Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Blatant Blue State hypocrisy

From energy and spending, to climate and debate – silencing all dissenting voices is essential

Paul Driessen

You’ve got to admire the full frontal audacity of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, and their union and pressure group comrades in arms. Their hypocrisy, fraud and tyranny are boundless, especially on fiscal, energy and climate change issues.

Amid the seventh year of a “New York is open for business” advertising campaign that has spent $354 million thus far, they are presiding over tax and regulatory regimes, mountains of debt, intransigent public sector unions, anti-nuclear, anti-fossil fuel energy policies that are anything but business friendly – and press conferences that promise more of the same for state businesses, taxpayers and pensioners.

As Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn notes, Cuomo and his fellow warriors against Trump and Republicans will do almost anything – “except address the root problem by lowering their taxes and spending. Because to do so would require taking on the public unions that drive much of state spending and debt, and are the key constituency of the 21st-century Democratic Party.”

Across the river in New Jersey, unions resist any reforms to their payrolls or pensions just as fiercely. The NJ pension system is already $90-billion short of what it needs to pay future benefits, says the Manhattan Institute. The state will collect some $35 billion in 2018 taxes, but any new revenue will go to pension payouts and spending on new government programs. Connecticut is in the same boat.

Meanwhile, electricity prices continue to climb: In New York 18.8 cents per kilowatt-hour for families, 15.0 cents for the businesses the state is so eager to attract, and 6.2 cents for its few industries. In Jersey, 14.7, 11.4 and 9.6 cents, respectively. In Connecticut, a whopping 21.3, 16.8 and 13.5 cents per kWh!

On the Left Coast, similarly exorbitant electricity rates pummel California businesses, families, factories, farms, hospitals and schools – while neighborhoods confront monstrous mudslides, resulting from winter rains in the wake of fiery hillside-denuding conflagrations. The fires and floods have destroyed nearly 9,000 homes, killed over 60 people, and devastated entire forests and neighborhoods.

Golden State forests have 129 million dead trees, and enough dry brush to fill LA Memorial Coliseum several times. But state regulators, environmentalists and judges make it impossible to remove any. It’s more “natural,” “sustainable” and “climate friendly” to have it erupt in 1,400 to 2,200 degree F infernos.

Compare those fiscal and environmental train wrecks to results thus far of the deregulation, tax reduction, pro-fossil fuel policies of President Trump and congressional Republicans: new jobs, higher wages, nice bonuses, a coming repatriation of trillions of now overseas dollars to fuel new investment and innovation, the lowest black unemployment since recordkeeping began, and the DJIA stock market reaching a record high of 25,575 January 11, following a record 92 closing highs since President Trump was elected.

Compare that to Nobel Prize winning Blue economist Paul Krugman’s dire prediction after the election: the markets will crash and “never” recover, amid a long “global recession.” Meanwhile, multi-multi-millionaire Nancy Pelosi belittled the $1,000 bonuses as “crumbs.” Tell that to families bringing in $25,000 to $50,000 a year. The House Minority Leader is completely out of touch with average families.

The Democrats need bogeymen, scapegoats, distractions – to deflect attention away from this lunacy. That’s the best way to explain the Cuomo and De Blasio press stunts this past week.

Rather than confronting public sector unions and rabid greens – or supporting onshore and offshore drilling and fracking that would create jobs and improve economies in poor counties far from Albany and Manhattan, generate tax revenues, and reduce electricity prices – the gov railed against the new $10,000 cap on how much of their state and local taxes “the rich” NY residents can deduct on their federal forms.

Mr. Cuomo proposes to transform personal income taxes into corporate payroll taxes, or even charitable deductions! California is trying the same ploy. Friendly IRS auditors will be busy shutting that down.

Meanwhile, Mayor De Blasio went on a rant against fossil fuels – announcing that the city is suing five major oil companies for billions of dollars in “climate damages,” and insisting that the Big Apple must divest its police, teacher and other public pensions from any and all fossil fuel stocks.

Energy stocks are leading the latest US stock market rally, fossil fuels will continue providing 75-80% of US and global energy for decades to come, resurgent economies overseas are booming thanks to coal, oil and natural gas, and forecasters are predicting $80-per-barrel oil in 2018, as demand surges. So Liberal Logic says it’s time to divest from fossil fuels – and maybe switch to ideologically sympatico holdings, like subsidized wind turbines or booming economies like Argentina, Venezuela and North Korea.

Greenhouse gas emissions produced disasters like Superstorm Sandy, De Blasio railed. “I remember those days. I remember how desperate it was, how much fear and confusion there was. This tragedy was wrought by the actions of fossil fuel companies.” Now New York needs $20 billion “to build resilience against rising seas, more powerful storms and hotter temperatures.”

Nice try, Mr. Mayor. But blaming sub-hurricane-strength Sandy for the actions and incompetence of city and state officials won’t cut it. As environmental consultant Pat Moffitt and I explained in great detail in a three-part series (here, here and here) several months after the storm pounded the NYC area, fossil fuels and GHGs had zero to do with the damages – any more than they did for Harvey, Irma or other storms.

They likewise played no role in California’s wildfires and mudslides, despite Governor Jerry Brown’s scapegoating insistence that GHG emissions are responsible for that too. It’s all self-serving fraud.

Fuel oil and natural gas got millions of New Yorkers and New Englanders through the recent record cold snap, while wind turbines froze up, solar panels went AWOL, and Al Gore blamed the cold on global warming! But who are we to argue with Hizzoner da Mare about fossil fuels, dangerous manmade climate change, Sandy or divestment? He might sic his RICO attack dogs on us again.

Indeed, such prosecutions are part and parcel of the new leftist-fascist world order, under which partisans, politicians and professors shut down debate, impose uniform thinking, decree corporate policy, and even punish intolerable contrarian views with physical violence when those views threaten their “safe spaces.”

It’s not yet as dicey as getting into a Moscow elevator. But one climate doomsayer wants to ship climate chaos skeptics to a Kerguelen Island gulag off Antarctica, where he probably assumes they could watch the entire continent melt – from GHG emissions, if not from the volcanoes and magma beneath its ice.

Antifa leftist-fascists have learned well from their predecessors and contemporaries, but are now employing their technological prowess as well. Google and Facebook use clever algorithms to steer searches and help liberal news and views reach audiences, while conservative perspectives get shunted to the “back pages.” Google now displays “fact checks” next to Daily Caller and other conservative views, though not with liberal leaning stories; Snopes says its fake news, but others say it’s absolutely true.

Twitter allegedly uses “shadow banning” algorithms to make users think their tweets have been posted, when in fact they’ve been sent to cyber oblivion. And talk show host Dennis Prager is suing YouTube for using “restricted mode filtering” to keep PragerU educational videos from reaching audiences. The LA Times and other liberal papers won’t even publish letters to the editor challenging climate alarmism.

Former Colorado Democratic Governor Richard Lamm would instantly recognize these tyrannical tactics. In 2005, Mr. Lamm said they were integral parts of an eight-step program to “destroy America.” (This audio of the talk on YouTube must have escaped their censors.)

The future of our free speech and other democratic safeguards and institutions is at stake. So is the future of sound, evidence-based science, on climate and other topics – and of reliable, affordable energy.

Blue State officials, unions and activists may be delighted with how their agenda is “progressing.” The rest of the United States … and world … are not so happy.

Via email



Benny Peiser & Matt Ridley: Bad Weather Is No Reason for Climate Alarm

Events such as hurricanes and wildfires are too often blamed on our slowly warming, slightly wetter planet

Two weeks ago, President Donald Trump greeted the cold snap that was gripping much of the U.S. by tweeting, “Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming.” He was criticized for confusing weather with climate. But he’s hardly alone in making this mistake, as we have seen in coverage of the most destructive weather-related events of 2017.

The past year was filled with bad weather news, much of it tragic, with whole communities even now still struggling to recover. Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, and Hurricane Irma struck Florida and Puerto Rico after devastating other Caribbean islands. Wildfires torched the dry expanses of Napa and Ventura counties in California, and Australia experienced severe heat waves.

It has become routine for the media, politicians and activists to link such awful events with climate change. The basic claim is that the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is causing more extreme weather of every kind—more droughts, floods and hurricanes. This comes in addition to concerns that a rise in global temperatures will have potentially dire effects in the long term on polar ice and sea levels.

By looking at the world as a whole, however, and at long-term trends (climate) rather than at short-term events (weather), we can better test the claims that 2017 was an unusual weather year and that weather is getting more extreme as the world warms. This global and long-term view also puts other possible threats from climate change in perspective.

While the U.S. witnessed record damages in 2017, the rest of the world was actually hit by far fewer natural disasters than usual. On average, the globe suffers some 325 catastrophic natural disasters a year, but last year (through November) they were down to around 250, according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters at the University of Leuven in Belgium. A third fewer people were killed by climate-related hazards, according to the Centre’s International Disaster Database.

As for major weather events and the most prominent indicators of long-term climate trends, here is a rough scorecard for 2017:

Temperature: The past three years have set global records for high temperatures, partly thanks to the recurring warm-water El Niño cycle in the Pacific Ocean. Moreover, temperatures have been at historic highs since 2000, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record. But average surface temperatures have dropped by a half degree Celsius since the El Niño peak in 2016, according to the UK’s Met Office, and are now almost back to pre-El Niño levels.

Though temperatures have increased, the rise is not accelerating and has fallen short of the most authoritative projections. In 1990, the first assessment report of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted that temperatures would rise at the rate of 0.3 degree Celsius per decade, equivalent to 3 degrees Celsius (or 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) a century. In fact, temperatures have risen since 1990 at between 0.121 and 0.198 degrees Celsius per decade, depending on which of the best data sets is used—that is, at a third to two-thirds of the rate projected by the IPCC.

Hurricanes: In August, Harvey made landfall near Corpus Christi as a Category 4 storm, ending a record 12-year period without a major U.S. hurricanes. Last year’s Atlantic hurricane season was particularly hyperactive, ranking as the seventh most intense Atlantic season since records began in 1851.

But cyclones (as hurricanes are known elsewhere) are found in all three tropical oceans, and globally the Accumulated Cyclone Energy index—which measures the combined intensity and duration of these storms—is currently running 20% below its long-term average. In fact, the index for 2017 was less than half of normal cyclone activity for the Southern Hemisphere.

SOURCE





Global warming scientists not completely honest

At least some of the global warming scientists are a little honest, for they do use terms like “on record” when making their claims about global warming. They are not completely honest, because they do not reveal just how long records have been kept, or that many methods have changed over the years on how things are measured, nor do they say that they have new discoveries and just add them to the mix. So, just how accurate are their records?

