Sunday, February 25, 2018



World's coral reefs face new peril from beneath within decades (?)

This is just a new variation on an old fraud.  For the ocean to become more acidic it has to absorb more CO2 and thus produce carbonic acid (H2O + CO2 = H2CO3). And as CO2 levels rise, that might happen to some degree.

But according to Warmist theory higher CO2 levels will bring higher temperatures.  But higher ocean temperatures will REDUCE the carrying capacity of the oceans for CO2.  So CO2 will OUTGAS from the oceans under higher temperatures and the oceans will be LESS acidic.

So if the galoots below really believed in global warming they would welcome it as REDUCING the threat to corals.

So there is a small potential threat to corals from higher CO2 levels but it will only eventuate if there is NO global warming. Fun?


The world's coral reefs, already enduring multiple threats from bleaching to nutrient run-off from farming, also face another challenge - this time from below.

New research, published in the journal Science on Friday, has found the sediments on which many reefs are built are 10 times more sensitive to the acidifying oceans than the living corals themselves. Some reef bases are already dissolving.

The study used underwater chambers at four sites in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, including Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef, and applied modelling to extrapolate results for 22 reefs in three ocean basins.

As oceans turn more acidic, the corals themselves produce less of the calcium carbonate that forms their base. Instead of growing, the reef bases start to dissolve.

"The public is less aware of the threat of ocean acidification [than warming waters]," said Brendan Eyre, a professor of biogeochemistry at the Southern Cross University and the paper's lead author.

“Coral reef sediments around the world will trend towards dissolving when seawater reaches a tipping point in acidity - which is likely to occur well before the end of the century,” he said.

At risk will be coral reef ecosystems that support tourism, fisheries and the many other human activities, he said.

The ocean's acidity has increased about 30 per cent since the start of the industrial revolution, as seas absorb about one-third of the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

“It is vital that we put pressure on governments globally to act in concert to lower carbon dioxide emissions as this is the only way we can stop the oceans acidifying and dissolving our reefs,” Professor Eyre said.

Rates of dissolving reef sediment will depend on their starting points, including their exposure to organic sediment. The Hawaiian reef studied is already showing signs of its sediment dissolving, with higher organic nutrient levels likely to be contributing, he said.

"Carbonate sediments in Hawaii are already net dissolving and will be strongly net dissolving by the end of the century," the paper said.

Living corals themselves appear to be able to resist the acidification process, with mechanisms and strategies to resist some of the impacts.

Still, the study said the transition of the dissolution of reef sediment "will result in the loss of material for building shallow reef habitats such as reef flats and lagoons, and associated coral cays". It is unknown if the reefs will face "catastrophic destruction" once the erosion begins, the paper said.

Over time, as coral bases begin to dissolve, they are more likely to become more vulnerable to cyclones and other threats, Professor Eyre said.

He said further study was needed to understand how reefs would be affected by temperatures, rising organic and nutrient levels and more acidic waters in combination, he said.

The impact of bleaching - such as the two mass events in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 summers on the Great Barrier Reef - would most likely accelerate the breakdown of reefs by "making more sediment and organic matter available for dissolution", the paper said.

SOURCE




Groupthink On Climate Change Ignores Inconvenient Facts

Christopher Booker

Since we’ve now been living with the global warming story for 30 years, it might seem hard to believe that science could now come up with anything that would enable us to see that story in a wholly new light.

But that is what I am suggesting in a new paper, just published in the UK by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, thanks to a book called Groupthink, written more than 40 years ago by a professor of psychology at Yale, Irving Janis.

What Janis did was to define scientifically just how what he called groupthink operates, according to three basic rules. And what my paper tries to show is the astonishing degree to which they explain so much that many have long found puzzling about the global warming story.

Janis’s first rule is that a group of people come to share a particular way of looking at the world which may seem hugely important to them but which turns out not to have been based on looking properly at all the evidence. It is therefore just a shared, untested belief.

Rule two is that, because they have shut their minds to any evidence which might contradict their belief, they like to insist that it is supported by a “consensus”. The one thing those caught up in groupthink cannot tolerate is that anyone should question it.

This leads on to the third rule, which is that they cannot properly debate the matter with those who disagree with their belief. Anyone holding a contrary view must simply be ignored, ridiculed and dismissed as not worth listening to.

What my paper does is look again at the entire global warming story in the light of Janis’s rules, and to show how consistently they explain so much of the way it has unfolded all the way through.

The alarm over man-made climate change was first exploded on the world in 1988 by a tiny group of scientists who had become convinced that, because both CO2 levels and global temperatures were rising, one must be the cause of the other. Unless something very drastic was done, they urged, the planet was heading for catastrophe.

In November that year, two of these fervent believers in what they called “human-induced climate change” were authorized to set up the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC. This would report to the world’s politicians on the basis of computer models programmed, according to their theory, to predict just how fast the world was likely to heat up over the next 100 years.

With startling speed, their theory was soon proclaimed as being supported by a scientific “consensus”, backed by governments, all the main scientific journals and institutions, environmental pressure groups and the media.

In fact right from the start, many scientists, like the eminent physicist Richard Lindzen of MIT, were highly skeptical, both of the theory itself and of those computer models. These, as Lindzen wrote, were so narrowly focused on CO2 that they were far too simplistic to allow for all the other natural factors which shape the earth’s climate.

But such dissenters were ignored. And for nearly 20 years the “consensus” rolled on, ever more extreme in its apocalyptic claims, with each new IPCC report scarier than the last. By 2006 Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth was outdoing them all.

Anyone daring to question the “consensus” was now being vilified as just an “anti-science denier”, no better than those crazies who deny the reality of the Nazi Holocaust.

Just then, however, the story was beginning to change. It was noted that, since the abnormally hot year of 1998, caused by a record El Nino, global temperatures had not risen at all. Those computer models had not predicted this.

Even more significant, thanks to the internet, expert science blogs were now appearing, able to show that not a single one of the claims from the “consensus” – vanishing Arctic ice, disappearing polar bears, unprecedented hurricanes, floods, droughts etc – was supported by the factual evidence.

By 2009, the “consensus” was facing considerable embarrassment, with the highly damaging Climategate emails between the little group of scientists at the heart of the IPCC, followed by the collapse in disarray of the great Copenhagen climate conference.

Then there was the spate of scandals surrounding the IPCC itself when it was revealed some of the scariest predictions of its latest report had not been based on proper science at all, but only on more hysterical claims by climate activists.

Finally, in Paris in 2015, came what I describe as the crux of the whole story. This was yet another great global conference to decide what the world must do to avert catastrophe.

Every nation had been asked in advance to submit its energy plans for the years up to 2030. The West, led by President Obama and the EU, dutifully pledged that it would be cutting its “carbon emissions” by up to 40 percent.

But from the rest of the world, a totally different story emerged. China, by now the world’s largest CO2 emitter, was planning to build so many new coal-fired power stations that by 2030 its emissions would have doubled. India, the third largest emitter, was planning to triple them. Altogether global emissions by 2030 were set to rise by a staggering 46 percent.

The rest of the world was just giving two fingers to the “consensus”, and planning to carry on regardless, But not one Western leader mentioned this until 2017 when President Trump gave it as his reason for pulling the US out of that meaningless “Paris Accord”.

In effect, Trump was thus finally calling the bluff of the groupthink which for 30 years had driven the whole global warming scare. If other Western countries wanted to commit economic suicide, that was their affair. But the rest of the world was no longer taken in by it, and the US was now with them.

SOURCE




2 More New Papers Affirm There Is More Arctic Ice Coverage Today Than During The 1400s

Earlier this year, Stein et al., 2017 published a reconstruction of Arctic sea ice variations throughout the Holocene that appeared to establish that there is more Arctic sea ice now than for nearly all of the last 10,000 years.

The study region, the Chukchi Sea, was deemed representative of most of the Arctic, as the authors asserted that “the increase in sea ice extent during the late Holocene seems to be a circum-Arctic phenomenon as PIP25-based sea ice records from the Fram Strait, Laptev Sea, East Siberian Sea and Chukchi Sea  display a generally quite similar evolution, all coinciding with the decrease in solar radiation.”

The proxy data used to reconstruct Arctic-wide sea ice variations over the Holocene (PIP25) clearly show that modern sea ice extent has only modestly retreated relative to the heights reached during the Little Ice Age (the 17th and 18th centuries),  and that the from about 1400 A.D.on through the rest of the 10,000-year-long Holocene, Arctic sea ice extent was much lower than it is today.

In 2014, Dr. Qinghua Ding and colleagues published a consequential paper in the journal Nature contending that much of the warming trend in the Arctic since 1979 can be traced to “unforced natural variability” rather than anthropogenic forcing.

“A substantial portion of recent warming in the northeastern Canada and Greenland sector of the Arctic arises from unforced natural variability.”

Then, a few months ago, Dr. Ding and co-authors published another Nature paper (Ding et al., 2017) that extended  a natural attribution to trends in Arctic sea ice variability, concluding that as much as half of the decline in Arctic sea ice since 1979 is due to internal (natural) factors, further undermining the position that anthropogenic forcing dominates Arctic sea ice changes.

“Internal variability dominates the Arctic summer circulation trend and may be responsible for about 30–50% of the overall decline in September sea ice since 1979.”
Within the last month, two more papers have been published that further affirm the conclusion that modern Arctic sea ice extent has not changed significantly relative to even the last few centuries, nor has it fallen outside the range of natural variability.

1. Like Stein et al. (2017), Yamamoto et al., 2017 largely attribute Holocene sea ice concentration variations to solar forcing, and they assemble a reconstruction of sea ice trends for the region that once again clearly shows sea ice coverage is greater now than it has been for almost all of the Holocene.

