Friday, October 03, 2014



Did climate change cause ebola?

Some nitwit had to make that link but it's a monumentally stupid thing to claim.  Since there has been no climate change for 18  years, it cannot have caused ebola.  Something that does not exist cannot cause anything

In a report on a mysterious virus causing paralysis in children that aired on “CBS This Morning” earlier this week, Dr. David Agus, a medical contributor for CBS News and a University of Southern California medical professor, discussed a so-called enterovirus that is believed to behind paralysis and muscle weakness in nine Colorado children.

The virus, known as Enterovirus D68, had spread throughout the country. Agus urged parents that suspect their child may be infected with this virus to keep their children home from school. However, “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Charlie Rose asked how that particular virus, in addition to the Ebola virus, have been able to spread in recent weeks.

“Well, the world is flat,” Agus explained. “Right now, anybody can get on a plane and end up anywhere in this country and spread these viruses. And we have to be aware of it. We don't know exactly why there was a dramatic spread this year. But something is happening now. We have multiple viruses. And together with global climate change, things are changing in the virus world and we have to pay attention.”

SOURCE





Satellite Data: No Global Warming For Past 18 Years

 The Earth’s temperature has “plateaued” and there has been no global warming for at least the last 18 years, says Dr. John Christy, professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center (ESSC) at the University of Alabama/Huntsville.

“That’s basically a fact. There’s not much to comment on,” Christy said when CNSNews.com asked him to remark on the lack of global warming for nearly two decades as of October 1st.

The "plateau" is evident in the climate record Christy and former NASA scientist Roy Spencer compiled using actual raw temperature data collected from 14 instruments aboard various weather satellites.

CNSNews.com asked Christy why the United Nations’ climate models, which all predicted steeply rising temperatures over the past two decades, were all proven wrong.

“You’re going back to a fundamental question of science that when you understand a system, you are able to predict its behavior. The fact that no one predicted what’s happened in the past 18 years indicates we have a long way to go to understand the climate system,” Christy replied.

“And that the way the predictions were wrong were all to one direction, which means the predictions or the science is biased in one direction, toward overcooking the atmosphere.”

Christy added that basing government policy affecting millions of Americans on “very poor” climate models that have been shown to be inaccurate is “a fool’s errand.”

“Our ignorance is simply enormous when it comes to the climate system, and our understanding is certainly not strong and solid enough to make policy about climate because we don’t even know what it’s going to do, so how can we make a policy that says ‘I want to make the climate do something' when we don’t know what makes the climate do what it does?” he asked.

“A policy is supposed to have a goal. Well, if you don’t know how the system works, that means you don’t know how to make it go toward that goal. And that’s certainly the case now, since none of the climate models are able to tell us what the future is going to be. They’ve certainly failed in the past. And so the policy is really a fool’s errand at this point.”

However, he noted that “there is still a strong belief system that greenhouse gases control the climate, and so if that is your belief system, then it doesn’t really matter what the evidence shows.”

Christy said he has “no idea” if the Earth’s temperature will go up again in the future.  “I’m a climatologist, which means I’m driving the car and looking in the rearview mirror, not out the front windshield, so I don’t try to forecast,” he told CNSNews.com.

But earlier predictions that the El Nino will drive up temperatures this year were off the mark, he says.

“There was a big pulse in what was a precursor to the El Nino back in May, and so it looked like it was going to be a very strong El Nino, but that pulse of warm water in the ocean – the heat content, actually – just faded away, basically. And so this wasn’t going to be a 1997/98 El Nino again. I don’t think they’re going to see the big spike in temperature” that was originally predicted.

“But you know, El Ninos come and go, and they shouldn’t be factored in what the overall temperature does over decades.”

Christy countered claims by some climatologists that the satellite data doesn’t show an increase in surface temperature because the "missing heat" was absorbed by the oceans.

“That would require a change in wind speeds. It also means the climate models don’t have the oceans right,” he pointed out. “The other alternative is that the heat never was stored in the climate system, and that it escaped into space. That is just as plausible.”

"I predicted this in 1999," Dr. Don Easterbrook, a climate scientist and glacier expert from Washington State, said of the 18-year period with no global warming. "My prediction has now happened."

"The same year the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) models were predicting that the Earth would warm by one degree per decade, I was predicting that the Earth would cool for the next three decades," he noted. "They were way off the mark, while my prediction is still on target."

Easterbrook added that with the sun entering a period known as a Grand Minimum, "it's a sure thing it's going to get cooler. It's just difficult to tell how much. It looks like it may get one degree cooler and maybe more," he said. "That may not seem like a lot, but it only warmed up one degree during the entire last century."

SOURCE





Walrus panic a lot of bunkum

The October 1, 2014 Associated Press article linking the walrus gathering to melting sea ice, lacks historical perspective and contains serious spin that would lead readers to erroneous conclusions about walruses and the climate.

[Update: Zoologist Dr. Susan Crockford weighs in: "Mass haulouts of Pacific walrus and stampede deaths are not new, not due to low ice cover - 'The attempts by WWF and others to link this event to global warming is self-serving nonsense that has nothing to do with science...this is blatant nonsense and those who support or encourage this interpretation are misinforming the public." ]

First off, walruses are not endangered. According to the New York Times, “the Pacific walrus remains abundant, numbering at least 200,000 by some accounts, double the number in the 1950s.”

The AP article titled, “35,000 walrus come ashore in northwest Alaska”, claims “the gathering of walrus on shore is a phenomenon that has accompanied the loss of summer sea ice as the climate has warmed.” The AP even includes the environmental group World Wildlife Fund, to ramp up climate hype. “It’s another remarkable sign of the dramatic environmental conditions changing as the result of sea ice loss,” said Margaret Williams, managing director of the group’s Arctic program, by phone from Washington, D.C.

The media and green groups are implying that walrus hanging out by the tens of thousands is a new phenomenon and due to melting Arctic ice. But dating back to at least the 1604, there have been reports of large walrus gatherings or haulouts.

Excerpt: “Walruses became only really known in Europe after the 1604 expedition to the Kola Peninsula of the ship “Speed” of Muscovy Company, commanded by Stephen Bennet. On the way back to England the Speed reached what some years before a Dutch expedition had named “Bear Island”. The crew of the Speed discovered a haulout numbering about a thousand walruses on the island’s northern coast.”

According to a National Geographic article in 2007, walrus populations were not endangered. See: “While scientists lack a firm population estimate for the species, researchers have encountered herds as large as 100,000 in recent years”

Even the green activists group, the WWF, admits walrus ‘hangouts’ of tens of thousands are not unprecedented.  A 2009 WWF blog report noted: “WWF Polar Bear coordinator Geoff York returned on 17 September from a trip along the Russian coast and saw a haul out there with an estimated 20,000 walruses near Ryrkaipiy (on the Chukchi Peninsula).”

Are 35,000 walruses gathering in “haulouts” on the shoreline with many be stampeded to death really that unusual? The answer is No!
The AP reported on 40,000 walruses in a haulout just 7 years ago in a single location. See: AP 12/14/2007: “40,000 in one spot” – “As a result, walruses came ashore earlier and stayed longer, congregating in extremely high numbers, with herds as big as 40,000 at Point Shmidt, a spot that had not been used by walruses as a “haulout” place for a century, scientists said.”

Walrus stampede deaths drop dramatically from 3000 to 50?  The October 1, 2014 AP article notes with obvious concern for the walrus species: “Observers last week saw about 50 carcasses on the beach from animals that may have been killed in a stampede…”  Fifty walrus carcasses? That number is a significant improvement from 2007 when there were a reported 3000 dead walruses discovered from the late summer and fall on the Russian side of the Arctic, according to the AP’s own earlier reporting. See: 2007: ‘3,000 walruses die in stampedes tied to Climate’

Are walrus stampede deaths declining in recent years? It is difficult to say based on reports, but a high of 3000 deaths in 2007 (for a whole season) to a low of 50 deaths in 2014 for a single location, but it does not  appear to be an alarming trend.

Why does the AP fail to put any historical perspective on their climate scare stories, especially when the AP’s own reporting from 7 years ago calls into question their claims?

The next issue is whether or not sea ice extent is critical to walruses in late summer and fall. According to this report, ice extent is not critical. As Nelson noted in 2007: “When I read this in the (2007) ‘walrus’ Wikipedia entry, I’m also not convinced that lack of summer ice is necessarily a big deal.”

2007 Wikipedia entry: “In the non-reproductive season (late summer and fall) walruses tend to migrate away from the ice and form massive aggregations of tens of thousands of individuals on rocky beaches or outcrops.” [Note: This line has been omitted from the Wikipedia entry in 2014]

Walrus stampede deaths benefit polar bears

In addition, a 2007 WWF post inadvertently noted that the carcasses of stampeded walruses may actually be a great benefit to polar bears.

“Last fall some 20,000-30,000 animals were piled up there. No one has actually counted them all, but the Vankarem residents are certain the number is growing…In early winter, when the ice is re-forming and walruses leave the beach, up to 100 carcasses remain behind. These blubbery animals offer a perfect meal for wandering and hungry polar bears…In mid-November, a truck driver alerted the patrol to bear tracks on the beach. The wave had begun. For the next three weeks, bears making their way along the coast stopped to graze on the carcasses at this so-called “feeding point” instead of proceeding to the village. At one time alone, Sergey and his team counted 96 bears feeding on the walrus. In total they estimated that 185 bears had been circulating with a six mile radius around the village.”

The stampeded remains of 100 walruses fed up to 185 polar bears!
But despite the easily accessible historical data on walruses, the WWF and the AP and other media in 2014, continue to spin the haulouts as evidence of “climate change.”

SOURCE





Could living near a wind farm make you DEAF? Low frequency 'hum' could damage the inner ear, experts warn

Wind farms could cause people living nearby to go deaf, a new study claims.

