with Syngenta. "Yet even at this extreme dose, atrazine had no effect."

In addition, Syngenta is providing significant new data that will support the EPA's efforts to understand the internal dose metric for atrazine and its metabolites--or what happens to these compounds once they enter the body. This information will aid the EPA in applying animal exposure scenarios to humans. 

"As the EPA continues its re-evaluation of atrazine, we want to continue to provide the most relevant data, showing that the extremely small levels found in water are safe," said Dr. Pastoor. 

For more information, visit (PRWEB)


Green Protectionism's Recycled Playbook

If union bosses and a few industrial titans have their way, a hearing in a Washington, D.C. bureaucratic back room this week will lead to higher prices on ordinary daily goods for virtually every consumer in America.

On September 16, the Department of Commerce International Trade Commission will hold a hearing to decide if foreign paper is simply too cheap. And by that the government means to decide whether foreign suppliers of some pulp and paper products have "dumped" their products, which means they sell them at unfairly low prices.

That the hearing is taking place is something of a coup. A similar complaint was filed by a colluding cadre of unions and paper and pulp makers a few years ago and dismissed because domestic companies had not been harmed.

But the groups are back at it, hoping a different administration and an improved playbook will carry the day. To most Americans, already hit hard by a down economy, nothing seems more natural than being suspicious of foreign companies. After all, they're the devil we don't know.

What's more interesting is that these fears are being exploited by the devils we do -- the pushers of a new "green protectionism." (George Landrith, Townhall)


Oh god, not another Greenpeace guilt-trip

Green advertising campaigns are aimed at scaring adults witless and turning kids into Mao-style mum-policing spies.

'Got oil? Is your pension invested in risky drilling?' asks a newspaper advert currently running in Britain. The ad, featuring a smart-but-casual man with thick black tar on his hands, is promoting Go Beyond Oil, a Greenpeace campaign inspired by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. What the advert illustrates is the way environmental campaigning will happily alight on any passing fear in order to make us change our wicked ways. (Rob Lyons, spiked)


They don't give a dam about development

Greens must have very hard hearts if they can look at flood-hit Ethiopia and still say 'don't build dams'.

Recently, a group of international NGOs has been leading a campaign to stop the building of the Gibe III hydroelectric dam in Ethiopia. They say the dam will disrupt the local ecosystem and the traditional lifestyles of 'indigenous people'. So why are these groups, normally so vocal about geographical displacement, not up in arms about the tragedy that has unfolded in Ethiopia over the past few weeks? At least 19 people have died and 25,000 have been displaced because of floods.

The UN expects 300,000 to be affected by the floods in Ethiopia this month, and with the ensuing health risks, including malaria and Acute Watery Diarrhoea, as well as the severe damage caused to crops, livelihood assets and infrastructure, the impact of the heavy rains has certainly been devastating. One reason why this hasn't been big news might be because Ethiopia experiences severe disruptions every year during the rainy season. Over 183,000 people were affected by floods in 2007, and the year before 600 people were killed, with a further 300,000 affected.

So why are NGOs like Survival International and International Rivers, which are spearheading the protest against Gibe III, not focusing their efforts on lobbying for investment in smart, ambitious and truly sustainable solutions to prevent the disastrous, and avoidable, effects of floods which every year displace, kill and plunge thousands into poverty? Why are they opposing large-scale development projects -- like dams -- that could contain the impact of both droughts and torrential downpours? (Nathalie Rothschild, spiked)


Famine threat in Africa's Sahel eases - for now

DAKAR - Abundant rains in Chad have raised hopes for an end to severe food shortages but the effects will linger and lead to new difficulties across Africa's Sahel region in 2011, aid workers predict.

With signs that neighbouring Niger has also got over the worst of a food crisis triggered by last year's drought, the threat of all-out famine in the semi-arid Sahel zone just south of the Sahara appears to be subsiding.

"The worst has been averted and, with the prospect of a good harvest (this year), we think we should be out of an emergency situation soon," Jean-Luc Siblot, the head of the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) in Chad, said in a phone interview. (Reuters)


Indian farmers adopt flood-tolerant rice at unprecedented rates 

Farmers cultivating rice on 12 million hectares of flood-prone areas in India are planting flood-tolerant rice varieties at unprecedented rates, thanks to faster seed multiplication, targeted dissemination, and linking of partners.

Dr. Umesh Singh, senior scientist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), said, "Earlier, we only provided and field-tested IRRI rice lines that were tolerant of flooding. Now, we assist government agencies and private seed companies to multiply and distribute seeds to farmers at a faster pace." 

Field-testing a rice variety normally takes 4--5 years before it is released and another 2--3 years before it reaches farmers. Through targeted dissemination, IRRI is helping state governments identify specific flood-prone areas where seeds of the submergence-tolerant variety can be distributed, without having to wait until it is multiplied and distributed en masse. (IRRI)


Um, this actually has nothing to do with climate change: Chocolate Potentially Made Safe From Climate Change: YIPEEE!!!!

An environmental breakthrough has never sounded so....delicious. Today, candy giant Mars Inc, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and IBM announced that they have mapped a preliminary genome sequence for the cacao plant, which produces the crucial ingredient for making chocolate, and placed it in the public domain.

The sequencing will allow farmers to plant more robust, high yielding and drought and disease-resistant trees, and thus continue to provide a steady stream of cocoa crop in the face of climate change. Unlike most of the other major commodity crops, cocoa is grown by around 6.5 million small farmers (from the seeds of the cacao tree), as opposed to large conglomerates. Recently, environmental strains in the form of increased heat and drought has cost these farmers around $800 million a year in damages--farmers have suffered most in West Africa, a region that produces 70% of the world's cocoa.

Even though the U.S. does not grow cocoa, the U.S. government participated in the research, led by Mars, because chocolate provides such a boost to other products that are grown in the U.S. For every dollar of cocoa imported, $1 to $2 of domestic agricultural products, such as peanuts and milk, are used in making chocolate products. (Ecocentric)


Ex-minister Lord Sainsbury of Turville urges fresh debate on GM crops

A former science minister called today for the debate on the cultivation of genetically modified crops to be reopened, warning that it would be "very foolish" to rule out use of the technology in the UK.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville, who served in Tony Blair's Department for Trade and Industry from 1998 to 2006, said earlier discussions - which saw GM crops branded "Frankenstein foods" by opponents - lacked scientific evidence and was "not very productive".

He warned that the UK risked being left behind by countries like India and China which are planting millions of acres of GM crops, and said the technology could play a "vitally important" role in feeding a global population predicted to reach 9 billion by 2050.

Various types of GM crop plant have been grown for research and development purposes at a number of field sites in England since 1993, but there has been no commercial cultivation of GM crops. (Independent)


Scientists see risks and benefits in nano foods

LONDON - In a taste of things to come, food scientists say they have cooked up a way of using nanotechnology to make low-fat or fat-free foods just as appetizing and satisfying as their full-fat fellows.

The implications could be significant in combating the spread of health problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

However, experts say nanotechnology's future in food could be thwarted before it gets started by a reluctance among food manufacturers fearful of the kind of European consumer backlash that greeted genetically modified (GM) food to be open about what they are doing.

They say this refusal to communicate could foster the same mistrust that led GM to be branded "Frankenstein food" in many parts of Europe and could mean some of nano food's potential remains unfulfilled for years. (Reuters)



Henry Waxman: Democrats would push climate legislation in 2011

The campaign to pass climate legislation will continue on Capitol Hill in 2011 -- if Democrats are still in charge, that is.

That's the word Tuesday from a top House Democrat who led the charge over the last two years to pass a major cap-and-trade bill. (Politico)


GOP considers plan to stymie new greenhouse gas rules at Senate markup

Senate Republicans may use a markup of EPA's annual spending bill Thursday to try and block the agency from implementing new climate change rules. 

An amendment to thwart EPA could gain traction on the Senate Appropriations Committee, which includes five Democrats who have previously backed proposals to delay or scuttle limits on greenhouse gases from power plants and other sources. 

Passage of the amendment would be a political setback for the Obama administration, even though a veto threat from the White House practically guarantees the language won't make it into law. (E2 Wire)


Senate takes another bite at the EPA's greenhouse apple

UPDATE: Senate Democrats have cancelled the mark-up of the EPA budget reportedly because they were concerned that Republicans would offer an appropriations rider to block EPA regulation of greenhouse gases (described in the article below).

By Steve Milloy
GreenHellBlog, September 14, 2010

The Senate has a chance to at least partially redeem the 111th Congress when the Appropriations Committee meets to vote on the budget of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, September 16.

Two Committee Democrats, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), have indicated they may vote favorably on an appropriations rider that would block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions starting in January 2011.

Given the 18-12 Democrat-Republican split on the Committee, only two more Democrats would be needed (along with a unanimous Republican bloc) to stop the EPA from implementing the most sweeping, expensive and controversial environmental/energy/economic regulation in history.

Those two Democrats might not be hard to find given that Committee members Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) voted earlier in the year for the Murkowski resolution to block EPA regulation. And Committee member Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) is a co-sponsor of the Rockefeller proposal to delay EPA regulation for two years.

Why should the Appropriations Committee take the extraordinary step of reining in the EPA?

First, greenhouse gas regulation would necessarily impact the entire U.S. economy, as it would affect 70 percent of electricity generation and nearly 100 percent of transportation energy use. The totality of this impact demands that Congress, as opposed to a single and often controversial federal agency, address the issue.

Next, there is no serious dispute over the fact that greenhouse gas regulation will raise energy costs without providing any offsetting and near-term economic benefits. Given current economic conditions, making energy cost more will do nothing but further set back, if not reverse economic recovery. EPA has shown precious little concern for the real-world impacts of its impending regulations, so it's time for the adults in Congress to step forward and assert authority over the EPA.

Third, there is a misconception among many on the Hill and in the public that that Supreme Court ordered to the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases. Nothing could be further from the truth. In its 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA decision, the Court merely ruled that the EPA could, not that it must, regulate greenhouse gases. Evidence of the debatable nature of EPA regulation is that the Bush EPA opted not to regulate greenhouse gases while the Obama administration reversed that decision.

It is no secret that President Obama ordered the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases as a prod to get Congress and industry moving on greenhouse gas regulation. The Senate now has another chance (after the 51-47 defeat of the Murkowski resolution) to reassert Congress as the driver of this major domestic policy.

Moreover, the EPA may have acted illegally and usurped congressional authority by issuing its so-called "tailoring rule," part of the suite of greenhouse gas regulations. Under the Clean Air Act, if the EPA decides to regulate a "pollutant," then all sources that emit 250 tons annually of that pollutant must be regulated.

But the EPA has unilaterally decided to change the law for greenhouse gases. Over the course of the past year, the EPA has arbitrarily and without congressional authorization raised the threshold from 250 tons to 50,000 tons and then to 75,000-100,000 tons -- otherwise the agency would find itself with the Herculean and unpopular task of regulating thousands of small businesses and apartment buildings.

If Senate Democrats want to take steps to stem the bleeding that seems likely to occur in November and perhaps beyond, they should remember that America has pretty much rejected the policy known as "cap-and-trade" and that EPA regulation of greenhouse gases amounts simply to "cap" -- that is, all pain with no gain. Any politician that takes no action to stop that will be in deep trouble this fall and in 2012.

Steve Milloy publishes and is the author of "Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them" (Regnery 2009). (Green Hell Blog)


What's Scarier Than Cap and Trade? A Renewable Electricity Standard

For the past year, the phrase "cap and trade" was as taboo as using Lord Voldemort's name in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Wizards scared of the Dark Lord referred to Voldemort as "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named." For those hoping to pass cap and trade, it became "The-Energy-Policy-That-Will-Create-Jobs."

But opponents correctly labeled cap and trade a significant tax, and the bill died in the Senate. In fact, congressional votes on cap and trade are a major talking point on campaign ads--ads that vilify Members who voted for the Waxman--Markey cap-and trade-bill last year. Cap and trade has dim hopes of revival, and as a result, politicians are turning to a plan that could actually pass: a renewable electricity standard (RES). Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Oil industry trade group chief rips governor on Prop. 23

The head of an oil industry trade group described California's landmark climate change law as "political correctness gone mad" and said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appears "hell bent on becoming a real life Terminator" to the refining industry.

In an e-mail letter sent Tuesday to members of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, Charles Drevna, the group's president, said passage of Proposition 23, the ballot initiative that aims to roll back the state's greenhouse gas reduction law, is key to stopping climate change laws in other states and would mean "the difference of life and death" for the oil industry.

"Unfortunately, Proposition 23 is not just a California issue. A defeat of Proposition 23 in California could energize environmental fanatics around the country and in Washington to match California's destructive policies," Drevna said. 

"At that point, our industry might find itself in the position of the Titanic facing the iceberg -- headed for disaster without time to alter course."

Proposition 23 aims to suspend the state's climate change law (AB 32) until the jobless rate hits 5.5 percent for four quarters in a row. (Sacramento Bee)


Former Civil Service chief calls for climate shakeup

What do our mandarins really think of global warming?

Interview The former head of the civil service has called for a new approach from scientists and policy makers to restore waning trust in climate scientists. Speaking to The Register, Lord Andrew Turnbull, former cabinet secretary and head of the Home Civil Service between 2002 and 2005, says the University of East Anglia's internal enquiries into the Climategate affair were hasty and superficial, and called for Parliament to sponsor two wide-ranging investigations.

One study should examine the "ethos and governance" of climate science. The other should conduct "a fundamental review of the science itself". He thinks policy makers are getting skewed and self-centered advice.

Was he speaking out because of the damage to Britain's academic reputation, or the implications for policy? Both, he told us.

"The so-called guardians have bought into a particular narrative. I'm not a skeptic, I can compare what my childhood was like, and I can see climate change going on," said Turnbull. Nor does he contest the radiative properties of CO2. But the hypothesis depends on positive feedbacks that are far from certain, and these haven't been explained to the public, with confidence wrongly assumed. (Andrew Orlowski, The Register)


Doubt remains over 'climategate'

A 'huge cloud of doubt' remains over the case for man made global warming, according to Lord Lawson of Blaby, following a new study into the 'climategate' scandal. (TDT)


Understanding the Climategate Inquiries

News broke on or around 19 November 2009 that a large archive of emails and files from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in the UK had been released on the internet. The contents of the files were sufficiently disconcerting to the public, governments and university administrations that a number of inquiries were established. Several of my research projects were discussed not only in the so-called "Climategate" emails themselves, but also in the investigations, and I made detailed submissions of evidence to three of the panels. Consequently I take considerable interest in the outcome of these inquiries, especially with regards to whether they approached the issues impartially, investigated thoroughly and drew valid conclusions that fully reflected the evidence.

As of 30 August 2010 all five had issued their reports. The overall impression that has been created is that the scientists and their work were vindicated. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chair Rajendra Pachauri declared in a recent interview1 "the doubts raised have proved to be unfounded." Considerable reliance is being placed upon the outcome of these investigations. As I will show, for the most part the inquiries were flawed, but where they actually functioned as proper inquiries, they upheld many criticisms. But a surprising number of issues were sidestepped or handled inadequately. The world still awaits a proper inquiry into climategate: one that is not stacked with global warming advocates, and one that is prepared to cross-examine evidence, interview critics as well as supporters of the CRU and other IPCC players, and follow the evidence where it clearly leads. (Ross McKitrick)


Climategate whitewashers squirm like maggots on Bishop Hill's pin

Just back from the House of Lords for the launch of the Global Warming Policy Foundation's report on the failings of the three Climategate inquiries.

The official inquiries, as we know, found nothing untoward in any of the Climategate emails -- nor in the behaviour of the scientists responsible for them. But the GWPF's report, by Andrew "Bishop Hill" Montford, begs to differ. At the conference, one journalist asked Montford to try to summarise the juiciest of his allegations. Montford found this difficult: so many and varied are the failings of the three whitewash inquiries, he simply couldn't decide which ones to choose. (James Delingpole)


Damning New Investigation Into Climategate Inquiries

London, 14 September - The Global Warming Policy Foundation today publishes a detailed assessment of the Climategate inquiries set up by the University of East Anglia and others which finds that they avoided key questions and failed to probe some of the most serious allegations.

The report The Climategate Inquiries, written by Andrew Montford and with a foreword by Lord (Andrew) Turnbull, finds that the inquiries into the conduct and integrity of scientists at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia were rushed and seriously inadequate. (GWPF)

The full report can be downloaded here or loaded into Google docs here.


Warmist Slander of Scientific Skeptics

Warmist true believers bitterly cling their mantra that only the corrupting influence sinister money could possibly explain skepticism toward the theory they embrace as gospel truth.

In case anyone is unfamiliar with the simplicity of the man-caused global warming idea: overwhelming scientific conclusions say we are causing floods / droughts / blazing summers / intense winters, and don't listen to any skeptic scientists -- they're corrupt.

This mantra is fine until you start asking questions. On the so-called consensus of "numerous" IPCC scientists, it appears Donna Laframboise has now exposed a rather troubling set of problems with the IPCC's 1995 Health Chapter authors, and John O'Sullivan has just recently pointed out some details the NOAA would rather not have you know about, while Steve McIntyre continues to tear down the ClimateGate scandal with ever finer levels of detail.

Considering how Exxon, Chevron, and others have climbed on the CO2 reduction bandwagon, believers of man-caused global warming may have realized the "skeptic scientists corrupted by big oil" idea is rapidly losing credibility. Skeptic populations are increasing; somebody must be funding them. ( Russell Cook, American Thinker)


Lomborg: No, I Didn't Flip-Flop on Global Warming

September 15, 2010 9:00 A.M.
By Greg Pollowitz

Bjørn Lomborg writes in today's WSJ:

After years of being accused of believing something I didn't believe -- or, more accurately, not believing something I really did -- I made headlines last month for changing my mind even though I hadn't.

Confused? Imagine how I feel.

It's worth explaining what happened to me because it tells us something important about why the global warming debate has produced so little in the way of results.

(Planet Gore)


Response to Misinformation from Deutsche Bank

Written by Ross McKitrick 
Tuesday, 14 September 2010 10:24

Readers who are familiar with the various issues will recognize that the Deutsche Bank (DB) report is one-sided. The weakness of its argumentation is partly due to its failure to properly quote the material it purports to rebut, so that its arguments are frequently shallow and unconvincing. In this rejoinder I will focus only on two items: The Hockey Stick controversy and the report's treatment of the "Hide the Decline" email. These should suffice to illustrate the weakness of the DB report. (SPPI)


Imaginative little souls: Britain Not Prepared For Climate Change: Report

Britain is not doing enough to prepare for the impacts of climate change, raising costs for homes and businesses, two separate bodies said this week.