When speaking about the fires in Montana, at least some do use “on record,” which is written down and not handed down from generation to generation in verbal form, which can change with each telling.

It is nice when they do admit that fire suppression has added to making fires far greater than they would have been. If this is the case, maybe it is time we allow the fires to go until they burn themselves out. I know this is a bit out of line, for now we have permanent structures and not like the Indians that could move quickly to escape the fires. Yet there must be a balance in this, not always tipped to one direction or the other.

The scientists push wind and solar. Neither of them is always reliable and both use coal or natural gas generation for a backup at this time. These two backup electric resources may not be around if not enough folks support them. Maybe the government will take them over. Also, no one speaks about how dirty it is to build solar-panels. What of the batteries they propose? Batteries do wear out. What do we do with them when their time is over, as they are dirty? Both use materials that are mined. They are against mining, but then I reckon mining is OK if it helps their cause.

No one speaks about how long these alternate sources of power will require subsidies in the way of tax breaks and the like, nor how long the power company will have to pay higher rates for their power which is passed along to Montana's most vulnerable: the poor and elderly, which will require more power assistance.

So the cycle goes.

SOURCE





End of a free ride for electric cars?

In 2018, Australia's roads are plagued with problems: the long-term decline in the road death toll has slowed, congestion is tipped to increase and long commutes are linked to poor mental health.

And now a multi-billion-dollar road funding black hole looms.

It's caused by the growing popularity of fuel-efficient cars, prompting a multi-generational reset to national roads policy which will change how you pay to drive.

For the people who rely most on their vehicles, that means trouble.

Australians are big users of roads, and they pay for the privilege … even if most don't know exactly how.

Car is by far the most common way to get to work. About two out of three travel to work this way. And that number is increasing — it's up by more than half a million since 2011.

Behind the wheel, pulling out from your garage onto the street, it might seem like access to roads is free.

But the average vehicle is actually charged more than $1,300 by state and federal governments each year, according to information from the Productivity Commission.

That's on top of fees paid directly for toll roads or parking.

The largest component is fuel excise — the tax paid on every litre of petrol, of about 40 cents — which goes to the Federal Government.

All up, governments spend approximately the same amount of money on road infrastructure as they receive from drivers.

At more than $12 billion of new engineering work done for the public sector per year, it's greater than the spending on energy, telecommunications and water combined.

But even with today's road outlays, the cost of congestion — which covers environmental, health and social impacts, plus what you could be spending your time on otherwise — is tipped to increase more than 5 per cent annually over the next 15 years in a recent report by Deloitte.

Fuel excise means — for most drivers at least — the more they drive, the more they pay.

However, low-emission vehicles are letting some drivers get away charge-free.

The CSIRO has predicted revenue coming from fuel excise will drop by almost half by 2050.

Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher argues the current road funding system has "some features that don't seem very fair".

If you are able to buy a $125,000 Tesla, the amount you pay through fuel excise to use the roads is zero.

"If you're buying a 10-year-old Commodore, the amount you're paying is effectively four-and-a-half cents per kilometre."

The Federal Government is looking at ways to more closely link how people use the roads with what they pay.

Mr Fletcher will soon announce the terms of reference of the formal review into this concept, known as "road pricing" or "road user charging", and similar trials for trucks are earmarked for 2018.

The ultimate solution might link how much drivers pay to their car's GPS tracker. Instead of a rough fuel-based taxation method, the result would be accurate to the metre: the further you drive, the more tax you pay.

In a trial in the US state of Oregon, all drivers were charged one-and-a-half US cents per mile — no matter how fuel efficient their car was.

An overhaul of road funding such as this would require support from the states.

SOURCE





Explaining ice ages

Matt Ridley

Orbital wobbles, carbon dioxide and dust all seem to contribute
An expanded version of my recent Times column on ice ages:

Record cold in America has brought temperatures as low as minus 44C in North Dakota, frozen sharks in Massachusetts and iguanas falling from trees in Florida. Al Gore blames global warming, citing one scientist to the effect that this is “exactly what we should expect from the climate crisis”. Others beg to differ: Kevin Trenberth, of America’s National Centre for Atmospheric Research, insists that “winter storms are a manifestation of winter, not climate change”.

Forty-five years ago a run of cold winters caused a “global cooling” scare. “A global deterioration of the climate, by order of magnitude larger than any hitherto experienced by civilised mankind, is a very real possibility and indeed may be due very soon,” read a letter to President Nixon in 1972 from two scientists reporting the views of 42 “top” colleagues. “The cooling has natural causes and falls within the rank of the processes which caused the last ice age.” The administration replied that it was “seized of the matter”.

In the years that followed, newspapers, magazines and television documentaries rushed to sensationalise the coming ice age. The CIA reported a “growing consensus among leading climatologists that the world is undergoing a cooling trend”. The broadcaster Magnus Magnusson pronounced on a BBC Horizon episode that “unless we learn otherwise, it will be prudent to suppose that the next ice age could begin to bite at any time”.

Newsweek ran a cover story that read, in part: “The central fact is that, after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the Earth seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.”

This alarm about global cooling has largely been forgotten in the age of global warming, but it has not entirely gone away. Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University has suggested that a quiescent sun presages another Little Ice Age like that of 1300-1850. I’m not persuaded. Yet the argument that the world is slowly slipping back into a proper ice age after 10,000 years of balmy warmth is in essence true. Most interglacial periods, or times without large ice sheets, last about that long, and ice cores from Greenland show that each of the past three millennia was cooler than the one before.

However, those ice cores, and others from Antarctica, can now put our minds to rest. They reveal that interglacials start abruptly with sudden and rapid warming but end gradually with many thousands of years of slow and erratic cooling. They have also begun to clarify the cause. It is a story that reminds us how vulnerable our civilisation is. If we aspire to keep the show on the road for another 10,000 years, we will have to understand ice ages.

Burning coal, Arrhenius said, was therefore a good thing: “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.”

There is indeed a correlation in the ice cores between temperature and carbon dioxide. There is less CO2 in the air when the world is colder and more when it is warmer. An ice core from Vostok in Antarctica found in the late 1990s that CO2 is in lock-step with temperature -- more CO2, warmer; less CO2, colder. As Al Gore put it sarcastically in his 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth, looking at the Vostok graphs: “Did they ever fit together? Most ridiculous thing I ever heard.” So Arrhenius was right? Is CO2 level the driver of ice ages?
Well, not so fast. Inconveniently, the correlation implies causation the wrong way round: at the end of an interglacial, such as the Eemian period, over 100,000 years ago, carbon dioxide levels remain high for many thousands of years while temperature fell steadily. Eventually CO2 followed temperature downward. Here is a chart showing that. If carbon dioxide was a powerful cause, it would not show such a pattern. The world could not cool down while CO2 remained high.
In any case, what causes the carbon dioxide levels to rise and fall? In 1990 the oceanographer John Martin came up with an ingenious explanation. During ice ages, there is lots of dust blowing around the world, because the continents are dry and glaciers are grinding rocks. Some of that dust falls in the ocean, where its iron-rich composition fertilizes plankton blooms, whose increased photosynthesis draws down the carbon dioxide from the air. When the dust stops falling, the plankton blooms fail and the carbon dioxide levels rise, warming the planet again.

Neat. But almost certainly too simplistic. We now know, from Antarctic ice cores, that in each interglacial, rapid warming began when CO2 levels were very low. Temperature and carbon dioxide rise together, and there is no evidence for a pulse of CO2 before any warming starts, if anything the reverse. Well, all right, said scientists, but carbon dioxide is a feedback factor – an amplifier. Something else starts the warming, but carbon dioxide reinforces it. Yet the ice cores show that in each interglacial cooling returned when CO2 levels were very high and they remained high for tens of thousands of years as the cooling continued. Even as a feedback, carbon dioxide looks feeble.

Here is an essay by Willis Eschenbach discussing this issue. He comes to five conclusions as to why CO2 cannot be the main driver and why the feedback effect is probably small:

The correspondence with log(CO2) is slightly worse than that with CO2. The CO2 change is about what we’d expect from oceanic degassing. CO2 lags temperature in the record. Temperature Granger-causes CO2, not the other way round. And (proof by contradiction) IF the CO2 were controlling temperature the climate sensitivity would be seven degrees per doubling, for which there is no evidence.

Now, the standard response from AGW supporters is that the CO2, when it comes along, is some kind of positive feedback that makes the temperature rise more than it would be otherwise. Is this possible? I would say sure, it’s possible … but that we have no evidence that that is the case. In fact, the changes in CO2 at the end of the last ice age argue that there is no such feedback. You can see in Figure 1 that the temperatures rise and then stabilize, while the CO2 keeps on rising. The same is shown in more detail in the Greenland ice core data, where it is clear that the temperature fell slightly while the CO2 continued to rise.

As I said, this does not negate the possibility that CO2 played a small part. Further inquiry into that angle is not encouraging, however. If we assume that the CO2 is giving 3° per doubling of warming per the IPCC hypothesis, then the problem is that raises the rate of thermal outgassing up to 17 ppmv per degree of warming instead of 15 ppmv. This is in the wrong direction, given that the cited value in the literature is lower at 12.5 ppmv
So what does cause ice ages to come and go?

A Serbian scientist named Milutin Milankovich, writing in 1941, published a lengthy book  called “Canon of Insolation of the Earth and Its Application to the Problem of the Ice Ages”. He argued that ice ages and interglacials were caused by changes in the orbit of the Earth around the sun. These changes, known as eccentricity, obliquity and precession, sometimes combined to increase the relative warmth of northern hemisphere summers, melting ice caps in North America and Eurasia and spreading warmth worldwide. This, said Milankovich, was “the hitherto missing link between celestial mechanics and geology”.

The northern hemisphere matters because no matter how warm the southern summer gets, Antarctica, being at much higher latitude, stays cold and (reflective) white.

In 1976 Nicholas Shackleton, a Cambridge physicist, and his colleagues published a paper called “Variations in the Earth’s Orbit – Pacemaker of the Ice Ages” with evidence from deep-sea cores of cycles in the warming and cooling of the Earth over the past half million years which fitted Milankovich’s orbital wobbles.

In a brilliant insight, Shackleton had realised that sediments taken from the ocean floor and analysed for different isotopes of oxygen could serve as a proxy for climate. The lighter isotopes of oxygen evaporated more readily from the sea, and therefore were more likely to fall as snow and get stuck on ice caps in cold periods, returning to the sea when the ice melted. So the relative concentration of the lighter isotopes in sea-floor sediments were a sort of thermometer.