The barely audible low frequency hum emitted by turbines harms ‘the exquisite mechanics of our inner ears’, scientists say.

A study of 21 healthy young men and women who were exposed to such sound, revealed that most experienced changes in cells in the cochlear - a spiral shaped cavity essential for hearing and balance.

Researchers measured the changes by analysing Spontaneous Otoacoustic Emissions (SOAEs), which are the faint sounds produced in the ear that can detect changes to its physiology.

Dr Marcus Drexel, of the University of Munich, said man-made sources of low frequency noise have spread dramatically in recent years and are also generated by thermal power stations, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

‘The dogma of “what you can’t hear, won’t hurt you” is deeply rooted in society and governs the current health and safety regulations,’ he said.

‘However, while even loud low frequency sounds are not perceived as obtrusive, our findings show such sounds affect the exquisite mechanics of our inner ears in a significant manner.

‘Our study identifies a mechanism in our hearing system, which can contribute to explain conditions associated with low-frequency sound emissions.’

Scientists found that most of the healthy adults who they exposed to the sound - a low frequency wavelength of 30Hz - experienced changes in cells in the cochlea.

In the study, the participants were exposed to a low frequency wavelength of 30Hz for 90 seconds, to mimic the noise generated a wind turbine.

The noise was well below health and safety regulations, according to the paper, which was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

Humans can have a hearing range of between 20 and 20,000Hz.

Dr Drexel said: ‘Most interestingly, 17 of the 21 subjects revealed an overall of 56 new SOAEs, which had not been measurable before low frequency stimulation.’

For decades, experts thought that sound lower than 250Hz largely bypassed the inner ear even at intense levels, because thresholds are relatively high. But this could be incorrect.

Dr Drexel said: ‘The current data show in humans, active cochlear mechanics, as assessed by SOAE measurements, are significantly affected by low frequency stimulation.

‘To the best of our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive study focusing on the effect of low frequency sound on level and frequency of human SOAEs.’

Wind farms have also been linked with a greater risk of heart disease, panic attacks and migraines.

The farms are said to cause ‘wind turbine syndrome’, the symptoms of which include tinnitus, vertigo and sleep deprivation.

It is thought that thousands of people are super sensitive to low frequency sounds which are produced by factory machinery and transport as well as household items such as fridges and boilers.

The wind industry has been accused of ignoring the damaging impact of the intermittent noise from turbines for 25 years.  A 1987 research paper for the US Department of Energy showed the ‘annoyance’ caused by them to nearby residents was ‘real not imaginary’.

SOURCE





EPA: Hurting poor families most

News for low-income households facing another brutal winter in New England is again bleak. One of the largest energy providers in the region announced recently that energy costs for a typical household could top $150 a month this winter — a 37 percent increase over just last year.

For many poorer families, that $40 per month increase will force a choice between purchasing enough food to feed a cold family or warming the bedrooms they return to — malnourished, or suffering otherwise from a lack of household resources to fund Obama’s jihad on affordable energy.

Yet not a sentence of concern has been uttered from the environmental alarmists in the Obama administration and its radical  EPA as the poor disproportionately carry the burden of “green energy.”

“Green energy,” named for invoking images of green in nature, is defined by the EPA as energy “whose generation has zero/negligible environmental impacts.” But the human toll for the “zero/ negligible environmental impacts” of this energy is yet uncharacterized. Perhaps images of the inefficient energy options that force blue-lipped children to sleep in unheated bedrooms would be more aptly labeled “blue energy.”

EPA head — and, ironically enough, Massachusetts native — Gina McCarthy has presided over the Obama administration’s assault on New England’s poor.

Under McCarthy, regulations have killed the future of affordable coal-fired energy, inexpensive natural gas development is at risk, and once-alternative options are now more limited than ever before in recent memory — highlighted by the 80 percent of traditional wood stoves (as in, burning wood for heat … if it gets more “green” than that, let me know) now banned by the EPA from production and sale in the United States.

I write this as a transplanted New England native, who grew up three miles down a dirt road in a log home with a wood stove (that’s now illegal to manufacture) to supplement home heating expenses. The neighbors who already struggle through the winter months to make ends meet now face the unnecessary, expensive consequences of Obama’s policies.

It is on the backs of these New England families the EPA is pursuing its radical mission to kill efficient energy production, masked by the unproven, abstract goal of clean air and cool temperatures — both things New Englanders actually possesses in excess.

But, realistically, who actually cares? New Englanders vote reliably with the party of environmental radicalism and the poor families suffering most couldn’t afford to scratch a check to a Super PAC or take a Saturday to campaign if they wanted to.

If energy prices are ever to stop increasing year over year, the people of New England and the rest of the American people must decide if they’re willing to make abundantly clear to those holding elected office that the well-being of families comes before any political agenda — and that statement must start now.

Martha Coakley and Mike Michaud, the Democrat candidates for Governor in Massachusetts and Maine respectively, each hold long, uncompromised records supporting Obama’s “blue energy” agenda, along with dozens of candidates from each state. If the people of New England and the United States want to send a message about the well-being of themselves and their neighbors to Washington and state capitols like Boston and Augusta, the loudest megaphone opens at 7:00 a.m. on November 4.

SOURCE





California drought and climate warming: Studies find no clear link

Global warming contributed to extreme heat waves in many parts of the world last year, but cannot be definitively linked to the California drought, according to a report released Monday.

The third annual analysis of extreme weather events underscored the continuing difficulty of teasing out the influence of human-caused climate change on precipitation patterns.

One of three studies examining the California drought in 2013 found that the kind of high-pressure systems that blocked winter storms last year have increased with global warming.

But another study concluded that a long-term rise in sea surface temperatures in the western Pacific did not contribute substantially to the drought. And researchers noted that California precipitation since 1895 has "exhibited no appreciable downward trend."

Overall, the report editors concluded that the papers didn't demonstrate that global warming clearly influenced the drought, which is one of the worst in the state record.

In the report, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 20 research teams explored the causes of 16 extreme weather events recorded in 2013, including torrential downpours in Colorado, heat waves in Korea and Australia and a blizzard in South Dakota.

The studies overwhelmingly showed that human-caused climate change played a role in the heat waves, in some cases making them 10 times more likely.

But the report editors wrote that "natural variability likely played a much larger role in the extreme precipitation events," whether it was flooding in India, deep snow in the Spanish Pyrenees Mountains or the California drought.

Last year's exceedingly dry winter in California was largely the result of a stubborn high pressure system parked over the northeastern Pacific Ocean. Nicknamed the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, by Stanford University researcher Daniel Swain, the system shunted winter storms far to the north, off their normal path to California.

Those sorts of high-pressure systems "are considerably more likely to occur” with global warming, said Swain, lead author of one of the three California papers. “It suggests an increased likelihood of the kinds of large-scale atmospheric conditions that are conducive to drought in California,” he added.

But Marty Hoerling, co-editor of the climate report and a research meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, noted that high-pressure systems have increased everywhere. What drives storms is the difference in atmospheric pressure over the north and south Pacific, he said, and that was not examined in the Swain paper.


Researchers concluded in a third paper that while long-term warming contributes to storm-diverting high-pressure systems over the northeast Pacific, that is countered by an increase in atmospheric humidity that can promote wetter weather in California.

Comparing the periods of 1871-1970 with 1980-2013, the authors wrote that there was "no appreciable long-term change in the risk for dry climate extremes over California since the late 19th century."

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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Thursday, October 02, 2014


The persistent perchlorate panic

The Greenies have been struggling for some time to produce evidence of harm from the ingestion of small quantities of perchlorate.  But various official enquiries have found nothing convincing.  Below however we have a new study which does indeed show a strong effect.  But it is not a study of normal people.  It is a study of people who already have serious thyroid dysfunction.  How that generalizes to normal people is therefore anyone's guess.  As the authors of the original journal article themselves conclude: "These results require replication in additional studies, including in the euthyroid population".  Where the "euthyroid population" is normal people

A chemical used in rocket fuel that is found in some regions' drinking water has been linked to significantly lower IQ's in the children of mothers exposed while they were pregnant, a new study has found.

Perchlorate, which is also found in fireworks, explosives and is a byproduct of using fertilizers, may cause this by disrupting the thyroid's normal hormone production.

'Our report highlights a pressing need for larger studies of perchlorate levels from the general pregnant population and those with undetected hypothyroidism,' the authors wrote.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, identified pregnant women in Cardiff, Wales and Turin, Italy who had iodine deficiency and thyroid dysfunction.

Researches then tested their perchlorate levels. Three years later they tested their children's IQ.  They found that women with the highest 10 percent of perchlorate levels were over three times more likely to have children with an IQ score in the lowest 10 percent.

Perchlorate is found in around 4 percent of the U.S. public drinking water, according to Scientific American. That affects 5 to 17 million people.  Perchlorate is most prevalent in the Western U.S., specifically near Las Vegas and Southern California.

A Canadian survey released in May reported that all samples of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products and infant formulae analyzed for perchlorate were safe for consumption.

The CFIA tested a total of 611 samples, including 433 fresh fruit and vegetable, 89 dairy product , and 89 infant formula samples, collected from Canadian retail stores.

The 2010-2011 study found that 65 percent of fresh fruit and vegetable, 87 percent of dairy product, and 63 percent of infant formula samples analyzed were found to contain very low levels of perchlorate, in the range of 2 to 540 parts per billion.

EPA officials have long gone back and forth as to whether to cap the amount of perchlorate allowable in drinking water.

In 2002, an EPA draft risk assessment found that 1 part per billion should be considered safe. Six years later, the Bush administration decided not to regulate the chemical, instead recommending that concentrations not exceed 15 parts per billion.

