Monday, October 31, 2016

Global cooling coming

From his study of climate cycles, prominent Russian climatologist Habibullo Abdussamatov can see signs that we are already on a cooling trajectory.  His latest paper below

The New Little Ice Age Has Started

H.I. Abdussamatov


Since 1990, the Sun has been in the declining phase of the quasi-bicentennial variation in total solar irradiance (TSI). The decrease in the portion of TSI absorbed by the Earth since 1990 has remained uncompensated by the Earth's long-wave radiation into space at the previous high level because of the thermal inertia of the world's oceans. As a result, the Earth has, and will continue to have, a negative average annual energy balance and a long-term adverse thermal condition. The quasi-centennial epoch of the new Little Ice Age has started at the end 2015 after the maximum phase of solar cycle 24. The start of a solar grand minimum is anticipated in solar cycle 27 ± 1 in 2043 ± 11 and the beginning of phase of deep cooling in the new Little Ice Age in 2060 ± 11. The gradual weakening of the Gulf Stream leads to stronger cooling in the zone of its action in western Europe and the eastern parts of the United States and Canada. Quasi-bicentennial cyclic variations of TSI together with successive very important influences of the causal feedback effects are the main fundamental causes of corresponding alternations in climate variation from warming to the Little Ice Age.


Conservative groups: GOP must oppose Dems' 11th-hour "clean" energy push

Nearly 50 conservative groups are telling Republican congressional leaders to oppose extending $1.4 billion in clean energy tax credits that the White House and Democratic leaders want to see passed by the end of the year.

The free-market and conservative groups, including Americans for Prosperity, Heritage Action, FreedomWorks, Citizens Against Government Waste and Americans for Tax Reform, began the anti-subsidy push Wednesday with a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reminding them that the incentives "are a distortion of the tax laws for special interests in the renewable energy industry."

The $1.4 billion in expiring tax provisions include incentives for wind-power technologies, geothermal heat pumps, fuel cells and combined heat and power facilities. The measures also include proposals to extend renewable fuel infrastructure credits to benefit advanced forms of ethanol and other alternatives to gasoline.

Congress extended tax credits for solar and wind less than a year ago at a cost of $23.8 billion over the next decade when it passed a huge omnibus spending package in December. The additional tax credits were "wisely" left out of that package and should not be included in any proposed energy extenders package at the end of the year.

It's not just the expense, it's the consistent failure of the subsidies to achieve their goals, the letter said.

"Government subsidies, loans, mandates and tax policies regarding renewables have consistently failed to deliver on their promises of long-term job creation and economic viability," the letter said. "Americans deserve access to energy solutions that are affordable and reliable — ones that should be able to stand on their own in the marketplace.

"We encourage you to oppose efforts to use unrelated legislation as a vehicle to extend expiring tax provisions for renewable energy," it concluded.

The White House has made extending the left-out subsidies a priority in the lame-duck session of Congress, coordinating with the Democratic leadership for what one senior White House adviser called a clean energy "end game."

Many of the conservative groups signing the letter successfully derailed attempts to pass the additional clean energy provisions earlier this year in an intensive lobbying campaign pushing Republicans to oppose it.

Meanwhile, a coalition of energy efficiency advocates criticized the Environmental Protection Agency for picking winners and losers under a clean energy incentive program developed to augment its landmark climate regulations that are undergoing court review.

The coalition, led by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, "argues that energy efficiency should receive access to the same credits as renewable energy" through the EPA incentive program.

"Simply put, ACEEE and partners are seeking to put energy efficiency on a level playing field with renewable energy."

The program provides full incentives only for solar and renewable energy. The coalition argues that efficiency is much cheaper and more cost-effective than many other resources and would benefit consumers.


‘All the Wild Animals Are Going Extinct’ Says WWF. Yeah, Right. And I’m a Giant Panda

The world is on track to lose two-thirds of wild animals by 2020 says the WWF in a joint report with the Zoological Society of London.  The analysis, the most comprehensive to date, indicates that animal populations plummeted by 58% between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67% by 2020.

    The report analysed the changing abundance of more than 14,000 monitored populations of the 3,700 vertebrate species for which good data is available. This produced a measure akin to a stock market index that indicates the state of the world’s 64,000 animal species and is used by scientists to measure the progress of conservation efforts.

    The biggest cause of tumbling animal numbers is the destruction of wild areas for farming and logging: the majority of the Earth’s land area has now been impacted by humans, with just 15% protected for nature. Poaching and exploitation for food is another major factor, due to unsustainable fishing and hunting: more than 300 mammal species are being eaten into extinction, according to recent research.

    Pollution is also a significant problem with, for example, killer whales and dolphins in European seas being seriously harmed by long-lived industrial pollutants. Vultures in south-east Asia have been decimated over the last 20 years, dying after eating the carcasses of cattle dosed with an anti-inflammatory drug. Amphibians have suffered one of the greatest declines of all animals due to a fungal disease thought to be spread around the world by the trade in frogs and newts.

    Rivers and lakes are the hardest hit habitats, with animals populations down by 81% since 1970, due to excessive water extraction, pollution and dams. All the pressures are magnified by global warming, which shifts the ranges in which animals are able to live, said WWF’s director of science, Mike Barrett.

What can we do to prevent this happening?

Well I can think two immediate steps we can all take.

One, whenever a WWF leaflet falls out of a magazine, make sure to rip the photograph of the snow leopard, tiger, panda or whatever into tiny pieces so as not to be taken in by the heartrending, vanishing-species-porn blurb emotionally blackmailing you into giving your hard-earned cash to what is essentially just a rapacious eco-fascist propaganda organisation.

Two, never ever visit London Zoo. Obviously it will be sad never to see the Lubetkin penguin pool again, nor to be able to quote Hamlet at the wolves in honour of Withnail & I. Also, if enough of us do it, I guess all the animals will have to be shot. But here’s the thing: like the WWF, the Zoological Society of London is little more than a front these days for grotesquely right-on, misanthropic, eco freaks who basically think that people like you and me are a cancer on the planet.

Why am I saying this?

Because we’ve been through exactly this “all the wild animals are dying and it’s all our fault” nonsense as recently 2014, when the WWF produced a similarly doom-laden report.

It was bunk then – for reasons I detail here – and it’s bunk now.

Yes, of course habitat loss is a problem for wildlife numbers; and yes, humans have undoubtedly been responsible for a number of species extinctions, especially from hunting animals or from introducing predators (eg cats, rats) to previously protected environments.

But the scary predictions on biodiversity loss and species extinction are in truth about as credible as the scary predictions about man-made climate change: they’re more about grabbing headlines, raising money and provoking action than they are about observed data. They’re just computer projections based on dodgy estimates and unreliable raw data.

Eco-freaks love to talk up extinction stories – even when, as in the case of the Aldabra banded snail the species isn’t actually extinct.

If so many species are really going extinct, where are the bodies?

There aren’t any because – barring recent sad examples like the Golden Toad of Costa Rica, driven to extinction by a chytrid fungus probably spread by wildlife researchers – these animals aren’t actually going extinct.

But of course that’s never going to stop media organisations like the Guardian (and indeed the Telegraph, CNN, the Independent, etc) typing up the WWF’s press releases like the dutiful little eco-warriors they are – and imprinting the lie in the heads of a million and one gullible fluffkins.

The Guardian’s version, alone, has been shared over 111,000 times.

So that’s at least 111,000 shrill, self-righteous eco-twerps bleating on to anyone will listen about how all the wild animals are dying and it’s all our fault based on some undigested propaganda they read in the Guardian. Great.


They told us that global warming would affect rice yields, and they were right!

Thailand: Rice farmers in some provinces have grown increasingly impatient and are imploring the government to help them after prices plunged to a 10-year low.

In Buri Ram, farmers say they are in deep trouble as rice prices have dipped well below cost to five baht a kilogramme. They have asked the government to help prop the prices to at least 10 baht per kg, their break-even level.

Millers are now paying them only 5,000 baht a tonne for the main crop they are harvesting, citing high humidity and impurities.

They claim the price is the lowest in decades, yet they have no choice but to accept it in order to repay debts and have money for daily expenses, harvesting equipment rentals, and school supplies for their children for the coming semester.

"We spent 70,000 to 80,000 baht to farm on our 35 rai this year. Although the output was good, it's questionable whether our income will cover the costs," said Prakong Hoopracone, 49, from Muang district of the northeastern province.

Somyot Singthongprasert shared her view, adding that if the government doesn't help them by propping up prices or controlling millers, he couldn't see how he could repay debts and meet daily expenses.

In Phichit province in the Central region, groups of farmers from three districts -- Muang, Taphan Hin and Bang Moon Nak -- gathered at the provincial hall to submit a complaint to the government's help centre. Deputy governor Piya Wongluacha accepted their letter.

The farmers said they were about to harvest jasmine rice but the price had dropped to 6,000 baht a tonne.

In Chai Nat, some farmers reportedly are putting their land up for sale because they can't bear to lose any more money on their crops.

Government spokesman Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said on Saturday that the government was speeding up efforts to solve the problem, with the rice policy committee planning to meet on Monday.

But he dismissed some news reports as "half-truths", such as stories linking farmland sales to low rice prices.

"We've checked the facts and found that the people who are selling farmland right now are actually landlords who no longer want to rent it or those with no manpower to work the fields," he said.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha commended farmers who have switched to other crops or joined together to form community milling cooperatives, he added.

The junta's answer to the costly rice-pledging programme of its predecessor is a barn-pledging scheme.

Aimed at slowing down the market supply of jasmine and glutinous rice paddy, the programme involves having the state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) lend to farmers in the North and Northeast.

Growers are required to keep harvests in their barns and the bank will give them loans equal to 90% of the target prices, plus 1,000 baht a tonne as the storage cost.

In return, the government subsidises the interest for farmers, with a cap of 300,000 baht per household, or 20 tonnes of paddy.

For their part, the farmers keep the paddy until the time is appropriate to sell it. Farmers who don't have barns can join through cooperatives.