Precession, which decides whether the Earth is closer to the sun in July or in January, is on a 23,000-year cycle; obliquity, which decides how tilted the axis of the Earth is and therefore how warm the summer is, is on a 41,000-year cycle; and eccentricity, which decides how rounded or elongated the Earth’s orbit is and therefore how close to the sun the planet gets, is on a 100,000-year cycle. When these combine to make a “great summer” in the north, the ice caps shrink.

Game, set and match to Milankovich? Not quite. The Antarctic ice cores, going back 800,000 years, then revealed that there were some great summers when the Milankovich wobbles should have produced an interglacial warming, but did not. To explain these “missing interglacials”, a recent paper in Geoscience Frontiers by Ralph Ellis and Michael Palmer argues we need carbon dioxide back on the stage, not as a greenhouse gas but as plant food.

The argument goes like this. Colder oceans evaporate less moisture and rainfall decreases. At the depth of the last ice age, Africa suffered long mega-droughts; only small pockets of rainforest remained. Crucially, the longer an ice age lasts, the more carbon dioxide is dissolved in the cold oceans. When the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere drops below 200 parts per million (0.02 per cent), plants struggle to grow at all, especially at high altitudes. Deserts expand. Dust storms grow more frequent and larger. In the Antarctic ice cores, dust increased markedly whenever carbon dioxide levels got below 200 ppm. The dust would have begun to accumulate on the ice caps, especially those of Eurasia and North America, which were close to deserts. Next time a Milankovich great summer came along, and the ice caps began to melt, the ice would have grown dirtier and dirtier, years of deposited dust coming together as the ice shrank. The darker ice would have absorbed more heat from the sun and a runaway process of collapsing ice caps would have begun.

Here is an extract from the paper:

A more logical explanation for the inverse correlation between dust and CO2can be seen through the effect that CO2 concentrations have on plant life. Fig. 8 also shows that CO2 levels during each ice-age came all the way down to 190–180 ppm, and that is approaching dangerously low levels for C3 photosynthesis-pathway plant life. CO2 is a vital component of the atmosphere because it is an essential plant food, and without CO2 all plants die. In her comprehensive analysis of plant responses to reduced CO2 concentrations, Gerhart says of this fundamental issue:

It is clear that modern C3 plant genotypes grown at low CO2 (180–200 ppm) exhibit severe reductions in photosynthesis, survival, growth, and reproduction … Such findings beg the question of how glacial plants survived during low CO2 periods … Studies have shown that the average biomass production of modern C3 plants is reduced by approximately 50% when grown at low (180–220 ppm) CO2, when other conditions are optimal … (The abortion of all flower buds) suggested that 150 ppm CO2 may be near the threshold for successful completion of the life cycle in some C3 species (Gerhart and Ward, 2010 Section II).

It is clear that a number of plant species would have been under considerable stress when world CO2 concentrations reduced to 200 or 190 ppm during the glacial maximum, especially if moisture levels in those regions were low (Gerhart and Ward, 2010; Pinto et al., 2014). And palaeontological discoveries at the La Brea tar pits in southern California have confirmed this, where oxygen and carbon isotopic analysis of preserved juniperus wood dating from 50 kyr ago through to the Holocene interglacial has shown that: ‘glacial trees were undergoing carbon starvation’ (Ward et al., 2005). And yet these stresses and biomass reductions do not appear to become lethal until CO2 concentrations reach 150 ppm, which the glacial maximums did not achieve - unless we add altitude and reducing CO2 partial pressures into the equation.

All of human civilisation happened in an interglacial period, with a relatively stable climate, plentiful rainfall and high enough levels of carbon dioxide to allow the vigorous growth of plants. Agriculture was probably impossible before then, and without its hugely expanded energy supply, none of the subsequent flowering of human culture would have happened.

That interglacial will end. Today the northern summer sunshine is again slightly weaker than the southern. In a few tens of thousands of years, our descendants will probably be struggling with volatile weather, dust storms and air that cannot support many crops. But that is a very long way off, and by then technology should be more advanced, unless we prevent it developing. The key will be energy. With plentiful and cheap energy our successors could thrive even in a future ice age, growing crops, watering deserts, maintaining rainforests and even melting ice caps.

SOURCE

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

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Washington Governor Claims ‘Just 59 Days’ To Save Children From Global Warming



What's eating fools like this?  Don't they know how absurd they  will look in the near future?

Washington state’s Democratic Governor Jay Inslee warned there was “just 59 days” to save future generations from “an endless cycle of crop-killing droughts one year, and rivers spilling their banks the next.”

Inslee went on a lengthy Twitter rant in efforts to convince the state legislature to pass legislation to tax carbon dioxide emissions. Washington residents voted down Inslee’s last carbon tax plan by a wide margin in 2016.

The state legislature’s session ends in 59 days, on March 8. Democrats have a slim majority in both state legislative chambers.

Inslee wants lawmakers to pass a tax on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and industrial facilities.

The plan could raise household electricity prices five percent, and gas prices by about 10 percent, according to official estimates.

SOURCE





Sir Porritt's Island of Climate Criminals

Tony Thomas

The Kerguelen islands are horridly cold and windy specks near the Antarctic, populated by a few score of French scientists and several thousand sheep. But to a leading British green group, Forum for the Future, it has enormous potential as an internationally-run penal colony for global warming sceptics.

The Forum's founder-director is Jonathon Porritt, 67, Eton- and Oxford-bred Chancellor of Keele University,  adviser to Prince Charles, and Green Party activist. [1] The Forum's fancy for Kerguelen can be found in its 76-page report "Climate Futures - Responses to Climate Change in 2030", written in conjunction with Hewlett-Packard, a company which should know better. This scenario, one of five, involves the naughty world  delaying the reduction of emissions, for which we must all suffer. The document even conjures a fictional climate criminal and imagines him being deported to Kerguelen in 2028. He is Jean-Claude Bertillon, leader of the No Climate Change Party in Canada, "convicted of denying the existence of climate change".

The report actually fantasises three  penal colonies which, from the context, must be for for climate criminals. The other two are Britain's frosty South Georgia[2]  and the South Island of New Zealand. [Extreme ignorance there.  The South Island is idyllic] Written in 2008, the document attempts to show how CO2 emissions will wreck the planet within a couple of decades unless civilisation turns away from the sins of consumerism and economic growth. As we are now almost half-way to the 2030 forecast date it is possible to get a handle on how the Forum's timeline is working out, and perhaps to gain an inkling of any substance to the report’s assertion that our descendants will look back on us with the same disgust we reserve for the slave-owners of yesteryear.

The   authors — and Porritt himself — long for an eco-catastrophe that would eliminate all public doubts about climate doom.  Their manifesto says,

"Because of a chilling lack of confidence in our leaders . our only hope would be for an isolated, serious pre-taste of climate change to happen soon enough for the political and behavioral response to have a useful impact.”

This is probably wishful thinking, as Porritt, founder director of Forum for the Future and chair of the UK's Sustainable Development Commission, pointed out:

 `I have occasionally fantasised about a low mortality-count scenario where a Force Six hurricane takes out Miami, but with plenty of warning so the entire city is evacuated with zero loss of life. The insurance industry in America would collapse because this could be a $50-60 billion climate-related `natural' disaster. The industry wouldn't be able to cope with that. There would be knock-on pain throughout the global economy, massive, traumatic dislocation. This would act as enough of an injection of physical reality, coupled with financial consequences for leaders to say: `Ok, we've got it now. This isn't just about some nasty effects on poor countries: this is devastating for our entire model of progress.' The response to that would be a negotiated transition towards a very low-carbon global economy that builds increased prosperity for people in more equitable and sustainable ways.'"

The report says its five scenarios are all possible, based on “a review of the current science” and “input from scores of experts.” In all five scenarios global warming and extreme weather are, of course, far worse and more perilous than even the 2007 IPCC report suggested.[3] Here are some of its prescribed green correctives:

Expensive, state-funded information campaigns reinforce the need for changes to lifestyles and aim to keep the mandate for state intervention strong. Inevitably parallels are drawn between this and the authoritarian state propaganda of the twentieth century.

"`Climate crime' is a social faux pas everywhere, but in some countries it is a crime to publicly question the existence of anthropogenic climate change or to propose actions that could in some way contribute to climate change.

"It is very rare to come across dissenting voices with any real power, but resistance to overly strong state intervention is occasionally violent. The media in some countries has been permitted to discuss whether the single focus on resolving climate change means that other equally important or inter-linked issues are being ignored." (Report's emphasis, not mine)

Meanwhile,

"in some countries a licence is now required to have children and these are awarded according to a points system. Climate-friendly behaviour means points.

"It is not unusual for governments to monitor household energy consumption in real time, with warnings sent to homes that exceed their quotas. For example, citizens could be told to turn off certain appliances such as washing machines or kettles or even have them switched off remotely."

In 2014 Harvard luminary Naomi Oreskes forecast the extinction of all Australians amid climate woes. The Future Forum is more moderate,  envisaging merely the abandonment of waterless central Australia, a "collapse of Australian agriculture",  and a "particularly toxic" combination of drought and recession.[4]

In what the Forum authors call "alarming reading", Australia's Friends of the Earth climate experts predict the disappearance of Arctic summer ice by 2013, "almost a century earlier than suggested by the IPCC". The actual 2013 minimum was about five million square kilometres of sea ice, and it was a bit more than that last year.

The authors let slip some of the green's secret tradecraft, in terms of their projected advances in fostering ever-creeping state control under the smokescreen of controlling emissions:

"In most cases this has happened gradually, ratcheting up over time, with citizens surrendering control of their lives piecemeal rather than all at once, as trading regimes, international law, lifestyles and business have responded to the growing environmental crisis. And so in 2030, greenhouse gas emissions are beginning to decline, but the cost to individual liberty has been great."

One is hardly surprised to find such a green-minded document citing Cuba as a beacon of hope for quality of life. But also Nicaragua and Bhutan?

There is the distinct possibility that non-western development paths could gain greater credence. At one extreme, the development strategies adopted today by Cuba, Bhutan, Nicaragua or Thailand could be the pioneers of future diversity. Here, new priorities, particularly around `quality of life', have sidelined many aspects of traditional western development models.

Here are some snippets from the scenarios.

2009-18: Global depression and harrowing malnutrition are caused by high oil and commodity prices. In 2017,  "authorities (are) warned to prepare for a `suicide epidemic' in the US caused by the Depression." [Reality: Dow Jones index now at record levels and oil prices relatively low.]

2018: Reunification of Korea with Pyongyang as the capital. [Great work, Kim Jong-un!]

2020:  The year of no winter in the northern hemisphere.
 [Right now, the US and Europe are blanketed by extreme cold and snowfalls].

