Sunday, July 23, 2017



Roman Empire and Chinese Han Dynasty responsible for greenhouse gas emissions 1,800 years before Industrial Revolution

This study concerns methane but other gases produced by civilizational advance would have to be similar in incidence

The Roman Empire and the Chinese Han Dynasty were responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study which contradicts UN scientists’ view that man-made climate change only began with the Industrial Revolution.

Core samples from Greenland’s ice, which faithfully record the planet’s atmospheric conditions, showed that methane levels significantly rose about 2,000 years ago and remained constant for around 200 years, coinciding with the height of the 2 great empires.

Lead author of the study Celia Sapart of Utrecht University told Reuters, “Per capita they were already emitting quite a lot in the Roman Empire and Han Dynasty,” and said that methane was probably released during deforestation to clear land for farming and from the use of charcoal as fuel, for instance to smelt metal to make weapons.

The study, published in the journal Nature, found that rates of deforestation “show a decrease around AD 200, which is related to drastic population declines in China and Europe following the fall of the Han Dynasty and the decline of the Roman Empire.”

The world’s population 2,000 years ago was around 300 million and their contribution to global emissions were significant, but still tiny compared with the emissions of the 7 billion on Earth today.  Sapart estimated that methane emissions until 1800 were about 10% of the total for the past 2,000 years, with 90% occurring since the Industrial Revolution and the great surge in the use of fossil fuels.  She said, “The pre-industrial time was not a natural time for the climate – it was already influenced by human activity.  When we do future climate predictions we have to think about what is natural and what did we add.  We have to define what is really natural.”

The study noted a second rise in methane in the Medieval period, which coincided with a warm period from 800 to 1200 AD, the emergence of Europe’s economy from the Dark Ages, and population growth in Asia and Europe which led to more deforestation for farming.  It fell back again when the Black Death ravaged Asian and European populations.  A third rise in methane levels occurred around the start of the ‘Little Ice Age’ in the 1500s, as populations recovered after the plague.

SOURCE





Ecofascists Needed an Enemy, So They Chose Fossil Fuels

Divestment does not simply focus upon climate change or green living, but rather de-funding the fossil fuel industry.

What began as a single campaign on a college campus in 2010 has grown into a worldwide movement. It does not simply focus upon climate change or green living, but rather de-funding the fossil fuel industry. They call it divestment.

Fossil fuel divestment, the opposite of investment, means the selling of fossil fuel stocks. Recalling the successful 1980s divestment campaign against Apartheid, fossil fuel divestment advocates hope to create both financial and social pressure to ruin the fossil fuel industry, thus preserving the planet. Whether it’s college students protesting for the divestment of the school’s endowment or citizens marching for the divestment of the state’s pension, the movement has become a popular way for people to feel like they’re fighting to save the earth from both the disaster of climate change and the evil of corporations.

Bill McKibben, one of the leading advocates of the divestment movement, co-founded 350.org, a global climate change advocacy group that has held 20,000 rallies in every country in the world except North Korea (wonder why). In 2012, he wrote in Rolling Stone, “A rapid, transformative change would require building a movement, and movements require enemies. … And enemies are what climate change has lacked.”

That’s right — in order to transform the climate change debate into a movement, McKibben and his fellow ecofascists needed an enemy. So he started the divestment movement that casts the fossil fuel industry and those who invest in its companies as the morally sinister destroyers of the environment. McKibben’s admission of creating an enemy to bolster his campaign should delegitimize the moral claims of the movement. But it hasn’t.

GoFossilFree.org, one of the leading voices in fossil fuel divestment, speaks of the supposed moral motivations for its cause:

Fossil fuel divestment takes the fossil fuel industry to task for its culpability in the climate crisis. By naming this industry’s singularly destructive influence — and by highlighting the moral dimensions of climate change — we hope that the fossil fuel divestment movement can help break the hold that the fossil fuel industry has on our economy and our governments.
Go Fossil Free holds the fossil fuel industry responsible for destroying the planet and morally injuring its inhabitants. While McKibben created an enemy, Go Fossil Free has made the fight against that enemy a “moral” one, citing floods and natural disasters allegedly caused by climate change.

However, one study notes that deaths related to climate (flood, drought, storms, extreme heat or cold) have dropped 98% since 1920. The energy industry has facilitated this decline through building better homes, heating, air conditioning, proper irrigation and disaster warning systems. That sort of steals the, er, thunder of the ecofascists’ hyperbolic claims.

Another fallacy upon which the divestment movement relies is that fossil fuels have created extreme amounts of pollution. Yet according to Forbes, air pollution in the U.S. has declined 72% since 1970 despite a 47% total increase in energy use. In addition, developed countries that use fossil fuels have cleaner environments than underdeveloped countries where dumping waste in rivers and streams prevents access to clean water. In fact, one of the key differences between third world and first world countries depends upon access to reliable energy.

Alex Epstein, founder of the Center for Industrial Progress and author of the New York Times bestseller “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” notes that there are seven billion people on the planet who need access to inexpensive, reliable energy in order to flourish. Yet three billion people have virtually no energy. For much of the world, lack of energy, not use of energy, has been the greatest barrier to growth and productivity.

While the divestment movement has succeeded in creating both an enemy and a moral cause based upon fear and guilt, the evidence points to the reality that energy has helped hedge against climate-related disasters and provided food and health care to aid human life. Divesters fail to grasp how energy powers every modern convenience from a warm shower (natural gas), to adequate hospital care (electricity), to food (diesel-powered farm equipment), and they offer few, if any, real solutions to our planet’s energy needs. Perhaps they should invest in our future instead of trying to undermine it.

SOURCE





The Stupidity of Mayors Fighting Climate Change

Since President Donald Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, mayors from across the country have announced a renewed commitment to the agreement, promising to achieve its objectives on their own.

“If the federal government doesn’t act, it doesn’t mean we don’t have a national policy; the federal government doesn’t occupy the only place on this,” said Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans and president of the United States Conference of Mayors.

He’s absolutely right—just not in the way he means to be.

To be clear, these policies will be economic and environmental failures, just as Paris is. States and cities committing to climate plans that regulate affordable, dependable power sources out of existence or subsidize uncompetitive energy technologies distort markets and hurt families, businesses, and taxpayers—all for no meaningful climate benefit in return.

But no matter how expensive or inefficient a policy might be, the federal government shouldn’t stop states from implementing it and facing the benefits or consequences. The voters who shoulder the burden of these policies will ultimately determine the fate of the politicians championing them.

The American government was built on the principle of federalism—the distribution of power among different levels of the government, from federal to local.

If the president can’t or won’t act, Americans don’t have to throw their arms up in despair. Instead, they can fight for change, both good and bad, on another level.

Federalism is enshrined in the 10th Amendment, which assigns to the states and the people all powers not assigned to the U.S. or explicitly prohibited.

These mayors’ promises on global warming are a bad idea, but there’s a silver lining: We have good reason to be skeptical that they’ll actually be kept.

In 2007, when President George W. Bush refused to commit to the goals of the Paris climate agreement’s predecessor, the Kyoto Protocol, more than 1,000 mayors promised to achieve the objectives on their own.

When the carbon reduction deadline rolled around in 2012, however, hardly any city had managed to reach its goals.

Likewise, today’s pledges may prove to be nothing more than hot air. If politicians don’t follow through on their promises, they’ll have no one to blame but themselves.

This isn’t the first time since the election that people have advertently proven the effectiveness of local action, even if directed toward the wrong ends.

In the days following Nov. 8, donations to Planned Parenthood skyrocketed.

Donors intended their actions to be a protest against the possibility of Planned Parenthood losing its federal funding. Instead, they revealed why Planned Parenthood doesn’t need federal funding in the first place: If free individuals truly care about an issue, they’ll put their money where their mouth is. And if they don’t care, they won’t donate.

Expecting the federal government to solve every problem simply passes responsibility, and the check, to someone else.

As former Vice President Al Gore rightly put it, “If President Trump won’t lead, the American people will.” If only he could be right for the right reasons.

SOURCE




Tourists Shun Scottish Regions Hit By Wind Turbine ‘Blight’

More than half of tourists to Scotland would rather not visit scenic areas dominated by man-made structures such as wind farms, a YouGov poll suggests.

A survey carried out on behalf of the John Muir Trust (JMT) found that 55% of respondents were “less likely” to venture into areas of the countryside industrialised by giant turbines, electricity pylons and super-quarries.

Just 3% said they were “more likely” to visit such areas, while 26% said such large-scale developments would make “no difference”.

The poll has rekindled calls for Scottish ministers to increase protection for wild and scenic areas that, it is argued, will protect rural tourism businesses.

It follows a recent decision to approve the 22-turbine Creag Riabhach wind farm in Altnaharra, the first to win consent within a designated wild land area. Each turbine will stand 125m high.

“As schools across England break up for the summer this week and many families flock to Scotland, we must remember that, for many, it’s the ability to enjoy being outdoors in Scotland’s unique, unspoilt natural landscapes that brings them north,” said Andrew Bachell, JMT’s chief executive.

“When a clear majority of people say they’d be put off visiting wild and scenic areas by the existence of large-scale wind farms, giant pylons, super-quarries and other developments, policymakers have to pay attention, before it’s too late.”