The government approved the programme in late October 2015. For 2015, the crops were limited to jasmine and glutinous paddy in the North and Northeast. The maximum pledged amount was 2 million tonnes for a maximum credit line of 26.74 billion baht.

The pledged prices were up to 13,500 baht a tonne for jasmine paddy and 11,300 baht for glutinous paddy, or 90% of the market prices at the time.

Critics said the cap at 2 million tonnes was less than a third of the 7-million-tonne output of the two varieties.

Because of the restrictions and higher rice prices at the time, 80,000 farmers pledged 450,000 tonnes for loans totalling 6.39 billion baht for the 2014-15 crop year, according to BAAC data as of March 31, 2015.

Rice prices around the world have fallen as a record crop is forecast for the 2016-17 harvest season, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in its latest Rice Price Update.

The FAO’s All Rice Price Index showed international rice prices in the first eight months of 2016 were 9% below the levels of a year earlier

The International Grains Council (IGC) also noted a sharp fall in export prices of Thai rice in August.

“The market in Thailand was weighed down by sluggish international demand and increasing secondary crop arrivals, while additional pressure stemmed from efforts by the government to offload state reserves through a series of auctions,” it said. “At $369 [a tonne], 5% broken rice was down by $43 month-over-month."


Billionaire crony corporatist schemes

Financing “green” companies and pressure groups, to get richer off taxpayers and consumers

Paul Driessen

Shady cash from Vladimir Putin’s Russian energy oligarchs and other rich donors is being laundered through Bermuda-based lawyers and middlemen to “green” pressure groups, lobbyists and spinmeisters – to promote “green energy” schemes that bring billions of dollars from government agencies (and thus from us taxpayers and consumers) to a cabal of billionaires and crony companies. At the epicenter are hedge fund millionaire Nathaniel Simons, his wife Laura and their secretive Sea Change Foundation.

“Investors” become even wealthier, as billions of dollars are transferred annually to environmentalists, scientists, politicians, bureaucrats and crony-corporatists in Renewable Energy & Climate Crisis, Inc. The alleged “urgency” of replacing fossil fuels with “eco-friendly renewable energy” (to prevent catastrophic manmade climate change) drives and excuses operations that define or barely skirt “corrupt practices.”

The arrangements are too convoluted to explain in one article. Even the US Senate’s “Billionaires’ Club” report, Environmental Policy Alliance’s “From Russia with Love” study, and articles by investigative journalists like Ron Arnold and Lachlan Markay (here, here and here) barely scratch the surface.

Washington is out of control. The IRS targeting conservative groups, Clinton Foundation and national security scandals, FBI pseudo-investigations and whitewashing, bureaucrats imposing $1.9 trillion in economy-crushing regulations that ruin families and communities – with virtually no perpetrators ever held accountable.

Here we are talking about radically and fundamentally dismantling the energy system that powers the American free enterprise, transportation, communication and healthcare systems … replacing it with expensive, subsidized, unreliable, land-hungry wind, solar and biofuel energy – and using vindictive government power to bankrupt and impoverish disfavored factions, while enriching favored allies.

Imagine the trillions of dollars required for the USA to accept the wind industry’s “vision” of 4,000,000 megawatts of electricity from 500,000 to 1,250,000 mega turbines in our Great Lakes and along our Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts. Picture the multi trillions required to achieve 50% renewable energy by 2027 and a “100% carbon-free economy” by 2050. Envision the potential billionaire profits!

As the investigators reveal, the billionaires’ green network transfers millions of dollars from individual, corporate and “charitable foundation” donors … through tax-exempt “educational” nonprofits that do not have to disclose donor names … to activist and pressure groups that work to influence elections, legislation, regulations, legal actions and public perceptions on energy and environmental issues. A lot of money originates with Russian and other foreign interests that want to protect their monopoly revenues.

Many wealthy donors and foundations that bankroll these operations also have venture capital firms that invest in “green” energy companies which benefit from the laws, policies, regulations and lawsuits – and from government contracts, grants, guaranteed loans, subsidies, feed-in tariffs, and mandates for energy systems, ethanol blends or wind and solar electricity. In turn, US money can end up in the coffers of radical Australian groups that block coal exports to India, thereby keeping its people mired in poverty.

Coal billionaire/climate activist Tom Steyer and other club members invest in for-profit prisons where inmates make ultra-low-cost solar panels. Warren Buffett funneled millions through his family foundation to the secretive Tides Foundation to pressure groups campaigning against the Keystone and Sandpiper Pipelines, thereby benefitting his railroad and tank car companies that haul oil. Others support North Dakota pipeline protesters who destroyed equipment, mutilated cattle and harassed local residents.

One of the most clandestine, devious arrangements involves firms owned or controlled by Nathaniel Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons. Tax records reveal that their Sea Change Foundation gives tens of millions a year to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Food and Water Watch, US Climate Action Network, League of Conservation Voters, Center for American Progress, White House counselor John Podesta’s Progressive Policy Institute – and Sierra Club, which received millions from Sea Change for its “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign, to battle drilling, fracking, pipelines and hydrocarbon use.

The Simons regularly give millions to Sea Change. Other donors include the Gates Foundation, eBay’s Omidyar Network Fund, David Rockefeller’s personal foundation and the Walmart Foundation. Sea Change also gets money from hedge funds incorporated in Bermuda and headed by Simons’ father Jim, a major Democratic donor whose net worth is over $12 billion.
But much of Sea Change’s funding comes through Bermuda-based Klein, Ltd., whose sole purpose is to channel money covertly to Sea Change and thence to environmental advocacy and “educational” groups. Klein is a shell company that exists only on paper. Its only officers are employees of Bermuda law firm Wakefield Quin, its address is the same as WQ’s, and its registered business agents work for Wakefield.

A sizable portion of Klein’s funds come from the IPOC Group, an international growth fund owned by Russian minister of telecommunications and Putin friend Leonid Reiman; Spectrum Partners, a Moscow-based energy investment firm with major assets in Russian oil and gas; Rosneft, the Russian-government-owned oil and gas giant that is one of Wakefield’s largest clients; and other Russian companies.

Their motives are easy to discern. US fracking has battered Russia’s income, economy and ruble. One way to reverse this is to support groups that oppose drilling, fracking and pipelines – and support wind, solar and biofuel projects that Simons views as the foundation of a future “low-carbon US economy.”

That’s why Hillary Clinton told German bankers in 2013 that US energy development is “up against” Russian “oligarchs” who are funding “phony environmental groups.” She supports fracking, she claimed, while publicly saying her regulations won’t leave many places where the practice will be tolerated.

Nat Simons also runs venture capital firms Elan Management and its offshoot Prelude Ventures, which invest in “green energy” companies that benefit from policies that his Sea Change operations promote. At least seven companies in Prelude’s portfolio (including prison-labor solar company Suniva) have received bounteous federal funding from the Energy, Defense, Agriculture and Justice Departments, National Science Foundation and other agencies. Many WQ clients have ties to the Russian government.
Klein, Ltd. director and Wakefield Quin senior counsel Nicholas Hoskins is also a director in the IPOC Group and VP of a London-based investment firm whose president is a member of Putin’s inner circle and used to chair the board of Russia-owned oil company Rosneft. He also serves as director of a holding company with extensive shares in an oil company owned by Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev.

WQ senior counsel Roderick Forrest operates Medallion Investments and Meritage Investments, hedge funds owned by Nat Simons. Forrest and Hoskins are also tied closely to Spectrum Partners and Marcuard-Spectrum, Moscow-based firms with significant assets in Russian oil and gas.

All these subterranean networks and connections came to light thanks to tax records and the sources cited earlier in this article. It’s no wonder the Senate report called Sea Change “shadowy” and its operations “a deceitful way to hide the source of millions of dollars … attempting to effect political change.”

On the personal front, Simons commutes to work across San Francisco Bay on the “Elan,” a 54-ft, 1,550-HP, gas-guzzling yacht – and manages his household staff and 6,700-sq-ft home via Elan Household LLC. Ms. Baxter-Simons fired their 9-months-pregnant housekeeper after she requested maternity leave. But their planet-focused ethical star shines bright in environmentalist skies.

On this Halloween eve, it is truly frightening to grasp the extent to which America’s politicians, policies, laws, regulations, energy, economy, jobs and future are controlled by a cabal of stealthy billionaires – who receive billions from state and federal government agencies, and use those riches to become even wealthier, more powerful, and more in control of our lives, livelihoods, living standards and liberties.

Via email


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

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


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Why does our planet experience an ice age every 100,000 years?

More Warmist rubbish -- confusing cause and effect again. Of course there was more CO2 dissolved in the oceans during cooler periods.  That is what cooler water does.  It dissolves more CO2.  Your Coca Cola would not fizz otherwise. So they really have no causal explanation at all for the matter they discuss

I add the journal abstract following the popular summary below.  The opening comments of the abstract indicate that the period of cyclicity was cooler  as a whole.  I quote: "The ~100 k.y. cyclicity of the late Pleistocene ice ages started during the mid-Pleistocene transition (MPT), as ice sheets became larger and persisted for longer"

Only a carefully dated tabulation of temperature and CO2 levels showing which changes came first could establish the theory they offer. They offer nothing of that sort.  They report on CO2 proxies only

Experts from Cardiff University have offered up an explanation as to why our planet began to move in and out of ice ages every 100,000 years.

This mysterious phenomena, dubbed the ‘100,000 year problem’, has been occurring for the past million years or so and leads to vast ice sheets covering North America, Europe and Asia. Up until now, scientists have been unable to explain why this happens.

Our planet’s ice ages used to occur at intervals of every 40,000 years, which made sense to scientists as the Earth’s seasons vary in a predictable way, with colder summers occurring at these intervals.

However there was a point, about a million years ago, called the ‘Mid-Pleistocene Transition’, in which the ice age intervals changed from every 40,000 years to every 100,000 years.

