Where Were the Polar Bears?

polar bearsAm I the only one who finds it incongruous that President Obama, when on a carefully choreographed trip to Alaska, even manning his own Instagram account to engage young people, to spotlight the effects of global warming—which he says is happening “right now”—announced the accelerated acquisition of ice breakers? During his trip, he told Alaskans that by the end of this century, Alaska will see “warming of between 6 and 12 degrees,” which he explained: “means more melting.” Six to 12 degrees is a lot of warming, therefore, a lot of melting—which would seem to require fewer ice breakers not more.

I applaud the attempt to catch up, as I’ve written previously, I think America is woefully behind in the Arctic—where Russia is increasingly aggressive. But you have to wonder what his speechwriters were thinking to have him asking Congress to spend more on ice breakers on the same trip where he’s predicting more warming.

Perhaps he really knows, what many scientists are claiming: Arctic ice is growing—with updated NASA data showing polar sea ice is approximately 5 percent above the post-1979 (the year satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps) average. This, despite former Vice President Al Gore’s claim that the Arctic ice cap could be completely gone by now. In fact, according to the April 1896 edition of National Geographic, Alaska, glaciers have been retreating there since George Washington was president.

In a September 4 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Patrick Moore, one of the co-founders of Greenpeace, said: “It is a historical fact that the glacier in Glacier Bay began its retreat around 1750. By the time Capt. George Vancouver arrived there in 1794 the glacier still filled most of the bay but had already retreated some miles. When John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, visited in 1879, he found that the glacier had retreated more than 30 miles from the mouth of the bay, according to the National Park Service, and by 1900 Glacier Bay was mostly ice-free.”

Another thing surprised me about his trip. An AP report of Obama’s Alaska visit states: “every stop was elaborately staged to showcase the president in front of picture-perfect natural wonders. …the White House arranged for photographers and reporters to pull up alongside him in a separate boat, capturing stirring images of the president gazing wistfully from the deck at serene waters and lush mountain vistas.” Yet, with all this planning for dramatic effect, there were no polar bears—not even mentioned.

Well, one polar bear might have been spotted: Frostpaw. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) has a polar bear costume (“made entirely out of synthetic materials,” according to the Vineyard Gazzette—which means made from petroleum products) that it drags out and a staffer dons to follow Obama, and remind him, as the press release says:

  • Rescind proposals to drill for oil in the Arctic and along the Atlantic coast;
  • Halt all new fossil fuel development on public land;
  • Cut greenhouse pollution from airplanes and other unregulated sources;
  • Reject, once and for all, the Keystone XL pipeline; and
  • Be an international climate leader.

CBD claims Frostpaw was dispatched to Alaska, but there are no reports that Obama got to see it.

Now, I understand that his three-day journey didn’t take him to locales where the real white bears frolic, but since they’ve become the symbol of Al Gore’s global warming scare, you’d think he’d at least mention them while he was in there—after all when people think of Alaska, they think of polar bears. What better imagery to evoke?

Once again, perhaps his speechwriters were aware of claims of falsified records and the besmirched Charles Monnett (whose observations of drowned polar bears helped galvanize the global warming movement), and reports of rebounding polar bear populations. While they don’t get much mainstream press coverage, several scientists are reporting an unprecedented increase in the world’s polar bear population.

One of the foremost authorities on polar bears, Canadian biologist, Dr. Mitchell Taylor, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. He said: “Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected at present.”

Then there is Dr. Susan J. Crockford, an evolutionary biologist in British Columbia, who has studied polar bears for most of her 35-year career. She claims polar bears are threatened by too much ice. She’s released a new, in-depth report on the relationship between sea ice and polar bears, entitled Arctic Fallacy—but you don’t see her conclusions touted in the New York Times.

In his book, Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism, biologist and ecologist Jim Steele argues: “glaciers have retreated and expanded numerous times since the end of the last ice age. Polar bear numbers are at record highs with approximately 25,000 bears. And Arctic sea ice, which had precipitously declined from the mid-2000s to 2013, has had a reversal since then, now equaling historic levels considered normal.”

But, if they don’t fit the accepted propaganda, we don’t hear about these reports.

Filmmaker J.D. King is trying to change that through a new film: Icebear. Following the success of his two previous films—Blue and Crying Wolf, King is in the midst of a Kickstart campaign (ending September 24) to fund the film. He explains: “It is very important to raise the money for the movie through crowdfunding. This needs to be a film by the people’s demand and support—so that it cannot be accused of being a product of a special interest group or organization.”

On the crowd-funding site, King offers a variety of facts about polar bears—with links to the source data. He explains: “The power of the media is great, as evident by how they’ve chosen to present only one side of polar bear story. They’ve used polar bears, misused science, and preyed upon people’s emotions all the while ignoring any facts that contradict the narrative they want to make reality. But if we’re not getting the whole truth about polar bears, why should we accept the larger narrative about man-made, catastrophic climate change?” This is why he wants to produce Icebear—but he needs our help. Will you kick in?

The polar bears are there—which is maybe why President Obama didn’t even mention them on his Alaska trip. He wanted to “spotlight the effects of global warming” and a rebounding polar bear population doesn’t fit the narrative.

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Obama’s deceitful, unsustainable energy decrees

solar farm desert

“That’s not the American way. That’s not progress. That’s not innovation. That’s rent-seeking and trying to protect old ways of doing business, and standing in the way of the future.”  