2022: Oil hits US$400 a barrel [current price: US$60],[5]  making world trade and air travel prohibitively expensive. The carbon price makes carbon "one of the most important and expensive commodities in the world today". [In reality the carbon futures price has collapsed to about US$8 a tonne. Labor's Rudd-Gillard carbon price was about $A23.]

2026: NATO has defined breaking the 2020 Beijing Climate Change Agreement as an attack on all its members, to be defended by military force.

2029: Planned permanent settlement of the Antarctic Peninsula, taking people from climate-stressed countries. Styled as the first true global community, its population is projected to be 3.5 million by 2040.

2030: Waterless Oklahoma has been abandoned. Texas becomes independent [so much for the Civil War of 1861-65].

2030: "The US president launches a re-election campaign with a populist speech entitled `What is the Point of the UN?' after a debate in New York descends into factional chaos." [Donald Trump last month beat the forecaste by 13 years].

Some predictions in the document are quite good, albeit easy ones. Try these:

2026: Supercomputer Alf-8 correctly predicts general strike in France. [Well, doh!]

2012-30: China is accused of lying and cheating on its emissions pledges.

The document's part-hidden agenda is propaganda for the lunatic "simplicity movement" in which everyone returns to an idyll of backyard vegetables and disdain for material things, such as cars and toasters. For example, in 2022 "a general retailer in the UK announces that it has sold more wool for home use than manufactured knitwear for the first time in its history." In other words, won’t it be wonderful when we all have to knit our own clothes.[6] [7]

The  authors also take for another run the failed Club of Rome's 1972  "Limits to Growth" diagnosis: Prices for raw materials are very high and getting higher, having major impacts on manufacturing processes and the world economy. Proposals have been tabled for commercial mining ventures on the moon. The world is in a deadly race to develop new processes before resources run out completely.”

In a passage  obviously written by academics, the academics become the heroes of the future: "Communications like the `world wide internet' have fragmented. A small group of academics preserve a global network, their dream to `re-unite' the world."

The report's best prediction, undoubtedly, is for an upsurge in rent-a-bikes. I counted four of those yellow oBikes on my dog-walking path just this morning.

Tony Thomas's book of essays, That's Debatable - 60 Years in Print, is available here




[1] One of his predecessors as Keele Chancellor was Princess Margaret (1962-86).


[2] South Georgia's national day each September 4 is dedicated to the Patagonian toothfish.


[3] "The scenarios are based on wide research and consultation and a rigorous methodology."

[4] The 2017 reality: Australia's winter grain harvest last year was down 40% on 2016, which had smashed records by 30%. World crop production hit a record, thanks partly to higher CO2 levels and mild long-term warming. Wheat production, for example, was at a record 750 million metric tonnes.


[5] In 2008, when the report was written, oil was at US$150 a barrel


[6] I tried knitting during train trips to school at age 14 but my outputs were never successful.


[7] A nest of "simplicity" people currently push the same line at Melbourne University's Sustainable Society Institute. The green-infested Australian Academy of Science hosted a Fenner conference for zero-growthers in 2014, some of them  advocating 90% cuts to Australia living standards.

SOURCE





Go on, California — blow up your lousy zoning laws

Some rare sense from Boston:

GO ON, CALIFORNIA. Do it. Blow up the zoning laws that choke off new housing and force chefs, nursing assistants, and college professors to live in their cars.

A state senator from San Francisco recently filed legislation to sweep away minimum-parking requirements, limits on density, and certain other restrictions on residential housing construction within a half-mile of a train station and a quarter-mile of stops on high-frequency bus routes. Senator Scott Wiener’s bill would promote bigger, taller new buildings in transit-rich urban areas across California.

The bill may be the biggest environmental boon, the best job creator, and the greatest strike against inequality that anyone’s proposed in the United States in decades.

Ease up on zoning limits, and private developers — with their own money — will create millions of new units in urban areas, absorbing the influx of tech and finance bros, freeing up homes for everyone else, and creating lots of construction jobs along the way. Make room for more people in some of the world’s most economically productive metro areas, and the whole country benefits.

Thriving cities need room to grow. According to a new report by the real-estate website Trulia, two-thirds of homes in San Francisco are now valued at $1 million or more, up from 22 percent since 2012. In the Boston area, the situation isn’t that dire — yet — but the percentage of homes with million-dollar values has nearly doubled in five years.

In the rare event Wiener’s bill passes, it might just persuade pricey enclaves around the country, including Eastern Massachusetts, that the cure for a housing crisis doesn’t have to be complex.

Recently, Governor Charlie Baker proposed a modest housing package, including a grant program for cities and towns that ease their zoning, plus modest legislation that would allow local government bodies to approve denser home construction by a simple majority, rather than a two-thirds vote. There have been other efforts on Beacon Hill to loosen up zoning rules statewide — for instance, by designating areas where developers can build housing without seeking special permission and by giving people freer rein to carve granny apartments out of existing houses — but progress has been slow. The House in particular has protected the ability of cities and towns to say no.

Meanwhile, even some people who consider themselves housing advocates are in thrall to the left-wing version of climate-change denial: the belief that building more units pushes prices up, not down. At last year’s state Democratic convention, a band of progressives tried — and, blessedly, failed — to change the party platform to remove language supporting market-rate housing. (Rule of thumb: If your plan to lower housing costs depends on overthrowing the laws of capitalism, it’s not a plan at all.)

In California, opponents of Wiener’s bill argue, predictably, that he’s shilling for developers and, more imaginatively, that the bill serves a white-supremacist agenda. But any suggestion that today’s zoning promotes equity is nothing short of astonishing.

Zoning has an ugly history. In a startling book entitled “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America,” author Richard Rothstein details the thousands of steps that federal, state, and local officials took over decades to keep African-Americans from moving into white areas. When courts invalidated explicit racial zoning, cities and towns from coast to coast imposed codes that restricted the construction of multifamily housing — a more legally defensible way to keep supposed undesirables out.

Today, we justify zoning as a way of protecting schools and homes from slaughterhouses and chemical plants. Fair enough. But having long ago vanquished genuine nuisances, upscale homeowners have moved on to fighting threats like height and shadows. When people are offered the chance to tell other people what they can and can’t do with their property, it’s too tempting to turn down.

Many of the most beloved neighborhoods in the Boston area were built before the advent of zoning, and they didn’t need it to develop as nicely as they did. And once neighborhood groups decide that stricter is better, it’s hard to stop — which is why vast areas of Greater Boston cannot legally be rebuilt under current zoning.

California’s housing problems are like ours, but only more so. Population growth there has been far faster, and many of the land-use laws there are stricter. As a result, housing prices out there have spiraled much farther out of control.

On the upside, if and when the government legalizes more housing construction, the housing market will respond quickly. In the year since California eased restrictions on granny flats, the number of applications to build the units in Los Angeles has risen 20-fold. Now the Golden State has a chance to do something far bolder.

Come on, California. Don’t be shy.

SOURCE





True & Staggering Cost of Intermittent & Unreliable Wind Power – Unplugged

The total cost of attempting to incorporate intermittent, unreliable and chaotic wind power into a grid designed around stable, controllable, dispatchable power generation is utterly staggering.

In those places attempting to run on sunshine and breezes, grid managers are forced to regularly intervene, compelling the owners of conventional fossil-fuelled generation plant (coal and gas) to burn fuel and remain online, even when the wind is blowing which, due to the subsidies provided to wind power, prevents them from dispatching power to the grid and earning revenue from doing so. Compensating the owners of coal and gas-fired plant for burning fuel for no commercially defined purpose (other than keeping the grid from collapsing) has a cost.

The alternative to these massive ‘capacity payments’ is simply allowing the chaotic delivery of wind power to destroy the stability of otherwise reliable grids, outright.

There are 3 electricity essentials – that the power source and its delivery to homes and businesses be: 1) reliable; 2) secure; and 3) affordable. Wind power – a wholly weather dependent power source, that can’t be stored (save at the margins in the odd, insanely expensive Tesla battery) and costs 3-4 times the cost of conventional power – scores NIL on all three counts.

Over time, STT has sought to pull together fairly technical aspects of power generation in an effort to demonstrate the patent nonsense of wind power.

We’ve attempted to cover the engineering and economics of trying to add a chaotic power source to a grid designed around narrow physical tolerances; and which requires constant second-by-second management to deliver that which – until wind power entered the equation – we all largely took for granted.

More HERE





Battling Climate Change from the Back Seat of an S.U.V.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has filed suit against big oil companies for their part in climate change, but he regularly rides around town in an S.U.V. Credit Dave Sanders for The New York Times
Purring in the mild winter day, a small armada of S.U.V.s was parked Thursday morning along 42nd Street outside the New York Public Library. Inside was Mayor Bill de Blasio, at an interfaith prayer breakfast that went on for quite a while.

By divine right of mayoralty, or someone, 13 vehicles waited at the curb in a no-standing zone, among them four black S.U.V.s (three Chevy Suburbans and one Yukon XL) an ambulance, a huge E.M.S. vehicle and a police school safety van. The engines on those big boys were running while the mayor was inside, for about two hours.

At least one of the S.U.V.s had Taxi and Limousine Commission plates. It may not have been part of the official mayoral entourage, but its dashboard was anointed with the holiest of government oils: a police placard giving it license to park where unblessed mortals cannot.

One day earlier, Mr. de Blasio announced that the city would sue five big oil companies for the hardships and costs inflicted on New York by climate change. For an archipelago city with 520 miles of coastline, rising seas are no joke. Among the targets of the suits was Exxon Mobil, whose own scientists found, as most scientists have, that climate change was real and that human behavior was contributing to it. Even so, Exxon supported organizations that attacked those very conclusions. In the suit, New York follows the lead of governments around the Bay Area in California that have filed similar cases.

Whatever the merits of the suit, Mr. de Blasio and his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg, are the very embodiment of a possible line of defense by the oil companies. Namely, that it wasn’t the oil companies that created the greenhouse gases, but society in general — companies and individuals who used oil to generate electricity, or for transportation.

Many mornings, Mr. De Blasio is driven 11 miles to his gym in Park Slope, Brooklyn, from the official mayor’s residence on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Gracie Mansion.

Former Mayor Bloomberg, a billionaire, rode the subway most days. On the other hand, Mr. Bloomberg routinely splurged on carbon usage by deploying his personal fleet of carbon-inefficient private jets and helicopters for long-distance travel. He would use them to fly to a weekend home in Bermuda, for instance, or to Europe. In an episode so rich you could choke on it, Mr. Bloomberg brought an entourage aboard his personal Falcon 900 to Copenhagen, at a cost in carbon emissions that was 37 times more than if the group had flown commercial.

