Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Species may be listed as threatened based on climate change projections, court says

A court equates a prophecy with fact??  Back to the Middle Ages! This could open floodgates

Federal authorities may list a species as “threatened” based on climate models that show habitat loss in the coming decades, an appeals court decided Monday.

Oil company groups and Alaskan natives had challenged a decision by the federal government to list a sea ice seal subspecies as threatened and deserving of protection.

The groups maintained the subspecies’ population was currently healthy and the climate projections were speculative.

 A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. The ruling would allow government protection of all sorts of wildlife likely to be affected by climate change in the decades ahead.

The panel decided unanimously that the National Marine Fisheries Services reasonably determined that loss of Arctic sea ice over shallow waters would “almost certainly” threaten the survival of a Pacific bearded seal subspecies by the end of the century.

“The service need not wait until a species’ habitat is destroyed to determine that habitat loss may facilitate extinction,” Judge Richard A. Paez, a Clinton appointee, wrote for the court.

The bearded seals congregate on ice floes over shallow waters, where they give birth to pups and nurse. The floes give the nursing mothers close access to food sources — organisms on the ocean floor — and enable the pubs to learn to dive, swim and hunt away from their predators, the court said.

Climate models show that the ice floes would disappear during breeding times, and mother seals would have to nurse their young on shore, where they would be vulnerable to predators such as polar bears and walruses.

A lack of ice floes in shallow waters also would force the seals to forage in the deeper ocean, which contains fewer of the organisms they depend on for survival, the government found.

One peer reviewer said the 80-year prediction was more likely than not to “greatly” underestimate the impact of climate change on the seals.

“All parties agree that there will be sea ice melt,” the court said. “The only uncertainty is the magnitude of warming, the speed with which warming will take place, and the severity of its effect.” Is that all?]

 Although climate projections for 2050 through 2100 may be volatile, they remain valuable in the government rule-making process, the court found.

The Endangered Species Act does not say a species can be listed “only if the underlying research is ironclad and absolute,” Paez wrote.

“It simply requires the agency to consider the best and most reliable scientific and commercial data and to identify the limits of that data when making a listing determination,” the court concluded.


Report: Justice Department told feds to “stand down” on Dakota Access Pipeline protests

A mystery may have been solved in terms of the ongoing protests surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Throughout these demonstrations and incidents of violence centered on the makeshift camps set up on federal land, we’ve been wondering why the federal response has been so muted. In fact, fairly early on I pointed out that there seemed to be something of a double standard between this confrontation and the showdown with the Oregon protesters last year. Given the amount of damage taking place and recorded incidents of violence, why weren’t federal agents moving in to keep more order and support local law enforcement?

A new revelation this week may provide the answer. According to at least one report, the Department of Justice under Attorney General Loretta Lynch passed the word to “stand down” and not get too involved. (Daily Caller)

Attorney General Loretta Lynch refused to meet with National Sheriff’s Association (NSA) Executive Director Jonathan Thompson about the law enforcement issues facing communities in North Dakota as a result of protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the DOJ wants the ND U.S. Attorney to stay away from the situation.

Protesters trying to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline are threatening and intimidating nearby residents, commuters, and press as well as threatening the lives of law enforcement officers…

According to an email obtained by the Daily Caller, Thompson told NSA personnel, that DOJ refused to deploy federal resources in support of local Morton County, North Dakota Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier in an effort to fend off what the NSA and local officials called, “unlawful protests, threats of community intimidation and interfering with lawful commerce.”

One source close to the situation told TheDC that “the DOJ told the US attorney to stand down on help. North Dakota’s attorney general is not engaged either. Sheriffs are in the middle of the storm with limited help.”
This is a disturbing turn in the story to say the least. It’s one thing to adopt a bit more of a hands off approach in general… providing things aren’t getting out of hand. It’s another matter entirely to refuse the requests of state and local officials for help when there’s legitimate violence taking place. In addition to the violent encounters referenced in the linked article, the protesters have already engaged in arson which destroyed millions of dollars of equipment which was lawfully situated and in use. Refusing such a request is just leaving the sheriffs and state police high and dry.

Another aspect of these protests is cleared up by The Daily Caller’s research as well. You’ll recall that we previously highlighted the dual nature of the protest camps. Some of those engaged in demonstrations are locals and members of the Native American tribes in the area. But a second group is composed of outsiders who were brought in to fight any and all fossil fuel activity. The DC points us to a record of arrests thus far from the Dickinson Press. Out of 123 arrests as of earlier this week, less than twenty of them were locals or members of the tribes. The other 106 were all imports from out of state.

One could understand if the Department of Justice was reluctant to go in and start busting heads among the tribe members. Not only do they have legitimate claims to the land and their heritage, but the optics would be horrible. But that’s not who is causing the problems here for the most part. Loretta Lynch could send in the cavalry to drag out the anti-energy, green warriors who are burning the place down with no such complications. Unfortunately, those interlopers are very big with the Democratic base and there’s an election coming up, so I suppose the local cops are on their own.


Exxon Mobil Fights the Abusive Behavior of Democrat Attorney General’s Climate Inquisition

Exxon Mobil Corp. is fighting back against New York’s Democrat attorney general who is demanding decades’ worth of documents about the company’s position on global warming and climate change.

On Oct. 17, Exxon asked a federal judge in Texas, Ed Kinkeade, to stop the abusive behavior of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman by tossing out the subpoena that Schneiderman served on Exxon as part of a investigation of the company for supposedly lying to the public about catastrophic, man-induced climate change.

This is part of the effort of state attorneys general like Schneiderman to criminalize scientific dissent and punish heretics who question the validity of this unproven theory.

Exxon had already filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop a similar investigation being waged by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, also a Democrat. Exxon’s Oct. 17 motion asked the same federal court to allow it to amend its original complaint to add Schneiderman to its lawsuit.

Schneiderman’s subpoena demanded the production of essentially every document in the company’s possession concerning global warming or climate change for the last 40 years, including not just its internal research but any interactions with any other entities such as universities, researchers, and scientists that Schneiderman calls “aggressive climate deniers.”

Schneiderman has accused conservative groups—including The Heritage Foundation—of being part of a “dark money empire” that is supposedly directing a disinformation campaign on climate change and Exxon.

As Exxon points out in its brief, it is politics that is behind what the New York attorney general is doing, not enforcement of the law.

The brief summarizes in great detail the political motivations driving not only Schneiderman and Healey, but all of the other state attorneys general who held a press conference in March pledging themselves to use whatever means necessary to “deal with the problem of climate change” and force energy companies to support the preferred public policy on climate change of their coalition, which calls itself the Green 20.

That includes their secret, closed-door meetings and coordination with climate activists who made it explicit that their goal was to use law enforcement tools to “delegitimize” Exxon.

What is abundantly clear is that Schneiderman, Healey, and the other attorneys general who are part of the Green 20 are abusing their authority and power as governmental prosecutors to engage in a political witch hunt.

The true purpose of these investigations, according to Exxon, is to “suppress speech with which the Green 20 disagrees” on climate change. And the public statements made by Schneiderman and Healey make it clear that their “improper bias” disqualifies them from serving as the disinterested prosecutors required under the Constitution.

Interestingly, Exxon points out that the original fishing expedition engaged in by Schneiderman over its “historic climate change research” has changed. Less than a month ago, Schneiderman’s official press spokesman said that the attorney general was changing the focus of his investigation to Exxon’s estimation of its oil and gas reserves for the purposes of claiming that the company has engaged in “massive securities fraud.”

The attorney general is apparently now asserting that Exxon has overstated its reserves because he believes that “future global efforts to address climate change” will force the company “to leave enormous amounts of oil reserves in the ground.”

But, as Exxon points out, that theory conflicts not only with standard accounting procedures, but also with the regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC prohibits energy companies from considering the impact of future regulations when estimating oil reserves. As Exxon says in its brief, “to the contrary, they require Exxon Mobil to calculate its proved reserves in light of ‘existing economic conditions, operating methods, and government regulations.’”

In other words, the SEC “requires Exxon Mobil to ignore Attorney General Schneiderman’s assumptions about future regulations when estimating reserves.”  The fact that the Massachusetts attorney general has now adopted the same mistaken legal theory “speaks volumes about the pretextual nature of the litigation.”

According to Exxon, the “true objectives are clear: to fish indiscriminately through Exxon Mobil’s records with the hope of finding some violation of some law that one of them might be empowered to enforce, or otherwise to harass Exxon Mobil into endorsing the Green 20’s policy views regarding how the United States should respond to climate change.”

