Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup

THIS WEEK:
By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

On Thursday, The French Academy of Sciences released a report declaring the global warming exists and is unquestionably due to human activity. The academy president declared the debate is over. Former education minister Claude Allegre, who questioned the orthodoxy, signed off on what he considered a compromise report stating: “I have not evolved, I still say the same thing, that the exact role of carbon dioxide in the environment has not been shown.”


The report recognized uncertainties in solar influence, clouds, oceans and atmosphere. Those who believe that human carbon dioxide emissions may have some warming effect, but are not the dominant driver of climate change, may find the report acceptable except that it gives carbon dioxide a principal role in climate change. We await the translation of the full report, but apparently there is no precision in the report. A vague statement, no matter how forcefully made, remains vague. Please see Article # 1

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In an article published on October 12, Bjorn Lomborg discusses the change in the vocabulary of the global warming alarmists. No longer is global warming, or climate change, the major theme. Instead, it has been replaced by clean energy, clean jobs – a green economy. Lomborg also discusses how much a green economy is costing his native country, Denmark. He believes that drastic carbon cuts are a poor response to global warming. Please see Article # 2.

In another article for the Investors’ Business Daily (IBD), Lomborg advocates committing streams of money to technical improvements in new wind and solar energy, as well as other technical innovations. Lomborg’s comments are rebutted in a follow-up article in IBD by Willie Soon, Bob Carter, and David Legates who bring up a seldom mentioned issue: the benefits of increased CO2 Much is made of what economists call the external costs of carbon dioxide emissions, namely global warming which is always considered bad. But increased CO2 in the atmosphere stimulates more vigorous growth of plant life that benefits humanity and the environment.
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The Department of Interior has approved the building of what is called the world’s largest solar-thermal power plant on 7,000 acres of Federal land in the desert of Southern California. The project is a venture by two German companies. The first half of the project could be eligible for a cash subsidy of $900,000,000 from the stimulus bill. The cash subsidy program ends on December 31, 2010. Also, the companies are seeking Federal loan guarantees and, no doubt, an array of benefits from the state.

To put the cash subsidy perspective, it is useful to calculate the employment benefits. The administration claims this project will provide up to 300 new permanent jobs. This calculates out to $3,000,000 per permanent job. At that rate it would cost about $20.27 Trillion to reduce the current unemployment rate (9.2% est. by US Bureau of Labor Statistics) to the rough average over the past 15 years of 5%. $20.27 Trillion is about 1.4 times the entire gross domestic product of the US in 2009 (estimated to be $14.26 Trillion by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis). The expenditure is enormous, but does it benefit the citizens of California by providing affordable electricity?

As seen in other reports (Article # 3 and articles under California Dreaming) there are additional solar projects in California which promoters are trying to start before December 31. These stories indicate that even after subsidies, the cost of the electricity generated will be 30 to 70 percent more expensive than electricity generated by natural gas, the dominant electricity generating fuel in California. The promoters of the projects consider a 30 to 70 percent increase in cost to be competitive – a clear consequence of the state’s renewable energy mandates. Only in California!
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THE NUMBER OF THE WEEK: 24 to 1 – the number of nuclear power plants under construction in China (as reported by the World Nuclear Association) compared to the number of nuclear power plants under construction in the US.

Green energy promoters stridently insist that we are in a race with China to develop green energy, namely solar and wind. Spain and Germany were in the race but dropped out and their green energy firms are suffering as the subsidies stopped.

The question seldom asked is China really in the same race? Over the next several weeks, The Number of the Week will explore that question. If China is in a nuclear power race it is clearly winning. Please see Nuclear Power in China under Energy Issues.

[Please note that the 104 nuclear power plants in the US have a very high average capacity factor of over 90%.]
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SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #32-2010 (Oct. 30, 2010)
S Fred Singer Chairman, and President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

Why the Confusion about Global Warming?

