Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Plans to Turn ‘Politically Binding’ UN Climate Change Accord Into Federal Law

Obama administration officials who say they intend to sign a “politically binding” agreement to drastically reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at the United Nations’ (UN) climate change conference in Paris next year already have a legal strategy to turn any non-binding accord into federal law, warns Christopher Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

Horner told CNSNews.com that the “name and shame” effort is an alternative to a new climate change treaty already being drafted by the UN that would have to be ratified by the U.S. Senate.

“Obama’s statement acknowledges that he cannot get a new climate treaty past China or U.S. voters,” Horner told CNSNews.com.

But he added that environmental activists are already planning to employ the same collusive sue-and-settle strategy they have used in the past to impose draconian energy restrictions on all Americans even though there’s been no global warming for nearly 18 years.

’It’s quite clear under Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution that after the president signs it, any binding international law agreement has to be ratified by the Senate,” Horner explained.

But he noted that “activist green groups, in conjunction with the New York attorney general’s office, have already developed plans to use the federal courts to force Americans to drastically reduce their energy consumption whether or not Obama signs a new climate change treaty in Paris next year” to replace the expired Kyoto Protocol.

Horner predicted the White House strategy in a 2009 paper published by the Federalist Society, in which he wrote: “It appears that Kyoto will be the subject of a controversial effort to sharply revise U.S. environmental treaty practice…. waiving the Constitution’s requirement of Senate ratification by reclassifying the product of talks as a congressional-Executive agreement, not a treaty.” (See Kyoto II ...Emerging Strategy.pdf)

”You can’t just dismiss this if you know what they’re trying to do,” Horner said, pointing to a copy of a court pleading drafted by environmental activists that he received from the New York attorney general’s office under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request two years ago .

The draft lawsuit argues that the federal government should be required to honor its international commitments even if they are not ratified by the Senate.

The strategy was confirmed in June by Yvo De Boer, the UN’s former climate chief. “If the U.S. feels that ‘internationally legally binding’ has little value, and that the real value lies in legally-binding national commitments, then these regulations can be the way for the U.S. to show leadership,” De Boer said.

“We know where this is going,” Horner told CNSNews.com. “As they intend, it will end up in the courts, not the Senate. The issue would come down to 'How do you implement it?' and that is where stunts like the NY AG's come in. You get a court to turn these gestures into law and/or a friendly administration to roll over and get a court's blessing by settling a ‘sue-and-settle’ case.”

“You can’t trust the courts not to do that, and it will be as good as ratifying” a climate treaty as far as Americans are concerned, added Horner, author of Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud and Deception to Keep You Misinformed.

The Paris accord will primarily target Western developed nations such as the United States, Horner pointed out. ”The argument is: ‘The atmosphere is a pie, and you’ve already had your slice’.”

“We need another Byrd-Hagel Resolution,” he added, referring to a July 1997 resolution that passed the Senate unanimously. It stated that the United States would not be a signatory to any climate change agreement that did not include developing countries and that would “result in serious harm to the economy of the United States.”

Marlo Lewis, Horner’s colleague at CEI, believes that the strategy will also prevent future presidents and Congresses from rolling back burdensome Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.

“Obama will use the climate action plan initiatives as a basis for demanding similar ‘pledges’ from other nations – but also use the hoped-for agreement to lock in his domestic climate agenda. If he pulls it off, future Congresses and the next president won’t be able to overturn EPA regulations, for example, without violating our Framework Convention ‘pledges’ to the ‘international community’,” Lewis predicts.

The UK’s Lord Christopher Monckton, who has attended all the UN climate change conferences, including the one held in Durban, South Africa in 2011, previously told CNSNews.com that “the next big moment of danger will be in Paris in December of next year.”

That’s because one of the publicly stated outcomes of the Durban conference was “a decision by Parties to adopt a universal legal agreement on climate change as soon as possible, and no later than 2015.”


Fracking doesn't contaminate water supplies, faulty shale gas wells do

Leaks from faulty shale gas and oil wells have contaminated water supplies, but fracking itself is not to blame, according to new research.

Fracking involves drilling a well deep underground and then pumping water, sand and chemicals down it at high pressure to fracture the rocks, enabling shale gas or oil trapped within them to flow out.

Critics of the controversial process have often claimed that it pollutes water supplies, citing examples of contamination at shale gas sites in the US.

The 2010 film Gaslands showed residents near fracking sites who were able to set alight to the water from their taps, apparently due to methane contamination.

In a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists analysed the origins of the gas in contaminated water by shale wells in Pennsylvania and Texas, two of the biggest drilling regions in the US.

They found that the fracturing of the rocks was not to blame for the leaks. Instead, botched construction of the wells led to gas or oil escaping through cracks in metal casing or through faulty cement seals.

Thomas H Darrah, assistant professor of earth science at Ohio State, who led the study, said: "Our data clearly show that the contamination in these clusters stems from well-integrity problems such as poor casing and cementing.

"The good news is that most of the issues we have identified can potentially be avoided by future improvements in well integrity."

Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke, said: "These results appear to rule out the possibility that methane has migrated up into drinking water aquifers because of horizontal drilling or hydraulic fracturing, as some people feared."

The distinction is important because it suggests fracking is not intrinsically polluting and should be able to take place safely if wells are constructed properly.

Problems of faulty well construction can also lead to leaks from conventional oil and gas wells.

However, extracting gas from shale requires a far greater intensity of wells than conventional drilling.

Ministers in the UK insist that the regulatory regime is far stricter in the US and should prevent such leaks.

But critics say there are insufficient safeguards to ensure the process is conducted safely and are likely to seize on the study as further evidence that shale gas exploration can be damaging.

Robert B. Jackson professor of environmental and earth sciences at Stanford and Duke, one of the report's authors, said: "People's water has been harmed by drilling. In Texas, we even saw two homes go from clean to contaminated after our sampling began."

The findings echo those of a study by Researching Fracking in Europe (ReFINE), backed by the British Geological Survey and published earlier this year, which also found that although shale gas wells can leak, fracking itself was not to blame. Problems with the structure of the wells – such as inadequate cement seals - were responsible.

ReFINE found that more than six per cent of wells in a major shale exploration region in Pennsylvania had reported some kind of leak.

Professor Richard Davies of Durham University, one of the report’s authors, told the Telegraph at the time: "We have not found any evidence that fracking is the problem. It’s the boreholes that could cause water contamination, and emissions into the atmosphere.

“Shale gas requires a lot of wells to be drilled; more wells to produce the same volume of gas from shale as from a conventional reservoir. That’s why well integrity is critical.”

The study found that of 143 wells that were in use in the UK in 2000, one had leaked. But it found this was “likely to be an underestimate of the actual number of wells that have experienced integrity failure” because of lack of data.


Don’t give up America’s economic and competitive advantage

War is upon us, ISIS is brazenly beheading American journalists—with a promise of more to come; Christian congregations have been bombed during worship, churches have been destroyed, monasteries attacked, entire cities purged, hundreds of thousands have fled, while others have been slaughtered; and cities, weapons, banks, and key infrastructures are being captured.

Surely, with all of these horrors playing out before our eyes, the crisis in Syria and Iraq is the “most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face.” No, the quote above was made about climate change by Hillary Clinton—the heavy favorite for the Democratic 2016 presidential nomination—before a standing-room-only crowd at Senator Harry Reid’s seventh National Clean Energy Summit (NCES 7.0) held in Las Vegas on Thursday, September 4.

We could almost forgive Secretary of State John Kerry for his similar statement made in Jakarta, Indonesia, on February 16, when he referred to climate change as: “perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.” ISIS hadn’t yet erupted onto the international stage. But now we know better. We know that the world isn’t less violent than it has ever been. We know that it isn’t more tolerant than it has ever been.

Apparently, Clinton hasn’t been following the news. Or, as Senator Rand Paul pointed out: she’s “battling climate change instead of terrorism.”

Clinton’s speech on Thursday was presented to a “friendly crowd,” who cheered her on. In his introduction, Reid declared that Clinton is: “able to explain things in a way we all understand” and said that she was: “the first to identify the fact that there is something called climate change.” Her spot on the program has been referenced as: “her first energy and climate speech of a publicity tour that many believe is the springboard to a presidential campaign.”

While no one in the Mandalay Bay ballroom questioned the validity of her statements—and the Q & A session led by White House Senior Advisor John Podesta resembled a lovefest—there was more than her misperception about “the challenges we face as a nation and a world” to question.

For example, when addressing “unpredictable” subsidies for green energy projects, she claimed that $500 billion is spent every year subsidizing fossil fuels. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), in 2012, global fossil fuel subsidies did, in fact, total $544 billion, however, citing that figure in the same breath as U.S. tax incentives for renewable energy is deceptive at best.

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) did a study on global energy subsidies that revealed: “Fossil fuel consumption subsidies are most prevalent in the Middle East and in North Africa.” The IER report states: “On a per-person basis, fossil fuel consumption subsidies are highest for the United Arab Emirates at $4,172 per person, Kuwait at $3,729 per person and Saudi Arabia at $2,291 per person.” It concludes: “Many Americans are confused by the large amount of global fossil fuel consumption subsidies that the IEA calculates, not realizing that these subsidies have nothing to do with tax policy, research and development or loan guarantees, where most U.S. programs are directed.”

A white paper from the Independent Petroleum Association of America offered the following insights culled from a Congressional Research Service Memo titled Energy Production by Source and Energy Tax Incentives. “While fossil fuels (including oil, natural gas, and coal) accounted for 78 percent of domestic energy production, they received just 13 percent of energy related ‘tax incentives’ in 2009. Meanwhile, renewables accounted for more than 77 percent of the roughly $20 billion in ‘tax incentives’ that went to energy, but generated less than 11 percent of domestic energy production. Renewables have received additional boosts as part of Federal spending packages enacted under the banner of economic recovery.”

