Did EPA chief mislead Congress on Gold King mine investigation?

mccarthy ginaYesterday, Sens. James Inhofe (R) and Mike Rounds (R) sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy asking for clarification on conflicting statements she gave regarding the Gold King Mine blowout and its follow-up investigation. The senators write they are concerned there might be collusion between the EPA and other government entities, and that the “purported independent review” might be tainted by inter-agency collaboration.

Speaking under oath at a Sept. 16, 2015, senate hearing, McCarthy had assured the oversight committee that the Gold King investigation would be entirely independent and that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would not be involved in any manner. But additional information brought to the committee’s attention has shed new light on the veracity of those statements.

The Gold King catastrophe occurred August 5, 2015, when the EPA and its contractors were determining how to safely install a drainage pipe to reduce the rising waters inside the long-abandoned mine. After digging in and around the entrance for a proper drainage hole, a spurt quickly became a deluge, and heavily polluted water gushed down the mountainside and into the pristine Animas river (which empties into the Colorado river).

The mine water’s distinctive yellow-orange plume, which initially discharged three million gallons, contained “arsenic, lead, cadmium, aluminum and copper — among other potentially toxic heavy metals.” Worse still, the EPA was aware of a blowout risk with the Gold King Mine, and documents later revealed that settling ponds outside the mine could have trapped improperly discharged water. After the disaster, the EPA built the settling ponds, but the man-made deluge into the Animas river was now just a trickle.

The EPA also didn’t notify locals along the affected waterways until it was too late, leaving communities along the Animas unable to respond appropriately. The Animas and Colorado rivers are popular rivers for fishing, swimming, and other recreation, and the discharge from the mine carried with it heavy elements like mercury and lead, along with toxic levels of arsenic. This is eerily familiar to the lead contamination in Flint, Mich., where a senior EPA official knew about the problem for months before finally telling the public.

Then in September, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified about the Gold King Mine blowout before the Senate’s Environment and Public Works (EPW) committee. In the letter to McCarthy, they reminded her that at this hearing, they “asked several questions about the actions and events leading up to and immediately following the blowout,” but she refused to answer them, stating the DOI (Department of Interior) would provide the answers once it had conducted an “independent review,” which was still ongoing at the time of her sworn statements.

The letter also reminded McCarthy that they also sent her a series of follow-up questions on Oct. 20, 2015, about the EPA’s work at the Gold King Mine site, but they had not received any responses. “Since these questions for the record were submitted, several events have called into question the accuracy and completeness of your September 16, 2015, testimony before the EPW Committee.”

They note that her senate testimony was “at odds with facts showing extensive coordination between EPA and BOR (Bureau of Reclamation) and other DOI officials with the Gold King site” incident. That’s because the EPA announced on August 18, 2015, that the DOI would do an independent review of the Gold King Mine blowout. Days after this announcement, the DOI said the BOR would head up the DOI review.

McCarthy also said at the hearing that the EPA did not review any drafts or provide direction into the scope of DOI’s probe, and explained that the “EPA had reviewed only a draft press release that the DOI would be conducting the review.” Except it now appears that “EPA officials were involved in reviewing and providing input to DOI related to its investigation.” They note a senior EPA official received and disseminated a draft scope for the DOI review on August 18, 2015, and told a BOR official, “It looks good to me, and I will share up my management chain.”

The senators note this is in direct conflict with McCarthy’s “assertions” at the Sept. 16 hearing that the EPA had only reviewed a DOI press release and where she repeatedly told the committee the EPA had “no role in DOI’s independent review.” She also said the EPA had no role in “advising DOI what should or should not be within the scope of its work.” This, they write, gives them concern that her testimony was at “odds with the facts [that showed] extensive coordination between the EPA and BOR and other DOI officials”  regarding the Gold King site.

They also expressed concern that her testimony about the DOI’s review being independent was inaccurate, and that EPA officials were involved in DOI’s review. They also asked McCarthy to provide copies of all communications between “EPA, DOI, and the Army Corps of Engineers concerning the DOI review and the Gold King Mine blowout.”

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Scientific Consensus In Doubt

coal1Two Stanford geologists are disputing the decade-old explanation of the large amount of coal accumulated during the Carboniferous Period. Associate Professor Kevin Boyce and Postdoctorate Research Fellow Matthew Nelsen collaborated with scientists across the country to release a paper this past month in which they propose a new understanding of coal development. According to Nelson, discontent with the evolutionary lag hypothesis has been around for some time before the publishing of this recent paper. This raises the larger issue: If geologists had seen problems with the hypothesis, why had nothing been done to disprove it earlier? –Aulden Foltz, The Stanford Daily, 2 February 2016

Fears that some of Australia’s most important climate research institutions will be gutted under a Turnbull government have been realised with deep job cuts for scientists. Total job cuts would be about 350 staff over two years, the CSIRO confirmed in an email to staff, with the Data61 and Manufacturing divisions also hit. “Climate will be all gone, basically,” one senior scientist said before the announcement. In the email sent out to staff on Thursday morning, CSIRO’s chief executive Larry Marshall indicated that, since climate change had been established, further work in the area would be a reduced priority. –Peter Hannam, The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 February 2016

