Sunday, July 05, 2015



New paper finds Mediterranean Sea was up to 7C warmer than present during the Pliocene

In a Greenie coal-free paradise



Regional and global significance of Pliocene sea surface temperatures from the Gulf of Cadiz (Site U1387) and the Mediterranean

Alexandrina Tzanova and  Timothy D. Herbert

Abstract

The Atlantic – Mediterranean water exchange is a component of global ocean circulation capable of influencing deep water formation in the North Atlantic, yet it is poorly constrained for the time period preceding the intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation (NHG). The sea surface temperature (SST) gradient between the Atlantic and Mediterranean sides of the Strait of Gibraltar can shed light on the communication between the two basins. IODP Site U1387 in the Gulf of Cadiz provides the first alkenone based reconstruction of SST for the Atlantic waters that flowed into the Mediterranean Sea during the Pliocene. This site reflects open ocean North Atlantic subtropical temperature trends while the published SST records from the Rossello composite section (Sicily) in the Mediterranean reflect the addition of regional, continentally-influenced signals from Europe and Northern Africa. The Mediterranean, in particular, may be influenced by high latitude Northern hemisphere climatic evolution. In the modern regime the sites discussed in this work have comparable SST and uninhibited surface connection; however, change in local heat loss/gain over the Mediterranean due to variability in latent heat loss and obstructed connection can result in a gradient between the sites in the Pliocene. The Pliocene surface waters of the Gulf of Cadiz and the Mediterranean Sea were as much as 7°C warmer than the modern average of ~ 19-20°C. The reconstructed temperatures show a ~ 1°C cooling for the Atlantic side of the Strait of Gibraltar from ~ 6 Ma to ~ 2.7 Ma and increasingly cooler glacials. The long-term SST record from Site U1387 provides a basis for future studies into the hydrological balance of the Mediterranean and the temperature component of Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW) density. We compared SST on either side of Gibraltar between ~ 3.4 – 2.7 Ma and found that between ~ 2.7 and ~ 3.1 Ma the Mediterranean and Atlantic surface waters show comparable average temperatures and comparable variance.

Global and Planetary Change. Available online 4 July 2015. In Press, Accepted Manuscript





German silliness

Germany to "mothball" largest coal power plants to meet climate targets -- but will switch them on whenever "renewables are not delivering!  It would almost certainly be cheaper and safer to leave them in spinning reserve.  You can't fire up such things instantaneously.  Perhaps that is really what they are going to do

Germany agreed on Thursday to mothball about five of the country’s largest brown coal power plants to meet its climate goals by 2020, after months of wrangling between the parties in chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition.

But Merkel and the leaders of her two junior coalition partners also, in effect, agreed to set up a “capacity reserve” system where utilities could switch on the brown coal plants if there were power shortages in the country.

An economy ministry spokesman said the decision on brown coal would mean Germany could meet its goal of reducing German CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 compared to 1990. The goal is much more ambitious than the EU-wide target of the same cut by 2030.

“Brown coal-fired plants with a capacity of 2.7 gigawatts will be mothballed. Those plants will not be allowed to sell any electricity on the normal power market,” said a spokesman for the economy ministry after the talks which lasted four hours.

In a television interview, economy minister Sigmar Gabriel expanded on the plans, which are part of Germany’s switch to renewable energy away from nuclear and fossil fuels.

“We need a capacity reserve on the power market in case there are shortages due to the switch to renewables. The reserve will be made up of brown coal,” Gabriel told ARD television.

Gabriel originally proposed putting a levy on CO2 emitted by the oldest and most-polluting power stations above a certain threshold to help curb CO2 emissions from the coal sector by a further 22m tonnes by 2020.

But he faced a backlash from industry, with unions saying the plan could put up to 100,000 jobs at risk and lead to the decline of the mining and power generation industries.

The utility companies lobbied hard against the levy and demanded compensation for an alternative reserve option.

While the levy now seems to be scrapped, it is unclear whether companies such as RWE or Vattenfall Europe will get compensation payments or not.

Gabriel also said the leaders of the coalition had agreed that taxpayers should not end up paying for provisions for the costs of the nuclear phase-out.

“We agreed that we want to ensure, a bit like parents being responsible for their children, that a situation doesn’t arise where, due to changes within companies, taxpayers have to pay for the provisions,” Gabriel said.

SOURCE





Germany’s Green Energy Transition May Be Running Out Of Money, Study Warns

The expansion of Green energy is costing billions. The strain on utilities is so heavy that they threaten to fall away as capital providers. Other investors are needed – but that is easier said than done.

The German energy transition has cost more than 100 billion euros so far. It has hit large and small electricity suppliers with force and put traditional business models in question. But 15 years after the start of the transition of the power sector with the aim of renewable, low-carbon generation, experts are asking themselves an anxious question: is the energy transition running out of money?

Quite possible, is the answer that the German section of the World Energy Council and the consultants from Roland Berger provide. In an unpublished study they come to this conclusion: “The necessary equity funds for the expansion of the network infrastructure and offshore wind can probably be provided only with the participation of alternative and international investors. High risks however make it questionable whether the investment needs can be met at a sufficient capacity and speed.”

New investors must be found

It is not about small change. At least 280 billion euros would need to be invested in the next 15 years in order to promote the politically demanded goal of the transformation of the energy system: from wind turbines, biomass plants and solar power plants to local, regional and national electricity distribution networks to large offshore wind farms. This calculation already includes “sustained political support”. Otherwise, it could get even more expensive.

The traditional energy companies – whether they be public utilities or large corporations – are no longer reliable. “Many traditional utilities, which previously financed investments in the electricity sector, mainly through their shareholders’ equity, are today with their backs to the wall,” says Uwe Franke, president of the German section of the World Energy Council, a global association of energy companies. He previously ran the business of BP Europe. Franke says, private and municipal suppliers lacked the investment funds. Therefore, new investors would have to be found to ensure “the energy transition and the security of supply.”

The prerequisites for this will vary. Money for photovoltaic systems, wind turbines on land and for biomass is there. “The necessary funds can still be provided by banks, households and project planners in the future”, according to the Berger study. In addition, the state could possibly easily help out with incentives.

“High risk and market entry barriers” and a “significantly tighter situation” are however applying to investments in offshore wind farms and networks. In 2012 two-thirds of offshore capacity were located in the hands of utilities, which had invested between one and 2 billion euros per wind farm. Here a greater commitment of other investors would be needed in the future. But that is easier said than done: “The high risk of investing in offshore wind farms, however, contradicts the risk profile of institutional investors.” Not least because laws and capital market regulations make the business hard for investors.

When it comes to the distribution networks, weakened public utilities are faced with a significant need for investment. Investors are additionally deterred by structural reasons: the fragmentation in 900 network operators and the trend towards re-municipalisation. For the expansion of the distribution networks, the German Energy Agency estimates costs from 28 to 43 billion euros by 2040.

Required equity questionable

For the transmission systems that transport electricity over long distances double-digit billion investments are needed too. Given the high amounts, it is questionable whether Tennet, Amprion, 50Hertz and Transnet BW “can muster the necessary capital resources on their own.” Funds and institutional investors could be discouraged by the associated risks of major projects like network expansion such as delays in approvals and construction. The current big resistance of the state of Bavaria against the network expansion could be included here.

According to the study, the utilities get under pressure from two sides. On one hand, many lack the capital for green energy investments. At the same time, big investors entered the market, driven by low interest rates and searching for attractive investments. Utilities could therefore lose their role as financiers and owners of installations and networks. At the same time its role as operators will be questioned by specialized project engineers and possibly soon also by equipment manufacturers.

Utilities should be more flexible, understand themselves more as a mediators and think in terms of cooperation. They could take the roles of fund initiators, fund service providers and financial investors. A business model opens at the interface of project developers and investors. “But this transition will not happen automatically,” says Franke. Utilities would have to change and understand the “energy transition as a capital transition”.

SOURCE






Encyclical Ghostwriter: Pope Francis ‘Did Not Intend to Canonize’ Scientific Theories

With the help of some rather convoluted language, American Catholic theologian Thomas Williams attempts below to row back from the plain words of the Pope

In a recent interview, Bishop Mario Toso, who co-wrote the first draft of the papal encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, denied that Pope Francis had any intention of “canonizing” scientific theories regarding climate change, but only wished to assert his authority on the moral level.

Toso, who was secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the time of the drafting of the encyclical, said that in the encyclical letter the Pope sought to offer “reflections on the anthropological and ethical issues” related to the care of creation, but that he did not wish to “impose” the results of scientific studies on anyone or to confer his moral authority on scientific opinions.

“Everyone knows that many opinions today considered ‘scientific’ are not irrefutable or incontrovertible,” he said.

“The Church has no competence on the technical and scientific level,” he said, “but rather on the anthropological and ethical levels that relate to scientific phenomenology.”

Toso’s comments come at an opportune moment, when many wonder aloud how far the Pope intended to go in endorsing scientific theories regarding the environment in his letter.

For instance, a London priest, Father Ashley Beck, recently wrote an essay, titled “No Catholic Is Free to Dissent from the Teaching of Laudato Si.” While true in its own way, such a statement could easily be misunderstood to mean that Catholics have to believe everything in the encyclical, which is not the Pope’s intent in writing it.

Much of Pope Francis’ encyclical is an appeal to discussion, rather than a definition of doctrine. He addresses the letter not just to Catholics, but to the whole world, asking for active engagement in facing our common call to responsible stewardship of the environment. He presents a point of view and asks that it may serve as a stimulus to debate.

To take just one example, when the Pope states that the “land of the southern poor is rich and mostly unpolluted,” he is not defining doctrine or asking for Catholics to nod their heads in agreement. One look at the Riachuelo Basin in the Pope’s former archdiocese of Buenos Aires—one of the most polluted places on the entire planet—is sufficient to know that there is plenty of environmental cleaning to be done in the “land of the southern poor.”

