Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Climate Scientists Trying To Discredit Trump’s EPA Chief End Up Proving Him Right

That good ol' selective quotation again

A study meant to debunk a claim made by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt in his confirmation hearing ended up doing the opposite — it proved him right.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Nature, found that Pruitt’s claim of a “leveling off of warming” over the past two decades is unsupported by satellite-derived temperature data, which measures the lowest few miles of the atmosphere.

Researchers supposed debunking of Pruitt, however, centers on a selectively quoted line from his testimony, which cuts out the administrator’s reference to the global warming “hiatus.”

Scientists have been debating the “hiatus” in warming for years, trying to parse out its causes and, in some cases, if it’s due to bad measurements in surface temperature readings. But the “hiatus” is extremely apparent in satellite temperature readings, stretching for about two decades.

 “Mr. Pruitt claimed that ‘over the past two decades satellite data indicates there has been a leveling off of warming,’” reads the study, quoting Pruitt’s confirmation hearing testimony from January.

But Pruitt actually said: “over the past two decades satellite data indicates there has been a leveling off of warming, which some scientists refer to as the ‘hiatus.’”

Pruitt was clearly referring to the “hiatus,” or lack of significant warming, in the satellite temperature record that started in the late 1990s and continued until the recent El Nino began in 2015.

“This study seems to be an unwarranted kneejerk reaction to Pruitt’s ‘leveling off’ of warming comment,” Dr. Roy Spencer, a climate scientist who operates one of the satellite datasets relied upon by the study, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“But Pruitt’s comment in testimony wasn’t that precise, and it’s true that the previous warming became much weaker and approached zero over a period of approximately 20 years until the 2015-16 warm El Nino event,” Spencer said.

Pruitt has come under attack from environmentalists and some scientists for his comments on global warming. Most recently, opponents criticized Pruitt for saying that he didn’t believe carbon dioxide was the main driver of recent warming.

Major media outlets, including The Washington Post, picked up this new study’s results, criticizing Pruitt and his management at the EPA. WaPo reported, “Scientists just published an entire study refuting Scott Pruitt on climate change.”

Researchers found that “the tropospheric warming from 1979 to 2016 is unprecedented relative to internally generated temperature trends on the 38-year timescale,” according to the study.

Based on what Pruitt actually told Congress in January, however, the study essentially proves that he was correct.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue pointed out on Twitter that data presented in the study shows a slowdown in warming in the last 20 years. Maue also noted how authors used several studies on the “hiatus” in their citations, but refused to use the term in the study.

The study’s authors used climate models to show the warming trend in satellite data couldn’t be explained by natural warming, which excludes man-made greenhouse gases.

SOURCE





Bad news for Warmists: North Pole ice cap the same thickness as 1940

By Thomas Lifson

The apocalyptic religion of global warming/climate change stumbled upon the best animal mascot nag since Smokey the Bear when someone snapped a photo of a polar bear on an ice floe. Of course, polar bears are great swimmers, so the notion that a poor bear could be stranded on the last piece of ice remaining from the North Pole melt-off is absurd. But the religious frenzy of the Warmists holds such a myth as sacred, so the picture became its icon of compassion for cute furry objects of pity, the victims of the very carbon dioxide upon which its metabolism depends.

Now comes the worst possible news: the North Pole is not melting. Realclimatescience.com reports:

The Danish Meteorological Institute reports that Arctic sea ice is about two meters thick.

In 1940, Arctic sea ice was also about two meters thick.

Arctic sea ice is about the same thickness as 75 years ago, but because people are constantly being lied to about climate by government scientists, they carry the same misconceptions which people had 60 years ago.

In 1958, the New York Times reported that Arctic ice was about two meters thick, and that people carry a popular misconception that the ice is much thicker than it is. They also predicted an ice-free Arctic within one generation.

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





Nipping a legal problem in the bud

Consult with all affected parties, to ensure informed endangered species and pesticide policies

Paul Driessen

One of my recent articles predicted that the Fish & Wildlife Service’s endangered species designation for the rusty patched bumblebee would lead to its being used to delay or block construction projects and pesticide use on hundreds of millions of acres of US farmland. The abuses have already begun.

Projects in Minnesota and elsewhere have been delayed, while people tried to ascertain that no bees were actually nesting in the areas. Now a federal district court judge has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency failed to consult with the FWS before approving 59 products containing neonicotinoid pesticides that are used primarily as seed coatings for corn, canola, cotton, potato, sugar beet and other crops.

As crops bud and grow, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt must nip this problem in the bud. Thankfully, Judge Maxine Chesney has given them the means to do so.

The Endangered Species Act requires that EPA determine whether a pesticide “may affect” a listed species, she noted, and consult with the FWS and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS, which has no conceivable role in protecting domesticated or wild bees), before approving the 59 products, which contain the neonics clothianidin or thiamethoxam. So EPA must consult with the agencies and determine that the insecticides would have “no effect” on the species or establish stricter guidelines for using them.

The Center for Food Safety and a couple of beekeepers initiated their lawsuit to toughen restrictions on or ban use of the 59 pesticide products, because of alleged risks to bees and other pollinators. Pesticide manufacturers, their CropLife America trade association, and various farmers and beekeepers argued that these “neonic” insecticides are safe for bees, and no new measures or restrictions are needed.

Properly done, consultation would evaluate the conflicting claims and ensure more informed policies. During the Obama Administration, those consultations would likely have involved only the EPA, FWS and NMFS, where many analysts have anti-pesticide views, along with the anti-insecticide plaintiffs. The industry and other parties who intervened in the lawsuit would likely have been excluded or ignored.

But those interveners certainly bring essential expertise. So do farmers, other beekeepers, the Department of Agriculture, scientists who have been studying neonic and other threats to honeybees, and wild bee experts like Sam Droege in the Interior Department’s US Geological Survey.

Truly informed policies and regulations must involve all such experts, as well as parties who will be most affected by any EPA-DOI decisions: construction companies and unions, local government officials, conventional farmers who rely on neonics to protect their crops – and beekeepers who increasingly understand that honeybee colony losses in recent years were due to natural pests and pathogens, and that alternative pesticides are actually more harmful to bees than neonics.

Extensive studies have concluded that the actual cause of bee die-offs and “colony collapse disorders” has been a toxic mix of tiny pests (parasitic Varroa destructor mites, phorid flies, Nosema ceranae gut fungus, tobacco ringspot virus and deformed wing virus) – as well as chemicals used by beekeepers trying to control these beehive infestations. These diseases and pathogens can easily spread to wild bees.

Field studies involving crops where bees forage for pollen have consistently found no observable adverse effects on honeybees resulting from exposures to properly applied neonic seed coatings. The studies assessed neonic residues from bees and hives under actual pollinating/pollen-gathering conditions; they found that pesticide residues were well below levels that can adversely affect bees – and that neonics “did not cause any detrimental effects on the development or reproduction” of honeybee and wild bee species.

That should not be surprising. Coating seeds ensures that neonic pesticides are absorbed into plant tissues – and thus target only pests that actually feed on the crops. This reduces or eliminates the need to spray crops with much larger quantities of neonicotinoid, pyrethroid or other pesticides that definitely can kill birds, bats and beneficial insects that inhabit or visit the fields or are impacted by accidental “over-sprays.” Even organic farming can harm bees, as it often employs powerful, toxic “natural” chemicals (like copper sulfate) and spraying with live Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) bacteria.

Laboratory studies consistently overdose bees with pesticides, under conditions that do not come close to approximating what bees encounter in forests, grasslands or croplands. That makes their findings highly questionable to useless for devising responsible, science-based regulations.

These realities help explain the sudden attention to wild bees. When the hullabaloo over honeybee deaths and “colony collapse disorder” supposedly caused by pesticides (especially neonics) collapsed like a house of cards, eco-activists began raising alarums over wild bees species. That’s because so little is known that their latest “no wild bees – no food or flowers” claims cannot yet be refuted as convincingly as were claims about domesticated honeybees that have been bred and studied for centuries.