New research published today in the journal Geology has suggested the oceans may be responsible for this change, specifically in the way that they suck carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere.

By studying the chemical make-up of tiny fossils on the ocean floor, the team discovered that there was more CO2 stored in the deep ocean during the ice age periods at regular intervals every 100,000 years.

This suggests that extra carbon dioxide was being pulled from the atmosphere and into the oceans at this time, subsequently lowering the temperature on Earth and enabling vast ice sheets to engulf the Northern Hemisphere.

Lead author of the research Professor Carrie Lear, from the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, said: “We can think of the oceans as inhaling and exhaling carbon dioxide, so when the ice sheets are larger, the oceans have inhaled carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making the planet colder. When the ice sheets are small, the oceans have exhaled carbon dioxide, so there is more in the atmosphere which makes the planet warmer.

“By looking at the fossils of tiny creatures on the ocean floor, we showed that when ice sheets were advancing and retreating every 100,000 years the oceans were inhaling more carbon dioxide in the cold periods, suggesting that there was less left in the atmosphere.”

Marine algae play a key role in removing CO2 from the atmosphere as it is an essential ingredient of photosynthesis.

CO2 is put back into the atmosphere when deep ocean water rises to the surface through a process called upwelling, but when a vast amount of sea ice is present this prevents the CO2 from being exhaled, which could make the ice sheets bigger and prolong the ice age.

“If we think of the oceans inhaling and exhaling carbon dioxide, the presence of vast amounts of ice is like a giant gobstopper. It’s like a lid on the surface of the ocean,” Prof Lear continued.

The Earth’s climate is currently in a warm spell between glacial periods. The last ice age ended about 11,000 years ago. Since then, temperatures and sea levels have risen, and ice caps have retreated back to the poles. In addition to these natural cycles, manmade carbon emissions are also having an effect by warming the climate.


Breathing more deeply: Deep ocean carbon storage during the mid-Pleistocene climate transition

Lear, Caroline et al.


The ~100 k.y. cyclicity of the late Pleistocene ice ages started during the mid-Pleistocene transition (MPT), as ice sheets became larger and persisted for longer. The climate system feedbacks responsible for introducing this nonlinear ice sheet response to orbital variations in insolation remain uncertain. Here we present benthic foraminiferal stable isotope (d18O, d13C) and trace metal records (Cd/Ca, B/Ca, U/Ca) from Deep Sea Drilling Project Site 607 in the North Atlantic. During the onset of the MPT, glacial-interglacial changes in d13C values are associated with changes in nutrient content and carbonate saturation state, consistent with a change in water mass at our site from a nutrient-poor northern source during inter- glacial intervals to a nutrient-rich, corrosive southern source during glacial intervals. The respired carbon content of glacial Atlantic deep water increased across the MPT. Increased dominance of corrosive bottom waters during glacial intervals would have raised mean ocean alkalinity and lowered atmospheric pCO2. The amplitude of glacial-interglacial changes in d13C increased across the MPT, but this was not mirrored by changes in nutrient content. We interpret this in terms of air-sea CO2 exchange effects, which changed the d13C signature of dissolved inorganic carbon in the deep water mass source regions. Increased sea ice cover or ocean strati cation during glacial times may have reduced CO2 outgassing in the Southern Ocean, providing an additional mechanism for reducing glacial atmospheric pCO2. Conversely, following the establishment of the ~100 k.y. glacial cycles, d13C of interglacial northern-sourced waters increased, perhaps re ecting reduced invasion of CO2 into the North Atlantic following the MPT.


How many scientific papers just aren’t true?

Enough that basing government policy on ‘peer-reviewed studies’ isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

We’re continually assured that government policies are grounded in evidence, whether it’s an anti-bullying programme in Finland, an alcohol awareness initiative in Texas or climate change responses around the globe. Science itself, we’re told, is guiding our footsteps.

There’s just one problem: science is in deep trouble. Last year, Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, admitted that “much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.” In his words, “science has taken a turn toward darkness.”

Medical research, psychology, and economics are all in the grip of a ‘reproducibility crisis.’ A pharmaceutical company attempting to confirm the findings of 53 landmark cancer studies was successful in only six instances, a failure rate of 89pc. In 2012, a psychology journal devoted an entire issue to reliability problems in that discipline, with one essay titled “Why science is not necessarily self-correcting.” Likewise, a 2015 report prepared for the Board of Governors of the US Federal Reserve concluded that “economics research is usually not replicable.” Its authors were able to verify the findings of only one third of 67 papers published in reputable economics journals. After enlisting the help of the original researchers, the success rate rose to a still dismal 49pc.

Government policies can’t be considered evidence-based if the evidence on which they depend hasn’t been independently verified, yet the vast majority of academic research is never put to this test. Instead, something called peer review takes place. When a research paper is submitted, journals invite a couple of people to evaluate it. Known as referees, these individuals recommend that the paper be published, modified, or rejected.

If one gets what one pays for, it’s worth observing that referees typically work for free. They lack both the time and the resources to perform anything other than a cursory overview. Nothing like an audit occurs. No one examines the raw data for accuracy or the computer code for errors. Peer review doesn’t guarantee that proper statistical analyses were employed, or that lab equipment was used properly.

Referees at the most prestigious of journals have given the green light to research that was later found to be wholly fraudulent. Conversely, they’ve scoffed at work that went on to win Nobel Prizes. Richard Smith, a former editor of the British Medical Journal, describes peer review as a roulette wheel, a lottery, and a black box. He points out that an extensive body of research finds scant evidence that this vetting process accomplishes much at all. On the other hand, a mountain of scholarship has identified profound deficiencies.

Peer review’s random and arbitrary nature was demonstrated as early as 1982. Twelve already published papers were assigned fictitious author and institution names before being resubmitted to the same journal 18-32 months later. The duplication was noticed in three instances, but the remaining nine papers underwent review by two referees each. Only one paper was deemed worthy of seeing the light of day the second time it was examined by the same journal that had already published it. Lack of originality wasn’t among the concerns raised by the second wave of referees.

Anyone can start a scholarly journal and define peer review however they wish. No minimum standards apply and no enforcement mechanisms ensure that a journal’s publicly described policies are actually followed. Some editors admit to writing up fake reviews under the cover of anonymity rather than going to the trouble of recruiting bona fide referees. In 2014, a news story reported that 120 papers containing computer-generated gibberish had nevertheless survived the peer review process of reputable publishers.

Politicians and journalists have long found it convenient to regard peer-reviewed research as de facto sound science. If that were the case, Nature would hardly have subtitled a February 2016 article: “Mistakes in peer-reviewed papers are easy to find but hard to fix.” Over a period of 18 months, a team of researchers attempted to correct dozens of substantial errors in nutrition and obesity research. Among these was the claim that the height change in a group of adults  averaged nearly three inches (7 cm) over eight weeks. The team reported that editors “seemed unprepared or ill-equipped to investigate, take action or even respond.” In Kafkaesque fashion, after months of effort culminated in acknowledgement of a gaffe, journals then demanded that the team pay $1,700 in one instance and $2,100 in another before a letter calling attention to other people’s mistakes could be published.

Which brings us back to the matter of public policy. We’ve long been assured that reports produced by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are authoritative because they rely entirely on peer-reviewed, scientific literature. A 2010 InterAcademy Council investigation found this claim to be false, but that’s another story. Even if all IPCC source material did meet this threshold, the fact that one out of an estimated 25,000 academic journals conducted an unspecified and unregulated peer review ritual is no warranty that a paper isn’t total nonsense.

If half of the scientific literature “may simply be untrue,” then half of the climate research cited by the IPCC may also be untrue. This appalling unreliability extends to work on dietary cholesterol, domestic violence, air pollution – in short, to all research currently being generated by the academy.

The US National Science Foundation recently reminded us that a scientific finding “cannot be regarded as an empirical fact” unless it has been “independently verified.” Peer review does not perform that function. Until governments begin authenticating research prior to using it as the foundation for new laws and huge expenditures, don’t fall for the claim that policy X is evidence-based.


Using pepper spray and bean bags, police clear out N.D. pipeline protesters

Law enforcement officers wearing riot gear and firing bean bags and pepper spray on Thursday ousted protesters from a camp on private land in the path of the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Hundreds of armed state and local police and National Guard — some on foot and others driving trucks, military Humvees and buses — began the operation at midday and slowly enveloped the camp, arresting more than a dozen protesters who refused to leave.

There were no serious injuries, although one man was hurt in the leg and received treatment from a medic.

Protesters initially set up roadblocks and started some fires to slow the law enforcement advance but eventually retreated.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said that the camp had been cleared by nightfall although police were still dealing with protesters on the perimeter, and he said police would stay put for now.

"We’re not leaving the area," Kirchmeier said. "We are just going to make sure that we maintain a presence in the area so the roadway stays open, and to keep individuals from camping on private land."

The confrontation marked a major escalation of a protest that has raged for months. Opponents of the pipeline moved in over the weekend to establish a camp on private land where the developer was working to complete the 1,200-mile pipeline designed to carry oil from western North Dakota to Illinois. The route of the pipeline skirts the Standing Rock Reservation and the tribe says it could endanger water supplies and disturb cultural sites. The state of North Dakota says no sensitive cultural sites have been found in the area.

The tribe sought to block the pipeline in court, challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision granting permits at more than 200 water crossings. But a federal judge in September denied their request to block construction. Three federal agencies then stepped in and ordered construction to halt on Corps-owned land around Lake Oahe, a wide spot of the Missouri River, while the Corps reviewed its decision-making. Construction was allowed to continue on private land owned by developer Energy Transfer Partners.

The operation to push out the protesters began a day after they had refused to leave voluntarily.

The camp is just to the north of a more permanent and larger encampment on federally-owned land which has been the main staging area for hundreds of protesters, including Native Americans from across North America, environmentalists and some celebrities.

