Friday, May 27, 2016



20th century global warming may have been due to decreasing aroma from trees

The finding below are particularly interesting in the aftermath of Munshi's demonstration that the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere is NOT of anthropogenic origin. So therefore anthropogenic CO2 emissions CANNOT explain the slight degree of global warming seen in C20. So what does explain it? The best explanation so far is Svensmark's theory that variations cosmic rays reaching earth affect cloud formation and that earth was substantially shielded from such rays by enhanced solar activity in C20.

The finding below builds on that and looks at another factor that could affect cloud formation.  It finds that aromatic output from trees can encourage clouds.  So the extensive deforestation that occurred during C20 could have reduced clouds and caused some warming.  Now that deforestation has on a global scale run most of its course, therefore, we should have a C21 temperature stasis -- which is exactly what we do have.  We may have seen the complete end of a warming period

What I say above is just an attempt to put in layman's terms what Lubos Motl says below.  My apologies to Lubos if he thinks he had already done that


CLOUD, the experiment that measures the birth of clouds at CERN, has released new papers:

CLOUD has done lots of measurements of the processes that are needed to create clouds which, as many kids have noticed, usually cool down the weather.

The experiment has been taking place at CERN because the cosmic rays (emulated by the CERN's sources of beams) are important for the creation of the cloud (condensation) nuclei. Even in the new papers, cosmic rays are found to increase the nucleation rate by 1-2 orders of magnitude.

Recall that the Sun's activity may influence the cosmic ray flux, and therefore its variations may be responsible for "climate change". Svensmark's theory generally argues that a stronger solar activity means a more perfect shielding of the cosmic rays, therefore less cloudiness, and therefore warmer weather.

However, the focus of the new papers is on something else than the cosmic rays: the molecules that should be present for the cloud nuclei to emerge and surpass the critical mass.

It's been generally thought that the sulfuric acid was almost necessary. Chimneys (or volcano eruptions etc.) should increase cloudiness. However, there have been inconclusive hints in some papers that some organic molecules are enough. You may have worried: How could have the clouds existed in the past, before the chimneys were built?

Jasper Kirkby and collaborators have found out that the molecules known as "aroma of the trees" may indeed do the same job and that is decisive in the pristine environments without chimneys.

More precisely, the molecules that can do the job are the "highly oxygenated molecules" (HOMs) which are produced by ozonolysis of α-pinene. The lesson for "global warming" seems clear: deforestation may decrease the amount of aroma from the trees, and therefore the amount of clouds, and it may therefore lead to global warming.

This may be the explanation of the changes in the 20th century and because the deforestation is over, so may be "global warming".

SOURCE





Season Approaches: U.S. Hits Record 127 Months Since Major Hurricane Strike

With hurricane season set to start next week, Tuesday marks a record 127 months since a major hurricane has made landfall in the continental United States, according to statistics compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Hurricane Research Division, which keeps data on all the hurricanes that have struck the U.S. since 1851.

The last major hurricane (defined as a Category 3 or above) to hit the U.S. mainland was  Hurricane Wilma, which made landfall in Florida on Oct. 24, 2005.

Although a major hurricane typically strikes the U.S. about once every two years, no major hurricanes have made landfall in the U.S. for more than 10 and a half years.

The second longest stretch between major hurricane strikes was between the major hurricane that struck in August 1860 and the one that struck in September 1869, NOAA records show. The third longest stretch was between the major hurricane that struck in September 1900 and the one that struck in October 1906.

Wilma was one of four major hurricanes – including Hurricanes Dennis (July 10, 2005), Katrina (Aug. 29, 2005) and Rita (Sept. 24, 2005) - that came ashore in the U.S. during the 2005 hurricane season. (The season starts on June 1 and runs through November 30.)

Hurricanes Wilma, Rita and Katrina killed almost 4,000 people and caused an estimated $160 billion in damage that year, making it “one of the most active hurricane seasons in recorded history,” NOAA said in a statement marking the 10-year anniversary of the 2005 hurricane season.

Because of the massive death and destruction caused by Wilma, Rita, Katrina and Dennis, their names have been retired by the National Weather Service.

“On average, 12 tropical storms, 6 of which become hurricanes, form over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or Gulf of Mexico during the hurricane season,” according to NOAA.

“Over a typical 2-year period, the U.S. coastline is struck by an average of 3 hurricanes, 1 of which is classified as a major hurricane (winds of 111 mph or greater)” on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Such storms are capable of causing “devastating” or “catastrophic” damage.

The current drought in major hurricane activity is a “rare event” that occurs only once every 177 years, according to a study published last year by researchers at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) entitled The Frequency and Duration of U.S. Hurricane Droughts.

NOAA’s official “2016 hurricane season outlook will be issued on May 27th,” Dr. Gerry Bell, hurricane climate specialist at the agency’s Climate Prediction Center, told CNSNews.com.

However, there is a chance the 127-month record will be broken this year with the decline of the 2015-2016 El Nino, a warming of the ocean surface, that was one of the three strongest on record. There is a 75 percent chance of a transition to La Nina, a cooling of the ocean surface, by this fall, according to NOAA.

Dr. Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist and hurricane specialist at the University of Colorado, tweeted that based on data going back to 1878, major hurricane activity is more likely to happen during the La Ninas that follow El Ninos.

According to The Weather Channel, last winter’s El Nino “played a significant suppressing role in the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season…. The odds may shift a bit toward a more active Atlantic hurricane season in 2016, but El Nino’s absence doesn’t guarantee that outcome.”

An analysis of five hurricane seasons following strong El Ninos found that the number of Category 3 or above hurricanes ranged from one (1973,1983) to five (1958).

In a statement on its website last year, NOAA expressed concern that the “unprecedented stretch” between major hurricanes could induce Americans living in coastal areas to suffer from “hurricane amnesia” and not be adequately prepared for the next hurricane strike.

“It only takes one storm to change your life and community,” warned a NOAA website for this month’s Hurricane Preparedness Week, which lists seven steps “to prepare for a potential landfalling tropical storm or hurricane” accompanied by storm surges and heavy rainfall.

“Storm surge is the abnormal rise of water generated by a storm’s winds. This hazard is historically the leading cause of hurricane related deaths in the United States,” according to NOAA. “Flooding from heavy rains is the second leading cause of fatalities during landfalling tropical cyclones.”

President Obama, so far, is the only president since Benjamin Harrison not to have a major hurricane make landfall in the U.S. during his term. Harrison, whose term of office did not include a major hurricane strike, served from 1889 to 1893.

SOURCE





'Climate Change Inquisition' Backtracks, but Fight Isn't Over

Some good news, some not-so-good news. The witch hunt launched by “AGs United for Clean Power” against organizations espousing views incredulous toward man-made global warming suffered somewhat of a setback this week after the group rescinded a DC-based subpoena targeting the Competitive Enterprise Institute. That’s the good news.

Unfortunately, the original subpoena has not been dropped, which leaves the possibility of an unconstitutional prosecution of CEI and other like-minded associates still very much in play.

According to the CEI, “Following the pledge in a May 13 letter to CEI’s attorney, U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker (AG Walker) has withdrawn the District of Columbia subpoena action against the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), yet the original Virgin Islands subpoena remains, meaning AG Walker can move at any moment to continue his unconstitutional intimidation campaign against the free market group and others who oppose his view of climate change. CEI’s motion for sanctions against AG Walker is pending in court and the group continues its pushback against the AG’s wrongdoing.”

In April, Heritage Foundation fellows Hans von Spakovsky and Cole Wintheiser astutely branded the anti-free speech assault the “American Climate Change Inquisition” — a harrowing throwback to the Spanish Inquisition that “systematically silenced any citizen who held views that did not align with the king’s.” The rule of law will hopefully quash the modern day Climate Change Inquisition once and for all. But for now, groups like CEI and still being held hostage.

SOURCE





Obama Raided $500M for Zika to Finance UN’s Green Climate Fund

Last week, the Senate passed legislation to address and prevent the spread of the Zika virus. However, the Senate failed to pay for it, and instead approved a $1.1 billion “emergency” spending supplemental bill that is not subject to the budgetary caps that were agreed to last year.

