Thursday, April 17, 2014

Unending false prophecies

With their huge record of failure, no aware person could respect the latest lot of climate disaster prognostications

The Boston Globe noted on April 16, 2014: “The world now has a rough deadline for action on climate change. Nations need to take aggressive action in the next 15 years to cut carbon emissions, in order to forestall the worst effects of global warming, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

Once again, the world is being warned of an ecological or climate “tipping point” by the UN.

In 1982, the UN issued a two decade tipping point. UN official Mostafa Tolba, executive director of the UN Environment Program (UNEP), warned on May 11, 1982, the “world faces an ecological disaster as final as nuclear war within a couple of decades unless governments act now.” According to Tolba in 1982, lack of action would bring “by the turn of the century, an environmental catastrophe which will witness devastation as complete, as irreversible as any nuclear holocaust.”

As early as 1989, the UN was already trying to sell their “tipping point” rhetoric on the public. See: U.N. Warning of 10-Year ‘Climate Tipping Point’ Began in 1989 – Excerpt: According to July 5, 1989, article in the Miami Herald, the then-director of the New York office of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Noel Brown, warned of a “10-year window of opportunity to solve” global warming. According to the 1989 article, “A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of ‘eco-refugees,’ threatening political chaos.”

HOURS: Flashback March 2009: 'We have hours' to prevent climate disaster -- Declares Elizabeth May of Canadian Green Party

Days: Flashback Oct. 2009: UK's Gordon Brown warns of global warming 'catastrophe'; Only '50 days to save world'

Months: Prince Charles claimed a 96-month tipping point in July 2009

Years: 2009: NASA’s James Hansen Declared Obama Only First Term to Save The Planet! — ‘On Jan. 17, 2009 Hansen declared Obama only ‘has four years to save Earth’ or Flashback Oct .2009: WWF: 'Five years to save world'

Decades: 1982: UN official Mostafa Tolba, executive director of the UN Environment Program (UNEP), warned on May 11, 1982, the 'world faces an ecological disaster as final as nuclear war within a couple of decades unless governments act now.'

Millennium: Flashback June 2010: 1000 years delay: Green Guru James Lovelock: Climate change may not happen as fast as we thought, and we may have 1,000 years to sort it out'

It is becoming obvious that the only authentic climate "tipping point" we can rely is this one:

Flashback 2007: New Zealand Scientist on Global Warming: 'It's All Going to be a Joke in 5 Years'

More HERE



Crooked old Joe Romm defends Showtime’s Series On Climate Change

Note:  Romm served as the series’ Chief Science Advisor. He doesn’t mention that in his article.

Romm also quotes “the country’s top climatologist” Michael Mann to support his temper tantrum. Mann is also a Science Advisor for the  series. Romm didn’t mention that, either.

Romm repeatedly uses the word “they” rather than “we” to describe the film project.

The closest he comes to transparency is near the very end of the article when he writes, “I was not one of the producers of the show, but I have worked with them long enough to know that that sentence sums up their guiding philosophy.”   True, he was not a “producer,” but his statement gives the impression he merely “worked with them” in some sort of minor, outside way. He never mentions just how central his role was as Chief Science Advisor.

Ironic that Romm’s article title accuses people who criticize the series as “dishonest,” yet he fails to be forthcoming about his role in the series and his lack of objectivity writing the article.

As soon as I saw the much discredited Michael Mann described as "one of the country’s top climatologists", I stopped reading.  Sometimes total detachment from the facts makes itself obvious  -- JR

The good news is the video of episode one of Showtime’s climate series, “Years Of Living Dangerously,” has been getting great reviews in the New York Times and elsewhere.

The bad news is the Times has published an error-riddled hit-job op-ed on the series that is filled with myths at odds with both the climate science and social science literature. For instance, the piece repeats the tired and baseless claim that Al Gore’s 2006 movie “An Inconvenient Truth” polarized the climate debate, when the peer-reviewed data says the polarization really jumped in 2009 (see chart above from “The Sociological Quarterly”).

As I said, “Years Of Living Dangerously” — the landmark 9-part Showtime docu-series produced by the legendary James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jerry Weintraub — has been getting great reviews. Andy Revkin, often a critic of climate messaging, wrote in the NY Times Monday:

    "… a compellingly fresh approach to showing the importance of climate hazards to human affairs, the role of greenhouse gases in raising the odds of some costly and dangerous outcomes and — perhaps most important — revealing the roots of the polarizing divisions in society over this issue…."

George Marshall, “an expert on climate and communication,” — who is also often a critic of climate messaging — wrote me:

    "What impressed me about the two episodes I watched was the respect that it showed to conservatives, evangelicals and ordinary working people…. it is still the best documentary I have seen."

The New York Times op-ed is from the founders of the Breakthrough Institute — the same group where political scientist Roger Pielke, Jr. is a Senior Fellow. It pushes the same argument that Pielke made in his fivethirtyeight piece — which was so widely criticized and debunked that Nate Silver himself admitted its myriad flaws and ran a debunking piece by an MIT climate scientist.

Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, two widely debunked eco-critics who run The Breakthrough Institute (TBI), begin by asserting “IF you were looking for ways to increase public skepticism about global warming, you could hardly do better than the forthcoming nine-part series on climate change and natural disasters, starting this Sunday on Showtime.” But they never cite anything other than the trailer in making their case, dismissing the entire enterprise on the basis of 2 minutes of clips!

They base their entire argument on a misrepresentation of climate science and a misrepresentation of social science. They assert:

    “But claims linking the latest blizzard, drought or hurricane to global warming simply can’t be supported by the science.”

I asked one of the country’s top climatologist, Michael Mann, to respond to that....

More HERE





GM crops given green light by British government

Genetically-modified food which boosts health could be on British dining tables by the end of the decade after the Government gave the green light for the first field trial of nutrient enriched crops.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs today granted permission for Rothamsted Research to grow plants enhanced with the same omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, in a decision branded a 'milestone' by scientists.

The first seeds will be sown within weeks in secure fields in Hertfordshire and will be harvested in August.

The GM crop, where the plant's DNA has been combined with genes that produce fish oil, is among the first of a new generation of so-called ‘nutraceuticals’ – plants whose genetic structure has been altered to boost dietary supplements.

If successful the plant oil will be fed to fish, such as farmed salmon, to boost their uptake, but it could eventually be used in oils and spreads such as margarine.

Professor Johnathan Napier, lead scientist of this project at Rothamsted Research, said: “Omega-3 doesn’t occur in any other plant species but there is a real pressing need for it for health reasons.

“The way that fish currently acquire their omega-3, from algae, is not sustainable. So we are trying to find another source.

“Being able to carry out the field trial with our GM plants, means that we have reached a significant milestone in the delivery of our research programme.

“And just because we are talking about fish doesn’t mean there couldn’t be lots of other applications. This is something that could reduce our dependency on fish or supplements in the long term.”

Omega-3 fatty acids have been widely linked to health benefits, such as lowering the risk of heart disease, cancers and neuro-degenerative diseases.

Although omega-3 is often described as fish oil, it is in fact made by microscopic marine algae that are eaten or absorbed by fish.

Farmed fish grown in cages are unable to absorb sufficient omega-3 in their diets so they have to be fed on smaller fish which critics claim is unsustainable.

The Rothamsted Research scientists have copied and synthesised the genes from the algae and then spliced them into a plant called ‘Camelina sativa’, known as “false flax”, which is widely grown for its seed oil.

Although the main aim of the research is to produce GM crops that could be made into food for farmed fish, the seeds could eventually be used in other foods, such as margarine.

It is the first crop to be given permission since a wide-ranging report, commissioned by the government, gave the green light to GM in March.

Sir Mark Walport, the government’s Chief Scientific Advisor recommended that Britain should begin production after finding GM crops were not only safe, but more nutritious than current crops.

GM crops are already widely used in the US, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and India. Around 85 per cent of all corn crops in the US are now GM.

Sir Mark has warned that Britain risks falling behind if it does not begin GM production soon.

Professor Cathie Martin, the John Innes Centre, which has been producing enhanced tomatoes in green houses said: "Modern diets contain low levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

"Diets with high omega-3 are strongly associated with health and protection from a range of chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases,

"Cultivation of crops that produce oils high in omega 3 offers a sustainable supply of these health beneficial products for the first time.”

Prof Jackie Hunter, Chief Executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences research Council, which is helping fund the research said: "This research is seeking to provide an alternative source of omega-3 oil for the aquaculture industry that is seeking new ways to maintain and increase its sustainability.

“After many years of laboratory research this project has reached the point where only a field trial will show scientists if this could work in real world conditions.”

However anti GM critics claim that omega-3 fish oils have been implicated in raising the risk of prostate cancer, and it is not clear whether GM-derived fish oils will be safe for human or animal consumption.

SOURCE




Wind Farms and Health

Written by Alun Evans Professor Emeritus Belfast University

According to the World Health Organisation’s recent report, ‘Night Noise Guidelines for Europe’ [1], environmental noise is emerging as one of the major public health concerns of the twenty-first century. It observes that, “Many people have to adapt their lives to cope with the noise at night,” and the young and the old are particularly vulnerable.

This is because hearing in young people is more acute and, in older people, a loss of hearing of higher sound frequencies renders them more susceptible to the effects of low frequency noise. It is a particularly troublesome feature of the noise generated by wind turbines due to its impulsive, intrusive and incessant nature.

A recent case-control study conducted around two wind farms in New England has shown [2] that subjects living within 1.4 km of an IWT had worse sleep, were sleepier during the day, and had poorer SF36 Mental Component Scores compared to those living further than 1.4 km away. The study demonstrated a strongly significant association between reported sleep disturbance and ill health in those residing close to industrial wind turbines.

