Climate Doom Awards Profits and Prophets

Scared WitlessMy new book “Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom” exposes powerful players and agendas behind climate industry fearmongering.

Abundant evidence clearly reveals the politicization of science by some of the world’s most influential institutions to demonize CO2 as a planet-ravaging “pollutant,” greatly exaggerate capacities and sustainability benefits of “alternative” energy sources, and foster alarmist claims to support U.N. anti-capitalist global wealth redistribution purposes.

But don’t just take my word for such accusations. As U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) official Ottmar Edenhofer advised in 2010, “One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth.”

Even the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres admitted that its goal is to destroy capitalism . . . not to save the world from ecological calamity.

Referring to a new international treaty that is likely to be adopted at November-December Paris conference, she said, “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”

Never mind that capitalism is the only economic model that has worked over those past 150 years. As societies get wealthier, they can afford to invest in cleaner, more efficient technologies which benefit the environment and lift people out of poverty.

The U.N.’s socialist model, on the other hand, regards prosperity as a condition that provokes excess consumption of resources which if unfair to poor populations.

Their solution to this global disparity is to replace fossil energy with anemic, intermittent windmills and sunbeams; penalize and redistribute the unfair wealth of prosperous nations; and set the world’s clock back to pre-industrial times.

Climate alarm premised upon fossil-fueled CO2 emissions has no scientific or rational basis. Students of climate history are aware that global temperatures were as warm or warmer during the “Medieval warm period” 1,000 years ago and the “Roman warm period” a millennium before that.

U.S. temperatures were also at least equally as warm as now during the 1930s through mid-1940s when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were lower. Three decades of cooling then followed (a full climate cycle), provoking leading scientific “authorities” and news publications to trumpet the coming of the next ice age according to a natural timetable.

Only slightly more than a decade following those dire ice age predictions, then-Sen. Al Gore’s congressional 1988 climate hearings proclaimed a new and opposite crisis.

Remarkably, not only was it already determined that Earth was at a catastrophic global warming “tipping point,” but also that human-caused fossil CO2 emissions were to blame.

The answer, of course, was to implement an international carbon-capping treaty (the U.N.’s Kyoto protocol) which our Congress had the good sense to unanimously reject in principle.

And while climate obviously does change, it just hasn’t cooperated with theoretical model projections that “record high” fossil-fueled CO2 emissions would drive temperatures way off a hockey stick-shaped chart by now. Satellite records show that global mean temperatures have been flat now over the past 18 years and counting. Today’s high school students have never experienced global warming.

Whether various climate alarm factions are motivated by ideological desires to replace our entire free market economic system, to redistribute global wealth, to expand government regulatory authority and budgets, or to promote advantages for otherwise uncompetitive non-fossil energy “alternatives,” the results will bring true social and economic disasters.

The heaviest burdens of such costly agendas will fall on frail backs of those who can least afford them.

The flow of many billions of those taxpayer dollars used to fund the growth of EPA and other government alphabet soup programs depends upon fomenting public fear.

They, in turn, sponsor university departments that bend objectivity to secure research grants; support activist environmental groups that rely on crisis-premised donations for their lobbying and media programs; promote anti-fossil alternative energy interests seeking special subsidies; and empower a wide range of politicians, prophets and profiteers who cash in on save-the-world hype.

What redemptive solutions are urgently implored? All come straight out of the U.N.’s playbook. We must curb unfair excesses of capitalist prosperity, give lots of money for the U.N. to redistribute in retribution for causing climate damage, and abandon fossil fuel use in favor of costly, anemic and unreliable energy sources advocated by subsidy rent-seekers and powerful green activist groups.

No . . . none of this is really about protecting the planet from man-made climate change. It never was.

Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of “Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom”(2015) and “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax” (2012). More articles here.

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UK Council Recommends Green Light For British Shale Revolution

Bickerton Hill in Cheshire in 2012. (click to see 'after' trees cut down)Bickerton Hill in Cheshire in 2012.
(Click to see Bickerton Hill today)
The Pope will take on global warming sceptics this week by blaming climate change and extreme weather on man. –Tom Kington, The Times, 15 June 2015

Shale gas firm Cuadrilla Resources received a boost in its plan to start fracking in north west England on Monday when local government recommended that its application to drill up to four exploration wells should be granted. The company’s project at Preston New Road near Blackpool could become Britain’s first shale gas production wells, and could lead a drive to develop the unconventional resource as Britain’s North Sea gas and oil production declines. —Reuters, 15 June 2015

Where have all our woods gone? Up in smoke ‚Äì as the new trendy ‘green’ wood-burning stoves and boilers (funded by tax millions) are being fuelled by birches and oaks… leaving swathes of Britain barren. –David Rose, Mail on Sunday, 14 June 2015

Pope Francis said Thursday he is convinced that global warming is “mostly” man-made and that he hopes his upcoming encyclical on the environment will encourage negotiators at a climate change meeting in Paris to make “courageous” decisions to protect God’s creation. While in the Philippines, Francis will meet with survivors of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, which the government has said was an example of the extreme weather conditions that global warming has wrought. –Nicol Winfielde, Associated Press, 15 June 2015

The Pope will take on global warming sceptics this week by blaming climate change and extreme weather on man. He will release an encyclical, or official guide, which says that humanity is “slapping nature in the face”. He hopes that the paper will sway a UN conference in Paris in December that could commit nations to cut emissions. The Pope has already described pollution as a sin and although Vatican officials have insisted that he is not wading into politics, the encyclical is already under attack from critics, some of whom will question his science. –Tom Kington, The Times, 15 June 2015

It took 350 years and John Paul II to close the ‘Galileo case’, clarifying that the Bible should not be interpreted as if it were a scientific manual. And here we are putting the doctrine of Creation and climate policies back together, as if one descended from the other. In short, the real change of climate that we should worry about is the one in the Church. –Riccardo Cascioli, Global Warming Policy Forum, 27 May 2015

The foreign policy adviser to Poland’s president-elect has signalled a more assertive approach to Germany, saying Berlin must end its opposition to NATO military bases on Polish soil and also accept Warsaw’s wish to protect its coal industry. Szczerski made clear Duda would challenge Germany on European Union energy policy too, where Berlin is a major advocate of renewable forms of energy and of cutting the bloc’s reliance on carbon-emitting fuels such as coal. “Berlin must agree to such adjustments of EU’s climate and energy policy that will allow the continued mining of Polish coal,” he said. —Reuters, 14 June 2015

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Man-Made Drought: A Guide To California’s Water Wars

Unlined section of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, just south of Manzanar, near US Highway 395 in the Owens Valley (2007). Photographer: Gann Matsuda, WikipediaUnlined section of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, just south of Manzanar, near US Highway 395 in the Owens Valley (circa 2007). Photographer: Gann Matsuda, WikipediaIn the summer of 2002, shortly before I was elected to Congress, I sat through an eye-opening meeting with representatives from the Natural Resources Defense Council and several local environmental activist groups. Hoping to convince me to support various water restrictions, they argued that San Joaquin Valley farmers should stop growing alfalfa and cotton in order to save water — though they allowed that the planting of high-value crops such as almonds could continue.

Then, as our discussion turned to the groups’ overall vision for the San Joaquin Valley, they told me something astonishing:

Their goal was to remove 1.3 million acres of farmland from production. They showed me maps that laid out their whole plan: From Merced all the way down to Bakersfield, and on the entire west side of the Valley as well as part of the east side, productive agriculture would end and the land would return to some ideal state of nature. I was stunned by the vicious audacity of their goal — and I quickly learned how dedicated they were to realizing it.

How To Steal Water And Get Away With It

For decades, extreme environmentalists have pursued this goal in California with relentless determination. The method they have used to depopulate the targeted land — water deprivation — has been ruthless and effective.

Much of the media and many politicians blame the San Joaquin Valley’s water shortage on drought, but that is merely an aggravating factor. From my experience representing California’s agricultural heartland, I know that our water crisis is not an unfortunate natural occurrence; it is the intended result of a long-term campaign waged by radical environmentalists who resorted to political pressure as well as profuse lawsuits.

Working in cooperation with sympathetic judges and friendly federal and state officials, environmental groups have gone to extreme lengths to deprive the San Joaquin Valley, the heart of much of the U.S. agricultural production, of much-needed water. Consider the following actions they took:

The Central Valley Project Improvement Act: Backed by the NRDC, Sierra Club and other extreme environmental groups, large Democratic majorities in Congress passed the CVPIA in 1992 after attaching it to a must-pass public lands bill. The act stipulated that 800,000 acre-feet of water — or 260 billion gallons — on the Valley’s west side had to be diverted annually to environmental causes, with an additional 400,000 acre-feet later being diverted annually to wildlife refuges.