“Millennial to multi-centennial variability in the quartz / feldspar ratio (the BG [Beaufort Gyre] circulation) is consistent with fluctuations in solar irradiance, suggesting that solar activity affected the BG [Beaufort Gyre] strength on these timescales. … The intensified BSI [Bering Strait in-flow] was associated with decrease in sea-ice concentrations and increase in marine production, as indicated by biomarker concentrations, suggesting a major influence of the BSI on sea-ice and biological conditions in the Chukchi Sea. Multi-century to millennial fluctuations, presumably controlled by solar activity, were also identified in a proxy-based BSI record characterized by the highest age resolution. … Proxy records consistent with solar forcing were reported from a number of paleoclimatic archives, such as Chinese stalagmites (Hu et al., 2008), Yukon lake sediments (Anderson et al., 2005), and ice cores (Fisher et al., 2008), as well as marine sediments in the northwestern Pacific (Sagawa et al., 2014) and the Chukchi Sea (Stein et al., 2017).”

2. In another new paper, Moffa-Sánchez and Hall, 2017  analyze subpolar temperature changes, glacier advances and declines, and sea ice variations in the Labrador Sea, North Atlantic, North Iceland, Alaska, Swedish Lapland, and Northwestern Europe region.

“Paleoceanographic reconstructions from a more northward location of the polar front on the North Iceland margin show centennial-scale cold events and marked increases in sea ice with similar timing to the cold events recorded in the eastern Labrador Sea.  … The records from the northernmost sites show a linear cooling trend perhaps driven by the Neoglacial decrease in summer insolation in the northern high latitudes and its effects on Arctic sea ice production. “

“Periods of increased influence of polar waters in the eastern Labrador Sea, reduced LSW  [Labrador Sea Water] formation and weaker subpolar gyre largely coincide with well-established cold periods recorded in glacier advances, tree-ring and pollen records in the circum-North Atlantic and northwest Europe [Dark Ages Cold Period, Little Ice Age]. … Conversely, periods of reduced influence of polar waters in the eastern Labrador Sea, stronger subpolar gyre and increase LSW [Labrador Sea Water] formation largely coincide with mild/warm periods in Europe namely the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Climatic Anomaly.”

The authors find that while Arctic sea ice coverage was more advanced during the Little Ice Age, sea ice concentrations in the waters north of Iceland were far lower than now from about 500 years ago onward, especially during the centuries encompassing the Medieval Warm Period (or Medieval Climate Anomaly) and Roman Warm Period.

Glacier advance and retreat for the Alaska and Swedish Lapland regions also followed the climate trends associated with the Little Ice Age, Medieval Climate Anomaly, Dark Ages Cold Period, and Roman Warm Period.   During the earlier warm periods and for most of the last 3,000 years, glacier recession was more pronounced than it is now.

Moffa-Sánchez and Hall (2017) also report that sea surface temperatures north of Iceland were much warmer in the past than they are now.

Finally, the 10-150 m layer of the Labrador Sea  has also not undergone any net warming trend in the last 75 years.

SOURCE






Terence Corcoran: Polar bear battle in Toronto! It’s good science vs. climate do-gooders

Two events next week juxtapose two conflicting conclusions on the current health and future for polar bears. Behind the science, there’s also a juicy personal clash

Are the great, charismatic polar bears, all white, cuddly-looking and dangerous, caught in the death grip of climate change

Coming next Tuesday to Toronto’s swanky Yorkville district, it’s the 2018 Polar Bear Showdown, an international display of conflicting views on the state of polar-bear science. Are the great, charismatic creatures, all white, cuddly-looking and dangerous, caught in the death grip of climate change?

At one corner in Yorkville, in the ballroom of the upmarket Four Seasons Hotel, Polar Bears International (PBI) will stage a grand, $15,000-a-table gala to raise funds to protect the allegedly threatened Arctic species from the ravages of our addiction to fossil fuels. Sponsored by a klatch of corporate goody-two-shoes — a couple of Canadian banks, a major accounting outfit, The Globe and Mail — and filled with razzle-dazzle entertainment and good food, the purpose of the event is to mark International Polar Bear Day and draw attention to PBI’s science-based effort to sound a global polar-bear alarm.

At another corner, exactly one block away, in the Founders’ Room at the down-market Toronto Reference Library, the Global Warming Policy Foundation of London, England will launch a new report on the state of polar bears by Susan Crockford, adjunct professor at the University of Victoria. There will be no entertainment, and no food, but the science will be far superior.

As a science showdown, the Yorkville events juxtapose two conflicting conclusions on the current health and future prospects for polar bears amid climate change. Behind the science, there’s also a juicy personal clash.

There will be no entertainment, and no food, but the science will be far superior
 
The chief scientist at Polar Bears International is Steven Amstrup, adjunct professor at the University of Wyoming and a leading purveyor of the theory that climate change could exterminate polar bears from the Arctic regions. In recent months, Amstrup has launched direct attacks on Crockford and joined others in producing what can only be described as junk-science attempts to undermine her polar-bear research. In return, Crockford recently published a critique of Amstrup’s decades-long campaign to portray polar bears as an endangered species and establish them as the poster-species for climate change.

Crockford’s conclusion is that PBI’s chief scientist and prime motivational guide, whose biographic page contains a catalogue of polar-bear alarmism, spent more than a decade creating a media scare that drove many (including Al Gore) to believe in a threat that didn’t exist. As Crockford wrote in a posting on her polarbearscience.com blog last month: “Polar bear experts who falsely predicted that roughly 17,300 polar bears would be dead by now (given sea ice conditions since 2007) have realized their failure has not only kicked their own credibility to the curb, it has taken with it the reputations of their climate change colleagues.”

Crockford’s new paper is aimed at a wide audience of teachers, scientists, students, decision-makers and the general public. It should be required reading for attendees at the Polar Bear Day gala. An executive summary of the report, State of the Polar Bear Report 2017, says that global polar-bear numbers have been stable or have risen since 2005, despite lower summer sea ice levels: “Overly pessimistic media responses to recent polar bear issues have made heartbreaking news out of scientifically insignificant events.”

As of this writing, one of those insignificant heartbreaking events — the video of a lone and apparently starving polar bear — adorns PBI’s website and serves as part of the sales pitch for next Tuesday’s gala in Yorkville. The video went viral in December, but has since been widely criticized. As veteran British environment writer Fred Pearce wrote recently in New Scientist magazine: “Emaciated, it stumbled across a green Arctic landscape without a speck of snow or ice in sight …Media outlets seized on the video as an example of how climate change is killing its poster child. But behind the headlines is an awkward question: have climate change activists chosen the wrong mascot?”

Pearce notes that the theory of looming polar-bear extinction has proved wrong. With rising temperatures in the Arctic and less ice “the polar bear population should have crashed. It hasn’t. If anything, numbers are up compared with 10 years ago.” Population numbers are also up since 1973, when hunting bans were put in place. While Pearce still sees the bears at some risk from a variety of threats, current estimates suggest “the species is not at immediate risk of extinction.”

Another recent commentary makes a similar point. In a release summarizing a recent polar-bear conference in Fairbanks, Alaska, an organization funded by the Russian Geographical Society quotes a Russian conservation official, Yegor Vereshchagin, on the fate of polar bears in Russia’s Chukotka region, across the Bering Sea from Alaska. “Both scientific data and traditional knowledge prove that nothing threatens our bears. During spring counts of dens we often find female bears with three cubs, which proves that the population is in good shape and there is no danger of a decrease in the population.”

Surely the attendees, corporate sponsors and organizers of that big Yorkville gala will find it instructive if they were to download Crockford’s paper when it is released by the Global Warming Policy Foundation next Tuesday, a few hours before their ritzy event. They will no doubt be thrilled by the good news. Maybe one of them will grab the mic that night and propose a toast: “Here’s to the polar bears, who are doing great!”

SOURCE




Deregulate Australian energy market and go back to coal

The catastrophic outcome of government energy market interventions is palpably clear. As the latest new regulatory body, the Energy Security Board, diplomatically puts it: “Fifteen years of climate policy instability … (have) left our energy system vulnerable to escalating prices while being both less reliable and secure.”

Australia has seen electricity prices double since 2015 and the once reliable supply is now suspect. From enjoying the world’s lowest cost electricity a decade ago, Australia now has among the most expensive.

The main cause has been subsidies and regulatory favours to renewable energy — chiefly wind — that have forced the closure of reliable coal-fired generators, particularly Northern in South Australia and Hazelwood in Victoria. Without these subsidies, costing about $5 billion a year, there would be no wind or solar. Not only are customers and taxpayers slugged with the subsidy costs but the outcome also has been to raise prices and reduce reliability.

A new Australian coal plant would produce electricity at about $50 a megawatt hour. A new wind farm can produce electricity, at best, at $110/MWh and its present subsidy is about $85/MWh. Solar is about twice the cost of wind

Fundamentally, the cost disadvantage of wind and solar stems from their low “energy density”. To get the equivalent energy from a standard 500MW coal generation unit requires 300 wind generators or 900,000 solar panels, and storage or back-up capacity is required to offset the inherent unreliability of energy sources dependent on the vagaries of the weather. Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg put the cost of this at $16/MWh, an optimistic estimate even with the government’s 23.5 per cent renewable target.

Wind farm entrepreneur Simon Holmes a Court recently argued on this page that the world is abandoning coal for electricity generation. Australia’s booming coal exports testify to the ludicrous nature of such statements. In fact, according to Greenpeace’s data, China has 300,000MW of new coal plant under way, increasing its capacity by a third; Japan has 20,000MW, which also would raise capacity by a third; while India has plans for an additional 148,000MW, adding 65 per cent to its capacity. Australian coal generating capacity is about 25,000MW.

The US has no new coal generators planned. This is partly a legacy of Barack Obama, who declared his policies would bankrupt any new coal generators, and partly because of the US boom in gas and oil production. Due to fracking, a technology largely banned in Australia, the US has gas at less than half the Australian price, making it cheaper than coal for new electricity generation.

Holmes a Court was correct in drawing attention to the costly failures of “carbon capture and storage”, the global propaganda arm for which is largely financed by the Australian government, and of high-energy, low-emissions coal power stations. These technologies reduce carbon dioxide emissions but involve add-on costs.

The Minerals Council of Australia, anxious to retain the support of BHP, has promoted low-emission technologies. For internal reasons, BHP supports renewables and opposes coal generation in Australia notwithstanding its dependence on international coal sales and cheap energy generally. The firm’s promotion of renewable energy confronted the reality of this with high fuel costs for its Olympic Dam mine in wind-dependent South Australia. It also took a $137 million hit from the 2016 wind-induced collapse of SA’s power system.

