May 31, 2009
FROM- Resilient Earth
Airborne Bacteria Discredit Climate Modeling Dogma
The formation of low-level clouds—clouds that have a cooling effect on Earth's climate—has vexed climate scientists for years. Current climate models treat cloud cover simplistically and make the assumption that cloud cover decreases as temperatures rise.
New data from a cloud sampling experiment indicates that biological material—bacteria, spores and plant material—may account for 1/3 of the airborne material involved in cloud formation. Furthermore, biological material can form clouds at much warmer temperatures than mineral dust. These new discoveries indicate that modelers have the effects of temperature on low cloud cover backwards, placing all model predictions in doubt.More...
Read Article here
Years ago, long before there was such a thing as global warming, I remember reading an article about future energy sources. I believe it was back in the oil boycott days of the 70's in a once proud magazine called Scientific American.
One particular item in the article always stuck with me, the harnessing of tidal power.I remember thinking what a great idea, even if it could not fulfill all our needs it sure made sense to use perpetual tidal forces for electrical generation.
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest I was well aware of the use of hydroelectric power by damming the mighty Columbia. The idea of doing it in a less intrusive and far more environmentally friendly manner sure made sense to me. Over he years I have casually followed the efforts to get this idea off the drawing board and out of the magazines and into practical application. Last year I was glad to see that an area of the country I am familiar with was pushing the idea forward into practical application in the Puget Sound of Washington.
Of course in today's world, no good idea goes unpunished, whether it be hydrogen fuel cells or depositories for nuclear waste, if it has a chance to alleviate our energy crisis, it will be stymied by the best and the brightest who rule over us. While ethanol has been shown to be not only worse for the environment and for food prices, literally billions are being thrown at this loser, while relatively minor investments in a potential never ending source of energy are being cut.
Unlike ethanol, tides and ocean currents have no lobbyist in Washington DC to protect them from budget cuts. Nor would it seem does common sense.
Obama move to cut wave power funding upsets NW advocates
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Obama administration has proposed a 25 percent cut in the research and development budget for one of the most promising renewable energy sources in the Northwest - wave and tidal power.
At the same time the White House sought an 82 percent increase in solar power research funding, a 36 percent increase in wind power funding and a 14 percent increase in geothermal funding. But it looked to cut wave and tidal research funding from $40 million to $30 million.
The decision to cut funding came only weeks after the Interior Department suggested that wave power could emerge as the leading offshore energy source in the Northwest and at a time when efforts to develop tidal power in Puget Sound are attracting national and international attention.
By some estimates, wave and tidal power could eventually meet 10 percent of the nation's electricity demand, about the same as hydropower currently delivers. Some experts have estimated that if only 0.2 percent of energy in ocean waves could be harnessed, the power produced would be enough to supply the entire world.
In addition to Puget Sound and the Northwest coast, tidal and wave generators have been installed, planned or talked about in New York's East River, in Maine, Alaska, off Atlantic City, N.J., and Hawaii. However, they'd generate only small amounts of power.
The Europeans are leaders when it comes to tidal and wave energy, with projects considered, planned or installed in Spain, Portugal, Scotland, Ireland and Norway. There have also been discussions about projects in South Korea, the Philippines, India and Canada's Maritime provinces.
The proposed cut, part of the president's budget submitted to Congress, has disappointed Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.
"Wave and tidal power holds great promise in helping to meet America's long-term energy needs," Murray said, adding that Washington state is a leader in its development. "It's time for the Department of Energy to focus on this potential. But playing budget games won't get the work done."
Murray's staff said that while $16.8 billion in the recently passed stimulus bill is reserved for renewable energy and energy efficiency, none of it is earmarked for wave and tidal power.
Energy Department spokesman Tom Welch, however, said the Obama administration is asking for 10 times more for tidal and wave power than the Bush administration did.
"The trend line is up," Welch said. "The department is collaborating with industry, regulators and other stakeholders to develop water resources, including conventional hydro."
Murray sees it differently. Congress appropriated $40 million for the current year, so the Obama administration proposal actually would cut funding by a fourth.
Utility officials involved in developing tidal energy sources said the administration's approach was shortsighted.
"We need all the tools in the tool belt," said Steve Klein, general manager of the Snohomish County Public Utility District. "It's dangerous to anoint certain sources and ignore others."
The Snohomish PUD could have a pilot plant using three tidal generators installed on a seabed in Puget Sound in 2011. The tidal generators, built by an Irish company, are 50 feet tall and can spin either way depending on the direction of the tides. The units will be submerged, with 80 feet of clearance from their tops to the water's surface. They'll be placed outside of shipping channels and ferry routes.
The pilot plant is expected to produce one megawatt of electricity, or enough to power about 700 homes. If the pilot plant proves successful, the utility would consider installing a project that powered 10,000 homes.
"A lot of people are watching us," Klein said.
The Navy, under pressure from Congress to generate 25 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2025, will install a pilot tidal generating project in Puget Sound near Port Townsend next year.
In Washington state, law requires that the larger utilities obtain 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The law sets up interim targets of 3 percent by 2012 and 9 percent by 2016.
Most of the attention so far has focused on developing large wind farms east of the Cascade Mountains. Because wind blows intermittently, however, the region also needs a more reliable source of alternative energy. Tidal and wave fit that need. Also, at least with tidal, the generators would be closer to population centers than the wind turbines in eastern Washington.
"The potential is significant and (tidal and wave) could accomplish a large fraction of the renewable energy portfolio for the state," said Charles Brandt, director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's marine sciences lab in Sequim
This past week the Obama administration’s energy secretary, Steven Chu, suggested that one solution the nations of the world should take to reduce global warming is to paint roofs and roadways white. The premise being that white colored roof would reflect insolation whereas a darker colored roof would absorb it. Chu elaborates further
If you look at all the buildings and make all the roofs white, and if you make the pavement a more concrete type of colour rather than a black type of colour, and you do this uniformly, it's the equivalent of reducing the carbon emissions due to all the cars in the world by 11 years.
Sounds like a sweet deal. A little white paint here, a little more over there and before you know it, all the cars in the world suddenly have no effect on global warming because their emissions will be offset. Does this mean someone that paints their roof white will get a carbon tax exempt card for being a good soldier in the fight against global warming? Does it even matter that painting one’s roof white will only reduce cooling costs when it’s hot outside? What about when it’s not hot and sunny? What good is your white roof doing when it’s snowing or when it’s cloudy, cool and damp?
There’s a long list of problems that white roofs have and there’s good reasons why most roofing surfaces across much of the country are darker colours. For example, a white roof would be a detriment to comfortable indoor air temperatures on a cold, cloudy windy day in the winter. Did the energy secretary figure increased energy costs to heat one’s home in the winter due to their new white roof? Here in the Northeast, where winters are famously cold, windy and snowy, the preferred way of heating one’s home is oil. Each hour longer that one would have to run their oil burners to make up for the loss in heat from the sun is the equivalent of leaving a diesel truck idling on the road for that same time. Hardly seems we’re making any dents in the equivalent numbers of cars being taken off the road.