Sceptics have often pointed out that if the science of global warming is “settled” then it’s clearly not necessary to spend a fortune researching it. The government down under now seems to have taken this message on, announcing that jobs in the ocean/atmosphere divisions at CSIRO are to be slashed. Their reasoning could have come straight from the pages of this blog: In the email sent out to staff on Thursday morning, CSIRO’s chief executive Larry Marshall indicated that, since climate change had been established, further work in the area would be a reduced priority. It was Lord May who said to Roger Harrabin “I’m the President of the Royal Society and I’m telling you that the science is settled”. I wonder if he is reconsidering the wisdom of those remarks. –Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, 4 February 2016

Scientists in Germany have switched on a nuclear fusion experiment that they hope will provide a solution to finding clean and safe nuclear power. A small amount of hydrogen was released into the device by German chancellor Angela Merkel as she launched the device at the Max Planck Institute in Greifswald. The device itself won’t generate energy, but will be used to test technology that could hold plasma into place in nuclear reactors. The technology is considered to be several decades away, but proponents argue that it could be a viable replacement for fossil fuels and nuclear fission reactors. –Emily Reynolds, Wired 3 February 2016

SSE has announced plans to shut most of its Fiddler’s Ferry coal-fired power plant in April, wiping 1.5 gigawatts of power capacity from the UK grid and worsening the looming energy crisis next winter. UK energy supplies were already forecast to fall to dangerously low levels next winter due to the closure of several other old plants. Emergency measures have been brought in to bolster supplies after official analysis suggested there could be zero spare capacity in the market, and insufficient power to keep the lights on on a windless day. John Musk, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, warned UK margins would now be “critically tight for next winter” and forecast this would lead to “extremely volatile” spot power prices. –Emily Gosden, The Daily Telegraph, 4 February 2016

British households will not benefit from a fall in market electricity prices because their suppliers are facing rising costs elsewhere, such as green energy subsidies, which they say cancel out any wholesale price falls. Electricity and gas prices traded on the open market have fallen 20-35 percent in recent months as milder-than-normal weather has curbed demand and falling commodity prices have added even more downward pressure. Cornwall Energy data showed the costs of government policies, which also include discounts for low-income households and payments for energy efficiency measures, on energy suppliers have risen to the highest level ever. This means non-energy costs now make up as much as 60 percent of the average British electricity bill, up from 45 percent four years ago, according to Cornwall Energy data. –Karolin Schaps and Susanna Twidale, Reuters, 1 February 2016

How quickly things can change. Once the darlings of the auto industry, recent auto show debuts and previews of high-mileage hybrid and plug-in electric cars are being met with a collective yawn in the wake of cheap (and getting cheaper) gasoline. Green car sales were down by around 16 percent last year and can be expected to drop even further through 2016 unless fuel prices suddenly soar. Expect to see casualties among some of the niche players in what could come to be an incredibly shrinking car segment, California-mandated models not withstanding. –Jim Gorzelany, Forbes, 2 February 2016

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Why El Niño and La Niña are one continuous geological event

Every wonder why the Sea Surface Temperature (SST) map patterns of all El Niños look strikingly similar to the Sea Surface Temperature map patterns of all La Niñas? Or why 11 of the last 15 strong El Niños are immediately followed by equally strong La Niñas?

Figure 1.)  SST Maps of the 1998 El Niño and La Niña events (credit NASA).Figure 1.) SST Maps of the 1998 El Niño and La Niña events (credit NASA).

The reason these two very famous and supposedly different climate events look and act so similar is that they are actually not separate events, rather they are one geologically induced and continuous event. An event that is generated by a massive pulse of fluid flow from a major deep ocean fault zone located east of the Papua New Guinea / Solomon Island region.

A single name, Lyra, is here proposed as a replacement for the two climate events previously referred to as El Niño and La Niña.

The name Lyra is taken from a far western Pacific Ocean major fault zone called the Lyra Trough (see here). This major fault zone is the juncture of two large and actively moving pieces of earth’s upper crust. It is one of several major and active fault zones located in the offshore New Guinea / Solomon Island region.

Geological forces generate Lyra’s as follows.  Large magma chambers (lava pockets) underlay all of the major fault zones in the offshore New Guinea / Solomon Island region. A sudden shift in one of these magma chambers infuses the chamber with much hotter and more mobile lava. This now super-heated and shifted magma chamber activates a large seawater circulating system in rock layers adjacent to the fault by; fracturing the rock layers, filling them with pressurized and super-heated seawater, and finally imitating upward movement of the seawater into the overlying ocean.  Given time, typically 12 to 14 months, super-heated and chemically charged seawater from this circulating system warms a significant portion of the western Pacific Ocean, thereby generating an El Ni√±o.

As the shifted magma chamber exhausts its heat store, seawater expulsed from the circulating system progressively becomes less and less hot. Eventually, only slightly warmed or cooler seawater is expulsed into the deep ocean region above the fault. This “cooling” process has in past been termed La Ni√±a. For a more complete discussion of how geologically induced circulating systems work the reader is directed to a previous Climate Change Dispatch (CCD) posting (here).

