Tuesday, December 19, 2017



Unrestrained romanticism is not dead

The guff below could have been written by a Nazi writer.  Nazism also had a romanticized vision of a marvellous small-farmer past. Some people will never learn.

Their key paragraph below is this one:

"The industrial food chain is using at least 75 per cent of the world’s agricultural land and most of agriculture’s fossil fuel and freshwater resources to feed barely 30 per cent of the world’s population. Conversely, more than 500 million peasant farms around the world are using less than 25 per cent of the land – and almost no fossil fuels or chemicals – to feed 70 per cent of humanity."

It is one of the sillier attempts to lie with statistics. It makes no mention of HOW MUCH food different farming systems produce or how much effort goes into producing it.  It may be true that 25% of the land feeds 70% of the people but it does so only via back-breaking labor that leaves little time for anything else and in the end provides on a bare minimum of food most of the time. For the rest of the time it produces famine.  It is no model for any sane person.

I think that tells you how good the rest of their statistics below are.  It's just a prolonged fantasy


Industrial agriculture isn’t the efficient beast it’s made out to be. Peasant farming, not industrial food production, is the way to feed the world, argue Pat Mooney and Nnimmo Bassey

The solution for both climate and food sovereignty is to dismantle the global industrial agri-food system (which we call the ‘industrial food chain’) and for governments to give more space to the already growing and resilient ‘peasant food web’ – the interlinked network of small-scale farmers, livestock-keepers, pastoralists, hunters and gatherers, fishers and urban producers who, our research shows, already feed most of the world.

The industrial food chain is using at least 75 per cent of the world’s agricultural land and most of agriculture’s fossil fuel and freshwater resources to feed barely 30 per cent of the world’s population. Conversely, more than 500 million peasant farms around the world are using less than 25 per cent of the land – and almost no fossil fuels or chemicals – to feed 70 per cent of humanity.

Aside from burning vast quantities of fossil carbon, industry is also wasting money that could be directed to supporting equitable agroecological production while still lowering food prices for the world’s marginalized consumers.

The statistics are staggering. Consumers pay $7.5 trillion each year for industrially produced food. But between a third and half of this production is wasted along the way to the consumer or at the table: spoiled in the field or in transport, rejected from grocers because of blemishes, or left on the plate because of over-serving.

The total food overproduced each year is worth $3.8 trillion – a combination of $2.49 trillion worth of food waste and $1.26 trillion of over-consumption (see footnote 191 of the report). Burgeoning waists worldwide also have both human and economic costs.

When the wider environmental damages – including contaminated soils and water, greenhouse gas emissions – are added to the health and social impacts, the harm done by the industrial food chain is almost $5 trillion (see footnote 193). For every dollar consumers spent in supermarkets, health and environmental damages cost two dollars more.

Added to the amount spent by consumers, this makes the real cost of industrial food $12.4 trillion annually.

Policymakers negotiating the future of food and climate may wonder if it is possible to make such a dramatic change in our food production. Peasants may feed 70 per cent of the world’s population now but can they adapt quickly enough to climate change to feed us in 2100? Which system, the industrial food chain or the peasant food web, has the track record, innovative capacity, speed and flexibility needed to get us through the unparalleled threat of an unpredictable climate?

The answer is clear. Take experience: over the last century, the industrial food chain has not introduced a single new crop or livestock species to production but has cut the genetic diversity of our crops by 75 per cent, reduced the number of species by about one third, and reduced the nutritional value of our crops by up to 40 per cent. The peasant web has introduced 2.1 million new plant varieties where industrial agriculture has only introduced 100,000 over the same time frame.

The industrial food chain works with only 137 crop species and five main livestock species. Stunningly, 45 per cent of the industry’s research and development targets just one crop: maize. By contrast, the peasant web is breeding and growing 7,000 different crop species and 34 livestock species – like the alpaca, ñandu, and guinea pig.

Peasants also have the track record of dealing with new conditions quickly and effectively. Recent history is replete with evidence that peasant producers – before there were telegraphs or telephones or railways – have adapted new food species (through selective breeding) to an extraordinary range of different climatic conditions within the span of only a few human generations

The peasant web is breeding and growing 7,000 different crop species and 34 livestock species – like the alpaca, ñandu, and guinea pig

This process of seed and knowledge sharing from farmer to farmer is how maize spread across most of the regions of Africa and how sweet potatoes were planted everywhere in Papua New Guinea from mangrove swamps to mountain tops – all in less than a century – and how immigrants brought seeds from Europe that were growing across the Western Hemisphere within a generation.

When we compare the track record of the industrial food chain to the peasant food web we must conclude that our century-long experience with the chain shows that it is just too expensive, and it can’t scale up. Meanwhile, with almost no support from governments, the peasant food web is already feeding 70 per cent of us (see page 12) – and could do much more, while producing drastically less greenhouse gas emissions than industrial methods.

To be clear, ‘peasant farming as usual’ is not an option. Climate change will mean our over 10,000 years of agriculture has to deal with growing conditions that the world hasn’t seen for three million years.

There is no reason to be sanguine about the problems ahead.

Peasants can scale up if the industrial chain gets off their backs. Governments must recognize peasants’ rights to their land and seeds and support fair, peasant-led rural development and trade policies. We need to cut waste and shift our financial resources to strengthening the peasant food web and both tackling climate change and ensuring food sovereignty.

SOURCE



How One City Plans to Fight Climate Change on Its Own. With help from Nordic experts, a city in Northern England is moving toward creating the most energy-efficient homes on the planet

How amusing.  Past attempts at putting up highly "sustainable" buildings have all been disastrous -- with big cost overruns, leaking roofs, utilities that don't work etc.  I look forward to hearing the outcome of this project


The Scandinavian firm, White Arkitekter, is working in tandem with urban developers Citu to design a plan Leeds where the apartments and homes become among the most sustainable in the world.

The Scandinavian firm, White Arkitekter, is working in tandem with urban developers Citu to design a plan Leeds where the apartments and homes become among the most sustainable in the world.

While there’s a (mostly) global consensus on the need to address climate change at the state level, municipal solutions to improving energy efficiency seem to be governed not by orthodoxy but by experimentation.

To that end, one neighborhood in the northern English city of Leeds is moving toward a sustainable future with a little help from Nordic experts. Envisioned as a collaborative project between Sweden’s White Arkitekter and environmentally conscious U.K. development firm Citu, Leeds’s dedicated “Climate Innovation District” will repurpose an old industrial brownfield to create a green, open community centered around 500 of the most energy-efficient apartments and homes you’ll find anywhere on the planet.

White Arkitekter designed the mixed-use neighborhood with a Scandinavian love of efficiency in mind. All necessary services like schools, offices, and healthcare facilities will be located within easy walking or cycling distance from the more than 500 apartments and homes that will eventually be built on the site.

Their plan also calls for ample green and social spaces, making it easier for residents to interact and play, all while mitigating the air quality and urban heat island issues that plague stodgier city neighborhoods.

Built on the bones of apartment complexes created by White Arkitekter and local firm Ollier Smurthwaite Architects, the district’s one- to four-bedroom bedroom units will be outfitted by Citu with some of the most sustainable, carbon-neutral design elements in the world. Featuring rainwater collection, solar paneling, and green roofs on the outside as well as smart-home technology and heat recovery systems on the interior, it all “represent[s] a pioneering new approach to house building in this country, which is one of the biggest causes of carbon emissions,” according to a statement by Citu founder and managing director Chris Thompson.

SOURCE





How to Talk to a Science Denier without Arguing

In summary:  Don't mention any scientific facts.  That at least is what he describes himself below as doing.  That's quite a confession in its way

It’s the holiday season, which means plenty of opportunities for uncomfortable interactions with friends and family who are science deniers, from people who believe the moon landing was faked to those who believe vaccines cause autism or who think that humans did not cause significant global climate change. How can you deal with such science deniers effectively?

My close friend invited me to her house for Thanksgiving, where I sat across the table from her cousin Sam. Learning about my research on promoting truthfulness in our society, he proceeded to denounce what he called the “climate change hoax” as a vast attack by liberals on businesses. He told me how his dad lost his job at a factory that moved to Mexico, placing blame on government regulations—including pollution control—that made it too expensive for the plant to operate in the Columbus, Ohio, where Sam lives.

By the end of our conversation over that meal, he accepted the validity of the science on climate change. Sam is one of many people who updated their beliefs during conversations with me, including prominent ideologically-oriented talk show hosts. Recently, I published a book on this topic, The Truth-Seeker’s Handbook: A Science-Based Guide. One of the strategies described there can be summarized under the acronym EGRIP (Emotions, Goals, Rapport, Information, Positive Reinforcement), which provides clear guidelines on how to deal with Sam and other people who deny the facts, in science and other life areas.

What Not To Do

Our typical response is to respond by presenting the facts and arguing about the quality of the evidence. However, studies suggest that doing so is generally not effective in changing people’s minds on charged issues. Research on the confirmation bias shows that we tend to look for and interpret information in ways that conforms to our beliefs. Our emotions are much more powerful than our reason, and we tend to go with our guts when perceiving new information.

Moreover, research on a phenomenon called the backfire effect shows when we are presented with facts that cause us to feel bad about our identity and worldview, we tend to dig in our heels and refuse to accept the facts. In some cases, presenting the facts actually backfires, causing people to develop a stronger attachment to their incorrect belief.

Don’t Argue, EGRIP Instead

If someone denies clear facts, you can safely assume that it’s their emotions that are leading them away from reality. While gut reactions can be helpful, they can also lead us astray in systematic and predictable ways. We need to deploy the skill of empathy, meaning understanding other people’s emotions, to determine what emotional blocks might cause them to stick their heads into the sand of reality.

In Sam’s case, it was relatively easy to figure out the emotions at play through active listening: anxiety about job security, compounded by his dad’s experience. I confirmed my suspicions by using curiosity to question Sam—who was in his junior year in college—about whether he was concerned that government protections would inhibit his ability to find a job, and he answered “you’re damn right I’m worried about that.” You will have to figure out based on the context of each individual situation the relevant emotions at play.

Next, establish shared goals for both of you, crucial for effective knowledge sharing. With Sam, I talked about how we both want people to secure jobs in the current uncertain economic environment, and he strongly agreed. I also said how we both want him and his friends and family—who were all around us at the Thanksgiving dinner table—to stay healthy, and he agreed as well.

Third, build rapport. Using the empathetic listening you did previously (a vital skill in promoting trusting relationships), echo their emotions and show you understand how they feel. In the case of Sam, I told him I understood his feelings of worry and anger. I also told him I was worried about his health and the health of other students, due to the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by pollution.