At the time, federal scientists estimated that 16.6 million Americans could be exposed to unsafe levels through their drinking water.

California and Massachusetts in the meantime have set state-level drinking water standards.

Currently, the EPA plans to unveil new standards for perchlorate in water in summer 2015.

SOURCE

Maternal perchlorate levels in women with borderline thyroid function during pregnancy and the cognitive development of their offspring; Data from the Controlled Antenatal Thyroid Study

Peter N Taylor et al.

Abstract

Objective:
Thyroid dysfunction is associated with impaired cognitive development. Perchlorate decreases thyroidal iodine uptake, potentially reducing thyroid hormone production. It is unclear whether perchlorate exposure in early life affects neurodevelopment.

Design:
Historical cohort analysis.
Patients:
During 2002–2006, 21,846 women at gestational age less than 16 weeks recruited from antenatal clinics in Cardiff, UK and Turin, Italy were enrolled in the Controlled Antenatal Thyroid Screening Study (CATS). We undertook a retrospective analysis of 487 mother-child pairs in mothers who were hypothyroid/hypothyroxinemic during pregnancy and analyzed whether first trimester maternal perchlorate levels in the highest 10% of the study population were associated with increased odds of offspring IQ being in the lowest 10% at age 3 years.

Main Outcome Measures:
Maternal urinary perchlorate, offspring IQ.

Results:
Urine perchlorate was detectable in all women (median 2.58μg/liter); iodine levels were low (median 72μg/liter). Maternal perchlorate levels in the highest 10% of the population increased the odds of offspring IQ being in the lowest 10% OR=3.14 (95%CI 1.38, 7.13) p=0.006 with a greater negative impact observed on verbal OR=3.14 (95%CI 1.42, 6.90) p=0.005 than performance IQ. Maternal levothyroxine therapy did not reduce the negative impact of perchlorate on offspring IQ.

Conclusions:
This is the first study using individual-level patient data to study maternal perchlorate exposure and offspring neurodevelopment and suggests that high-end maternal perchlorate levels in hypothyroid/hypothyroxinemic pregnant women have an adverse effect on offspring cognitive development, not affected by maternal levothyroxine therapy. These results require replication in additional studies, including in the euthyroid population.

SOURCE





Is global warming weakening Earth’s gravity? Satellite finds variations where ice is melting fastest in Antarctica

"Exact figures of the shift in gravity are miniscule".  Typical of Warmist data.  If the figures mean anything, they mean that an ice mass contributes to the gravity above it, which is not much of a surprise.  And the correlation discovered is just a correlation.  And correlation is not causation

An Esa satellite has found an unusual consequence of the melting of ice in Antarctica.

While rising sea levels and changing global temperatures are already known to be a consequence of alleged manmade climate change, the GOCE satellite - which was not intended to study the effects of a warming climate - has found that gravity is weakening where ice is melting the fastest.

The results show that the thinning ice sheet from November 2009 to June 2012 caused local variations in gravity, measured by the satellite.

The GOCE satellite burned up in Earth’s atmosphere as planned in November 2013 after four years in orbit.

During its mission it measured Earth’s gravity in unprecedented detail, detailing where it was weakest and strongest on the surface.

But recently, the high-resolution measurements from GOCE over Antarctica between November 2009 and June 2012 were analysed by scientists from the German Geodetic Research Institute, Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and the Technical University of Munich in Germany.

Scientists found that the decrease in the mass of ice during this period was mirrored in GOCE’s measurements of gravity, even though the mission was not designed to detect changes over time.

The findings were made by combining GOCE’s high-resolution measurements with information from the Nasa-German Grace satellite, designed to measure change in ice mass.

The fluctuations observed are minute, however, and not enough for a living organism to sense.

The measurements from GOCE correlate with the Grace satellite and show how much ice is being lost each year.

While exact figures of the shift in gravity are miniscule, the results show how some parts of the West Antarctic ice sheet are losing up to 67 gigatones of ice per year.

This is contributing to a 0.51 mm per year sea level rise in the Amundsen Sea Sector.

And they found that that the loss of ice from West Antarctica between 2009 and 2012 caused the dip in the gravity field over the region.

In addition, GOCE data could be used to help validate satellite altimetry measurements for an even clearer understanding of ice-sheet and sea-level change in the future.

The high-resolution measurements from the satellite are further evidence of how manmade climate change will affect the planet in unknown ways.

SOURCE





California Becomes First State to Ban Plastic Bags

Thus igniting a war on trees, as paper bags replace plastic ones.  Greenies are no tree-huggers

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday that makes the state the first in the country to ban single-use plastic bags.

The ban will go into effect in July 2015, prohibiting large grocery stores from using the material that often ends up as litter in the state’s waterways. Smaller businesses, like liquor and convenience stores, will need to follow suit in 2016. More than 100 municipalities in the state already have similar laws, including Los Angeles and San Francisco. The new law will allow the stores nixing plastic bags to charge 10 cents for a paper or reusable bag instead. The law also provides funds to plastic-bag manufacturers, an attempt to soften the blow as lawmakers push the shift toward producing reusable bags.

San Francisco became the first major American city to ban plastic bags in 2007, but the statewide ban may be a more powerful precedent as advocates in other states look to follow suit. The law’s enactment Tuesday marked an end to a long battle between lobbyists for the plastic bag industry and those worried about the bags’ effect on the environment.

California State Senator Kevin de Leόn, a co-author of the bill, called the new law “a win-win for the environment and for California workers.”

“We are doing away with the scourge of single-use plastic bags and closing the loop on the plastic waste stream, all while maintaining—and growing—California jobs,” he said.

SOURCE





Hershey Bars, Global Warming and Deforestation: a Sweet New Policy

Below is a sermon by a Warmist in praise of the Hershey company.  And if the Hershey company are indeed going to  reduce the clearing of tropical forest, I will praise them too.  Greenies, with their love of paper bags etc., are the big motivators behind trees being cut down.  And that is true in this case too.  Palm oil is widely used in food products now because Greenies and their ilk demonized saturated fat -- which is now known to be harmless.  It is the demand for palm oil created by Greenie and food-freak pressure that led to the removal of native forest and its replacement by palm oil plantations.  And the claim that palm oil plantations increase global warming is amusing.  If that is so, how come that there has in fact been no global warming for 17 years?

As I rode on the train back to Washington today, The Hershey Company announced its strengthened commitment to zero deforestation for all the palm oil it uses. This is another of the welcome corporate statements, over the last several months and indeed the last few days, that have recognized business’ responsibilities to reduce the damage that they cause to the climate. I’m particularly glad to see this one, for several reasons: because it’s a strong policy by almost every criterion; because UCS has been working with The Hershey Company for nearly a year, urging energetic and scientifically rigorous action; and because I’ve liked their chocolate bars for an awfully long time.

The policy that The Hershey Company announced puts it among the leaders in the industry in terms of eliminating deforestation, peat clearing and other kinds of climate damage from its supply chain. It applies to all its products in all its markets worldwide. It includes a commitment to tracing its raw materials back to their sources. It uses the High Carbon Stock (HCS) terminology, which clearly differentiates degraded land from forests that need to be preserved. It provides for monitoring of its progress by TFT, an independent third-party verifier. And it has specific target dates, in the relatively short term, for achieving these goals.

UCS—particular our Palm Oil Outreach Coordinator, Miriam Swaffer—has been talking with The Hershey Company for nearly a full year about this policy. We urged them to follow the science and the lead of the most advanced consumer goods companies, including competitors of theirs like Nestle and Unilever. And they have.

This has been another exciting week of important commitments by companies to end deforestation and protect the climate, including zero deforestation commitments from two major fast food brands, Dunkin and Krispy Kreme. Forty corporations (as well as UCS) are among the 150 signatories of yesterday’s New York Declaration on Forests, committing to cutting deforestation in half by 2020 and ending it by 2030.

With 10% of global warming pollution coming from tropical deforestation, decoupling the production of commodities like palm oil from tropical forest destruction is one of the most efficient ways to address climate change. We’ve said before that the tide is turning against deforestation in corporate supply chains, and today that’s even more evident.

The Hershey Company can still improve its policy by committing to tracing all its palm oil, from all its suppliers, to the plantation where it was grown (the current statement goes most of the way there, tracing palm oil considered most at risk to this level). But it has taken an important step forward, leading consumer goods companies toward a new relationship with our climate. Now it’s time for companies that are still lagging—for example, McDonald’s, Burger King and Yum! Brands—to move quickly to catch up. Tell McDonald’s, that for the sake of our atmosphere, tropical forests and endangered species – the time to act is now.

SOURCE





Latest Climate Idiocy: Global Warming Created ISIS

In recent weeks the Obama administration has blamed President Bush and/or the intelligence community for the creation of ISIS, others have blamed President Obama and his reluctance to get involved in another Middle East conflict, but apparently both positions are wrong. According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, the reason why ISIS was able to form and grow so fast was global warming (note: do not check your calendar it's September not April fools day. They really believe this).

The authors of the piece; Charles B. Strozier Professor of History, The City University of New York; and Kelly A. Berkell Attorney and research associate, Center on Terrorism at John Jay College of Criminal Justice believe that ISIS formed because of a severe drought in Syria from 2006-2010 and that drought happened because of---you guessed it---Climate Change.

    "As the Obama administration undertakes a highly public, multilateral campaign to degrade and destroy the militant jihadists known as ISIS, ISIL and the Islamic State, many in the West remain unaware that climate played a significant role in the rise of Syria's extremists. A historic drought afflicted the country from 2006 through 2010, setting off a dire humanitarian crisis for millions of Syrians. Yet the four-year drought evoked little response from Bashar al-Assad's government. Rage at the regime's callousness boiled over in 2011, helping to fuel the popular uprising. In the ensuing chaos, ISIS stole onto the scene, proclaimed a caliphate in late June and accelerated its rampage of atrocities including the recent beheadings of three Western civilians.