Let’s look at those “incentives” for renewables and why they are “unpredictable.” Germany and Spain led the world in green energy subsidies but have since considerably dialed back on them.

In Germany, after more than a decade of green-energy subsidies, its electricity rates and carbon-dioxide emissions have gone up. According to a September 4 Reuter’s report, Germany’s reliance on coal has gone up each of the past four years. Germany is looking at levies for residential photo-voltaic system owners—something also being considered (and, in some cases, implemented) in the U.S.

After nearly100 billion of U.S. taxpayer dollars have gone to green-energy projects, the stimulus-funded program has been plagued with failure, corruption, and illegal activity—though the Department of Energy recently announced a new round of loan guarantees for green-energy projects. Meanwhile—as has happened in Germany—utility bills have gone up and public support for subsidies has declined. After more than twenty years, the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy finally expired on December 31, 2013—though forces that benefit from it are still hoping to extend it retroactively. (Clinton did point out that wind energy is a very big part of farmers’ income in New York.) The PTC is “unpredictable” at best.

In her Q & A session, Clinton said: “One day last summer, Germany got 74 percent of its energy from renewables.” Like the comment about $500 billion in global subsidies for fossil fuels, her speech writers did their homework—but they plucked data without looking deeper and as a result made her look foolish. The 74 percent figure is fact. But it represents a fraction of only one day, not recent history, or even a pattern. One month later, Germany got 50 percent of its electricity demand from solar—but six months earlier, in the January cold, it got only 0.1 percent. In his post in the Energy Collective, Robert Wilson, a PhD Student in Mathematical Ecology at the University of Strathclyde, calls Germany’s situation: “more of a coal lock-in than a solar revolution,” as the need for electricity, especially in the cold, grey days of January, requires the steady supply of coal-fueled electricity.

One other item to question: Clinton clearly collaborates with her former boss on his Clean Power Plan, which has a growing coalition of opponents as diverse as the Exotic Wildlife Association, the Foundry Association of Michigan, California Cotton Growers Association, Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association, The Fertilizer Institute, Georgia Railroad Association, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, electric utilities and co-ops, and city and state Chambers of Commerce from coast-to-coast.

The Clean Power Plan is about reducing carbon-dioxide emission from existing power plants. In her speech, Clinton repeated a falsehood Obama likes to reference: reducing CO2 emissions will improve children’s’ respiratory health.

“Hillary apparently doesn’t know the difference between soot and CO2,” quipped Jane Orient, MD, and president of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. She continued: “And the American Lung Association pretends it doesn’t. No one can claim that the tiny increase in CO2 from coal-fueled generating stations increases asthma—just being indoors with other breathing humans increases CO2 much more and doesn’t cause asthma.”

Orient went on to explain: “Some very bad studies of associations between high air pollution days and ‘premature’ deaths are used to extrapolate as with the liner no-threshold radiation hypothesis—lots of diesel exhaust may provoke an asthma attack, therefore a vanishingly small increase in soot affecting many people will cause some asthma. Some dust is soot, which is carbon, quod erat demonstratum.” She added: “Unemployment, poverty, high electricity bills don’t figure into the calculation.”

Dr. Charles Battig, a board certified anesthesiologist, told me: “asthma sufferers, just like individuals without any respiratory disease, have 4 to 5 percent CO2 in their lungs as a normal component of their exhaled air. The CO2 levels will vary during an asthma attack. The presence of CO2 in expired air is normal for all humans, and ambient CO2 is not a trigger for an asthmatic attack.  CO2 is not a pathological pollutant per se at levels 100 times that of ambient (inspired air); 400ppm ambient vs. 40,000 ppm in expired air.”

As Reid announced, Clinton may be able to “able to explain things in a way we all understand,” but she is creative with the data—using it to make the points she needed to curry favor with the NCES 7.0 audience.

In its review of her speech, the National Journal pointed out: “As expected, Clinton’s keynote address at the National Clean Energy Summit didn’t wade into much controversial territory.” She never touched on the Keystone pipeline that the State Department positively reviewed under her watch and which, in 2010, she stated that she was “inclined to approve.”

Clinton did, however, take a couple risks for which she deserves some credit. She strayed from the safe turf, when she admitted that Obama’s trajectory on climate change policy hit “a brick wall of opposition” at the 2009 United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen.

She also acknowledged: “Energy is a major part of our foreign policy.” As such, she supports development of American natural gas and oil, calling it an example “of American innovation changing the game.”

Addressing the benefits of producing and exporting natural gas and oil, she said: “Assuming that our production stays at the levels, or even as some predict, goes higher, I do think there’s a play there.” Noting it could help Europe and Asia, she added: “This is a great economic advantage, a competitive advantage, for us. …We don’t want to give that up.”

America does have an energy advantage—and Clinton is correct: “We don’t want to give that up.” Why then, does she (and President Obama) support policies that would take that away—or at least, not encourage our energy growth?

That fact that Clinton chose to start her publicity tour, the perceived springboard to her presidential campaign, with a speech on energy should signal to all of America how important the topic truly is. Energy makes America great!


The Ozone Hole Isn’t Fixed. But That’s No Worry

Matt Ridley

The risk from extra UV light is just one of the dangers that have been overplayed by the eco-exaggerators

The ozone layer is healing. Or so said the news last week. Thanks to a treaty signed in Montreal in 1989 to get rid of refrigerant chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the planet’s stratospheric sunscreen has at last begun thickening again. Planetary disaster has been averted by politics.

For reasons I will explain, this news deserves to be taken with a large pinch of salt. You do not have to dig far to find evidence that the ozone hole was never nearly as dangerous as some people said, that it is not necessarily healing yet and that it might not have been caused mainly by CFCs anyway.

The timing of the announcement was plainly political: it came on the 25th anniversary of the treaty, and just before a big United Nations climate conference in New York, the aim of which is to push for a climate treaty modelled on the ozone one.

Here’s what was actually announced last week, in the words of a Nasa scientist, Paul Newman: “From 2000 to 2013, ozone levels climbed 4 per cent in the key mid-northern latitudes.” That’s a pretty small change and it is in the wrong place. The ozone thinning that worried everybody in the 1980s was over Antarctica.

Over northern latitudes, ozone concentration has been falling by about 4 per cent each March before recovering. Over Antarctica, since 1980, the ozone concentration has fallen by 40 or 50 per cent each September before the sun rebuilds it.

So what’s happening to the Antarctic ozone hole? Thanks to a diligent blogger named Anthony Watts, I came across a press release also from Nasa about nine months ago, which said: “Two new studies show that signs of recovery are not yet present, and that temperature and winds are still driving any annual changes in ozone hole size.”

As recently as 2006, Nasa announced, quoting Paul Newman again, that the Antarctic ozone hole that year was “the largest ever recorded”. The following year a paper in Nature magazine from Markus Rex, a German scientist, presented new evidence that suggested CFCs may be responsible for less than 40 per cent of ozone destruction anyway. Besides, nobody knows for sure how big the ozone hole was each spring before CFCs were invented. All we know is that it varies from year to year.

How much damage did the ozone hole ever threaten to do anyway? It is fascinating to go back and read what the usual hyperventilating eco-exaggerators said about ozone thinning in the 1980s. As a result of the extra ultraviolet light coming through the Antarctic ozone hole, southernmost parts of Patagonia and New Zealand see about 12 per cent more UV light than expected. This means that the weak September sunshine, though it feels much the same, has the power to cause sunburn more like that of latitudes a few hundred miles north. Hardly Armageddon.

The New York Times reported “an increase in Twilight Zone-type reports of sheep and rabbits with cataracts” in southern Chile. Not to be outdone, Al Gore wrote that “hunters now report finding blind rabbits; fisherman catch blind salmon”. Zoologists briefly blamed the near extinction of many amphibian species on thin ozone. Melanoma in people was also said to be on the rise as a result.

This was nonsense. Frogs were dying out because of a fungal disease spread from Africa — nothing to do with ozone. Rabbits and fish blinded by a little extra sunlight proved to be as mythical as unicorns. An eye disease in Chilean sheep was happening outside the ozone-depleted zone and was caused by an infection called pinkeye — nothing to do with UV light. And melanoma incidence in people actually levelled out during the period when the ozone got thinner.

Then remember that the ozone hole appears when the sky is dark all day, and over an uninhabited continent. Even if it persists into the Antarctic spring and spills north briefly, the hole allows 50 times less ultraviolet light through than would hit your skin at the equator at sea level (let alone at a high altitude) in the tropics. So it would be bonkers to worry about UV as you sailed round Cape Horn in spring, say, but not when you stopped at the Galapagos: the skin cancer risk is 50 times higher in the latter place.

This kind of eco-exaggeration has been going on for 50 years. In the 1960s Rachel Carson said there was an epidemic of childhood cancer caused by DDT; it was not true — DDT had environmental effects but did not cause human cancers.

In the 1970s the Sahara desert was said be advancing a mile a year; it was not true — the region south of the Sahara has grown markedly greener and more thickly vegetated in recent decades.

In the 1980s acid rain was said to be devastating European forests; not true — any local declines in woodland were caused by pests or local pollution, not by the sulphates and nitrates in rain, which may have contributed to an actual increase in the overall growth rate of European forests during the decade.

In the 1990s sperm counts were said to be plummeting thanks to pollution with man-made “endocrine disruptor” chemicals; not true — there was no fall in sperm counts.

In the 2000s the Gulf Stream was said to be failing and hurricanes were said to be getting more numerous and worse, thanks to global warming; neither was true, except in a Hollywood studio.

The motive for last week’s announcement was to nudge world leaders towards a treaty on climate change by reminding them of how well the ozone treaty worked. But getting the world to agree to cease production of one rare class of chemical, for which substitutes existed, and which only a few companies mainly in rich countries manufactured, was a very different proposition from setting out to decarbonise the whole economy, when each of us depends on burning carbon (and hydrogen) for almost every product, service, meal, comfort and journey in our lives.