Smelt and salmon biological opinions: Lawsuits filed by the NRDC and similar organizations forced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to issue, respectively, biological opinions on smelt (in 2008) and on salmon (in 2009). These opinions virtually ended operation of the Jones and Banks pumping plants — the two major pumping stations that move San Joaquin River Delta water — and resulted in massive diversions of water for environmental purposes.

The San Joaquin River Settlement: After nearly two decades of litigation related to a lawsuit filed in 1988 by the National Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and other environmental groups, San Joaquin Valley agriculture organizations agreed to a settlement in 2006, later approved by a Democratic Congress and signed into law by President Obama. The settlement created the San Joaquin River Restoration Program. The program, which aims to create salmon runs along the San Joaquin River, required major new water diversions from Valley communities. Despite warnings from me and other California Republicans, agriculture groups naively approved the settlement based on false promises by the settlement’s supporters that Valley water supplies would eventually be restored at some future, unspecified date.

Groundwater regulation: In September 2014, California Gov. Jerry Brown approved regulations requiring that water basins implement plans to achieve “groundwater sustainability” — essentially limiting how much water locals can use from underground storage supplies. But these pumping restrictions, slated to take effect over the next decade, will reduce access to what has become the final water source for many Valley communities, which have increasingly turned to groundwater pumping as their surface water supplies were drastically cut.

A Litany Of Hypocrisy

As radical groups have pursued this campaign to dry up the San Joaquin Valley, it’s worth noting some of their stunning contradictions, hypocrisies, fallacies and failures:

“There’s not enough water in California”: Environmentalists often claim that the California water crisis stems from the state not having enough water to satisfy its rapidly growing population, especially during a drought.

However, the state in fact has abundant water flowing into the Delta, which is the heart of California’s irrigation structure. Water that originates in the snowpack of the Sierra Nevada Mountains runs off into the Delta, which has two pumping stations that help distribute the water throughout the state.

But on average, due to environmental regulations as well as a lack of water storage capacity (attributable, in large part, to activist groups’ opposition to new storage projects), 70% of the water that enters the Delta is simply flushed into the ocean. California’s water infrastructure was designed to withstand five years of drought, so the current crisis, which began about three years ago, should not be a crisis at all. During those three years, the state has flushed more than 2 million acre-feet of water — or 652 billion gallons — into the ocean due to the aforementioned biological opinions, which have prevented the irrigation infrastructure from operating at full capacity.

“Farmers use 80% of California’s water”: Having deliberately reduced the California water supply through decades of litigation, the radicals now need a scapegoat for the resulting crisis. So they blame farmers (“big agriculture,” as they call them) for using 80% of the state’s water.

This statistic, widely parroted by the media and some politicians, is a gross distortion. Of the water that is captured for use, farmers get 40%, cities get 10% and a full 50% goes to environmental purposes — that is, it gets flushed into the ocean. By arbitrarily excluding the huge environmental water diversion from their calculations — as if it is somehow irrelevant to the water crisis — environmentalists deceptively double the farmers’ usage from 40% to 80%.

If at first you don’t succeed, do the exact same thing: Many of the Delta water cuts stem from the radicals’ litigation meant to protect salmon and smelt. Yet after decades of water reductions, the salmon population fluctuates wildly, while the smelt population has fallen to historic lows. The radicals’ solution, however, is always to dump even more water from the Delta into the ocean, even though this approach has failed time and again.

The striped bass absurdity: If the radicals really want to protect salmon and the Delta smelt, it’s a bit of a mystery why they also champion protections for the striped bass, a non-native species that eats both salmon and smelt.

Hetch Hetchy hypocrites: The San Francisco Bay Area provides a primary support base for many environmental groups. Lucky for them, their supporters don’t have to endure the kinds of hardships these organizations have foisted on San Joaquin Valley communities.

While the radicals push for ever-harsher water restrictions in the Valley, their Bay Area supporters enjoy an unimpeded water supply piped in across the state from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park. This water is diverted around the Delta, meaning it does not contribute to the Delta’s water quality standards. Environmental groups have conveniently decided not to subject Hetch Hetchy water to any sort of litigation that would cut the supply to the Bay Area.

We’re from the government, and we’re here to help: Government agencies that catch smelt as part of scientific population measurements actually kill more of the fish than are destroyed in the supposedly killer water pumps.

Hitchhiking salmon: The San Joaquin River Settlement is estimated already to have cost taxpayers $1.2 billion — and it’s clear to me that the total price tag will likely exceed $2 billion — in a disastrous effort to restore salmon runs to the San Joaquin River.

Moreover, the settlement legislation defines success as reintroducing 500 salmon to the river, which means spending $4 million per fish. The salmon, which have not been in the river for more than half a century, have proved so incapable of sustaining themselves that agents have resorted to plucking them out of the water and trucking them wherever they are supposed to go. It is a badly kept secret among both environmentalists and federal officials that this project has already failed.

A man-made state of nature: The radicals claim they want to reverse human depredations in the Delta and restore fish to their natural habitat. Yet the entire Delta system is not natural at all. It’s a man-made network of islands that functions only thanks to upstream water storage projects. In fact, without man-made storage projects, canals and dams, in dry years such as this the rivers would quickly run dry, meaning there would be no water and no fish.

A Three-Step Solution

The radicals have pursued their plan methodically and successfully; between the CVPIA, the biological opinions, and the San Joaquin River Settlement, around a million acres of farmland have been idled. What’s left of the water supply is inadequate for sustaining Valley farming communities: South of the Delta, we now face an annual water supply deficit of approximately 2.5 million acre-feet, or 815 billion gallons.

In fact, with the state groundwater regulations announced last year, the radicals are poised to achieve their goal. The depletion of groundwater is a direct effect — and indeed, was an intended result — of the radicals’ assault on our surface water.

(After all, if farmers, churches, schools and communities can’t get surface water, they’ll predictably resort to ground water.)

But the radicals have perversely cited the groundwater depletion they themselves engineered to justify regulating the groundwater supply. This is the final step in their program, since many farmers will not be able to keep growing food if they continue to receive zero water allocations and are restricted from tapping enough ground water.

The Valley cannot endure this situation much longer, but the good news is that it’s not too late to save our communities. Led by the Valley’s Republican delegation, the U.S. House has passed legislation twice that would bring a long-term end to the water crisis. The solution comprises these three simple measures:

• Return Delta pumping to normal operations at federal and state pumps. Because normal pumping levels are already paid for, this measure would cost taxpayers zero dollars.

• Fix the San Joaquin River Settlement. Instead of continuing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on an unworkable scheme to recreate salmon runs, we should turn the San Joaquin River into a year-round flowing river with recirculated water. This approach would be good for the warm-water fish habitat and for recreation, and it would save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars that will otherwise go down the salmon-run rat hole.

• Expedite and approve construction of major new water projects. This should include building the Temperance Flat dam along the San Joaquin River, raising Shasta dam to increase its reservoir capacity, expanding the San Luis Reservoir and approving construction of the Sites Reservoir in the Sacramento Valley. Because water users themselves should rightfully pay for these projects, they would cost federal taxpayers zero dollars.

These measures would not only end the water crisis, they would improve the environment for fish and wildlife — all while saving taxpayer dollars.

The Price of Inaction

I warned of the likely outcome of the radicals’ campaign in my testimony to a House committee back in 2009:

“Failure to act, and it’s over. You will witness the collapse of modern civilization in the San Joaquin Valley.”

That is indeed the grim future facing the Valley if we don’t change our present trajectory. The solution passed twice by the U.S. House, however, was blocked by Senate Democrats, who were supported by the administration of Gov. Brown as well as the Obama administration. These Democrats need to begin speaking frankly and honestly with San Joaquin Valley communities, and with Californians more broadly, about the effects of idling 1.3 million acres of farmland. This will ruin not only Valley farming operations, but will wipe out entire swathes of associated local businesses and industries.

The damage is not limited to the Valley. Although residents of coastal areas such as Los Angeles, the Bay Area and San Diego have been led to believe they are being subject to water restrictions due to the drought, that’s not actually true. As in the Valley, these areas and many others ultimately depend on the Delta pumps for their water supply. If the pumps had been functioning normally for the past decade, none of these cities would be undergoing a water crisis today.

And it’s a safe bet that Brown’s mandatory water reductions will not alleviate the crisis, leading to a drastic increase in restrictions in the not-too-distant future. Watering your lawn, washing your car and countless other everyday activities will be banned up and down California. In their mania to attack Central Valley farming, the radicals are inadvertently running the entire state out of water.

Endgame

Many organizations representing California agriculture, including water districts and — shockingly — even some San Joaquin Valley cities and counties, became part of the problem instead of the solution, having lent no support to the House-passed water bills. Suffering from a strange kind of Stockholm Syndrome, many of these groups and agencies hope that if they meekly accept their fate, their overlords will magnanimously bestow a few drops of water on them.