    While ISIS threatens brutal violence against all who dissent from its harsh ideology, climate change menaces communities (less maliciously) with increasingly extreme weather.

    The drought that preceded the current conflict in Syria fits into a pattern of increased dryness in the Mediterranean and Middle East, for which scientists hold climate change partly responsible. Affecting 60 percent of Syria's land, drought ravaged the country's northeastern breadbasket region; devastated the livelihoods of 800,000 farmers and herders; and knocked two to three million people into extreme poverty. Many became climate refugees, abandoning their homes and migrating to already overcrowded cities. They forged temporary settlements on the outskirts of areas like Aleppo, Damascus, Hama and Homs. Some of the displaced settled in Daraa, where protests in early 2011 fanned out and eventually ignited a full-fledged war."

Although I am not a climate scientist (actually neither are the authors) it is easy to strike down their theory, both from a political and a scientific point of view:

    ISIS did not form in Syria it formed in Iraq. In fact one of the reasons each party has been able to blame the other for the rise of the terrorist group is that ISIS used to be al Qaeda in Iraq. They were thrown out of the Bin Laden group because the ISIS leaders did not play nice with the al Qaeda leaders.

    Perhaps the single most important factor in ISIS' recent resurgence is the conflict between Iraqi Shias and Iraqi Sunnis. ISIS fighters themselves are Sunnis, and the tension between the two groups is a powerful recruiting tool for ISIS. The Shia government of Iraq refused to share power with the Sunnis (who held power under Saddam Hussein). The Shia/Sunni fight began as a fight over who got to take power after the Prophet Muhammad's death and has been going on for almost 1400 years--way before ISIS.

    Most observers believe ISIS was able to grow because American troops pulled out of Iraq too early and didn't help out in Syria until it was too late.  Unless the drought happened in Washington DC, it couldn't have had any influence on the President's decision.

     Droughts? science  states there has been no increase in droughts world-wide. In other words if you believe the world is going to hell in a hand basket due to global warming, that climate change is not increasing the number of droughts in in the world.

    "It is misleading and just plain incorrect to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally,” Professor Roger Pielke Jr. said in his testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

    In May of 2014 Professor Pielke  published a graph that shows the intensity of the planet's droughts from 1982 to 2012. The graph shows that neither droughts nor their intensity have seen a growth trend during that 30-year period.

    It's not getting warmer. Its incredible that almost every day the global warming hoaxers come up with another example of how the earth is being destroyed due to their hypothesis like the one being explored here. The truth is as of Sept. 1 the Earth hasn't warmed in the last 17 years and 11 months (new numbers, through October 1 will be out in a few days). Another way to look at it is the warming stopped approximately ten years before the drought in Syria...making it difficult for there to be a connection.

It is interesting that the authors contend "ISIS threatens brutal violence against all who dissent from its harsh ideology" which is true, ISIS not only threaten violence but they follow through with their threats. Also true is that the climate change proponents threaten violence. Thankfully they do not follow through with it, but they do attack people who question their unproven hypothesis as science haters and deniers of truth. Perhaps if they examined the facts instead of desperately trying to prove their hypothesis true climate change enthusiasts would realize the holes in their arguments.

Climate change helping to create ISIS is now #49 on the "official list," of stupid things global warming enthusiasts have blamed on their failed theory

SOURCE





Wind farms 'kill confused bats': New study

Endangered bats are being killed by wind turbine blades because the air currents are similar to those near tall trees, a study shows.

It’s feared the legally protected mammals are dying while hunting insects that are attracted by the heat generated by the spinning blades.

Thousands of bats have been killed by wind turbines causing a population decline that could cost the farming industry billions each year.

The nocturnal creatures are welcomed by farmers across the world as they eat large numbers of insects that usually damage crops.

This reduces the amount that farmers have to spend on pesticides and saves millions of new plants that could be obliterated by the creepy crawlies.

Over 600,000 bats were killed by wind turbines across the U.S. in 2O12 alone and in the UK the number of bats in areas where they are put up have fallen by 54 per cent.

The researchers say tree-roosting bats suffer higher fatality rates at the sites than other species and peak during low wind conditions.

They used thermal surveillance cameras situated on the ground, near-infrared video, acoustic detectors and radar to monitor bat behaviour at a wind farm in Indiana over several months.

During periods of low wind more bats were sighted near turbines than during gales. The frequency with which they approached from a downwind direction increased with increasing wind speeds - but only when the blades turned slower than normal.

When the blades moved freely the bats approached less frequently from a downwind direction as wind speeds increased.

The results published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggest bats orient toward turbines by sensing air currents.

Around three quarters of British bat species are known to roost in trees. The remaining species tend to favour human-made structures because of a lack of suitable and available tree habitat.

Trees provide shelter and attract a diverse range of insect species for bats to feed on. Since bats are not able to bore holes or make nests they use whatever gaps are available.

The researchers believe tree-roosting bats are attracted to turbines because air currents are similar to those around tall trees that harbour insects on their downwind sides or provide sheltered roosting sites.

The findings could explain why they are more vulnerable to wind farms than non-tree-roosting species.

Dr Paul Cryan, of Fort Collins Science Centre in Colorado, and colleagies said: 'Bats are dying in unprecedented numbers at wind turbines but causes of their susceptibility are unknown.

'Fatalities peak during low-wind conditions in late summer and autumn and primarily involve species that evolved to roost in trees.'

He added: 'We discovered previously undescribed patterns in the ways bats approach and interact with turbines suggesting behaviours that evolved at tall trees might be the reason why many bats die at wind turbines.'

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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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Fascism Is Efficient, Says Andres Duany, Leading Proponent of “Sustainable Development”

At last a Greenie admits where he is coming from.  Fascism is of course NOT efficient, but it does suit those who want to control others

It goes by many names: “sustainable development,” “smart growth,” “transit-oriented development,” to name a few. But development projects built under the banner of “sustainability” share the same elements: high-density residential housing and high-intensity commercial space (so-called mixed use) clustered near capital-intensive mass transit lines surrounded by government-owned “open space” and, increasingly, government-imposed “urban growth boundaries.” Regardless of where a sustainable-development project is located in the world, each tends to apply these elements.

There is nothing wrong with high-density housing or non-automobile mobility per se. The problem is that sustainability advocates use government to force their vision of tomorrow on others and, equally important, use government to restrict or eliminate alternative visions from being adopted. Individual private-property rights and local decision making give way to the priorities of international, national, state, and regional governmental bodies influenced by urban planners who believe their vision of the next 50 to 100 years is the correct vision and the only vision worth pursuing. Anyone who thinks differently, according to the planners, is wrong, selfish, wasteful, or all three, and must be silenced.

If you think this description is exaggerated, watch this chilling video of Andres Duany speaking to the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council on why it should support his Seven50 plan. Mr. Duany is the chief architect of Seven50, the proposed 50-year regional development plan for seven counties in Southeast Florida, including Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. Mr. Duany is a leading urban planner, author of The Smart Growth Manual, and a founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism, which seeks to end suburban sprawl. After watching this video ask yourself: Do I want to support the so-called “smart-growth” approach and empower Andres Duany and people like him to rule over me and my community using government force? Or do I want to strengthen my private property rights and ensure local control over housing, land use, and transportation issues?



SOURCE






Global Warming Zealot McCarthy Of EPA Plays Race Card

You can't argue with global warming zealots: Whatever the thermometer reads, they're right and you're wrong. Whatever the short-term, intermediate or long-term data suggest, all these eco-radicals see is additional proof of their distorted worldview.

Hot summers? Mild winters? That's global warming. Mild summers? Frigid winters? That's global warming, too.

You see, if you're a disciple of climate change, it all makes perfect sense — every measurement is further validation, and every validation is an excuse to impose costlier obligations on taxpayers (and more onerous restrictions on what's left of our free market).

Responding to an unseasonably cool summer in New England (and predictions of a colder-than-usual winter), columnist Tom Keane of the Boston Globe assured his liberal readers that "climate change proceeds apace."

"We're like a guy with his head in the refrigerator while his house is burning down, thinking nothing's wrong," Keane wrote.

Never mind that satellite data released this spring by NASA showed no statistical change in the Earth's temperature over the past 17-1/2 years.

Trapped In Ice

Or that a leaked report to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year revealed that Earth was headed for a period of sustained cooling over the next few decades.

Or that as of last fall, the Antarctic sea ice extent was at record-high levels.

In fact, the research vessel Akademik Shokalskiy  — which was dispatched to the South Pole last December ostensibly to document melting polar ice caps — instead found itself trapped in frozen seas.

And yes, the boat's top researcher blamed his crew's ironic predicament on "global warming."

"We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said, insisting climate change caused ice up to 10 feet thick to envelop his fossil fuel-powered boat, making it impossible for fossil fuel-powered ice breakers to get within 10 miles of the ship (forcing the crew to be rescued by a fossil fuel-powered Chinese helicopter).

If you missed that story, you're not alone: Most mainstream media outlets refused to cover it.

Of course, when the head of Barack Obama's Environmental Protection Agency — avowed eco-radical Gina McCarthy — played the race card in an effort to pressure lawmakers into adopting harsher anti-free market regulations, her pronouncements were broadly disseminated and treated as gospel.

"Carbon pollution standards are an issue of justice," McCarthy said recently. "If we want to protect communities of color, we need to protect them from climate change."

SOURCE




It’s Time to Stop the Climate Scare Stories

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi sensibly refuses to attend yet another climate summit – this one called by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in New York for September 23, under the auspices of the United Nations, which profits handsomely from the much-exaggerated climate scare.