A review of pertinent data and observations used in formulation of the Lyra theory, and descriptions of Lyra analog geological processes such as deep ocean cold seeps and failing hydrothermal vent areas is as follows.

Let’s start by reviewing the historical Pacific Ocean SST temperature anomaly graph, specifically the 1998 Lyra event portion of the graph (Figure 2). This portion of the graph clearly illustrates the continuous / straight-line connection between the so-called El Ni√±o warm phase and so-called La Ni√±a cool phase. Importantly there is no flattening of the curve between the initial warming phase and subsequent cooling. This type of straight-line SST temperature curve relationship is characteristic of almost all strong Lyra events.

Another interesting but admittedly less proven implication of the 1998 portion of the Figure 2 graph is the very sudden onset and dramatic increase in temperature during the warming phase. This pattern is very similar to those observed in geological events such as land-based volcanic eruptions and deep ocean sea mount eruptions. Conversely, this pattern is not similar to the slow onset and constant rate increases of atmospheric temperatures (last 19 years) or atmospheric CO2 content (last 50 years).

Figure 2.)  Graph of the 1998 El Niño warm phase and 1998 La Niña cool phase.Figure 2.) Graph of the 1998 El Niño warm phase and 1998 La Niña cool phase.

Now let’s review temperature variations for the 1998 so-called El Ni√±o and so-called La Ni√±a events in map view (Figure 1). These events have striking similar overall map pattern shapes, especially the long, linear, wedge-shaped pattern that dominates the center of both images. Both wedges have a narrow-pointed western shape and a more fanned-out eastern edge. Additionally the wedges are in the same exact non-moving geographic location. Other very similar map pattern shapes include: the coastal Alaska region, the coastal Central America region, and the Antarctic region.

These pattern similarities are strong evidence that both the 1998 so-called El Ni√±o and so-called La Ni√±a originated from the same limited geographical area and non-moving “Point Source” located east of the Papua New Guinea / Solomon Island area. Fixed / non-moving energy point sources are almost always associated with geological features, and typically not associated with ever-changing and swirling atmospheric energy sources. Even more telling, all historical Lyras have the exact same SST map patterns and point source.

Yes the two maps in Figure 1 have different color schemes, warmer red colors on the 1998 El Niño map and cooler blues on the La Niña map, however this is just a relic of a cooling magma chamber. The key is matching and interpreting the meaning of the map patterns shapes.

Next let’s discuss the very obvious differences between geologically induced Lyra map patterns and atmospherically induced major storm map patterns. With confidence we can state that the map patterns of all Lyras are significantly different than the map patterns of major atmospheric storm events such as hurricanes. Hurricane map patterns never quite look the same from year to year or storm to storm. They have ever changing swirling pressure patterns, differing origin points, and very unpredictable land fall points.

Now let’s discuss Lyra geological analogs.

British researchers from the National Oceanography Center in Southampton have discovered deep ocean hydrothermal vents off the coast of Antarctica near the South Shetland Islands that have a very telling history (see here). These deep ocean vents are part of a seawater circulating system that has been proven to have historically pulsed significant amounts of super-heated and chemically charged seawater upward from a known fault zone into the overlying ocean (Figure 3). This historical warm phase fluid flow has since cooled down and the vents are currently emitting cool water into the overlying ocean.

Figure 3.) Location map of the Axe / Three Sisters / Hook Ridge deep ocean fluid pulsing vent region.Figure 3.) Location map of the Axe / Three Sisters / Hook Ridge deep ocean fluid pulsing vent region.

The other significant Lyra geological analogs are “Cold Seeps“. These well documented seafloor vents emit large amounts of chemically charged and relatively cool seawater from geologically active fault zones. To date, mainstream scientists have struggled to understand exactly how cold seeps are formed. It is here contended that cold seeps represent the ending / last gasp and cooler phase of a previously active super hot hydrothermal vent system.

Invoking a geological explanation / cause for Lyras also helps explain why computer climate models generated by mainstream scientists have consistently failed to predict or explain so-called El Niños and La Niñas. Many of these models utilize data from a wide variety of atmospheric factors recorded during El Niño / La Niña time periods: trade wind variations, atmospheric storm intensities, and historical atmospheric temperature trends to name a few.

It is more likely that variations in this atmospheric data are actually side effects of the geological forces which drive Lyras. As Lyra geological forces alter the temperature and chemistry of the overlying ocean they also alter trade winds and other atmospheric factors in a very complex, interactive, and varying fashion. Every single computer climate model that has utilized these atmospheric side effects as their primary input data has failed to properly predict the timing and intensity of Lyras.

A geological forces origin for the Lyra climate event fits well into the basic tenets of the Plate Climatology Theory, geological forces drive many natural variations in climate trends and climate related events. Additionally a strong case can be made that Lyras have geologically looking SST graphs and map patterns, and well documented geological analogs.

It’s way past time to consider the very real possibility that El Ni√±os and La Ni√±as are not separate events, rather they are one continuous geologically induced climate event… Lyra.

James Edward Kamis is a Geologist with a MS in Geology and AAPG member of 42 years who has always been fascinated by the connection between Geology and Climate. Years of research / observation have convinced him that the Earth’s Heat Flow Engine, which drives the outer crustal plates, is also an important driver of the Earth’s climate.