The true lesson of the ozone story is that taking precautionary action on the basis of dubious evidence and exaggerated claims might be all right if the action does relatively little economic harm.

However, loading the entire world economy with costly energy, and new environmental risks based on exaggerated claims about what might in future happen to the climate makes less sense.


Cross-Party Alliance in N.E. England: Punishing ‘Green’ Taxes Threaten UK’s Energy Intensive Industries

TEESSIDE’S “proud industrial heritage” faces further decline because of punishing ‘green’ taxes, the Government was warned yesterday (Thursday, September 11).

A cross-party alliance of the region’s MPs used a Commons debate to urge ministers to ease the pain for energy intensive industries, including steel and chemicals.

The plea follows the introduction of a ‘carbon tax’ – a minimum price for the energy produced, to cover the cost of pollution and to stimulate new, renewable forms of energy.

Earlier this year, the Chancellor capped that price floor at £18 per tonne of CO2 from 2016, instead of allowing a rise to £30 by 2020 – saving industries around £4bn over three years.

But Alex Cunningham (Lab; Stockton North) argued the move did not go far enough, saying: “The Tees Valley has long been synonymous with heavy industry and the thirst for energy that it necessarily entails.

“The cooling towers and chimney stacks that still adorn, if not dominate, parts of the region’s skyline are testimony to Teesside’s proud industrial heritage.

“But the decline of those industries will be hastened if actions are not taken to lessen the burdens imposed by carbon taxes and levies.”

The Labour MP raised the “struggles” of GrowHow, a fertiliser company in his constituency, which had to pay three times as much for gas as its Russian competitors.

And he added: “Similarly, German electricity prices on a delivered basis for very large users in 2013 equated to €38 per MW, against £70 per MW in the UK.

“The situation is set to get much worse over the next decade. UK energy and climate change policies will add around £30 to every megawatt of electricity by 2020, substantially more than for any other country.”

The plea was echoed by Ian Swales (Lib Dem; Redcar), who pointed out how the Tata beam mill in his constituency made beams for the new World Trade Centre.

He said: “Their beams are in nine of the ten tallest buildings in the world. Steel beams cannot be made without using a great deal of energy - there are physical and chemical limits.

“When I see the UK’s attitude to these sorts of policies, I often feel like we are playing cricket, while other countries are playing rugby, boules or other sports that we do not recognise.”

In reply, Treasury minister Priti Patel insisted the Government was committed to ensuring that manufacturing was able to remain competitive during the shift to low carbon production.

And she stressed that ministers were pressing the European Commission for a review of the sectors of industry eligible for compensation.

That followed Labour criticism that, of the £250m promised by the Chancellor in 2011, only £31m has been paid out – with no companies compensated for domestic carbon taxes.


Welcome To Green Britain: Poor Face ‘Heat-Or Eat’ Problem


Do households cut back on food spending to finance the additional cost of keeping warm during spells of unseasonably cold weather? For households which cannot smooth consumption over time, we describe how cold weather shocks are equivalent to income shocks. We merge detailed household level expenditure data from older households with historical regional weather information. We find evidence that the poorest of older households cannot smooth fuel spending over the worst temperature shocks. Statistically significant reductions in food spending occur in response to winter temperatures 2 or more standard deviations colder than expected, which occur about 1 winter month in 40; reductions in food expenditure are considerably larger in poorer households.

More at Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society) Volume 177, Issue 1, pages 281–294, January 2014


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

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Since when is speaking AT the same as speaking FOR?

The post below is from the far-Left "Daily Kos". They do not as yet know what Curry will say. But you must not even speak at some places. Just being in the company of conservatives discredits a person, apparently.  In Communist and Fascist regimes you could be executed for the company you keep, so it is nice to see what company the American Left keeps

Curry is actually a Warmist.  She just doubts that we know how severe the warming will be.  She allows that it could be trivial.  That is enough to get her cast into outer darkness however.  No debate permitted!  Science, data and facts no longer matter, only your politics.

Judith Curry is their biggest threat right now, so the viciousness of their response is childishly predictable. So far, she has stood up really well to their bullying and they really hate that.  If they expect her to go away and whimper in a corner, I’m guessing they’re in for a nasty shock.

Judith Curry, former Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology was, until now, one of the few skeptics with a veneer of credibility.

But that is slated to change, as she will be featured in a George C. Marshall Institute event at The National Press Club. For those who are unaware, the Marshall Institute is a conservative "think tank" that began lobbying to support Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative. Over time the Institute shifted from Cold War hype to the downplaying of environmental threats, including the dangers of secondhand smoke, CFCs' effect on the ozone, and now climate change.

The Institute's event is titled "State of the Climate Debate" and will focus on the (supposedly) weakening case for human caused climate change as well as the link between extreme weather events and climate change, and the challenges of "deep climate uncertainty" for policymakers.

Perhaps the bigger story, however, is this event may be the last straw for Curry's dwindling credibility in academia. It's one thing to question the consensus or otherwise indirectly assist anti-climate science arguments. But to speak on behalf of a group heavily funded by fossil fuel companies and conservative donors—a group with a well-known 30 year history of distorting science for political aims—well that may just be career suicide. At least, academic career suicide. Unfortunately, if Curry has given up on respectability, this may just be the first of many such events.


Tim Ball comments on the hostility to Judith Curry

It appears to me, reading mostly between the electronic lines, that a turning point for Judith Curry was the reaction of her colleagues to the very legitimate appeal for discourse, debate and openness of the invitation to Steve McIntyre to speak at her university. I got the impression that professor Curry was initially taken aback and reluctant to accept the reaction. Part of this is likely due to the fact you have to work with people, but also because it takes time to adjust to finding yourself on the outside.

It is my experience that unless you have experienced the kind of vitriolic response you get from daring to question the prevailing wisdom, you have no idea how nasty and personal it can be. What is remarkable is the degree of nastiness, even hatred, about a subject as innocuous as weather and climate. For me, this is a measure of the degree to which climate has become purely political. In science, people hope to disagree, yet not be disagreeable.

As Voltaire said, it is never wise to disagree with the people in authority. I would add, that this is especially true when their funding, careers, and groupthink positions are all threatened. It is extremely difficult to have and maintain an open mind, even if you are on the so-called skeptical side. It is very easy to reach a point where you say, if the world wants to be fooled, let it be fooled. I agree that professor Curry has demonstrated the resolve to pursue the truth by listening to all sides, as happened when she first chose to invite Steve McIntyre.

Via email

Fear of skeptics

There is going to be a People's  Cimate March - 11:30 am, Sunday, September 21st in NYC.  We all know what "People's Republics" are  (as in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, led by the charming Kim Jong Un) So the organizers are flaunting their far-Left identity.

That is not the only amusing thing about the march, however.  The organizers have emailed their supporters with a warning to avoid the dreaded skeptics.  It has got to the point where they are afraid of us!  The email reads:

Hello all,

I wanted to share a warning with everyone on these lists, that representatives from climate denier group CFACT will be at the march, and possibly other direct actions, doing "gotcha" video interviews to attempt to make participants look ignorant. Marc Morano will probably attend in person.

My advice to everyone would be to be careful who you talk to - if anyone asks to interview you, try and find out who they're with first. If you do run into CFACT, you might be tempted to try and debate them, but for what it's worth I would advise people not to engage them.

Even if you win the debate in real life, they will edit the video to make it seem otherwise, so it's just not worth it. Watch a few of their existing videos and you'll see what I mean!

Good luck out there!


The scandal of UK's death-trap wind turbines: A turbine built for 115mph winds felled in 50mph gusts. Dozens more affected by cost-cutting

It was just before midnight on a winter’s night last  year. Outside in the gusting January wind it was freezing, but Bill Jarvis was sitting by the fire with his  wife Annie and a few relatives in their cottage on the North Devon moors.

And that’s when they heard it: a  tremendous ‘crack’, louder than  a thunderclap.

‘We rushed outside wondering what on earth had happened,’ recalls Bill. ‘We thought perhaps a plane had crashed it was such a loud  noise. ‘We couldn’t see flames or anything burning, even though we peered out in the direction it had come from. There was nothing  else though, no more noise or aftershocks.’

Deafeningly loud it might have been, but what the Jarvis family had heard – as they were to discover the following morning –  had taken place at Bradworthy, a mile away. It was the noise of  a 115ft-high wind turbine crashing  to the ground.

‘It’s pretty terrifying stuff,’ says Mr Jarvis. ‘I’m no fan of the things and this has just added to my worries. Just think what could have happened. It sends a shiver down your spine.’

He is not the only one feeling  nervous about the march of the  giant metal windmills across the British landscape.

This week, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) produced two reports – one into the catastrophic failure of the Bradworthy turbine and another into the collapse of a turbine in the next county, Cornwall, just three nights later.

And its conclusions are not  merely unsettling, but have frightening implications for wind turbines and their safety right across the country.

The turbines in Devon and Cornwall came down when the wind  was blowing at barely 50mph,  despite the fact that they are supposed to withstand blasts of just over 115mph.

And, as the HSE concluded, the causes were manufacturing faults and basic mistakes in the way  they were installed. The errors  have already been replicated elsewhere in the country, as the two reports make clear, and could affect dozens – if not hundreds – more of the giant towers.

It is hardly encouraging to learn that the HSE reports were not published in a normal sense, but were available only on request and in redacted form.

They have come to light now only through Freedom of Information (FoI) requests lodged by a number of concerned residents.

Dr Philip Bratby, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, believes the risk of collapse will continue to grow as long as the  wind industry is allowed to operate behind a wall of secrecy.

A retired physicist, who formerly worked in nuclear energy, he says: ‘Safety standards in my line of work were paramount. We constantly monitored, tested and maintained equipment but this does not seem the case with turbines.