This action to add the New York attorney general to the Texas lawsuit was the result of an order issued by Kinkeade on Oct. 13 that should fill both Schneiderman and Healey with foreboding.

Normally, a federal lawsuit filed to try to stop a state lawsuit would be dismissed under the Younger abstention rule. The Supreme Court held in Younger v. Harris in 1971 that there is a strong federal policy against federal court interference with pending state judicial proceedings.  However, one of the exceptions to that rule is a state proceeding filed in bad faith.

Kinkeade stated that Healey’s actions “causes the court concern” and presents the question of whether she is pursuing this claim “with bias or prejudgment about what the investigation of Exxon would discover.”

If the allegations about Healey are true, then her actions “may constitute bad faith” that “would preclude Younger abstention.” As a result, he ordered discovery by both parties “to aid the court in deciding” whether Healey committed bad faith or whether this lawsuit should be dismissed.

What is abundantly clear is that Schneiderman, Healey, and the other attorneys general who are part of the Green 20 are abusing their authority and power as governmental prosecutors to engage in a political witch hunt that violates basic constitutional rights of due process and most importantly, the First Amendment.

Their intention is to chill speech and silence anyone who disagrees with them about a disputed scientific theory and public policy issue that is the subject of great debate.

That is how government prosecutors operate in the Third World and in banana republics—not the United States of America.


Once Overwhelming Support For German ‘Energiewende’ Fades, Study Finds

It used to be that the German Energiewende (transition to renewable energies) once enjoyed overwhelming support among the population. However, a recent national survey conducted by Germany’s University of Stuttgart, in cooperation with the University of Münster and two Fraunhofer institutes, shows a nation that has become split over the bold project.

Only 29% of those surveyed now see themselves as supporters of the Energiewende.

A total of 2009 persons were surveyed by telephone on a variety of aspects concerning perception of the Energiewende, e.g. wind parks in the countryside, in coastal areas and offshore, solar energy and grid revamping. Scientists at the Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Risiko- und Innovationsforschung (Center for Interdisciplenary Risks and Innovation Research) at the University of Stuttgart (ZIRIUS), the University of Münster and two Fraunhofer institutes for System and Innovation Research (ISI) and for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) reached the following results:

29 percent of the German population are classified as supporters of the Energiewende. Another 29 percent are ambivalent with regards to the Energiewende and the related technologies, and thus are viewed as being undecided, while 27 percent can be classified as critics of the Energiewende.

This is a far cry from overwhelming support and shows growing disenchantment with the transformation. What should be worrisome is that the big brunt of the costs have yet to hit.

Already 29 percent of those surveyed said that they are no longer willing to accept to pay more for electricity in order contribute to the success of the Energiewende, the survey found. Less than half, 47 percent, of German citizens say they are willing to pay 50 euros per year more for helping the Energiewende to succeed. That figure, the study notes,  is only under the condition that the total costs of the Energiewende get shared fairly between industry and the citizenry, and among the citizenry itself.

Trust in the main players of the Energiewende (large energy companies and utilities) and fairness are the most important factors in realizing acceptance. Refusal to pay or non-acceptance are not irrational defensive reactions, the study finds, but rather are based on sound reasons.


Green activist ban on Australian government agenda

Malcolm Turnbull has flagged a fresh attempt at passing laws to prevent environmentalists using the courts to block major projects, before his week-long visit to Queensland.

Labor and the Greens blocked a previous attempt by the Abbott government to prevent people with political agendas from using the courts to disrupt and delay projects such as coal mines.

The prime minister told reporters in Sydney, on the eve of a Brisbane cabinet meeting, he appreciated the value of a "robust democracy".

"People are entitled to bring their cases before the court, but there is no doubt there has been very systematic, very well funded campaigns against major projects," Mr Turnbull said.

"It's right to express concern about that."

He said the government would test whether the new Senate - which has nine Greens and 11 minor party members on the crossbench - has the "appetite" to reconsider the Abbott government bill.

Queensland Resources Council chief Michael Roche said such laws were important, especially given the increasing role of foreign interests in lobbying against resources projects.

But he said the federal government should go further and reassess taxpayer subsidies for "green activist" groups.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said he was concerned environmental activism and poor management by the Queensland Labor government were holding back major projects.

"I certainly don't take this place for granted, Malcolm doesn't take it for granted and we want to make sure we drag other people along with us on this path of making Queensland a stronger place," he told reporters in Brisbane.

The Greens want a ban on fracking and all coal seam gas and shale development.



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, October 25, 2016

CO2 levels mark 'new era' in the world's changing climate

Only because Greenies say so.  CO2 levels have been rising fairly streadily for a long time.  They will presumably continue to do so.  The 400ppm level was just another step on the way. The only interesting question is whether they had any effect on global temperature.  There was an abrupt temperature rise in late 2015/early 2016 but there was no abrupt CO2 rise at that time. Rather amusingly, 2015 was one year in which CO2 levels did NOT rise.  So the culprit for that rise was clearly the long awaited El Nino effect, a natural weather fluctuation

Levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have surged past an important threshold and may not dip below it for "many generations".

The 400 parts per million benchmark was broken globally for the first time in recorded history in 2015.

But according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), 2016 will likely be the first full year to exceed the mark.

The high levels can be partly attributed to a strong El Niño event.
Gas spike

While human emissions of CO2 remained fairly static between 2014 and 2015, the onset of a strong El Niño weather phenomenon caused a spike in levels of the gas in the atmosphere.

That's because the drought conditions in tropical regions produced by El Niño meant that vegetation was less able to absorb CO2. There were also extra emissions from fires, sparked by the drier conditions.

In their annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, the World Meteorological Organisation says the conditions helped push the growth in the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere above the average for the last ten years.

At the atmospheric monitoring station in Mauna Loa, Hawaii, levels of CO2 broke through 400 parts per million (ppm), meaning 400 molecules of CO2 for every one million molecules in the atmosphere.

The last time CO2 was regularly above 400ppm was three to five million years ago, say experts.

Prior to 1800 atmospheric levels were around 280ppm, according to the US National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration (Noaa).

The WMO says that the rise through the 400ppm barrier has persisted and it's likely that 2016 will be the first full year when the measurements show CO2 above that benchmark, and "hence for many generations".

While the El Niño factor has now disappeared, the human impact on climate change has not, the WMO argue.

"The year 2015 ushered in a new era of optimism and climate action with the Paris climate change agreement," said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

"But it will also make history as marking a new era of climate change reality with record high greenhouse gas concentrations."

The report also details the growth in other greenhouse gases, including methane and nitrous oxide.

In 2015, levels of methane were 2.5 times greater than in the pre-industrial era, while nitrous oxide was 1.2 times above the historic measure.


Global Warming Versus Global Greening

Matt Ridley finds that the slightest deviation from Green dogma is an unforgiveable sin

I am a passionate champion of science. I have devoted most of my career to celebrating and chronicling scientific discovery. I think the scientific method is humankind’s greatest achievement, and that there is no higher calling.

So what I am about to say this evening about the state of climate science is not in any sense anti-science. It is anti the distortion and betrayal of science.

I am still in love with science as a philosophy; I greatly admire and like the vast majority of scientists I meet; but I am increasingly disaffected from science as an institution.

The way it handles climate change is a big part of the reason.

After covering global warming debates as a journalist on and off for almost 30 years, with initial credulity, then growing skepticism, I have come to the conclusion that the risk of dangerous global warming, now and in the future, has been greatly exaggerated while the policies enacted to mitigate the risk have done more harm than good, both economically and environmentally, and will continue to do so.

And I am treated as some kind of pariah for coming to this conclusion.

Why do I think the risk from global warming is being exaggerated? For four principal reasons.

1. All environmental predictions of doom always are;

2. the models have been consistently wrong for more than 30 years;

3. the best evidence indicates that climate sensitivity is relatively low;

4. the climate science establishment has a vested interest in alarm.

Global greening

I will come to those four points in a moment. But first I want to talk about global greening, the gradual, but large, increase in green vegetation on the planet.

I think this is one of the most momentous discoveries of recent years and one that transforms the scientific background to climate policy, though you would never know it from the way it has been reported. And it is a story in which I have been both vilified and vindicated.

In December 2012, the environmental scientist Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University drew my attention to a video online of a lecture given by Ranga Myneni of Boston University.

In this lecture Myneni presented ingenious analysis of data from satellites proving that much of the vegetated area of the planet was getting greener, only a little bit was getting browner, and that overall in 30 years there had been a roughly 14% increase in green vegetation on planet Earth.