This mousy strategy, which willfully ignores what the radicals are really trying to achieve, hasn’t worked out well for growers of almonds and other high-value crops. Although the radicals had been promising them a free pass back when the groups met with me in 2002, these growers have now become the radicals’ primary scapegoat for the water crisis. This condemnation is reflected in articles such as The Atlantic’s “The Dark Side of Almond Use,” The Guardian’s “Alarm as Almond Farms Consume California’s Water,” and Bloomberg View’s “Amid a Drought, Cue the Almond Shaming.”

Sadly, the end is near for communities whose land will be forced out of production. One hopes the affected families will eventually find a more welcome home in some other state where those who wield power appreciate folks who grow our food instead of demonize them.

But for now, the pitiless, decades-long assault to deprive them of their livelihoods is hurtling toward its apex. Meanwhile, many of those capable of advancing a solution are content to wring their hands, blame global warming and continue whistling past the graveyard.

Agriculture groups, water districts and municipalities that refuse to support the two House-passed bills owe their constituents an alternative solution that will resolve our water shortfall. Water bureaucrats who ignore or oppose the most prominent, viable solutions while offering no alternative are, in effect, complicit in the radicals’ long struggle. They should publicly declare which land ought to come out of production and which Valley industries should be eliminated since they have no proposals to steer us away from that outcome.

The Valley’s critical situation today demands unity around constructive solutions. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, we must all hang together, or we will surely all hang separately.

‚Ä¢ Nunes is chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He represents California’s 22nd congressional district.

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WATCH: Government Policy on Climate Change Ignores Facts That Even the IPCC Recognise

David T.C. Davies, the Member of Parliament for MonmouthDavid T.C. Davies, Member of Parliament for Monmouth (source)David T.C. Davies, the Member of Parliament for Monmouth, has told the House of Commons that government policies on climate change, which have massively increased the cost of energy for homeowners and businesses, are based on the assumption that all the global warming that has taken place in the last two centuries is down to humans – an assumption that not even the IPCC makes. (Video after the jump)

Addressing the Deputy Speaker and his colleagues, Mr Davies said: “No one has ever denied that carbon dioxide is a global warming gas. No one has ever denied that there is more CO2 in the atmosphere since we started industrializing. Not many people are bothering to deny the fact that there has been an increase in temperature of about 0.8¬∞C over the past 250 years, and although it is a bit more questionable than some would have it, there is no need to question it at the moment. It follows that CO2 emissions that are man-made have had some impact on temperatures.

“What does not follow is the argument that is so often put forward, which is that CO2 emitted by mankind has been completely responsible for the very minor increase in temperature that we have seen over the past 250 years.”

This drew challenges from others in the debate, to which Mr Davies replied by citing the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change by highlighting “page 17, fourth paragraph down” of the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers, which says:

“It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.”

Mr Davies explained: “The overall increase over the past 250 years is 0.8 ¬∞C, but in the second half of the 20th century, the increase was about 0.5 ¬∞C. What the IPCC is saying in this report is that slightly over half of that is likely to have been man-made.

“Even the IPCC is not saying that the increase in temperature is a result of man-made carbon emissions. It is saying that some of it is, and that the overall amount is well under half. On the basis of this, we are going ahead with a set of policies that have caused massive increases in energy bills for home owners and businesses.”

Mr Davies made his speech during an Opposition Day debate on climate change, at which the House of Commons voted to affirm its commitment stopping global temperatures from rising by more than 2¬∞C. Parliamentarians also voted in favour of urging other countries to commit to “ambitious emissions targets”, a goal of “net zero emissions in the second half of the century”, and “an equitable deal in which richer countries provide support to poorer nations in their efforts to combat climate change”, as well as support for climate change mitigation packages.

Speaking during the debate, the shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint said “It is extremely worrying that so many Government Members are still in denial and refuse to accept the views of the majority of scientists around the world. Not only are they a threat to the environment; they are a threat to the jobs and opportunities these changes bring.”

But Peter Lilley, who was one of just four members of Parliament to vote against the Climate Change Act in 2008 which committed the government to costly subsidies for green energy, pointed challenged Flint, asking “Is the right hon. Lady going to address the issue of cost? She criticised me and four others for voting against the Climate Change Act, but I did so because the impact assessment showed that the potential costs were twice the maximum benefits. According to the Government, the costs will now reach something like ¬£400 a household by 2020.”

Ms Flint accused Mr Lilley of remaining “in the 19th Century”, and insisted that “there is a bigger cost to doing nothing”, as current policies will “create job and investment opportunities.”

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Polar bear behaviour gets the animal tragedy porn treatment – two new papers

polar bear and dolphinRecently, several polar bear biologists have teamed up with photographers to get pictures of starving bears into the scientific literature – and picked up by the media, with mixed results.

For the second time in five years, polar bear biologist Ian Stirling has teamed up with a photographer to give unwarranted scientific credence to an anecdotal account of polar bear behaviour. It included a picture of a pitifully thin animal  (classic animal tragedy porn) and was framed to increase alarm over predicted effects of global warming. It got little media attention.

His Norwegian colleagues Jon Aars and Magnus Andersen have just done the same with a bear caught eating a white-beaked dolphin (photo above) – but this time the media took the bait.

Update 13 June 2015 – Information added on white-beaked dolphin distribution, sea ice conditions in 2014 and a correction. See below.

Longest-ever underwater swim by a polar bear
A few years ago, Stirling co-authored a paper with photographer Jenny Ross (Stirling and Ross 2011) about an incident of cannibalism in Svalbard she captured on film (discussed here). This year, he has co-authored a paper with photographer and Arctic expedition organizer Rinie van Meurs, which came out a few weeks ago.

It’s about a polar bear that hunted three bearded seals by swimming underwater (an “aquatic stalk”) for just over three minutes, the event captured on video by an ecotourism boat captain (cruising north of  Svalbard, Norway) ‚Äì see van Meurs photo below (Fig. 1), from the paper.

Figure 1. The polar bear who made the longest underwater dive while hunting bearded seals. Fig. 1 from the Stirling and van Meurs 2015 paper.Figure 1. The polar bear who made the longest underwater dive while hunting bearded seals. Fig. 1 from the Stirling and van Meurs 2015 paper. Click to enlarge.

Apparently, no one had ever seen a polar bear dive for more than a minute or so, which meant the two additional minutes of breath-holding was presented as truly extraordinary!

Since the paper is about an underwater swim,1 it’s rather odd that the only photograph included in the paper (Fig. 1) is one of the bear out of the water, his soaking-wet condition emphasizing his thinness. That’s what makes this animal tragedy porn.

Perhaps the bear’s poor condition made him a bit more motivated to try and catch a seal, but the authors don’t suggest that possibility. It’s also likely that the reason he didn’t catch a seal using this method is the reason he was so thin in the first place ‚Äì a bear with good hunting abilities would normally be close to its heaviest at this time of year, after feeding heavily during spring (April-June) when sea ice and fat young seals are plentiful.

In other words, the fact that this bear was so thin suggests other issues in effect (sickness, old age, injury), such as likely befell Ian Stirling’s “polar bear that died of climate change” in the same general area in 2013. None of those possible factors are mentioned in this academic paper: it only states the animal was a “large adult male.”

Instead, the authors attempted to put this single underwater stalk into an evolutionary context, but in my opinion the strategy fails miserably. It simply displays their superficial understanding of rapid evolutionary change – about which books, papers, and dissertations have been written, including my own (Crockford 2004, 2006, 2009).

In fact, what the authors have done is shamelessly exploited the concept of evolution in order to frame a tabloid-worthy bit of behaviour as a pseudo-scientific morality tale about global warming.

Despite acknowledging that almost nothing is known about the diving abilities of polar bears past or present, and the rather enormous range in estimated age for the origin of polar bears as a distinct Arctic species (5 million to 400,000 years), the authors chose to conclude:

“…increased diving ability cannot evolve rapidly enough to compensate for the increasing difficulty of hunting seals because of the rapidly declining availability of sea ice during the open-water period resulting from climate warming.” [my bold]

How is it that such a statement passed peer review?

First-ever record of polar bears eating white-beaked dolphins
The other paper came out earlier this week, by Jon Aars and Magnus Andersen of the Norwegian Polar Institute and what appear to be several photographers – Agnès Breniére and Samuel Blanc – about an incident of polar bears feeding on white-beaked dolphins (Lagenorhynchus albirostris) trapped in shorefast ice near Svalbard.

One of Blanc’s photos (Fig. 2) of another bear feeding on a dolphin carcass later that year has been useful for publicizing the incident. This photo was taken later than the incident described in the scientific paper but has been the photo preferred by journalists, culminating with a story in the Guardian today (12 June, Polar bears eat dolphins as Arctic warms), after a warmup by New Scientist two days ago (more on that below).