No one denies that the Earth has warmed in the past century. So of course, the past decade must be the warmest – even though there has been no upward trend since the 1998 temperature peak. [Note the important distinction between temperature level (measured in deg C or deg F) and trend (expressed in deg C per year).] The dispute is (and always has been) about the cause of the warming. In fact, the major warming during the first 50 years of the 20th century and the latter part of the 19th century is generally accepted to be natural – a recovery from the Little Ice Age. But there’s no credible evidence that identifies the most recent warming as human-caused. On the contrary, while the UN’s IPCC claims to be quite certain that it is anthropogenic, the independent NIPCC (Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change) concludes that “Nature – Not Human Activity – Rules the Climate.” See http://www.sepp.org/publications/NIPCC_final.pdf

In this connection note the obfuscatory language used by the EPA in turning down all of the ‘Petitions for Reconsideration’ of its Endangerment finding on CO2: “The scientific evidence supporting EPA’s finding is robust, voluminous, and compelling. Climate change is happening now, and humans are contributing to it. Multiple lines of evidence show a global warming trend over the past 100 years. Beyond this, melting ice in the Arctic, melting glaciers around the world, increasing ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, altered precipitation patterns, and shifting patterns of ecosystems and wildlife habitats all confirm that our climate is changing.”

Yet there is no evidence at all that humans are indeed contributing to warming in a significant way. We’ll see you in court, dear EPA, and gladly examine your “compelling” evidence!

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ARTICLES: For the numbered articles below please see:
The Week That Was

1. Global warming ‘unquestionably’ linked to humans: France
By Claire Snegaroff, APF, Oct 28, 2010
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article…

2. What Have Climate Activists Learned
By Bjorn Lomborg, Project Syndicate, Oct 12, 2010 [H/t Berol Robinson]
http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/lomborg6….
[SEPP Comment: The new hype is green energy, green jobs but the purpose is the same – control of carbon dioxide emissions.]

3. Huge Solar-Plant Project Approved
By Cassandra Sweet and Siobhan Hughes, WSJ, Oct 26, 2010
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303467….

4. Disputing The Skeptical Environmentalist
By Willie Soon, Robert Carter, and David Legates, IBD, Oct 29, 2010
http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/ArticlePrin….

5. Observe Other’s Past Energy Experiences
By Charles Battig, Letter, Richmond Times Dispatch, Oct 21, 2010
http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2010/oct21/ed-bat….

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NEWS YOU CAN USE:
Challenging the Orthodoxy
Cabal of climate skeptics to descend on parliament
By Leo Hickman, Guardian, UK, Oct 26, 2010
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog…

Defending the Orthodoxy
Climate Change May Alter Natural Climate Cycles of Pacific
Science Daily, Oct 18, 2010 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/1010171….
[SEPP Comment: The IPCC and other advocates have ignored the influence of natural cycles in the Pacific on global warming. Now some claim global warming will change these cycles.]

Why Can’t We Innovate Our Way To A Carbon-Free Energy Future?
By Bjorn Lomborg, IBD, Oct 22, 2010
http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/551….

Weather Extremes
Arctic Temperatures and Ice – Why it is All About Natural Variability
By Joseph D’Aleo, ICECAP, Oct 24, 2010
http://www.icecap.us/…

Warmer Arctic Temps Tied to U.S. Snowstorms
CBS News, Oct 22, 2010, [H/t Joe D’Aleo ICECAP]
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/10/22/tech/main6….

NOAA: “Arctic Report Card: Update for 2010″
By Arnd Bernaerts, Digging In the Clay, Oct 25, 2010 [H/t ICECAP]
http://diggingintheclay.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/noa….

2010 Hurricane Factoids
Roger Pielke, Jr, Blog, Oct 25, 2010 [H/t Marc Morano, Climate Depot]
http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/10/2010-hurri….
[SEPP Comments: Another disappointing season for those hyping hurricanes.]

BP Oil Spill and Aftermath
Panel Says Firms Knew of Cement Flaws Before Spill
By John Broder, NYT, Oct 28, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/us/29spill.html?_r….

Another Drilling Smackdown
Editorial, WSJ, Oct 25, 2010
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304741….

Energy Issues
Nuclear Power in China
World Nuclear Association, Oct 22, 2010
http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf63.html…

Half The Productivity, Twice The Carbon
By Staff Writers, Energy Daily, Oct 26, 2010 [H/t Catherine French]
http://www.energy-daily.com/reports/Half_The_Product….
[SEPP Comment: The IT industry needs affordable, reliable electricity. This is news?]

Can Solar Shield Protect The North American Power Grid
By Tony Phillips, Science News, [H/t Toshio Fujita]
http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Can_Solar_Shield_P….

Is Wind the Next Ethanol?
By Ben Lieberman, CEI, Oct 26, 2010 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]
http://cei.org/studies-point/wind-next-ethanol…

German grid aching under solar power
UPI, Oct 19, 2010 http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Resource-Wars/2010/10/19/German-grid-aching-under-solar-power/UPI-13471287518368/
Time To Remove The Roadblocks To A National Transmission Grid
By Gilbert Metcalf, IBD, Oct 26, 2010
http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/551….