That wasn’t the Wall Street Journal lambasting the mandate- and subsidy-dependent renewable energy consortium. It was President Obama demonizing critics of his plans to replace carbon-based energy with wind, solar and biofuels, stymie the hydraulic fracturing revolution that’s given the United States another century of oil and gas ‚Äì and “fundamentally transform” and downsize the US and global economies.

The president thinks this legacy will offset the Iran, Iraq, Islamic State and other policy debacles he will bequeath to his successors. His presidential library exhibits won’t likely mention those foreign policy fiascoes or the ways his energy policies mostly benefit the richest 1% of Americans, especially political cronies and campaign contributors ‚Äì while crippling the economy and pummeling millions of families and businesses that depend on reliable, affordable oil, gas and coal energy for their income and welfare. 

Mr. Obama and his regulators have already imposed enormous financial, labor, ozone, water, climate, power generation and other burdens on our economy ‚Äì mostly with trifling benefits that exist only in computer models, White House press releases, and rosy reports from advocacy groups that receive billions of dollars from his Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and other agencies. On August 24, he announced another billion-dollar program to force America to produce 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030: mostly wind and solar, plus a little more geothermal and biomass.  

Those sources now provide less than 8% of all electricity, so this is a monumental increase. If the president wants to take credit for any alleged benefits, he must also accept blame for the abysmal failures.

One of the biggest is Solyndra, the solar company that got $535 million in taxpayer-guaranteed loans just before it went belly-up. A four-year investigation found that Solyndra falsified its financials, sales outlook and other business dealings and omitted material facts. However, the Department of Energy failed in its due diligence obligations and apparently buckled under White House pressure to approve the financing.

Par for the course, though, the Justice Department will not seek criminal indictments of any Solyndra officials, nor penalize any DOE apparatchiks for their willing incompetence. After all, a principal investor in the company (George Kaiser) was a major donor to Obama campaigns.

Of course, dozens of other companies also dined at the federal trough, before going under and costing us taxpayers many billions of dollars. But the administration wants more money and mandates ‚Äì and more rules that destroy conventional energy competitors ‚Äì to drive his climate and “transformation” agendas.

Meanwhile, he ignores the one truly and steadily innovative business that has generated real energy, jobs, wealth and tax revenues during his presidency – and largely kept the tepid Obama economy afloat: fracking. In fact, his bureaucrats are working to ban the technology on federal lands and regulate it into a marginal role elsewhere, even as the industry reduces its water use, keeps gasoline prices low, finds ways to produce oil at $45 per barrel, and proves its practices do not contaminate drinking water.

The president also ignores inconvenient facts about his “clean, eco-friendly” renewable energy utopia. For example, wind and solar facilities require vast land acreage and are increasingly moving into sensitive wildlife habitats, threatening protected and endangered birds, bats and other species.

The proposed 550-mile Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline from West Virginia shale gas fields across Virginia to southern North Carolina would impact about 4,600 acres (12% of the District of Columbia), and nearly all that land would be restored to croplands or grassy habitats as soon as the pipe is laid. The fuel is destined mostly for existing gas-fired electrical generating units on a few hundred total acres. If all that gas were used to generate electricity, it would produce 190,500 megawatt-hours of electricity per day.

In stark contrast, generating the same electricity with wind would require 46,000 400-foot turbines on some 475,000 acres of land ‚Äì plus thousands of acres of towering transmission lines to urban centers hundreds of miles away. They would be permanent and highly visible eyesores and wildlife killers, crossing deforested mountain ridges and scenic areas, and generating electricity maybe 20% of the time. Building them would require millions of tons of concrete, iron, copper, rare earth metals from China’s ruined Baotou region, and petroleum for the monstrous bird- and bat-chopping turbine blades.

Energy analyst Robert Bryce says meeting the Obama EPA’s Clean Power Plan emission goals would require blanketing 34 million acres (an area larger than New York State) with wind turbines.

A 2013 study estimates that US wind turbines already kill some 573,000 birds a year – 83,000 of them bald and golden eagles and other raptors. Far better data from Europe, however, suggests that the annual US death toll is closer to 13 million birds and bats. And our wildlife agencies exempt wind companies from endangered species and other environmental laws. More turbines will multiply the carnage.

Moreover, we would still need the gas-fired units, operating inefficiently on standby spinning reserve status and going to full power dozens of times daily, whenever the wind stops blowing. Ditto for solar.

Using solar panels to generate 190,500 MWH per day would require 1.7 million acres of land ‚Äì akin to blanketing Delaware and Rhode Island with habitat-destroying panels ‚Äì plus long transmission lines and gas-fired units.  Los Angeles recently refused to buy power from a much smaller 2,557-acre solar project proposed for the Mojave Desert, because of impacts on desert tortoises and bighorn sheep.

President Obama never mentions any of this ‚Äì or the fact that greater natural gas use is reducing carbon dioxide emissions, which he claims have replaced the sun and other powerful natural forces in driving climate change. This April, US CO2 emissions fell to their lowest level for any month in 27 years. But now that he’s sent coal marching toward history’s ash heap, natural gas is next on his target list.

To top it off, all the billions of dollars, crony corporatism, campaign cash for helpful politicians, feed-in tariffs and Renewable Fuel Standards (mandates and diktats) ‚Äì and all the habitat and wildlife impacts ‚Äì will raise the wind, solar, geothermal and biomass share of the nation’s energy mix from 8% today to only 10% in 2040, to supply our growing population, Energy Information Administration analysts project.