The problems doesn’t only extend to extra oil consumption in the winter, there’s other risks as well. For example, a lighter colored roof allows more snow to build upon its surface as a darker roof would absorb more heat, melting some of the snow off throughout the winter. This extra added weight of snow might leave some roofs vulnerable to collapse! We’ve seen problems with collapsed roofs during the winter of 2007-08 in New England when continuous snowstorms left a 2-4 foot snow cover on top of many roofs leading to failure, especially as spring approached when the full season of accumulated snow of roofs would absorb much of the water from spring rains. If less snow is allowed to melt off during sunny winter days the percentage of roofs vulnerable to collapse would rise, even in winters that don’t deliver crippling amounts of snow. In addition to potential roof collapse, the slower melting of the snow could also lead to moisture/water problems from leaks that may present from something as simple as sagging paint or a slow drip from the ceiling or, much worse, mold and mildew problems, which can be toxic!
Generations of home builders in the Northeast have recognized these problems very early and made adjustments to how homes were built to account for these climatic caveats. Deciduous trees were planted on the southwest and southeast corners of homes to shade them in the summer and allow sunlight through in the winter. As these trees grew older they would shade the roof, a much better solution to having one that’s white, nipping sunlight in the bud before reaching the roof of the house. Windows weren’t installed along the north facing side of the house and conifers were plants to act as a wind block. Unfortunately, these building practices become a lost art as more and more pre-designed homes, made to all look the same as part of housing associations, became the preferred way of housing development.
As with homes, roadways are also expected to be a light shade of colour under Chu’s plan and this also presents its own set of problems. The winter season is just as harsh on roads as it is on roofs. Darker coloured roadways absorb just enough insolation during the winter to keep road surfaces a few degrees warmer than the ambient ground temperatures, helping to prevent them from freezing over when working in tandem with salt during winter storms. This same logic also applies on nights when the temperature is close to freezing and black ice formation could arise. The extra heat absorbed by dark coloured roadways may be the difference between a wet road and an icy one. The colour of a road also plays a role in problems with sun glare when the sun is low in the sky. The extra light reflecting off these new lighter roadways when the sun is low in the sky in mornings and evenings would play havoc on east-west routes.
All rationality appears to be lost by those that are scrambling to ‘stop global warming’ and ‘save the planet’. Our safety must be put at risk by paving glaring roads and driving around in glorified golf carts that crumple like tin cans. We’ve seen individuals nearly drive themselves to death from hypothermia trying to reach the North Pole to bring attention to global warming. The media continues to regurgitate green movement talking points without any questioning of the data that continues to show irregularities and anecdotal evidence pointing towards opposing conclusions. Any loon with a claim of climate disaster or wacky geo-engineering project is given open forum to the world. The hundreds of climate conferences that take place each and every year in which thousands of delegates are flown in from all over the world and given world-class cuisine surely emit more greenhouse gas than many of the developing nations they’re claiming to aid combined.
Chu’s advice isn’t all bad, however. In tropical areas where it’s warm year-round with the sun nearly overhead having a white roof would be advantageous. Conversely, as explained above, having a white roof in northern climes would work to one’s disadvantage so broadbrushing the issue simply won’t cut it. A more intelligent approach must be made with weight given to the climatic regime of each region of the country if one wants to implement a global warming building code for the exterior of one’s home.
The Waxman-Markey global-warming bill cannot survive cost-benefit analysis.
Democrats in the White House and Congress are now making the most serious push ever for legislation to force reductions of U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions. The stated purpose is to reduce potential future harm from human-caused climate change, and the vehicle is a climate-and-energy bill commonly referred to as Waxman-Markey. But the reasoning behind this proposal is innumerate, even if we accept the scientific and economic assumptions of its advocates.
According to the authoritative U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), under a reasonable set of assumptions for global economic and population growth, the world should expect to warm by about 2.8°C over the next century. Also according to the IPCC, a global increase in temperature of 4°C should cause the world to lose about 3 percent of its economic output. So if we do not take measures to ameliorate global warming, the world should expect to be about 3 percent poorer sometime in the 22nd century than it otherwise would be. This is very far from the rhetoric of global destruction. Because of its geographical position and mix of economic activities, the United States is expected to experience no net economic costs from such warming through the end of this century, and to begin experiencing net costs only thereafter.
A government program to force emissions reductions to avoid some of these potential future losses would impose a cost of its own: the loss in consumption we would experience if we used less energy, substituted higher-cost sources of energy for fossil fuels, and paid for projects — which are termed “offsets” — to ameliorate the effect of emissions (an example would be planting lots of trees). It’s complicated to estimate the cost of an emissions-reduction program, but the leading economists in this area generally agree that it would be large, and that we should simply let most emissions happen, because it would be more expensive to avoid them than to accept the damage they would cause. This makes sense, if you consider that most such plans (for example, Waxman-Markey) call for eliminating something like 80 percent of carbon emissions within the next 40 years or so. Even if the economy becomes more efficient over this period, such a quick transition away from our primary fossil-fuel sources will be expensive.
If a) the total potential benefit of emissions abatement is about 3 percent of economic output more than 100 years from now, b) we can avoid only some of this damage, and c) it’s expensive to prevent those emissions that we can prevent, the net benefit of emissions reduction will likely be a very small fraction of total economic output. William Nordhaus, who heads the widely respected environmental-economics-modeling group at Yale, estimates the total expected net benefit of an optimally designed, implemented, and enforced global program to be equal to the present value of about 0.2 percent of future global economic consumption. In the real world of domestic politics and geostrategic competition, it is not realistic to expect that we would ever have an optimally designed, implemented, and enforced global system, and the side deals made to put in place even an imperfect system would likely have costs that would dwarf 0.2 percent of global economic consumption. The expected benefits of emissions mitigation do not cover its expected costs. This is the root reason that proposals to mitigate emissions have such a hard time justifying themselves economically.
The mechanism for mitigation proposed in the Waxman-Markey bill is a “cap and trade” plan. The idea is quite simple: The government sets a fixed annual limit to total carbon-dioxide emissions and distributes ration cards for the right to emit a portion of this amount (that’s the “cap”); it also allows those who receive ration cards to sell them (that’s the “trade”). Now, “distributes” is an artfully chosen word: How would the government decide who gets the ration cards? One method is to sell them; another is to give them away, theoretically based on some objective criterion such as historical emissions, but in practice more likely based on campaign contributions. Waxman-Markey doesn’t specify how the distributing is to be accomplished. The Obama administration expects to sell ration cards, bringing the government $80 billion a year in revenue over the next decade. This revenue represents a cost increase for more or less any company that uses lots of fossil-fuel energy in one way or another (i.e., most of the economy). Like all raw-material cost increases, these will be passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices. So in reality this is a backdoor tax on energy that conscripts private companies into being collection agents.
Would these costs be justified by the benefits we could expect Waxman-Markey to create? No, for the reasons outlined above.
