Thursday, July 24, 2014


Mega pesky:  Deep Oceans have been Cooling For The Past 20 Years

In polite scientific language, this study demolishes the Warmist explanation for "missing heat".  At every point of the warmist explanation, the data show the opposite of what that explanation requires.  In addition, and as even I have repeatedly pointed out, the authors note that there is no known mechanism that would cause ocean heat to move in the paradoxical way that Warmists theorize.  It's all BS, to put it in layman's terms

Two of the world’s premiere ocean scientists from Harvard and MIT have addressed the data limitations that currently prevent the oceanographic community from resolving the differences among various estimates of changing ocean heat content.  They point out where future data is most needed so these ambiguities do not persist into the next several decades of change.

As a by-product of that analysis they 1) determined the deepest oceans are cooling, 2) estimated a much slower rate of ocean warming, 3) highlighted where the greatest uncertainties existed due to the ever changing locations of heating and cooling, and 4) specified concerns with previous methods used to construct changes in ocean heat content, such as Balmaseda and Trenberth’s re-analysis (see below). They concluded, “Direct determination of changes in oceanic heat content over the last 20 years are not in conflict with estimates of the radiative forcing, but the uncertainties remain too large to rationalize e.g., the apparent “pause" in warming.”

Wunsch and Heimbach (2014) humbly admit that their “results differ in detail and in numerical values from other estimates, but the determining whether any are “correct" is probably not possible with the existing data sets.”

They estimate the changing states of the ocean by synthesizing diverse data sets using models developed by the consortium for Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, ECCO.   The ECCO “state estimates” have eliminated deficiencies of previous models and they claim, “unlike most “data assimilation" products, [ECCO] satisfies the model equations without any artificial sources or sinks or forces. The state estimate is from the free running, but adjusted, model and hence satisfies all of the governing model equations, including those for basic conservation of mass, heat, momentum, vorticity, etc. up to numerical accuracy.”

Their results (Figure 18. below) suggest a flattening or slight cooling in the upper 100 meters since 2004, in agreement with the -0.04 Watts/m2 cooling reported by Lyman (2014).6 The consensus of previous researchers has been that temperatures in the upper 300 meters have flattened or cooled since 2003,4 while Wunsch and Heimbach (2014) found the upper 700 meters still warmed up to 2009.

The deep layers contain twice as much heat as the upper 100 meters, and overall exhibit a clear cooling trend for the past 2 decades. Unlike the upper layers, which are dominated by the annual cycle of heating and cooling, they argue that deep ocean trends must be viewed as part of the ocean’s long term memory which is still responding to “meteorological forcing of decades to thousands of years ago”. If Balmaseda and Trenberth’s model of deep ocean warming was correct, any increase in ocean heat content must have occurred between 700 and 2000 meters, but the mechanisms that would warm that “middle layer” remains elusive.

The detected cooling of the deepest oceans is quite remarkable given geothermal warming from the ocean floor. Wunsch and Heimbach (2014) note, “As with other extant estimates, the present state estimate does not yet account for the geothermal flux at the sea floor whose mean values (Pollack et al., 1993) are of order 0.1 W/m2,” which is small but “not negligible compared to any vertical heat transfer into the abyss.3   (A note of interest is an increase in heat from the ocean floor has recently been associated with increased basal melt of Antarctica’s Thwaites glacier. ) Since heated waters rise, I find it reasonable to assume that, at least in part, any heating of the “middle layers” likely comes from heat that was stored in the deepest ocean decades to thousands of years ago.

Wunsch and Heimbach (2014) emphasize the many uncertainties involved in attributing the cause of changes in the overall heat content concluding, “As with many climate-related records, the unanswerable question here is whether these changes are truly secular, and/or a response to anthropogenic forcing, or whether they are instead fragments of a general red noise behavior seen over durations much too short to depict the long time-scales of Fig. 6, 7, or the result of sampling and measurement biases, or changes in the temporal data density.”

Given those uncertainties, they concluded that much less heat is being added to the oceans compared to claims in previous studies (seen in the table below).  It is interesting to note that compared to Hansen’s study that ended in 2003 before the observed warming pause, subsequent studies also suggest less heat is entering the oceans. Whether those declining trends are a result of improved methodologies, or due to a cooler sun, or both requires more observations.

No climate model had predicted the dramatically rising temperatures in the deep oceans calculated by the Balmaseda/Trenberth re-analysis,13 and oceanographers suggest such a sharp rise is more likely an artifact of shifting measuring systems. Indeed the unusual warming correlates with the switch to the Argo observing system. Wunsch and Heimbach (2013)2 wrote, “clear warnings have appeared in the literature—that spurious trends and values are artifacts of changing observation systems (see, e.g., Elliott and Gaffen, 1991; Marshall et al., 2002; Thompson et al., 2008)—the reanalyses are rarely used appropriately, meaning with the recognition that they are subject to large errors.”3

More specifically Wunsch and Heimbach (2014) warned, “Data assimilation schemes running over decades are usually labeled “reanalyses.” Unfortunately, these cannot be used for heat or other budgeting purposes because of their violation of the fundamental conservation laws; see Wunsch and Heimbach (2013) for discussion of this important point. The problem necessitates close examination of claimed abyssal warming accuracies of 0.01 W/m2 based on such methods (e.g., Balmaseda et al., 2013).” 3  

So who to believe?

Because ocean heat is stored asymmetrically and that heat is shifting 24/7, any limited sampling scheme will be riddled with large biases and uncertainties. In Figure 12 below Wunsch and Heimbach (2014) map the uneven densities of regionally stored heat. Apparently associated with its greater salinity, most of the central North Atlantic stores twice as much heat as any part of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Regions where there are steep heat gradients require a greater sampling effort to avoid misleading results. They warned, “The relatively large heat content of the Atlantic Ocean could, if redistributed, produce large changes elsewhere in the system and which, if not uniformly observed, show artificial changes in the global average.” 3

Furthermore, due to the constant time-varying heat transport, regions of warming are usually compensated by regions of cooling as illustrated in their Figure 15. It offers a wonderful visualization of the current state of those natural ocean oscillations by comparing changes in heat content between1992 and 2011. Those patterns of heat re-distributions involve enormous amounts of heat and that make detection of changes in heat content that are many magnitudes smaller extremely difficult. Again any uneven sampling regime in time or space, would result in “artificial changes in the global average”.

Figure 15 shows the most recent effects of La Nina and the negative Pacific Decadal Oscillation. The eastern Pacific has cooled, while simultaneously the intensifying trade winds have swept more warm water into the western Pacific causing it to warm. Likewise heat stored in the mid?Atlantic has likely been transported northward as that region has cooled while simultaneously the sub-polar seas have warmed. This northward change in heat content is in agreement with earlier discussions about cycles of warm water intrusions that effect Arctic sea ice, confounded climate models of the Arctic and controls the distribution of marine organisms.

Most interesting is the observed cooling throughout the upper 700 meters of the Arctic. There have been 2 competing explanations for the unusually warm Arctic air temperature that heavily weights the global average. CO2 driven hypotheses argue global warming has reduced polar sea ice that previously reflected sunlight, and now the exposed dark waters are absorbing more heat and raising water and air temperatures. But clearly a cooling upper Arctic Ocean suggests any absorbed heat is insignificant. Despite greater inflows of warm Atlantic water, declining heat content of the upper 700 meters supports the competing hypothesis that warmer Arctic air temperatures are, at least in part, the result of increased ventilation of heat that was previously trapped by a thick insulating ice cover.7 That second hypothesis is also in agreement with extensive observations that Arctic air temperatures had been cooling in the 80s and 90s. Warming occurred after subfreezing winds, re-directed by the Arctic Oscillation, drove thick multi-year ice out from the Arctic.11

Regional cooling is also detected along the storm track from the Caribbean and along eastern USA. This evidence contradicts speculation that hurricanes in the Atlantic will or have become more severe due to increasing ocean temperatures. This also confirms earlier analyses of blogger Bob Tisdale and others that Superstorm Sandy was not caused by warmer oceans.

In order to support their contention that the deep ocean has been dramatically absorbing heat, Balmaseda/Trenberth must provide a mechanism and the regional observations where heat has been carried from the surface to those depths. But few are to be found. Warming at great depths and simultaneous cooling of the surface is antithetical to climate models predictions. Models had predicted global warming would store heat first in the upper layer and stratify that layer. Diffusion would require hundreds to thousands of years, so it is not the mechanism. Trenberth, Rahmstorf, and others have argued the winds could drive heat below the surface. Indeed winds can drive heat downward in a layer that oceanographers call the “mixed-layer,” but the depth where wind mixing occurs is restricted to a layer roughly 10-200 meters thick over most of the tropical and mid-latitude belts. And those depths have been cooling slightly.