The Vatican’s doctrinal office has taught that the papal magisterium sometimes intervenes “in questions under discussion which involve, in addition to solid principles, certain contingent and conjectural elements” and notes that it often only becomes possible with the passage of time “to distinguish between what is necessary and what is contingent.”

It also noted that one must “take into account the proper character of every exercise of the Magisterium, considering the extent to which its authority is engaged.” By saying that the Pope was not intending to engage his moral authority regarding scientific opinions, Bishop Toso offers a helpful point of reference for reading the letter.

Moreover, Pope Francis specifically states that his letter forms part of the Church’s social teaching. The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church offers its own guidelines for interpreting papal texts in this area. Specifically, it says that the “doctrinal weight of the different teachings and the assent required are determined by the nature of the particular teachings, by their level of independence from contingent and variable elements, and by the frequency with which they are invoked.” Obviously, where “contingent and variable elements” are themselves the matter in question, the Pope is not trying to assert any authority on the matter at all.

Francis himself, in fact, stated bluntly that “the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics.” This is important for those who find scientific opinions presented in the encyclical as unsettling.

None of this comes anywhere near “dissent” or “cafeteria Catholicism.” To refute settled Church teaching on faith and morals is one thing; to question scientific interpretations on the state of the environment or what will or might happen in the future is quite another.

“Climate change” will never, and by its nature could never, form part of Catholic doctrine, something which should give Catholic climate skeptics a little relief when they are accused of being somehow less Catholic than the Pope.

SOURCE






Sustainability

By Rich Kozlovich

Sustainable development is a phrase that's being bandied around everywhere these days. It's promoted by the United Nations as the answer to every problem in every aspect of human activity: sustainable development in agriculture, sustainable development in banking, sustainable development in tourism, sustainable development in education, and more. Let's get this right.  Sustainable development is just another effort by the left to take commonly understood words and re-define them in support of an irrational, misanthropic and morally defective ideology. Socialism!

P.T. Barnum would have been truly impressed with this trompe l'oeil, for what better way to deflect attention away from themselves, the real perpetrators of the economic mess in which the world finds itself.  And now, because they've adopted and promoted this phrase - sustainable develoment - and tout it as a philosophy, we're to believe the economic incompetents who run these socialist governments, including the United States, have an economic vision that can be implemented with them in control and it will work to humanities benefit!  We desparately need to explore this.

Just as when they use the phrase “it’s for the children” when they want some pesticide banned - after all, who could be against something that's "for the children" - they resort to these emotional appeals to prevent you from looking deeper into what they’re really promoting.   Their policies haven't been "for the children", it been  “to the children”.  For over 50 years those policies have devastated the children of the third world terribly.

Correspondingly, we had better look more deeply into the phrase “sustainable development” when they talk about economic development.  After all - Who can be against sustainability? After all isn’t sustainability something that can be done over and over again!  Who can be against development?  Isn’t development about creating more and better ways to live!  What can be wrong with any of that?

Let’s think about this for a second.  The words sustainability and development can easily be defined separately, but can they be defined as a phrase?  Are they even compatible as a philosophy?  Ask ourselves this question.   Is anything sustainable if there’s development?  We will explore that!

What happens when the two are combined and defined illogically and in a way that will generate a diametrically different goal than either sustainability or development would mean independently? What happens when the real goal isn’t the leftist mantra – we can fix everything if the world just adopts our vision of sustainable development and give us the power to define it, and unendingly re-define it, as we see fit to meet needs that only we can understand and implement according to some unknown formula?  What if the real goal is global governance under the auspices of the United Nations?

Independently both of these words are easily definable. The trick is to put these words together in order to create a phrase that is so meaningless anyone can attribute any philosophy to it they wish and call their policy “sustainable development”.

In reality the term sustainable development as a philosophy is a logical fallacy because it has no logical foundation.    Who decides what’s sustainable, and for whom?  Who decides some practice or other is or isn’t worth developing?

There are no identifiable parameters for a universal definition or modalities of action to which everyone can agree.  As a result there can be no logical foundation from which to make viable verifiable determinations for what needs to be done.  That leaves opinion - not facts, not science, not history, not results – just someone’s opinion as to how the world should function.  Make no mistake about this.  If the world accepts this there will be no level of individuality will be tolerated, including the real foundation for economic sustainability or development – personal property rights.

Here in the United States that is now, and has been, the thrust of these people from the beginning.  The elimination of personal property rights by use of the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, via their agents of tyranny at the EPA, the Wildlife Service and the Army Corp of Engineers.

They claim sustainable development is to support current and future generations. Both of which is completely incomprehensible for central planning purposes, especially by bureaucrats who’ve never had a real job. Who knows what future generations need?  Who knows what developments will arise that will change the needs of society today.  Who knows what developments will be thwarted by central planning meddling?   Who’s to say what’s best for current of future generations, and how do we know their goals and plans are benign?

Especially since - as a group – the sustainable development mob thinks – mostly privately lest the world find out how insane their vision of the world really is – the world has between four and six billion too many people.  So why does anyone think a massive infusion of regulations and taxes implemented by an unconnected, unaccountable, unconscionable United Nations bureaucracy dominated by tyrants should regulate sustainability?

The reality is that sustainability has no need of government at all.  Actual sustainability is self regulating! Either something can be done or it can’t.  If it can’t be done people will stop doing it and attempt some other way of achieving a needed goal.

That makes development self regulating also.  Development occurs when a need arises, and as in all developmental processes there will be successes and failures.  That’s how light bulb came into being.  Edison tried 1000 compounds as a filament and failed, but he took each failure as a success because they now knew what wouldn’t work.   When a reporter asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."

What regulation from a central authority could have made that happen?   What if central planners didn’t want this development to happen?  What if central planners had decided electric light bulbs were destructive to the economic interests of candle makers and declared light bulbs as a threat to current and future generations?

Who was the most antagonistic opponent of the electric light bulb?  John D. Rockefeller!  Why, was he a supporter of sustainability or development?  I guess you could say he was a supporter of sustainability – because his company, Standard Oil of New Jersey’s number one product was kerosene, which was used to light the nation’s buildings, and the electric light bulb would not be sustainable for his business model.  Remember, gasoline was a by-product of kerosene production and was thrown away because it was so volatile and there were few cars.  Once again – the reality of history is this - nothing is ‘sustainable’ if there’s development.

Now we find these promoters of sustainable development claiming sustainable development isn’t possible without equality of genders.  Really?  Why?  Whether or not our particular societal paradigms practice equality of race, equality of gender, equality of class or not, there is no ‘sustainable’ proof that has anything to do with sustainability or development.  Great political and economic empires came into being without practicing anything that could be construed equality in any arena.

The world’s history demonstrates the largest obstacle to sustainability or development is   government!   The very people who are promoting what they call sustainable development are the very people who stand in the way of legitimate economic sustainable or development with massive infusions of regulations, fees, taxes and penalties for doing anything with which they disagree.

What if they decide drinking wine is a threat to the needs of today’s society? What if they decide growing grape vines or the making of wine will not be tolerated?  What if they decide theatrical entertainment should be restricted in order to more directly focus on producing the things the central authority decides is most important?  Both of those things occurred in ancient China.

These aren’t stupid people.  They’ve been educated in the best universities in the world so they must have studied history….but did they really?  In order to really understand world economics we need to study the history of China!

According to the book Wealth and Poverty of Nations, “by about 500 BCE the Chinese had learned to improve the supply and use of water by means of artificial devices and arrangements; were making use of draft animals (above all, the water buffalo) for plowing; were weeding intensively; and were putting down animal waste, including night soil, as fertilizer. All of this required prodigious labor, but the work paid off.  Yields shot to a high of 1,100 liters of grain per hectare, which would have left a substantial surplus for the maintenance of nonfood producers.”

Printing and paper was invented by the Chinese around the 9th century, but the difficulty of ideographs versus an alphabet made printing or even learning difficult.  “for all that printing [in China] did for the preservation and diffusion of knowledge in China, it never “exploded” as in Europe,.  Such publication depended on government initiative, and he Confucian mandarinate discouraged dissent and new ideas”.  (WAPN pg 52)

The Chinese use of gunpowder started by the eleventh century (two to three hundred years before it appeared in Europe, and probably brought from China) but never advanced beyond their use as incendiaries because the “Chinese would seem to have been more afraid of rebellion from within than invasion from without.  More modern armaments might fall into the wrong hands, and these including those of the generals.” (WAPN Pg. 53)  

So it appears the central authorities decided gunpowder was not to be developed any further for the benefit of a sustainable society…Right?  Or was it for the benefit of the central authorities?

The control of the Chinese population by a central authority – The Emperor, who was presented as “The Son of Heaven”, making him a semi-divine being in the eyes of the Chinese – feared innovation as a threat to his rule.  As a result a nation that was scientifically 500 years ahead of the rest of the world stifled innovation with regulations and an unyielding bureaucracy until the rest of the world surpassed them.  That’s been the history of central planning all over the world.

While there have been times when in the short term it has worked to meet a specific need, as a permanent arrangement to meet societies needs – it’s a disaster!

Their rhetoric about "sustainable development" gives the impression this will benefit society providing for all of humanities needs.  But what happens when this central authority decides to change it to "sustainable consumption"? All they promote in all their schemes and international treaties lead to that - sustainable consumption - and they will decide what and how much will be consumed and by whom.

After he took power in China communist dictator Ma0 Tse Tung decided he needed armament but he didn’t have the capital to purchase it.  So to fix that economic problem he decided to sell the food needed by his Chinese countrymen to get that capital.  Over thirty million innocent people starved to death and Mao said that was the beginning and more may need to die in order to attain his goals.  What was he sustaining?  His power at the expense of humanity!