[Here are some other gems: Thanks, global warming: Now polar bears are devouring dolphins (Washington Post); Grisly images show polar bears eating DOLPHINS for the first time – and scientists say global warming may be to blame (Daily Mail); Arctic Polar Bears Now Eating Dolphins for First Time Ever (Revolution News)]

Figure 2. Polar bear feeds on the carcass of a white-beaked dolphin trapped in sea ice near Svalbard in July 2014. This is Fig. 3 from the Aars et al. 2015 paper, photo by co-author Samuel Blanc.Figure 2. Polar bear feeds on the carcass of a white-beaked dolphin trapped in sea ice near Svalbard in July 2014. This is Fig. 3 from the Aars et al. 2015 paper, photo by co-author Samuel Blanc. Click to enlarge.

The primary incident described in the second paper involved a thin adult male polar feeding on the carcass of a white-beaked dolphin (see photo at the top of this post).2  The “…tooth wear yielded an estimated age of about 16-20 years.” [correction from original ‚Äì my apologies, I missed the age estimate somehow]

Sixteen to twenty years is old for a male bear, and puts this animal in the same age category as the carcass of the old male found by Stirling and others in August of 2013 in the same general area. Old males have trouble defending their kills from younger, stronger bears – which means they have trouble getting enough to eat.

White-beaked dolphins are regular visitors to the Svalbard area in summer and fall – the only thing slightly unusual about this incident is their presence in spring and the fact they were subsequently trapped by ice:

“Prior to this report, no recording of the species has been made in winter or spring this far north in Svalbard. The fjords and around the coast of northern Spitsbergen, an area normally covered by annual ice, were ice-free in winter 2013/14.”

Update 13 June 2015 (added material here to Fig. 2a): As Fig. 2a below shows, it appears the fjord where the old bear was found feeding on white-beaked dolphins on 23 April had been ice-free for only a few weeks (between 11 March and 7 April), although the area to the north had been ice-free for months (you’ll have to click on the figure to enlarge). That suggests the trapped dolphins had been in the area for about 2 weeks before the bear was spotted feeding on the second one he’d killed.

The range map for white-beaked dolphins shows that this region of Svalbard is only slightly beyond their usual range. Exploring beyond such boundaries when conditions permit is not an unusual behaviour for any animal (especially young ones). Did movements of their usual food at this time of year lure them into the area, at a time of year when it was dangerous to do so? Are white-beaked dolphin population numbers up, encouraging some small pods to explore available adjacent territory?

It seems not much is known about the population size of this species (see IUCN status), so it’s hard to say. It certainly seems imprudent to me to conclude that the presence of a few individuals of this species only 6 weeks or so before, and only slightly east of where they would normally been seen, can be blamed exclusively on global warming.

Figure 2a: Range of white-beaked dolphin (IUCN) compared to sea ice on the date Raudfjorden (arrow) was ice-free (11 March) and when it again became ice covered (7 April), according to NSIDC MASIE charts. Trapped dolphins were about 6 weeks earlier than their usual June arrival. Click to enlarge.Figure 2a: Range of white-beaked dolphin (IUCN) compared to sea ice on the date Raudfjorden (arrow) was ice-free (11 March) and when it again became ice covered (7 April), according to NSIDC MASIE charts. Trapped dolphins were about 6 weeks earlier than their usual June arrival. Click to enlarge.

[Note that beluga “whales” are actually members of the dolphin family ‚Äì they routinely live in areas covered with sea ice and are therefore experienced with the need to stay close to open water in order to breath. Yet, even they get trapped in the ice on occasion. I described the carnage that went on a few years ago in Hudson Bay in this post]

Oddly, there is no mention at all in this paper about the well known effects of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) on the amount of sea ice in spring in the Barents Sea (discussed most recently here), despite the fact that co-authors Aars and Andersen discuss the effects on polar bears due to changes in the state of the AMO on the website of the Norwegian Environmental Monitoring of Svalbard and Jan Mayen (MOSJ) – see my previous discussions here and here.

There’s no doubt that sea ice conditions have been challenging for Barents Sea polar bears over the last few years due to the state of the AMO (a recurring phenomenon not related to global warming). Some bears have undoubtedly suffered as the bears described here (especially young, experienced bears, old bears, and bears that have made bad decisions and ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time). It seems, however, that a number of them have figured out a solution ‚Äì hang out to the east in Franz Josef Land in the North Kara Sea.

In the recent New Scientist article (10 June 2015: “Polar bear caught eating dolphins and freezing the leftovers”), the authors are quoted as being surprised by seeing dolphins in that area (see Fig. 3, location #1), and that the bear appeared to have been “caching” one of the dolphins for later consumption.

I’m surprised at the admission in the paper itself (see footnote 2 below) that the bear was feeding on ice that was only 20 cm thick (about 8‚Ä≥). That’s what sea ice folks call “thin ice.”

Figure 3. This is Fig. 3c from Aars et al. 2015. It shows sea ice conditions for April 2014 (when dolphin-feeding incident described took place, located at #1). #2 and #3 indicate regions where two bears were feeding on a dolphin carcass in July 2014. Bears were also seen feeding on dolphin carcasses at location #1 in July (see photo in Fig. 2 above) and in September. Click to enlarge.Figure 3. This is Fig. 3c from Aars et al. 2015. It shows sea ice conditions for April 2014 (when dolphin-feeding incident described took place, located at #1). #2 and #3 indicate regions where two bears were feeding on a dolphin carcass in July 2014. Bears were also seen feeding on dolphin carcasses at location #1 in July (see photo in Fig. 2 above) and in September. Click to enlarge.

The conclusion reached by Aars and colleagues about this incident? Here is their final sentence:

“An increase of white-beaked dolphins in areas where the sea ice shifts northward may, given the significant size of these animals, offer a new prey or carrion food source to bears in an environment where access to ringed seals and bearded seals may decline in future years.”

My conclusions: The pictures of thin bears were not necessary to tell these stories, if the facts of the anecdotes really had scientific merit. And since these two polar bear incidents were considered worthy of publication in scientific journals, then I expect these other recent media-worthy animal exploits will eventually be given the same treatment:

15 May 2014Beaver walks into Fairbanks hardware store [text account]

21 April 2015 Python climbs a tree with a curious technique in Thailand [picked up by the Daily Mail here]

10 May 2015A leopard climbs a tree with a zebra in the mouth

Footnote 1.Details from the underwater swim paper (Stirling and van Meurs):

This is the total sum of knowledge so far regarding polar bear dives:

“Stirling (1974) reported polar bears diving for 34, 40, 55, and a maximum of 72 s to feed on kelp. L√∏n√∏ (1970) reported polar bears diving to depths of 3‚Äì4 m to retrieve ”seaweed,” but no dive durations were given. Dyck and Romberg (2007) observed a subadult polar bear diving for fish in a river near its mouth and staying under water for between 3 and 29 s on a total of 17 dives. Over the past 10 years, we have observed both adult male and female polar bears in Svalbard, diving to feed on the remains of whales in a few meters of water, for untimed durations estimated to range between about 15 and 30 s.” [my bold]

From pg. 2:

“In mid-afternoon, August 19, 2014, one of us (RVM) observed a large adult male polar bear (Ursus maritimus) lying and looking around on a large flat annual ice floe several hundred meters across at 800 23.46_ N, 0130 13.09_ E, 20 km north of the north coast of Spitsbergen, the main island in the Svalbard Archipelago. The adult male bear was exceptionally thin (Fig. 1): body condition one out of five, the lowest category (Stirling et al. 2008)….the 3-min 10-s duration of this long underwater swim to stalk a bearded seal far exceeds anything previously reported.”  [my bold]

Concluding paragraph (pg. 3):

“As the climate continues to warm and the amount of sea ice in the circumpolar Arctic continues to decline (Stroeve et al. 2012), access to seals on ice floes may become progressively more difficult owing to the presence of more water between floes and earlier seasonal disappearance of ice altogether. Although our observations demonstrate polar bears possess strong subsurface swimming and navigating abilities, previous observations confirm that the success rate of aquatic stalks of seals haul out on the ice surface where they are vulnerable to predation from the water is low (Stirling 1974). Therefore, we suggest that polar bears cannot evolve increased diving ability rapidly enough to compensate for greater difficulty of hunting seals because of the rapidly declining availability of sea ice during the open-water period resulting from climate warming.” [my bold]

Footnote 2. Details from the white-beaked dolphin feeding paper (Aars et al. 2015)

“At 16:37 on 23 April 2014, we encountered an adult male polar bear at the carcass of a white-beaked dolphin in Raudfjorden, at 79¬∞45’1‚Ä≥ and N 11¬∞56’28‚Ä≥. The carcass (dolphin A) was on the sea ice about 5 m from shore. The remains of a second dead white-beaked dolphin (dolphin B) were observed on land, about 50 m farther south and 5 m from the shore. Tracks from the bear showed he had also been feeding on dolphin B. About a metre from dolphin A was a hole about 60 by 75 cm in diameter, covered with ice slush (Fig. 1). The surrounding sea ice was about 20-cm thick. This was the only location in the fjord without solid ice, and appeared to be a breathing hole kept open by the dolphins. We therefore considered it likely that dolphin B was also taken by the bear at this hole. Little more than the spine, rib cage and skull of dolphin B remained when we found it. Dolphin A was more or less intact, as only the outer fat layer was removed from parts of the dorsal side and no meat was taken (Fig. 1).