Let’s start with the costs. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has done the first cost estimate for Waxman-Markey. It finds that by 2020 Waxman-Markey would cause a typical U.S. household to consume about $160 less per year than it otherwise would, and about $1,100 less per year by 2050. (This projection does not factor in potential benefits from avoiding warming.) That doesn’t sound like the end of the world, but this cost estimate is based on a number of assumptions that are unrealistic, to put it mildly.
First, it assumes that every dollar collected by selling the right to emit carbon dioxide will be returned to taxpayers through rebates or lowered taxes. Waxman-Markey establishes this intention but doesn’t describe how it would be achieved, which reflects the political difficulty of achieving it. Second, it assumes no costs for enforcement and other compliance measures. Third, it assumes that large numbers of cheap emissions credits from foreign countries will be available for purchase; without these, costs to our domestic companies would be far higher. Fourth, it assumes that the rest of the world will begin similar carbon-reduction programs. (Lack of such foreign action would either increase U.S. costs or risk a trade war if we tried to compensate for lack of international cooperation with targeted tariffs.) Fifth, it assumes that there will be no exemptions, free ration cards, or other side deals — that is, no economic drag created by the kind of complexity that has attached to every large, long-term revenue-collection program in history.
The EPA forecast is something like an estimate of what would happen in a laboratory, under ideal conditions; in the real world, expected costs are far above 0.8 percent of economic consumption by 2050. The EPA does not forecast costs beyond 2050.
Remember that the U.S. should not expect any net economic damage from global warming before 2100. That is, the bill’s benefits would accrue to U.S. consumers — who are also bearing its costs — sometime in the next century. The EPA underestimate has costs rising from zero to 0.8 percent of consumption between now and 2050, and offers no projection beyond that year; but to what level would costs rise over the more than 50 years between 2050 and the point in the 22nd century when we might actually expect some net economic losses from global warming? The answer is likely to be much higher than 0.8 percent of consumption.
Now consider the potential benefits, of which neither the EPA nor the bill’s sponsors have produced an estimate. Climatologist Chip Knappenberger has applied standard climate models to project that, under the scenario for global economic and population growth referenced above, Waxman-Markey’s emissions reductions would have the net effect of lowering global temperatures by about 0.1°C by 2100. Remember that the estimated cost of a 4°C increase in temperature (40 times this amount) is about 3 percent of global economic output. Assume for the moment that global warming has the same impact on the U.S. as a percentage of GDP as it does on the world as a whole (an assumption that exaggerates the impact on the U.S.). A crude estimate of the U.S. economic costs that Waxman-Markey would avoid sometime later than 2100 would then be about one-fortieth of 3 percent, or about 0.08 percent of economic output. This number is one-tenth of 0.8 percent, the EPA’s estimate of consumption loss from Waxman-Markey by 2050. To repeat: The costs would be more than ten times the benefits, even under extremely unrealistic assumptions of low costs and high benefits. More realistic assumptions would make for a comparison far less favorable to the bill.
I’ve had to rely on informal studies and back-of-envelope calculations to do this cost/benefit analysis. Why haven’t advocates and sponsors of the proposal done their own? Why are they urging Congress to make an incredible commitment of resources without even cursory analysis of the economic consequences? The answer should be obvious: This is a terrible deal for American taxpayers. More...
One potential objection to my analysis is that the bill is part of a global drive for all countries to reduce emissions, and that the U.S. needs to “show leadership.” By this logic, we should ascribe much larger benefits to the Waxman-Markey bill — specifically, the benefits to American consumers of the whole world’s engaging in similar programs. There are two obvious problems with this argument, however. First, ascribing all of the benefits of a global deal to reduce emissions to a specific bill that does not create such a commitment on the part of any other countries is loading the dice. The benefit we should ascribe to the bill is rather that of an increase in the odds of such a global deal. But would Waxman-Markey actually increase them, or might it decrease them instead? Whenever one nation sacrifices economic growth in order to reduce emissions, the whole world can expect to benefit, because future temperature should decrease for the entire globe. Every nation’s incentive, therefore, is to free ride on everybody else. Our most obvious leverage with other emitting nations would be to offer to reduce our emissions if they reduced theirs. Giving up this leverage and hoping that our unilateral reductions would put moral pressure on China, Russia, Brazil, and similar countries to reduce their emissions reveals a touchingly sunny view of human nature, but it is a poor negotiating strategy. Second and more fundamentally, even if the whole world were to enact similar restraints on emissions, the economics would still not be compelling, for the reasons outlined at the beginning of this article.
A second potential objection to my analysis is that we owe it to the rest of the world to limit our emissions because of our historical role as an emitter. What this ignores is that the reason the U.S. and Europe have historically emitted carbon dioxide is that they invented the modern economy. Along with putting all that carbon dioxide in the air, the West invented the polio vaccine, the limited-liability corporation, the high-efficiency power turbine, and so on. It invented, that is, the tools for creating wealth that successful parts of the developing world are now using to escape poverty — and, incidentally, to emit more carbon dioxide. It is less than obvious why we should put a special burden on the West to make reparations for carbon-dioxide emissions while ignoring the fact that the net global effect of the system that created these emissions has been extremely positive. Ask yourself this question: Would you rather be born at the median income level in Bangladesh today, or at the median income level in Bangladesh in an alternative world in which the entire Northern Hemisphere never escaped life at the subsistence level — that is, to live in a world of lower carbon emissions, but no science, no hospitals, no foreign aid, and no meaningful chance of changing the material conditions of your life? If advocates of Waxman-Markey intend it to be, in effect, an increase of $80 billion per year in spectacularly inefficient foreign aid for people yet to be born in equatorial regions of the globe, they should at least be clear about this.
A third and more serious potential objection to my analysis is that while Waxman-Markey may not create benefits if the projections I offered above turn out to be accurate, climate science is highly inexact, and the bill is an insurance policy against higher-than-expected costs. Now, climate and economics modelers aren’t idiots, so it’s not as though this hadn’t occurred to them. Competent modelers don’t assume only the most likely case, but build probability distributions for levels of warming and associated economic impacts (e.g., there is a 5 percent chance of 4.5°C warming, a 10 percent chance of 4.0°C warming, and so on). The economic calculations that compose, for example, the analysis by William Nordhaus that I cited earlier are executed in just this manner. So the possibility of “worse than expected” impacts means, more precisely, the possibility of “impacts worse than those derived from our current probability distribution.” That is, we are concerned here with the inherently unquantifiable possibility that our entire probability distribution is wrong.
This concept has been called, somewhat grandiosely, the “precautionary principle.” Once you get past all the table-pounding, this is the crux of the argument for emissions abatement. It is an emotionally appealing political position, as it is easy to argue that we should oppose some consumption now to head off even a low-odds possibility of disaster.
But this is to get lost in the world of single-issue advocates and become myopic about risk. We face lots of other unquantifiable threats of at least comparable realism and severity. A regional nuclear war in central Asia, a global pandemic triggered by a modified version of the HIV virus, and a rogue state weaponizing genetic-engineering technology all come immediately to mind. Any of these could kill hundreds of millions of people. Scare stories are meant to be frightening, but we shouldn’t become paralyzed by them.