The left is not a lover of humanity, sustainable development as a policy defined by them and under their control, will not be benefit humanity.   We have the history of leftism, and that history is incontestable!  There really is good and evil in the world and there really is such a thing as right and wrong.  What needs to be demonstrated over and over again is the left isn’t just wrong.  It’s evil!

SOURCE







Australia: Not so little Lambie compares Greens to Islamic State

She's got a point

INDEPENDENT senator Jacqui Lambie's comparison of the Greens to Islamic military extremists has left the political group demanding an apology

ADDRESSING a mining conference in her home state of Tasmania on Friday, Senator Lambie opened her speech with "a little joke".

"What's the difference between the Greens and ISIS?" she asked an audience gathered for the third and final day of the Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council annual conference.

"Not very much. They both want to take us back into the dark ages."

Pre-empting a backlash, Senator Lambie said she was not talking behind the Greens' backs.  "I told the same comments (to) a group of Green senators at the last sitting of Parliament. "I make no apologies. They need to be told, and often."

However, Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O'Connor took offence.
"It is outrageous to compare Greens and conservationists with murderous terrorists," she told reporters.  "It's unnecessary, divisive language and she should apologise."

Senator Lambie's comments came in response to a United Nations committee decision in Germany on Thursday to uphold protection measures across Tasmania's 1.5 million hectare Wilderness World Heritage Area.

"The people from the UN would be better off listening to the average person from northwest Tasmania than the environmental zealots and alarmists like the Wilderness Society's Vica Bayley, who will never be satisfied until we're all living in caves, burning candles and eating tofu," she said.

The first-term senator renewed her call for an upper house inquiry into the activities of the Greens, citing the party's move to shut down Tasmania's mining and logging industries. "The key question is: did they use taxpayer funds to kill off Tasmanian jobs and sabotage a sustainable, environmentally friendly industry?"

Senator Lambie went on to tell the conference that she struck a deal with federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, that guaranteed Tasmania the right to burn wood waste to produce energy, in exchange for her support of the renewable energy target legislation.

"Let's see if he keeps his word," she said, according to News Corp.

SOURCE

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

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Friday, July 03, 2015



The church of global warming

The new rosary: "Hail warming, full of grace, blessed art thou among climates and blessed is the fruit of thy womb panic"

In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is unhappy with the Pope's backing of what Zeg insists on calling "anthropological" global warming.

Zeg seems to be a bit of a Latinist too.  That gobbledegook above the Pope's head in the toon is not dog Latin  but real Latin.  It translates as, "The crack-brained poison of Rome".





Radiation hormesis rediscovered

Panic merchants of all kinds insist that harm from ionizing radiation rises in a linear way.  Greenies need to argue that to justify their scares about nuclear technology. But the evidence for a threshold effect is strong.  Weak to medium strength radiation has repeatedly been shown to be beneficial in fact.  So it is good to see below some cautious acknowledgement of that

Countless scientific studies have debated the issue - does radiation from X-rays and CT scans cause cancer?  At very high doses the evidence is clear, scientists say - the answer is yes.

But one oncologist from Loyola University in Chicago now points to 'serious flaws' in the theory, when considering everyday exposure to radiation during medical scans.  Dr James Welsh said the reliance of past research on unproven statistical models is important.

'Although radiation is known to cause cancer at high doses and high-dose rates, no data have ever unequivocally demonstrated the induction [start] of cancer following exposure to low doses and dose rates,' said Dr Welsh, and his co-author Dr Jeffry Siegel.

They argue studies that have identified a link between medical imaging and cancer, typically use a model known as 'linear no-threshold' (LNT).

In LNT, the well-established cancer-causing effects of high doses of radiation are simply extrapolated downward in a straight line to low doses.

The LNT model assumes there is no safe dose of radiation, no matter how small. But although LNT is used by regulators around the world, the model is 'of questionable validity, utility and applicability for estimation of cancer risks,' Dr Welsh and Dr Siegel said.

Contrary to the LNT model, there is compelling evidence that the human body has evolved the ability to repair damage from low-dose radiation.

For example, the mutation rate caused by low-dose background radiation in the environment is 2.5 million times lower than the rate of spontaneous mutations in the body.

So even if the LNT model were true, the small increase in mutations caused by low-dose radiation from medical imaging would be unlikely to overwhelm the body's defences.

They add studies purporting to find a cancer link to medical imaging radiation have other flaws besides the questionable LNT model.

For example, Dr Welsh and Dr Siegel highlight, two recent studies suggested possible increased cancer risks from low-radiation doses associated with paediatric CT scans. But these cancers are likely due to the medical conditions that prompted the need for a CT scan, rather than the radiation exposure, the pair noted.

While many people focus on the apparent risks of radiation in medical imaging, 'the more significant and actual risks associated with not undergoing an imaging procedure or undergoing a more invasive exploratory surgery are generally being ignored in both the scientific literature and the popular media,' they added.

The views first appeared in the journal Technology in Cancer Research & Treatment.

SOURCE






Scientists predict polar bear population crash

Greenies have not got a prediction right yet so there is no cause for alarm. Additionally, there has been huge fraud in  estimating bear numbers, with whistleblowers heavily sanctioned.  So this is just propaganda and prophecy combined: A unimpressive combination

Imperilled polar bears will see a population crash in most parts of the Arctic if global greenhouse gas emissions continue at current rates, thereby causing accelerated melting of the sea ice the animals depend on for survival, a study has found.

A study led by US Geological Survey (USGS) biologists showed that a worldwide failure to reduce the release of atmospheric pollutants tied to the burning of fossil fuels will likely lead to "a greatly decreased state" for polar bear populations in Alaska and elsewhere, except for an Arctic region north of Canada where summer ice is known to persist for longer.

The world's 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears, which can stand as high as 3.35 metres and weigh as much as  635 kg, use floating sea ice as platforms for hunting their preferred prey of ringed seals, for mating and to travel vast distances quickly and without expending crucial energy reserves on long-distance swimming, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The bears were protected in 2008 under the federal Endangered Species Act after US wildlife managers said climate changes threatened the massive mammal's survival, in the first such listing of its kind.

USGS ecologists used updated models for predicting greenhouse gas levels under a variety of scenarios in a research paper that concluded that polar bears will face severe challenges in the next several decades even if climate warming stabilises thanks to of reductions in global emissions.

"Substantial sea ice loss and expected declines in the availability of marine prey that polar bears eat are the most important specific reasons for the increasingly worse outlook for polar bear populations," said Todd Atwood, USGS research biologist and lead author of the study.

Dr Atwood and his team found that other stressors for polar bears, including oil and gas exploration and hunting by indigenous peoples, had little impact on them compared to the loss of sea ice.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to release for public review a draft plan on Thursday for the recovery of polar bears.

SOURCE





The link between climate and poverty



The climate alarmists are practically giddy over Pope Francis’ recently released “climate encyclical” — remember, these are, generally, the very same people who dis the church and its position on abortion, the origin of life on earth, and the definition of marriage. Even Al Gore, who admits he was “raised in the Southern Baptist tradition,” has declared he “could become a Catholic because of this Pope.”

Not surprisingly, Carl Pope, who served as executive director of the Sierra Club for 36 years, chimed in. He penned a piece published on June 22 in EcoWatch in which he bashes “American conservatism” and positions the papal publication as being responsible for a “new dynamism” that he claims is “palpable.”

“It is more a gale than a fresh breeze,” Pope exclaimed, “when the most ground-breaking pope since John XXIII links poverty and climate.” In his post titled “How Pope Francis’s Climate Encyclical is Disrupting American Politics,” Pope pronounces, “Something fundamental is shifting this summer in political and cultural attitudes around the climate.”

The former Sierra Club director then goes into a litany of news stories to support his position. Included in his list: the recent agreement from the “world’s major industrialized nations” to “Phase Out Fossil Fuels by 2100” — which is more rhetoric than reality.

In his claim of colliding “new realities and social change forces,” Pope never mentions the polling indicating that after the most extensive and expensive global propaganda campaign, fewer people are worried about a warming planet than were 25 years ago. Nor does he acknowledge that, according to Harvard Political Review, the vast majority of Americans — even those who agree that “global warming is a proven fact and is mostly caused by emissions from cars and industrial facilities such as power plants” — are still “unsupportive of government measures to prevent climate change that might harm the economy.”

And “harm the economy” it does — which is why, despite the G7 non-binding “agreement,” many European counties are returning to fossil fuels and retreating from renewables — led by German capacity payments to keep coal-fueled power plants open.

On June 19, in PV Magazine, Stelios Psomas, policy advisor at the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, laments Greece’s “policy U-turn towards lignite.” Psomas said, “All [the new government] is concerned with is how to promote power generation from fossil fuels e.g. new lignite power stations, new gas pipes and exploratory drilling for oil. So far, it has shown no interest at all for renewables energy.”

In May, Greece’s Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, sent a letter to the European Commission “requesting permission to reactivate and prolong the life of Ptolemaida 3” — an “old technology” coal plant. Among his arguments, Lafazanis cited “the country’s ongoing recession, which has prompted the need to maintain household heating costs as low as possible.” Greece is also due to start construction any day on Ptolemaida 5, a new lignite-fired power station in Northern Greece.

Greece’s return to coal is due, according to Lafazanis, to the intermittency of renewable power, which endangers the country’s “energy security,” and to economic concerns. The Greek photovoltaic industry is “now preparing for the worst.”

Similarly, Poland is also seeking exemptions from “the European Union’s rules on reducing carbon emissions because the nation’s energy security and economic development depends on coal,” BloombergBusiness reports. Poland has previously received concessions from the EU climate policy. The new governing party, Law & Justice, is planning a strategy for the economy that “rejects the dogma of de-carbonization.” On Carbon-Pulse.com, Ben Garside predicts, “it may become more tempting for Polish governments to try to opt out of the [climate] laws altogether.”