The FWS and Interior Department clearly opened a Pandora’s Box when they decided to list the rusty patched bumblebee as endangered (rather than merely threatened). That bee’s historic range covers nearly 4 million acres, scattered in unknown segments among 378 million acres across 13 Northeastern and Midwestern states. Other species that anti-pesticide activists want added to the endangered list (yellow-banded, western and Franklin’s bumblebees) were found historically in small areas scattered over more than a billion acres in 40 US states. Some nest in the ground; others in trees.

If environmentalists succeed in getting these endangered designations – especially coupled with a narrow consultation process – they could delay, block or bankrupt power lines, bridges, highways, pipelines, housing developments, wastewater treatment plants, plowing operations and other projects all over the USA. Non-organic farming, neonic-treated seeds, and other pesticide use could be particularly vulnerable.

The actual environmental benefits would be minimal – or profoundly negative, as farmers are forced to use other insecticides or switch to land-intensive organic methods. Additional ironies abound.

The constant environmentalist, court, news media and government agency attention to bees and pesticides is hard to understand in the context of policies that promote, mandate and subsidize large-scale wind turbine installations – while ignoring or exempting their impacts on raptors and other birds, bats, and even whales (NMFS should investigate that) and human health.

Meanwhile, extensive monoculture corn and canola plantations (to produce feed stocks for ethanol and biodiesel production) replace millions of acres of food crop and wildlife habitat lands, while using vast quantities of water, fertilizer and energy to replace the oil, coal and natural gas that rabid greens want kept in the ground. These biofuel operations reduce biodiversity and the numbers and varieties of flowering plants on which wild bee species depend. In addition, over their life cycles ethanol and biodiesel generate more carbon dioxide than fossil fuels per Btu of energy produced (see here, here and here).

Broad-based consultations are therefore essential, to ensure that all these topics are addressed by experts and affected parties who can help evaluate the science and policy implications for domesticated and wild bees, as well as for farming, construction, jobs, families and other species.

They must assess not just the alleged risks of using neonics, but also the risks of not using them, risks associated with having to use other classes of pesticides, and risks that could be reduced or eliminated by using modern neonic seed coatings. They should focus on replicable, evidence-based, field-tested science, not laboratory studies; balance agricultural, consumer and environmental needs; and consider bees in the context of how we protect (or don’t protect) other valuable wildlife species.

These steps would help restore science and common sense to policy and regulatory processes – and serve as a foundation for adjusting the Endangered Species Act to minimize regulatory and litigation excesses.

Via email




Climate change litigation growing rapidly, says global study

Researchers identified hundreds of climate change-related lawsuits filed in 24 countries, many of them seeking to hold governments accountable for existing climate-related legal commitments. Map is from their report

A new global study has found that the number of lawsuits involving climate change has tripled since 2014, with the United States leading the way. Researchers identified 654 U.S. lawsuits—three times more than the rest of the world combined. Many of the suits, which are usually filed by individuals or nongovernmental organizations, seek to hold governments accountable for existing climate-related legal commitments. The study was done by the United Nations Environment Program and Columbia University's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.

Around 177 countries recognize the right of citizens to a clean and healthy environment, and courts are increasingly being asked to define the implications of this right in relation to climate change.

"Judicial decisions around the world show that many courts have the authority, and the willingness, to hold governments to account for climate change," said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. Burger said that in the United States, litigation has been "absolutely essential" to advancing solutions to climate change, from the first, successful, lawsuit demanding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulate greenhouse gas emissions, to a recent lawsuit claiming that citizens have a constitutional right to a stable climate system. "Similar litigation all over the world will continue to push governments and corporations to address the most pressing environmental challenge of our times," he said.

"The science can stand up in a court of law, and governments need to make sure their responses to the problem do too," said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment. As litigation has grown, it has addressed a widening scope of activities, ranging from coastal development and infrastructure planning to resource extraction. The scope of individual suits is also growing in ambition, says the report.

Some suits outside the United States have already had results. Among other things, the report describes how, in September 2015, a Pakistani lawyer's case against the government for failure to carry out the National Climate Change Policy of 2012 resulted in the government designating action points within several ministries, and the creation of a commission to monitor progress.

The report predicts that more litigation will originate in developing countries, where people are expected to suffer many of the worst effects of shifting climate. The report also predicts more human-rights cases filed by "climate refugees," coming as a direct result of climate-driven migration, resettlement and disaster recovery. By 2050 climate change could, according to some estimates, displace up to 1 billion people. That number could soar higher later in the century if global warming is not kept under 2 degrees Celsius, relative to pre-industrial levels, say some.

International organizations including the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees have already acknowledged the need to address the plights of people displaced by changing climate. But there is yet no international agreement on the rights of such displaced persons, nor on the obligations of countries to respect them.

Technology will not suffice to address coming problems, say the authors; laws and policies must be part of any strategy. They say that because of the Paris Agreement, plaintiffs can now argue in some jurisdictions that their governments' political statements must be backed up by concrete measures to mitigate climate change.

SOURCE



A secretive EPA in Australia

NSW home owners could be living near contaminated land without knowing because the state's environmental watchdog has failed to disclose the information, a government review has found.

The NSW Environmental Protection Authority told the review it decided not to declare all contaminated residential sites because it could "affect the valuation of a property".

The report was led by Macquarie University Professor Mark Taylor who found the EPA failed to make the information public even when the "contamination is significant enough to warrant regulation".

While the EPA is committed to declaring contamination on and near commercial and industrial land, the review found it "generally does not declare off-site residential land to avoid unnecessarily blighting that land and causing undue concern".

The review continues to say the EPA first determines if the contamination poses health or environmental risks before it decides to disclose the information to residents.

The review found two examples where off-site residential properties near "significantly contaminated" sites were not declared to affected residents and no reason was provided why in the EPA's briefing notes.

The EPA says in the report it is investigating the matter.

The environmental watchdog has committed to a revised declaration process, which will assure a more "standardised approach", but decisions to declare or not declare the contamination will continue to be made on a "case-by-case basis", the report says.

However, the EPA will not declare all contaminated sites that are deemed "significant enough to warrant regulation".

In a statement released on Sunday, the EPA says if the contaminated site poses an impact on neighbouring properties, it's up to the council to reveal that information and in cases of significantly contaminated sites, the information is "added to the public record, published in the Government Gazette, notification is provided to the landowner, polluter, land occupier and local council or authority".

"Local authorities are then tasked to record this information on property planning certificates issued under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act," the EPA said in the statement.

The environmental watchdog noted NSW had some of the strictest reporting requirements in Australia, and "human health and the environment are the priority".

"Property value never overrides the EPA's protection of human health and the environment regarding significantly contaminated sites," the EPA said.

SOURCE

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

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

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Monday, May 29, 2017



An ignorant Australian Greenie

I put up yesterday some arrogant, elitist comments from an Australian Greenie.  The Greenie, Dayne Pratzky, also uttered  some ignorant Leftist stereotypes about the USA. Because it is rich and powerful, all Leftists hate the USA.  Even American Leftists do. A conservative American  reader was rightly incensed at the unbalanced comments.  And has replied to them.  First the comments then the reply:

“I’m a custodian of society, we all are. If you don’t want to live in a gun-filled and drug-filled society like America, you’ve got to fight to keep Australia the way it is now.”

We are a country of 326 million of which 325 million are not criminals. There are a lot of drug users but by far the majority of the population are not drug addicts. We become alarmed when 100 people in a small state overdose on illegal and tainted drugs. I will not miss nor will I grieve for  these misfits but I will support trying to protect the citizens from these drugs. Pharmaceutical companies continue to find ways to make life more comfortable but leave it to some to find the drug world a place to retreat into to avoid all of life's responsibilities.

Our constitution makes it very clear that the forefathers had a built in fear of government, to the extent that they wrote in a single demand that citizens would never be disarmed so as to safeguard against powerful people strong arming the removal of all rights. Many people miss the fact that such freedoms come with responsibility as well as risks of abuse. People own guns for all kinds of reasons, some for pleasure, some for protection, some for crime.