The only other possible mechanism that could reasonably explain heat transfer to the deep ocean was that the winds could tilt the thermocline. The thermocline delineates a rapid transition between the ocean’s warm upper layer and cold lower layer. As illustrated above in Figure 15, during a La Nina warm waters pile up in the western Pacific and deepens the thermocline. But the tilting Pacific thermocline typically does not dip below the 700 meters, if ever.8

Unfortunately the analysis by Wunsch and Heimbach (2014) does not report on changes in the layer between 700 meters and 2000 meters. However based on changes in heat content below 2000 meters (their Figure 16 below), deeper layers of the Pacific are practically devoid of any deep warming.

The one region transporting the greatest amount of heat into the deep oceans is the ice forming regions around Antarctica, especially the eastern Weddell Sea where annually sea ice has been expanding.12 Unlike the Arctic, the Antarctic is relatively insulated from intruding subtropical waters (discussed here) so any deep warming is mostly from heat descending from above with a small contribution from geothermal.

Counter-intuitively greater sea ice production can deliver relatively warmer subsurface water to the ocean abyss. When oceans freeze, the salt is ejected to form a dense brine with a temperature that always hovers at the freezing point. Typically this unmodified water is called shelf water. Dense shelf water readily sinks to the bottom of the polar seas. However in transit to the bottom, shelf water must pass through layers of variously modified Warm Deep Water or Antarctic Circumpolar Water. Turbulent mixing also entrains some of the warmer water down to the abyss. Warm Deep Water typically comprises 62% of the mixed water that finally reaches the bottom. Any altered dynamic (such as increasing sea ice production, or circulation effects that entrain a greater proportion of Warm Deep Water), can redistribute more heat to the abyss.14 Due to the Antarctic Oscillation the warmer waters carried by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current have been observed to undulate southward bringing those waters closer to ice forming regions. Shelf waters have generally cooled and there has been no detectable warming of the Warm Deep Water core, so this region’s deep ocean warming is likely just re-distributing heat and not adding to the ocean heat content.

So it remains unclear if and how Trenberth’s “missing heat” has sunk to the deep ocean. The depiction of a dramatic rise in deep ocean heat is highly questionable, even though alarmists have flaunted it as proof of Co2’s power. As Dr. Wunsch had warned earlier, “Convenient assumptions should not be turned prematurely into ‘facts,’ nor uncertainties and ambiguities suppressed.” … “Anyone can write a model: the challenge is to demonstrate its accuracy and precision... Otherwise, the scientific debate is controlled by the most articulate, colorful, or adamant players.”

To reiterate, “the uncertainties remain too large to rationalize e.g., the apparent “pause" in warming.”

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)





“WELL-ESTIMATED GLOBAL SURFACE WARMING”

Warmist paper was just being wise after the event

 Dr David Whitehouse

This new paper allows great headlines to proclaim that the warming “pause” in global surface temperature is explainable by climate models. As is often the case in climate reporting the details do not back up the headline.

Risbey et al (2014) in Nature Climate Change is yet another paper suggesting that the global surface temperature hiatus of the last 15-years or so is due to changes in the character of the ENSO. But they go a little further and say that once the observational timing of ENSO changes is included in climate models they do a good job. Unfortunately, whilst an interesting and thought provoking paper, it does not support its own conclusion that “climate models have provided good estimates of the 15-year trends for recent periods.”

Climate models have many uses and are essential tools to discover what is going on and, with major caveats, suggest future possibilities. It is well-known that as a whole the CIMP5 ensemble of models does not represent reality that well with only two models coming anywhere near reflecting the hiatus in global surface temperature seen in the last 15-years or so.

With a climate model ensemble that is mainly unrepresentative of reality there are several possibilities for further action. One is to have faith in the models that over longer timescales realities departure from them is temporary. Another is to select those models that best simulate reality and concentrate on them, and the other is to refine the models. Risbey et al (1014) carry out both the latter options.

They selected 18 out of 32 CIMP5 models choosing the ones that had sea surface temperature as a model output. In itself this introduces a selection effect whose influence on subsequent selections of “suitable” models is unknown. Out of those 18 they selected the four best and four worst. The best included ENSO parameters that are in phase with observations. They argue that when the phase of ENSO is got right climate models do represent reality. Unfortunately the evidence they provide for this is not convincing.

If the ENSO with El Nino dominant is having the effect of flattening the global surface temperature of the past 15 years or so then the converse must also be true. ENSO with La Nina dominant would have contributed to the warming seen since about 1980. [Pesky!]

Our lack of understanding of the ENSO process also affects the stated conclusions of this paper. We cannot predict these events with any certainty and we cannot simulate them to any degree of great accuracy. So while there are ENSO components in a climate model, to say that those in the right phase do better could mean nothing. In addition there are other semi-regular changes such as the Atlantic oscillation that might, or might not, be in phase with the observations.

Supplementary information would have helped understand this paper, especially the selection of the models, but unfortunately there are none. This means that given the information in this paper alone it would not be possible to retrace the author’s footsteps.

This paper allows great headlines to be written proclaiming that the “pause” in global surface temperature is explainable by climate models. As is often the case in climate reporting the details do not back up the headline.

What this paper has really done is to draw attention to the limitations of the climate models. One can select subsets of them and argue that they are better than others but the real test is if the Risbey et al (2014) paper has predictive power. In science looking forward is always more powerful than looking back and adjusting models to fit the data.

Risbey et al (2014) say they expect the observed trend to bounce back. So do many others for different reasons. If it does how will we know who is right?

SOURCE




Deficient Chicago infrastructure blamed on climate change

Since there has been no climate change for 17 years, we can KNOW that to be false

Sewage gushed up Lori Burns’s toilet. It swept the floor. It wrecked the water heater, the deep freezer, her mother’s wedding veil.

This basement invasion was the third in five years. Burns, 40, could no longer afford to pay a cleanup crew. So she slipped on polka dotted rain boots, waded into the muck, wrenched out the stand-pipe and watched the brown water drain.

The South Side native, a marketing specialist, estimated damages at $17,000. And that did not include what she could not replace: the family heirlooms, the oriental rugs, her cashmere sweaters. The bungalow had flooded four times from 1985 to 2006, when her parents owned it. Lately, it flooded every other year. Burns felt nature was working against her. In a way, it was.

As Washington still fights over whether or not climate change is real, people across the country are already paying costs scientists ascribe to it — sometimes in unexpected places. You might think about climate change in terms of rising sea levels threatening coastal cities. But all over the Midwest, from Chicago to Indianapolis and Milwaukee, residents face just as many difficult issues as changing weather patterns collide with aging infrastructure. The costs — for governments, insurance companies and homeowners — are measured not only in dollars, but in quality of life.

In Chicago over the past century, downpours that force human waste up pipes and into homes — storms that dump at least 1.5 inches of rain in a single day — have struck the city more often. Annual precipitation in the Midwest grew about 20 percent during the past century. Rains of more than 2.5 inches a day are expected to increase another 50 percent in the next 20 years. That means more flooding — and more clean-up costs for people like Burns.

As the April rain poured, she texted her brother: How much bleach do you have?

On came the snowsuits, goggles and face masks. They dumped bleach on the floor, mopped and reminisced about what they had survived in this basement: a midnight home intruder, the occasional pop-pop of neighborhood gunfire, their parents’ divorce. Here they played Monopoly and watched “The Cosby Show” and learned the truth about Santa Claus.

Soon the silt, as Burns euphemistically called it, was gone. Fans would dry the dampness. The worst was over, it seemed.

In May, a year after sewage swamped Burns’s basement, an insurance giant took to an Illinois courtroom for what might have been a publicity stunt, or what might be a preview of a nationwide battle over who foots the bill for extreme weather events linked to climate change. Farmer’s Insurance Co. sued the city of Chicago for failing to prepare for the effects of global warming.

The city “should have known,” the lawsuit alleged, “that climate change in Cook County has resulted in greater rainfall volume … than pre-1970 rainfall history evidenced.” The storms are not an act of God, the suit claimed, but a carbon-driven reality outlined in Chicago’s own Climate Action Plan, published in 2010.

Last April, sewage water flooded roughly 600 Chicago buildings, according to the lawsuit: “Geysers of sewer water shot out from the floor drains, toilets, showers. … Elderly men and women and young children were forced to evacuate.” That could have been prevented, the company claimed, if Chicago would have remedied an underground storm-water storage that has become, over time, “obsolete.”

“Farmers has taken what we believe is the necessary action to recover payments made on behalf of our customers,” spokesman Trent Frager said in a statement, “for damages caused by what we believe to be a completely preventable issue.”

Two months later, the company dropped the suit — “We hoped that by filing … we would encourage cities and counties to take preventative steps,” Frager said — but not before raising issues that are sure to return to the courts if current climate trends persist.

“The debate we have entered now is: Why does it seem more and more disasters are happening?” said Erwann Michel-Kerjan, executive director of the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania. “And, as a nation, who’s supposed to pay for them?”

The National Climate Assessment, released by the Obama administration in May, predicts that the “frequency and intensity” of the Midwest’s heaviest downpours will more than double over the next hundred years. A handful of heavy spring and summer storms, the kind that flood homes, can supply 40 percent of the region’s annual rainfall, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

If weather patterns follow projections, that means trouble for aging urban infrastructures and the cities, like Chicago, that rely on them: “Designs are based upon historical patterns of precipitation and stream flow,” the climate assessment says, “which are no longer appropriate guides.”

