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An Inconvenient Truth: Cyclones, Hurricanes, Wildfires Aren’t Getting Worse

Gore making predictions in 2006Gore making false predictions circa 2006President Obama issued a stark warning over the weekend about the world’s future if global warming continues.

But his alarmism glosses over an inconvenient truth: storms and wildfires aren’t getting worse due to global warming.

“Stronger storms. Deeper droughts. Longer wildfire seasons,” Obama said in a video address ahead of Earth Day. “The world’s top climate scientists are warning us that a changing climate already affects the air our kids breathe.”

Obama’s comments, however, come on reports that the number of tropical cyclones is at a 45-year low, the U.S. hasn’t had a major hurricane make landfall in the last decade and the number of reported wildfires are well below the 10-year average.

Cyclones Not Living Up To The Hype

Hurricane expert Dr. Ryan Maue reported last week that the 5-year running sum for tropical cyclones globally hit a 45-year low. Maue wrote that in “the pentad since 2006, Northern Hemisphere and global tropical cyclone ACE has decreased dramatically to the lowest levels since the late 1970s” and “the frequency of tropical cyclones has reached a historical low.”

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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” width=”500″><p>5-year running sum of number of global tropical cyclones (1970-2015)&#10;Stuck at 400 &#8212; lowest in this 45-year record. <a href=”http://t.co/V7CGhKk2nL”>pic.twitter.com/V7CGhKk2nL</a></p>
<p>&mdash; Ryan Maue (@RyanMaue) <a href=”https://twitter.com/RyanMaue/status/588393751908761600″>April 15, 2015</a></p></blockquote>
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Maue’s observations have been backed by research by University of Colorado climate scientist Dr. Roger Pielke Jr., who wrote in his blog that cyclones in “2014 had 10 total landfalls” the “second lowest (tied with 4 other years) since 1970.” Pielke added that the “past four years have seen 50 total landfalls, the lowest four-year total since 1982.”

 

For years, environmentalists and Democrats have argued global warming will make tropical cyclones more intense and frequent. Al Gore famously said in 2014 that “extreme weather events related to climate that are now 100 times more common than they were just 30 years ago.” Gore made his comments about a year after typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines and displaced thousands of people.

But Gore must not have been reading the actual science on global warming’s link to extreme weather. Aside from research by Maue and Pielke, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there’s “no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century… No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin.”

The Hurricane Drought Continues

While cyclones hit 45-year lows, the U.S. has not seen a category 3 or greater hurricane make landfall in nearly a decade. The last major hurricane to hit the U.S. was Hurricane Wilma in Oct. 2005.

“That puts us at 3460 days as of today, and when hurricane season starts June 1st… it will be 3507 days, or 9 years, 7 months, 8 days” since a major hurricane hit the U.S., writes meteorologist and noted science blogger Anthony Watts.

In places like Florida, the time between intense hurricanes making landfall has doubled from three to six years, according to Pielke’s research. This is despite rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide emissions, which climate scientists say are behind global warming in recent decades and causing weather to become more extreme.

The National Interagency Coordination Center recently reported that the “2014 Atlantic Hurricane season was the least active in twenty years with only eight named storms in the Atlantic basin.” The agency noted that no named storms made landfall in the U.S., but one tropical storm did hit Hawaii in August 2014.

“By the end of hurricane season no Type 1 or Type 2 incident management teams had been assigned to hurricane incidents,” NICC reported.

Wildfires Fail To Ignite Controversy

Another claim made by environmentalists, politicians and some scientists, is that global warming will make wildfires a lot worse. Indeed, 2014 did see wildfires burn more acres than normal in northern California and the Pacific Northwest. NICC notes in its annual report that “Northern California (152 percent) and Northwest (214 percent) were the only Geographic Areas to experience above average acres burned.”

But NICC also reported that nationally, “the 2014 fire season was below normal for number of reported wildfires” and the “number of acres burned in 2014 was 3,595,613 or 53 percent of the national 10-year average.”