Hydrogen-generating technology might power boats, store energy from wind, solar sources
By Emil Venere, Press Release, Purdue University, Oct 7, 2010 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/101007W….

Subsidies and Mandates Forever
Spending Review: Honesty is the best policy before the bigger fuel bills start to bite.
By Charles Moore, Telegraph, UK, Oct 22, 2010 [H/t Bob Ferguson, SPPI]
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/charle….

Perplexing energy policy
By Steen Syre, Boston Globe, Oct 26, 2010 [H/t Randy Randol]
http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2010/10/26/p….

Remember Renewable Energy?
Editorial, NYT, Oct 27, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/opinion/28thurs1.h….

The Race for Future Clean-Energy Jobs
By Terry McAuliffe, Richmond Times Dispatch, Oct. 27, 2010
http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/oped/2010/oct/27/….

California Dreaming
Solar Power Project Face Potential Hurdles
By Todd Woody, NYT, Oct 28, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/business/energy-en….

DOI Approves 1,000-MW Rated Parabolic Trough Project
Power News, Oct 27, 2010
http://www.powermag.com/POWERnews/3127.html?hq_e=el&….

EPA and other Regulators On the March
NERC: EPA Regulations Could Impact System Reliability
Power News, Oct 27, 2010
http://www.powermag.com/POWERnews/3125.html?hq_e=el&….

Oh, Mann!
Cuccinelli Demands Called ‘Governmental Intrusion’ Into Climate Science
By Eli Kintisch, Science Insider, Oct 21, 2010 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/10/cu….
[SEPP Comment: Climate science is largely dependent on government support. Now an investigation of possible inappropriate application of such funds is a governmental intrusion?]

Review of Recent Scientific Articles by NIPCC
For a full list of articles see NIPCC Report
Flocks of Birds Coping with Climate Change
Reference: Van Buskirk, J., Mulvihill, R.S. and Leberman, R.C. 2010. Declining body sizes in North American birds associated with climate change. Oikos 119: 1047-1055.
http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2010/oct/27oct20….

Amphibian Population Declines
Reference Rohr, J.R., Raffel, T.R., Romansic, J.M., McCallum, H. and Hudson, P.J. 2008. Evaluating the links between climate, disease spread, and amphibian declines. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105: 17,436-17,441.
http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2010/oct/28oct20….

Effects of Elevated CO2 on Longevity and Fecundity of an Invasive Weevil Feeding on Aspen, Birch and Maple Foliage
Reference: Hillstrom, M.L., Vigue, L.M., Coyle, D.R., Raffa, K.F. and Lindroth, R.L. 2010. Performance of the invasive weevil Polydrusus sericeus is influenced by atmospheric CO2 and host species. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 12: 285-292.
http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2010/oct/28oct20….

Unexpected Biological Resilience to Climate Change
Reference: Bell, R.C., Parra, J.L., Tonione, M., Hoskin, C.J., Mackenzie, J.B., Williams, S.E. and Moritz, C. 2010. Patterns of persistence and isolation indicate resilience to climate change in montane rainforest lizards. Molecular Ecology 19: 2531-2544.
http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2010/oct/28oct20….

Other Scientific Issues
Introducing the A-Train
By Adam Voiland, NASA Press Release, Oct 27, 2010 [H/t Anthony Watts, WUWT]
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/a-train/a-trainht….
[SEPP Comment: An explanation of a train of satellites measuring the earth’s changes.]

Changing Our Understanding Of Atmospheric Aerosol Properties And Climate Effects
By Staff Writers, Terra Daily, Oct 18, 2010 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Changing_Our_Under….
[SEPP Comment: The influence of aerosols on the earth’s climate is largely unknown. Better understanding of the physical nature of some aerosols is an important step.]

Bees’ tiny brains beat computers, study finds
Bees can solve complex mathematical problems which keep computers busy for days research has shown
Guardian, UK, Oct 24, 2010 [H/t A.J. Meyer]
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/24/bees-rou….

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BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
Al Gore compares human heart to hydrological cycle
By Rance Leroy, French Tribune, Oct 21, 2010 [H/t Best on the Web]
http://frenchtribune.com/teneur/101652-al-gore-compa….