Finally, I added that we should always orient toward the facts, wherever they may lead, and added that I—along with thousands of other citizens—took the Pro-Truth Pledge as a public signal of commitment to sharing accurate information, and welcomed him to hold me accountable. He appreciated that opportunity, and it built my credibility in his eyes.

Fourth, move on to sharing information. Here is where you can give the facts that you held back in the beginning. Since Sam’s concerns had to do with economic issues, I focused on the money rather than the science. I talked to him about how while I did not know the specifics of his dad’s situation, I could truthfully state that the government sometimes makes unwise policies that result in harmful outcomes.

Next, I pointed out to him how the number of clean energy jobs in Ohio is growing, and much quicker than overall job growth; given bipartisan support, this trend will likely continue. Then, I highlighted how since manufacturing jobs like the one his dad had aren’t coming back, he could secure a good financial future for himself in the green energy field after college.

Likewise, he would also help protect his health and the health of his friends and family around the dinner table. As a bonus, he wouldn’t have to deny scientific studies. After all, as I told him, the scientists are simply finding data, and it’s government officials and business leaders who decide what to do with it.

The key here is to show your conversation partner, without arousing a defensive or aggressive response, how their current truth denialism will lead to them undermining in the long term the shared goals we established earlier, a research-driven approach to addressing thinking errors.

Sam was surprised and moved by this information. He agreed that green energy might well be a good future for him. He confessed he was feeling mental strain due to denying scientific findings, and was relieved to see that believing in science did not have to mean he would not find a job.

I offered positive reinforcement for his orientation toward the facts, praising his ability to update his beliefs. Positive reinforcement is very valuable as a research-based tactic of encouraging people to change their identity and sense of self-worth to align with truthfulness through associating positive emotions with doing so.

Think of how much better your holiday dinner could go if you use EGRIP instead of arguing!

SOURCE





Global Warming: Fake News from the Start

President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change because it is a bad deal for America. He could have made the decision simply because the science is false, but most of the public have been brainwashed into believing it is correct and wouldn’t understand the reason.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and indeed the leaders of many western democracies, though thankfully not the U.S., support the Agreement and are completely unaware of the gross deficiencies in the science. If they did, they wouldn’t be forcing a carbon dioxide (CO2) tax, on their citizens.

Trudeau and other leaders show how little they know, or how little they assume the public know, by calling it a ‘carbon tax.’ But CO2 is a gas, while carbon is a solid. By calling the gas carbon, Trudeau and others encourage people to think of it as something ‘dirty’, like graphite or soot, which really are carbon. Calling CO2 by its proper name would help the public remember that it is actually an invisible, odorless gas essential to plant photosynthesis.

Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is arguably the most misinformed of the lot, saying in a recent interview, for example, that “Polluters should pay.” She apparently does not know that CO2 is not a pollutant.

And, like many of her political peers, McKenna dismisses credentialed PhD scientists who disagree with her government’s approach, labelling them “deniers.” She does not seem to understand that questioning scientific hypotheses, even scientific theories, is what all scientists should do. That is why the official motto of the Royal Society is “Nullius in verba,” Latin for “Take nobody's word for it.” Ironically, the Society rarely practices this approach when it comes to climate change.

Mistakes such as those made by McKenna are not surprising considering that the entire claim of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) was built on falsehoods and spread with fake news.

The plot to deceive the world about human-caused global warming gathered momentum following creation of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). After spending five days at the U.N. with Maurice Strong, the first executive director of UNEP, Hamilton Spectator investigative reporter Elaine Dewar concluded the overarching objective of the IPCC was political. “Strong was using the U.N. as a platform to sell a global environment crisis and the global governance agenda,” wrote Dewar.

The political agenda required ‘credibility’ to achieve the deception. It also required some fake news for momentum. Ideally, this would involve testimony from a scientist before a legislative committee.

U.S. Senator Timothy Wirth (D-CO) was fully committed to the political agenda and the deception as he explained in a 1993 comment, “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing…”

In 1988 Wirth was in a position to jump start the climate alarm. He worked with colleagues on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to organize a June 23, 1988 hearing where Dr. James Hansen, then the head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), was to testify. Wirth explained in a 2007 interview with PBS Frontline:

“We knew there was this scientist at NASA, you know, who had really identified the human impact before anybody else had done so and was very certain about it. So, we called him up and asked him if he would testify.”

Hansen did not disappoint. The New York Times reported on June 23, 1988:

“Today Dr. James E. Hansen of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration told a Congressional committee that it was 99 percent certain that the warming trend was not a natural variation but was caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide and other artificial gases in the atmosphere.”

Specifically, Hansen told the committee,

"Global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming...It is already happening now"

Hansen also testified:

"The greenhouse effect has been detected and it is changing our climate now...We already reached the point where the greenhouse effect is important."

Dr. John S. Theon, Hansen’s former supervisor at NASA, wrote to the Senate Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009. “Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress.”

Hansen never abandoned his single-minded, unsubstantiated claim that CO2 from human activities caused dangerous global warming. He defied the Hatch Act that limits bureaucratic political actions, and, in 2011, was even arrested in a protest at the White House against the Keystone XL pipeline, at least his third such arrest to that point.

Wirth, who presided at the hearing, was pre-disposed to believe Hansen and told the committee:

''As I read it, the scientific evidence is compelling: the global climate is changing as the earth's atmosphere gets warmer. Now, the Congress must begin to consider how we are going to slow or halt that warming trend and how we are going to cope with the changes that may already be inevitable.”

So, like Trudeau and other leaders duped by the climate scare, Wirth has either not read or not understood the science. In fact, an increasing number of climate scientists (including Dr. Ball) now conclude that there is no empirical evidence of human-caused global warming; there are only computer model speculations that humans are causing it and every forecast made using these models since 1990 has been wrong.

More than any other event, that single hearing before the Energy and Natural Resources Committee publicly initiated the climate scare, the biggest deception in history. It created an unholy alliance between a bureaucrat and a politician, that was bolstered by the U.N. and the popular press leading to the hoax being accepted in governments, industry boardrooms, schools, and churches across the world.

Trump must now end America’s participation in the fake science and the fake news of man-made global warming. To do this, he must withdraw the U.S. from further involvement with all U.N. global warming programs, especially the IPCC as well as the agency that now directs it—the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Only then will the U.S. have a chance to fully develop its hydrocarbon resources to achieve the president’s goal of global energy dominance.

SOURCE




Here's How Many People Have Left the EPA Since Scott Pruitt Took Over

The Environmental Protection Agency has shrunk considerably since Scott Pruitt took over as administrator. In fact, the agency is back to President Reagan-era staff levels.

Over 700 EPA personnel have either retired, quit, or taken voluntary buyouts since Pruitt took over, Think Progress found after combing through federal employment statistics. Some are quitting in "disgust."

“There has been a drop of employees of 770 between April and December. While several hundred of those are buyouts, the rest of those are either people that are retiring or quitting in disgust,” Kyla Bennett, director of New England Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), told ThinkProgress. “Is that number higher than it would normally be? I think it is.”

Liberals were outraged over Pruitt's nomination last year, labeling him a "climate skeptic" and criticizing his ties to the fossil fuel industry.

SOURCE

***************************************

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.  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

*****************************************



Monday, December 18, 2017



A mechanical engineer tries to use commonsense to discredit  climate skepticism

His name is Rich Brager.  His effort is below and shows how shallow his understanding of the issues is.

My first smile was his credulous belief that scientific fraud is "pretty rare".  I wonder how he explains that in both psychology and medicine up to two thirds of all findings have recently been found to be unreplicable?  The level of fraud may vary but its frequency shows that treating scientists as an authority is naive.  The only authority is the facts.

And his idea of how scientists work is also idealized.  He says:

"They learn by failure. They formulate new ideas based on their previous test results. They hone and fine tune their ideas until they can achieve success"

But Warmists don't do that. They have a theory they stick to come hell or high water.  Take their basic theory that increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 lead to increasing global temperatures.  So from 1945 t0 1975 when CO2 levels rose strongly, global temperatures rose strongly too.  Right?  But they didn't.  They were effectively static for all of those 30 years.  Some people call it the "long hiatus".  So how do warmists explain that stark contradiction of their theory?  They don't.  They just mumble "special factors" and go on as if nothing to disturb their theory had happened.

Mr Brager goes on to compare the science that goes into his beloved motor cars with climate science and says that because motor cars work well, climate science must be right too.  That is a rather large non-sequitur for starters but its basic error is to assume that climate scientists proceed the way other scientists do.  They don't.  I have just pointed out an example of that but let me give another one:

It is a normal scientific courtesy for scientists to make their raw data available to other scientists so other scientists can re-analyse it and (hopefully) show that the analyses done by the original author were correct and adequate.  New analyses could even reveal new insights not picked up by the original author.

But Warmists NEVER do that. They refuse point blank to make their data available to others.  That immediately evokes supicion that their data may not show what they say it shows. And on one occasion when some very important data was left lying around where skeptics could access and analyse it, the whole "hockeystick" edifice built on it collapsed.  They have good reasons to hide their data.

Mr Brager clearly needs to do some reading.  He could start by googling "unreplicable findings"


Science deniers seem to be everywhere. You can read about them in the papers virtually every day. They are in the news all the time. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has assigned a disproportionate number of jobs requiring scientific knowledge to science deniers. Very sad, very dangerous.

What are they denying? The topics include climate change, evolution, vaccination as well as a number of other topics. So why are the deniers deniers? Of course, there is no single reason. They often cite instances where scientists were fraudulent with their scientific information. Since scientists are also human, this does happen sometimes but fortunately, it is pretty rare.

Sometimes they say that the scientists have just made errors in their scientific analysis. This can also happen, but many non-scientists just don’t really understand how science works. Scientists learn by pushing the envelope of knowledge and by testing their ideas. They learn by failure. They formulate new ideas based on their previous test results. They hone and fine tune their ideas until they can achieve success.

I think many science deniers are very selective in their denials, almost hypocritical. They agree with and love science every time they go to their garage and start their modern car. The science that goes into designing and manufacturing a modern car is borderline unbelievable. You name it, it is there: material science, chemistry, thermodynamics, electronics, robotics, anatomy (think driving position, location of controls), physics, etc., etc. And they all work together so seamlessly that you don’t give it another thought while you commute to work.

And you science deniers could care less about the science that goes into your cell phones, GPS’s and microwave ovens. They all work “like magic”, but they are not magic. They are science at work. And work they do.