He argued that this was occurring in all vegetation types – tropical rain forests, subarctic taiga, grasslands, semi-deserts, farmland, everywhere.

What is more, Myneni argued that by various means he could calculate that about half of this greening was a direct result of rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, rather than the application of agricultural fertiliser, irrigation, warmer temperatures or increased rainfall.

Carbon dioxide, along with water, is the raw material that plants use to make carbohydrates, with the help of sunlight, so it stands to reason that raising its concentration should help plants grow.

I was startled by Myneni’s data. I knew that there had been thousands of so-called free-air concentration (FACE) experiments, in which levels of CO2 had been increased over crops or wild ecosystems to find out if it boosted their growth (it did), and that commercial greenhouse owners now routinely maintain CO2 levels in their greenhouses at more than double ambient levels – because it makes their tomatoes grow faster.

But the global effect of CO2 levels on the quantity of vegetation had not, as far as I could tell, been measured till now.

Other lines of evidence also pointed to this global greening:

the increased rate of growth of forest trees,

the increased amplitude of seasonal carbon dioxide variation measured in Hawaii and elsewhere,

photographic surveys of vegetation,

the increased growth rate of phytoplankton, marine plants and some corals, and so on.

I published an article in the Wall Street Journal in January 2013 on these various lines of evidence, including Myneni’s satellite analysis, pointing to the increase in green vegetation.

This was probably the very first article in the mainstream media on the satellite evidence for global greening.

For this I was subjected online to withering scorn by the usual climate spin doctors, but even they had to admit I was “factually accurate”.

Six months later  Randall Donohue and colleagues in Australia published a paper using satellite data to conclude that the arid parts of the planet, such as western Australia and the Sahel region, had seen a net greening of 11% over 30 years – similar results to Myneni’s.

Myneni’s results were eventually published three years later in April 2016 in a paper in Nature Climate Change, with 32 authors from 24 institutions in eight countries – when the IPCC report was safely in the public domain and the great Paris climate jamboree was over.

His results were now even stronger than he had concluded in his 2012 lecture. Now he said that 70% of the cause of greening was carbon dioxide – up from half.

As Myneni’s co-author Zaichun Zhu, of Beijing University, puts it, it’s equivalent to adding a green continent twice the size of mainland USA.

Frankly, I think this is big news. A new continent’s worth of green vegetation in a single human generation.

At the end of 2015, when his paper had been under peer review for eight months so he knew these results were coming, Dr Myneni, criticized me specifically, saying on a green blog that “[Ridley] falsely claims that CO2 fertilisation is responsible for the greening of the earth”. Yet a few months later he himself published evidence that “CO2 fertilisation explains 70% of the greening trend”.

In the press release accompanying the article in April 2016 he once again referred to me by name:

[“The beneficial aspect of CO2 fertilization in promoting plant growth has been used by contrarians, notably Lord Ridley…to argue against cuts in carbon emissions to mitigate climate change…"]

As Richard Tol commented: “The new paper vindicates what Matt Ridley and others have been saying all along — yet they apparently deserve to be kicked nonetheless.”

I wrote to Dr Myneni politely asking him to justify his criticism of me with specific examples. He was unable to do so. “There are no ‘up-sides’ to having too much CO2 in the air,” was all he said.

In the very same issue of the same journal was another paper from an international team about a further benefit of global greening, which concluded that CO2 fertilisation is likely to increase crop water productivity throughout the world, for example by up to 48% for rain-fed wheat in arid areas, and that “If realized in the fields, the effects of elevated [CO2] could considerably mitigate global yield losses whilst reducing agricultural consumptive water use (4–17%).”

Their chart shows that without CO2 fertilisation, crops will become more water-stressed during the current century; with it they will become LESS water-stressed.

These are huge benefits for the earth and for people. The CO2 fertilisation effect is already worth trillions of dollars, according to detailed calculations by Craig Idso.

At this point Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit drew attention to my vindication on twitter. Richard Betts, the Met Office’s twitter frequenter, protested that global greening was well known and had been referred to in the IPCC’s report.

This was misleading at best and false at worst. The Summary for Policy Makers of Working Group 2 refers to global greening not at all. The full report of WG2 does very gently hint at there being some evidence of greening, but in a dismissive way. These are the only mentions I could find:

[“Satellite observations from 1982–2010 show an 11% increase in green foliage cover in warm, arid environments…Higher CO2 concentrations enhance photosynthesis and growth (up to a point) and reduce water use by the plant…these effects are mostly beneficial; however, high CO2 also has negative effects.”

“In summary, there is high confidence that net terrestrial ecosystem productivity at the global scale has increased relative to the preindustrial era. There is low confidence in attribution of these trends to climate change. Most studies speculate that rising CO2 concentrations are contributing to this trend through stimulation of photosynthesis but there is no clear, consistent signal of a climate change contribution.”]

If that’s a clear and prominent statement that carbon dioxide emissions have increased green vegetation on the planet by 14% and are significantly reducing the water requirements of agriculture, then I’m the Queen of Sheba.

Back in 1908 Svante Arrhenius, the father of the greenhouse theory, said the following: “By the influence of the increasing percentage of carbonic acid in the atmosphere, we may hope to enjoy ages with more equable and better climates.” It appears he was not wrong.

The consensus

Now let me back to global warming. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and UN Special representative on Climate Change, said in a speech in 2007 that “it is irresponsible, reckless and deeply immoral to question the seriousness of the situation. The time for diagnosis is over. Now it is time to act”.

I disagree. It is irresponsible not to challenge the evidence properly, especially if the policies pursued in its name are causing suffering.

Increasingly, many people would like to outlaw, suppress, prosecute and censor all discussion of what they call “the science” rather than engage in debate.

“We will not, at any time, debate the science of climate change,” said three professors at the University of Colorado in anemail to their students recently.

Shamefully, much of the scientific establishment and the media are prepared to go along with that program. And to bully any academic or journalist who steps out of line.

This coercion was displayed all too vividly when the distinguished scientist Lennart Bengtsson was bullied into resigning from the academic advisory council of GWPF in 2014 by colleagues’ threats. He even began to “worry about my health and safety…”

And when Philippe Verdier was sacked as weather forecaster in France for writing an honest book. And when Roger Pielke was dropped by the 538 website for telling the truth about storms.

No wonder that I talk frequently to scientists who are skeptical, but dare not say so openly. That is a ridiculous state of affairs.

We’re told that it’s impertinent to question “the science” and that we must think as we are told. But arguments from authority are the refuge of priests.

Thomas Henry Huxley put it this way: “The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin.”

What keeps science honest, what stops it from succumbing entirely to confirmation bias, is that it is decentralized, allowing one lab to challenge another.

That’s how truth is arrived at in science, not by scientists challenging their own theories (that’s a myth), but by scientists disputing each other’s theories.

These days there is a legion of well paid climate spin doctors. Their job is to keep the debate binary: either you believe climate change is real and dangerous or you’re a denier who thinks it’s a hoax.

But there’s a third possibility they refuse to acknowledge: that it’s real but not dangerous. That’s what I mean by lukewarming, and I think it is by far the most likely prognosis.

I am not claiming that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas; it is.

I am not saying that its concentration in the atmosphere is not increasing; it is.

I am not saying the main cause of that increase is not the burning of fossil fuels; it is.

I am not saying the climate does not change; it does.

I am not saying that the atmosphere is not warmer today than it was 50 or 100 years ago; it is.

And I am not saying that carbon dioxide emissions are not likely to have caused some (probably more than half) of the warming since 1950.

I agree with the consensus on all these points.

I am not in any sense a “denier”, that unpleasant, modern term of abuse for blasphemers against the climate dogma, though the Guardian and New Scientist never let the facts get in the way of their prejudices on such matters.

I am a lukewarmer.

There is no consensus that climate change is going to be dangerous. Even the IPCC says there is a range of possible outcomes, from harmless to catastrophic. I’m in that range: I think the top of that range is very unlikely. But the IPCC also thinks the top of its range is very unlikely.

The supposed 97% consensus, based on a hilariously bogus study by John Cook, refers only to the proposition that climate change is real and partly man-made. Nobody has ever shown anything like a consensus among scientists for the proposition that climate change is going to be dangerous.

Professor Daniel Sarewitz put it well recently: “Even the vaunted scientific consensus around climate change…applies only to a narrow claim about the discernible human impact on global warming. The minute you get into questions about the rate and severity of future impacts, or the costs of and best pathways for addressing them, no semblance of consensus among experts remains.”