Following elections in the United Kingdom that gave the conservative Tories a decisive majority, Britain’s energy policies are changing. While, so far, claiming to stick to its carbon targets, the new government will focus on minimizing costs.

In an editorial prior to the elections, The Guardian framed the party differences this way: “The Tories have cast off their green disguise. They will end subsidies for onshore wind power and rely on the market to bring down prices, they are enthusiastic about fracking and they want to build more roads. … The Greens, of course, remain committed to creating a zero-carbon economy, even if that is at the cost of economic growth.”

As predicted, the new Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, announced an end to onshore wind subsidies, which “will save hundreds of millions of pounds.” She acknowledged that ending the “subsidy scheme” meant about 250 projects, totaling about 2,500 turbines, are now “unlikely to be built.”

The change in the government’s attitude toward wind energy, which was part of the Conservatives Manifesto, is likely the first of many to come in the weeks ahead. The Manifesto pledges to:

Keep energy bills as low as possible;

Halt the spread of onshore windfarms;

Back a significant expansion in new nuclear;

Continue to support development of North Sea oil and gas and the safe development of shale gas; and

Not support additional distorting and expensive power sector targets.

In The Telegraph, columnist Fraser Nelson reports that, after taking stock of what has been learned in the past five years, Rudd intends to take the summer to come up with “a proper Tory plan” — which, like the wind subsidy decision, is expected to follow the Manifesto and keep energy bills as low as possible.

Once again, economics are an important factor. Nelson states the following as a problem with climate-driven energy policy: “the fact that at least 15,000 British pensioners die of the cold each winter. It’s a staggering death toll, which has been greeted with a shrug for far too long. But this, too, is ending. The notion of ‘fuel poverty’ is being more widely recognized — and green subsidy is compounding the problem.”

In Germany, Greece, Poland, and the UK, fossil fuel has reemerged. However, in Ethiopia, according to Pope, they are willing to reduce projected 2030 carbon pollution by 64 percent. The caveat? “If climate finance is made available.”

Yes, there is a “link” between poverty and climate. The green energy favored by the Pope, Carl Pope, and other climate alarmists threatens energy security, harms the economy, and creates fuel poverty that kills thousands of people each year.

SOURCE





The EPA gives with one hand and takes away with the other

The Obama administration issued a potential setback to Royal Dutch Shell's  Arctic oil exploration plans on Tuesday, telling the company that established wildlife protections prevent it from drilling two rigs simultaneously within 15 miles (24 km) of each other, as it had planned.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued Shell a permit on Tuesday that said that under existing federal walrus and polar bear protections, Shell must maintain a 15 mile buffer if it plans to drill two rigs simultaneously. In Shell's 2015 Arctic drilling plan, no two of its wells are more than 15 miles apart.

SOURCE




GREENIE ROUNDUP FROM AUSTRALIA

Three current articles below

Unpacking wind farm impacts in Australia

Fears over adverse health impacts caused by wind farms are being heavily scrutinised during a parliamentary inquiry into the controversial renewable energy source.

The Senate select committee inquiry into the regulatory governance and economic impact of wind turbines, established last November, is due to report by August 3.

The inquiry’s extensive terms of reference include investigating the impacts of wind farms on household power prices and the Clean Energy Regulator’s effectiveness in performing its legislative responsibilities.

The role and capacity of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in providing guidance to state and territory authorities is also under scrutiny.

The first public hearing was held at Portland in Victoria on March 30 while two were held in Cairns and Canberra in May.

About 460 public submissions have been received with four more public hearings scheduled for June in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra.

Conflicting views

At the most recent hearing in Canberra on May 19, witnesses presented a range of conflicting views about the adverse health impacts of wind turbines, particularly around low-frequency infrasound.

Family First Senator Bob Day said the inquiry had heard extensive evidence from state and local governments that they were struggling with regulating the wind turbine industry.

Senator Day said infrasound did not appear to be covered by regulations, “which mostly cover audible decibel measured sound”.

He said evidence from hearing expert Dr Andrew Bell claimed infrasound cannot be measured, and it was unknown how the ear coped with infrasound.

“It is just not possible to measure it – all you can do is accept the overwhelming evidence that people are affected by it,” he said.

Dr Bell said large infrasonic impulses – whether from a wind turbine, coal mine or a gas turbine or “whatever” – can have an effect of altering the middle ear and causing a pressure effect, “maybe headaches, maybe seasickness and things like that”.

“I think infrasound by itself with very large low-frequency pressure pulses does disturb the human ear,” he said.

“Exactly how it happens is unknown; my suspicion is that it is the middle ear muscle – the gain-control before the cochlea – but we are just beginning to do work in this area.”

The annoyance factor

The Australia Institute research director Roderick Campbell referred to a report on the wider impacts of wind energy written by researchers at the Nossal Research Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne.

Mr Campbell said the institute’s medical researchers concluded in the report that there was “no credible peer-reviewed scientific evidence that demonstrates a causal link between wind turbines and adverse physiological health impacts on people”.

But he said they found that there was some connection between annoyance from wind turbines and sleep disturbance.

“They felt that attitudes towards wind farms have a considerable influence on these factors and the extent to which noise, visual disruption and social change resulting from wind farms can cause stress or annoyance, which in turn can contribute to health issues,” he said.

“Any effects from such exposures are therefore likely to vary considerably across communities and are best considered indirect effects.”

Mr Campbell said the Warburton review – along with almost every other review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) “which is dominated by wind energy” – found that the RET either has a minimal impact on household prices or, in the longer term, is likely to put downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices.

‘No problems whatsoever’

Australian Wind Alliance national co-ordinator Andrew Bray said evidence also existed of people living near wind farms with no reported problems.

Mr Bray said he had also spoken personally to people who were in “great distress” – and “I certainly do not want to say that they are making stuff up”.

However the danger of looking at those cases selectively was “that you miss the much larger pool of people who live near wind farms who have no health problems whatsoever”.

Mr Bray said if a study was undertaken of all people living around a wind turbine, “you would find that the incidence of health problems is not high”.

However, NSW Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm said: “With cigarettes, the incidence of lung cancer was not high either”.

Public Health Association of Australia CEO Melanie Walker said complaints from people affected by noise from wind turbines must be recognised and managed, with fair and reasonable solutions developed.

Ms Walker said allegations of harm to health from wind turbines must also be placed in the context of minimal evidence supporting some claims and the considerable evidence supporting harm from other energy sources.

She said governments should also support wind power as one of the viable evidence-based renewable energy options to rapidly transition the economy from fossil fuels.

“This is supported by the Public Health Association on both health and safe climate grounds,” she said.

“We know that people who are disturbed by noise become annoyed, and we know that if you are annoyed you become more acutely sensitive to the cause of your disturbance,” she said.

“We are also aware that if you are annoyed and disturbed that you are going to have interrupted sleep, and we know that this is not good for people’s health in the short term.

“The linkage from the short-term annoyance to longer term health problems is more problematic, because there is a chain of events that takes decades to work through.

“But we do know from the broader social determinants of health literature that there are some connections between psychological distress and, over a period of years, the emergence of chronic diseases.

“So we are not saying that this does not happen, but we are saying that it is a long-term, not immediate, effect.

“We are also aware that people who live near coalmines in the Hunter Valley or people who live in Morwell in Victoria also have sources of stress in their environment which is contributing to their sense of unease as well.”

Senator Leyonhjelm said the committee had heard from people who favoured having wind turbines erected on their properties and were also very supportive of renewable energy.

But he said after the wind turbines were erected, some of those people then reported suffering adverse health effects.

More HERE

Bass Strait's artificial structures good for hungry fur seals

Greenies will hate this,  Everything artificial is BAD, according to them

A study looking at the feeding behaviour of Australian fur seals in Bass Strait has found the animals benefit from the shipwrecks, pipelines and cables in their underwater world.

The researchers found these structures act like artificial reefs, attracting fish and other marine life. This makes them a happy hunting ground for hungry fur seals, which feed on a variety of bony fish, squid and octopus.

Revealed by the study's GPS tracking data and underwater "seal-cam" footage, the results showed the animals from the Kanowna Island colony off Wilsons Promontory favoured particular foraging routes.

"In one case we looked at the GPS track and it was a straight line, which made us think that the seal might be following fishing vessels," said John Arnould from Deakin University.

On closer inspection the researchers realised something else was at play: the animal's foraging path mirrored a pipeline. And it wasn't alone. Others were doing the same.

Underwater infrastructure in Bass Strait includes the high-voltage Basslink power pipeline, communications cables, wells and numerous shipwrecks.

Published in the journal PLOS ONE on Thursday, the findings showed this infrastructure benefited the fur seals because by forming an artificial reef, marine life became concentrated in what was otherwise a sandy seafloor with very little habitat variation.

Associate Professor Arnould said the Australian fur seals, which feed almost exclusively on the seafloor, appear to have cottoned-on.

"For some individuals it influenced where they were foraging and for some of the 36 studied, the artificial structures were heavily influencing where they were foraging," he said.

The research team, including scientists from the University of Tasmania and the University of California Santa Cruz, also looked at how far from the infrastructure the seals were feeding.

In some cases it was up to 100 metres but Associate Professor Arnould said this still indicated the artificial environment was having an impact on foraging behaviour.

"Structures can influence currents and therefore nutrient transport," he said. "So even if seals aren't always feeding on the pipeline, the pipeline is influencing where they forage."

On one case, black and white video footage of a seal foraging around an oil rig revealed a surprising number of fish concentrated in the area.

"The amount of fish around this structure was unbelievable," Associate Professor Arnould said.

Thirty-six Australian fur seals were fitted with a GPS tracker and dive recorder as part of the study. Two of the 36 had an underwater camera attached to their dorsal fur.

Heavily hunted for their coats in the 1800s, the Australian fur seal population dipped to as few as 20,000. Now protected, the seal population is recovering at about 3000 pups a year, or 2 per cent.