Many firms support renewable policies out of self-interest. Revenue from subsidies is itself valuable and, in addition, coal generators, as Origin Energy’s half-year results last week showed, are earning huge profits from the doubled wholesale price. Others are conscripted to support renewables for PR reasons, as part of what German political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann has called a “spiral of silence”, where a loud and confident group is perceived to be majority opinion, leading others to acquiesce in much of its message.

The ESB has been tasked with creating an electricity market blueprint that marries lower carbon dioxide emissions with lower costs and greater reliability. This is an impossible task and would require massive new regulatory interventions.

The ESB’s proposals envisage creating a market combining emissions and energy in which every retailer and generator would need to participate. They would add new dimensions of complexity to electricity supply, bringing a further proliferation of administrative resources within the bureaucracy and the industry.

Envisaging such further controls as bringing improved efficiency represents a triumph of hope over experience. We can restore our latent competitiveness in cheap energy only by abandoning all the intrusions and distortions that are in place. Donald Trump has achieved success from such an approach and we may have to await full recognition of this before our politicians adopt similar deregulatory policies.

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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Friday, February 23, 2018




Who is right?  Judith or Nils Axel?

Nils Axel Morner is a Swedish sea-level expert and he does searching research leading to a conclusion that the sea level is stable overall. His recent Fiji research is exemplary.  The only response to it from Warmists is an "ad hominem" one -- noting that a group of climate skeptics quite openly helped Morner with costs of his trip to Fiji.  The  Warmists see that as a fatal flaw.  They fail to see any similar problem flowing from the fact that Warmists generally have their research funded by sympathetic university departments. Universities are unbiased, you see.  Anybody who has worked in a university department will give that a horse-laugh.

Judith Curry calls herself a "lukewarmer", meaning that she accepts global warming theory but doubts that the warming will be large enough to be worth bothering about. But she does accept that there has been some sea level rise in the 20th century.

These days, just about everything bad is said to be made worse by global warming but the original scare was sea-level rise.  Both Hansen and Gore, for instance, predicted in the early '90s that substantial parts of Manhattan would be permanently underwater some time soon. If that were true, some parts of Manhattan should already by now be looking a bit watery.

Sadly, however Manhattan and most of the rest of the world are going about business as usual.  For most of the world, the sea seems to be just about where it always was.  The lay observer at least can see no change.  So Morner would seem to be the only scientist with his feet on the ground.  Only his account coincides with commonly perceived reality.

So the big threat of severe worldwide flooding seems utterly empty -- which is why a vast range of other bad outcomes from warming have been conjured up.  There have to be new fears to replace the old failed fear.

Warmists are never deterred by reality, however, and continue to assert that sea levels are rising, even if it is very slowly.  So there is a minor industry of trying to work out exactly what the sea level is doing. And most researchers agree that there is some sea level rise going on, though they all estimate only minute amounts of it.  And estimate is the word.  Gross sea level rises such as Gore and Hansen predicted would have hit you in the eye  but the tiny rises that Warmists can squeeze out of their data are very slippery. There is nothing clearly observable.  It is all guesswork.

And a moment's thought will tell you that it HAS to be guesswork.  Oceans have these pesky things called waves.  The ocean won't stay still enough for you to measure it. You can try to measure high-water marks but what if a gust of wind causes a really big splash during the day that is not repeated later in the day?  Is that the high-water mark?

In addition to those commensense limitations on measuring small changes in sea level there are more profound difficulties. Judith Curry lists some of them.  See the folowing excerpt:

"To reconstruct equilibrium sea level changes from tide gauges, account must be made of vertical shifts of the land, caused by geological processes or land use (e.g. ground water extraction). To improve scientific utility for sea level studies, numerous modern tide gauges are being augmented with automated, continuous GPS measuring instruments which records vertical land movements. Further, account must be made of non-eustatic dynamic changes in sea level due to tides, storm surges, tsunamis and large-scale ocean currents.

Further, tide gauge technology has changed over time.  Simple wooden staffs have evolved into higly sophisticated digital equipment — it is likely that the results from different equipment might not agree with each other.

A wooden staff is not going to measure with the same degree of accuracy-or under the same circumstances as a digital equipment.

Tide gauges have the following disadvantages for determining global sea level changes: uneven distribution around the world; missing data; spatial and temporal variations in ocean circulations; and land movements. Because of these disadvantages, calculating global mean sea level rise from the limited tide gauge network has proven to be difficult.

Although considerable progress has been made, further improvements to the historical record are still needed, particularly in accounting for ocean circulation changes."

Despite all that however, Judith does accept that some sea-level rise is proven.  She says:  "Global mean sea level (GMSL) has risen about 8 inches during the 20th century".

In coming to that conclusion she relies heavily on "corrected" data and Morner claims that corrections are the whole of any stated sea level rise.  For instance, Curry appears to accept the Stockholn record.  And it's true that the official Stockholm record does show a slight rise.  But what did that record show before it was "corrected"?  John Daly has the graph:



So an actual FALL in the sea level in the Baltic has been "corrected" to show the opposite.  That is some shenanigans.  But shenanigans like that are common in global warming "research".

So how do they justify their shenanigans?  They postulate just enough "isostatic uplift" to get the result they want.  By isostatic uplift they mean that the ground was rising rather than the sea level falling.  And the theory behind that is that the last ice age put such heavy glaciers on the ground that the ground sank down a bit.  So, when the glaciers retreated, the land bounced back up again.  That seems to be true.  But how come that is still happening thousands of years after the ice has gone?  It makes no sense.  It is just a theoretical fix, not reality-grounded.

It is true that in different times and places the ground does rise or fall in response to various local factors but those changes are all over the place, not just where glaciers used to be.  The most established changes are falls in the land on the East coasts of both Florida and England.  And where I live in Northern Australia, the land is geologically very ancient and very stable.  Glaciers never reached us.  Yet I have documented a notable sea-level FALL in the ocean nearby over recent decades. And let us not forget the earlier but carefully delineated sea level fall at the Isle of the Dead in Tasmania.

And that goes back to the fact that the oceans don't behave like water in a jug. Water in a jug has a fixed level.  The level in one part of a jug will be the same as the level in all other parts of the jug.  But the earth is not a jug.  It is a sphere and the water sloshes about.  So the level in one time and place will be different from the level in other times and places.  You can calculate a statistical average but there is no physical reality to it. And attributing a cause to the observed movements can only be guesswork. The RAW tide-gauge data is full of both rises and falls.  There is no detectable uniform effect -- as global warming theory would require.

But Let's get back to Stockholm and the Baltic. As a very enclosed sea situated withing a limited latitude range and little subject to air and water currents, it should be a fairly good "thermometer" of what the  sea level as a whole is doing -- if anything.  So that Stockholm data is pretty important.  So is it real?  Has the sea level really fallen that much or is it just some error of measurement?  Are there similar findings in other parts of the Baltic?  Could the Swedish scientists have been right to "adjust" it?

Hardly. The Baltic sea level really has fallen.  You can see evidence of it that no adjustment can hide. In the ancient Hanseatic port city of Talinn in Estonia at the East end of the Baltic you can see where the old sea walls used to be.  But they are about a kilometer inland from the present sea-shore.  As the sea level has fallen, Talinn has gained several hectares of new land where the sea used to be.  Even the most dedicated Warmists would have difficulty adjusting that out of existence.  So there are places on earth where the sea level has fallen and places where it has risen.  The situation is nothing like what global warming theory predicts.

Nils Axel Morner is the one in touch with reality. Now that she is retired maybe Judith too can become more skeptical -- JR.





Stronger Law on Foreign Agents Eyed Amid Russia’s Links to Green Groups

Congress appears ready to crack down on individuals and groups who work on behalf of Russia and other foreign nations but don’t fully disclose those ties.

Legislation toughening requirements and closing loopholes in the 80-year-old Foreign Agents Registration Act is advancing in response to growing concerns that some advocacy groups and lobbyists have been permitted to conceal financial and other connections with foreign governments.

In a recent phone interview with The Daily Signal, Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., who introduced the legislation amending the law, expressed confidence that his bill could clear both houses of Congress with broad support.

The law isn’t achieving all that it should, Bonner Cohen, a senior fellow at  the National Center for Public Policy Research, a free-market think tank based in Washington, told The Daily Signal.

“The Foreign Agents Registration Act calls on individuals and organizations to provide full disclosure when they are working to advance the public policy interests of a foreign government,” Cohen said.

“This appears to be exactly what these green groups are doing,” he added, “and the law should be applied to them.”

In a letter  to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last summer, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, asked for the administration to look into allegations that the Russian government has funded U.S. environmental groups surreptitiously in a “propaganda war against fossil fuels.”

Such concerns have motivated lawmakers on the House and Senate judiciary committees to move quickly on his legislation, Johnson told The Daily Signal.

The letter from Smith, chairman of the House’s Science, Space and Technology Committee, describes how “publicly available reports connect the dots” of a complex scheme by the Russian government to “advance a political agenda with little or no paper trail” against the U.S. energy sector.

The letter says Moscow primarily targets innovative drilling techniques such as hydraulic fracturing, widely known as fracking, that make it possible to extract natural gas deposits from shale formations.

Smith cites government and other reports that Russia steers funds to U.S. environmental groups, often in the form of anonymous donations, so that those groups may bankroll what the Texas Republican calls “covert anti-fracking campaigns.”

What Moscow Knows

“Russia has a long track record of funding ‘green’ groups as part of an effort to slow down, if not stop altogether, domestic energy production,” Luke Coffey, director of The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy, said in an email to The Daily Signal, adding:

This has been particularly the case regarding fracking. European governments have also faced similar challenges from Russia, because Moscow knows that each barrel of oil produced in the USA or Europe is one less needed from Russia.

Ken Stiles, a 29-year veteran of the CIA, told The Daily Signal in a recent interview that congressional investigators identified a “money trail” suggesting a connection between the Russian government and activist groups opposing fracking operations and pipeline construction in vartious parts of the country.