Aaron Johnson, 50, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux in South Dakota, said he and other protesters weren’t happy with the day’s outcome. "I came here for peace and prayer," he said. "When somebody sets something on fire, that’s not peace and prayer."


Now Greenie laws are wrecking our grass! Cambridge University's perfect lawns are ripped up by crows as bugs thrive after ban on pesticide

The lawns of Cambridge University are being torn apart by crows feasting on bugs after an EU ban on a pesticide.

Lawns at seven colleges have been blighted by birds digging up ground in search of the chafer bug, a beetle that lives in soil and feeds on grass roots.

The population has soared since an EU-wide ban on a spray containing a chemical called imidacloprid, which is harmful to bees.

The problem is so severe at two colleges, Jesus and Pembroke, that the lawn is being replaced.

Gardeners have introduced nematodes, microscopic worms that eat chafer grubs in a bid to combat the problem but the method is not proving entirely successful.

A post on the Jesus College Facebook page said: 'The situation has become quite severe over the last two to three weeks and large areas of lawn have suffered as a result, First Court in particular.

'The use of nematodes has proved unreliable. Our gardeners will apply topsoil and seed along with fertiliser, which the birds dislike, once the destructiveness has ceased.'

Paul Gallant, head gardener of Selwyn College, said the damage is worse at some colleges than others because the grubs only thrive in some types of soil.

He said: 'The grubs like light sandy soil like the soil at Selwyn. Wolfson and Robinson don't have the problem because they're on clay.'

The chemical imidacloprid was one of three pesticides harmful to bees banned in April 2013.

The law was reviewed this year but in April it was confirmed that imidacloprid is highly toxic to bumblebees and was taken of the market.

The problem could improve over winter as the cold weather will force the grubs deeper into the soil and out of the reach of crows.

Guy Barter, chief horticulturalist for the Royal Horticulturalist Society, said: 'All the pesticides that can be sprayed on to grass to control soil pests have been withdrawn. So there are now no chemicals that can be sprayed on to the grass.

'Imidacloprid has been withdrawn because there are issues with it damaging pollinators such as bees and such like.

'This means that the only thing that can be done is to apply nematodes that infect the soil bugs and kill underground. But they are very expensive and only work on warm soils. It would be very expensive indeed to drench a large area.'


Australia: New photos show worst coral bleaching to date: A third of the Great Barrier Reef is affected

You can of course prove anything with photos. The previous reports from this lot were found to be vastly exaggerated so this report should also be taken with a large grain of salt.  Reading between the lines, I gather that most of the reef has already recovered from the earlier bleaching but the recovery has been uneven so far.

More corals are dying and others are succumbing to disease and predators after the worst-ever bleaching on Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef.

A swathe of corals bleached in the northern third of the 1,429-mile (2,300-kilometre) long biodiverse site off the Queensland state coast died after an unprecedented bleaching earlier this year as sea temperatures rose.

And researchers who returned to the region to survey the area this month said 'many more have died more slowly'.

On the surface, coral bleaching looks like white, bleached-out coral reefs - quite a departure from the usual colourful structures.

Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour.

Andrew Hoey, from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, said: 'In March, we measured a lot of heavily bleached branching corals that were still alive, but we didn't see many survivors this week.

'On top of that, snails that eat live coral are congregating on the survivors, and the weakened corals are more prone to disease. 'A lot of the survivors are in poor shape.'

Greg Torda, whose team recently returned from re-surveying reefs near Lizard Island, said the amount of live coral covering the island fell from about 40 per cent in March to under five per cent.

It is the third time in 18 years that the World Heritage-listed site, which teems with marine life, has experienced mass bleaching after previous events in 1998 and 2002.

The researchers said even though they were still assessing the final death toll from bleaching in the north, 'it is already clear that this event was much more severe than the two previous bleachings'. They expect to complete all their surveys by mid-November.

Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour

The reef's northern 700-kilometre section bore the brunt of the breaching during March and April, with the southern areas 'only lightly bleached and remain in good condition'

The reef's northern 700-kilometre section bore the brunt of the breaching during March and April, with the southern areas 'only lightly bleached and remain in good condition'

The reef's northern 435-mile (700-kilometre) section bore the brunt of the breaching during March and April, with the southern areas 'only lightly bleached and remain in good condition', the scientists added.

'As we expected from the geographic pattern of bleaching, the reefs further south are in much better shape,' said Andrew Baird, who led the re-surveys of reefs in the central section.

'There is still close to 40 per cent coral cover at most reefs in the central Great Barrier Reef, and the corals that were moderately bleached last summer have nearly all regained their normal colour.'

The reef is already under pressure from farming run-off, development, the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish as well as the impacts of climate change, with a government report last week painting a bleak picture of the natural wonder.



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

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


Friday, October 28, 2016

Another "suggestion"

Suggest away!  No surprise what they would "suggest".  Kinda sad that suggestions is the best they can do however

An indirect effect of climate change may be causing intensely cold winters in the UK and US, a study suggests
Warming in the Arctic is thought to be influencing the jet stream, a high-altitude corridor of fast-moving air, leading to severe cold snaps.

It may have been responsible for record snowfall in New York during the winter of 2014/15, and unusually cold winters in the UK in 2009/10 and 2010/11.

Previous studies have shown that when the jet stream follows a 'wavy' irregular path there are more cold weather fronts plunging south from the Arctic into mid-latitudes, bringing freezing conditions that persist for weeks at a time.

When the jet stream flows strongly and steadily from west to east, winter weather in the UK and other countries in the temperate belt between the tropics and the Arctic is milder.

Lead researcher Professor Edward Hanna, from the University of Sheffield, said: 'We've always had years with wavy and not so wavy jet stream winds, but in the last one to two decades the warming Arctic could well have been amplifying the effects of the wavy patterns.

'This may have contributed to some recent extreme cold winter spells along the eastern seaboard of the United States, in eastern Asia, and at times over the UK.'

He added: 'Improving our ability to predict how climate change is affecting the jet stream will help to improve our long-term prediction of winter weather in some of the most highly populated regions of the world.

'This would be hugely beneficial for communities, businesses and entire economies in the northern hemisphere.

'The public could better prepare for severe winter weather and have access to extra crucial information that could help make live-saving and cost-saving decisions.'


Previous studies have shown that when the jet stream follows a 'wavy' irregular path there are more cold weather fronts plunging south from the Arctic into mid-latitudes, bringing freezing conditions that persist for weeks at a time.

When the jet stream flows strongly and steadily from west to east, winter weather in the UK and other countries in the temperate belt between the tropics and the Arctic is milder.

It may have been responsible for record snowfall in New York during the winter of 2014/15, and unusually cold winters in the UK in 2009/10 and 2010/11.

Prof Hanna was part of an international team of climate scientists that included experts from the US Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Their findings are reported in the latest issue of the journal Nature Climate Change.

Scientists have been divided over the cause of recent cold winters.

One camp believes they are merely the result of natural jet stream variability, but the other is convinced there is a connection with global warming.

The new study brought together experts from both groups, who for the first time agreed that the evidence implicated climate change.


The lies never stop

CNBC viewers are being snookered.

The business news network featured an article in the “Sustainable Energy” section of its Website that proclaimed: “Renewables surged past coal in 2015 to become world’s biggest source of electricity: IEA.”

In reading that headline, one might get the impression that wind turbines and solar panels produced more electricity last year than coal. But the fine print actually reveals a very different picture.

The opening paragraph of the article by “Freelance digital reporter” Anmar Frangoul gives a clue as to the sleight of hand being used. Frangoul cites the International Energy Agency (IEA) as reporting that “Renewable energy moved past coal in 2015 to become the biggest source of global electricity capacity.” The key word there is “capacity.”

What’s noteworthy is that capacity is far different from actual production. The average wind turbine has a maximum rated capacity of roughly 2 megawatts. That means, if the wind is blowing between 26-56 mph, the turbine can spin up to its peak generating capacity. In such moments, the wind turbine can produce its full 2 megawatts.

However, wind turbines, like solar panels, offer only intermittent power generation. Wind turbines can only produce power when there is sufficient wind—and when they are not shut down due to cold weather, repairs, or high winds. And solar panels only produce electricity during periods of direct sunlight. Thus, while a wind turbine can have a maximum capacity of 2 megawatts, its typical output may often be far less, or even 0 megawatts (on a windless day).

In contrast, and as the IEA itself notes, coal provided 40.8 percent of worldwide power generation in 2014. The renewables that Frangoul crows about—defined by the IEA as “geothermal, solar, wind, heat, etc.”—produced only 6.3 percent of all power.

Thus we see some of the misleading language in the CNBC article.

Frangoul talks about renewables producing 23 percent of world power generation in 2015—which is only possible when hydropower’s robust 16.4 percent is added to renewables’ paltry 6.3 percent share. And while the IEA says that “renewables represented more than half the new power capacity around the world” in 2015, one has to remember their frustrating intermittency. Wind turbines only generate roughly 20 percent of their installed capacity, and solar panels yield an even more meager 10 percent.

So, while Frangoul is happy to tout all of this new power plant construction, one has to consider that it represents investments that will often sit idle.

Such imprudence might seem naive. But the IEA astutely notes that “renewable power expanded at its fastest-ever rate in 2015, thanks to supportive government policies.”

Indeed, it is these very subsidies that have triggered a rush to wind and solar, despite abundant evidence of their limitations. It would be interesting, then, for reporters like Frangoul to further examine these much-touted renewable projects, and see if “capacity” actually meets expectations.


When Asked To Show Evidence Of Man-Made Warming, Scientists Can't Do It

Dr. Patrick Moore, founder of Greenpeace

There's probably not a phrase that the global warming alarmists and dim celebrities trying to play the role of intellectuals use more than some variation of "the science is settled." It's a catchy phrase that's intended to shut down debate and shame skeptics.

And it's simply not true.

The alarmist community has had almost three decades to prove its assumptions, and while it is plausible that there has been a small measure of warming, the disaster many predicted hasn't occurred. Worse for them, it's impossible to say with any degree of certainty that the warming that has happened — and quite possibly there's been none at all — was caused by man. Earth's climate has warmed and cooled throughout its existence. It's part of the natural cycle.