‘These two failures were catastrophic. The towers came crashing down with great force from a  great height.  ‘It was only down to luck it happened in the night and no people  or animals were injured or killed.

‘The wind industry is very secretive about everything it does.  It won’t publicise any definitive information about accidents so it is impossible to make an independent assessment of the risks.’

Dr Bratby lives at Rackenford, high on the edge of Exmoor, where  there has also been a proliferation  of turbines.

‘I am not convinced that we are learning from the bad experiences and feeding those lessons back  into the education of designers and constructors because the industry is growing so rapidly,’ he says.  ‘The size of these turbines seems to keep on increasing and I believe the dangers will increase accordingly. The bigger the turbine that fails, the bigger the potential for disaster and death.’

Turbine towers are supposedly secured by lowering them on  to a series of foundation rods  that emerge vertically from a concrete foundation.

These are levelled by the adjustment of bottom nuts below a flange at the base and then fixed with another set of nuts above the base.

All the exposed metal, including the rods and the nuts, is then encased in grout which protects it and spreads the stresses from any movement in the turbine.

Yet as these groundbreaking HSE reports show, not only were some of the parts faulty, two different sets of sub-contractors made the same basic – possibly cost-cutting – errors. And the result was that the metal monsters were not secure at all.

In the incident at East Ash Farm, Bradworthy, on January 27, 2013 – the one heard by Mr Jarvis – an E3120 model, made by Canadian-based Endurance, was found to have been installed with the wrong configuration of nuts at its base.

This upset the ‘loadings’, or balance, of the tower. The implication is that it wasn’t level. To compound the problem, the contractors who installed it had failed to use structural-grade grout to seal the rods and bolts from the worst of the weather and had used a ‘cosmetic’ compound instead.

The HSE reports reveal that  the same faulty configuration of  nuts had been to blame at Wattlesborough, near Shrewsbury in Shropshire, the previous year when another E3120 collapsed.

To date, Endurance has erected 300 of the E3120s throughout the United Kingdom.  The UK arm of the company says it has inspected all of them and carried out urgent repairs on 29 of the towers.

A different type of turbine fell at Winsdon Farm, North Petherwin, Cornwall, on January 30. This was a G133, manufactured by Gaia-Wind, originally a Danish firm.

This time there was a fault with the components, resulting in a failure in the foundation rods concreted into its base. But again, it had been badly installed with a lack of grout. As the HSE inspector concluded, there was ‘a lack of resilience to the fatigue loading within the securing arrangement… and poor fatigue strength in the securing components’.

The collapse of another G133 turbine at Otley, near Leeds, in April 2013 occurred in identical circumstances. Again, the securing rods were substandard. Once again, they had not been properly grouted in place.

As Dr Bratby points out, the footings and securings, which are difficult to inspect when encased in concrete and grout, are critical because they are subject to such huge and varying forces.

‘Over time they clearly degrade  to the point of failure,’ he says. ‘We should be asking ourselves whether we are at a tipping point as the  first-generation technology is exposed and compromised.’

Dr Bratby is frustrated at the  lack of risk assessments undertaken when looking at sites.  He says: ‘I accept that the dangers from wind turbines located on farms without public access and remote from public rights of way are probably acceptable.

‘That is not always the case.  They have been located close  to roads and railways, at workplaces, in schools, hospitals and parks without any formal assessment of the dangers. I think that  is unacceptable.’

His views are shared by fellow campaigner Alan Dransfield, from Exeter, who helped to mastermind  the FoI application.

‘These reports took the best part of a year and several thousand pounds to compile, and the HSE decided to investigate because of the extensive media coverage and widespread public concern,’ Mr Dransfield says.  ‘I’m delighted they did because look what they’ve found. Without doubt there is an urgent need for a more proactive stance with regard  to the wind-turbine industry. It clearly can’t police itself.’

Taken together, there are 380  E3120 and GI33 towers. Of these, four are known to have collapsed, while repairs were necessary in  39 others to prevent potential further collapses.

Meanwhile, an as yet undisclosed number have further problems  with the way they are bolted down, according to the HSE, and need repairing as soon as possible.

Revealing as they are, however,  the two new reports deal with only  a small minority of British  turbines: there are 6,500 of differing design and manufacture across  the country, and when it comes to problems with collapse or faulty installation, the public is wholly in the dark.

Figures from Caithness Windfarm Information Forum, a wind-turbine monitoring website, show that structural failure is the third most common major fault, behind blade failure and fire.

It has recorded an average of 149 accidents worldwide every year between 2009 and 2013 but believes this to be the ‘tip of the iceberg’ as  it relies on scanning the internet  for reports of such incidents.

‘The trend is as expected – as more turbines are built, more accidents occur,’ says a spokesman. ‘The numbers will continue upwards  until the HSE helps force significant change.

‘In particular, the public should be protected by declaring a minimum safe distance between new turbine developments and occupied houses and buildings.’

However, Chris Streatfeild, director of health and safety with Renewable UK, the industry trade association, believes that any fears of wind power are unfounded and the risks minimal  and acceptable.

‘Manufacturers, installers and  owners work hard to ensure that they meet extremely stringent health and safety standards,’ he says.  ‘There’s a rigorous process, verified by independent bodies, to ensure strict installation standards and safe siting. That’s why problems are  so rare.’

He adds: ‘When incidents do occur, it’s important to learn from them  and implement any lessons fully and promptly. Any serious incident has to be reported to the HSE and we work closely with them to ensure high standards are maintained.

‘To put this into its proper context, no member of the public has ever been injured by a wind turbine. It’s unfortunate a handful of anti-wind campaigners are choosing to indulge in scaremongering.

‘Climate change is a real and pressing issue. When it comes to generating clean electricity, onshore wind is the most cost-effective way so we should be making the most of it.’

Meanwhile, at North Petherwin,  the fallen wind turbine has now  been resurrected. Indeed, landowner and Liberal Democrat councillor Adam Paynter has installed a second one alongside it. Mr Paynter declined to comment when contacted by The Mail on Sunday.

At Bradworthy, farmers Des  and Vera Ludwell were also staying quiet about their windmill. A  new turbine stands in the position  of its collapsed predecessor, about  50 yards from the road. A second  one is even closer, leaving little  safety margin.

Councillor David Tomlin revealed there are 50 turbines within a six-mile radius of Bradworthy, a quiet market town, and a further 20 have been approved.

‘We are not anti-wind power as such,’ he says. ‘But there is a visual intrusion and residents who live  close to turbines report a constant whooshing noise from blades. Most importantly, can we still be certain they are safe?

‘What happened here and in Cornwall and analysed in detail in these two reports should be a wake- up call. Perhaps we should halt  the erection of further turbines pending an investigation of the industry  as a whole.’


Brussels Anti-Green Purge: New EU Leaders Neuter Green Lobby

Jean-Claude Juncker’s decision to group commissioners into teams serving under a vice-president has been welcomed by some interest groups, and derided by others.

Environmental campaigners are unhappy about the new organisational structure, while industry groups say it will avoid disjointed or conflicting policies and will reduce red tape.

Juncker has grouped energy, climate and environment portfolios together serving under Alenka Bratušek, the vice-president for energy union. Within this subject area, he has merged four existing commissioner posts into two. Energy and climate, which are currently two separate portfolios, have been combined into one post, to be held by Miguel Arias Cañete from Spain. Environment and fisheries, previously two separate posts, have been merged into one, to be held by Karmenu Vella from Malta.

The remaining commissioners on the team will be Ireland’s Phil Hogan as agriculture commissioner, Romania’s Corina Creţu as regional policy commissioner, and Portugal’s Carlos Moedas as research, science and innovation commissioner.

Rumours of the intention to combine the climate and energy portfolios have been sparking alarm among environmentalists for weeks. But the elimination of a dedicated environment portfolio came as a genuine shock to green groups.

Today (11 September) the ‘Green 10’ – an alliance of European environmental NGOs – sent a letter to Juncker saying that his restructuring decisions suggest a “de-facto shutdown of EU environmental policymaking”.

The campaign groups say that placing these commissioners under a vice-president for energy union “could imply that climate action is considered subordinate to energy market considerations”. Only vice-presidents will be able to put policy proposals on to the Commission’s agenda, according to Juncker’s new system. The campaigners say there is a “virtual lack of any reference to environment in the responsibilities of the vice-presidents”.

“The biggest change is the structural blocks put on any new legislative activity,” said Tony Long, director of campaign group WWF. “Every avenue is blocked because it all has to go through a vice-president and then a first vice-president.”

The campaigners say the mandate letter sent by Juncker to Vella indicates that the commissioner’s role will be one of environmental deregulation.

The mandate letter includes orders to consider changing EU nature protection and biodiversity legislation. It asks Vella to “overhaul the existing environmental legislative framework to make it fit for purpose”.

National media reaction to Juncker's allocation of portfolios
While the division of some of the posts came as a surprise, the reaction from media in the member states has been largely positive.

Markus Beyrer, director-general of BusinessEurope, described Juncker’s reorganisation as a “courageous approach for a streamlined structure of the new Commission”.

“This underlines the clear aim to focus on the crucial priorities necessary to make Europe more competitive in order to deliver more growth and more jobs,” he said.

Mark Fodor, executive director of campaign group Central and Eastern Europe Bankwatch, said the letter suggests that Juncker is back-tracking from previous commitments. “By missing out the crucial role of EU funding for addressing the climate challenge, the president-elect is showing complete disregard for the future of our planet,” he said.


Global Warming ‘Skeptics’ Hold Political Sway From The UK To India

Skepticism of global warming may be more widespread than it is portrayed in the media, with nearly half of British lawmakers being labelled as climate “skeptics” and India’s prime minister casting doubt on claims of man-made global warming.