Environmentalists have complained at Mr. Modi’s decision not to attend. They say rising atmospheric CO2 will cause droughts, melt Himalayan ice and poison lakes and waterways in the Indian subcontinent.

However, the UN’s climate panel, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has already had to backtrack on an earlier assertion that all the ice in the Himalayas would be gone within 25 years, and the most comprehensive review of drought trends worldwide shows the global land area under drought has fallen throughout the past 30 years.

Mr. Modi, a spiritual man and thus down-to-earth, knows that a quarter of India’s people still have no electricity. His priority is to turn on the lights all over India. In Bihar, four homes in five are lit by kerosene.

Electric power is the quickest, surest, cheapest way to lift people out of poverty and so to stabilize India’s population, which may soon overtake China’s.

The Indian-born Nobel laureate in economics, Professor Amartya Sen, recently lamented: “There would appear to be an insufficient recognition in global discussion of the need for increased power in the poorer countries. In India, for example, about a third of the people do not have any power connection at all. Making it easier to produce energy with better environmental correlates (and greater efficiency of energy use) may be a contribution not just to environmental planning, but also to making it possible for a great many people to lead a fuller and free life.”

The world’s governing elite, however, no longer cares about poverty. Climate change is its new and questionable focus.

In late August the Asian Development Bank, for instance, based on UN IPCC rising carbon dioxide (CO2) scenarios, predicted that warmer weather would cut rice production, rising seas would engulf Mumbai and other coastal megacities, and rainfall would decline by 10-40% in many Indian provinces.

Droughts and floods have occurred throughout India’s history. In the widespread famine caused by the drought of 1595-1598, “Men ate their own kind. The streets and roads were blocked with corpses, but no assistance can be given for their removal,” a chronicler in Akbar’s court reported.

Every Indian knows that too much (or too little) monsoon rainfall can bring death. That is why the latest computer-generated doom-and-gloom scenario by the Asian Development Bank is not merely unwelcome – it is repugnant. Garbage in, gospel out.

In truth, rice production has risen steadily, sea level is barely rising and even the UN’s climate panel has twice been compelled to admit that there is no evidence of a worldwide change in rainfall.

Subtropical India will not warm by much: advection would take most additional heat poleward. Besides, globally there has been little or no warming for almost two decades. The models did not predict that. The UN’s climate panel, on our advice, has recently all but halved its central estimate of near-term warming.

Sea level is rising no faster than for 150 years. From 2004-2012 the Envisat satellite reported a rise of a tenth of an inch. From 2003-2009 gravity satellites actually showed sea level falling. Results like these have not hitherto been reported in the mainstream news media.

More than 2 centuries of scientific research have failed to make the duration or magnitude of monsoons predictable. Monsoons depend on sea and surface temperature and wind conditions in the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans, timing of El Niños in the equatorial Pacific, variations in Eurasian and Himalayan winter snow cover, even wind direction in the equatorial stratosphere.

Earlier this year, the Indian Meteorological Department predicted a 1 in 4 chance that the 2014 monsoon rainfall would be below the long-term average, leading to a year of drought

The prediction was wrong. Widespread floods in northwestern India and Pakistan have killed several hundred people. Many environmentalists and governmental officials are now insisting that rising atmospheric CO2 is the culprit. Yet the one cause of the recent floods that can be altogether ruled out is global warming, for the good and sufficient reason that for 18 years there has not been any warming.

Worse still for CO2 alarmists: 20th and 21st century warming did not occur in the western Himalayas, and paleo-temperature records from for the last millennium confirm no exceptional recent warming in this region, although the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today almost everywhere else.

Regardless of the numerous political manipulations of fact and reality, the scientific problems of forecasting monsoon self-evidently remain unsolved.

In 1906 the forecasts depended on 28 unknowns. By 2007 scientists from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology were using 73. So insisting that just one variable – CO2 concentration – will drive future monsoons is unscientific.

Professor Nandakumar Sarma, vice-chancellor of Manipur University, recently confirmed that “even supercomputers cannot predict what will happen due to climate change within 10-20 years, since there are millions of variable parameters.”

Models said monsoons would become more intense. Instead, they have weakened for 50 years.

As for the floods in the north-west, a study of three major rivers floods in Gujarat by Dr. Alpa Sridhar confirmed that past floods were at least 8 to 10 times worse than recent floods such as that of 1973. CO2-based climate models have been unable to “hindcast” or recreate those floods.

Models also fail to replicate the 60-yr and 200-yr cycles in monsoon rainfall linked to solar cycles detected by studies of ocean sediments from the Arabian Sea.

A new study led by Professor K.M. Hiremath of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics shows the strong, possibly causative correlation between variations in solar activity (red curve) and in monsoon rainfall (blue curve) in Figure 1.

The red curve is actually the result of a simulation of the Indian monsoon rainfall for the past 120 years using solar activity as a forcing variable. The sun is visibly a far more likely influence on monsoon patterns than changes in CO2 concentration.

Governments also overlook a key conclusion from the world’s modelers, led by Dr. Fred Kucharski of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics: “The increase of greenhouse gases in the twentieth century has not significantly contributed to the observed decadal Indian monsoonal rainfall variability.”

Not one climate model predicted the severe Indian drought of 2009, followed by the prolonged rains the next year – up by 40% in most regions. These natural variations are not new. They have happened for tens of thousands of years.

A paper for Climate Dynamics co-authored by Professor Goswami, recently-retired director of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, shows why the models relied upon by the UN’s climate panel’s recent assessments predict monsoons inaccurately.

All 16 models examined had the same fatal flaw: they made rain too easily by artificially elevating air and water masses in the atmosphere.

Models are not ready to predict the climate. Misusing computers to spew out multiple “what-if” scenarios is unscientific.

Most fundamental problems in our immature understanding of climate have remained unresolved for decades. Some cannot be resolved at all. The UN’s climate panel admitted in 2001 what has been known for 50 years: because the climate is a “coupled, non-linear, chaotic object,” reliable long-term climate prediction is impossible.

Misuse of climate models as false prophets is costly in lives as well as treasure.

To condemn the poorest of India’s poor to continuing poverty is to condemn many to an untimely death. Mr. Modi is right to have no more to do with such murderous nonsense. It is time to put an end to climate summits. On the evidence, they are not needed.

SOURCE






Earth-Friendly Energy Is Anything But

Environmentalists worship solar energy and wind power as Earth-friendly answers to their ecological prayers. Tortoises, bats, butterflies, and bald eagles beg to differ.

Perhaps because solar panels and industrial wind farms lack emissions, they seem "clean." Despite their pristine appearance, however, these "green" electricity sources hammer Mother Nature - often fatally.

Consider the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in southern California's Mojave Desert. As Carolyn Lochhead wrote on September 7 in the San Francisco Chronicle, Ivanpah occupies 3,500 previously untouched federal acres. It features 300,000 mirrors that focus sunlight on three 40-story towers of power. Inside, 900-degree temperatures yield steam, propel turbines, and generate electricity for140,000 homes.

Ivanpah's environmental toll is stunning:

    BrightSource Energy, the project's owner, could have rehabilitated a brownfield, an abandoned commercial site, or a decommissioned military base. Instead, BrightSource developed 5.5 square miles of virgin desert.
   
Lochhead reports that "scientists now say desert soils contain vast stores of carbon that are unleashed by construction of solar facilities."
   
Tortoises native to that area became refugees once BrightSource relocated them en masse.
   
Kit-fox dens were flattened during construction.
   
Monarch butterflies and birds should avoid Ivanpah at all costs. Those who traverse its highly concentrated sunbeams oftenignite. Center for Biological Diversity ecologist K. Shawn Smallwoodtoldthe California Energy Commission last July that Ivanpah will roast an estimated 28,380 birds annually.

Ivanpah cost $2.2 billion, including a $1.6 billion federal loan. For its next trick, BrightSource envisions a bigger installation near Joshua Tree National Park - within a migratory path for protected peregrine falcons, golden eagles, and some 100 other bird species.

Meanwhile, environmentalists call wind power as benign as a summer breeze. In fact, wind farms have become avian killing fields. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service reports that "wind turbines may kill a half a million birds a year." Wind blows away another 600,000 bats annually, primarily through lung hemorrhaging. While these "flying vampires" look scary, most are insectivores and vegetarians. Bats actually serve mankind by pollinating crops and devouring mosquitoes. Fewer bats mean more mosquitoes. Swell.

USF&WS explains also that "eagles appear to be particularly susceptible. Large numbers of golden eagles have been killed by wind turbines in the western states," as have smaller numbers of bald eagles. Team Obama - which could not care less about America's beautiful, majestic national symbol - almost never prosecuteswind companies for violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Even worse, Obama is granting wind-farm operators 30-year federal eagle-killing permits, to continue their mayhem - all in the name of "clean" energy. On this matter, Obama's unvarnished callousness is staggering.

Long before windmills are installed - which itself consumes open fields - they abuse the Earth.

To evaluate any energy technology, "we must remember that it's a process, starting with mining the materials necessary for the machines," Alex Epstein notes in his forthcoming Penguin book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels. Epstein observes that manufacturing wind turbines requires "hazardous substances like hydrofluoric acid in order to get usable rare earth elements."

The Daily Mail's Simon Parry toured Baotou, China, a source of neodymium, the main ingredient in wind turbines' electromagnets. He discovered "a five-mile wide ‘tailing' lake. It has killed farmland for miles around, made thousands of people ill, and put one of China's key waterways in jeopardy."

Parry added:

    "This vast, hissing cauldron of chemicals is the dumping ground for seven million tons a year of mined rare earth after it has been doused in acid and chemicals and processed through red-hot furnaces to extract its components.