We are a long way from armed uprising but the possibility remains in the minds of government people. Almost every state in the Union has more armed citizens than the entire standing army and you can bet that even the army would not stand on the side of a tyrant government. Every citizen has at least one bullet, it is called a vote.

Our second amendment does not endorse crime, rather crime uses what ever advantage it can gain. Drugs are another issue but it is people that use drugs that make the issue.  Our country is under siege both from in and from without. It will always be that way as long as there is big profit in drugs.

In summary........it is people like Pratzky that our constitution protects us from.



Trump will cause the planet to fry

That's a defensible conclusion if you accept Warmist assumptions but it is presented as more than theory.  We read below for instance: "America contributes so much to rising temperatures".  Does it?  It contributes a lot of CO2 but CO2 rises and temperature rises don't synchronize

Earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming even sooner if the U.S. retreats from its pledge to cut carbon dioxide pollution, scientists said. That's because America contributes so much to rising temperatures.

President Donald Trump, who once proclaimed global warming a Chinese hoax, said in a tweet Saturday that he would make his "final decision" next week on whether the United States stays in or leaves the 2015 Paris climate change accord in which nearly every nation agreed to curb its greenhouse gas emissions.

Global leaders, at a summit in Sicily, have urged him to stay. Earlier in the week, Pope Francis made that case with a gift of his papal encyclical on the environment when Trump visited the Vatican.

In an attempt to understand what could happen to the planet if the U.S. pulls out of Paris, The Associated Press consulted with more than two dozen climate scientists and analyzed a special computer model scenario designed to calculate potential effects.

Scientists said it would worsen an already bad problem and make it far more difficult to prevent crossing a dangerous global temperature threshold.

Calculations suggest it could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide in the air a year. When it adds up year after year, scientists said that is enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.

"If we lag, the noose tightens," said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer, co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change.

One expert group ran a worst-case computer simulation of what would happen if the U.S. does not curb emissions, but other nations do meet their targets. It found that America would add as much as half a degree of warming (0.3 degrees Celsius) to the globe by the end of century.

Scientists are split on how reasonable and likely that scenario is.

Many said because of cheap natural gas that displaces coal and growing adoption of renewable energy sources, it is unlikely that the U.S. would stop reducing its carbon pollution even if it abandoned the accord, so the effect would likely be smaller.

Others say it could be worse because other countries might follow a U.S. exit, leading to more emissions from both the U.S. and the rest.

Another computer simulation team put the effect of the U.S. pulling out somewhere between 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.18 to 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit).

One of the few scientists who plays down the harm of the U.S. possibly leaving the agreement is Joachim Schellnhuber, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the scientist credited with coming up with the 2 degree goal.

"Ten years ago (a U.S. exit) would have shocked the planet," Schellnhuber said. "Today if the U.S. really chooses to leave the Paris agreement, the world will move on with building a clean and secure future."

Not so, said Texas Tech climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe: "There will be ripple effects from the United States' choices across the world."

SOURCE





Is This Really the Worst Ever?
   
As summer approaches, let’s look at some comparisons and talk hurricanes. Let’s look at the past 10 summers.

Much of the U.S. is around 1 degree Fahrenheit above normal on average. Now take a look at the summers of the 1930s.

While there are some places 0.5-1 F below normal, much of the nation’s midsection is 2-4 F above normal, which means arguably it was warmer then than the past 10 summers. The point is that when it comes to extremes, it looks worse in the 1930s.

Now keep in mind that we have had a lot of urban sprawl over the last 30 years. The South is much more populated. The satellite era of temperatures started in the late 1970s, so the same measuring techniques used today may have made the 1930s even hotter. We only know how hot it was based on thermometers.

Satellites see all, which is one of my arguments as to why comparing temperatures over 120 years becomes a red herring since there was no way to measure temperatures the way we do now back in decades like the 1930s. Still, it has warmed in the past 30 years. I am not arguing that point. But saying it’s the warmest in 120 years when you did not measure temperatures the same way is questionable at best. And certainly the “worst ever” missives have reason for skepticism.

Let’s move to precipitation — and keep in mind, we had three major drought years in the past 10 in the nation’s midsection, But, lo and behold, the 10-year summer rain totals show nothing so extreme.

Doesn’t look that bad. What’s more, there is a lot of wet weather in the nation’s midsection where we can grow food to feed people. Looks more like a blessing than a curse.

For the record, the latest percentage of the nation covered by drought is at the lowest point ever recorded since this measuring tool was started in 2000.

Another case of climate extremes? Yeah. Extremely beneficial. Keep in mind that Florida in the last 10 years is above normal and one or two tropical systems could reverse the current dry area very quickly.

Now to the 1930s.

And you wonder why there was a dust bowl? Yes, it’s partly because of agricultural practices then, but this is flat out harsh!

The drought severity index reflects that. Now here’s something important: When you look at precipitation totals in the Southwest, they are not that far below normal. Yet the drought severity is greater, because when there is little rain on average, very slight deviations below normal will make the index in that area, relative to the area, greater. The evaporation rates are much higher also, so two inches below normal where there should be 10 inches of rain is a lot bigger deal than two inches below normal where there should be 60 inches. But let me concede the Southwest.

The fact is the heartland of the country where we grow food has been in great shape overall. You can’t have perfect weather everywhere; it’s inherent in nature to have conflict. “Average” can be a misnomer, occurring rarely, as the average is made up of the back and forth that one is likely to see in the weather and climate. To be that dry in the Southwest, it had to be compared to a 30-year average that must have been wetter at times. As you saw this past winter, wet can return very quickly.

But again, look at the drought severity of the 1930s.

So are the current times really as bad as it’s ever been, especially when one considers where the drought has occurred?

What about hurricanes? On the Saffir-Simpson scale, there have been no major hurricanes since 2005 to hit the U.S. Look at the 1930s.

That was followed by this in the ‘40s and '50s. So when was it worse?

By the way, if you want to take a look at the upcoming hurricane season — and I do think there is a good chance of a major hit — check out our forecast here.

You know, when I was younger, my dad used to always say to me: “Joe, you would not believe how bad the weather was in the '30s, '40s and 50s.” I used to think, “Yeah right,” but I was bored with the weather so much that I went back and looked … and looked … and looked. And I found myself looking at events I still have trouble believing happened. So when someone says, “This is the worst ever,” believe me, there are plenty of examples of events and patterns that look comparable, and in many cases beyond what people say about today.

SOURCE.  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)




Farmer Faces $2.8 Million Fine For Plowing His Own Field

A California farmer is facing a $2.8 million fine for failing to get a permit to plow his own field.

John Duarte bought 450 acres of land near Modesto in 2012 and is now being sued by the federal government for plowing near areas the government considers to be "waters of the United States."

USA Today reports:

A farmer faces trial in federal court this summer and a $2.8 million fine for failing to get a permit to plow his field and plant wheat in Tehama County.

A lawyer for Duarte Nursery said the case is important because it could set a precedent requiring other farmers to obtain costly, time-consuming permits just to plow.

"The case is the first time that we're aware of that says you need to get a (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) permit to plow to grow crops," said Anthony Francois, a lawyer for the Pacific Legal Foundation. The libertarian-leaning nonprofit fights for private property rights and limited government.

 "We're not going to produce much food under those kinds of regulations," Francois said.

The case will head to trial in August. The government claims that Duarte violated the Clean Water Act because he did not obtain a permit to work near the wetlands.

Francois, the attorney for Duarte, said farmers plowing their fields are exempt from federal rules.

Duarte plowed to a depth of between 4 and 7 inches.

SOURCE





Trump Must Resist Pressure From Foreign Leaders to Cave in on Global Warming

As National Public Radio reported last week, “President Trump is expected to face pressure from European Union leaders … to keep the U.S. in the Paris Climate Treaty.”

Leaders from those foreign nations should prepare for disappointment.

The start of the G-7 summit, held in the swanky coastal town of Taormina, located on the island of Sicily, just happens to be the one-year anniversary of Trump’s famous energy policy speech in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Then-candidate Trump made clear that his administration would “cancel the Paris climate agreement,” both because it was bad for America and because it violated our nation’s laws:

President [Barack] Obama entered the United States into the Paris climate accord unilaterally and without the permission of Congress. This agreement gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much our energy and how much we use right here in America. So foreign bureaucrats are gonna be controlling what we’re using and what we’re doing on our land in our country. No way. No way.