The major adverse health effects caused seem to be due to sleep disturbance and deprivation with the main culprits identified as loud noise in the auditory range, and low frequency noise, particularly infrasound. This is inaudible in the conventional sense, and is propagated over large distances and penetrates the fabric of dwellings, where it may be amplified. It is a particular problem at night, in the quiet rural settings most favoured for wind farms, because infrasound persists long after the higher frequencies have been dissipated.

Sleep is a physiological necessity and the sleep-deprived are vulnerable to a variety of health problems [2,3]. particularly Cardiovascular Disease in which nocturnal noise is an important factor [4]. Sleep deprivation in children is associated with increased bodyweight [3,5], which is known to ‘track’ into later life, and predisposes to adult disease. That is why “Encouraging more sleep” is a sensible target in the Public health Agency’s current campaign to prevent obesity in children. It also causes memory impairment because memories are normally reinforced in the later, Rapid Eye Movement, phase of sleep; again, it is the young and the old who are most affected. Sleep deprivation is associated with an increased likelihood of developing a range of chronic diseases including Type II Diabetes, cancer (eg breast with shift work [6]), Coronary Heart Disease [7,8] and Heart Failure [9].   Although the quality of the data are mixed, those on Heart Failure reported recently from the HUNT Study [9] are quite robust as they are based on 54,279 Norwegians free of disease at baseline (men and women aged 20-89 years). A total of 1412 cases of Heart Failure developed over a mean follow-up of 11.3 years. A dose-dependent relationship was observed between the risk of disease and the number of reported insomnia symptoms: i) Difficulty in initiating sleep; ii) Difficulty in maintaining sleep; and, iii) Lack of restorative sleep. The Hazard Ratios were ‘0’ for none of these; ‘0.96’ for one; ‘1.35’ for two; and, ‘4.53’ for three; this achieved significance at the 2% level. This means that such a result could occur once by chance if the study were to be repeated 50 times, Significance is conventionally accepted at the 5% level.

Another important, recent study is MORGEN which followed nearly 18,000 Dutch men and women, free of Cardiovascular Disease at baseline, over 10-14 years [8]. In this period there were 607 events: fatal CVD, non-fatal Myocardial Infarction and Stroke. Adequate sleep, defined as at least seven hours, was a protective factor which augmented the benefits conferred by the absence of four traditional cardiovascular risk factors. For example, the benefit of adequate sleep equalled the protective contribution of not smoking cigarettes. Given that cigarette smoking is such a potent risk factor for Cardiovascular Disease, this result is striking. The findings built on earlier ones from the MORGEN study [7]. It seems that adequate sleep is important in protecting against a range of Cardiovascular Diseases which result when arteries of different sizes are compromised: large (coronary, cerebral) arteries in heart attacks and stroke, small arteries (arterioles) in heart failure.

All of these studies share the weakness that they are ‘observational’ as opposed to ‘experimental’ and, as such, their results do not constitute ‘proof.’ We now have the evidence of an experimental study carried out in human volunteers which shows that the expression of a large range of genes is affected by sleep deprivation of fairly short duration [10]. This might be the key to understanding why the health effects of sleep deprivation are so diverse. It could also shed light on the ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome,’ a cluster of symptoms which include sleep disturbance, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, nausea, changes in mood and inability to concentrate [11]. In this condition infrasound is a likely causal agent.

This group has now shown in another small intervention study that mistimed sleep desynchronized from the central circadian clock has a much larger effect on the circadian regulation of the human transcriptome (i.e., a reduction in the number of circadian transcripts from 6.4% to 1% and changes in the overall time course of expression of 34% of transcripts) [12]. This may elucidate the reasons for the large excess of cardiovascular events associated with shift work found in a meta-analysis of over 2 million subjects in 34 studies [13]. The results demonstrate that any interference in normal sleeping patterns is inimical to cardiovascular health.

The old admonition that ‘What you can’t hear won’t harm you,’ sadly isn’t true. It is now known that organ of Corti in the cochlea (inner ear) contains two types of sensory cells: one row of inner hair cells which are responsible for hearing; and, three rows of outer hair cells which are more responsive to low frequency sound [14]. The infrasound produced by wind turbines is transduced by the outer hair cells and transmitted to the brain by Type II afferent fibres. The purpose is unclear as it results in sleep disturbance. Perhaps it served some vital function in our evolutionary past which has persisted to our detriment today? In fact, many animals use infrasound for communication and navigation. This could well have a genetic basis as it is only a minority, albeit a sizable one, which is affected. This may well be the group which is also liable to travel sickness. Schomer et al have now advanced the theory that as wind turbines increase in size they increasingly emit infrasound with a frequency below 1Hz (CPS) [15]. Below this frequency the otoliths in the inner ear respond in an exaggerated way in a susceptible minority who will suffer symptoms of the Wind Farm Syndrome. Previously it was thought that the brain was only under the control of electrical and biochemical stimuli but there is new evidence that it is sensitive, in addition, to mechanical stimuli [16].

The problem of infrasound and low frequency noise was well-recognised in a report by Casella Stanger [17], commissioned by DEFRA in 2001, and since ignored: “For people inside buildings with windows closed, this effect is exacerbated by the sound insulation properties of the building envelope. Again mid and high frequencies are attenuated to a much greater extent than low frequencies.” It continued: “As the A-weighting network attenuates low frequencies by a large amount, any measurements made of the noise should be with the instrumentation set to linear.” It drew heavily upon the DOE’s Batho Report of 1990 [18]. In fact, these problems had already been elucidated and the measurement issues addressed in a trio of papers by Kelley (et al) in the 1980s [19-21]. This research again has been ignored or forgotten so the problem continues to be seriously underestimated. When measured using a tool which can detect it, levels of infrasound and low frequency noise are disturbingly high, with ‘sound pressure levels’ greater than previously thought possible [22].

There are a number of other adverse effects associated with sleep deprivation. Tired individuals are more likely to have road traffic accidents and injure themselves while operating machinery. In addition, wind turbines can, and do, cause accidents by collapsing, blade snap, ice throw, and even going on fire. They induce stress and psychological disorder from blade flicker, which also has implications for certain types of epilepsy and autism. Even the current planning process, with its virtual absence of consultation, is stress inducing, as is the confrontation between land owners, who wish to profit from erecting turbines, and their neighbours who dread the effects. Finally, wind turbines considerably reduce the value of dwellings nearby and this has a negative long term effect on their owners’ and their families’ health [23]. On top of this, increasing numbers of families will be driven into fuel poverty by spiralling electricity costs which are subsidising wind energy. It is galling that SSE’s current, seductive advertising campaign is being supported from these sources.

‘Wind Turbine Noise’ was reviewed in an editorial in the British Medical Journal in 2012 [24]. The authors concluded that “A large body of evidence now exists to suggest that wind turbines disturb sleep and impair health at distances and noise levels that are permitted in most jurisdictions.” This remains the case today. The Public Health Agency has dismissed this editorial as falling short of a ‘systematic review,’ which is fair enough, given the constraints of the format, yet ignores at least one, excellent, recent systematic review [23]. Interestingly, that review records the fact that in 1978 the British Government was found guilty in a case taken to Europe by the Irish Government of applying five techniques, including subjection to noise and deprivation of sleep. These were used in Ulster to ‘encourage’ admissions and to elicit information from prisoners and detainees. They amounted to humiliating and degrading treatment, ie torture [23].

More HERE





Thought police on patrol

By Charles Krauthammer

 Two months ago, a petition bearing more than 110,000 signatures was delivered to The Washington Post demanding a ban on any article questioning global warming. The petition arrived the day before publication of my column, which consisted of precisely that heresy.

The column ran as usual. But I was gratified by the show of intolerance because it perfectly illustrated my argument that the left is entering a new phase of ideological agitation -- no longer trying to win the debate but stopping debate altogether, banishing from public discourse any and all opposition.

The proper word for that attitude is totalitarian. It declares certain controversies over and visits serious consequences -- from social ostracism to vocational defenestration -- upon those who refuse to be silenced.

Sometimes the word comes from on high, as when the president of the United States declares the science of global warming to be "settled." Anyone who disagrees is then branded "anti-science." And better still, a "denier" -- a brilliantly chosen calumny meant to impute to the climate skeptic the opprobrium normally reserved for the hatemongers and crackpots who deny the Holocaust.

Then last week, another outbreak. The newest closing of the leftist mind is on gay marriage. Just as the science of global warming is settled, so, it seems, are the moral and philosophical merits of gay marriage.

To oppose it is nothing but bigotry, akin to racism. Opponents are to be similarly marginalized and shunned, destroyed personally and professionally.

Like the CEO of Mozilla who resigned under pressure just 10 days into his job when it was disclosed that six years earlier he had donated to California's Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

But why stop with Brendan Eich, the victim of this high-tech lynching? Prop 8 passed by half a million votes. Six million Californians joined Eich in the crime of "privileging" traditional marriage. So did Barack Obama. In that same year, he declared that his Christian beliefs made him oppose gay marriage.

Yet under the new dispensation, this is outright bigotry. By that logic, the man whom the left so ecstatically carried to the White House in 2008 was equally a bigot.

The whole thing is so stupid as to be unworthy of exegesis. There is no logic. What's at play is sheer ideological prejudice -- and the enforcement of the new totalitarian norm that declares, unilaterally, certain issues to be closed.

To this magic circle of forced conformity, the left would like to add certain other policies, resistance to which is deemed a "war on women." It's a colorful synonym for sexism. Leveling the charge is a crude way to cut off debate.

Thus, to oppose late-term abortion is to make war on women's "reproductive health." Similarly, to question Obamacare's mandate of free contraception for all.

Some oppose the regulation because of its impingement on the free exercise of religion. Others on the simpler (non-theological) grounds of a skewed hierarchy of values. Under the new law, everything is covered, but a few choice things are given away free. To what does contraception owe its exalted status? Why should it rank above, say, antibiotics for a sick child, for which that same mother must co-pay?