SOURCE

Huge subsidies needed for electric cars:  Australian government not interested

Renault Australia boss Justin Hocevar has held up the delivery of the Renault Nissan Alliance's 250,000th electric car as evidence the Australian government has the wrong approach to motoring.

The partnership sold the landmark car, a Renault Zoe hatch, to French resident Yves Nivelle, who took advantage of a €10,000 ($14,500) subsidy to buy a €21,990 ($31,885) car for little more than half its retail price.

"The government's environmental bonus was a big factor in my decision to get an EV," Nivelle says.

The French subsidy encourages drivers to trade in older diesel models for a new electric car.

For customers who aren't prepare to pay cash for the car, other French subsidies allow drivers to lease an electric Renault for just €99 ($145) per month.

Australian drivers miss out on the Renault Zoe as tawdry charging infrastructure and a lack of rebates provide little incentive for people to choose electric cars.

"The lack of support for electric vehicles certainly impacts the business plan for Renault to introduce electric vehicles to Australia," Hocevar says.

"Currently electric vehicles in Australia carry a price premium over their internal combustion engine counterparts and in such a competitive and price sensitive market; this does make it difficult for us to look at introducing product."

Asked whether the Federal Government would consider subsidising electric cars, a spokesman for Ian Macfarlane, Minister for Industry and Science, says the main encouragement for people to consider green cars lay in the Green Vehicle Guide website that helps consumers compare cars "based on greenhouse and air pollution emissions".

The government also charges less in luxury car tax to prestige vehicles that use less than 7.0L/100km, however that threshold (set at $75,375) hasn't changed in four years.

Minister MacFarlane is on the record as saying electric cars are "an idea, not a solution", and that he is more interested in hydrogen-fuelled cars than machines that primarily use coal-sourced electricity.

That's not a notion supported in Norway, where government subsidies have pushed electric car sales to around one in five of all models. More than 50,000 electric cars are on the road in Norway, where battery-powered motorists benefit from reduced taxes, toll-free use of motorways, free parking and the use of public transport lanes.

Hocevar says "it would be fantastic if we could emulate this support in Australia", but "at this stage we don't believe there is a plan for the government to introduce support in the near future".  "The lack of support for electric vehicles in Australia is disappointing," he says.

The difference between Australia and Norway is that the majority of local power comes from coal, whereas the Scandinavian nation relies on hydroelectric energy [Those wicked DAMS!] . Yet plenty of other federal, state and local governments around the globe provide strong incentives for green cars, and Hocevar isn't the only Australian executive to criticise the government's approach to electric machines.

SOURCE

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

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

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Thursday, July 02, 2015


Once more: Climate was highly variable in prehistory too

Findings from Finland yesterday, South America today.  Another finding of big climate swings.  Also found below: Insolation (the sun) was primary driver of tropical S. American climate in the past 120,000 years.  Just the first half of the unusually long abstract below.  The second half deals with models

Nature and causes of Quaternary climate variation of tropical South America

Paul A. Baker et al.

Abstract

This selective review of the Quaternary paleoclimate of the South American summer monsoon (SASM) domain presents viewpoints regarding a range of key issues in the field, many of which are unresolved and some of which are controversial. (1) El Niño-Southern Oscillation variability, while the most important global-scale mode of interannual climate variation, is insufficient to explain most of the variation of tropical South American climate observed in both the instrumental and the paleoclimate records. (2) Significant climate variation in tropical South America occurs on seasonal to orbital (i.e. multi-millennial) time scales as a result of sea-surface temperature (SST) variation and ocean–atmosphere interactions of the tropical Atlantic. (3) Decadal-scale climate variability, linked with this tropical Atlantic variability, has been a persistent characteristic of climate in tropical South America for at least the past half millennium, and likely, far beyond. (4) Centennial-to-millennial climate events in tropical South America were of longer duration and, perhaps, larger amplitude than any observed in the instrumental period, which is little more than a century long in tropical South America. These were superimposed upon both precession-paced insolation changes that caused significant variation in SASM precipitation and eccentricity-paced global glacial boundary conditions that caused significant changes in the tropical South American moisture balance. As a result, river sediment and water discharge increased and decreased across tropical South America, lake levels rose and fell, paleolakes arose and disappeared on the Altiplano, glaciers waxed and waned in the tropical Andes, and the tropical rainforest underwent significant changes in composition and extent.

Quaternary Science Reviews. Volume 124, 15 September 2015, Pages 31–47




There's nothing unusual about current levels of CO2

Even though there were no coal-burning power stations in the Eocene. The late Eocene interglacial was ~100,000 years ago. Data from China

The pCO2 estimates of the late Eocene in South China based on stomatal density of Nageia Gaertner leaves

X.-Y. Liu et al.

Abstract.

Late Eocene pCO2 concentration is estimated based on the species of Nageia maomingensis Jin et Liu from the late Eocene of Maoming Basin, Guangdong Province. This is the first paleoatmospheric estimates for the late Eocene of South China using stomatal data. Studies of stomatal density (SD) and stomatal index (SI) with N. motleyi (Parl.) De Laub., the nearest living equivalent species of the fossil, indicate that the SD inversely responds to atmospheric CO2 concentration, while SI has almost no relationships with atmospheric CO2 concentration. Therefore, the pCO2 concentration is reconstructed based on the SD of the fossil leaves in comparison with N. motleyi. Results suggest that the mean CO2 concentration was 391.0 ± 41.1 ppmv or 386.5 ± 27.8 ppmv during the late Eocene, which is significantly higher than the CO2 concentrations documented from 1968 to 1955 but similar to the values for current atmosphere indicating that the Carbon Dioxide levels during that the late Eocene at that time may have been similar to today.

Clim. Past Discuss., 11, 2615-2647, 2015





All Isn't Lost, as SCOTUS Rebukes EPA

EPA chief Gina McCarthy isn't pleased.

The Supreme Court proved it still has a little bit of respect left for Rule of Law in its decision yesterday in Michigan v. EPA. In a 5-4 ruling that predictably followed partisan lines with Justice Anthony Kennedy swinging to the right, the High Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency did not properly consider the high costs of regulation of emissions from coal-fired power plants.

That this Court — the one content to rewrite ObamaCare in order to save it, twice — found the EPA went too far in rewriting the law is saying something.

The EPA, which has been pursuing the ecofascist dream of completely wiping the coal industry off the face of the earth, released a series of regulations in 2012 that would force energy producers to comply with limits on mercury and air toxins released in coal energy production. The National Federation of Independent Business said the regulations, known as Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), are among the costliest ever issued.

The EPA estimated the new rules would cost close to $10 billion annually, while bringing direct annual benefits of no more than $6 million. Bureaucrats also made the un-provable assertion that the rules would prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths and 130,000 asthma cases each year. In developing its regulations, the EPA was expected to adhere to the Clean Air Act’s “appropriate and necessary” standard. But the agency arbitrarily determined that cost had no bearing in the development of the regulations, essentially flouting the decades-old law and choosing to make up its own rules. The EPA determined that its work protecting the environment justified whatever actions it saw fit.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion stated, “EPA strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants.” Scalia also noted, “The costs to power plants were … between 1,600 and 2,400 times as great as the quantifiable benefits from reduced emissions of hazardous air pollutants.” He added, “No regulation is ‘appropriate’ if it does significantly more harm than good.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California weighed in on the decision in a statement, saying, “The Supreme Court’s decision today vindicates the House’s legislative actions to rein in bureaucratic overreach and institute some common sense in rule making.” That said, Congress has more work to do to rein in an out-of-control EPA, especially given that the Court left open a substantial loophole of sorts: Regulations are fine as long as the EPA “counts the cost.”

Indeed, the EPA seemed nonplussed by the decision, with spokeswoman Melissa Harrison saying, “EPA is disappointed … but this rule was issued more than three years ago … and most plants are already well on their way to compliance.” In other words, she gloated that the damage was already done and blew a raspberry at opponents.

The EPA and the White House will certainly try to play down this loss, but the Court’s decision lays groundwork for a number of other cases in which multiple states are seeking to challenge the imperial overreach of the EPA. As noted by National Mining Association President Hal Quinn, “The decision effectively puts EPA on notice: reckless rulemaking that ignores the cost to consumers is unreasonable and won’t be tolerated.”

But Justice Clarence Thomas warned in his concurring majority opinion, “[W]e seem to be straying further and further from the Constitution without so much as pausing to ask why. We should stop to consider that document before blithely giving the force of law to any other agency ‘interpretations’ of federal statutes.” We can think of a few other cases in which that logic applies, and we hope this victory isn’t merely symbolic.

SOURCE





EPA Predicts: Workers Will Lose $170B in Wages By 2100 Without Global Action on Climate Change

Lucky that Greenie prophecies are always wrong

 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has projected that by 2100, without global greenhouse gas mitigation, labor hours in the U.S. are projected to decrease, costing an estimated $170 billion in lost wages, according to a new EPA report.

The EPA report, released on June 22, 2015, is titled “Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action,” and was created to estimate the physical and monetary benefits of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, otherwise referred to in the report as GHG mitigation.

“Without global GHG mitigation, labor hours in the U.S. are projected to decrease due to increases in extreme temperatures,” states the report. “Over 1.8 billion labor hours are projected to be lost in 2100, costing an estimated $170 billion in lost wages.”

The EPA claims that labor hours are lost when the “extreme summer heat” causes workers to take more breaks, get ill, or stop working altogether.

“Extreme summer heat is increasing in the U.S. and will be more frequent and intense in the future,” states the EPA. “Heat exposure can affect workers’ health, safety and productivity. When exposed to high temperatures, workers are at risk for heat-related illnesses and therefore may take more frequent breaks, or have to stop work entirely, resulting in lower overall labor capacity.

“This is especially true for high-risk industries where workers are doing physical labor and have a direct exposure to outdoor temperatures (e.g., agriculture, construction, utilities, and manufacturing),” according to the EPA.