As previously reported by The Daily Signal, Stiles suspects two anti-pipeline groups in Virginia are “agents of influence” unknowingly operating on behalf of Moscow under Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Those campaigns fell short of obstructing pipeline projects, but environmental advocacy groups have succeeded in blocking natural gas development in New York and other states.

“A very important consideration is whether these domestic forces among U.S. environmental groups actually know that they are being targeted and exploited by the Russians,” Paul Kengor, a Grover City College political science professor, said in an email to The Daily Signal.

“Moreover, if they are willfully working with Vladimir Putin’s Russia—deliberate collusion—then that would be egregious and a very serious matter demanding our government’s fully investigating the situation,” Kengor said.

“If these U.S. environmentalists are mere dupes,” he said, “that’s not legally or even morally as bad, but I think they’d have at least a moral obligation to change their ways if and once they’ve realized they’re being targeted and exploited.”

Kengor, a biographer of Ronald Reagan, added:

"Finally, politically speaking, consider the striking irony here: We have the apparent possibility of liberals from the environmental movement working with and helping Putin and the Russians at the very moment that liberals have been screaming about alleged cooperation between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russians. Imagine that."

SOURCE




Survey results show Christians becoming less concerned about the environment

There has been no "greening of Christianity" among people in the pews, despite efforts by some religious leaders to emphasize environmental stewardship, according to new Indiana University research.

David Konisky of IU's School of Public and Environmental Affairs analyzed 20 years of survey results from Gallup public opinion polls in one of the first major studies of how attitudes about the environment by self-identified U.S. Christians have shifted over time.

He found that environmentalism is not increasing, and there are signs it is actually in decline. For example, Konisky's analysis of the survey responses from 1990 through 2015 indicates that Christians, compared to atheists, agnostics and individuals who do not affiliate with a religion, are less likely to prioritize environmental protection over economic growth, and they are more likely than others to believe global warming is exaggerated.

For example, the likelihood that a Christian survey respondent expressed a great deal of concern about climate change dropped by about a third between 1990 and 2015.

The pattern generally holds across Catholic, Protestant and other Christian denominations and does not vary depending on levels of religiosity.

"This relationship between religion and the environment is significant because of the increasing importance of climate change," Konisky said. "There may come a time when religious leaders and faith-based organizations generate more interest in protecting the environment and more willingness to demand action, but we haven't seen it yet."

The current lack of enthusiasm comes despite high-profile calls for action such as the encyclical letter on the environment released by Pope Francis in 2015 and despite initiatives led by Evangelical Protestant groups, such as the formation of the Evangelical Environmental Network.

While those efforts are relatively recent, Konisky said there is a historical divide in how Christians view their relationship to the planet: "Some believe in the importance of stewardship and practice an ethic of 'creation care,' while others believe in human dominion over the Earth, a belief that undermines any obligation to protect the environment."

Konisky said more research is needed to determine whether that belief in human dominion or some other aspect of how people experience religion is influencing a reduced concern for the environment.

SOURCE


US Blizzards, Snowfalls Have Increased Since1950s, Surprising Global Warming Climatologists

On January 4 NTZ weekly contributor Kenneth Richard published a list of 485 papers dumping cold water on climate alarmism in 2017.

Looking through the list I find published papers showing that snowfall frequency has in fact increased over the the past 60 years!

Blizzard activity jumps fourfold

For example a paper by Coleman and Schwartz, 2017 revealed 713 blizzards over the 55 years with 57 federal disaster declarations resulting. Of these 57 declared disasters, more than a half have occurred since the year 2000.

The published scientific study also founds that "seasonal blizzard frequencies displayed a distinct upward trend, with a more substantial rise over the past two decades".

It adds that the modeled increase in blizzard activity showed a "nearly fourfold upsurge between the start and end of the study period at 5.9 and 21.6 blizzards, respectively". If the trend continues, then we would need to expect even more such blizzards.

In a another publication, Changnon, 2017 evaluated heavy 30-day snowfall amounts east of the Rockies in the United States during the period 1900-2016. The comprehensive data assessment identified 507 stations in this long-term climate study.

The author examined the top 30-day heavy snowfall amount and the average of the top five 30-day heavy snowfall amounts. The findings also surprised global warming scientists who warned earlier that snowfall would become less frequent as the globe warmed. The publications abstract reads:

The northern Great Plains, Great Lakes, Midwest, and Northeast experienced more top five periods [more snow] in the second half of the 117-year period [1958-2016], where most of the southern states experienced top five periods throughout the study period."

Finally a study conducted by Hatchett et al., 2017 found a "winter snow level rise in the northern Sierra Nevada from 2008 to 2017". Sea surface temperatures offshore California were observed to be related to snow cover.

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




Science or silence? My battle to question doomsayers about the Great Barrier Reef

By Professor Peter Ridd.  His university is desperate to shut him up as he tells basic scientific truth, which they  see as threatening the funding that they have bought with lies and alarmism. Ridd leads the Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University, Australia and has authored over 100 scientific papers

Around the world, people have heard about the impending extinction of the Great Barrier Reef: some 133,000 square miles of magnificent coral stretching for 1,400 miles off the northeast coast of Australia.

The reef is supposedly almost dead from the combined effects of a warming climate, nutrient pollution from Australian farms, and smothering sediment from offshore dredging.

Except that, as I have said publicly as a research scientist who has studied the reef for the past 30 years, all this most likely isn’t true.

And just for saying that – and calling into question the kind of published science that has led to the gloomy predictions – I have been served with a gag order by my university. I am now having to sue for my right to have an ordinary scientific opinion.

My emails have been searched. I was not allowed even to speak to my wife about the issue. I have been harangued by lawyers. And now I’m fighting back to assert my right to academic freedom and bring attention to the crisis of scientific truth.

The problems I am facing are part of a “replication crisis” that is sweeping through science and is now a serious topic in major science journals. In major scientific trials that attempt to reproduce the results of scientific observations and measurements, it seems that around 50 percent of recently published science is wrong, because the results can’t be replicated by others.

And if observations and measurements can’t be replicated, it isn’t really science – it is still, at best, hypothesis, or even just opinion. This is not a controversial topic anymore – science, or at least the system of checking the science we are using, is failing us.

The crisis started in biomedical areas, where pharmaceutical companies in the past decade found that up to 80 percent of university and institutional science results that they tested were wrong. It is now recognized that the problem is much more widespread than the biomedical sciences. And that is where I got into big trouble.

I have published numerous scientific papers showing that much of the “science” claiming damage to the reef is either plain wrong or greatly exaggerated. As just one example, coral growth rates that have supposedly collapsed along the reef have, if anything, increased slightly.

Reefs that are supposedly smothered by dredging sediment actually contain great coral. And mass bleaching events along the reef that supposedly serve as evidence of permanent human-caused devastation are almost certainly completely natural and even cyclical.

These allegedly major catastrophic effects that recent science says were almost unknown before the 1980s are mainly the result of a simple fact: large-scale marine science did not get started on the reef until the 1970s.

By a decade later, studies of the reef had exploded, along with the number of marine biologists doing them. What all these scientists lacked, however, was historical perspective. There are almost no records of earlier eras to compare with current conditions. Thus, for many scientists studying reef problems, the results are unprecedented, and almost always seen as catastrophic and even world-threatening.

The only problem is that it isn’t so. The Great Barrier Reef is in fact in excellent condition. It certainly goes through periods of destruction where huge areas of coral are killed from hurricanes, starfish plagues and coral bleaching. However, it largely regrows within a decade to its former glory. Some parts of the southern reef, for example, have seen a tripling of coral in six years after they were devastated by a particularly severe cyclone.

Reefs have similarities to Australian forests, which require periodic bushfires. It looks terrible after the bushfire, but the forests always regrow. The ecosystem has evolved with these cycles of death and regrowth.

The conflicting realities of the Great Barrier Reef point to a deeper problem. In science, consensus is not the same thing as truth. But consensus has come to play a controlling role in many areas of modern science. And if you go against the consensus you can suffer unpleasant consequences.

The main system of science quality control is called peer review. Nowadays, it usually takes the form of a couple of anonymous reviewing scientists having a quick check over the work of a colleague in the field.

Peer review is commonly understood as painstaking re-examination by highly qualified experts in academia that acts as a real check on mistaken work. It isn’t.  In the real world, peer review is often cursory and not always even knowledgeable. It might take reviewers only a morning to do.

Scientific results are rarely reanalyzed and experiments are not replicated. The types of checks that would be routine in private industry are just not done.

I have asked the question: Is this good enough quality control to make environmental decisions worth billions of dollars that are now adversely affecting every major industry in northeast Australia?

Our sugar industry has been told to make dramatic reductions in fertilizer application, potentially reducing productivity; our ports have dredging restrictions that threaten their productivity; scientists demand that coal mines be closed; and tourists are scared away because the reef is supposedly almost dead – not worth seeing anymore.

Last August I made this point on Sky News in Australia in promotion of a chapter I wrote in “Climate Change: The Facts 2017,” published by the Australian free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.

“The basic problem is that we can no longer trust the scientific organizations like the Australian Institute of Marine Science, even things like the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies … the science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated and this is a great shame because we really need to be able to trust our scientific institutions and the fact is I do not think we can any more,” I said.

The response to these comments by my employer, James Cook University, was extraordinary. Rather than measured argument, I was hit with a charge of academic serious misconduct for not being “collegial.”

University authorities told me in August I was not allowed to mention the case or the charges to anybody – not even my wife.

Then things got worse. With assistance from the Institute of Public Affairs, I have been pushing back against the charges and the gag order – leading the university to search my official emails for examples of where I had mentioned the case to other scientists, old friends, past students and my wife.

I was then hit with 25 new allegations, mostly for just mentioning the case against me. The email search turned up nothing for which I feel ashamed. You can see for yourself.

We filed in court in November. At that point the university backed away from firing me. But university officials issued a “Final Censure” in my employment file and told me to be silent about the allegations, and not to repeat my comments about the unreliability of institutional research.

But they agreed that I could mention it to my wife, which was nice of them.

I would rather be fired than accept these conditions. We are still pursuing the matter in court.