A lot can change in 365 days, but the fundamental flaws of the Paris Agreement that Trump identified have not.

Speaking to NPR’s Ari Shapiro last week, Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden rightly noted that “[o]f course it is the U.S.’s sovereign decision” on whether to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

America is a geographically diverse and expansive nation, which makes comprehensive global regulatory schemes difficult to implement without massive disruption.

In fact, during a recent speech in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Trump said “it is estimated that for compliance with the [Paris Agreement] could ultimately shrink America’s [gross domestic product] by $2.5 trillion … ”

The numbers get even worse, according to Heritage Foundation research.

By 2035, household electricity expenditures will increase between 13 to 20 percent, family of four income loss will exceed $20,000, and there will be more than 200,000 fewer manufacturing jobs due to the “policies adapted from domestic regulations emphasized in the Paris Agreement [that] will affect a variety of aspects of the American economy.”

According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, 21 states have either voluntary renewable energy standards or no standards, and 20 of those voted for Trump last November. Trump also won manufacturing states with mandatory renewable standards—states like Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Many of those voters found their voice in Trump.

Shell’s van Beurden told NPR that pulling out of the Paris Agreement would put the United States “off-site for such an important societal debate” and strongly implied that it would undermine America’s ability to “have a strong, meaningful, and impactful voice at all tables around the world.”

Of course, we have seen what happens when an American president kowtows to global elites in an effort to be heard and loved.

During his infamous apology tour, Obama told a group of foreign leaders that “with my election and the early decisions that we’ve made, that you’re starting to see some restoration of America’s standing in the world.”

He apologized to the Europeans for the “times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.”

Trump’s election was a repudiation of that approach.

The path forward for the Trump administration is clear, and it begins with following through on the president’s pledge to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

Doing so would restore certainty for America’s job creators and make it more difficult for future administrations to abuse the global warming agreement and advance destructive policy initiatives.

Enduring policy victories are the foundation upon which legacies are built.

SOURCE

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

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

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Sunday, May 28, 2017


Trump refuses to get in line for climate deal

President Trump dug in his heels last night over committing America to the climate deal signed by President Obama, citing fears that such an agreement could threaten US jobs.

On the first day of a two-day meeting of the G7 leaders at Taormina in Sicily, the host, Paolo Gentiloni, the Italian prime minister, said that the US leader had yet to be convinced not to back out of the Paris Accord, which seeks to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Gary Cohn, Mr Trump’s economic adviser, said that Mr Trump had stuck to prioritising American jobs, which he believes are threatened by moving to clean energy. He said that the president “wants to do the right thing for the environment, he cares about the environment but he also cares very much about creating jobs for American workers”.

After the first round of talks, Mr Gentiloni said: “We are hopeful that the US will want to participate and we hope there are positive decisions in the coming days or weeks.”

Mr Cohn hinted that the president might yet be convinced, saying after the session that the president felt “much, much more knowledgeable” on the topic than he did previously. He said that Mr Trump had told the G7 leaders that the environment was “very, very important” to him and that he had even cited environmental awards that he had received.

The drafting of a diluted final G7 declaration, which is expected to acknowledge the climate battle, has been hampered by the absence from the summit of Kenneth Juster, Mr Trump’s international economic policy adviser, who has reportedly stepped down and been replaced by his deputy.

SOURCE



Trump’s Budget and the environment

It’s been described as a “slap in the face,” “slaughter,” “a punitive … assault on science, the environment, and indeed the planet.”

Aside from being inappropriate and irresponsible, these remarks are how some in the policy world and media have depicted cuts to global warming spending in President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal.

People seem to have forgotten—or perhaps never noticed—just how much the government spends on direct climate programs.

Trump’s budget proposal does in fact eliminate or cut a number of climate programs. But you don’t have to scratch too far beneath the surface to realize there are legitimate justifications for doing so.

Even if the federal budget won’t be balanced on the back of eliminated climate programs, there are a number of basic problems with government climate spending.

1. Quite simply, there are a lot of global warming programs.

For all the Obama administration’s emphasis on global warming as an issue, the Government Accountability Office’s December 2016 assessment found only partial improvement in program management and could not yet determine if government standards showed whether programs were being effective, as they had only just been implemented.

The Government Accountability Office noted in 2009 that “the federal government’s emerging adaptation activities were carried out in an ad hoc manner and were not well coordinated across federal agencies, let alone with state and local governments.”

At least 18 federal agencies administer climate change activities, costing at least $77 billion between fiscal years 2008 and 2013, according to the Congressional Research Service.

2. Most of the money goes to green tech rather than science.  

If these technologies are economically viable, there will be plenty of private sector capital available to develop them. Hardworking taxpayers shouldn’t have to dump money into speculative or failing technology companies or pad the bottom lines of successful ones.

The Department of Energy is notorious for spending on research, development, demonstration, and commercialization of technologies like wind, solar, geothermal, electric vehicles, biofuels, coal carbon capture and sequestration, small nuclear, and batteries.

This has been particularly true in more recent years as a result of the Obama administration’s failed stimulus package, which funneled billions of dollars into energy technologies.

According to the Government Accountability Office, the bulk of federal climate spending has gone to technology development rather than science, wildlife, or international aid.

3. There’s a lot of wasteful spending.

While the Navy’s price per gallon may appear cheap, the actual total cost to the government is much higher.

Despite clear direction from Congress that fuels be cost-competitive, the executive branch camouflaged the costs of the Navy’s biofuel program by subsidizing it through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation program and the Department of Energy.

There are other much larger boondoggles, too. The Navy spent hundreds of millions of dollars on biofuels to meet a political objective to “jumpstart” a domestic biofuel economy with no strategic advantage for military capabilities.

There are many other equally ridiculous examples, such as an Environmental Protection Agency grant for “green” nail salon concepts in California.

As just one example of wasteful spending, Office of Budget and Management Director Mick Mulvaney highlighted the National Science Foundation’s grant for a global warming musical. (The nearly $700,000 grant was awarded in 2010.)

4. International climate initiatives are fatally flawed.

There are a number of problems with America’s continued participation in the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the body that has produced international global warming agreements and, most recently, the Paris Protocol.

One would think that an international climate conference aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions would be the perfect opportunity to have a teleconference to show some good faith. But instead, government officials from around the world fly to lavish venues while telling you to buy hybrids and eat less meat.

Each year, the result is the same: symbolic commitments that shame industrialization and the use of fossil fuels with little to no actual impact on the climate.

Furthermore, the Palestinian Authority’s participation in the Paris Protocol should be cause enough to halt funding as Congress has stipulated under current law.

As the Trump budget proposes, the U.S. should also end funding to the quasi-scientific body behind the Paris Protocol—the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This panel’s studies have been subject to bias, manipula­tion, and poor data.

5. There are major problems and gaps in climate science.

The fact is, climate modeling is at this point an inexact science. Models have proven to be inaccurate, and regulatory cost-benefit accounting metrics based on them are indefensible.

It is thus no surprise that massive government policies like the Paris Protocol and Clean Power Plan are demonstrably ineffective in addressing global temperatures.

There are many areas of disagreement and uncertainty among climate scientists, not to mention biologists, meteorologists, oceanographers, economists, and others with relevant expertise.

Exacerbating this is the role the federal government has played in toxifying the scientific debate on global warming. Rather than fostering scientific discovery in a field that is a mere few decades old, the federal government appears to have expressed bias in funding science that supports federal climate policies.

Science that challenges the current narrative is pilloried in the press and labeled “denialism,” whereas an intellectually honest approach would seek to understand and improve the science.

The debate is not improved by demands for RICO investigations or anti-science statements castigating those with different opinions as part of the “flat earth society” with their “heads in the sand,” and encouraging people to “find the deniers near you—and call them out today.”