Say that, however, and you are accused of denying women "access to contraception."

Or try objecting to the new so-called Paycheck Fairness Act for women, which is little more than a full-employment act for trial lawyers. Sex discrimination is already illegal. What these new laws do is relieve the plaintiffs of proving intentional discrimination. To bring suit, they need only to show that women make less in that workplace.

Like the White House, where women make 88 cents to the men's dollar?

That's called "disparate impact." Does anyone really think Obama consciously discriminates against female employees, rather than the disparity being a reflection of experience, work history, etc.? But just to raise such questions is to betray heretical tendencies.

The good news is that the "war on women" charge is mostly cynicism, fodder for campaign-year demagoguery. But the trend is growing. Oppose the current consensus and you're a denier, a bigot, a homophobe, a sexist, an enemy of the people.

Long a staple of academia, the totalitarian impulse is spreading. What to do? Defend the dissenters, even if -- perhaps, especially if -- you disagree with their policy. It is -- it was? -- the American way.

SOURCE





Talking to the deceived

The world is filled with hate and if you cannot be respectful of other peoples views you can help foster more hatred and anger. This is especially true when you talk about our energy future.

There are many people that believe in man-made “Global Warming” and “Climate Change” and believe there is only one way to avert these crises and that is with renewable energy technology. No other technology can be discussed as a solution, because if you do, then you are a pawn for the big money behind that respective technology.

Can we all grow-up and have a rational discussion on energy without calling each other names?

Oberlin, Ohio is home to Oberlin college with some of the best and brightest students in America attending this small school. While it is a small school, it ranks right up there with Harvard, Princeton, and Yale in cost and in quality of education. It is also known as having one of the most green conscious and liberal student bodies in America.

Oberlin college is a perfect example of where, if paranoia and name calling is put aside, that both the ultra-right and ultra-left can come together on an issue like thorium based MSRs (Molten Salt Reactors). I know, I have experienced rationale debate on campus first hand.

A popular restaurant with college students is the Feve, and when in town, I like to go to the upstairs bar and strike up a conversation on energy with some of the students or faculty. This is normally very easy to do and students love to share their views.

I respect the position of the people that believe in man-made Global Warming and the renewables solution, I just ask if they have thought it all the way through (I am a man-made global warming skeptic and I do not believe that wind and solar are a solution to our environmental problems). I am very careful in my discussion, as I know the words that will shut them down and cause them to close their minds to any further debate. Words like “intermittency” and “on-demand” are not things a person with a vastly different viewpoint wants to hear.

I normally start the conversation as such:

Because our current electrical grid has to work with other technologies, natural gas peaker plants have grown by leaps and bounds with the addition of solar and wind. These peaker plants are cleaner than coal but are less clean than baseload natural gas plants. The natural gas peaker plants act as a compliment to wind and solar to stabilize the grid. The question I ask is, “Do the peaker natural gas plants put out more CO2 running in compliment with the wind turbines they support than what a natural gas baseload and/or a nuclear power plant does to create the same amount of energy?”

Many students cannot answer this question with any certainty.

I then start to talk about the benefits of MSRs and LFTR and there is a lot of push back.

At Oberlin college there are a lot of students there that are anti-fracking advocates and so, while natural gas burns cleaner, they do not necessarily like natural gas. Solutions that they like are natural gas made from bio-digesters and natural gas from landfill to support wind and solar. More times than naught, when nuclear is mentioned, you get looked at as if you have a third eye. After much discussion I challenge them to watch three documentaries. The first documentary is “Cool It!” by Bjorn Lomborg, an environmentalist and a big believer in global warming. The unbiased review of all energy technologies by Dr. Scott Tinker in the “Switch Energy Project” and finally “Pandoras Promise” by director Robert Stone. After watching these three films, it has been my experience, that even the most vitriolic anti-nuclear opponents have warmed to nuclear energy.

Getting a college student to watch a documentary in their free time is hard but the  ”Cool It!” documentary draws them in and, dare I say, helps to form a bridge between the left and the right. Many times if you get someone to watch “Cool It!” they will watch the other two documentaries. “Cool It!” is available on iTunes and “Pandora’s Promise” is available on iTunes and on Netflix.

Kirk Sorensen’s “TED talks” and Dr. Robert Hargraves “Aim High” video seals the deal and gets them so enamored with thorium that I get students that will call me telling me they have discovered yet another of Gordon McDowell’s videos.

Now, when I go to the Feve, a lot more people know about thorium energy and MSRs, not from me, but from other student advocates. They still believe in man-made global warming and climate change and that is okay with me. They also believe that wind and solar are part of the solution and that is okay with me. But now, instead of a vitriolic hatred for nuclear energy, they see it as having a dominant and substantial role in our future.

SOURCE




A Jew trivializes the holocaust

In the service of Global Warming, of course

Tom Friedman, a NY Times' columnist, is also Jewish. According to his Wiki-ography, he "attended Hebrew school five days a week until his Bar Mitzvah… He became enamored of Israel after a visit there in December 1968, and he spent all three of his high school summers living on Kibbutz Hahotrim, near Haifa. He has characterized his high school years as 'one big celebration of Israel's victory in the Six-Day War.' "

So it was a little surprising to hear Friedman call global-warming skeptics "climate deniers" in a recent interview with CNN's Fareed, in reference to the latest report by the UN's IPCC. Friedman says,

    "I was thinking, driving over here, what if the nightmare of the climate deniers came true and we really decided in America to take this seriously and act? What would we do? What is the nightmare that would happen?"

This comes on the heels of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) denouncing Dr. Roy Spencer for calling climate-change alarmists "global-warming Nazis", his response to the continued and explicit use of the word "denier" by pundits like Friedman. Spencer wrote:

"I am calling out the ADL for not denouncing the widespread use of Nazi Holocaust imagery in public statements made by journalists, politicians, and even some scientists over the last 7+ years towards us global warming skeptics. … The ADL would appear to have decided (based upon their years of silence) that using Holocaust imagery is OK on one side of the global warming issue, but not the other."

With the ADL remaining silent on the issue since 2007, when the term global-warming denier was first used by Ellen Goodman in the Boston Globe, don't expect too much protestation over Friedman's intentional choice of words. As Charles Krauthammer recently wrote in the Washington Post,

    "Anyone who disagrees is then branded "anti-science" and, better still, a "denier" — a brilliantly chosen calumny meant to impute to the climate skeptic the opprobrium normally reserved for the hatemongers and crackpots who deny the Holocaust."

Shelley Rose wrote the following back in late February:

   "It has become too common to use comparisons to the Holocaust and Nazi imagery to attack people with opposing views, whether the issue is global warming, immigration or stem-cell research. The six million Jewish victims and millions of other victims of Hitler deserve better. Their deaths should not be used for political points or sloganeering. This type of comparison diminishes and trivializes the Holocaust. There is no place for it in civil discussions."

The only thing worse than a Jewish person calling someone a 'climate denier' are the crickets coming from the ADL, which has chosen to remain silent on this despicable means of discourse.

More HERE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014


The Science And Politics Of Climate Change

Lennart Bengtsson says that the science isn’t settled and we still don’t know how best to solve the energy problems of our planet. Article originally published in German in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, a major Swiss newspaper. Lennart Bengtsson was until 1990 Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg. After his retirement, he has led, among others, the Department of Earth Sciences at the International Space Science Institute in Bern

Since the end of the 19th century, we have known that the Earth’s climate is sensitive to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. At that time, the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius showed that an increase in CO2 concentrations would lead to a warmer climate. However, Arrhenius harbored little hope that this would happen. Consequently, the Swedes would have to continue to suffer in a cold and miserable climate. Since then, much has changed. Annual CO2 emissions have now reached a level that is about 20 times higher than that of 1896. This has caused concern worldwide.

More CO2 in the atmosphere leads undoubtedly to a warming of the earth surface. However, the extent and speed of this warming are still uncertain, because we cannot yet separate well enough the greenhouse effect from other climate influences. Although the radiative forcing by greenhouse gases (including methane, nitrogen oxides and fluorocarbons) has increased by 2.5 watts per square meter since the mid-19th century, observations show only a moderate warming of 0.8 degrees Celsius. Thus, the warming is significantly smaller than predicted by most climate models. In addition, the warming in the last century was not uniform. Phases of manifest warming were followed by periods with no warming at all or even cooling.

The complex and only partially understood relationship between greenhouse gases and global warming leads to a political dilemma. We do not know when to expect a warming of 2 degrees Celsius. The IPCC assumes that the earth will warm up by 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celcius in response to a doubling of CO2 concentration. These high values of climate sensitivity, however, are not supported by observations. In other words: global warming has not been a serious problem so far if we rely on observations. It is only a problem when we refer to climate simulations by computer models.

There is no alternative to such computer simulations if one wants to predict future developments. However, since there is no way to validate them, the forecasts are more a matter of faith than a fact. The IPCC has published its expert opinion a few months ago and presented it in the form of probabilities. As long as the results cannot be supported by validated models they produce a false impression of reliability.

EU member states pursue a strategy of reducing the climate risk by reducing the use of fossil fuels in the shortest time to a minimum. Many citizens are risk averse and therefore support this policy. In addition, many citizens want to phase-out nuclear power, because it is also seen as too risky. To eliminate both nuclear energy as well as fossil fuels is an enormous challenge. Nevertheless, Germany and Switzerland have opted for such an energy transition. To pursue such a radical and perhaps risky energy policy, despite the limited economic, scientific and technical capabilities of the two countries is an enormous undertaking.