Since 2006, US households received over $18 billion just in federal income tax credits for weatherizing homes, installing solar panels, buying hybrid and electric vehicles, and other “clean energy” investments. But the bottom 60% of families received only 10% of this loot; the top 10% got 60% of the total and 90% of the subsidies and tax credits for ultra-expensive electric vehicles, like the $132,000 Tesla Model S. Worse, that $18 billion could have drilled wells to provide safe drinking water for five billion people!

The United States depends on energy-rich fossil fuels, plus nuclear and hydroelectric power – not pie-in-the-sky ideas or smoke-and-mirrors solutions to imaginary climate catastrophes. So does the rest of the world. We cannot afford pseudo-environmental ideologies, climate fabrications and dictatorial decrees.

Germany’s Energiewende (mandated energy transformation) program also seeks to replace coal and nuclear energy with wind, solar and biofuels. It has made German electricity prices (including $31.5 billion in hidden annual subsidies) nearly ten times higher than in US states that still rely on coal for power generation. The program has already killed countless jobs and threatens to send still more energy-intensive companies overseas ‚Äì to countries that justifiably refuse to slash their hydrocarbon use, CO2 emissions or economic growth in the name of controlling Earth’s eternally changing climate.

Every winter, German, British and other European policies literally kill thousands of poor and elderly people who can no longer afford to heat their homes properly. Where is that vaunted liberal compassion?

Why would the United States want to proceed lemming-like down a similarly delusional energy pathway to economic ruin and the needless deaths of birds, bats and our most vulnerable citizens? Other than reelecting Mr. Obama, what did we do to deserve this? And how can we undo the damage?


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

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The Pacific “Blob” And The Global Warming Pause

oceanSomething strange is happening to the north Pacific. It is setting sea temperature records, scrambling weather patterns, damaging ecosystems, and nudging up the global temperature. The scientists who have observed it call it after what it looks like on temperature maps of the Pacific ‚Äì behold the “blob.” The warmth of 2015 so far and the expectation that it will get even warmer has already given rise to headlines that the “pause” has ended and that global warming has resumed. However one does not follow from the other. The “blob” and the El Nino are weather events not climate, natural fluctuations and not long-term trends. Their contribution to world temperature does not represent a resumption of long term anthropogenic warming in the same way that the cool year of 2007 did not represent the onset of a rapid decline in global temperature. –David Whitehouse, Global Warming Policy Forum, 6 September 2015

We knew almost two years ago that there was something strange happening in the north Pacific. Usually in the Gulf of Alaska huge storms in the wintertime mixes the water down super deep and cools the ocean quite a lot … but we didn’t have those storms in the Winter of 2014-15. So the water stayed warm all Winter, and when Spring came the water was already warmer by several degrees than normal, and then of course it got warmer because of the Sun. These temperatures are above anything we have seen before. –Bill Peterson, NOAA Northwest Fish Science Center

Sea level rise poses one of the biggest threats to human systems in a globally warming world, potentially causing trillions of dollars’ worth of damages to flooded cities around the world. As surface temperatures rise, ice sheets are melting at record rates and sea levels are rising. But there may be some good news amid the worry. Sea levels may not rise as high as assumed. To better understand global sea level rise, Winnick and Caves analyzed the middle Pliocene warm period, the last time in Earth’s history, approximately 3 million years ago, when carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were close to their present values (350-450 parts per million). “Our results are tentatively good news,” Winnick said. “They suggest that global sea level is less sensitive to high atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations than previously thought. In particular, we argue that this is due to the stability of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which might be more resilient than previous studies have suggested.” –Miles Traer, Stanford University, 3 September 2015

One of Britain’s top climate scientists has launched a blistering attack on actress Emma Thompson and the BBC, accusing them of ‘scaremongering’ over the speed of global warming ‚Äì and risking a worsening of the refugee crisis. Richard Betts, head of climate impacts research at the Met Office and a professor at Exeter University, launched his attack on Twitter about an interview Ms Thompson gave to Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis last Wednesday. The actress, a Greenpeace activist who that morning had taken part in a protest against Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic, warned that if the drilling went ahead, the world would be a staggering 4C hotter by 2030. –David Rose, Mail on Sunday, 6 September 2015

Nobody is taking much notice anymore of this kind of habitual [Greenpeace] campaigning. Now that even President Obama has given the green light to ‘drill-baby-drill’ the Arctic, greens are becoming ever more shrill and isolated. And because fossil fuels are cheap and abundant for decades to come, no country is willing to give up extracting, selling and using as much as remains economical. ‚ÄìBenny Peiser, Daily Caller News, 2 September 2015

I have come to the conclusion that the worst almost never happens — the vast majority of dire predictions by negative commentators and supposed experts are simply nonsense. Mankind developed a capacity to imagine terrible outcomes as an insurance policy so we could avoid threats and disasters. But being constantly in dread of fresh catastrophes is impractical and taints our judgment. Those who expect to be unhappy or ill or a failure are more likely to succumb to their anxieties. Always remember that throughout history the pioneers have been exalted, while the doomsayers are forgotten. –Luke Johnson, The Sunday Times, 6 September 2015

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Politifact tells us about American politics and science. We should listen.

orwellSummary: This vignette illustrates important aspects of the climate change debate, and why it has failed to gain sufficient support from Americans to pass large-scale public policy measures. For two decades journalists and scientists have cooperated to produce political propaganda, exaggerating and misrepresenting the work of the IPCC. Their failure should inspire us, showing a resistance to manipulation greater than many people expected (it surprises me).

