DiCaprio wins BAFTA, says we’re f***ed if we get global warming wrong

dicaprioLeonardo DiCaprio won BAFTA’s Best Leading Man award on Sunday for The Revenant, but you wouldn’t know it based on his global warming comments at a post-ceremony party. That’s where he said his “real focus and passion is climate change” and if we don’t get it right, “we’re all f***ed.” While his comments may not garner him any favors with the voters at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), which is the UK’s equivalent to winning an Oscar’s Best Actor award, it should make DiCaprio’s followers happy. Lately, DiCaprio has been on a global tour trying to bring attention to the perils of global warming.

His comments came at a party hosted by Harvey Weinstein at the UK’s The Rosewood. “Winning the BAFTA is fantastic and I’m honoured, but my real focus and passion is climate change,” DiCaprio opined. That’s because DiCaprio has been working on a documentary about global warming for the last two and a half years for Netflix. He added, “I’ve been…traveling across the world from South America to China to examine how the problem is going to affect people. It is without doubt the most important question in the world right now, and if we get the answer wrong, we are all f****d.”

He also spoke earlier at the Royal Opera House where the the BAFTAs were held, saying he has had a true love for the cinema since he was a young teenager. He loved it so much, in fact, that he dropped out of high school and only later did he get pass the General Educational Development (GED) test, allowing him to earn the equivalent of a high school diploma. 

Though DiCaprio talks a good global warming game and appears to be inheriting the ManBearPig torch from Al Gore, he neither went to college nor got a degree in the sciences. If he had, he might have learned that in the past five years, Arctic sea ice, which is considered the bellwether of global warming, has been rebounding year after year, and the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) shows Arctic sea ice is currently at its highest level in years for this time of the year.

As first reported by the science site No Tricks Zone (NTZ), “it appears [Arctic sea ice] has reached its highest level ever over the last decade, and its only mid February.” And according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), “global sea ice has in fact been trending upwards over the past decade.” The NTZ site also notes that other agencies show an overall trend that is not alarming.

Or that according to NASA, Antarctica has grown in size over 30 percent since 1979 when satellites began measuring the inhospitable continent, and that 150,000 penguins died after an Antarctic iceberg “grounded near their colony in Antarctica, forcing them to make a lengthy trek to find food, a study has revealed.”

Read rest…

Continue Reading 10 Comments

Coldest Valentine’s day ever recorded in Boston

coldBoston breaks Valentine’s Day cold weather record.

Life-threatening wind chills.

Of course this is weather, not climate. Remember that in August climate propagandists!

Over 10,000 without heat or power.

From the National Weather Service:

Wind Chill Warning remains in effect until noon EST today.

Locations: include all of southern New England except Cape Cod and the Islands.
Hazard types: Life Threatening wind chills.
Wind Chill readings, between 25 and 40 below zero.
Timing: The worst of the wind chills will be this morning.
Impacts: Wind chills this cold can bring on frostbite in as little as 10 minutes! Outdoor exposure should be limited in these conditions.
Air temperatures, lows between 8 and 16 below zero early this morning with even a few colder spots over the higher terrain.

Recommended actions

A Wind Chill Warning is issued when the wind chill index is likely to fall to -25 degrees or colder for at least 3 hours. A wind chill index below -30 can bring about frostbite in as little as 10 minutes. Outdoor exposure should be limited. If you are heading outdoors, dress in layers and keep your hands and head covered to protect against frostbite.

Is record warmth man-made, but record cold natural?  Really?


Continue Reading

ADN poll: Alaskans are sure about global warming, but not its cause

alaskaThree-quarters of Alaskans are sold on the existence and seriousness of global warming, but far fewer are convinced that it’s caused by human activity, according to a poll commissioned by Alaska Dispatch News.

Those results largely mirror the opinions of Americans at large, according to recent polls, including one recently conducted by CBS and the New York Times that asked the same questions.

Debate over climate change — and what to do about it — has become a deeply partisan issue in Washington, D.C., in recent years. Just last week, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted the Environmental Protection Agency’s major climate change regulations for the nation’s power plants for the duration of an ongoing legal battle. But on the international stage, major countries have agreed that curbing greenhouse gas emissions is essential to lessen the environmental impacts of global warming. 