"The UK must start acting now to prepare for climate change. If we wait, it will be too late," said John Krebs, chair of the Adaptation Sub-Committee on Climate Change, an independent body which advises the government on climate adaptation.

"If no action is taken, there will be very significant costs on households and businesses and the UK will miss out on some business opportunities as well," Krebs told reporters at a briefing.

Cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels is still essential but the UK also needs to adapt to ensure it is prepared for temperature increases, more intense rainfall and rising sea levels, the report said. (Reuters)


Europe's climate chief scolds and praises China

BRUSSELS, Sept 14 - China's climate negotiators are moving too slowly, but the country's green energy companies are advancing at an "astonishing" pace and threaten to outpace western competitors, Europe's climate chief said on Tuesday.

Connie Hedegaard's comments were delivered alongside a warning that Europe would not automatically sign up again to the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol, the main global deal to tackle climate change. (Reuters)


CO2 reductions slip down EU priority list

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard has said that achieving an agreement on reduced CO2 emissions at a United Nations' conference later this year is no longer a top EU priority.

Speaking at an event organised by the centre-right European Peoples Party on Tuesday (14 September), Ms Hedegaard said the US inability to act on emission targets meant the EU would focus instead on securing a number of other issues.

"I believe that targets will not be the main issue at [the UN meeting in] Cancun because the US failed to pass their environment legislation," the Danish commissioner told her audience. (EU Observer)


Oh good grief! BHP chief Marius Kloppers puts end to emissions trading scheme

THE head of the nation's biggest company and the world's largest mining house has declared that Australia must wean itself off its fuel dependency.

Marius Kloppers says this should come through a simple carbon tax rather than the "academically elegant" but complex emissions trading scheme that Kevin Rudd shelved in Labor's first term.

And it would not be a great big new tax on everything, as Tony Abbott maintains, because Canberra should give all the money back to taxpayers. (Michael Stutchbury, The Australian)

Hands up anyone who thinks government can handle a huge amount of money without so much as administrative costs? How about if you think government would give back a huge pot of your money rather than finding ways to waste it for you?

There is simply no upside to increasing energy costs.


ACCI does not agree with Kloppers

A leading business group does not agree with BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers that a carbon tax is inevitable and Australia should get on the front foot.

"It's clearly not the view of our membership," Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) director of economic and industry policy Greg Evans told reporters on Thursday.

Mr Kloppers made his comments to the Australian British Chamber of Commerce in Sydney on Wednesday.

ACCI represents 350,000 businesses across the country.

"You need to differentiate between energy producers and energy users ... our members are overwhelmingly energy users," he said.

He said his members are "uneasy" about the impact of a possible doubling in energy prices by 2015, and tripling by 2020.

"They believe action should be aimed at energy efficiency rather than imposing extra taxes ... and certainly not before the rest of the world," he said.

His members want to see tax reform, but not necessarily tax increases, and are very concerned about the impact on profitability from rising energy prices. (AAP)


Global climate agreement not 'inevitable'

Now the trumpet summons us again - to take action on climate change. 

BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers has garnered banner headlines and much praise for his call for the Gillard Government to impose a carbon tax before any global agreement. 

"We do believe that such a global initiative will eventually come and, when it does, Australia will need to have acted ahead of it to maintain its competitiveness," Kloppers told the Australian British Chamber of Commerce in Sydney yesterday. 

The problem, though, is that there is neither a domestic nor a global consensus on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. None whatsoever. 

Start with Australia. Tony Abbott's decision to oppose Kevin Rudd's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme forced Labor ministers into doing what they wanted to avoid: explain to the electorate how a costly and complicated cap-and-tax scheme affects ordinary people. By winning the argument that an emissions trading scheme would amount to economic pain for no environmental gain, Abbott pressured Labor into shelving its legislative centrepiece.

The upshot is that the new Labor minority government would lack democratic legitimacy if it put a price on carbon this term - whether it's an ETS or a carbon tax. It would be akin to John Howard implementing WorkChoices without having campaigned on the issue in 2004. 

During the recent election campaign, Julia Gillard hardly even mentioned the subject. In a 5,500 word speech to launch the Labor campaign, for example, the Prime Minister dedicated 12 words to climate change. And notwithstanding the proposed citizens' assembly which has been subsequently dropped, she did not propose any real climate policy agenda. Hardly a top-order legislative priority. 

When asked whether Labor would support a carbon price in the next term, Treasurer Wayne Swan told The 7.30 Report: "We have made our position very clear. We have ruled it out. We have to go back to the community and work out a way in which we can put a cap on carbon pollution." 

Given those Labor focus group polling which encouraged party leaders and Sussex Street hard heads to shelve the unpopular ETS following the Copenhagen debacle, a community consensus seems a long way off. 

The Climate Institute polling that suggests Australians are panting for a carbon price is flawed. Indeed, it stretches credulity to expect that the many Australians mortgaged to the hilt are keen to pay twice as much for their electricity - especially when the rest of the world is refusing to decarbonise their economies. 

Which brings us to Koppers' second argument: a global climate deal is inevitable, so it makes sense for Australia to price carbon as soon as possible. 

But the costly reality of the climate agenda has led to a change of heart among the political classes abroad. (Tom Switzer, Australian Broadcasting Corp.)


Combet and climate change

 Bob Carter
September 16, 2010

IPCC advice has passed its use-by date: adaptation to natural climate change is the key 

New Minister for Climate Change, Greg Combet, has started his term by calling for the application of commonsense to the debate over global warming policy. 

Well, yes, but even more important is the application of some independent scientific analysis to the alarmist advice rendered by the UN's now discredited Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (Quadrant)


We Are Thinking The Wrong Thoughts

Written by Dennis Ambler

Those of who have long been in denial about the realities of global warming and the credibility of the IPCC, can now feel relieved, there may be hope for us yet. The diagnosis has been made; we have a psychological problem, which so far has failed to respond to the millions upon millions of dollars spent in "communicating" climate change to the masses.

Read more... (SPPI)


Don't think I agree here either: It is Not About Science, but Values

A really interesting new study is published this week in the Journal of Risk Research that seeks to explain why it is that on highly politicized issues the public does not uniformly defer to the views of scientific experts, even when those experts are largely in consensus.  The answer is not that one group in society is "anti-science," but rather that people tend to weight evidence and experts differently based on cultural considerations.  This is a line of argument that I and various colleagues (such as Dan Sarewitz, Mike Hulme, Steve Rayner and others) have advanced for a while, so it is exciting to see empirical evidence that back up these claims.  

Here is how a pre-publication version of the paper explained its hypothesis:
Kahan, Dan M., Jenkins-Smith, Hank and Braman, Donald, Cultural Cognition of Scientific Consensus (February 7, 2010). Journal of Risk Research, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

The goal of the study was to examine a distinctive explanation for the failure of members of the public to form beliefs consistent with apparent scientific consensus on climate change and other issues of risk. We hypothesized that scientific opinion fails to quiet societal dispute on such issues not because members of the public are unwilling to defer to experts but because culturally diverse persons tend to form opposing perceptions of what experts believe. Individuals systematically overestimate the degree of scientific support for positions they are culturally predisposed to accept as a result of a cultural availability effect that influences how readily they can recall instances of expert endorsement of those positions.
The paper used an experimental methodology in the sense that it actually looked at how individuals characterized various experts.  The paper explains its findings:
The study furnished two forms of evidence in support of this basic hypothesis. The first was the existence of a strong correlation between individuals' cultural values and their perceptions of scientific consensus on risks known to divide persons of opposing worldviews. Subjects holding hierarchical and individualistic outlooks, on the one hand, and ones holding egalitarian and communitarian outlooks, on the other, significantly disagreed about the state of expert opinion on climate change, nuclear waste dis-posal, and handgun regulation. It is possible, of course, that one or the other of these groups is better at discerning scientific consensus than the other. But because the impressions of both groups converged and diverged from positions endorsed in NAS "expert consensus" in a pattern reflective of their respective predispositions, it seems more likely that both hierarchical individualists and egalitarian communitarians are fitting their perceptions of scientific consensus to their values.

The second finding identified a mechanism that could explain this effect. When asked to evaluate whether an individual of elite academic credentials, including membership in the NAS, was a "knowl-edgeable and trustworthy expert," subjects' answers proved conditional on the fit between the position the putative expert was depicted as adopting (on climate change, on nuclear waste disposal, or on handgun regulation) and the position associated with the subjects' cultural outlooks.
A press release from NSF that accompanied the paper, explains,
. . . the study also found that the American public in general is culturally divided on what "scientific consensus" is on climate change, nuclear waste disposal, and concealed-handgun laws.

"The problem isn't that one side 'believes' science and another side 'distrusts' it," said [lead author Dan] Kahan referring to an alternate theory of why there is political conflict on matters that have been extensively researched by scientists.

He said the more likely reason for the disparity, as supported by the research results, "is that people tend to keep a biased score of what experts believe, counting a scientist as an 'expert' only when that scientist agrees with the position they find culturally congenial."
These empirical findings help to explain why there are obvious contradictions in what areas of science different groups tend to accept and reject, with no apparent systematic explanation.  For instance, many more Europeans than Americans think that GMOs are unsafe, yet many more Europeans than Americans are worried about climate change.  Similarly, US conservatives are opposed to stem cell research while the left does not, and opposition to geoengineering is generally found on the political left and its supporters on the right.

The paper explains the significance of its findings for the communication of scientific information:
This conclusion does not imply, however, that there is no prospect for rational public delibera-tions informed by the best scientific evidence on global warming, nuclear waste disposal, handguns, and like issues. But because the source of the enfeebled power of scientific opinion is different from what is normally thought, the treatment must be something other than what is normally prescribed. It is not enough to assure that scientifically sound information--including evidence of what scientists themselves believe--is widely disseminated: cultural cognition strongly motivates individuals--of all worldviews-- to recognize such information as sound in a selective pattern that reinforces their cultural predispositions. To overcome this effect, communicators must attend to the cultural meaning as well as the scientific content of information.
The authors suggest that attending to the cultural meaning of science entails three tasks, first:
When shown risk information (e.g., global temperatures are increasing) that they associate with a conclusion threatening to their cultural values (commerce must be constrained), individuals tend to react dismissively toward that information; however, when shown that the information in fact supports or is consistent with a conclusion that affirms their cultural values (society should rely more on nuclear power), such individuals are more likely to consider the information open-mindedly . . .
This is why expanding the scope of policy options in highly politicized contexts can be politically important, as it gives people an opportunity to interpret science in a manner consistent with their cultural values.  Efforts to focus on green jobs or the security implications of climate policies reflect such an awareness.

Individuals reflexively reject information inconsistent with their predispositions when they perceive that it is being advocated by experts whose values they reject and opposed by ones whose values they share. In contrast, they attend more open-mindedly to such information, and are much more likely to accept it, if they perceive that there are experts of diverse values on both sides of the debate . . .
This helps to explain why efforts to enforce a rigid consensus of views in climate policy have back-fired so strongly among many in the so-called skeptical community.  The more that a consensus is invoked and the narrower it is defined, the more it puts off the very people that those seeking to share scientific knowledge should be trying to communicate with, the unconvinced.  Denigrating one's cultural or political opponents may feel satisfying, but it is not a good strategy for getting them to accept that your views are sound.  Thus, open, transparent and diverse expert advisory processes are more likely to be generally viewed as legitimate and robust.

Individuals tend to assimilate information by fitting it to pre-existing narrative templates or schemes that invest the information with meaning. The elements of these narrative templates--the identity of the stock heroes and villains, the nature of their dramatic struggles, and the moral stakes of their engagement with one another--vary in identifiable and recurring ways across cultural groups. By crafting messages to evoke narrative templates that are culturally congenial to target audiences, risk communicators can help to assure that the content of the information they are im-parting receives considered attention across diverse cultural groups . . .
Again ironically, efforts to identify or label those who are skeptical of certain expert views as "anti-science" or "deniers" are like to become self-fulfilling in the sense that they reinforce the rejection of expert views as they play directly to a narrative conditioned on cultural considerations.  Consequently, breaking down, rather than reinforcing differences across cultural groups would this seem key to broader acceptance of certain scientific findings.  Building bridges is harder work than tearing them down.

In many respects, the advice given here is exactly the opposite of that of some of the more ardent advocates for action on climate change in the scientific community (and their allies).  (The same could be said as well as nuclear power and gun control, the two other issues that the paper looked at).  Much of this just sounds like common sense, but given the state of the debate over climate, apparently it is not.

But there is a final irony here.  The advice of this paper is likely to be dismissed by those practicing such strategies for exactly the reasons described in the paper.  Experts in climate science are not experts in the science of judgment and decision making.  Thus, they will interpret the findings of this research through their own cultural lenses.  And more likely than not, that probably means giving far less weight to these findings than they deserve. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

People would likely accept a "consensus position" on climate if the self-professed experts actually presented a compelling case but, at present, too many people know that climate is inherently unpredictable, the metric of a global mean temperature is fabricated from whole cloth rather than empirically measured and the marvelous magical multipliers utilized in PlayStation®' Climatology to generate scary scenarios have never been demonstrated to exist in the real world. Come up with a credible case and the answer might be different but endless and apparently baseless scare stories promulgated by rent-seekers and would be profiteers just won't cut it.


GE: Imaginative Rent-Seeking at Work

There's a big difference between free enterprise and crony capitalism. One fosters competition to serve consumer demands but the other feeds off taxpayers and exploits privileged access to Washington's political class for private gain and protection from competitors. Increasingly, America's corporate giants are opting for cronyism over the rigors of competition.

In 2008, when Washington voted to bail out Wall Street, people across America were outraged. In fact, the seeds of the modern Tea Party movement can be traced back to this momentous event, which sparked voters to mobilize against the cronyism fostered by big government. While the magnitude of the Wall Street bailout was unprecedented-$700 billion-Washington's rush to dole out money to special interests was, unfortunately, business as usual. (Matt Kibbe, Townhall)


Reducing Hunger and the "Iron Law" of Climate Policy

Today the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released a preview of its flagship report, "The State of Food Insecurity in the World," which is due to be released in October.  The preview has some good news: the number of people worldwide in chronic food shortage dropped 10% over the past year to "only" 925 million.  This can be seen in the graph below from the release.

Let me try to disentangle this in a way that might help to illustrate the "iron law" of climate policy that I discuss in The Climate Fix.

First, why the big drop in 2010?

According to FAO:
The 2010 lower global hunger number resulted largely from renewed economic growth expected this year -- particularly in developing countries -- and the drop in food prices since mid-2008.
Thus, economic growth means less hungry people.

Second, why the big spike in 2009?

According to FAO last year (PDF), one primary reason was the cost of fuel:
Given the increased importance of biofuels and the new linkages between agricultural and energy markets, increased cereal yields, if achieved, may not necessarily continue to lead to lower cereal prices. Because the world energy market is so much larger than the world grain market, grain prices may be determined by oil prices in the energy market as opposed to being determined by grain supply.
Thus, higher priced energy means more hungry people.

These twin dynamics illustrate several important boundary conditions for a successful climate policy -- that is, one focused on stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide at a low level.  The boundary conditions are that (a) economic growth must not be slowed, and (b) energy cannot be made appreciably more expensive. (You need only have a look at the Kaya Identity to see why this is the case.)

Policies that reduce economic growth and/or make energy more expensive will lead to more hungry people around the world. This is just an empirical reality.

The FAO notes:
Two thirds of the world's undernourished live in just seven countries -- Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan.  
In 2008, those seven countries accounted for almost 30% of total global carbon dioxide emissions, a proportion that is growing rapidly.  The realities of poverty alone help to explain why India and China, in particular, have approached climate policy as a lower priority than economic growth.

Yukiko Omura, Vice President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, explains that,
"the world's hungry are not just numbers. They are people -- poor women and men struggling to bring up their children and give them a better life; and they are youth trying to build a future for themselves. It is ironic that the majority of them actually live in rural areas of developing countries. Indeed, over 70 percent of the world's extremely poor -- those people who live on less than US$ one a day -- live in rural areas. That's a billion people, and four out of five of them are farmers to some extent or the other."
In this context, arguments about long-term costs and benefits and unaccounted for externalities -- no matter how theoretically valid -- simply will not trump the immediate challenges of reducing hunger.  To put more bluntly -- few are going to be willing to increase (or arrest the decrease of) the number of starving people around the world to further an emissions reductions agenda.

So we'll simply have to find another way -- one that prioritizes (rather than slows) economic growth and one that focuses on making energy less costly.  Until we do so, climate policy will continue to make little progress.  It is an iron law.

 (Roger Pielke Jr.)

One of Junior's more interesting inconsistencies: his heart appears in the right place but his desired (wished for?) decarbonization can do only harm by restricting energy abundance and increasing its cost, even though he recognizes this exacerbates hunger. He's a weird guy...


Home Of "Ice Giants" Thaws, Shows Pre-Viking Hunts

Climate change is exposing reindeer hunting gear used by the Vikings' ancestors faster than archaeologists can collect it from ice thawing in northern Europe's highest mountains.

"It's like a time machine...the ice has not been this small for many, many centuries," said Lars Piloe, a Danish scientist heading a team of "snow patch archaeologists" on newly bare ground 1,850 meters (6,070 ft) above sea level in mid-Norway.

Specialized hunting sticks, bows and arrows and even a 3,400-year-old leather shoe have been among finds since 2006 from a melt in the Jotunheimen mountains, the home of the "Ice Giants" of Norse mythology.

As water streams off the Juvfonna ice field, Piloe and two other archaeologists -- working in a science opening up due to climate change -- collect "scare sticks" they reckon were set up 1,500 years ago in rows to drive reindeer toward archers.

Well Gosh, some of this stuff dates back to the Minoan Warm Period, some from the Roman Warm Period and still more from the Medieval Warm Period. Since hunters and their prey were there we can assume there was grazing and not just ice then? And a thaw now represents returning to previously extant conditions? Imagine that...


They wish... Canada to become global power thanks to climate change: Author

A top U.S. geographer says Canada will emerge as a major world power within 40 years as part of a climate-driven transformation of global trade, agriculture and geopolitics highlighted by the rise of the "Northern Rim" nations. 

UCLA scientist Laurence Smith, whose previous studies have documented the toll that climate change is taking on Arctic ecosystems and communities, examines the full range of effects of global warming -- many of them positive for places such as Canada -- in his new book The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future, to be released next week. (Randy Boswell, Postmedia News)


Australian Temperatures in cities adjusted up by 70%!?