REFERENCES

http://www.whoi.edu/sbl/liteSite.do?litesiteid=28952&articleId=47707

http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/~winckler/Publications_files/manuscript_winckler_Dec11_09_complete.pdf

http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/~winckler/Welcome_files/winckler_et_al_2009GL042093.pdf

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3659317/

http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a492406.pdf

http://www.sci-news.com/geology/article00879.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_seep

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Obama’s Hidden Climate Leverage

gina hillOver the past six months, President Barack Obama has cemented his climate legacy with the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan and the execution of the Paris climate agreement. But, as even he admits, neither of those policies will be enough to avert the worst effects of climate change. Fortunately for the president, there’s a new way for him to right the U.S.’ greenhouse gas trajectory before leaving office: Buried in the Clean Air Act is an extremely powerful mechanism that effectively gives EPA carte blanche to tell states to make drastic cuts to their emissions. –Brian Potts, Politico, 1 February 2016

Chief Justice John Roberts could decide on a motion to halt the Obama administration’s far-reaching climate rules as soon as this week, say lawyers familiar with the litigation. Two motions to stay Obama’s climate rules were sent to the Supreme Court last week, one from 29 states and another by dozens of utilities, large manufacturers and oil companies. The request to halt the rules came less than a week after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a stay request by the states and industry. Yet the court did expedite oral arguments on the merits of the plaintiffs’ separate lawsuits against the plan, which will move forward in June. –John Siciliano, Washington Examiner, 31 January 2016

In face of intense criticism from alarmist scientists, Dr. John Christy went to great lengths in a Tuesday congressional hearing to detail why satellite-derived temperatures are much more reliable indicators of warming than surface thermometers. “That’s where the real mass of the climate system exists in terms of the atmosphere,” Christy, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama and Alabama’s state climatologist, said in a Wednesday hearing before the House science committee. “When a theory contradicts the facts” you need to change the theory, Christy said. “The real world is not going along with rapid warming. The models need to go back to the drawing board.” –Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller News Foundation, 2 February 2016

This simple chart tells the story that the average model projection, on which their fears (or hopes?) are based, does poorly for the fundamental temperature metric that is allegedly the most responsive to extra greenhouse gases – the bulk atmospheric temperature of the layer from the surface to 50,000ft. The chart indicates that the theory of how climate changes occur, and the associated impact of extra greenhouse gases, is not understood well enough to even reproduce the past climate. Indeed, the models clearly overcook the atmosphere. The issue for congress here is that such demonstrably deficient model projections are being used to make policy. –John R. Christy, U.S. House Committee on Science, Space & Technology 2 Feb 2016

The Met Office says that “ten year global average warming rates are likely to return to late 20th century levels within the next two years.” I seriously doubt that. It would be unwise to use an El Nino-enhanced year as an end-point in temperature trend analysis. The Met Office also said there was a “pause”, but that it’s not a big deal in the long-term. The problem is that the “long-term” isn’t here yet. As I have said these are valuable predictions, but nature has a way of humbling even the best “state-of-the-art” predictions as the Met Office’s Vicky Pope discovered after her 2007 forecast for the next seven years. It was wrong by a country mile. –David Whitehouse, Global Warming Policy Forum, 3 February 2016

A new poll has surfaced showing once again the vast majority of Americans don’t rank global warming as the most serious issue facing the country. A YouGov poll of 18,000 people in 17 countries found only 9.2 percent of Americans rank global warming as their biggest concern. Only Saudi Arabians were less concerned about global warming at 5.7 percent. Despite a big PR push by President Barack Obama to tout his administration’s global warming agenda, most Americans have been unconvinced it’s the country’s most pressing issue. A Fox News poll from November found only 3 percent of Americans list global warming as their top concern. –Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller News Foundation, 1 February 2016

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State’s Clean Power rally backfires

windfarm wikipediaState health officials are staging a series of public relations rallies cloaked as “All Stakeholder” meetings to discuss President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan. As explained in this space last month, a Jan. 14 meeting in Commerce City featured five panel experts who all supported the plan, which proposes federal mandates likely to close coal-fired electric plants, reduce mining and transportation jobs and require spending on emerging renewable technologies.

The audience appeared selected, full of people who knew each other, with about 30 comments coming only from activists who supported the plan. In the hourslong meeting, not one person expressed skepticism or opposition. It smacked of propaganda.

Reality struck when the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment took the show to Brush, a rural eastern plains town where people work hard to earn a buck.

Four of five panel members were cheerleaders for the president’s plan, which has the full support of Gov. John Hickenlooper. Panelist Kent Singer, an attorney and executive director of the Colorado Rural Electric Association, offered the panel’s only balance. He said public utilities and electric cooperatives are supposed to provide reliable energy at a price households, farms, ranches and businesses can afford. The president’s plan, he worries, would impose hardships.

Audience participants crashed the party to explain how eastern Coloradans have invested in hundreds of wind turbines that won’t count toward the proposed standards, as the plan would disqualify assets built before 2013.

State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg told state officials he represents 21,000 square miles that host more wind turbines than the rest of the state combined, and most would not qualify. He worries about constituents having to fund investments they already made in vain.