My post, which started this kerfuffle

In July I published The 97% consensus of climate scientists is only 47%, which showed the hidden results of an excellent survey of scientists’ agreement with the IPPC’s attribution statements about the role of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in global warming. It was high, but lower than usually described — and below the standard for significance. The question has important implications; Obama’s sweeping Clean Power Plan rests on this finding (details here).

it attracted some attention on skeptics’ websites, and pushback from climate activists (both laypeople and scientists). Then GOP presidential candidate Rich Santorum cited this information, and the activists began their usual smear campaign. The facts are quite simple, for those who want to know.

The article at Politifact

Politifact started the cover-up with “Santorum cites flawed climate change figure, and misquotes it” by Linda Qui. She asked me for information. I gave her several thousand words (which I’ll publish tomorrow). She didn’t find anything useful for smearing me, so she ignored it.

Below are the relevant parts of her hit job. My responses follow each quote. Qui tells me she consulted Verheggen and “6 other climate scientists/people who study the consensus issue” “and they all agreed with the survey author”. As you will see below, all that work produced only the weakest of rebuttals. But we can learn much from their attempt.

(a)  Politifact’s big conclusion!

The real finding of the survey actually backs the idea of scientific consensus on climate change, despite varying levels of confidence, said Verheggen.

“It is clear from our survey that a strong majority of scientists agree that greenhouse gases originating from human activity are the dominant cause of recent warming,” he said. That’s consistent with most of the literature on scientific opinion about climate change, experts agreed.

“You don’t get anywhere near 57% when surveying the broad earth science community, and you get very close to full consensus when you ask the experts in climate science,” said Peter Doran, a professor of earth science at Louisiana State University.

National Science Board member James Powell surveyed what’s actually published in scientific journals, finding that the consensus in the literature is about 99.9%. And multiple independent studies have “asked scientists directly” and found consensus levels of around 97%, said William Anderegg, who studies climate change at Princeton University.  “Those studies were rigorously peer-reviewed and thus should be considered more credible than a blog post that misreads an institute report,” he said.

The four surveys Politifact mention asked in general terms about scientists’ agreement that there has been anthropogenic human warming.

 

  • Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature” by John Cook et al (Environmental Research Letters, 22 April 2013) looked for studies that “implied that humans were causing global warming”.
  • Powell’s paper used Cook’s data to find studies rejecting “anthropogenic global warming.”
  • Stacy Rosenberg et al (Climate Change, August 2010; ungated copy here) asked scientists if they “can say with great certainty that global warming is a process that is already underway” and that “with great certainty that human activities are accelerating global warming.”
  • Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change” by Dorlan and Zimmerman (EOS, 20 January 2009) asked similar questions: “When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?” and “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”

 

These studies (and 5 others described here) find high levels of agreement with those broad statements. But such statements — Gallup-like polls — don’t provide a basis to restructure the world economy. Science is about precision, as found in the IPCC’s attribution statements, which is why they are so valuable. Here’s the key finding in AR5 about greenhouse gases (repeating more precisely the same finding in 2007’s AR4). Compare it with the above questions.

“more than half of the observed increase in GMST {global mean surface temperature} from 1951 to 2010 is … due to the observed anthropogenic increase in GHG {greenhouse gas} concentrations.”

The PBL survey tested agreement with this attribution statement, asking for their “confidence level” about it — more useful than asking about belief in anthropogenic global warming as a true/false proposition. Of course a precise (i.e., narrower) statement like the IPCC’s will get lower levels of agreement than the broad statements tested in previous surveys.

How many scientists agreed at the “extremely likely” level (which the IPCC defines as 95%+ level, the usual minimum standard for use in science and public policy)?  43% of all 1,868 respondents (47% excluding the “don’t know” group).

How many agreed at the “very likely ” level (90%+ in the IPCC’s reports), which is what AR4 and AR5 assigned? 57% (again, less excluding the “don’t knows”). A majority, although a small one.

These findings are surprisingly low, and so unmentioned by the authors of the PBL study. The reaction to my post shows the strong effort to hide them.

These findings of the PBL report are consistent with the previous studies (agreeing with anthropogenic warming), but provide more detail. By describing them as contradictory Politifact misleads its readers. Verheggen, Doran, Powell, and Anderegg participate in the deception (perhaps ignorantly, as they might not have read my post — but just joined in the smear like good boys).

Politifact’s big conclusion is a magician’s trick, moving the pea while the audience watches from 95% agreement that more than half of warming since 1950 is anthropogenic to the far broader agrees with anthropogenic warming.

That’s how the global warming crusade runs. Deception and misrepresentations are activists’ standard tactics. the campaign’s big lie: if you disagree with predictions of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, then you deny global warming. By repetition they’ve embedded this “logic” in the minds of millions. They even indoctrinated children, such as this student at U NH, who responds to Cruz’s correct statement that the 2 NASA-funded satellite datasets show a pause in warming since ~2000 by saying “Ted Cruz insults University of New Hampshire, denies the earth is warming“.

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Amid Military Monsters, Obama Chases Junk-Science Chimera

warshipsPresident Obama flew to Alaska Monday to claim that global warming is a U.S. security threat. He would have been better off noticing the five Chinese warships and 40 Russian icebreakers off Alaska’s coast.