Space tourism to accelerate climate change
By Adam Mann, Nature News, Oct 22, 2010 [H/t A.J. Meyer]
http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101022/full/news.201….

 

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25 thoughts on “Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup

  1. I challenge the French Academy to produce at least one actual physical hypothesis which is reasonably well confirmed and which explains the forcings that are necessary if AGW is to produce important climate change that requires government action. They cannot do it. No one can. End of debate.

    I ask the French Academy to state just what they are endorsing. Do they endorse Mann’s work? If so, what are their criticisms of the Hockey Stick Illusion?

  2. Whenever one hears of an agency dealing with ‘Environmental Policy”, you may be assured it is headed by a loon who is really interested in the destruction of capitalism and private property.

  3. The Peak Oil Debate is Over – Dr. James Schlesinger Transcript.

    “May I start with a bromide: a resource which is finite is not inexhaustible.
    . . .like the inhabitants of Pompeii, who ignored the neighboring volcano, Vesuvius, until it detonated, the world ignores the possibility of peak oil at its peril.
    “The political order should respond. Nonetheless, our willingness, let alone our ability, to do anything serious about the impending inability to increase oil output is still a long way off. . . .

    “If something cannot be sustained, it will eventually not be sustained… ultimately it will shrink.

    Secondly, you cannot produce oil unless you first discover it (a contribution by Colin Campbell).

    Third, a resource that is finite cannot continually have its production increased. . . .

    “(evidence) … Fourth, in 2004 we experienced our first demand-driven price spike, as opposed to the previous price spikes driven by supply interruptions. We still operate at about the level of production capacity of 2004.

    Next, given projected decline curves running from 4 to 6 percent, and the projected increase in demand during the next quarter century, we shall require the new capacity equivalence of five Saudi Arabias. . . .

    “. . .in general we must expect to get along without what has been our critical energy source in expanding the world’s economy for more than half a century.

    Video Dr. James Schlesinger: The Peak Oil Debate is Over ASPOTV in 2010 Peak Oil Conference, Keynote

    See post of: Pierre Latour Engineering Earth’s thermostat with CO2? Hydrocarbon Processing February 2010 pp 25-28.

    Earth’s temperature is a chemical process system. Review of control system engineering of Earth’s thermostat with anthropogenic CO2 in 1997 proved it will never work because it is an unmeasurable, unobservable and uncontrollable system. CO2 does not affect temperature; temperature affects CO2.

  4. “The project is a venture by two German companies. The first half of the project could be eligible for a cash subsidy of $900,000,000 from the stimulus bill. ”

    MUAHAHAHA. America, you are sooo busted. Quick, Wolfgang, exchange the toy dollars for Schweizer Franken.

  5. “Spain and Germany were in the race but dropped out and their green energy firms are suffering as the subsidies stopped.”

    “Stopped” is slightly incorrect. Spain has in the last two years opted to put a lid on the capacity of new installations approved but still pays the subsidies; they now consider reducing the guaranteed subsidies to existing installations by 40% but i don’t know how they plan to bring that through the courts.

    Germany reduces the tariff guaranteed for 20 years for new solar installations by 15% a year. So if your installation goes live in 2011 you get 85% the tariff for 20 years than you would have gotten for an installation going live in 2010. But there’s no lid on the capacity installed. Germany did stop approving new solar farms on agricultural land, and that will reduce the newly installed capacity somewhat.

    Here is a current table of all tariffs in Germany;

    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz

    The maximum subsidy is for domestic installations (34 Eurocent) with a bonus if you consume the energy yourself (another 15 Eurocent). This results in up to 68 US cents per kWh subsidy, guaranteed for 20 years, if you install it in 2011.

    Not too shabby.

    The suffering of our green companies largely affects solar module manufacturing; this is caused by cheaper Chinese products, made with mostly German machinery in China. So it’s the usual labor cost thing.

  6. It is sad to witness how the proud principles of science have become reduced to a mere money grab operation. It is a very humbling experience for a culture whose foundation since the renaissance is science and intellectual integrity. But, life has a way of teaching us what we need to know so there’s probably a lesson for us somewhere in our future.

  7. The academy president declared the debate is over

    Wait, there was a debate? I mean a ‘real’ one, with more than one side? When was that held, then?

  8. There is, BTW, a remarkable fact about the German renewable energy subsidy scheme. As the subsidy is taken from all electricity end users – ATM 2 eurocent per kWH, next year 3.5 – BEFORE VAT is added to the end price, the state profits from it. VAT is 20% here.