Yet the alarmist community persists and never acknowledges that it might be wrong. At the same time, when its members are pressed to prove that their one-way beliefs are indeed fact, they can't do it.

Consider a recent exchange in Australia, in which a skeptic, parliament member Malcolm Roberts, asked scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization to convince him that there was proof of man-made global warming. With Roberts being a skeptic, the scientists naturally had a high hurdle to clear. But the response Roberts received was not particularly compelling.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Alan Finkel responded with the usual stale answers: Atmospheric carbon dioxide traps heat, CO2 emissions have increased, therefore man must be warming his planet.

Then the Morning Herald noted, in a paraphrase, that Finkel conceded that "the effect of warming on climate wasn't clear." It followed with a direct quotation from Finkel, which was actually an admission.

"We have models to try to predict what that will be and that's difficult," said Finkel.

Difficult. And wrong.

Finkel's failure to complete the task that Roberts put before him is nothing new nor isolated. Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore has said there "is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth's atmosphere over the past 100 years," while science writer Michael Fumento wrote convincingly three years ago that proof of global warming was evaporating.

What the alarmists call "proof" and "evidence" is nothing more than conjecture. They cannot prove that man's activities have warmed the planet, even if the next 100 years are twice as hot as they have predicted. They can lay out their "evidence" as if in a courtroom, and urge the jury to make the connection.

But the fact they can't get around is that there is more than enough reasonable doubt to throw out their prosecution. Carbon dioxide simply isn't the only suspect. Earth's climate system has far too many influences for the inquisitors to settle on just one.


Iowa Wind Project Generates More Tax Credits than Electricity

After reaching a settlement with some of its biggest customers this summer, the Warren Buffett-owned utility company MidAmerican Energy may soon build a massive new wind farm in Iowa. The thing is, electricity is far from the only thing it will generate. Known as “Wind XI,” the proposed 2,000 megawatt wind farm—Iowa’s largest ever—has the potential to produce a lot of electricity, but even more tax credits.

In total, Wind XI could generate up to $1.8 billion in tax credits for its backers over the next decade.

The winners? Warren Buffett; MidAmerican Energy’s other investors; and Facebook, Microsoft, and Google—MidAmerican’s biggest customers, who will receive tax benefits of their own for using wind energy. The losers? Taxpayers and other ratepayers footing the bill.
Unfortunately, this is part of an ongoing trend in wind energy across the country. It’s not the demand for more electricity that’s driving construction, but rather the government’s preferential tax treatment and counterintuitive energy mandates.

The demand for electricity in the U.S. has been nearly flat over past decade, due to slow economic growth and gains in energy efficiency. Despite the lack of new demand, new wind farms are popping up across the country because of the tremendous tax credits they generate for their owners.

Warren Buffett has admitted as much. In 2014 he explained: “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire's tax rate [. . .] We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That's the only reason to build them. They don't make sense without the tax credit.”

And the tax credits Buffett mentions are substantial. Although MidAmerican Energy likes to note that Wind XI is not receiving any financial incentives from Iowa, that’s only half of the story. The federal government provides $23 in credits for every megawatt hour—the large-scale unit of production for energy-- of electricity produced by wind and other alternative energy sources. Known as the production tax credit (PTC), this government giveaway means that MidAmerican’s new wind farm could generate $180 million in credits each year.

The federal government does even more than that to ensure green energy producers get ample benefits. MidAmerican Energy can use the PTC for up to 10 years, after recent regulatory changes expanding the life of the credit. In addition to the tax credits, government regulators set a fixed rate of return for MidAmerican Energy to charge its customers. MidAmerican will receive a guaranteed 11 percent return on equity for Wind XI, meaning it will rake in $395 million in profit over the roughly 30 year life of the project.

Another set of reasons why new wind farms are in high demand are energy mandates at both the state and federal level. Currently, 29 states have renewable portfolio standards mandating utilities to generate a certain percentage of their electricity from sources such as wind and solar. On the federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent carbon regulations—if eventually upheld by the Supreme Court—will shutter many traditional power plants, leaving wind farms to take their place.

In other words, government policy is doing everything in its power to set the stage for wind. Those investing in wind stand to reap guaranteed profits, while taxpayers and ratepayers have to pay more in the end. In terms of tax dollars, the production tax credit for wind is estimated to cost taxpayers $13.8 billion between 2014 and 2018. Energy mandates, meanwhile, will drive up electricity prices as traditional energy sources are phased out for costlier power provided by wind and solar. The EPA’s carbon regulations that would potentially go into effect in 2022, for example, could raise electricity bills for the average American family 14 percent higher than they were a decade prior.

Public officials must stop gearing energy policy around the promise of guaranteed profits for well-connected energy investors like Warren Buffett. This hits average Americans once in their taxes and twice in higher electricity bills, which raises the prices on goods and services as well as utilities. If wind farms like the one Iowa will soon get are worthy investments, it should because of the power they generate—not the tax benefits.


Australia's climate heating and drying out: report

The contemptible rubbish below comes from people who pretend that a global temperature rise of a few hundredths of one degree tells us something important.  It does not. Such rises are well within the error of measurement and are not statistically significant for a start.  And they would be trivial even if they were significant.

And when there was a rise of around a degree last year, it was due to El Nino.  El Nino was such a well known natural effect that they had to mention it below but, without mentioning a scrap of evidence, they dismissed it as a minor effect.

Well let me mention some evidence.  The authors below imply that the temperature rise was part of a continuing warming process due to increased level of CO2 in the atmosphere.  So there must be some sign in the record that CO2 levels have increased recently.  But look at the CO2 levels from Australia's Cape Grim climate observatory over the heart of the El Nino period.

Within an accuracy of parts per billion, there was NO increase in CO2 levels at all!  The warming over the El Nino period was ENTIRELY natural, with NO contribution from a CO2 rise. CO2 levels did NOT rise so they CANNOT be responsible for the higher temperatures.

The article below is an egregious example of cherry-picking and outright lying

The biannual State of the Climate report from the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO shows the effects of climate change are being felt in Australia.

Australia is becoming an even more sunburnt country with worse droughts and more extreme flooding rains.

The latest State of the Climate report, released on Thursday, shows the trends of climate change in Australia are continuing.

"Climate change is happening now; it's having a tangible impact on Australia," the Bureau of Meteorology's climate monitoring manager Karl Braganza told reporters.

The biannual snapshot, prepared by the bureau and CSIRO, shows the country is experiencing very hot days more frequently and rainfall is reducing across the southern part of the continent.

Between 1910 and 1941 there were 28 days when the national average temperature was in the top extremes recorded. In 2013 alone there were 28 such days.

Dr Braganza predicted the record-breaking extreme heat will be considered normal in 30 years' time.

The report also shows below average rainfall across southern Australian in 16 of the past 20 autumn-winter seasons.

"This decline in rainfall for southern Australia, 10 to 20 per cent might not sound like a lot but it's reducing at a time of year where typically we recharge the soil moisture and vegetation and water storages as well," Dr Braganza said.

A 10-15 per cent reduction in rainfall over winter can lead to a 60 per cent reduction in stream flow into water storages.

"That's what we're seeing in southwest WA where their water storages from essentially rainfall (dropped) in 2015 and they're using desal and groundwater to make up the difference," he said.

This combination of drying out and warmer weather increases fire danger, with the fire season already routinely extending into spring and autumn.

The report also shows 15 of the 16 hottest years on record were the past 15 years.

"The earth is warming," CSIRO climate science centre interim director Steve Rintoul said.

While there was some natural variability in temperature caused by effects such as El Nino and La Nina, it was not sufficient to drown out the overall trend towards increasing temperatures, he said.



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

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


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Judge Rules That EPA Must Account for Job Losses of Its Regulations

In a 17th October ruling, U.S. District Court Judge John Bailey sided with Murray Energy and held that the Clean Air Act requires the EPA to perform continuing evaluations of job losses due to the agency's regulations.

To date, the agency has estimated the employment impacts of its rules by using a model that assumes 1.5 jobs are created for every $1 million spent on regulatory compliance. The underlying premise of this model is that jobs created in pollution control will always outpace job losses in the regulated industry. Of course, this is a ridiculous assumption. For starters, it sheds no light on actual job losses caused by EPA rules; rather, job losses are merely assumed to be less than job gains. More broadly, EPA’s employment model fails to pass the sniff test: it is absurd to think that spending infinite resources on regulatory compliance will forever lead to job gains.

If it stands, Judge Bailey’s ruling means that the agency has a responsibility to actually tally job losses caused by its regulations (rather than relying on dubious economic modeling to wish away the actual job losses). Importantly, these analyses must occur on a sector-by-sector basis, so every industry subject to a rulemaking may compel the agency to estimate the impact of the rule on employment.

EPA has not yet decided whether it will try to appeal Judge Bailey’s ruling before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.


Warming is mild and manageable

Should Chris Wallace ask our presidential candidates about climate change? Absolutely, but only as part of a broader discussion of the role of fossil fuels in America’s energy future.

“Climate change” — more precisely, man-made warming — is a side effect of using fossil fuels for cheap, plentiful, reliable energy. To ask candidates to address climate change without addressing the unique benefits of fossil fuels is like asking the candidates to address vaccine side effects without addressing the unique benefits of vaccines.

The question Wallace should ask is: “Given your assessment of the benefits and risks of fossil fuels, including the effects of warming, what is the right energy policy for America?”

Energy is the industry that powers every other industry. Cheap, plentiful, reliable energy makes possible cheap, plentiful, reliable food, drinking water, sanitation, transportation and housing.

In a world where more than 1 billion people have no electricity and a much larger number live in deep “energy poverty,” only the fossil fuel industry has developed the ability to produce energy for electricity, fuel and heat on a scale of billions. The politically popular alternatives, solar and wind, are expensive “unreliables” that depend on reliable sources, mostly fossil fuels, for life support.