Besides, consensus is a reasonable guide to data about the past but is no guide to the future and never has been. In non-linear systems with feedbacks, like economies or atmospheres, experts are notoriously bad at forecasting events. There is no such thing as an expert on the future.

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

Global Warming Concerns 'Not a Blank Check' for Clean Power Plan

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last week released a 320-page transcript of the September 27th oral argument on the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emission standards for existing fossil-fuel power plants, the agency’s so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP). From a constitutional perspective, the best moment of the marathon proceeding was Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s reminder to his colleagues that “global warming is not a [regulatory] blank check.”

The fun part of it is that Kavanaugh, a conservative judge appointed by President George W. Bush, invoked liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s concurrence in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, a case invalidating the Bush administration’s use of special commissions to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

In Hamdan, Justice Breyer wrote (citations omitted):

The dissenters [Justices Thomas, Scalia, and Alito] say that today’s decision would “sorely hamper the President’s ability to confront and defeat a new and deadly enemy.” They suggest that it undermines our Nation’s ability to “preven[t] future attacks” of the grievous sort that we have already suffered. That claim leads me to state briefly what I believe the majority sets forth both explicitly and implicitly at greater length. The Court’s conclusion ultimately rests upon a single ground: Congress has not issued the Executive a “blank check.” Indeed, Congress has denied the President the legislative authority to create military commissions of the kind at issue here. Nothing prevents the President from returning to Congress to seek the authority he believes necessary.

Where, as here, no emergency prevents consultation with Congress, judicial insistence upon that consultation does not weaken our Nation’s ability to deal with danger. To the contrary, that insistence strengthens the Nation’s ability to determine—through democratic means—how best to do so. The Constitution places its faith in those democratic means. Our Court today simply does the same.

Kananaugh applied Breyer’s reasoning as follows (p. 100):

The larger point is that it’s up to Congress to decide. And it seems . . . and I’ll just throw this out, I’m concerned about making sure our decision, in the grand sweep of separation of powers, is consistent with the past, and consistent with the future. And it seems like what we have here is a thin—people disagree with the adjective—but a thin statute [i.e. Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act]. It wasn’t designed with this specifically in mind, but it can be kind of moved around to get here, for some really urgent problem.

And thinking in the past, I mean, the prior administration in the national security realm went through the same thing, and thin statutes trying to defeat an enemy, and the Supreme Court said no in the Hamdan case, which I think is highly relevant. Justice Breyer said the dissenters say that today’s decision would sorely hamper the President’s ability to confront and defeat a new and deadly enemy; the Court’s conclusion ultimately rests upon a single ground: Congress has not issued the Executive a blank check; no emergency prevents consultation with Congress; judicial insistence upon that consultation does not weaken our nation’s ability to deal with danger; strengthens the nation’s ability to determine through democratic means how best to do so; the Constitution places its faith in those democratic means.

And it seems like we’ve lived this issue where the most urgent need of our country was identified as a reason to use old statutes that weren’t squarely on point to jam new urgent needs into those. And the Supreme Court, Justice Breyer speaking directly to it, war is not a blank check. Global warming is not a blank check either for the President.

Distilling Kavanaugh’s riff on Breyer down to a soundbite, we get the following: Where, as here, no emergency prevents consultation with Congress, neither war nor climate change justify executive lawmaking.


Another Greenie fraud

Lies come naturally to the Green/Left.  It's all they've got

One of the world's leading institutes for researching the impact of global warming has repeatedly claimed credit for work done by rivals – and used it to win millions from the taxpayer.

An investigation by The Mail on Sunday also reveals that when the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) made a bid for more Government funds, it claimed it was responsible for work that was published before the organisation even existed.

Last night, our evidence was described by one leading professor whose work was misrepresented as 'a clear case of fraud – using deception for financial gain'. The chairman of the CCCEP since 2008 has been Nick Stern, a renowned global advocate for drastic action to combat climate change.

He is also the president of the British Academy, an invitation-only society reserved for the academic elite. It disburses grants worth millions to researchers – and to Lord Stern's own organisation.

On Friday, the CCCEP – based jointly at the London School of Economics and the University of Leeds – will host a gala at the Royal Society in London in the peer's honour. Attended by experts and officials from around the world, it is to mark the tenth anniversary of the blockbuster Stern Review, a 700-page report on the economic impact of climate change. The review was commissioned by Tony Blair's Government.

The review argued that the world had to take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or face much higher future costs. It has exerted a powerful influence on successive British governments and international bodies.

Part of the CCCEP's official mission, which it often boasts about in its public reports, is to lobby for the policies Lord Stern advocates by presenting the case for them with British and foreign governments and at UN climate talks.

Last night, CCCEP spokesman Bob Ward admitted it had 'made mistakes', both in claiming credit for studies which it had not funded and for papers published by rival academics. 'This is regrettable, but mistakes can happen… We will take steps over the next week to amend these mistakes,' he said.

The Mail on Sunday investigation reveals today that:

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which has given the CCCEP £9 million from taxpayers since 2008, has never checked the organisation's supposed publication lists, saying they were 'taken on trust';

Some of the papers the CCCEP listed have nothing to do with climate change – such as the reasons why people buy particular items in supermarkets and why middle class people 'respond more favourably' to the scenery of the Peak District than their working class counterparts;

Papers submitted in an explicit bid to secure further ESRC funding not only had nothing to do with the CCCEP, they were published before it was founded;

The publication dates of some of these papers on the list are incorrect – giving the mistaken impression that they had been completed after the CCCEP came into existence.

Academics whose work was misrepresented reacted with fury. Professor Richard Tol, a climate change economics expert from Sussex University, said: 'It is serious misconduct to claim credit for a paper you haven't supported, and it's fraud to use that in a bid to renew a grant. I've never come across anything like it before. It stinks.'

The paper cited by the CCCEP of which Prof Tol is a co-author was published online by the Ecological Economics journal on July 31, 2008. At the time, he and the lead author, David Anthoff, were on the staff of the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin. Their co-author, Cameron Hepburn, was at Oxford University. The research on 'the marginal costs of climate change' was funded by the European Commission and the Stockholm Environment Institute.

Prof Tol said: 'Our paper had no relationship to the CCCEP. It came out of David Anthoff's masters thesis. At the time, the CCCEP did not exist, and it only came into existence after the paper was published. Fraud means deception for financial gain. That is what this is.'

Confusingly, the CCCEP sent data to the ESRC for two separate lists of the publications that should be 'attributed' to it, and although they mostly overlap, they are not identical. Both, however, are misleading.

The first list is a compilation of 276 journal articles submitted in late 2012, headed 'CCCEP publications October 2008 – August 2012'. The submission also includes dozens of works of journalism. Many of these were written by CCCEP spokesman Mr Ward on subjects such as the Scottish golf course owned by Donald Trump and vehement attacks on climate change sceptics.

When it submitted this list, which includes the paper co-authored by Prof Tol, the CCCEP had already been awarded £4.7 million by the ESRC and was asking for another £4.4 million. It received this amount to cover the period 2013 to 2018.

The centre also gets generous funds from other government and private sources, such as American green billionaire Jeremy Grantham. This year, it was awarded a £374,000 grant to pay for a three-year CCCEP fellowship by the British Academy, presided over by Lord Stern. These grants make it one of the most lavishly funded institutions of its kind in the world, with an income since 2008 of more than £30 million.

Lord Stern has also become personally wealthy through his climate change work. When it last filed accounts a year ago, his company, NS Economics Ltd, set up to handle his public speaking income, had a bank balance of £349,000. He is also paid as an advisory director of the giant Spanish solar energy firm Abengoa SA.

This newspaper has found further papers on the 2008 to 2012 list sent to the ESRC which were in fact completed before the CCCEP came into existence. One of them, jointly authored with CCCEP co-director Simon Dietz, is by Lord Stern himself – and first published on April 23, 2008, six months before the CCCEP opened.

Another paper, a study led by Natalie Suckall, now at Southampton University, dealt with 'cultural identity' in the Peak District National Park. Ms Suckall and her colleagues found that white, middle class people liked the scenery more than working class or ethnic minority visitors – a topic not obviously related to climate change.

This paper was first sent to the Journal of Environmental Management in March 2007, accepted in revised form in June the following year, and published on July 30, 2008, more than two months before the CCCEP existed.