There are two things that need to be addressed in this context. Firstly, such energy transitions will, unfortunately, do little to reduce global CO2 emissions, since 90 percent of these emissions come from countries outside Europe. Many of these countries are likely to increase their CO2 emissions in the future, as their population increases and their top priority is to improve the living standards of their citizens. China is a special case. Its CO2 emissions have more than doubled in the last decade and are now about 50 percent higher than those of the United States. For various reasons, there are no alternatives to fossil fuels in the developing countries for the time being. Energy demand there is great. Currently, 1.3 billion people have no access to electricity. To reduce their own emissions easily and quickly, the OECD countries have outsourced some of their energy-intensive production to developing countries. In the national statistics, this looks good. Globally, however, not much changes, since the emissions occur simply somewhere else.

Secondly, the rapid transition to renewable energy has led to a considerable increase in energy prices in many countries, especially in Europe. This weakens the competitiveness and leads to a relocation of energy-intensive industries to countries such as the USA, where the energy price has dropped significantly by the use of shale gas.

It is no surprise that there are other forces that are driving rapid change. Because once government subsidies are involved, huge profits are available. However, before radical and hasty changes to the current energy system are implemented, there must be robust evidence that climate change is significantly detrimental. We are still far away from such evidence. It would be wrong to conclude from the report of the IPCC and similar reports that the science is settled.

We do not yet know how best to solve the energy problems of our planet. But many things can happen in the next 100 years. A moderate climate sensitivity, as suggested by recent observations, could provide the world a breathing space of about half a century (but not much longer) if at the same a switch from coal to natural gas occurs. This gives us the opportunity to avoid unnecessary and panicked investment, and to invest the available resources in well thought-out and long-term oriented research programs instead. These include new types of nuclear energy as well as the use of nuclear waste to generate energy.

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Solar Firms Seek More Cash

Two California companies, Sequoia Pacific Solar and Eiger Lease Co., are suing the Treasury for withholding $14.6 million in cash grants after the parent company, SolarCity, burned through $244 million in tax incentives dating back to 2009. Despite the quarter billion in taxpayer dollars, all they have to show for it is a whopping $166 million in debt. No wonder they're desperate.

According to the lawsuit, Treasury “improperly changed the rules.” Federal officials, however, say that SolarCity inflated sales contracts to retrieve more taxpayer dollars. They're also accused of deceiving its shareholders and releasing erroneous financial reports.

The fact the feds are providing “green” incentives at all is ridiculous enough, especially in the wake of boondoggles like Solyndra. But as Hot Air's Jazz Shaw adds, “is this a private company which is intended to show a profit in the marketplace or a non-profit charity which is only expected to live off the teat of the taxpayer? Well, okay… the 'non-profit' part is probably pretty obvious.”

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Coughing Up Climate Rhetoric

It's spring, and that means allergies. So naturally, alarmists are attempting to identify a link between heavy pollen and global “warming.” For most of the country, a continued cool pattern has delayed the allergy season. “With temperatures finally starting to rise, New Jersey may soon experience a compressed spring, causing an allergy season that's supercharged,” says Christopher Maag of North Jersey.com.

He later adds: “Erratic weather changes and intense pollen seasons are consistent with research on global climate change by Leonard Bielory, an allergist and visiting professor at the Rutgers Center for Environmental Prediction. In a study presented last year … Bielory predicted that annual pollen counts in many parts of the U.S., including New Jersey, will double between the years 2000 and 2040 as higher average temperatures bring longer pollination seasons.”

Perhaps Maag should examine his own contradiction. Bielory cites “longer pollination seasons” thanks to “higher average temperatures,” while Maag's entire premise is on a “compressed” and “supercharged” season shortened by cold weather. Also, earth hasn't warmed in over 17 years. That's nothing to sneeze at.

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Was stopping Nevada’s fracking rush behind the Bundy showdown?

The story of rancher Cliven Bundy has captured an abundance of media attention and attracted supporters from across the West, who relate to the struggle against the federal management of lands. Bundy’s sister, Susan, was asked: “Who’s behind the uproar?” She blamed the Sierra Club, then Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), and then President Obama. She concluded her comments with: “It’s all about control” — a sentiment that is frequently expressed regarding actions taken in response to some endangered-species claim.

An Associated Press report describes Bundy’s battle this way: “The current showdown pits rancher Cliven Bundy’s claims of ancestral rights to graze his cows on open range against federal claims that the cattle are trespassing on arid and fragile habitat of the endangered desert tortoise.”

Bundy’s story has been percolating for decades — leaving people to question why now. The pundits are, perhaps, missing the real motive. To discover it, you have to dig deep under the surface of the story, below the surface of the earth. I posit: it is all about oil and gas.

On April 10, the Natural News Network posted this: “BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases.” It states: “a Natural News investigation has found that BLM is actually in the business of raking in millions of dollars by leasing Nevada lands to energy companies that engage in fracking operations.”

This set off alarms in my head; it didn’t add up. I know that oil-and-gas development and ranching can happily coexist. Caren Cowan, executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, told me: “The ranching and oil-and-gas communities are the backbone of America. They are the folks who allow the rest of the nation to pursue their hearts’ desire secure in the knowledge that they will have food and energy available in abundant supply. These natural resource users have worked arm-in-arm for nearly a century on the same land. They are constantly developing and employing technologies for ever better outcomes.”

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wouldn’t be enduring the humiliating press it has received, as a result of kicking Bundy off of land his family has ranched for generations and taking away his prior usage rights, just to open up the land for oil-and-gas — the two can both be there.

The Natural News “investigation” includes a map from the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology that shows “significant exploratory drilling being conducted in precisely the same area where the Bundy family has been running cattle since the 1870s.” It continues: “What’s also clear is that oil has been found in nearby areas.”

Nevada is not a top-of-mind state when one thinks about oil and gas. Alan Coyner, administrator for the Nevada Division of Minerals, describes his state: “We are not a major oil-producing state. We’re not the Saudi Arabia of the U.S. like we are for gold and geothermal production.” The Las Vegas Review Journal reports: “When it comes to oil, Nevada is largely undiscovered country…. fewer than 1,000 wells have been drilled in the state, and only about 70 are now in production, churning out modest amounts of low-grade petroleum generally used for tar or asphalt. Since an all-time high of 4 million barrels in 1990, oil production in Nevada has plummeted to fewer than 400,000 barrels a year. More oil is pumped from the ground in one day in North Dakota — where the fracking boom has added more than 2,000 new wells in recent years — than Nevada produced in 2012.”

But, Nevada could soon join the ranks of the states that are experiencing an economic boom and job creation due to oil-and-gas development. And, that has got to have the environmental groups, which are hell-bent on stopping it, in panic mode. Until now, their efforts in Nevada have been focused on blocking big solar development.

A year ago, the BLM held an oil-and-gas lease sale in Reno. At the sale, 29 federal land leases, totaling about 56 square miles, were auctioned off, bringing in $1.27 million. One of the winning bidders is Houston-based Noble Energy, which plans to drill as many as 20 exploratory wells and could start drilling by the end of the year. Commenting on its acreage, Susan Cunningham, Noble senior vice president, said: “We’re thrilled with the possibilities of this under-explored petroleum system.”

The parcels made available in April 2013 will be developed using hydraulic fracturing, about which Coyner quipped: “If the Silver State’s first big shale play pays off, it could touch off a fracking rush in Nevada.” Despite the fact that fracking has been done safely and successfully for more than 65 years in America, the Center for Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Nevada-based senior scientist, Ron Mrowka, told the Las Vegas Review Journal: “Fracking is not a good thing. We don’t feel there is a safe way to do it.”

The BLM made the leases available after someone, or some company, nominated the parcels, and the process to get them ready for auction can easily take a year or longer. One year before the April 2013, sale, CBD filed a “60-day notice of intent to sue” the BLM for its failure to protect the desert tortoise in the Gold Butte area — where Bundy cattle have grazed for more than a century.

Because agencies like the BLM are often staffed by environmental sympathizers, it is possible that CBD was alerted to the pending potential oil-and-gas boom when the April 2013 parcels were nominated—triggering the notice of intent to sue in an attempt to lock up as much land as possible before the “fracking rush” could begin.

A March 25, 2014 CBD press release — which reportedly served as the impetus for the current showdown — states: “Tortoises suffer while BLM allows trespass cattle to eat for free in Nevada desert.” It points out that the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan purchased and then retired grazing leases to protect the endangered tortoise.

Once Bundy’s cattle are kicked off the land to protect the tortoise, the precedent will be set to use the tortoise to block any oil-and-gas development in the area — after all environmentalists hate cattle only slightly less than they hate oil and gas. Admittedly, the April 13 leases are not in the same area as Bundy’s cattle, however, Gold Butte does have some oil-and-gas exploration that CBD’s actions could nip in the bud. Intellihub reports: “The BLM claims that they are seizing land to preserve it, for environmental protection. However, it is obvious that environmental protection is not their goal if they are selling large areas of land to fracking companies. Although the land that was sold last year is 300 and some miles away from the Bundy ranch, the aggressive tactics that have been used by federal agents in this situation are raising the suspicion that this is another BLM land grab that is destined for a private auction.”

The Natural News Network also sees that the tortoise is being used as a scapegoat: “Anyone who thinks this siege is about reptiles is kidding themselves.” It adds: “‘Endangered tortoises’ is merely the government cover story for confiscating land to turn it over to fracking companies for millions of dollars in energy leases.” The Network sees that it isn’t really about the critters; after all, hundreds of desert tortoises are being euthanized in Nevada.

Though the Intellihub and Natural News Network point to the “current showdown” as being about allowing oil-and-gas development, I believe that removing the cattle is really a Trojan horse. The tortoise protection will be used to block any more leasing.

On April 5, 2014, CBD sent out a triumphant press release announcing that the “long-awaited” roundup of cattle had begun.