The link between climate and flooding in Chicago, however, can’t be summarized with, It’s warmer out, so this storm happened. Inherent uncertainties in science make it difficult to disentangle just what forces play Rainmaker.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, which calls itself the world’s largest non-government group science advocacy group, released a report this year called “What We Know,” which offers a nuanced look at climate change and its effects. The report concludes that natural disasters, like floods, are striking harder and more often. But, beyond anecdotes and weather projections, it adds,  it’s hard to link one specific flood to carbon emissions.

Increased storm frequency is particularly problematic in Chicago, where the sewer system was designed to absorb rain nearly 120 years ago. The city’s storm water systems were built on the assumption that the biggest storms happen only once each decade, at a time when the population was much smaller, said Robert Moore, who leads a climate preparation team at the Natural Resources Defense Council in downtown Chicago. “Climate change will only amplify an existing issue.”

The combined sewer system overflows when an inch of rain soaks the city, directing waste into the Chicago River. If more than 1.5 inches of rain fall city-wide in a day, Moore said, it floods basements across town, disrupting lives and bank accounts.

District engineers agree the problem is serious, and they’re building heavily to address it. They’ve seen the data and the changing weather patterns, but don’t think it suggests any particular cause. They don’t blame a man-made Apocalypse.

“Climate change is a political term,” said David St. Pierre, head of Chicago’s Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.“But you can’t ignore that our weather has changed drastically in the past five years.”

The city’s underground storm and wastewater storage can now hold about 2.7 billion gallons of overflow. By 2015, storage should total 7.5 billion gallons, St. Pierre said. By 2029, 17.5 billion gallons.

“I don’t see any overflows happening when that’s done,” he said. “We’re getting this under control, maybe more than any other city in the U.S.”

SOURCE





Britain Won’t Sign New Climate Treaty Unless China, India Agree CO2 Caps

Britain will not sign a global deal on climate change unless it includes commitments from China and India on reducing emissions, the energy and climate change secretary said on the eve of visiting the two countries.

China is the world’s highest emitter of greenhouse gases and India the third. Neither has agreed any cap on emissions. In an interview with The Times, Ed Davey said that there was little point in Britain making great efforts to cut emissions if other countries did not. “If I looked around the world and no one was doing anything I would have to ask myself the question: is it worth us doing anything if no one else is?” he said.

Speaking before meetings in Beijing and Delhi this week to discuss contributions to a global climate deal due to be signed in Paris next year, Mr Davey said: “We won’t do a deal unless these countries come on board. We need a deal that’s applicable to all — that’s what we didn’t get at Kyoto [the 1997 conference in Japan at which binding targets were set for the emissions of industrialised nations].” Mr Davey said that developing countries should be allowed to carry on increasing their emissions for a few years but at a lower rate and with clear targets for when the level should peak and start declining.

“We expect the rich, developed countries to cut aggressively, emerging economies to peak and then decline and the developing countries and the poorest to increase but hopefully at low rates and have a more sustainable development model than we had.”

On China, he said: “The key for them and the world is when they will peak. The earlier the better. I would like it to be 2025 or earlier. If the Chinese were to say ‘we are not going to commit to a peaking point’, I’m not sure you would get a deal.

More HERE





A Great Plan to Replace the EPA

By Alan Caruba

For years now I have been saying that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must be eliminated and its powers given to the fifty states, all of which,have their own departments of environmental protection. Until now, however, there has been no plan put forth to do so.

Dr. Jay Lehr has done just that and his plan no doubt will be sent to the members of Congress and the state governors. Titled “Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency” it should be read by everyone who, like Dr. Lehr, has concluded that the EPA was a good idea when it was introduced in 1971, but has since evolved into a rogue agency threatening the U.S. economy, attacking the fundamental concept of private property, and the lives of all Americans in countless and costly ways.

Dr. Lehr is the Science Director and Senior Fellow of The Heartland Institute, for whom I am a policy advisor. He is a leading authority on groundwater hydrology and the author of more than 500 magazine and journal articles, and 30 books. He has testified before Congress on more than three dozen occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the federal government and with many foreign countries. The Institute is a national nonprofit research and education organizations supported by voluntary contributions.

Ironically, he was among the scientists who called for the creation of the EPA and served on many of the then-new agency’s advisory councils. Over the course of its first ten years, he helped write a significant number of legislative bills to create a safety net for the environment.

As he notes in his plan, “Beginning around 1981, liberal activist groups recognized EPA could be used to advance their political agenda by regulating virtually all human activities regardless of their impact on the environment. Politicians recognized they could win votes by posing as protectors of the public health and wildlife. Industries saw a way to use regulations to handicap competitors or help themselves to public subsidies. Since that time, not a single environmental law or regulation has passed that benefited either the environment or society.”

“The takeover of EPA and all of its activities by liberal activists was slow and methodical over the past 30 years. Today, EPA is all but a wholly owned subsidiary of liberal activist groups. Its rules account for about half of the nearly $2 trillion a year cost of complying with all national regulations in the U.S. President Barack Obama is using it to circumvent Congress to impose regulations on the energy sector that will cause prices to ‘skyrocket.’ It is a rogue agency.”

Dr. Lehr says that “Incremental reform of EPA is simply not an option.”  He's right.

“I have come to believe that the national EPA must be systematically dismantled and replaced by a Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental protection agencies. Those agencies in nearly all cases long ago took over primary responsibility for the implementation of environmental laws passed by Congress (or simply handed down by EPA as fiat rulings without congressional vote or oversight.”

Looking back over the years, Dr. Lehr notes that “The initial laws I helped write have become increasingly draconian, yet they have not benefited our environment or the health of our citizens. Instead they suppress our economy and the right of our citizens to make an honest living. It seems to me, and to others, that this is actually the intention of those in EPA and in Congress who want to see government power expanded without regard to whether it is needed to protect the environment or public health.”

Eliminating the EPA would provide a major savings by eliminating 80% of its budget. The remaining 20% could be used to run its research labs and administer the Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental agencies. “The Committee would determine which regulations are actually mandated in law by Congress and which were established by EPA without congressional approval.”

Dr. Lehr estimates the EPA’s federal budget would be reduced from $8.2 billion to $2 billion. Staffing would be reduced from more than 15,000 to 300 and that staff would serve in a new national EPA headquarters he recommends be “located centrally in Topeka, Kansas, to allow the closest contact with the individual states.” The staff would consist of six delegate-employees from each of the 50 states.”

“Most states,” says Dr. Lehr, “will enthusiastically embrace this plan, as their opposition to EPA’s ‘regulatory train wreck’ grows and since it gives them the autonomy and authority they were promised when EPA was first created and the funding to carry it out.”

The EPA was a good idea when it was created, the nation’s air and water needed to be cleaned, but they have been at this point. Since then, the utterly bogus “global warming”, now called “climate change”, has been used to justify a torrent of EPA regulations. The science the EPA cites as justification is equally tainted and often kept secret from the public.

“It’s time for the national EPA to go,” says Dr. Lehr and I most emphatically agree. “All that is missing is the political will.

SOURCE




The EPA takes aim at Tesla, electric cars

The cornerstone of personal independence and commerce in the modern world is motorized mobility — the car. Ever since Henry Ford’s Model T revolutionized travel in the United States over a hundred years ago, people have relied on the automobile for virtually every personal interaction and business expenditure. Today, the car may very well be at the precipice of its evolutionary leap into the 21st century, and Obama’s regulatory state could kill it on arrival.

Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, has been a pioneer in the development of electric cars that are as practical as they are attractive. Tesla cars are inherently American: efficient, sleek, fast, and, well, sexy. Everything we look for in the vehicles that represent such an enormous part of the American experience.

Recent stories have revealed Musk’s plan to release a $35,000 Tesla model with the capability of traveling more than 200 miles per charge — or about double what the unattractive, euro-like Nissan Leaf can travel — said to possess the amenities and attractiveness of the current, far more expensive Tesla models. A top-end electric car for the every-man. If achieved successfully, this may mark the beginning of the commonly used exhaust-free, electric automobile. What a glorious achievement for the environmentalist left! … Right?

Well, not quite.

As one can easily deduce, the electric car requires electricity. For electricity to be a more efficient way to power said electric car over, say, petrol fuels, it needs to be available in inexpensive abundance. That’s the non-starter for the EPA and the environmental extremist allies of the Obama administration.

Most American energy is generated by coal and natural gas. Coal is already on its way out. Regardless of the resource’s ability to power the nation for over 500 years at current energy usage rates, the EPA has recently laid down a regulation forcing all plants to reduce emissions by 30 percent — a crippling blow to an already suffering industry. The regulations may actually work far better, and worse, than expected. They very well reduce emissions from power generated by coal by 100 percent when the industry is unable to afford the amazing costs of retrofitting plants with new government-regulated technology. They may also, ironically, kill an industry that actually lures the American public away from the gasoline-fired automobile that the same regulatory clear-cutters want to do away with.