In America, the fossil fuel industry has been the indispensable supporter of our economy for the past decade, as the shale energy revolution has made the U.S. the world’s energy superpower. We can do much more.

But should we? To answer that, we have to reject the false alternative of “climate change believer” or “climate change denier” and become “climate thinkers” — people who think carefully about the magnitude of man-made warming and compare it with the unique benefits of fossil fuels.

Candidates who are climate thinkers will conclude that man-made warming is mild and manageable, not runaway and catastrophic. And thus they will conclude that fossil fuels should be liberated, not restricted.


BOOK REVIEW of "Hubris: The Troubling Science, Economics and Politics of Climate Change" by Michael Hart

Review by Michael Kelly FRS FREng, Emeritus Prince Philip Professor of Technology, University of Cambridge

Let us be clear at the outset: the global climate is changing, and has always been changing. The earth has warmed by 1C over the last 150 years. That is not the issue. The issue is whether the human emissions of carbon dioxide since 1850 are heralding an imminent and certain global climate catastrophe that could be averted by engineering projects.

This is the most complete book to date that takes a critical look across the whole of the recent history of climate change as science, as input to policy, and as a driver of far-reaching societal change. My own interest in the subject starts from the totally unrealistic engineering outcomes being assumed and implied by a decarbonisation of the world economy by 2050, and even a simplistic attempt to undertake a cost-benefit analysis of the decarbonisation project as far as engineering and technology will make a difference. The scale of the investment for the unknowability of the measureable outcomes implied by ‘solving the climate change problem’ represents hubris of the grandest order.

The opportunity costs dwarf any possible outcomes. If one then goes back into the ‘post-modern science’ from which the imperative to decarbonise originates, several cans of worms are waiting. I fear that when this whole enterprise collapses, as certainly as the tulip bubble evaporated in 1637, there will be a backlash against trust in science that will herald a dark age in which scientists are routinely regarded as untrustworthy shamans. My concern is that the integrity of science is under great threat and that my own subject, engineering, will get caught in the backlash, even though engineers have been among the most vociferous critics of the projects of imminent global catastrophe caused by humans. It is the human desires for comfort, secure and variable food, health, education, mobility, communications, defence and other fruits of the industrial revolution that lead to the scale of human emissions of carbon dioxide, and only a deep and dramatic curtailment of these desires by everyone, but especially those living in the developed countries, will reduce carbon emissions in the next 30 years.

Michael Hart, who has spent the last decade working on this book, has produced a scholarly and accessible analysis of this saga. The first third of the book talks about the nature of science and current pathologies in the practice of science that would have Newton, Einstein and even Feynman spinning in their graves. There is a core of robust but uncertain science undertaken by humble and true scientists, but this is overwhelmed by second rate and rampant speculation passed off as gospel: the humble and true do not protest against the accretions, and their silence is held against them. The science of climate change is not settled insofar as it is used to inform policy, with wide and intrinsic uncertainties not noticeably narrowing over the last 25 years, and with mainstream predictions of global warming running 2-3 times faster than the real-world data over that period. How are we to trust the long term predictions if the short term ones are so much at odds with reality?

The second part of the book deals with the politicisation of the science, and especially the studies of future impacts and possible measures by way of mitigation and adaptation under the aegis of the United Nations. This is where we see evidence of serious malpractice in continuous post-hoc modification of historical data, exaggeration of claims, the collusion of the premier journals and the reports of the academies that report upper extremes as expectations by the simple expedient of  repeating the extremes without qualification, and sedulously avoiding any mention of the proven upsides of the last century of global warming. One chapter entitled ‘Baptists, Bootleggers and Opportunists’ draws some interesting comparisons of the contemporary climate change movement (for that is what it is) with the temperance movement a century ago.

The titles of the last two chapters speak for themselves: ‘Rhetoric vs Reality’ and ‘Immorality Pretending to Virtue’.

This book should leave any dispassionate reader deeply disturbed. It should be required reading for people in policy and politics who deal with these matters. No thought leader should be ignorant of the contents.

How will humanity extricate itself? One can hope that the accumulation of failed predictions over the next two decades will burst the bubble. The world academies cannot be asked to sit in judgment on the misconduct, as they will be in the dock. The UN is also hopelessly compromised. Perhaps this might be the subject of a follow-on study?


Renewable Energy Cost Explosion: €25,000 Euros For Each German Family Of Four

The Institute for Competition Economics at the University of Dusseldorf has calculated the total cost of Germany’s Green Energy Transition. The result: By 2025, an estimated €520 billion euros will be spent. A family of four will pay more than 25,000 euros for the Energiewende.

Seldom was a German environment minister more ridiculed and mocked than Peter Altmaier (CDU): Three years ago, the current Chancellery Minister warned that the cost of the Energiewende could, if nothing were done, “cost the country around one trillion euros by the 2030.”

Major magazines and weekly newspapers from Wirtschaftswoche to Die Zeit immediately snapped that the environment minister must have got it wrong. “Don’t scare the living daylights out of people with horror figures,” Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister and Green Party star Winfried Kretschmann demanded.

Perhaps the time has come to rehabilitate Peter Altmaier. That’s because the Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) at the University of Dusseldorf has calculated the direct and indirect total cost of the energy transition up to 2015 and estimated the additional cost by 2025. The result shows that the one trillion Euro threshold might be reached earlier than even Altmaier had believed.

According to the institute’s calculations, the Energy Transition has already cost some €150 billion euros for the period 2000-2015. “For the years 2000 to 2025 it is estimated that some €520 billion euros (nominal, including network expansion costs) will be spent for the transformation of power generation.” Based on the 150 billion euros already spent, an additional 370 billion euros will be spent in the coming decade.

“Per capita, from newborns to the elderly, this amounts in total of more than €6300 euros, which accumulates in the period from 2000 to the end of the year 2025″, says DICE director Justus Haucap: “A family of four thus pays over €25,000 euros, directly and indirectly, for the Energiewende.” The bulk of the cost is not incurred yet, but awaits the consumer in coming years,” said Haucap:” In the next ten years it will be 18,000 euros for a family of four.”

By comparison, 40 percent of German households have net assets of less than €27,000 euros according to figures by the Deutsche Bundesbank.

The Institute carried out the calculations on behalf of the Initiative New Social Market Economy (INSM). The institute is funded by employers associations and campaigns for less government regulation and a social market economy. In the past few years the institute has called for the promotion of renewable energies to be more aligned along market principles.

The study is unlikely to be a report that panders to the client: For four years, competition economist Haucap was chairman of the Federal President German Monopolies Commission appointed by the German President and is co-editor of numerous international economics journals.

In addition, the prognosis on the future cost of renewable energy subsidies are based on data from the Öko-Instituts and therefore from an institution that, says Haucap, “is not suspected of exaggerating the costs of this energy revolution”.
Biggest cost: the Renewable Energy Levy (EEG)

According to the study, most of the direct cost of the energy transition are due to the EEG surcharge to subsidise green electricity production and the so-called cogeneration levy to subsidise combined electricity-heat (CHP) producers.

The EEG surcharge has already cost €125 billion euros by the end of last year. By 2025 this figure is expected to rise to 408 billion euros due to the rapidly growing number of renewable energy projects. Including the CHP allocation this will rise to €425 billion euros.

On top of that there are additional indirect costs of the energy transition. The DICE Institute expects the cost for expanding network transmission and distribution to be around €56 billion euros, plus costs for the offshore liability levy to protect offshore wind power, as well as the cost of feed-in management, “Re-Dispatch” and reserve capacity.

Finally, the Institute also includes low-interest loans from the KfW banking group, research expenses and the impairment of conventional power plants as well as the negative electricity prices to the overall costs. All in all, the total cost of Germany’s energy transition amounts to just over €520 billion euros of which 80% is due to the Renewable Energy Surcharge (EEG).

Assertions that the energy transition also has cost-saving effects for consumers are rejected by Haucap. Representatives of the renewable energy industry often argue that the expansion of renewables had led to falling electricity prices on the wholesale market; they also claim that thanks to renewables there are lower import costs for fuels such as coal, gas and uranium.

According Haucap, however, these price effects have already been taken into account in the calculations. The report is based on the EEG’s pure differential costs that are the direct result of wholesale prices. Therefore, one should “not deduct twice” these price-reducing effects.

The energy transition is “not only a problem for convinced social marketeers like us,” said Hubertus Pellengahr, CEO of the Initiative New Social Market Economy: “The reason has twelve digits and a currency symbol. €520 billion euros.”

The energy transition “is out of control and will remain out of control”, Pellengahr said, pointing to the continued rise in the Renewable Energy Surcharge (EEG) in coming years. “At the end of the day, this chaos is being pay for by the energy consumers.”
Extremely poor cost-benefit ratio

On Friday, the Federal Network Agency will publish the official amount of the renewable energy levy every energy consumer will have to pay next year to subsidise green energy producers. First estimates suggest an increase from 6.35 cents to 7.1 cents per kilowatt hour. “This would represent approximately a doubling of the cost in five years,” said Pellengahr.

Back in 2003 the then Federal Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin (Green Party) had assured Germans that the energy transition would cost consumers “no more than a scoop of ice cream per month free.” Since then the Renewable Energy Levy (EEG) has risen seventeen-fold.

DICE-director and study author Haucap stressed that the 520 billion euro cost was far from over-all. That’s because the sum only refers to the period up to 2025 and the only covers the electricity sector. In the meantime, “sector coupling” has become the official goal of German energy policy and thus the decarbonisation of transport, the heating sector and agriculture.

“After 2025, the energy transition won’t be cost free” Haucap said. In fact, the current policy’s cost-benefit ratio is extremely poor: Germany’s CO2 emissions today are the same as in 2009. Thus, Germany’s energy transition policy has “saved zero tons of CO2 – for a lot of money.”
More market economy in climate protection

Pellengahr and Haucap argued for a future climate policy based on market instruments. In their view, the best option would be strengthening of the EU’s emissions trading scheme. The second best option would be the introduction of a quota model along the Swedish model. Utilities would be required to deliver a certain proportion of renewable energy. This would create a price-lowering competition between different types of renewable energy.