Alaskans were asked two questions about global warming as part of a 750-person survey conducted in January by Ivan Moore Research for Alaska Dispatch News. The quarterly “Alaska Survey” included questions from multiple clients on a variety of topics. It had a 3.6 percent margin of error, meaning the results represent the total state population within 3.6 percentage points either way.

The first question was whether global warming is an environmental problem that is causing a serious impact now, in the future, or never at all. Just more than half — 54.3 percent — said global warming is already having serious impacts, and 20.7 percent said the impacts will happen sometime in the future. One-fifth of those polled said global warming will have no serious impacts, and 4.7 percent were not sure. 

Where people live in Alaska seemed to affect their feelings on the existence and urgency of climate change. Those polled in rural Alaska, Southeast and Anchorage were more likely to say that climate change is already having serious impacts, compared to people elsewhere in Southcentral Alaska and Fairbanks. 

And of those polled in rural Alaska, lessr than 5 percent thought climate change would have no serious impacts, ever.

Read rest…

Continue Reading

Study now says global warming slows sea-level rise

sea levelA prominent global-warming skeptic is marveling at a new NASA report that concludes the purported human-caused changes in the climate now, after years of being blamed for raising the sea level, is slowing down the rise.

“Is there anything global warming can’t do?” Marc Morano asked on his Climate Depot site in response to the NASA assessment.

“Now it seems that there is so much global warming that it is slowing the rise of sea levels.”

He noted that 30 years ago, scientists blamed global warming for sea level decreases.

The new theory behind the slowdown is that as the Earth becomes more parched as a result of humans pumping more water out of the ground, water that otherwise would cause oceans to rise is “being absorbed” by lakes, rivers and underground aquifers, much as a sponge absorbs water.

The estimate is that 3.2 trillion gallons of water “has thus been soaked up and stored and is not pouring into the streets of coastal cities.”

The London Daily Mail said it means islands and cities such as Venice and Miami might be spared from flooding in the near future

NASA looked at satellite measurements collected over recent years to estimate the rate of sea level rise has slowed by 22 percent.

The author of the study is JT Reager of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California.

“We always assumed that people’s increased reliance on groundwater for irrigation and consumption was resulting in a net transfer of water from the land to the ocean,” he said.

“What we didn’t realize until now is that over the past decade, changes in the global water cycle more than offset the losses that occurred from groundwater pumping, causing the land to act like a sponge ‚Äì at least temporarily.”

NASA launched a couple of satellites in 2002, Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, that provided the data.

The government agency said that from 2002 to 2014, it looked at changes in gravity as well as estimates of glacier melt.

The Daily Mail reported the analysis suggests climate variability resulted in an increase of about 3.2 trillion tons of water being stored in land.

The report said the gain partially offset water losses from ice sheets, glaciers and groundwater pumping.  The rate of sea level rise, consequently slowed by between 0.7 and 0.2 millimeters annually.

The results were published in the journal Science.

The authors cautioned that much more data is needed to “fully understand.”

At the Climate Depot, Morano pointed out the widely divergent predictions about the effect of global warming on sea level in the scientific community.

He noted that in 1987, Florida State University geology professor William Tanner said climate change would cause the sea level to fall. Tanner plotted 4,000 years of sea-level data on 5,000 years of climatological data, Morano said, and every time the climate cooled a couple of degrees, the sea level went up.

Even further back, the National Science Foundation estimated that a large part of the Antarctic ice mass appeared to be collapsing, which could cause oceans to rise by “almost 20 feet.”

Read rest…

Continue Reading 6 Comments

Tax oil to subsidize wind?

windIf you want more of something, mandate it, subsidize it and exempt it from regulations. If you want less of something, punish it with taxes and regulations. Put more bluntly, the power to tax and regulate is the power to destroy. This is the First Rule of Government.

No presidency has ever come close to the Obama Administration in employing the rule to advance its ideologies and agendas. No industry has been so favored as renewable energy over the past seven years. No sector has been so thoroughly vilified and subjugated as fossil fuels during that period.