SOURCE




More Judicial Overreach Stymies Trump's Deregulation Agenda

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 ruling, recently reversed the decision by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt of a 90-day stay on implementing new methane emissions regulations created during the final year of Barack Obama’s presidency. Pruitt argued that the stay was needed in order to thoroughly review the financial impact of the new regulations on the fossil fuel industry. Even the EPA estimated the compliance cost to be as high as $530 million, which means it would most likely be far higher. Pruitt further argued that not enough time was given for the oil industry to weigh in before the regulation went into effect.

The court rejected Pruitt’s argument, with the majority stating, “The administrative record thus makes clear that industry groups had ample opportunity to comment on all four issues on which EPA granted reconsideration, and indeed, that in several instances the agency incorporated those comments directly into the final rule.”

But there’s one big problem here that demonstrates yet another example of judicial overreach in the era of Donald Trump. This action taken by the court is extraordinary in that the court itself has recognized that its authority is limited to the reviewing of “final agency actions,” which clearly EPA Director Pruitt’s 90-day stay does not merit. In her dissenting opinion, Judge Janice Rogers blasted the majority opinion, stating, “In contrast to our precedent, the Court’s opinion concludes a particular administration proceeding has innumerable final agency actions, including intermediate decisions. No authority supports this proposition.”

Pruitt can appeal to the Supreme Court, but he won’t get a ruling on it until next year, and in the meantime the Obama-era regulation will go into effect. This is yet another reason for Trump to get busy putting conservative judges on the bench. It’s clear that the Left will continue to appeal to activist judges to block as much of Trump’s agenda as possible.

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here.  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, July 21, 2017




I’m a scientist. I’m blowing the whistle on the Trump administration

I think the top Warmists will lean on this guy to shut up. If it comes to a court case he will have to prove that he is right in what he says.  And that will mean that he has to prove the reality of anthropogenic global warming.  And he will fail in that.  So the Warmists cannot afford to have a court adjudicate on that

By Joel Clement

I am not a member of the deep state. I am not big government.

I am a scientist, a policy expert, a civil servant and a worried citizen. Reluctantly, as of today, I am also a whistleblower on an administration that chooses silence over science.

Nearly seven years ago, I came to work for the Interior Department, where, among other things, I’ve helped endangered communities in Alaska prepare for and adapt to a changing climate. But on June 15, I was one of about 50 senior department employees who received letters informing us of involuntary reassignments. Citing a need to “improve talent development, mission delivery and collaboration,” the letter informed me that I was reassigned to an unrelated job in the accounting office that collects royalty checks from fossil fuel companies.

I am not an accountant — but you don’t have to be one to see that the administration’s excuse for a reassignment such as mine doesn’t add up. A few days after my reassignment, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke testified before Congress that the department would use reassignments as part of its effort to eliminate employees; the only reasonable inference from that testimony is that he expects people to quit in response to undesirable transfers. Some of my colleagues are being relocated across the country, at taxpayer expense, to serve in equally ill-fitting jobs.

I believe I was retaliated against for speaking out publicly about the dangers that climate change poses to Alaska Native communities. During the months preceding my reassignment, I raised the issue with White House officials, senior Interior officials and the international community, most recently at a U.N. conference in June. It is clear to me that the administration was so uncomfortable with this work, and my disclosures, that I was reassigned with the intent to coerce me into leaving the federal government.

On Wednesday, I filed two forms — a complaint and a disclosure of information — with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. I filed the disclosure because eliminating my role coordinating federal engagement and leaving my former position empty exacerbate the already significant threat to the health and the safety of certain Alaska Native communities. I filed the complaint because the Trump administration clearly retaliated against me for raising awareness of this danger. Our country values the safety of our citizens, and federal employees who disclose threats to health and safety are protected from reprisal by the Whistleblower Protection Act and Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.

Removing a civil servant from his area of expertise and putting him in a job where he’s not needed and his experience is not relevant is a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars. Much more distressing, though, is what this charade means for American livelihoods. The Alaska Native villages of Kivalina, Shishmaref and Shaktoolik are perilously close to melting into the Arctic Ocean. In a region that is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, the land upon which citizens’ homes and schools stand is newly vulnerable to storms, floods and waves. As permafrost melts and protective sea ice recedes, these Alaska Native villages are one superstorm from being washed away, displacing hundreds of Americans and potentially costing lives. The members of these communities could soon become refugees in their own country.

Alaska’s elected officials know climate change presents a real risk to these communities. Gov. Bill Walker (I) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) have been sounding the alarm and scrambling for resources to help these villages. But to stave off a life-threatening situation, Alaska needs the help of a fully engaged federal government. Washington cannot turn its back.

While I have given small amounts to Democratic candidates in the past, I have no problem whatsoever working for a Republican administration. I believe that every president, regardless of party, has the right and responsibility to implement his policies. But that is not what is happening here. Putting citizens in harm’s way isn’t the president’s right. Silencing civil servants, stifling science, squandering taxpayer money and spurning communities in the face of imminent danger have never made America great.

Now that I have filed with the Office of Special Counsel, it is my hope that it will do a thorough investigation into the Interior Department’s actions. Our country protects those who seek to inform others about dangers to American lives. The threat to these Alaska Native communities is not theoretical. This is not a policy debate. Retaliation against me for those disclosures is unlawful.

Let’s be honest: The Trump administration didn’t think my years of science and policy experience were better suited to accounts receivable. It sidelined me in the hope that I would be quiet or quit. Born and raised in Maine, I was taught to work hard and speak truth to power. Trump and Zinke might kick me out of my office, but they can’t keep me from speaking out. They might refuse to respond to the reality of climate change, but their abuse of power cannot go unanswered.

SOURCE




Pruitt Is Cleaning Up the EPA

One of the best decisions Donald Trump has made thus far into his presidency was his choice of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA may prove to be a textbook example of how corruption works to twist an ostensibly apolitical government agency into a primary proponent of a political cause. But Pruitt is taking the bull by the horns.

The Wall Street Journal recently noted that Pruitt has been aggressively working on replacing Barack Obama-era science advisers. In the month of June alone the EPA notified 38 advisers that their committee appointments would not be renewed. While the Left has claimed that Trump is engaged in a “war on science,” the reality is exactly the opposite. A bit of context is needed to better understand the issue at hand.

For years, the EPA has relied heavily on several non-government advisory boards because it is required to hear an advisory board’s advice before enacting new regulations. The EPA is not, however, required to heed a board’s advice. According to the Federal Advisory Committee Act rules, all advisory boards are required to be balanced and unbiased. Historically, the majority of committee members have come from academia, with some coming from consulting and activist groups. Very few members have come from industry.

One of the EPA’s most prominent advisory boards is the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). In 1996, the EPA wanted to pass new restrictive regulations on emissions under the guise that these rules were needed to save the lives of thousands of Americans from dangerous air pollution. The problem was that the CASAC countered the EPA’s opinion, saying that research findings did not support the agency’s conclusion. Ignoring the advice, the EPA went ahead with enacting its costly regulations anyway.

Now here’s where the corruption problem begins to rear its ugly head. Ecofascists, frustrated with the independent nature of these advisory committees, worked to stack the deck in their favor. By the mid 2000s two-thirds of all CASAC members were grantees of the EPA. During Obama’s two terms, the number of grantees increased significantly, with hundreds of millions of dollars in research grants being awarded to these “independent” advisers. As The Wall Street Journal describes it, “In effect, EPA-funded researchers are empowered to review and approve their own work in order to rubber-stamp the EPA’s regulatory agenda. This is all done under the guise of ‘independence.’”

By reforming this practice, Pruitt is not working to quash science. On the contrary, he’s promoting it by dismantling a rigged system.

SOURCE




California Doubles Down on Cap-and-Trade

The Golden State’s legislature voted this week to prolong its onerous cap-and-trade scheme under the guise of curtailing global warming. Even more disturbing was the number of Republicans who joined the alarmist bandwagon. The Los Angeles Times triumphantly reports, “In a break with party leaders and activists in California and Washington, eight Republicans joined with Democrats to continue the cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.”

The Times continues, “The legislation would keep the 5-year-old program operating until 2030, providing a key tool for meeting the state’s ambitious goal for slashing emissions. Cap and trade also generates important revenue for building the bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco, another priority for the governor.” That would be the same bullet train that has turned into a financial debacle yet, for some reason, is considered a California holy grail. The Sacramento Bee dubs it one of the “state projects to offset the effects of climate change.” But it neither offsets climate change nor meets the criteria for frugal taxpayer spending.

In January, another LA Times report stated, “California’s bullet train could cost taxpayers 50% more than estimated — as much as $3.6 billion more. And that’s just for the first 118 miles through the Central Valley, which was supposed to be the easiest part of the route between Los Angeles and San Francisco. A confidential Federal Railroad Administration risk analysis, obtained by The Times, projects that building bridges, viaducts, trenches and track from Merced to Shafter, just north of Bakersfield, could cost $9.5 billion to $10 billion, compared with the original budget of $6.4 billion.”

The finishing touches of the Central Valley track might not occur until 2024 — a far cry from the original timeline: this year. This is emblematic of just how wasteful California is when it comes to allocating tax dollars. And it’s being done by lawmakers who have a vested interest that goes well beyond the scope of climate change. They’re most interested in funding pet projects like a leftist-coveted bullet train. That’s a lot of political capital to wager on a project that, so far, has been a complete failure. Other states, particularly Democrat-controlled ones, should take note lest they further aggravate the blue state exodus.