Northern California and the Northwest aside, NICC reports that “[a]ll other Geographic Areas were below their annual average acres. Nine fires exceeded 40,000 acres in 2014; eleven fewer than in 2013.”

Okay, 2014 is only one year, but looking at the data the number of acres burned by wildfires have fallen dramatically since 2006 when 30,415 fires burned more than 2.2 million acres of land.

Despite claims that wildfires could become a bigger problem from global warming, forestry experts have pointed out that stewardship has a bigger impact on forest and wildfires than the climate does.

“Policy makers who halt active forest management and kill ‘green’ harvesting jobs in favor of a ‘hands-off’ approach contribute to the buildup of fuels in the forest,” Professor David B. South of Auburn University told Congress last year.

“This eventually increases the risk of catastrophic wildfires,” South said. “To attribute this human-caused increase in fire risk to carbon dioxide emissions is simply unscientific.”

In 1930, wildfires consumed more than 50 million acres of land, but in 2012 wildfires only burnt up 9.2 million acres. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said carbon dioxide concentrations were much lower in the 1940s (only 310 parts per million by volume), meaning global temperatures were cooler while wildfires were much more prevalent than today.

“These data suggest that extremely large megafires were 4-times more common before 1940,” South said, adding that “we cannot reasonably say that anthropogenic global warming causes extremely large wildfires.”

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Billions of dollars needed to fix aging, vulnerable U.S. energy infrastructure, reports says

Ernest MonizErnest MonizU.S. power and energy infrastructure is outdated and perhaps more vulnerable than ever to the effects of climate change or other threats, and will require tens of billions of dollars in repairs and modernization, according to a landmark Obama administration report.

The first installment of the Energy Department’s Quadrennial Energy Review, commissioned by President Obama 15 months ago, paints a grim picture for the U.S. electric grid, power transmission lines, natural gas and oil pipelines, ports, railways and other critical pieces of national infrastructure.

The report found that threats to the grid, including terrorist attacks or unprecedented storms caused by climate change, are growing in number while the reliability and safety of the grid has remained stagnant or, in some cases, gone backward.

Much the same for oil-and-gas infrastructure, the study shows.

“These infrastructures have not kept pace with changes in the volume and geography of oil and gas production. The nation’s ports, waterways and rail systems are congested, with the growing demand for handling energy commodities increasingly in competition with transport needs for food and other non-energy freight,” the report reads in part. “Although improvements are being made, much of the relevant infrastructure — pipelines, rail systems, ports and waterways alike — is long overdue for repairs and modernization.”

Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and other administration officials will discuss the report during a speech in Philadelphia later Tuesday. They’ll also detail the White House plan for tackling today’s infrastructure challenges.

To complement the report, the administration announced the formation of the Partnership for Energy Sector Climate Resilience, which will bring leading energy companies together with the Energy Department to develop plans for protecting infrastructure against extreme weather and other effects of climate change.

The Agriculture Department also announced it will provide $72 million to support six new rural electric infrastructure projects, including repairs to outdated transmission lines.

The report also recommends dozens of other infrastructure projects that must be tackled soon, including a $2.5 billion Energy Department initiative to improve natural-gas distribution; a $3.5 billion plan to modernize the U.S. electric grid; at least $ 1.5 billion to improve and extend the life of the crucial Strategic Petroleum Reserve; a $2 billion investment in regional transport systems; and many others.

As Mr. Obama rolls out controversial programs to stem the tide of climate change, the report argues that global warming represents one of the gravest threats to the U.S. energy transmission, storage and distribution (TS&D) infrastructure.

“By far the most important environmental factor affecting TS&D infrastructure needs now and going forward is global climate change,” the study says. “Sea-level rise, thawing permafrost and increases in weather extremes are already affecting TS&D infrastructure in many regions. The need to mitigate global climate change by reducing (greenhouse-gas) emissions, moreover, is accelerating changes in the mix of energy supply options and end-use patterns and over time, it is likely to become the dominant such influence.”