This case may be about a single instance of alleged misconduct, but underlying it is an issue even bigger than our oceans. Ultimately, I am fighting for academic and scientific freedom, and the responsibility of universities to nurture the debate of difficult subjects without threat or intimidation.

We may indeed have a Great Barrier Reef crisis, but the science is so flawed that it is impossible to tell its actual dimensions. What we do know for certain is that we have an academic freedom crisis that threatens the true life of science and threatens to smother our failing university system.

 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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Thursday, February 22, 2018



Governments are poor guardians of the environmemt

Governments too often ignore data, and fail badly. Citizens must take more responsibility

Justhy Deva Prasad

A primary reason governments exist is to protect their citizens from dangerous threats - foreign, domestic and natural. People can play important roles in this arena, but most lack the resources, funds, legal authority or political power to act on their own.

In recent years, government roles have become even more dominant and pervasive. On environmental or other grounds, federal, state and even local bodies have steadily taken responsibilities from the private sector, and even prohibited citizens from taking steps to protect their lives and property, such as constructing seawalls to block storm surges or thinning out trees to prevent catastrophic wildfires.

Under these circumstances, it is essential that governments do their jobs right: by implementing informed policies, gathering and utilizing data about potential risks, making wise decisions in time to safeguard property and lives, and not letting special interests delay or obstruct those decisions.

Modern technologies greatly facilitate all these tasks, if they are employed properly. They make existing data readily available, and make it easy and affordable to acquire vital missing information. However, governments have too frequently failed in these obligations, often spectacularly.

These examples are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and a call for governments to do much better.

Fukushima. Everyone - legislators, regulators, utilities and citizens - knows Japan is in an earthquake and tsunami zone. And yet they permitted insufficient seawalls around nuclear power plants and, even worse, emergency generators in basements, where they would be flooded and rendered inoperable. The resultant reactor meltdowns, power outages and radiation contamination were certainly predictable.

Why didn't Japanese government officials utilize readily available data to prevent this catastrophe?

Superstorm Sandy. City planners, leaders and builders had ample data about previous storms. They knew a direct hurricane hit would have devastating consequences for the New York City region. Yet they narrowed rivers, so that storm surges could go in only one direction: up. They required backup electrical generators, but put them in basements, where they would be flooded and rendered inoperable.

They provided no indicators along streets to show how high waters would rise with specified storm surges, leaving citizens unaware of the dangers they faced. Their warnings were late, inadequate and misleading. People did not evacuate or move treasured belongings in time. Over one hundred died.

After hundreds of U.S. hurricanes, how could governments here and elsewhere be so derelict?

California wildfires. The Golden State has battled droughts, high winds and wildfires for 150 years. But in recent decades, it has succumbed to environmentalist pressure not to thin out forests or allow private communities to remove brush and dead trees, even as more and more homes have been built in or near forested areas, and even as massive conflagrations devastated homes, businesses and wildlife habitats.

The U.S. Forest Service says California has 129 million dead trees, mostly from droughts and pine bark beetles - perfect tinder for enormous fires. Governments even permit or require (or let homeowner associations do so) cedar shake roofs and other flammable materials for homes in fire-prone areas.

They have failed to stockpile sufficient water and fire suppressants or have sufficient aircraft; they have even decreed that fires can be battled only if started by humans, but not by lightning (as if that can be determined amid a conflagration). Again the results are totally predictable. Yet the policies continue.

The 2017 wildfires incinerated some 1.2 million acres of forest habitat - as much land as in Delaware - destroyed 8,400 homes, forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate, often at a moment's notice, with the clothes on their backs, threatened cities like Beverly Hills, cost billions in damages, and killed 43 people. Rain-soaked, barren hillsides then unleash mudslides that destroy more property and kill more people.

Oroville Dam. The tallest dam in the United States, this now 50-year-old dam employs a concrete spillway and a backup earthen spillway to discharge excess water buildup during rainy periods, so that the dam doesn't fail. In 2005, environmental groups raised concerns that the spillways could erode during heavy winter rains and cause massive downstream flooding - and deaths. Federal and state officials rejected their advice, saying everything was fine. Tests for concrete cracking apparently were never done.

Inspectors could have used side scanning radar to detect cavities beneath the concrete, but instead relied on occasional visual inspections from a distance. The last such state inspection was in 2015. Amid historic storms in late 2017, the concrete spillway collapsed into a large, undetected cavern beneath it. Officials ordered 188,000 people living in communities below the dam to evacuate. Luckily no one died.

Rarely, if ever, are the responsible, incompetent, malfeasant, derelict authorities singled out, punished, fined, fired, or even reprimanded or identified publicly when governments fail so spectacularly.

Rarely, if ever, do governments offer compensation to affected families, business owners and employees for lost paychecks, gross inconveniences . or even the total loss of businesses, inventories, homes, cars, precious and irreplaceable keepsakes, life savings, livelihoods, or very lives - as though many of those losses could ever really be compensated. Anything not covered by insurance is just gone.

Except in the case of Fukushima, government officials tried to deflect blame for the above failures by saying the disasters were cause or worsened by "climate change." It's an absurd, indefensible excuse.

Separating human from natural factors in changing weather and climate is impossible. Far more relevant and important, neither human nor natural climate or weather changes can excuse government officials from failing to acquire and analyze readily available or obtainable data - and then failing to use that information to develop sound policies, laws and regulations, and make timely, informed decisions that safeguard people's property and lives.

Climate change does not prevent or outlaw thinning out forests, putting emergency generators above likely flood levels, inspecting and maintaining spillways, or taking other steps to minimize disasters. Neither do other excuses often offered up by government officials to absolve their action or inaction.

Legislators, regulators and judges cannot escape accountability by claiming their hands were tied by environmental, builder, business or other groups that did not want government officials to disrupt their accustomed ways of doing things. They cannot escape their own culpability by saying California, New York, the United States and other countries worldwide should spend tens of trillions of dollars attempting to control Earth's climate - but then fail to spend mere millions on practical steps that would prevent cataclysmic losses from fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanoes and other natural disasters.

They cannot say, "We take full responsibility" for missteps - when they rarely or never do so.

There are billions of people on our planet. Hundreds of millions live along seacoasts, next to forests or in other areas threatened by recurrent natural horrors.

Modern data technologies enable governments to formulate policies and rules that can predict many natural disasters, and prevent or minimize their worst consequences. Other modern technologies enable government officials, citizen groups, businesses and families to build disaster-resistant structures that can save property and lives. But those technologies are worthless if they are not used.

What can be done? Legislators, regulators, judges and even special interest groups should utilize data to develop and implement more informed, responsible laws and policies - that put people first instead of last (or dead last). Insurance companies and homeowner associations should assess threats and take commonsense steps to minimize them. Citizens should elect better representatives - or failing that, take personal steps within the law to better protect their property and families. It all starts with data.

Via email



Cars Remain Popular Because They Are Vastly Superior to Transit Alternatives

The Los Angeles Times has recently reported that public transit agencies "have watched their ridership numbers fall off a cliff over the last five years," with multi-year decreases in mass transit use by up to 25 percent. And a new UCLA Institute of Transportation study has found that increasing car ownership is the prime factor for the dive in usage.

As Homer Simpson would say, "Doh."

Southern California residents bought 4 times as many cars per person in the 15 years after the turn of the century, compared to the decade before. That substantial jump in automobile ownership caused the share of Southern California households without access to a car to fall by 30 percent, and 42 percent for immigrant households. As one of the study's authors, Michael Manville, put it "That exploding level of new automobile ownership is largely incompatible with a lot of transit ridership." In other words, once a household has access to a car, they almost universally prefer driving to mass transit.

This patronage plunge threatens transit agencies. Typical responses echo Hasan Ikhrata, executive director of the Southern California Association of Governments, who said, "We need to take this study as an opportunity to figure out how we make transit work better for us." In other words, we should ignore increasing access to automobiles and overwhelming revealed preferences for driving over mass transit, and find new ways to fill bus and train seats.

Many things are already in motion to solve transit agencies' problems. For instance, in 2015, Los Angeles began a 20-year plan to remove auto lanes for bus and protected bike lanes, as well as pedestrian enhancements, diverting transportation funds raised from drivers and heightening congestion for the vast majority who planners already know will continue to drive.

Such less than effective attempts to cut driving by creating gridlock purgatory suggest we ask a largely ignored question. Why do planners' attempts to force residents into walking, cycling and mass transit, supposedly improving their quality of life, attract so few away from driving?

The reason is simple-cars are vastly superior to alternatives for the vast majority of individuals and circumstances.

Automobiles have far greater and more flexible passenger- and cargo-carrying capacities than transit. They allow direct, point-to-point service, unlike transit. They allow self-scheduling rather than requiring advance planning. They save time, especially time spent waiting, which surveys find transit riders find far more onerous. They have far better multi-stop trip capability. They offer a safer, more comfortable, more controllable environment, from the seats to the temperature to the music to the company.

Those massive advantages explain why even substantial new restrictions on automobiles or improvements in alternatives leave driving the vastly dominant choice. They also reveal that policies which will punish the vast majority for whom driving remains far superior cannot effectively serve all residents' interests.

The superiority of automobiles doesn't stop at the obvious, either. They expand workers' access to jobs and educational opportunities, increase productivity and incomes, improve purchasing choices, lower consumer prices and widen social options. Trying to inconvenience people out of their cars also undermines those major benefits.

Cars' allow decreased commuting times if not hamstrung, providing workers access to far more potential jobs and training possibilities. That improves worker-employer matches, with expanded productivity raising workers' incomes as well as benefiting employers. One study found that 10 percent faster travel raised worker productivity by 3 percent, and increasing from 3 mph walking speed to 30 mph driving is a 900 percent increase. In a similar vein, a Harvard analysis found that for those lacking high-school diplomas, owning a car increased monthly earnings by $1,100.

Cars are also the only practical way to assemble enough widely dispersed potential customers to sustain large stores with affordable, diverse offerings. "Automobility" also sharply expands access to social opportunities.
In all, attempting to force people out of cars and onto transit recycles earlier failures and harms the vast majority of citizens.