What I am presenting is only a theory; I am just connecting some dots. But over-and-over, an endangered or threated species or habitat is used to block all kinds of economic development. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the lesser prairie chicken and the huge effort ($26 million) a variety of industries cooperatively engaged in to keep its habitat from being listed as threatened. The effort failed and the chicken’s habitat was listed. In my column on the topic, I predicted that these listings were likely to trigger another sage brush rebellion that will challenge federal land ownership. The Bundy showdown has brought the controversy front and center.

For now, southern Nevada’s last rancher has won the week-long standoff that has been likened to Tiananmen Square. Reports state that “the BLM said it did so because it feared for the safety of employees and members of the public,” not because it has changed its position.

While this chapter may be closing, it may have opened the next chapter in the sage brush rebellion. The Bundy standoff has pointed out the overreach of federal agencies and the use of threatened or endangered species to block economic activity.

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Earth Daze

John Stossel

"The heavens reek, the waters below are foul ... we are in a crisis of survival." That's how Walter Cronkite and CBS hyped the first Earth Day, back in 1970. Somehow we've survived since then, and most of life got better, although I never hear that from the worrywarts.

Of course, some things got better because of government: We passed environmental rules that got most of the filth out of the air and sewage out of lakes and rivers. Great -- but now we're told that we're in big trouble because greenhouse gases cause global warming. I mean, climate change.

"Crop yields are down, deaths from heat are up," says the Los Angeles Times. The "Worst Is Yet to Come," warns The New York Times. This hype is not new. Alarmists always fool the gullible media. They once fooled me.

A few years back, we were going to be killed by global cooling , overpopulation, pesticide residues, West Nile virus, bird flu, Y2K, cellphone radiation, mad cow disease, etc. Now it's global warming.

Reporters don't make these scares up. The recent hype about global warming comes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Most of its members are serious scientists. But reporters don't realize that those scientists, like bird flu specialists, have every incentive to hype the risk. If their computer models (which so far have been wrong) predict disaster, they get attention and money. If they say, "I'm not sure," they get nothing.

Also, the IPCC is not just a panel of scientists. It's an intergovernmental panel. It's a bureaucracy controlled by the sort of people who once ran for student council and are "exhilarated by the prospect of putting the thumb of the federal government on the scale."

Actually, that wasn't a quote from a global warming alarmist. It's from anti-marijuana alarmist and former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joe Califano. But it's the same crisis mindset. Scientists who disagree, who are reluctant to put their thumbs on the government scale, don't feel welcome in the IPCC.

It's possible climate change may become a problem. But even if industrialization brings warming, we've got more important problems. On my TV show this week, statistician Bjorn Lomborg points out that "air pollution kills 4.3 million people each year ... We need to get a sense of priority." That deadly air pollution happens because, to keep warm, poor people burn dung in their huts.

Yet, time and again, environmentalists oppose the energy production most likely to make the world cleaner and safer. Instead, they persuade politicians to spend billions of your dollars on symbolism like "renewable" energy.

"The amazing number that most people haven't heard is, if you take all the solar panels and all the wind turbines in the world," says Lomborg, "they have (eliminated) less CO2 than what U.S. fracking (cracking rocks below ground to extract oil and natural gas) managed to do."

That progress occurred despite opposition from environmentalists -- and even bans in places like my stupid state, New York, where activists worry fracking will cause earthquakes or poison the water.

Do environmentalists even care about measuring costs instead of just assuming benefits? We spend $7 billion to subsidize electric cars. Even if America reached the president's absurd 2015 goal of "a million electric cars on the road" (we won't get close), how much would it delay warming of the Earth?

"One hour," says Lomborg. "This is a symbolic act."

Symbolic. Environmentalism is now more religion than science. It even comes with built-in doomsday stories to warn people about what will happen if they disobey -- a bit like the movie "Noah" that's in theaters now.

While environmentalists lament that our time is running out, environmental indicators get better, technological improvements reduce carbon dioxide, water gets cleaner for millions, and human life expectancy goes up.

This Earth Day, instead of attacking those who sell fossil fuels, I will applaud them for overcoming constant environmental hysteria -- while providing affordable energy that will allow us to fight poverty, which is the real threat to the people of the world.

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Reality Check: Irish-British Wind Export Plan Collapses Because It’s Too Expensive

The collapse of a controversial wind export plan has been announced by the Government on the same day that the UN’s top scientific body called for a rapid switch to renewable energy to fight climate change.

Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte said that “given the economic, policy and regulatory complexities involved” the Irish and British governments had failed to agree terms “to facilitate green energy export from the Midlands within the EU’s 2020 timeframe”.

Under the plan, three companies – Element Power, Mainstream and Bord na Mona – planned 1,000 turbines in five Midland counties to export three gigawatts of green energy into the British national grid. Negotiations on the multibillion euro deal were called off because “there was nothing left to discuss”, Irish officials said last night.

The decision to abandon negotiations on the project, which has featured strongly in the local and European Parliament election campaign, comes before a protest march planned in Dublin tomorrow.

Pay negotiations

The scheme needed a regulatory agreement between Dublin and London, which would, among other things, say who would pay for an interconnector to carry energy to Wales.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and British prime minister David Cameron agreed, during St Patrick Day talks in 10 Downing Street, that officials would be told to make another attempt to reach agreement.

The move came as Mr Rabbitte warned a deal was “unlikely” because the British side wanted to pay no more for Irish onshore wind energy than it would pay in Britain – even though it would have to be taken there.

Irish sources said no flexibility had been shown by the British department of energy and climate change after the Downing Street talks.

Mr Rabbitte’s decision has angered developers who plan to export three gigawatts of offshore energy from a necklace of projects in the Irish Sea. They say the move threatens them, even though the projects are entirely separate.

Brian Britton, who heads one of the developers, Oriel Energy, said: “They have taken only four-and-a-half weeks, rather than the three months set down in the Downing Street agreement.” Mr Britton also leads the National Offshore Wind Association.

Ironic

“It is somewhat ironic in a week which has seen the first State visit from an Irish President to the UK, that the Irish Government has pulled back from a policy initiative which would have demonstrated the real benefits of partnership in both economies,” said the association, in a statement.

Mr Rabbitte regretted that a deal with London “has not been possible” but said wind energy exports from Ireland to Britain “are inevitable after 2020”.

“Economic analysis conducted on the Irish side clearly indicates that under agreed policy and regulatory conditions, renewable energy trading can deliver significant economic benefits to Ireland and the UK, as well as being attractive to developers,” he said.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said delaying the development of renewables would “do us nothing but harm”.

In its latest report, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said a large-scale transformation of the energy sector from burning fossil fuels to relying primarily on renewables is needed to contain global warming at 2 degrees.

“Without additional efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions . . . emissions growth is expected to . . . result in global mean surface temperature increases in 2100 from 3.7 to 4.8 degrees,” it warned.

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014



The power of prophecy (NOT)

ALL prophecies, including global warming prophecies, should be taken as seriously as the ones below



What they thought we'd wearing today - as imagined in 1893

An illustrated book from 1893 with one man's prediction of what fashions of the decades to come would look like has been unearthed.

The Future Dictates of Fashion by W. Cade Gall was published in the January 1893 edition of The Strand magazine and contains hilarious illustrations of the 'future of fashion'.

The article, which was found in a library, predicts one hundred years' worth of style.

It begins in 1900 with a rather wizardly array of garments, including plenty of walking sticks, oversized hats and voluminous skirts.

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The Best Thing for the Environment is for the Government to Stop Controlling It

Yesterday, the United Nations released a startling report that concludes that “world leaders” only have a few years to drastically curb carbon emissions, else the world will face debilitating warming, which would lead to a rise in sea level that would dramatically change human life and natural habitats. The report also argues that the world is already beginning to see the effects of climate change: a higher level of disease spread in Africa, an increase in the number and severity of wildfires in North America, and the decrease of food production in South America.

According to Kelly Levin, a climate change scientist from the World Resources institute, "Today's choices are going to significantly affect the risk that climate change will pose for the rest of the century."

Levin is, of course, correct, but perhaps not in the way she means. The United Nations and others involved in averting climate change have all emphasized the importance of the actions of world leaders in the coming years, from preparedness to last-ditch attempts to keep the world cool. But what “world leaders” really need to do is to drastically decrease their “defense” spending, stop propping up oil industries with counter-productive subsidies, and reduce or eliminate the regulatory burden on entrepreneurs so that they can innovate with new energy methods.

Consider the irony: the United Nations calls upon governments to enact emergency policies to mitigate climate change, yet those selfsame governments are actually the biggest hindrances to environmental cleanup efforts.

First, governments are often the largest polluters on the planet, not private entities. For instance, in the United States alone, the Pentagon is actually America’s biggest polluter. The Department of Defense pumps out more than 750,000 tons of hazardous material every year—that’s more than the top three chemical companies combined. How are they getting away with this? Congress passed an explicit provision exempting the military from any energy reduction efforts. The first thing that the U.S. “world leader” should do is to cut its own environmental impact.

Second, the United States government—like many world governments—heavily subsidizes the carbon-based energy industries while simultaneously passing “environmental regulations” that make a microscopic dent in carbon consumption. According to Price of Oil, the U.S. government spends between $14 and $52 billion in subsidies for the gas, coal, or oil industries, yet any attempt to reduce this number is thwarted in Congress. This keeps the price of carbon-based energies artificially low, interfering with the market process that occurs when goods are scarce.

In the meantime, the federal government and local governments impose carbon taxes onto their citizens, creating a perverse double standard. They attempt to keep people from using carbon-based products through tax policies while encouraging people to use them by driving down their prices. Carbon taxes aren’t the only ridiculous burden governments are placing on citizens to make them pay for their mistakes: plastic bag taxes, incandescent light bulb bans, the Clean Air Act, etc.

The list, tragically, is endless, though I would be remiss to not also mention that the U.S. government hand-crafted the conditions for the BP oil spill.