The reason for the trip? Mr. Bloomberg was speaking at a conference on climate change.

In New York, the police regard S.U.V.s as the most prudent for moving and protecting the mayor, and no one should begrudge any officials the security they need to carry out the work they do on behalf of the public. That goes for their recreation, at least for mayors, who put in long hours. At some point, every last one of them winds up splutteringly frayed or fried, so getting to a favorite gym probably helps keep Mr. de Blasio from losing his mind.

Just because it is easier to deplore hypocrisy in others than in ourselves does not make any of us immune to it. Hypocrisy is more widely practiced by humans than any creed. Mr. Bloomberg’s health department wanted restaurants to cut sodium from their recipes but he was known to shake salt on slices of pizza and saltine crackers.

Mr. de Blasio has made populism work for him politically, but apparently too much righteous posturing can be a strain on the middle-aged back. Within a five-minute walk of the 42nd Street Library are 13 subway lines that fan out to virtually every corner of the city. Still, Mayor de Blasio hopped into one of the S.U.V.s leaving the library — a relatively efficient hybrid model, his spokesman pointed out. “The mayor uses public transit as much as his schedule allows, and we’re always looking to use it more,” Eric Phillips, the spokesman, said.

When was the last time?

December 11, Mr. Phillips said.

In the afternoon, WBUR aired an interview with the mayor by Meghna Chakrabarti about Mr. de Blasio’s climate actions, which, besides the lawsuit, include a proposal to divest the city’s pension investments in fossil fuel companies. These weren’t political stunts, the mayor said, arguing that the lawsuit was akin to suits against tobacco companies.

Wouldn’t it be better to keep stocks in those companies and have a voice in changing them, the host asked.

“I think you have to vote with your feet sometimes,” Mr. de Blasio replied.

No kidding.

SOURCE

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

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

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Monday, January 15, 2018



Warming and the Search for Climate Justice for the Poor

A slight temperature rise is THE big problem for the poor?  It might hurt the Filipino farmer below somewhat, who looks like he is harvesting sugar-cane, but how come he is not sitting in the air-conditioned cabin of a big mechanical harvester?  THAT is the real issue.



There are many things the poor need before they need to worry about the climate.  Such as cheap electricity, cheap petroleum products and a government that is repealing laws and regulations rather than adding to them.  That canecutter could be sitting in an airconditioned cabin and harvesting 100 times more cane than he is now if only his government had long ago decided to sit on its hands.  China did it with resounding success so the way ahead for the poor of the 3rd world is clear.  And it has nothing to do with climate


A far-reaching report being drafted by the United Nations' authoritative climate science panel explores in comprehensive detail the environmental justice, poverty and other human rights challenges facing the world as it pursues the urgent and daunting goals of the Paris Agreement.

"In a 1.5 degree Celsius warmer world"—a world we're likely to see by mid-century without a global transformation in the next decade, the latest version of the draft report says—"those most at risk will be individuals and communities experiencing multidimensional poverty, persistent vulnerabilities and various forms of deprivation and disadvantage."

To help protect them, it calls for policies "guided by concerns for equity and fairness and enhanced support for eradicating poverty and reducing inequalities."

In scope, scale and detail—but also in its careful attention to questions of ethics and justice—this report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a landmark work in progress.

The emerging report is more than 800 pages long, heavily footnoted and packed with graphics and sidebars. It lays out as never before "an assessment of current knowledge of the extent and interlinkages of the global environmental, economic, financial, social and technical conditions that a 1.5 degree Celsius warmer world represents." It takes on "complex ethics questions" that demand "interdisciplinary research and reflection."

How, it asks, will a 1.5 degree warmer world impact the human rights of the dispossessed, "including their rights to water, shelter, food, health and life? How will it affect the rights of the urban and rural poor, indigenous communities, women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities?"

The draft report gauges how the half-degree gap from 1.5 to 2 degrees of warming "amounts to a greater likelihood of drought, flooding, resource depletion, conflict and forced migration."

It notes that even if all the nations achieve their Paris pledges, the result will be worldwide emissions in 2030 that already lock in 1.5 degrees of warming by the end of this century. The temperature barrier would likely be broken by mid-century, as Reuters noted in first reporting on the draft study. Even the 2 degree target eventually would fall unless emissions are brought to zero, the IPCC and other agencies have repeatedly warned.

Either way, the outlook is dire, especially for the poor.

"The risks to human societies through impacts on health, livelihood, food and water security, human security and infrastructure are higher with 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming compared to today, and higher still with 2 degrees Celsius global warming compared with 1.5 degrees," the draft concludes.

"These risks are greatest for people facing multiple forms of poverty, inequality and marginalization; people in coastal communities and those dependent on agriculture; poor urban residents; and communities displaced from their homes."

Suitable pathways forward, the report said, must square the circle of energy use and sustainable development—not an easy task, but one that would pay off with a cleaner environment, better health, prospering ecosystems and other benefits. There would be risks for poverty, hunger and access to energy; those must be "alleviated by redistributive measures."
How to Move Forward?

The focus on justice and fairness is enlisted to press for substantial transformations of the energy landscape as emissions from fossil fuels are eliminated and changes in land management, among other steps, are pressed hard.

On the one hand, these remedies "are put at risk by high population growth, low economic development, and limited efforts to reduce energy demand," the report says. On the other hand, the solutions cannot be allowed to burden the poor.

SOURCE





IPCC says Paris goal is a crock

Bar a concerted global effort to reduce emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere, the world is highly likely to exceed the most ambitious climate goal set by the Paris Agreement by the 2040s, according to a leaked draft of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report obtained by Reuters.

The IPCC is expected to release the final version of their highly anticipated Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C in October. The preliminary version obtained by Reuters was submitted to a small group of experts and government officials for review and was not meant for public release.

Every few years, the IPCC publishes an Assessment Report containing the available research about the current state of climate change. This year’s special report is the first focused on what is possibly the Paris Agreement’s most controversial climate goal: limiting global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

Though some countries are in strong support of taking action to ensure the world meets this climate goal, research has shown that we are highly unlikely to do so.

The draft of the special report obtained by Reuters seems to confirm this low probability of success: “There is very high risk that […] global warming will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels [should emissions continue at the current pace].”

The draft also states that meeting the climate goal would require an “unprecedented” leap from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy and extensive reforms everywhere from industry to agriculture.

Additionally, while curbing global temperatures would help reduce some of the worst impacts of climate change, including sea level rise and droughts, it would not be enough to protect the planet’s most fragile ecosystems, including polar ice caps and coral reefs.

Political Motives?

While the findings currently included in the report confirm what the public may consider the worst-case scenario, scientists who have read the report are not surprised by its contents.

“The report is unexceptional,” Peter Wadhams, Professor of Ocean Physics at the University of Cambridge, told Futurism. “It was already clear to every climate scientist that a 1.5 degrees Celsius warming limit would be breached by 2050 (in fact, probably much earlier) in the absence of drastic carbon capture measures.”

Gabriel Marty, a climate change analyst and former U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) delegate for France, told Futurism that it’s too soon to speculate on the content of the final report.

However, once it is released, he said readers should note the treatment of the uncertainties and risks of the so-called “bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS)” technologies designed to suck carbon emissions out of the atmosphere.

“The risks associated [with heavily relying on these technologies] must be clearly outlined,” said Marty. “They do not exist yet, the scale that would be needed would be enormous, and the adverse impacts on land and water resources would likely be huge.”

According to sources familiar with the IPCC’s proceedings, the panel has been criticized in the past for being too coy about the limitations of BECCS and for understating their risks in order to present the 2 degrees Celsius target as “still viable.”

Wadhams also mentioned the possibility that the IPCC’s hesitation to release the special report itself could be politically motivated.

“The IPCC has long since become a political rather than a scientific organization, so their secretiveness and sensitivity about a perfectly ordinary report has some political motive,” he told Futurism.

"“A lot could still change between now and the final version.”"

Roz Pidcock, head of communications for the IPCC Working Group 1, told Futurism that that’s not the case. She said the fact that the special report is currently confidential has nothing to do with a lack of transparency on the part of the panel — they simply aren’t finished with it yet.

“All of the expert and government review comments that come in over the next few weeks are taken on board […] Just to give an idea of what that involves, the first draft of this report received 12,895 comments from nearly 500 expert reviewers around the world,” said Pidcock. “A lot could still change between now and the final version.”

We will need to wait until October for the IPCC’s final take on the viability of the extremely ambitious 1.5 degrees Celsius limit, but whatever the contents of the report, we can’t let it discourage us from taking the strongest action possible to prevent further damage to our planet.

SOURCE





The 'bomb cyclone' and Dems' energy disaster

A convergence of weather patterns created the nor'easter that brought frigid temperatures and snow to the eastern U.S. from Mississippi to Maine.

That "bomb cyclone" also exposed a perfect storm of President Obama's failed energy policies that threatens disastrous consequences for the nation.

Brutal cold strained the electric power grid. Utilities relying on natural gas for power generation clamored for supplies as fuel was diverted to heat homes and businesses. Further, a lack of pipelines created a bottleneck for delivering gas to power plants.

PJM Interconnection, the regional grid operator serving 65 million people in the East, reports coal provided 40 percent of its power in the latest cold snap.

Recall that the Obama administration aggressively sought to eliminate coal from the nation's fuel mix. Unlike natural gas or renewables, which Obama favored, utilities can stockpile coal for immediate use when demand soars.

The Trump administration understands this, and the plan put forward by Energy Secretary Rick Perry appropriately prices coal against natural gas so utilities have the flexibility they need to ensure energy grid security.

On another energy front, the Northeast is heavily dependent on fuel oil for home heating, and the frigid temperatures left suppliers scrambling to meet demand.

But Obama-era policies on renewable fuels threaten the very existence of independent refiners in the Northeast.

WND has reported on the EPA's Rube Goldberg system for trading ethanol credits, known as RINs. Independent refiners are forced to spend millions under a compliance scheme that benefits speculators at the expense of energy producers and consumers.

Reforming the previous administration's renewable fuel mandate will ensure a steady supply of fuel oil for the Northeast without constructing one new pipeline, since the fuel will continue to be produced where it's consumed.

These are just two (extremely timely) examples of Obama policies that weakened America's energy security and endangered grid security. But there's more to the story.

Barack Obama declared war not only on coal - he wanted to phase out the use of all so-called fossil fuels under the banner of "environmentalism."

At one time, environmentalists promoted the use of natural gas, touting it as a clean-burning fuel. No more. The new green orthodoxy says it contributes to global warming and therefore must be banned.

Like his policies on Iran, Israel, immigration, health care, taxes, trade and regulation, President Trump's energy policies are a 180-degree reversal of Obama's.