Ken Stewart has been hard at work again, this time analyzing the Australian urban records. While he expected that the cities and towns would show a larger rise than records in the country due to the Urban Heat Island Effect, what he found was that the raw records showed only a 0.4 degree rise, less than the rural records which went from a raw 0.6 to an adjusted 0.85 (a rise of 40%). What shocked him about the urban records were the adjustments ? making the trend a full 70% warmer.

The largest adjustments to the raw records are cooling ones in the middle of last century. So 50 years after the measurements were recorded, officials realized they were artificially too high? Hopefully someone who knows can explain why so many thermometers were overestimating temperatures in the first half of the 1900's.

50 years later?

The raw Australian urban temperature records are in blue. The adjusted records in red. Note that temperatures in the middle of last century appear to be adjusted downwards. These are the annual average recordings for all 34 sites.

Remember Dr David Jones, Head of Climate Monitoring and Prediction, National Climate Centre, Bureau of Meteorology said:

"On the issue of adjustments you find that these have a near zero impact on the all Australian temperature because these tend to be equally positive and negative across the network (as would be expected given they are adjustments for random station changes)."

Yet it's obvious that there are far more warming adjustments than cooling ones, and remember, many (almost all?) of these urban sites will be markedly different places than what they were in say 1920. The encroachment of concrete, cars and exhaust vents can surely only go in one direction, though I guess, it's possible all these sites have new sources of shade (why aren't the themometers moved, if that's the case?) Like the rural records, the temperatures overall are roughly a quarter of a degree higher after the "corrections"

More » (Jo Nova)


Here's something which actually might be worth worrying about: Say Goodbye to Sunspots?

Scientists studying sunspots for the past 2 decades have concluded that the magnetic field that triggers their formation has been steadily declining. If the current trend continues, by 2016 the sun's face may become spotless and remain that way for decades--a phenomenon that in the 17th century coincided with a prolonged period of cooling on Earth.

Sunspots appear when upwellings of the sun's magnetic field trap ionized plasma--or electrically charged, superheated gas--on the surface. Normally, the gas would release its heat and sink back below the surface, but the magnetic field inhibits this process. From Earth, the relatively cool surface gas looks like a dark blemish on the sun.

Astronomers have been observing and counting sunspots since Galileo began the practice in the early 17th century. From those studies, scientists have long known that the sun goes through an 11-year cycle, in which the number of sunspots spikes during a period called the solar maximum and drops--sometimes to zero--during a time of inactivity called the solar minimum.

The last solar minimum should have ended last year, but something peculiar has been happening. Although solar minimums normally last about 16 months, the current one has stretched over 26 months--the longest in a century. One reason, according to a paper submitted to the International Astronomical Union Symposium No. 273, an online colloquium, is that the magnetic field strength of sunspots appears to be waning. (Science NOW)


Uh-oh... CAGW advocates will be unhappy: New Paper "What Do Observational Datasets Say about Modeled Tropospheric Temperature Trends Since 1979" By Christy Et Al 2010

We have a new paper published. It is

Christy, J.R., Herman, B., Pielke, R., Sr., Klotzbach, P., McNider, R.T., Hnilo, J.J., Spencer, R.W., Chase, T., and Douglass, D. What Do Observational Datasets Say about Modeled Tropospheric Temperature Trends since 1979?. Remote Sens. 2010, 2, 2148-2169.

The abstract reads

"Updated tropical lower tropospheric temperature datasets covering the period 1979--2009 are presented and assessed for accuracy based upon recent publications and several analyses conducted here. We conclude that the lower tropospheric temperature (TLT) trend over these 31 years is +0.09 ± 0.03 °C decade−1. Given that the surface temperature (Tsfc) trends from three different groups agree extremely closely among themselves (~ +0.12 °C decade−1) this indicates that the "scaling ratio" (SR, or ratio of atmospheric trend to surface trend: TLT/Tsfc) of the observations is ~0.8 ± 0.3. This is significantly different from the average SR calculated from the IPCC AR4 model simulations which is ~1.4. This result indicates the majority of AR4 simulations tend to portray significantly greater warming in the troposphere relative to the surface than is found in observations. The SR, as an internal, normalized metric of model behavior, largely avoids the confounding influence of short-term fluctuations such as El Niños which make direct comparison of trend magnitudes less confident, even over multi-decadal periods."

The full paper is available at (Roger Pielke Sr., climate Science)


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)


Five Reasons Why Water Vapor Feedback Might Not Be Positive

Since it has been a while since I have addressed water vapor feedback, and I am now getting more questions about it, I thought this would be a good time to revisit the issue and my opinions on the subject.

Positive water vapor feedback is probably the most "certain" and important of the feedbacks in the climate system in the minds of mainstream climate researchers. Weak warming caused by more carbon dioxide will lead to more water vapor in the atmosphere, which will then amplify the weak warming through water vapor's role as the atmosphere's primary greenhouse gas.

Positive water vapor feedback makes sense intuitively. Warmer air masses, on average, contain more water vapor. Warmer air is associated with greater surface evaporation rates, which is the ultimate source of almost all atmospheric water vapor.

And since water vapor is the atmosphere's main greenhouse gas, most scientists have reasonably inferred that climate warming will be enhanced by increasing water vapor amounts. After all, water vapor feedback is positive in all of the IPCC climate models, too.

But when one looks at the details objectively, it is not so obvious that water vapor feedback in the context of long-term climate change is positive. Remember, it's not the difference between warmer tropical air masses and cooler high-latitude air masses that will determine water vapor feedback ?its how those air masses will each change over time in response to more carbon dioxide. Anything that alters precipitation processes during that process can cause either positive or negative water vapor feedback.

Here are some of those details.

1) Evaporation versus Precipitation

The average amount of water vapor in the atmosphere represents a balance between two competing processes: (1) surface evaporation (the source), and (2) precipitation (the sink). While we know that evaporation increases with temperature, we don't know very much about how the efficiency of precipitation systems changes with temperature.

The latter process is much more complex than surface evaporation (see Renno et al., 1994), and it is not at all clear that climate models behave realistically in this regard. In fact, the models just "punt" on this issue because our understanding of precipitation systems is just not good enough to put something explicit into the models.

Even cloud resolving models, which can grow individual clouds, have gross approximations and assumptions regarding the precipitation formation process.

2) Negative Water vapor Feedback Can Occur Even with a Water Vapor Increase
Most atmospheric water vapor resides in the lowest levels, in the 'turbulent boundary layer', while the water vapor content of the free troposphere is more closely tied to precipitation processes. But because the outgoing longwave radiation is so much more sensitive to small changes in upper-layer humidity especially at low humidities (e.g. see Spencer & Braswell, 1997), it is possible to have a net increase in total integrated water vapor, but negative water vapor feedback from a small decrease in free-tropospheric humidity. See #4 (below) for observational support for this possibility.

3) Cause Versus Effect

Just because we find that unusually warm years have more water vapor in both the boundary layer and free troposphere does not mean that the warming caused the moistening.

There are a variety of processes (e.g. tropospheric wind shear causing changes in precipitation efficiency) which can in turn alter the balance between evaporation and precipitation, which will then cause warming or cooling as a RESULT OF the humidity change -- rather than the other way around.

This cause-versus-effect issue has been almost totally ignored in feedback studies, and is analogous to the situation when estimating cloud feedbacks, the subject of our most recent paper.

Similar to our cloud feedback paper, evidence of causation in the opposite direction is the de-correlation between temperature and humidity in the real world versus in climate models (e.g. Sun et al., 2001).

4) Evidence from Radiosondes
There is some evidence that free tropospheric vapor has decreased in recent decades (e.g. the Paltridge et al., 2009 analysis of the NCEP Reanalysis dataset) despite this being a period of surface warming and humidifying in the boundary layer. Miskolczi (2010) used the radiosonde data which provide the main input to the NCEP reanalysis to show that the resulting cooling effect of a decrease in vapor has approximately counterbalanced the warming influence of increasing CO2 over the same period of time, leading to a fairly constant infrared opacity (greenhouse effect).

Of course, water vapor measurements from radiosondes are notoriously unreliable, but one would think that if there was a spurious drying from a humidity sensor problem that it would show up at all altitudes, not just in the free troposphere. The fact that it switches sign right where the turbulent boundary layer pushes up against the free troposphere (around 850 mb, or 5,000 ft.) seems like too much of a coincidence.

5) The Missing "Hot Spot"
Most people don't realize that the missing tropospheric "hot spot" in satellite temperature trends is potentially related to water vapor feedback. One of the most robust feedback relationships across the IPCC climate models is that those models with the strongest positive water vapor feedback have the strongest negative lapse rate feedback (which is what the "hot spot" would represent). So, the lack of this negative lapse rate feedback signature in the satellite temperature trends could be an indirect indication of little (or even negative) water vapor feedback in nature.

While it seems rather obvious intuitively that a warmer world will have more atmospheric water vapor, and thus positive water vapor feedback, I've just listed the first 5 reasons that come to my mind why this might not be the case.

I am not saying that's what I necessarily believe. I will admit to having waffled on this issue over the years, but that's because there is evidence on both sides of the debate.

At a minimum, I believe the water vapor feedback issue is more complicated than most mainstream researchers think it is. (Roy W. Spencer)


New Paper "The HYDE 3.1 Spatially Explicit Database Of Human-Induced Global Land-Use Change Over The Past 12,000 Years" By Klein Goldewijk Et Al 2010

We have been alerted to a new paper on land use/land cover change over time [thnaks to Dev Niyogi for alerting us to this!]. The paper is

Kees Klein Goldewijk, Arthur Beusen, Gerard Van Drecht, Martine De Vos, 2010: The HYDE 3.1 spatially explicit database of human-induced global land-use change over the past 12,000 years
  10 SEP 2010 DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00587.x

The abstract reads

Aim ? This paper presents a tool for long-term global change studies; it is an update of the History Database of the Global Environment (HYDE) with estimates of some of the underlying demographic and agricultural driving factors.

Methods ? Historical population, cropland and pasture statistics are combined with satellite information and specific allocation algorithms (which change over time) to create spatially explicit maps, which are fully consistent on a 5 ? longitude/latitude grid resolution, and cover the period 10,000 bc to ad 2000.

Results ? Cropland occupied roughly less than 1% of the global ice-free land area for a long time until ad 1000, similar to the area used for pasture. In the centuries that followed, the share of global cropland increased to 2% in ad 1700 (c. 3 million km2) and 11% in ad 2000 (15 million km2), while the share of pasture area grew from 2% in ad 1700 to 24% in ad 2000 (34 million km2) These profound land-use changes have had, and will continue to have, quite considerable consequences for global biogeochemical cycles, and subsequently global climate change.

Main conclusions ? Some researchers suggest that humans have shifted from living in the Holocene (emergence of agriculture) into the Anthropocene (humans capable of changing the Earth's atmosphere) since the start of the Industrial Revolution. But in the light of the sheer size and magnitude of some historical land-use changes (e.g. as result of the depopulation of Europe due to the Black Death in the 14th century and the aftermath of the colonization of the Americas in the 16th century) we believe that this point might have occurred earlier in time. While there are still many uncertainties and gaps in our knowledge about the importance of land use (change) in the global biogeochemical cycle, we hope that this database can help global (climate) change modellers to close parts of this gap."

As they write in the conclusions

"Although the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) revealed many new insights and facts about the Earth system, there are still many uncertainties and gaps in our knowledge.We hope that this study can help modellers to close parts of this gap."

This paper builds on the research we summarized in our papers

Pielke Sr., R.A., G. Marland, R.A. Betts, T.N. Chase, J.L. Eastman, J.O. Niles, D. Niyogi, and S. Running, 2002: The influence of land-use change and landscape dynamics on the climate system- relevance to climate change policy beyond the radiative effect of greenhouse gases. Phil. Trans. A. Special Theme Issue, 360, 1705-1719.

Marland, G., R.A. Pielke, Sr., M. Apps, R. Avissar, R.A. Betts, K.J. Davis, P.C. Frumhoff, S.T. Jackson, L. Joyce, P. Kauppi, J. Katzenberger, K.G. MacDicken, R. Neilson, J.O. Niles, D. dutta S. Niyogi, R.J. Norby, N. Pena, N. Sampson, and Y. Xue, 2003: The climatic impacts of land surface change and carbon management, and the implications for climate-change mitigation policy. Climate Policy, 3, 149-157.

In the Pielke et al 2002 paper, in section 2 we reviewed the data available to assess land cover/land change over time. The new Klein Goldewijk et al paper is a very important new addition to this information. Their statement that

"These profound land-use changes have had, and will continue to have, quite considerable consequences for global biogeochemical cycles, and subsequently global climate change."

is a message we emphasized 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. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


New Paper "Anthropogenic Transformation Of The Biomes, 1700 To 2000" By Ellis Et Al 2010

In response to my post yesterday on the Klein Goldewijk et al paper, Dallas Staley alerted me to the following related paper.

Erle C. Ellis, Kees Klein Goldewijk, Stefan Siebert, Deborah Lightman and Navin Ramankutty, 2010: Anthropogenic transformation of the biomes, 1700 to 2000.  Global Ecology and Biogeography, (Global Ecol. Biogeogr.) (2010) 19, 589--606.

The abstract reads

Aim To map and characterize anthropogenic transformation of the terrestrial biosphere before and during the Industrial Revolution, from 1700 to 2000. Location Global.

Methods Anthropogenic biomes (anthromes) were mapped for 1700, 1800, 1900 and 2000 using a rule-based anthrome classification model applied to gridded global data for human population density and land use. Anthropogenic transformation of terrestrial biomes was then characterized by map comparisons at century intervals.

Results In 1700, nearly half of the terrestrial biosphere was wild, without human settlements or substantial land use. Most of the remainder was in a seminatural state (45%) having only minor use for agriculture and settlements. By 2000, the opposite was true, with the majority of the biosphere in agricultural and settled anthromes, less than 20% seminatural and only a quarter left wild. Anthropogenic transformation of the biosphere during the Industrial Revolution resulted about equally from land-use expansion into wildlands and intensification of land use within seminatural anthromes. Transformation pathways differed strongly between biomes and regions,with some remaining mostly wild but with the majority almost completely transformed into rangelands, croplands and villages. In the process of transforming almost 39% of earth's total ice-free surface into agricultural land and settlements, an additional 37% of global land without such use has become embedded within agricultural and settled anthromes.

Main conclusions Between 1700 and 2000, the terrestrial biosphere made the critical transition from mostly wild to mostly anthropogenic, passing the 50% mark early in the 20th century. At present, and ever more in the future, the form and process of terrestrial ecosystems in most biomes will be predominantly anthropogenic, the product of land use and other direct human interactions with ecosystems. Ecological research and conservation efforts in all but a few biomes would benefit from a primary focus on the novel remnant, recovering and managed ecosystems embedded within used lands."

The conclusion contains the text

"There remain tremendous uncertainties in our understanding and ability to model even current global patterns of ecosystem function and biodiversity across the anthropogenic biosphere ?.We need human systems models that are as theoretically strong, predictive and useful as the best current biophysical models of natural biospheric pattern, process and dynamics, and we need these models to be coupled together to produce useful predictions of global ecological patterns, processes and dynamics ?.Given that most of the terrestrial biosphere is now anthropogenic, the future of all species, including ours, will depend on understanding and modelling the past, present and potential future ecology of our anthropogenic biosphere as we continue to directly alter and manage it."

The concept of "ecosystem function" is, of course, just an integral component of the climate system. This recognition of the importance of the human role in ecosystem function is yet another example that illustrates the complexity of the climate, as well as the diversity of ways humans influence this system. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 37: 15 September 2010

Open Letter to the InterAcademy Council: On August 30th, the InterAcademy Council released a report reviewing the processes and procedures followed by the IPCC in compiling its Assessment Reports. This letter by our Chairman has been penned in response to their findings.

African Savanna Trees Owe Their Increasing Abundance to Increases in the Air's CO2 Content: A new study provides additional evidence for a CO2 -induced phenomenon that was suggested back in the early 1990s.

Subject Index Summary:
Health Effects of CO2 (Health-Promoting Substances of Common Food Plants): How does atmospheric CO2 enrichment impact the production of health-promoting substances in common food plants?

Journal Reviews:
The Case for a Global Medieval Warm Period Grows Ever Stronger: In fact, it is so compelling as to be ridiculously clear.

Gulf of Mexico Coastal Hurricane Strikes: How did they vary in response to global climate change over the late Holocene?

U.S. Mid-Atlantic Temperate Forest Growth Over the 20th Century: How and where has it been discovered?

Shrubs on the Move in Alpine Tundra: Where are they going? ... and why?

Effects of Predicted Climate Change on Australian Fisheries ... and More!: A good example of the fact that not all such assessments presage doom and gloom.

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: Eastern Cottonwood (Lewis et al., 2010), Italian Ryegrass (Jia et al., 2010), and Perennial Ryegrass (Jia et al., 2010).

Medieval Warm Period Project:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 879 individual scientists from 522 separate research institutions in 43 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record comes from Lake Tanganyika, East Africa. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here. (


OPEC at 50

This week, OPEC turns 50 years old. An oil cartel, formed in mid-September 1960 by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, was supposed, as its mission states still today, "to coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its Member Countries and ensure the stabilization of oil markets in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry." [Read More] (Michael J. Economides, ET)


Well duh! World Bank invests record sums in coal

Last year, $3.4bn was invested in the dirtiest fossil fuel despite international commitments to cut emissions

Record sums were invested last year in coal power - the most carbon intensive form of energy on the planet - by the World Bank, despite international commitments to slash the carbon emissions blamed for climate change.

The World Bank said this week that a total of US$3.4bn (£2.2bn) - or a quarter of all funding for energy projects - was spent in the year to June 2010 helping to build new coal-fired power stations, including the controversial Medupi plant in South Africa. Over the same period the bank also spent $1bn (£640m) on looking and drilling for oil and gas.

However, the Bank Information Centre, which examined the spending, disagreed and said the figure invested in coal was $4.4bn in the fiscal year 2009-10.

The discrepancy is due to the World Bank not including in its figure a $1bn project in India which is funding power transmission networks for coal-fired power stations rather than the stations themselves.

Environmental campaign groups said spending on coal in that period was 40 times more than five years ago, and claimed there was an "incoherence at the heart of the World Bank's thinking about energy" that would damage long term attempts to cut emissions of carbon and other greenhouse gases from such plants. (Guardian)

People are going to need the energy whether the climate warms, cools or remains the same. Is there a realistic choice for the developing world? No, the nuclear club basically refuses them entry and coal is the only abundant, affordable fuel accessible to them.