So do scientists of different stripes (physicists, chemists, weather scientists, biologists, etc.) go about their work in completely different ways?

Although their fields of study may differ wildly, their scientific methods are remarkably the same. They design their tests, gather their data, review their data, rerun tests as necessary, use statistical methods in analyzing their data, search for similar research by others, present their finding to other experts. Final reports are peer reviewed and critiqued. New and amazing findings are made.

So let’s pick on climate change deniers for a second. Do you think climate scientists are dumber than automotive scientists? Do you think their techniques are inferior to cell phone scientists? Or is your own understanding of climate science just not as good as your understanding of how your cell phone works? Or just because your political party needs to support big energy, climate change shouldn’t be real? Or what? Please help me understand.

So you deniers, make sure you have some real good scientific knowledge before you deny. Think about what Isaac Asimov (scientist and science fiction writer) said about anti-intellectualism. He stated that anti-intellectualism is “nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”

It is not.

SOURCE

Comment from a reader:

This has got to be one of the screwiest posts that I have every read ....and to think it was published by a Mechanical Engineer.

He truly misses a single most important point....the people promoting man-made Global warming have not performed a single scientific experiment that demonstrates that CO2 will cause the temperature of the atmosphere to rise and if one should take a look at the last 50 years a true scientist would conclude that CO2 either has little or no effect.

All that I have seen is the pointing at all kinds of false findings and claiming these to be evidence of global warming.....rising sea levels, glaciers melting, loss of polar ice, polar bear demise, more violent storms, droughts, crop failure, insect migration, disease, correlation of temperature to CO2 concentrations, and on and on.

Any scientist would take a step back at the failure of any of these prediction to come true.




Germany To Open Another New Coal Power Plant

German utility Uniper will start up its Datteln IV hard-coal fired power station in the fourth quarter of 2018, it said in slides for an analyst and investor call on Thursday, having previously planned to start it in the first half 2018.

The 1,050 megawatts plant in western Germany has been held up for years by intense legal battles with environmentalists as Germany seeks to move away from coal-fired electricity long-term.

SOURCE



Revisiting the EPA Endangerment finding

Obama’s EPA used semantic tricks to avoid rigorous scientific evaluation. Is Trump’s EPA more honest?

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt is mulling over how, or whether, to respond to demands from climate skeptics that he reexamine the science that obligates the EPA to issue costly carbon-emission regulations. While he has recently acknowledged that agency staff short-circuited the science review early in the regulatory process, he may not realize that the EPA inspector general’s office flagged this problem years ago, and the agency staff blew him off by means of a preposterous legal fiction that has long been in need of correction

In 2009 the EPA issued the Endangerment Finding, which created a statutory obligation to regulate carbon emissions. In the lead-up to this decision the EPA had published its Technical Support Document. Numerous petitions for reconsideration were subsequently filed with the administrator citing evidence of bias and cherry-picking in this report, but all of them fell on deaf ears

In April 2010, Senator James Inhofe (R., Okla.) asked the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General to review the adequacy of the peer-review process behind the Technical Support Document. The EPA was not happy with what he unearthed

It turns out that the federal government has rules in place governing how the scientific basis for regulations should be reviewed. Guidelines from the Office of Management and Budget issued under the Information Quality Act impose varying requirements depending on the uses to which a scientific assessment will be put. The most rigorous process is for so-called Highly Influential Scientific Assessments (HISA). These are scientific assessments that will, among other things, lead to rules that have an annual economic impact exceeding $500 million.

The inspector general issued a lengthy report in 2011 concluding (pp. 15–22) that the EPA’s science assessment for the Endangerment Finding was highly influential, but the peer-review process fell short of the required standard. It even violated internal EPA guidelines, by failing to publicly report the review results and cutting corners in ways that potentially hindered the work of reviewers.

The EPA argued back, rather brazenly, that their report was not an assessment at all, merely a summary of previous findings by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Climate Assessment, and other reports, and these documents — not any original research by the EPA — underpinned the Endangerment Finding.

The inspector general rejected this argument for several reasons. First, the EPA study clearly was an assessment, since it selected certain lines of evidence for emphasis or exclusion and used data not found in the underlying reports. Second, the guidelines do not allow an agency such as the EPA to rely on peer reviews conducted by outside groups such as the IPCC or the National Climate Assessment team. Third, the inspector general noted (p. 53) numerous occasions when the EPA cited the Technical Support Document as the basis of its Endangerment Finding

The EPA then argued that even if it was an assessment, it was not “highly influential.” Since the Endangerment Finding was being issued on a “stand-alone” basis with no specific regulations attached, the investigation ended without resolution.

Thereafter the EPA proceeded to issue rules like the Clean Power Plan with impacts far exceeding $500 million annually. By declining to designate its science assessment as highly influential, the EPA skirted the need to conduct the required peer review, but in so doing it thwarted the intent of the statutory guidelines and undermined the ethical basis of its actions.

While the courts may not demand that this situation be rectified, Pruitt himself should. Administrative honesty demands it, especially since the determination has large potential economic ramifications. Specifically Pruitt needs to declare that the Technical Support Document was a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment that should have been reviewed as such in the first place, and he should see to it that such a review now takes place

While climate activists may object, they have also spent years insisting that the science is settled, so if they are right, they have no reason to worry about the outcome. And if they are unhappy that this might delay the next round of rule-making, they should direct their ire at Pruitt’s predecessor, who ought to have undertaken the review back in 2011 rather than playing semantic games to justify evading statutory peer-review requirements

Regardless of Pruitt’s views on climate science, he should agree that the regulatory process needs to be honest and procedurally sound. This alone gives him sufficient grounds to initiate the review that was supposed to have been done years ago.

SOURCE





The Renewable Fuel Standard is broken beyond repair

The EPA recently served up its annual reminder of an energy policy we would be thankful to see chucked out with the spoiled leftovers.

The Nov. 30 release of the 2018 biofuels quotas under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) provides an opportunity to examine the mandate’s failures.

The RFS entered our political discourse during the George W. Bush presidency. American petroleum production was in decline, gas prices were climbing and Al Gore was clogging the airwaves to promote his film, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

First introduced by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and later entrenched by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the RFS mandated that by 2022 36 billion gallons of biofuel be produced nationwide and imposed upon fuel refiners a minimum required volume of biofuel — mostly corn ethanol — to be blended into their products. This maze of regulations and directives was crafted with the nominal purposes of disentangling our economy from the volatile Middle East petrostates and weaning us off of greenhouse gas-emitting fuels.

Now, 10 years later our dependence on foreign oil has been thoroughly mitigated — but the RFS doesn’t deserve the credit. Compelled by the high gas prices of the 2000s, American energy producers deployed techniques like hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling to tap enormous stores of oil and natural gas in states as diverse as Pennsylvania, Texas and North Dakota. Prices plummeted and the global market has been so upended that the Energy Information Agency (EIA) projects America will soon be a net energy exporter.

Advocacy for biofuel mandates has persisted despite the sea change in global energy production. The fallback argument is that biofuel is a smarter environmental choice than traditional gasoline because upon burning it emits a lesser volume of greenhouse gases. But even if we grant that an emissions reduction is a laudable goal, this argument doesn’t pass muster. According to the Congressional Budget Office, “available evidence suggests that replacing gasoline with corn ethanol has only limited potential for reducing emissions (and some studies indicate that it could increase emissions).”

Though greenhouse gas emissions from ethanol itself are indeed lower than those from gasoline, that doesn’t tell the whole story. What’s missing is an account of the environmental costs of ethanol’s production.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “(S)ince for some biofuels, indirect emissions — including from land use change — can lead to greater total emissions than when using petroleum products, policy support needs to be considered on a case by case basis.” As the IPCC suggests, ethanol isn’t an obvious emissions winner. Even the Sierra Club has called the biofuel mandate “unsustainable,” describing it as “unconscionable that the EPA continues to turn a blind eye to this burgeoning environmental crisis.”

With both the energy independence and emissions arguments proven untenable, what motivation remains for RFS advocates?

By pulling back the husk, we see that the RFS’s staunchest supporters tend to hail from corn-producing states like Nebraska and Iowa. Corn growers in America’s heartland have much to gain from the increased demand that the RFS creates. The rest of us, on the other hand, hardly give it a second thought. Ethanol’s enduring presence on our energy landscape is a classic example of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs. But across the country the RFS burdens each of us in subtle ways.

One example is through taxpayer-funded grants for ethanol infrastructure. Ethanol’s corrosiveness whittles away at gasoline holding tanks and, to cushion the fuel suppliers who would otherwise bear the cost, the Department of Energy doles out cash to upgrade their equipment.

Another unseen burden is that ethanol is a less efficient fuel than traditional gasoline, meaning we can’t make it as far per gallon. According to the EIA, “In general, vehicle fuel economy may decrease by about 3 percent when using E10 relative to gasoline that does not contain fuel ethanol.” This inefficiency means we have to fill up more often and, ultimately, spend more at the pump.

Despite the clear drawbacks of the RFS, the deep-pocketed corn ethanol lobby continues to influence policy in Washington, as the recent EPA announcement shows. Government incursions into energy markets often yield nonsensical results, and the RFS is a prime example. This mandate is costly, unnecessary and corrupt. After more than a decade of RFS distortion, it’s time for us to finally say “no thanks.”

SOURCE



Trump Environmental Nominee Fires Back At Dems Accusing Her Of Plagiarism

Kathleen Hartnett White, nominee to head the White House’s environmental office, has fired back at Democratic lawmakers accusing her of plagiarizing written responses to confirmation questions.

“[I]t should not be a surprise that I share the views of my fellow nominees on a number of issues. In preparing my responses, I sought to reiterate positions already stated that are reflective of my own,” White wrote in response to Senate Democrats.

Democrats on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works accused White of plagiarizing answers in written responses from “received from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, Bill Wehrum,” they wrote on Tuesday.

Democrats claim to have found 18 instances White “cut and pasted from the written answers of other nominees,” and asked her to respond. President Donald Trump nominated White to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

She fired back, saying two Obama administration officials also used the same verbatim answers to written questions during the confirmation process.

“My understanding is that this is not unusual and was the case for CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in responses provided to you and other senators in their confirmation proceedings,” White wrote in her response letter, a copy of which was obtained by Axios.

Lisa Jackson headed EPA from 2009 to 2013, when she resigned amid uproar over her use of a secret email account. Nancy Sutley headed CEQ from 2009 to 2014. After stepping down, she became chief sustainability office at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Nominees often work with the White House and other federal officials to answer questions in a way that reflects the administration’s policies. It’s not surprising parts of answers are shared between nominees.