Thankfully, Congress refused to impose a cap-tax-and-trade regime on carbon-based energy and U.S. jobs, families, economic growth and living standards. However, EPA and other Obama agencies simply replaced unsuccessful legislative initiatives with regulations, often employing highly innovative statutory interpretations to justify its actions ‚Äì and courts too often bowed to this “agency discretion.”

Nowhere was this more heavy-handed and destructive than in the coal and climate change arena, where a regulatory tidal wave inundated mines, power plants, companies, families, communities and entire states. Other EPA and Interior Department rules blocked leasing, drilling, fracking and other energy activities on millions of acres of government-administered lands, onshore and off, and even on state and private land.

Thanks to determined efforts by state attorneys general and other parties, however, a number of these regulations were stymied in courts of law. Nowhere was this more important than this week’s Supreme Court decision to block implementation of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan while lower courts consider some 30 lawsuits over its legality, state sovereignty, the scope of agency discretion in interpreting and rewriting federal laws, and the plan’s effects on energy, jobs, health and welfare.

That means this noxious regulation will be “vacated” for the remainder of Obama’s presidency.

The president, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and their allies are not happy. They promise to charge ahead with their “fundamental transformation” of the United States, via other tactics and edicts.

The oil patch is one of the few industries that kept the Obama economy (and presidency) afloat – primarily because of fracking, which slipped in under the EPA/environmentalist radar but is now under constant attack by Interior and Big Green. It created millions of jobs, channeled billions of dollars to local, state and federal treasuries, brought gasoline prices below $2 per gallon, and saved American families billions: every penny not spent on gasoline puts $1 billion a year back into our pockets.

So how does Obama intend to repay the industry, now that it has fallen on hard times? Amid a sluggish global economy and record oil and gas production, oil prices have plunged below $30 a barrel – forcing the oil patch to lay people off, many companies to retrench or ponder bankruptcy, and many communities to confront reduced employment, consumer spending, real estate values, and revenues.

But as part of his last-gasp, $4.1-trillion, $503-billion-deficit 2017 federal budget, the president wants Congress to slap a $10.25 tax on every barrel of domestically produced or imported oil. He says this will raise some $400 billion over the next ten years.

This will allow him to increase EPA’s budget to $8.3 billion, pour $1.7 billion a year into the “climate fund,” and channel hundreds of billions into high speed rail, wind, solar, biofuel, “eco-friendly” cars and other “green” energy schemes. It thus means more opportunities for unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats to pick winners and losers, expand their fiefdoms, and pad their bonuses and pensions.

Thankfully, the proposal is “dead on arrival” in Congress. Enough members understand (even if the president does not) that this tax will not be “paid for by the oil companies.” It will only be collected by oil companies ‚Äì and then passed along to every American family and business, in the form of higher gasoline prices and higher costs for everything produced or transported using petroleum: food, clothing, plastics, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, housing, healthcare, and countless other products and services. Even ethanol and other biofuels require petroleum, as do organic food and electric cars.

Mr. Obama, however, sees additional advantages to a 35% oil tax. It lets him stigmatize Big Oil yet again.

It advances his goal of ending our “addiction” to fossil fuels that still provide 82% of US and 87% of global energy ‚Äì because they are the most abundant, reliable, affordable energy sources available today; because they sustain modern economies and living standards, and help lift billions out of poverty and disease. Would Obama also have us end our “addiction” to food, shelter and human companionship?

An oil tax would also help him promote the climate treaty he signed in Paris. The Supreme Court’s slap-down of EPA’s plans to regulate fossil fuels into oblivion means the United States is far less likely to implement the president’s unilateral commitment to the accord’s emission reduction demands (and massive wealth transfers, via climate “adaptation and reparation” payments) ‚Äì even assuming the Senate ultimately approves the treaty, under its “advice and consent” authority. That in turn means developed and developing nations alike are even less likely to slash their CO2 emissions, carbon-based energy use, economic growth and living standards, for no progress in controlling nature-driven climate change.