In the face of massive uncertainty on multiple fronts, the best strategy is almost always to hedge your bets and keep your options open. Wealth and technology are raw materials for options, and a much more sensible strategy to deal with climate risk would emphasize technology rather than taxes. The role for the U.S. federal government is to fund prediction, mitigation, and adaptation strategies.
The danger here, of course, is that we may end up back in the failed game of industrial policy. The federal government, after all, was the key sponsor of, for example, the shale-oil and large-scale-wind-turbine debacles in response to the energy crisis 30 years ago. Setting the right scope for such a program and managing the funding process carefully would be essential, to prevent it from becoming corporate welfare.
Government investments should meet specific criteria: They should be related to detecting or ameliorating the effects of global warming, serve a public rather than a private need, and provide no obvious potential source of profit to investors if successful. Examples would include improved global-climate-prediction capability, biotechnology to capture and recycle carbon-dioxide emissions, and geo-engineering projects to change the albedo of the earth’s surface or atmosphere. In contrast, most technologies that would contribute to the ongoing long-run transition of the economy away from fossil fuels, such as more efficient fuel cells for autos or lower-cost solar-power sources, need no government funding, since there is ample profit motive to develop them. Massive amounts of venture funding and large-company internal capital allocations are flowing to these opportunities right now. Government attempts to direct such development would almost certainly destroy value through political allocation of resources.
The agency for funding any government-sponsored research should be explicitly modeled on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It should have a very-high-IQ staff with wide flexibility in providing small grants, and emphasize large prizes for accomplishing measurable and audacious goals. The British entrepreneur Richard Branson has offered a $25 million prize to anyone who demonstrates a device that removes significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. What if the U.S. government upped the ante to $1 billion and pledged to make any resulting technology freely available to the world? That would solve any global-warming problem that might develop, at a one-time cost of less than 0.01 percent of U.S. GDP. Of course, this agency would still be a government program, and therefore rife with inefficiencies. But consider that its costs would be on the order of 1/100th of the costs of imposing a large U.S. carbon tax.
Clarity about costs and benefits is the enemy of the Waxman-Markey proposal. To get drawn into the details of tweaking allowance schedules or emissions limits, in the hope of avoiding the appearance of obstructionism, is a sucker play. No amount of tinkering is going to change the fundamental reality that even a perfect implementation of the Waxman-Markey concept is a very poor economic deal for Americans. The alternative should not be tax-based or rationing-based efforts to make energy more expensive, but a targeted research program to provide insurance against unanticipated and unpredictable consequences. At the other extreme, to make this an argument about climate science by attacking the global scientific establishment, or to engage in a debate about worldviews and socialism — that is, to operate on a high rhetorical plane — is also a sucker play, because it allows advocates of Waxman-Markey to continue to avoid the hard issue of costs and benefits. We should keep coming back to one practical question: What do we pay, and what do we get?
Mr. Manzi is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and chairman of an applied-artificial-intelligence software company.
Dr Peter Ridd Lecturer / Ph.D. School of Mathematics, Physics and I.T., James Cook University
"Those of you who watched the ABC’s presentation of The Great Global Warming Swindle might not have been convinced by the arguments challenging the conventional wisdom that carbon dioxide is responsible for global warming. However, it should be apparent that scientists and politicians such as Al Gore, who have been telling us that the science is unquestionable on this issue, have been stretching the truth. It seems that there are some good reasons to believe that we may have been swindled.....
....So why have we been swindled into believing this almost pristine system is just about to roll over and die when it shows so few signs of stress. There are many reasons and processes that have caused this and some of them are the same as why we should all be more than a little sceptical about the hypothesis that CO2 is causing global warming.
The first reason is that there is some very bad science around. Second, a mainly biological oriented scientific community seems to take little heed of the geological history of corals. Third, we have many organisations and scientists that rely for funding on there being a problem with the GBR. Most grant applications on the GBR will mention at some stage that a motivation for the work is the threat to which it is exposed. I confess that I do this in all my applications - it’s the way the game works.
Why does a scientist and environmentalist such as myself worry about a little exaggeration about the reef. Surely it’s better to be safe than sorry. To a certain extent it is, however, the scientist in me worries about the credibility of science and scientists. We cannot afford to cry wolf too often or our credibility will fall to that of used car salesmen and estate agents - if it is not there already. The environmentalist in me worries about the misdirection of scarce resources if we concentrate on “saving” a system such as the GBR. Better we concentrate on weeds and overpopulation and other genuine problems...."
May 30, 2009
Growing Season for Global Warming Hype
June 1 marks the start of hurricane season. Watch this space: Odds are a mild hurricane season will be blamed on ... global warming. Odds are an active hurricane season will be blamed on ... global warming.
Now it seems the global warming faithful have found a fantastic new leader. With the emphasis on "fantasy," judging by his embarrassingly loopy proposal abroad on how to combat the "crisis situation" of global warming.
"If you look at all the buildings and if you make the roofs white and if you make the pavement more of a concrete type of color rather than a black type of color and if you do that uniformally, that would be the equivalent of ... reducing the carbon emissions due to all the cars in the world by 11 years - just taking them off the road for 11 years," Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and President Obama's U.S. Energy Secretary, told a conference of Nobel laureates in London this week. Britain's Telegraph newspaper carried the report.
Two things worth noting: First, Yassar Arafat and Al Gore both won a Nobel prize. 'Nuf said about that. Second, granted Chu's certainly an intelligent man, but that doesn't make him smart. His Nobel was not for climatology research - and thankfully not the Economics prize, given his goofy proposal - but a joint award as one of three scientists who developed methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light.
Herbert Spencer said, "The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools." The good news is that there are plenty of foolish options for global warming proponents; the bad news is that while the rest of us wait for them to learn their lesson, implementing those foolish options also costs the millions of people for whom global warming is low on the priority scale. The worse news is that there's an abundance of "crises" to appeal to. Georgia is portrayed as "lagging" behind its neighbors because lawmakers haven't implemented a climate action plan amid this "crisis situation."
The attempts to combat global warming assume that human misbehavior is the main cause of this "crisis." Further, that humans can avert the "crisis." And last, that unless action is taken immediately to combat this planetary "emergency," the planet is doomed to floods, drought, pestilence, fire, species extinction and other consequent disasters. None of the proposed action is serious enough to take this country/planet to the level necessary to combat global warming. None of the proposed action takes into account the proven adaptability of humans and other species. Or that countries pouring money down the drain to combat the natural cycle of climate change are diverting funds from disasters that can actually be prevented, such as malaria, AIDS, poverty and starvation.
Climate change is not a black-or-white issue, although some of the solutions might lead one to think so. Today, Chu wants to paint roofs white. Not long ago, global cooling was the climate change crisis and there was speculation about "about how humanity might alter the global climate by strewing dark dust or soot across the Arctic snow and ice," notes historian and (not Nobel Prize-winning) physicist Spencer Weart. "The soot would lower the albedo (reflection of sunlight), and the air would get warmer."
In the '70s, Weart adds, "As the respected British climate expert Hubert Lamb suggested, before taking any action it seemed like ‘an essential precaution to wait until a scientific system for forecasting the behavior of the natural climate ... has been devised and operated successfully for, perhaps, a hundred years.'"