Wind Energy's Real Problems: (Hint: It Has Nothing to Do With The Wall Street Journal)

Wind Energy's Real Problems

My August 24 article in the Wall Street Journal has apparently caused some discomfort among various advocates of wind energy.(1)

Given that discomfort, it's worth revisiting the thesis of my Journal piece. As a reminder, here's the thesis statement: several studies have concluded that "wind-generated electricity likely won't result in any reduction in carbon emissions -- or that they'll be so small as to be almost meaningless."

The subsidy-dependent wind industry has gone to great lengths to counter that thesis. Rather than respond to the fusillade of ad hominem attacks and misinformation that have been unleashed since my article was published, let's look at what the industry's own documents are saying about wind energy's ability to cut carbon dioxide emissions. After that, I'll discuss the real threats to the wind industry -- threats that have nothing to do with opinion pieces in the Wall Street Journal. (Robert Bryce, ET)


Italy seizes $1.9 billion of assets as Mafia goes green

ROME -- Italy Tuesday seized Mafia-linked assets worth $1.9 billion -- the biggest mob haul ever -- in an operation revealing that the crime group was trying to "go green" by laundering money through alternative energy companies. (Reuters)


OVERBLOWN: Further Analyses (Part III)

by Jon Boone
September 15, 2010


-- Richard Dawkins

This post in our series  looks at how the integration of wind variability affects thermal activity on the grid, favors flexible natural gas generators, and influences economic dispatch and the spot market. It also examines how estimates of carbon emissions are derived and summarizes the limitations of statistically based knowledge. It concludes with a discussion of what Energy Information Administration (EIA) actually says about the causes of carbon emission reductions in the country over the last three years

It is true, as the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) notes, that any wind production must displace some existing generation, but only in terms of electricity--not any of the underlying energy forms transposed into electricity. It is rather due to the stricture that supply match perfectly with demand at all times (and this is another oversimplification of a complicated situation).

Just as the grid must reduce supply in precise increments to keep pace with specific reductions in demand--or increase supply in just the right increments to keep pace with increasing demand, the grid must respond to increased wind penetration, which, to a grid operator, looks much like a reduction in demand. Since wind plants are continuously generating between zero and 100% of their rated capacity in flux, providing who-knows-what for any future time, conventional generation must infill any reduction in wind energy at the precise increment of that reduction and, conversely, it must be withdrawn in increments that match any wind increases.

If wind generation were merely intermittent and unpredictable while producing at a steady rate, it might achieve some of its claims about backing down coal. However, wind's relentless variability imposes daunting challenges for integration. Clever engineering schemes can mask the problem, but not without imposing increased costs and thermal activity. [Read more →] (MasterResource)



No link found between vaccine mercury and autism

NEW YORK - A new government study adds to the evidence that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative until recently found in many vaccines, does not increase children's risk of autism.

It shows kids who had been exposed as babies to high levels of the preservative -- through vaccines they received or their mothers received while pregnant -- were no more likely to develop autism, including two distinct subtypes of the condition.

"This study should reassure parents about following the recommended immunization schedule," said Dr. Frank Destefano, director of the Immunization Safety Office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, and the study's senior author.

Concerns about a link between vaccines and autism were first raised more than a decade ago by British physician Andrew Wakefield.

His report, based on 12 children, has since been discredited and was retracted earlier this year by the journal that published it. In the meantime, it sparked a fierce worldwide debate among scientists and a health scare that caused many parents to shy away from recommended vaccines like the one against measles, mumps and rubella.

Outbreaks of all three diseases followed. (Reuters Health)


Almost interesting until you see it's just more yuks from UCS: Industry has sway over food safety system: study

WASHINGTON - The food industry is jeopardizing U.S. public health by withholding information from food safety investigators or pressuring regulators to withdraw or alter policy designed to protect consumers, according to a survey of government scientists and inspectors.

A study released on Monday by the Union of Concerned Scientists found one in four of those surveyed have seen corporate interests forcing their agency to withdraw or modify a policy or action designed to protect consumers during the past year. (Reuters)


I wouldn't throw away your glasses: Short-sightedness gene discovery could consign glasses to history

Spectacles could be consigned to history after scientists identified a collection of genes linked to shortsightedness. (TDT)


Kids' physical activity declines with age

NEW YORK - Ten-year-olds spend more time sitting on their rears and less time running around than they did at age nine, according to a new British study.

Kids mostly cut down on their physical activity during weekends, on average about 75 minutes in boys and nearly half an hour in girls.

"The extent of these decreases over 1 year would have significant implications for these children if decreases continued into adulthood," the researchers write in the journal Pediatrics.

"Although physical activity promotion for adults is focused mostly on increasing physical activity, efforts for youths might be better focused on reducing decreases," they add.

Earlier studies have generally found a decline in physical activity as children age. While little is known about the reasons for this decrease, an active lifestyle may have positive effects not only on weight, but also mental health, the researchers say. (Reuters Health)


Norway Says Green Taxes Can Help Jobs And Economic Growth

Green taxes are among ways to spur jobs and economic revival despite less focus on environmental solutions since the U.N.'s Copenhagen summit in 2009, Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said Monday. (Reuters)

What is it with the Socialists and their idiotic ideas that taxes create jobs and wealth? Let's see: you're an employer and we're going take a lot more of your profits, your immediate thought is to: a) employ more workers; b) cut costs; c) expose your capital in more high-risk enterprises; d) give whatever profits you have left to workers in increased wages and benefits e) ... As a consumer we are going increase your cost of living substantially to no useful purpose and you are going to: a) go shopping and buy lots of lovely new, more-efficient appliances; b) voluntarily take a pay cut because you didn't actually want the money anyway; c) spend more time in social security queues because your boss couldn't afford to employ you anymore; d) ...


The Nation's River Reveals Nature's Resilience

The glum folks who insist that government control of all natural resources is necessary to save the planet, who regard nature as defenseless and doomed, ought to click here for hope. New research by the U.S. Geological Survey documents the dramatic revival of a 50-mile stretch of the Potomac River that was once considered "decimated" and "barren." The case demonstrates once again that government is not the ultimate environmental steward and that nature is resilient enough to forgive our mistakes.

Decades of discharges from government-run wastewater treatment plants--particularly Washington, D.C.'s Blue Plains facility--loaded the Potomac with nitrogen and other nutrients that nurtured colonies of algae. In conjunction with sediment from runoff, the algae clouded the water and blocked sunlight from reaching riverbed vegetation--the source of oxygen, food, and shelter for invertebrates, fish, and waterfowl. A dark emptiness thus descended, prompting President Lyndon B. Johnson to declare the river "a national disgrace," according to The Washington Post. Continue reading... (The Foundry)


America's "10,000-Metric-Tonne Children"

P Gosselin 13. September 2010

American 10,000-tonne babies are planet's biggest threat

On the surface, looking at warmist blogs and sites can be quite entertaining at times. But reading more closely between the lines, the entertainment always seems to turn into a surreal horror story.

For the most rabid among the environmentalists, who strangely never seem to run out of funding, saving the planet means having to deny others life.

I happened to go to Al Gore's site where he linked to a piece in Seed Magazine called Eating Away. It takes a look at growing human population, the agriculture needed to feed it, its consumption and impact on the planet.

Seed Magazine admits that the population growth rate peaked in the 1980s and that the world has gone from Baby Boom to Baby Bust, much of this trend owing to the education and empowerment of women, especially in developed countries.

But having population growth under control here and there is not enough. Poor countries still have exploding populations. Environmentalists worry about the extent the planet could sustain a population of 9 billion, projected to be reached by 2050.
Continue reading "America's "10,000-Metric-Tonne Children"" (No Tricks Zone)


Jon and Kate plus Hate

The news report was stark, the details sketchy: a lone gunman had entered the offices of The Discovery Channel and had issued a list of demands. [Read More] (Mac Johnson, ET)


Not a Food Crisis

Russia's misguided decision to ban exports of wheat for the next 12 months has sent a destabilizing shock through agricultural markets, pushing prices of grains to their highest levels since 2007 and 2008, when food shortages sparked rioting around the world. The situation in poor grain-importing countries in Africa is tense. In Mozambique, the government backtracked on its decision to raise bread prices by 30 percent after riots in which more than a dozen people died. Still, the world need not experience another food crisis.

This year's cereal harvest was the third largest on record, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization. Cereal stocks are at their highest point in eight years. Though drought in Russia and other big wheat producers like Australia is likely to reduce output, wheat stocks should remain substantially above two years ago, when they plunged to their lowest levels in three decades. (NYT)

Some of Western Australia has drought conditions but the bulk of Australia's grain growing districts have had good to excessive rainfall this past year. Bloomberg gets it right though:


Wheat Harvest, Exports From Australia May Surge After Rains, Bureau Says

Wheat exports from Australia, the fourth-largest shipper, may surge to the highest level in more than a decade after rains boosted this year's harvest, according to revised predictions from the government's forecaster. 

Output may be 25.1 million metric tons in 2010-2011, compared with a June estimate of 22.1 million and last year's harvest of 21.7 million, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics-Bureau of Rural Sciences forecast in a report today. Exports may surge to 18.4 million tons, the second-highest level on record, according to the report. (Bloomberg)


Ah, Socialists... 'Cut government spending and cute kittens like this will die!' says hard-hitting, unbiased BBC 'report' 

It's not often I feel much sympathy for Dave "Grocer" Cameron's dismal, grubbily compromised Coalition government. But when you see leftist propaganda as blatant as this on the BBC website, you do begin to appreciate the scale of the challenge ahead of them as they try impose their "cuts" -- (which aren't actual spending cuts at all; rather they are decreases in the increase of public spending) -- on the bloated public sector. (H/T Sheumais)

The article is headed "Spending Review: What would you cut?"

It invites readers to slash spending in various departments (Welfare, Health, Education and so on), which might seem easy -- but whoa! there are consequences here as the BBC's handy Guilt-O-Slide makes clear. Every percentage cut you inflict on the relevant department is shown by the BBC's resident computer whizzes to have grim, real life consequences. (James Delingpole)


Intent to Deceive: Bloomberg's Gun Control Group Repeats the 'Mexican Gun Canard'

Again, an anti-gun group uses intentionally misleading language to claim that most Mexican cartel weapons can be traced to U.S. gun dealers. ( Bob Owens, PJM)



The Last Green Puppy: Still a Dog Named 'Cap'

By Steve Milloy
GreenHellBlog, September 13, 2010

Should Senate Republicans stomp all over the "last living puppy"?

Yes, because in this case the "last living puppy," according to writer David Roberts, is the so-called renewable electricity standard (RES), which Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) says he will try to make the consolation prize in this Congress' final clash over global warming regulation.

What is RES and why should Senate Republicans --pay attention Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) -- make sure it gets put to sleep (permanently)?

An RES would require that electric utilities generate a set percentage of their power from so-called "renewable" power sources, like solar and wind, by a certain date. The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill passed in June 2009 would require that utilities generate 20 percent of their power from renewables by the year 2020.

This would be quite the monumental challenge given that solar and wind power provide less than 2 percent of current electricity generation and require massive subsidies to do so. According to the Department of Energy, solar and wind are each subsidized at a rate 55 times that of coal, 97 times that of natural gas and 15 times that of nuclear power.

Solar panels and windmills aside, it's the taxpayer wallet that makes these forms of energy renewable.

But even cost is not the main reason for rejecting the arbitrary targets and deadlines of a national RES.

Imagine a utility that generates 100 percent of the electricity it sells by burning coal. Impose the Waxman-Markey RES standard on that utility and, all of a sudden, only a maximum of 80 of its electricity can be generated by coal. In other words, the utility's use of coal has been capped.

Since the passage of the Waxman-Markey bill, Americans have been up in arms against cap-and-trade. But the same reasons for opposing cap-and-trade can and ought to be applied to RES, which ought to be labeled as calling cap-and-subsidize.

Under cap-and-trade, electric utilities would be compensated for higher generation costs by charging consumers more for electricity and by selling billions of dollars of carbon credits, which they received for free courtesy of taxpayers. Under RES, electric utilities would be similarly compensated for higher generation costs, courtesy of over-charged consumers and untold billions in taxpayer subsidies.

So the difference between RES and cap-and-trade is merely form of the consumer/taxpayer rip-off.

But not every Republican in Congress yet understands this.

Sen. Brownback recently stated that he could support a "modest" RES where energy efficiency gains count toward the RES standard. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) previously indicated he could consider an RES that included so-called "clean coal" as a form of renewable energy.

Whatever RES deal Sens. Brownback and Voinovich might try to cut with Harry Reid, rest assured that the only part of it that would be kept and enforced would be the "cap." Energy efficiency gains are uncertain and difficult to ascertain. Clean coal, insofar as it implies so-called "carbon capture and storage" (CCS), is far closer to fantasy than reality given its multi-trillion dollar costs, and physical and political challenges.

America has rejected cap-and-trade. As adorable and palatable as advocates will try to make it sound, RES is just a different flavor of an idea that has already been euthanized.

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


EPA's Power Grab Endangers the Economy

Nowhere in the Clean Air Act does the term "greenhouse gas" (GHG) appear, yet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is invoking the statute to unleash economy-busting emissions strictures.

The agency's latest power grab is not going unchallenged, however. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has filed a federal lawsuit to force the EPA to reconsider the regulatory scheme that will otherwise encumber the energy and manufacturing sectors as well as millions of offices, apartment buildings, shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools, houses of worship, theaters, and sports arenas. Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Here's that Dane again: A radical solution to climate change

POLITICIANS and commentators are understandably pessimistic about the chances of an international deal on carbon cuts emerging from the UN summit in Mexico this December.

Nothing has been resolved since the Copenhagen climate talks fell apart last year.

Fortunately, recent research points to a smarter way to tackle climate change.

There is no longer any mainstream disagreement about the reality of global warming - the crucial questions concern the economics of our response. But this debate can be just as heated.

Ever since I published The Skeptical Environmentalist in 2001, I have always acknowledged that man-made global warming is real. Yet activists have repeatedly labelled me a "climate-change denier", reflecting anger over my insistence that drastic carbon cuts make no sense. The Copenhagen Consensus Centre, a think tank where I serve as director, recently asked a large group of top climate economists to explore the costs and benefits of different responses to global warming. At the same time, we convened a second and equally stellar group of economists, including three Nobel laureates, to examine all of the research and rank the proposals in order of desirability. Cambridge University Press is publishing their research and findings under the title Smart Solutions to Climate Change.

The book includes a chapter by prominent climate economist Richard Tol, who has been a contributing, lead, principal and convening author for the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Tol found that trying to keep global temperature increases under 2C, as the G8 industrialised nations have promised, would require carbon emissions reductions of about 80 per cent by mid-century.

Based on conventional estimates, this would avoid climate damages of about $US1.1 trillion ($1.2 trillion) over the century. But it would cut economic growth by about $US40 trillion a year.

In other words, we would effectively be spending $US40tn every year by the end of the century to do just over $US1tn worth of total good. In fact, this estimate is wildly optimistic. The calculation assumes that over 100 years, politicians everywhere will consistently enact the most efficient, effective laws possible to reduce carbon emissions. Dump that far-fetched assumption and the cost could jump by a factor of 10 or even 100.

To put it starkly, such drastic carbon cuts are likely to do a lot more damage to our quality of life than climate change. (Bjorn Lomborg, The Australian)

The bottom line is; if enhanced greenhouse should ever become a problem the correct response is adaptation -- there is no viable mitigation strategy to take "just in case".


Peter Foster: One cool movie

  September 13, 2010 -- 8:20 pm

Cool It, a new film featuring Bjorn Lomborg, is far more convincing than An Inconvenient Truth

Danish "skeptical environmentalist" Bjorn Lomborg is at least as charismatic as Al Gore and far more personable. Cool It, the film about Mr. Lomborg's crusade to bring some rationality to the climate change issue -- which premiered on Sunday night at the Toronto International Film Festival -- is also every bit as well done as An Inconvenient Truth, the Oscar-winning movie about Mr. Gore's ghastly but self-interested psychic projections.

Every schoolchild who was forced to watch Mr. Gore's apocalyptic whoppers should also be given the opportunity to see Cool It, which presents a balanced and convincing case against doom and gloom.

The movie starts by demonstrating the disgraceful way in which children in the West have been terrorized by -- and used for -- catastrophic propaganda. It also cleverly uses bright-eyed poor kids in an African school to highlight aspirations that for the foreseeable future can only be fed by fossil fuels.

Read More » (Financial Post)


AGW skepticism and declining trust in institutions

An extreme environmentalist website called Grist has recently complained that

The right's climate denialism is part of something much larger.
The bigger "problem" as identified by David Roberts is that the people began to realize that various corrupt institutions are corrupt, indeed.

The author shows that since 2008, the number of people among leftists, moderates, and conservatives who believe that "effects of global warming are already occurring" dropped by -2, 6, and 20 percentage points, respectively.

Roberts correctly says that "When people are feeling safer and more prosperous, climate scientists will magically become more persuasive."

I think this is a valid observation: when people feel that they have too much money and they don't know what to do with it, they lower their standards for a "good investment" and start to invent ways how to throw the money into the toilet, too. That's also why the rich countries witness a higher support for the global warming insanity than the poorer ones.

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)


Gore's "Unprecedented And Irreversible" Decline

P Gosselin 13. September 2010

Last week, I think it was, I remember reading something about Al Gore's The Climate Project having slumped to an all-time low with the number of Climate Crisis presentations delivered.

The French sceptic climate website Changement Climatique has compiled a graphic showing the number of presentations given each month. I've posted it below.

Using complex Mannian statistical techniques, I've fitted a curve (red line) to the chart (sorry, code is not available). Conclusion: Al Gore's TCP is headed for a crisis. He really needs to dramatically cut back his hot air emissions.

Gore becomes a victim of climate change. Source:

Probably the only 2 things performing worse are the all-but-defunct Chicago Climate Exchange and Obama's Economy.

Changement Climatique describes Gore's project situation as follows:

 The number of presentations reached a peak of 193 in October 2009, just before Copenhagen, but then went on an "unprecedented" and "irreversible" decline to a total collapse in the last few months.  At the moment, not a single presentation is scheduled for 2011, which bodes ill for future of the project. It's a sure sign that "climatic fatigue" has struck the warmist movement.

Quelle misere. (No Tricks Zone)


They said this with a straight face? Don't wait for US on cap-and-trade, OECD urges Canada

Canada could gain credibility at home and abroad if it unilaterally applied a cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions instead of waiting for Washington to do it first, the OECD said.