    In other words, it’s a convenient way to get at the money of notoriously thrifty Germans. The rise in the cross subsidy – from 2 to 3.5 cent – is obviously 75% a year, the total sum is about 8 billion Euro in 2010 so the state gets 20% of this in VAT, that’s 1.6 billion, and in 2011, 75% more, that’s 2.8 billion. So the state has a high interest in a rising subsidy, and in a continuation of the subsidy scheme.

  9. There is Green Energy and there is Re-newable Energy.

    The warmists always state that China is leading the world in renewable energy and claim China has 30% renewable energy.

    What they don’t mention is that almost all of that energy is Hydro Power (196GW of it equal to all of the US and Canada combined) whereas they only have a few MW of experimental wind and solar.

    They do export vast quantities of solar panels and wind generators but see no need to use them themselves as with the hydro power, coal power and nuclear power they are very happy thank you.

  10. David Hagen, Dr. Schlesinger’s analogy, that “. . . like the inhabitants of Pompeii, who ignored the neighboring volcano, Vesuvius, until it detonated…” is misplaced.

    I’ve been to Pompey. Apparently, most of the inhabitants recognized their danger and left the city in good order. The small coterie who decided to stay, or who stayed too long to loot, were killed. Some people made the wrong decision, true, but Schlesinger’s analogy is illustrative only if the population as a whole made the wrong decision despite the evident danger. They didn’t.

    The concept of peak oil is being abused. That fossil resources are finite is a truism that offers nothing new. Peak oil as a concept implicitly assumes current reserves and current extraction technologies. It can’t predict, for example, events such as Oxy Petroleum’s very large and generally unanticipated new field near Bakersfield, CA, which was found using an in-house hypothesis of deep oil in novel geological structures. Their success has opened an entirely new exploration arena.

    Nevertheless, the real question is about ‘peak hydrocarbons.’ If one does a little research on Google scholar (to avoid partisan websites), one finds quite a different story.

    On the one hand, there are analyses like the one below, which acknowledges the reserves but seems to overlook the consequences of a technologically innovative society. Although the outcomes of innovation are unpredictable, by this time some empirical account of them should be included in every projection of future economics.

    N. Owen, O. Inderwildi, and D. King (2010) “The status of conventional world oil reserves — Hype or cause for concern?” Energy Policy 38 4743–4749.

    Abstract: “The status of world oil reserves is a contentious issue, polarised between advocates of peak oil who believe production will soon decline, and major oil companies that say there is enough oil to last for decades.

    “In reality, much of the disagreement can be resolved through clear definition of the grade, type, and reporting framework used to estimate oil reserve volumes. While there is certainly vast amounts of fossil fuel resources left in the ground, the volume of oil that can be commercially exploited at prices the global economy has become accustomed to is limited and will soon decline. The result is that oil may soon shift from a demand-led market to a supply constrained market.

    “The capacity to meet the services provided by future liquid fuel demand is contingent upon the rapid and immediate diversification of the liquid fuel mix, the transition to alternative energy carriers where appropriate, and demand side measures such as behavioural change and adaptation. The successful transition to a poly-fuel economy will also be judged on the adequate mitigation of environmental and social costs.”

    And on the other hand, there are analyses like the following, which does recognize innovation: H.-H. Regner (1997) “An Assessment of World Hydrocarbon Resources” Annual Review of Energy and the Environment 22: 217-262

    Abstract: “Assessments of global coal, oil, and natural gas occurrences usually focus on conventional hydrocarbon reserves, i.e. those occurrences that can be exploited with current technology and present market conditions.

    “The focus on reserves seriously underestimates long-term global hydrocarbon availability. Greenhouse gas emissions based on these estimates may convey the message that the world is running out of fossil fuels, and as a result, emissions would be reduced automatically.

    “If the vast unconventional hydrocarbon occurrences are included in the resource estimates and historically observed rates of technology change are applied to their mobilization, the potential accessibility of fossil sources increases dramatically with long-term production costs that are not significantly higher than present market prices.

    “Although the geographical hydrocarbon resource distribution varies significantly, a regional breakdown for 11 world regions indicates that neither hydrocarbon resource availability nor costs are likely to become forces that automatically would help wean the global energy system from the use of fossil fuel during the next century.”