Among six species of dolphins in the genus Lagenorhynchus, only white-beaked dolphin and Atlantic white-sided dolphin (L. acutus) have been observed in the waters of Svalbard. For white-beaked dolphins, Reeves et al. (1999) reported a range in body length of 154‚Äì278 cm and 55‚Äì309 kg among individuals measured. The white-sided dolphin has not been recorded in the more northern areas of the archipelago (Reeves et al. 1999). Earlier observations of white-beaked dolphins as far north as northern Spitsbergen have all been made in summer and autumn (June‚ÄìNovember; Fig. 2. Prior to this report, no recording of the species has been made in winter or spring this far north in Svalbard. The fjords and around the coast of northern Spitsbergen, an area normally covered by annual ice, were ice-free in winter 2013/14. It is likely that the presence of the dolphins in early spring was due to the lack of sea ice in the period prior to our observation. Ice maps indicated open water as late as 28 March, but dense ice in Raudfjorden from 4 April. In the period 17‚Äì18 April, strong northerly wind packed drift ice into the fjords. We speculate that this event led to the entrapment of white-beaked dolphins, including the two we found dead. Entrapment, and later suffocation, of white-beaked dolphins in areas with heavy pack ice has earlier been reported along the coast of Newfoundland (Sergeant & Fisher 1957; Hai et al. 1996).” [my bold]

References
Aars, J., Andersen, M., Breniére, A. and Blanc, S. 2015 in press. White-beaked dolphins trapped in the ice and eaten by polar bears. Polar Research. Open access http://www.polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/26612 Pdf here.

Abstract
Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) depend on sea ice, where they hunt ice-associated seals. However, they are opportunistic predators and scavengers with a long list of known prey species. Here we report from a small fjord in Svalbard, Norwegian High Arctic, a sighting of an adult male polar bear preying on two white-beaked dolphins (Lagenorhynchus albirostris) on 23 April 2014. This is the first record of this species as polar bear prey. White-beaked dolphins are frequent visitors to Svalbard waters in summer, but have not previously been reported this far north in early spring. We suggest they were trapped in the ice after strong northerly winds the days before, and possibly killed when forced to surface for air at a small opening in the ice. The bear had consumed most parts of one dolphin. When observed he was in the process of covering the mostly intact second dolphin with snow. Such caching behaviour is generally considered untypical of polar bears. During the following ice-free summer and autumn, at least seven different white-beaked dolphin carcasses were observed in or near the same area. We suggest, based on the area and the degree to which these dolphins had decayed, that they were likely from the same pod and also suffered death due to entrapment in the ice in April. At least six different polar bears were seen scavenging on the carcasses.

Crockford, S.J. 2004. Animal Domestication and Vertebrate Speciation: A Paradigm for the Origin of Species. PhD dissertation, University of Victoria, B.C. (filed at the National Library under “Zoology)

Crockford, S.J. 2006.Rhythms of Life: Thyroid Hormone and the Origin of Species. Trafford, Victoria.

Crockford, S.J. 2009. Evolutionary roots of iodine and thyroid hormones in cell-cell signaling. Integrative and Comparative Biology49:155-166.

Stirling, I. and Ross, J.E. 2011. Observations of cannibalism by polar bears (Ursus maritimus) on summer and autumn sea ice at Svalbard, Norway. Arctic 64:478-482. http://arctic.journalhosting.ucalgary.ca/arctic/index.php/arctic/article/view/4147 Open access. Pdf here.

Stirling, I. and van Meurs, R. 2015 in press. Longest recorded underwater dive by a polar bear. Polar Biologyhttp://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00300-015-1684-1

Abstract
The maximum dive duration for a wild polar bear (Ursus maritimus) of any age is unknown, and opportunities to document long dives by undisturbed bears are rare. We describe the longest dive reported to date, by a wild undisturbed adult male polar bear. This dive was made during an aquatic stalk of three bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus) lying several meters from each other at the edge of an annual ice floe. The bear dove for a total duration of 3 min 10 s and swam 45–50 m without surfacing to breathe or to reorient itself to the locations of the seals. The duration of this dive may be approaching its maximum capability. Polar bears diverged from brown bears (Ursus arctos) about 4–500,000 years ago, which is recent in evolutionary terms. Thus, it is possible that the ability to hold its breath for so long may indicate the initial development of a significant adaptation for living and hunting in its marine environment. However, increased diving ability cannot evolve rapidly enough to compensate for the increasing difficulty of hunting seals because of the rapidly declining availability of sea ice during the open-water period resulting from climate warming.

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The Gospel According to Jeffrey Sachs

Jeffrey D. SachsJeffrey D. SachsColumbia University professor Jeffrey D. Sachs is special adviser to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and to Pope Francis. As director of the Earth Institute, globalist Sachs is spreading palm branches, as it were, before the Holy Father’s delivery of a major Papal encyclical to American bishops and the United Nations in September.  In an essay entitled “A Call to Virtue,”  published in the Jesuit journal, America, The National Catholic Review, Sachs predicts Pope Francis will directly challenge the “American idea of God-given rights embodied in the Declaration of Independence.”

The media luminary postulates that America is “a society in thrall” to the idea of unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  In the treatise, Professor Sachs attempts to integrate the philosophies of Immanuel Kant, Thomas Payne, Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Jesus Christ in support of Pope Francis’s compassionate APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION EVANGELII GAUDIUM  (the joy of the Gospel) which the pontiff proclaims can help the world to overcome the globalization of indifference to others.

The cagey writer prudently avoids negatively charged media catchphrases such as population control, abortion, anthropogenic global warming, socialism, and one world government, while enhancing his hypotheses with feel-good words like virtue, justice, and charity. “Pope Francis sees a crisis of the human spirit in our time,” declares the macroeconomist, “characterized by our inability to hear the suffering of others. We suffer a poverty of the spirit in the midst of material plenty, a failure to live properly in an age of unprecedented material affluence.” While Sachs stops short of indicting American constitutional ideology for these moral failures, the implication is conspicuous.

Metaphorically comparing the twenty-first century challenges of social compassion to a moral balance sheet, the Vatican advisor weighs the economic costs of extreme global poverty, controlling epidemic diseases likes AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and Ebola against earth friendly environmental solutions such as solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric power vs. climate-changing fossil fuels.

He advances the Aristotelian principle asserting that the “state is by nature clearly prior to the family and to the individual, since the whole is of necessity prior to the part.” Aristotle does not mean that the state can willfully crush the individual, but rather that the individual finds meaning in life, and the path to happiness, as a citizen of the polis, the state. In a phrase that reverberates powerfully still today, Aristotle noted “man is a social animal.”

Directly referring to American constitutional ideology, Sachs writes, “we learn that the route to happiness lies in the rights of the individual. Most important, the rebellious American colonists believed that they would find happiness as individuals, each endowed by the creator with individual, inalienable  rights.” He refers to this as ideology of grandeur, declaring that such rights are only one facet of our humanity.

Advancing the inevitability of a borderless one-world government, Sachs proclaims that the United Nations must “dictate the course of nations and individual rights must be sacrificed for the greater good.”  In his book, The End of Poverty, he advocates extracting more than $845 billion from the American people through global taxation in order to finance what he calls “Sustainable Development Goals,” as envisioned by a Sustainable Development Solutions Network run by none other than Jeffrey Sachs.

On Sept. 25, Pope Francis will speak to the largest number of assembled heads of state in history. Professor Sachs seems convinced that these leaders will adopt new Sustainable Development Goals for the coming generation. The pontiff will come to the United States and the United Nations in New York on the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, and at the moment when the world’s 193 governments are resolved to take a step in solidarity toward a better world. These lofty goals will be a new worldwide commitment to build a world that aims to harmonize the pursuit of economic prosperity with the commitments to social inclusion and environmental sustainability.  

If Mr. Sachs’ predictions become reality, America as an exceptional sovereign nation will meld into a communal member of the New World Order.

God forbid!

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Twin peaks – twin lies

argo buoyA recent NOAA article is just what Doctor Doom ordered. It claims the 18-year “hiatus” in rising planetary temperatures isn’t really happening. (The “pause” followed a 20-year modest temperature increase, which followed a prolonged cooling period.) The article states:

“Here we present an updated global surface temperature analysis that reveals that global trends are higher than reported by the IPCC, especially in recent decades, and that the central estimate for the rate of warming during the first 15 years of the 21st century is at least as great as the last half of the 20th century. These results do not support the notion of a ‘slowdown’ in the increase of global surface temperature.”