A special report by PR Week shows that a vast majority of conservative members of UK Parliament are that mankind is the main driver behind global temperature rises. While a slight majority (51 percent) of members of parliament (MPs) say that global warming “is largely man made” and an established fact, nearly three quarters of conservative MPs disagree.

PR Week reports that 53 percent of conservative MPs agree with the statement that it “has not yet been conclusively proved that climate change is man made.” Another 18 percent of conservative MPs say “man-made climate change is environmentalist propaganda”.

A public poll also taken by PR Week shows that only about one-third of British voters believe global warming claims have been exaggerated. The poll also showed that 80 percent of British voters believes that global warming is happening and 60 percent believe it’s mainly caused by humans.

An Ipsos Mori poll from July shows that the U.S., UK and Australia still have large numbers of people who remain skeptical of global warming, despite the huge media and political blitz from environmentalists and politicians. About a third of Americans remain skeptical of global warming, according to Ipsos Mori. They are joined by about a quarter of Brits and Aussies.

India’s Prime Minister Says Global Warming ‘Has Not Occurred’

On the other side of the globe, India’s newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently made some comments that have the media outing him as a global warming skeptic.

Answering questions about global warming on Teachers’ Day, Modi told people that “[c]limate change has not occurred,” adding that “[p]eople have changed.” Modi then gave an example of how elderly Indians are complaining of harsher winters every year.

“It’s just people losing tolerance for cold as they age,” Modi said, according to a report by the Business Standard. “Modi said the real problem is people have lost old values, picked up bad habits and therefore harmed environment. He said people are acting against nature and that has upset the balance. We must love nature again, he concluded.”

Modi’s comments baffled Indian political pundits. How could the man who wrote a book on responding to global warming in 2011 and made speeches about tackling the issue while eradicating poverty say global warming hasn’t occurred?

“Well, the book is just as befuddling,” writes Indian columnist Netin Sethi for the Business Standard. “It’s an illustrated thick pamphlet of what all the government of Gujarat has done to combat and adapt to climate change. But, it mixes up concepts just as the PM mixed up civic duty of citizens, scientific facts and metaphors in his speech on Teacher’s Day.”

“Narendra Modi, in his earlier scripted speeches as prime minister, however, sounded anything but a climate skeptic,” Sethi writes, adding that Modi has prioritized reducing poverty over environmental goals.

“His team of negotiators are acting in a consistent manner with the laid down brief on international climate change policies,” writes Sethi. “One, poverty eradication is a national priority. Two, there are climate co-benefits to be derived from taking actions that also provide energy security. Three, India is extremely vulnerable to climate change. Four, the route to an ambitious global agreement can be built only on a substratum of equity among nations.”

But since Modi has become prime minister, he has made efforts to jump start India’s coal sector and target environmental groups with an anti-development agenda. The UK Guardian reports that Modi “has dismantled a number of environmental protections, clearing the way for new coal mines and other industrial projects,” and “blocked funds to Greenpeace and other environmental groups.”

Modi will also not be attending the upcoming United Nations climate summit this month, joining China’s leader and others in opting not to attend the conference.

The conference will feature a major march by environmental groups and more pleas from the U.N. for countries to agree on an international, binding climate treaty. While any real progress is doubtful this year, countries are gearing up for a major climate summit in 2015 that is supposed to craft an agreement to replace the defunct Kyoto Protocol.



New ebook exposes so-called “greenhouse gases” as not the cause of global warming. Author, Anthony Bright-Paul demonstrates how science and the observable facts prove precisely the opposite - such gases encourage our planet to cool

Guided by years of private correspondence gleaned from eminent scientists not invested in the cause of human-caused climate change, Bright-Paul demonstrates for lay readers that such “greenhouse gases” scatter, deflect and reflect the incoming solar radiation. “This is not only obvious to scientists but also to any normal sentient observant being,” insists the author.

The book ‘Climate for the Layman’ thereby builds a seemingly irrefutable case that the Sun warms the Earth and Oceans, and they in turn warm the atmosphere from the bottom upwards.

The book argues that far from cutting down on Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions, this gas, which every human being and member of the animal kingdom exhales night and day, could (and should) naturally increase from the current supposedly “dangerous” 350 parts per million (ppm) to 1,000 ppm in order to make Earth a truly green planet.

A veritable thumb in the eye to alarmist propaganda, this books demonstrates that plants love Carbon Dioxide and produce Oxygen as a by-product; an inescapable and well-known Biological fact.

As Bright-Paul and other informed skeptics (Natural News) are telling us:

“Practically everything you have been told by the mainstream scientific community and the media about the alleged detriments of greenhouse gases, and particularly carbon dioxide, appears to be false, according to new data compiled by NASA's Langley Research Center. As it turns out, all those atmospheric greenhouse gases that Al Gore and all the other global warming hoaxers have long claimed are overheating and destroying our planet are actually cooling it, based on the latest evidence.”

This has long been the assessment of independent climate analyst, Hans Schreuder and his associates. Schreuder, a key figure in Principia Scientific International (PSI) has his essay, Greenhouse Gases cool the atmosphere made a central feature in this book.

Bright-Paul espouses a core theme of Schreuder and PSI scientists - that the atmosphere is warmed from the bottom upwards and the principal heat exchange mechanism is conduction and convection (not radiation, as per current climate science orthodoxy). This heat exchange is taking place simultaneously over the whole surface of the Planet. It warms and cools the atmosphere - everywhere and all at once.

As respected Canadian Geophysicist, Norm Kalmanovitch, explains:

“Virtually all the heat uptake of the atmosphere is from conduction and latent heat transfer from water vapour condensing into clouds with the majority of this coming from latent heat transfer. By comparison gases like water vapour with a permanent dipole moment or gases like CO2 which can have a dipole moment induced at wavelengths resonant with particular internal molecular vibrations have the capability of absorbing and re-emitting photons in random directions but since this process only redirects energy without permanent absorption there is no net transfer of energy to these molecules and therefore no net heat uptake.”

(Kalmanovitvch, by Email, December 8, 2013)

'Climate for the Layman' is written and compiled from many sources, essays and articles that had a particular bearing on since he first viewed ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’ the ground-breaking documentary by film producer, Martin Durkin on UK television's Channel 4 in 2007. As a non-scientist the author sought out explanations, from the film's featured scientists, Professor Tim Ball and Professor Bob Carter, as well as from the Rev Philip Foster and Hans Schreuder.

Bright-Paul's own essays have evoked invaluable feedback directly by emails from scientists from all over the world. As such, this books is a product of such unique insight and a record of the author's own voyage of discovery into one of the most hotly contested disputes in modern science.

Airing their considered views to the author via email and graciously giving their permission to share such insights in this book, what 'Climate for the Layman' offers readers is a series of essays and articles all in date order; thus reflecting one man's growing understanding of the use (and abuse) scientific data. The author's own innate skepticism is manifest, which eventually leads him to question the very cornerstone of climate alarmist science – the so-called “greenhouse gas effect.”

“It is an absolute scandal that young people have been persuaded by endless repetition that Carbon Dioxide is a pollutant and not an important part of the life cycle,” says Bright-Paul.

What we see is that for many the idea of man made ‘climatechange’ has too long been unquestioned Holy Writ; totally bypassing the fact that despite a few decades of moderate warming earth's Biosphere has been evolving for millions of years with long, barren Ice Ages and wonderfully fecund and all-too-short Warm Periods.

Lamenting the cherry-picking of data and wilfully alarmist calls to scale back human industrial progress to “stop” climate change the author concludes:

“…. global warming is both vile and repugnant when this is forced on impressionable minds of children through indoctrination by our schools still teaching fraudulent IPCC dogma about catastrophic anthropogenic global warming using Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” as the only reference."

That the only reasonable conclusion about this doctrine of man-made Global is both ‘vile and repugnant’ is echoed in the piece ‘The Trouble with Climate Change’ by Lord Lawson, added with Lawson's permission. As a former British Chancellor of the Exchequer it is natural that Lawson should dwell on the economic miseries produced by this false doctrine – especially as such “remedies” to climate change are gravely felt in the Third World."

The aim of the book is fully expressed in the title – it is and is meant to be Climate for the Layman in language that a layman of reasonable intelligence can understand. It is currently available as an eBook, in colour and obtained either through Amazon/Kindle or direct from Authors Online.

Amazon/Kindle version or: Direct from Authors Online



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Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Greenie solution to traffic jams

The usual authoritarianism

Owning a car should be `outlawed' to force people on to public transport, a senior Labour MP has suggested.  Motorists who want to drive should instead be forced to join communal `car clubs' where the cars are shared by drivers and used only when needed.

Dr Alan Whitehead, a Labour MP for Southampton Test and a member of the Energy and Climate Change select committee, said the increase in car ownership would lead to `something approaching a national traffic jam before 2040'.

He claimed that radical action would be needed to avoid national gridlock.

In an article in the Guardian, Dr Whitehead wrote: `We need to consider doing something serious. What we need is a considerable expansion of public transport over the next period and a shift from car to bus, train, bike or even feet. The big problem is how to do it.'

He went on to suggest that `outlawing' car ownership was better than banning car use altogether, preferring `regulation rather than prohibition'.

Dr Whitehead added: `What if the Government simply regulated for cars to be sold and used just as they are at present (hopefully with an increasing presence of electric and hybrid vehicles) but outlawed individual ownership?

`People would then lease cars individually or as part of a club and the running costs would be included in the lease arrangements. No one would be prohibited from using a car, but the playing field of choice would instantly be levelled.'

But his suggestions were last night described as `bonkers' by transport minister Robert Goodwill, who said Labour had waged a `13-year war' against motorists.


Pesky!   Replacing forest with cropland reduces greenhouse gases, study claims

At the current rate of deforestation, the world's rainforests could completely disappear in 100 years.

Most scientists suggests fewer forests means larger amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and an increase in global warming.