As Randal O'Toole noted: "Anyone who prefers not to drive can find neighborhoods ... where they can walk to stores that offer a limited selection of high-priced goods, enjoy limited recreation and social opportunities, and take slow public transit vehicles to some but not all regional employment centers, the same as many Americans did in 1920. But the automobile provides people with far more benefits and opportunities than they could ever have without it."

SOURCE



Security Officials Recommended Pruitt Fly First Class

Media fail to mention high level of death threats against Pruitt and his family

A significant increase in death threats leveled at Scott Pruitt led to security officials to recommend the Environmental Protection Agency administrator fly first class.

Journalists and liberals have made light of security concerns, mocking Pruitt for following the recommendations from the head of his 24-hour security detail, which was required due to "unprecedented" threats.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that Pruitt had spent $90,000 flying in first or business class. The article briefly notes records showing Pruitt does so for "security concerns," and that the regulations allow officials to fly first class under "exceptional security circumstances."

By Thursday, the Post reported the decision to fly first class was made by Pasquale Perrotta, the head of Pruitt's security detail. The security team said there are many reasons why flying first class is necessary for Pruitt's security, such as "the chance to make a quick exit if a situation arises."

Politico questioned the need to fly first class in an article Thursday that made no mention of the death threats against Pruitt and his family.

"Pruitt's security threat? A passenger shouting, `You're f-ing up the environment'" the headline reads.

Journalists and liberals seized on the story, mocking the example of the threatening environment faced by Pruitt, given by Henry Barnet, the director of the EPA's Office of Criminal Enforcement. Barnet cited an incident at an airport where a liberal harassed Pruitt, recording him on a cell phone, while yelling, "You're f-ing up the environment."

Vanity Fair claimed Pruitt's "excuse" for flying first class is "whiny environmentalists."

"Apparently, individuals going up to the E.P.A. administrator and making completely factual statements was a bridge too far. It's not totally clear why the security team believes that only people flying coach think Pruitt is a prick who deserves to be told as much, but perhaps they'll address that at a later date," the fashion magazine wrote.

A reader had to come to the end of the Politico story to discover that the "threats are so prevalent" against Pruitt that his security detail has to perform a new threat assessment every 90 days.

"EPA instituted 24/7 protection for Pruitt last year, a step up from previous administrators who typically were guarded only when in public or traveling," the penultimate paragraph of the Politico story reads.

"Citing security concerns, EPA does not announce Pruitt's travel plans ahead of time, a departure from the habits of previous administrators who would often alert the media about upcoming trips, particularly overseas," the article concludes. "Barnet said that scheduling announcements are not a decision made by the security detail."

The article fails to mention the number of death threats Pruitt and his family have received.

"He has had significantly more threats directed against him," said Patrick Sullivan, the EPA's assistant inspector general for investigations. "There's absolutely no question about it."

Pruitt told Bloomberg News last year that his family was also being targeted, and security officials said the administrator had received threatening letters and packages delivered to his home.

"The quantity and the volume-as well as the type-of threats are different," Pruitt said. "What's really disappointing to me is it's not just me-it's family."

Pruitt recently said he does not make the security decisions but blamed a "toxic" political environment.

For instance, the FBI had to open an investigation after a drunk viewer watching MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show threatened to kill Pruitt and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.). A San Francisco columnist justified the increased number of death threats against Pruitt last fall, saying the threats "make a warped sort of sense."

Pruitt has received up to five times the amount of threats than his predecessor Gina McCarthy, Sullivan has said. The inspector general opened 70 threat investigations in 2017, nearly double the amount during the previous year.

Pruitt has received direct threats, such as, "I'm going to put a bullet in your brain."

SOURCE




WESTERN Nations, Driven By A Global Agenda Of Climate Alarmism, Are Destroying Their Industries With Carbon Taxes And Promotion Of Expensive, Intermittent Green Energy

ANTHROPOGENIC "climate change", and the control of carbon dioxide (energy) has deep roots in a radical, yet gravely misguided campaign to reduce the world's population.

GLOBAL warming aka climate change has little to do with the "environment" or "saving the planet". Rather, its roots lie in a misanthropic agenda engineered by the environmental movement in the mid 1970's, who realised that doing something about "global warming" would play to quite a number of the Lefts social agendas.

THE goal was advanced, most notably, by The Club Of Rome (Environmental consultants to the UN) - a group of mainly European scientists and academics, who used computer modelling to warn that the world would run out of finite resources if population growth were left unchecked.

"In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that .. the threat of global warming.. would fit the bill.. the real enemy, then, is humanity itself." - Club Of Rome

THE Club Of Rome's 1972 environmental best-seller "The Limits To Growth", examined five variables in the original model: world population, industrialisation, pollution, food production and resource depletion.

NOT surprisingly, the study predicted a dire future for mankind unless we `act now':

AROUND the same time, influential anthropologist and president of the American Medical Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Margaret Mead, gathered together like-minded anti-population hoaxsters at her 1975, North Carolina conference, "The Atmosphere: Endangered and Endangering". Mead's star recruits were climate scare artist Stephen Schneider, population-freak George Woodwell and former AAAS head, John Holdren (Barack Obama's Science and Technology Czar). All three of them disciples of Malthusian catastrophist Paul Ehrlich, author of the "The Population Bomb".

THE conference concluded that human-produced carbon dioxide would fry the planet, melt the ice caps, and destroy human life. The idea being to sow enough fear of man-made climate change to force global cutbacks in industrial activity and halt Third World development.

WE are given clues as to the motives of this extreme agenda from various statements by prominent environmental `icons'.

"Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun."
- Prof Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University

"The Earth has cancer and the cancer is Man."
- Club of Rome, premier environmental think-tank, consultants to the United Nations

"If we don't overthrow capitalism, we don't have a chance of
saving the world ecologically. I think it is possible to have
an ecologically sound society under socialism. I don't think it is possible under capitalism"
- Judi Bari, principal organiser of Earth First

"We've got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy."
- Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

"No matter if the science of global warming is all phony. climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world."
- Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment

"In Searching For A New Enemy To Unite Us, We Came Up With The Threat Of Global Warming" - Club of Rome, premier environmental think-tank, consultants to the United Nations

"Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?" - Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

"Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class - involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing - are not sustainable." - Maurice Strong, Secretary General of the UN's Earth Summit, 1992.

***

VIV Forbes on how the control of population growth and people's lifestyles manifests today through the control of energy supply.

The "zero-emissions" zealots want to force us backwards down the energy ladder to the days of human, animal and solar power. They oppose the main thing that sets us apart from all other species - the use of fire from explosives, coal, oil, gas or nuclear power.

They have yet to explain how our massive fleet of planes, trains, tractors, harvesters, trucks, road trains, container-ships and submarines will be powered and lubricated by windmills, treadmills, windlasses, solar energy, distilled whiskey and water wheels.

Western nations, driven by a global agenda of climate alarmism, are destroying their profitable industries with carbon taxes; and their promotion of expensive, intermittent green energy is pushing us back down the energy ladder; and our competitors in Asia are climbing the energy ladder as quickly as they can. At the same time, the enormous waste of public money on government promotion of the climate industry has created a global fiscal mess.

Unless reversed, this wasteful de-energising policy will drive much of the world's population back to the poverty and famines which often prevailed in the past. Some see the inevitable de-population this would cause as a desirable goal.

SOURCE





Enlightenment Environmentalism: The Case for Ecomodernism

Is progress sustainable?

A common response to good news about global health, wealth, and sustenance is that it cannot continue. As we infest the world with our teeming numbers, guzzle the earth's bounty heedless of its finitude, and foul our nests with pollution and waste, we are hastening an environmental day of reckoning. If overpopulation, resource depletion, and pollution don't finish us off, then climate change will.

To be sure, the very idea that there are environmental problems cannot be taken for granted. Beginning in the 1960s, the environmental movement grew out of scientific knowledge (from ecology, public health, and earth and atmospheric sciences) and a Romantic reverence for nature. The movement made the health of the planet a permanent priority on humanity's agenda, and it deserves credit for substantial achievements - another form of human progress.

Yet today, many voices in the traditional environmental movement refuse to acknowledge that progress, or even that human progress is a worthy aspiration. While it is true that not all the trends are positive, nor that the problems facing us are minor, it is crucial to understand that environmental problems, like other problems, are solvable, given the right knowledge.

In contrast to the lugubrious conventional wisdom offered by the mainstream environmental movement, and the radicalism and fatalism it encourages, there is a newer conception of environmentalism which shares the goal of protecting the air and water, species, and ecosystems but is grounded in Enlightenment optimism rather than Romantic declinism. That approach is called ecomodernism.

Environmental problems, like other problems, are solvable, given the right knowledge.

Ecomodernism begins with the realization that some degree of pollution is an inescapable consequence of the second law of thermodynamics. When people use energy, they must increase entropy elsewhere in the environment in the form of waste, pollution, and other forms of disorder. The human species has always been ingenious at doing this - that's what differentiates us from other mammals - and it has never lived in harmony with the environment. When native peoples first set foot in an ecosystem, they typically hunted large animals to extinction, and often burned and cleared vast swaths of forest.[1]

A second realization of the ecomodernist movement is that industrialization has been good for humanity.[2] It has fed billions, doubled lifespans, slashed extreme poverty, and, by replacing muscle with machinery, made it easier to end slavery, emancipate women, and educate children. It has allowed people to read at night, live where they want, stay warm in winter, see the world, and multiply human contact. Any costs in pollution and habitat loss have to be weighed against these gifts. As the economist Robert Frank has put it, there is an optimal amount of pollution in the environment, just as there is an optimal amount of dirt in your house. Cleaner is better, but not at the expense of everything else in life.

The third premise is that the trade-off that pits human well-being against environmental damage can be renegotiated by technology. How to enjoy more calories, lumens, BTUs, bits, and miles with less pollution and land is itself a technological problem, and one that the world is increasingly solving. If people can afford electricity only at the cost of some smog, they'll live with the smog, but when they can afford both electricity and clean air, they'll spring for the clean air. This can happen all the faster as technology makes cars and factories and power plants cleaner and thus makes clean air more affordable.