We don’t need more spending on iterative studies telling us that coffee could be more expensive and snakes bigger thanks to global warming. We need better modeling, better understanding of basic science, more data, and a better, transparent discussion on climate science and climate policies.

Even after the president’s proposed cuts, there is plenty of money left in the federal budget to study and model the climate.

For instance, the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, a division that includes many climate programs within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, would be cut by more than $150 million, but still retain a hefty $324 million.

Let’s also not forget the role that universities, nonprofits, and international organizations play in studying the global climate.

Eliminating wasteful spending, some of which has nothing to do with studying the science at all, is smart management, not an attack on science.

It’s time to end the boondoggles and hold the federal government’s climate science activities to the same standards of rationality and cost effectiveness as other government spending.

SOURCE






Major Exxon Investor Warns Shareholders Not to Give Into Global Warming Hysteria

An activist-led measure at Exxon Mobil Corp.’s next annual meeting addressing global warming could financially wipe out the company’s largest shareholders, one long-time Exxon shareholder said.

BlackRock and Vanguard Group are toying with the idea of supporting an investor-created proposal that would force Exxon to measure how regulations limiting greenhouse gasses could impact the value of the company’s oil assets, sources told The Wall Street Journal Thursday.

The measure is receiving intense scrutiny from shareholders who worry Exxon could get wobbly-kneed in the face of the environmentalist push.

Some analysts believe the measure, if passed, could indicate the full weight and force powerful investors and money managers that are concerned about climate change have on energy companies.

Exxon is opposed to the measure and will find out if Vanguard and BlackRock support the measure at the company’s annual meeting on May 31.

But Steve Milloy, a lawyer-statistician and climate skeptic, believes Exxon’s shareholders are flirting with the devil.

Coal companies know what happens when shareholders entertain measures that could potentially affect their financial bottom line, said Milloy, a global warming skeptic and founder of the website JunkScience.com.

“It’s kind of ironic that you have a president who wants to roll back regulations against oil producers, yet companies like Exxon want more rules to be heaped on them,” said Milloy, an Exxon shareholder who will speak in opposition to the measure at the meeting next week.

Milloy has been advocating the oil producer end its support for a national carbon tax, rebuke the Paris Agreement on climate change, and discontinue funding climate research

“The threat would have been hypothetical no more than five years ago,” he added, “but the threat is real now. Shareholders get zeroed out because of all of this global warming hysteria.”

Climate activist shareholders hold a different view.

Timothy Smith, a director at Walden Asset Management, which backs the Exxon measure, for instance, told reporters that a few short years ago investors were not talking about the effect climate change has on business, but “now the evidence just slaps you in the face.”

BlackRock has not publicly supported the measure.

“No decision has been made regarding our vote at Exxon’s Annual Shareholder Meeting. Our deliberations continue and we look forward to continued engagement with the company,” said Zach Oleksiuk, head of Americas for BlackRock’s investment stewardship group.

Vanguard could be dissuaded from joining the climate crowd if Exxon offers concessions, such as allowing non-employee directors to meet with investors, the sources said. Similar concessions have worked in the past on other measures addressing global warming.

“Directors at any company who don’t engage with those on whose behalf they serve risk losing investor support,” Glenn Booraem, a principal at Vanguard, said in a statement about possible concessions Exxon should consider.

The measure comes as Exxon continues beating off an attorney general-led campaign to force the Texas-based oil producer into turning over decades worth of documents allegedly showing it hid knowledge about global warming from the public.

Much of the crusade against Exxon’s climate history is based on reports from liberal-leaning media outlet InsideClimate News and Columbia University, which claim Exxon has known the risks of global warming for decades but kept such knowledge under wraps.

Milloy, for his part, submitted a resolution in April through a mutual fund he called the Free Enterprise Action Fund, which requests Exxon change its bylaws blocking stockholders from filing resolutions.

His plan came after an activist-led ploy to force Exxon into naming a climatologist to the company’s board of directors. It relented and elected Susan Avery, a former director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Avery, a climate scientist specializing in atmospheric dynamics and climate change, helped the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration cobble together climate research. Milloy thinks activists with political views have been undercutting the company’s interests for years.

BlackRock received scorn and relentless criticism at Exxon’s annual meeting last year after it opposed a similar proposal. The group will make the disclosure of climate risks a key point of discussion with Exxon managers this year.

Next week’s investor-led measure hinges on many of Exxon’s largest shareholders, most of whom own about 20 percent of the company, according to Anne Simpson, investment director for sustainability at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. CalPERS has worked on oil and gas divestment issues in the past.

Simpson added: “At the end of the day, the outcome will turn on what do the big fund managers and mutual funds do.”

SOURCE




The U.S. shale boom will continue to benefit consumers if energy markets are allowed to work

The American energy revolution of the past decade has brought unforeseen economic benefits including billions of dollars in new investments, lower energy costs for Americans and tens of thousands of new jobs.

That energy-driven economic stimulus has been especially powerful in the resource-rich regions in states like North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas where innovation and modern technological advancements in shale development have revitalized local economies. And the energy boom has had the deepest and most positive impact in states that have embraced commonsense policies that foster and encourage competition rather than picking winners and losers in the energy marketplace.

Where energy development has been allowed to take hold without onerous over-regulation, the energy sector's successes buffered local and regional economies from many of the devastating effects of the Great Recession. Since the recovery, the shale revolution has affected transformative changes in national and international energy markets, shifting long-held paradigms involving the production, generation and use of energy in America.

We have seen cheaper, domestically produced natural gas push out other sources of energy used to power America's electric grid, leading to more cost savings in states where consumers choose suppliers. In the Midwest, oil refiners invested billions to expand capacity and update facilities to process the significant boom in North American crude oil production.

As we continue to move away from government-imposed limits on the energy sector such as the now-lifted ban on crude oil exports, and move to encourage more overseas shipments of natural gas products, America's energy revolution is even reaching into global energy markets.

The United States exported oil to 26 different countries last year, according to recent Energy Information Administration data, thanks to the government's decision to finally get out of the way of energy markets. Given this newfound access to global energy markets, U.S. oil and gas producers, refiners and processors are rising to the fresh opportunities.

There's no debating the fact that the domestic energy revolution has delivered a powerful economic stimulus to the economy and made American more energy secure than ever before.

The market dynamics driven by this transformation require larger and more fundamental changes in our systems that move oil, natural gas and fuels. Such change can be painful for some. Communities that might not have seen new pipeline development or infrastructure projects in decades need to accommodate these critical improvements. Businesses that rely on decades-old systems need to adjust and modernize.

SOURCE




Australia: The arrogance of a Greenie

"We have to lead the government in what we want"

SO MANY people feel like they can’t make a difference nowadays but not Dayne Pratzky aka the Frackman.

Eight years ago he started a war with the coal seam gas industry that left him financially and emotionally drained but still angry enough to rip out the gas connection in his new house. “I will not have a part of it, I will not be held hostage to the gas industry in cooking and heating,” Pratzky told news.com.au.

Pratzky, who has embraced solar power at home, gained infamy when he appeared in the hit 2015 movie Frackman about his fight against gas companies who wanted to drill on his property in Queensland’s Darling Downs.

While he now lives in Forster in NSW’s Mid North Coast, Pratzky does not think he lost, despite the high price he’s paid for his activism. “I’ve lost eight years of my life, I’ve financially ruined myself and it will take time to get back on my feet but I’ll be back, I’m not finished.”

Pratzky believes he also helped others, and contributed to destroying the onshore gas industry in Australia. Since then the Victorian government has banned all onshore gas exploration and production, and there are delays over projects in NSW and the NT.

“You could say I lost but you could also say I won because the industry’s social licence has been destroyed,” Pratzky said.

“They are losing the PR battle and people don’t trust the oil and gas industry. “There’s no place for it in this country, and I’m proud of that.”

Ultimately Pratzky believes companies will never be a match for passionate people. “They do this for a job, they get paid, go home and do something else. But activists go home and eat and breathe it, that’s why you can’t beat activists because they are doing it because they want to. You can’t beat passion.”

Asked whether he had any regrets, Pratzky reckons he would have gone even harder. “I realise that being a passenger in policy, it’s no way forward,” he said. “We are having things that are not good for us forced down our throats.