Despite all of this, entrepreneurs and innovators are still trying to come up with ways to save people money and energy by creating new products for them to try—only for government to get in the way when they do. For instance, many of the financial regulations after the bank meltdown have been biased against green companies and technologies and thus prevent investors from providing much-needed capital for these ideas to come to fruition.

Even if you still believe that governments have some role to play, deregulating markets is still the best way to go to make sure those policies are effective. According to a 2012 study, “renewable energy policies are significantly more effective in fostering green innovation in countries with deregulated energy markets.” Better still, “public support for renewable energy is crucial only in the generation of high-quality green patents, whereas competition enhances the generation of green patents irrespective of their quality.”

In short, the UN is correct to call upon “world leaders” to mitigate climate change. But the “action” that must be taken is to deregulate markets, get out of the way of innovators, and stop maintaining duplicitous policies. And if governments really feel like they must “do” something, they can reduce their own carbon emissions by cutting on so-called “defense” spending—with the bonus of making the world a bit more peaceful.

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Is lying about climate change OK?

Those of us who have chronicled the global warming hoax, now called “climate change”, know that it is based on decades of lies about carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gas” with predictions that the Earth will heat up and cause massive problems unless those emissions are drastically reduced by not using coal, oil and natural gas.

Two American think tanks, The Heartland Institute and the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) have been among those exposing those lies for years. The lies have been generated and led by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“Despite the panel’s insistence that the Earth is getting hotter, five different datasets show that there have been no observable warming for 17 and a half years even as carbon dioxide levels have risen 12%,” notes Christopher Monckton, a science advisor to Britain’s former Prime Minister Thatcher. “The discrepancy between prediction and observation continues to grow.”

Recently, two Chinese assistant professors of economics, Fuhai Hong and Xiaojian Zhao, were published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. Their paper, “Information Manipulation and Climate Agreements”, openly advocated lying about global warming/climate change in order to get nations to sign on to the International Environmental Agreement.

“It appears that news media and some pro-environmental organizations,” they noted, “have the tendency to accentuate or even exaggerate the damage caused by climate change. This article provides a rationale for this tendency.”

Craig Rucker, CFACT’s Executive Director, responded to the Chinese authors saying “They’re shameless.” Theirs and others ends-justify-the-means tactics reflects the attitudes and actions of environmental organizations and serves as a warning to never accept anything they say on any aspect of this huge hoax.

CFACT’s President and co-founder, David Rothbard, noted that “Global warming skeptics have long charged that alarmists are over-hyping the dangers of climate change.” How long? Back in 1989, the late Stanford University professor, Stephen Schneider, said, “So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ which we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance between being effective and being honest.”

There is no “right balance” between telling lies and telling the truth when it comes to science or any other aspect of our lives. Suffice to say that thousands of scientists who participated in the IPCC reports over the years supported the lies, but many have since left and some have openly denounced the reports.

As the latest IPCC summary of its report has garnered the usual verbatim media coverage of its outlandish predictions, The Heartland Institute has released its own 1,062 page report from the “Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) called “Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts. An 18-page summery is available at http://climatechangereconsidered.org.

Among its findings:

- Atmospheric carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.

- There is little or no risk of increasing food insecurity due to global warming or rising atmospheric CO2 levels.

- Rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels do not pose a significant threat to aquatic life.

- A modest warming of the planet will result in a net reduction of human mortality from temperature-related events.

Based on hundreds of peer-reviewed studies, the NIPCC report is free of the lies that are found in the IPCC report whose studies have been, at best, dubious, and at worst, deliberately deceptive.In light of the natural cooling cycle the Earth has been in that is good news and it will be even better news when the planet emerges from the cycle that reflects the lower levels of radiation from the Sun.

On March 31, CNS News reported that “The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report estimates it will cost developed nations an additional $100 billion each year to help poorer nations adapt to the devastating effects of ‘unequivocal’ global warming, including food shortages, infrastructure breakdown, and civil violence. But that figure was deleted from the report’s executive summary after industrial nations, including the United States, objected to the high price tag.”

The price tag reveals the IPCC’s real agenda, the transfer of funds from industrial nations to those less developed. It’s about the money and always has been. It’s not global warming the planet needs to survive, it is the costly lies about it.

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EPA Concedes: We Can’t Produce All the Data Justifying Clean Air Rules

Seven months after being subpoenaed by Congress, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy conceded that her agency does not have -  and cannot produce - all of the scientific data used for decades to justify numerous rules and regulations under the Clean Air Act.

In a March 7th letter to House Science, Space and Technology Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), McCarthy admitted that EPA cannot produce all of the original data from the 1993 Harvard Six Cities Study (HSC) and the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) 1995 Cancer Prevention Study II, which is currently housed at New York University.

Both studies concluded that fine airborne particles measuring 2.5 micrograms or less (PM2.5) – 1/30th the diameter of a human hair – are killing thousands of Americans every year.

These epidemiological studies are cited by EPA as the scientific foundation for clean air regulations that restrict particulate emissions from vehicles, power plants and factories.

The agency has recently come under fire for exposing volunteers to concentrated levels of particulate matter without informing them of the risks, a practice Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), chairman of the House Science Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, called “despicable.”

The full committee, which issued its first subpoena in 21 years last August after being stonewalled by the EPA for two years, wanted the raw data from the studies so that their results could be replicated by independent researchers. (See EPA subpoena.pdf)

However, despite “multiple interactions with the third party owners of the research data in an effort to obtain that data,” McCarthy wrote, some of the data subpoenaed by the committee “are not (and were not) in the possession, custody or control of the EPA, nor are they within the authority to obtain data that the agency identified.”

“EPA has not withheld any data in our possession that is responsive to the subpoena,” McCarthy stated. “The EPA acknowledges, however, that the data provided are not sufficient in themselves to replicate the analyses in the epidemiological studies, nor would they allow for the one to one mapping of each pollutant and ecological variable to each subject.” (See EPA letter to Smith March 7 2014 (1).pdf)

CNSNews.com asked EPA whether the agency had turned over any data from the Harvard Six Cities and American Cancer Society studies in response to the subpoena.

“EPA provided to the Committee all the data that was in the possession of the agency or within the agency's authority to obtain under the Shelby Amendment,” which requires that results of federally-funded studies be made available to the public, an agency spokeswoman responded. “As such, the agency has now in good faith obtained and provided to the Committee all the requested research data subject to the Shelby Amendment and covered by the subpoena.”

A committee staff member confirmed to CNSNews.com that “EPA gave us what they have of both studies, which is a significant amount of data, but not sufficient" to allow independent reproduction or verification of results.

"We’re at a point where EPA has conceded that they don’t have in their possession the data necessary to fully comply, and in some cases, never did possess the data,” he added.

The subpoena was issued as the EPA moves to finalize strict new regulations that could place 90 percent of the U.S. population in non-attainment areas and impose an additional $90 billion annual burden on the U.S. economy.

However, two newer studies cast doubts on the original research.

Stanley Young and Jessie Xia of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences published a paper last year questioning the EPA’s reliance on the Harvard and Cancer Society studies, both of which found that breathing fine particulate matter (PM2.5) resulted in increased mortality.

“There is no significant association of PM2.5 with longevity in the west of the United States,”Young and Xia  noted, adding that “our findings call into question the claim made by the original researchers.” (See young080113.pdf)

Another recent study by Johns Hopkins-trained biostatistician Steve Milloy that attempted to duplicate EPA’s findings also found “no correlation between changes in ambient PM2.5 mortality” and any cause of death in California between 2007 and 2010.

“Virtually every regulation proposed by the Obama administration has been justified by nontransparent data and unverifiable claims,” committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said in February, denouncing what he called EPA’s “secret science.”

“The American people foot the bill for EPA’s costly regulations, and they have a right to see the underlying science. Costly environmental regulations should be based on publicly available data so that independent scientists can verify the EPA’s claims.”

Smith and Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) have introduced the Secret Science Reform Act of 2014, which would prohibit EPA from “proposing, finalizing or disseminating regulations based upon scientific information that is not publically available in a manner sufficient for independent scientific analysis.”

HR 4012, which would amend the Environmental Research, Development and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978, states that “the Administrator shall not propose, finalize, or disseminate a covered action unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support such covered action is (A) specifically identified; and (B) publicly available in a manner that is sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results.”

At a February 11th hearing before the Subcommittee on Environment, Raymond Keating, chief economist at the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, testified in favor of the bill. (HHRG-113-SY18-WState-RKeating-20140211.pdf)

“The  U.S. has made enormous progress in cleaning the air over the last 40 years, so much so that we now are talking about reducing very small increments of pollution. Achieving those tiny reductions will no doubt be very costly—as EPA itself admitted when it released its cost analysis for ozone in 2010. The question is: will they be worth it?" Keating asked.

“We won’t know that unless we have the scientific data in front of us, unless scientists from all over the country can attempt to replicate it and determine its validity. Without that, EPA is hiding the ball, and imposing costs without truly knowing what the benefits are.”

Congress is expected to consider the bill sometime this summer.

SOURCE





IPCC backs shale

Global emissions need to fall by at least 40 per cent by 2050 and almost to zero by 2100 to have a good chance of limiting the increase in the average temperature to 2C, above which the UN says there could be catastrophic impacts.

The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will underpin negotiations over a global climate change treaty that the UN hopes will be signed in Paris next year.

The share of energy from low-carbon sources, such as wind, solar, nuclear and fossil fuel plants which capture carbon, will have to increase three or four-fold by 2050.

The IPCC was silent, however, on how much investment there should be in each source of energy. It said it was up to each country to decide on the mix of energy sources it needed to meet its share of the global emissions target.

Countries that relied on exports of coal and oil could see their revenues decline if the world took collective action on emissions, it said. Yet exports of gas, which has about half the emissions of coal per unit of energy produced, could increase.