While congressional inattention to the budget crisis is inexcusable, it is even more disturbing that the Obama administration already has the authority to pay for a Zika response from existing agency budgets, but chose not to.

I’ve said several times on the Senate floor, over the last two weeks, that the Zika virus is a serious threat and should be dealt with responsibly by funding immediate vaccine research and aggressive mosquito population control.

The threat to adults from Zika is relatively small, but the threat to pre-born children is very high. Our national priority rightly focuses on protecting the life of these young children in the womb, since each child has value, no matter their age or size.

But an international medical emergency has now become a U.S. budget emergency, a major debt crisis that will impact our children as well.

If there was a way to both respond to Zika and prevent new debt spending, wouldn’t it be reasonable to do that? The Department of Health and Human Services, Department of State, and International Assistance Programs currently have about $80 billion in unobligated funds.

A small fraction of this could be reprogrammed and redirected to respond to the Zika emergency and not add any additional debt to our nation’s children. This is exactly the type of authority the Obama administration asked for in 2009 during the height of the H1N1 virus scare.

This is not a partisan idea, it is a reasonable one in light of the medical emergency and the financial reality of our nation.

In a floor speech last week, I also shed light on the fact that Congress last December provided the Obama administration with authority to pull money from bilateral economic assistance to foreign countries.

You might ask—so what did the administration spend the infectious disease money on earlier this year? You guessed it… climate change.

They can use those funds to combat infectious diseases, if the administration believed there is an infectious disease emergency. In the middle of the Zika epidemic, the administration did use their authority to pull money from foreign aid and spend it, but they didn’t use it for Zika.

You might ask—so what did the administration spend the infectious disease money on earlier this year?

You guessed it… climate change.

In March, President Obama gave the United Nations $500 million out of an account under bilateral economic assistance to fund the U.N.’s Green Climate Fund.

Congress refused to allocate funding for the U.N. Climate Change Fund last year, so the president used this account designated for international infectious diseases to pay for his priority.

While I understand that intelligent people can disagree on the human effects on the global climate, it is hard to imagine a reason why the administration would prioritize the U.N. Green Climate Fund over protecting the American people, especially pregnant women, from the Zika virus.

Unfortunately, it gets worse.

So, the administration found a way to offend our ally Israel, delay the Zika response and, if Congress allows him, add another billion dollars to our national debt.

The U.N. Green Climate Fund is connected to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an affiliated organization of the United Nations.

The UNFCCC recently accepted the “State of Palestine” as a signatory, which should trigger a U.S. funding prohibition. U.S. law forbids any taxpayer dollars to fund international organizations that recognize “Palestine” as a sovereign state.

So, the administration found a way to offend our ally Israel, delay the Zika response and, if Congress allows him, add another billion dollars to our national debt. That is a busy month.

The White House should not throw money at the U.N. while a vaccine for a virus known to cause severe, debilitating neurological birth defects is put on the back burner.

Zika is an important international crisis, but every crisis does not demand new “emergency funding” that is all debt. If there is a way to avoid more debt, we should take that option, it is what every family and every business does every day.

SOURCE






Canada:Putting the fox in charge of the henhouse

The climate activist group, 350.org, released a video on May 18 which starts:

“The Canadian government has announced it will work with provinces, territories, First Nations, and people across the country to develop a national climate strategy by the end of 2016 to determine how Canada will tackle climate change in the upcoming years.”

That sounds fine, as long as the “people across Canada” includes experts who actually understand the field, namely, scientists, economists, and engineers, regardless of whether they side with political correctness on the issue or not

350.org continues, “During May and June, the government has asked Members of Parliament to hold public consultations for this climate strategy with the constituents in their ridings.”

This is OK as well, as long as the consultations are done in such a way as to encourage a broad range of public input, not just what the government and climate activists find convenient. The recent climate consultation by the Government of Ontario was highly biased and a good example of what the federal government must avoid if their town hall consultations are to be seen as anything other than pep rallies.

“This process will offer a one in a generation opportunity for people to call for an ambitious national climate strategy,” continues 350.org.

Well, yes, if people think Canada actually needs a national strategy. Since different regions may be affected by climate change in quite different ways, strategies specific to one region may make no sense in other regions. It is only if one accepts the need for national greenhouse gas emission reductions that a national strategy would seem to make sense, and, of course, such an idea is not shared by many Canadians.

350.org then says that they will be speaking out at the town halls in favour of the “People’s Climate Plan,” which aims to keep the majority of fossil fuel reserves in the ground and “builds a 21st century economy run 100% on renewable energy by 2050.”

Again, in a free society, 350.org is entitled to promote their viewpoints, regardless of whether it makes sense, or as many engineers and scientists maintain, is dangerously irrational. So, it is important that those of us who do not support the climate change plans of 350.org and their fellow climate activists attend and speak out at climate change public consultations.

In asking for public input on the government’s plans, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna said, “The climate challenge cannot be resolved by government alone. That is why we need your help. We need your ideas and solutions. And we need everyone to be engaged in this national effort. Thank you for participating. I look forward to your ideas.”

This sounds encouraging. Indeed, even 350.org says in their video, “We’ll organize to demand that our MPs hold fair and inclusive consultations in our ridings.”

But then 350.org warns, “Next, we’ll fill up the room during government consultations with people from our local communities in support of the ‘People’s Climate Plan.’”

“And then, before the climate strategy is unveiled in the Fall, we’ll mobilize en-mass to hold the government accountable for taking bold, and ambitious, climate action.”

Many Canadians will find it intimidating to speak out in opposition to such organized and aggressive activism. Yet, the 350.org approach is still acceptable in a free society, provided the government controls the agenda and McKenna’s apparently welcoming approach is actually carried out in practice at public consultations.

But there’s the rub. Many of town halls appear unlikely to welcome anything aside from the point of view climate activists hold dear.

The list of climate change town halls across Canada shows that they fall into three categories.

I. Those organized and run by government alone

Provided meeting coordinators respect alternative perspectives and sanction activists who attempt to restrict free speech, these consultations can provide meaningful input to government climate plans.

The town hall to be held on July 5 in North Vancouver by MP John Wilkinson appears to fall into this category. As does the town hall being led by McKenna and MP for Winnipeg South Terry Duguid in Winnipeg tonight. In both cases, prospective attendees are directed to RSVP to government representatives.

II. Those organized and run by eco-activists alone

These should be allowed, of course, but the results of such town halls should not be considered representative of general public opinion since people who disagree with climate activists are unlikely to attend. Eco-activists can be highly abusive at times to anyone who does not agree with them.

The town hall meeting to be held this evening in Ottawa South falls into this category. To RSVP for the meeting, the public are directed to complete a 350.org online form, something few people will do if they do not agree with activists. MP David McGuinty stated in personal communications that his office is not organizing the event; he is simply a guest speaker. McGuinty said he does not foresee holding a public climate change town hall in his riding.

III. Those run by climate activists and government working together

These are inappropriate. MPs are elected to represent all of their constituents, and no group—not industry, not eco-activists and not even groups like ours, the International Climate Science Coalition—should have privileged access or control over public consultations.

The town hall being held tonight in Saskatoon is an example of this apparently unacceptable cooperation between government and eco-activists. On the Facebook page dedicated to the event, it could not be clearer: “The Saskatoon-West riding office in conjunction with Climate Justice Saskatoon has organized this event for the Saskatoon community at large.” Saskatoon West MP Sheri Benson should consider withdrawing from, or taking sole control of, the meeting.

Similarly, on the Facebook page for the “Climate Action Town Hall - Nelson,” (being held this evening in British Columbia), it is stated, “Conversation will be facilitated by community members representing the West Kootenay EcoSociety, Citizens Climate Lobby and the Nelson Interfaith Climate Action Collaborative.” Imagine how receptive these groups will be to public input that does not conform to their views. Again, Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski should distance himself from the meeting, or take sole control of it and appoint neutral facilitators.