“The majority of the country is projected to experience decreases in labor hours due to extreme temperature effects,” states EPA. “In 2100, parts of the Southwest and Florida are estimated to experience a decrease in hours worked for high-risk industries ranging from -5% to -7%. Although the impacts vary by region, only a limited number of counties are projected to experience increases in labor hours.”

The EPA claims that if we act on global climate change, and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, labor hours can be saved.

“Global GHG mitigation is estimated to save 1.2 billion labor hours and $110 billion in wages in 2100 in the contiguous U.S. that would otherwise be lost due to unmitigated climate change,” states the report.

“Climate change poses significant risks to humans and the environment” the EPA stated. “The report shows that global action on climate change will significantly benefit Americans by saving lives and avoiding costly damages across the U.S. economy.”

SOURCE





Australia's crooked BOM again

Vanishing hot days of December 1931 — and BOM monthly averages hotter than every single day that month

Lance Pidgeon has drawn my attention to the mysteriously detailed weather maps of the Australian BOM, with their mass of contradictions. The intricate squiggles of air temperature profiles suggests an awesome array of data — especially remarkable in places like “Cook”, which is a railway station with a population of four. Eucla, the megopolis in the map, has a population of 368. The shared border in the map (right) is 674km long top to bottom.

Thankfully, after 80 years of modern technology, the weather at Eucla and in the Great Victorian Desert is much more bearable than anyone would have expected. The BOM ACORN data set works better than airconditioning. In places near Eucla, where old newspapers record 43C, the BOM tells us the highest maximum that month was “under 27C”. Far to the north of there, the highest maximum stayed under 36C, but the average for that same whole month was above 36C. Go figure. It’s a new kind of maths… [or maybe the miracle of reverse cycle a/c?]

There are a half million square kilometers in this map here and almost no thermometers, but plenty of lizards. It is so empty that every railway station and even a single house will earn a “dot” and a label. The point where WA meets SA and the NT is so remote that more people have been to the South Pole. Despite that, the BOM can draw maps of daily air temperature variation separating sand dunes and salt lakes where no man probably walked in a whole year.  Marvelous what computers and assumptions can do.

Jokes aside. The state of the BOM database is not so funny.

More HERE





A lesson? Under an unsympathetic conservative government, Australian Greenies have become more moderate and balanced in their demands

The set of policy principles released by the Australian Climate Roundtable yesterday are extraordinary for two reasons.

First, the principles themselves offer some calm common sense in an arena that has been dominated by ferocious partisan politics and dramatic policy reversals. They could therefore offer a way to break the current policy deadlock and re-establish a bipartisan approach to climate change.

Second, the principles are the product of a highly unusual alliance of ten organisations, representing business, unions, environmentalists, and the community. It is unusual that such disparate groups can sit down together to talk, and downright extraordinary that they can agree on a common set of principles. So what is going on here?

A principled approach to policy?

On the first point, the principles state that: Our overarching aim is for Australia to play its fair part in international efforts to achieve this while maintaining and increasing its prosperity.

The Roundtable’s ideal policy would lead to “deep reductions in Australia’s net emissions”, using policy instruments that are well targeted, well designed, based on sound risk assessments, internationally linked, operate at least cost, and are efficient.

On the environmental side, there is a demand for net zero emissions in the long run, an acceptance that there are market failures that need to be fixed, and a call for long-term planning based on climate change scenarios.

On the economic side, there are statements about achieving reductions at the lowest cost, avoiding regulatory burdens, ensuring no loss of competitiveness for trade-exposed industries, and the need for a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy, without undue shocks for investors.

Finally, on the social side are concerns about providing decent work opportunities, protecting the most vulnerable people, and helping communities to make the necessary transition.

While there is apparently something here for everyone, the contentious issues are avoided.

There is no mention of the Government’s Direct Action Emissions Reduction Fund, the former Government’s price on carbon, or the recently reduced Renewable Energy Target. This is clever politics, as it allows for the establishment of a broad consensus without the need to quibble over policy detail.

An unlikely alliance

The roundtable’s membership is remarkably diverse: the Australian Aluminium Council; the Business Council of Australia; the Australian Industry Group; the Energy Supply Association of Australia; the Investor Group on Climate Change; the Climate Institute; WWF Australia; the Australian Conservation Foundation; the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU); and the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS). How and why did these disparate groups form such an alliance?

It is clear from the principles themselves that all the member groups want some policy consistency that will survive regardless of who is in Government. The last thing they want is for the recent cycle of major policy changes to continue.

Such reversals impose waves of new compliance costs on industry and create uncertainty for investors, which is why business is so heavily represented in the Roundtable. Policy changes also make it difficult to consolidate significant emissions reductions, which is where the environmentalists come in. Finally, policy uncertainty has implications for employment options and the cost of living, which is why the ACTU and ACOSS are also on board.

There are also some specific strategic advantages to being involved in the Roundtable for each of the participants.

Business groups that have been getting bad publicity about their contributions to climate change might use the Roundtable to improve their image and frame the future policy debate in a way that suits them (for instance, by calling for a strong focus on costs and competitiveness).

Environmentalists, who have effectively been sidelined by the Abbott government on climate change, might see this is a way to deal themselves back into the policy game and make some progress in reducing emissions.

Unions concerned about their members' future employment might see this as a way to manage the transition by creating new “green-collar” jobs that will offset the loss of employment opportunities in the older polluting industries.

Finally, ACOSS is clearly worried about the impact of climate policies on low-income households, and being part of the Roundtable ensures that their concerns are heard.

A precedent for influencing policy?

While unusual, alliances such as the Australian Climate Roundtable are not unknown in Australian environmental policy. Sometimes they have led to the creation of effective long-term policies; other times they have fizzled out, leaving little more than rhetoric.

One positive example is that of Landcare. In 1989 the Australian Conservation Foundation and the National Farmers' Federation proposed a grant scheme that would empower communities to rehabilitate their local environment. More than a quarter of century later, Landcare is still going strong with the support of all four leading political parties.

On the negative side, an extensive consultation process involving all levels of government, business, unions and environmentalists led to the creation of the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development in 1992. It is still on the books and referred to by current legislation, yet we don’t appear to be much closer to sustainability.

So will this be a Landcare moment or not? Only time will tell.

SOURCE

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

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

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Wednesday, July 01, 2015


Overload?

I would be interested to know what happened in the last few hours.  A lot of internet sites were inaccessible until about an hour ago -- including Twitter.  The problem had the earmarks of an overload condition but why?  A DDOS attaclk?  Surely those are routinely  defeated these days?  Though it was notable how suddenly everything became accessible again.  My best guess would be that all the uproar about judicially mandated homosexual marriage in America overloaded a lot of sites that feature comments.  Maybe the news will tell us all in the next few hours what it was all about.




There is no such thing as climate stability

It swings up and down all the time with or without human presence. It's a "delusion of reference" (as in paranoid schizophrenia) to think mankind is responsible.  See the research paper below:

Major cooling intersecting peak Eemian Interglacial warmth in northern Europe

Karin F. Helmensa et al.

Abstract

The degree of climate instability on the continent during the warmer-than-present Eemian Interglacial (around ca. 123 kyr ago) remains unsolved. Recently published high-resolution proxy data from the North Atlantic Ocean suggest that the Eemian was punctuated by abrupt events with reductions in North Atlantic Deep Water formation accompanied by sea-surface temperature cooling. Here we present multi-proxy data at an unprecedented resolution that reveals a major cooling event intersecting peak Eemian warmth on the North European continent. Two independent temperature reconstructions based on terrestrial plants and chironomids indicate a summer cooling of the order of 2–4 °C. The cooling event started abruptly, had a step-wise recovery, and lasted 500–1000 yr. Our results demonstrate that the common view of relatively stable interglacial climate conditions on the continent should be revised, and that perturbations in the North Atlantic oceanic circulation under warmer-than-present interglacial conditions may also lead to abrupt and dramatic changes on the adjacent continent.

SOURCE




Global warming gets nearly twice as much taxpayer money as border security

New estimates show the federal government will spend nearly twice as much fighting global warming this year than on U.S. border security.

The White House reported to House Republicans that there are 18 federal agencies engaged in global warming activities in 2013, funding a wide range of programs, including scientific research, international climate assistance, incentivizing renewable energy technology and subsidies to renewable energy producers. Global warming spending is estimated to cost $22.2 billion this year, and $21.4 billion next year.

At the same time, the federal government will spend nearly $12 billion on customs and border enforcement this year.

Obama’s climate agenda has attracted criticism from congressional Republicans who have been hammering the administration over the accountability and transparency of its global warming efforts.

Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee have been calling on the heads of major federal agencies to testify on global warming activities. So far, only the heads of the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency have opted to testify in front of the House.

“With billions of dollars currently being spent annually on climate change activities, Congress and the public should understand the scope of what the federal government is doing, how the billions of dollars are being spent, and what it will accomplish,” said Kentucky Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield. “Anyone who believes the committee ought to be focusing its attention on climate change related issues should be standing with us to get these answers.”

Earlier this summer, the Senate held a hearing to highlight the immediate impacts of global warming. However, Senate Republicans released a report ahead of the hearing that rejected many of the claims made by scientists, politicians and activists about rising global temperatures.

“Over nearly four decades, numerous predictions have had adequate time to come to fruition, providing an opportunity to analyze and compare them to today’s statistics,” reads the report from Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Republicans have also taken aim at the EPA’s efforts to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. The agency will be imposing emissions caps on new and existing power plants across the country, which significantly hurts the coal industry.

“The American public should be deeply troubled to learn that EPA is actively working to increase energy prices based on predicted global temperature increases without first undertaking efforts to determine if temperatures are actually increasing to the extent predicted by the climate models they are using,” reads the Senate Republicans’ report.