Another example was a study led by Prof Tol's co-author, Prof Cameron Hepburn. Since 2010, he has had a part-time post at the LSE, in addition to his position at Oxford. But his paper on 'social discounting under uncertainty' was first submitted in 2006, and published online on September 5, 2008 – when there were still four weeks to go before the CCCEP began operating.

Mr Ward admitted that to tell the ESRC that a total of seven studies identified by the MoS had been funded by the CCCEP was a 'mistake'. But he insisted it was not misleading that the list claimed some of them had been published in 2009, because that was when they appeared on paper.

Dr Elizabeth Wager, editor of the journal Research Integrity and Peer Review and the former head of the international watchdog the Committee on Publication Ethics, disputed this. She said: 'Everyone regards the online date as the actual publication date. It is considered published the day it goes online.'

These and other papers clearly played a direct role in the ESRC's decision to award the second, £4.4 million grant. But the second list, an online record of CCCEP publications updated monthly and published on the government's research funding website, Gateway To Research, is equally questionable – suggesting the CCCEP has for years been inflating its reputation and the scale of its activity unjustifiably.

Some of the items on this list amount to blatant theft of credit which is due to others. For example, in 2011 Kersty Hobson, then at Oxford and now a professor at Cardiff, was lead author of a paper entitled Public Responses to Climate Change. Her co-author Simon Niemeyer was at the Australian National University in Canberra.

She told The Mail on Sunday: 'This paper had nothing whatsoever to do with the CCCEP. It was completely funded by the Australian Research Council.' Another case is a study led by Oxford's Prof Stephen Duncan on 'optimal harvesting of fish stocks under a time-varying discount rate', a highly technical paper based on data from the Peruvian anchovy industry in the 1970s. Prof Duncan said: 'This piece of research was not funded by the CCCEP. It came out of ideas three of us had at Oxford when we were all based here.'

Mr Ward disputed this, claiming that the CCCEP should have been 'properly acknowledged' because Prof Hepburn was a co-author.

Other papers on the Gateway To Research list bear no relation to climate change and the CCCEP's goals. One is called 'Traffic lights and food choice: a choice experiment examining the relationship between nutritional food labels and price.'

Lead author Prof Kelvin Balcombe, of Reading University, said: 'I certainly wouldn't think it appropriate to claim this as a CCCEP output. It's not about climate change. And they had nothing to do with it.'

Mr Ward admitted including this on the list was a mistake, as was a paper on noise pollution and its effect on human happiness by the LSE's Diana Weinhold. He said: 'Some publications have been mistakenly uploaded.' It would take steps to put this right.

Academic funding experts reacted with astonishment to our investigation. Lord Willetts, the Universities Minister from 2010 to 2014, said: 'There is an assumption that academics are bound by ethical principles. The system relies on trust as well as policing by administrators.'

Dr Wager said: 'It's troubling the funder has not spotted this. If you're claiming credit for work when you shouldn't, that is not fair to other institutions who play by the rules.'

Former Labour Minister Lord Donaghue, a governor of the LSE for 25 years, called for an inquiry, saying: 'To preserve the academic integrity of the LSE, it is necessary that the relevant funding authorities launch a full investigation.'

The ESRC said the second phase of the CCCEP's grant was paid because the council concluded that 'the work of the centre had been excellent'.

Mr Ward said the CCCEP is a 'world class university research centre', and when it asked for the second slice of funding from the ESRC, it submitted in all '520 research and policy outputs' and 139 media articles. He added: 'We reject any suggestion that we misrepresented the outputs of the Centre in our submission to the mid-term review.' He claimed our investigation was an attempt to 'promote climate change denial'.


Australia: Slow and steady on climate policy

The Turnbull government will ensure the next phase of its climate policy meets Australia's obligations under the Paris deal but isn't "messianic", Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says.

The government will review its full suite of climate policies in 2017, as the emissions reduction fund exhausts its $2.55 billion budget and the coalition looks to other methods to cut carbon pollution.

Environmental groups have concerns the review will provide a smokescreen to drop climate action and respond to sceptics within the government and on the Senate crossbench who see it as a waste of taxpayers' money.

Mr Joyce told reporters in Brisbane on Monday the government would ensure it met its Paris target - to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 - which builds on its 2020 target of reducing emissions by five per cent below 2000 levels.

"We believe in our obligations as signed off by an international treaty in Paris and we'll make sure we meet them," Mr Joyce said.

"We are on target to meet them at the moment and we are doing it at a vastly more affordable way than the Labor party ever was."

But he said the government would not achieve the target "by changing the whole world, like the ACT, to 100 per cent renewables - what a load of crock".

"We are not going be a messianic figure out there by ourselves," he said.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said he would like the review to be conducted in a bipartisan way.

"(But) we're not going to get bipartisanship while Malcolm Turnbull has lost his spine on climate change," Mr Shorten told reporters in Perth.

"He did have it once, no questioning that, but now he's so keen to keep his job he'll swap climate change policy for climate scepticism ... he won't take any real action in terms of the fundamental issues including standing up for renewable energy."

Mr Turnbull's deal with the Rudd Labor government on a carbon pollution reduction scheme ended with his own party dumping him in favour of Tony Abbott.



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


Monday, October 24, 2016

Memo to Florida Voters: Your AC Bill Just Went Up

I have just been talking to a refrigeration expert who for his own reasons supports the ban on HFCs as refrigerants.  I put it to him that all the possible replacement gases have problems with toxicity, flammability etc.  We agreed that flammability is going to be the most likely problem to arise but he said that the probability of the gases igniting is very low.  He made the point that we often do things that have a much higher likelihood of harming us  -- driving a car, for instance.

While that is an intelligible argument, it ignores the reality that what we are moving away from is a zero-risk situation.  Say that there will in future be only three occasions worldwide where an AC unit explodes and kills someone.  ALL THREE of those occasions were fully avoidable by retaining HFCs. We may ordinarily take risks but how often do we deliberately heighten our risks?  Sensation-seekers aside, I think we do not.  So the latest Greenie mandate will kill some people -- entirely as a result of that mandate

We’ve warned for some time that Big Government is coming for your air conditioner in the name of saving the planet. Well, on Saturday, nearly 200 countries, including China, agreed to take action in the next eight years on reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used in AC units and refrigerators. The legally binding deal was spearheaded by John Kerry, who thinks HFCs pose as great a threat to national security as jihadis do. But EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was equally involved. “In a nutshell, these HFCs cool our homes and chill our food, but they are turning up the temperature of our planet,” lectured McCarthy. “World leaders took a giant leap forward by agreeing to a global phase-down of these harmful gases.”

What do we get in exchange for this regulatory bonanza? The Washington Examiner reports, “Secretary of State John Kerry said the deal … would put the planet on track to stop the Earth’s temperature from rising a half of a degree Celsius over the next two decades.” That goal is unprovable. No matter how much the temperature changes, these folks will say it would be half a degree Celsius worse had it not been for their intrepid work.

Furthermore, air conditioners were more efficient with the already-banned CFCs than they are with HFCs, and these regulations threaten to make that even worse. Stephen Yurek, the head of the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, says, “After two phases of research, the most promising alternatives are currently classified as mildly flammable or flammable.” That sounds fun. So when our AC doesn’t work as well without HFCs, we’ll all be hotter, which has the advantage of “proving” the alarmists right about global warming.

McCarthy also crowed, “While we have seen many significant successes under President Obama’s leadership in fighting climate change, this day will unquestionably be remembered as one of the most important in our effort to save the one planet we have.” And you can bet that “important effort” — just like every other Obama regulation to that end — is going to cost you dearly


Solar panels ineffective in UK’s climate, says report from Adam Smith Institute

SOLAR panels are “highly ineffective” in the UK climate and although solar power produced more energy than coal between April and September, a free market think-tank claims we should not expect that to last.

In a paper published today called Solar Power in Britain, the Adam Smith Institute and the Scientific Alliance use 10 years’ worth of weather data to analyse the technology’s capabilities – and find it wanting.

It says solar panels are highly ineffective in UK climates and generate less than a tenth of their possible output annually – producing nothing for more than 30 weeks of the year, and only managing 50 per cent of their generation capability for eight days.

On claims that a combination of wind and solar power could smooth out this seasonal intermittency, the report says that even combined they would only exceed 60 per cent of their capability for a day-and-a-half each year, and would be below 20 per cent for more than half of the year – meaning they would have to be supplemented by more reliable sources.

The solar fleet produces less than 2.5 per cent of UK electricity generation says the report, the problem being that there is insufficient storage for energy generated in the summer to provide in winter. It adds the lifetime output of a 5MW solar park could be matched in 36 hours by a nuclear power plant taking up 50 times less ground space.