If energy prices skyrocket, as Obama said would be an inevitable outcome of his environmental policies, there is no practical purpose to investing in an electric car at any price point.

The free market could be ready to be rid of the carbon-puffing car and the alarmist, reactionary left may have already killed it upon arrival.

What exactly does the Obama administration want for the future of American energy? The market knows what it wants, the people know what they want. But it seems like the environmentalist radicals behind the Obama administration’s energy and environment public policies have an indiscriminate taste to destroy, rather than build for the future.

Progress is just over the horizon, only the self-titled “progressives” stand in the way.

SOURCE

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Record high global temperature in June a lie

Drawing on NOAA data, it is asserted below that we did have a record high global temperature in June.  But the "record" temperature exceeded the previous high by only one twentieth of one degree, a figure that would be non-trivial only if it were repeated frequently.   More importantly, it is well outside the accuracy inherent in the data.  Temperature measurement is very spotty worldwide with large areas such as China, Russia and Africa having very few data sources. So a great deal of the "data" used to calculate world temperature is in fact "interpolations", in plain language guesses.  So one immidiately suspects that the guesses were simply more expansive in June.

And the U.S. temperature data strongly supports that suspicion.  The USA by far has the best temperature record.  The measurements are not perfect.  They are affected by siting problems in many cases but there are so many measuring stations that interpolations are rarely needed.  So what does out best source of uninterpolated data show?  You can see it on the map below.  The USA was mostly one big COOL spot!  QED, as they used to say.  The global data is fudged

A minor source of amusement is that the NOAA report that formed the basis for the article below tabulates national temperatures for a number of nations, including such places as Latvia, but does NOT give U.S. average temperatures! I wonder why?


Last month was a scorcher for global temperatures with warmth over land and sea breaking records for June while sea-surface temperatures posted their largest departure from long-term averages for any month.

Combined average temperatures over land and sea were 0.72 degrees above the 20th century average of 15.5 degrees, making it the hottest June and adding to the record May and equal record April, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).



More striking for climatologists, though, were the sea-surface temperatures. These came in 0.64 degrees above the 20th century average of 16.4 degrees – the first time any month had exceeded the long-run norm by more than 0.6 degrees.

Parts of all major ocean basins notched their warmest June, with almost all the Indian Ocean and regions off south-eastern Australia the hottest on record.

An El Nino event remains about a 70 per cent chance of forming during the northern summer, which could see more records tumble. The weather pattern sees the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean becoming relatively warm compared with western regions, and typically brings hotter, drier than usual conditions to south-east Asia and Australia.

Climate scientists say man-made emissions of greenhouse gases are trapping more solar heat and leading to the global warming that increasing the likelihood that hot rather than cold records will be broken.

The first half of the year tied 2002 as the third-warmest on record for land and sea-surface temperatures, NOAA said.

SOURCE





Myths Busted at Climate Change Conference

Attendees of The Heartland Institute's 9th International Conference on Climate Change held in Las Vegas from July 7-9, "Just Don't Wonder About Global Warming, Understand It," heard some of the world's leading climate scientists and researchers discuss the latest state of global warming science, including questions of whether manmade global warming will harm plants, animals, or human welfare. Eight hundred participants gathered to hear 64 speakers from 12 different countries despite the fierce summer heat of Las Vegas. At one point 4,000 individuals were listening to the conference as it was streamed live from Las Vegas.

Speakers addressed myths of climate alarmism, specifically refuting the often-repeated assertion that 97 percent of scientists disagree with so-called global warming skeptics. On the contrary, speakers noted, only 0.5 percent of the authors of 11,944 scientific papers on climate and related topics over the past 21 years have said they agree most of the warming since 1950 was manmade, and that is only one of the necessary preconditions for an asserted global warming crisis. Speakers also cited  the Remote Sensing Systems satellite record which shows there now has been no global warming for 17 years and 10 months.

Busting Myths

During the opening dinner, meteorologist Joe Bastardi explained extreme weather events are not becoming any more frequent or severe as the planet warms. To the contrary, Bastardi documented how hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and other extreme weather events are declining in frequency and severity. To the extent there are short-term increases in extreme weather events at some places within the overall global decline, Bastardi showed those follow weather and climate patterns that existed long before recent global warming.

During the breakfast session on Day 2, Greenpeace cofounder Patrick Moore chronicled the radicalization of once-noble environmentalist groups. Standing before photographs of himself leading environmental protests and provocative actions against whalers and other corporate entitites, Moore explained how Greenpeace and other environmental activist groups are now harming human health and welfare by demanding so many resources be dedicated to the fictitious global warming crisis. True environmental progress would be made fighting for land conservation and other real environmental concerns rather than trumped-up global warming claims, Moore explained.

Patrick Michaels, a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and former program chair for the Committee on Applied Climatology of the American Meteorological Society, explained during the Day 2 luncheon how government research grants are promoting the false notion of an alarmist consensus. Large government research grants are handed out almost uniformly to scientists who will promote the idea of global warming crisis, which ensures more budgetary dollars for government agencies addressing the topic and subsequently more research grants for the participating scientists, he noted.

Presenting the Science

The breakout sessions featured additional dozens of compelling presentations.

Howard Hayden, emeritus professor of physics at the University of Connecticut, demonstrated how all energy sources have environmental drawbacks. Hayden, moreover, showed scientifically how wind, solar, and other renewable power sources simply cannot meet the nation’s energy demands. Wind and solar power require tremendous amounts of land to produce even a very small amount of electricity. Although there may be room for expensive renewable power at the margins, global warming strategies that aim to shut down conventional power will not find enough replacement renewable power to keep the lights on, Hayden demonstrated. True land conservationists, said Hayden, are among the most vocal opponents of wind and solar power facilities.

Dr. John Dunn, a medical doctor, attorney, and advisor for the American Council on Science and Health, debunked EPA assertions that restrictions on power plant emissions will save lives and benefit human health. Dunn documented that human mortality rates are much higher during cold spells and winter months than during heat waves and summer months. Addressing EPA’s claims that tangential reductions in particulate matter and other emissions will save lives, Dunn showed that EPA’s assertions are totally unsupported and defy comprehensive health and mortality data. Also worth noting, EPA reports power plant emissions of the Six Principal Pollutants have already declined 70 percent even without EPA’s proposed carbon dioxide restrictions. Existing rules and regulations will reduce those emissions even further, with or without the proposed carbon dioxide restrictions.

Heartland Institute Senior Fellow James M. Taylor provided a concise and compelling summary of the scientific evidence for modest instead of severe global warming. Taylor’s presentation, along with all of the ICCC-9 presentations, was videotaped and is available online. Taylor gave a lively 10-minute talk with visual-friendly charts and graphs to share with family, friends, and acquaintances who would like to learn more about the global warming debate.

Denying Blessings of Modernity

At the final panel discussion, "Panel 21: Global Warming as a Social Movement," on Wednesday afternoon, the distinguished panelists included E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., founder and national spokesman of the Cornwall Alliance; Paul Driessen, J.D., a senior advisor to the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise; and Peter Ferrara, J.D., a senior fellow of The Heartland Institute. Serving as moderator was Minnesota State Rep. Pat Garofalo.

Panelists Beisner, Driessen, and Ferrara all argued climate alarmists tend to be radical environmentalists who view people primarily as polluters and consumers who use up Earth's resources and poison the planet in the process, never seeing free people as voluntarily being good stewards of natural resources. Through the manmade global warming alarm, activists have used governments to deny affordable and reliable energy and other modern blessings to the developing world, panelists noted.

SOURCE




Only 20% Think Debate About Global Warming Is Over

Voters strongly believe the debate about global warming is not over yet and reject the decision by some news organizations to ban comments from those who deny that global warming is a problem.

Only 20% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the scientific debate about global warming is over, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Sixty-three percent (63%) disagree and say the debate about global warming is not over. Seventeen percent (17%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Forty-eight percent (48%) of voters think there is still significant disagreement within the scientific community over global warming, while 35% believe scientists generally agree on the subject.

The BBC has announced a new policy banning comments from those who deny global warming, a policy already practiced by the Los Angeles Times and several other media organizations.  But 60% of voters oppose the decision by some news organizations to ban global warming skeptics. Only 19% favor such a ban, while slightly more (21%) are undecided.

But then 42% believe the media already makes global warming appear to be worse than it really is. Twenty percent (20%) say the media makes global warming appear better than it really is, while 22% say they present an accurate picture. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure.

Still, this is an improvement from February 2009 when 54% thought the media makes global warming appear worse than it is. Unchanged, however, are the 21% who say the media presents an accurate picture.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 7-8, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Consistent with earlier polling is the finding that 60% of voters consider global warming a serious problem, with 37% who describe it as a Very Serious one.  Thirty-five percent (35%) disagree and don’t believe global warming is that serious a problem, with 14% who say it is Not At All Serious.

But even among those voters who consider global warming a Very Serious problem, 57% say the debate is not yet over. These voters by a 49% to 34% margin also oppose the decision by some news organizations to ban global warming skeptics.

The older the voter, generally speaking, the more likely they are to believe that the debate about global warming is not over.