Burning thousands of gallons of fossil fuel and leaving an enormous carbon footprint, Obama jetted 4,400 miles to Alaska for three days, to talk about global warming (and sight-see). He took selfie-stick photos for his daily travelogue, danced with Alaska natives, and renamed North America’s highest peak, known officially as Mount McKinley for a century, the politically correct Native American name Denali.

Above all, his mission was to warn Americans about climate change, claiming rather absurdly that the late-summer melting of ice in the Alaska wilds was evidence of global warming, not the seasons.

“The impacts of climate change are real, and the people of Alaska are living with them every day,” he tweeted from the White House website. “It’s never been more important for us to address this challenge,” he wrote, signing it “-bo” to let readers know he did it himself.

It was just the tip of his melting glacier. Last May, he told graduating Coast Guard cadets that “climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security, and make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country.”

When a U.S. president has beliefs such as these, it’s no surprise that America’s challengers for global hegemony could not have chosen a better time to make show of force — just off Alaska.

It wasn’t merely that Russia made a show of patrolling with its 40 icebreakers, prompting Obama to say he was thinking of maybe acquiring another to add to America’s fleet of … two.

China sailed around the Aleutian Islands, sending five warships — three combat vessels, one supply replenishment ship, and one amphibious landing ship — to the edge of Alaska’s waters. The group might amount to a coordinated fleet maneuver that U.S. intelligence analysts have said China has not so far been able to project.

We do know that the amphibious landing vessel was sent out to project the “sea control” power of a blue water navy, something a defensive “sea denial” regional coastal fleet can’t.

These naval exercises also come at a time of heightened Chinese militarism, exactly when the old gray men of Beijing are in what’s believed to be a power struggle over an economic crisis of their own making. This week, China’s military held a vast Soviet-style military parade to demonstrate its military might, as Beijing’s oligarchs — quite a few who haven’t been seen in awhile, such as Jiang Zemin — watched.

The big show accompanies China’s rising military spending, its increased modernization, and its willingness to use its growing power.

China has not only threatened its Asian neighbors with that power, the parade — which wasn’t open to the public so much as the television cameras for projection abroad — was to show off China’s efforts to recruit allies in opposition to the U.S. Obama’s new ally Castroite Cuba was one. And we noticed that Russia’s Vladimir Putin was also in attendance.

The same day as the parade, China announced it would be laying off 300,000 of its 2 million land-based troops. In “Asia’s Cauldron,” Robert D. Kaplan wrote that far from being a sign of weakening, that is a sign of modernization.

“Military modernization is actually about smaller but more up-to-date force structures,” he wrote. It’s a likely shift from land-based forces to sea and air power, he noted.

It’s quite a chilling picture from a rising Asian power and a longtime rival — right in America’s northernmost state. Yet all our president could offer on this trip was his obsession with the junk-science of global warming. Monsters encircle us, and he’s chasing a chimera.

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Alaska a good site for eco-scare tour

obamaAlaska was an excellent selection for President Barack Obama’s scare campaign on climate change, during which he has warned entire countries could be submerged by rising oceans if global warming is not halted.

Obama has not mentioned, of course, that the draconian plan he has in mind will do virtually nothing to curb rising temperatures. It will force electric bills up for tens of millions of American families, however.

White House strategists who picked Alaska for Obama’s tour on behalf of his campaign to shut down coal-fired power plants should have read their history books.

Had they done so, they would have learned of a similar scare campaign during the early 1970s. Radical environmentalists warned then that construction of the Alaska pipeline would devastate caribou herds.

But by 2003, nearly 30 years after the pipeline had been completed, the Western Arctic caribou herd numbered about 490,000 animals – more than twice its pre-pipeline level. During the past decade, the caribou population has dropped substantially – but there is no reason to believe the pipeline is to blame.

But during the 1970s – at a time, by the way, when there were doom and gloom predictions about global cooling – radical environmentalists were quick to hop on the anti-pipeline bandwagon because of warnings about the caribou.

And before you ask, yes, energy fear mongers behind the caribou scare claimed the science on that, too, was settled.

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EPA Moves to Limit Methane Emissions

fracking operationsThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled its proposed regulations intended to slash methane emissions from oil and gas production by almost half.

The proposal is part of the Obama administration’s ongoing efforts to curb global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In a statement, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said, “Today, through our cost-effective proposed standards, we are underscoring our commitment to reducing the pollution fueling climate change.”

EPA’s proposal would limit emissions from new or modified natural gas wells by requiring energy producers to find and repair leaks at oil and gas wells and capture gas escaping from wells that use fracking. The rules would not apply to existing wells, which number in the thousands.

The Obama administration has set an overall target of cutting methane emissions from the energy sector by 40–45 percent by 2025, compared to 2012 levels. EPA estimates these rules will cost industry between $320 million and $420 million to comply with in 2025.

‘Unnecessary and Counterproductive’

The proposal is expected to face fierce opposition from lawmakers and energy groups who argue the rules are unnecessary and will hamper the energy revolution, which they say has been one of the nation’s few success stories since the Great Recession ended in 2009.

“The EPA’s plan to limit emissions flies in the face of technological reality,” said House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) in a statement. “The truth is that while the oil and natural gas industry has greatly increased production on state and private lands, methane emissions have actually fallen. The Obama Administration continues to prioritize the fantasies of the environmental Left over American energy security and economic growth.”