The goal of public consultations should be to help government determine real public opinion about issues of national importance. This cannot happen as long as parties with such clear agendas are organizers of the hearings. The fox must never be in charge of the henhouse.

SOURCE






Australia:  El Nino over, BoM says, so winter rain could be on the way

A miracle has occurred.  The BoM has not blamed anything below on global warming

The latest El Nino cycle is over, which could lead to a wet winter, according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM).

The bureau's modelling shows ocean surface temperatures across the tropical Pacific have cooled to neutral levels over the past fortnight.  Waters beneath the surface have also cooled.

Forecaster Michael Knepp said conditions were back to neutral and the bureau was now on La Nina watch. During La Nina events, rainfall in winter and spring is above average over northern, central and eastern Australia.

"[There's] a greater than 50 per cent chance that we might be in La Nina conditions later in the year," Mr Knepp said. "That's not a certain thing, just something to keep an eye on over the next few months."

International climate models indicate the tropical Pacific Ocean will continue to cool. Six of eight models suggest La Nina is likely to form during winter.

Mr Knepp said more rainfall could be expected across the region if predictions were correct, but the outlook accuracy at this time of year was low.

El Nino has contributed to drought conditions over the majority of Queensland. Currently, 85 per cent of Queensland is drought declared.

The bureau said almost the entire western half of Victoria was experiencing severe rainfall deficiency.  The rainfall deficiency in Tasmania covers much of the state.

Areas of serious to severe deficiency remain through inland Queensland and into northern New South Wales.

Large areas of South Australia and Western Australia are also experiencing serious rainfall deficiency.

SOURCE

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Thursday, May 26, 2016


Trump executive proposes a wall to protect Irish golf resort from coastal erosion

This has got nothing to do with global warming.  Sea level rises in Ireland are in fact on the low side.  What IS true is that Western Ireland is exposed to the full force of big Atlantic storms -- and they do cause coastal erosion.  And it is common to put in place structures designed to halt such erosion.

To do so in politically correct Ireland does however require a permit and that permit is required under legislation enacted out of global warming fears.  It is not Trump who fears the effects of global  warming in Western Ireland.  It is the Dáil Éireann (Irish Parliament)

That Trump seeks a permit to build a wall does not mean that he agrees with being required to seek such a permit


Donald Trump wants to build another huge wall, this time to keep out the rising seas threatening to swamp his luxury golf resort in Ireland.

The Republican presidential candidate has called climate change a "con job" and a "hoax." But in an application filed this month in County Clare, Ireland, the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel cites the threat of global warming in seeking a permit to build a nearly two-mile-long stone wall between it and the Atlantic Ocean. The beach in front of the 18th green is disappearing at a rate of about a yard each year.

Trump's application, first reported Monday by Politico, cites local regulations pertaining to "rising sea levels and increased storm frequency and wave energy associated with global warming." An attached environmental impact statement says that almost all the dunes in western Ireland are retreating "due to sea level rise and increased Atlantic storminess."

Trump campaign spokesman Alan Garten did not respond Monday to messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Trump, who has roiled the immigration debate by proposing to build a massive wall along the Mexican border, has repeatedly taken to Twitter to express skepticism that human activity is causing the world to warm, raising sea levels as the polar ice caps melt. He has also said he would seek to "renegotiate" the global accord to cut climate-warming carbon emissions agreed to by President Barack Obama in December.

"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive," Trump tweeted in 2012.

"The entire country is FREEZING - we desperately need a heavy dose of global warming, and fast! Ice caps size reaches all time high," Trump tweeted in 2014.

Environmental groups pounced on the application as evidence of hypocrisy.

"Donald Trump clearly cares more about the fate of his golf courses than the health of the millions of families already affected by the climate crisis," said Adam Beitman, a spokesman for the Sierra Club.

SOURCE  





Study finds that warming INCREASES Greenland snowfall

They think their models can explain it but models can explain anything.  The truth is that nobody knows exactly how or why.  The 2 degrees of Global Warming predicted may not, on balance,  melt ANY Greenland ice -- so no sea level rise!  Tragic!

The history of Greenland’s snowfall is chronicled in an unlikely place: the remains of aquatic plants that died long ago, collecting at the bottom of lakes in horizontal layers that document the passing years.

Using this ancient record, scientists are attempting to reconstruct how Arctic precipitation fluctuated over the past several millennia, potentially influencing the size of the Greenland Ice Sheet as the Earth warmed and cooled.

An early study in this field finds that snowfall at one key location in western Greenland may have intensified from 6,000 to 4,000 years ago, a period when the planet’s Northern Hemisphere was warmer than it is today.

While more research needs to be done to draw conclusions about ancient precipitation patterns across Greenland, the new results are consistent with the hypothesis that global warming could drive increasing Arctic snowfall — a trend that would slow the shrinkage of the Greenland Ice Sheet and, ultimately, affect the pace at which sea levels rise.

“As the Arctic gets warmer, there is a vigorous scientific debate about how stable the Greenland Ice Sheet will be. How quickly will it lose mass?” says lead researcher Elizabeth Thomas, PhD, an assistant professor of geology in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences who completed much of the study as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Abstract

Precipitation is predicted to increase in the Arctic as temperature increases and sea ice retreats. Yet the mechanisms controlling precipitation in the Arctic are poorly understood and quantified only by the short, sparse instrumental record. We use hydrogen isotope ratios (δ2H) of lipid biomarkers in lake sediments from western Greenland to reconstruct precipitation seasonality and summer temperature during the past 8 kyr. Aquatic biomarker δ2H was 100‰ more negative from 6 to 4 ka than during the early and late Holocene, which we interpret to reflect increased winter snowfall. The middle Holocene also had high summer air temperature, decreased early winter sea ice in Baffin Bay and the Labrador Sea, and a strong, warm West Greenland Current. These results corroborate model predictions of winter snowfall increases caused by sea ice retreat and furthermore suggest that warm currents advecting more heat into the polar seas may enhance Arctic evaporation and snowfall.

Citation

Thomas, E. K., J. P. Briner, J. J. Ryan-Henry, and Y. Huang (2016); A major increase in winter snowfall during the middle Holocene on western Greenland caused by reduced sea ice in Baffin Bay and the Labrador Sea; Geophysical Research Letters, 43, doi:10.1002/2016GL068513.

SOURCE  





More Greenie greed

A French logging company and official partner of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is deforesting a huge area of rainforest in southeast Cameroon without the consent of local Baka “Pygmies” who have lived there and managed the land for generations, Survival International has learned.

Rougier is described as an “integrated forest & trade company” and a large “forest operator” in a WWF press release and report. It is felling trees in an estimated 600,000 hectare area, which is more than is permitted under Cameroonian law.

Rougier has also been denounced by Friends of the Earth for its activities in Cameroon, which have included illegal price-fixing, illegal logging outside a concession, felling more trees than authorized, and illegally exporting rare timber.

WWF has stated that it would never partner with a company operating on indigenous land without the consent of the indigenous people. In entering this partnership with Rougier, it has violated its own policies on indigenous peoples.

Survival recently wrote to the CEO of Rougier asking whether he believed his company had acquired the Baka’s consent for the logging. In response Rougier simply said that: “Baka communities are aware of our existence and operation.”

Under Cameroonian law, the Baka are often criminalized as “poachers” when they hunt to feed their families. In a map produced by Rougier, all Baka forest camps within one concession are labelled as “poachers’ camps.”

In February, Survival filed an OECD complaint against WWF for funding abusive anti-poaching squads in Cameroon, who have used violence and intimidation to deny tribespeople access to their land.

According to a recent report produced by the EU, not a single logging company is operating legally in Cameroon. Experts say that no logging activities are being carried out at sustainable levels.

Evidence shows that tribal peoples are the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world. Despite this, WWF has preferred to partner with international corporations that destroy the environment’s best allies – tribal peoples.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said: “If further proof were needed that WWF is more interested in securing corporate cash than really looking out for the environment, here it is. The absurd language it has used to try and hide this partnership with a logging firm – calling Rougier a “leading producer of certified African tropical timber” – should fool no-one, and reveals a lot about the nature of this partnership. It’s a con. And it’s harming conservation. Survival is fighting these abuses, for tribes, for nature, for all humanity. Conservation organizations should be partnering with tribal peoples to protect the environment, not the companies destroying it to make a quick buck.”