The Obama administration recently declared that the country has moved beyond debating whether or not global warming is a threat, and instead, should be debating what can be done about the issue.

“We have turned a corner on that issue,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in a recent speech. “We are — including in our Congress — really past the issue of whether we need to respond.”

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Will 2015 be the year of renewable fuel standard reform?

By Marita Noon

downwiththeepaThe fact that the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee is attacking the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) management — er, mismanagement — of the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS) is indicative of the growing frustration over both the agency and the RFS itself.

At the June 18 hearing, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator, Janet McCabe was grilled by Senators from both sides of the aisle. Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.), who chaired the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, opened the hearing by calling the RFS “unworkable in its current form.” In her comments, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) claimed that the EPA’s management of the RFS ignored “congressional intent,” while creating “uncertainty” and costing “investment.”

The RFS has been under fire from all sides. It is the product of a different energy era — one in which presumed scarcity was the norm and reducing greenhouse gases was the concern. As a solution to both problems, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act in 2005, which established the first renewable-fuel volume mandate. Two years later, through the Energy Independence and Security Act, the RFS program was expanded, requiring that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel be blended into gasoline and diesel by 2022 (annual targets were outlined). The EPA website explains the RFS: “achieving significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from the use of renewable fuels, for reducing imported petroleum, and encouraging the development and expansion of our nation’s renewable fuels sector.”

The EPA administers the RFS and is required to finalize the next year’s proposed fuel volumes by November 30 of each year — something it has failed to do, as Lankford pointed out: “On June 1, the amounts for the proposed mandates 2014, 2015, and 2016 volumes were all released together…some say better late than never, but we need to take a serious look at why these delays are unavoidable every year now, under current law.” The EPA has failed to meet the deadline every year since 2009.

When the 2014, 2015, and 2016 proposed volumes were released — in the middle of 2015 — almost no one was happy. It reduced the amount of corn-based ethanol blended into gasoline, while slightly increasing the share of biofuels.

One day before the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management hearing on “Re-examining EPA’s Management of the RFS Program,” the American Petroleum Institute held a press call in which an unlikely coalition of RFS opponents — the American Motorcyclist Association, the Environmental Working Group, and the National Council of Chain Restaurants— sounded optimistic that 2015 is the year for RFS reform. The Environmental Working Group says the RFS has led to more greenhouse gas emissions. The leading chain restaurant trade group, the National Council of Chain Restaurants, is opposed to the RFS because of its alleged effect on food commodity prices.

Corn growers aren’t happy with the EPA’s new proposed corn ethanol volumes — covering 2014-2016 — that are well below the benchmarks established by Congress. NPR’s Ari Shapiro, in a June 10 Morning Edition broadcast, stated, “Farmers in the Midwest have made good money growing corn for ethanol. To do that, they’ve plowed up lots of grassland. And that cancels out much of the hope for carbon savings. While the EPA still supports ethanol, it wants to take some of the focus off corn, and put it back on greener ways of making ethanol.”

The National Journal states, “The EPA cited market forces, specifically lower-than-expected growth of non-ethanol renewables and lower gasoline use than projected, in lowering the ethanol mandates.”

One of the problems with the 2007 targets is that they are based on an assumption of increased fuel usage and require ever increasing “volumes,” or gallons, of ethanol be produced rather than a percentage of ethanol being blended into gasoline. The combination of more fuel-efficient vehicles, the economic downturn, and an aging population has contributed to “lower gasoline use than projected.”

Last week, I was on the radio with Baron Lukas, President of Vital Strategies Management Consulting, a firm working in the oil-and-gas sector. He explained, “With the advent of the U.S. shale revolution, we have a lot more oil and gas than we thought possible just a couple of years ago. This is a true paradigm shift in how we view our domestic energy situation. The impact is compounded by aging demographics for Japan, China, Russia, Europe, and for the short-term, the United States, which will reduce or at least dampen domestic and global fuel requirements — older people simply drive less and represent lower industrial needs. Lastly, continuing technological advances are increasing fuel efficiency for a broad spectrum of applications, further placing downward pressure on hydrocarbon fuel demands. The bottom-line is a new reality of impending U.S. energy independence, continuing lower crude oil and natural gas prices, and far less dependence on OPEC for us and potentially for our allies.”

While EPA’s newly-released renewable-fuel volumes don’t meet the law’s target of 22.25 billion gallons for 2016, they do increase year after year — with the 2016 target being an increase over current use. Addressing EPA’s new numbers, US News reports, “The update calls for a 27 percent increase in what the EPA calls ‘advanced biofuels’ from 2014 through 2016, a catch-all category that includes cellulosic ethanol made from corn stalks, husks and other leftovers from a harvest, plus fuel converted from sugar cane, soybean oil, and waste oils and greases, such as from fast-food restaurants. Combined with conventional corn ethanol, the proposed volumes overall rise 9 percent.”

Associated Press reporting adds, “The EPA said the standards set by the law cannot be achieved, due partly to limitations on the amount of renewable fuels other than ethanol that can be produced. Next-generation biofuels, made from agricultural waste such as wood chips and corncobs, have not taken off as quickly as Congress required and the administration expected. Also, there has been less gasoline use than predicted.”

Increasing targets may encourage the renewable fuels industry. They are, however, unrealistic; and, as the June 18 hearing revealed, are expected to be “reset.”

In pressing McCabe on the RFS and the consistently-missed deadlines, Lankford asked, “How does RFS get back on schedule? Or, has Congress put a requirement on EPA that it can’t fulfill?” McCabe promised they were working on it and offered some vague explanations. Lankford then asked, “I assume you would agree there’s no chance we will hit the target for 2017 based on the statute required for 2017, so we’ll have to reset it…unless there is a tremendous amount of cellulosic ethanol that comes on board.” Lankford continued, discussing the way the law was written to decrease corn ethanol use and increase cellulosic fuel, which he pointed out isn’t “possible based on production.” McCabe agreed that the cellulosic number would need to be decreased by at least 50 percent.

Later in the hearing, Lankford called cellulosic fuels “great in theory,” but acknowledged that “no one has been able to make it in a quantity that is affordable yet.” He alluded to the fact that the cellulosic industry has struggled — with the largest manufacturer of cellulosic product going bankrupt. He said, “No one can seem to crack the code to be able to make this in a way that’s actually affordable.”

Others support Lankford’s view. On the June 10 NPR broadcast, Rob Mitchell, a researcher for the U.S. Department of Agriculture who studies how to make switchgrass grow for cellulosic ethanol, acknowledged, “We’re not producing any ethanol from switchgrass at this point on a large scale.”

Tim Snyder, agriculture economist with Agri-Energy Solutions, Inc., a Lubbock, Texas-based agriculture- and energy-consulting group, explains, “Because cellulosic ethanol is made from the ‘non-food’ portions of plants, this type of ethanol has gained widespread grassroots interest. Lignocellulosic fibers are found in plant materials like stalks, leaves and stems. These cellulosic fibers contain long chain sugars that are tied together by lignin. Only the sugars are needed to produce ethanol. Lignin is necessary to keep these chains of sugar bonded together. However, lignin renders the sugars unusable, and so it has to be extracted. Once the lignin is stripped away, yeast is added to convert the remaining cellulosic fibers or unbound sugars into ethanol. This description is extremely simplified, but should help to understand that adding steps to the production process that corn-based ethanol does not employ, adds to its overall production cost. Stripping lignin adds significant costs to the production process; even more than corn-based ethanol.”

Snyder continues, “From the standpoint of land use, it takes significantly more land to produce ethanol from cellulosic materials than it does from corn. Additionally, it will take totally new transportation, initial processing and storage infrastructures that currently do not exist on a commercial scale.”

Clearly, to reference Lankford, the RFS is a program, required by Congress in 2005/2007, that can’t be fulfilled. No wonder it has so many who see the EPA’s failures as proof that 2015 is the year for RFS reform. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee says, The mandate is in need of significant reform and oversight.”

Maybe, just, maybe, 2015 will be the year it happens.

(Author’s note: Please tune into “America’s Voice for Energy,” Thursday at 11:00AM ET to hear more from Baron Lukas discussing changing global demographics and the impact on energy demand and Tim Snyder on the economics of cellulosic ethanol and the impact on the ranching community.)

SOURCE





Son of Soviet dissident slams EPA chief for saying climate skeptics ‘not normal’ – ‘Shades of insane asylums for Soviet dissidents’

Jamie Glazov

Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov disappeared from public view in early May, 1984 after he had begun a hunger strike to get permission for his wife, Yelena Bonner, to travel to the U.S. for heart surgery. In the Soviet paradise, wanting one’s anti-Soviet wife to live, and, worse still, to be saved by evil capitalist surgeons and not by the holy surgeons of the Soviet utopia, was, clearly, an exercise in abnormal psychology.

Sakharov was undoubtedly “mentally ill.” No wonder, therefore, that Soviet authorities forcibly confined him in a closed ward of the Semashko Hospital in Gorky, where he was force-fed and given drugs to alter his state of mind. This is how Soviet authorities believed they would get the Soviet dissident to not only stop caring about his wife, but to also make a public recantation about his abnormal anti-Soviet views – a gambit in which they ultimately failed.