SOURCE




The Inconvenient Truth About Electric Vehicles

An electric auto will convert 5-10% of the energy in natural gas into motion. A normal vehicle will convert 20-30% of the energy in gasoline into motion. That's 3 or 4 times more energy recovered with an internal combustion vehicle than an electric vehicle.

Electricity is a specialty product. It's not appropriate for transportation. It looks cheap at this time, but that's because it was designed for toasters, not transportation. Increase the amount of wiring and infrastructure by a factor of a thousand, and it's not cheap.

Electricity does not scale up properly to the transportation level due to its miniscule nature. Sure, a whole lot can be used for something, but at extraordinary expense and materials.

Using electricity as an energy source requires two energy transformation steps, while using petroleum requires only one. With electricity, the original energy, usually chemical energy, must be transformed into electrical energy; and then the electrical energy is transformed into the kinetic energy of motion. With an internal combustion engine, the only transformation step is the conversion of chemical energy to kinetic energy in the combustion chamber.

The difference matters, because there is a lot of energy lost every time it is transformed or used. Electrical energy is harder to handle and loses more in handling.

The use of electrical energy requires it to move into and out of the space medium (aether) through induction. Induction through the aether medium should be referred to as another form of energy, but physicists sandwich it into the category of electrical energy. Going into and out of the aether through induction loses a lot of energy.

Another problem with electricity is that it loses energy to heat production due to resistance in the wires. A short transmission line will have 20% loss built in, and a long line will have 50% loss built in. These losses are designed in, because reducing the loss by half would require twice as much metal in the wires. Wires have to be optimized for diameter and strength, which means doubling the metal would be doubling the number of transmission lines.

High voltage transformers can get 90% efficiency with expensive designs, but household level voltages get 50% efficiency. Electric motors can get up to 60% efficiency, but only at optimum rpms and load. For autos, they average 25% efficiency. Gasoline engines get 25% efficiency with old-style carburetors and 30% with fuel injection, though additional loses can occur.

Applying this brilliant engineering to the problem yields this result: A natural gas electric generating turbine gets 40% efficiency. A high voltage transformer gets 90% efficiency. A household level transformer gets 50% efficiency. A short transmission line gets 20% loss, which is 80% efficiency. The total is 40% x 90% x 50% x 80% = 14.4% of the energy recovered before the electrical system does something similar to the gasoline engine in the vehicle. Some say the electricity performs a little better in the vehicle, but it's not much.

Electricity appears to be easy to handle sending it through wires. But it is the small scale that makes it look cheap. Scaling it up takes a pound of metal for so many electron-miles. Twice as much distance means twice as much metal. Twice as many amps means twice as much metal. Converting the transportation system into an electrical based system would require scaling up the amount of metal and electrical infrastructure by factors of hundreds or thousands. Where are all those lines going to go? They destroy environments. Where is that much natural gas going to come from for the electrical generators? There is very little natural gas in existence when using it for a large scale purpose. Natural gas has to be used with solar and wind energy, because only it can be turned on and off easily for backup.

One of the overwhelming facts about electric transportation is the chicken and egg phenomenon. Supposedly, a lot of electric vehicles will create an incentive to create a lot of expensive infrastructure. There are a lot of reasons why none of the goals can be met for such an infrastructure. The basic problem is that electricity will never be appropriate for such demanding use as general transportation, which means there will never be enough chickens or eggs to balance the demand. It's like trying to improve a backpack to such an extent that it will replace a pickup truck. The limitations of muscle metabolism are like the limitations of electrical energy.

Electrons are not a space-saving form of energy. Electrons have to be surrounded by large amounts of metal. It means electric motors get heavy and large. When cruising around town, the problems are not so noticeable. But the challenges of ruggedness are met far easier with internal combustion engines. Engineers say it is nice to get rid of the drive train with electric vehicles. But in doing so, they add clutter elsewhere, which adds weight, takes up space and messes up the suspension system. Out on the highway, the suspension system is the most critical factor.

These problems will prevent electric vehicles from replacing petroleum vehicles for all but specialty purposes. The infrastructure needed for electric vehicles will never exist when limited to specialty purposes. This would be true even with the perfect battery which takes up no space and holds infinite charge.

SOURCE




Debunked Climate Scientist Threatens Legal Action Against his Critics

A Stanford University professor indicated he was ready to take legal action against NOAA researchers who published a recent study critical of his work on green energy.

Emails obtained by National Review’s Robert Bryce show Stanford’s Mark Jacobson hired lawyers “to address the falsification of claims” about his work. Jacobson has not yet filed a lawsuit.

Jacobson sent a June email to Chris Clack , a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) mathematician who helped debunk his widely-cited 2015 research claimed the U.S. could run on 100 percent green energy. Clack and 20 other researchers published a retort to Jacobson’s study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), concluding its “work used invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions.”

“It’s unprecedented for a scientist to do that,” Chris Clack, told The National Review. “We have not attacked him. All the vitriol has come from his side. We have only talked about the substance of the paper.”

I have no comment except to say that any email you have obtained from a third party that has my words on it is copyrighted, and your printing any email of mine would be done without my permission and would be considered a copyright infringement,” Jacobson told The National Review.

Jacobson’s research contained several serious errors, such as overstating the available hydropower in the U.S. by roughly a factor of ten as well as claiming all commercial gasoline powered jetliners would be replaced with hydrogen in thirty years.

Rather than accept any of the criticisms, Jacobson responded with tirades on Twitter and the environmentalists blog EcoWatch. Jaconbson responded to the criticism by claiming “[t]here is not a single error in our paper,” to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Technology Review.

Environmentalists and some Democrats widely hailed Jacobson’s paper, with politicians like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and activist celebrities like Mark Ruffalo citing it. However, even a green energy CEO says that powering everything in modern civilization can rely solely on solar and wind power is a “hoax.”

Power grids require demand for electricity to exactly match supply in order to function, which is an enormous problem for wind and solar power since their output cannot be accurately predicted in advance or easily adjusted. This is the entire reason for Renewable Energy Credits. Wind and solar can also burn out the grid if they produce too much, or not enough, electricity, leading to brownouts or blackouts. Such damage has already occurred in power grids relying too much on solar and wind power — like California and Germany.

When the islands of Tasmania and El Hierro tried to power their economies with 100 percent green energy, both islands quickly switched back to diesel generators after suffering reliability problems and soaring costs. The analysis suggests it would have taken 84 years for El Hierro’s wind and hydropower systems to simply pay back their capital costs.

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here.  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, July 20, 2017



What an airhead!

The fantasy below is by Ida Auken, a Member of the Parliament of Denmark and a priest of the Church of Denmark.  She is a member of a radical Leftist party and as Green as they come



Her fantasy set out below reminds one powerfully of an earlier fantasy, which predicted that "the state will wither away" (Marx, Engels, Lenin) -- which was a very bad prophecy. The State in fact grows rather than recedes.  She thinks private property will wither away, which is also Marxist and just as improbable. Her prophecy dismisses almost the whole of human experience.

Ida's idea seems to be that a coming era of robotics will abolish the need to work.  But that prophecy has been made many times as machines became more and more sophisticated.  Yet the proportion of the population working remains much the same through all these changes.  People's needs and wants expand as the possibilities do.

And private property is now way more extensive than ever before.  Kitchen gadgets alone have proliferated enormously.  I have an electric crockpot, an electric can-opener, an electric rice-cooker, a microwave oven, an electric sandwich maker etc.  My parents had none of those even in their declining years.

The actual trend in society is massively opposite to what the poor deluded woman hypothesizes.  The brain beneath her blonde hair clearly has some twisted bits in it.  She is high on dreams.  Her no. 1 passion seems to be recycling, which is quite labor-intensive.  One wonders how that fits in with her dream of idleness below


Welcome to the year 2030. Welcome to my city - or should I say, "our city". I don't own anything. I don't own a car. I don't own a house. I don't own any appliances or any clothes.

It might seem odd to you, but it makes perfect sense for us in this city. Everything you considered a product, has now become a service. We have access to transportation, accommodation, food and all the things we need in our daily lives. One by one all these things became free, so it ended up not making sense for us to own much.

First communication became digitized and free to everyone. Then, when clean energy became free, things started to move quickly. Transportation dropped dramatically in price. It made no sense for us to own cars anymore, because we could call a driverless vehicle or a flying car for longer journeys within minutes. We started transporting ourselves in a much more organized and coordinated way when public transport became easier, quicker and more convenient than the car. Now I can hardly believe that we accepted congestion and traffic jams, not to mention the air pollution from combustion engines. What were we thinking?

Sometimes I use my bike when I go to see some of my friends. I enjoy the exercise and the ride. It kind of gets the soul to come along on the journey. Funny how some things seem never seem to lose their excitement: walking, biking, cooking, drawing and growing plants. It makes perfect sense and reminds us of how our culture emerged out of a close relationship with nature.

"Environmental problems seem far away"

In our city we don't pay any rent, because someone else is using our free space whenever we do not need it. My living room is used for business meetings when I am not there.

Once in awhile, I will choose to cook for myself. It is easy - the necessary kitchen equipment is delivered at my door within minutes. Since transport became free, we stopped having all those things stuffed into our home. Why keep a pasta-maker and a crepe cooker crammed into our cupboards? We can just order them when we need them.