    The lake instantly assaults your senses. Stand on the black crust for just seconds and your eyes water and a powerful, acrid stench fills your lungs.

    For hours after our visit, my stomach lurched and my head throbbed. We were there for only one hour, but those who live in Mr. Yan's village of Dalahai, and other villages around, breathe in the same poison every day."

Environmentalists should stop hallucinating about "sustainable" power sources that unleash puppies and rainbows at no cost to air, water, habitat, and wildlife. "Clean energy" hurts nature. Those who believe otherwise live in Fantasyland.

SOURCE





Why the Buzz About a Bee-pocalypse Is a Honey Trap

Populations of the pollinators are not declining and a ban on neonic pesticides would devastate U.S. agriculture

On June 20 the White House issued a presidential memorandum creating a Pollinator Health Task Force and ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to "assess the effect of pesticides, including neonicotinoids, on bee and other pollinator health and take action, as appropriate."

Why the fuss over bees? Is the U.S. in the midst of a bee-pocalypse? The science says no. Bee populations in the U.S. and Europe remain at healthy levels for reproduction and the critical pollination of food crops and trees. But during much of the past decade we have seen higher-than-average overwinter bee-colony losses in the Northern Hemisphere, as well as cases of bees abruptly abandoning their hives, a phenomenon known as "colony collapse disorder."

Citing this disorder, antipesticide activists and some voluble beekeepers want to ban the most widely used pesticides in modern agriculture—neonicotinoids ("neonics" for short)—that account for 20% of pesticide sales world-wide. This would have disastrous effects on modern farming and food prices.

What are neonics? Crafted to target pests that destroy crops, while minimizing toxicity to other species, neonics are much safer for humans and other vertebrates than previous pesticides. But citing supposed threats to honeybee populations, the European Union imposed a two-year ban in December 2013, and activists are trying to convince regulators in Canada and the U.S. to follow suit.

Yet there is only circumstantial or flawed experimental evidence of harm to bees by neonics. Often-cited experiments include one conducted by Chensheng Lu of the Harvard School of Public Health that exposed the insects to 30-100 times their usual exposure in the field. That does poison bees, but it doesn't replicate real-world colony collapse disorder, which in any case seems now to be declining. According to University of Maryland entomologist Dennis vanEngelsdorp, no cases have been reported from the field in three years.

The reality is that honeybee populations are not declining. According to U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization statistics, the world's honeybee population rose to 80 million colonies in 2011 from 50 million in 1960. In the U.S. and Europe, honeybee populations have been stable—or slightly rising in the last couple of years—during the two decades since neonics were introduced, U.N. and USDA data show. Statistics Canada reports an increase to 672,000 honeybee colonies in Canada, up from 501,000, over the same two decades.

In February, the Australian government issued a report on bee health from the only continent unaffected by the Varroa destructor mite, a pathogen of bees. It found that, "Australian honeybee populations are not in decline, despite the increased use of [neonicotinoids] in agriculture and horticulture since the mid-1990s."

In April the EU released the first Continent-wide epidemiological study of bee health in Europe, covering 2012-13 (before the EU's neonic ban went into effect). Seventy-five percent of the EU's bee population (located in 11 of the countries surveyed) experienced overwinter losses of 15% a year or less—levels considered normal in the U.S. Only 5% of the EU's bee population (located in six northern countries) experienced losses over 20%, after a long, severe winter.

A ban on neonics would not benefit bees, because they are not the chief source of bee health problems today. Varroa mites are, along with the lethal viruses they vector into bee colonies. If neonics were dangerous, how to explain that in Canada, Saskatchewan's $19 billion canola industry depends on neonics to prevent predation by the ravenous flea beetle—and those neonic-treated canola fields support such thriving honeybee populations that they've been dubbed the "pastures for pollinators."

A neonic ban would, however, devastate North American agriculture and the communities that depend on it. Neonics are the last line of defense for Florida's citrus industry against the Asian citrus psyllid, an insect that spreads a devastating disease of citrus trees called huanglongbing, or HLB. They're also the first line of defense in Texas and California, where HLB is beginning. Without neonic protection, tomatoes in Florida and vegetable crops in Arizona, California and the Pacific Northwest would be imperiled. If whitefly infestations weren't kept in check with neonics, much of the U.S. winter vegetable production would be lost.

Grape-growing in California and the Pacific Northwest could be devastated by the viral scourges of leaf-roll and red blotch without neonic pesticides to control the leafhoppers that spread them. Without neonic protection against thrips in cotton, water weevil in rice and grape colaspis in soybeans, yields in the mid-South could be so damaged that farmers would either go out of business or turn to already abundant crops like corn.

The knock-on effect wouldn't stop there. The production of citrus and tomatoes in Florida and rice and cotton in the mid-South and elsewhere is tied to processing plants, refrigerated warehouses, packing houses, cotton gins, rice mills, and a transportation and shipping infrastructure that supports agriculture. If the crops processed by these support industries were to become economically nonviable without crop protection, rural counties across the southeastern U.S. would be decimated.

All this would be painful for consumers, who would see their food costs rise significantly. And by making farm exports more expensive and less competitive, it would damage the U.S. economy. All reasons to worry about unleashing the EPA in a fight in which activists who have the ear of regulators constantly misrepresent the science.

SOURCE






The elusive Michael Mann

More than six months have elapsed since climate science data-fraudster Michael Mann’s multi-million dollar legal team bullishly announced the climate science trial of the century would be underway “shortly.” Oh, how the internet makes liars of them. What has transpired since?  Answer: Nothing.

In February the world’s only truly independent science association dedicated to exposing government-funded junk research (Principia Scientific International) broke the news that the former golden boy of global warming “science” is down and out in a courtroom battle not seen since the famous Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925.

As our story went viral Mann’s legal team, led by top Canadian libel expert, Roger McConchie, swiftly counter-punched issuing their own press release retorting:

“The Mann lawsuit is currently in the discovery phase, with further examinations for discovery (depositions) of the defendants to be scheduled shortly, following which I will either set the action for trial by jury in the usual manner, or bring a summary trial application.”

We foretold Mann would either face bankruptcy upon Dr. Ball’s stunning victory, or his deep-pocketed backers (including David Suzuki) would be liable for costs in the millions. But weasel words from McConchie proclaimed:

"The review of Tim Ball’s new book by Hans Schreuder and John O’Sullivan makes preposterous statements..."

Our "preposterous statements" are backed by the shocking revelations in Dr. Ball's astonishing publication, ‘The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science’ exposing the science fraud of the century. Literally hundreds of climate science papers are based on Mann's fraudulent work. When Ball wins, all alarmist climate science loses. Game over.

But as we move deeper into the fourth year of this shameful attempt to misuse the courts to stifle public debate - while there has been no further global warming for 17 years despite relentless rises in atmospheric CO2 - the public sees clearly what “climate science” is really all about.

These are tough times for the beleagured climate alarmists in the United Nations, self-serving governments and their "scientists." All have failed in their bid to dupe the world's citizenry that man-made global warming poses a real threat to life on Earth. It hurt them badly that our report that Mann’s once trumpeted libel suit against popular skeptic climatologist, Dr Tim Ball, had withered and Mann had lost his mojo. It all really began to unravel badly for Mann in 2009 when those leaked 'Climategate' emails first exposed him as an egotistical bully boy trashing any scientists who disagreed with him.

For example, upset that Harvard University researchers were successfully arguing that solar variance rather than carbon dioxide emissions are the most likely primary cause of recent global temperature fluctuations, Mann sent out an email seeking to coordinate action to pressure Harvard to rebuke or discipline the researchers. “If someone has close ties w/ any individuals there [at Harvard] who might be in a position to actually get some action taken on this, I’d highly encourage pursuing this,” writes Mann to fellow scientist-activists.

Now Mann is further shamed as the bully/coward shying away from the Vancouver courtroom he once brazenly chose as his battleground.

You see, Mann simply won’t permit courtroom examination of his withheld calculations (those damning r2 regression numbers) of his infamous ‘hockey stick’ graph made an iconic image of the UN and climate alarmists worldwide since 1999. And secret science is not science you or I can trust.

So with the last vestige of Mann’s credibility (and his lawyer's) in the toilet we thought it apposite to now publicly prod them once more over their shameless abuse of the court system.  As we all know, last week the world’s media was busy hyping the latest climate protests hullaballoo in New York and London.  We had the obligatory wealthy Hollywood stars, Leonardo DiCaprio (the new "UN Climate Change Envoy") and Emma Thompson (‘Nanny McFee’) out and about shilling for the cause. Thompson told the London rally that climate change is the human rights issue of our time and that:

"No more are we the grungy hippies sitting in trees. We are the voice of the future - if there is to be a future."

And revelations suggested that "grungy hippies" at the New York event were being paid $50 a head.

But science isn’t showbiz and theatrics. It is about empirical evidence – proving your case openly to the public and the wider scientific community. And that is something Michael Mann cannot do without exposing the extraordinarily corrupt basis of the widest and most coordinated scientific fraud known.

Again, if it still needs repeating – Michael Mann is a crook, his "science" is fraudulent and the cause promoted by DiCaprio and Thompson and other useful idiots is anti-science and anti-truth and the sooner Mann and other climate cronies face criminal prosecutions the better!

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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Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Obama anti-energy nominee thwarted

The Natural Resources Defense Council will gain a new president and the Obama administration will lose Rhea Sun Suh, controversial anti-oil and gas nominee for head of the huge bureaucracy that runs the national parks and fish and wildlife service in the Department of the Interior.

That announcement last week culminated a bruising confirmation process that Suh, an experienced and savvy lower-level Interior official, seemed to sail through. However, press revelations wounded her reputation because her history caught up with her: for four years, Suh was a program manager for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation ($7.4 billion assets), directing millions of dollars to green groups nationwide for projects to stop oil and gas production.