Democrats oppose White’s nomination on the grounds she’s a global warming skeptic who worked at a conservative think tank that’s taken money from the fossil fuels industry. Lawmakers grilled White during a November confirmation hearing.

White is an unabashed proponent of fossil fuels, and has contested the notion that carbon dioxide is a “pollutant,” which the Obama EPA determined in 2009. Carbon dioxide is essential to plant life and has actually greened much of the world, she’s argued.

SOURCE

***************************************

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.  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, December 17, 2017



France’s Macron leads the climate charge, with the US absent

The United States may have withdrawn from the Paris climate change accord, but on Tuesday dozens of world leaders and philanthropists met to find solutions to the swiftly warming planet — and send a message of resolve to the White House.

More symbolic than policy-driven, Tuesday’s summit comes two years after the landmark ‘‘COP21’’ conference in Paris, where 196 participating countries — including the United States — vowed to keep this century’s global temperature increase below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. In one of the most controversial moments of his young presidency, President Trump announced in June that the United States would leave the Paris accord.

The United States is now the only nation on Earth to have rejected the global pact.

Although the rest of the world — and much of the United States — has continued working to meet the Paris commitments, French President Emmanuel Macron called Trump’s decision ‘‘very bad news’’ and warned against complacency. In opening remarks Tuesday, he minced no words. ‘‘We’re losing the battle,’’ he said. ‘‘We’re not moving quickly enough. We all need to act.’’

The One Planet Summit focused on practical ways to continue meeting climate goals without the participation of the US government. The main emphasis was private financing for climate initiatives in the United States and elsewhere. A major goal of the summit was to encourage private investors to fill the annual gap of $210 billion needed to meet the requirements of the Paris agreement.

Toward that end, the summit did secure some major commitments. The Gates Foundation, for instance, said Tuesday that it would pledge $300 million over the next three years to support farmers in Africa and Asia struggling with the effects of climate change: diminished soil fertility, extreme weather, and crop pests, among others. Earlier this year, the foundation had pledged a separate $300 million to benefit public health and poverty reduction programs in Tanzania.

AXA, the world’s third-largest insurance company, announced further reductions of coal investments by an additional $2.8 billion. And the World Bank — to meet its Paris commitments faster — said it would stop financing projects involving upstream oil and gas beginning in 2019. Other US philanthropic organizations also supported the cause. On Monday, the Hewlett Foundation pledged $600 million over five years to nonprofits working on climate change issues.

On the US front, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire and leading climate change advocate, vowed to persuade more companies to change their practices. Bloomberg emphasized the business incentives behind addressing climate change. ‘‘Clean energy is now cheaper than coal, energy efficiency saves money and improves your bottom line, and talented people want to work for companies that care about the planet,’’ he said.

The biggest challenge to persuading more companies to go green, Bloomberg added, is that ‘‘reliable data doesn’t exist.’’ To solve that problem, he has chaired the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, an organization that seeks to communicate financial risk related to climate change.

Since his election, climate change has been among Macron’s signature issues. When Trump said the United States would drop out of the Paris accord, Macron immediately launched a campaign called ‘‘Make Our Planet Great Again,’’ a riff on Trump’s campaign slogan. As part of that campaign, Macron offered research grants for 18 foreign scientists studying climate change to pursue their work in France. On Monday, he revealed the winners, including 13 Americans.

For political analysts, Tuesday’s summit provided further evidence of Macron’s desire to assert France as a principal mediator in virtually every important global deliberation, especially on climate change.

‘‘There is an element of prestige here, because France and President Macron want to play a leading role in the global climate governance, and I think there are just two leaders who are credible there: Macron and [Chinese President] Xi Jinping,’’ said Marc Antoine Eyl-Mazzega, director of the Center for Energy at the French Institute for International Relations, a Paris think tank.

Xi — who was not in attendance at Macron’s second Paris summit, although Chinese representatives were — also has been a supporter of the Paris agreement, even if China remains the largest emitter of greenhouse gases on Earth.

‘‘Some countries have become more inward-looking and less willing to take part in international cooperation, and the spillovers of their policy adjustments are deepening,’’ Xi said in September, stopping short of mentioning the United States by name.

But some see Chinese emissions as the potential thorn in Macron’s plans. ‘‘The exit of the US from climate credibility leaves a gap. The US has traditionally played the role of bad cop with China, forcing them to reduce their emissions. Now that role may fall to Macron,’’ said Paul Bledsoe, a former Clinton White House climate adviser, now with the Progressive Policy Institute.

‘‘I think Macron recognizes the urgency of climate action in a way that maybe older generations don’t, but he’s got to realize that global emissions can’t peak until Chinese emissions do. And Chinese emissions are still growing.’’

SOURCE




GOP Tax Bills Aim to Derail the Green-Power Gravy Train,/b>

Commentators, as well as congressional Democrats, have criticized the Republican tax bill for being rushed through the House and Senate without significant debate.

While that complaint — plus the fact that, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s most recent analysis, the bill could increase the federal deficit by $1 trillion or more — has merit, the new tax bill should bring some much-needed sanity to federal energy policy, and in particular to the lavish subsidies being given to wind and solar energy combined.

Both the House and Senate bills aim to slash the subsidies being given to wind and solar.

While the final details of the tax overhaul must be hammered out in conference committee, both the House and Senate bills aim to slash the subsidies being given to wind and solar. Those tax giveaways are distorting wholesale electricity markets and costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.

In January, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that federal subsidies for wind energy will cost the federal treasury $23.7 billion between 2016 and 2020. Solar subsidies will cost $12.3 billion over that same time period.

Not only is that a lot of money, it’s also far more generous, on an energy-equivalent basis, than what the federal government provides to the hydrocarbon and nuclear sectors. In May, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service issued a report on energy-related tax rules. It found that in 2016, solar and wind energy got more federal taxpayer cash ($6 billion) than the oil, coal and natural-gas sectors combined ($5.2 billion). Solar and wind got more cash despite the fact that coal, oil and gas produced 24 times as much energy last year as wind and solar.

The story is even more appalling when it comes to nuclear energy. Again, according to the Congressional Research Service, on an energy-equivalent basis, solar energy got 182 times as much in federal subsidies last year as the nuclear sector — and wind energy got 68 times more.

Those are staggering figures, particularly given the fact that the domestic nuclear sector — which helps reduce carbon-dioxide emissions — is in a full-blown crisis, with numerous reactors being forced to shut down in recent years and with many more, including the Indian Point reactors in Westchester County, likely to be prematurely shuttered.

The caterwauling from the rent seekers can be heard from Montauk to Jerry Brown’s kitchen in Sacramento.

A spokesman for the American Wind Energy Association told The New York Times that “even the threat of this bill is having a chilling effect” on new wind installations. The lobby group for Big Wind claims that “50,000 US jobs” are at stake.

But recall that wind subsidies will cost the federal treasury $23.7 billion between 2016 and 2020. Thus, each wind-related job costs taxpayers about $474,000. That’s an expensive gig, especially when you consider that the median household income in the United States last year was about $57,600.

Another good thing about the looming tax changes: The House version of the bill scraps the federal credit for electric vehicles. Current federal policy provides a subsidy of up to $7,500 to EV buyers. Who buys those cars? Rich people. A 2013 analysis found that Tesla buyers have an average household income of $293,000.

For years, renewable-energy advocates have been telling us that wind and solar are getting cheaper. We’re hearing the same about electric vehicles. But as those industries see their gravy train derailed, we’ll soon find out just how competitive they really are.

SOURCE




Congress still needed to bolster Trump effort to end Obama’s war on coal

“Congress has abandoned much of its responsibility to legislate and has instead given unelected regulators extraordinary power to control the lives of others.”

That was President Donald Trump on Dec. 14 letting the American people know specifically why his administration has had to spend much of its first year in office taking apart the administrative state in Washington, D.C., where it is bureaucrats who make law, not Congress. “This excessive regulation does not just threaten our economy, it threatens our entire constitutional system,” Trump added. He’s right.

And so far, in 2017, the Trump administration has made more than good on its promise to begin rolling back onerous regulations.

For example, on October 10, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its filing of a proposed rulemaking to rescind the Clean Power Plan (CPP), including the existing power plant regulations that were implemented during the Obama administration. Specifically, the EPA stated, “After reviewing the CPP, EPA has proposed to determine that the Obama-era regulation exceeds the Agency’s statutory authority.” The rulemaking appeared in the Federal Register on October 16.

So far, in February 2016 the Supreme Court has granted a stay on the execution of the Clean Power Plan pending hearing by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia of State of West Virginia, et al. v. EPA. The case remains up in the air, but an adverse outcome could undermine the key underpinning of the agency’s regulatory action. Americans for Limited Government supports this litigation and the EPA’s action and believes that the carbon endangerment finding and the Clean Power Plan both exceeded the statutory limits of the Clean Air Act.  The greatest danger to the agency proposal, however, remains legal challenges that will ultimately test this contention.

To bolster these regulatory and legal efforts, the EPA and President Donald Trump should support additional legislation by Congress to either defund or amend the Clean Air Act to prohibit implementation of the Clean Power Plan. Appropriate vehicles for such a rider would be the upcoming omnibus spending bill, the debt ceiling, the 2019 budget or the September continuing resolution. With narrow majorities in the House and Senate by Republicans, 2018 might be the last chance for legislative action on this front.

Permanent prohibition and rescission of the Clean Power Plan — and any similar rulemaking that would seek to restrict carbon emissions — will give the electric industry the certainty it needs to build new coal-powered plants and to reopen recent closures. It will guarantee that when the EPA completes its action, it is not overturned. This in turn will help bolster capacity on the U.S. electric grid so that when the U.S. economy starts booming under the Trump administration, we have enough power to sustain it.

Regulations are forever?

The crux of the problem for the EPA or any other agency that wishes to end a regulation is that in 1983, the Supreme Court unanimously decided in Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association v. State Farm Mutual an agency must supply a reasoned analysis. Thus, it is more difficult to eliminate an existing regulation than it is to change it.

Thus, every regulatory rescission is subject to judicial review to determine not only whether it was rational based on the statutory scheme, but to prove that the original regulation exceeded the statute.

Even when there is no basis in law, as in Massachusetts v. EPA, in 2007 the Supreme Court ruled carbon dioxide could be regulated under the terms of the Clean Air Act.

When the challenges come, as surely they will, the assumption courts will make is that the Clean Power Plan was properly enacted and based on the statutory scheme, leaving it to the Trump administration to prove otherwise. That could be a losing battle. But it need not be.