Finally, all that devoutly wished for tax revenue would enable Mr. Obama to repay his debts to crony corporatist friends like Elon Musk. His Tesla Motors company continues to hemorrhage investor money despite massive infusions of taxpayer cash in the form of CO2 rules, subsidies, loans, $7,500 tax credits per car purchased, and free charging stations, so that the wealthiest 1.0 or 0.1 percent will buy the pricey cars. In 2015 alone, Tesla lost another $889 million, on revenues of $4.05 billion.

We’ve come to expect this from President Obama. Equally depressing, we also expect it from Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, former DemoRepublican candidate-in-waiting Michael Bloomberg, most of today’s Democratic politicians, too many Republican pols, most government “public servants,” and certainly those who are “feeling the Bern” or think “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women” by voting for a certain candidate. (Hint: Ms. Albright didn’t mean Carly or Sarah.)

Indeed, Mrs. Clinton wants to have a half billion more solar panels deployed during her first four years in office, “enough clean energy to power every home” in America, at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $200 billion a year. Plus free education, free universal healthcare, and more. Senator Sanders doubtless agrees. 

It is a sad, painful assessment of their economic literacy ‚Äì and of our high schools, colleges, business communities and politicians’ ability to empower students and voters through economic literacy, a grasp of socialism’s abject failures and horrid excesses, and an appreciation of free enterprise capitalism’s incomparable record of improving the health, living standards and prospects of billions.

It’s also a sad commentary on liberal-progressive “climate justice” and “compassion” for coal mine, power plant and oil patch workers and families who have been pummeled by their policies ‚Äì and for poor, minority and blue collar families that would be hit hardest by the Obama oil tax. Those families pay a far larger share of their incomes on energy, food, clothing and other necessities than do Barack, Hillary and Michael’s upper-crust friends, Bernie’s Wall Street benefactors, or even middle class families:

Families making less than $30,000 a year spend 26% of their after-tax income on energy, while families that make over $50,000 a year spend only 8% – and those in upper 1% spend only a fraction of 1 percent.

Were President Obama to succeed on his oil tax, “stop climate change” and “leave all fossil fuels in the ground” agenda, his “legacy” would be making tens of millions more Americans jobless, energy deprived and impoverished ‚Äì and keeping billions beyond our borders mired in abject poverty, disease, malnutrition and despair. It’s up to informed citizen-voters to ensure this does not happen.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death. ¬© February 2016

Continue Reading

Rajendra Pachauri Forced To Go On Indefinite Leave By TERI

Keep your ands where we can see them...Keep your hands where we can see them…For a second time since he was charged with sexual harassment by a former colleague in February 2015, Rajendra Pachauri has proceeded to go on a leave. Pachauri’s decision comes a day after a group of students from the 2013-15 batch of Teri University refused to accept their degrees from the environmentalist, who is the University’s Chancellor. Pachauri first went on leave soon after a woman researcher working with him filed a sexual harassment case against him.

The acting vice-chancellor of Teri University Rajiv Seth confirmed the development to dna. “Dr.RK Pachauri is on leave and he will not be present at the convocation ceremony. He informed me about it today,” said Seth.

In their letter addressed to the Seth and the University’s board of management, the former students had said, “The recent inaction of our board of management at Teri University with respect to our current chancellor Dr Rajendra K Pachauri deeply saddens us as alumni and a former student body. Dr. Pachauri’s continuing presence at the top is completely antithetical to our convictions as alumni and graduates of Teri University. We would like to make it explicitly clear that we are not in a position to accept our degrees from Dr Pachauri at the upcoming convocation on March 7 th , 2016.”

The former students proceeded to demand that, “It is only the basic and essential good practice that he may immediately recuse himself from the post of chancellor and cease involvement in TERI University matters pending completion of legal proceedings. Seth also told dna that the University will be responding to the protest letter by former students. “At TERI University we encourage students to speak their mind and we will respond to their letter.”

Reacting to Pachauri’s decision to go on leave, one of the students from the alumni group said, “I was told today by University’s senior officials that Mr Pachauri will not be present but it was not stated explicitly if it will be because of our protest. Our demand does not end with his absence at the university on convocation day. His continuing presence at the University reflects a moral corruption. In a few days, after the public attention dies down, it may be business as usual, so we are not yet sure if we will attend convocation.”