Most voters across all demographic categories say the debate is not over. Most also oppose the decision by some media outlets to ban global warming critics.

Men and those over 40 are more skeptical of the media’s coverage of global warming than women and younger voters are.

Sixty-four percent (64%) of Republicans and a plurality (45%) of voters not affiliated with either major political party believe the media makes global warming appear to be worse than it really is. Just 22% of Democrats agree. But Democrats also believe much more strongly than the others that global warming is a serious problem.

Twenty-seven percent (27%) of voters in President Obama’s party think the scientific debate about global warming is over, a view shared by only 12% of GOP voters and 16% of unaffiliateds.

Sixty-seven percent (67%) of all voters say they have been following recent news reports about global warming at least somewhat closely, with 33% who are following Very Closely.

Because congressional Republicans oppose most of the initiatives he has proposed, the president has signaled that he is prepared to take whatever actions he can alone to deal with a problem he attributes largely to certain human activities. However, just 30% of voters think the president should take action alone if necessary to deal with global warming.  Twice as many (59%) say the federal government should only do what the president and Congress jointly agree on.

While most voters have expressed concern about global warming for years, only 41% are willing to pay more in taxes or in utility costs to generate cleaner energy and fight global warming. That includes 23% who are willing to pay no more than $100 extra a year.

SOURCE





Understanding of ice age still developing

Brand new research published today (Friday 27th June 2014) in the journal Nature Specific Reports has provided a major new theory on the cause of the ice age that engulfed large parts of the Northern Hemisphere 2.6 million years ago.

The study, which was co-authored by Dr Thomas Stevens, of the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London, discovered a previously unknown mechanism by which the joining of North and South America changed the salinity of the Pacific Ocean and caused substantial ice sheet growth across the Northern Hemisphere.

This change in salinity encouraged ice to form, which caused a change in wind patterns, leading to intensified monsoons. The monsoons provided moisture that enabled an increase in snowfall and the growth of major ice sheets, some reaching 3km thick.

The team of researchers analysed deposits of wind-blown dust known as red clay that accumulated between six million and two and half million years ago in north central China, adjacent to the Tibetan plateau, and used them to reconstruct changing monsoon precipitation and temperature.

“Until now, the cause of the Quaternary ice age had been a hotly debated topic”, said Dr Stevens. “Our findings suggest a significant link between ice sheet growth, the monsoon and the closing of the Panama Seaway, as North and South America drifted closer together. This provides us with a major new theory on the origins of the ice age, and ultimately our current climate system.”

Astonishingly, the research team discovered there was a strengthening of the monsoon during global cooling, rather than the intense rainfall that has usually been associated with warmer climates.

Dr Stevens added: “This led us to discover a previously unknown interaction between plate tectonic movements in the Americas and dramatic changes in global temperature. The intensified monsoons created a positive feedback cycle, promoting more global cooling, more sea ice and even stronger precipitation, culminating in the spread of huge glaciers across the Northern Hemisphere.”

SOURCE






Australia shoots down climate lobby’s scare mongering

By Marita Noon

Thursday, July 17 was a big news day. The world was shocked to learn that a Russian-made missile shot down a Malaysian Airlines jet with 298 on board as it flew over Ukraine en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam. Though flight 17 eclipsed the news cycle, there was another thing shot down on July 17.

Almost a year ago, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott won a landslide election with a nearly single-issue campaign: repeal the carbon tax. On July 17, he made good on that promise, as the Australian Senate voted, 39 to 32, to abolish the “world’s biggest carbon tax”—a tax that was reported to “do nothing to address global warming, apart from imposing high costs on the local economy.”

Australia was one of the first major countries, outside of the European Union, to adopt a carbon price—first suggested in 2007 and passed under Labour Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2011. Gillard’s campaign promised: “There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.” While she attempted to brand it a carbon price, not a “tax,” Sinclair Davidson, a professor in the school of Economics, Finance and Marketing at RMIT University, said: “The electorate had a very specific understanding of her words” and perceived it as a broken promise.

Australia’s carbon tax, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), was “recognized by the International Energy Agency as model legislation for developed countries.” The WSJ reports that when Australia’s carbon tax was passed, the Brookings Institution “described Australia as an ‘important laboratory and learning opportunity.’”

So, what do we learn from the “laboratory” the now-failed “model legislation” offered?

First, the WSJ states: “The public hates it.” The (UK) Telegraph calls the tax: “one of the most unsuccessful in history” and points out that it is “unique in that it generated virtually no revenue for the Australian Treasury due to its negative impact on productivity; contributed to the rising costs that have taken the gloss off the country’s resources boom; and essentially helped to bring down Ms. Gillard’s former Government.” The Telegraph, in an article titled: “Australia abandons disastrous green tax on emissions,” adds that the tax failed in “winning over voters who faced higher costs passed on by the companies that had to pay for it.” In Slate, Ariel Bogel claims the 2011 bill required “about 350 companies to pay a penalty for their greenhouse gas emissions.”

While Australia is, as the WSJ put it: “the world’s first developed nation to repeal carbon laws that put a price on greenhouse-gas emissions,” it is not the only one to back away from such policies. New Zealand has weakened its emissions trading scheme; Japan has retreated from its pledges to cut greenhouse emissions and instead committed to a rise in emissions; Canada withdrew from the Kyoto protocol in 2011; England, where “the bill for green policies is rising,” has “so far resisted calls to expand tax on carbon emissions”; the European Union carbon emissions trading scheme­—the biggest in the world and the heart of Europe’s climate-change program—is in dire straits; and, just the day after Australia’s news was announced, South Korea—whose planned 2015 emissions trading market launch would make it the world’s second largest—hinted at an additional delay due to projected costs to businesses.

The Telegraph offers this summary: “Carbon trading mechanisms and green taxes have largely been a failure elsewhere and especially so in Europe where they have dragged on investment and threatened long-term energy security.”

These are important lessons in light of the renewed push for a carbon tax in the U.S.  Consider the partnership of President George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and liberal billionaire Tom Steyer, who are, together, who are calling for a climate tax.

According to the WSJ, the World Bank called Australia’s repeal “one of the biggest international threats to the rollout of similar programs elsewhere.” The climate lobby is concerned as “Australia’s vote shows that the real obstacle to their dreams of controlling more of the world’s economy is democratic consent.”

In the U.S., similar efforts to reduce CO2 emissions by increasing costs to emitters, and therefore consumers—in our case, cap and trade—failed to achieve “democratic consent” even when

Democrats had control. The people didn’t want it. So, the Obama Administration now is trying to go around Congress with onerous rules and regulations on emissions.

As in the U.S., a carbon tax—or cap and trade—is not the only policy increasing energy costs to Australian consumers. In the U.S., we have the Renewable Portfolio Standard; Australia has its Renewable Energy Target (RET). Both require the addition of expensive wind-and-solar energy.

Jennifer Marohasy, Ph.D., who worked for 12 years as a scientist for the Queensland government, told me: “Of course while the carbon tax needed to be repealed, its abolition will go only some way to reducing pressures on Australian businesses and households. The so-called Clean Energy Act 2011 is part of a tsunami of regulation and legislation introduced over recent years that has seen the average electricity price in Australia increase by 70% in real terms. Next in line must be the mandatory RET, a government-legislated requirement on electricity retailers to source a specific proportion of total electricity sales from renewable energy sources including wind and solar, with the extraordinary costs serving as a hidden tax—paid by all electricity users.”

In the Australian Financial Review, Alan Moran, an economist specializing in regulatory matters, in particular covering energy, global warming, housing, transport, and competition issues, and Director of the Institute of Public Affairs’ Deregulation Unit, agrees that the carbon tax is just one of the burdens holding down the Australian economy. He sees a cascade of programs for support of high-cost renewables and penalties for fossil-fuel use and “a bewildering array of subsidies and programs.”

Both see the RET as the bigger issue. Marohasy says: “In short, repeal of the carbon tax is a big symbolic win. But it’s mostly just window-dressing: to appease the masses. In the background, proponents of anthropogenic global warming who dominate our political class still very much control the levers of government and intend to continue to terrorize the population with claims of catastrophic global warming, while consolidating their rent-seeking through the RET.” She explained: “Money collected from the carbon tax went to government, money collected through the RET largely goes to the global warming industry.” Which is why some in the Australian Senate agreed to vote for the repeal—as long as the RET isn’t touched.

However, Abbott has stated: “All of us should want to see lower prices and plainly at the moment the renewable energy target is a very significant impact on higher power prices.” Time will tell how Abbott fares in the RET battle. But for now, he’s given the world a “learning opportunity” on climate change and energy policy.

Meanwhile, the climate lobby resorts to hyperbole to push its scare-mongering tactics. In closing her piece in Slate, Bogle whines: “As someone who has to live in the quickly cooking world Abbott leaves behind…” Perhaps she’s missed the data that the planet’s predicted warming hasn’t happened—despite ever-increasing CO2 emissions. According to satellite records, there has been no warming in almost 18 years.

May America learn from, as the Brookings Institution observed, the “important laboratory” of Australia’s foray into climate schemes.