SOURCE  





EPA Conducts Two Secret Meetings A Year To Decide How To Dole Out BILLIONS In Slush Fund Money

Two internal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) committees secretly control how billions of dollars are spent, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation has found.

Congress appropriates about $1 billion annually for EPA’s Superfund program, and the agency has accumulated nearly $6.8 billion in more than 1,300 slush fund-like accounts since 1990.

Two committees consisting entirely of EPA officials meet behind closed doors twice annually to decide how the agency spends those funds on highly polluted – and often dangerous – Superfund sites. All reports to and from the groups, as well as the minutes of their meetings and all other details, are kept behind closed doors.

“The National Risk-Based Priority Panel and the Superfund Special Accounts Senior Management Committee engage in pre-decisional deliberations which are internal to the agency and not open to the public,” an EPA spokeswoman who requested anonymity told TheDCNF.

She was referring to Exemption Five of the Freedom of Information Act, which is the most often abused exemption federal officials cite to justify withholding information about government activities and programs.

“The public is given ample time to weigh in on during the public comment period once the site is proposed for [National Priorities List (NPL)] addition,” the spokeswoman continued. “EPA considers those comments before making a final decision.” (RELATED: Colorado Town Finally Succumbs To EPA Control After Resisting For Decades)

These committees, however, are involved in financial decisions, rather than adding a site to the NPL – how the EPA finalizes a Superfund designation, so the comment period does nothing to advance public understanding of how the two committees spend billions of tax dollars every year.

“Established in January 2009, the Special Accounts Senior Management Committee … is responsible for EPA’s national oversight and management of special accounts,” the agency’s website says. The committee “ensures appropriate management, transparency, and accountability … with special accounts.”

Meanwhile, the agency has collected $6.3 billion in approximately 1,308 special accounts from lawsuits and settlements with parties responsible for polluting superfund sites, but details beyond regional balances are withheld from the public, TheDCNF previously reported.

It’s nearly impossible to determine where the estimated $3.3 billion spent so far went, or who will get the remaining $3.5 billion (after adding interest). The EPA will also continue collecting funds from new superfund sites, such as the recently proposed Gold King Mine, where the agency spilled 880,000 pounds of dangerous metals into drinking water.

Additionally, the EPA’s Inspector General has criticized numerous aspects of the special accounts, including the agency’s overall bookkeeping. The watchdog previously recommended transferring $65 million out of special accounts, for example.

The second group – the Superfund National Risk-Based Priority Panel – determines which unfunded sites require immediate attention based on several factors, such as the risk to the nearby community.

But the panel’s secrecy prevents residents from knowing where nearby hazardous places stand as an agency priority. This is particularly important, since 329 Superfund sites could expose dangerous contaminants to humans, according to EPA.

This confidentiality is necessary “to prevent polluters from taking advantage of the EPA’s funding decisions,” the EPA told the Center for Public Integrity in 2007. “Agency insiders,” however, told the center the real reason was to avoid congressional scrutiny.

That revelation is crucial, considering EPA withholds details about the special accounts, as well as sites endangering humans, from Congress. Not having such information effectively prevents Congress from exercising its constitutionally mandated oversight of executive branch agencies like EPA.

The EPA, for example, refused to divulge information about the sites exposing humans to dangerous contaminants to Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works democrats – including then-Sen. Barack Obama and Ranking Member Barbara Boxer of California, CPI reported. Some of the documents were eventually obtained, but were marked “privileged,” and could only be reviewed under EPA supervision.

Boxer’s spokeswoman did not respond to repeated DCNF requests for comment.

SOURCE  





EPA’s move to raise ethanol mix in gasoline fuels alarm over engine damage

The Environmental Protection Agency’s move to add more ethanol to gasoline will wreak havoc on lawn mowers, snow blowers, boats and even cars, say critics.

Mixing an additional 700 million gallons of ethanol and other biofuels into the nation’s fuel supply to meet a goal of 18.8 billion gallons in 2017 will raise the biofuel percentage to 10.44 percent, or past the “blend wall” after which car engines can be damaged, said Heartland Institute research fellow Isaac Orr.

“It’s hard for anyone to argue that the renewable fuel standard has been a good policy, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to increase the amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply means this train wreck of a policy will continue for at least another year,” Mr. Orr said in a Thursday statement.

“Owners of small engines like lawn mowers, snow blowers, and boats are hurt by ethanol mandates because ethanol is hard on these engines,” he said.

Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, called the 2005 Renewable Fuel Standard “a success story that has driven biofuel production and use in the U.S. to levels higher than any other nation.”

“This administration is committed to keeping the RFS program on track, spurring continued growth in biofuel production and use, and achieving the climate and energy independence benefits that Congress envisioned from this program,” she said in a Wednesday statement.

Ethanol is popular with lawmakers in farming states like Iowa, but the mandate faces increasing opposition from others, including some environmentalists, who object to clearing more land for farming in order to grow the corn-based fuel.

Free-market champions say the standard no longer makes sense because oil and natural gas have become so plentiful thanks to advances in extraction technology, starting with hydraulic fracturing. The ethanol mandate also raises the cost of fuel.

At the time, Congress was attempting to reduce emissions as well as U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Since then, the United States has become the world’s largest producer of natural gas and doubled its oil production, sending prices plummeting.

The EPA’s proposed increase is lower than the statutory volume imposed by Congress in 2007, but the amount is still too high

SOURCE  




Don’t blame global warming for sizzling temperature, it’s your fault

A message from India to Indians

Sizzling at 51 degrees celsius, Phalodi, a small town in Rajasthan, has set the country’s new all-time record for hottest temperature. In any case April turns out to be the hottest month ever, 7th month in a row when temperatures have exceeded what had been the highest recorded so far. This is not a record to be proud of but is an indication of how economic growth has created an atmosphere where chopping a tree does not evoke any concern.

The rise in temperatures is indirectly proportionate to the decimation of green cover. The more the chopping of trees, the higher is the temperature.

I have never felt what it is like to be in 51 degrees but have lived in northwest areas which have often exceeded temperature hikes of 47 degrees. Even in such temperature extremes, the moment I pass through a cluster of trees a wave of relatively cold breeze is such a great feeling.  The temperature difference is striking. At least, a difference of 2 to 3 degrees between a dense tree shade and what you feel when you are on a highway. Even in a concrete jungle like New Delhi, where the scorching temperature exceeding 47 degrees is biting enough, imagine the soothing effect if an increased green cover had brought the average temperature down by 3 to 4 degrees.

Don’t blame it on global warming; blame yourself for the rising heat. You kept quiet when trees were being chopped mercilessly.

In a desperate race to achieve a higher growth rate, chopping a tree does not anymore evoke any reaction. It is considered an inevitable price that has to be paid for development. Ruthless chopping of trees in metros and elsewhere to pave way for infrastructure projects, expansion of highways from two-lane to four lane, and from four-lane to six-lane, and the disappearing of water bodies and cutting down of trees for residential complexes has led to what is called as urban ‘heat island’ effect. Cities and towns are increasingly becoming ‘heat islands’. The higher the concentration of concrete buildings/structures, the more is the ability to absorb solar radiation.

The National Green Tribunal has recently served a notice to Punjab government for the axing of 96,000 trees to widen a 200-km long road stretch between Zirakpur and Bathinda. But to my dismay I haven’t seen any form of public protests or citizens’ reaction to such a large scale chopping of trees. We have quietly accepted that trees have to be axed for the sake of development. As I have often said that if a tree is standing, the GDP does not go up but if you chop down a tree, the GDP goes up. Now it is our choice whether you want a higher GDP by cutting down trees or you want a kind of development where trees become part of sustainable living.