“The government doesn’t lead, it follows. We have to lead the government in what we want.”

Far from feeling disempowered, Pratzky believes the rise of social media has enabled people to fight for what they believed in more than ever before. “Now I say if you’re not an activist, you’re just a whinger — there’s no excuse anymore,” Pratzky said.

“You used to have to fight to get yourself in the media, it would have to be a great story for them to get involved, but part of our rise to notoriety was because of social media.

“We had the ability to get the message out and it’s changed society. “You can be a keyboard warrior now, you can write a letter, join a group and educate yourself far easier than before.”

And contrary to what many people think, Pratzky said activists were not the rainbow-clothes wearing, bong smoking rabble they were often made out to be.

Pratzky, a carpenter and builder enjoys pig-shooting, is himself an unlikely activist and he said the social aspect of activism was actually the best part about it.

“The best thing is the people you meet ... they are absolutely phenomenal people, good Aussies, that’s why I stay involved, to help them save their properties,” he said.

“It’s not the ‘usual suspects’, it’s normal people trying to protect their way of life and business.”

Pratzky, who will be sharing his experiences during a talk at the Opera House on Saturday, wants to continue encouraging people to stand up for what they believe in.

“You’ve got to put yourself out there,” he said. “If there’s something wrong in our area, you should know about it,” he said.

“I’m a custodian of society, we all are. If you don’t want to live in a gun-filled and drug-filled society like America, you’ve got to fight to keep Australia the way it is now.”

SOURCE

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

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

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Friday, May 26, 2017




Astonishing news:  wind turbines may have caused the death of 3 whales

Save the whales! Report below  from The Times of May 22:



SOURCE




The Pope pressed Trump to help with persecuted Christians in the Middle East?  No such luck.  He harped on about global warming

A strange gospel. Has the Devil got to him? But the report below is from the NYT.  Could it be fake news?

Pope Francis put climate change on the agenda of his first meeting with President Trump on Wednesday, and the subject is likely to come up again and again in the president’s encounters with other world leaders in the coming days.

The pope presented the president with a copy of his influential encyclical on preserving the environment, while in a broader meeting, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, urged Mr. Trump not to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord.

Mr. Trump told his Vatican hosts that he would not make a final decision until after he returned to the United States, despite some expectations that he could announce a decision at the Group of 7 summit meeting in Italy this weekend.

“They were encouraging continued participation,” Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson told reporters about the message from the Vatican. “We had a good exchange on the difficulty of balancing addressing climate change, and insuring that you still have a thriving economy and you can still offer people jobs so they can feed their families.”

In their first encounter, the pope and the president, two men with starkly different worldviews, sought to bridge the chasm between them with a handshake, a private audience and a mutual pledge to work for peace.

They stuck mainly to protocol, avoiding a public reprise of the barbs they aimed at each other during Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign or the pope’s thinly veiled critiques of the new president as a symbol of a dangerously reinvigorated nationalism.

But there was also a sense in the Vatican that Mr. Trump was easier to talk to than his tough language on the campaign trail or his sharp words toward Francis had led them to believe. That could be particularly true on the issue of American participation in the Paris accord, where there are sharply conflicting views inside the West Wing.

Francis left no doubt about his message in the gifts he gave to his guest, notably the essay on the importance of the environment, which stands as a rebuke to the climate change skepticism espoused by Mr. Trump. Francis also presented him with a medallion engraved with the image of an olive tree — “a symbol of peace,” he explained. “We can use peace,” Mr. Trump said. Francis replied, “It is with all hope that you may become an olive tree to make peace.” As he bade the pope farewell, Mr. Trump told him, “I won’t forget what you said.”

For Mr. Trump, who came here after stops in Saudi Arabia and Israel, the visit to the Vatican capped a tour of the ancestral homes of three of the world’s great monotheistic religions. For Francis, who made his own landmark visit to Egypt last month, it was a chance to welcome a second American leader, after President Barack Obama paid his respects in 2014. Unlike that meeting, few expected a meeting of the minds. Pope Francis and Mr. Trump have diametrically opposed views on issues like immigration, climate change and arms sales. Although both appeared determined not to let politics spoil their encounter, their fraught personal history and divergent personal styles made for a loaded backdrop.

In Saudi Arabia, Mr. Trump came with a $110 billion arms deal and was embraced by a royal family eager to improve relations with Washington. In Israel, he expressed America’s solidarity with a close ally and staked his claim as a peacemaker. At the Vatican and elsewhere in Europe, however, Mr. Trump has had to overcome suspicions.

SOURCE





Pocohontas names the no 1 'Threat to Int'l Peace and Security'--Climate Change

North Korea wants to nuke us; ISIS wants to kill us; Mexican drug lords want to addict us; China spies on us, Iran hates us, and Russia interferes in our elections. Those are just a few of the "global threats" outlined by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

And then there's "climate change," a prime concern of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who raised the issue with Coats at Tuesday's hearing on "global threats."

"The science is unmistakable. Human activities are releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change," Warren stated.

"A Defense Department report from two years ago observed, 'Global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for U.S. national security interests over the foreseeable future because it will aggravate existing problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions,’ she quoted.

“In short, this DOD report describes climate change as a threat multiplier. Director Coats, do you agree?" Warren asked.

"I don't know if I would describe it as a threat multiplier," Coats responded, noting that his job is to assess the consequences of potential changes in climate as they impact migration and humanitarian issues. He said the science of climate change falls to other federal agencies.

“I think there have always, in the history of the world, been reactions to different climate changes, and this is an issue that continues,” Coats said.

Warren noted again that Defense Department has concluded that climate change exacerbates existing problems: “Do you disagree with any of that?” she asked Coats.

“No I don't disagree,” Coats responded. “I'm simply saying that I think that has been an ongoing issue -- throughout the -- throughout the ages.”

“Well, let me ask the question this way then,” Warren said. “How should we be integrating climate change risks into our national security strategy?”

Coats, haltingly, said: "We should be assessing … the consequences of changes that are relevant to security issues. That should be part of the assessment, and it is.”

“Well,” said a frustrated Warren, “climate change is clearly a threat to international peace and security, and I just think it's critically important that we take this seriously and we adapt accordingly.”

SOURCE





WH Budget Director: Obama Administration Spent Too Much on Climate Change 'and Not Very Efficiently'

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Tuesday that the previous administration spent too much money on climate change in the past "and not very efficiently."

"Can you characterize the treatment of climate science programs and cuts to those? And do you describe those as a taxpayer waste, if you do not cut them?" a reporter asked Mulvaney.

"You tell me. I think the National Science Foundation last year used your taxpayer money to fund a climate change musical. Do you think that's a waste of your money?" Mulvaney asked.

"What about climate science?" the reporter asked.

"I'll take that as a yes, by the way," Mulvaney said. "So you see my point. What I think you saw happened during the previous administration is the pendulum went too far to one side, where we were spending too much of your money on climate change and not very efficiently."

Mulvaney said while the budget doesn't get rid of programs that focus on climate change, it does target them.

"We don’t get rid of it here. Do we target it? Sure," he said.

"Do a lot of the EPA reductions aimed at reducing the focus on climate science? Yes. Does it meant that we are anti-science? Absolutely not. We're simply trying to get things back in order to where we can look at the folks who pay the taxes, and say, look, yeah, we want to do some climate science, but we're not going to do some of the crazy stuff the previous administration did," Mulvaney said.

SOURCE




Are Microbiologists Climate-Denying Science Haters?

Recently, I gave a seminar on "fake news" to professors and grad students at a large public university. Early in my talk, I polled the audience: "How many of you believe climate change is the world's #1 threat?"

Silence. Not a single person raised his or her hand.

Was I speaking in front of a group of science deniers? The College Republicans? Some fringe libertarian club? No, it was a room full of microbiologists.

How could so many incredibly intelligent people overwhelmingly reject what THE SCIENCE says about climate change? Well, they don't. They just don't see it as big of a threat to the world as other things. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of them felt that antibiotic resistance and pandemic disease were the biggest global threats. One person thought geopolitical instability was the biggest concern.