The Trump administration might be better served if Congress were to act to prohibit the use of funds to implement the Clean Power Plan and the carbon endangerment finding as well. Then when the regulatory rescissions come, the EPA could simply say it lacks funds to enforce the regulations.

Executive action alone is no silver bullet. Much depends presently on whether Justice Anthony Kennedy wishes to affirm his ruling Massachusetts v. EPA — which led directly to the carbon endangerment finding by the EPA in 2009 — by upholding the Clean Power Plan.

President Trump and Congress need to be smarter this time — and defund regulations via Congressional action. Then there will be no question that the Clean Power Plan exceeds statutory authority.

Permanently ending the Clean Power Plan will bolster the U.S. electric grid

If electricity consumption is supposed to be a reliable proxy for economic growth, the only conclusion one can come to is that the U.S. economy has not grown in any meaningful sense since 2007. That year, the U.S. consumed about 3.89 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity. It dipped to a low of 3.72 trillion kilowatt hours in 2009 after the financial crisis and now stands at 3.85 trillion kilowatt hours in 2016, according to data compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The U.S. is using no more electricity now than in 2007, even though the working age population has expanded by more than 16 million during that time.

After 2000 and China’s introduction to World Trade Organization, permanent normal trade relations, offshoring and Kyoto, and then the financial crisis and Obama administration’s war on coal, U.S. industrial use of the grid was flat and then dropping. 2016 actually marked a 25-year low, with industrial usage collapsing, from 1.03 trillion kWh in 2007 to 936 billion kWh in 2016, a drop of 91 billion kWh. Residential and commercial use of the grid kept rising.

Overall, had industrial, residential and commercial electrical use continued growing at the same rate as in the 1990s, national usage as measured as the percent of summer capacity megawatts used at peak demand would be nearing 100 percent of grid production now, according to an Americans for Limited Government study of data from the North American Electric Reliability Council and the Energy Information Agency. Today it stands at about 75 percent.

Grid capacity has been further harmed by former President Barack Obama’s war on coal. Coal as a percentage of net electricity generation has declined from 49 percent in 2007 to 30 percent in 2016, behind natural gas at 34 percent, according to the Energy Information Agency (EIA). Although nuclear and coal are by far the most efficient sources of electricity, they are making up a smaller part of the pie.



The fact the grid has not been maxed out is a testament to the offshoring of industrial capacity and the lack of robust economic growth since 2005. While undoubtedly the electric industry would move to meet additional demand as it has in the past, without new access to coal and nuclear power, that could become more difficult. It should not be left to chance.

That is why to help bolster capacity on the U.S. electric grid so that it is prepared when the U.S. economy starts booming under the Trump administration, the Clean Power Plan must be permanently repealed by Congress.

Had the economy been growing robustly during the Obama administration, grid capacity would have been tested.

To the extent that Republicans might not be in possession of Congressional majorities after 2018, and that otherwise the EPA’s action depends on uncertain affirmation by the Supreme Court and specifically Justice Anthony Kennedy, now is the time to pursue a legislative option while it remains open. There may not be a better chance to do this.

The Congress has numerous vehicles at its disposal to attempt to put a rider on legislation: the upcoming omnibus spending bill, the debt ceiling, the 2019 budget or the September continuing resolution. The risk is not by attempting to use a legislative vehicle, it is in waiting to see what happens without one.

SOURCE




Trump Admin To Remove Climate Change From List Of National Security Threats

The Trump administration will reverse course from previous Obama administration policy, eliminating climate change from a list of national security threats. The National Security Strategy to be released on Monday will emphasize the importance of balancing energy security with economic development and environmental protection, according to a source who has seen the document and shared excerpts of a late draft.

“Climate policies will continue to shape the global energy system,” a draft of the National Security Strategy slated to be released on Monday said. “U.S. leadership is indispensable to countering an anti-growth, energy agenda that is detrimental to U.S. economic and energy security interests. Given future global energy demand, much of the developing world will require fossil fuels, as well as other forms of energy, to power their economies and lift their people out of poverty.”

This matches President Trump’s vision, sometimes shared using his trademark hyperbole, that the United States needs to emphasize national security and economic growth over climate change.

During his successful campaign, Trump mocked Obama’s placement of climate change in the context of national security. Here’s a sample of his approach from a campaign speech in Hilton Head, South Carolina, in late 2015:


"So Obama’s always talking about the global warming, that global warming is our biggest and most dangerous problem, OK? No, no, think of it. I mean, even if you’re a believer in global warming, ISIS is a big problem, Russia’s a problem, China’s a problem. We’ve got a lot of problems. By the way, the maniac in North Korea is a problem. He actually has nuclear weapons, right? That’s a problem.

We’ve got a lot of problems. We’ve got a lot of problems. That’s right, we don’t win anymore. He said we want to win. We don’t win anymore. We’re going to win a lot — if I get elected, we’re going to win a lot.

(Applause)

We’re going to win so much — we’re going to win a lot. We’re going to win a lot. We’re going to win so much you’re all going to get sick and tired of winning. You’re going to say oh no, not again. I’m only kidding. You never get tired of winning, right? Never.

(Applause)

But think of it. So Obama’s talking about all of this with the global warming and the — a lot of it’s a hoax, it’s a hoax. I mean, it’s a money-making industry, OK? It’s a hoax, a lot of it. And look, I want clean air and I want clean water. That’s my global — I want clean, clean crystal water and I want clean air. And we can do that, but we don’t have to destroy our businesses, we don’t have to destroy our —

And by the way, China isn’t abiding by anything. They’re buying all of our coal; we can’t use coal anymore essentially. They’re buying our coal and they’re using it. Now when you talk about the planet, it’s so big out there — we’re here, they’re there, it’s like they’re our next door neighbor, right, in terms of the universe."


The draft of the National Security Strategy makes this approach policy, emphasizing national security and economic growth over climate change.

President Obama made climate change, and the burdensome regulations that accompany its focus, a primary focus of his administration, including in his National Security Strategy released in 2015. “[W]e are working toward an ambitious new global climate change agreement to shape standards for prevention, preparedness, and response over the next decade,” that report said.

“In some ways, [climate change] is akin to the problem of terrorism and ISIL,” Obama said at climate talks in Paris in 2015. During a weekly address, Obama said “Today, there is no greater threat to our planet than climate change.”

In September 2016, President Obama released a memorandum requiring federal agencies to consider the effects of climate change in the development of national security-related doctrine, policies, and plans. All of this alarmed critics concerned with more pressing security risks.

By contrast, President Trump’s National Security Strategy will focus on conventional and immediate national security risks. The draft says, in part:

"North Korea seeks the capability to kill millions of Americans with nuclear weapons. Iran supports terrorist groups and openly calls for our destruction. Jihadist terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al Qaeda are determined to attack the United States and radicalize Americans with their hateful ideology. States and non-state actors undermine social order with drug and human trafficking networks, which drive violent crimes and cause thousands of American deaths each year…. Strengthening control over our borders and immigration system is central to national security, economic prosperity, and the rule of law. Terrorists, drug traffickers, and criminal cartels exploit porous borders and threaten U.S. security and public safety. These actors adapt quickly to outpace our defenses."

As for climate change, the draft report says “The United States will remain a global leader in reducing traditional pollution, as well as greenhouse gases, while growing its economy. This achievement, which can serve as model to other countries, flows from innovation, technology breakthroughs, and energy efficiency gains –not from onerous regulation.”

SOURCE





Slimy attack on Polar bear truth-teller   

At this time of year, we’re accustomed to seeing polar bears as a holiday mascot for a certain soft drink. But you can rest assured that thousands of real live polar bears are anything but cute and cuddly as they hunt down and devour Arctic seals and assorted other prey.

Sadly, there’s one unnamed polar bear that most likely didn’t live to enjoy this time of plenty. In late August, the photography team of Paul Nicklen and Christina Mittermeier happened upon an emaciated member of the species that was down to its last brief bursts of energy, desperately rummaging through garbage heaps in a vain search for nourishment. “This is what a starving polar bear looks like,” wrote Mittermeier. “Weak muscles, atrophied by extended starvation could barely hold him up.”

Laying it on even thicker, Nicklen added, “We stood there crying — filming with tears rolling down our cheeks.” They added that there was nothing they could do to help, because feeding wild animals is illegal and “it’s not like we travel around with 200-300 pounds of seal meat.” And while they conceded that they couldn’t completely pin down the cause of the bear’s imminent demise, they presumed global warming was the culprit. “This is the face of climate change,” Mittermeier asserted. Paul Amstrup of Polar Bears International added, “Despite uncertainties about how this bear got into this starving condition, we can be absolutely certain if we allow the world to continue to warm, there will be ever greater numbers of such events as survival rates decline over more and more of the polar bear range.”

But not so fast, say the skeptics. First off, they counter, it’s not unusual to see starving polar bears in late August as that’s near the end of their dormant period. “That bear is starving, but it’s not starving because the ice suddenly disappeared and it could no longer hunt seals,” wrote Arctic wildlife biologist Jeff Higdon. Population-wise, polar bears are certainly not in immediate danger of extinction. In fact, some regions of the polar north have a significant polar bear presence.

Research — based on years’ worth of observations — tells us that, if anything, Arctic sea ice arrived on time, or even a bit early this winter — so healthy bears were easily able to swim out to their hunting grounds and floes of ice. Polar bear scientist Susan Crockford made the case that things were just fine. For her trouble, Crockford had her reputation sullied in the worst way. Terence Corcoran recounts:

As a starting point, we look to a story published December 1st on Vice News’s tech site. Motherboard, that included an interview with U.S. polar bear scientist/activist Stephen Amstrup. In the article, Amstrup accuses Canadian polar bear scientist Susan Crockford of filling her bear research with extreme allegations. Climate activists have targeted Crockford, a zoologist and adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of Victoria, because her research inconveniently finds that, despite their claims, polar bears are not at risk. ‘You don’t have to read far in her material to see that it is full of unsubstantiated statements and personal attacks on scientists, using names like eco-terrorists, fraudsters, green terrorists and scammers,’ Amstrup claimed.

A few days later, Motherboard published a slithery retraction. After Crockford complained that Amstrup’s comments about her were “a lie” and that she has never used such terms, Amstrup “clarified” his comments. He said that when he accused Crockford of calling scientists fraudsters, he really meant to accuse “climate deniers as a whole, rather than Crockford in particular.”