“We can look at the lower middle class, the working poor, the poor and the elderly and see how they would be impacted, and how it would make it even tougher for them,” Sonnenberg said. A farmer who spends $10,000 on energy to irrigate a field would take a big hit, the senator explained, at a time when some crop prices have plunged.

Sonnenberg read chunks of The Gazette’s Commerce City editorial and admonished state employees for the panel featured in Brush.

“You come to rural Colorado, where agriculture is king,” Sonnenberg said, explaining agriculture is Colorado’s second-largest industry. “That we don’t have an agricultural panelist… I think is a travesty.”

David Churchwell, general manager of K.C. Electric Association in Hugo, said he supports Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman’s lawsuit to stop the mandates, filed with 23 other state attorneys general. Hickenlooper asked the Colorado Supreme Court to stop Coffman’s involvement, but the court declined.

In Brush, audience support for the Clean Power Plan came mostly from teenagers who identified themselves only as high school students concerned with global warming. Questioned afterward, a student said she and the others were from Net Zero Environmental Club at Fairview High School in Boulder.

Higher utility bills won’t hurt the average Boulder family, where median household incomes exceed $70,000. In Brush, household incomes barely exceed $30,000. Minorities make up 12 percent of Boulder but more than a quarter of Brush.

State health officials need to get serious about their presentation for the remaining “All Stakeholder” meetings in Pueblo and Craig. This plan poses serious consequences for those who cannot afford haphazard and experimental efforts to control the climate. We need a balance of experts presenting a variety of views, not another panel stacked with support for a political agenda.

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Paris Climate Agreement a Bad Deal for Americans

obama summitWashington, D.C. ‚Äì The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology today held a hearing to examine the various scientific, economic and other policy issues surrounding President Obama’s recent pledge to the United Nations-led effort to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. The president pledged that the United States will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 28 percent over the next decade and by 80 percent or more by 2050.

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “The president’s Paris pledge will increase electricity costs, ration energy and slow economic growth. Congress has repeatedly rejected the president’s extreme climate agenda. The president’s climate pledge is a bad deal for the American economy, the American people and would produce no substantive environmental benefits.” A video of Chairman Smith’s full statement is available here.

Witnesses today questioned the legality of the agreement and stressed that the president’s pledge lacks constitutional legitimacy since it has not been ratified by the Senate. In addition to promised greenhouse gas reductions, the Paris agreement would require the United States to contribute billions of taxpayer dollars to developing countries to reduce their carbon emissions. Witnesses today questioned how the administration intends to honor this agreement without Congressional approval, since all public funds must be appropriated through Congress.

Witnesses were also critical of whether the agreement would have any significant impact on climate change. For example, the U.S. pledge to the U.N. is estimated to prevent only one-fiftieth of one degree Celsius temperature rise over the next 85 years. And EPA’s own data shows that the administration’s costly Clean Power Plan regulation that is the cornerstone of its pledge would reduce sea level rise by one one-hundredth of an inch, or the thickness of three sheets of paper.

In December, a majority of Congress disapproved of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan regulation through the Congressional Review Act. The governors of most states are also challenging the rule in court.

The following witness testified today:
Mr. Steve Eule, Vice President for Climate and Technology, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Dr. John Christy, Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama in Huntsville

Dr. Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute

Mr. Steven Groves, The Bernard and Barbara Lomas Senior Research Fellow, Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, The Heritage Foundation

For more information about today’s hearing, including witness testimony and the hearing webcast, please visit the Committee’s website.

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Scientist Ruthlessly Debunks One Of NOAA’s Central Climate Claims

christyIn face of intense criticism from alarmist scientists, Dr. John Christy went to great lengths in a Tuesday congressional hearing to detail why satellite-derived temperatures are much more reliable indicators of warming than surface thermometers.

“That’s where the real mass of the climate system exists in terms of the atmosphere,” Christy, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama and Alabama’s state climatologist, said in a Wednesday hearing before the House science committee.

“When a theory contradicts the facts” you need to change the theory, Christy said. “The real world is not going along with rapid warming. The models need to go back to the drawing board.”

Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, the committee’s chairman, convened a hearing on the implications of President Barack Obama’s recent United Nations deal in Paris, which agreed to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Christy doesn’t think signing onto a U.N. deal is good for Americans, and challenges the very data politicians and environmentalists rely on to push green energy policies.

“One of my many climate interests is the way surface temperatures are measured and how surface temperatures, especially over land, are affected by their surroundings,” Christy wrote in his prepared testimony.

Christy recently co-authored a study with veteran meteorologist Anthony Watts that found the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was basing its temperature adjustments on “compromised” temperature data.

The study found most of NOAA’s 1,218 thermometers were sited near artificial surfaces and heat sources like concrete, asphalt, and air conditioner exhausts that were causing more warming to show in the U.S. temperature record than was present at weather stations that were well-sited.

Christy and Watts surmised NOAA was basing its temperature adjustments (efforts made to get “biases” out of the temperature record) on bad data.

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Anon steals a bunch of data from NASA, threatens to release it

hackerHacktivist group Anonymous recently breached NASA, stealing somewhere between 100 and 276GB of data, the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology says. The data was stolen from NASA’s servers and drones, and include drone video and radar footage, flight logs and employee information.