Two effective storage options that could make solar power feasible are addressed – pumped storage and battery storage, but it says these “highly expensive and environmentally damaging solutions are unworkable”. Instead, solar energy should focus on providing for local customers’ domestic water and heating until a more realistic storage system can be manufactured.

Ben Southwood, head of research at the Adam Smith Institute, said: “We know that UK solar panels only generate electricity at nine per cent of capacity, but our paper shows that even this average level is a mirage. Power comes in stops and spurts and not when we want it.

“If we had ways to store large amounts of energy cheaply then it wouldn’t matter when the sun shines, we could just save up what we’ve generated in batteries.

“In the future, cheaper and more efficient generation and storage will solve the problem, but for now there is no way of squaring the circle. Relying on solar and wind will force us to back up the supply with dirty fossil fuels, or the lights will go out.”


Court rules against EPA in case over coal job losses

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not properly estimated the potential job losses in the coal and other industries affected by its regulations, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Judge John Preston Bailey of the District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia ruled in favor of coal mining company Murray Energy Corp. saying the Clean Air Act gives the EPA administrator a “non-discretionary duty” to track the potential job losses and shifts in employment from regulations written under the act.

The decision is a largely symbolic win for energy sectors hurt by EPA regulations, however, because there is no guarantee that job loss analyses would change the policies at issue.
Bailey, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, used his ruling to repeatedly admonish the EPA for arguing that its duty to track job losses is “discretionary" and that its current reviews are sufficient.

“With specific statutory provisions like Section 321(a), Congress unmistakably intended to track and monitor the effects of the Clean Air Act and its implementing regulations on employment in order to improve the legislative and regulatory processes,” Bailey wrote.

“The most EPA does is ‘conduct proactive analysis of the employment effects of our rulemaking actions,’ which is simply not what S 321(a) is about,” he said, quoting the agency’s argument.

“EPA cannot redefine statutes to avoid complying with them. Nor can EPA render them superfluous or contrary to their original purpose by simply defining them to be,” Bailey concluded.

Murray and the coal industry cheered the ruling.

“This is a great day for coal miners in the United States, and for all citizens who rely on low-cost electricity in America,” Bob Murray, the company’s president and an outspoken opponent of President Obama, said in a statement.

“We will continue to vigorously pursue this lawsuit, and all of our litigation initiatives, in order to protect the lives and livelihoods of coal miners and their families, to defend the rule of law, and to preserve reliable and low cost electricity in our country.”

The National Mining Association called it a major rebuke of the EPA.

“America’s coal miners scored an important victory today when a federal court told EPA that it could no longer ignore its ongoing responsibility under the Clean Air Act to evaluate the job losses arising from its stream of regulatory actions,” Hal Quinn, the group’s president, said in a statement.

The legal provision at issue states that the EPA “shall conduct continuing evaluations of potential loss or shifts of employment which may result from the administration or enforcement of the provision of this chapter.”

It was enacted out of concern for industries like coal that could be hurt by environmental rules, with the expectation that lawmakers or regulators might use the data to inform their decisions. The court found that for at least 10 years after the 1977 law was passed, the EPA did conduct specific research to comply.

Job losses are usually part of the EPA’s normal rulemaking process. But Bailey found that to be insufficient.

Bailey ordered the EPA to prepare a timetable for the court in which it could write the job-loss predictions it should have completed under the law.

The litigation proceedings took about two and a half years.

Last year, Bailey granted Murray’s request to sit EPA head Gina McCarthy down for a sworn deposition as part of the lawsuit. But the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit overturned the decision.

The EPA can appeal Bailey’s ruling to the federal 4th Circuit.


The chemicals anxiety machine

Candidates, Civil Rights Commission and greens use phony health threats to scare voters

Paul Driessen

Rank politics and baseless health scares are driving anxiety, North Carolina election campaigns, civil rights claims and plans for class action lawsuits, all of which could bring electricity rate hikes that will cause real job, health and civil rights problems for families – for no health or environmental benefits.

As I noted in an earlier article, North Carolina state toxicologist Ken Rudo has publicly disagreed with the US Environmental Protection Agency and other NC “tox” experts, who say levels of chromium-6 detected in some NC waters are safe. The contaminant comes from coal ash deposits and other sources.

Not surprisingly, Erin Brockovich has sided with Dr. Rudo. She became rich and famous by promoting “toxic chromium” scares, co-authored a recent letter with the radical Environmental Working Group raising Cr-6 alarms, and will speak on election eve at Catawba College in NC to stir things up still further.

The issue is also playing prominently in the NC gubernatorial campaign. Democrat candidate Roy Cooper says well water is unsafe and is hammering the Duke Energy power company for creating the deposits and sitting Governor Pat McCrory (who once worked for Duke) for rescinding a “do not drink” order.

Not to be outdone, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) claims chromium-6 is seeping out of ash deposits, contaminating drinking water supplies and “disproportionately affecting” minority families. Communities near “waste disposal” and “industrial” facilities have “extremely high” rates of cancer, heart and other health issues, a Commission report asserts, lumping those facilities in with coal ash sites.

The contaminants get into well water, drinking water, and even “recreational waters” that are “heavily used for fishing, boating and swimming,” the Commission report states. The problem “extends for miles” around communities near coal ash deposits, which are “disproportionately located in low-income and minority communities,” making this a civil rights issue that government must address.

The USCCR wants the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and NC Department of Environmental Quality to examine the civil rights implications, classify coal ash as a “hazardous waste,” force utility companies to relocate deposits, and compensate people for healthcare expenses and land devaluations.

A persuasive and well-documented dissent by Commissioner Gail Heriot (pages 113-142 of the report) demolishes the USCCR assertions. Her analysis deserves widespread attention both on environmental and civil rights matters, and on how some people deliberately use these issues to generate racial animosity.

No one on the Commission, she notes, has any expertise in waste disposal, toxicology, epidemiology or medicine, and thus had no business issuing pronouncements on coal ash toxicity. There is “strong” evidence that coal ash facilities “are not disproportionately located” near racial minorities. Lumping coal ash together with other facilities that involve dangerous chemicals, and then blaming coal ash, is invalid.

Ms. Heriot is also perturbed that USCCR Chairman Martin Castro suggested that NC communities are bring “victimized by environmental racism.” These kinds of “incendiary allegations” are inappropriate, she says; they “fan the flames of racial resentment” based on insufficient or false information.

Interestingly, tests in 2014 consistently found Cr-6 in city water supplies above 0.07 parts per billion, unnecessarily triggering “do not drink” advisories to some well water users, the Greensboro News & Record reported. However, May 2016 tests could not even detect the chemical, the paper noted.

The 0.07 ppb standard is equivalent to 7 seconds in 3,300 years. The EPA and NCDEQ safety standard for Cr-6 in drinking water is 100 ppb, and a 2012 scientific paper in the Journal of Applied Toxicology concluded that regularly drinking water with 210 ppb poses no health or cancer risks. That safe, non-carcinogenic 210 ppb level is 3,000 times higher than the 0.07 ppb “trigger warning” level.

There is no evidence that Cr-6 levels found in U.S. drinking water cause any of the laundry list of health problems presented by the USCCR. For the EWG to say barely detectable 0.02 ppb levels are dangerous and carcinogenic in water that 218 million Americans drink every day is disingenuous and incendiary. Moreover, coal ash is mostly inert, with most metallic components in tiny amounts and/or bonded tightly in crystalline (glassy) sand particles. Very little leaches out. Moreover, chromium-6 occurs naturally in rocks and soils throughout the USA. It is not solely a byproduct of coal burning or industrial processes.

Saying grave health concerns arise from such minimal Cr-6 levels as 0.02 or 0.07 ppb in drinking water is groundless; saying health impacts arise from its its presence in recreational waters is absurd. Indeed, Ohio’s EPA director dismisses the EWG claims as “scare tactics” to raise money.

All this suggests that the USCCR and EWG claims are just part of the campaign to eliminate coal-fired power plants and the reliable, affordable electricity they generate. The claims could also be setting the stage for more collusive sue-and-settle lawsuits between the USEPA and environmentalist groups – with those who will be most affected having no opportunity to testify and no voice in the outcome.

Forcing utility companies to spend billions relocating huge ash deposits to “lined, watertight landfills” (in someone else’s backyard) will bring no health or environmental benefits. But it will bankrupt companies, send electricity prices soaring, reverberate through our economy, and raise true civil rights issues. As Ms. Heriot notes, “driving up the cost of power has its own disparate impact” on minority families.