I told them that I believed poverty was the world's biggest threat. The reason is poverty is the underlying condition that causes so much misery in the world. Consider that 1.3 billion people don't have electricity. And then consider how the lack of that basic necessity -- what the rest of us take completely for granted -- hinders their ability to develop economically and to succeed, let alone to have access to adequate healthcare. If we fix poverty, we could stop easily preventable health problems, such as infectious disease and malnutrition.

Was I booed out of the room? No, the audience understood why I believed what I did. But woe unto you who try to have a similar conversation with climate warriors.

Conservative columnist Bret Stephens, formerly of the Wall Street Journal, landed a new gig at the New York Times. His very first column, "Climate of Complete Certainty," caused much weeping and gnashing of teeth. And probably the rending of garments. What did he say that caused so much outrage?

In a nutshell, his thesis was that certainty often backfires. He used the Hillary Clinton campaign as an example; in his view, certainty of victory was one factor in her defeat. Next, Mr. Stephens drew an analogy with climate science, worrying that the certainty expressed by the most vocal proponents of major climate policy reforms are speaking with a sense of certainty that is not well-founded. He warned against taking imperfect models too seriously and the dangers of hyperbolic doom-mongering.

It often irks me when political commentators write about science, usually because they haven't the foggiest clue what they're talking about. But Mr. Stephens' article used reasonable and cautious language, and to my knowledge, he didn't write anything that was factually incorrect. He simply concluded, as I myself have, that doomsday prophesying is wrong -- and even if it was right, it convinces few people, anyway. (Do the antics of the Westboro Baptist Church change anyone's mind?)

Yet, the reaction was swift and entirely predictable. Vox, whose stated mission is to "explain the news," called Mr. Stephens a "bullshitter." GQ ran the headline, "Bret Stephens Is Why Liberals Have Every Right to Be Dicks." And Wikipedia (whose founder is going to try to solve the problem of fake news) labeled him a "contrarian."

All that because Mr. Stephens warned against speaking hyperbolically. The concept of irony appears to be lost on his critics.

Can Smart People Disagree About the Threat of Climate Change?

What so many in the media (and apparently the climate science community) fail to understand is that people have different values and priorities. Foreign policy analysts are terrified of North Korea. Economists fear Brexit and a Eurozone collapse. Geologists, especially those in the Pacific Northwest, fear a huge earthquake. Experts across the spectrum perceive threats differently, usually magnifying those with which they are most familiar.

That means smart people can accept a common core of facts (such as the reality of anthropogenic global warming) without agreeing on a policy response.

Yet instead of being a place to debate a policy response for complex science issues, the media have chosen to be an extension of the militant Twitterverse. Even if you are just discussing courses of action, you are not allowed to deviate from climate orthodoxy lest you be labeled a science-denying heretic.

Perhaps journalists should spend more time talking to microbiologists.

SOURCE

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

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

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Thursday, May 25, 2017



Woof! Peer review in action



MOVE aside quokkas and black swans, Perth is now home to the world’s smartest dog, at least on paper.

Local “academic” Dr Olivia Doll — also known as Staffordshire terrier Ollie — sits on the editorial boards of seven international medical journals and has just been asked to review a research paper on the management of tumours.

Her impressive curriculum vitae lists her current role as senior lecturer at the Subiaco College of Veterinary Science and past associate of the Shenton Park Institute for Canine Refuge Studies — which is code for her earlier life in the dog refuge.

Ollie’s owner, veteran public health expert Mike Daube, decided to test how carefully some journals scrutinised their editorial reviewers, by inventing Dr Doll and making up her credentials.

The five-year-old pooch has managed to dupe a range of publications specialising in drug abuse, psychiatry and respiratory medicine into appointing her to their editorial boards.

Dr Doll has even been fast-tracked to the position of associate editor of the Global Journal of Addiction and Rehabilitation Medicine.

Several journals have published on their websites a supplied photo of Dr Doll, which is actually of a bespectacled Kylie Minogue.

Professor Daube said none of them smelt a rat, despite Dr Doll’s listed research interests in “the benefits of abdominal massage for medium-sized canines” and “the role of domestic canines in promoting optimal mental health in ageing males”.

Today Ollie is being featured in a more reputable publication, the Medical Journal of Australia’s Insight magazine, which is looking at the surge in journals which charge desperate would-be researchers up to $3000 to get their studies published.

“While this started as something lighthearted, I think it is important to expose shams of this kind which prey on the gullible, especially young or naive academics and those from developing countries,” Professor Daube said.

He said the authors would be gutted to know their papers were being reviewed by a dog, who often needed to be offered a treat before she dragged herself in front of the laptop. “It gives all researchers paws for thought,” Professor Daube said.

Dr Doll refused to comment unless she was taken for walkies.

SOURCE




Senator Rand Paul: Say Au Revoir to Paris Climate Agreement

The federal government should be beholden to one authority and one authority alone—our Constitution—and not some U.N. bureaucrats.

It is my duty as a senator to uphold and defend the Constitution. One of my most important responsibilities in this role is to provide advice and consent on treaties, a check and balance on the Executive Branch. It gives us the opportunity to make sure the deals we’re signing up for are good for all Americans.

President Obama wanted to cement his legacy of environmentalism through the Paris Agreement on climate change. Obama also knew the Senate would never ratify the agreement, so he deliberately labeled it as an “executive agreement” to avoid the ratification process and unilaterally pledged the support of the United States with the stroke of a pen.

So what did Obama sign us up for in exchange for maybe reducing global temperature by 0.2°C by 2100? Experts predict that by 2040, the agreement could cost us 6.5 million lost jobs—a number significantly larger than the entire population of Kentucky. It will cost us $3 trillion in lost GDP. For each household, the average annual lost income could be as high as $4,900.

These numbers are jaw dropping. Why can’t we work toward a future that protects both our environment and our jobs? Why did the past administration always force the latter to be a martyr for the former?

Thankfully, President Trump has the opportunity to reverse course on Obama’s mistake.

President Trump has delivered on almost all of his promises to have an America First energy plan. He has directed the EPA to suspend, revise, and rescind certain actions related to the Clean Power Plan. He has removed regulatory roadblocks to American energy independence, including signing the resolution Congress sent him to repeal the Stream Buffer rule. He has also instructed agencies to review existing administrative policies harming domestic energy production.

But there’s one missing piece to being truly America First, something President Trump promised on the campaign trail. He promised he would cancel the Paris Agreement as president. Can we really have an America First energy plan if we are needing to seek the endorsement of the U.N. as we make determinations about our country’s environmental and energy policies? The federal government should be beholden to one authority and one authority alone—our Constitution—and not some U.N. bureaucrats.

I ran for Senate to protect Kentucky jobs and restore the Kentucky coal industry from regulatory overreach. I stood right behind President Trump as he signed the bill I cosponsored to repeal the Stream Buffer rule.

I previously introduced a resolution requiring the Paris Agreement to be considered a treaty needing the Senate’s advice and consent. I am keeping my word to Kentuckians.

That is why I introduced a resolution Monday, with a companion resolution cosponsored by Congressman Andy Barr, calling on President Trump to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, an agreement which experts believe will not actually solve the environmental issues it was intended to address.

We founded our country on a system of checks and balances, and no president should have the unilateral authority to make such significant international commitments without input from Congress.

I look forward to President Trump following through on his promise to exit this agreement.

SOURCE




European Nations Set To Wipe Out Forests To Cheat On CO2 Emissions

It looks like greenwash.  European nations publicly keen to boost their climate credentials by switching to “green” biomass are accused of working behind the scenes to expunge their carbon emissions from burning wood in power stations from national emissions statistics.

“If we don’t measure emissions when trees are cut, we won’t measure them at all,” says Hannah Mowat of FERN, a European NGO working to save the continent’s forests, who has followed the EU negotiations on the issue.

Under international climate treaties such as the Paris Agreement, burning biomass like wood is defined as carbon-neutral, even though it emits as least as much carbon as fossil fuels. The assumption is that new trees will be grown to take up the carbon emitted from the burning.