Anonymous claims NASA is not telling the truth about global warming ‚Äì it wants the agency to disclose the ‘actual’ amount of radioactive chemicals in the upper atmosphere, and threatens to release the data unless NASA complies within a month.

The group targeted specific data – drone footage in particular, as it contains records of chemical samples from the upper atmosphere. The stolen data was allegedly already given to WikiLeaks and The Guardian. No word from NASA or the FBI at this point.

No one really knows how Anonymous managed to find their way inside NASA. There have been speculations that the group managed to buy its way in – purchasing its foothold from someone within the agency. They might have even bruteforced their way in – the group claims to have used a sniffing program to steal a system administrator password.

The group split in two, with one part targeting NASA’s systems and stealing data, while the other was sniffing through it. Anonymous says it spent months inside the system and deleted all indicators of ever being present on the network.

James Scott, Co-Founder of the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology finds it hard to believe that NASA couldn’t have defended against this attack.

“First, it’s hard to believe that NASA hasn’t made use of a virtually unlimited budget to allocate funds to create the most technologically sophisticated cyber-barricade around their techno-infrastructure,” he says.

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Zika Virus: Green Zealots, Black Deaths

mosquito

The world is facing a public-health emergency. According to the World Health Organization, the Zika virus, a horrific disease that causes malformation of infants, is now “spreading explosively.” A cure for Zika is not known, and it could take decades to find one. But there is something that can be done now to stop the epidemic. Zika is spread by mosquitoes, which can be exterminated by pesticides. The most effective pesticide is DDT. If the Zika catastrophe is to be prevented in time, we need to use it. So now the question is: Will the environmental bureaucrats continue to block the use of essential life-saving pesticides, and thereby cause an even worse global catastrophe that will go on for generations? The outlook isn’t hopeful. As history shows, to the leaders the Green movement, black lives don’t matter. They have chosen to allow millions of the world’s poorest to continue to suffer and die from malaria, and they are doing everything they can to stop the elimination of vitamin-deficiency diseases by genetically enhanced foods. –Robert Zubrin, National Review, 30 January 2016

The ominous outbreak of the Zika virus is really a policy failure; the demonization of DDT has left much of the world defenseless against mosquito-borne diseases that were once easily and effectively wiped out. “The Zika virus is ‘is now spreading explosively’ in the Americas, the head of the World Health Organization said Thursday, with another official estimating between 3 million and 4 million infections in the region over a 12-month period.” The virus has been linked to neurological disorders in fetuses and newborn babies. And as CNN pointed out, “with no vaccine, controlling mosquitoes is key.” But our most effective tool for controlling mosquitoes is the now-banned pesticide DDT. So it’s time to reconsider that deadly DDT ban. Properly used, it remains the best weapon we have to fight preventable diseases. –Editorial, Tyler Morning Telegraph, 1 February 2016

Zika has no cure and a vaccine will not be available for at least a decade. But that is no cause for despair — nor for governments to scare women into not having babies. Two things are known for certain. The first is that the main, possibly only, transmission route is via mosquitoes, which pick up the virus from infected people and pass it on when the pests next take a meal. The second is how to cut the number of mosquitoes—and preferably eradicate them. The moment has come again to take the fight to the mosquitoes—and this time to finish the job. The Economist, 30 January 2016

An alternative to mosquito control, a vaccine against Zika, is not expected to be available soon. So for now, experts say, the best modes of prevention are to intensify use of the older methods of mosquito control and to lower the risk of being bitten using repellents and by wearing long sleeves. One old method that is not getting serious attention would be to use DDT, a powerful pesticide that is banned in many countries because of the ecological damage documented in the 1962 book “Silent Spring.” Still, it is being mentioned a bit, and some experts defend its use for disease control. “We’ve had great success using old methods for the last 50, 60 years,” said Dr. Peter J. Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine. “We just need to be very aggressive and exercise political will.” –Andrew Pollack, The New York Times, 30 January 2016

The Zika virus is out of control. Earlier this week, the World Health Organization called it an “explosive” epidemic, and officials in Brazil, the country hardest hit by the disease, have admitted that they are “losing badly” to the disease. Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff went so far as to declare war on Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits Zika. The good news is this: we know how to fight mosquitoes, and our arsenal is growing bigger by the day. Ultimately, it is unlikely that any one method will stop Zika in its tracks. Winning this war is possible—it has been done before. But it will take an effort the likes of which we have not seen for almost half a century, and perhaps some brand-new technology. –Michael Reilly, MIT Technology Review, 29 January 2016

The Zika virus threat is so severe that some, such as Wellcome Trust head of infection and immunobiology Mike Turner, are advocating the use of DDT — long banned in the United States and elsewhere due to its environmental and health risks — to eliminate the mosquito species’ that serve as carriers of the virus. This weekend, a few pundits have taken things one step further by calling for  the  eradication of all mosquitoes. Regardless of whether you think mosquitoes should be driven from the Earth, or simply made a little less dangerous, large-scale implementation of these strategies is probably a long way off; but the next time you find yourself scratching, take comfort in the fact that future could hold a mosquito-free world. –Jessie Guy-Ryan, Atlas Obscura, 31 January 2016

See also:
World Health Organization says Zika virus is ‘spreading explosively’28 January 2016

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Over 90 percent of Americans unconcerned about global warming

Terrorism, like in San Bernandino, worry Americans more than global warming.Survey shows terrorism, like in San Bernardino, Calif., worry Americans more than global warming.America’s top concern is global terrorism, and not global warming. That’s according to a new global survey released this week showing nearly 91 percent of Americans do not believe global warming is very serious issue. This runs counter to President Obama’s belief that it is the biggest threat facing the U.S. The president even said the Paris Climate Talks—held in early December 2015—were a powerful rebuke to ISIS, but that message didn’t gain any traction with the poll’s respondents, or with Americans.