SOURCE




'Sure Hope So': Harry Reid Wants to Pass Carbon Tax Bill After Midterms

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was asked Monday if Democrats will move a carbon tax bill after the midterm election.

"I sure hope so," he told a "clean energy" conference call.

The reporter asked Reid what would change after the midterm to put carbon tax legislation back on the table:

"Well, I think what's happening in the world," Reid replied. "I mean we have -- as we speak, we have wildfires raging in five or six different states in the west. I mean raging.

"I heard in a briefing I had this morning, a big fire in Washington is zero percent contained -- zero. You can see the fires burning in the west from satellites miles above the sky. It's -- so there are lots of reasons why we need to take another look at this."

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) is among the Democrats pushing for a carbon tax, which would raise the price of energy for everyone.

In a speech on the Senate floor last month, Whitehouse said the federal tax code should be used to address climate change:

"I believe carbon-driven climate change hurts our economy, damages our infrastructure, and harms public health," Whitehouse said on June 25. "Yet those costs are not factored into the cost of fossil fuels. That means the cost of the pollution has been borne by the public.

"I believe we should adopt a carbon fee to correct this market failure and return all its revenue to the American people..."

A carbon tax bill won't advance unless Democrats retake the House and retain control of the Senate in November. With that goal in mind, President Obama was heading west on Tuesday to raise money for his party.

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.  

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014


This weathercaster has earned farmers’ trust. He also believes climate change doesn’t exist

This is a rather idiotic reporter from WaPo --  A business reporter.  Seems to think every Warmist believes any bad weather is part of AGW trend.  Reporter goes to absurd lengths to make skeptic look like lone extremist.  Despite all peer reviewed studies and data showing extremes having no trend or declining

Bledsoe has cultivated a strong following among the tough men and women with whom he’s able to identify.

“We give this guy a little more credence than we do others because he comes from a ranch family,” says Larry Fillmore, who owns some 15,000 acres of high plains, and has been pasturing his herd in South Dakota through the drought. “He knows the environment, and he knows the problems we have.” His neighbor, Dwight Watson, nods agreement. “It’s more than just a computer.”

That’s fine, when Bledsoe is telling farmers when to plant and what kind of winter to expect. But inevitably, he gets asked whether any of the withering dryness they’ve been through over the past decade has to do with that thing they’ve been hearing about on the news — global warming. His answer: Not the man-made kind.

“If you go back through history, there were droughts that lasted decades. Something drove the Anastasi out of the Southwest,” Bledsoe explains, talking about how tree ring data suggests the late 1800s were a dry time too. “If someone comes to me and says, ‘Do you believe man is changing and driving our climate and how it works?’ I’m just not there, because I see other drivers as being much bigger governors in where we go.”

Even as the rest of the nation has started coming around to the idea that human activity has contributed to the extreme weather of the past few years, Bledsoe is among the holdouts, spreading climate skepticism in person, on the air, and online — and he’s not alone. According to one 2011 survey, more than a third of weather casters deny that pumping carbon dioxide into the air has anything to do with the increasingly extreme conditions they’re reporting. And they’re as close to scientific expertise as many households get.

The meteorologist profession has cast a weather eye on the idea of anthropogenic climate change ever since the 1980s, when it was a crackpot theory in a NASA lab. Doubts really took root in the 1990s, when President Bill Clinton first invited weathercasters to the White House, to try to win their support for the U.S.’ bid to negotiate a global treaty on climate change (a trick that President Barack Obama tried recently as well). As the Columbia Journalism Review chronicled, many of them reacted negatively to the idea of a politician getting them to buy into a scientific conclusion and a policy prescription, all at once.

“Climate change and global warming are so value-laden,” says Bob Henson, a spokesperson at the Boulder, Colo.-based University Center for Atmospheric Research, who published a history of broadcast meteorology in 2010. “People think it’s not referring to the physical effect so much as it is to the policy response.”

Henson says the outright refusal to acknowledge global warming has softened somewhat in recent years. At the annual meeting of the American Meteorologists Association, the issue has been so contentious that attendees requested small group sessions to talk through it, but this year the voices of climate denial weren’t as loud. “The dialogue is much more, ‘what does it mean?’” Henson says.

That may have something to do with an outreach campaign by weathercasters able to model how to talk about climate change effectively, even in the 2-minute weekend forecast format. Since climate is a complicated and nuanced subject, broadcasters are also encouraged to take their message  to Facebook or blogs, where they can explain at more length.

When Bledsoe blogs, though, his message just becomes more anti-climate change, not less. And often, because of the pairing of climate science and the policies deemed necessary to address it, that’s what his conservative rural audience wants to hear. On his blog last November, he recounted being asked about climate change during a speaking engagement at a California Beef Improvement Association conference in Reno, Nev.

“I told them that I think it is a economic and political agenda that has nothing to do with climate or protecting the environment,” Bledsoe wrote. “I told them it has to do with taxes and control…They said it was refreshing to hear that from a scientist, as almost all of those that attended believe it is nothing but a hoax.” Bledsoe opposes Colorado’s renewable energy mandates, which he says will raise electricity costs for drought-stricken farmers, and it’s easier to do that when you don’t think there’s anything wrong with the status quo.

But Bledsoe isn’t just pandering. He also feels he’s well-grounded in the science, having closely studied ocean currents, which he says are stronger drivers of the current warming trend.

“I see both sides fudging the data. What I try to do is take all that out of the way, and show them what I believe are the natural drivers of our climate, because our climate has been changing forever,” Bledsoe says. “The misinformation campaign is being run at a high level, and a high speed, and most people are too busy to do the research for themselves.”

That’s why Mike Nelson, chief meteorologist at ABC 7NEws in Denver, thought Bledsoe was worth trying to win over. Two summers ago, he invited the younger weathercaster to meet with climate scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, so they could hash out the science. A healthy exchange of opinions followed, but both parties went home with their minds unchanged.

“Brian Bledsoe is the one I respect the most — he’s not just throwing back the normal Fox News talking points,” Nelson says. “He’s just unconvinced that the increase in greenhouse gas emissions is going to be outweighed by these deep ocean circulations.” Nelson figured they’d agree to disagree, and the two haven’t talked since.

Ultimately, Bledsoe probably isn’t harming the farmers who trust his advice — in the medium term, his forecasts look similar to those of someone who thinks the greenhouse effect is causing the longer dry spells, not ocean currents. He’s still telling people in Southeast Colorado to buckle down for another couple decades of drought, and not to have any illusions that the rainfall of the 80s and 90s will return anytime soon.

“The thing that’s got me as much traction as it has, is I’ve been right,” Bledsoe says.”I want to show you what the weather’s going to be like going forward, so you can deal with it. It’s knock-down, drag-out depending on who you talk to. And I hate that, because it really sucks the science out of it.”

SOURCE



Hunt for oil and gas to begin off East Coast

The Obama administration opened up the Atlantic to oil and gas exploration for the first time in nearly four decades on Friday.

The announcement from Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) allows the use of air guns and sonic sensors to search off of the East Coast.

It is a major step toward allowing future drilling in the Atlantic, which has remained off-limits for over 30 years.

While the decision doesn't guarantee that lease sales for drilling in Atlantic waters will be included in the Interior Department's five-year plan for 2017-2022, it is a step in that direction.

"After thoroughly reviewing the analysis, coordinating with Federal agencies and considering extensive public input, the bureau has identified a path forward that addresses the need to update the nearly four-decade-old data in the region while protecting marine life and cultural sites,” acting BOEM Director Walter D. Cruickshank said.

Geophysical research companies contracted by the oil and gas industry will still need to apply for individual permits before conducting tests and undergo strict environmental reviews.

Still, the decision is a win for industry, which will get a chance to prove the potential in the Atlantic for oil, gas, and renewable energy.

Environmentalists, on the other hand, expressed frustration with the administration for allowing testing, which they argue is harmful to marine life in the Atlantic.

"For more than 30 years, the Atlantic coast has been off limits to offshore drilling. Today, our government appears to be folding to the pressure of Big Oil and its big money," said OCEANA spokeswoman Claire Douglass.

Green groups say the tests could kill thousands of marine mammals, injuring dolphins and endangered whales.

The Natural Resources Defense Council called seismic testing the "gateway drug to offshore drilling."

While the decision favors the industry, oil and gas companies aren't getting everything they want.

The American Petroleum Institute said Interior is keeping in place "arbitrary" restrictions that "lack scientific support," and that will "discourage" exploration.

BOEM doesn't expect surveys to begin until early next year but will consider permit applications as they come in.

After a permit is issued, the contractor will have one year from that date to conduct tests.

The decision comes after the release of an environmental impact study in February that detailed precautions companies should take when conducting tests.