The report said: “Greenhouse gas emissions from energy supply can be reduced significantly by replacing current world average coal-fired power plants with modern, highly efficient natural gas combined‐cycle power plants.”

It added that “fugitive emissions” from gas extraction, such as methane, that can leak from poorly constructed wells, would need to be tightly controlled to ensure that a switch to gas cut overall emissions.

Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chairman of the IPCC report and professor of climate change economics at the Technical University Berlin, said: “The shale gas revolution… can be very consistent with low-carbon development… Gas can be very helpful as a bridge technology.”

He cautioned however that burning more gas would cut emissions only if it displaced coal. If more gas were burnt as well as coal, overall emissions would rise.

The report said that the world economy would continue to grow if countries made “ambitious” emissions cuts but the annual growth rate would be 0.06 per cent lower than it would otherwise have been.

It added that this estimate did not include the expected economic benefits of cutting emissions, including the health benefits of reduced air pollution.

Emissions could be reduced by planting trees across vast areas to absorb carbon dioxide and then harvesting the wood to burn in power stations fitted with carbon capture systems, the IPCC said.

It added, however: “As of today this combination is not available at scale, permanent underground carbon dioxide storage faces challenges and the risks of increased competition for land need to be managed.”

Almost all power stations burning fossil fuels would have to be fitted with carbon capture systems by the end of the century to avoid catastrophic climate change, the report said. [....]

Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said: “This is the first IPCC report that will be largely ignored by most policymakers. It will have no influence on governments’ energy policies that are now almost completely dominated by energy security and economic considerations. Around the world the climate issue is being pushed to the margins of decision making.”

SOURCE





No High School pass For British Climate Change Sceptic

Brainwashing about global warming percolates throughout the British education system

Not often does a senior Cabinet minister declare that a policy long pursued by his own department is “against the law”. But that was the response of Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, to a report exposing just how profoundly our education system has been hijacked by promoters of the official group-think on global warming.

Expanding on a theme touched on here more than once over the years, the report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation by Andrew Montford and John Shade shows how generations of schoolchildren have been taught to accept as gospel nothing but a propagandist, Greenpeace-type view of the global-warming scare, so one-sided that it makes a mockery of the requirement under the 1996 Education Act that pupils only be taught in a balanced way, allowing them to form their own view of the evidence.

So relentless is this brainwashing that it percolates throughout the curriculum, so that even exam papers in French, English or religious studies can ask students to explain why the world is dangerously warming up, or why we must build more wind turbines. In 2012, I described an A-level general studies paper set by our leading exam board, AQA, asking for comment on 11 pages of propagandist “source materials”, riddled with basic errors. A mother wrote to tell me how her intelligent son, after getting straight As on all his science papers, used his extensive knowledge of climate science to point out all their absurd distortions.

He was given the lowest possible mark, a fail. When his mother paid to have his paper independently assessed, the new examiner conceded that it was “articulate, well-structured” and well-informed. But because it did not parrot the party line, it was still given a fail. I fear this corruption of everything that education and science should stand for has become a much more serious scandal than Mr Gove yet realises.

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Astrophysics and climate

For some time I have been aware that there are substantial challenges to the conventional picture of the sun as a gas ball.  I am also aware that the "electric universe" theory has been gaining ground.  As I already track social science, medical science and climate science, however, I have refused to add issues in astrophysics to my plate.  Just this once however I am putting up below something from the "Thunderbolt" project  -- which is the organization principally promoting the electric universe theory

Is Kirchhoff’s Law Valid?

 Kirchhoff’s law of thermal emission (formulated in 1860) is presented and demonstrated to be invalid.  This law is crucial to our understanding of radiation within arbitrary cavities.  Kirchhoff’s law rests at the heart of condensed matter physics and astrophysics.  Its collapse can be directly associated with 1) the loss of universality in Planck’s law (Planck’s constant and Boltzmann’s constant are no longer universal in nature), 2) the collapse of the gaseous Sun as described in Standard Solar Models, and 3) the inability of the Big Bang to act as the source of the microwave background.

Pierre-Marie Robitaille, PhD is a Professor of Radiology at The Ohio State University, with a joint appointment in Chemical Physics. He initially trained as a spectroscopist and has wide ranging knowledge of instrumentation in the radio and microwave bands. A recognized expert in image acquisition and analysis, Professor Robitaille was responsible for doubling the world record in Magnetic Resonance Imaging in 1998. In 2000, he turned his attention to thermodynamics and astrophysics, demonstrating that the universality advanced in Kirchhoff’s Law of Thermal Emission is invalid. He has published extensively on the microwave background, highlighting that this signal arises from water on the Earth and has no relationship to cosmology and has recently published a paper on the Liquid Metallic Hydrogen Solar Model (LMHSM).

Writes PSI President John O’Sullivan:

PSI’s Vice Chair Dr Pierre Latour was a co-speaker at the Thunderbolts Conference where Dr Robitaille gave that address. Latour peer reviewed Robitaille’s science and affirmed it was sound. Latour agrees that what Robitaille has now proven about radiation also applies to –  and discredits – global warming ‘science’ because it shows that the IPCC’s understanding of how radiation warms the climate is wrong.

Robitaille’s science says that when atmospheric temperature increases, then CO2 emissivity goes down. This entirely supports what 350+ PSI experts say. Moreover, Dr Latour affirms this is consistent with Hottel, Perry’s “Chemical Engineer’s Handbook”, 1950. It again shows that experts from the ‘hard’ sciences are better able to adduce what happens within earth’s climate system than those climatologists (mostly geographers) who are ‘soft’ scientists, with inferior knowledge and training in higher physics and chemistry.

Robitaille’s explanation of solar behavior (sunspots, eruptions and wind) fits beautifully with that of PSI consultant and friend, Piers Corbyn, the worlds best independent long range weather forecaster. Dr Laotur reports, “Robitaille’s science points to how Corbyn does it: solar wind drives jet streams which drive climate change. Electric Universe is coming into focus, ions and electrons on the go, electrical and chemical engineering hand in hand. CO2 is innocent.”

SOURCE





UN green police say ditch oil and change your diet

Governments must switch from fossil fuels to nuclear, wind and solar energy to avoid a global-warming catastrophe in a move costing about £300 billion a year, a United Nations report warns.

The study, by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), lays out the pressing need for the world to ditch coal and oil and switch to green energy.

However, the report is likely to spark a new row over the cost of countering global warming. Climate-change sceptics issued a warning to governments not to succumb to a green agenda, alleging that to do so would drive up living costs for the rest of the century.

A leaked draft of the report, obtained by The Telegraph, provides a blueprint on how to tackle climate change, including not only the switch to green energy but even what people should eat. It claims:

 *  An estimated £300 billion a year is needed for investment in low-carbon sources of electricity such as nuclear, wind and solar energy over the next 20 years;

 *  Gas should replace coal-fired power stations as soon as possible to reduce carbon emissions, although gas should eventually be phased out, too;

 *  Nuclear power is an established method for producing low-carbon electricity, although the report notes its use has waned since 1993;

 *  Experts estimate that by 2030, global gross domestic product (GDP) could be as much as 4 per cent lower through measures to combat global warming. By 2100, global GDP could be down by as much as 12 per cent;

 *  Western diets need to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. This is likely to include a call to eat less meat.

The change of lifestyle is not mapped out in detail but the UN suggests that people living in the richest countries should eat less. That advice will inevitably lead to accusations that the UN is interfering in personal habits.

The central thrust of the report will be a call for “large-scale changes in the global energy system” and increased subsidy for green energy to help countries make the switch from fossil fuels.

The cost of doing so, according to the 29-page draft summary, will require an additional £90 billion a year investment, a rise of a third on estimates of current spending.

That will take the total investment in low carbon energy sources to about £300  billion a year until 2030. Britain now spends about £6 billion a year, trying to cut greenhouse gas emissions through such measures as subsidies for wind farms and solar power. There will be pressure for that figure to rise sharply.

The report warns that to achieve a target of keeping the global temperature rise to within 3.6F (2C) by the end of the century will require spending on alternative energy and a scaling back of fossil fuels that, the report acknowledges, will damage economic growth.

The call for a change in energy policy will inevitably lead to further tensions in the Coalition with many back-bench Conservatives anxious that wind power is too expensive and the turbines unsightly.

Many Tories are pushing for the exploitation of underground shale gas reserves through the controversial process of fracking to extract the gas. Fracking has become big business in the US and driven down the cost of energy.

Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change Secretary, is likely to seize upon the report to resist further demands to cut green energy subsidies.

Senior Tory MPs warned the Government not to succumb to pressure from the UN to plough more money into renewable energy, driving up household energy bills and threatening to make British industry uncompetitive in the process.

Chris Heaton-Harris, a Conservative MP who led a successful back-bench campaign to cut the consumer subsidy to wind farms, said: “This IPCC report is backward looking. We can be a lot greener, emit less carbon and produce cheaper energy if we switch to shale gas rather than ploughing our money into wind farms that plunge the poorest people into fuel poverty.”

Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a think tank that has warned against the cost of switching to green energy, said: “Even if the IPCC assumptions prove correct, it will be much more cost effective and rational to invest in adaptation strategies to deal with climate change than try to decarbonise the world economy.”

However, [geologist] Bob Ward, policy director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, based at the London School of Economics, said: “This report shows that if we carry on the way we are going, it will be much more expensive and risky to take action later on.”

The IPCC report into man-made climate change is the most authoritative of its kind and forms the basis for policymaking among UN member nations.

Last week, government officials meeting in Berlin were combing through the draft report to come up with a final document countries can agree upon.

World leaders will gather at a specially convened UN conference in New York in September, before approving a new set of international agreements on carbon emissions in Paris next year. The new report will form the basis for those negotiations.