The cap-and-trade system is a market driven approach that sets a ceiling on harmful emissions that contribute to global warming and allows polluters to trade permits with greener companies in order to meet the ceiling.

"The federal government's intention to link its climate policy with the possible cap-and-trade system in the United States is understandable and sensible," said the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

"However, acting unilaterally would result in domestic and international credibility gains," the OECD told Canada in its latest Economic Survey for the country. (AFP)

Well, gee, that'd do Canada the world of good... The real world would think you incredibly stupid but the whackos would love ya!


"Minuscule": Effects of European ETS on CO2 Emissions

The UK NGO Sandbag has released a report (PDF) evaluating the effects of the European Emissions Trading Scheme on the bloc's carbon dioxide emissions.  Here is an excerpt from the report:
We are now two years into the second Phase of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and it is already clear that, like Phase I, Phase I I will fail to deliver significant abatement2. Policymakers set a Phase I I cap sitting just 6% below 2005 allocations3. But as 2005 was actually overallocated by more than 7% meaning Phase I I actually represents a 1% growth cap against 2005 emissions4. Furthermore, this unambitious Phase I I cap was almost immediately blindsided by the recession. In 2009 the recession dragged down production levels by 1 3.85%, reducing emissions by 1 1 .6%5.

Even with an aggressive economic recovery, our projections find it unlikely that the Phase I I cap would constrain emissions by more than 32Mt across the full 5 years of the phase (2008-1 2), a meagre 0.3% of the 1 0.5 billion tonnes we expect covered installations to emit across the period. To put this in context, the current phase of the ETS, which polices more than 12,000 installations, would have been almost twice as effective if it had simply enforced a cap on one of Europe's largest polluters: Drax power station in the UK is likely to face a shortfall of 60Mt across the same period, double the net effect of the entire scheme.

Furthermore, the low cost and high availability of offsets make it is highly unlikely that this meagre 32Mt of abatement will take place in Europe. I t is more probable that European emitters will purchase cheap offsets to give them a carbon space to grow domestic emissions. In fact, despite the promise of much more aggressive Phase I I I caps we find that on-going availability of cheap offsets could allow Europe's domestic emissions to grow a staggering 34% from current levels by 2016.
In The Climate Fix, I present data suggesting that Europe's rate of decarbonization was essentially unchanged before and after implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, up to the period covered by the Sandbag analysis.  The Sandbag analysis suggests that this finding holds to the present.  The strong implication is the that EU ETS has not accelerated BAU decarbonization in Europe.

Of note, the European Commission agrees with the Sandbag analysis, but not the implications that they draw:
The European Commission agrees in broad terms with the analysis underlying the Sandbag report, in that supply exceeds demand for allowances in the current trading phase, Maria Kokkonen, spokeswoman for Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, told EurActiv.

"We do not, however, share all the policy conclusions drawn from it. The EU ETS has undergone a fundamental reform as part the climate and energy package and is on course to be even more effective in the future. The priority is to properly implement these fundamental reforms in a timely manner," she said.
This response would seem to suggest that the spell of emissions trading is still working its magic.  It will be interesting to see how long this illusion can persist. (Roger Pielke Jr.)


Cooler Heads Digest 10 September 2010

by William Yeatman
10 September 2010 @ 3:12 pm

In the News

Green Jobs No Longer Golden in Stimulus
Patrice Hill, Washington Times, 9 September 2010

Eeyore Environmentalism
Steven Hayward, Planet Gore, 8 September, 2010

Kiss Your Ash Goodbye
Ben Lieberman,, 8 September 2010

Sword of Damocles
Wall Street Journal editorial, 8 September 2010

Salmon Runs, Global Warming As Clear As Mud
Jon Ferry, The Province, 8 September 2010

The Accidental Cap-and-Trade
Chris Horner,, 7 September 2010

Scarlet Letters for the Auto Industry
Vincent Carroll, Denver Post, 5 September 2010

News You Can Use
It Could Happen Here

As part of a last-minute lunge to make good on a pledge to reduce energy use per unit of economic output by 20 per cent over the five years ending this December, the Chinese government has ordered energy rationing, resulting in rolling blackouts across the ?

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


Dopey Clive writes again: The powerful coalition that wants to engineer the world's climate

Businessmen, scientists and right-wing thinktanks are joining forces to promote 'geo-engineering' ideas to cool the planet's climate, writes Clive Hamilton (Clive Hamilton for OurWorld 2.0, part of the Guardian Environment Network)

Actually Clive, only the AGW scammers are promoting action, real people merely want some investigation of the possibilities and practicalities of such engineering should it ever be required -- very different thing entirely. Certainly people with any sense want to look at all possibilities rather than simply adhering to the "official" AGW dogma of carbon constraint, particularly since no amount of carbon constraint can make any appreciable difference. You never know Clive, there may be some merit in the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis despite all available data. Best be on the safe side and investigate all possibilities, eh?


Sigh... Climate change is inevitable, says Caroline Spelman

Britain can no longer stop global warming and must instead focus on adapting to the 'inevitable' impacts of climate change such as floods, droughts and rising sea levels, Government ministers will warn this week. (TDT)


CBI says businesses need better warning of climate risks

Employers' group says all listed firms should detail their "climate exposure " in corporate reports

Climate scientists and the government must improve the way in which they communicate the risks associated with climate change if they want businesses to make the adaptations necessary to cope with rising temperatures and extreme weather.

That is the stark warning contained in a major new report released today by business lobby group the CBI, which also recommends that all firms should provide information on the climate risks they face as part of their corporate reports. (James Murray for BusinessGreen)

In fact the only known "climate risk" for business is stupid government action and businesses should so state, loudly and clearly. Flooding is, always will be and always has been a risk of building on flood plains, nothing remarkable there and absolutely nothing to do with CAGW either.


Oh dear... Celebrating science home and away

Professor Sackett has been back on the road again, this time to promote science relationships between Australia and China and develop a climate change tool with a research institute in Germany.

... Penny's in thrall to the Germany's premier climate propagandists.


World Wide Font of nonsense animal mythology: Scientists investigate massive walrus haul-out in Alaska

Scientists fear declining Arctic sea ice may have caused an unprecedented mass migration to dry land

Scientists in the Arctic are reporting a rare mass migration of thousands of walrus from the ice floes to dry land along Alaska's coast.

Researchers from the US Geological Survey (USGS), who have been tracking walrus movements using satellite radio tags, say 10,000 to 20,000 of the animals, mainly mothers and calves, are now congregating in tightly packed herds on the Alaskan side of the Chukchi Sea, in the first such exodus of its kind.

"It's something that we have never seen before in this area," said Geoff York, of the WWF's global Arctic programme. "As the ice decreases, the walrus are abandoning it earlier and earlier. They are having to swim ashore, or to linger on less suitable drift ice for long periods of time."

The flight of the walrus, first reported by the Alaska Dispatch, has reinforced warnings from scientists that the lumbering animal may be headed for extinction because of climate change.

Arctic sea ice dropped to its third lowest level in recorded history this month. The USGS study noted that the entire Chukchi shelf could be completely ice-free during August, September and October by the end of the century. (Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian)

So, "recorded history" applies only to the satellite record? Whatever, what can we find out about walrus? We could start with this from ADF&G:

Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary

Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary, a group of seven craggy islands and their adjacent waters located in northern Bristol Bay, is world famous for its unique summer concentrations of walruses.

Best known among the Walrus Islands is Round Island, where each summer large numbers of male walruses haul out on exposed, rocky beaches. Round Island is one of four major terrestrial haulouts in Alaska; the others are Capes Peirce (Togiak NWR), Newenham (Togiak NWR), and Seniavin (near Port Moller). Walrus return to these haulouts every spring as the ice pack recedes northward, remaining hauled out on the beach for several days between each feeding foray. Up to 14,000 walrus have been counted on Round Island in a single day. However, the number of walrus using the island fluctuates significantly from year to year. The peak count for all of 1998 was only 1,746 walrus.

Or from Alaska FWS:

The Pacific walrus mainly inhabits the shallow continental shelf waters of the Bering and Chukchi seas. The distribution of Pacific walruses varies markedly with the seasons. Virtually the entire population occupies the pack ice in the Bering Sea in the winter months. Through the winter they generally congregate in two areas, one immediately southwest of St. Lawrence Island and the other in outer Bristol Bay. As the Bering Sea pack ice begins to loosen in April, walruses begin to move northward and their distribution becomes less clumped. By late April the distribution extends from Bristol Bay northward to the Bering Strait. During the summer months, as the pack ice continues to recede northward, most of the population migrates into the Chukchi Sea. The largest concentrations are found near the coasts, between 70 degrees North and Pt. Barrow in the east and between Bering Strait and Wrangel Island in the west. Concentrations, mainly of males, are also found on and near terrestrial haulouts in the Bering Sea in Bristol Bay and the northern Gulf of Anadyr throughout the summer. In October the pack ice develops rapidly in the Chukchi Sea, and large herds begin to move southward. Many come ashore on haulouts in the Bering Strait region. Depending on ice conditions, those haulout sites continue to be occupied through November and into December, but with the continuing development of ice, most of them move south of St. Lawrence Island and the Chukchi Peninsula by early to mid-December.

Gosh, guess ice free conditions are not too unusual at this time of year, nor are large fluctuations in the number of walrus hauling out on land during the northern summer.


Coral Bleaching

Global warming causes coral bleaching -- and there is absolutely no doubt about it, right? Tens of thousands of websites found searching for "Global warming and coral bleaching" seem to agree that when the ocean warms, the oxygen content reduces, and the corals become "bleached." The heat affects the tiny algae which live symbiotically inside the corals and supply them with food. The heat stress damages the algae and in consequence leads to coral death. The argument for the global warming/coral bleaching connection is bolstered by the massive El Niño event in 1997 and 1998 that led to unusually warm tropical waters throughout the world's lower latitudes and coral bleaching in many locations. But, as with so many other topics covered in World Climate Report, the idea that corals are in peril because of global warming turns out to be considerably more complicated than is commonly presented to the public at large.

Three recent articles give us reason to question the alarmists' claims that coral reefs are in deep trouble due to the buildup of greenhouse gases. (WCR)


Why 33 deg. C for the Earth's Greenhouse Effect is Misleading

In my previous post I argued, using commonly cited numbers, that the greenhouse effect enhancement of adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere would be about 3% for a doubling of CO2 ("2XCO2").

The 3% enhancement is based upon 2 commonly quoted numbers: (1) 33 deg. C global-average surface warming for the natural greenhouse effect, and (2) about 1 deg. C additional surface warming from 2XCO2, without feedbacks. (Interestingly, these numbers can only be computed from theory, which always requires a variety of assumptions.)

The value of 33 deg. C represents the difference between the observed average surface temperature of the Earth, and the estimated surface temperature if there was no atmosphere.

I explained that the 3% statistic is the one we should be dealing with conceptually, rather than what some people seem to be interested in, which is what portion of the Earth's greenhouse effect is due to CO2. I argued that the answer to that question, which has been recently addressed in a new paper by Schmidt et al., really tells us very little regarding the impact of adding more CO2 to the atmosphere.

But what many people don't realize is that the 33 deg. C of surface warming is not actually a measure of the greenhouse warming -- it represents the balance between TWO competing effects: a greenhouse warming effect of about 60 deg. C (the so-called "pure radiative equilibrium" case), and a convective cooling effect of about 30 deg. C. When these two are combined, we get the real-world observed "radiative-convective equilibrium" case.

This has been known since at least 1964 (Manabe and Strickler, 1964). It was also discussed in Dick Lindzen's 1990 paper, Some Coolness Regarding Global Warming, which is when I became aware of its significance.

Why is this Important?

When global warming is discussed, the warming effect of greenhouse gases is obviously of prime interest. But it is seldom if ever mentioned that about 50% of the surface warming influence of greenhouse gases has been short-circuited by the cooling effects of weather, as just discussed.

When Danny Braswell and I did similar calculations in 1997 to better understand the physics, we found that 1 deg. C of surface warming was true even for the pure radiative equilibrium case (no convective cooling by weather processes). This would mean that the REAL enhancement of the greenhouse effect with 2XCO2 is really only about 1.5%, not 3%, since the natural greenhouse effect is trying to warm the surface by over 60 deg. C, not by 33 deg. C.

Is this Simple Evidence of Negative Feedback?

These climate basics, which have been known since the 1960s, also raises an intriguing question: If the surface warming effect of 2XCO2 before surface cooling by convection is 1 deg. C, and (as even the IPCC knows) 50% of that natural greenhouse warming is then short-circuited by convection, might this then tell us that negative feedbacks in the climate system can be expected to reduce anthropogenic global warming to only 0.5 deg. C?

I believe this is entirely possible.

How could this happen, since there is so much evidence that water vapor feedback is positive? Because, even if water vapor feedback is positive, an increase in the solar shading effect of clouds (negative cloud feedback) could more than overwhelm the positive water vapor feedback, leading to little net warming.

The IPCC already admits feedbacks due to low clouds are the least understood. Indeed, the evidence presented in Spencer and Braswell (2010), at face value, would suggest this could happen.

We already know that the net effect of clouds is to cool the climate system in response to solar heating. Are we to believe that cloud changes turn into a warming influence when temperatures get a little bit higher? Well, that's what all of the IPCC coupled climate models do now.

The Importance of Convective Cooling Versus Greenhouse Warming

I sometimes get e-mails asking why I don't mention convection as a cooling mechanism in the context of global warming. Folks, I used to be virtually the only one speaking out on the subject. For years I harped on this issue.

The reason why I have been recently defending the basic physics of the greenhouse effect is because I think the credibility of those who claim that the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere cannot be increased (or doesn't even exist) is compromised when they object to something that -- as far as I have seen -- has no alternative explanation.

I'm always [open] to new theories, but as I have said before, until someone puts their alternative physics into an energy-conserving model of the vertical temperature profile of the atmosphere, which then produces the present-day temperature profile as current models do, it is little more than hand-waving. (Roy W. Spencer)


Further Discussion Of Global Warming

The report National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp

provides a valuable summary of global warming, as utilized by the IPCC and others. The text we will use to discuss global warming will be based on the equations below.

"According to the radiative-convective equilibrium concept, the equation for determining global average surface temperature of the planet is



is the heat content of the land-ocean-atmosphere system with ρ the density, Cp the specific heat, T the temperature, and zb the depth to which the heating penetrates. [These equations] describes the change in the heat content where f is the radiative forcing at the tropopause, T ? is the change in surface temperature in response to a change in heat content, and λ is the climate feedback parameter (Schneider and Dickinson, 1974), also known as the climate sensitivity parameter, which denotes the rate at which the climate system returns the added forcing to space as infrared radiation or as reflected solar radiation (by changes in clouds, ice and snow, etc.). In essence, λ accounts for how feedbacks modify the surface temperature response to the forcing. In principle, T ? should account for changes in the temperature of the surface and the troposphere, and since the lapse rate is assumed to be known or is assumed to be a function of surface temperature, T ? can be approximated by the surface temperature."

The use of T' to diagnose global warming can be diagnosed [which is dH/dt] clearly involves estimates of f and λ which necessarily introduces complexity into obtaining dH/dt. Moreover, as we have documented in our papers; e.g.

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


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

there remain major problems with the accuracy of obtaining a global average value of T'. Among the unresolved problems are:

  1. There is no one value of T'. The estimates for this number are constructed from sea and land measurements of the values temperature anomalies and their absolute values across the globe. The actual loss of heat to space by radiation is proportional to T to the fourth power. A warm anomaly has a greater long wave flux to space in the tropics than at higher latitudes in the winter [e.g. Liljegren, 2008];
  2. The neglect of including concurrent trends and anomalies of the absolute humidity biases the dry bulb temperature estimates of T', since it is really moist surface air enthalpy that should be measured [e.g. Davey et al 2006];
  3. The use of land surface minium temperatures introduces a bias since it responds in an amplified manner to changes in heating and cooling higher in the boundary layer.  This has been a warm bias in recent years [e.g. see Klotzbach et al, 2009];
  4. The siting for land observations have often been poorly located and, in the USA, have introduced a warm bias. The homogenization of the poorly and well sited locations smears this warm bias into the homogenized data analysis [a paper in preparation which will be submitted within the next two weeks on this research].

There is an obvious solution to these problems with respect to diagnosing global warming and cooling. We should adopt measuring a finite difference version of dH/dt  [e.g. monthly intervals].

There has been quite a bit of discussion in the posts on the accuracy of monitoring dH/dt from upper ocean heat content. The first requirement, however, is to agree that this is the now preferred metric to measure global warming and cooling, and to replace T' [or, at least in addition to that metric].

My recommendation for the report of the meeting that was held September 7-9 2010 in the United Kingdom in Exeter titled

Surface temperature datasets for the 21st Century

is to focus on improved temperature data sets for regional studies (in which the issues we have raised in items #1 to #4 among others need to be addressed), while accepting that the time to use T' as the primary metric to diagnose global warming and cooling has passed. 

 It is my opinion that they should recommend we move to the monitoring and reporting of dH/dt [in real time] to policymakers and the public using upper ocean heat content. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Gulf Oil Spill Energizes Foes Of NY Shale Drilling

Critics of natural gas drilling in New York on Monday urged U.S. regulators to enact tougher regulations, saying the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico proves the industry cannot be trusted.

More than 1,600 officials and citizens were due to testify over two days at a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stakeholder meeting in Binghamton, in upstate New York.

Critics and supporters of drilling turned out to voice their opinions as part of the EPA's two-year study on possible impacts of high-volume horizontal gas drilling on drinking water. (Reuters)


Coal has a Future in Australia

Australia's Labor party just cannot escape the issues associated with trying to present a credible climate policy.  The latest twist comes in the form of its newly appointed Climate Change Minister Greg CombetThe Australian reports:
As part of its deal to secure government, Labor signed a formal alliance with the Greens, whose policies include the eventual phasing out of the coal industry, Australia's biggest export earner.

But in an interview with The Australian, Mr Combet said his background as a former coal engineer, union official and MP with coal workers in his NSW electorate meant he did not believe his job was to shut down the coal industry.

"I don't agree with that. That's not part of my job at all," he said.

"I am acutely aware of the challenges that this policy presents. But people jump to these absolute positions, and I just don't think that's appropriate.

"I've got a responsibility to support those people's jobs. The coal industry is a very vibrant industry with a strong future. What you've got to do is look to how we can achieve in the longer term things like carbon capture and storage for coal-fired power stations." . . .

Mr Combet said he was not in the business of applying the adjective "dirty" to coal.