Life is often made more difficult for those who don’t worship at the altar of climate change, and Crockford’s sin is that of being an oft-cited skeptic to the “polar bears are going extinct” narrative. Polar bears do indeed make for cute and cuddly symbols of the far north, and for now they aren’t going anywhere fast — despite what some with an agenda would lead us to believe.

SOURCE

***************************************

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.  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, December 15, 2017



New paper questions Paris Agreement’s dubious temperature limits

It turns out that the temperature target of the agreement was never properly defined,/i>

The Paris Agreement adopted in December 2015 during the COP21 climate conference stipulates that the increase in the global average temperature is to be kept well below 2°C above “pre-industrial levels” and that efforts are pursued to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above “pre-industrial levels.”

Closer inspection of the treaty text, however, reveals that the term “pre-industrial levels” is nowhere defined in this epochal UN-document, that has meanwhile been ratified by 170 Parties.

This is particularly odd because the “pre-industrial” temperatures of the past 10,000 years have varied quite significantly, as meticuloulsy documented by hundreds of paleoclimate studies.

Puzzled by this apparent gap in the Agreement, Fritz Vahrenholt went out and researched the history of the temperature limit definition.

The former renewable energy manager and current head of the German Wildlife Foundation was surprised to find that the initial description of this important climate goal dates back to the mid 1970s, proposed by an economist, by the name of William Nordhaus.

Nordhaus’ idea was as simple as effective: He looked at the maximum temperatures recorded during the past several hundred thousand years and warned that this natural range should not be exceeded in the future. Two decades later, in 1995, the German Advisory Council for Global Change further refined this concept, but kept Nordhaus’ original idea of a tolerable ‘temperature window’.

Vahrenholt: “Unfortunately this important palaeoclimatological perspective was lost in subsequent key papers on the subject that paved the way to the Paris Agreement. Reports by the World Bank and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2014 and 2015 narrowed their view to the last 200 years which does not do justice to the enormous natural temperature fluctuations on a multi-millennial perspective.”

In order to better understand the complex pre-industrial temperature history of the past, Vahrenholt teamed up with Sebastian Lüning, a professional resources geologist who in his spare time works on paleoclimatological studies with the Switzerland-based Institute for Hydrography, Geoecology and Climate Sciences.

Lüning researched the literature and integrated the Paris Agreement 2.0°C and 1.5°C temperature limits into the climate development of the past 2000, 10,000 and 120,000 years.

Lüning: “Comparing the modern warming to reference levels at the end of the Little Ice Age about 150 years ago does not really make much sense because this period represents one of the coldest times of the past 10,000 years. The choice of a baseline near the lower extreme of a variable parameter is uncommon in science. The temperature level that was reached during the interval 1940-1970 may serve as a better reference level because it appears to roughly correspond to the average pre-industrial temperature of the past two millennia.”

On an even longer time scale, it is found that current temperatures have not yet even exceeded the warmest temperatures of a natural warm phase that globally occurred some 7000 years ago, the so-called ‘Holocene Thermal Maximum’.

SOURCE




Green-Russian Anti-Fracking Campaign Paying Off As Britain Turns To Russian Gas

With gas supplies crippled amid a freezing winter by the shutdown of a major pipeline, the UK has apparently turned to a Russian project targeted by US sanctions, with reports indicating that a deal was struck for a shipment of gas by the end of December.

Some 170,000 cubic meters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) carried by the Christophe de Margerie ice-class tanker, the first vessel of the Novatek-operated Yamal project in the Arctic, has been bought by a British energy company. It is now heading to the Isle of Grain terminal in the UK, the Telegraph reported.

One of the largest Russian natural gas producers, Novatek, revealed Monday that the cargo was sold to Petronas LNG UK Limited (PLUK), the UK branch of Malaysia’s Petronas.

PLUK has a 50 percent stake in the Dragon LNG Terminal at Milford Haven, so that’s where the tanker could also be heading, S&P Global Platts reports.

Novatek has so far issued no comment on the vessel’s ultimate destination.

As a deep freeze settles over Britain, the shutdown of the North Sea’s most important fuel transport route has left authorities in a precarious position. Ineos, a private company which owns a key refinery near Aberdeen, said it discovered a crack in a vital 42-year-old oil and gas pipeline, which will require at least two weeks’ maintenance work.

The disruption was compounded by an explosion at a major processing facility in Austria, the combination of which has caused wholesale gas prices to hit their highest level for six years, increasing by more than 50percent in the space of 24 hours.

To add to the problems, the Morecambe gas field in the Irish Sea is processing half its usual supply and there have also been stoppages in the Dutch and Norwegian operations that supply the UK’s energy needs.

And all this comes as temperatures in central England have plummeted to minus 13 degrees Celsius: almost 15 degrees chillier than the usual average December low.

All this come as British Prime Minister Theresa May has escalated her anti-Russian rhetoric in recent weeks, accusing Moscow of interfering in elections and looking to “weaponise information to challenge the West.” And the Conservative-led British government has been among the loudest voices calling for penalties and embargoes against Russia.

Ironically, the Christophe de Margerie which might now be carrying gas to the UK was loaded at the personal command of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

SOURCE





Daily Telegraph Falls For Lord Deben’s Extreme Weather Scare

To the long list of naive young Telegraph journalists, we can add the name of Ashley Kirk.

Last week he penned an article called “What is Britain doing to tackle flooding in the face of extreme weather? “ (Unfortunately behind the paywall).

Apparently primed by Lord Deben, he goes on to make apocalyptic predictions that the UK will be hit by a vicious combination of extreme storms, intense downpours and rising sea levels as it faces the next century. This is all apparently predicated on a couple of wet winters in recent years.

Because of climate change he claims that our flood defences simply won’t be able to cope with the extreme flooding coming our way.

He quotes Deben as saying that periods of intense rainfall could increase in frequency by a factor of five this century as global temperatures rise, and then goes on to describe all of the problems this could cause in England, with winters being wetter.

There’s one slight problem though, which young Mr Kirk might have spotted if he had bothered to check the facts. Winters in England are not becoming wetter. And even the extremely wet winter of 2013/14 had just 8mm more rain than 1914/15.

Worse still for Deben’s little bit of disinformation, there have been several winter months which were much wetter than anything seen recently. The wettest of the lot was in December 1914.

And when we look at all months of the year, we find a similar pattern. Again, the 1910s and 20s stand out as much more extreme.

Kirk also reminds us that the Met Office concluded last year that there is around a 10% chance in any given year of existing monthly rainfall records, over any of the large regions, being matched and/or broken.

Unfortunately it did not occur to him that there are 10 UK regions, as classified by the Met Office, and 3 winter months. In other words, there are 30 possible combinations of regions/months, for which records could be set.

Given that the Met Office data only dates back to 1910, there is statistically about a 1 in 3 chance of such a record being set every year.

If Kirk had bothered to read the Met Office report which he links to, “Met Office science behind the National Flood Resilience Review”, he would have discovered this statement near the start:

"The flooding in 2013/14 and again in late 2015 was driven by large-scale frontal rainfall, a weather pattern that is often associated with river flooding and typically seen in the UK during winter months. The focus of our work was therefore on looking for synoptic weather patterns that give rise to large accumulations of rainfall that are likely to drive high river flows and flooding."

We also assessed whether climate change has played a clear role in recent rainfall and flooding events and concluded that natural variability is by far the dominant cause and will continue to be so for the next 10 years

The floods of 2013/14 and 2015 were natural variability was the dominant cause, and not climate change.

As for the rising sea levels he is panicking about, he might like to know that they have been rising at a pretty steady 7 to 8 inches a century since 1900, with no sign of acceleration.

The rate of rise was highest prior between 1920 and 1970. In the last fifty years, the rate of rise has fallen to 1.57mm/year. Indeed, at North Shields there has been no rise at all for more than a decade.

SOURCE




Virtue signalling by Bill Gates and Richard Branson

A cheap way for businessmen to gain praise

Famous faces turned up to show their support to world leaders at a major environmental summit in the fight against global warming.

More than 50 world leaders will be joined by big names including Leonardo Di Caprio, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sean Penn as part of the One Planet summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Man filmed himself killing 13 cats with blowtorch

The global meeting comes two years to the day that the historic Paris Climate Accord was signed – and there was one very noticeable absence.

US President Donald Trump – who has rejected the Paris agreement – was not invited to the summit, where participants are expected to announce billions of dollars’ worth of projects to help poor countries reduce emissions.

Trump – who is sceptical of global warming – said the Paris Accord would hurt US business.

In June, hours after Trump announced he would withdraw from it, Macron announced a contest for multi million-euro grants.

On Monday, he awarded 18 climate scientists – most of them based in the US – the grants to relocate to France for the rest of Trump’s term.

The French leader said Trump’s decision to withdraw was a ‘deep wake-up call for the private sector’ to take action.

‘If we decide not to move and not change our way to produce, to invest, to behave, we will be responsible for billions of victims,’ he told CBS News.

Developing nations say the rich are not on track to provide $100 billion a year by 2020 – from public and private sources – to help them switch from fossil fuels to greener energy sources and adapt to the effects of climate change.

The summit is expected to focus on how public and private financial institutions can invest more money and put pressure on corporate giants to shift towards ecologically friendly strategies.

‘The missing piece of the jigsaw is the funding to help the world’s poorer countries access clean energy so they don’€t follow the fossil fuel-powered path of the rich world,’ said Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid’s lead on climate change.

‘Without adequate finance, there is no way developing countries can deal with climate change or decarbonise fast enough to deliver the Paris goals.’

SOURCE




Fracking Protesters ‘Fake Police Injuries For The TV Cameras’

There is no morality in the Green/Left

Ambulance staff have accused anti-fracking protesters of faking injuries and making false allegations of police brutality in publicity stunts aimed at preventing drilling for shale gas.

North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) was called out ten times in July to attend to protesters outside a site near Blackpool where Cuadrilla intends to carry out hydraulic fracturing of wells.

Graham Curry, the ambulance service’s area manager, said that seven of the protesters refused to go to hospital and were found to have no injuries or illnesses.

In an email seen by The Times he wrote: “I can say that the seven cases who refused seemed to be more for effect and the cameras rather than for any clinical need.”

He added that in another incident, on August 1, a protester claimed that his neck had been broken by the police. When crews arrived he became “very aggressive” towards them, prompting Mr Curry to attend.

“I found the patient was walking around and swearing at my paramedics and me. He refused to go to hospital,” he added in the email, sent to the office of Clive Grunshaw, police and crime commissioner for Lancashire.

He said protests that blocked the main road beside the fracking site had delayed ambulances responding to genuine emergencies in a nearby village on at least two occasions.