The Trump administration understands that America's prosperity and security are intrinsically linked to energy. The administration's National Security Strategy identifies Energy Dominance as a pillar supporting national security.

President Trump has opened the oil and gas reserves lying off the nation's shores and in the Arctic hinterlands for production, and has plans to make more than 98 percent of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in federal offshore areas available for future exploration and development.

It's time to understand the agenda of the radical environmentalists in the Democratic Party, an agenda they will never admit openly.

President Donald Trump has spared us from it. Last year he began and this year he will continue to undo the damage it has done to our nation and economy.

In November, it will be up to us to keep control of Congress so we can Make America Great Again

SOURCE





Now it's a "climate crisis"
 
Remember when global warming meant the planet was supposed to, well, warm up? Temperatures would rise, and all manner of ecological calamity would ensue?

Me too. So it was surprising to find myself shivering, like other Americans, through several days of arctic chill and extreme cold, only to hear Al Gore blame it on global warming.

He didn’t use the W-word, though. “It’s bitter cold in parts of the U.S., but climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann explains that’s exactly what we should expect from the climate crisis,” Mr. Gore tweeted on Jan. 4.

See, it’s a “climate crisis” now. But it’s hard to blame him for trying some rebranding. After all, prediction after prediction has come to naught. But no matter: Like other doomsday prophets, Mr. Gore just acts like the last missed deadline didn’t happen and comes up with a new one.

Which is why it’s important to remind ourselves of what Mr. Gore has said in the past. Consider, for example, how he said global warming would cause the north polar ice cap to be completely free of ice within five years. When did he say that? Nine years ago.

News flash: The Arctic still has ice. Indeed, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, “ice growth during November 2017 averaged 30,900 square miles per day.” Oops.

So how about the evidence for the latest cold snap? Mr. Gore’s source, Michael Mann, says the ultra-chilly temps we’ve been enduring are “precisely the sort of extreme winter weather we expect because of climate change.” As the planet warms, he says, we’ll see more cold snaps and “bomb cyclones.”

Seems counter-intuitive, but Mr. Mann suggests this is because warming is “causing the jet stream to meander in a particular pattern” that leads to these cold spells.

I use the word “suggests,” however, because this is simply a theory — one that other scientists are not sold on. (Mr. Gore and the rest of the climate-crisis crowd often act like their ideas are universally accepted — that the scientific community is in complete agreement with them. But there is more room for doubt and disagreement than they care to admit.)

Just ask Kevin Trenberth, a scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research. “Winter storms are a manifestation of winter, not climate change,” he recently told The Daily Caller. “The Arctic is greatly affected by climate change, and it has a feedback effect — but not in winter.”

Even if Mr. Gore and Mr. Mann are correct about the link between global warming and cold snaps, the record works against them there, too. “The frequency of cold waves have decreased during the past 50 years, not increased,” University of Washington climatologist Cliff Mass says. “That alone shows that such claims are baseless.”

The term “bomb cyclone” is new to most of us, but it’s been around for a while. Climatologist Judith Curry recently told the Caller that it was coined almost 40 years ago by Fred Sanders of MIT, who spent a lot of time studying such storms. Moreover, there are about 50 or 60 bomb cyclones every year, but most of them occur too far out to sea for us to notice.

Al Gore and his fellow travelers may have trouble admitting that they could be wrong. But their never-look-back crusade isn’t helping scientific research.

“It is very disappointing that members of my profession are making such obviously bogus claims,” Cliff Mass said. “It hurts the science, it hurts the credibility of climate scientists, and weakens our ability to be taken seriously by society.”

That’s what happens, though, when we bend facts to fit theories — and not the other way around. And remember, Al, as the old song goes, “Baby, it’s cold outside!”

SOURCE





Phony Prophets Painting Fake Pictures to Produce an Alternate Global Warming Reality?

On Twitter December 28, President Trump wrote: "In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year's Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!"

Predictably, social media lit up with comments by agitated alarmists who apparently believe everything, including the gas problem their great uncle had during Christmas dinner, is caused by global warming. They won't be happy until the Earth freezes over and everyone dies.

They must have missed the news that Escambia County Florida had nearly two inches of snow on December 10, Erie, Pennsylvania just broke a 59-year-old snowfall record and  International Falls, Minnesota had a record-breaking 37 degrees below zero Christmas week. This happened thanks to a phenomenon scientists call a "Rossby wave" -- not global warming -- whereby Alaska blows it's arctic air south while simultaneously "inhaling" warm air from the tropics. We get a break from the cold while folks in the Lower 48 get to experience what living in Alaska is like without buying a plane ticket.

You're welcome.

Besides record-breaking cold, alarmists ignore that snowfall has increased for more than a century.

Up here in my little slice of paradise, researchers were recently shocked that the snowfall has doubled on Mt. Hunter in the Alaska range since the mid-1800s. In that same time frame, southcentral Alaska has experienced a 117 percent increase in winter snowfall and a 49 percent increase in summer snowfall. In addition, from 1950 to 2011, many coastal Alaskan towns have experienced winter snow increases ranging from 26 percent in Yakutat to 67 percent in Kodiak.

On December 6, 2017, in the Chugach mountains I call home, Thompson Pass, experienced one of history's most intense snowfalls at a rate of 10 inches per hour. That's a record even for Thompson Pass which often gets between 600 to 900 inches of snow per year.

Additionally, the sea ice improved this year.

The Anchorage Daily News reports that Alaska's "cool late-summer weather over the central Arctic Ocean helped preserve sea ice, slowing its melting enough to rank this year's annual ice minimum as only the eighth lowest in the satellite record, far from the worst it's been."

Record cold. Record snow. Recovering sea ice. But, things are not always as they appear. The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology announced in February 2017 they are investigating the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for alleged climate data manipulation after whistleblowers stepped forward, including Dr. John Bates, former principal scientist at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville North Carolina who claims NOAA scientists put a "thumb on the scale" to favor their global warming argument.

Maybe this is not about science at all. Maybe it's more about phony prophets painting fake pictures to produce an alternate reality.

Alarmists are not interested in the indisputable evidence the Earth goes through cyclical periods of cooling and warming. The Earth experienced periods of glaciation, then melting, long before the construction of Al Gore's energy-devouring Nashville home and Leonardo DiCaprio's excessive use of private jets.

Gore said the Arctic would be ice free by 2014 and the guy that Democrats call a "prophet," James Hansen, former director of NASA's Godard Institute for Space Studies, predicted the Arctic ice would melt by the end of 2017.

Oops.

Hansen recently published a paper suggesting we are now on the brink of a short ice age caused by.wait for it.global warming. He claims global temperatures are an "unreliable diagnostic of planetary condition as the ice melt increases" and predicts "large scale regional cooling by mid-century" for the North Atlantic and Southern oceans.

Obviously, climate alarmists have the same answer for every weather pattern, so the rest of us normal folks should forget them and focus on reality. Right about now, a little global warming sounds nice as we dream of white sandy beaches, not the white powdery stuff outside our windows waiting to be shoveled.

SOURCE

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

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

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Sunday, January 14, 2018



Cold Facts on the Globe’s Hottest Years (?)

Annenberg fact checking is often recognizably biased so the presentation below has to be taken with a  grain of salt.  So let me supply some salt

But first let me congratulate author Vanessa Schipani on a scholarly piece of work.  It's nice to have a detailed discussion of the numbers for a change.  And she does concede in the end  that the "hottest year" talk so beloved of Warmists is pretty meaningless, which is pleasing.

So she says that it is the long-term trend whch we have to focus on.  So far, so good.

But a trend by itself tells you very little. The interesting question is what causes the trend.  On (rubbery) NOAA figures there has been a slight trend over the last 150 years but are the details of that trend favourable to the global warming theory?  They are not.  So we have to move on to matters that Vanessa does not consider. In particular, was the trend in temperature matched by a trend in CO2 levels?  That the two trends do coincide is the essence of the global warming theory.

To examine the question, we have to ask what are our start and finish points of any trend we want to examine.  It is an old truth of chartmanship that you can prove almost anything by a judicious selection of start and finish points.  Every such decision will have a degree of arbitrariness but some are less arbitrary than othrers.

During my research career I did a lot of factor analysis, generally principal components analysis. I even remember centroid analysis! And you can generally get quite a few factors out of  a modern analysis.  But how do you decide which factors are likely to be important?  A very common procedure is to look for the "natural break" in an ordered series of eigenvalues -- sometimes called a "scree test".  And looking at any series of numbers can involve a decision of that nature.

So, in the case of the terrestrial temperature series we can see on a number of occasions such "natural breaks".  One of them is, quite simply, the 21st century.  The 21st century temperatures bob up and down but display no overall trend.  There is NO global warming in the 21st century so the trend up to that time appears to have run its course.  It is certainly true that El Nino pushed up temperatures in 2015 and 2016 but El Nino is not a product of anthropogenic global warming and its influence has by now just about petered out, leaving the 2017 temperature very close to the pre El Nino average, which gives us temperature stasis back.

And note that CO2 levels did NOT rise during the El Nino warming event.  I monitored the CO2 figures from both Cape Grim and Mauna Loa right from the onset of the warming -- beginning roughly in August 2015.  And I noted that the 400ppm peak had been reached BEFORE that warming event and then plateaued during the warming event.  There was no rise in CO2 levels accompanying the rise in temperature.  So the temperature rise COULD NOT have been caused by a CO2 rise -- because there was no CO2 rise. And it's now in the journals that CO2 levels plateaued in 2015 and 2016.

So El Nino did not merely contribute "part" of the 2015/2016 warming event, it contributed the WHOLE of it.  So if we remove the influence of El Nino, we can see that there has been NO anthropogenic global warming for the whole of this century.  The levels of CO2 have influenced nothing.  Warmist theory is wrong


Sen. James Inhofe misleadingly claimed that the statistics behind the globe’s likely hottest years on record — 2014, 2015 and 2016 — were “meaningless” because the temperature increases were “well within the margin of error.” Taking into account the margins of error, there’s still a long-term warming trend.

Inhofe, a longtime skeptic of human-caused climate change, made his claim Jan. 3 on the Senate floor.

Inhofe, Jan. 3: The Obama administration touted 2014, 2015, and 2016 as the hottest years on record. But the increases are well within the margin of error. In 2016, NOAA said the Earth warmed by 0.04 degrees Celsius, and the British Government pegged it at 0.01 Celsius. However, the margin of error is 0.1 degree, not 0.01. So it is all statistically meaningless and below the doom-and-gloom temperature predictions from all the various models from consensus scientists.

Since Inhofe cites data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the British government, we’ll concentrate on their analyses.