But a new study argues that relationship isn't as straightforward and that deforestation could in fact be cooling the planet.

Researchers at Yale University claim the process is being driven by the transformation of forests into cropland causing a net cooling effect on global temperatures.

Deforestation over the last 150 years has reduced global emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs).

BVOCs increase the atmospheric distribution of short-lived climate pollutants, such as methane, which have a warming influence on climate.

'Land cover changes caused by humans since the industrial and agricultural revolutions have removed natural forests and grasslands and replaced them with croplands,' said Nadine Unger, one of the researchers.

'And croplands are not strong emitters of these BVOCs-often they don't emit any BVOCs.'

The researchers used computer modelling to calculate BVOC declines and found that there has been a 30 per cent decline between 1850 and 2000, largely through the conversion of forests to cropland.

This same conversion produced an overall global cooling of about 0.1°C.

However, the overall global climate still warmed by about 0.6°C, mostly due to increases in fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions.

Professor Unger said the findings do not suggest that increased forest loss provides climate change benefits.

Instead she claims it underscores the complexity of climate change and the importance of better assessing which parts of the world would benefit from greater forest conservation.

Since the mid-19th century, the percentage of the planet covered by cropland has more than doubled, from 14 per cent to 37 per cent.

Since forests are far greater contributors of BVOC emissions than crops and grasslands, this shift in land use has removed about 30 per cent of Earth's BVOC sources.

Not all of these compounds affect atmospheric chemistry in the same way. Aerosols, for instance, contribute to global 'cooling' since they generally reflect solar radiation back into space.

That means a 50 per cent reduction in forest aerosols has actually spurred greater warming since the pre-industrial era.

However, reductions in the potent greenhouse gases methane and ozone — which contribute to global warming - have helped deliver a net cooling effect.

These emissions are often ignored in climate modelling because they are perceived as a 'natural' part of the earth system, explained Professor Unger.

'So they don't get as much attention as human-generated emissions, such as fossil fuel VOCs,' she said.  'But if we change how much forest cover exists, then there is a human influence on these emissions.'


Cut the Costly Climate Chatter

Twenty-two years ago a bunch of green activists calling themselves “The Earth Summit” met in Rio and invented a way to tour the world at tax-payers’ expense – never-ending conferences on environmental alarms.

Like any good bureaucratic committee, they soon established sub-committees on sustainability, pollution, development, energy, forestry, water, biodiversity, endangered species, poverty, health, population and Agenda 21 (this item alone had 40 chapters each with its own sub-committee). Environmental conferences became the greatest multi-national growth industry in the world financed mainly by tax-payers via participating public servants, climate academics, employees of nationalised industries and tax-sheltered green “charities” such as Greenpeace and WWF.

They really hit the Mother Lode with their creation of the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” which, in good bureaucratic tradition, duplicated the work of the “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” (IPCC). These then created their own brand-names called “Global Warming”, and its proxies “Climate Change” and “Extreme Weather”.

These “noble causes” generated a hierarchy of steering committees, reference committees, political committees, science sub-groups, working committees, reviewers and peak bodies and could muster meetings with 20,000 attendees from 178 countries at hardship locations such as Rio, Berlin, Geneva, Kyoto, Buenos Aires, Bonn, The Hague, Marrakesh, New Delhi, Milan, Montreal, Nairobi, Bali, Poznan, Copenhagen, Cancun, Durban, Qatar, Doha, Warsaw, Stockholm, Lima, Abu Dhabi and New York.

The 21st Climate Change birthday party will be held at the Conference of the Parties in Paris in December 2015, while the Small Islands Developing States will tour to Samoa, but any important decisions will be taken behind closed doors by the canny BRICS Nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

The Climate Conference Circuit became a bigger boost to airlines, hotels and fine dining than the Olympic Games and G20. Australia alone sent the PM plus a team of 114 to the failed Copenhagen Conference. Rich and poor all over the world have endured over 20 years of wasteful spending that could have built flood-proof infrastructure, drought-proof water supplies, erosion-proof beach fronts and pollution-free waterways. It has gone down the global warming gurgler without a single visible benefit for suffering tax payers.

With most western governments running desperate financial deficits, it is time to cut the costs of this climate chatter. Australia should burn no more jet fuel sending people to any climate conference anywhere. If they want one, they should use bicycles, tele-conferencing or the postal service.


Declining Humidity Is Defying Global Warming Models

Atmospheric relative humidity has substantially declined in recent decades, defying global warming computer models predicting higher amounts of atmospheric water vapor that will exacerbate global warming. The decline in relative humidity indicates global warming will be much more moderate than global warming activists claim.

CO2 Has Minimal Impact

Carbon dioxide’s impact on global temperatures is not in dispute. As a matter of physics, doubling atmospheric water vapor from pre-Industrial Age levels will directly cause approximately 1 degree Celsius of warming. From the dawn of the Industrial Revolution until today, atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen by merely 40 percent. Accordingly, carbon dioxide has directly caused approximately 0.4 degrees Celsius of warming (actually a little more, as the earlier increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide will trap more long wave radiation than later increases). If global carbon dioxide emissions continue at their current pace, we can expect human-caused carbon dioxide emissions will directly cause at most another 0.6 degrees Celsius this century.

Humidity Predictions More Important

United Nations computer models, however, predict approximately 2.4 degrees Celsius of 21st century warming. The discrepancy arises because the computer models are programmed to assume that whenever temperatures warm—due to increasing carbon dioxide emissions or other reasons—a small amount of initial warming creates a cascade effect of other factors that induce even more warming.

The most important of these assumptions is that a little bit of carbon dioxide-induced warming will create a substantial increase in atmospheric water vapor. Water vapor is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, so substantial increases in atmospheric water vapor can certainly cause significant warming. United Nations computer models are programmed to assume absolute humidity (the total amount of water vapor in the atmosphere) will rise so much that even relative humidity (the percent of water vapor in the atmosphere) will at least keep pace and perhaps even increase. Warmer air is able to hold more water than cooler air, so absolute water vapor would have to increase quite substantially for relative humidity to remain constant or increase in a warming world.

Relative Humidity Is Declining

Scientists, however, have been measuring relative humidity for many decades. Rather than keeping pace with modestly warming temperatures, relative humidity is declining. This decline has been ongoing, without interruption, for more than 60 years. After more than six decades of consistent data, we can say with strong confidence that absolute humidity is not rising rapidly enough for relative humidity to keep pace with warming temperatures.

The failure of relative humidity to hold constant or rise during recent decades is a lethal dagger in the heart of alarmist global warming claims. According to the UN computer models, rising humidity will cause substantially more global warming than the modest warming directly caused by rising carbon dioxide levels. Given the potency of water vapor, even a small overstatement of atmospheric humidity levels in UN computer models will cause a very significant overstatement of future warming. And the data show UN computer models assume too much atmospheric humidity.

Models’ Predictions Were Wrong

The effects of this overstatement are apparent in real-world temperature data this century. Precise atmospheric temperature measurements compiled by NASA and NOAA satellite instruments show there has been no global warming since late in the 20th century. Some global warming activists claim some of the data indicate there may still have been a small amount of warming in recent years, but even a minor warming contradicts UN computer models claiming we should be experiencing rapid warming. If the Earth were truly going to warm 2.4 degrees Celsius this century, we should have already experienced approximately 0.35 degrees Celsius warming. The difference between no warming and 0.35 degrees Celsius warming may not sound like much of a discrepancy at first blush, but the Earth only warmed approximately 0.60 degrees Celsius during the entirety of the 20th century. As United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) lead author Hans von Storch observed in June 2013 in der Spiegel, “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.”

The UN can go a long way toward correcting its climate models if by simply admitting it has overstated the impact of modest carbon dioxide-created global warming on atmospheric humidity. More accurate climate models will allow for a better informed discussion on global warming, and will go a long way toward bridging the divide in an increasingly volatile scientific and political debate.


Shortest Summer On Record In Fort Collins, Colorado

The snow-free season in Fort Collins was less than four months this year, with the last spring snow day being May 12, and the first autumn snow day being September 11. The second shortest summer occurred five years ago, and the length of summer has declined more than 10% since the 1890’s.


Urban heat island effect has massively corrupted temperatures in Fort Collins, Colorado

Climate experts tell us that UHI has almost no effect on the temperature record, and USHCN only corrects by 0.1 F   The real world tells us something completely different.

The weather station at Fort Collins, Colorado is considered a good station because it has not moved, and has used the same equipment for its entire history. But something else has changed – the environment around the weather station. It used to be in the middle of a farm – now it is in the middle of a parking lot.

Over the past 80 years, Fort Collins appears to have warmed at a rate of 1.1ºC/century, while Colorado has not warmed at all. Note the big spike after 1990 in Fort Collins

In 1937, the station was located in the middle of a farm,

By 1950, the area was starting to get built up.

By 1969, the city had surrounded the weather station.

Now it is in the middle of a parking lot, which was built around the time of the post 1990 spike.

When I was in Fort Collins riding my bike last week, I noticed at least 5-10 degrees F difference between open space temperatures and downtown, where CSU is located. One evening was beautiful downtown, and frigid along the Spring Creek trail.

People who claim that UHI doesn’t matter – have no idea what they are talking about. The presence of any asphalt (even a single road) in an area makes a huge difference in temperature – as any cyclist can tell you.



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

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


Friday, September 12, 2014

Calgary yesterday

Some amusing non-news about ozone

Here it is, right from the horse's mouth, the horse being the summary in the official WMO report which is giving a lot of Greenies erections at the moment.  Im my usual pesky way I went back to the original science rather than  accepting journalistic spin about it.  Read it and see whether you think there is anything notable in it:

Total column ozone declined over most of the globe during the 1980s and early 1990s (by about 2.5% averaged over 60°S to 60°N). It has remained relatively unchanged since 2000, with indications of a small increase in total column ozone in recent years, as expected. In the upper stratosphere there is a clear recent ozone increase, which climate models suggest can be explained by  comparable contributions from declining ODS abundances and upper stratospheric cooling caused by carbon dioxide increases.