"People will use whatever language they want. But you won't hear me using it," he said. "You do not take the back of the axe to the fundamentals of the Australian economy. We just work through it very carefully with reforms such as energy efficiency improvements, where you can reduce emissions quite significantly. With investment in renewable energy sources, which will help us reduce emissions significantly and work towards introducing a carbon price. The key thing about a carbon price, from my point of view, from the outset is that it created an incentive to reduce emissions . . . but do it sensibly. And we did do it with the CPRS (carbon pollution reduction scheme), with all the negotiations we had with industry. We've got to keep it on it a commonsense frame."

Mr Combet said he believed he knew the industry "very well" but conceded he had a lot to learn, particularly about international negotiations.

He declined to criticise Senator Wong or Mr Rudd's failure to deliver on an emissions trading scheme in the previous term, describing it as a complex area.

"I am certainly not going to criticise any of my colleagues. I mean, I've been involved in the portfolio over the past 18 months. People can criticise me too if they wish," he said. "There's no doubt that Kevin Rudd was fundamentally committed to dealing with climate change. The new PM is fundamentally committed. We were so close to getting it through."
It is a simple mathematical reality that Australia cannot meet even the least ambitious targets for emissions reductions with coal having today's share in Australia's energy mix (of consumption plus exports, see figure above) -- unless CCS is perfected.  Eventually, something will have to give here -- coal, CPRS, Labor, Greens or Combet.  Time will tell which it is. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

The CPRS can't be presented until the Greens take their seats in the Senate next July without presenting a double dissolution trigger and it is highly unlikely the rainbow conglomerate can last until then. Australia will be supplying quality black coal to the world for centuries to come.


A Multi-Trillion-Euro Price Tag for Energy Efficiency

Chancellor Angela Merkel's plan to make Germany's residential buildings the most energy-efficient in the world has run into resistance within her cabinet. The project's price tag could be as high as 2.4 trillion euros -- and the minister responsible told SPIEGEL it is impracticable. (Spiegel)


Oh so predictable: Greens fight Labor on uranium

THE Greens have threatened to use their historic alliance with Labor to stop billions of dollars of planned uranium projects from securing government approval, in the first sign of the party's push for greater influence over government policy.

Greens nuclear spokesman Scott Ludlam told The Australian his party would use its new-found leverage to attempt to stop all new uranium mines, including those planned in the next few years by BHP Billiton and Canadian giant Cameco.

And Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie said he would also not back any moves for new uranium mines in Australia and he would look "very critically" at expansions to existing mines.

A senior mining executive said that although the Greens would be unable to vote down mining applications in parliament as the government and Coalition's numbers would overwhelm crossbench opposition, the industry was worried about backroom deals between Labor and the Greens.

Australia has the world's largest uranium reserves, and scores of projects are being planned to meet rising global demand for nuclear power. Most are in Western Australia, including BHP Billiton's Yeelirrie deposit, which could be worth up to $US16.5 billion ($18bn) over its 30-year mine life.

Resources Minister Martin Ferguson yesterday signalled the government would stand firm against the Greens on the issue. (Andrew Burrell and Sid Maher, The Australian)


Merkel's Nuclear Plan Encounters Mounting Opposition

Chancellor Angela Merkel had hoped that with a quick resolution, she could sidestep a national debate over nuclear energy. Many, though, see her new plan as a windfall for the country's power utilities. Opposition, both within her government and elsewhere, is on the rise. (Spiegel)


Carbon offsets: Green project offends Indian farmers who lose land to windmills

A Dutch bank that bought carbon offsets to neutralize its carbon footprint was unaware that poor Indian farmers had been aggrieved by the green project. (CSM)


OVERBLOWN: Windpower on the Firing Line (Part 1)

by Jon Boone
September 13, 2010


--Leon Brunschvicg

Have truth and consequences arrived for the biggest energy sham of all?

Energy journalist Robert Bryce recently broke the news to mainstream American media. In a hard-hitting article published in the Wall Street Journal, he reported the findings of a Colorado energy research study, which earlier this year concluded that the industrial wind technology it sampled in the regions of Colorado and Texas neither reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the production of electricity nor rolled back consumption of fossil fuels.

The raison d'être of the wind industry is to abate significant levels of the greenhouse gas emissions many feel are causing precipitous and adverse warming trends in the earth's climate. Wind technology is also sold as an alternative source of power to coal-fired plants. Therefore, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the trade organization for a constellation of limited liability wind companies, did not exactly welcome Bryce's report with arms open.

Instead, AWEA spokesman Michael Goggin penned a stern riposte, which alleged that Bryce and others skeptical about the efficacy of wind technology were "lobbyists" for the fossil fuel industry, spreading lies "to avoid losing market share to wind energy," and compared Bryce and a range of people and organizations to the groups and pundits from the tobacco industry who once told Congress there was no causal link between cigarettes and cancer.

Goggin also produced evidence and testimonials in ABC fashion that he claimed validated "one of the universally recognized and uncontestable (italics added) benefits of wind energy: that (it) reduces the use of fossil fuels as well as the emissions and other environmental damage associated with producing and using these fuels." He further boasted that there were "reams of government data and peer-reviewed studies" supporting the effectiveness of his employer's technology.

Before addressing AWEA's evidentiary offerings on behalf of wind's carbon saving/ fossil-fuel slaying potential--a bit of clarifying context. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


OVERBLOWN: Getting to the Facts on Emissions (Part II)

by Jon Boone
September 14, 2010


--Mark Twain

This section reviews the criticism AWEA makes about the Bentek report and the evidence the organization offers purporting to prove how wind reduced substantial greenhouse gas emissions in Texas and Colorado. The section concludes with an examination of what the EIA data really show for those states for 2007 versus 2008--and what the official Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports say about causal factors for any CO2 reductions.

The Bentek study showed that wind volatility in the sampled regions of Colorado and Texas caused more CO2 emissions than would have been the case with less wind and more efficient coal plants. Using mostly sub-hourly performance data, Bentek was able to "examine in detail how coal, gas and wind interact and the resulting emissions implications."

In general, the research team found that wind, typically much more active at night when demand is least, was more entangled with base load coal plants given that more flexible and costly gas plants were dispatched to meet higher daytime demand.

As Robert Bryce reported in his influential Wall Street Journal article, the repeated cycling--ramping up and back--of coal plants, with their higher CO2 concentrations, created heat rate penalties that produced a greater volume of CO2 emissions. The coal plants in a wind balancing role were operating more inefficiently, and thus required more fuel, much in the way an automobile does when driven in stop-and-go traffic.

As noted in Part I of this series, Bentek then recommended that better results for carbon emissions offsets could be produced by introducing more responsive natural gas units on the system, in part replacing the coal plants with machines that burned 50% cleaner.

AWEA's Surface Criticism

AWEA maintains this study must have been seriously flawed, since, as more wind was installed on the systems, EIA data showed that CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions declined between 2007 and 2008, and, within both states, coal and natural gas consumption fell as well. Goggin then quotes Frank Prager, who "pointed out the flaws  ? in the (Bentek) study and reconfirmed that wind  ? significantly reduced fossil fuel use and emissions ?." But as vice president of environmental policy for the energy company, Prager is not a disinterested party. But it's the evidence that's important, not his testimonial.

Let's look at the evidence more closely. [Read more →] (MasterResource)



3 Billion and Counting

We will eradicate malaria by 2010, stricken families were promised a few years ago. Well, 2010 is nearly gone and, instead of eradication, we have more malaria than before  ? and a new target date: 2015.

Unless malaria control policies change, that date too will come and go. Billions will still be at risk of getting malaria. Hundreds of millions will continue getting the disease. Millions will die or become permanently brain-damaged. And poverty and misery will continue ravaging Third World communities.

For years, malaria strategies have been dominated by insecticide-treated bed nets, Artemisia-based drugs, improved diagnostics and hospitals, educational campaigns, and a search for vaccines against highly complex plasmodium parasites. All are vital, but not nearly enough.

Notably absent in all too many programs has been vector control -- larvacides, insecticides and repellants, to break the malaria victim-to-mosquito-to-healthy-human transmission cycle, by reducing mosquito populations and keeping the flying killers away from people. Dr. William Gorgas employed these methods to slash malaria and yellow fever rates during construction of the Panama Canal a century ago.

They are just as essential today. But well-funded environmental pressure groups vilify, attack and stymie their use, callously causing needless suffering and tragedy. They especially target the use of DDT.

Spraying the walls and eaves of houses once or twice a year with this powerful spatial repellant keeps 80-90% of mosquitoes from even entering a home; irritates any that do enter, so they don't bite; and kills any that land. DDT is a long-lasting mosquito net over entire households. No other chemical, at any price, can do this. And no one (certainly not any eco pressure group) is working to develop one.

This miracle chemical had helped prevent typhus and malaria during and after World War II, and completely eradicate malaria in the United States, Canada and Europe. It was then enlisted in an effort to rid the entire world of malaria. After initial successes, DDT ran into an unexpected roadblock in 1969.

As physician Rutledge Taylor chronicles in his pull-no-punches new film, "3 Billion and Counting," Sierra Club, Audubon Society and Environmental Defense Fund enlisted DDT in their own campaign, to get it banned. They said the chemical posed unacceptable risks to people, wildlife and the environment -- and used pseudo-scientific cancer and ecological horror stories, like those in Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, to spook people, politicians and bureaucrats.

Along with Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, Pesticide Action Network and other eco activists, they portrayed themselves as white knight planetary guardians. Their true motives were far less virtuous. "If the environmentalists win on DDT," EDF scientist Charles Wurster told the Seattle Times, "they will achieve a level of authority they have never had before."

In short, the war on DDT was never about protecting people or birds. It was, and is, about power, control, money and ideology -- regardless of the resultant human misery, disease and death. (Paul Driessen, CFP)


3 Billion and counting: The cost of banning DDT

CHURCHVILLE, VA--3 Billion and Counting is a new documentary film on the awful human cost of banning DDT. The film's producer, medical doctor Rutledge Taylor, circled the tropical world, finding that malaria has claimed some three billion human lives throughout history--and the toll of needless deaths is continuing to mount by perhaps 1.5 million per year.

Moreover, it permanently debilitates millions more. Taylor says malaria treatment is a "tangle of red tape, misguided prevention policies and treatment that is ineffective in the face of continual re-infection." Above all, he found "willful deafness to the pleas of local populations to help them eradicate the mosquitoes that deliver the deadly cargo." (Dennis Avery, CFP)


The fear entrepreneurs are trying to scare you about cosmetics

The easiest way to get media coverage these days is to come up with some prospect--no matter how nonsensical--that is designed to scare people. After all, fear is a great motivator, right?

Amazingly, lack of credentials usually presents no problem to the aspiring fear entrepreneur. If anything, it helps draw more attention, since these con artists come across as real people, not pointy-headed scientists or evil representatives of government or industry.

How else would you explain the media's embrace of two women with absolutely no science or government affairs background, who tell us that the heavily-regulated cosmetics industry is poisoning us, and then goes on to peddle some of the most pathetic "science" we've seen in a long time?

I'm referring to Siobahn O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt, the co-authors of No More Dirty Looks, a work I call a "remarkably uninformed and sophomoric attack on the cosmetics industry" in my latest HND piece.

Apparently, O'Connor and Spunt have taken more than a page from the so-called Campaign For Safe Cosmetics, whereby facts and science are completely unimportant. Instead, the methodology is pure, unadulterated scare tactics. It's easy. Just mention the name of a chemical, and say that it has been "linked to" cancer or birth defects, or whatever.

Don't bother looking for any details on this "linkage," and above all don't mention the most fundamental tenet of toxicology--The Dose Makes the Poison.

It would be tempting to simply dismiss this bilge as unworthy of response, but the sad fact is that far too many people buy into it. Unfortunately, there is gobs of junk science extant that can be used to support their claims. Moreover, industry is not doing nearly enough to combat this barrage.

To tip the scales a bit, I skewer a few of the duo's most egregious contentions.

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


Risk and Regulation

If we're to truly effect fundamental and long-lasting change, we must identify, examine and challenge the basic premises responsible for the regulatory state.
September 12, 2010 - by Amit Ghate 

Every day we witness regulators denying people their freedom of action: The FDA prevents patients from taking potentially beneficial drugs; the SEC restrictsthe types of securities investors can buy; the FAA sets such detailed "guidelines" that airplane designers and owners find it difficult to innovate and operate profitably. Beyond these are the innumerable regulatory obstacles which individuals and firms must constantly surmount.

As economic activity dwindles, and tea party activism rises, some Americans are now beginning to question the most flagrant of these rules and regulations. But that alone won't suffice. If we're to truly effect fundamental and long-lasting change, we must identify, examine and challenge the basic premises responsible for the regulatory state.

One vital concept here is that of risk. Regulators act on the implicit premise that our primary focus should be on avoiding risk. According to them, all we have to do to be successful is avoid tainted food, drugs with side effects, companies that could swindle us, imperfect aircraft, etc. Moreover, in their view, doing so is easy. Simply ban and forbid any risky product or idea from the marketplace.

What they fail to appreciate is that avoiding a negative is not the same as achieving a positive. Avoiding tainted food doesn't ward off hunger any more than avoiding a side-effect will cure the primary disease. Instead, what life requires are positive values, from material goods like food, shelter and medicine; to emotional ones like a lover or a spouse; to spiritual ones like a lifelong purpose and career. (PJM)


When Forecasting Aging Policy-Makers Need to Adjust for Increases in Longevity and Health

Indicators of aging based only on chronological age are misleading and need to be adjusted to take into account advances in health and life expectancy, a Stony Brook professor and colleague from the Austrian Academy of Sciences report in the September 10, 2010 issue of Science.

The article, entitled "Remeasuring Aging," by Professor Warren Sanderson of Stony Brook's Department of Economics and Sergei Scherbov of the Vienna Institute of Demography (Austrian Academy of Sciences), both affiliated with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria, calls for the adoption of the adult disability dependency ratio, which measures aging based on the ratio of those who need care to those who can give care. 

According to the study, the policy dialog on aging has been based on misleading information.

"Most of our information about aging comes from indicators published by the United Nations and statistical agencies," said Sanderson. " These indicators, which are used worldwide to determine health care and retirement costs, are based on chronological age and in many instances consider people as being old when they reach age 65 or even earlier."
"With advances in health and life expectancy, measuring population aging presents a problem to demographers because the meaning of the number of years lived has changed," the authors write. "In Western Europe in 1800, for example, less than 25 percent of males would survive to age 60, while today more than 90 percent of them do. A 60-year old man in Western Europe today has around the same remaining life expectancy as a 43-year-old man in 1800. Today, a person who is 60 is considered middle-aged; in 1800, that 60-year-old was elderly." (Newswise)


I hadn't read anything by Derrick Z. Jackson in years and now I recall why: Obesity's punch to the gut

IT IS time for President Obama to declare a war on fat as a matter of national economic security.

Two federal reports this week make clear the threat of obesity not just to our waistlines, but also to our national pocketbook. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projects that as the insured share of America's population rises to about 93 percent by 2019 under the new health care law, expenditures will rise from $2.5 trillion a year to $4.6 trillion.

Even though reform was promised to ease health care costs on American families, it may run smack into the runaway train of obesity. According to a report by the Congressional Budget Office, if the obesity rate rises to 37 percent by 2020, per capita health care spending for adults will rise to $7,760, up from $4,550 in 2007. Health care spending on obese adults was $5,330 per adult in 2007, and $7,010 for the morbidly obese. That compares to $4,030 for normal weight adults. (Boston globe)

Guess what Derrick, per capita health care spending will rise that far anyway, even if the whole population loses weight -- it's called population aging. The other thing fat campaigners conveniently forget is that people requiring significant health support and are also obese tend to be obese because of their conditions, not have their conditions because they are obese.


Has the Greens' moment come?

The Green Party is beginning to be taken seriously after nearly four decades beyond the political fringe (Geoffrey Lean, TDT)

Geoffrey, Geoffrey, Geoffrey, the rational world has viewed the Greens as a serious threat to humanity and society for decades. Just look at the horrendous death toll they have run up with their assaults on chemistry, industry, development, agriculture and energy supplies. We take them very seriously indeed. And yes, they are still the political fringe:


Going Green, or Growing Mould?

September 10th, 2010 by Ben Pile

During my very busy spring and summer, one of the things I didn't have time to do was look more closely at the UK's General Election results. This post comes a bit late, but it's worth saying, nonetheless.

The election was perhaps the dullest and least inspiring in Britain's history (certainly in my history), which means that anything remotely unusual appeared as some kind of phenomenon. And so it was with the first ever seat in the House of Commons for Caroline Lucas, one of our favourite subjects here on Climate Resistance. Lucas won the seat for Brighton Pavilion.

Caroline Lucas's prominence in the media has always intrigued us. As a Member of the European Parliament, Lucas always got far more attention than most of her counterparts, more even than her fellow Green MEPs. As pointed out in previous posts here, Lucas has hardly scored well in European elections. In 1999, the Green Party in Lucas's constituency -- the South East of England -- only took 7.42% of the vote which only had a 24.73% turnout, i.e. they only earned the votes of 1.8% of the electorate. In the 2004 elections, they only performed slightly better, taking 7.9% of the vote with a 36.78% turnout -- 2.9% of the electorate. In 2009, the Green Party took 11.6% of the vote with a 37.45% turnout, meaning 4.35% of the electorate -- 271,506 out of 6,231,875 people. That's an improvement, of course -- possibly largely due to the attention given to Lucas by the media -- but it's an improvement only from virtually nothing to minor fringe in an era of mass cynicism of politics. (Climate Resistance)


UN totalitarians want your money and your life

After a Year of Setbacks, U.N. Looks to Take Charge of World's Agenda

The World: It's part of the United Nations


It's a story that just begs to be translated into English. It's just another naked grab for power  disguised as a helping hand.  We come in peace, we'd like to run your country.

The UN bureaucrats that no one elected, want to decide what happens to everyone everywhere in the world. They want p o w e r and control (I'm shocked I tell you!)

After a year of humiliating setbacks, United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon and about 60 of his top lieutenants -- the top brass of the entire U.N. system -- spent their Labor Day weekend at a remote Austrian Alpine retreat, discussing ways to put their sprawling organization in charge of the world's agenda.

The topics included:

-- how to restore "climate change" as a top global priority after the fiasco of last year's Copenhagen summit;

In charge of the worlds agenda?  They want to control our weather, our money, our sources of power (is there anything much left?) Maybe we still get to choose the movies ?

They really want to award the money you earned, to the people who didn't, which includes their friends, their fans, and that enormous group of people who are about to become their friends. This is known as patronage. If you are the man handing out the money, you get the "thanks". If you are the man forced to pay, your reward is, to not-get-jailed.