Published in Science magazine to ensure extensive news coverage before critics could expose its flaws, the report was indeed featured prominently in the national print, television, radio and electronic media.

It’s part of the twin peaks thesis: Peaking carbon dioxide levels will cause peaking temperatures, which will lead to catastrophic climate and weather. Unfortunately for alarmists, the chaos isn’t happening.

No category 3-5 hurricane has hit the United States for a record 9-1/2 years. Tornadoes, droughts, polar bears, polar ice, sea levels and wildfires are all in line with (or improvements on) historic patterns and trends. The Sahel is green again, thanks to that extra CO2.  And the newly invented disasters they want to attribute to fossil fuel-driven climate change ‚Äì allergies, asthma, Islamic State and Boko Haram ‚Äì don’t even pass the laugh test.

The NOAA report appears to have been another salvo in the White House’s attempt to regain the offensive, ahead of the Heartland Institute’s Tenth International Climate Conference. However, a growing number of prominent analysts have uncovered serious biases, errors and questions in the report.

Climatologists Pat Michaels, Dick Lindzen, and Chip Knappenberger point out that the NOAA team adjusted sea-surface temperature (SST) data from buoys upward by 0.12 degrees Celsius, to make them “homogenous” with lengthier records from engine intake systems in ships. However, engine intake data are “clearly contaminated by heat conduction” from the ships, and the data were never intended for scientific use ‚Äì whereas the global buoy network was designed for environmental monitoring.

So why not adjust the ship data downward, to “homogenize” them with buoy data, and account for the contamination? Perhaps because, as Georgia Tech climatologist Judith Curry observed, this latest NOAA analysis “will be regarded as politically useful for the Obama administration.” However, it will not be “particularly useful” for improving our understanding of what is happening in Earth’s climate system.

Dr. Curry and the previously mentioned scientists also note that the buoy network has covered an increasingly wide area over the past couple decades, collecting high quality data. So again, why did NOAA resort to shipboard data? The ARGO buoys and satellite network (both omitted in this new analysis) do not show a warming trend – whereas the NOAA methodology injects a clear warming trend.

Canadian economist and statistical expert Ross McKitrick also analyzed the NOAA approach. He concluded that it wipes out the global warming hiatus that eight other studies have found. Its adjustments to SST records for 1998-2000 had an especially large effect, he says. Dr. McKitrick also recaps the problems scientists have with trying to create consistent temperature records from the multiple measurement methods employed over the centuries.

Theologian, ethicist and climate analyst Calvin Beisner provides an excellent summary of all these and other critiques of the deceptive NOAA paper.

It is also important to note that, in reality, NOAA is quibbling about hundredths of a degree – essentially the margin of error. On that basis it rejects multiple studies that found planetary warming has stopped.

Britain’s Global Warming Policy Forum succinctly concludes: “This is a highly speculative and slight paper that produces a statistically marginal result by cherry-picking time intervals, resulting in a global temperature graph that is at odds with those produced by the UK Met Office and NASA,” as well as by other exhaustive data monitoring reports over the past four decades.

The vitally important bottom line is simple.

The central issue in this ongoing debate is not whether Planet Earth is warming. The issue is: How much is it warming? How much of the warming and other climate changes are due to mankind’s use of fossil fuels and emission of greenhouse gases ‚Äì and how much are due to the same powerful natural forces that have driven climate and weather fluctuations throughout Earth and human history? And will any changes be short-term or long-term … and good, bad, neutral or catastrophic?

At this time, there is no scientific evidence ‚Äì based on actual observations and measurements of temperatures and weather events ‚Äì that humans are altering the climate to a significant or dangerous degree. Computer models, political statements and hypothetical cataclysms cannot and must not substitute for that absence of actual evidence, especially when the consequences would be so dire for so many. In fact, even the “record high” global average temperature of 2014 was concocted and a margin of error.

Simply put, the danger is not climate change ‚Äì which will always be with us. The danger is energy restrictions imposed in the name of controlling Earth’s perpetually fickle climate.

Moreover, the IPCC’s top climate official says the UN’s unelected bureaucrats are undertaking “probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the [global capitalist] economic development model.” Another IPCC director says, “Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection. The next world climate summit is actually an economy summit, during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.”

That summit could give government officials and environmental activists the power to eliminate fossil fuels, control businesses and entire economies, and tell families what living standards they will be permitted to enjoy – with no accountability for the damage that will result from their actions.

For developed nations, surrendering to the climate crisis industry would result in fossil fuel restrictions that kill jobs, reduce living standards, health, welfare and life spans – and put ideologically driven government bureaucrats in control of everything people make, grow, ship, eat and do.

For poor countries, implementing policies to protect energy-deprived masses from computer-generated manmade climate disasters decades from now would perpetuate poverty and diseases that kill them tomorrow. Denying people their basic rights to have affordable, reliable energy, rise up out of poverty, and enjoy modern technologies and living standards would be immoral – a crime against humanity.

Countries, communities, companies and citizens need to challenge and resist these immoral, harmful, tyrannical, lethal and racist EPA, IPCC, UN and EU decrees. Otherwise, the steady technological, economic, health and human progress of the past 150 years will come to a painful, grinding halt – sacrificed in the name of an illusory and fabricated climate crisis.

________

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death, and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: Saving the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine.

Tom Tamarkin is founder and CEO of USCL Corporation and of the fusion energy advocacy groups http://www.fusion4freedom.us  and http://www.fuelRfuture.com. He is widely credited with inventing the utility industry smart meter and holds granted and pending patents in the field.

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Is Climate Change Hysteria the New ‘Population Bomb’?

protest germanyA recent article in the New York Times revisits the generalized pandemonium in the 1970s over fears of a global population explosion, due in large part to Paul R. Ehrlich’s 1968 doomsday bestseller: The Population Bomb. The article inadvertently ties Ehrlich’s apocalyptic thesis—and the widespread willingness to believe it—to the current climate change hysteria that has swept a large part of the planet.

Ehrlich sold the world the idea that mankind stood on the brink of Armageddon because there was simply no way to feed the exponentially increasing world population. The opening line set the tone for the whole book: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over.”

Being a well-credentialed scientist—as a biologist lecturing at Stanford University—Ehrlich’s trumpet call of the end times struck many as the plausible theory of an “expert.”

In the book, Ehrlich laid out the devastating future of the planet. He predicted that hundreds of millions would starve to death in the 1970s (and that 65 million of them would be Americans), that already-overpopulated India was doomed, and that odds were fair that “England will not exist in the year 2000.”

Ehrlich concludes that “sometime in the next 15 years, the end will come,” meaning “an utter breakdown of the capacity of the planet to support humanity.”

It is fascinating to compare Ehrlich’s hyperbolic forecasts with those of the recent climate workshop sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Science.

“As early as 2100, there will be a non-negligible probability of irreversible and catastrophic climate impacts that may last over thousands of years, raising the existential question of whether civilization as we know it can be extended beyond this century,” the workshop concluded in its joint declaration.

The population has in fact doubled from when “The Population Bomb” was written, and yet here we are, including England and even India. People do still die of starvation in 2015, but as the Times rightly notes, shortages are often “more a function of government incompetence, corruption or civil strife than of an absolute lack of food.”

Chillingly, in his call for radical population control, Ehrlich said he would prefer “voluntary methods” but if people were unwilling to cooperate, he was ready to endorse “various forms of coercion.” To allow women have as many children as they wanted, he said, is like letting people “throw as much of their garbage into their neighbor’s backyard as they want.”

The simple fact is that the world figured out how to feed itself despite its rising numbers, and food production actually outpaced population growth. Could Ehrlich have predicted that Norman E. Borlaug, an American plant scientist, would have discovered how to breed high-yielding, disease-resistant crops that would significantly increase agricultural efficiency? Of course he couldn’t. But this may be an important lesson for today. Science, while quite good at documenting current natural phenomena, has proved completely incompetent when it comes to predicting the future—both of nature and of human ingenuity.

What would have happened had the world at large completely bought into Ehrlich’s hypothesis and altered its behavior accordingly?

China tried it by instituting a draconian one-child policy, which has now left it (through sex-selective abortions) with a horrific gender imbalance, with yearly births of some 120 boys born for every 100 girls. As a result, “30 million more men than women will reach adulthood and enter China’s mating market by 2020.”

Fortunately, The Times observes, some brave souls resisted the urge to jump on the population explosion bandwagon. One was economist Julian L. Simon, who later noted that “whatever the rate of population growth is, historically it has been that the food supply increases at least as fast, if not faster.”

Another population expert, Fred Pearce, has said that birthrates are now below long-term replacement levels nearly everywhere, a trend he analyzed in his 2010 book, “The Coming Population Crash and Our Planet’s Surprising Future.”