Climate change is neither an emergency, nor a crisis. Americans could learn a lot from history, such as the thing about climate is that it changes. Such as that science has improved meteorology but weather forecasts are still notoriously unreliable. If the 10-day forecast is uncertain, it still seems like a good idea to follow Hubert Lamb's advice before implementing costly approaches that won't get anywhere near the desired effect of climate control. From cap-and-trade carbon emissions options to unreliable "renewable" energy sources to "independence" from foreign oil, the results will hurt American taxpayers and put this nation at a disadvantage with the rest of the world, a prospect that hasn't escaped other countries.
Yes, a national climate action plan will change the climate, all right: the economic climate. The winds of change won't be pleasant. And there's no whitewashing that.
Benita M. Dodd is vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, an independent think tank that proposes practical, market-oriented approaches to public policy to improve the lives of Georgians. Nothing written here is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation or as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any bill before the U.S. Congress or the Georgia Legislature.
Meanwhile, in the U.K....
Good news as far as it goes. But I've wondered whether there is any real conservative movement left in the U.K. The Tories' leader, David Cameron, is no conservative by American standards, and certainly no Margaret Thatcher. So I was heartened by this assessment of the new Tory candidates who likely will form the majority in the next Parliament:
Mr Cameron has told close colleagues that he believes he is on course to win 140 new Tory MPs after the next election, The Times has been told. While such a net gain would give Mr Cameron an overall majority of about 15, it could place him to the left of most of his parliamentary party, in which the majority will be new to the Commons. ...
[T]hose most likely to be new Tory MPs are, in general, less concerned about climate change than terrorism, oppose green taxes and are hostile to gay adoptions. A majority oppose the party's official policy of raising green taxes to reduce the taxation burden on families, according to a survey of 148 Tory candidates.
The survey, carried out in seats on a list of the 100 most-winnable constituencies and those already held, also finds that only 15 per cent believe climate change is a more important issue than terrorism. The survey suggests that an overwhelming majority of candidates in winnable seats - 83 per cent - support a significant expansion of nuclear power.
He will be less worried that 94 per cent of candidates believe that too much power has been transferred to the European Union. It is his own view and, as even Ken Clarke acknowledges, the "settled will" of the Conservative Party.
That is excellent news, especially the fact that most younger-generation Conservatives are willing to stand up to the eco-bullies who are even more powerful in Europe than in the U.S. Who knows? Perhaps a real conservative revival in Britain is still possible.
Energy: As administration officials tilt at windmills and talk of painting our roofs white, a real energy solution has emerged from the Arctic deep. So why has only Alaska's Sarah Palin noticed?
Back in July, when IBD first interviewed the then-little-known governor, Palin emphasized developing Alaska's Chukchi Sea resources. Under those icy waters, it was then believed, was enough oil and gas to supply America for a decade.
"It's a very nonsensical position we're in right now," Palin told us. "(We) ask the Saudis to ramp up production of crude oil so that hungry markets in America can be fed, (and) your sister state in Alaska has those resources."
At the time, it was thought that Chukchi's waters northwest of Alaska's landmass held 30 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
Today, Science magazine reports that the U.S. Geological Survey now finds it holds more than anyone thought — 1.6 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered gas, or 30% of the world's supply and 83 billion barrels of undiscovered oil, 4% of the global conventional resources.
That's enough U.S. energy to achieve self-sufficiency and never worry about it as a national security question again.
The only thing left to do is drill. "Congress can do that for us right now," Palin told IBD, urging Washington to open the territory.
That Congress hasn't is the biggest part of the problem.
"Alaska should be the head, not the tail, to the energy solution," Palin said.
It ought to be reassuring to Americans that energy can be developed here. Americans are environmentally conscious, and Palin herself has a good record on balancing development with ecology.
The alternative isn't reassuring: If we don't drill, the Russians will. Situated over on the eastern end of the Chukchi Sea, they have global ambitions of dominating the energy trade and no qualms about muscling in on the U.S.
Already, undersea volcanic activity has melted much of the Arctic ice cap and enabled more exploration than in the past. The U.S. has as much claim to the region as the Russians, but only the Russians seem to be taking advantage of the geological bounty.
It's pure energy, not theoretics. That's significant because Steven Chu's Energy Department is spending too many resources trying to figure out how to turn all the weird wind power and switchgrass schemes into viable energy resources.
His latest idea is to paint roofs white. None of this puts significant energy out to consumers. Nor does it come close to matching oil in energy value.
A recent study by Exxon Mobil calculated that even as efforts to develop alternative fuels move forward, oil will remain the dominant energy source through at least 2030.
Domestic oil and gas development is an off-the-shelf (dare we say "shovel ready"?) solution that can serve a bridge to all the green experiments if any someday pan out.
Drilling Alaska energy beats kowtowing to the Saudis or waiting for odd energy sources like wind power to become economical.
Since neither of those are solutions for America's energy security, the best way to handle this is the third way, the Palin way: drilling.
Now that the resources are there, it's time to do it.
Christopher Essex, PhD, Professor of Applied Mathematics and Associate Director of the Program in Theoretical Physics, University of Western Ontario
"There is no such thing as global temperature. And if there is no global temperature, how can there be global warming?...
...When the global-average-temperature-index "thingy" goes out in public, all of the temperature baggage comes with it. Extraneous things are subjected to the tortured temperature treatment. Glaciers and hurricanes become temperature, so do frog, horse and human maladies, including pulmonary disease, delirium and suicide. Apparently the "thingy" can even be employed to follow evolutionary changes in squirrels and explain kitten numbers. It's amazing what tenths of a degree can do...."
Every week the mainstream media floods the newswires with perilous climate change predictions intended to spur the masses into taking drastic action either through fear or guilt. The actions suggested usually require massive amounts of money to be given as aid to developing nations to help them ‘cope with global warming’ and ‘develop green technologies’. Meanwhile, here in the so-called ‘rich nations’ we must concede generations of development and drastically change our lifestyle through voluntary measures suggested by guilt-ridden environmentalists, such as switching to a vegan diet or installing ‘green products’ into one’s home that are typically far too expensive for most low and middle income families budgets. And soon these changes will more-or-less be forced upon the populous as currently being drafted in congress is a climate change bill that would tax anything and everything that produces carbon emissions.
It is my belief that people cannot fully grasp the full breadth of what the green movement has become. They’re not about saving the rainforest or the polar bears, per say, as much as they are in the business of installing a new word order. A socialistic world government full of entitlements for the many that have never strived for achievement given to by the few that have. The green movement has manipulated their way to prominence using fear of calamity and guilt of consumption with the media perpetrating their every word. For example, a google news search on ‘climate change’ yielded 42,972 articles over the last one week period but ‘North Korea’ yielded a mere 39,765. Please keep in mind that North Korea detonated a nuclear bomb this week and launched -‘tested’- half a dozen surface-to-air missiles that take flight paths over Japan. They also renounced a 50+ year old treaty and threatened war. There are many other examples of factions coming to power through trepidation of the people and manipulation of the press, but they usually result in totalitarian dictatorships that generations of free people fought, and died, against but ultimately defeated.