The Federal Association of Renewable Energies (BEE) said that Haucap’s calculations of the renewable energy surcharge “is not suitable as a cost indicator for the energy transition.” Haucap’s proposed quota system would also be “significantly more expensive than the EEG.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Association of New Energy Suppliers (bne) has presented a proposal according to which the Renewable Energy Surcharge should in future be extended to the use of fossil fuels. If, in future, green energy levies would also have to be paid for the consumption of natural gas, oil, petrol and diesel, the Renewables Energy Surcharge on electricity could be almost halved. Moreover, it would offer incentives for carbon-free heaters and electric cars, enhancing the planned “sector coupling” of Germany’s energy revolution.


Vermont Wind Project Needs Support, So Company Offers to Pay Voters

And even the NYT is perturbed

To many residents in this tiny town in southern Vermont, the last-minute offer of cash was a blatant attempt to buy their votes.

To the developer that offered the money, it was simply a sign of how attentively the company had been listening to voters’ concerns.

The company, Iberdrola Renewables, a Spanish energy developer, wants to build Vermont’s largest wind project on a private forest tract that spans Windham and the adjacent town of Grafton. The project would consist of 24 turbines, each nearly 500 feet tall, and generate 82.8 megawatts of power, enough to light 42,000 homes for a year if the wind kept blowing, though the houses could be in Connecticut or Massachusetts.

Residents of the two towns will vote Nov. 8 on whether to approve the project, which has pitted neighbor against neighbor. No one knows which way the vote will go.

That same day, residents statewide will be voting for governor. Wind development has become an issue in that race, which The Cook Political Report rates a tossup, and sentiment here could be decisive in the outcome.

Facing the possibility that voters here may reject the proposal, putting a damper on large-scale wind development in Vermont, Iberdrola last week put cash on the table for individual voters.

Windham residents at an informational meeting hosted last week by Iberdrola, an energy company that wants to put a wind farm there. Credit Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times
Many residents called the offer an attempt at undue influence, if not an outright bribe. But after a review, the state attorney general’s office said that the offer did not appear to violate state law.

Still, the individual payments — a total of $565,000 a year to 815 registered voters in both towns, or $14.1 million over 25 years — on top of millions more to the towns, suggest how much is at stake for the company. Iberdrola has been trying to persuade voters here for more than four years to approve the project, in a state that is actively seeking clean-energy development.

Vermont’s energy goals are among the most ambitious in the country: to derive 90 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2050.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat who is not seeking re-election after nearly six years in office, has been the state’s chief proponent of clean energy.

“There’s nothing I’m more proud of than my legacy of having helped to get Vermont off of oil and coal and moved us more aggressively than any other state in the nation to renewables,” he said.

The state has 20 times as much wind power as it had when he took office and 11 times the number of solar panels. Electricity rates in Vermont have dropped while soaring in the rest of New England.

Critics of commercial wind power consider themselves every bit as environmentally conscious as the governor. They say he is doing more harm than good by promoting developments on the state’s ridgelines, among Vermont’s most important assets, where turbines, roadways and infrastructure are destroying habitats, increasing flood risks and scarring the landscape much the way mountaintop mining has scarred West Virginia. They also complain about noise, lower property values and blighted views.

Critics are appalled that Mr. Shumlin is backing another Iberdrola project, a 15-turbine development under construction on two ridgelines in the Green Mountain National Forest that would be the first commercial wind project in a national forest.

All of this development, they say, is doing little to stave off climate change. “These handful of turbines won’t do anything to offset the documented scampering increase in the mining and use of coal in India and China,” said Frank Seawright, the chairman of the Windham Selectboard and an opponent of the project.

Mr. Shumlin counters by saying that climate change is easily the most important issue facing the planet and that everyone has a responsibility to curb it. While he says he would never favor turbines on Vermont’s most iconic mountains, naming Mansfield and Camel’s Hump, he adds that they have to go on ridgelines because that is where the wind is.

The state’s environmental groups are with him. Paul Burns, the executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, said that a vote against the wind project here “would demonstrate an unwillingness to be part of a solution to what is recognized as an incredibly serious problem.”

Vermont’s battle over wind has been brewing for years, and is playing a role in the race to succeed Mr. Shumlin. Phil Scott, the Republican nominee, who opposes further industrial wind development, faces Sue Minter, the Democratic nominee, who is backed by the wind industry and favors it. The issue was a factor in her winning the Democratic nomination.

Statewide support for wind turbines has been relatively high, but appears to have ebbed in recent years, according to polling by Castleton University, dropping to 56 percent this year from 69 percent in 2013.

Windham and Grafton generally vote Democratic, but most lawn signs here proclaim support for Mr. Scott and are paired with signs against the wind turbines.

“A lot of Democrats in this room will be voting for a Republican governor for the first time,” Sally Hoover, 72, a retired accountant in Windham, said last week as Iberdrola hosted a meeting, where residents first learned of the cash offer.

At the meeting, which drew more than 100 residents, the developer shared its new plan. It reduced the number of turbines to 24 from 28 and increased the money paid to Windham to $1 million from $715,000 a year for the 25 years. The payments would cut property taxes in half and provide $150,000 a year for charities, fire departments and educational scholarships.

The company said it would also set aside $350,000 each year for direct payments to Windham’s 311 registered voters — $1,125 apiece annually, or $28,135 over 25 years, which a voter could accept or not.

In Grafton, the company set aside $215,000 for voter payments. The town’s 504 registered voters would each receive $427 a year, or $10,665 over 25 years. (Windham would have 16 turbines and Grafton eight.)

Asked if the company was trying to buy votes, a spokesman, Paul Copleman, said that Iberdrola was merely responding to what residents had said they would need to win approval, and that the developer would abide by the result.

In an email later, he added, “Our current proposal is based on feedback from community members who are frustrated that the tax relief from the project would give a larger break to those with more expensive properties.”

Kathy Scott, 74, a retired bookkeeper and one of the Windham residents who negotiated the package, said residents, not the company, came up with the idea of payments.

She said her group saw them as a way to “level the playing field” with second-home owners, many of whose homes have high assessments and who would benefit more from the tax cuts. (Although second-home owners pay 60 percent of the town’s taxes, they cannot vote here, a sore point for them.)

Opponents were outraged at the payments, perceiving them as an attempt to buy votes, and complained to state officials.

But Michael O. Duane, senior assistant attorney general, said the payments did not violate state law. The proposal “doesn’t say that the funds go only to those people who signed a sworn statement that they had voted for it,” he said.

Still, the payment proposal has left a sour taste. As The Rutland Herald put it in an editorial on Sunday, “The naked offer of money to individual citizens may be even more corrosive to the civic life of the town than the potential environmental effects of the wind turbines.”



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

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


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Species may be listed as threatened based on climate change projections, court says

A court equates a prophecy with fact??  Back to the Middle Ages! This could open floodgates

Federal authorities may list a species as “threatened” based on climate models that show habitat loss in the coming decades, an appeals court decided Monday.

Oil company groups and Alaskan natives had challenged a decision by the federal government to list a sea ice seal subspecies as threatened and deserving of protection.

The groups maintained the subspecies’ population was currently healthy and the climate projections were speculative.

 A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. The ruling would allow government protection of all sorts of wildlife likely to be affected by climate change in the decades ahead.

The panel decided unanimously that the National Marine Fisheries Services reasonably determined that loss of Arctic sea ice over shallow waters would “almost certainly” threaten the survival of a Pacific bearded seal subspecies by the end of the century.

“The service need not wait until a species’ habitat is destroyed to determine that habitat loss may facilitate extinction,” Judge Richard A. Paez, a Clinton appointee, wrote for the court.

The bearded seals congregate on ice floes over shallow waters, where they give birth to pups and nurse. The floes give the nursing mothers close access to food sources — organisms on the ocean floor — and enable the pubs to learn to dive, swim and hunt away from their predators, the court said.

Climate models show that the ice floes would disappear during breeding times, and mother seals would have to nurse their young on shore, where they would be vulnerable to predators such as polar bears and walruses.

A lack of ice floes in shallow waters also would force the seals to forage in the deeper ocean, which contains fewer of the organisms they depend on for survival, the government found.

One peer reviewer said the 80-year prediction was more likely than not to “greatly” underestimate the impact of climate change on the seals.

“All parties agree that there will be sea ice melt,” the court said. “The only uncertainty is the magnitude of warming, the speed with which warming will take place, and the severity of its effect.” Is that all?]

 Although climate projections for 2050 through 2100 may be volatile, they remain valuable in the government rule-making process, the court found.

The Endangered Species Act does not say a species can be listed “only if the underlying research is ironclad and absolute,” Paez wrote.

“It simply requires the agency to consider the best and most reliable scientific and commercial data and to identify the limits of that data when making a listing determination,” the court concluded.


Report: Justice Department told feds to “stand down” on Dakota Access Pipeline protests

A mystery may have been solved in terms of the ongoing protests surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Throughout these demonstrations and incidents of violence centered on the makeshift camps set up on federal land, we’ve been wondering why the federal response has been so muted. In fact, fairly early on I pointed out that there seemed to be something of a double standard between this confrontation and the showdown with the Oregon protesters last year. Given the amount of damage taking place and recorded incidents of violence, why weren’t federal agents moving in to keep more order and support local law enforcement?

A new revelation this week may provide the answer. According to at least one report, the Department of Justice under Attorney General Loretta Lynch passed the word to “stand down” and not get too involved. (Daily Caller)

Attorney General Loretta Lynch refused to meet with National Sheriff’s Association (NSA) Executive Director Jonathan Thompson about the law enforcement issues facing communities in North Dakota as a result of protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the DOJ wants the ND U.S. Attorney to stay away from the situation.