Black and Hispanic families spend a 10-50% greater share of their income than white families on heating, air conditioning, lights and other electrical costs, National Black Chamber of Commerce president Harry Alford points out. They are also more likely to suffer still lower living standards and even lose their jobs, as employers respond to higher electricity prices by laying more people off.

If rates nearly double from current costs in coal-reliant states like North Carolina and Virginia (9 cents per kilowatt-hour) to those in anti-coal New York (16 cents) or Connecticut (17 cents), poor families will have to pay $500-1,000 more annually for electricity. Hospitals, school districts, factories and businesses will have to spend additional thousands, tens of thousands or millions. Where will that cash come from?

Will businesses have to lay off dozens or hundreds of employees, or close their doors? If they pass costs on to customers, where will families find that extra cash? If hospitals cut services or raise fees, how will that affect patient costs and care? Might the EWG and USCCR provide financial assistance? Fat chance.

By necessity, hospitals are energy intensive. The average U.S. hospital uses 31 kilowatt-hours of electricity per square foot per year. For facilities like the 665,000-square-foot Inova Fairfax Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Northern Virginia, that translates into $1,855,000 per year at 9 cents/kWh, but $3,505,000 at 17 cents. That’s a $1.6-million difference.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Comprehensive Cancer Center in Winston-Salem, NC is 530,600 square feet. That’s $1,480,000/year at 9 cents/kWh or $2,796,000/year at 17 cents: a $1.5-million gap.

Ohio State University’s James Cancer Center and Solove Research Institute in Columbus is1.1 million square feet. That’s $3,069,000/year at 9¢/kWh versus $5,797,000 at 17 cents: a $2.7 million shortfall!

Those cost increases would result in lost jobs and reduced patient care. Now try to imagine the impacts on schools, factories, churches, grocery stores, malls and thousands of other major electricity users – to address health problems that exist only in the fertile minds of a few activists and regulators.

The war on coal, petroleum, nuclear and hydroelectric power is an eco-imperialist war on reliable, affordable electricity – and on poor and minority families. Policies that drive energy prices up drive people out of jobs, drive companies out of business, drive families into green energy poverty.

An yet these fundamental “civil rights” and “environmental justice” issues are rarely mentioned by the USCCR, EWG, EPA, NAACP, Democratic Party or self-appointed “civil rights leaders.” Too many of them also oppose charter schools for minority kids who are getting shortchanged by public schools, and regulatory reforms to spur job creation in minority communities. Will common sense ever prevail?

Via email

"Green" power company to get a NY State bailout

Exelon was just on the wrong end of a U.S. tax court decision – and has been ordered to pay the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) $1.45 billion in back taxes, penalties, and interest.

What is Exelon? A New York state power company. A very successful New York state power company. Net profits in 2015? $2.2 billion. And they’ve been solidly profitable for years. $1.72 billion in 2013, $1.16 billion in 2012. And $2.7 billion each year all the way back in 2008 and 2009.

So they should have no problem paying their (back) taxes. We should all have a problem with New York’s state government writing them a check – for possibly up to $7 billion.

As with all things government, the big corporation gets a check – and we little people pick up the tab. The bailout will add $2.3 billion to the energy bills of New York residents – many of whom are Exelon customers.

Get that? Exelon gets government money – Exelon customers get higher energy bills.

Exelon has spent nearly $300,000 on lobbying and lobbying-esque activities in Albany since 2014. It has obviously paid quick, exponentially inflated dividends. Hillary Clinton’s cattle futures are jealous.

This Exelon nonsense is a small part of Governor Cuomo’s huge “green energy” nonsense. Without benefit of the state legislature, Governor Cuomo’s Public Service Commission (PSC) in late July issued a fiat mandating that by 2030 half of New York’s energy needs must be met by renewable methods.

Small problem: “As of 2015, New York only generated 11% of its energy via renewables. A tally it has taken them decades – and tens of billions of subsidy dollars – to attain. And now they have mandated a nearly 500% increase – in only fifteen years. Predicated, again, upon energy sources that require massive, ongoing government cash infusions – and in most instances take more energy to produce than they provide. The New York State mandate is a VERY expensive proposition.…”

For which New Yorkers will be paying. And paying. And….

It can not be said enough: most “green energy” is neither green nor energy. Wind, solar and biofuels are actually awful for the environment – not at all green. And they are so prohibitively expensive – they make zero sense as energy.

New York’s government can’t pay for its huge new mandate – without first taking it from New Yorkers. Who will be paying, and paying, and….

Nuclear is actually a clean, viable energy source. As demonstrated by Exelon’s very tidy profits each and every year for at least a decade.

So why on Earth are they too set to get a multi-billion-dollar government check?

It makes zero sense – in a Governor Cuomo plan filled to the brim with things that make zero sense.



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


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Another take on the September temperature figures

I don't have great issues with Seth Borenstein below.  He arrives at much the same conclusion I did, albeit via a different route

Earth's 16-month sizzling streak of record high temperatures is finally over, according to one group of federal meteorologists.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said last month's 60.6 degrees (15.9 Celsius) was merely the second hottest September on record for the globe. That's ever so slightly cooler — a few hundredths of a degree — than the record set in 2015. But it was quite a bit warmer — 1.6 degrees (0.9 Celsius) — than the 20th century average.

Global average temperatures include both land and sea surface readings. And while oceans were cooling off a tad, global land temperatures in September still set a record high, NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden said. It was an unusually hot month in much of Europe, Asia, Africa and North America.

NASA, which averages global temperature differently, considers last month as record hot . But the space agency didn't have a big consecutive hot streak because it didn't consider last June as record hot.

"It's kind of nice to see it cool down a little bit even though it will go back up again," Blunden said. "It may not be a record now because we have natural variations in weather and climate. There's always going to be ups and downs but that doesn't mean global warming isn't happening."


 More crooked ad hominem attacks from the Green Left

The message rattles them so they shoot the messenger

ThinkProgress Editor in Chief Judd Legum sent an email to a billionaire donor bragging how the liberal blog’s environmental writer targeted a climate researcher who challenged a major Democratic talking point on global warming, according to leaked emails.

The blog’s environmental arm, ClimateProgress, took issue with pollster Nate Silver’s 538 website, hiring Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. to write about global warming issues. Pielke is no skeptic of man-made warming, but he challenged a Democratic talking point that global warming was making extreme weather more severe.

ClimateProgress immediately embarked on a crusade to discredit him “[p]rior to Pielke writing anything” for 538 — based solely on the fact they didn’t like his research on extreme weather.

“Pielke basically has made a career of ‘accepting’ climate change but disputing that we can really do anything about it or that it has much of an impact,” Legum wrote in a July 2014 email to hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer thanking him for his “support.”

Steyer is a major supporter of environmentalists and Democratic politicians. Steyer is a donor and bundler for the Clinton campaign, raising more than $100,000 for her campaign since 2015. He spent $73 million during the 2014 midterm elections.

ClimateProgress is part of the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF), which was created by Clinton’s presidential campaign chair John Podesta. Podesta also created the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, which gave CAPAF at least $1 million in 2015.

Legum’s email to Steyer was release by WikiLeaks from Podesta’s hacked Gmail account. It’s one of several emails involving the ThinkProgress blog.

ClimateProgress put out two articles attacking Pielke the same day he published a post on 538 headlined “Disasters Cost More Than Ever — But Not Because of Climate Change.” Pielke’s point was that extreme weather only does more damage today because there’s more wealth to destroy when hitting shore.

When economic growth is taken into account, “the overall trend in disaster costs proportional to GDP since 1990 has stayed fairly level,” Pielke wrote.

“Within hours, ClimateProgress published a comprehensive debunk, with quotes from many prominent climate scientists,” Legum wrote, chronicling Pielke’s eventual being forced to leave 538.

“Pielke was so upset with our piece, he called the scientists we quoted and threatened to sue them. Silver was forced to apologize,” Legum wrote. “Embarrassed, Silver was forced to publish a rebuttal to Pielke piece by an actual climate scientist, which was also devastating.”

Silver asked climate scientist Kerry Emanuel to rebut Pielke’s article. Emanuel wrote that he’s “not comfortable with Pielke’s assertion that climate change has played no role in the observed increase in damages from natural hazards.”

Silver never let Pielke publish any piece on global warming on 538 again — a fact Legum bragged to Steyer about in his email.

“I think it’s fair say that, without Climate Progress, Pielke would still be writing on climate change for 538,” Legum wrote.