If countries reduce their forest cover – as a result of harvesting trees for biomass burning or anything else – the carbon loss should show up in national statistics under a complex accounting process known as LULUCF, for Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry.

But measuring carbon stocks on the land and in forests is an inexact science, and critics say the LULUCF rules are wide open to accounting errors.

On 19 June, European environment ministers will set their own rules for LULUCF carbon accounting. How they do this will play an important role in Europe meeting its emissions targets under the Paris Agreement.

But Mowat says that countries with plans to replace coal and nuclear fuel burning with wood are lobbying for rules that will obscure likely resulting emissions.

“France, Austria, Sweden and Finland are fighting tooth and nail to weaken the EU’s rules,” Mowat told New Scientist. “This is because they all plan to significantly increase the amount of trees they cut in the next decade: Finland will increase harvesting by 25 per cent and France by 20 per cent, and they don’t want to count the emissions.”

Government data show that France plans to increase timber harvesting by 12 million cubic metres by 2026.  Finland plans a 15 million cubic metre increase, almost entirely for burning more wood in power stations.

Fewer trees will mean less carbon being soaked up from the atmosphere, too.

Mowat estimates that the reduction in the EU’s total forest carbon sink between now and 2030 is equivalent to the emissions of 100 million cars.

SOURCE




Trump's budget proposal 'savages' climate research, scientists say

Scientists poring over President Trump's proposed 2018 federal budget say it guts funding for climate science.

Under the proposal, the three federal agencies that perform the bulk of that research face dramatic cuts.

David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council said the budget "savages" the agencies' programs, noting dramatic slashes in funding at NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the proposal would "stall out U.S. technological innovation and scientific research, and the country’s capabilities to respond to extreme weather and national security threats."

NASA's Earth science mission faces cuts of 8.7%, according to Chris McEntee, executive director of the American Geophysical Union. Overall, there is a 45% cut in research in the EPA budget, the NRDC said. And NOAA faces a 16% reduction. Cuts were also proposed to the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Energy.

Trump's Office of Management and Budget defended the cuts at a media briefing in Washington, D.C., Tuesday morning: “What I think you saw happen during the previous administration is the pendulum went too far to one side, where we’re spending too much of your money on climate change and not very efficiently," said OMB director Mick Mulvaney.

"We don’t get rid of it here," he said. "Do we target it? Sure. Do a lot of the EPA reductions aim at reducing the focus on climate science? Yes. Does it mean that we are anti-science? Absolutely not. We simply try to get things back in order so we can look at the folks who pay the taxes and say: ‘look, yeah we want to do some climate science but we’re not going to do some of the crazy stuff the previous administration did.' ”

Both Republicans and Democrats have raised concerns about various parts of the budget plan and have indicated they are not using the president’s request as the starting point for drafting a spending bill for next year.

The elimination of five NASA Earth science space missions "were not identified as high priority," according to the budget. Those missions have yielded safeguards to avoid eating toxic shellfish, reduce aviation disruptions and take precautions for unhealthy air quality, to name a few, the Union of Concerned Scientists said. NASA has instructions to "stop looking at Earth and only focus on other planets," Doniger said.

But Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot disputed the characterization that the space agency was abandoning the mission.

"This budget still includes significant Earth Science efforts, including 18 Earth observing missions in space as well as airborne missions," he said in a prepared speech to NASA employees.

The EPA's program that reports on greenhouse gas levels drops from $95.3 million to $13.6 million, according to the budget. Carbon dioxide and methane are greenhouse gases that are most responsible for global warming.

“This is a budget declaring war on climate change," said Elgie Holstein of the Environmental Defense Fund. "It’s not a particular surprise though it’s deeply disappointing and (with rollback of Clean Power Plan) an abdication of American leadership on climate."

In addition to its 16% overall reduction, NOAA faces deeper cuts to climate and other research programs, McEntee said. The agency provides weather and climate data that protects more than half of all American who live along the coasts, over 2.8 million jobs in ocean reliant industries and coastal property valued in excess of $10 trillion.

"We are concerned that the administration's proposed cuts to research into the Earth system sciences will undermine the continued scientific progress that is so vitally needed to better protect the nation in the future from costly natural disasters," the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) said in a statement.

Last year, the nation endured a whopping 15 separate disasters that each cost at least $1 billion in damages, including tornadoes, drought, and widespread flooding, UCAR said.

Enacting the budget would bring serious repercussions for the U.S. economy and national security and to the ability to protect life and property, UCAR said. "Such funding cuts would be especially unfortunate at a time when the nation is moving to regain its position as the world leader in weather forecasting."

McIntee said: "The President’s FY18 proposal instead charts a course of destructive under-funding for scientific agencies that stimulate the economy, protect public safety, and keep our nation safe and secure."

SOURCE




New maps show the risk of sea level rises to Australian cities

Another Greenie prophecy that will fail like all others before it

SAY sayonara to Sydney airport, farewell to Fremantle and bye to Byron Bay.

A series of maps has graphically illustrated how Australia could be affected by climate change and rising sea levels. And it looks like many of our major towns and cities could be getting a lot soggier.

Hobart Airport would be underwater, Melbourne’s Southbank submerged and the WACA in Perth would be inundated.

Famous sea side resorts like Byron Bay, Port Douglas, Noosa and the Gold Coast are in danger of seeing the sea get a whole lot closer for comfort.

A climate expert has said rising sea levels globally could displace “tens of millions of people”.

The new maps come from Costal Risk Australia run by Western Australia business management consultants NGIS. The data is fished from the US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA to show which areas will be at risk from a “business as usual” scenario of a 2 metre sea-level rise by 2100.

Just by putting in your suburb name into the Coastal Risk Australia, you can see if you area is at risk of flooding.

Website co-creator Nathan Eaton said that with more than 80 per cent of Australians living near the coast, it was critical for people to appreciate what rising sea levels in the decades to come could mean for their communities.

However, in some areas its likely even a 2 metre sea rise will be surpassed. Climate scientists have pointed to parts of northern and Western Australia where rises could be higher.

The Torres Strait Islands have experienced regular king tides, an area which rarely got any of the monster tides in the past.

Professor John Church from the University of NSW’S Climate Change Research Centre said flooding to the measure forecast would cause catastrophic problems for many Australians.

“With business as usual emissions, the questions are when, rather than if, we will cross a 2 metre sea level rise,” he told Fairfax. “This scenario would result in major catastrophes and displace many tens of millions of people around the world.”

One of the worst affected areas would be Cairns with vast tracts of the city’s CBD and suburbs at risk from rising sea levels.

But Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said he wasn’t going to lose any sleep over the maps. He said claims Cairns could be under the ocean by the end of the century were “outlandish”.

“I’m someone who takes environmental issues very seriously,” he told the Cairns Post. “But if we’re going to run around every day because some group comes up with some wild or outlandish or extreme prognosis — and we don’t have any verification on it — then we’ll just spend the next so many years going crazy.”

He said the decisions made by the council were based on the “best scientific evidence we’ve got” and that the city worked with the Local Government Association of Queensland’s sea-level adaptation unit.

Earlier this month, climate scientists at the University of Melbourne warned an agreement reached in Paris to hold global average temperatures rise to under 2C above pre industrial levels would inevitably fail.

Last week, US researchers said sea levels driven by global warming were on track to dramatically boost the frequency of coastal flooding worldwide by mid-century, especially in tropical regions.

A 10 -20cm jump in the global ocean watermark by 2050 — a conservative forecast — would double flood risk in high-latitude regions, they reported in the journal Scientific Reports.

Major centres such as Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, along with the European Atlantic coast, would be highly exposed, they found.

But it would only take half as big a jump in ocean levels to double the number of serious flooding incidents in the tropics, including along highly populated river deltas in Asia and Africa.

Even at the low end of this sea rise spectrum, Mumbai, Kochi and Abidjan and many other cities would be significantly affected.

“We are 95 per cent confident that an added 5 — 10 centimetres will more than double the frequency of flooding in the tropics,” lead author Sean Vitousek, a climate scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told AFP.

SOURCE

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