“According to EPA estimates, only 1.5 percent of methane is lost during the life cycle of natural gas production,” said Isaac Orr, a research fellow at The Heartland Institute, which publishes Environment & Climate News.

Gary Stone, vice president of engineering for FiveStates Energy, a Dallas-based oil and gas company, says the new rules are unnecessary because companies strive to keep methane from escaping.

“Methane is the primary component of natural gas,” said Stone. “Every cubic foot of methane that escapes into the atmosphere is a cubic foot of gas that could have been sold. Companies have every financial reason to retain that gas if at all possible, especially in this low-price environment. To think they would ignore this fact or to believe more government regulations will save money and help the situation is ludicrous.

“The EPA admits the industry has voluntarily reduced emissions through technology and developments in production techniques by 16 percent since 1990,” Stone said.

In a statement, Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, echoed Stone’s view.

“The oil and gas industry is leading the charge in reducing methane,” said Gerard. “The last thing we need is more duplicative and costly regulation that could increase the cost of energy for Americans.”

Only ‘a Good Start’?

In an interview with Fox News on August 18, David Doniger, director of climate policy for the environmental activist group Natural Resources Defense Council, called the new regulations “a good start” and said the EPA “needs to follow up by setting methane leakage standards for existing oil and gas operations nationwide.”

Additional regulations appear to be on the way. In the August 18 conference call announcing the methane regulations, Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA, said the current regulations would cut methane emissions by only 20–30 percent by 2025.

Despite repeated questions from reporters, McCabe refused to specify where the remaining reductions would come from.

“What I am saying is that as we move forward, additional opportunities will be identified in order to get to the goal,” McCabe told the press.

Stone says the proposed regulations are part of a series of ongoing attempts by the Obama administration to promote climate alarmist policies.

“EPA’s proposed rules to limit methane emissions … released by drilling and production operations are but another salvo in the current administration’s war on fossil fuels in general and the U.S. oil and gas industry in particular,” said Stone. “[These rules are based on] the same bogus Chicken Little lies told about the mythical manmade global warming beast: Man caused [Earth to warm], drastic action and taxpayer money are needed, and we’re the only ones smart enough to do anything.”

Orr says the new methane rules are politically motivated.

“This isn’t about stopping climate change; it’s about President [Barack] Obama’s climate change legacy,” Orr said. “There is an important distinction.

“The fact of the matter is these regulations will yield no tangible climate benefit,” Orr said.

The Obama administration is expected to finalize the rules in 2016 after a public consultation period.

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Global warming or natural variability?

floods texasIt’s long been said that human-driven emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere make the earth warmer. As temperature increases, so does the amount of moisture in the atmosphere. In times of rain, that results in more water coming down. Meanwhile, some scientists believe that human-caused warming of the oceans adds to El Ni√±o cycles, something that also affects the atmosphere. A new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters ties these things together as a cause of May 2015 floods in Texas and Oklahoma.

Chip Knappenberger is a former research coordinator at the Virginia State Climatology Office and is now serving as assistant director of the center for the study of science at the Cato Institute. He says it’s possible the authors of the paper are misidentifying things.

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Obama Ready To Consider Extreme Weather Compensation For Developing Nations?

climate debtRich nations at UN climate talks are said to be edging towards a compromise on the thorny issue of loss and damage. Poorer countries want compensation for extreme weather events that they link to large scale carbon emissions. But the US and EU have long resisted this idea, fearing an endless liability running into billions of dollars. However a clarified proposal from the US … was said to concede that the Warsaw Mechanism should be extended and made permanent. They would also “respond to the concerns of developing countries”. –Matt McGrath, BBC News, 4 September 2015

The developing nations are not stupid. They have ensnared the West in a climate trap that green politicians set for themselves. To meet the growing pressure by the West, developing countries are demanding $200- 400 billion dollars ‚Äì per annum ‚Äì for so-called climate compensation and adaptation measures, together with billions worth of technology transfers. It is difficult to see how the West, already heavily curtailed as a result of the economic crisis, would be prepared to transfer such an astronomical amount of money. Even in good times it would have been a foolish idea. Most likely, all efforts of reaching a binding climate agreement will fail in coming years. The pressure of lowering expectations of a green utopia will therefore increase. –Benny Peiser, Copenhagen and the Demise of Green Utopia, Die Weltwoche 23 December 2009

A coalition of the world’s richest countries appears to have accepted that there is a need to address loss and damage from extreme weather events in a UN climate deal, set to be agreed in December. The US, EU, Switzerland and Australia are working on separate proposals on how the contentious issue could be included in the Paris pact, and are expected to deliver their vision at UN climate talks in Bonn on Friday. Two observers monitoring the negotiations have told RTCC this text will recognise the importance of helping poor countries cope with climate-influenced events. –Ed King, Responding to Climate Change, 3 September 2015

Climate change is a “pressing” global challenge and the poor people are ‘most adversely’ affected by it, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said and suggested a shift of the discourse on the issue from ‘climate change to climate justice.’ “In my view, the most adversely affected by climate change are the poor and the downtrodden. When a natural disaster strikes, they are hit the hardest. When there are floods, they are rendered homeless. During a quake, their homes are destroyed. “During droughts, they are affected and during extreme cold too, the homeless suffer the most. We can’t let climate change keep affecting people in this manner. Which is why I believe the discourse must shift focus from climate change to climate justice,” Modi said. —Press Trust of India, 3 September 2015

The Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) will call on the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases to compensate all Pacific Islands that are affected by climate change. At the PIDF meeting yesterday, the forum agreed that compensation will be a key component in the Suva Declaration which will be adopted today at the conclusion of the meeting. PIDF Interim Secretary-General Amena Yauvoli said “those who are responsible for emitting the most greenhouse gases should pay” as their actions contradicted what they had agreed upon in the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC). Given the need to address the seriousness of climate change, the UNFCC has set up a Green Climate Fund worth $US100billion. “Its purpose is to fund those nations affected by climate change, the question now is how we can access those funds,” said Mr Yauvoli. –Sikeli Qounadovu, The Fiji Times, 4 September 2015

The two most senior officials in the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat have called on countries at the latest round of talks in Bonn to put forward draft texts for a global deal, as fears grow that the negotiations are once again stalling. At the latest round of talks in Bonn, countries yesterday raised the alarm that time is running out before the Paris Summit at the end of this year where they will be expected to sign a global deal to tackle climate change. –Jessica Shankleman, Business Green, 3 September 2015

The EU has pledged that 27 percent of its energy will come from renewables by 2030 — but now the fight is over how individual countries are supposed to pitch in to reach that goal, addressed in a draft proposal issued by Luxembourg this week. Some countries, especially the U.K. and central and eastern Europeans, want a soft, non-legislative approach which would not interfere with their right to decide their energy mix. In other words, it would allow the U.K. to continue building nuclear power plants and exploring for shale gas, while coal would continue to play an important part in Poland’s power generation. But other countries keener on slashing emissions and switching to solar and wind, like Germany, Denmark and Sweden, want a tougher system to ensure that everyone is doing their fair share. –Anca Gurzu, Politico, 3 September 2015

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Trio charged with running $54M green-energy Ponzi scheme

tech(h/t Raining Sky) Three people were charged Thursday with running a $54 million Ponzi scheme built on promises of a green energy technology that would turn trash into fuel and “carbon-negative” housing developments, neither of which were ever fully developed, federal prosecutors said.

Troy Wragg, 34, of Georgia; Amanda Knorr, 32, of Pennsylvania; and Wayde McKelvy, 52, of Colorado were charged with wire and securities fraud and conspiracy. It wasn’t immediately clear if they had attorneys who could comment on their behalf.

Prosecutors said the trio lied to investors that their “biochar” technology and “carbon-negative” housing in Tennessee made millions, but they had almost no earnings and used the money to repay earlier investors and for themselves.

The scam allegedly ran from 2005 until 2009, even after the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil lawsuit against Wragg and Knorr’s Mantria Corp. They were ordered in 2012 to pay $37 million each.

“The scheme alleged in this indictment offered investors the best of both worlds — investing in sustainable and clean energy products while also making a profit,” U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger said in a news release. “Unfortunately for the investors, it was all a hoax and they lost precious savings. These defendants preyed on the emotions of their victims and sold them a scam.”

The investors got back about $6 million in June as part of a class-action lawsuit against former Mantria employees, according to attorney Patrick Howard. Wragg and Knorr were not part of that suit.

Two months before the SEC civil lawsuit, the company was publicly recognized for its stated commitment to “help mitigate global warming” by former President Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative. The company was cited for its plans to develop the biochar technology that it said would sequester carbon dioxide and reduce emissions in developing countries. Wragg appeared on stage with Clinton at the event in September 2009.

McKelvy, who prosecutors say has never been licensed to sell securities, raised money through his Speed of Wealth seminars in Colorado, Las Vegas and elsewhere, including one that featured a speech from former Broncos quarterback John Elway.

McKelvy allegedly told investors that Mantria was the next Microsoft and that it was “on the cusp of a revolutionary technology that’s going to change the world, and you guys can benefit from it by putting money in and getting stinkin’ wealthy.”

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Daily Signal destroys Obama’s doom-and-gloom global warmist speech in Alaska

Look! That's how high I want your taxes to be!While everyone is talking about President Obama’s decision to rename Mount McKinley, it’s worth remembering that his main purpose in taking the Alaska trip in the first place was to do more blustering about global warming. And it’s even more worth remembering why liberals talk about global warming, which is that they’re using it as a pretext to push for massive tax increases, new federal controls on manufacturing and more government intervention in energy markets.

In other words, these policies are not a solution to “global warming.” Quite the opposite, “global warming” is the excuse they need to enact these policies. That’s why they keep insisting “the debate is over” and they tell you you’re “anti-science” if you don’t just accept everything they say about it. That’s why they insist “we must act now.” Because just like with ObamaCare, they want to get the policies in place as quickly as they can so they’ll become next-to-impossible to get rid of.

But as Katie Tubb at the Daily Signal reports, look who’s hating science now:

However, Judith Curry, professor at Georgia Institute for Technology and participant in the International Panel on Climate Change and National Academy of Sciences, writes that when politicians talk about an undeniable climate “consensus” they are brushing over “very substantial disagreement about climate change that arises from:

    • Insufficient observational evidence
    • Disagreement about the value of different classes of evidence (e.g. models)
    • Disagreement about the appropriate logical framework for linking and assessing the evidence
    • Assessments of areas of ambiguity and ignorance
    • Belief polarization as a result of politicization of the science

All this leaves multiple ways to interpret and reason about the available evidence.”