This also made the breakthrough of the circular economy easier. When products are turned into services, no one has an interest in things with a short life span. Everything is designed for durability, repairability and recyclability. The materials are flowing more quickly in our economy and can be transformed to new products pretty easily. Environmental problems seem far away, since we only use clean energy and clean production methods. The air is clean, the water is clean and nobody would dare to touch the protected areas of nature because they constitute such value to our well being. In the cities we have plenty of green space and plants and trees all over. I still do not understand why in the past we filled all free spots in the city with concrete.

The death of shopping

Shopping? I can't really remember what that is. For most of us, it has been turned into choosing things to use. Sometimes I find this fun, and sometimes I just want the algorithm to do it for me. It knows my taste better than I do by now.

When AI and robots took over so much of our work, we suddenly had time to eat well, sleep well and spend time with other people. The concept of rush hour makes no sense anymore, since the work that we do can be done at any time. I don't really know if I would call it work anymore. It is more like thinking-time, creation-time and development-time.

For a while, everything was turned into entertainment and people did not want to bother themselves with difficult issues. It was only at the last minute that we found out how to use all these new technologies for better purposes than just killing time.

SOURCE





Almost middle of summer and still no Northwest Passage

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.






Marin, San Mateo counties sue Big Oil over climate change

Two Bay Area counties and a Southern California city concerned about rising sea levels sued 37 of the world’s biggest oil and coal companies Monday, claiming the fossil fuel giants should pay for damages wrought by climate change — a first-of-its-kind challenge that some liken to the high-stakes litigation of the tobacco industry in the 1990s.

Marin County, San Mateo County and Imperial Beach (San Diego County) filed separate but nearly identical lawsuits in their respective Superior Court offices that seek to tie fossil fuel development to climate-related problems in coastal areas. Lawyers for the three communities worked together to document such effects as more frequent flooding and beach erosion as well as the possibility that water will eventually inundate roads, airports, sewage treatment plants and other real estate.

The lawyers contend that the oil companies knew about the damage their actions were causing, denied it and sought to discredit scientific findings that greenhouse gas emissions were heating the Earth’s atmosphere.

The suits are the latest in a small but growing effort to hold Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and other major energy companies accountable for the effects of global warming. Legal experts say the challenge is more comprehensive than previous endeavors, and is based on better climate science and more evidence to support a claim of conspiracy among oil company executives.

SOURCE

Steve Goddard comments:  "Apparently no one told these left-wing morons that sea level isn’t rising in the San Francisco Bay.



And as far as San Diego county goes, sea level there has hardly changed in 145 years. Please put me on the witness stand. I will have the plaintiffs crying for mercy in about five minutes. King Canute must be rolling in his grave at the stupidity on display by Democrats




The magic of 59 degrees -- where did it go?

Just exactly how much has the climate changed in recent decades? Longtime New York Times readers can be forgiven if they are now thoroughly confused on the matter.

Anyone old enough to have been a Times reader in the late 1980s may recall a series of stories that helped educate the public on how cool our planet used to be. Here’s one report from March of 1988:

"One of the scientists, Dr. James E. Hansen of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, said he used the 30-year period 1950-1980, when the average global temperature was 59 degrees Fahrenheit, as a base to determine temperature variations."

The paper returned to the topic in June of that year, and reminded readers of the planet’s colder past:

"Dr. Hansen, who records temperatures from readings at monitoring stations around the world, had previously reported that four of the hottest years on record occurred in the 1980’s. Compared with a 30-year base period from 1950 to 1980, when the global temperature averaged 59 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature was one-third of a degree higher last year."

The following year, the paper reported a new record high in global temperatures and affirmed its climate history, which seemed to be the consensus view—at least among scientists quoted by the Times:

"The British readings showed that the average global temperature in 1988 was 0.612 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the long-term average for the period 1950 through 1979, which is a base for comparing global temperatures. The average worldwide temperature for that 30-year period is roughly 59 degrees Fahrenheit, the British researchers said."

In 1991, the Times reported yet another record high, and published yet another reminder of how cool the planet used to be:

"The Goddard group found that the record average surface temperature for the globe was eight-tenths of a degree Fahrenheit above the 1951-1980 average of 59 degrees. The British group found it seventh-tenths of a degree higher than the 1951-80 average."

By that point a reasonable consumer might have been ardently hoping to return to that magical era in which global temperatures averaged just 59 degrees. But in the ensuing years it must have been difficult for Times readers to stay hopeful. As the years and then the decades rolled by, The Times routinely reported record or near-record highs as global temperatures appeared to march ever higher.

In January of this year, the newspaper published a feature entitled, “How 2016 Became Earth’s Hottest Year on Record.” The Times noted the disturbing news that “2016 was the first time that the hottest year on record occurred three times in a row.” And things could be about to get much worse. “We expect records to continue to be broken as global warming proceeds,” climate enthusiast Michael Mann told the Times.

Is there any way to return to the salad days of 59 degrees? Well, it turns out to be easier than you might think. In January, as the government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was reporting the third consecutive year of record highs, it noted that the average global temperature in 2016 had surged to a sizzling... 58.69 degrees.

Over the years researchers seem to have concluded that the planet was not as hot as they thought. Oops.

The most important facts in the climate debate are subject to frequent revisions. This doesn’t mean the global warming thesis is wrong, but it argues for skepticism. The Journal’s Holman Jenkins noted in 2015:

"By the count of researcher Marcia Wyatt in a widely circulated presentation, the U.S. government’s published temperature data for the years 1880 to 2010 has been tinkered with 16 times in the past three years."

While waiting for the science to settle, this column’s advice to Times readers is to go ahead and fly around the world on the newspaper’s luxurious jet—if you don’t mind the company.

SOURCE





Australia: Who’s afraid of the big bad climate monster?

IN Al Gore’s latest cinematic dose of climate scaremongering, a young Asian man is crying.

“I feel so scared” he wails, before vision of solicitous uncle Al patting his hand in an attempt to soothe away his fears of the apocalypse.

Scaremongering is what Gore does best, and fear is the business model that has made him rich, though his every apocalyptic scenario has failed to materialise.

In Australia last week to spruik his upcoming movie An Inconvenient Sequel, the former US vice president tried it on again, claiming Mother Nature was “screaming” and the world would ­descend into “political disruption and chaos and diseases, stronger storms and more ­destructive floods” unless we buy his snake oil.

Silly Labor premiers bought that snake oil last week, pledging alongside the grinning Gore that Victoria, Queensland, the ACT and South Australia would embrace renewables to produce zero net emissions by 2050.

They haven’t learned the lesson from SA’s extreme green experiment with renewable energy that has produced nothing but crippling blackouts and the highest electricity prices in the world.

Any normal person with such a woeful record of accuracy as Gore would be ashamed to show his face. Eleven years after his Inconvenient Truth movie scared little kids witless, his warnings of climate armageddon have come to nothing.

“Unless we take drastic measures the world would reach a point of no return within 10 years,” he told us then. Wrong. In fact the world has just been through almost 20 years in which there has been a hiatus in global warming, even as carbon dioxide has increased: an “inconvenient pause” as some wags put it.

Around the world people are waking up to the fact that their leaders have been crying wolf, while their electricity bills go through the roof.

Australia’s prosperity is built on the reams of cheap, abundant fossil fuel under our feet, and yet green zealots have forced us into an energy crisis.

But when Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly last week pointed out the logical fact that Australians will die because of high power bills, he was slammed as a “scaremonger” by the very people who worship at Al Gore’s feet.

Yes, cold kills, and electricity prices have doubled in the past decade, as uncertainty plagues the energy sector, and cheap coal-fired power is priced out of the market by government subsidies for unreliable renewable energy production.

The states, which bear much of the blame, continue with the fantasy that you can replace coal with wind and solar while simultaneously banning the development of onshore gas fields.

The iron-clad law of ­energy supply is that more ­renewables force out baseload power, which you need when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

Yet SA is pretending that the world’s biggest battery built at huge taxpayer expense by another global green huckster, Elon Musk, is going to save the day.

The diabolic task facing federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg is to wrangle agreement on something approaching a rational energy policy out of the recently ­released Finkel Review.

Unlike Donald Trump, this government doesn’t have an electoral mandate for pulling out of the Paris treaty.

Tony Abbott was a climate sceptic yet he signed us up to the Paris renewable energy target of slashing emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2050.

That was all he could get through Senate where even mining millionaire Clive Palmer had been got at by Al Gore. So this is where we are.

Appointing Alan Finkel as chief scientist was one of Malcolm Turnbull’s first tasks after he deposed Abbott. Like Turnbull, Finkel is a climate true believer who drives an electric car and powers his South Yarra home on ­renewables.

He’s also an accomplished scientist and entrepreneur with a PhD in electrical ­engineering.

He’s smart but he has produced a report bullish on renewables and bearish on coal.

Finkel is right that wimpish investors have deserted coal in Australia and that electricity prices have soared because of the uncertainty that ensued since Labor’s vandalism from 2007.

But coal is nowhere near obsolete. As the Australian Minerals Council points out, coal is the world’s leading source of electricity and will be till at least 2040.

In our region countries are busy building new clean coal plants. In East Asia alone 1250 new plants are under construction or planned.

Yet in the past eight years in Australia not a single new baseload coal or gas generation unit has been built.

That has to change.

Turnbull has now come around to that realisation, telling the Liberal National Party state convention in Brisbane yesterday: “Those people who say coal and other fossil fuels have no ­future are delusional.”