With 42,972 articles circulating the web over the course of one week I figured that I would highlight those getting the most coverage and dissect them in a weekly review. Usually most global warming articles follow the same sequence; it’s bad, worse than previously thought, actions must be taken immediately, the poor will suffer the most, we will all pay dearly for our foul behavior of improving our lives. But looking a bit deeper one can find all the subtle hints of socialism, all the bias to advance ideology, all the spin to promote calamity and that’s what I look forward to pointing out.
This article to be featured is quintessential climate change reporting on a new study commissioned by the Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum. The tone is set in the first sentence.
Climate change kills about 315,000 people a year through hunger, sickness and weather disasters, and the annual death toll is expected to rise to half a million by 2030.
The article doesn’t elaborate how they come up with this figure or how the GHF makes the determination of whether the number of deaths from a flood is from climate change or just the natural course of events that have surely occurred a million times over before and will again. Do people living in a flood plain that die in a flood get counted as deaths from weather disasters due to climate change? Do people living below sea-level that die in a hurricane’s storm surge get lumped in there as well? Or how many deaths from sickness and starvation, problems mainly in developing nations, is caused by oppressive regimes, the antedecent conditions, overpopulation, hygienic practices, etc. rather than climate change and how is that determination made?
"Climate change is the greatest emerging humanitarian challenge of our time, causing suffering to hundreds of millions of people worldwide. The first hit and worst affected are the world's poorest groups, and yet they have done least to cause the problem."
- Kofi Annan, former U.N. secretary-general and GHF president
I’m not surprised by the guilt nor am I surprised by who’s spreading it, our once dear head of the UN, Kofi Annan. I’m further not surprised that he is now the president of an organization spreading global warming alarmism, as Annan went on to say
"Copenhagen needs to be the most ambitious international agreement ever negotiated. The alternative is mass starvation, mass migration and mass sickness."
If you remember, Copenhagen is that little pet project the UN, amongst the many minions, is working on intent to financially punish carbon intensive nations and redistribute this wealth to those nations that can’t just seem to get it together. No matter the billions in aid already sent to such nations which is squandered through government corruption carried out by tyrannical leaders, never making it to the people of these nations, we must put previous generosities aside and be forced into paying international carbon taxes to be given to these countries reparation-style.
"Funding from rich countries to help the poor and vulnerable adapt to climate change is not even one percent of what is needed. This glaring injustice must be addressed at Copenhagen in December."
- Barbara Stocking, chief executive of Oxfam in Britain and a GHF board member.
Previous to this statement the article noted that international funds, specific to climate change, pledged annually by the so-called ‘rich nations’ is over 400 million dollars. But this is an injustice. I take it we’re supposed to fund every infrastructure project designed to hold back nature in poor countries, despite having yet mastered that art here in the rich countries.
But this begs the question, just how are we faring in the rich countries. We’re currently in the midst of deep recession that doesn’t show too many signs of ending any time soon. In the US, unemployment has likely passed 9% since the last report, though some will argue it’s closer to 16% when accounting for those not on the unemployment rolls and those who’ve had hours severely cut. One in eight are in danger of losing their home to foreclosure and what people forget about this number, it no longer includes those that have already lost their homes due to foreclosure, of which there are many. The poverty rate continues to linger around 15% but will likely grow as the recession begins to take its toll. The bailout bubble looms which promises to devalue our currency, with ramifications in the commodities market understood, while sending inflation into overdrive. Government is growing beyond the control of the people and is spending more money than it takes in. Funny, I didn’t know having negative dollars was considered being rich?!
May 29, 2009
UPI is reporting another Cyber WAG siting. Although the computer modellers have not yet killed off any of the endangered big horn sheep, they have announced their intentions to go hunting.
Not only is the Cyber WAG, hunting down these poor creatures, whom they coldly refer to as "good subjects for a mathematical model" they are doing it in a most unsportsmanlike way.
The sheep, brought to Tiburon Island in 1975, are not at risk from disease or predators...
So they have these poor animals on this island where they will now unload their computer models on them in their continuing attempts to decimate various species. Will this madness ever end?
The modellers are holding nothing back when it comes to the big horn on this island. They are bringing in hunters from all over the world to ensure they kill these sheep.
Climate change is the only variable threat to the sheep, making them good subjects for a mathematical model aimed at predicting the effects of such change, Brook and fellow researchers from Germany, the United States and Mexico said. One part of the model simulates the effect of increased drought on the sheep's population, drought being a side-effect of climate change.
And in the end they admit their true intentions, the extinction of all endangered species in the world.
Because the calculations can be adapted to other species, the study should aid in the conservation of small populations of animals elsewhere on the planet, Brook said.
As we have shown over and over again, Cyber Wag will not stop until the entire world is destroyed by the modellers computer madness.
Crank of the Week - May 25, 2009 - Michael E. Mann
Michael E. “Hockey Stick” Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University and a co-founder of the climate change website RealClimate.org, was back in the news this week providing commentary for a Seed magazine on-line article, that asks the question “is there a better word for doom?” Mann defended the proper "framing" of environmental issues in order to convince the lay public about the importance of global warming.
This was all prompted by studies, undertaken for the environmental marketing firm EcoAmerica, which indicate that words like global warming, cap and trade, and carbon dioxide turn people off. The firm advises that environmental and government leaders begin talking about our deteriorating atmosphere and a pollution reduction refund, ditching greenhouse gas-speak in favor of phrases like moving away from the dirty fuels of the past. “Remember to speak in TALKING POINTS,” the report admonished, remember to use “aspirational language about shared American ideals, like freedom, prosperity, independence, and self-sufficiency, while avoiding jargon and details about policy, science, economics, or technology.”
Mann opined that “communicators must fight against the headwind of intentional disinformation efforts, typically fostered by special interest groups,” and that “the contrarian disinformation machine often employs charismatic, rhetorically talented advocates who deliver their messages of doubt and confusion in carefully measured and focus-group-tested aphorisms.” Charismatic and rhetorically talented? You are making us blush, Michael. But we don't have any focus groups on the payroll around here.
“Rather than engaging in the artifice of misrepresentation and cherry picking, we must find clever, simple ways to convey the facts,” continued Mann. No cherry picking? From the inventor of the infamously misrepresentative Hockey Stick graph? Now you are really pulling our legs.
Co-author with Penn State colleague Lee Kump, he has labeled his latest book with the non-sensationalist title Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming. Of the title he explained “the potential future climate changes we describe, are, technically speaking, projections rather than predictions because the climate models are driven by hypothetical pathways of future fossil fuel burning (i.e. conceivable but not predicted futures). But Dire Projections doesnt quite roll off the tongue.” Glad you cleared that up.
So, for continuing to simply convey the erroneous facts that the whole global warming—excuse me—climate change scam is based on, this Crank of the Week is for you.