The results of this poll also come about one-and-a-half months after nations gathered in Paris and agreed to set limits on CO2 emissions. The poll, conducted by YouGov, shows that Americans view global warming as not being a “serious” or “very serious” issue. Americans think, by a wide margin, that ‘global terrorism’ was the country’s biggest problem (when the poll was taken).

This is consistent with recent surveys by Gallup (here and here) and Pew Research that show global warming ranks dead last among Americans. According to YouGov, “samples in 17 countries throughout Asia, North America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia were asked during November ‚Äì December 2015 to say which of nine issues facing the world they consider to be a serious issue, and then which one they consider to be the most serious.”

Ironically, Saudi Arabia, which regularly sees temps in the triple digits due to its geographic location, ranks global warming dead last as a concern. Britain is also among the least concerned about global warming as well. The economy and global terrorism were the most pressing matters of the 18,000 online respondents who hailed from 17 countries.

The poll asked online respondents if they thought an issue was either serious or very serious. They then combined the two and averaged the results. YouGov says “its opinion polls are most accurate when compared to its competitors and in particular that its online methodology is more accurate than traditional polling methods.” That means people without access to the Internet, or not asked to participate in the online poll, are not surveyed.

The poll also took place from Nov. to Dec., amidst the Paris terrorist attacks, the San Bernardino, Calif., terror attacks, and the Paris Climate Talks. After the talks, “195 countries agreed to place limits on CO2 emissions and limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.” The Paris agreement is not legally binding and does nothing to slow China and India’s CO2 output.

The deal will “come into force after 2020 through a combination of incentives and voluntary measures, and it includes $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries.” The United States, which recently passed a trillion dollar spending spill, earmarked billions of dollars for green projects.

To get the spending bill passed, congress didn’t specify how this “green” money could to be spent. That means the president can shunt millions of taxpayer dollars into the UN’s green slush fund, which doles out money to developing countries affected by “extreme weather” and for not using fossil fuels.

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Paris Climate Deal Seen Costing $12.1 Trillion Over 25 Years

solar array wikimediaIf the world is serious about halting the worst effects of global warming, the renewable energy industry will require $12.1 trillion of investment over the next quarter century, or about 75 percent more than current projections show for its growth.

That’s the conclusion of a report setting out the scale of the challenge facing policymakers as they look for ways to implement the Paris Agreement that in December set a framework for more than 195 nations to rein in greenhouse gases.

The findings from Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Ceres, a Boston-based coalition of investors and environmentalists, show that wind parks, solar farms and other alternatives to fossil fuels are already on course to get $6.9 trillion over the next 25 years through private investment spurred on by government support mechanisms. Another $5.2 trillion is needed to reach the United Nations goal of holding warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) set out in the climate agreement.

“The clean energy industry could make a very significant contribution to achieving the lofty ambitions expressed by the Paris Agreement,” said Michael Liebreich, founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a London-based research group. “To do so, investment volume is going to need to more than double, and do so in the next three to five years. That sort of increase will not be delivered by business as usual. Closing the gap is both a challenge and an opportunity for investors.”

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The required expenditure averages about $484 billion a year over the period, compared with business-as-usual levels of $276 billion, according to Bloomberg calculations. Renewables attracted a record $329 billion of investment in 2015, BNEF estimates.

While the figures are large, they’re not as eye-watering as the International Energy Agency’s projection that it’ll cost $13.5 trillion between now and 2030 for countries to implement their Paris pledges, and that an extra $3 billion on top of that will help meet the temperature target. Those figures aren’t just limited to renewables: they also include energy efficiency measures.

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The Paradoxical Origin of Climate Alarmism

increased agricultureThree feet of snow on the streets of New York and Washington is mocking global warming alarmists. The natural sciences tell us that the alarmists got everything wrong: anthropogenic carbon release is not dangerous or even harmful, but extremely beneficial. 15% of the world’s agricultural production is due to the increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the air. What’s more, the global mean temperature has not been increasing for 19 years, and the slight warming expected from the emission of the infra-red absorbing gases is expected to be beneficial in itself.

And contrary to the alarmists’ claims, ocean water is alkaline, not acidic.See this short summary of science for more.Listing all the scientific errors made by the alarmists would take many pages, not to mention their logical fallacies, economic delusions, civic blunders, etc. So how did it happen that such a worthless agenda became so powerful?In large degree, it’s because it was worthless! 