SOURCE

***************************************

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.  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, December 14, 2017



Ho Hum!  Another  Melting Arctic report

When Arctic temperatures rise well above baseline, Warmists seem to get erections.  The fact that the earth as a whole at the same time changes only minutely should tell them that they are looking at a local phenomenon, not a global one.  But it never does.  The reason Arctic temperatures sometimes rise dramatically simply reflects the varying activity of the many underwater volcanoes around the North Pole. Because most of the Arctic is sea ice (floating ice), those volcanoes can have a big effect on the ice above them and on Arctic waters generally.  The changes have nothing to do with CO2 or human activity


In 2017, winter sea ice around the Earth's northern pole cover fell to the smallest extent on record, said the Arctic Report Card, released annually by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The year was the second warmest in modern times for the fragile Arctic, said the peer-reviewed report compiled by 85 scientists from 12 nations.

And while Arctic temperatures this year weren't record-breaking hot, scientists are still concerned.

Jeremy Mathis, head of NOAA's Arctic research program, says the region is a different place than just a decade ago.

He says a warming Arctic can cause problems like extreme weather that affects the rest of the world.

In 2017, winter sea ice around the Earth's northern pole cover fell to the smallest extent on record, said the Arctic Report Card, released annually by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The year was the second warmest in modern times for the fragile Arctic, said the peer-reviewed report compiled by 85 scientists from 12 nations.

'The magnitude and pace of the 21st century sea ice and surface ocean warming decline is unprecedented in at least the last 1,500 years and likely much longer,' said the report.

'There are many strong signals that continue to indicate the Arctic environmental system has reached a 'new normal.''

The consequences of this continued warming are dire -- harming valuable fisheries in the eastern Bering Sea, compromising roads, homes and infrastructure due to permafrost thaw and risking increasing wildfires at high altitudes, said the report.

Warmer air temperature. Average annual air temperature over land was the second highest after 2016 in the observational record, with a temperature 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit (1.6 Celsius) above the average for 1981 to 2010.

Declining sea ice. This year's maximum winter sea ice area, measured each March, was the lowest ever observed, while this year's minimum area, measured each September, was eighth-lowest on record. Sea ice is also getting thinner each year, with year-old ice comprising 79 percent of coverage, and multi-year ice just 21 percent. In 1985, multi-year ice accounted for 45 percent of sea ice.

Above average ocean temperature. Sea surface temperatures in August 2017 were 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius) above the average in the Barents and Chukchi seas. Surface waters of the Chukchi Sea have warmed 1.26 degrees Fahrenheit (0.7 Celsius) per decade since 1982.

Arctic ocean plankton blooms increasing. Springtime melting and retreating sea ice which allows sunlight to reach the upper layers of the ocean, continues to stimulate increased chlorophyll as measured by satellite, which indicates more marine plant growth across the Arctic. This increase has occurred since measurements began in 2003.

Greener tundra. Overall vegetation, including plants getting bigger and leafier, and shrubs and trees taking over grassland or tundra, increased across the Arctic in 2015 and 2016, as measured by satellite. The greatest increases over the last three decades are occurring on the North Slope of Alaska, Canada's tundra and Taimyr Peninsula of Siberia. The annual report on vegetation is based largely on data from sensors aboard NOAA weather satellites.

Snow cover up in Asia, down in North America. For the 11th year in the past 12, snow cover in the North American Arctic was below average, with communities experiencing earlier snow melt. The Eurasian part of the Arctic saw above average snow cover extent in 2017, the first time that's happened since 2005.

Less melt on Greenland Ice Sheet. Melting began early on the Greenland Ice Sheet in 2017, but slowed during a cooler summer, resulting in below-average melting when compared to the previous nine years. Overall, the Greenland Ice Sheet, a major contributor to sea level rise, continued to lose mass this past year, as it has since 2002 when measurements began.

Even though fewer heat records were shattered than in 2016, the 'Arctic shows no sign of returning to the reliably frozen region it was decades ago,' it said. 'Arctic temperatures continue to increase at double the rate of the global temperature increase.'

Scientists released the Arctic Report Card, now in its 12 year, at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

'The rapid and dramatic changes we continue to see in the Arctic present major challenges and opportunities,' said retired Navy Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator, who led the press conference to release the report card.

'This year's Arctic Report Card is a powerful argument for why we need long-term sustained Arctic observations to support the decisions that we will need to make to improve the economic well-being for Arctic communities, national security, environmental health and food security.'

SOURCE




Global Agricultural Boom: A Million Thanks to Climate Change!

Global cereal (grain) production has reached record levels in 2017. Credit for the increase usually goes to agrochemicals and other advanced agricultural technology. However, there are two other key contributors — carbon dioxide and climate change.

World cereal production for 2017 is projected to reach 2,613.3 million tons, 5.8 million tons above 2016’s level and nearly one-fourth higher than 2008’s. Despite population growth, production per capita rose 13 percent over the last decade, from 0.31 to 0.35 tons per person.

Production of all the world’s staple food crops — such as rice, wheat, and other coarse grains like millet — has risen in the past decade.

Comparison with the period before 2008 is even more startling.

The global food production index — an index of crops considered edible and nutritious — has risen steadily in the past six decades. Doubling from 1983 to 2008, it grew more than twice as fast as population and has continued to rise.

Rice production, for example, rose almost 30 percent from 361.33 million tons in 1990 to around 506.5 million in 2017.

Yet climate alarmist scientists, politicians, and mainstream media claim that climate change would hinder global agricultural production.

There are two key reasons their claims are false — exaggeration of climate change and misconceptions regarding the biological impact of carbon dioxide.

The change in global average temperature has in fact been beneficial to life during the past 2,000 years. Global temperatures during the Roman Warm Period (around 0 A.D.) and the Medieval Warm Period (around 1000 A.D.) greatly aided human life by enhancing crop growth. The Modern Warm Period we are experiencing is in fact very similar to these earlier warm periods.

Global agricultural production suffered only during cold periods, including the Little Ice Age, which ended around the late 18th or early 19th century.

Since the 1800s, the earth has been warming — returning to levels ideal for crop production. It is remarkable that the mainstream media can claim that temperatures are killing crops when they have actually contributed to exponential growth of crop yields.

A second major reason for unprecedented growth in global vegetation, including crop yields, has been the increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere during the past few centuries.

Increasing carbon dioxide has been a major driver of plant growth since the Little Ice Age. It contributed roughly $3.2 trillion worth of crop yield in 1960–2011 and can be expected to contribute another $9.8 trillion by 2050.

In other words, carbon dioxide is the elixir of life. But climate alarmists wrongly brand it a pollutant.

Studies in the fields of chemistry, physics, agro-science, and climatology all indicate that increased carbon dioxide is the major reason for the greening of the earth in the past two centuries, including substantially high growth in the past few decades.

The historic growth patterns of global vegetation, their real-time impact on agricultural output, and crop-specific studies all prove that the current climate patterns have aided in the progress of human civilization.

Claims of the adverse impact of global warming are myths propagated by global warming elites and radical environmentalists. They cannot be defended scientifically.

Both global warming and carbon dioxide have benefitted plant growth, and both are important contributors to the success of modern civilization.

If anything, the Modern Warm Period, with its high carbon dioxide concentration, has given us reason to celebrate this winter, not to fear.

SOURCE




Litigation — Ecofascists' New Weapon Against Dissent

Believe it or not, there are a large number of climate researchers who refuse to become ecofascist henchmen. Unfortunately, their nonconformity on man-made global warming means there’s a significant price to pay, which is inflicted upon them with the help of the Leftmedia. Over the last several years, leftists have resorted to an increasingly radical approach to shutting down climate skepticism — for example, by dragging dissenters to court. The latest victims are the National Academy of Sciences and Christopher Clark.

The duo are the current targets of Stanford professor Mark Jacobson, who has initiated a $10 million defamation lawsuit because Clark and 20 fellow researchers recently presented an alternative view on renewable energy’s less-rosy potential via literature that appears at the National Academy of Sciences. According to Investor’s Business Daily, “The paper … was a robust critique of work done by Stanford professor Mark Jacobson, whose widely cited research claimed that the U.S. could easily switch to 100% renewable energy in as few as 35 years.” Sadly, we live in the age of litigiousness. So why rebut when you can simply sue? And that’s exactly what Jacobson did.

Such dragging through the mud is the Left’s new modus operandi. Prominent climatologist Michael Mann claimed defamation too when he sued Tim Ball, a fellow climatologist with whom he disagreed. Moreover, according to IBD, “Now another scientist finds himself being sued by environmentalists because his results failed to conform to what they wanted. In this case, the highly respected geoscientist Ricardo Villalba conducted a scientific survey of Argentina’s glaciers. Green groups said that his survey favored mining interests, and so filed suit against him. Villalba now faces criminal charges for violating a 2010 law meant to protect Argentina’s glaciers.” And lest we forget, AGs United for Clean Power wants to see climate skeptics prosecuted. Yet a new study by two Australian scientists points to evidence of sea level measurement malpractice. This is but a small sample of what the litigious Left doesn’t want the public to see.

The esteemed author Michael Crichton once said, “The work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.” Unfortunately, ecofascists want to ensure consensus-breakers aren’t able to do so without suffering severe consequences.

SOURCE





The Blue Planet movie: RIGHT ON PLASTICS AND PCBS, WRONG ON ACIDIFICATION

Matt Ridley

The BBC's Blue Planet II is superb, but got a few things wrong
My Times column on the BBC's Blue Planet II:

Nothing that Hollywood sci-fi screenwriters dream up for outer space begins to rival the beauty and ingenuity of life under water right here. Blue Planet II captured behaviour that was new to science as well as surprising: giant trevally fish eating sooty terns on the wing; Galapagos sea lions herding yellowfin tuna ashore; an octopus wrapping itself in shells to confuse sharks.

The series also preached. Every episode had a dose of bad news about the ocean and a rebuke to humanity, while the entire last episode was devoted to the environmental cause, featuring overfishing, pollution, climate change and ocean acidification. The team behind the incomparable Sir David Attenborough has acceded to demands that it should push more environmentalism.

Bottlenose dolphins in South Africa on the BBC’s Blue Planet II
Bottlenose dolphins in South Africa on the BBC’s Blue Planet IIPA

Mostly, these sermons were spot on. It is a scandal that eight million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year, though 95 per cent of it comes from just ten rivers, all in Asia and Africa, so that’s where the main effort is needed. Plastic kills albatross chicks and even whales.