Curry, and others with evidence countering the president’s narrative of an accelerating and catastrophic warming, are labeled by Obama as “critics,” “cynics,” “deniers,” and on “their own shrinking island.”

Yet data of observed reality collected from the U.N.’s International Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. National Climate Data Center does not show increasing frequency of extreme weather across the globe, whether you look at hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, or floods.

Tubb goes on to point out that Obama’s new Clean Power Plan, even if it were implemented in full after surviving a myriad of legal challenges, would likely have little or no effect on global temperatures – with an impact as small as 0.002 degrees celsius.

That’s because the left’s proposed solutions are never really about solving the problem. They’re about transferring wealth and power from the productive class to the political class – just like everything Democrats do. If global warming was really a huge, man-made problem, the best solution would come from the private sector in the form of new, cleaner technologies and better manufacturing processes. The best thing the federal government could do to bring this about would be to cut the 35 percent corporate tax to free up more capital for the business community to achieve this.

Think they’re interested in that? Of course not. So-called solutions to global warming are only worth considering if they solve the real problem as the left sees it: Not enough power for government.

By the way, when a politician is trying to grab more power, it might be nice if he got a little scrutiny from the media instead of a cheering section. That’s not happening, of course, because the mainstream media has been completely hoodwinked by the global warming nonsense, leaving it to outlets like the Daily Signal to call them on their nonsense.

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Denmark Readies U-Turn on Ambitious Climate Targets

cartoon climate talksDenmark’s widening budget deficit is forcing its policy makers to take some hard decisions in the very area where they are considered global role models: the fight against climate change. Denmark’s Liberal government is to reverse ambitious CO2 emission targets introduced by the previous administration. It will also drop plans to phase out coal-fired power plants and become fossil-fuel free by 2050, according to leaked documents first reported by newspaper Information. The news about Denmark’s cost-cutting measures, which also include a reduction in green funding initiatives worth 340 million kroner ($51.5 million) through 2019, came on the same day on which U.S. President Barack Obama issued a global appeal for urgent action in the buildup to a United Nations summit in Paris in December. —Peter Levring, Bloomberg, 1 September 2015

A subsidy for green heating systems worth more than ¬£400m a year is set to be pruned in the autumn spending review as ministers seek to rein back spending at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Officials have also proposed earmarking some of the money Decc gives to the International Climate Fund — amounting to ¬£335m in 2015. Meanwhile, Decc is playing down a rumour that it could be merged into another ministry, the business department, for example, to cut costs. “I’d strongly, strongly steer you away from that,” said one insider. –Jim Pickard and Pilita Clark, Financial Times, 3 September 2015

More than one million solar energy projects and 25,000 wind turbines are obviously not enough: Despite Germany’s green energy revolution, the federal government’s climate targets cannot be achieved. This is the result of the most recent update of the so-called Energiewende-Index by consulting firm McKinsey. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 is “unrealistic”, says the report. Any improvement is not in sight either, the authors conclude: “The prospects for a turnaround by 2020 are permanently bad.” –Daniel Wetzel, Die Welt, 3 September 2015

The Dutch government said Tuesday it plans to appeal against a court decision which ordered it to slash emissions, arguing the verdict could set a precedent for courts to interfere with government policy. In a June 24 ruling, a court in The Hague ordered the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020, saying that the more modest 17 percent cuts that it was expected to achieve by that year were not enough to combat global warming. Wilma Mansveld, the Dutch environment minister, sent a letter to the Dutch parliament announcing the cabinet would appeal against the ruling, arguing that the verdict constrains the state’s ability to make decisions by balancing competing interests. –Kalina Oroschakov, Politico, 1 September 2015

Diplomats tasked with forging a climate rescue pact expressed frustration Wednesday over the lagging progress, with only seven negotiating days left until a Paris conference which must seal the deal. “I think we are all equally frustrated at the pace of the negotiations currently,” Amjad Abdulla of the Maldives, who speaks for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), told AFP. Instead of rolling up sleeves and reworking the text, still over 80 pages long and littered with contradictory proposals, the Bonn session had seen “conceptual discussions, going around in circles,” he said. AFP, 2 September 2015

Frustrated by slow progress in global climate talks, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to invite around 40 world leaders including President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to a closed- door meeting next month. Major players including India, Indonesia and Brazil still haven’t submitted their climate plans, and the draft text for the Paris agreement remains an 88-page grab bag of conflicting options that negotiators still must sort out. At a news conference in Paris last week, Ban urged them to pick up the pace. “We have only less than a hundred days for final negotiations,” Ban said, complaining that diplomats were still working on a “business-as-usual” schedule. “They have been repeating what they have been doing during the last 20 years. We don’t have time to waste.” –Ewa Krukowska and Alex Nussbaum, Bloomberg, 1 September 2015

In Why Are We Waiting? (a follow-up to his well known Review of 2006), Nicholas Stern assembles scientific, moral and economic arguments that rapid and radical reductions of greenhouse gas emissions are needed to limit global warming to 2¬∞C above pre-industrial temperatures, and wonders why progress is so slow. Stern’s book is not reliable on either science or policy. In Chapter 4 Stern tells us that current economic models of climate impacts are not alarming enough. But in the end, the book’s main weakness is its failure to answer the question ‘Why Are We Waiting?‘ –Ruth Dixon, My Garden Pond blog, 1 September 2015

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