The New York Times observes that, as a consequence, “worrying about an overcrowded planet has fallen off the international agenda” and has now been replaced “by climate change and related concerns.”

What the Times fails to observe is the irony of its own reporting. By juxtaposing the thoroughly discredited population explosion theories of the 1970s with the (equally panicky) global warming predictions of our day, the article cannot help but make readers wonder whether a certain measure of caution is due before significantly altering human behavior to accommodate these forecasts.

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NOAA advisory: Persistent El Niño may impact U.S. winter weather

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released an advisory yesterday that there is a 90 percent chance or higher that an El Ni√±o will persist throughout the fall of 2015. They are also 85 percent confident it will continue throughout the 2015-2016 winter, influencing the U.S. weather. El Ni√±os form when a “three-month average warming of at least 0.5 degrees Celsius (0.9¬∞F) in a specific area of the east-central tropical Pacific Ocean” occurs. Using satellite data, the El Ni√±o event looks like a long, jagged ribbon of warm water spreading across the central and east-central equatorial Pacific Ocean (see Figure 1).

figure1

Side effects of a long-running El Ni√±o event are “warmer and drier winters in the Northwest, northern Midwest, and upper Northeast United States” and “significantly wetter winters” for drought-stricken central and southern California. Other climate events associated with El Ni√±o years are above-normal tropical cyclones forming east of the dateline, less-then-robust tropical Pacific fishing, and flooding along the coasts of northern Peru and Ecuador.

NOAA predicts that “across the contiguous United States, temperature and precipitation impacts associated with El Ni√±o are expected to remain minimal” during the summer, but will increase into the late fall and winter. NOAA also expects the El Ni√±o will be a factor in a below-normal Atlantic hurricane season, and “above-normal hurricane seasons in both the central and eastern Pacific hurricane basins.” Because the “warm ocean waters suppress the nutrient-rich, cold water from reaching the surface,” which feed and sustain large fish populations, the entire equatorial ecosystem is affected.

El Ni√±os (also known as the El Ni√±o Southern Oscillation or ENSO) are also accompanied by a high pressure system over the western Pacific and a low-pressure system over the eastern Pacific. NOAA predicts this still-developing El Ni√±o will continue throughout 2015, with some computer models predicting it will persist into the late fall of 2015. NOAA did note in its announcement that the El Ni√±o may turn out to be ‘moderate,’ weaker then expected, or peter out completely. If the designated area of the Pacific Ocean decreases below the 0.5 degree Celsius threshold, the El Ni√±o is considered to have dissipated.

Currently, this still-developing El Ni√±o shows surface sea temperatures “in excess of 1 degree Celsius, with the largest anomalies in the eastern Pacific.” Some recent weekly values showed above-average temperatures in certain areas ranging from 1.4 to 1.9 degrees Celsius. Since 1979, when satellite data became available, research has shown no correlation between global warming and past El Ni√±o events. Consequently, “there is no scientific consensus on how/if climate change may affect ENSO.”

According to geologist James Kamis, deep-ocean volcanic vents are the most likely culprits for El Ni√±o events. “These vents emit massive amounts of heat that force warm ocean water to the surface, displacing cooler water in the process,” Kamis writes in an email. “This warm water then helps El Ni√±os develop and in the process warm the atmosphere above. The vents also emit enormous volumes of gases such as methane and CO2.”

Kamis doesn’t think the air above the Pacific Ocean has enough energy to heat such large swaths of ocean by more than the 0.5 degrees Celsius for such a prolonged period. He also thinks these vent gases have a profound impact on our climate that’s only now being understood. “The emphasis here is that the ocean is vast and largely unexplored. As such, we are finding more and more vents in the most unlikely of places,” Kamis writes in an email. “These vents are very big climate controllers. Not everything can be attributed to the trace gas carbon dioxide.”

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Two Weeks Of UN Climate Talks Leave Core Issues Unresolved

Bonn climateTwo weeks of U.N. climate talks ended Thursday with negotiators trimming a draft global climate pact but leaving core sticking points to be untangled later, before a December summit in Paris where the landmark agreement is to be adopted. Frustrated by the slow pace of the climate talks, some negotiators and observers called the Bonn meeting a squandered opportunity. —Associated Press, 11 June 2015

The Korean government said Thursday it will lower its carbon emissions reduction goals. The Ministry of Environment announced four proposals for greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for 2030 and all emission amounts are higher than the targets set for 2020. Yvo de Boer, the director general of the Global Green Growth Institute, expressed his disappointment. “The purpose of the Paris agreement is to reduce emissions, not increase them.” –Kim Se-jeong, The Korea Times, 12 June 2015

Pope Francis is likely to have a major impact in spurring U.N. negotiations on global warming with an encyclical on the environment next week, the U.N.’s climate chief said on Thursday. She said there was also a growing view among many governments, companies and investors that many actions to slow climate change would be economically profitable, rather than loss-making. —Reuters, 11 June 2015

2015 is gearing up to be the year of a new global climate deal. Negotiations are under way to reach an international climate change agreement at the United Nations climate summit in Paris later this year. In his talk Benny Peiser will discuss the political options for EU and UK climate policy in the absence of a legally binding climate agreement in Paris. —Sheffield University, 18 June 2015

Conservative proposals to axe onshore wind farm subsidies are being delayed amid fears they will trigger a costly legal battle with green energy companies and a damaging dispute with the Scottish Government.  An announcement had been rescheduled for this week but Whitehall sources said it had now slipped again as officials tried to draw up plans that would not leave them vulnerable to legal challenge. –Emily Gosden, The Daily Telegraph, 11 June 2015

The world was leaving a little ice age when industrialisation kicked off, Monmouth MP David Davies has told MPs as he warned that against policies which force up energy costs for Welsh manufacturers. The Conservative MP yesterday called on the Government to be “very cautious” in the upcoming negotiations on climate change in Paris and argued there is a “difference between healthy scepticism and denial” about global warming. –David Williamson, Wales Online, 12 June 2015

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Where is All the CO2 Going?

coral reef wikimediaWhen fossil fuels — coal, oil and natural gas — burn, the major combustion products are carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor. Water doesn’t matter since it is already everywhere and adding a little bit more to the Earth won’t tip any balances. CO2, on the other hand is considered to be a great evil by those who believe in catastrophic global warming.

It’s perfectly reasonable that adding CO2 to the atmosphere could cause some warming, probably minor. This perfectly reasonably supposition was turned into unreasonable dogma by certain scientific disciplines that sensed an opportunity. They realized that if CO2 were inflated into the great Satan, it would be very beneficial for their careers. Backwater scientists in the obscure specialty of atmospheric science became well-traveled celebrities by promoting the doomsday theory of global warming.

Radical environmentalists joined the catastrophic global warming chorus. This worked pretty well during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s when the Earth was warming. But then the warming stopped and now, after 18 years of no warming, the theory of catastrophic global warming is falling apart. To keep the money flowing, the global warming promoters began promoting extreme weather and ocean acidification, two new and bad things that are supposed to happen if we continued burning fossil fuels. They even began jiggering the temperature data to try to bring back the 18 missing years of global warming.

In 1978, by burning fossil fuels, we were adding approximately 1.5 billion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere each month. By 2012, as China and the rest of Asia grew economically, that had doubled to about 3 billion tons per month. This may sound like a lot of CO2 unless you know that the mass of the atmosphere is 5 million, billion tons. An interesting thing happens to the CO2 that is added to the atmosphere every month. Nearly half of it disappears. Apparently it mostly disappears into the ocean, with the remainder disappearing into the land.

There are two main ways that CO2 can disappear. It can be absorbed by photosynthetic plants and turned into carbon containing plant bodies, including algae in the ocean, or it can be absorbed into the oceans directly. If a plant absorbs CO2 it is important, if there is to be long term sequestration of the carbon, that the plant not immediately die, decay, and release the CO2 it absorbed back into the atmosphere. Plants breathe CO2 and extract the carbon to form their carbon-based bodies. If the plant decays, the carbon is re oxidized into CO2. It is often the case that dead plants are buried and create a store of carbon. For example, on the land, there are peat bogs that accumulate dead plants. Or, in the ocean biological matter becomes stored carbon if it sinks into the bottom sediment.

In the ocean the removal of biologically based carbon from the surface waters to deeper waters or the bottom sediment is called the biological pump. Biological activity in the upper ocean is based on photosynthetic organisms that incorporate carbon into their bodies. The photosynthetic organisms die and decay or are eaten by other organisms that also die and decay. A small part of this food chain based on photosynthesis falls to the deep ocean or the ocean floor with the resulting removal of carbon from the upper ocean and Earth’s biosphere. The biological pump is an important part of ocean carbon sequestration. Carbon incorporated in bottom sediments is permanently sequestered, or at least for a very long time, while carbon that remains in the deep water will upwell to the ocean surface in around a thousand years.