SOURCE






The sun has gone quiet…solar cycle 24 continues to rank as one of the weakest cycles more than a century

Overview

Ten days ago, the sun was quite active and peppered with several large spots. Now the sun has gone quiet and it is nearly completely blank. It appears that the solar maximum phase for solar cycle 24 may have been reached and it is not very impressive. It looks as if this solar cycle is “double-peaked” (see below) which is not all that uncommon; however, it is somewhat rare that the second peak in sunspot number during the solar max phase is larger than the first. In fact, this solar cycle continues to rank among the weakest on record which continues the recent trend for increasingly weaker cycles. The current predicted and observed size makes this the smallest sunspot cycle since Cycle 14 which had a maximum of 64.2 in February of 1906. Going back to 1755, there have been only a few solar cycles in the previous 23 that have had a lower number of sunspots during its maximum phase. For this reason, many solar researchers are calling this current solar maximum a “mini-max”. Solar cycle 24 began after an unusually deep solar minimum that lasted from 2007 to 2009. In fact, in 2008 and 2009, there were almost no sunspots, a very unusual situation during a solar minimum phase that had not happened for almost a century.

Consequences of a weak solar cycle

First, the weak solar cycle has resulted in rather benign “space weather” in recent times with generally weaker-than-normal geomagnetic storms. By all Earth-based measures of geomagnetic and geoeffective solar activity, this cycle has been extremely quiet. However, there is some evidence that most large events such as strong solar flares and significant geomagnetic storms tend to occur in the declining phase of the solar cycle. In other words, there is still a chance for significant solar activity in the months and years ahead.

Second, it is pretty well understood that solar activity has a direct impact on temperatures at very high altitudes in a part of the Earth’s atmosphere called the thermosphere. This is the biggest layer of the Earth’s atmosphere which lies directly above the mesosphere and below the exosphere. Thermospheric temperatures increase with altitude due to absorption of highly energetic solar radiation and are highly dependent on solar activity.

Finally, if history is a guide, it is safe to say that weak solar activity for a prolonged period of time can have a negative impact on global temperatures in the troposphere which is the bottom-most layer of Earth’s atmosphere - and where we all live. There have been two notable historical periods with decades-long episodes of low solar activity. The first period is known as the “Maunder Minimum”, named after the solar astronomer Edward Maunder, and it lasted from around 1645 to 1715. The second one is referred to as the “Dalton Minimum”, named for the English meteorologist John Dalton, and it lasted from about 1790 to 1830. Both of these historical periods coincided with below-normal global temperatures in an era now referred to by many as the “Little Ice Age”. In addition, research studies in just the past couple of decades have found a complicated relationship between solar activity, cosmic rays, and clouds on Earth. This research suggests that in times of low solar activity where solar winds are typically weak; more cosmic rays reach the Earth’s atmosphere which, in turn, has been found to lead to an increase in certain types of clouds that can act to cool the Earth.

Outlook

The increasingly likely outcome for an historically weak solar cycle continues the recent downward trend in sunspot cycle strength that began over twenty years ago during solar cycle 22. If this trend continues for the next couple of cycles, then there would likely be more talk of another “grand minimum” for the sun. Some solar scientists are already predicting that the next solar cycle, #25, will be even weaker than this current one. However, it is just too early for high confidence in these predictions since some solar scientists believe that the best predictor of future solar cycle strength involves activity at the sun’s poles during a solar minimum and the next solar minimum is still likely several years away.

SOURCE





BBC, Climate Change & Censorship: Interview With Benny Peiser

Benny Peiser is a social anthropologist best known for his work on the portrayal of climate change. The founder of CCNet, a leading climate policy network, Peiser is co-editor of the journal Energy and Environment and director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Following the BBC's recent decision to uphold a complaint against comments made by climate change sceptic Lord Lawson on the Today programme, we spoke to Peiser about scientific consensus and climate change in the media.

Q. The BBC's head of editorial complaint recently said that Lord Lawson’s views are not supported by any evidence from such things as computer modelling scientific research; thus, they should strengthen their editorial procedures to avoid misleading the public.

Do you think there is such a thing as a unanimous scientific consensus about climate change today?

A. I think this is irrelevant. I mean, there is a general agreement on CO2 and greenhouse gas: that we are pumping CO2 into the atmosphere and that this will have a warming effect. This is agreed by everyone so that is not the real issue. Even the sceptics agree to that. So, this is a red herring, because no one denies the basic physics, no one denies the basic facts.

And that was not part of the discussion at the BBC anyhow. It was about the flooding this winter and whether it was caused by climate change, as well as what to do about climate change. And, of course, there is no consensus about these issues. So, the BBC is using a red herring to deny critics of climate policies and climate alarmism a forum.

Q. A question of rhetoric then?

A. No. It's a bit like saying, “do you accept that there is a European Union?” This is the consensus, right, and because Euro-sceptics don’t accept that there is a European Union, they shouldn’t be interviewed on the BBC because they deny the existence of the European Union.

Q.I see.

A. It’s an argument that no one denies, but which is used to silence critics of the policies, and the subsidies, and the billions of pounds being thrown at the problem. So I think it is basically censorship, using a scientific argument that is standing on water. No one really questions this general consensus.

Q. So this is a problem of censorship? We know that climate change is a debate that attracts some extremely strong opinions. Why do you think this is?

A. This is not about scientific proof. It’s about how serious is it and what should we do about it, you see. It is only the BBC who claims this is about scientific proof. As I’ve just said, no one is questioning the basic physics; no one is question the basic consensus. So this is not about denying climate change or denying the effects of greenhouse gas or that there is human contribution… this is all a red herring. This is about denying anyone who criticises the green lobbyists and the green agenda from raising their criticisms. This is what is at stake. It’s not about the science.

Q. So do you think that, when it comes to the media, it is a one-sided kind of alarmist perception of risk that comes into question?

A. Of course, because they are well-known for pointing out everything that is alarming and being silent on reports that show it is not as alarming. So you have a bias in favour of alarm, and a kind of ignoring any evidence that suggests that it might not be that alarming.

It’s about people who think we are facing doomsday, and people who are thinking that the issue of climate change is exaggerated. And if you deny anyone sceptical of the apocalyptic doomsday prophecies, then you get in a position where the BBC is so biased that MPs are beginning to consider cutting the license fee, or abolishing the license fee altogether, because people are beginning to be upset by the BBC’s bias.

This is a self-defeating policy; the BBC is digging its own grave by annoying half of the population who are known to be sceptical about the alarmist claims which are not substantiated, which are not founded on any evidence. They are only based on on some kinds of computer modelling, which is not scientific evidence.

Q. So scientific evidence, such as computer modelling and research, is being used as an instrument in the rhetoric?

A. Well there is a big difference between observation, what you actually observe in reality – that’s what I would call evidence – and computer models that try to model the climate in 50 or 100 years time. I wouldn’t call that evidence. There is a difference between evidence and people saying, “if we don’t act now then in 50 or a 100 years time we will face mega catastrophe”. That’s not evidence, it is speculation.

Q. So, for example, if someone were to say, “scientific knowledge or evidence is always a requirement to express criticism toward the prevailing views on climate change as portrayed in the media,” would you agree with that kind of comment?

A. No, of course not. Because what is scientific knowledge, you know? Who decides what scientific knowledge is? Do you have to be a climate scientist to have scientific knowledge or do you have to have enough information? Who decides who’s qualified to decide what the right policy is? Because at the end of the day, the scientist cannot tell us what is the best approach to deal with climate change.

The scientists have no idea about costs and benefits; about policy and economics. The scientists only know the atmosphere, they know how the atmosphere functions. But if you want to decide what to do about climate change then the climate scientists are really the least likely to understand what policies or alternatives there are.

The climate debate is not just about the science, but also about policies, about economics, costs, benefits. That’s where the scientists are unequipped, and where the economists and policy makers are those at the forefront of the debate. The BBC makes it out as if it was all about the science, but it isn’t. There are so many other questions where the climate scientists simply haven’t got the expertise, or certainly less expertise.

Q. Do you think this is part of the reason why there was a controversy with Lord Lawson when the argument was made that he shouldn’t be censored because he had an argument more in terms of economics and policy making, rather than science?

A. Of course. And in any case, if the BBC were to adhere to this policy, they would never ever again interview Ed Miliband or any MPs or Minister or policy maker on climate change, right? For example, you mention Lord Lawson, who has written extensively about climate change issues over the last six, seven years. If he can’t be interviewed because he is not a scientist, well then you cannot interview any politician.

Q, Do you think Lord Lawson is an authoritative and representative figure of the views of climate change when it comes to critics or sceptics?

Well of course. He’s one of the world’s leading authorities who has written, as I said, extensively on climate change. He is not a climate scientist, but I just said this was not about science. It is about what to do about climate, how Britain may again be flooded in the future. So it’s not about science, it is about what are the best ways of dealing with flooding in the future.

Q. In the press, the argument has been put forward quite regularly that sceptics or critics are already over-represented in media coverage, which is said to be misleading the public. Is that a fact? Or do you think the BBC should give more air time to climate change critics/ sceptics?

A. Well they haven’t in the past. Take Lord Lawson. That was the first time ever that he’s been interviewed on climate change. And if you think about the hundreds of reports over the years by the BBC, climate sceptics are a very and increasingly rare species.