The Neem Foundation tells us that temperature below a fully grown neem tree is often 10 degrees less. I read an interesting article in The New Indian Express (April 24, 2016) where the author tells us the difference in temperature between green patches and the city centre in several cities. In Bangalore for instance the difference in temperature prevailing at the GKVK Agricultural University and just outside the campus is four degrees. Even when the temperature in the Majestic bus stand was 35 to 36 degrees, it was around 32 degrees in a nearby park.

According to a study by Prof T V Ramchandra and his team of the Energy & Wetlands Research Group Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore city has seen a rapid expansion in urban growth. In 2012, the researchers estimated that the built-up area had grown by a whopping 584 per cent over the preceding four decades. This obviously came at a heavy price. Vegetation cover declined by 66 per cent and 74 per cent of the water bodies disappeared. Bangalore no longer carries the same charm as it used to earlier. I have heard many residents complain of the haphazard growth. But then who cares. After all, it is urbanization that the mainline economists and planners are always pushing for. People are being made to believe that concrete jungles are the future, if they have to develop.

IndiaSpend, a data-driven and public-interest journalism group, has analysed the IISc study in a form that can be easily understood. Accordingly, four major cities in the country have seen a rapid decimation of its green cover. Bhopal tree cover fell from 66 per cent to 22 per cent in the past 22 years. Now this is something too serious to worry about. Instead, by 2018, which means another three years, the green cover in Bhopal will come down to 11 per cent. You can surely call it a sign of growth but don’t complain when the temperatures soar to record breaking levels.

Ahmedabad has only 24 per cent of its green cover left, coming down from 46 per cent in the past two decades. But hold your breath. If you are living in Ahmedabad or plan to translocate to this city, think again. By 2030, Ahmedabad will be left with only 3 per cent of its green cover. Kolkata too will be left with a green cover of 3.7 per cent by the year 2030, and Hyderabad will have only 1.84 per cent of its tree cover left by the year 2024, which is not far away. The rate of speedy urbanization is clearly leading to a massive erosion of what is called as green lungs of a city. The rise in temperature is therefore a natural outcome.

The combined effect of urbanization is what is leading to soaring temperatures. Considering that urbanization is the easiest way to enhance GDP growth, I see no reason why people should be complaining. You asked for it.

 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, May 25, 2016



Are SQUID the big winners from climate change?

This is data-less speculation.  I have read the original article (Global proliferation of cephalopods) and confirm that the researchers had NO data on global warming or ocean temperature in their study.  What they examined was what fishermen have been catching and they found that catches have shown increasing percentages of cephalopoda as time has gone by.  That is all they found.  And ANY explanation of that is speculative.

The obvious explanation would seem to be that bony fish are a more attractive catch so fishermen go where bony fish are most found and deplete stocks of them.  But bony fish are predators of cephalopoda so cephalopoda thrive under reduced predation.

With the Green/Left it is always important to look at what they do NOT say -- and there is a prize example of that here.  If they really believed that cephalopoda stocks were increased by global warming, it would have been perfectly easy to examine that.  But they did not.

What they could have done is analyse their data separately for the grand temperature hiatus (1945 to 1975) and the recent hiatus (1999 to 2014) and assess whether catches remained static during those periods.  If so, that would prove their theory.  It would have been perfectly easy to divide up their data in that way so why did they present results for their study period (1953 to 2013) as a whole only?  Can I guess?  Because cephalopod numbers did NOT level off in those periods.

So I think we have here indirect evidence that climate change did NOT influence cephalopod numbers. The claim that it did is just more Warmist deceit


Although many fish species are in serious decline due to rising ocean temperatures and over fishing, it seems squid and octopuses are flourishing.

The cephalopods have increased in numbers over the past 60 years, according to new research.

Squid, octopuses and cuttlefish are known to be highly adaptable and grow rapidly, which may be giving them an advantage as ocean environments change.

An international team of biologists, led by researchers at the University of Adelaide, compiled a database of global catch rates of cephalopod to investigate long-term trends in abundance.

They published their findings in the Cell Press journal, Current Biology.

Dr. Zoë Doubleday, lead author of the study at the University of Adelaide, said: 'Our analyses showed that cephalopod abundance has increased since the 1950s, a result that was remarkably consistent across three distinct groups.'

SOURCE  





Fury as big British bird charity backs more wind turbines: Warnings of a bird 'massacre' after charity says thousands more could be built with little risk to the countryside

The RSPB has caused a flap by suggesting that thousands more wind turbines could be built – with minimal risk to birds and the countryside.

The charity, which has previously been accused of being more interested in political lobbying than protecting birds, says climate change is one of the greatest long-term threats to wildlife.

And it warns that Britain must find ways of switching to green energy that are ‘in harmony with wildlife’.

However, the suggestion that building at least 25,000 onshore wind turbines – up from the current 5,000 – could help solve the problem has infuriated rural campaigners.

You Forgot the Birds, a group of landowners that includes former England cricketer Ian Botham, said the structures would blight the landscape and cause a bird ‘massacre’.

Ian Gregory, the group’s campaign director, accused the charity of ‘retreating into an ideological bunker’.

He said: ‘How are birds supposed to weave their way through thousands of wind turbines spinning at up to 180mph? It is difficult to think of a less bird-friendly way of dealing with climate change.’ Mr Gregory acknowledged that the RSPB report notes that turbines can pose a collision risk for birds but questioned whether its main concern was damage to the blades.

The row is the latest in a series of clashes between the RSPB and landowners, who accuse the charity of heavy-handed policing of the countryside.

The report details how on and off-shore windfarms, solar power, wave power and other forms of renewable energy could be harnessed to meet Britain’s electricity needs by 2050.

Martin Harper, the RSPB’s director of conservation, said: ‘Climate change is one of the greatest long-term threats to wildlife. And, with rising sea levels, increased flooding and changes to our weather it is also affecting people and our economy. So, doing nothing is not an option.’

An RSPB spokesman said: ‘We support the principles of renewable energy using a common sense approach. In many cases a turbine can be located without a detrimental impact on wildlife. Over the years we have been involved in over 1,000 planning applications for wind turbines, and only maintained objections to around 5 per cent.’

SOURCE  






Green light for fracking across rural England after council gives the go ahead for test drilling at North Yorkshire site

Fracking in one of the most beautiful parts of the British countryside received the go-ahead last night, opening the door for a dash for shale gas.

Green campaigners condemned the decision by North Yorkshire County Council, warning it could be a landmark ruling paving the way for drilling in rural areas across England.

The fracking operation at Kirby Misperton, near Malton, will be the first in Britain for five years. Full-scale production can begin if tests show gas could be extracted on a commercial scale.

Energy companies with licences to explore for hidden reserves are now likely to apply for consent for test drilling at dozens of rural sites across England.

Fracking, a highly controversial method of mining, involves injecting water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into rocks deep underground to open up fractures in the rock to release trapped gas and oil.

Critics say the process causes noise and contamination – and small earthquakes were triggered near Blackpool in 2011 by a firm exploring for shale gas, leading to a temporary moratorium.

Adela Pickles, from the campaign group Frack Free Ryedale, said: ‘This is the starting gun for fracking in the UK.  ‘It has established a planning precedent in North Yorkshire which means that it is going to be a lot harder for planning committees to turn down future applications.’

Third Energy, the company behind the North Yorkshire scheme, has produced gas at the site for more than 20 years.

It has been granted consent to carry out test fracking and production from an existing well drilled three years ago. The process will target rocks nearly two miles below ground.

The test fracking is expected to take around six weeks and consent has been granted for nine years of production.

Gas from the well would be pumped to a nearby power station, generating electricity for local homes and businesses.

The planning authority received more than 4,000 objections, mainly on environmental grounds.

The well is less than four miles from the North York Moors National Park, where a £2.4billion potash mine was controversially given planning consent last year.

Locals fear the schemes will deal a devastating blow to the local tourist industry.

Third Energy said work at Kirby Misperton will not begin for many months, but there are fears of mass protests of the kind witnessed three years ago in the Sussex village of Balcombe, where test drilling for oil took place.