Fossil fuels are here to stay, despite Al Gore.

SOURCE

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

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

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Warmists take note: Scientists are stunned by corals as big as cars and thriving marine life at Bikini Atoll site where 23 atomic bombs were dropped

Corals and much else are not in danger anywhere on this  evidence.  It is also evidence that the harm from radiation has been much exaggerated

Bikini Atoll, the former paradise island used by the US to carry out 23 nuclear weapons tests 70 years ago, is now teeming with life, scientists have found.

The Pacific Ocean island has blooming populations of plants and animal life, filled with fish such as snapper, sharks and tuna while boasting corals as big as cars.

Crabs the size of hubcaps are said to be feasting on coconuts filled with radioactive groundwater as part of an ecosystem described by experts as 'remarkably resilient'.

Scientists are now sequencing the DNA of the Bikini Atoll coral to better understand how they are able to survive.

The study may help researchers better understand how certain DNA can combat genetic diseases, such as cancer.

During the Cold War, the US detonated 23 nuclear bombs at Bikini Atoll, including a device in 1954 that was 1,100-times more powerful than the Hiroshima atom bomb.

The blasts, detonated in the years between 1946 and 1954, exposed corals and other species to persistent, high levels of radioactivity.

At the time of the tests, residents of the islands were moved to other locations, and the site has remained uninhabited  beyond a handful of caretakers since.

A 2012 report to the United Nations stated that there was 'near-irreversible environmental contamination' to the former nuclear site.

But scientists have found that populations of coral, crabs, fish and sharks are thriving at Bikini Atoll.

A researcher told the Guardian that fish populations are thriving because they have been left alone - 'in a strange way they are protected by the history of this place'.

The findings, led by scientists at Stanford University in northern California, featured in an episode of Big Pacific aired on June 28, a natural history TV series on PBS.

The five-part series, which looked at strange wildlife populations in the Pacific Ocean, did not air in the UK but will be available to buy on DVD later this year.

The study focused on reports of mutant sharks that are missing their second dorsal fin around a submerged hydrogen bomb crater near the island.

Professor Steve Palumbi, a marine scientist at Stanford whose team have been studying the effects of radiation poisoning on marine life, said the bizarre ecosystem is 'remarkably resilient'.

He said that, to the naked eye, the crabs, fish and corals around Bikini Atoll look perfectly normal, and some of the coral has been around for decades.

During the Cold War, the US detonated 23 nuclear bombs at Bikini Atoll, including a device in 1954 that was 1,100-times more powerful than the Hiroshima atom bomb.

The blasts, detonated in the years between 1946 and 1954, exposed corals and other species to persistent, high levels of radioactivity.

The researchers discovered plentiful schools of fish at a lagoon near the Micronesian island, located halfway between Hawaii and Australia.

Professor Palumbi told the Guardian that fish populations are thriving because they have been left alone - 'in a strange way they are protected by the history of this place'.

'It is a remarkable environment, quite odd,' he said.

The fish spawn around the island's waters using an abundant population of coral that seems unaffected by the deadly radiation at the site.

Professor Palumbi and his team are now sequencing the DNA of the Bikini Atoll coral to better understand how they are able to survive.

The study may help to develop research into genetic diseases, such as cancer, in humans.

'The terrible history of is an ironic setting for research that might help people live longer,' Professor Palumbi said.

'By understanding how corals could have recolonised the radiation-filled bomb craters, maybe we can discover something new about keeping DNA intact.'

Although local wildlife appears to be flourishing, the Bikini Atoll site is still considered dangerous to humans.

A 2012 report to the United Nations stated that there was 'near-irreversible environmental contamination'.

'This is the most destructive thing we have ever done to the ocean, dropping 23 atomic bombs on it, yet the ocean is really striving to come back to life,' said Professor Palumbi.

'The fact there is life there and the life there is trying to come back from the most violent thing we've ever done to it is pretty hopeful.'

SOURCE




Russia suspected of using Bermuda shell company to exploit American anti-fracking activists  

Russia’s propaganda schemes and shell companies are so complex that investigators call them “matryoshkas” for the Russian nesting dolls that hide one inside the other. Capitol Hill lawmakers say they are now wrestling with one that appears to have twisted American oil and gas policy in Moscow’s favor.

Adding fresh intrigue to the multiple Russia probes underway across Washington, top Republican lawmakers are demanding that the Trump administration immediately investigate a Bermuda-based shell company with suspected Kremlin ties that is accused of working in the shadows to move millions of dollars to anti-fracking activists across the U.S.

Capitol Hill investigators say the Bermuda fracking case underscores the complexity of recent Russian influence operations that attempt to use Americans as pawns in money laundering or propaganda schemes.

“If you connect the dots, it is clear that Russia is funding U.S. environmental groups in an effort to suppress our domestic oil and gas industry, specifically hydraulic fracking,” Rep. Lamar Smith, Republican Texas, said in a statement.

The fracking revelations dovetail with a recently declassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that concluded that Russia’s state-owned media outlet Russia Today, or RT, also engaged in a vigorous anti-fracking campaign to benefit the leading Russian state-owned energy firm Gazprom.

In recent years, NATO chiefs have criticized Russia for conspiring to undermine technology in Europe by supporting anti-fracking protesters in Romania and Bulgaria. Former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind the efforts.

Fracking involves blasting shale rock with water, sand and chemicals to release trapped natural gas. Although it has led to a boom in U.S. gas production, environmental groups have voiced opposition, saying it contributes to global warming.

Russia has aligned itself with the anti-fracking movement for fear that aggressive U.S. fracking will cut into Moscow’s global gas profits, analysts say.

An investigator speaking to The Washington Times on the condition of anonymity for security reasons said Moscow does not care whether it’s using Democrats or Republicans in an influence campaign.

“The Kremlin seeks to influence American debate in ways that look natural,” the investigator said. “To do this, they use what we call ‘useful idiots,’ or people who are unaware they are being used.”

Shell companies

On Capitol Hill, worries over the Russian anti-fracking scheme led Mr. Smith, who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, to send a letter late last month to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

The six-page letter asks Treasury officials to investigate “what appears to be a concerted effort by foreign entities to funnel millions of dollars through various nonprofit entities to influence the U.S. energy market.”

Co-signed by Rep. Randy K. Weber Sr., Texas Republican, the letter targets the San Francisco-based environmental group the Sea Change Foundation, which is alleged to have taken $23 million in 2010 and 2011 from Bermuda-based shell company Klein Ltd., which reportedly has ties to Russian oligarchs.

According to IRS documents, Sea Change Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private foundation.

After receiving funds from Bermuda, Sea Change is suspected of passing millions of dollars to U.S.-based environmental groups opposed to fracking, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters.

Last week, Klein Ltd. responded to the Capitol Hill accusations and denied funneling Russian money to environmental groups.

“Our firm has represented Klein since its inception, and we can state categorically that at no point did this philanthropic organization receive or expend funds from Russian sources or Russian-connected sources and Klein has no Russian connection whatsoever,” Klein attorney Roderick M. Forrest said in an email to The Times last week.

House investigators, led by Mr. Smith, believe the scheme potentially violates federal statutes pertaining to agents of foreign governments or those lobbying on behalf of domestic and foreign interests, but others on Capitol Hill are less sure. They note that private U.S. foundations may accept foreign contributions and that Moscow might have exploited that loophole in this particular case.

The League of Conservation Voters also denies all charges that it has any Kremlin associations.

“This seems like nothing more than an attempt at distraction away from the Trump campaign’s well-publicized interactions with Russian interests to influence the election,” league spokesman David Willett said in an email. “We have no connections to Russia and have been an effective advocate for environmental protection for over 45 years.”

Other environmental groups have blasted the House Republicans’ call for an investigation as “pathetic,” and Klein insists all its work is legal and operates within Bermuda’s strict regulations against money laundering.

Long shadows

Russia’s propaganda shadow has hung over environmental groups for some time. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on record calling out Russia for creating “phony environmental groups” opposed to pipelines and fracking.

“We were even up against phony environmental groups, and I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand against any effort — ‘Oh that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you’ — and a lot of the money supporting that message was coming from Russia,” Mrs. Clinton said in a June 2014 speech.

House investigators are unsure how much more they will be able to unearth about Sea Change, which was first exposed in a 2014 report by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. That report closely connected Klein with Russia’s state-owned oil giant Rosneft and Russian energy investment groups including Firebird New Russia Fund and VimpelCom Ltd.

The report singled out that Sea Change functioned as a “pass-through” financing organization. Investigators say such opacity is what they confront when they attempt to prosecute complex international Russian schemes.

One investigator compared the Sea Change probe to a recent Interpol investigation into a suspected Russian mafia money laundering operating that infiltrated Portugal’s top football teams. Because of the Portuguese scheme’s complexity, which included multiple shell companies, tax fraud, corruption and forgery of documents, Portuguese law enforcement code-named the case Operation Matryoshka Dolls.

SOURCE



Tired of Being Wrong, Climate Alarmists Move Doomsday to Next Century

If the climate alarmists weren't still so politically powerful and represented in Congress by their devoted cult members, it would almost be easy to pity them. Why? Because they're so spectacularly wrong about so many things.

They keep the hype coming regardless, as in this article that cites the fact that it's hot in the desert in the summertime to say that air travel may be doomed.

The cult's leader — Al Gore — said in 2009 that there was a 75 percent chance that the entire arctic polar ice cap would melt by 2014.