She told the Hewlett Foundation newsletter in 2007: “natural gas development is easily the single greatest threat to the ecological integrity of the West.”

A large placard with that quote was held up during Suh’s December 2013 confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso said to Suh, “I would like to read from an op-ed by the Washington Examiner on your nomination, by Ron Arnold, titled, ‘Another Big Green power player moved up in Obama’s Washington.’”

Deep research into foundation influence uncovered the details of Suh’s anti-energy career and her loyal membership in the Environmental Grantmakers Association – a group of more than 200 Big Green foundations dedicated to stopping development of America’s abundant natural resources.

“If confirmed,” Barrasso continued, “it will allow you to essentially stop natural gas production. And even after you joined the Interior Department, you stated to the Environmental Grantmakers Association’s 25th anniversary, ‘I look forward to working with you, my colleagues, mentors and friends, to utilize the skills and talents of the EGA community to advance a more resilient world and a resilient movement.’ So I question whether this is really the right position for you, given your deeply held views.”

Every Democrat on the committee voted for Suh’s confirmation, including Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, to the surprise of some. It was Landrieu’s first hearing as the new committee chairman. Coming from a strongly oil and gas-dependent state and facing a tough re-election battle, some guessed she would reflect her constituency. But party loyalty gave Suh her nod.

However, with mid-term elections challenging Democratic control of the Senate, powers that have not been explained arranged for Suh to slip safely out of contention for the big Interior job. She will replace the influential Frances Beinecke (2012 compensation $427,688), NRDC officer for over 30 years and president since 2006. Beinecke is heiress of the Sperry and Hutchinson Green Stamp fortune, a Yale graduate and daughter of Yale benefactor and S&H president, William Beinecke. She is a former regent of Yale University.

I asked Senator David Vitter (R-Louisiana), ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, for his take on Suh’s departure. He told me, “Ms. Suh’s transition into the political, private sector route to shut down energy development is unsurprising. However, I am sure that after so much rushing through the nomination process earlier this year, a handful of my colleagues on the Energy Committee must be deeply disappointed to lose Ms. Suh to the NRDC.”

I can just see Senator Vitter’s winning smile.

SOURCE




Flood Wall Street Climate Change Protest was a Washout

Imposing equality is the goal; climate change is the excuse

"Stop Capitalism. End the Climate Crisis." That's the motto for the Flood Wall Street demonstration that aimed to "take to the streets of New York's Financial District" and "carry out a massive sit-in to disrupt business as usual" in order to "highlight the role of Wall Street in fueling the climate crisis." The would-be Flooders rallied at the World War II Memorial in Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan. In contrast to the huge turnout for the People's Climate March on Sunday, Flood Wall Street attracted a hardcore group of about 1,000 protestors, many of whom were clearly nostalgic Occupy Wall Street veterans. Participants were asked to wear blue so that their sit-in would signify how rising ocean tides fueled by man-made global warming will eventually inundate the inner sanctum of global capitalism.

Since I had somehow missed Occupy Wall Street events, this was my first time enjoying the human "microphone" in which participants nearer the speakers repeat by shouting what they are saying so that others further back can benefit from their insights. I will say that the rhythmic call-and-response aspect of the "microphone" did make it easy to take notes. The first speaker at the Battery Park pre-Flood rally was Canadian activist Naomi Klein, author of the new book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.

Klein began by reminiscing that the Occupy Wall Street movement had originated three years ago, almost to the same day as the Flood Wall Street protest. Occupy Wall Street "put corporate capitalism on trial," said Klein. "The entire world listened and the debate on inequality opened up." Klein continued, "We are oppressed by the knowledge that the system of short term profits and deregulated greed that deepens inequality and forecloses on our homes is the very same system that is foreclosing on our collective home." Klein ended, "We demand to Change Everything." Nice how she worked the title of her just released book into her exhortation. Listening to Klein it was pretty hard not to conclude that the real goal is imposing equality, and climate change is the excuse.

Next up followed a slate of speakers from around the globe representing "frontline communities" that are supposedly bearing the brunt of climate change caused by corporate greed. "A typical example of criminal acts caused by corporations is climate change that is already causing damages," declared socio-economist Mamadou Goita from the West African country of Mali. Specifically corporate climate change "is causing major losses in food production." Perhaps so. But World Bank data on cereal yields per hectare suggest a somewhat different story. While Malian grain yields do bounce around a bit, there is pretty clearly a long-term rising trend. In 2000, yields were 1,006 kilograms per hectare; by 2013 they had risen to 1,667 kilograms per hectare. "Corporations took power; devastated our nature; are destroying lives; and are dismantling all people's power," asserted Goita. He concluded, "Now it is the time to take back our power."

Brazilian anti-dam activist Elisa Estronioli is quite right that the rights of poor and indigenous people are all too often disregarded when it comes to constructing big hydroelectric dams in developing countries. She cogently asked at the Flood Wall Street rally how can electricity from such projects "be clean energy when it is produced inside a model that violates human rights?" Estronioli is an organizer against the giant Belo Monte dam largely being built and paid for by the Brazilian government in the Amazon region. "We are the victims of the same global model in which energy plays a central role," concluded Estronioli. "There is no clean energy in the capitalist system." Say what?

One other frontline community speaker was Miriam Miranda from Honduras. "The planet is collapsing and the time has come to act," said Miranda. Why is action necessary? Because we must fight "against the culture of death that we are being condemned to by the grand corporations of death and transnational capital," Miranda finished.

Once the featured speakers were done, it was time to configure the Flood. The protestors were instructed to arrange themselves into three cohorts depending on their willingness to be arrested: The most eager to be arrested in the front and the more hesitant at the back. However, one of the organizers whose name I didn't catch did knowingly assure participants, "We believe that if you've never been arrested before, this is the perfect action to join."

So off streamed the Flood festooned with a variety of anti-capitalist placards, buttons, posters, and so forth. One of the main attractions were a couple of giant mylar balloons symbolizing the fossil fuel industries' "carbon bubble" that activists argue is about to burst. The bubble supposedly exists because fossil fuel companies are overvalued because their worth is calculated using carbon energy reserves that they won't be able to sell in the future as the world turns toward renewables.

The Flood was firmly channeled by barricades up Broadway backed by police ornamented with garlands of white plastic flexi-cuffs. Expecting the Flood to eventually flow onto Wall Street itself, I took a back route and waited for the Flood to arrive in front of the New York Stock Exchange. While waiting, a single middle-aged demonstrator unmolested by the police waved around a poster reading "Global Warming Burns Me Up." A younger protestor climbed the steps of Federal Hall and yelled something like, "What are you going to do Wall Street when the oceans drown your kids?" He was quickly shooed off by two portly Park Service guards.

Some 30 to 40 minutes passed, so I went in search of the missing Flood and found that the police had halted the tide on Broadway. The protestors had ended up "flooding" just a couple of blocks of lower Broadway around Arturo Di Modica's Charging Bull sculpture. Some were sitting-in, others milling randomly, and an occasional chant rose from the stymied flow: "1-2-3-4, climate change is class war." Sometime around 2 p.m., a single demonstrator tried to run past the police line and was immediately caught and handcuffed in the view of several score cameras. After all that excitement, I left.

Later, when the police ordered the Flood to disperse, about a hundred refused and were arrested and booked. Wall Street was not Flooded.

SOURCE




Google Kills Birds

Our headline has the virtue of being true—as we will explain—unlike Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt's assertion this week that people who oppose government subsidies for green energy are liars. The real charlatans are businesses like Google that use climate change as a pretext for corporate welfare.

Google, whose motto is "Don't Be Evil," announced on Monday that it is quitting the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) because of the conservative outfit's putative denial of climate change. "Everyone understands climate change is occurring," said Mr. Schmidt. "And the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people—they're just, they're just literally lying."

In fact, ALEC takes no position on the substance of climate change. ALEC provides a forum for sundry businesses to discuss free-market reforms with state lawmakers. Two of its policy targets are renewable-energy mandates and subsidies, which are being exploited by big businesses like Google at the expense of low- and middle-income taxpayers. Google's real problem with ALEC is a conflict of pecuniary interests.

Consider Google's pledge to fund over $1.5 billion in non fossil-fuel energy. Yet Google derives most of its energy from non-renewables on the grid because it says that "while our data centers operate 24/7, most renewable energy sources don't." Data centers consume a lot of power, and renewables can cost three times as much as fossil fuels. It's no coincidence that Google's server in Iowa is located near one of the cheapest sources of coal-fired power in the Midwest.

Also not a coincidence is that nearly all of Google's solar and wind farms are located in states with renewable-energy mandates, which create opportunities for politically mediated profit-making. For instance, California requires that renewables make up a third of electricity by 2020. Google has invested about $600 million in California's solar plants such as the Ivanpah system in California's Mojave Desert. Ivanpah is the world's largest solar-thermal project, which is the target of environmentalists.

Dozens of federally protected desert tortoises have been displaced or killed. The Center for Biological Diversity estimates that Ivanpah's "power towers"—which burn natural gas—incinerate about 28,000 birds annually. The death toll is disputed by others, but Google has made taxpayers complicit in its avian-cide. The $2.2 billion bird fryer was funded with a $1.6 billion federal loan, which Google and its business partners plan to repay by applying for a federal grant.

The do-no-evil company has invested $157 million in a wind farm in California's Tehachapi Mountains, which has killed thousands of birds including federally protected golden eagles. Google's renewable portfolio includes a $275 million investment in two wind farms in Texas that are partly responsible for the construction of $7 billion in new transmission lines. The Texas Public Utility Commission estimates the lines will cost ratepayers on average $72 per year. Google has about $60 billion in cash and short-term investments sitting on its balance sheet.