“He would be providing important cover for climate deniers backed by Silver’s very respected brand,” he wrote. “But because of our work, he is not. I don’t think there is another site on the internet having this kind of impact on the climate debate.”

“Thanks for your support of this work. Looking forward to doing even more in the coming months,” Legum wrote to Steyer.

Update: Pielke told The Daily Caller News Foundation claims he threatened to sue his detractors was “a lie.” Reports that Pielke threatened legal action against two climate scientists came from The Huffington Post. Pielke says that’s false.

In fact, it was Legum who contacted 538 claiming Pielke had made legal threats against two scientists, according to HuffPo.


A skeptic fires back

Matt Ridley

RESPONSE TO BOB WARD'S LETTER, An attack that confirms the accuracy of my lecture

I have sent the following letter to the president of the Royal Society and the Chairman and director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in response to a highly misleading letter to me that was copied to them.

To Sir Venki Ramakrishnan FRS, Lord Lawson and Dr Benny Peiser

You have been sent a letter by Bob Ward of the Grantham Institute at the London School of Economics complaining about what I said about Dr Ranga Myneni in my lecture at the Royal Sociey.

Dr Ranga Myneni has already responded to my lecture and does not make the same complaints about misrepresentation made by Mr Ward.

Dr Myneni does, however, in his response, make two entirely false accusations against me, saying that I go “on to ignore 30+ years of IPCC assessments!”, when in fact I discussed several such assessments and quoted verbatim from two, one in 1990 and one in 2014; and that I “argue that thousands and thousands of scientists are somehow in cahoots to push the global warming hoax on innocent people of the world …”, when I made no such argument and specifically detailed how my position was different from those who think global warming is a hoax.

Turning to Mr Ward’s own complaints, he correctly notes that I explained that I became aware of Dr Myneni’s work from a 2012 talk, but that I quote from one delivered in 2013. I may not have made this fact very clear in my spoken remarks, but everything I said was properly sourced (including on my slides) and correctly quoted, and in any case the use of the later talk is entirely appropriate since, as Mr Ward also notes, Dr Myneni’s estimates of the amount and attribution of greening changed between late 2012 and mid 2013. This is something I was well aware of, but the change in no way contradicts anything I said. Indeed, it reinforces it. The 2012 version of the talk was based on data suggesting a greening of 20.5% of the land, which Mr Ward quotes; while the equivalent slides in the 2013 version, one of which I reproduced, supports a greening of 30.87% of the land area, which was the estimate to which I referred.

Mr Ward’s letter specifically confirms the accuracy of my claim that at various times Dr Myneni said 31% of the land area has greened, the planet had greened by 14%, and that 70% of the greening can be attributed to carbon dioxide fertilization. Dr Myneni has not claimed he was misquoted on these points.

As I stated in my lecture, Dr Myneni stated in 2015 that “[Ridley] falsely claims that CO2 fertilisation is responsible for the greening of the earth”. Yet a few months later he himself published evidence that “CO2 fertilisation explains 70% of the greening trend”.

I used the word “might” in my suggestion that the publication of these results might have been delayed lest they give sceptics a field day, so there was no accusation, as Mr Ward claims. Dr Myneni says the delay was mainly due to the senior author on the paper returning to China. I remain doubtful that these data would have taken so long to publish if they had shown bad news.

As for Mr Ward’s complaint that I misrepresented Dr Richard Betts, he destroys his own case by quoting another part of the IPCC assessment report where greening is very briefly mentioned, and which I confess I missed because it was so brief and dismissive:

“Warming (and possibly the CO2 fertilisation effect) has also been correlated with global trends in satellite greenness observations, which resulted in an estimated 6% increase of global NPP, or the accumulation of 3.4 PgC on land over the period 1982–1999 (Nemani et al., 2003).”

Since published data (Donohue et al 2013) already pointed to a larger greening over a longer period, and my point was that the mentions of global greening were brief, doubtful and downplayed the effect, this extra quote beautifully illustrates my point. As I put it,

“If that’s a clear and prominent statement that carbon dioxide emissions have increased green vegetation on the planet by 14% and are significantly reducing the water requirements of agriculture, then I’m the Queen of Sheba.”

I will happily add this extra quotation to the written version of my lecture on line since it illustrates my point even better.

I stand by my lecture. Mr Ward is confirming the accuracy of my work while continuing to try to smear my name.

In my lecture I stated that “These days there is a legion of well paid climate spin doctors. Their job is to keep the debate binary: either you believe climate change is real and dangerous or you’re a denier who thinks it’s a hoax. But there’s a third possibility they refuse to acknowledge: that it’s real but not dangerous.”


The real reason a UN censor blacklisted Rebel reporters — and why we’re STILL going to Marrakech


As we reported earlier this week, a censor at the UN named Nick Nuttall has refused The Rebel's request for official media accreditation, so we can cover the climate summit in Marrakech, Morocco.

Three thousand other journalists have been approved, but we've been blacklisted.

WATCH as Nick Nuttall explains why -- not to us and our lawyers or Canada's professional journalist associations, all of whom have written him formal letters in protest.

No, Nuttall went on the CBC to make his case that The Rebel is a "one person" enterprise, and furthermore, we're "extremist."

Even the CBC host wasn't buying it!

I'll play you clips from his trainwreck interview, then talk to my guests Lorne Hunter and Sheila Gunn Reid about the UN's refusal to allow any dissent from its "global warming" talking points.


Journalists were assaulted, threatened and imprisoned in their  car by the "tolerant" and "peace loving" protesters at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp.

JOURNALISTS Phelim McAleer and Magdalena Segieda were subjected to a terrifying 30 minute ordeal after being attacked by Dakota Access Pipeline Protestors whilst conducting interviews at the Sacred Stone Camp.

It started with one protestor grabbing McAleer's microphone mid-question and physically assaulting him.

Others joined the attack forcing McAleer and his colleagues to flee to their car intending to leave the protest camp.

However the car quickly became surrounded by a mob with a pack of dogs and sticks who also used three vehicles to block in the journalists preventing them from leaving the camp.

The mob became increasingly violent ordering the journalists out of their car warning of the consequences of refusing to get out.

At one point protestors started to shake the car and punched the windows. They also stated they were going to destroy the film equipment and any footage gathered.

"It was a terrifying 30 minutes." McAleer.

"There is a lot of talk about love and peace at the camp but yesterday we got a look at the reality behind the talk and it was an ugly violent reality," he added.

Not being able to escape, the journalists feared for their lives and called the police.

The police deployed several police cars as well as air support and a SWAT team and only after their arrival did the protesters allow the journalist to drive out of the camp.

McAleer said the situation turned violent after he started asking difficult questions about how the protestors were against oil and pipelines but used oil based products (cars & plastic) in their campaign.

"This sends a chilling message to journalists covering the Dakota Access Pipeline story. The message is you can only ask softball questions if you ask difficult questions you will be met with violence and intimidation."

"My fellow journalists need to report this and call them out on this intimidation of journalists just trying to do their job."

Segieda said "We were just doing our job and met with incredible aggression. It was the scariest 30 minutes of my life. If the police didn't arrive I'm not sure if we would have make it out of there and certainly not with our footage".

McAleer, a veteran journalist who covered The Troubles in Northern Ireland said this was one of the most terrifying situations he's ever been in during his long career.

McAleer and Segieda will release footage shortly.

Via email


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


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Health update

It looks like I am recovering steadily with the use of clindamycin.  Some skin areas that were red have now faded to pale pink.   The main remaining problem is that I am still spending lots of time asleep.  I am guessing that my body makes me drowsy to help fight off any sepsis.  I have always had naps during daylight hours but my naps at the moment are up to four hours long. I can't do much blogging in such circumstances but you can't keep a good blogger down completely so I have just put up one thing new:  A recipe for an unusual salad!  See here

Hopefully I will have more to say tomorrow.

Friday, October 21, 2016

NOTE:  Once again my normal posting time has come, only to find me still under the influence of both health and cable problems.  The cable problems seem by now to have been banished but too late for me to read much. There is a fair chance that I might be back in normal action by this time tomorrow.

My health problem is a post operative infection in the wound site -- most probably golden staph.  I am on 300 mg of clindamycin 6 hourly so that should help. I can control the pain with di-gesic pretty well but I have to be cautious about sepsis so my next recourse may have to be a vancomycin drip.

Either the infection or the remedies seem to be making me very drowsy so I sleep for long periods, which is probably a good thing on the whole.