It's still there.

The year before the North Pole was supposed to be gone, noted climate scientist Hans von Storch went against cult orthodoxy in an interview with Spiegel Online in 2013 and had some interesting things to say about the climate prediction models so revered by the alarmists.

After noting that “climate change seems to be taking a break,” von Storch had this to say about the models:

“If things continue as they have been, in five years, at the latest, we will need to acknowledge that something is fundamentally wrong with our climate models. A 20-year pause in global warming does not occur in a single modeled scenario. But even today, we are finding it very difficult to reconcile actual temperature trends with our expectations.”

He followed that up with this after being asked what might be wrong with the models:

There are two conceivable explanations — and neither is very pleasant for us. The first possibility is that less global warming is occurring than expected because greenhouse gases, especially CO2, have less of an effect than we have assumed. This wouldn't mean that there is no man-made greenhouse effect, but simply that our effect on climate events is not as great as we have believed. The other possibility is that, in our simulations, we have underestimated how much the climate fluctuates owing to natural causes.

After so many swings and misses while attempting to predict doomsday as being just around the corner, the alarmists have decided to provide themselves a little cover:

Climate alarmist James Hansen's prediction of Manhattan being underwater by 2018 seems to not be happening, so he's moving his own goal posts and saying “50 to 150 years” now.

That's the beauty of being one of the “we believe in science” people: there's never any penalty for being wrong. Every prediction that doesn't come true isn't a cause for reflection about perhaps adjusting the conclusion; it's merely an opportunity to pull a new prediction out of thin air.

Perhaps they are finally getting embarrassed, though. Tossing all of the predictions a century down the road at least saves them from having to be around when those are proved wrong.

Unless, of course, the real scientists who are working on aging and extending life have some big success soon.

SOURCE





Swiss Physicist Concludes IPCC Assumptions ‘Violate Reality’…CO2 A ‘Very Weak Greenhouse Gas’

A Swiss scientist known to have published hundreds of scientific papers in physics journals has authored a new scholarly paper that casts serious doubts on the effectiveness of CO2 as a greenhouse gas influencing Earth’s temperatures.

This paper has been added to a growing volume of peer-reviewed scientific papers that seriously question estimates of a high climate sensitivity to significant increases in CO2 concentrations.

Below are some of the key user-friendly (non-technical) points from Dr. Reinhart’s paper entitled Infrared absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

A summarizing conclusion from the calculations may be that if we doubled today’s concentration (400 ppm) to 800 ppm, the consequent temperature response would be less than 1/4th of a degree Celsius.  Even with a ten-fold increase in today’s CO2 concentration (400 ppm) to 4,000 ppm, the resulting temperature change would amount to just 0.8°C.

Based on all these facts, we conclude that CO2 is a very weak greenhouse gas. We emphasize that our simplifying assumptions are by no means trying to minimize the absorption potential of CO2. To the contrary, they lead to overestimating the limiting values. The assumption of a constant temperature and black body radiation definitely violates reality and even the principles of thermodynamics.

Our results permit to conclude that CO2 is a very weak greenhouse gas and cannot be accepted as the main driver of climate change. The observed temperature increase since pre-industrial times is close to an order of magnitude higher than that attributable to CO2. We find that the increase of CO2 only might become dangerous, if the concentrations are considerably greater than 4000 ppm. At present rates of increase this would take more than 200 years. Therefore, demands for sequestering CO2 are unjustified and trading of CO2 certificates is an economic absurdity. The climate change must have a very different origin and the scientific community must look for causes of climate change that can be solidly based on physics and chemistry.

SOURCE




Australia: Plastic bags are GOOD for the environment -- compared with the alternatives

News that Australia’s two largest supermarkets were completely phasing out single-use plastic bags was met with praise from environmental groups on Friday.

The move will affect shoppers in NSW, Victoria and WA, bringing them into line with South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT, which already have statewide bans on plastic bags. A statewide ban in Queensland comes into effect next year.

From next year, shoppers will have to pay 15 cents each for heavier, reusable plastic bags.

Jon Dee, managing director of environmental lobby group Do Something and founder of the National Plastic Bag Campaign, called on the federal government to institute a nationwide ban. “Such a national ban would reduce Australia’s plastic bag use by at an estimated six billion bags a year,” he said.

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said the supermarket handed out more than 3.2 billion plastic bags a year and “hence can play a significant role in reducing overall plastic bag usage”.

“Today’s commitment shows we are committed to taking our environmental and community responsibilities seriously,” he said.

The problem with scrapping plastic bags, however, is it increases use of bin liners.

In 2012, a review of South Australia’s bag ban found just 15 per cent of consumers purchased bin liners before the ban, compared with 80 per cent after, “increasing some scepticism about the broader environmental benefit”.

The review suggested that “any future initiatives should include a focus on changing household bin liner behaviour”. That’s because bin liners “do not break down well in modern, highly compacted landfills”, a 2014 WA government study noted.

In 2011, a report by the UK Environment Agency found single-use plastic bags actually had the lowest overall environmental impact in eight out of nine categories compared with heavier options, when the entire production and transport life cycle was taken into account.

A paper bag would have to be reused seven times to have the same “global warming potential” as a traditional plastic bag used as a bin liner, a heavy-duty plastic bag nine times, a tote bag 26 times and a cotton bag 327 times.

That study calculated that just over four in 10 of all lightweight plastic bags were reused in the place of heavier bin liners.

With 90 per cent of households using either bin liners or plastic bags to line their bins, plastic bags being phased out and bin liners discouraged, the natural question becomes — what exactly are you meant to use?

SOURCE

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

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



Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Boston wants to fight climate change. So why is every new building made of glass?

It's the little people who have to make sacrifices, not the Boston Brahmins

If architects, planners, and public officials in Boston mean everything they say about sustainability and climate readiness, why is the city’s latest construction boom filling the skyline with so much glass? From the shimmering height of the Millennium Tower to the waterfront views of 22 Liberty, and a boxy office and condo complex going up at Pier 4, glass exteriors have become a major feature of today’s urban landscape. Just as we associate periods in Boston’s history with specific materials and styles — like 19th-century brick apartment blocks and 20th-century monumental concrete forms — glass is the material of the moment. The new buildings mimic others being erected in New York, London, Dubai, Singapore, and other cities around the world. Glass walls have become a shortcut for architecture that is sleek, cosmopolitan, and of-the-moment.

Yet glass buildings also take a lot of energy to heat and cool. When New York started tracking energy use by skyscrapers, the gleaming 7 World Trade Center — one of that city’s more efficient glass towers — scored worse than the 1930s-era Empire State Building. Oddly, glass buildings are proliferating even as cities like Boston set ambitious goals to deal with climate change.

Former mayor Thomas Menino vowed to cultivate “the most sustainable city in the United States”; his successor, Martin Walsh, has called Boston “America’s climate champion” and set a goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.

Such rhetoric from City Hall resonates within an architecture profession that has embraced climate awareness in a big way. The “green” building industry has exploded in the past decade; green building conferences now draw tens of thousands of attendees every year. Sustainability is at the forefront of architecture curricula, and hundreds of thousands of architects get certified in sustainable design. In specialty publications, architects and other building experts have been fretting about the popularity of glass exteriors for years.

But all the talk about sustainability among architects hasn’t actually translated into lots of sustainable buildings in the real world. In reality, the industry faces a massive problem: By some estimates, the building sector consumes nearly half of the energy and produces 45 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Many architects have signed on to an industry challenge to become carbon neutral by 2030, but new buildings are already slipping behind the targets to get there. Permissive building codes, industry inertia, and market demands — like clients clamoring for floor-to-ceiling views — have widened the discrepancy between the kind of buildings cities say they want and what they actually allow. So while the industry inches towards better environmental performance, buildings in Boston and other cities still fall short of the sustainability goals that everyone claims to embrace.

The debate over glass buildings is one example of a larger fault line in architecture, a profession where the dreams of social and environmental visionaries collide with the harsh realities of getting building projects financed.

Sustainability-minded architects are trying to wean colleagues and clients from all-glass buildings, which they see as a relic of the past rather than a vision of the future. “Our goal is not to demonize glass as a material,” says Blake Jackson, an architect at Tsoi/Kobus & Associates in Cambridge. But he says glass can be used judiciously in a way that’s responsive to the environment.

Others describe the issue more starkly. “Glass is like sugar,” says Ilana Judah, director of sustainability at FXFOWLE Architects in New York. It’s inherently appealing to the senses and was once a luxury. Now, as a commodity that’s both appealing and plentiful, it creates problems. “Sugar is an incredibly commonplace item now,” she says, “and we have an obesity issue.” Judah says that glass, like sugar, has negative consequences when used in excess. “My perspective is that we’re overdosing on glass,” she says.

Architecture has been in a love affair and struggle with glass buildings for nearly a century, since floor-to-ceiling glass walls became possible around the 1920s. “The big fight in all traditional buildings up to that time was how to get natural light into spaces,” says Blake Middleton, a partner at New York-based Handel Architects.

Glass walls were seen as a liberation, and became a key part of the modernist aesthetic. “It’s sleek. It feels like the future,” says Z Smith, an architect at the New Orleans-based firm Eskew+Dumez+Ripple. German Bauhaus architects who emigrated to the United States helped to popularize a glass-heavy international style that still resonates today. The iconic transparent glass walls of Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Plano, Ill., are echoed today in the nearly invisible walls of an Apple Store.