The Antarctic ozone hole continues to occur each spring, as expected for the current ODS abundances. The Arctic stratosphere in winter/spring 2011 was particularly cold, which led to large ozone depletion as expected under these conditions.

Far from ozone declining, the finding is a small INCREASE in the amount of ozone overhead.  And the Antarctic ozone hole apparently shows no trend other than what can be attributed to recent COOLING.  (Where's that global warming gone?)

I would have thought that the findings were a total disappointment to the Greenies and their Montreal Protocol but they are manging somehow to spin it in a way that keeps their spirits up.

The spin that the Warmists are putting on it is that the ozone "hole" has stopped growing.  But how can they know that?  The hole is highly variable from year to year and it could very easily roar back overnight bigger than ever.  Warmists really are a sad bunch.

More prophecy spun out of thin air

The article below appeared under the heading: "Climate Change Gets Personal As Minnesota Faces Loss Of Its Beloved Loon‏".  Sadly the loon concerned is NOT Al Franken.  It is a bird. And what is the story based on?  Is is based on a series of annual population counts that show a decline?  That would be the scientific way.  But this is Warmism, not science, so there is no word of that. The  report appears to be just another Warmist prophecy which ignores the fact that the slight warming of the late 20th century has now stopped for some time and it is anybody's guess whether it will restart or not

Matthew Anderson, just like most other Minnesotans he knows, has a favorite loon story.

It happened this year. Anderson, the executive director of the National Audubon Society’s Minnesota chapter, was out on a boat in western Wisconsin with his four-year-old daughter. They spotted a common loon with two chicks on its back, and watched as the chicks slid off their parent’s back and dove beneath the water’s surface. The parent then stuck its head down underneath the water so it could keep an eye on the chicks as they swam underwater.
“To see her smile on her face … and to think that my four-year-old, when she’s 38, 39, 40, that loons might not be here, that hurts,” he said.

This week, the Audubon Society released a comprehensive report on the threats North America’s birds face from climate change. The report found that the common loon, Minnesota’s beloved state bird, is projected to have just 25 percent of its non-breeding season range and 44 percent of its breeding season range left by 2080.

Due to warming temperatures and changing weather patterns, the report states, “it looks all but certain that Minnesota will lose its iconic loons in summer by the end of the century.” The common loon has a better chance than some other birds of being able to adapt to a new, more northern habitat as the earth warms, but that still means Minnesota won’t have the loons its residents have long been used to.

I think for a lot of people, their trips north aren’t really complete without loon calls or seeing a loon or loon family on the lake.

For Minnesotans, Anderson said, that’s a big deal. Minnesota is the only state to have the common loon as its state bird (unlike the Northern cardinal, which is claimed by seven states, and the western meadowlark, which represents six states), and since the state is known as the “land of 10,000 lakes,” many of its residents frequent lakes and rivers for fishing, water sports, canoeing and boating, making loon encounters common. The loon’s haunting cry and its awkward gait on land — due to its legs, which are set farther back on its body than other birds’ — have helped Minnesotans fall in love with the waterbird.

“People care deeply about loons up here, especially people who live on lakes,” Erica LeMoine, coordinator of LoonWatch, which is based in Wisconsin but does work in Minnesota, told ThinkProgress. “A lot of people who visit northern areas, one of the things they want to experience is loons. I think for a lot of people, their trips north aren’t really complete without loon calls or seeing a loon or loon family on the lake.”


Cool summer doesn’t invalidate climate change (?)

You've got to hand it to the guy below.  He's better than most Warmists.  He ATTEMPTS to marshall some scientific evidence for his argunent.  But he has been taken in by Warmist pseudo-science.  He says “Each of the past three decades has been successively warmer" but hasn't noticed that the "warming" concerned is measured in (totally insignificant) hundredths of one degree!  He says the Arctic and Antarctic ice is shrinking. He is quoting old stuff about the Arctic.  In recent years the icecap  has started growing again.  And he is dead wrong about the Antarctic. The ice there has been continuously growing and is now at an all-time high.  So his "facts" are, in effect lies.  But Warmists have got little else.  Lies and distortion are their stock in trade

LABOR DAY has come and gone. Autumn looms. But how can summer be over when it never really began?

If you feel cheated — where were the scorchers and leaden humid nights? — it’s not your imagination. July and August really did feel more like an extension of spring than a separate season. The Boston area had but four days over 90 degrees; usually it has 10. Average temperatures for the summer were well below normal too. This, of course, followed on the heels of a cold and snowy winter that felt like it would never end. And, to top it off, the Farmers’ Almanac predicts that the winter to come will be even worse than last.

So much for this global warming nonsense, huh?

Admit it. In some fashion, you’ve probably given voice to the thought. If climate change is real — if the world is supposedly heating up — then how come last winter was so long and our summer so cool? It’s because our perspective is skewed. We’re like a guy with his head in the refrigerator while his house is burning down, thinking nothing’s wrong. In fact, climate change proceeds apace. Our cool summer offers proof.

The world continues to get warmer. Of that, there is no doubt. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just released drafts of its most recent assessment (the final version should be issued in October), and the news is grim. “Each of the past three decades has been successively warmer at the earth’s surface than all the previous decades in the instrumental record, and the first decade of the 21st century has been the warmest,” it notes. Indeed, despite New England’s experience, 2013 was, worldwide, the hottest year on record, and 2014 may be hotter still. And the impacts of that rise are now being observed everywhere. The oceans are warmer. Ice sheets in Greenland, the Antarctic, and Arctic are getting smaller. Glaciers are retreating. The acidity of the oceans (caused by the absorption of carbon dioxide) has gone up 30 percent since the mid-1800s. Sea levels are rising too — 6.7 inches in the last 100 years. Extreme weather events are on the rise.



Oh no, not another global warming article? Yep! It's true, but this one takes a little different tack to make a point about the folly of climate modeling. Hopefully, the reader will forgive this author's brief foray into the world of simple mathematics and logic.

Back in the early 60's when scientists started "dreaming" of how they could determine if there was life elsewhere in the universe, a radio astronomer by the name of Frank Drake came up with an equation (the infamous Drake Equation) to estimate the possibility of intelligent life on other extra solar planets in the Milky Way galaxy. He came up with the equation to help stimulate scientific dialogue at the up coming, first ever, Search For Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) conference in Green Bank, West Virginia.

To develop the equation he had to make some estimates on some variables that were part of the elements of the equation in order to solve for "N", the number of possible intelligent life planets in the galaxy. First, he had to estimate the rate of star formation in the galaxy (R). Then he had to estimate the fraction of those stars that might have planets (fp). Then he had to determine an average of the number of those planets per star that would potentially support life (ne) and so on. In the end the elements of the equation were described as follows:

R = the average rate of star formation in our galaxy.
fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets.
ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets.
fl = the fraction of planets that could support life that actually develop life at some point.
fi = the fraction of planets with life that actually go on to develop intelligent life (civilizations).
fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space.
L = the length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space.

There were several other variables Frank could have included in the equation but he was trying to keep it as simple as possible so that the scientific dialogue wouldn't get bogged down in the elements, or the variables to those elements. Since there was no clear science on these elements, Frank had to make guesses at each value based on the best available information he had at the time. Unfortunately, with no clear evidence, those guesses could vary widely and as they varied, so did the solution to the equation. A solution that varies widely is no solution at all. It is, at best, a wild-as…..d-guess.

The moral of this exercise is to point out that the greater the number of variables in an equation and a wide difference within those variables, the less likely any answer or solution will be accurate.

So let's look at the number of variables to predict any long-range change in climate that climate Scientists plug into their super computers. There are a whole host of variables to predict long-range future climate conditions and those variables can vary widely, as they do in the Drake equation, because of a lack of accurate data. Bear in mind that a weather report, using computer weather modeling, is only good for about two hours. The reason for this is, the weather is a non-linear dynamic system and small changes in initial conditions can produce large changes in localized weather. True scientists, if there are any left, call this phenomenon the butterfly effect.

Wikipedia describes the climate modeling process called the "General Circulation Model" (GCM) as follows: "… GCM is a type of climate model and is a mathematical model of the general circulation of a planetary atmosphere or ocean and based on the Navier–Stokes equations on a rotating sphere with thermodynamic terms for various energy sources (radiation, latent heat).

Wow! What a mouthful. But in order to pull this off, they have to enter a wide range of variables into their super computers, along with a laundry list of equations for other variables. Those variables include the temperature and pressure at any height in the atmosphere. They also include, ocean currents, cloud cover, precipitation, water vapor, ice sheet cover, vegetation, soil types, variations in Solar radiation, trace atmospheric elements like CO2, ozone, methane, carbon monoxide and more. The climate Scientists might even put in a prognostication for major volcanic eruptions, but like the Drake equation, these would be guesses at best. Just imagine what a major volcanic eruption would do to any climate model, like Krakatoa in the late 1800's, or another major volcanic eruption that occurred in 1815 that created a year without a summer in 1816. You can kiss off any climate model in this scenario.

As this debate between the climate Scientists (and government) and well credentialed climate change deniers heats up, more and more evidence appears that the climate Scientists are dummying up variables to obtain a desired result because they just flat don't know how wide the variable is or can be. So they guess. In science circles this is called made-as-instructed science.

In an attempt to explain away the last 17 years of flat temperature rise that wasn't predicted by the supercomputer-driven climate models, the climate Scientists are now saying, "we believe that we didn't get the long-range variables of historical ocean currents right." What? Ocean currents play a huge role in the variations of climate and the scientists have the audacity to say that, "we believe we got ocean currents wrong." "We believe" is hardly a scientific term. Where is the evidence? Where are the observations and experiments to back up a statement based on "we believe?"