Climate sceptics are definitely not under-represented, but simply absent when it comes to the number of media outlets. However, because there is that bias in the BBC and other news organisations, they are finding their own outlets. The climate-sceptical bloggers are increasingly popular and have huge readerships, and a number of newspapers can see that there is a real market for more balanced views.

Take for instance the Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail. These newspapers have realized that the BBC and others are ignoring alternative views and so they are providing the half of the population who are sceptics an opportunity to have more balanced reporting. They can see the big opportunity that the BBC is ruling out.

As I said, from surveys, more than half of the British public is sceptical, so if the BBC alienates more than half of the population then they only have themselves to blame if the British public don’t anymore want to pay for the BBC.

Q. Do you think there might also be a confusion created by separating people in two strict camps: either you are a sceptic or you are a firm believer in climate change? Perhaps there could be a more constructive critic of authoritative knowledge or prevailing rhetoric?

A. When the BBC interviewed the sceptical scientists like Professor Carter they also got complaints from those who said it was wrong, so it’s not about knowledge or because you are not a climate scientist. They don’t even interview scientists who are sceptical, and on the very rare occasion – once every two years – that they perhaps have an interview with a sceptical scientist, they also get complaints. So this is not about people not being knowledgeable, it’s that people don’t want to listen to any critics. That is as simple as that, they do not want to, or do not like the idea of a debate on this issue.

Q. Do you think this is because it threatens the status quo and stability on the issue of climate change?

A. Well, they realise that ‘facts’, the simple facts of climate change do not adapt to some kind of doomsday alarming scenario. That is their biggest fear. And that is what they don’t want the public to hear. They want their message to be that we are facing global disaster and unless we act now it will be too late. They don’t want to hear anyone who says, “hold on! Look out of the window, it’s not as bad as the models predict…”

Q. So it is rhetoric of risk?

A. At the end of the day there is a big industry behind this campaign, let’s not forget. There’s a huge green energy industry which relies on billions of subsidies on government policy. All the people who own wind farms and solar panels and bio-fuel lands all rely on government support. Without the alarm there would not be that much money going into their pockets. So there are big industrial claims behind this campaign who make hundreds of millions of pounds on the back of this alarm.

Q. Why do you think that climate change discussion generally has divided largely along political lines? For example, some might associate scepticism about climate change with right wing politics etc.

A. Well in Europe this is not the case. That is the case in the U.S. and perhaps in Australia. In Europe, it is really that almost all parties have signed up to the climate agenda. There is no political divide on the climate agenda. I mean, it's beginning to look as if more and more governments, both left and right, are becoming concerned because the costs are piling up and because Europe is becoming uncompetitive as a result. So there is a growing concern that Europe, through its climate policies, is damaging the economy and making energy costs ever more expensive, and that therefore European industries are becoming increasingly uncompetitive. But that is a general concern, not a left or right issue, though in the US it is, yes.

Q.Do you think the problem of competitiveness is related to the avoidance of a more constructive debate?

A. Well initially, 10 or 20 years ago, the Europeans thought that the climate alarm would help their economy. They thought that Europe would create or produce renewable technologies which could then be exported to the rest of the world. That was the idea, but they forgot that China and other Asian countries could produce these renewable technologies much cheaper and much quicker. So now they are concerned about the Chinese selling solar panels to Europeans, and the Europeans subsidising Chinese solar panels.

So, there are all sorts of big problems in the whole concept that climate change policies could be good for the economy. In reality they have just added to energy costs and it’s a much bigger problem now for many governments around Europe, not least because the shale revolution has brought down the energy crisis in the U.S. and is making live industry in Europe very difficult. As I said, there are other issues involved aside from the science which make the climate debate so contentious, because you are talking about a multi-billion Euro industry that relies on governments to keep handing out money.

If the alarm goes, a lot of green industries that rely on subsidies will go bankrupt as they rely on people being alarmed. Without the alarm, we would not have wind and solar energy; we would not have the need for renewable energy without the climate alarm.

Q. How could the discussion about climate change be improved in the media more generally? How could we make the discussion more constructive?

A. Well, it is difficult. By and large you improve it by making it as factual, as objective, and as balanced as possible. Also, moving away from the basic scientific issues to focus on the real, big divides and problems which have to do with what we are going to do about climate change. That is where the big question mark remains. And, as you may have noticed, it is much more difficult and more complex than the simplistic way the BBC portrays the controversy.

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Owen Paterson: I’m Proud Of Standing Up To The Green Lobby

Like the nationalised industries and obstructive trade unions of the 1970s, the Green Blob has become a powerful self-serving caucus; it is the job of the elected politician to stand up to them

Every prime minister has the right to choose his team to take Britain into the general election and I am confident that my able successor at Defra, Liz Truss, will do an excellent job. It has been a privilege to take on the challenges of the rural economy and environment. However, I leave the post with great misgivings about the power and irresponsibility of – to coin a phrase – the Green Blob.

By this I mean the mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some public officials who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape. This tangled triangle of unelected busybodies claims to have the interests of the planet and the countryside at heart, but it is increasingly clear that it is focusing on the wrong issues and doing real harm while profiting handsomely.

Local conservationists on the ground do wonderful work to protect and improve wild landscapes, as do farmers, rural businesses and ordinary people. They are a world away from the highly paid globe-trotters of the Green Blob who besieged me with their self-serving demands, many of which would have harmed the natural environment.

I soon realised that the greens and their industrial and bureaucratic allies are used to getting things their own way. I received more death threats in a few months at Defra than I ever did as secretary of state for Northern Ireland. My home address was circulated worldwide with an incitement to trash it; I was burnt in effigy by Greenpeace as I was recovering from an operation to save my eyesight. But I did not set out to be popular with lobbyists and I never forgot that they were not the people I was elected to serve.

Indeed, I am proud that my departure was greeted with such gloating by spokespeople for the Green Party and Friends of the Earth.

It was not my job to do the bidding of two organisations that are little more than anti-capitalist agitprop groups most of whose leaders could not tell a snakeshead fritillary from a silver-washed fritillary. I saw my task as improving both the environment and the rural economy; many in the green movement believed in neither.

Their goal was to enhance their own income streams and influence by myth making and lobbying. Would they have been as determined to blacken my name if I was not challenging them rather effectively?

When I arrived at Defra I found a department that had become under successive Labour governments a milch cow for the Green Blob.

Just as Michael Gove set out to refocus education policy on the needs of children rather than teachers and bureaucrats and Iain Duncan Smith set out to empower the most vulnerable, so I began to reorganise the department around four priorities: to grow the rural economy, to improve the environment, and to safeguard both plant and animal health.

The Green Blob sprouts especially vigorously in Brussels. The European Commission website reveals that a staggering 150 million euros (£119  million) was paid to the top nine green NGOs from 2007-13.

European Union officials give generous grants to green groups so that they will lobby it for regulations that then require large budgets to enforce. When I attended a council meeting of elected EU ministers on shale gas in Lithuania last year, we were lectured by a man using largely untrue clich├ęs about the dangers of shale gas. We discovered that he was from the European Environment Bureau, an umbrella group for unelected, taxpayer-subsidised green lobby groups. Speaking of Europe, I remain proud to have achieved some renegotiations.

The discard ban ends the scandalous practice of throwing away perfectly edible fish, we broke the council deadlock on GM crops, so decisions may be repatriated to member countries and we headed off bans on fracking. Judge me by my opponents.

When I proposed a solution to the dreadful suffering of cattle, badgers and farmers as a result of the bovine tuberculosis epidemic that Labour allowed to develop, I was opposed by rich pop stars who had never been faced with having to cull a pregnant heifer. (Interestingly, very recent local evidence suggests the decline in TB in the cull area may already have begun.)

When I spoke up for the landscapes of this beautiful country against the heavily subsidised industry that wants to spoil them with wind turbines at vast cost to ordinary people, vast reward to rich landowners and undetectable effects on carbon dioxide emissions, I was frustrated by colleagues from the so-called Liberal Democrat Party.

When I encouraged the search for affordable energy from shale gas to help grow the rural economy and lift people out of fuel poverty, I was opposed by a dress designer for whom energy bills are trivial concerns. [...]

Yes, I’ve annoyed these people, but they don’t represent the real countryside of farmers and workers, of birds and butterflies.

Like the nationalised industries and obstructive trade unions of the 1970s, the Green Blob has become a powerful self-serving caucus; it is the job of the elected politician to stand up to them. We must have the courage to tackle it head on, as Tony Abbott in Australia and Stephen Harper in Canada have done, or the economy and the environment will both continue to suffer.

* Owen Paterson is a former secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs.

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Australia: Why is it The Greens are treated by the media as having the moral high ground?

The snobs in the Canberra press pack tend to ignore Senator John Madigan of the DLP so chances are you won't see much of this speech he gave in Parliament reported.

However, here, he raises some quite significant questions about the integrity of the Greens when it comes to what really motivates their "clean energy" commitment ..... $$$

He also joins the dots between interesting figures lingering behind the scenes of The Greens and the Palmer Party.



Senator Madigan asks a question that deserves some pondering .... why is it that The Greens are treated by the media as having the moral high ground on just about every subject?

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