SOURCE




China going hard for shale

Residents of an isolated mountain valley of terraced cornfields in China were just going to sleep last April when they were jolted by an enormous roar, followed by a tower of flames. A shock wave rolled across the valley, rattling windows and a mysterious, pungent gas swiftly pervaded homes.

"It was so scary - everyone who had a car fled the village and the rest of us without cars just stayed and waited to die," said Zhang Mengsu, a hardware store owner.

All too quickly, residents realised the source of the midnight fireball: a shale gas drilling rig in their tiny rural hamlet.

This verdant valley represents the latest frontier in the worldwide hunt for shale gas retrievable by the technology of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. It is a drilling boom that has upended the energy industry and spurred billions of dollars of investment.

Like the US and Europe, China wants to wean itself from its dependence on energy imports - and in Jiaoshizhen, Chinese energy giant Sinopec says it has made the country's first commercially viable shale gas discovery. Its efforts could also help tackle another urgent issue, as Beijing looks to curb an overwhelming reliance on coal that has blackened skies and made China the largest contributor to global warming.

But the path to energy independence and a cleaner fossil fuel is fraught with potential pitfalls. Threats to workplace safety, public health and the environment loom large in the shale gas debate - and the question is whether those short-term risks threaten to undermine China's long-term goal.

The energy industry around the world has faced criticism about the economic viability of vast shale projects and the environmental impact of fracking. But interviews with residents of six hamlets here where drilling is being done, as well as with executives and experts in Beijing, the US and Europe, suggest China's search poses even greater challenges.

In China, companies must drill two to three times as deep as in the US, making the process more expensive, noisier and potentially more dangerous. Chinese energy giants also operate in strict secrecy; they rarely engage with local communities, and accidents claim a high death toll.

The still-disputed incident in Jiaoshizhen has raised concerns among residents. Villagers said that employees at the time told them that eight workers died when the rig exploded that night. Sinopec officials and village leaders then ordered residents not to discuss the event, villagers said. Now, villagers complain of fouled streams and polluted fields.

"There was a huge ball of fire," said Liu Jiazhen, a mustard greens farmer with three children who lives a five-minute walk from the site. "The managers here all raced for their lives up the hill."

Sinopec describes the incident as a controlled flaring of gas and denies anybody died. While the company would not speak in detail about its shale projects, Sinopec said it ran its operations safely and without harm to the environment.

Sinopec president Li Chunguang said last month that nothing had gone wrong in Jiaoshizhen.

The Chinese energy giants have plenty of money to fund efforts. Sinopec has 1 million employees and is the world's fourth-largest company by revenue after Royal Dutch Shell, Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil; the fifth-largest is China National Petroleum. With their deep pockets, the companies have been investing heavily in North American shale businesses; Sinopec paid $US2.2 billion in 2012 for a 30 per cent stake in Devon Energy's shale gas and oil operations in the US.

In China, workplace safety is a significant concern. Thousands die each year in coalmines, according to government statistics that have prompted a national crackdown in the past decade.

Residents interviewed welcomed the drilling for one reason: money. Sinopec rents land from farmers for 9000 renminbi, or $1543, an acre each year. Farmers earn that much money from growing crops only in the best years, and then after hundreds of hours of labour.

SOURCE





The Times Diary: Blair’s honest moment

Carbon emissions are in the news again, with the EU proposing a hefty reduction, but is this all a lot of hot air? In her new autobiography, The Bird and the Beeb, the broadcaster Liz Kershaw recalls a surprising moment of honesty on the subject from Tony Blair in 2007.

With the microphones switched off, the presenter was chatting about green issues when Blair suddenly sighed. “Liz, we in the UK could shut everything down and turn everything off,” he said. “And within two years all our efforts would have been wiped out by what’s happening in China now.” Kershaw says she hasn’t bothered to switch off her television since.

SOURCE




EU Commission Announced End Of Green Energy Subsidies

Renewable energy subsidies that helped spur Europe’s €48-billion-a-year clean energy industry are to be phased out across the continent, under new market-friendly state aid rules announced by the European Commission Wednesday (9 April).

"It is time for renewables to join the market,” the Commission's competition chief, Joaquin Almunia, said in a statement. “The new guidelines provide a framework for designing more efficient public support measures that reflect market conditions, in a gradual and pragmatic way."

Under the new rules, renewable energy subsidies will have to be replaced by market-based mechanisms for all but the smallest of clean electricity generators by 2017, following a pilot phase that will start next year.

Feed-in tariffs will be replaced by feed-in premiums that expose renewables to market signals, while energy infrastructure and cross-border schemes will also to some extent be protected, and 68 energy intensive sectors will be singled out for subsidies.  Aid may also be earmarked for measures to keep the lights on through capacity mechanisms should power cuts threaten.

More generally though, competitive bidding processes will become the rule, forcing power generators to sell electricity on the market with balancing responsibilities for “short-term deviations” from delivery commitments.

EU states will be obliged to use premiums – top-up’s on the going price – as support instruments to integrate renewables into the market.

 The complicated new regulations emerged from an investigation into the market-distorting potential of Germany’s renewable energy subsidies which were intended to help the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy after the Fukushima disaster.

It was premised, Almunia said, on the principle that “Europe should meet its ambitious energy and climate targets at the least possible cost for taxpayers and without undue distortions of competition.”

Free market limitations

In a sign that the Commission’s free market vision had some limitations though, high-polluting industrise such as the chemicals, metals, paper, and ceramics sectors will be allowed exemptions from paying full market premium support to renewable power generators.

One report by Germany’s respected Öko Institute suggests that these opt-outs could be worth as much as €2 billion. But Gordon Moffat, the director-general of Eurofer said that although the new rules were “appreciated,” the Commission’s proposed 15% minimum contribution to renewable subsidies would “lead to a further substantial increase in energy costs”.  He called for a revision of the EU’s 2030 climate and energy framework.

While welcoming the proposals as “a step in the right direction,” the European Aluminium Association also said that to restore Europe’s industrial competitiveness, they would need more access to public revenues.  

“We regret that the new guidelines still enforce additional burden to the industry,” said the EAA’s director-general, Gerd Götz. “The state aid rules must now be accompanied by appropriate and long-term compensation measures for all costs related to climate and energy policies, also beyond 2020.”

For the Green MEP Claude Turmes though, the industry exemptions were in “complete contradiction” with the Commission’s free market principles.

Free ride for energy intensive industry?

“The energy intensive industry is not just the biggest polluter in Europe, it is a ruthless sponge lobbyist,” he told EurActiv. “If you offer them a finger they will take the hand. If you give them that, they take the arm. If you give them the arm, they will devour you in your entirety.”

“Despite consuming up to 35% of electricity, these sectors will get a free ride, with private consumers and small businesses left to foot the bill of the energy transition.”

The Commission’s announcement was made two days after the United Nations Environment Programme reported a 44% plunge in renewable energy investment in Europe, spreading a sense of gloom among clean energy enthusiasts.

One clause in the new rules lowering the cap on the level of allowed support to energy efficiency measures was described as “astonishing” by E3G, an environmental think tank.

“This seems ironic, if not illogical,” the group said. “Only last month, the European Council concluded that energy efficiency was the first step to take to reduce the bloc’s energy dependency and deliver its energy and climate objectives.”

The new rules may, however, make it more difficult for the UK and other governments  to subsidise nuclear energy projects such as the proposed Hinkley Point reactor, according to Greenpeace.

A general block exemption regulation is still being drafted by the European Commission and, analysts say, could have a significant effect on resource efficient technologies and their cost-effective financing.

SOURCE





CO2 emissions have increased since 2011 despite Germany’s $140 billion green energy plan

Carbon dioxide levels in Germany have been increasing in the last three years despite the government spending nearly $140 billion (100 billion euros) on a green energy since 2005.

The German newspaper Die Zeit writes that Germany won’t be able to meet its emissions reduction target of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Currently, the country has only reduced emissions 23.8 percent below 1990 levels.

The “German government wanted to decrease the emissions of CO2 — also through the transition to renewable energy,” writes Die Zeit. “However our chart shows the opposite is the case. Greenhouse gas emissions have been increasing for three years in Germany, 1.2 percent for last year.”

In 2009, Germany emitted 913 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, mainly due to a lagging economy from the global financial crisis. Last year, the country emitted 951 million metric tons of carbon dioxide despite spending about $138 billion to go green in the last decade.

What’s causing the rise in carbon dioxide emissions? Coal power, according to Die Zeit. The newspaper writes that “CO2 emissions continue to rise as more and more coal and lignite power stations” are brought online and natural gas plants remain uneconomical to operate.

German power prices have been driven to three times what they are in the U.S. and 50 percent higher than the rest of Europe because of green energy tariffs. In order to meet its emission reduction targets, Germany has been taxing businesses and households to subsidize green energy sources, like wind and solar.

But the tax to fund green energy has been increasing rapidly, more than fivefold since 2009 — costing Germans $26 billion last year alone. German industries have also been hit hard with rising power costs and are pushing for reform.

The German government is now looking to reform the green energy law that has caused energy prices to spike. The German cabinet approved amendments to the country’s green law on Tuesday that would contain rising energy costs, reports the Wall Street Journal.

But energy analysts are wary that the amendments don’t go far enough to curb rising energy costs. The reform would still exempt many of the same energy-intensive industries from green taxes as it did before, meaning German households would still bear most of the cost of going green.

“Germany says the exemptions are crucial to keeping its energy-intensive industries competitive, but Brussels fears that too many businesses might have benefited from what it considers state aid,” the WSJ reports. “While the exemptions originally focused on such sectors as steel and machinery engineering, they were later expanded to include less obvious beneficiaries, such as railway operators.”

Germany’s energy and economics minister Sigmar Gabriel said the number of exempted companies was reduce to from 2,000 to about 1,600, and that companies that previously benefited from exemptions have to pay 20 percent of the green tax going forward.

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here

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