More » (Jo Nova)


D'oh! 'Green' jobs no longer golden in stimulus

Environmental projects fail to live up to hype

Noticeably absent from President Obama's latest economic-stimulus package are any further attempts to create jobs through "green" energy projects, reflecting a year in which the administration's original, loudly trumpeted efforts proved largely unfruitful.

The long delays typical with environmentally friendly projects - combined with reports of green stimulus funds being used to create jobs in China and other countries, rather than in the U.S. - appear to have killed the administration's appetite for pushing green projects as an economic cure. (Patrice Hill, The Washington Times)


Thomas Edison, You're Under Arrest

Eco-Extremism: A light bulb factory closes in Virginia as mandated fluorescents are made in China. It's now a crime to make or ship for sale 75-watt incandescent bulbs in the European Union. Welcome to green hell.

Thomas Alva Edison was a genius credited with the invention of many things -- the phonograph, the motion picture, the incandescent light bulb, global warming. That last credit was given by those who rank light bulbs right up there with the internal combustion engine as ravagers of the planet.

The General Electric light bulb factory in Winchester, Va., closed this month, a victim, along with its 200 employees, of a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014.

Just as they are by fuel-economy standards, consumers are denied choice and the freedom to evaluate any possible benefits on their own by the nanny state. Washington's force and coercion are necessary because it seems the great unwashed can't seem to see the benefits or ignore the risks of compact fluorescents, or CFLs.

In Europe, light bulbs are already a controlled substance. The 100-watt bulb was banned last year and the 75-watt became illegal as of Sept. 1.

Not surprisingly, incandescent light bulbs there quickly became a hot item, flying off the shelves while they were still available. Der Spiegel reported that German customers leave hardware stores with carts piled high with enough incandescent bulbs to last 20 years. Garages and attics throughout the Old World are full of them.

It's said that CFL bulbs are more economical in the long run because they supposedly use up to 80% less energy than old-style bulbs and don't burn out as quickly. Though we're not fully convinced of these claims, we do know that CFL bulbs are more expensive, costing up to six times as much as equivalent incandescent bulbs. Because they are made of glass tubes twisted into a spiral, they also require more hand labor and therefore cost more.

Due to the expense, CFLs are made largely in China, where labor is cheaper and environmental regulations not so strict. As with wind turbine blades, we are creating plenty of green jobs -- in the People's Republic. (IBD)


And Then There Was Light: Will Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs Increase Energy Use?

It seemed so simple: To reduce energy use, Americans must abandon the old-fashioned incandescent light bulb in favor of new energy-efficient lighting. Congress even passed legislation in 2007 mandating a phase-out of the familiar "Edison" bulb in the name of saving energy.

Now comes a study concluding that energy-efficient lighting will likely increase energy use. The study, sponsored by Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, is based on the observation that the percentage of gross national product spent on artificial lighting has remained remarkably constant for the past three hundred years. Instead of using advances in technology to reduce expenditures on energy, individuals have consistently opted to take advantage the lower costs made possible by those advances to increase the light around them. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

Who says you can't get a useful amount of light out of the rotten things? And why would they increase energy use?


Animal, Vegetable, or E. O. Wilson

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Buoyed by the equal parts of derision and support I received for writing in "I am So Tired Of Malthus" about how humans are better fed than at any time in history, I am foolishly but bravely venturing once again into the question of how we feed ourselves.

In a book excerpt in the February 2002 Scientific American entitled "The Bottleneck", the noted ant entomologist Professor Edward O. Wilson put forward the familiar Malthusian argument that humans are about to run out of food. He said that we are currently getting wedged into a "bottleneck" of population versus resources. He warned of the dangers of "exponential growth" in population, and he averred that we will be squeezed mightily before the population levels off.

His solution? In part his solution was that everyone should become a vegivore.

Wilson: "If everyone agreed to become vegetarian, the present 1.4 billion hectares of arable land would support about 10 billion people.

Figure 1. Vegans are not aliens from the star Vega. They are humans who are strict vegivores, as the food chart above shows. They are known for their barbaric habit of boiling and eating the unborn fetuses of rice and wheat. And don't get me started on what they do to the poor baby carrots, with their so-called  ? but I digress  ?

Is this correct? Would we have a net gain in carrying capacity if all the human carnetarians agreed to become vegivores?

Continue reading (WUWT)


USDA Sued Over Genetically Modified Beet Permits

Groups opposed to genetically modified foods announced a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday over the agency's recent decision to allow limited plantings of altered sugar beets.

According to a copy of the complaint provided to Reuters by the plaintiffs, the USDA's decision violates an August court ruling that prohibited future plantings of genetically modified sugar beets. Last week, the USDA announced it would issue permits for seed producers to make plantings that would not be allowed to flower.

But the plaintiffs, which include the Center for Food Safety and the Sierra Club, argue in their lawsuit that these plantings could still contaminate neighboring crops. The complaint asks a judge to forbid the planting of any genetically modified sugar beet plants. (Reuters)


The Developing Diversity Scam

Even with all of the recent scandal surrounding the purveyors of climate change pap, many in the "news media" continue to crank out party-line articles blaming all of Earth's ecological woes on humanity. After decades of trying to alarm the public over a human caused "sixth mass extinction" and more recently, dwindling diversity, some in the media just can't let go of AGW as the root of all evil. A perfect example of this appeared recently in the font of misinformation that is Yahoo News. Blaming every human activity from hunting to climate change, science writer Jeremy Hsu has once again raised the specter of that old shibboleth, the Anthropocene Epoch. This is all a part of a developing trend to elevate falling species diversity to crisis level, mainly because the world's eco-activists need a replacement issue for climate change.

In the Yahoo Canada News article "Mass Extinction Threat: Earth on Verge of Huge Reset Button?," it is as though time has stood still. The same old tired arguments, the same reflexive blame-humanity-first mentality pervades a piece of journalistic drivel that could pass for IPCC propaganda. From the first paragraph, Hsu proclaims his obeisance to the climate change party line:

Mass extinctions have served as huge reset buttons that dramatically changed the diversity of species found in oceans all over the world, according to a comprehensive study of fossil records. The findings suggest humans will live in a very different future if they drive animals to extinction, because the loss of each species can alter entire ecosystems.

After inadequately setting the scene in his first paragraph, Hsu wastes no time in linking extinction and anthropogenic climate change. Here is the second paragraph of the "news" article:

Some scientists have speculated that effects of humans - from hunting to climate change - are fueling another great mass extinction. A few go so far as to say we are entering a new geologic epoch, leaving the 10,000-year-old Holocene Epoch behind and entering the Anthropocene Epoch , marked by major changes to global temperatures and ocean chemistry, increased sediment erosion, and changes in biology that range from altered flowering times to shifts in migration patterns of birds and mammals and potential die-offs of tiny organisms that support the entire marine food chain.

That's right, humanity is as dangerous as all of the natural disasters that caused mass extinctions in the past. We are raising temperatures, increasing erosion, messing up ocean chemistry and destroying the entire food chain! The real tip-off that Hsu is an eco-alarmist is the mention of the Anthropocene, an unrecognized geologic time period dreamed up by green alarmists. For background information on the Anthropocene see "Welcome To The Anthropocene" and "A Brave New Epoch?"

Hsu is trying to report on the findings of a real journal article that appeared in the September 3, 2010, issue of Science, and he is evidently incapable of correctly interpreting the results without the ingrained bias of the news establishment coloring his assessment. To understand the article, "The Shifting Balance of Diversity Among Major Marine Animal Groups," by paleobiologist John Alroy, one needs a little background information about mass extinctions and species diversity over the past half billion years or so. We examined the history of life and mass extinctions in Chapter 6 of The Resilient Earth:

Since the advent of complex life on Earth there have been five major mass extinctions. Recently, evidence has been found for another extinction during the early-Cambrian, 512 mya. This event is so far in the past that not much is known about its causes, but it is an indication that major extinctions have been happening for half a billion years.

The most famous extinction is also the most recent, the KT or end-Cretaceous Extinction, 65 million years ago. The subject of many TV shows, most people know the story of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs. What most people don't know is that, along with the dinosaurs, 85% of all species on Earth vanished during that time. Because it was the most recent extinction event, scientists know more about the KT event than the other great extinctions. Here is a summary of the six major extinctions:

  • Early-Cambrian (512 mya): earliest recognized mass extinction eliminated 50% of all marine species.
  • End-Ordovician (439 mya): 85% of marine species disappeared, including many trilobites. Second largest marine extinction with 60% of marine genera and 26% of marine families.
  • Late-Devonian (365 mya): 70-80% of animal species went extinct, including many corals, brachiopods, and some single-celled organisms. Accounting for 57% of marine genera and 22% of marine families.
  • Permian-Triassic (251 mya): extinction of 96% of marine species, including all trilobites and many terrestrial animals--Earth's biggest extinction.
  • End-Triassic (199 mya): extinction of 76% of species including many sponges, gastropods, bivalves, cephalopods, brachiopods, insects, and vertebrates. Mostly affecting ocean life killing 57% of marine genera and 23% of marine families.
  • KT or end-Cretaceous Extinction (65 mya): 80% of all species on Earth vanished, most notably the dinosaurs. Eliminated 47% of marine genera and 16% of families.

The causes of these natural catastrophes are varied. Ice ages may have played a major role in several. There is evidence that fluctuations in sea level was the primary cause of the end-Ordovician extinction, which mostly affected marine life This is unsurprising since, during the Ordovician, the majority of life was found in the seas. Joseph Sepkoski called this extinction one of the two or three worst extinctions of the Phanerozoic, noting that generic diversity dropped to about the level of the pre-early-Ordovician proliferation.

Many families, genera and species vanished in the end-Ordovician extinction.

The late-Devonian mass extinction was a prolonged marine crisis spread over 20-25 million years and punctuated by 8-10 extinction events. Because it most severely affected warm water marine species, leading many paleontologists to attribute the Devonian extinction to an episode of global cooling, similar to the event which caused the late-Ordovician mass extinction. Glacial deposit evidence, found in what is now Brazil, points to a glaciation event on the supercontinent Gondwana during this period. Much like the late-Ordovician crisis, global cooling and widespread drop in sea level may have triggered the late-Devonian crisis. There are suggestions that a meteor impact could be the cause, but the evidence is inconclusive.

The Permian-Triassic Extinction is widely considered the worst of all the major extinction events, killing off an estimated 95% of terrestrial life. From rock layers in Texas and Utah comes evidence that this extinction came in two parts, called extinction pulses, separated by about 10 million years. Either of the two events alone was worse than the KT Extinction that killed off the dinosaurs. Between the two events, 82% of marine genera and 50% of all marine families were extinguished. In earlier chapters, we mentioned the extent of damage this extinction inflicted on Earth's creatures, but the most telling feature was the length of time needed for life to recover. Well into the Triassic, as many as 20 million years later, the effects were still felt. Geologists and paleontologists consider this extinction a major turning point in the history of life on Earth.

Causes put forward for the biggest of all extinctions pretty much cover the entire range; climate change, sudden release of CO 2 or methane, volcanoes and an asteroid strike have all been suggested. Douglas Erwin, in his excellent book "Extinction," covers all the theories in detail, and finds no single explanation fully satisfying. He has suggested what he calls the "murder on the orient express" theory, a combination of several or even all of the causes listed above.

The Manicouagan impact structure seen from space. NASA/JPL

The end-Triassic Extinction doesn't get much press, coming on the heels of the worst ever extinction, and before the dramatic meteorite impact that extinguished the dinosaurs. At least two impact craters have been found from around the time of this extinction. One is in Western Australia, where scientists have discovered the faint remains of a 75 mile (120 km) wide crater. The other is a 212 million year old crater in Quebec, Canada, forming part of the Manicouagan Reservoir. The Manicouagan impact structure is one of the largest impact craters still visible on the Earth's surface, with an original rim diameter of approximately 62 miles (100 km).

Others have suggested that a sudden, gigantic overturning of ocean water created anoxic conditions causing the massive die-off of marine species. About 23% of terrestrial families also died out,v so there is doubt that such an aquatic event could account for all of the vanished species. There is recent evidence that the end-Triassic experienced an extended period of massive volcanism called the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP). This event is associated with the breakup of the super-continent Pangaea and the appearance of a giant rift that eventually formed the basin of the Atlantic Ocean. Carbon isotope anomalies at the Triassic--Jurassic boundary reflect the effects of volcanically derived CO 2, possibly combined with methane release from gas hydrates due to global warming. This makes volcanoes the current favorite trigger for this extinction.

The final major extinction in our list is the KT or end-Cretaceous Extinction. We have already mentioned, in Chapter , how Luis and Walter Alvarez, having found an unexpected spike in iridium content in sediment from the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, hypothesized that this extinction was due to an impact with an extraterrestrial body. They later found evidence of that impact in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. That evidence came in the form of a crater between 105 and 185 miles (170 to 300 km) in diameter.

The KT extinction killed a lot of strange critters.

Impact models estimate the object was between 6 and 10 miles (10-15 km) in diameter, and would have ejected 25,000 cubic miles (100,000km 3) of rock and debris. Such an impact would have directly killed every-thing for thousands of miles, and also triggered earthquakes and tsunamis. As bad as these effects were, the real killing was caused by ash and vaporized rock that filled the atmosphere, which formed dust clouds that blocked the Sun. These clouds are thought to have lasted many months, stopping plant growth and chilling the planet.

A summary of the major extinctions is shown in the illustration below, depicting diversity in terms of marine families. Starting with the newly discovered early-Cambrian event, the extinctions are numbered from zero. This is to avoid changing the normal numbering of the "big five" extinctions, as they are widely called in the literature. The figure is based on work done by University of Chicago paleontologist Jack Sepkoski in the early 1980s. Sepkoski categorized marine animals into Cambrian, Paleozoic, and Modern evolutionary faunas on the basis of shared curve shapes. This categorization has served as a benchmark for evolutionary research at the Phanerozoic scale for a quarter of a century.

Marine diversity during the Phanerozoic. After Sepkoski.

I have used this figure before, both in The Resilient Earth and in other blog posts, but the story it tells is worth repeating. The three differently colored areas of the graph represent the numbers of families belonging to the Cambrian, Paleozoic, and Mesozoic periods. As you can see, the early Cambrian life forms started being superseded by the intermediate forms of the Paleozoic prior to the end-Ordovician Extinction and had almost vanished by the late-Devonian. The life-forms characteristic of the Paleozoic undergo a major decline until the Permian-Triassic Extinction, and some related species linger to this day. But notice the rise in diversity after each extinction event--after each horrible, life-ending catastrophe, life bounces back stronger and more diverse than ever.

The double blow of the Permian-Triassic followed by the end-Triassic cleared the way for the rise of the dinosaurs and, eventually, mammals. Without the KT extinction mammals would never have risen to dominate life on the land and consequently, humanity would never have evolved. It may well be that after each successive extinction life recovered more energetically because is was starting from a more evolved ecological base. Whatever the reason, the trend is clearly evident.

Alroy, once a student of Sepkoski's, is not the first to revisit the macro-evolutionary history of the Phanerozoic. The fossil record is patchy and long-term evolutionary principles are still hotly debated, leaving much room for new analyses and interpretations. Alroy and colleagues (including Sepkoski) created the Paleobiology Database (PBDB), a compilation of data from nearly 100,000 fossil collections that continues to grow. Alroy's article is an updated analysis of the contents of the PDDB. Alroy was not looking for a sixth extinction marking the beginning of an Anthropocene era--he was trying to answer the question whether global mass extinctions are just short-term diversions in life's preordained course, or if they send the evolution of life in wholly new directions.

Alroy's analysis suggests that the future is inherently unpredictable, that what comes next cannot be predicted from current conditions, no more than a mid-Cretaceous observer could have guessed that a few tiny mammals would someday occupy every ecological niche then ruled by reptiles. As he states in the Science article:


These findings refute the idea that diversity trends, including successive replacements of groups, are a function of exponential or random growth interrupted by mass extinctions. Such arguments only ever seemed plausible because biases in older data sets, including the greater quantity and quality of data in the Cenozoic, created the appearance of a steep post-Paleozoic increase. These biases also obscured large, rapid shifts in diversity such as the Cambrian explosion and the mid-Jurassic radiation.

Sepkoski's model impled that average diversification rates are a good predictor of long-term success. Alroy has found that this is not so, a conclusion that Sepkoski had also come to in his later work. Alroy offers this updated diversity plot for the Phanerozoic.

Marine diversity during the Phanerozoic. After Alroy.

While it is true that Alroy uses the term "current global crisis" in his article's abstract, that is not what the article is about--it is about how extinctions redirect the course of evolution. Nowhere in the article does he identify human induced climate change as the cause of the "crisis." Alroy certainly adheres to the environmentalist party line by mentioning "today's extinction crisis" but in the summary paragraph of his paper he offers up this more detached scientific conclusion:

Global diversity should rebound from today's extinction crisis within roughly the equivalent of a geological period. However, it is not possible to predict changes in taxonomic composition, which are more ecologically and evolutionarily important than total counts of taxa. The most severe extinctions also have unexpected impacts on the relative abundance of closely related groups, the shape of species-abundance distributions, and patterns of epifaunal and infaunal tiering. Thus, it would be unwise to assume that any large number of species can be lost today without forever altering the basic biological character of Earth's oceans.

There is nothing unexpected here. If humanity manages to kill off a large number of species through intent or neglect the future course of evolution may be changed. Certainly, our hunting of whales to near extinction is not an act for our species to be proud of. If we do drive whales to extinction the future of life in the ocean will undoubtedly be changed. But the important point is that global diversity should rebound if we stop destroying natural habitats. Given half a chance nature will bounce back as it has in the past.

Alroy's conclusions are not being accepted at face value by the scientific community either. In an accompanying perspective article, paleontologist Charles Marshall, of the University of California Berkeley, notes that Alroy's statistical methods must still be reviewed by the paleobiology community. The PBDB, as large as it is, is undoubtedly incomplete in ways yet to be discovered. "There will be no immediate consensus on the details of the pattern of diversity," he wrote.

"How today's extinction crisis - species today go extinct at a rate that may range from 10 to 100 times the so-called background extinction rate - may change the face of the planet and its species goes beyond what humans can predict," Hsu concludes in his Yahoo article. There is an important difference between species diversity being limited by all ecological niches being filled and diversity being wiped out by a sudden ecological calamity--normal competition for habitat is far less likely to cause extinction than the oceans turning anoxic or a large meteor striking the planet. No reasonable person can equate mankind's current impact on species diversity with the major extinction events in the past.