The weakness (or absence) of scientific support behind climate alarmism became its political strength.

Normally, political issues are real, in the sense that they represent real problems or real conflicts in society. Real issues — drug addiction, poverty, illness, or abortion — allow people to express different views or to take different sides. But the issue that gave birth to climate alarmism is different: the alleged problem (possible harm or danger from carbon dioxide emissions) simply does not exist. Most people are not interested in imaginary problems, and quite a few scientists, statesmen, and journalists came to the correct conclusion that the carbon dioxide/global warming/climate change problem did not exist.

Naturally, they did not participate in research or discussion on this topic, which allowed those who believed in the alleged problem to monopolize the topic. And the more strongly somebody believed, the stronger his or her voice was in the discussion. This happened even before they gain enough power and money to chase away sceptics or buy supporters.

Let me clarify a few points before I get into the history. Climate change is real. The climate change problem is not. Scientists have opposed climate alarmism from the beginning to protect the integrity of science. Some of them recognized the alarmism as a problem in itself. Good, competent people passed on addressing the alleged climate problem because they were not convinced of its significance, especially compared with other changes happening in the world. That said, even if all the reasonable scientific uncertainties were resolved in favor of alarmism, and even if we accepted many of the alarmist fallacies, that still wouldn’t justify the alarm. 

It all started in the 1970s, when the possibility of global warming from anthropogenic release of carbon dioxide was seriously addressed as a potential concern. At that time there were significant scientific uncertainties regarding the issue, so some scientists concluded that some concern was justified, while others concluded that it was not.

The government tried to convene a group of top scientists to consider this potential concern. But top scientists can choose what to work on, so there was considerable self-selection: the concerned scientists were overrepresented in the discussion, while the skeptical views were underrepresented. One result of this self-selection: in 1979 both the Charney and MacDonald (JASON) committees, apparently working independently of each other, arrived at the same climate sensitivity value, almost double the number that Guy Callendar calculated in 1938. And Callendar’s result was more accurate! 

But so far, so good — no real harm done, just an interesting social dynamic that can be recognized only in hindsight. Scientists who expressed concerns did so because they developed or accepted theories exaggerating the possible negative consequences of CO2. This led to a one-sided selection of the science as well: more alarming climate theories, models, and scenarios received broader consideration than non-alarming ones. Despite this adverse selection and exaggerated estimate of the climate sensitivity, neither committee sounded alarm or recommended that the government take any action but to continue research. 

Then, for no good reason, Congress authorized the Carbon Dioxide Assessment Committee (CDAC), and tasked it with a comprehensive evaluation of the possible dangers from CO2 release. Naturally, CDAC had to consider (or even develop) the most alarming theories and scenarios. In 1983 CDAC delivered what became known as Nierenberg Report, advising “concern, not panic” and rejecting climate alarmism once again. 

Unfortunately, UN agencies and environmental NGOs (mostly of foreign origin) picked up the issue and started running with it. There was no shadow of good faith in the way in which they handpicked “experts” from the environmentalist movement and from the bottom of the scientific establishment, fishing for yes-men worldwide. These bottom-dwellers went on cherry picking not only the data, but even the physical effects. This was not hard, because the real scientists and those who cared to consult them were staying out of the topic, rather than opposing the alarmist agenda. As Richard Lindzen wrote in 1992: “As most scientists concerned with climate, I was eager to stay out of what seemed like a public circus.” Cherry picking was made easier by the huge amounts of money lavished on climate science starting in the 1980s.

It might sound surprising today, but the alarmists announced “scientific consensus” as early as 1988, following the infamous Toronto Conference. After that, the intimidation and persecution of openly dissenting scientists started. From the same article by Lindzen:

“But in the summer of 1988 Lester Lave, a professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University, wrote to me about being dismissed from a Senate hearing for suggesting that the issue of global warming was scientifically controversial. I assured him that the issue was not only controversial but also unlikely. In the winter of 1989 Reginald Newell, a professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, lost National Science Foundation funding for data analyses that were failing to show net warming over the past century. Reviewers suggested that his results were dangerous to humanity.”

Thus, fear of retaliation buttressed the normal reluctance of competent scientists to engage with a non-existing problem. When Al Gore became Vice President in 1993, all hell broke loose, but that’s a story for another article.

It looks like the climate alarmists understood how lucrative the pursuit of imaginary problems could be for them. Many environmentalist scares started as similarly non-existent issues, which only became real (in the sense defined above) when lawmakers tried to address them. The proposed laws naturally affected the public, thus creating an opposition. In many cases the enviros won anyway, but at least there was a fight. 

It seems like the climate alarmists learned from that experience, so they started proposing solutions so unrealistic that they were beyond sane discussion. One example is their crowning demand to keep future Earth temperature change below 2¬∞C forever. Do they really think that humans control Earth’s temperature? At COP21, they went even further and tightened this “goal” to 1.5¬∞C. Another example is the call to lower CO2 in the air to 350 ppm, down from the current 400 ppm. 350.org, one of the most visible alarmist organizations, took its name from this number. When the Senate rejected the Kyoto protocol before it was even signed (with a 95-0 vote), it removed this alleged problem from the table for some time, but let it keep its cloak of effective obscurity.

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