According to NOAA, 2016 was the warmest year on record for the globe since record keeping began in 1880; 2015 ranked the second warmest year and 2014 the third warmest. There are uncertainties in those rankings, however.

As we explained in 2015 when then-President Obama proclaimed 2014 “the planet’s warmest year on record,” such a definitive claim is problematic. For instance, while NOAA found then that 2014 had the highest probability of being the warmest, there remained statistical odds that other years could have held that distinction. But as we explained, scientists are more concerned with long-term trends than any given year.

And 2017 is on track to be another warm year. On Dec. 18, NOAA said 2017 could end up being the third warmest on record, based on data for January to November. NOAA spokesman Brady Philips told us the agency will release information on the year as a whole on Jan. 18.

NOAA ranks years by looking at how much their average temperatures differ from the 20th century average — what scientists call a temperature anomaly.

Based on the agency’s analysis, the average temperature for 2016 was 0.94 degrees Celsius (1.69 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th century average of 13.9 C (56.9 F). The margin of error for 2016 was plus-or-minus 0.15 C (0.27 F).

NOAA explains that a margin of error takes into account the “inherent level of uncertainty” that comes with “[e]valuating the temperature of the entire planet.”

The agency adds that the reported temperature anomaly — 0.94 C in the case of 2016 — “is not an exact measurement; instead it is the central — and most likely — value within a range of possible values.”

For example, that range, or margin of error, would be 0.79 C (1.42 F) to 1.09 C (1.96 F) for 2016. Scientists at NOAA are 95 percent certain the temperature anomaly for 2016, or for any given year, will fall within the margin of error.

As Inhofe notes, NOAA scientists found that the average temperature for 2015 was 0.04 C less than 2016’s at 0.90 C (1.62 F) above the 20th century norm. The margin of error for 2015 was plus-or-minus 0.08 C (0.14 F), which means the range for 2015 is between 0.82 C (1.48 F) and 0.98 C (1.76 F).

The difference between 2015 and 2014, however, was wider. The average temperature for 2014 was 0.74 C (1.33 F) above the 20th century mean, or 0.16 C (0.29 F) less than 2015. The range for 2014 is between 0.59 C (1.06 F) and 0.89 C (1.60 F).

So the margins of error for these three years do overlap. When we requested evidence from Inhofe’s office, spokeswoman Leacy Burke sent us links to articles that reiterate the senator’s claim that the temperature increase in 2016 was within a margin of error – meaning, again, that while 2016 is most likely the warmest on record, other years that fall within that margin, including 2015 and 2014, could be the warmest. Still that doesn’t mean the statistics are “meaningless.” Over the long haul, data show an increasing trend, as the chart below shows.

“Overall, the global annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.07°C (0.13°F) per decade since 1880 and at an average rate of 0.17°C (0.31°F) per decade since 1970,” says NOAA.

Similar to NOAA, the U.K.’s Met Office, the country’s national weather service, reported that 2016 “was one of the warmest two years on record, nominally exceeding the record temperature of 2015.” The agency also found that 2014 likely ranked the third warmest year.

Both NOAA and the Met Office note that human-caused global warming isn’t the only force behind the record temperatures.

Peter Stott, then the acting director of the Met Office Hadley Centre, said: “A particularly strong El Niño event contributed about 0.2C to the annual average for 2016, which was about 1.1C above the long term average from 1850 to 1900.” El Niño is a naturally occurring interaction between the atmosphere and ocean that is linked to periodic warming.

Stott added, “However, the main contributor to warming over the last 150 years is human influence on climate from increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

The Met Office’s numbers differ slightly from NOAA’s, in part, because the agency uses a different reference point.

NOAA ranks years based on how much their average temperatures differ from the 20th century norm. The Met Office uses the temperature average between 1850 and 1900 or between 1961 and 1990.

Using that latter reference point, the Met Office found 2016’s temperature anomaly to be 0.77 C, plus-or-minus 0.1 C, which was only 0.01 more than 2015’s temperature anomaly.

So Inhofe is right that the British government’s margins of error for 2016 and 2015 overlap.

But Grahame Madge, a spokesman for the Met Office, explained in an email to us why it’s important to look at the long-term trend — not just the difference between two years, as Inhofe did.

Madge, Jan. 6: When looking at global temperature rise it helps to look at the way the stats and figures are framed. For example, 2016 was the warmest year since pre-industrial times. However, it was only marginally warmer than the previous year, which was also a record. When viewed as parallel years, however, they really stand out in the long-term record. … We try to focus on the long term when presenting information. You can make a desert seem like a lush wetland if you only show the oasis.

NOAA also explains the difference between looking at single years versus the long-term trend: “As more and more data builds a long-term series, there is less and less influence of single ‘outliers’ on the overall trend, making the long-term trend even more certain than the individual points along it.”

In other words, if scientists found that the globe had just one year with an exceptionally high temperature average, they may not be convinced that global warming is occurring. But if data show that the planet has experienced a number of record warm years in a row, it suggests the warming trend is real.

In fact, NOAA says there’s only a 0.0125 percent chance of seeing three outliers in a row — and the Earth has seen many more record warm years than three.

NOAA writes that 2016 “marks the fifth time in the 21st century a new record high annual temperature has been set (along with 2005, 2010, 2014, and 2015) and also marks the 40th consecutive year (since 1977) that the annual temperature has been above the 20th century average.”

So while Inhofe was right that the margins of error for temperature measurements in recent years overlap, that doesn’t negate a long-term warming trend or render the temperature anomalies “meaningless.”

SOURCE




The BBC have been forced to retract one of their blatantly false claims about climate change, following a complaint by the GWPF

But even the retraction is unfounded

The BBC have accepted Lord Lawson’s complaint that they made a serious factual error in claiming that reindeers were in “steep decline” because of climate change.

The alarming claim that reindeer populations across Northern Russia were “in steep decline because of climate change”, was made during the first episode of the recent BBC 2 series: Russia with Simon Reeve.

Writing to the BBC Complaints department, Lord Lawson pointed out that according to a 2016 study, 17 out of 19 sub-populations of Eurasian Reindeer were now either increasing in number, or had a stable population trend.

The BBC have now accepted this evidence, and have published a correction which reads: “This programme suggested that many reindeer populations are in steep decline because of climate change. It would have been more accurate to say that many reindeer populations are threatened by it.”

Indeed it would have been less inaccurate, given that the claim is blatantly false. However, even the claim that they are “threatened” is highly questionable given their growing populations.

The false alarm highlights the BBC’s habitual attempts to exaggerate the consequences of climate change and to ignore scientific evidence that contradicts climate alarmism.

SOURCE





NYC Mayor to sue “Big Oil” for causing Hurricane Sandy


A face of hate.  Hate just oozes out of de Blasio

Many people still foolishly blame things like lightning strikes, tornadoes, tsunamis and hurricanes on the random vagaries of fate or simply describe them as acts of God. But not the intrepid Mayor of New York City, who apparently also doubles as a sleuth in his spare time. He’s been investigating the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy for half a decade now, seeking out the cause of the storm. And now he’s cracked the case, determining that the lethal storm which wrecked large parts of the northeast was caused by a coalition of five energy companies. And by God, he’s suing them over it.

Not being happy with that form of retribution, Bill de Blasio is going one step further. He’s going to move immediately* to divest the city’s massive pension funds from any investments in the fossil fuel industry, depriving them of cash. (Politico)

Mayor Bill de Blasio will sue the country’s five biggest oil companies alleging climate change and global warming led to Hurricane Sandy and its catastrophic fallout and the companies should pay for the city’s resiliency upgrades.

The de Blasio administration will announce Wednesday that the city will sue for reparations and force the companies to pay for the city’s resiliency efforts, which have taken years to complete since 2012, when the storm devastated the city, killing 53 people across the state costing more than $19 billion.

The mayor will also call on several of the city’s pension funds to divest from oil companies, two sources with knowledge of the announcement confirmed to POLITICO.

So the mayor thinks he can go to court and prove that not only is global warming in general responsible for changes in climate, but that the activities of these five specific companies were directly and primarily linked to that specific storm and they should be held accountable. That’s going to make for some interesting opening arguments in court, particularly since Sandy was one of the rare exceptions in a record-setting nine year stretch when no major hurricanes made landfall in the United States.

Further, if he’s blaming global warming for the intensity of hurricanes (which we can certainly discuss) then the oil companies scored a massive fail. Sandy never made it above Category 2 the entire time it was tracked (“Major” hurricanes start at category 3) and when it came ashore in New York and New Jersey it had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. That’s the absolute bottom end of a category 1 storm, and if it had dropped six miles per hour further in the final hour it would have come ashore as a tropical storm.

What made Sandy one of the most costly and dangerous hurricanes seen in the northeast in modern times wasn’t that it was a particularly large or powerful storm. It was a question of where it struck, as well as when. That region is woefully unprepared for any major storm surge, mostly because big storms this far north are so rare. It was so expensive and deadly because it flooded one of the most densely populated areas in the country where you find some of the most expensive real estate. Hurricane Sandy was a tragedy, but it wasn’t a particularly large storm at all. It just took an unusual but not totally unknown route. (In 1938, long before we were creating so many greenhouse gasses and in fact were still worried about global cooling, a category 5 struck the same area and basically leveled everything, killing somewhere between 600 to 800 people.)

But wait, you might say. Bill de Blasio also mentioned higher sea levels due to global warming! Yep. He sure did. But the most alarming statistics show that global sea levels have risen 2.6″ over the past thirty years. That’s two and a half inches. The storm surge from Sandy was six feet. And it hit during high tide under a full moon which made the high tide 20% higher than average. If global cooling had made sea levels drop an entire foot rather than going up two inches and that same storm hit, New York and New Jersey would still have been just as flooded.

In short… just how dumb is this lawsuit? Would any lawyer really take it on? (Sorry. That’s a silly question. If you got enough money to cover their fees you can find a lawyer to take almost any case.)

As for the pension divestment situation, I’m not going to spend a lot of time on that. New York State (as opposed to the city) tried the same thing under the urging of Governor Cuomo (who would also like to impress liberals around the country so he can run for President) and it was soundly rejected by his comptroller. The same is likely to happen for the city unless the people running the pension fund are looking to commit financial suicide. For more on why that’s a foolish, politically motivated stunt, you can read this response from Linda Kelly, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). For additional information on how fossil fuel divestment could kill New York City’s pension funds, check out this report from Divestment Facts.

The bottom line is that this is all a political stunt by a Democrat desperately trying to draw national attention to himself so he can run for President. And the worst part is that it’s a particularly stupid stunt. No court in the land would touch this case with a ten foot pole unless they can find a particularly “woke” venue, after which it would be overturned by saner heads.