Third Energy chief executive Rasik Valand insisted fracking was safe while Ken Cronin, of the UK Onshore Oil and Gas, said the vote was ‘an important first step’.

He said the industry did not yet know ‘what we can get’ from fracking in the UK and whether ‘gas will come out of the ground’ in sufficient quantities to be profitable.

Local Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake said he broadly welcomed the decision but warned it had to be ‘regulated properly’ and done in a way that ‘protects the beauty of the countryside’.

He told the Mail: ‘This is a national policy, it was passed by a majority of 250 votes in 2015. It’s no good saying you’ll back it as long as it’s not in your area.’

Fracking licences were granted in 27 areas last August and in December MPs voted to allow it to take place below national parks and other protected sites.

David Cameron has said he wanted to go ‘all out’ for fracking, as a UK shale gas industry would provide greater energy security and keep prices down.

Energy minister Andrea Leadsom said last night: ‘We’re very clear that fracking is a fantastic opportunity.

It’s good for jobs, the economy and strengthens our energy security. We already have tough regulation in place to ensure that fracking is safe.’

SOURCE  





The Real Energy Deniers

By Viv Forbes

When man first appeared on Earth he had no implements, no clothes, no farms and no mineral fuels – his only tools were his brains, hands and muscles.

Everything that enables mankind to live comfortably in a world where nature is indifferent to our survival has been discovered, invented, mined or created by our inventive ancestors over thousands of years.

The history of civilisation is essentially the story of man’s progressive access to more efficient, more abundant and more reliable energy sources - from ancestral human muscles to modern nuclear power.

There are seven big steps on the human energy ladder – fire, farming, solar power, gunpowder, coal, the steam engine and nuclear power.

Man’s first and greatest energy step was discovering how to harness fire for warmth, cooking, hunting, metal working and warfare.

For centuries the main fire-energy fuels were organic natural resources such as wood, charcoal, peat, grass, animal dung and fats/oils extracted from animals and plants. As human population increased, these energy sources became scarce as the land and seas around towns and villages were stripped of their natural carbon fuels.

The second step on the energy ladder was built when some smart hunter/gatherers discovered how to access more reliable energy from domesticated animals and plants. Sheep, cattle, goats and pigs provided a steady supply of carbon-based food energy, and dogs, horses, donkeys and camels multiplied human energy for transport, hunting and warfare. Farmers also nurtured fruiting trees and grasses such as einkorn, wheat, rice, barley, oats, corn and sugar cane. These provided more dependable and abundant food energy for humans and their animals.

About this time humans ascended the third step on their energy ladder – the ability to harness wind/hydro/solar power for sailing ships, windmills, water-wheels, grain mills and drying food. The low energy density and unpredictability of these weather-dependent energy sources was obvious, even to our ancestors.

The fourth big step was the invention of gunpowder by the Chinese, which gave humans the first glimpse of the enormous power of concentrated chemical energy. This led to the widespread use of explosives for hunting, armaments, mining, civil engineering and entertainment.

The fifth energy step was a bigger one - the discovery of how to obtain and use coal, and centuries later, oil and gas. The energy density and abundance of these hydro-carbon fuels gave an enormous boost to human access to energy, and massively relieved the pressure on forest fuels and animal fats.

The sixth step on the energy ladder was truly gigantic - British inventors and engineers built the first practical steam engine. That invention transformed the world. Suddenly steam engines were moving trains and ships, pumping water, generating electricity and powering factories, traction engines and road vehicles. Most steam engines were driven by coal, but wood, other hydro-carbons, concentrated solar energy or nuclear power could be used.

Steam cars and electric cars got a good work-out over 100 years ago, but neither could compete with a new invention - the oil-powered internal combustion engine. This small but powerful engine resulted in the replacement of steam and electric motors for mobile engines but the mighty steam engine still dominates electricity generation.

These two engines, running on powerful hydrocarbon fuels, feed and mobilise our world. The transformation is remarkable. Just 3-4 generations ago, a team of up to twenty bullocks took days or weeks to haul a wagon-load of wool bales, forest logs or bagged wheat to markets, and the bullocks needed fresh supplies of feed and water every night. In 1896, Henry Lawson described it well in two stanzas from his great Australian poem “The Teams”:

A cloud of dust on the long white road,
And the teams go creeping on
Inch by inch with the weary load;
And by the power of the green-hide goad
The distant goal is won.

But the rains are heavy on roads like these;
And, fronting his lonely home,
For weeks together the settler sees
The teams bogged down to the axle-trees,
Or ploughing the sodden loam.

Cattle and sheep to feed the cities were moved by drovers who spent weeks or even months on the road. Today one diesel-powered road train or semi-trailer can carry its own fuel and water plus a load of livestock to the distant cities in a day or so. Refrigerated trucks do even better – swiftly carrying dressed sides of meat from the abattoir direct to butcher shops.

The seventh step in the human quest for additional energy was the harnessing of atomic energy for generating electricity, fuelling naval vessels, in medical procedures and creating even more powerful explosive devices.

As mankind was ascending the seven steps of the energy ladder from the stone-age to the nuclear age, governments were also expanding their scope, power and cost.

Mankind has always had tribal leaders, but when farming developed, leaders or powerful land-owners discovered that other farmers and their fixed assets could easily be taxed to pay for their own “protection”. This encouraged the development of central governments with their officials, tax collectors, police and soldiers. To defend their generally increasing appetite for tax revenue, governments needed a continual supply of real or imagined dangers to justify their taxes. From this point on, government power has increased with each real or invented community crisis – from village control, to district, state, federal and continental governments. The latest such “crisis” concerns “global warming” or “the climate crisis”, which is being milked to promote global carbon taxes and global government.

Nothing stands still on planet Earth. Since the dawn of time, Earth has seen continual geological and climatic change – shifting continents, rising and falling sea levels, volcanos and tsunamis, droughts and floods, migrations and extinctions, hurricanes and heat waves, ice ages and warm eras.

Humans flourished in the warm eras and suffered in the cold dry eras. Access to abundant, reliable energy enables man to survive these and the future climate challenges which are sure to come.

Today’s massive global human population owes its existence, prosperity and comfort to our economical and reliable energy supplies, particularly the hydrocarbon fuels – oil, coal, and gas. The world supports more people with fewer famines; and those with access to abundant reliable energy supplies have stabilised their populations and contribute most to caring for nature, culture and the poor. And the carbon dioxide recycled by the usage of hydrocarbon fuels is greening the world and adding to food supplies as native and farmed plants flourish in the warm, moist, carbon-rich atmosphere.

This long history of energy progress is now under threat from strong forces using any environmental alarm to deny human access to efficient energy. Using every sensational scare that can be whipped up, they tax, oppose, hamper or restrict farming, forestry, fishing, grazing, mining, exploration, hydro-carbon fuels, steam engines, combustion engines and nuclear power. The “zero-emissions” zealots want us to step backwards down the energy ladder to the days of human, animal and solar power. They have yet to explain how our massive fleet of planes, trains, tractors, harvesters, trucks, road trains, container-ships and submarines will run on windmills, treadmills, windlasses, solar energy, and water wheels.

But their energy-destroying policies will reduce global prosperity and population back towards levels prevailing in those times. Some see that as a desirable goal.

These green zealots are the real deniers – the energy deniers.

SOURCE  






US Activates First New Nuclear Reactor In 20 Years

America’s first new nuclear reactor in 20 years went online early Monday morning after 44 years of construction.

The reactor is now operating at low power levels and will soon begin producing and selling 1,150 megawatts of electricity to the Tennessee Valley, powering roughly 1.3 million homes when combined with the plant’s other reactor.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) started construction on Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor 44 years ago. Work ended in 1985 after more than $1 billion was already spent, due to a construction scandal involving contractors paying off corrupt agency officials. The project was 80 percent complete before the scandal stopped construction. The TVA revived the project in 2007, at a time when nuclear power seemed poised to make a comeback.

Building the new reactor was initially projected to cost $2.2 billion, but costs increased to $4.7 billion due to overruns and new compliance standards implemented in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster.