See also: Rajendra Pachauri, ex-UN climate chief, in new complaint


Continue Reading 1 Comment

EPA Goes After Low-Income Farmers In Land Grab

pendletonPendleton countyPendleton County, West Virginia, is home to 540 farms. The average farm in the county has a net income of around $45,000 a year. On either coast, that’s not an impressive income, but those farms are important to Pendleton County, where the median household income is $30,429.

Arlington County, Virginia, just blocks from the nation’s capital, is one of the richest counties in the nation, with a median household income of $94,876, and a median family income just over $127,000. Two thousand, one hundred employees of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) call Arlington County home.

At least some of those EPA employees have been thinking about farms in Pendleton County. The county is in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and, consequently, in the crosshairs of a massive and detailed EPA blueprint to alter the waters of the bay. The plan, an outgrowth of an executive order President Obama signed shortly after taking office, divides the Chesapeake watershed into thousands of small areas and prescribes pollution abatement goals for each of those areas.

These goals, or total maximum daily loads (TMDL), will give EPA total control over land use throughout the six states and the District of Columbia that make up the Chesapeake Watershed. For farmers in Pendleton County, the effects will be immediate and drastic. Or, to quote from a brief the county and several other nearby counties filed in the Third Circuit Court: “It is anticipated that a significant amount of Pendleton county farmland will have to be removed from production due to its proximity to waterways and the resulting impact of the Bay TMDL on local land use.”

Here Come the Federal Puddle Police

The American Farm Bureau filed suit against the EPA, arguing that its Chesapeake Bay plan exceeded the EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Third District Court found against AFB, and the case has been appealed to the Supreme Court. If the highest court in the land agrees to hear the appeal, they’ll surely do so with more than a little frustration, as environmental agencies have lost three times in similar Supreme Court cases since 2001. The highest court has consistently reminded the agencies that the Clean Water Act is not a grant of federal control over every stream and depression in the nation.

As the Supreme Court is surely tired of pointing out, there are restraints on the federal government in the CWA. It leaves a large amount of room for a state role in environmental regulation. In fact, the act makes that “cooperative federalism” explicit, to whit: “primary responsibilities and rights of States to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution, to plan the development and use (including restoration, preservation, and enhancement) of land and water resources….”

In direct contradiction to the plain language of the CWA, the EPA blueprint envisions almost no role for the states involved, setting pollution limits for thousands of individual areas in the watershed. According to the plaintiffs: “As a practical matter, the power to set numeric limits for sediment and nutrients by source type within specific geographic areas equals nothing short of the power to allow farming here, but not there, building here, but not there.”

We’re Doing Fine Without Your Interference

According to a 2014 report from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the bay’s water quality has improved 40 percent since the early 1980s. That’s a testament to the ability of states to carry out the responsibilities the CWA lays out. Due to their efforts, the bay’s water quality is better than it has been since the 1940s.

The EPA’s plan is unnecessary and prohibitively expensive, forbidding the flexibility needed to economically reach the environmental goals everyone in this controversy shares. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently commissioned a study that found flexibility in meeting those goals could, when compared to the EPA blueprint, reduce costs 73 percent in Pennsylvania and well over 80 percent in Delaware, New York, Maryland, and West Virginia.

It surely must have come to the notice of the few federal regulators still capable of irony that residents of one of the richest counties in the nation are threatening the livelihood of farmers in one of the poorest counties in the nation. The proposed federal mandates for Pendleton County and the thousands of other areas the EPA blueprint covers would mean fewer acres farmed and a direct hit on farmers’ ability to make a living.

The Obama administration has spent much time and energy focusing on the problem of income inequality. One way of addressing the problem would be to work for common-sense local solutions to environmental problems, not a diktat from high-dollar Washington experts that ignores the rights of states and small farmers alike.


Continue Reading 1 Comment

Sea levels are NOT rising rapidly, in major blow for environmental activists

beachSEA levels are not rising as fast as experts had feared as the water is being soaked up by the LAND.

Scientists have been analysing satellite images from NASA, which for the first time has allowed experts to identify and quantify how water storage on land has affected the pace in which sea levels are rising.