SOURCE





Keeping Fossil Fuels Underground Makes No Sense
     
What would happen if climateers succeed in their campaign to keep fossil fuels in the ground?

The experience of Walt Disney World in Orlando more than 40 years ago provides some answers. In 1973, two years after it opened, plans to expand Disney World beyond the original theme park were jeopardized when war broke out in the Middle East. An oil embargo was placed on Western countries, and President Nixon introduced gasoline rationing and price controls that lasted for nearly a decade under three U.S. presidents: Nixon, Ford and Carter. For a resort that received the majority of its visitors by car, the price controls and rationing were nothing short of a disaster. Attendance at the Magic Kingdom crashed, and Disney's share price fell by more than half.

It wasn't just Disney World and Florida tourism that suffered from the spike in gasoline prices. Areas from Chicago to Houston to Los Angeles to Phoenix experienced a similar crash, with motorists lining up for hours to fill their cars with gasoline. Businesses and construction projects suffered, factories closed and several million Americans lost their jobs during the 1973-1975 recession that was largely the result of the shock of higher energy prices.

In time, the economy returned to normal. So, too, did energy markets when President Reagan finally abolished all price controls on oil and gas in 1981. And, eventually, thanks largely to the shale revolution, U.S. oil production in recent years has risen to near record levels, resulting in a sharp decline in oil imports (the lowest in nearly 50 years as a share of oil consumed) along with much cheaper gasoline.

For the average American, energy has never been more affordable. As a share of total consumer spending, Americans spent less than 4 percent on energy during each of the last two years, the lowest in history. Today the U.S. leads the world in oil and gas production, and we are more energy secure and competitive in international markets. None of this would have been possible without the Shale Revolution and the increase in energy production.

But these gains may be in peril. If those opposed to oil and gas drilling get their way, we could experience an upheaval in energy markets similar to what happened during the embargo of the 1970s.

While the arguments in favor of oil and natural gas are well-known, restricting their production in the United States would be tragic. In contrast to fossil fuels, solar and wind energy are carbon-free and their share of the nation's energy will grow in the years ahead, but these renewables contribute only marginally to U.S. energy supplies. Combined, solar and wind, according to the Energy Information Administration, supply only a little more than 3 percent of the energy Americans use today. And EIA estimates that solar and wind power together will provide less than 10 percent of America's energy in 2050. In contrast, oil and natural gas supply more than two-thirds of the nation's energy and the EIA forecasts that share will continue through 2050 and beyond.

What's conveniently ignored by many environmentalists is that natural gas is essential for the growth of solar and wind power, since it's needed as a back-up fuel on days when the weather is not cooperating. A 1,000-megawatt gas plant releases less than half the amount of carbon dioxide as a coal plant of the same size. As a result of the continuing shift from coal to gas at power plants, U.S. carbon emissions from electricity production are now the lowest in nearly 30 years. Replacing additional coal plants will reduce emissions even more. The reality is that the U.S. is a world leader in the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions due to the increased use of natural gas.

The world needs more oil and gas, not less. Yet environmentalists want to shut down production. Despite the demand for energy, decades-old bans on oil and gas production are still in place in large parts of the American West and offshore. President Trump recently proposed opening up 90 percent of the oil and gas that lies beneath the Outer Continental Shelf, but the leasing of offshore tracts is many years away. Meanwhile, New York State and Maryland have clamped bans on hydraulic fracking for oil and gas, and the regional Delaware Valley Basin Commission is considering a plan to prohibit the use of fracking in the Marcellus shale that underlies part of Pennsylvania.

Today's energy challenge for the U.S. is to remain competitive in global markets for oil and gas. "Keep-it-in-the-ground" environmentalists who want to halt U.S. production ignore the effects such a radical approach would have on the U.S. economy and environment. Even environmentalists should welcome the transition from coal to natural gas and reconsider their infatuation with renewables and efforts to keep fossil fuels in the ground. U.S. energy policy should encourage investment in oil and gas, not because they already meet most of our energy needs but because they're affordable and reliable and essential for stability in the century ahead. Keeping fossils fuels in the ground is a nonsensical idea that would amount to a self-imposed energy shock that would risk taking us back to the 1970s.

SOURCE





 Greenie obsessions behind disgraceful Bundy case

In a stunning development further underscoring the corruption that exists at the highest levels of the federal government, U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro threw out felony conspiracy and weapons charges against rancher Cliven Bundy, sons Ammon and Ryan, and co-defendant Ryan Payne. “The government’s conduct in this case was indeed outrageous,” Navarro explained. “There has been flagrant misconduct, substantial prejudice and no lesser remedy is sufficient.”

How outrageous? Navarro dismissed the case “with prejudice” — meaning the government cannot try the case again on the same charges. And in a 30-minute explanation, the Barack Obama-appointed jurist ripped the conduct of the prosecutors and the FBI. She blasted the Nevada U.S. Attorney’s Office for willful violations of due process that included several misrepresentations to both defense attorneys and the court that showed “a reckless disregard for the constitutional obligation to seek and provide evidence.”

She was also troubled by the prosecutors’ “failure to look beyond the FBI file,” which she characterized as an “intentional abdication of its responsibility,” and wondered aloud how the FBI itself “inexplicably placed” or “perhaps hid” a tactical operations log referring to the presence of snipers outside Bundy’s home on a “thumb drive inside a vehicle for three years.”

Navarro also blasted prosecutors’ assertions that they weren’t aware such documents could help the defendants as “grossly shocking.” “The government was well aware of theories of self-defense, provocation and intimidation,” Navarro stated. “Here the prosecution has minimized the extent of prosecutorial misconduct.”

The seeds for Monday’s decision were sown on Dec. 20, when Navarro declared a mistrial in the case, citing six specific pieces of “potentially exculpatory” evidence the Nevada U.S. Attorney’s Office failed to disclose. They included records and maps of government surveillance; the presence of government snipers; FBI logs about pre-standoff ranch activity; reports about misconduct committed by Bureau of Land Management agents; and law-enforcement assessments going back to 2012 stating the Bundys posed no threat.

All six items were favorable to the defense and could have changed the outcome of the trial. Withholding them violated the Brady Rule, named after the 1963 Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland, where the Court’s majority ruled that failure to disclose such evidence violates a defendant’s right to due process. Navarro made it clear she agreed, despite former Acting Nevada U.S. Attorney and lead prosecutor Steven Myhre’s insistence no malfeasance was involved. “Failure to turn over such evidence violates due process,” she stated last month. “A fair trial at this point is impossible.”

It gets worse. Navarro’s ruling didn’t take into account an 18-page memo written by Special Agent and lead investigator Larry Wooten alleging that “prosecutors in the Bundy ranch standoff trial covered up misconduct by law-enforcement agents who engaged in ‘likely policy, ethical and legal violations,’” Arizona Republic reported. Wooten claimed he “routinely observed … a widespread pattern of bad judgment, lack of discipline, incredible bias, unprofessionalism and misconduct” by government agents involved in the armed standoff between them and Bundy occurring 2014.

That standoff was largely precipitated by Bundy himself. It involved a dispute about grazing rights between Bundy and the federal government. The government rightly claimed Bundy owed public land use fees for decades of grazing his cattle on government land beginning in 1993, but Bundy refused to pay a sum that, between charges and fines, exceeded $1 million. He also ignored three court orders obtained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 1998, 1999 and 2013 requiring him to move his cattle off the disputed land.

In 2014, BLM agents working with the FBI attempted to impound Bundy’s cattle, and an armed standoff between the government and the defendants, who were backed by dozens of armed followers and militiamen, ensued. After a week, Bundy called it off, but he and the other defendants were charged with several offenses.

Thus, Bundy is no “hero.” Nonetheless, the incident highlighted Constitution-based questions that remain unanswered regarding the federal government’s right to claim vast swaths of territory in several states. In Bundy’s case, since the federal government owns 80% of Nevada, he would have been hard-pressed to graze his cattle anywhere else.

Moreover, some of the behavior demonstrated by BLM agents cannot be ignored. In addition to the aforementioned comments, Wooten’s report reveals they called Bundy and his supporters “deplorables,” “rednecks” and “idiots,” and demonstrated clear prejudice toward “the defendants, their supporters, and Mormons,” while implementing “the most intrusive, oppressive, large scale, and militaristic trespass cattle impound possible.”

The charges against the men also hinted at persecution rather than prosecution. Aside from obstruction, conspiracy, extortion and weapons charges, the government sought “five counts of criminal forfeiture which upon conviction would require forfeiture of property derived from the proceeds of the crimes totaling at least $3 million, as well as the firearms and ammunition possessed and used on April 12, 2014.”

In short, the government wanted to take almost everything the Bundys owned.

Even the conspiracy charges were iffy. Bundy sought help from his supporters because he claimed FBI snipers had surrounded his house. (And that’s never happened before?) “Justice Department lawyers scoffed at this claim in prior trials involving the standoff but newly-released documents confirm that snipers were in place prior to the Bundy’s call for help,” reveals columnist James Board.

And it wasn’t just the Bundys who were targeted. As The Intercept exposed last May, undercover FBI agents spent eight months in five states posing as filmmakers trying to build criminal cases against the rancher and many of his supporters.

Nineteen men were ultimately charged with multiple felony counts. The first trial took place last February. A mistrial was declared after jurors were deadlocked on most of the charges against six defendants, with two being found guilty of weapons and obstruction violations. When the other four were retried, two were acquitted on all charges, and the other two on most charges, and the jury again deadlocked on the remaining charges. Six other participants took plea deals.

The remaining trial, which includes two more Bundy brothers, David and Melvin, is slated to begin in Nevada next month. Ryan Bundy hopes the judge will set all the remaining defendants free. “The government has acted wrongly from the get-go,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Environmentalists, many of whom would like ranchers completely removed from government land, were furious with the decision. “These federal agencies have been patient and cautious to a fault in their prosecution of the Bundys and their accomplices,” wrote Erik Molvar, executive director of Western Watersheds Project, an environmental conservation organization. “It’s long past time to stop playing games with the prosecution of federal crimes, and instead lay all the facts on the table and let the judicial system work.”

The ones “playing games” were government officials, and the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility opened an investigation in December that will scrutinize the efforts of Myhre and two veteran Assistant U.S. attorneys, Daniel Schiess and Nadia Ahmed.

Unfortunately, in a reality that reeks of privilege, penalties for prosecutorial misconduct, even conduct as egregious as this, range from a reprimand to a suspension. In a better nation, there would be a better remedy — as in prosecuting the prosecutors.

SOURCE

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

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

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