Just because from NOAA - Quick facts about the US and global climate
*NASA announced that 2008 global temperatures were significantly cooler than 2007, the coolest since 2000 and below the average of the last 30 years link
*temperatures that were once rising are now falling rapidly link, 1998 was a warm year but the eleven years since have each been cooler, global temperatures have dropped an average of .6 degrees F in this perod. link
*Global temperatures are falling even though atmospheric CO2 levels continue to increase link
*Antarctica has 90% of the worlds ice and had the most ice ever recorded at the end of 2008, over one million square kilometers of sea ice above the average maximum. When adding the April 2009 ice extent at both poles together there was the same amount of polar ice as thirty years ago. link link link See todays polar ice extent in relation to the 1979-2000 average link link
*According to NASA the earth's oceans have been cooling since 2003 and may be entering a 30 year long cooling period (La Nina). See ocean temperatures link. Then compare todays ocean temperatures to only a few years ago link
*Global hurricane, typhoon, and cyclone activity are now at a an all time record low link
So what has changed? CO2 concentrations continue to increase yet temperatures are now falling? One reason temperatures may be falling is reduced solar activity which is at the lowest level in almost a Century. link
Europe and North America have recently experienced a score of record low temperatures. So where is the global warming we are preparing for?
Is a carbon cap and trade system that would raise hundreds of billions of dollars each year for the government necessary to prevent global warming if in fact the global warming was caused by natural forces such as the Sun and that many scientists are now becoming skeptical of the theory of man made global warming (AGW)? link It appears to me that the fear of global warming is looking more and more like the Y2K scare of the late 1990s.
If you have doubts about the conventional beliefs of global warming and want to learn more please do read on.
*the use of information on this website is unrestricted and can be reproduced without permission.
Dr. Jennifer Marohasy, BSc, PhD, Biologist, Writer, Senior Fellow, Institute of Public Affairs, Director, Australian Environment Foundation,
"....actually, there has been cooling, if you take 1998 as your point of reference. If you take 2002 as your point of reference, then temperatures have plateaued. This is certainly not what you'd expect if carbon dioxide is driving temperature because carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been coming down over the last 10 years."
Global warming myth has new counterpoints
The theory that man is causing global warming is now called Anthropogenic Global Warming, or AGW, and the media have brainwashed us that most world scientists support this view. This is not true.
A rising tide of global scientists have shown a correlation between sun-spot activities and rise in earth temperatures. They also demonstrate that the increases of greenhouse gases follow the rise in earth temperature; they do not cause it. Funding is cut off from scientists who do not support the U.N.-approved version of Anthropogenic Global Warming. No wonder so many scientists are aboard the U.N. train.
It becomes obvious to me that Anthropogenic Global Warming is being promoted by the New World Order to scare Americans into surrendering more of our Constitutional powers to the federal government and to cripple more of our economy. Let's not forget the Helsinki Accord of decades ago, wherein 16 world-class scientists asked the U.N. not to disseminate the AGW theory because of these same good reasons.
A new documentary by Martin Durkin titled "The Great Global Warming Swindle" proves that Al Gore's Anthropogenic Global Warming is a political theory, not the scientific one it pretends to be.
Let's tell our legislative leaders that we don't buy into scare tactics; we want proven scientific theories; not political ones advising the nation about global warming.
Robert Bruce Acheson
Alternative Energies and Other Fairy Tales
The quest for alternative, non-fossil fuel, energy sources is driven by two misconceptions: (1) The mistaken belief in "peak oil" (that we are nearing the complete depletion and exhaustion of economically extractable oil reserves) and (2) That market mechanisms cannot be trusted to provide adequate and timely responses to energy needs (in other words that markets are prone to failure).More...
At the end of the 19th century, books and pamphlets were written about "peak coal". People and governments panicked: what would satisfy the swelling demand for energy? Apocalyptic thinking was rampant. Then, of course, came oil. At first, no one knew what to do with the sticky, noxious, and occasionally flammable substance. Gradually, petroleum became our energetic mainstay and gave rise to entire industries (petrochemicals and automotive, to mention but two).
History will repeat itself: the next major source of energy is very unlikely to be hatched up in a laboratory. It will be found fortuitously and serendipitously. It will shock and surprise pundits and laymen alike. And it will amply cater to all our foreseeable needs. It is also likely to be greener than carbon-based fuels.
More generally, the market can take care of itself: energy does not have the characteristics of a public good and therefore is rarely subject to market breakdowns and unalleviated scarcity. Energy prices have proven themselves to be a sagacious regulator and a perspicacious invisible hand.
Until this holy grail ("the next major source of energy") reveals itself, we are likely to increase the shares of nuclear and wind sources in our energy consumption pie. Our industries and cars will grow even more energy-efficient. But there is no escaping the fact that the main drivers of global warming and climate change are population growth and the emergence of an energy-guzzling middle class in developing and formerly poor countries. These are irreversible economic processes and only at their inception.
Global warming will, therefore, continue apace no matter which sources of energy we deploy. It is inevitable. Rather than trying to limit it in vain, we would do better to adapt ourselves: avoid the risks and cope with them while also reaping the rewards (and, yes, climate change has many positive and beneficial aspects to it).
Climate change is not about the demise of the human species as numerous self-interested (and well-paid) alarmists would have it. Climate change is about the global redistribution and reallocation of economic resources. No wonder the losers are sore and hysterical. It is time to consider the winners, too and hear their hitherto muted voices. Alternative energy is nice and all but it is rather besides the point and it misses both the big picture and the trends that will make a difference in this century and the next.
A Comment on Energy Security
The pursuit of "energy security" has brought us to the brink. It is directly responsible for numerous wars, big and small; for unprecedented environmental degradation; for global financial imbalances and meltdowns; for growing income disparities; and for ubiquitous unsustainable development.
It is energy insecurity that we should seek.
The uncertainty incumbent in phenomena such "peak oil", or in the preponderance of hydrocarbon fuels in failed states fosters innovation. The more insecure we get, the more we invest in the recycling of energy-rich products; the more substitutes we find for energy-intensive foods; the more we conserve energy; the more we switch to alternatives energy; the more we encourage international collaboration; and the more we optimize energy outputs per unit of fuel input.
A world in which energy (of whatever source) will be abundant and predictably available would suffer from entropy, both physical and mental. The vast majority of human efforts revolve around the need to deploy our meager resources wisely. Energy also serves as a geopolitical "organizing principle" and disciplinary rod. Countries which waste energy (and the money it takes to buy it), pollute, and conflict with energy suppliers end up facing diverse crises, both domestic and foreign. Profligacy is punished precisely because energy in insecure. Energy scarcity and precariousness thus serves a global regulatory mechanism.
But the obsession with "energy security" is only one example of the almost religious belief in "scarcity".
May 28, 2009
"It boggles the mind to know that the world leaders are ignoring all physical evidence and are willing to sacrifice the global economies based on nothing more than speculative rhetoric from mindless climate alarmists."