Protesters trying to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline are threatening and intimidating nearby residents, commuters, and press as well as threatening the lives of law enforcement officers…

According to an email obtained by the Daily Caller, Thompson told NSA personnel, that DOJ refused to deploy federal resources in support of local Morton County, North Dakota Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier in an effort to fend off what the NSA and local officials called, “unlawful protests, threats of community intimidation and interfering with lawful commerce.”

One source close to the situation told TheDC that “the DOJ told the US attorney to stand down on help. North Dakota’s attorney general is not engaged either. Sheriffs are in the middle of the storm with limited help.”
This is a disturbing turn in the story to say the least. It’s one thing to adopt a bit more of a hands off approach in general… providing things aren’t getting out of hand. It’s another matter entirely to refuse the requests of state and local officials for help when there’s legitimate violence taking place. In addition to the violent encounters referenced in the linked article, the protesters have already engaged in arson which destroyed millions of dollars of equipment which was lawfully situated and in use. Refusing such a request is just leaving the sheriffs and state police high and dry.

Another aspect of these protests is cleared up by The Daily Caller’s research as well. You’ll recall that we previously highlighted the dual nature of the protest camps. Some of those engaged in demonstrations are locals and members of the Native American tribes in the area. But a second group is composed of outsiders who were brought in to fight any and all fossil fuel activity. The DC points us to a record of arrests thus far from the Dickinson Press. Out of 123 arrests as of earlier this week, less than twenty of them were locals or members of the tribes. The other 106 were all imports from out of state.

One could understand if the Department of Justice was reluctant to go in and start busting heads among the tribe members. Not only do they have legitimate claims to the land and their heritage, but the optics would be horrible. But that’s not who is causing the problems here for the most part. Loretta Lynch could send in the cavalry to drag out the anti-energy, green warriors who are burning the place down with no such complications. Unfortunately, those interlopers are very big with the Democratic base and there’s an election coming up, so I suppose the local cops are on their own.


Exxon Mobil Fights the Abusive Behavior of Democrat Attorney General’s Climate Inquisition

Exxon Mobil Corp. is fighting back against New York’s Democrat attorney general who is demanding decades’ worth of documents about the company’s position on global warming and climate change.

On Oct. 17, Exxon asked a federal judge in Texas, Ed Kinkeade, to stop the abusive behavior of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman by tossing out the subpoena that Schneiderman served on Exxon as part of a investigation of the company for supposedly lying to the public about catastrophic, man-induced climate change.

This is part of the effort of state attorneys general like Schneiderman to criminalize scientific dissent and punish heretics who question the validity of this unproven theory.

Exxon had already filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop a similar investigation being waged by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, also a Democrat. Exxon’s Oct. 17 motion asked the same federal court to allow it to amend its original complaint to add Schneiderman to its lawsuit.

Schneiderman’s subpoena demanded the production of essentially every document in the company’s possession concerning global warming or climate change for the last 40 years, including not just its internal research but any interactions with any other entities such as universities, researchers, and scientists that Schneiderman calls “aggressive climate deniers.”

Schneiderman has accused conservative groups—including The Heritage Foundation—of being part of a “dark money empire” that is supposedly directing a disinformation campaign on climate change and Exxon.

As Exxon points out in its brief, it is politics that is behind what the New York attorney general is doing, not enforcement of the law.

The brief summarizes in great detail the political motivations driving not only Schneiderman and Healey, but all of the other state attorneys general who held a press conference in March pledging themselves to use whatever means necessary to “deal with the problem of climate change” and force energy companies to support the preferred public policy on climate change of their coalition, which calls itself the Green 20.

That includes their secret, closed-door meetings and coordination with climate activists who made it explicit that their goal was to use law enforcement tools to “delegitimize” Exxon.

What is abundantly clear is that Schneiderman, Healey, and the other attorneys general who are part of the Green 20 are abusing their authority and power as governmental prosecutors to engage in a political witch hunt.

The true purpose of these investigations, according to Exxon, is to “suppress speech with which the Green 20 disagrees” on climate change. And the public statements made by Schneiderman and Healey make it clear that their “improper bias” disqualifies them from serving as the disinterested prosecutors required under the Constitution.

Interestingly, Exxon points out that the original fishing expedition engaged in by Schneiderman over its “historic climate change research” has changed. Less than a month ago, Schneiderman’s official press spokesman said that the attorney general was changing the focus of his investigation to Exxon’s estimation of its oil and gas reserves for the purposes of claiming that the company has engaged in “massive securities fraud.”

The attorney general is apparently now asserting that Exxon has overstated its reserves because he believes that “future global efforts to address climate change” will force the company “to leave enormous amounts of oil reserves in the ground.”

But, as Exxon points out, that theory conflicts not only with standard accounting procedures, but also with the regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC prohibits energy companies from considering the impact of future regulations when estimating oil reserves. As Exxon says in its brief, “to the contrary, they require Exxon Mobil to calculate its proved reserves in light of ‘existing economic conditions, operating methods, and government regulations.’”

In other words, the SEC “requires Exxon Mobil to ignore Attorney General Schneiderman’s assumptions about future regulations when estimating reserves.”  The fact that the Massachusetts attorney general has now adopted the same mistaken legal theory “speaks volumes about the pretextual nature of the litigation.”

According to Exxon, the “true objectives are clear: to fish indiscriminately through Exxon Mobil’s records with the hope of finding some violation of some law that one of them might be empowered to enforce, or otherwise to harass Exxon Mobil into endorsing the Green 20’s policy views regarding how the United States should respond to climate change.”

This action to add the New York attorney general to the Texas lawsuit was the result of an order issued by Kinkeade on Oct. 13 that should fill both Schneiderman and Healey with foreboding.

Normally, a federal lawsuit filed to try to stop a state lawsuit would be dismissed under the Younger abstention rule. The Supreme Court held in Younger v. Harris in 1971 that there is a strong federal policy against federal court interference with pending state judicial proceedings.  However, one of the exceptions to that rule is a state proceeding filed in bad faith.

Kinkeade stated that Healey’s actions “causes the court concern” and presents the question of whether she is pursuing this claim “with bias or prejudgment about what the investigation of Exxon would discover.”

If the allegations about Healey are true, then her actions “may constitute bad faith” that “would preclude Younger abstention.” As a result, he ordered discovery by both parties “to aid the court in deciding” whether Healey committed bad faith or whether this lawsuit should be dismissed.

What is abundantly clear is that Schneiderman, Healey, and the other attorneys general who are part of the Green 20 are abusing their authority and power as governmental prosecutors to engage in a political witch hunt that violates basic constitutional rights of due process and most importantly, the First Amendment.

Their intention is to chill speech and silence anyone who disagrees with them about a disputed scientific theory and public policy issue that is the subject of great debate.

That is how government prosecutors operate in the Third World and in banana republics—not the United States of America.


Once Overwhelming Support For German ‘Energiewende’ Fades, Study Finds

It used to be that the German Energiewende (transition to renewable energies) once enjoyed overwhelming support among the population. However, a recent national survey conducted by Germany’s University of Stuttgart, in cooperation with the University of Münster and two Fraunhofer institutes, shows a nation that has become split over the bold project.

Only 29% of those surveyed now see themselves as supporters of the Energiewende.

A total of 2009 persons were surveyed by telephone on a variety of aspects concerning perception of the Energiewende, e.g. wind parks in the countryside, in coastal areas and offshore, solar energy and grid revamping. Scientists at the Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Risiko- und Innovationsforschung (Center for Interdisciplenary Risks and Innovation Research) at the University of Stuttgart (ZIRIUS), the University of Münster and two Fraunhofer institutes for System and Innovation Research (ISI) and for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) reached the following results:

29 percent of the German population are classified as supporters of the Energiewende. Another 29 percent are ambivalent with regards to the Energiewende and the related technologies, and thus are viewed as being undecided, while 27 percent can be classified as critics of the Energiewende.

This is a far cry from overwhelming support and shows growing disenchantment with the transformation. What should be worrisome is that the big brunt of the costs have yet to hit.

Already 29 percent of those surveyed said that they are no longer willing to accept to pay more for electricity in order contribute to the success of the Energiewende, the survey found. Less than half, 47 percent, of German citizens say they are willing to pay 50 euros per year more for helping the Energiewende to succeed. That figure, the study notes,  is only under the condition that the total costs of the Energiewende get shared fairly between industry and the citizenry, and among the citizenry itself.

Trust in the main players of the Energiewende (large energy companies and utilities) and fairness are the most important factors in realizing acceptance. Refusal to pay or non-acceptance are not irrational defensive reactions, the study finds, but rather are based on sound reasons.


Green activist ban on Australian government agenda

Malcolm Turnbull has flagged a fresh attempt at passing laws to prevent environmentalists using the courts to block major projects, before his week-long visit to Queensland.

Labor and the Greens blocked a previous attempt by the Abbott government to prevent people with political agendas from using the courts to disrupt and delay projects such as coal mines.

The prime minister told reporters in Sydney, on the eve of a Brisbane cabinet meeting, he appreciated the value of a "robust democracy".

"People are entitled to bring their cases before the court, but there is no doubt there has been very systematic, very well funded campaigns against major projects," Mr Turnbull said.

"It's right to express concern about that."

He said the government would test whether the new Senate - which has nine Greens and 11 minor party members on the crossbench - has the "appetite" to reconsider the Abbott government bill.

Queensland Resources Council chief Michael Roche said such laws were important, especially given the increasing role of foreign interests in lobbying against resources projects.

But he said the federal government should go further and reassess taxpayer subsidies for "green activist" groups.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said he was concerned environmental activism and poor management by the Queensland Labor government were holding back major projects.

"I certainly don't take this place for granted, Malcolm doesn't take it for granted and we want to make sure we drag other people along with us on this path of making Queensland a stronger place," he told reporters in Brisbane.

The Greens want a ban on fracking and all coal seam gas and shale development.



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

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