The visual qualities of glass — transparency, reflectivity, smoothness — still captivate designers. Smith’s architecture students at Tulane University quickly learn that glass is a shortcut to a good-looking design: “When they’re not sure what do with it, they enclose it with a glass curtain wall.” Lit up at night, glass buildings make great marketing photos. Reflecting daylight, they appear jewel-like in the skyline.

For developers, the main appeal of glass is financial. Glass is pricier than other materials, but not exorbitant, and a simple all-glass wall can actually streamline costs over a wall with large windows. And the investment in glass yields a payoff. “It’s always about the view,” says Middleton, who designed Boston’s Millennium Tower. “In real estate, it’s location, location, location, and the third location is where you are in elevation.” A floor-to-ceiling window helps to maximize the value of that height.

In residential buildings, a glass wall “is only for the day the potential buyer of the condo walks in. They feel like they can fly,” says Smith. But what makes an apartment sell is different from what makes it livable. Glass walls are often touted as a way to feel connected to nature and the outdoors, but that illusion, paradoxically, comes at an environmental cost.

What’s so problematic about glass walls? In Boston’s climate, the biggest problem is a lack of insulation. Unlike opaque walls, glass allows heat to pass in and out easily. A 2014 report from the Urban Green Council in New York found that glass buildings have insulation values equivalent to medieval half-timber houses. “You have to now put more heat in your building to make up for that glass,” says Andrea Love, director of building science at Boston architecture firm Payette. On a cold day, glass walls will make you feel chilly, even if the air temperature in the room is comfortable, because your body loses heat to the cold surface.

And as Love explains, they create a chill-inducing draft, as warmed air hits the top of the glass wall and falls. Perimeter heating systems are often needed to make up for these discomforts. In the summer, solar energy heats up surfaces inside, requiring more air conditioning. All-glass buildings often need constant heating or cooling to maintain comfortable temperatures. In an extended power failure, temperatures in a glass high-rise could quickly rise or fall to dangerous levels.

Transparent walls also limit privacy, and sunlight can create glare. Reflections on glass buildings can also be a problem; one London skyscraper infamously melted cars parked outside. The Urban Green Council has found that occupants of glass buildings often cover their views with shades and curtains, negating the effect of transparent walls. And a study by Love’s team found that floor-to-ceiling glass doesn’t bring in significantly more daylight than windows covering half the wall.

SOURCE



What Green/Left fearmongering does

Jeff Jacoby

THE STRANGER rang the doorbell. Five minutes later, she was sobbing in our living room.

It was a little before 7 p.m. when we heard the bell. With a glance at my wife to confirm that we weren't expecting anyone, I went to open the front door. Standing in the entrance, a tentative smile on her face and an iPad in her hand, was a young woman wearing shorts and an olive T-shirt.

"Hi, do you have a moment? I'd like to tell you about Greenpeace," she began.

We're used to getting door-to-door solicitors. I've opened the front door to high-school kids selling raffle tickets, to candidates collecting nomination signatures — once, even, to someone recruiting customers for a dry-cleaning establishment. But most of the canvassers are recent college graduates requesting contributions for political advocacy groups. Our neighborhood skews heavily left of center — one house on our street has been flying a "Resist" banner for the last few months; another has a "Black Lives Matter" sign mounted on the front porch — so it's hardly surprising that Greenpeace dispatches recruiters to such fertile ground.

The Jacoby household, though, skews to the right, and I didn't want my visitor to waste time on a pitch that wasn't going to pay off. But I also didn't want to give her the cold shoulder. Knocking on doors is stressful; even if you're not going to donate, there's no reason not to be courteous.

"I should tell you up front that I'm not a Greenpeace fan," I said. "I'll be very happy to listen, but just to be honest with you — you're not going to make a sale at this address."

She gave it her best shot.

"I know not everybody agrees with how Greenpeace works," she said [I'm paraphrasing from memory], "but it's more important than ever to protect the environment and the oceans and the forests, right? Especially now that Trump is president! By pulling the US out of the Paris climate accord, and what he's trying to do on immigration, and giving more power to corporations — I'm sure you would agree that with Trump in power, things are moving in the wrong direction, wouldn't you?"

She was speaking a little too quickly. I had the sense that she was trying to hit all her talking points before I turned her down.

"I'm not a Trump supporter," I replied. "I didn't vote for him; I don't think he's a good president. But I wouldn't say that everything is moving in the wrong direction. Climate change doesn't alarm me — I think it's way overblown."

She seemed perturbed, so I tried to reassure her.

"Don't worry, my views aren't typical for this street," I said. "We're pretty conservative in this house. We're also pretty friendly — just not to the point of giving money to Greenpeace." I smiled encouragingly. "I'm sure you'll do better with some of our neighbors. Did you see the house with the 'Resist' banner?"

She nodded glumly. "Yes. It didn't go well."

Suddenly, to my astonishment, she was in tears.

"I'm so sorry," she said, half-sobbing, half-panting. "I'm so sorry. I don't know why I'm crying. It's just really hard, and everything is so concerning, and — "

"Hey, shhh, that's OK," I said, coaxing her into the living room. "Sit down for a few minutes. Take a deep breath; clear your head." The tears kept coming. I hurried to the kitchen for a box of tissues. When I returned to the living room, she was still weeping.

"I don't know why I can't stop," she said. "This is so unprofessional. I think I must be dehydrated."

I brought her some cold water. My wife came to sit with us. We asked the young woman her name and introduced ourselves. As she wiped her eyes and sipped her water, she told us that she had only arrived in Boston a few days earlier and was staying at an Airbnb, having been flown in by Greenpeace from her home on the West Coast. She believes in what she is doing, but to keep her job, she has to meet a quota — so-and-so many donations per month. Door-to-door canvassing is easier with a partner, but she is alone, and so many people are unpleasant.

"I can't believe I'm having a breakdown in your living room," she said. "But I'm really upset about what's happening. I worry about what's going to happen to people I care about." It gnaws at her to see how angry so many people are these days. She wasn't raised to hate people whose politics were different from hers, she told us. At the same time, she's frightened for the future — her future, and her friends', and the planet's.

By the time the tears subsided, it was 7:25. Normally she knocks on doors until 9 p.m. We persuaded her to take the rest of the evening off.

I gave her our number. "If you need anything while you're in Boston, call us," I said. "We'll be happy to help."

I refilled her water bottle. My wife drove her to the Greenpeace office a few miles away.

It's an anxious time in America, unsettled and fretful. I hope our visitor got a good night's sleep.

SOURCE




Will The Sun Put The Brakes On Global Warming?

The sun is like a teenager that cycles through mood swings – from dramatic to chill and back again – roughly every eleven years. But this time it’s different. It now appears the sun is heading for a rare, super-chill period that threatens to add some unexpected drama to today’s climate change discussion.

For most of its history, science believed the sun’s output was constant. It was wrong. Today, we realize that lots of things about the sun wax and wane every eleven years, most notably its brightness and the number of explosive disturbances on its surface called sunspots and faculae.

That’s not all. The eleven-year cycle itself snakes up and down like a roller coaster, reaching “grand maxima” and “grand minima” every 100-200 years. The last grand maximum peaked circa 1958, after which the sun has been steadily quieting down. Today, the drop in activity is at its steepest in 9,300 years.

Is the sun headed for a grand minimum? If so, it immediately calls to mind the famous Maunder Minimum, during which the sun languished for seventy years. From 1645 to 1715 the sun’s brightness dimmed by a fraction of one percent and the number of sunspots and faculae plummeted to nearly zero.

On top of that, the Maunder Minimum occurred precisely during the coldest part of the centuries-long Little Ice Age, when the average temperature of the northern hemisphere dropped by about 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit. Was it a coincidence? Or did the Maunder Minimum help drive the ice age? Here’s where the story about today’s apparent plunge toward a solar grand minimum really heats up.

According to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Earth’s temperature has increased by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880, roughly the end of the Little Ice Age. The worst warming is yet to come, most scientists claim, and not even a grand solar minimum will prevent it.

Using computer simulations, scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, estimate that “a grand solar minimum in the middle of the 21st century would slow down human-caused global warming and reduce the relative increase of surface temperatures by several tenths of a degree [Celsius, equal to about 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit].” But at the end of the grand minimum, they say, the warming would simply pick up where it left off. “Therefore … a grand solar minimum would slow down and somewhat delay, but not stop, human-caused global warming.”

But the sun’s dramatic quiescence comes with a surprising complication: cosmic rays. They are subatomic particles – mainly protons and helium nuclei – that originate from somewhere deep within our galaxy. Their source is still a mystery.

Usually, the sun’s powerful magnetic field and radioactive winds keep cosmic rays away from our neighborhood. But when the sun weakens, the cosmic rays are freer to move in and bombard Earth. New research shows that upon striking the atmosphere, cosmic rays produce showers of particles and ions that seed clouds with extraordinary efficiency. The increased cloudiness shades Earth from the sun.

Recently, a team of Russian scientists compared the cosmic-ray cooling mechanism to two other well-known drivers of climate change – the sun’s inconstant brightness and greenhouse gases. Publishing in the “Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences: Physics,” they maintain the cosmic-ray cooling phenomenon will dominate everything else in the coming decades and actually force a period of global cooling.