CO2 gas can be absorbed by the oceans as a dissolved gas, much like CO2 is absorbed in carbonated soda. CO2 can also be stored in water by a chemical reaction. In the ocean, a molecule of CO2 can come apart and combine with the water. The CO2 then exists as carbonate (CO3) ions or bicarbonate (HCO3) ions. These different ways of storing carbon can dynamically change, one to the other, the proportions depending on the salinity (or alkalinity) of the water.

Potentially the oceans are a huge sink for CO2 and they could eventually absorb all the human CO2 emissions. The key is “eventually.” Global warming dogmatists say that the ability of the ocean to absorb CO2 will begin to decline soon and that it will take thousands of years for the ocean to absorb most of the human CO2. In other words nature won’t solve the “problem” and we must urgently start building windmills and electric cars. The dilemma for the global warming dogmatists is that since routine measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere began in 1958, the Earth, probably mostly the ocean, has been absorbing an increasing proportion of the CO2 emitted – now about 45%.

fossil fuel co2 emitted monthly

Exactly where and how, on the land, CO2, transformed into plant matter is stored is not well understood. We know that a lot of CO2 is emitted into the air by land clearing and forest fires, but apparently plants are also consuming CO2 as they grow, and currently, the consumption of CO2 exceeds the generation of CO2 from the land. When consumption of CO2 exceeds production of CO2 on the land we say that the land is a net sink for CO2.

In the oceans, we know that CO2 is readily absorbed in the top 100 meters. The top 100 meters, approximately, is called the mixed layer. Due to the effect of wind and waves CO2 can readily move back and forth between the ocean mixed layer and the atmosphere. It is less clear how, or if, CO2 can easily get into the deep ocean. The deep ocean, called the abyss, is vast and is a place that has the capacity to absorb all the CO2 we can generate.

CO2 can get into the abyss slowly by being mixed downward by a process called turbulent mixing. Or, in principle, CO2 can ride down to the abyss on an express train called the overturning circulation. In certain regions, near the Arctic and Antarctic, where the water is very cold and reasonably salty, the water begins to sink toward the bottom of the ocean. Every year, the top 4 meters of the world’s oceans are skimmed off and sink deep into the ocean, often to the very bottom of the abyss. The sinking water pushes the water above the abyss upward by the same 4 meters. Water that previously sank gradually rises, until thousands of years later it reemerges at the surface as upwelling ancient water.

The problem is that for the sinking water of the overturning circulation to carry significant CO2 into the abyss it has to absorb it from the atmosphere in sufficient quantities. The water that is upwelling from the abyss is warming and releasing ancient CO2 to the atmosphere, particularly in the tropics. The sinking leg of the overturning circulation is reabsorbing the CO2 and taking it back down to the abyss. Seawater releases CO2 when it gets warmed and absorbs CO2 when it cools. However, if the sinking overturning circulation simply reabsorbs the same amount of CO2 that was released in the tropics, there will be no net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere.

At this point a bugaboo called the Revelle Factor comes into play. Roger Revelle was an important scientist and an early pioneer in studying CO2 in the atmosphere and ocean. Although the ocean’s ability to store CO2 is sensitive to temperature (colder is better), it is less sensitive to the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. If the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere increases by 20%, we say that the partial pressure of CO2 has increased by 20%. However if the partial pressure of CO2 increases, the increase of ocean storage is reduced by the Revelle factor. If the Revelle factor is 10, then a 20% increase of CO2 in the atmosphere will only result in a 2% increase in CO2 in the ocean immediately under the atmosphere. The Revelle factor depends on salinity and is in the range of 8 to 16. Higher salinity is better and results in more CO2 storage. If the Revelle factor is low, the amount of CO2 carried to the abyss will be greater. It may help that the sinking water of the overturning circulation is associated with high salinity and thus better CO2 absorption.

The significance of CO2 disappearing into sinks is that, the more CO2 disappears, the less we have to worry about global warming (for those who are inclined toward that worry). Currently the science governing the CO2 sinks is not very solid. Work is underway to develop this area of knowledge, including the launching of satellites to measure atmospheric CO2 concentration and indirectly CO2 circulation. Given the strong bias of the scientific community toward promoting global warming catastrophism, everything establishment science says has to be critically evaluated. It will be interesting to see what the future holds.

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ICCC-10, First Day was Amazing, Informative

Sen. James InhofeThe first day of the Heartland Institute’s 10th International Climate Change Conference has come and gone, and, though as a member of The Heartland Institute I may be a bit biased, it was amazing.

The day opened with a rousing breakfast keynote address by the inspirational leader of the climate realists on Capitol Hill, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Inhofe was awarded Heartland’s 2015 Political Leadership on Climate Change Award, sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and in exchange treated the assembled attendees a rousing discussion of the highs and lows of his experience fighting for a rational assessment of climate science and climate policy in his tenure as a Senator.

With that as a warm up, the true meat of the conference began with morning breakout sessions on topics including, Climate Science, Climate Science and Accurate Data (at which I was honored to serve as a moderator), Energy Realities and Energy Policy.

The panel on Climate Science and Accurate Data was my favorite, not because I moderated it, just to be clear, but because it was so timely. As anyone stays up to date on climate shenanigans is probably aware, just last week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tweaked its data again to find — contrary to every other international data set, the IPCC’s own findings and the world’s weather balloon and satellite data sets, that there has been no pause in the earths warming, rather, contrary to it own previous records, and the records from every other source — the ongoing 18 year hiatus in global warming is to be written out of the temperature records and history books. That’s right NOAA now denies what is obvious to every other scientific body on earth, that despite an ongoing rise in carbon dioxide emissions, the earth has not warmed for nearly two decades. At the same, time, as has been uncovered country after country, has been adjusting or fiddling with their temperature data. Consistently, homogenizing (that’s the word they use) past data to make it appear cooler than was actually recorded, and adjusting more recent data to make it appear warmer than has actually been recorded, with the result that the warming trend appears steeper and the amount of warming experience greater than actual measured temperature show.

Anthony Watts northern California’s KPAY’s resident meteorologist originator of SurfaceStations.org, a Web site devoted to photographing and documenting the quality of weather stations across the U.S. led off the panel with a presentation is entitled, Government Gate keepers and the true temperature record. Watt’s explained much of temperature data that we collect, even before the government tampers with the raw data, is simply biased because it is recorded and gathered from inherently unreliable (because of where they are located) surface thermometers.
Then, Dr. Roy Spencer, a giant among climate realists, explained improvements to the weather satellite monitoring network he and colleague, Dr. John Christy, working at the University of Alabama ‚Äì Huntsville, in conjunction with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, created and run.
J. Scott Armstrong, Ph.D. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, closed the panel. He discussed his work with his colleague Kesten Green, the two of whom founded the Journal of Forecasting, International Journal of Forecasting, and International Symposium on Forecasting. Armstrong, Green and others have determined what principles are necessary provide the most accurate forecasts possible, and it will surprise almost no one to know that climate alarmists violate almost every one of them. Armstrong’s presentation was entitled, Global Warming? It’s a forecasting problem.

At lunch, the assembled were treated to another powerful keynote address by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, where he discussed his efforts to ensure that the science used by executive agencies (primarily the EPA) to make regulatory policy is the best science possible, by requiring it be publicly available for testing, replication and, if it happens to be the case, falsification. He detailed promises made by the Obama administration to be transparent and forthcoming with scientific data and how it violated every one of those promises, hiding, attempting to destroy, and avoiding the release of the science used to make clean air and clean water rules.

Closing out lunch, University of Delaware Climatologist, David Legates discussed the trial and travails he has been through in defending sound climate science. For his efforts, Legates was awarded Heartland’s 2015  Courage in Defense of Science Award, sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The afternoon had panels on the international experience with climate policies, economic analyses of proposed climate policies, and the national security and human health implications of climate change and policies proposed to prevent or slow it.

The first day closed on an uplifting note with the awarding of the Fredrick Seitz Memorial Award, sponsored by the Science and Environmental Policy Project, to prominent physicist William Happer. Happer’s remarks chronicled the Alice in Wonderland fantasy-like ravings climate alarmists.

The conference has international representation, including speakers and attendees from Canada, China, Germany, India, Ireland, Switzerland, Malaysia, the Navajo Nation, New Zealand and  the UK. And among the dozens of representatives of the media attending were members of the press in Sweden and Germany.

Also attending were numerous state legislators from across the country including representatives and senators from Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Interviewed by a television crew, one of the questions I was asked was why I I thought the conference was a success. Part of my response was that it would be a success if just one person in the group learned one new thing to help them battle climate alarmists in their attempts transform the economic system of the world and extend government control over peoples lives. However, I pointed out, at ICCC-10, everyone, even veterans of the climate wars such as myself, learned dozens of things they did not know before attending, leaving us all better armed for the ongoing conflict to uphold sound science and economics in the discussion of climate policies.

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