This idea, that environmental protection is a problem to be solved, is commonly dismissed as the "faith that technology will save us." In fact, it is a skepticism that the status quo will doom us - that knowledge and behavior will remain frozen in their current state for perpetuity. Indeed, a naive faith in stasis has repeatedly led to prophecies of environmental doomsdays that never happened.

The first is the "population bomb," which defused itself. When countries get richer and better educated, they pass through what demographers call the demographic transition.[3] Birth rates peak and then decline, for at least two reasons. Parents no longer breed large broods as insurance against some of their children dying, and women, when they become better educated, marry later and delay having children. Fertility rates have fallen most noticeably in developed regions like Europe and Japan, but they can suddenly collapse, often to demographers' surprise, in other parts of the world. Despite the widespread belief that Muslim societies are resistant to the social changes that have transformed the West, Muslim countries have seen a 40 percent decline in fertility over the past three decades, including a 70 percent drop in Iran and 60 percent drops in Bangladesh and in seven Arab countries.[4]

The other environmental scare from the 1960s was that the world would run out of resources. But resources just refuse to run out. The 1980s came and went without the famines that were supposed to starve tens of millions of Americans and billions of people worldwide. Then the year 1992 passed and, contrary to projections from the 1972 bestseller The Limits to Growth, the world did not exhaust its aluminum, copper, chromium, gold, nickel, tin, tungsten, or zinc. In 2013 the Atlantic ran a cover story about the fracking revolution entitled "We Will Never Run Out of Oil." Humanity does not suck resources from the earth like a straw in a milkshake until a gurgle tells it that the container is empty. Instead, as the most easily extracted supply of a resource becomes scarcer, its price rises, encouraging people to conserve it, get at the less accessible deposits, or find cheaper and more plentiful substitutes.

A naive faith in stasis has repeatedly led to prophecies of environmental doomsdays that never happened.

Indeed, it's a fallacy to think that people "need resources" in the first place.[5] They need ways of growing food, moving around, lighting their homes, and displaying information. They satisfy these needs with ideas: with recipes, formulas, techniques, blueprints, and algorithms for manipulating the physical world to give them what they want. The human mind, with its recursive combinatorial power, can explore an infinite space of ideas, and is not limited by the quantity of any particular kind of stuff in the ground. When one idea no longer works, another can take its place.

Take the supply of food, which has grown exponentially even though no single method of growing it has ever been sustainable. In The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis, the geographer Ruth DeFries describes the sequence as "ratchet-hatchet-pivot." People discover a way of growing more food, and the population ratchets upward. The method fails to keep up with demand or develops unpleasant side effects, and the hatchet falls. People then pivot to a new method. At various times, farmers have pivoted to slash-and-burn horticulture, night soil (a euphemism for human feces), crop rotation, guano, saltpeter, ground-up bison bones, chemical fertilizer, hybrid crops, pesticides, and the Green Revolution.[6] Future pivots may include genetically modified organisms, hydroponics, aeroponics, urban vertical farms, robotic harvesting, meat cultured in vitro, artificial-intelligence algorithms fed by GPS and biosensors, the recovery of energy and fertilizer from sewage, aquaculture with fish that eat tofu, and who knows what else - as long as people are allowed to indulge their ingenuity.[7]

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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Wednesday, February 21, 2018



Apocalypse Not

In 1919, the director of the U.S. Bureau of Mines offered a dire warning for the future. “Within the next two to five years the oil fields of this country will reach their maximum production, and from that time on we will face an ever-increasing decline.”

Nearly a century later, in July 2010, The Guardian ran a story with an ominous headline: “Lloyd’s adds its voice to dire ‘peak oil’ warnings.” Citing a report by the storied London insurer, the newspaper warned that businesses were “underestimating catastrophic consequences of declining oil,” including oil at $200 a barrel by 2013, a global supply crunch, and overall “economic chaos.”

I thought of these predictions on seeing the recent news that the United States is on the eve of breaking a 47-year production record by lifting more than 10 million barrels of crude a day. That’s roughly twice what the U.S. produced just a decade ago, and may even put us on track to overtake Saudi Arabia and even Russia as the world’s leading oil producer. As for global production, it rose by some 11 percent just since the Lloyd’s report, and by almost 200 percent since 1965.

Call it yet another case of Apocalypse Not. In his fascinating new book, “The Wizard and the Prophet,” Charles C. Mann notes that President Roosevelt — Teddy, not Franklin — called the “imminent exhaustion” of fossil fuels and other natural resources “the weightiest problem now before the nation.” Prior to that, Mann adds, there were expert forecasts that the world would soon run out of coal. Later on, the world became fixated on the fear of running out of food in the face of explosive population growth.

The wizard and the prophet of Mann’s title are, respectively, Norman Borlaug and William Vogt, the former the agronomist widely credited as the father of the Green Revolution, the latter the founder of what Hampshire College’s Betsy Hartmann calls “apocalyptic environmentalism.”

“In best-selling books and powerful speeches, Vogt argued that affluence is not our greatest achievement but our biggest problem,” Mann writes. “Our prosperity is temporary, he said, because it is based on taking more from than earth than it can give. If we continue, the unavoidable result will be devastation on a global scale, perhaps including our extinction.”

In our own day, people like Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein have made careers saying more or less the same thing. This is a world where the clock is permanently set at two minutes to midnight, and where only a radical transformation of modern society (usually combining dramatic changes in personal behavior along with a heavy dose of state intervention) can save us. Above all, the Vogtians say, we need less: less consumption, less stuff, fewer people, and so on.

Borlaug and the Borlaugians take a different view. It’s not that they see environmental threats as bogus: The world really would have suffered catastrophic famines if Borlaug hadn’t developed high-yield, disease-resistant varieties of wheat. Oil is a finite resource, but whether reserves last 50 or 500 years will probably depend less on overall supply than on technologies to extract and use those reserves more efficiently.

The same goes for climate change, which will not be helped by some centrally planned, Chinese-style “Green Leap Forward,” but by a multitude of technological advances that in turn require a thriving capitalist economy to fund, develop, commercialize and make affordable. The foolish idea that capitalism is the enemy of the environment misses the point that environmentalism is itself a luxury that few poor countries can adequately afford. If you doubt this, contrast the air and water quality in New York City with that of any similar-sized city in the developing world.

I fall in the Borlaugian camp. That’s worth noting because one of the more tedious criticisms by the environmental left is that people like me “don’t care about the environment.” But imputing bad faith, stupidity or greed is always a lousy argument. Even conservatives want their children to breathe.

It also misses the point. As Mann notes, Borlaugians are environmentalists, too. They simply think the road to salvation lies not through making do with less, but rather through innovation and the conditions in which innovation tends to flourish, greater affluence and individual freedom most of all.

There’s also this: So far, the Borlaugians have mostly been right. To the extent that starvation is a phenomenon of recent decades — as in places like North Korea and Venezuela — it is mainly the result of gross political mismanagement, not ecological disaster. Peak oil keeps being defeated by frackers and deepwater explorers. As my colleague Nick Kristof recently pointed out, by most metrics of human welfare, the world keeps getting better with every passing year.

If environmental alarmists ever wonder why more people haven’t come around to their way of thinking, it isn’t because people like me occasionally voice doubts in newspaper op-eds. It’s because too many past predictions of imminent disaster didn’t come to pass. That isn’t because every alarm is false — many are all too real — but because our Promethean species has shown the will and the wizardry to master the challenge, at least when it’s been given the means to do so.

SOURCE





Crucial Climate Verdict, Naked Conflict-of-Interest

SPOTLIGHT: History’s most momentous climate decision was made by people with substantial conflicts-of-interest.

BIG PICTURE: In November 1995, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) declared for the first time that humans were changing the climate. Its verdict turned on a single piece of then-unpublished research. Four months after the fact, the research was submitted to a prominent journal. Three months later it was published.

The world then learned that 25% of the IPCC personnel tasked with making its most crucial determination were involved with this research. In a naked a conflict-of-interest, these nine people, led by IPCC chapter head Ben Santer, had evaluated the persuasiveness of their own fledgling scientific work – and had judged it sound enough to change history.

Academic journals receive thousands of scientific papers each year from researchers hoping to get their work published. Papers that make it to second base are sent to knowledgeable third parties for evaluation. This system, known as peer review, has many shortcomings. But when it works as it’s supposed to, it slams the brakes on exaggerated claims.

In Searching for the Catastrophe Signal, Bernie Lewin notes that this research was toned-down during the pre-publication process. (If reviewer criticisms are judged to be valid, journals will insist on changes as a condition of publication.)

In Lewin’s words, the title of the published version “heralds no breakthrough finding, but instead only describes a search” for human influence (his emphasis). The accompanying abstract tells us it’s likely that a temperature trend is “partially due to human activities, although many uncertainties remain…” (my emphasis).

In other words, the first time outsiders had an opportunity to take a proper look, they weren’t convinced the research demonstrated what the IPCC said it did. Standards at a scholarly journal are evidently higher than at this UN body.

A 2010 review of IPCC procedures identified numerous areas of concern. Among them was the startling fact that, 22 years after it had been established, the IPCC still had no conflict-of-interest policy.

TOP TAKEAWAY: IPCC scientists routinely pass judgment on their own work –  and on the work of their scholarly rivals. But we’re supposed to take its findings seriously.

SOURCE






"Clean" electricity tying New England in knots

All electricity is perfectly clean -- but not in New England, it seems



Massachusetts utilities and state energy officials have picked a backup plan to bring clean power into the state from Canada, while still giving a controversial transmission project more time to overcome objections in neighboring New Hampshire.

The alternative route is a 148-mile transmission project known as the New England Clean Energy Connect that would be built by Central Maine Power Co. and its parent, Avangrid, in Maine.

The state’s three big electric utilities are required by law to increase their purchases of clean power. In late January, a team representing the utilities picked a project that would import around 1,100 megawatts of electricity from Hydro-Quebec through a transmission project known as Northern Pass.

But on Feb. 1, the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee rejected a crucial permit for the 192-mile long Northern Pass. On Friday, state officials said Northern Pass executives have until March 27 to determine whether the transmission project can overcome its opposition in New Hampshire.