Rising sea levels are a major argument in environmentalists’ arsenal, with panicked green activists fearing the Earth will drown under water due to global warming.

A study led by the University of California and the space agency itself shows the Earth’s soils across the continents have soaked up and stored 3.2 trillion tons of water in the last decade, slowing the pace of rising sea levels by 20%.

A report published in the journal Science explains a vast amount of water evaporates from the ocean each year and falls on land as either rain or snow.

This water is then returned to the ocean through rivers in a natural system known as the global hydrological cycle.

It has always been known that not all of this water is returned to the ocean due to it being soaked up by the Earth, but scientists had no idea that such a large amount was staying in the land, thus offsetting the damage caused by melting ice caps.

Lead author J.T. Reager of Nasa’s jet propulsion laboratory (JPL) said: “We didn’t realise until now is that over the past decade, changes in the global water cycle more than offset the losses that occurred from groundwater pumping, causing the land to act like a sponge.

“These new data are vital for understanding variations in sea level change.”

University of California’s Jay Famiglietti added: “This is the first study to observe these changing water storage patterns on land and their impact on modulating current rates of sea level rise.”

Read rest…

Continue Reading 1 Comment

Climate Chaos? UN Says Natural Disasters Caused 70% Fewer Deaths In 2015

droughtEnvironmentalists have warned global warming would mean more people being killed by natural disasters, but new United Nations data shows deaths from natural disasters declined by 70 percent in 2015 relative to the average number of deaths of the previous 10 years.

“The U.N. reports that environmental disasters affected fewer people last year than the average of the 10 years prior,” Chip Knappenberger, a climate scientist at the libertarian Cato Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This, despite 2015 being the ‘warmest year on record’ and the regional impacts of a strong El Nino — which can be both negative and positive in terms of disasters.”

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction reported the number of people affected by natural disasters fell 43 percent when compared to the previous 10-year average. Despite the good news, the United Nations’ press release claimed the data showed the “human costs of the hottest year on record.”

The country most affected by natural disasters was North Korea, which listed more than 18 million people as affected.

“I hesitate to make too much of the U.N. numbers because they are not sufficiently standardized such that appropriate comparisons can be made over time—changing population size, changing population age structure, changing wealth patterns, etc., have a very large impact on the economics of — including the mortality from — environmental disasters,” Knappenberger said. “Investigations which have made effort to control for such changes find that environmental impacts have rapidly declined over the past century.”

The lighter damage was especially evident when considering storms. There were 996 fatalities in recorded storms last year, compared to an annual average of 17,778 from 2005 to 2014, according to preliminary data from the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED).

Deaths from natural disasters sharply declined in the United States. Only 280 Americans were killed by natural disasters in 2015, which is dramatically below the 30-year annual average of 580 deaths.

Much of the decline is due to better forecasting and early warning systems which enable people to take shelter.

Read rest…

Continue Reading 1 Comment

U.S. science teachers cool to global warming theory

classroomSo why do half of adult Americans not believe humans are changing the climate? A Penn State researcher went looking in the nation’s classrooms.

But not at the students. Eric Plutzer asked what their science teachers believe.

Plutzer’s survey of 1,500 middle and high-school science teachers found they are cool to global warming theory.


‚Ä¢ While most do teach about climate change, 30 per cent of teachers in the survey said they emphasize that recent global warming “is likely due to natural causes.” This is sharply different from what actual climate scientists say.

• Another 12 per cent downplay the human role, or never mention it at all, the survey found.

Plutzer wondered why this happens and dug deeper.

“It doesn’t seem to be parents or administrators, as very few teachers reported external pressure not to teach climate change,” says the journal Science, which published his study in Friday’s edition.

Read rest…

Continue Reading 6 Comments

NASA say HUMANS DO cause global warming…but shouldn’t its scientists be focused on SPACE

obama nasaThe US space agency said it had “chilled the sceptics” after one of its scientific studies found long-term planetary warming will only happen if external drivers such as greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

Its findings came as NASA was criticised for now appearing to be more concerned with research into climate change than getting into space and understanding the universe.