It is a radical hypothesis, to be sure, but even mainstream scientists monitoring the sun’s rapidly flagging behavior agree the growing likelihood of a grand minimum is stirring up a grand maximum of uncertainty and excitement.

SOURCE




A climate roadmap for President Trump

This week, President Trump is likely getting an earful in Paris over his extrication of the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement earlier this year. But our withdrawal will be meaningless unless he follows up with two important actions before he leaves office.

First, the administration must vacate the Environmental Protection Agency's 2009 "Endangerment Finding" from carbon dioxide. Under the 2007 Supreme Court case Massachusetts v. EPA, this finding is required for the Agency to regulate carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act. No finding, no policy.

Second, the U.S. must pull out of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This treaty, which was ratified by the Senate, is the document that enables subsequent emissions agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol (not ratified) and the Paris agreement (an executive agreement).

As long as we are a party to the Framework Convention, a new president with different views on climate policy could simply sign us right back into the Paris agreement.

From the periphery, and certainly from reading the headlines, canceling out these two elements of climate policy might seem like a tall task. Certainly, the climate science used to justify the EPA's endangerment finding and U.S. entry into the U.N. framework is seen as beyond reproach.

One of the foundational documents for the Endangerment Finding is the 2009 "National Assessment" of climate change. Its next iteration, in 2014, claimed it was "the most comprehensive and authoritative report ever generated about climate change," as well as being "a key deliverable of President Obama's Climate Action Plan."

The problem is, these "assessments" rely solely upon computer climate models for their future scenarios of gloom and doom. As it turns out, climate modeling (or forecasting) isn't necessarily climate science, because the modeler gets to choose a preferred answer, and then tune the internal equations to get there.

The forecast models are known as "general circulation models," or GCMs, and are generated by various government research groups around the world. Every six years, the U.S. Department of Energy supervises a "model intercomparison" project. For the most recent one, in 2013, 34 modeling teams sent in a "frozen code" model to be compared with the predictions from other groups. These form a community of base models, which the researchers feel are their "best" version, and after this point the code cannot be changed until the inter-comparison is done.

According to an Oct. 2016 news story in Science magazine, the modeling team from Germany's Max Planck Institute was finalizing their inter-comparison version when the team leader, Erich Roeckner, became temporarily unavailable to participate in the work. As the team tested the model before submitting it, they found it now predicted twice as much warming (7 degrees Celsius) for doubled carbon dioxide as it had in its previous iteration. Science reported that Roeckner had a unique ability to tune the model's cloud formation algorithm, and so in his absence, the model produced heating way outside the norm. Roeckner's team eventually got the warming down to a level that was within the range of the other models.

Enter Frederic Hourdin, who headed up the French modeling effort. He rounded up modelers from 13 other groups and recently published "The Art and Science of Climate Model Tuning" in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. All of the climate models the world uses to create and justify things like the U.N. Framework Convention, the EPA endangerment finding, and the Paris agreement, are "tuned" to arrive at parameters forecast within an "anticipated acceptable range," to quote Hourdin. But the big question is, acceptable to whom? One of Roeckner's senior scientists, Thorsten Mauritsen, told Science, "The model we produced with 7 degrees [Celsius] was a damn good model." But in his opinion that was too hot, so it had to be tuned.

The EPA's determination that carbon dioxide needs to be more strictly regulated is based entirely on the GCM's future climate projections, in which the subjective modeler – not the objective model – determines what is "acceptable." That's not science. It's an educated guess. It is akin to the "herding" phenomenon seen among election pollsters when they adjust unexpected (but still possibly correct) results to appear more plausible based on others' results and expectations.

It will be a considerable task to document the tuning problem. But if the Trump administration does this, it will have sufficient justification to warrant vacating the Endangerment Finding, which itself will justify getting the U.S. out of the U.N. Framework Climate Convention, and out of Paris for good.

SOURCE




Most of Obama’s Green Policies Persist at Department of Defense

As Congress considers green projects in a military spending bill, the Trump administration hasn’t staked out a strong case on whether to roll back the Obama administration’s aggressive push for biofuels, wind, solar, and other renewables in the military.

“The Pentagon has bought into climate change because it makes it politically more acceptable,” @myronebell says.

During his confirmation hearing Tuesday, Trump nominee for Navy secretary, Richard V. Spencer, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he was watchful of climate change. The committee unanimously approved Spencer.

“The Navy, from my briefings to date, is totally aware of rising water issues, storm issues, etc.,” Spencer said. “We must protect our infrastructure, and I will work hard to make sure we are keeping an eye on that because without the infrastructure, we lose readiness.”

This week, the House debated the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2018. Last month, the Republican-controlled House Armed Services Committee passed an amendment by Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., directing the Defense Department to assess 10 bases in each branch most threatened by climate change, and for the Pentagon to count climate change as a security risk to deal with—even as several government audits in the last two years have found the alternative energy sources haven’t been efficient for the DOD.

A 2015 study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental advocacy and research group, warned that 128 U.S. military bases could be submerged because of rising sea levels.

Reps. Scott Perry, R-Pa., and Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, each sponsored their own amendments to strike the Langevin provision. Perry’s proposal would remove the language to save money for the Pentagon, while Davidson’s amendment would strike down a 2015 executive order by President Barack Obama that requires the military to meet emission reduction targets.

However, neither of the Republicans’ amendments will likely make it to the floor despite clearing the rules committee, said Myron Ebell, director for the Center for Energy and the Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

“There are problems at the Pentagon and in Congress,” Ebell, who served on President Donald Trump’s transition team, told The Daily Signal. “President Trump signed an executive order that got rid of some green energy programs at the Pentagon, but others are left in place.”

Trump signed an order rescinding Obama’s Executive Order 13653 directing the Department of Defense and other departments to use resources to prepare for the impact of climate change. However, Trump hasn’t rescinded this executive order, which the amendment Davidson is offering would undo, Ebell noted.

“The Pentagon has bought into climate change because it makes it politically more acceptable to people who wouldn’t normally like the Pentagon,” Ebell said. “Another reason is that it’s another means to enhance the portfolio and receive more funding, even if it’s not part of the essential mission.”

One of the nation’s leading environmental groups expressed frustration over the two House Republicans’ proposals.

“Apparently there is no limit to what some Republican members of Congress like Reps. Scott [Perry] and Davidson are prepared to do to wipe away reality, consequences be damned,” Liz Perera, a policy director for the Sierra Club, said in a statement. “Some House Republicans think they know more about climate science than actual scientists, and, amazingly, more about how to protect our troops and military bases than the Pentagon. This kind of blind arrogance endangers the health of our families and the security of our nation.”

Navy Cmdr. Patrick L. Evans, a Pentagon spokesman, referenced some of the existing policies and told The Daily Signal, “not to my knowledge,” when asked if there would be significant changes under the Trump administration regarding renewable energy rules across military branches.

Already, Obama-era mandates linger.

Title 10 of U.S. Code Section 2911 states that 25 percent of Department of Defense facility energy use be generated by renewable energy sources by 2025 and it would take an act of Congress to reverse this.

However, most policies are administrative, said Rachel Zissimos, a research associate for national security and defense studies at The Heritage Foundation.

This includes Obama’s 2011 directive that the Navy and other departments and agencies “work with private industry to create advanced drop-in biofuels that [would] power both the Department of Defense and private sector transportation throughout America.”

Obama’s Navy Secretary Ray Mabus also touted the “Great Green Fleet.” The name is derived from the “Great White Fleet,” the U.S. Navy battle fleet President Theodore Roosevelt ordered to travel the globe and demonstrate American military prowess.

In 2015, the Department of Defense issued a report on the unrest climate change could cause. In a statement about the report, the department said:

The Department of Defense’s primary responsibility is to protect national security interests around the world. This involves considering all aspects of the global security environment and planning appropriately for potential contingencies and the possibility of unexpected developments both in the near and the longer terms. … It is in this context that the department must consider the effects of climate change—such as sea level rise, shifting climate zones, and more frequent and intense severe weather events—and how these effects could impact national security.

In September 2016, the Government Accountability Office found that of 17 renewable energy programs in the Department of Defense, only two provided power in case of a grid outage. The other programs were costly, and the department’s spending on renewable energy went up by 60 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the audit.

A separate Government Accountability Office study in July 2015 found the department still spends far more on traditional gasoline for fuels, but gets a better bargain per gallon than with alternatives.

The Pentagon paid $58.6 million for 2 million gallons of alternative fuel from 2007 to 2014—which would be about $29 per gallon for alternatives. Conversely, over that same time, the department spent $107.2 billion for 32 billion of petroleum, which would only be $3 per gallon.

A Department of Defense comptroller general’s report in February 2016 found that the cost of environmental compliance increased by more than $119 million from the previous fiscal year.

During his Senate confirmation, Defense Secretary James Mattis said in written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee that “climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today. It is appropriate for the Combatant Commands to incorporate drivers of instability that impact the security environment in their areas into their planning.”

When serving as the commanding general of the 1st Marine Division during the second Iraq War, Mattis said the Department of Defense should “unleash us from the tether of fuel.”

Mattis wasn’t advocating addressing alternative fuels because of climate change, but rather because of the cost of transporting fuel, Zissimos said.

“The biggest cost for fuel is transportation, delivery, and storage,” Zissimos told The Daily Signal. “Operations are primarily overseas. A huge investment in biofuels will not reduce that cost because they will still need to be transported overseas.”

SOURCE

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