Eversource Energy owns the $1.6 billion Northern Pass project, and is also one of the utilities buying the clean power from Hydro-Quebec.

The moves Friday by the Baker administration essentially keep doors open for both projects, Northern Pass and New England Clean Energy Connect.

“The Baker-Polito Administration is pleased that with today’s announcement the Commonwealth is progressing toward securing the largest amount of renewable energy in Massachusetts’ history,” spokesman Peter Lorenz said in a statement.

Eversource is represented on the evaluation team of utility companies that are collectively negotiating contracts for the big clean energy purchase. Separately, Eversource’s promise that Northern Pass could be finished by the end of 2020 was cited as a reason it was initially chosen in January.

The subsequent permit denial in New Hampshire has thrown that timeline into question.

Eversource officials say they can make a strong legal argument to get the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee to reconsider its project, and have a little over a month to prove they can pull it off.

Eversource officials said Friday they appreciate the flexibility being offered by the Baker administration and the other utilities involved in the bidding process, National Grid and Unitil. The decision, Eversource said, strikes a sensible balance by continuing negotiations on Northern Pass while having a backup plan take shape.

The New England Clean Energy Connect comes in at a smaller cost than Northern Pass — $950 million — but would be finished in 2022. The line would run from the Canadian border in western Maine down to a connection point in Lewiston.

Importantly, most of the line would run through existing utility rights-of-way, which could lessen the kind of opposition from neighbors that undermined Northern Pass in New Hampshire.

“We believe the NECEC is a cost-effective response to Massachusetts’ needs,” Central Maine Power chief executive Doug Herling said in a statement. “Given our experience building projects of greater scale and complexity here in our home state, we’re confident we can meet our commitments to the Commonwealth.”

SOURCE





Greenland, Antarctica And Dozens Of Areas Worldwide Have Not Seen Any Warming In 60 Years And More!

For example the North Atlantic, an important region concerning global climate, has not warmed since the 1870s!



The North Atlantic was warmer 130 years ago than it is today. Source: de Jong and de Steuer, 2016.

Greenland as stable as ever

Greenland, a major concern of climate alarmists because it stockpiles enough ice to raise global sea levels some 6 meters, also hasn’t warmed in since the 1880s, as the following chart from Mikkelsen et al 2018 shows:



Antarctica: no warming in 200 years

The big sea level kahuna of course is Antarctica. If that huge block of ice ever melted completely, sea levels would rise some 60 meters! And thus submerge vast areas of lowlands worldwide (never mind it would take thousands of years at extremely higher global temperatures).

Yet According to Schneider et al 2006, there hasn’t been warming there in 200 years!



Antarctic temperatures in fact had been heading sharply south at the time the paper was published.

Himalayas: no warming in 300 years!

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Director Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber once embarrassed himself by claiming the massive Himalayan glaciers would melt by the year 2030. But the following chart tells us that it might take just a bit longer:

According to a study by Thapa et al, 2015, the Himalayas recently have been cooling and the temperature there now is like it was 300 years ago! Don’t worry, when the year 2030 comes around, we’ll be sure to check to see if the ice is still there. In the meantime, do your best bearing all the suspense.

And so it goes region after region. So the next time the media and climate alarmists issue panicked warnings of rapid warming and melting ice caps, we need to ask ourselves: What the hell are they raving about? Are they okay?

The following is only an abbreviated list of places that have not cooled in a long time, and Kenneth says there are hundreds more like these. Many are from the results of very recent papers.

Since 1870s – no warming
Greenland – no warming
New Zealand – no warming
Antarctica – no warming
North Atlantic – no warming
Western Pacific – no warming
India/Western Himalaya – no warming
Pakistan – no warming
Turkey – no warming
Himalayas/Nepal – no warming
Siberia – no warming
Portugal – no warming
NE China – no warming
SW China – no warming
South China – no warming
West China – no warming
Southern South America – no warming
Canada (B.C.) – no warming
Canada Central – no warming
Since 1940s/50s – no warming
Northern Hemisphere – no warming
Arctic Region – no warming
Greenland – no warming
South Iceland – no warming
North Iceland – no warming
Alaska – no warming
New York – no warming
Rural U.S. – no warming
Northern Europe – no warming
Western Europe – no warming
Mediterranean Region – no warming
Finland and Sweden – no warming
East Antarctica – no warming
North Atlantic – no warming
Western North Atlantic – no warming
Brazil – no warming
SE Australia – no warming
Southern South America – no warming
Andes Mountains – no warming
Chile – no warming

If you live there, send them to your lawmakers and ask why they are wasting so much money preventing something that isn’t even happening.

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




A Coral's Biological Control of its Calcifying Medium to Favor Skeletal Growth
 
Great news for those concerned about potential future impacts of so-called ocean acidification on corals. A New Study shows they are able to continue skeletal growth under the most pessimistic of ocean acidification scenarios



Paper Reviewed: Raybaud, V., Tambutté, S., Ferrier-Pagès, C., Reynaud, S., Venn, A.A., Tambutté, É., Nival, P. and Allemand, D. 2017. Computing the carbonate chemistry of the coral calcifying medium and its response to ocean acidification. Journal of Theoretical Biology 424: 26-36.

Introducing their very intriguing study, Raybaud et al. (2017) write that "critical to determining vulnerability or resilience of reef corals to ocean acidification (OA) is a clearer understanding of the extent to which corals can control carbonate chemistry in their extracellular calcifying medium (ECM) where the calcium carbonate skeleton is produced." However, information about the coral ECM is sparse due to the difficulty of accessing it (it is located under several overlying cell layers and has a thickness varying from a few nanometers to a few micrometers).

In an effort to overcome this measurement obstacle, the team of eight researchers presented what they describe as "a novel, alternative means of indirectly assessing ECM carbonate chemistry using coral calcification rates, seawater characteristics (temperature, salinity and pH) and pH measurements of the ECM (pH(ECM))." More specifically, this involved (1) calculating coral species-specific relationships between seawater pH and pH(ECM) using pH(ECM) data from six publications on 5 different species that have measured pH(ECM) at several different levels of seawater pH, (2) calculating the aragonite saturation state (Ωarag.(ECM)) and calcium carbonate ion concentration ([CO32-](ECM)) in the ECM from coral calcification rates previously published in 20 peer-reviewed studies and (3) using pH(ECM) and [CO32-](ECM) to calculate the ionic concentration of the other chemical parameters in the carbonate system of the ECM under current and reduced values of seawater pH. This approach yielded a number of significant findings described in the paragraphs below.

The species-specific relationships between seawater pH and pH(ECM) revealed that all five of the corals analyzed in this stage of the analysis (Desmophyllum dianthus, Cladocora caespitosa, Porites spp., Acropora spp. and Stylophora pistillata) upregulated their pH(ECM) relative to that at normal seawater pH. What is more, the degree of pH(ECM) upregulation increased as seawater pH decreased, indicating, in the words of the authors, "an active biological control of the ECM chemistry by corals."

In the second phase of their work, Raybaud et al. discovered that the Ωarag.(ECM) values calculated from the 20 coral studies they analyzed ranged from 10.16 to 38.31 (mean of 20.41), which values were "~5 to 6-fold higher than Ωarag. in seawater (Ωarag.(SW)), which favors the aragonite precipitation of coral skeleton in the ECM." They also note that "Ωarag.(ECM) was higher for cold-water corals, which have slower growth rates than for tropical ones," adding that "the greater ability of certain cold-water coral species to raise their Ωarag.(ECM) may be an adaptive mechanism, as recently suggested by Hendriks and colleagues (Hendriks et al., 2015), enabling these organisms to grow in seawater that is close to under-saturation with respect to aragonite (Ωarag.(SW) ~1; (Thresher et al., 2011))."

Finally, with respect to the third phase of their study -- assessing other chemical parameters in the carbonate system of the ECM -- the authors report that (1) dissolved inorganic carbon and total alkalinity were approximately 3 times higher in the ECM than in seawater at normal pH, (2) carbonate concentration was 5.9 times higher, (3) bicarbonate ions were 2.1 times more concentrated and (4) hydroxide 2.3 fold higher, which observations clearly indicate the ability of corals to biologically mediate the process of calcification in the ECM under present-day seawater pH conditions. But will they continue to do so in the future under projections of pH decline?

To answer this question, Raybaud et al. utilized data from a long-term laboratory experiment performed on the tropical coral Stylophora pistillata in order to assess how coral ECM chemistry might change due to ocean acidification. The results are presented in the figure below, which illustrate the impact of ocean acidification on calcification rates and various ECM chemical characteristics of S. pistillata coral colonies exposed to normal (8.0) and reduced (7.8, 7.4 and 7.2) seawater pH levels for a period of one year.

As indicated there, Ωarag.(ECM) and [CO32-](ECM) exhibited only small reductions under increasing levels of ocean acidification compared to corresponding changes that occurred in normal seawater. For instance, although Ωarag. of the seawater decreased by 78% (from 3.17 to 0.69, as denoted by the blue horizontal lines in Figure 1e), when the pH declined from 8 to 7.2, Ωarag. and [CO32-] of the ECM each fell by a much smaller 9 percent to values that were 22.4 times higher than those reported in seawater outside the ECM in the most severe ocean acidification treatment (i.e., pH of 7.2). Consequently, the team of researchers write that "the ECM in S. pistillata under ocean acidification has a higher buffer capacity than under current pH," evidenced by the increasing difference between Ωarag.(ECM) and Ωarag.(SW) as the seawater pH treatments decline from 8.0 to 7.2 (see the vertical arrows and orange numbers associated with Ωarag. under the different pH treatments shown in Figure 1e).

In light of all of the above facts, Raybaud et al. conclude their results clearly show that "despite unfavorable Ωarag.(SW) [down to a seawater pH of 7.2], corals are able to maintain Ωarag.(ECM) sufficiently high to allow calcification to proceed," as "the biological regulation of ECM chemistry keeps Ωarag.(ECM) almost constant" under ocean acidification scenarios far beyond those likely to ever occur. And that is incredibly wonderful news for those concerned about potential future impacts of so-called ocean acidification on corals.

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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