The claim that we are forcing extinctions at 100 times the "normal" rate is not backed by sufficient evidence. All of this diversity analysis is based on what has been found in the fossil record--it is neither complete nor conclusive. Fossil records are notoriously sparse and spotty; whole species may have come and gone from Earth without leaving a trace for paleontologists to puzzle over. Science is even unsure how many species are present on Earth today, keeping track of diversity in the distant past is even more uncertain.

Using cute animals to spread green propaganda is part of the scam.

It is right and reasonable to be concerned with preserving nature in today's modern, industrialized world. Man wields greater destructive power than any previous species and does not have a good record of using that power wisely. However, H. sapiens cannot even come close to the power of uncaring nature. Comparing humanity's impact on nature to mass extinctions in the past requires a mixture of half hubris and half ignorance.

The use of research like Alroy's to promote an atmosphere of crisis over reduced species diversity is simply another example of the eco-activists creed--to get people to pay attention we must scare them to death. And using people's natural empathy for cute, cuddly animals to spread feelings of self loathing is just another cynical ploy used by those who claim to love nature but actually hate humanity. With the global warming "crisis" dying a slow and painful death, the green crowd is looking for a new crisis to frighten the world with. Unfortunately for them, diversity is an even less supportable crisis than climate change.

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



Green groups press Barack Obama for 60MPG fuel efficiency standard

Environmental campaigners focus on more modest goals as hopes of US climate legislation dwindle ahead of expected Republican gains (Guardian)

Greenie-preferred transport for you


Economic crisis has left ETS 'thoroughly obsolete'

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The economic crisis, which has shut down manufacturers, idled factories and left lorries and ships with fewer products to transport, has rendered the EU's flagship climate change policy, the emissions trading scheme "obsolete," according to fresh research out on Friday (10 September).

The recession has produced such a reduction in CO2 that companies across Europe have managed to pocket a slew of unused emissions permits which had been handed out based on economic forecasts produced before the crisis that predicted strong growth that never happened.

Like an employee rolling over unused holiday allowances to the next year, companies are going to be able to roll over these unused pollution permits to the next phase of the ETS, and use them when business turns around, meaning that only a very tiny amount of reductions will happen until as late as 2016, according to a report by Sandbag, a UK-based research group specialising in emissions-trading analysis.

The group's analysis has found that the ETS over the 2008-2012 period will result in a savings of just 32 million tonnes of emissions out of the 1.9 billion tonnes emitted annually.

The ETS permits all unused permits to be carried over to the 2013-2020 phase of the scheme. (EU Observer)


Still pretending: EU Cuts Emissions For Sixth Year, Mulls Forestry

European Union climate experts launched a consultation on Friday into the complex issue of accounting for greenhouse emissions from forestry, and new data showed 2009 emissions fell for the sixth year running.

About 410 million tonnes of greenhouse gases were removed from the atmosphere in 2008 by the EU forestry sector, equal to 8 percent of emissions from the EU's 27 member states, the European Commission said as it launched the consultation.

Some countries include the sector, known as Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF), in their emissions cutting targets under the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol.

But the EU does not take account of LULUCF under its internal climate laws, which envisage a cut to one fifth below 1990 levels over the next decade.

Meanwhile, the European Environment Agency published estimates on Friday showing all greenhouse gas emissions fell 6.9 percent year-on-year in 2009, largely due to the economic slowdown. (Reuters)


Deutsche Bank -- A Wunch of Bankers

Carbon credits: Just another excuse to "print money"

If this was Exxon pushing a PDF promoting skeptical views, it would be on the front page tomorrow. Where are the front page headlines?

"Bankers feed scare-mongering report"

Instead it's just Deutsche Bank try to save the world their profit line.

Just in case you are missing your daily dose of being spoon fed propaganda by Bankers who want your money, see Climate Spectator Balancing reason and risk, where Deutsche Bank is helping the skeptics by giving us yet another example of just how desperate they are to get carbon trading running.

Q: When will the bankers worry about whales?

(Ans: When they can trade Humpback Credits.)

The good news is we are getting to them, and we are marking the lines they need to jump over. They now admit it looks bad when they denigrate scientists (they finally "get" that they shouldn't call scientists deniers):

Although the scientific community has already addressed the sceptic arguments in some detail, there is still a public perception that scientists have been dismissive of the sceptic viewpoint,

Watch how they pretend to care about the science (science-schmaltz), even as they trash the scientific method by arguing from authority: More » (Jo Nova)


Former UN Climate Chief: Emissions Targets and Timetables are Irrelevant

In another clear sign of the steadily unraveling pollution paradigm, Yvo De Boer, the former head of the UN climate negotiations, has acknowledged that the long debate over targets and timetables for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions is irrelevant. Asked by Bloomberg about emissions reductions targets in the context of the upcoming climate negotiations in Cancun, De Boer replied:

"Discussions about targets have become largely irrelevant in the context of the Copenhagen outcome. I don't think that we're going to see a dramatic increase in the level of ambition."

De Boer was singing a different tune in the run up to last year's Copenhagen climate negotiations, which ended, predictably, without a comprehensive and legally binding emissions treaty. In August 2009, de Boer told TIME Magazine that even if the U.S. didn't show up to Copenhagen with a new climate change law in hand, an ambitious target would be enough to placate the international community:

"The international community is keenly interested in seeing what steps America is making at home to get its emissions under control, but it also wants to see what the Administration says it will do. If the Administration in Copenhagen commits to a target that is good enough for the international community, that will work. It's up to the U.S. to see how the target will be implemented nationally."

(Breakthrough Institute)


Correspondence received: La Mesa, California, Mayor attempting to use a City resolution to further his opposition to Prop 23

The agenda for next Tuesday's La Mesa City Council meeting has been posted. Item number 10 on the agenda is a proposed resolution by Mayor Artie Madrid to pass a "Resolution Opposing Proposition 23-An initiative to suspend implementation of Assembly Bill 32." You may know AB32 as the controversial clean air measure passed by the state legislature a few years ago. Regardless of how one feels about the wisdom of AB32 the larger question here is the use of prestige and power of City of La Mesa official declarations to support political positions. This is not the first time city council has had it's collective arms twisted to make political statements. Fortunately in the recent past, enough citizens have protested such attempts and the majority did not succumb to be politically correct in their decision. This time should be no different.

Mayor Madrid is a very very very strong supporter of the Al Gore position on Global Warming and has been for many years. This tactic of providing the minimum legal notice to a pet issue of the mayor's is not inconsistent of his style.

You can find the agenda on the city of La Mesa web site: 

Here is a copy of the Mayor's letter and proposed resolution.


China says rich-poor divide still dogs climate pact talks

BEIJING, Sept 13 - The prospects of a new global climate change pact still hinge on resolving the divisions between rich nations and the developing world, a top Chinese climate negotiator said in remarks published on Monday.

"Right now there are still huge differences between developed and developing countries in the negotiations on climate change problems," said Su Wei, the head of the climate change office at the National Development and Reform Commission.

Negotiators from nearly 200 nations continue to haggle over the smallprint of a sprawling 34-page draft agreement to combat global warming, and an additional round of talks at the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin will begin on Oct. 4.

The deadline for a new binding global climate pact was originally set for the end of 2009, but a final round of negotiations in Copenhagen ended in failure.

Few now expect a binding deal to emerge before the new deadline of December 2010, when talks move to the Mexican resort of Cancun. (Reuters)


A Right Royal Ninny

This must be one of the most extraordinary statements made by anyone on the subject of the climate change controversy:

''And I would say to all these sceptics - alright it may be very convenient to believe that somehow all these greenhouse gases we're pouring into the atmosphere just disappear through holes conveniently into space, it doesn't work like that.''

One of the little bonuses that come to you for being a sceptic in Britain is that you get to be slandered by the heir to the throne. You have "no love of nature and her works" and you are some kind of weirdo who believes in physical mechanisms unknown to science, such as "Holes into space". Who are these sceptics who believe such things?

Name one!

Oddly enough, however, the carbon dioxide does disappear through holes. They are called stomata and are tiny pores that exist in abundance throughout the surfaces of green plants. The carbon dioxide and water vapour enter these holes and through the agencies of chlorophyll and sunlight begin the processes that make possible the miracle of life on earth, including human life.

In the weird world of Prinny, however, carbon dioxide, the source of life,  is a fearful miasma that wreaks death and destruction on the whole living world. His pronouncements are so extreme that he makes even Al Gore look like the paragon of moderation and he claims a superior knowledge of science that is totally belied by his words.

It makes life difficult to those of us who are royalists at heart and lifelong admirers of Her Gracious Majesty. Even making allowances for the fact that he has been born into a position of wealth and authority, both unearned, and he is surrounded by a large gang of manipulative sycophants, his interventions on a whole range of subjects for which he is totally unqualified are an unsought irritant. His words and ideas, however mangled, are broadcast around the world, not for their worth but because of his position. (Number Watch)


'Is this science, or literature?'

MPs mull 'climate enquiries' that failed to enquire

Might the University of East Anglia now rue its handling of the Climategate affair? An MP tells us that the University has ignored instructions given to it by the House of Commons Science Committee earlier this year, and MPs were given misleading impressions.

"Everybody on the Committee last time asked that there be no gaps between our report, and the Muir Russell report and the Oxburgh Report - but there are huge gaps. The Muir Russell people and the Oxburgh people didn't talk to each other, so there were bound to be gaps," says Committee veteran Graham Stringer MP. "We are left with the science left unlooked at."

The allegations of misconduct and intellectual corruption raised by the release of the emails, data and source code last November are amongst the most serious British academia has ever heard. UEA responded with two internal enquiries, but MPs won't let it lie. Members on the Commons Science Select Committee have summoned the two chairmen of the UEA enquiries back for further interrogation. At the first of these yesterday, the chairman of the Science Assessment Panel, Lord Ron Oxburgh, puzzled Committee MPs with his answers. (Andrew Orlowski, The Register)


Lord Oxburgh caught in the headlights

Yesterday I watched the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee questioning Lord Oxburgh. Once the official transcript becomes available I expect that this will cause quite a stir. If there was any doubt before that his inquiry was a fiasco, then there can be none now.

What follows are a few notes based on listening to a recording rather carefully last night. (Harmless Sky)


The Global Warming Establishment Needs More than Cosmetic Fixes

When a woman consistently messes up her relationships, her therapist doesn't just tell her to wear a new dress and change her lipstick before her next date; s/he asks her to do some real soul searching. But a new dress-and-lipstick combo is pretty much what an agency charged with reviewing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control's procedures in the wake of the GlacierGate mess recommended last week.

Both the detractors and supporters of the IPCC -- the U.N. body that serves as the Vatican of climate change -- are billing the Inter Academy Council's recommendations as "fundamental" change. And some of its recommendations might indeed make a difference if the IPCC ever implements them -- a big "if." But fundamental change would require creating incentives for the IPCC to question its own conclusions -- do constant soul searching, as it were -- something that other scientific disciplines do as a matter of course. Nothing in the review's recommendations does that. (Shikha Dalmia, Forbes)


The New Graduate Who Served as IPCC Lead Author

I've been blogging about the climate bible's health chapter. It's worth remembering that this chapter, like the rest of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, is supposed to be a balanced, disinterested account of what the scientific literature says. (No Consensus)


Richard Tol Challenges IPCC Co-Chair Ottmar Edenhofer

Saturday, 11 September 2010 20:27 Richard Tol, Die Klimazwiebel

Ottmar Edenhofer claimed in  ?ZDF umwelt" on September 5, 2010 "Die Aussage, der IPCC hätte bewusst Dinge herausgehalten, die ihm unbequem waren, die nicht gewissermassen in eine Gesamtstory gepasst hätten, kann ich beim besten Willen nicht sehen". (I cannot understand, even if I try hard, the assertion that the IPCC would deliberately have omitted things, which would have been inconvenient, which would not have been consistent with the overall story.)

This assertion of the co-chair of Working Group III of the IPCC is at best peculiar if not outright false. In the following, I will back this statement in some detail, by demonstrating how specific conclusions from white publications, known to the IPCC lead authors, have been filtered out in support of a (false) claim of consensus in the Summary for Policymakers. At the time of his interview, Dr. Edenhofer was aware of these inconsistencies. (GWPF)


Klaus: I am increasingly convinced that freedom, not climate, is threatened

Translated from Parliamentary letters and

Sept. 10th, 2:21 pm - The preface of an electronic edition of "Blue, not Green Planet" in Czech

(In the U.S., the book was published under the title Blue Planet in Green Shackles.)

It has been more than three years since the first edition - and in this era, we are almost obliged to call it a "paper edition" - of this book. Three years is a relatively long time in the age of accelerated communication and floods of information. The global warming debate has witnessed many events as well. However, we must sadly notice that the media and the political sphere have remained largely untouched. Day after day, new articles, studies, and books uncovering the indefensibility and unsustainability of the global warming doctrine - which blames Man and his burning of the fossil fuels for the moderate warming - are being published across the world. These texts prove that the policies recommending the mankind to fight the climate that are promoted by the environmentalists are unnecessary and nonsensical.

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


Will silly season never end? This utter nonsense regurgitated, again: Global warming is happening, it has huge implications for health

Jonathan Davies of the Welsh NHS Confederation explains why climate change is an issue for us all

CLIMATE change is one of the greatest threats to our future health and wellbeing and it is already affecting the health of millions -- yet we don't often think of it as a health issue at all.

According to the World Health Organisation, climate change already accounts for 150,000 deaths per year around the world, with this predicted to increase dramatically in the coming decades. ( Clare Hutchinson, Western Mail)


An Open Letter to Mr. Bill Gates

The Quality of Life for the World's Poorest Can Be Advanced Farther, Faster, Cheaper and More Surely Through Adaptation than Through Zero-Carbon Technologies

Guest Post By Indur M. Goklany

A few days ago, Tom Nelson had a link to a blog posted by Mr. Bill Gates titled, Recommended Reading on Climate Change, in which he claims that the risk of "serious warming" from anthropogenic climate change is large enough to justify action. Mr. Gates adds,

"I agree, especially because even moderate warming could cause mass starvation and have other very negative effects on the world's poorest 2 billion people. This is one of the reasons why I've gotten very interested in new energy technologies that could move us toward zero carbon emissions. As I said at TED, my dream is to create zero-carbon technologies that will be cheaper than coal or oil. That way, even climate skeptics will want to adopt them, and more of the world's poorest people will be able to benefit from the services and the improved quality of life that energy makes possible."

Over the years I have been very impressed by Mr. Gates' desire and efforts to improve the quality of life for the world's poorest people and to literally put his money where his mouth is, but the notion that "even moderate warming could cause mass starvation and have other very negative effects on the world's poorest 2 billion people" is fundamentally flawed. And there are far better and more effective methods of improving their quality of life than through squandering money on zero-carbon technologies.

So, to make these points, I fashioned a response to Mr. Gates' post, but was frustrated in my efforts to post it either on the specific thread or via the General Inquiry form at his website. Accordingly, I decided to write Mr. Gates an open letter to convey my thoughts. The letter follows.

I thank Mr. Watts for publishing it on his invaluable blog.


Dear Mr. Gates,

Continue reading (WUWT)


Global warming? It doesn't exist, says Ryanair boss O'Leary (LANGUAGE WARNING: expletives not deleted in original item)

Outspoken airline chief says climate change is a plot by scientists seeking research cash

Charging for toilets, weighing passengers and flying with a lone pilot: Ryanair's combative boss Michael O'Leary is renowned for backing unusual ideas, but some passengers may feel that even he has overstepped the mark with his latest comments -- denying the existence of global warming.

In an interview with The Independent littered with expletives, the chief executive of Europe's largest airline branded the scientific consensus that man-made pollution is heating up the planet with potentially grave consequences for the future of humanity as "horseshit".

He agreed the climate was changing but denied it was caused by man-made emissions of carbon dioxide, such as those from his planes. "Nobody can argue that there isn't climate change. The climate's been changing since time immemorial," he said. (Independent)


The hockey stick graph remains an illusion

Bob Ward failed in his attempt to prove the arguments in my book wrong (Andrew Montford, Guardian)


The truth is getting lost in the Amazon

A warmist coup seems to have taken place on Amazon, the online bookseller, writes Christopher Booker. 

The proselytisers for man-made global warming have long exercised a tight stranglehold over the contents of Wikipedia. The editors of that online source of all knowledge are ready with lightning speed to ensure that its entries related to climate change are purged of any hint of dissent from the party line -- and that entries for "climate sceptics" are given a viciously dismissive twist, Now it seems a similar coup has taken place on Amazon, the online outlet which is Britain's largest bookseller. 

Over the past year, Amazon's list of global-warming bestsellers has been wholly dominated by sceptics, with my own book The Real Global Warming Disaster standing for months at number one. At the end of last month, however, all the more recent sceptical books were suddenly removed from the list. My own volume, Andrew Montford's The Hockey Stick Illusion, Bob Carter's Climate: The Counter Consensus and others have all vanished from the list, so that it is now dominated by titles pushing the prescribed pro-warming line. 

One can see from our books' individual rankings that they are still far outselling almost all the warmist tracts that Amazon clearly prefers, sometimes by tens of thousands of places, But if, by means of this cunning manoeuvre, Amazon ends up selling fewer books, at least some will perhaps be ready to commend them for such self-sacrificial dedication to the cause. (Christopher Booker, TDT)


A New Little Ice Age Is Called Off By FOCUS Magazine

P Gosselin 12. September 2010

The last two years of minimal solar activity did not prevent the earth from warming, and thus shows that the theory that the recent abnormally low solar activity could lead to a little ice age is false, so writes German FOCUS magazine. (No Tricks Zone)


Only sensible way: Britain must adapt to 'inevitable' climate change, warns minister

As experts call for action now, the coalition withholds green funding and appeals to private enterprise

Britons must radically change the way they live and work to adapt to being "stuck with unavoidable climate change" the Government will caution this week, as it unveils a dramatic vision of how society will be altered by floods, droughts and rising temperatures.

The coalition will signal a major switch towards adapting to the impact of existing climate change, away from Labour's heavy emphasis on cutting carbon emissions to reverse global temperature rises. Caroline Spelman, the Tory Secretary of State for the Environment, will use her first major speech on climate change since taking office to admit that the inevitable severe weather conditions will present a "survival-of-the- fittest scenario", with only those who have planned ahead able to thrive. Adapting to climate change will be "at the heart of our agenda", she is expected to say. (Independent)

Whether catastrophic climate change ever becomes a reality or it doesn't no amount of "carbon restraint" could ever make a measurable difference. Adaptation is the only option we have ever had.