The series has been accused of cheating in the sequence in which a pilot whale is shown carrying its decomposing calf. The commentary implied, without actually saying, that the calf might have died from ingesting plastic, or from pollutants in its mother’s milk. Yet there was no evidence of how it died. I think that’s unfair on the BBC. The commentary was careful and raised a valid worry.

Why are there still so few killer whales, bottlenose dolphins and great white sharks in European waters, now that seal numbers have hugely increased? There is only one resident pod of killer whales in British waters, and it is dwindling, with no calves born for years.

In conclusion, this pan-European meta-analysis of stranded or biopsied cetaceans demonstrates that several European cetacean species, specifically BNDs, SDs, and KWs, currently have markedly elevated blubber PCB concentrations. Particular “PCB hotspots” included the western (SDs and BNDs) and central (BNDs) Mediterranean Sea and SW Iberia, the Gulf of Cadiz (BNDs) and the Strait of Gibraltar (BNDs and KWs). Despite an EU ban on the use and manufacture of PCBs in the mid-1980s, blubber PCB concentrations are still very high, possibly having reached a “steady state” between environmental input and degradation, meaning that high PCB exposures are set to continue for the long-term in cetacean top predators in Europe.

These high and stable PCB exposures are associated with small populations, long-term population declines or contraction of range in several dolphin species in Europe (NE Atlantic and Mediterranean Seas) that were not adequately explained by other factors (e.g. bycatch or other anthropogenic causes of mortality).

Bycatch is common in the most abundant cetacean species in Europe, but is comparatively rare in BNDs and virtually unrecorded in recent years for KWs, suggesting that the ongoing population declines in these two species are predominantly driven by other processes, with bioaccumulation of PCBs through marine food chains being the predominant factor.

A lack of recruitment in monitored KW and BND populations is also consistent with PCB toxicity as the likeliest cause of their declines. In the Mediterranean Sea, the SD has suffered recurrent CeMV mortalities, which may have been exacerbated by the high and immunotoxic level of PCB exposure. Without significant mitigation, PCBs will continue to drive population declines or suppress population recovery in Europe for many decades to come.

Measures to significantly reduce inputs of PCBs into the marine environment from terrestrial and other sources are urgently needed. Further studies are also needed to better assess PCB exposure and quantify toxic effects in marine apex predator populations in Europe. Finally, the potential impact of PCB bioaccumulation in marine ecosystems may extend beyond European waters, particularly in globally distributed marine apex predators such as KWs, false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) and great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias).

Being at the top of the food chain, these mammals concentrate PCBs in their fat and it renders them sterile (killer whales that eat fish, rather than seals, are doing better).

PCBs were used mainly in electrical equipment until they were banned in the 1980s. Off America, this problem is fading: PCB levels have fallen and animals have “offloaded” the pollutants in milk, such that after several births they can bear and feed healthy calves. PCB levels in European waters fell but have now stabilised, implying that they are still getting into the sea somehow.

I was glad to see these issues given more attention, at last, than global warming, having long argued that the obsession with climate change (increasingly recognised as gradual) is diverting attention and money from more urgent environmental issues such as overfishing, pollution and invasive species.

It was good, too, to hear Attenborough’s recognition, rare on the BBC, that we are living through an unexpectedly bountiful renaissance in some marine ecosystems. Too often we are told only the bad news. The last episode featured the recovery of turtles, as well as the resurgent herring, killer whales and humpback whales of Norway, and the vast concentrations of sperm whales now being seen for the first time since the era of Moby Dick. Many populations of sperm, right, grey, bowhead, fin, blue and humpback whales are now high again, and rising at 5 to 10 per cent a year, something I never dreamt would happen in my lifetime.

The series could have made the same point about the penguins, fur seals and elephant seals of South Georgia, an island denuded of almost all wildlife about 75 years ago, but now once again teeming. Or about walruses, an Arctic species that has rebounded after centuries of exploitation. When I first visited Spitsbergen in the 1970s there were about 100 walruses there. Today there are about 4,000 and the population is still increasing rapidly.

Walruses were brought to the brink of extinction in Svalbard (Norway) during 350 years of unregulated harvesting. They became protected in 1952, when few remained. During the first 30 years of protection, approximately 100 animals became established within the archipelago, most of which likely came from Franz Josef Land, to the east. A marked recovery has taken place since then. This study reports the results of a photographic aerial survey flown in summer 2012, covering all current and historical haul-out sites for walruses in Svalbard. It provides updates regarding the increasing numbers of: (1) landbased haul-out sites (from 78 in 2006 to 91 in 2012); (2) occupied sites (from 17 in 2006 to 24 in the 2012 survey); (3) sites with mother-calf pairs (which increased from a single site with a single small calf in 2006 to 10 sites with a total of 57 small calves in 2012) and (4) a 48% increase in abundance in the six-year period between the two surveys to 3886 (confidence interval 3553-4262) animals, including animals in the water at the time of the survey.

Future environmental change might reduce benthic production in the Arctic, reducing the prey-base for walruses, and also impact walruses directly via declines in their sea-ice breeding habitat. But, currently the Svalbard walrus population is growing at a rate that matches the theoretical maximum rate of growth that has been calculated for recovering walrus populations under favourable environmental conditions with no food limitations.
Walruses recovering after 60+ years of protection in Svalbard, Norway

So it was naughty of Blue Planet II, in showing a sequence in which a mother and calf walrus desperately try to find a bit of ice big enough to bear their weight but not already occupied by other walruses, to imply that this was evidence of climate change threatening a species with extinction. Most of the ice in the Arctic Ocean disappears each summer and reappears each winter. Walruses have hauled out on shore, or on what’s left of the ice at that season, forever. The main thing that has changed is that there are now more walruses, and more polar bears feasting on them, throughout the Arctic.

So the climate change obsession is still sometimes getting in the way of telling the truth. The most dishonest sequence in the series was when Attenborough watched shells dissolving in a tank of acid, to a soundtrack of fizzing noises, and was told by Professor Chris Langdon that although this was “more dramatic than what’s happening in the oceans”, nonetheless “the shells and the reefs are really truly dissolving”.

This is highly misleading in several different ways. Was it carbonic acid, or another acid? The reduction in alkalinity will get nowhere near neutral, let alone actual acidity, even by the end of the 22nd century, so “dissolving” is false, let alone happening now. The changes in ocean pH expected even by the end of this century are minuscule compared with what was shown in that tank, and by comparison with the daily and seasonal changes that an average reef experiences. (Coral bleaching, a different issue, is more serious, but more temporary.)

A 2010 analysis of 372 studies of 44 different marine species found that the world’s marine fauna is “more resistant to ocean acidification than suggested by pessimistic predictions” and that it “may not be the widespread problem conjured into the 21st century”:

"Ocean acidification has been proposed to pose a major threat for marine organisms, particularly shell-forming and calcifying organisms. Here we show, on the basis of meta-analysis of available experimental assessments, differences in organism responses to elevated pCO2 and propose that marine biota may be more resistant to ocean acidification than expected.

Calcification is most sensitive to ocean acidification while it is questionable if marine functional diversity is impacted significantly along the ranges of acidification predicted for the 21st century. Active biological processes and small-scale temporal and spatial variability in ocean pH may render marine biota far more resistant to ocean acidification than hitherto believed."

And recent work has established that corals’ ability to make skeletons is “largely independent of changes in seawater carbonate chemistry, and hence ocean acidification...the relevance of their commonly reported finding of reduced coral calcification with reduced seawater pH must now be questioned”. Indeed, one study found that calcifying plankton “respond positively to acidification with CO2enrichment”,

"As a result, cell growth and cellular calcification of E. huxleyi were strongly damaged by acidification by HCl, but not by acidification by CO2 enrichment...The present study clearly showed that the coccolithophore, E. huxleyi, has an ability to respond positively to acidification with CO2 enrichment, but not just acidification."

another that the growth rate of corals also increases with higher carbon dioxide up to 600 parts per mllion and concluded:

"Furthermore, the warming projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the end of the twenty-first century caused a fivefold decrease in the rate of coral calcification, while the acidification projected for the same interval had no statistically significant impact on the calcification rate—suggesting that ocean warming poses a more immediate threat than acidification for this important coral species."

The producers of Blue Planet II claim every word of the commentary was based on solid scientific evidence. Not in this case. In a magnificent series, they got that one wrong.

SOURCE




Australia: NSW govt won't back down on shark nets

Once again the Green/Left want to toy with people's lives by introducing unproven safety measures.  The whole point behind their activism is to save the lives of other creatures that get caught in the nets.  Who cares if a few people get attacked?  Greenies think people are pollution

The NSW government won't stop its shark net meshing program despite a Senate inquiry report finding nets provide a false sense of safety.

A shark expert has called on the NSW government to change its approach to shark prevention, insisting shark nets can't be relied upon to provide safety to beachgoers.

The criticism follows the release of a Senate inquiry report on Tuesday, which had been charged with examining shark mitigation and deterrent measures.

The report recommended shark nets across NSW beaches be phased out as their effectiveness was difficult to evaluate, but the significant damage caused to other marine wildlife was clear.

The NSW government has refused to put an end to its controversial netting program, noting on Wednesday there had only been one shark attack fatality at a meshed beach in NSW since the 1930s.

University of Sydney shark bite researcher Christopher Neff has slammed the government's decision, insisting the nets are not a "reputable approach" to beach safety. "If the government ignores the most comprehensive study on shark prevention in Australia, they need to rethink their approach," Dr Neff told AAP on Wednesday. "There is absolutely no evidence to support that shark nets are the leading beach safety option."

He urged the government to consider drones as an inexpensive early warning direction system that would work "phenomenally" with shark shields on surfboards.

The Greens-dominated Senate committee found the measures implemented by some governments, including mesh nets in NSW, provided beachgoers with a false sense of security.

But NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair has remained firm in the government's decision to keep the meshed nets in place.

"I find it insulting to the staff that have been researching this area, insulting to the investment we've put in and more importantly it's insulting to the communities that have been affected by shark attacks," Mr Blair told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

Following concerns about the amounts of by-catch caught up in the nets, the government made modifications to reduce the effects on marine wildlife and continues to investment in SMART drumlines and drone technology as part of a suite of measures to make beachgoers safe, Mr Blair said.

Marine conservationist and drone operator Dean Jefferys also championed the use of drones as a "ridiculously cheap" option but said it was about time the government came on board and phased out the nets.

"If the government refuses to implement the recommendation of the Senate inquiry, we will launch an international social media campaign urging tourists and locals to not swim at beaches with shark nets," Mr Jefferys told AAP on Wednesday.

SOURCE

***************************************

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.  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

*****************************************