Most of Google's renewable investments qualify for a federal investment tax credit that covers 30% of the cost. Its $450 million investment in rooftop solar-systems also benefits from state incentives such as "net-metering" laws. This hidden subsidy compensates ratepayers for power they remit to the grid at the retail rate, which can be three times as much as the wholesale price of electricity. Net-metering allows solar companies to charge higher rates to homeowners who lease their panels, and thus for investors like Google to reap larger profits.

ALEC as well as the right-wing radicals at the Natural Resources Defense Council and National Black Caucus of State Legislators have encouraged states to ensure that all ratepayers under net metering pay their share for maintaining the grid.

The point is that Google behaves like all other self-interested businesses—which also means that it bends to the political winds. Unions and progressive groups have been bullying corporations for years to abandon ALEC so the left has less political and intellectual opposition in the 50 state capitals. Earlier this month they wrote to Google denouncing ALEC's "extreme views," which "include denying climate change."

Perhaps Google figured it could gain political benefit by joining the liberal smear campaign against ALEC. But Mr. Schmidt shouldn't disguise his company's mercenary motives behind false and trendy appeals to green political virtue.

SOURCE




Danish Wind Farm Company Sued for Spoiling View

Europe’s troubled wind turbine industry has a new predicament, with a householder in Denmark successfully suing Vestas, a Danish wind turbine manufacturer. Vestas was sued by the householder with the help of International Law Office and awarded 500,000 Danish kroner (£53,000) in compensation for the loss of property values due to visual interference, inconvenience caused by the noise of the blades and light reflection. Eight turbines are visible from the owner’s house.

The Danes passed the Promoting Renewable Energy Act in 2011, which established a compensation scheme for homes affected by wind farms. It seems the Danes suffer from the a similar condition to Brits, not in my back yard (nimbyism), where there is a consensus in favour of wind farms but not near their homes.

Calls to Vestas’ office for comment were not returned.

Danish wind farms have already come in for serious criticism. Breitbart London reported in June how a mink farm saw how a recently built turbine seemed to lead to still births, birth deformities and had begun attacking in each other, costing the farmer millions.

The Danish situation is mirrored in the UK. In November 2013, the London School of Economics amd the Spatial Economics Research Centre published a report with lead author Professor Stephen Gibbons finding that “A wind farm with 20+ turbines within 2km reduces prices by some 11 percent on average.” In all scenarios even of less density, “Wind farms reduce house prices where the turbines are visible.”

Professor Gibbons has further evidence from when in June 2008 Mr. and Mrs. Julian Davis in Lincoln applied to the Valuation Tribunal for a reduction in their Council Tax, due to a wind turbine.  Citing “Change in physical state. Noise pollution externally and internal low frequency. Noise pollution from new wind farm 930m (away),” they won and their house was downgraded to Band A status.

Meanwhile, a report into two wind turbines collapsing in Devon and Cornwall has just been released. The Western Mail reports the towers had basic defects and flaw in the construction process. These incidents were over a year ago and the report’s publication was aided by a Freedom of Information request. Also worryingly is that “ten units with existing defects” out of the company’s 70 or 80 turbines and the “makers of the E3120 turbine which fell in Devon, identified a further 29 turbines that might have been affected by a problem with the foundations.”

It seems that European governments' race to be green has had some expensive unexpected consequences. Not only is it substantially more expensive to industry and the public, the extra costs of erecting wind farms are growing too. One can only imagine the furore if a turbine comes down on a house, seriously injuring someone or even killing them. These are troubles timed for the government and the wind industry.

SOURCE





An unsettled climate

by Judith Curry

In a press conference last week, UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon stated: “Action on climate change is urgent.  The more we delay, the more we will pay in lives and in money.” The recently appointed UN Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio stated “The debate is over. Climate change is happening now.”

These statements reflect a misunderstanding of the state of climate science and the extent to which we can blame adverse consequences such as extreme weather events on human caused climate change. The climate has always changed and will continue to change. Humans are adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have a warming effect on the climate. However, there is enduring uncertainty beyond these basic issues, and the most consequential aspects of climate science are the subject of vigorous scientific debate: whether the warming since 1950 has been dominated by human causes, and how the climate will evolve in the 21st century due to both natural and human causes. Societal uncertainties further cloud the issues as to whether warming is ‘dangerous’ and whether we can afford to radically reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

At the heart of the recent scientific debate on climate change is the ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ in global warming – the period since 1998 during which global average surface temperatures have not increased. This observed warming hiatus contrasts with the expectation from the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report that warming would proceed at a rate of 0.2oC/per decade in the early decades of the 21st century. The warming hiatus raises serious questions as to whether the climate model projections of 21st century have much utility for decision making, given uncertainties in climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide, future volcanic eruptions and solar activity, and the multidecadal and century scale oscillations in ocean circulation patterns.

A key argument in favor of emission reductions is concern over the accelerating cost of weather disasters. The accelerating cost is associated with increasing population and wealth in vulnerable regions, and not with any increase in extreme weather events, let alone any increase that can be attributed to human caused climate change. The IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation found little evidence that supports an increase in extreme weather events that can be attributed to humans. There seems to be a collective ‘weather amnesia’, where the more extreme weather of the 1930’s and 1950’s seems to have been forgotten.

Climate science is no more ‘settled’ than anthropogenic global warming is a ‘hoax’. I am concerned that the climate change problem and its solution have been vastly oversimplified. Deep uncertainty beyond the basics is endemic to the climate change problem, which is arguably characterized as a ‘wicked mess.’ A ‘wicked’ problem is complex with dimensions that are difficult to define and changing with time. A ‘mess’ is characterized by the complexity of interrelated issues, with suboptimal solutions that create additional problems.

Nevertheless, the premise of dangerous anthropogenic climate change is the foundation for a far-reaching plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Elements of this plan may be argued as important for associated energy policy reasons, economics, and/or public health and safety. However, claiming an overwhelming scientific justification for the plan based upon anthropogenic global warming does a disservice both to climate science and to the policy process. Science doesn’t dictate to society what choices to make, but science can assess which policies won’t work and can provide information about uncertainty that is critical for the decision making process.

Can we make good decisions under conditions of deep uncertainty about climate change? Uncertainty in itself is not a reason for inaction. Research to develop low-emission energy technologies and energy efficiency measures are examples of ‘robust’ policies that have little downside, while at the same time have ancillary benefits beyond reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, attempts to modify the climate through reducing CO2 emissions may turn out to be futile. The hiatus in warming observed over the past 16 years demonstrates that CO2 is not a control knob on climate variability on decadal time scales. Even if CO2 mitigation strategies are successful and climate model projections are correct, an impact on the climate would not be expected until the latter part of the 21st century. Solar variability, volcanic eruptions and long-term ocean oscillations will continue to be sources of unpredictable climate surprises.

Whether or not anthropogenic climate change is exacerbating extreme weather events, vulnerability to extreme weather events will continue owing to increasing population and wealth in vulnerable regions. Climate change (regardless of whether the primary cause is natural or anthropogenic) may be less important in driving vulnerability in most regions than increasing population, land use practices, and ecosystem degradation. Regions that find solutions to current problems of climate variability and extreme weather events and address challenges associated with an increasing population are likely to be well prepared to cope with any additional stresses from climate change.

Oversimplification, claiming ‘settled science’ and ignoring uncertainties not only undercuts the political process and dialogue necessary for real solutions in a highly complex world, but acts to retards scientific progress. It’s time to recognize the complexity and wicked nature of the climate problem, so that we can have a more meaningful dialogue on how to address the complex challenges of climate variability and change.

SOURCE




Climate alarmists are overlooking scientific facts

Some letters to the editor below that appeared in "The Australian" on 27th

ALARMISTS such as Fred Cehak and Chris Roylance (Letters, 26/9) criticise acclaimed scientists such as Dan Wood and Steven Koonin for their sceptical views, yet continue to peddle the fiction that the “science is settled” in the climate debate.

Those aboard the ship stuck in Antarctic ice early this year believed their own shoddy science that said the poles were melting. Today, the Antarctic ice sheet is at an all-time record high, and Arctic ice is now refreezing as normal.

The junk models used by the alarmists to frighten the world are in a state of disarray as more than 50 excuses are circulating trying to explain, unsuccessfully, the 17-year halt to global warming, even with rising carbon dioxide emissions.

Despite its shortcomings, even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has declared there is no relationship between emissions and hurricanes, Atlantic storms, drought and wildfires, and any other catastrophe served up as fact by the alarmists, whose arguments are always based on appeals to authority rather than the tenets of true science as embraced by sceptics.

G. M. Derrick, Sherwood, Qld

THE informative and balanced article by Steven Koonin (“A degree of uncertainty”, 23/9) brings me to the following conclusion. Much of the vast sums of taxpayers’ money being spent on researching and controlling man-made climate change should be directed to researching the magnitude and causes of natural climate change.

We would all then be in a better position to determine how significant is man-made climate change in comparison to natural climate change, and develop appropriate policy.

Charles Stanger, Manuka, ACT

FRED Cehak criticises those who doubt the accuracy of climate models and says the majority of scientists support the views of the IPCC. Yet doesn’t the IPCC’s fifth assessment report state that the rate of warming over the past 15 years, a 20th of a degree per decade, is smaller than the trend since 1951, an eighth of a degree per decade? This despite an unabated increase in the alleged driver, atmospheric carbon dioxide. Surely that’s justification for critical review of some of the more alarming predictions.

And we never see any criticism from Cehak or others of the failed predictions by Tim Flannery that Sydney and Brisbane’s dams would now be dry never to fill again, or of the equally ludicrous suggestion by Greens leader Christine Milne that repeal of the Renewable Energy Target would lead to only a billion people being left alive by 2100.

Peter Troy, Kingston, Tas

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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