“This milestone is the result of the hard work by Watts Bar employees supported by the entire TVA nuclear team,” Joe Grimes, the plant’s chief nuclear officer, told a local news channel. “While this achievement is important, safety remains our top priority.”

America currently operates 99 nuclear reactors across 61 commercially operated nuclear power plants, according to the Energy Information Administration. The average nuclear plant employs between 400 and 700 highly-skilled workers, has a payroll of about $40 million and contributes $470 million to the local economy, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute. The Watts Bar plant will support an estimated 1,000 full-time jobs.

Of the 59 new nuclear reactors under construction worldwide, only four of them are being built in the U.S., just enough to compensate for shutting down older reactors. The average American nuclear reactor is 35-years-old, nearly obsolete by modern design standards and near the end of its operating license. Within the past two years, six states have shut down nuclear plants and many other reactors are risking premature retirement.

Instead of building more modern reactors, the government is planning to simply extend the operating licenses against the advice of its own technical staff. The country’s youngest nuclear plant, Tennessee’s Watts Bar 1, entered service in 1996. America’s oldest operating reactors — Oyster Creek in New Jersey and Nine Mile Point in upstate New York — entered service in 1969.

Nuclear energy provides 19 percent of the nation’s electricity, but struggles to compete against heavily subsidized solar and wind power or cheap natural gas.

SOURCE  





Australia: How to become an honoured meteorologist

Tell lies.  He says below:  "I don’t know a meteorologist who doesn’t understand and accept that putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere will lead to warming of the surface of the earth. It’s meteorology 101. This is not 40 per cent or 70 per cent. It’s 100 per cent"

Yet we read elsewhere:  "Barely half of American Meteorological Society meteorologists believe global warming is occurring and humans are the primary cause, a newly released study reveals"

And has he heard of this guy?

Prof. Nicholls knows on which side his bread is buttered


Monash meteorologist honoured by prestigious fellowship. Emeritus Professor Neville Nicholls’s lifelong passion and commitment to science has been formally recognised with a prestigious Australian Academy of Science (AAS) fellowship.

Professor Nicholls, School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment in the Faculty of Science, set his sights on science at the age of eight, when his aunt gave him a book on wildlife of the British Isles.

Professor Nicholls took his interest in science further by training as a meteorologist with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, after which he returned to research to further investigate how and why the climate is changing.

“Weather and climate variations affect almost everything we do, particularly the extremes like heatwaves, tropical cyclones, droughts and bushfires, which destroy lives and property. The better we can predict those phenomena, the more we can help improve the quality of life,” Professor Nicholls said.

Climate change is a particular area of interest to Professor Nicholls, who is surprised at the perception of a scientific divide on the issue.

“I don’t know a meteorologist who doesn’t understand and accept that putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere will lead to warming of the surface of the earth. It’s meteorology 101. This is not 40 per cent or 70 per cent. It’s 100 per cent. There is a perception that there is a big battle between scientists. There isn’t.”

Professor Nicholls has described himself as “doubly honoured” by the peer-nominated fellowship, both as an individual researcher and as a member of the meteorology community.

“I feel privileged to be only the third meteorologist ever to be elected to the Academy. From the operations to the research, meteorology is important because of the impact it has on people’s lives, so I am doubly honoured,” Professor Nicholls said.

Press release from Monash Media & Communications

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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

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


Tuesday, May 24, 2016



Top Scientist Resigns: 'Global Warming is a $Trillions Scam — It has Corrupted Many Scientists'

The following is a letter to the American Physical Society released to the public by Professor Emiritus of physics Harold 'Hal' Lewis of the University of California at Santa Barbara.

From: Hal Lewis, University of California, Santa Barbara
To: Curtis G. Callan, Jr., Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society

Dear Curt:

When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago).

Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence — it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists.

As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious social/scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time.

We were further enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky, Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere.

In the end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked from both sides. What greater tribute could there be?

How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs.

For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.

It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.

Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.)

I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it.

For example:

1. About a year ago a few of us sent an e-mail on the subject to a fraction of the membership. APS ignored the issues, but the then President immediately launched a hostile investigation of where we got the e-mail addresses.

In its better days, APS used to encourage discussion of important issues, and indeed the Constitution cites that as its principal purpose. No more. Everything that has been done in the last year has been designed to silence debate

2. The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative of the talents of APS members as I have long known them. So a few of us petitioned the Council to reconsider it.

One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word incontrovertible, which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety.

(They did admit that the tone was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word incontrovertible to describe the evidence, a position supported by no one.)

In the end, the Council kept the original statement, word for word, but approved a far longer “explanatory” screed, admitting that there were uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket approval to the original.

The original Statement, which still stands as the APS position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice to all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is.

This is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast fractions of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society as a scientific society is at stake.

3. In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.

4. So a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation.

I might note that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail what we had in mind—simply to bring the subject into the open.

5. To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on the members’ interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment.

You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex you would have gotten more expressions of interest.)

There was of course no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in whatever you like.)

The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the Council.

6. As of now you have formed still another secret and stacked committee to organize your own TG, simply ignoring our lawful petition.

APS management has gamed the problem from the beginning, to suppress serious conversation about the merits of the climate change claims. Do you wonder that I have lost confidence in the organization?

I do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it is always risky to discuss other people’s motives. This scheming at APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it.

Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club.

Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble burst. When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise.

As the old saying goes, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. Since I am no philosopher, I’m not going to explore at just which point enlightened self-interest crosses the line into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate releases makes it clear that this is not an academic question.

I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer represents me, but I hope we are still friends.

Hal

Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, former Chairman; Former member Defense Science Board, chmn of Technology panel; Chairman DSB study on Nuclear Winter; Former member Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Former member, President’s Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman APS study on Nuclear Reactor Safety Chairman Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman of JASON; Former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board; Served in US Navy in WW II; books: Technological Risk (about, surprise, technological risk) and Why Flip a Coin (about decision making).

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When denying science is a progressive moral imperative

The Left has long claimed that it has something of a monopoly on scientific expertise. For instance, long before Al Gore started making millions by claiming that anyone who disagreed with his apocalyptic prophecies was “anti-science,” there were the “scientific socialists.” “Social engineer” is now rightly seen as a term of scorn and derision, but it was once a label that progressive eggheads eagerly accepted.

Masking opinions in a white smock is a brilliant, albeit infuriating and shabby, rhetorical tactic. As the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” Science is the language of facts, and when people pretend to be speaking it, they’re not only claiming that their preferences are more than mere opinions, they’re also insinuating that anyone who disagrees is a fool or a zealot for objecting to “settled science.”

Put aside the fact that there is no such thing as settled science. Scientists are constantly questioning their understanding of things; that is what science does. All the great scientists of history are justly famous for overturning the assumptions of their fields. The real problem is that in politics, invocations of science are very often marketing techniques masquerading as appeals to irrefutable authority. In an increasingly secular society, having science on your side is better than having God on your side – at least in an argument.

I’m not saying that you can’t have science in your corner, or that lawmakers shouldn’t look to science when making policy. (Legislation that rejects the existence of gravity makes for very silly laws indeed.) But the real intent behind so many claims to “settled science” is to avoid having to make your case. It’s an undemocratic technique for delegitimizing opposing views and saying “shut up” to dissenters.

For example, even if the existence of global warming is “settled,” the policies for how to best respond to it are not. But in the political debates about climate change, activists say that their climatological claims are irrefutable and so are their preferred remedies.

If climate change is the threat they claim, I’d rather spend billions on geoengineering to fix it than trillions on impoverishing economic policies that at best slightly delay it. It doesn’t matter; I’m the Luddite buffoon for thinking ethanol subsidies and windmills are boondoggles.

Even more outrageous: If you dispute, say, the necessity of spending billions on windmills or on killing the coal industry, you are not merely wrong on climate change, you are “anti-science.”

Intellectually, this is a monument of asininity so wide and tall, even the mind’s eye cannot glimpse its horizon or peak.