The Soviet system had a long and cruel record of perverting psychiatry to abuse political dissidents. Labelling many thought-criminals ''insane,'' the communist regime institutionalized them under horrifying conditions in mental hospitals and force-fed them dangerous and mind-shattering drugs. Dissidents such as Pyotr Grigorenko, Joseph Brodsky, Alexander Esenin-Volpin, Vladimir Bukovsky and Natalya Gorbanevskaya were among the brave heroes who did not elude this grotesque form of Soviet barbarity. Grigorenko was forcibly committed to a special psychiatric hospital for criticizing the Khrushchev regime. Brodksy was sent to mental hospitals for not writing the right kind of poetry; his treatments involved "tranquilizing" injections, sleep deprivation and forced freezing baths. Esenin-Volpin was institutionalized in the Leningrad Special Psychiatric Hospital for his anti-Soviet thoughts. Bukovsky was also confined to the same psychiatric hospital for “anti-Soviet agitation.” Gorbanevskaya was committed to a psychiatric hospital for, among other “abnormality” crimes, attending the 1968 Red Square demonstration against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

And now enter the leftist totalitarians of the Obama stripe. While anti-Soviet ideas caused dissidents to be confined to psychiatric institutions in the Soviet Union, the soil is now being fertilized for the same process in the American leftist land of Alinskyite hope and change. Indeed, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy consoled leftists worldwide this past Tuesday, engaging in Soviet-style labeling vis-à-vis global warming dissidents that would have made Leonid Brezhnev and Yuri Andropov proud. Addressing an audience at a White House summit, she stated that “normal people,” and not climate skeptics, would win the debate on global warming. She made the comment in the context of why the EPA had issued a recent report on global warming’s negative impacts on public health, stressing that, “It’s normal human beings that want us to do the right thing, and we will if you help us.”

The contention that global warming skeptics are not “normal people” is, of course, a normal sentiment coming from a leftist. The Left, as the history of the Soviet regime and other communist regimes has well revealed, breathes it oxygen by labeling. The opponents of the messianic utopian cause are always “evil” and/or “mentally deranged” to one extent or another. And these labels are very effective in demonizing and dehumanizing dissidents -- especially when the labels have that little inconvenient limitation of not having any relationship to the actual facts. There is enough evidence to suggest, after all, that man-made global warming is the myth that the skeptics say it is. A strong presentation of the facts by Shillman Fellow Daniel Greenfield on this score can be found here and here.

Gina McCarthy’s totalitarian attitude toward global warming skeptics parallels, of course, the Soviet mindset that forced Soviet dissidents into psychiatric hospitals and to be force-fed drugs. McCarthy and her superiors in the Obama administration do not, at this point, have the power to put the skeptics they are labeling into asylums, and to be administered "tranquilizing" injections and immersed into ice baths, but it is clear from their own words what their desires are – and what path they are clearing for the brave new world.

dad2The spheres of powerlessness and dehumanization being built by the Gina McCarthys of the Obama administration, to which dissidents and the opponents of “hope and change” are being banished, are somewhat of a personal issue for this writer. My father, Yuri Glazov, was a scholar at the Soviet Academy of Sciences and a professor at Moscow State University who became a “skeptic” about the Soviet paradise in which he lived. He attended human rights demonstrations in Moscow on behalf of political prisoners and signed letters of protest against Soviet political repressions. For not being “normal” in this particular regard, he was fired from his work and received a labor card with a special secret code that meant that he was blacklisted and could not receive employment anywhere in the country. The activities he had engaged in could land a Soviet citizen in the gulag or a psychiatric hospital for decades. But we were the lucky ones. The ones who got away.

My family never forgot, obviously, those who we left behind -- and Joseph Brodsky, Alexander Esenin-Volpin, Vladimir Bukovsky and Natalya Gorbanevskaya were and are among our friends, and the torment they endured for not being “normal” remains etched in history and in our hearts, and we gauge very clearly the pernicious ideological seeds that spawned their persecution and suffering.

My family escaped a totalitarian hell to come to a free country to now face, in the most tragic and bizarre sense, the ideological cousins of our tormentors. The Left and its totalitarian gate-keepers are now in solid power here, slowly but surely building the prison walls and “psychiatric” spaces designed for the treatment of abnormal skeptics. Gina McCarthy and her ilk must be called out for exactly who they are -- and for what they are intending to do. The unimaginable cruelties that Andrei Sakharov endured in the Semashko Hospital in Gorky in the mid-1980s must never be forgotten and must never leave our hearts, for they are the dividing lines in the battle between good and evil, despite the labels that try to camouflage the truth.

SOURCE





Drillers Big on Conservation of Water

In their never-ending search for villains and scapegoats, environmental activists are blaming U.S. oil and gas companies for exacerbating water shortages in California and elsewhere, recklessly depleting water supplies to support the shale boom.

The facts tell a different story: Shale drillers are among the most conservation-minded companies in our country—precisely because the water they use to free trapped oil and gas from underground geologic formations, in the process known as hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking"), is becoming expensive. So they’ve turned to conservation and recycling.

After fracking, 10 percent to 50 percent of the water used in the process flows back up through the well. This is a resource, not a waste product. Because the value of water has doubled or tripled in some places, energy companies are conserving as much as possible, especially in areas that are just one dry season away from drought.

If it seems almost absurd to imagine oil wildcatters conserving water, it becomes less so when you realize that water accounts for up to 25 percent of a fracking project’s costs, with the typical oil or natural gas well requiring some three million gallons of water. Combining wise water use with recycling can save hundreds of thousands of dollars per well.

Looking at the big picture, fracking actually uses comparatively little water overall—no more than 3 percent of total U.S. freshwater consumption. That’s trivial when compared with other economic activities. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that irrigation consumes about nine billion gallons of water daily, more than three trillion gallons a year, or more than 60 times the amount used for fracking. Watering lawns uses trillions of gallons of water every year; golf courses, parks, and other recreational facilities also consume far more water than fracking.

Fracking is currently underway in 21 of the 50 states. Experts estimate that 55 percent of the wells created through the use of fracking since 2011 are in drought-prone areas. Water management thus has become critically important for energy producers, especially in bone-dry California, a state that is home to huge shale oil deposits.

The Monterey Shale holds as much as 15.4 billion barrels of oil, according to the Energy Information Administration. That’s more than four times the recoverable reserves of North Dakota’s Bakken Shale or Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale. Full-scale production could provide as much as a $1 trillion boost to the California economy.

Restrictive laws and regulations are not the solution to water shortages, but one of the main causes of the problem. Public policies have kept the price of water artificially low, especially in the western United States. Therefore, no one is motivated to use water wisely.

The oil and gas industry is different. It is conscious of water’s value—and is doing something to find alternatives and achieve efficiencies, without the heavy hand of government forcing it to do so.

Accusing oil and gas companies of squandering water may grab headlines, but the fingers are pointed in the wrong direction. Because they seek to maximize profits, fossil-fuel producers actually use water more wisely than most other consumers.

SOURCE





Making Greenies pay their own way is "Blue blooded"?

Far-Left Australian webzine "New Matilda" says so -- so who am I to argue?  I can see no logic in it however.  I think "Blue blooded" just seemed like a good term of abuse for them.  As good Leftists, they of course think that government should fund everything.  The idea that Greens are just another political lobby who should pay their own way is incomprehensible to them.  A few excerpts from the usual long-winded ramble below

In December 2013, the Abbott government gutted the Australian Network of Environmental Defenders, cutting off all funding, including $10 million over four years despite the agreement being just six months in.

Much of it was effective immediately, and the eight EDOs around the country were told that beyond June 2014 the recurrent base-funding the organisations had received from federal governments for 18 years would be pulled.

The flow of federal funds to the EDOs was critical to their ability to perform their public interest role, but the Attorney General refuses to meet with them to discuss the cuts.

There had been no warning, no consultation, and despite recommendations from the Productivity Commission and a Senate Inquiry, there has been no back-down.

The government has made it clear it does not value the work that the 20 full-time legal staff and 17 non-legal support staff around the country do, or the function they serve our democracy.

Driving them out of the democratic contest over the environment will diminish citizens’ access to justice, the quality of environmental protections, and the scrutiny and awareness of the corporations whose operations have the potential to permanently damage our environment.

The Productivity Commission has noted that the work EDOs do - on law reform, on public education, in outreach and importantly, running cases for people who otherwise couldn’t afford them - is not being done by anyone else.

Environmental Defenders Offices are a recognised bulwark against corporate power over the biosphere. Implicit in that, Smith said, is the fact they “can’t apologise for being relevant and playing the role we do”.

“We are not a lobbying group, we’re not a campaign group. But the work we do - public interest environmental law - is, by nature, about being relevant,” he said.

“That means working in the areas which are often high-profile and highly contested.

“At the moment that is definitely in the area of coal mining and coal seam gas, but it wasn’t so long ago we were working almost reservedly in the area of, say, native vegetation reform.”

Earlier this year EDO Queensland brought a case which revealed that coal mining company Adani had provided decision makers with extremely high estimates of the taxes, royalties and jobs its mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin would create.

The company plans to build the biggest mine in Australia’s history, along with the world’s largest coal terminal, adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef. In August, a separate EDO case will examine its environmental record, which is scarred with breaches and negligence in its home state of India, and whether the Environment Minister should have taken the development's vast carbon emissions into account.

Despite the potential for huge environmental damage and dodgy calculations the state government, under Campbell Newman’s tenure, had been offering to help pay for critical and expensive rail infrastructure to ensure Adani’s mine (and nine others) went ahead.

Recent weeks have shown that the Abbott government - which George Brandis reiterated last week believes “coal is very good for humanity indeed” - is more than willing to extend the same favour through its $5 billion Northern Australia Investment Facility.

The case the EDO brought - through logic and proper application of environmentally law - directly challenged the legitimacy of the Galilee developments.

And yes, it potentially damaged proponents’ chances of approval and financial close.

The small community group the Queensland EDO represented could not have funded a five-week case involving nearly two dozen expert witnesses, but the new information it dragged into the public domain has added substantial weight to widespread community concern.

Facilitating communities’ use of the law is central to the EDOs function, which is largely why the Senate Inquiry Into the Abbott Government’s Attacks on the Environment this week found that “the long-term cost to communities and to the environment will far outweigh the short-term financial gains achieved by the defunding of the EDOs.”

To the EDO, access to justice for communities and the environment is a public good: “The dominant purpose is not to protect or vindicate a private right or interest, but to protect the environment.”

SOURCE

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

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

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