Commentators say the new NASA budget released by US president Barack Obama this week is focused on climate change research rather than its main mission of space exploration.

The results of a NASA/Duke University study released this week “provides new evidence that natural cycles alone aren’t sufficient to explain the global atmospheric warming observed over the last century,” according to a NASA spokesman.

It is said the study shows, in detail, the reason why global temperatures remain stable in the long run unless they are pushed by outside forces, such as increased greenhouse gases due to humans.


Wenhong Li, assistant professor of climate at Duke, said: “While global temperature tends to be stable due to the Planck Response, there are other important, previously less appreciated, mechanisms at work, too.

“These mechanisms include the net release of energy over anomalously cool regions and the transport of energy to continental and polar regions.

“In those regions, the Planck Response overwhelms positive, heat-trapping local energy feedbacks.

Read rest…

Continue Reading 1 Comment

Monkey business: Gorilla’s message about global warming was staged

kokoA recent video featuring a gorilla named Koko appearing to use sign language to warn man of the dangers of global warming was staged, and animal communication experts say there is no way a gorilla could comprehend the complexities of global warming.

The video, shown at December’s Paris climate change conference, shows Koko use sign language to say things like “I am gorilla, I am flowers, animals, I am nature… Man Koko love… but man… man stupid… Koko cry, time hurry, fix Earth…”

The video was produced by a French environmental group and the gorilla Foundation, which cares for Koko the gorilla and notes on its website that the video was produced “with a script” and “edited from a number of separate takes, for brevity and continuity.”

Animal communication experts say the video is misleading.

“This group has been really upping the ante for making incredible exaggerated claims for her comprehension,” Barbara King, an anthropology professor at the College of William and Mary and the author of “How Animals Grieve,” told FoxNews.com.

King also worries that the ad, by exposing the idea of ape communication to ridicule, could undermine views about primates’ abilities.

“Koko is fabulous as she is. No one has to exaggerate. Scientists who do that — it hurts our credibility. It really does.”

Although primates like gorillas can learn hundreds of words, there is no good evidence that they can learn grammar, according to Arizona State University Psychology Professor Clive Wynne.

That includes even the simplest grammar like word order, for instance the difference between “dog bites man” and “man bites dog.”

On tests to distinguish terms like those, even one of the world’s smartest apes got the right answer 57 percent of the time ‚Äì barely better than guessing. And that involved overly-generous grading by the trainers, Wynne notes.

But while primates haven’t been able to learn grammar, they can do impressive things once thought impossible.

“Koko shows definite comprehension of spoken English,” King said. Koko knows an impressive 2,000 words and uses them to make requests and respond to questions.

“Koko can also come up with some pretty creative ways of putting two phrases together,” King noted. For example, Koko didn’t know the word for “ring” and reportedly combined two words she knew ‚Äì “finger” and “bracelet” ‚Äì to make her meaning clear.

Primates also show human-like grief, King said.

“There was one gorilla whose long-term mate and friend died in the zoo, and he first tried to revive her, even bringing her favorite food to her and putting it in her hand and poking her,” she said.

“And then at some point he seemed to come to a really stunning realization that his friend was not going to move. I don’t know if that’s a concept of death, but his behavior changed and he let out a very agonizing wail and stopped trying to revive her. Clearly something cognitive and emotional happened to him at that moment.”

But animal experts agree that climate change is way beyond the understanding of gorillas.

“A complex phenomenon like climate change is not understood by many humans, let alone an ape,” Sally Boysen, an Ohio State University psychology professor, told FoxNews.com.

Even if Koko could understand climate change, experts disagree about the effect of climate change on primates. Warming has nearly paused over the last 17 years, and increases in the greenhouse gas CO2 in the atmosphere have increased plant growth.

However, Gorillas are threatened by other environmental harms, which have reduced the number of gorillas to just around 100,000. The main causes are slash-and-burn methods to clear African forests for agriculture, killings by hunters, and development in their habitats.

That has left some subspecies like Mountain Gorillas critically endangered with under 1,000 individuals left.

But while primates face serious environmental challenges and have impressive mental abilities compared to other animals, it’s still best not to get global warming advice from a gorilla.


Continue Reading