For starters, why are liberalism’s pet issues the lodestars of what constitutes scientific fact? Medical science informs us fetuses are human beings. The liberal response? “Who cares?” Genetically modified foods are safe, sayeth the scientists. “Shut up,” reply the liberal activists. IQ is partly heritable, the neuroscientists tell us. “Shut up, bigot,” the liberals shriek.

Which brings me to the raging hysteria over the plight of transgendered people who need to use the bathroom.

The New York Times recently reported about A. J. Jackson’s travails in a Vermont high school. “There were practical issues,” Anemona Hartocollis writes. “When he had his period, he wondered if he should revert to the girls’ bathroom, because there was no place to throw away his used tampons.”

Now, one can have sympathy for the transgendered – I certainly do – while simultaneously holding to the scientific fact that boys do not menstruate. This is a fact far more settled than the very best climate science. Perhaps it’s rude to say so, but facts do not cease to be facts simply because they offend.

 In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing to fine businesses that do not address customers by their “preferred name, pronoun and title (e.g., Ms./Mrs.) regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth, anatomy, gender, medical history, appearance, or the sex indicated on the individual’s identification.” The NYC Commission on Human Rights can penalize offenders up to $250,000.

Many liberals believe that “denying” climate science should be a criminal offense while also believing that denying biological science is a moral obligation.

In the law, truth is a defense against the charge of slander, but for liberals, inconvenient truth is no defense against the charge of bigotry.

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Uncovering Misconduct at the EPA

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing to examine employee misconduct at the EPA. Misconduct has continued at the EPA despite repeated reform efforts and multiple hearings. Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) opened the hearing by calling the EPA “one of the most toxic places in the federal government to work.” That is a big claim, and one that should alarm conservatives and libertarians who consciously worry about corruption, protectionism, and bureaucracy in the federal government.

The hearing noted abuse and waste by federal employees at the expense of American taxpayers. Even more concerning to the committee members and those in attendance: nobody gets punished. Even in cases where EPA employees have cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars, nobody has been fired. If there are no consequences to robbing the American people, EPA employees will continue to take advantage of their positions.

Examples of employee abuses that have gone unpunished include repeatedly stealing from the EPA office and selling what was taken at pawn shops, and, commonly, spending thousands of taxpayer dollars while traveling. More than 60 cases have been closed in the past several months.

While specific examples given at the hearing were horrifying, it is important not to turn people into scapegoats. These employees must be held personally responsible for their actions, however, they are largely a product of a poisonous, bureaucratic culture at the EPA and are part of a wider trend of abuse and fraud that plagues nearly every government agency.

Waste goes beyond employee misconduct. As described in Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) waste report published on April 25, there are 13 federal agencies currently conducting duplicative research on climate change. The agencies are spending more than $2.7 billion on independent research (the EPA contributes $20 million to that total). “One would think perhaps [other agencies] could just use data, research, and models from NOAA or [NASA] instead of reinventing the wheel,” argues the report, “paying 13 different agencies to do the same thing is pretty darn wasteful.”

“We are committed to holding our employees accountable,” testified Stanley Meiburg, Acting Deputy Administrator at the EPA, “we’ve made considerable progress.”

Meiburg attempted to highlight “positive changes” at the Agency, however, the room was not convinced. As conservatives, we know that waste of any kind at the federal level is not the result of isolated events. While Meiburg and the EPA are working to hold their employees accountable, we must all work to hold government bureaucracy accountable. Feckless spending and unquestioned abuse cannot be tolerated.

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'He's just a hypocrite'. Fans unleash on Leo

Leonardo DiCaprio has long been seen as a champion for the environment but his latest act has many fans fuming.

Reports out of the US say that Leo partied with the style set in Cannes right up to the last minute, before taking a fuel-guzzling private jet to pick up a Big Fish award from Riverkeeper in NYC for caring about the environment.

Page Six reports that many of his loyal fans and fellow environmentalists have branded The Revenant star a hypocrite for his non eco-friendly method of transport.

The 41-year-old also used the private jet to whisk him back to France less than 24 hours later, so he could attend a gala event.

Mere months ago Academy Award winner used a large portion of his Oscars speech to bring awareness to global warming.

“Climate change is real,” the star warned. “It is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species.”

But since he’s been caught more than once for jet-setting around in private planes, many onlookers are starting to question his authority in being an advocate for the environment at all.

“Everyone saying he's some hero for protecting the environment,” a follower wrote on his Instagram account. “He’s just a hypocrite.”

Fans say Leonardo should practice what he preaches after he took a private jet to and from the awards. © Woman's Day Fans say Leonardo should practice what he preaches after he took a private jet to and from the awards. Another chimed in: “This is the guy who flew on a Private Jet 8,000 miles to accept an award. Environmentally friendly much?”

Others simply said they were now unfollowing the star for not practicing what he preaches.

It seems Leo's flippant use of the non eco-friendly mode of transport has struck a chord with fans who previously applauded the star for his environmental advocacy.

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Plus ça change plus c'est la même chose

(The more there is change, the more things remain the same)





From Harpers Magazine of 1958

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Communism is the solution to global warming!

Or so a Communist paper would have us believe:

By old-time Communist Deirdre Griswold



Environmentalists in capitalist countries are in a quandary over what to do about global warming. Even some of those most active in warning about the devastating consequences of atmospheric greenhouse gases have no solutions to propose except those based on “market mechanisms.” The main such scheme is called “carbon pricing.”

“The World Bank and International Monetary Fund are pressuring governments to impose a price tag on planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions,” reported the New York Times on April 28. This “solution” has been notably advanced by former Vice President Al Gore, whose company, Generation Investment Management, promotes carbon pricing.

The task of such a scheme is to convince investors that they will profit from higher prices for carbon fuels once those prices have been imposed across the board by governmental action. So it’s a win-win situation. Right? The capitalists continue to profit while higher prices lower the demand for carbon fuels, thereby helping the environment. That’s how this idea is being sold.

There are just two little problems.

First, it’s those who can least afford it — the workers — who will be stuck with the bills. The capitalists can pass on higher costs to their customers, but the workers can’t pass on to anybody else the higher costs of gasoline, coal, natural gas or the electricity generated from fossil fuels. And they’re not likely to have the upfront money it takes to buy a new car or a new furnace to benefit from less-polluting technology.

Second, there’s no proof that carbon pricing will decrease the demand for fossil fuels. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking. The recent fires in Alberta, Canada, are just one of the many disasters that show global warming is proceeding at an even faster pace than predicted earlier.

So if carbon pricing isn’t the answer, what is? What can be done that doesn’t depend on the capitalist market and keeping rich investors happy?

Where public ownership of the means of production allows for government planning of the economy, real changes can be made — now. Not just if and when investors can be convinced that their profits can be enhanced through greener speculation. The People’s Republic of China has shown much progress on this front.

China takes real steps away from CO2

The latest news is that a big change has been made in China’s economic plans regarding energy production. The country is continuing to move swiftly away from coal as a major source of energy. On April 25, the Chinese government announced that it would not build 200 new coal-fired power generators that had previously been part of its long-term economic plans.

It had already begun closing coal mines — thousands of them — while vastly increasing its solar, wind, hydro and nuclear capacity. It has allocated billions of dollars to relocate coal miners to new jobs. Now its plans have eliminated the construction of coal power plants that would have generated 105 gigawatts of power — “more than all the electricity-generating capacity of Britain from all sources.” (New York Times, April 26)

Coal is abundant in China. It has fueled the country’s rise as an industrial power. But it has also created terrible air pollution, in addition to adding CO2 to the atmosphere.

Clearly, China’s long-term economic planners are not tied to the profit system. They have the freedom to revise their plans based on much more important considerations than the capitalist market. That is not to say that there is not capitalism in China. Obviously, there is. But it is not the dominant economic system, nor does the capitalist class control the Chinese state.

China has the ability to control its economy and plan economic growth. It has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. This ability comes from a great socialist revolution that took decades, in which the masses vanquished the landlords, the capitalists and their imperialist backers.

The future of humanity hangs on the ability of the masses everywhere to break free of class and national oppression and take control of their own destiny.

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