    Realistic analyses of future world oil supplies acknowledge that the remaining physical reserves are huge, and the real problems will be above-ground; most noticeably political in that large amounts of oil and gas reserves are held by non-transparent or hostile countries. A related problem is that oil companies hesitate to invest production money in politically untrustworthy countries, no matter the oil supply.

    The current economics of oil from tar sands and oil shale is competitive at about $25 per barrel. Here’s the outcome of a 2002 symposium on the issue (automatic pdf download). There are huge new hydrocarbon resources available at reasonable cost, the extraction of which can be environmentally remediated.

    There just isn’t a problem here. I find the whole “peak oil” argument unenlightening as it’s currently couched. It’s backward-looking and regressive, and is opportunistically used as a beating stick against our technological society.

    There is plenty of oil. And there is plenty of time for a rational move to nuclear power, without any radical transformation of the economy and without any embrace of altruistic poverty. And, in my view anyway, without any visible risk of CO2-caused “climate disruption (© John Holdren).”

  11. Keep on thinking that kids, while Russia sells you methane gas to warm your winters….
    keep on being greener everyday more, while all your industries AND JOBS go to China. Do it well babies,….but don´t cry afterwards!, you just have fallen prey of some smart kids out there who fooled you to take all your toys from you!…Have a nice Solar minimum!

  12. Be Green and print Greens to survive…until you´ll have to burn them all to keep you warm!
    “Arbeit macht frei”: Work will make you free. You have chosen to be green playboys and girls…gotto face the consequences of your idiocy.

  13. Science? wasn’t that some idea that could be tested and replicated by others using data and methology supplied by claimant number 1? Most of those articles need a disclaimer notice, “No science provided to support the opinion stated here in”.

  14. From: The Toronto Star

    World’s vertebrate species cracking

    Joseph Hall Health Reporter

    Humans are rapidly breaking the backs of our fellow vertebrate species: One fifth of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles now being threatened with extinction, a massive international report says.

    Billed as the most comprehensive ever assessment of global vertebrate health, the report looked at more than 26,000 species and showed one in eight birds and one in four mammals are at risk of disappearing.

    etc.

    So there you have — the world is disappearing as we watch.

    It looks like the newest UN organization is making inroads…

  15. “Wait, there was a debate? I mean a ‘real’ one, with more than one side? When was that held, then?”

    The debate was held at a G20 meeting, behind closed doors. Participants were all economists and politicians, none with a degree in physical sciences. The outcome was decided beforehand by the grand guru.

  16. Vincent Courtillot a self-described “temperate climato-skeptic”, director of the Globe Institute of Paris, said that he found the summaries that the press did of the Academy of Science report bias.

    Courtillot was happy that the Academy of Science summarized the various arguments, was prepared to listen the various sides and that there was far less name calling than in previous years. For him, that’s a good sign.

    For those who understand French:

    http://pouruneecolelibre.blogspot.com/2010/10/vincent-courtillot-il-y-desormais-un.html

  17. Some comments as to the French ‘Academie des Sciences’ report : Beyond the headlines, you have to go through the entire document.

    1. It’s a short paper (12pages), without a single reference
    2. The general wording is quite cautious ; there is no alarmism, no call to immediate action ; a lot of emphasis on uncertainty, on the lack of reliable data (apart from the mid 70’s)
    3.the report discusses 3 main items before its conclusion :
    A the data
    B the climatic mecanisms
    C the models

    A The report reviews a list of key climatic indicators :
    – surface temperatures increasing by .8°C since 1870, more in NH than in SH, with two specific periods : 1910-1940 and 1975-2000 ; oscillations are quoted (ENSO & NAO only,
    no mention of PDO nor AMO ; UHE not discussed ; same with issues as to quality of GHCN (and other data bases derived from GHCN)
    – ocean temperature increasing
    – arctic sea ice decreasing ; strange figures quoted : 5.5 million KM2 in 2010, vs a mean of 8.5 million KM2 for 1950-1975 – not sure where it comes from !
    – loss of land ice in the Groenland and Antarctic ;
    – sea level rise : refer to gauge measures (0.7mm/year from 1870 to 1930 ; 1.7mm after 1930) ; satellite measures since 1992 @ 3.4mm/y
    very selective data sources ; no comment on gauge measures since 1992 (@1.7 isch)
    On this part, the French aparently only take into account one side of the scientific literature !
    Regarding the main factors influencing the climate :
    – CO2 increase in attributed for more than 50% to fossil fuels combustion, with deforestation coming next, and cement production having a more marginal role
    -CH4 : stabilised since 2000
    – N2O : due to agriculture
    – solar irradiance : 1 0/00 variation
    – solar cycles : UV radiations, cosmic rays, solar wind ; stresses the fact that the Maunder minimum took place during the peak of LIA ; concludes that the sun cannot explain the global warming but may lead to short term variations, and that many mecanisms are still to be understood ; a further decrease in sun activity might lead to a slowing of the warming (!!!)
    Past climates ; the report does not mention in any way the proxy based climate reconstructions (Mann Briffa, etc.) ; reminds that CO2 increase typically came 800 years after warming.