FROM- American Thinker
The Geography of Carbon Emissions
No American city is among the top 50 cities in the world for air pollution according to the World Bank. (1) Another list, ‘The Top Ten of the Dirty Thirty,' compiled by the Blacksmith Institute of New York compared the toxicity of contamination, the likelihood of it getting into humans and the number of people affected. Places were bumped up in rank if children were impacted. No US or European sites made the list. Sites in China, India and Russia occupied six of the top ten spots. Some examples: at Linfen in Shanxi province-the heart of China's coal industry-industrial and automobile emissions put the health of 3 million people at risk. At Sukinda in the state of Orissa in India, 2.6 million people face the hazards of one of the world's opencast chromite mines. And in Dzerzhinsk, Russia, 300,000 people are exposed to toxic by-products from chemical weapons. (2)
Have you heard about this? Probably not. But there's more. Another report states that seven of the world's ten most polluted cities are in China. Of the ten cities in the world with the highest levels of air pollution, three are in India. (3). There are more reports but by now you probably get the point. Note that no US city has been mentioned. Steven Hayward in discussing the Blacksmith report makes an observation that could well apply to all of these documents: "Not surprisingly the media and green campaigners in the United States completely overlooked this report." (4)
China has some of the worst pollution problems in the world. Nearly two-thirds of China's 343 major cities currently fail to meet the nation's air quality standards. Pollution levels in China's major cities are 10 to 50 times higher than the worst smoggy day in Los Angeles (5). The twenty fastest growing cities in the world are all in China.
China is adding 100 gigawatts of coal-fired electrical capacity a year. That's another whole United States' worth of coal consumption added every three years, with no stopping point in sight. Much of the rest of the developing world is on a similar path. (6)
As Fareed Zakaria notes,
"The combined carbon dioxide emissions from the 850 new coal-fired power plants that China and India are building between now and 2012 are five times the total savings of the Kyoto accords. So you can put in all those curly light bulbs and drive all the Priuses you want: India just ate that for breakfast and China will eat the next round of conservation for lunch." (7)
Jane Orient adds this on the futility of reducing emissions; "In a symbolic gesture, the Forces of Darkness, which are trying to end an age of enlightenment and reason, urged people to turn off their lights for an hour between 8:30 and 9:30 PM local time. Bjorn Lomborg calculated that if 1 billion turned off their lights for 1 hour, it would have been the equivalent of shutting of China's emissions for a full 6 seconds. (8)
Although China receives the most attention, it is not the only Asian nation where this concern is present. India is also growing rapidly, and its major cities experience particulate levels often eight to ten times higher than the worst American cities. India is the fourth-most coal dependent country in the world and has enough reserves to last for the next 100 years. Carbon emissions in India are rising faster than nearly every other country on the planet. Between 1980 and 2006, India's carbon output increased by 341%, compared to 321% for China, 103% for Brazil 238% for Indonesia and 272% for Pakistan. (9)
Peter Huber sums this up quite well:
"Cut to the chase. We rich people can't stop the world's 5 billion poor people from burning the couple of trillion tons of cheap carbon that they have within easy reach. We can't even make any durable dent in global emissions-because emissions from the developing world are growing too fast, because the other 80 percent of humanity desperately needs cheap energy, and because we and they are now part of the same global economy. What we can do, if we're foolish enough, is let carbon worries send our jobs and industries to their shores, making them grow even faster, and their carbon emissions faster still." (6)
Steven F. Hayward, Index of Leading Environmental Indicators 2009, (San Francisco, Pacific Research Institute, 2009), 3
"The Top Ten of the Dirty Thirty," New York, Blacksmith Institute, September 2007
Norman Myers and Jennifer Kent, The New Consumers, (Washington, DC, Island Press, 2004), 77 & 90
Steven F. Hayward, Index of Leading Environmental Indicators 2009, (San Francisco, Pacific Research Institute, 2009), 10
Steven F. Hayward, "China Comes Clean," http://www.aei.org/publications/filter.all,pubID24262/pub_detail.asp
Peter W. Huber, "We Cannot Make a Dent in Global Carbon Emissions," http://www.opposingviews.com/articles/opinion-we-cannot-make-a-dent-in-global-carbon-emissions
Fareed Zakaria, The Post-American World, (New York, W. W. Norton & Co., 2008), 90
Jane Orient, "Earth Hour Celebrates Darkness," Civil Defense Perspectives, 25, 2, March 2009
Priyanka Bhardwaj and Robert Bryce, "India Chooses Coal, Not Kyoto," http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm?aid=1736
Watching the North Pole Melt at an accelerating pace
Year with Largest overall ice extent this day
Year with Least melt this day
Year with Least overall Ice Extent this day
Year with Largest melt this day
Julian Day 144 May 24
------- Extent (km^2)----Difference (km^2)
2003 – 11,909,688……..……….-15,625
2004 – 11,376,719……..……….-27,187
2005 – 11,703,906……..……….-86,250
2006 – 11,324,531……..……….-46,719
2007 – 11,571,719………………-70,156
2008 – 11,697,188………..…….-31,039
2009 – 11,838,281………..…….-70,625
Julian Day 143 May 23
------- Extent (km^2)----Difference (km^2)
2003 – 11,925,313……..……….-7,968
2004 – 11,403,906……..……….-35,313
2005 – 11,790,156……..……….-75,000
2006 – 11,371,250……..……….-54,531
2007 – 11,641,875………………-67,188
2008 – 11,728,281………..…….-20,000
2009 – 11,908,906………..…….-68,594
Julian Day 142 May 22
------- Extent (km^2)----Difference (km^2)
2003 – 11,933,281……..……….-25,469
2004 – 11,439,219……..……….-58,906
2005 – 11,865,156……..……….-67,813
2006 – 11,425,781……..……….-70,625
2007 – 11,709,063………………-46,250
2008 – 11,748,281………..…….-29,219
2009 – 11,977,500………..…….-76,719
Sea-ice notes this week:
·As expected, 2009 slipped into 2nd on the JAXA AMSR-E time series on May 23rd. 2003 is now the highest daily extent over the last 7 years, 71,407km^2 higher than 2009, for Julian Day 144.
·With continuous 24 daylight now over much of the arctic snowcover on the ice will melt into ponds, supported by the ice below. These melt ponds are sometimes mistakenly processed as open water on the current processing algorithm. On June 1st, in recent years, the JAXA AMSR-E data shows a jump in sea-ice extent on/around this date. This is due to a change in the processing algorithm to account for these melt ponds as ice covered.
·Over the last 9 days the average decline in extent has been 67,014km^2. This is a highest rate of decline for the same 9 days in any of the last 7 years and far exceeds the runner-up, 2008, which saw an average rate of decline of 60,503km^2 over the period.
·Ice-melt through the end of May should be strong in Baffin Bay and especially so along the Labrador Coast, where much of the ice left will be eroded by the 30th and 31st as warm air and moist southeasterly winds move into this region. Sea-ice melt will be less than average over the Barents Sea and the Bering/Chukchi Seas as cold air moves down from the high arctic due to a developing low pressure over mainland Alaska. Meanwhile, the consolidated area of ice Sea of Okhotsk will begin to fracture and break up. There may also be increasing fracturing of ice in the Kara Sea as warmer temperatures spread over this region during the next 3 days.