And before this "ocean current" fiasco, the climate Scientists had another explanation for the 17-year hiatus of temperature rise. In another article they said that, "we believe" that the rise in temperature was blunted by the absorption of heat by the oceans during this period. Really! Where is the evidence? Where are the observations and experiments that support yet another statement of "we believe?" And these people call themselves scientists? They give science a bad name.

Then another argument has surfaced about methane emanating from the bowels of domestic animals grown for protein. Their argument is that there are way too many domestic animals on the planet that are "flatulating" huge volumes of methane into the atmosphere, driving global warming. Since domestic animals are grown for protein to feed humans, then it follows that humans are responsible for the large amount of methane being emitted in the atmosphere. But it gets better. It turns out that methane is a greater driver of global warming than carbon dioxide (CO2), by almost twenty times. Wait a minute! Didn't climate Scientists tell us that CO2 was the main driver of global warming and humans are responsible? Now we are to believe that there is another culprit and once again, humans are responsible and they had better feel guilty ….. and pay up!

For a second time we must point out that the greater the number of variables in an equation and a wide difference in those variables, the less likely any answer, solution, or prediction will be accurate. That is why their computer models didn't predict the 17-year flat rise in planet temperature. That is why their computer models didn't predict a massive rise in Antarctica sea ice. Those same computer models are also in direct conflict with actual collected data over the last 17 years. How is that possible?

As credible evidence mounts against man-caused global warming, why do the environmentalists, government and climate Scientists still cling to the folly of their computer models containing too many variables with wide discrepancies in values, just like the Drake equation?

The answer is quite simple really. There is collusion going on between radical environmentalists, western governments, climate scientists and maybe even world central bankers. The collusion is driven by an agenda. The agenda is the unproven argument that human beings are a stain on the earth and must be drastically limited in their behavior (controlled) ….. by government. Further, government must spend billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars to curtail man's emissions of CO2 and domestic animal flatulent into the atmosphere that in the end will have zero affect on planet temperature rise. Instead, what happens is, government borrows the billions to pay for the controls and the central bankers laugh gleefully while sitting in their cushy bank chairs counting their profits.

To control human behavior, the governments and the environmentalists had to come up with a straw man to rationalize their man-is-guilty agenda and that straw man is "man-caused global warming." They have been promoting this straw man by propaganda, hype, distortion and lies for years. They exploit the masses by making the masses feel guilty because the masses are responsible for the degradation of the planet and they have to pay for their transgressions. Even though this made-as-instructed science has been exposed as a fraud, they continue to feed the public lie after lie, attempting to cover up their criminal duplicity. They even changed the name to "Climate Change" from man-caused global warming because Climate Change is much less controversial, nor is it definitive of their bogus accusations.

As we stated in a previous article, yes humans are affecting the planet. But we went on to say that, "We (humans) are an integral part of the environmental processes of earth but we will have little or no effect on any final outcome. We will but only tickle the grander elements such as the Sun, the Moon and the Earth itself, none of which is predictable, much less measurable to the degree necessary for accurate long-range predictions."

Government and powerful special interest groups are forever trying to hoodwink and deceive the masses for hidden agendas and they have been doing so since man came out of the jungles or deserts and set up shop in cities. The deception didn't stop when some wise men wrote a blue print for freedom in 1791. The masses are so stupid that they fall for it every time, to their detriment and eventual enslavement. Man-caused global warming is just one more tool in the elite's toolbox to manipulate the masses for hidden and not-so-hidden agendas. One of those agendas is absolute power over the masses. The second is money to be used against the masses. One might ask, which of these groups is the smarter of the two? It will probably take the blood of patriots to set it right ….. again!


Energy storage is no solution to the intermittency of wind and solar power

Pick up a research paper on battery technology, fuel cells, energy storage technologies or any of the advanced materials science used in these fields, and you will likely find somewhere in the introductory paragraphs a throwaway line about its application to the storage of renewable energy.  Energy storage makes sense for enabling a transition away from fossil fuels to more intermittent sources like wind and solar, and the storage problem presents a meaningful challenge for chemists and materials scientists… Or does it?

Several recent analyses of the inputs to our energy systems indicate that, against expectations, energy storage cannot solve the problem of intermittency of wind or solar power.  Not for reasons of technical performance, cost, or storage capacity, but for something more intractable: there is not enough surplus energy left over after construction of the generators and the storage system to power our present civilization.

The problem is analysed in an important paper by Weißbach et al.1 in terms of energy returned on energy invested, or EROEI – the ratio of the energy produced over the life of a power plant to the energy that was required to build it.  It takes energy to make a power plant – to manufacture its components, mine the fuel, and so on.  The power plant needs to make at least this much energy to break even.  A break-even powerplant has an EROEI of 1.  But such a plant would pointless, as there is no energy surplus to do the useful things we use energy for.

There is a minimum EROEI, greater than 1, that is required for an energy source to be able to run society.  An energy system must produce a surplus large enough to sustain things like food production, hospitals, and universities to train the engineers to build the plant, transport, construction, and all the elements of the civilization in which it is embedded.

For countries like the US and Germany, Weißbach et al. estimate this minimum viable EROEI to be about 7.  An energy source with lower EROEI cannot sustain a society at those levels of complexity, structured along similar lines.  If we are to transform our energy system, in particular to one without climate impacts, we need to pay close attention to the EROEI of the end result.

 The fossil fuel power sources we’re most accustomed to have a high EROEI of about 30, well above the minimum requirement.  Wind power at 16, and concentrating solar power (CSP, or solar thermal power) at 19, are lower, but the energy surplus is still sufficient, in principle, to sustain a developed industrial society.  Biomass, and solar photovoltaic (at least in Germany), however, cannot.  With an EROEI of only 3.9 and 3.5 respectively, these power sources cannot support with their energy alone both their own fabrication and the societal services we use energy for in a first world country.

These EROEI values are for energy directly delivered (the “unbuffered” values in the figure).  But things change if we need to store energy.  If we were to store energy in, say, batteries, we must invest energy in mining the materials and manufacturing those batteries.  So a larger energy investment is required, and the EROEI consequently drops.

Weißbach et al. calculated the EROEIs assuming pumped hydroelectric energy storage.  This is the least energy intensive storage technology.  The energy input is mostly earthmoving and construction.  It’s a conservative basis for the calculation; chemical storage systems requiring large quantities of refined specialty materials would be much more energy intensive.  Carbajales-Dale et al.2 cite data asserting batteries are about ten times more energy intensive than pumped hydro storage.

Adding storage greatly reduces the EROEI (the “buffered” values in the figure).  Wind “firmed” with storage, with an EROEI of 3.9, joins solar PV and biomass as an unviable energy source.  CSP becomes marginal (EROEI ~9) with pumped storage, so is probably not viable with molten salt thermal storage.  The EROEI of solar PV with pumped hydro storage drops to 1.6, barely above breakeven, and with battery storage is likely in energy deficit.

This is a rather unsettling conclusion if we are looking to renewable energy for a transition to a low carbon energy system: we cannot use energy storage to overcome the variability of solar and wind power.

In particular, we can’t use batteries or chemical energy storage systems, as they would lead to much worse figures than those presented by Weißbach et al.  Hydroelectricity is the only renewable power source that is unambiguously viable.  However, hydroelectric capacity is not readily scaled up as it is restricted by suitable geography, a constraint that also applies to pumped hydro storage.

This particular study does not stand alone.  Closer to home, Springer have just published a monograph, Energy in Australia,3 which contains an extended discussion of energy systems with a particular focus on EROEI analysis, and draws similar conclusions to Weißbach.  Another study by a group at Stanford2 is more optimistic, ruling out storage for most forms of solar, but suggesting it is viable for wind.  However, this viability is judged only on achieving an energy surplus (EROEI>1), not sustaining society (EROEI~7), and excludes the round trip energy losses in storage, finite cycle life, and the energetic cost of replacement of storage.  Were these included, wind would certainly fall below the sustainability threshold.


Revision of Australia's marine parks looming

Under Greenie influence, Australia's previous Leftist government locked away vast areas of Australia's coastal waters,  making fisheries very restricted

The Abbott government's overdue review of Australian marine parks has been launched with representatives of the fishing industry dominating advisory panels.

The previous Labor government established a vast network of new marine reserves throughout five stretches of Australian ocean and set out rules for how much fishing could occur in each one, if any at all.

Heading into the last election the Coalition promised to tear up the management plans for the new parks and to carry out a review, claiming anglers had been locked out of the process.

As part of the review, which was formally launched on Thursday, an overarching expert scientific panel will be set up to take carriage of the process.

The expert panel will be chaired by Bob Beeton, an associate professor at the University of Queensland's School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management and the former head of the Australian Threatened Species Scientific Committee.

The government has also created five advisory panels for each region of Australian ocean where the new parks were set up - the north, north-west, the east, the south-west and the Coral Sea - which are dominated by members of the commercial or recreational fishing industries.

Details of the review had initially been promised by the government by early this year.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the review would examine the management arrangements for the new marine reserves, which had been "rushed through" by the previous government.

"Unlike the previous government, we are committed to getting the management plans and the balance of zoning right, so we have asked the expert panels to consider what management arrangements will best protect our marine environment and accommodate the many activities that Australians love to enjoy in our oceans," Mr Hunt said.

He added that the government was "determined to ensure a science-based review of Commonwealth marine reserves and zoning boundaries, while maintaining our strong commitment to the marine reserves and their estates."

But Michelle Grady, Oceans director for Pew Australia, said the review was unnecessary, created more red tape and was a threat to Australia's marine protection.

"Regardless of who they put on these panels, this puts Australia's marine protection at risk and also the Liberal Party legacy of putting in place large and important marine parks," Ms Grady said.

"It's the Liberal Party who started this [protection] in the Fraser and Howard years."



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

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