    B Climatic mechanisms
    – after a summary of the GH effect, the report mentions the question of feed backs, positive or negative,
    – it mentions that the are controversies as to the sun’s impact on climate, the potential role of solar wind and GCRs on cloud formation (with reference to the current CLOUD experiment at the CERN), and also mentions the potential role of UV radiations.
    – regarding the oceans, it mentions again the role of oscillations (ENSO, NAO)
    – regarding GH gases, it says that their direct effect is well understood (the usual X2 CO leading to +1,1°C) ; Half of CO2 emissions absorbed by oceans and plants ; half remaining within atmosphere (half period @ 50Y – whereas this half life period is estimated @ 16 Y according to IPCC Bern model, as quoted recently by ‘Hal’ Lewis)
    All in all, it says that uncertainties as to the overall effect of CO2 concentration changes, the feed backs in particular, is still discussed among climate scientists.

    Absolutely no reference to Miskolczi, the Russian school,, Gerlich & Tscheuschner.

    C. Climatic models : they improved since 30Y, but uncertainties remain the key issue
    – The report explains that models include two type of equations : the first relate to physico-chemical mecanisms (with issues from insufficient IT power) ; the second comprising more empirical treatments
    – it says that all models include a positive feed back from water vapor (50% to 90%)
    – cloud modelisation is the most uncertain part of models, with some models including a neutral impact of clouds, whilst the others include a 2°C positive feed back
    – the impact of oceanic oscillations is said to be difficult to take into account (no mention of Keenlyside’s and Latif’s work @Leibniz Institute)
    – it says that the models are able to reproduce the climate during the more recent decades (apparently not realising that they’re precisely calibrated during this period !)
    and that the central question is “the validity of the projections for the forthcoming decades and their uncertainties”
    – it also says that potential “unstable or chaotic patterns within the atmosphere-ocans-cryosphere-land surfaces system” also bring much uncertainty

    What are the conclusions : well, it’s a little surprising after the first 11 pages !
    – some indicators show an acceleration of global warming, from 1975 to 2003,
    – this is mainly due to the increased concentration of atmospheric CO2,
    -this increase in CO2 is due to human activity
    – it represents a threat to the climate (and to the oceans , due to acidification),
    – there are feed backs to the CO2 concentration increase which are complex and remain to be tested and validated
    -solar forcing is still to be understood ; many uncertainties remain as to cloud modelisation, sea ice, land ice, ocean-atmosphere coupling, CO2 cycle dynamics
    – projections on a 30-50 years scale are hardly affected by uncertainties on the modelisation of slow cycle processes ; they are useful to address the current societal worrying

    My personal comments :
    – The beginning of the first part is extremely dubious
    – the second part focuses on intrinsic uncertainties, does not conclude on feed backs
    – on models, the document remains at the surface, but does not express much confidence,
    – the conclusion is a combination of :
    * ‘sleight of hand’ : ‘increase in global warming’ ‘mainly due to CO2′ ‘threat for the climate’
    * qualifications ‘increase in global warming : up to 2003 only ! a threat : not presented as important, vital, etc.
    * a list of uncertainties
    All in all, a report which shows a huge move from the previous dogma, even if there is enough for the media and the mainstream scientists to claim that the AGW consensus gets vindicated again.

    Daniel

  18. “”””” pat says:
    October 31, 2010 at 10:03 am
    Whenever one hears of an agency dealing with ‘Environmental Policy”, you may be assured it is headed by a loon who is really interested in the destruction of capitalism and private property. “””””

    Well I’m sure you are right Pat; SEPP happens to be the “outfit” that Dr Fred Singer is associated with; now there’s an environmental loon if there ever was one. Spends endless hours trying to educate people on Climate, and government Climate Policies.

    But I’ll bet you already knew that, right ?

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