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The Environmental Insane Asylum

cartoon earth-day-afterEarth Day was declared in 1970 and for the past 45 years we have all been living in the Environmental Insane Asylum, being told over and over again to believe things that are the equivalent of Green hallucinations. Now the entire month of April has been declared Earth Month, but in truth not a day goes by when we are not assailed with the bold-faced lies that comprise environmentalism.

Around the globe, the worst part of this is that we are being victimized by people we are told to respect from the President of the United States to the Pope of the Catholic Church. Their environmentalism is pure socialism.

Organizations whom we expect to tell the truth keep telling us that “climate change is one of the biggest global security threats of the 21st century.”  This was a recent statement by “world leaders” like the G7, a group of finance ministers and central bank governors of seven advanced economies, the International Monetary Fund, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States. On April 17 they adopted a report about the “threat” put together by think tanks that included the European Union Institute for Security Studies and the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

When I speak of “climate” I am referring to data gathered not just about decades, but centuries of the Earth’s cycles of warming and cooling. When I speak of “weather”, the closest any of us get to it other than today’s, are local predictions no longer than a few days’ time at best. The weather is in a constant state of flux.

Climate change is not a threat and most certainly there is no global warming. As Prof. Bob Carter, a geologist at James Cook College in Queensland, Australia, has written, “For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco.”

The fact that the Earth is now into the nineteenth year of a natural planetary cooling cycle seems to never be acknowledged or reported. “The problem here,” says Prof. Carter, “is not that of climate change per se, but rather that of the sophisticated scientific brainwashing that has been inflicted on the public, bureaucrats and politicians alike.”

In a book I recommend to everyone, “Climate for the Layman” by Anthony Bright-Paul, he draws on the best well-known science about the Earth noting that “Since there is no such thing as a temperature of the whole Earth all talk of global warming is simply illogical, ill thought out, and needs to be discarded for the sake of clarity. The globe is warming and cooling in different locations concurrently every minute of the day and night.”

“Since it is abundantly clear that there is no one temperature of the atmosphere all talk of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is simply an exercise in futility.” A look at the globe from either of its two poles to its equator and everything in between tells us with simple logic that being able to determine its “temperature” is impossible. The Earth, however, has gone through numerous warming and cooling cycles, all of which were the result of more or less solar radiation.

The Sun was and is the determining factor. The assertion that humans have any influence or impact that can determine whether the Earth is warmer or cooler is absurd.

The Earth had passed through warming and cooling cycles for billions of years before humans even existed, yet we are told that the generation of carbon dioxide through the use of machinery in manufacturing, transportation or any other use is causing the build-up of “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere. We are told to give up the use of coal, oil and natural gas. That is a definition of insanity!

Here’s the simple truth that most people are not told: The Sun warms the Earth and the Earth warms the atmosphere.

As for carbon dioxide, the amount generated by human activity represents a miniscule percentage of the 0.04% in the Earth’s atmosphere. There has been more carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere—well before humans existed—contributing to the growth of all manner of vegetation which in turn generated oxygen.

Without carbon dioxide there would be no life on Earth. It feeds the vegetation on which animal life depends directly and indirectly. As Anthony Bright-Paul says, “A slight increase in atmosphere of carbon dioxide will not and cannot produce any warming, but can be hugely beneficial to a green planet.”

The Earth’s atmosphere is approximately 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, 0.9% Argon, 0.04% Carbon Dioxide, and the rest is water vapor and trace gases in very small amounts. They interact to provide an environment in which life, animal and vegetable, exists on Earth.

When you live in a Global Environmental Insane Asylum, you are not likely to hear or read the truth, but you can arrive at it using simple logic. We know instinctively that humans do not control the waves of our huge oceans, nor the vast tectonic plates beneath our feet, the eruptions of volcanoes, the Jetstream, cloud formation, or any of the elements of the weather we experience, such as thunder, lightning, and other acts of Nature.

Why would we blindly assume or agree to the torrent of lies that humans are “causing” climate change? The answer is that on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, we will be deluged with the propaganda of countless organizations worldwide that we are, in fact, endangering a “fragile” planet Earth.  We hear and read that every other day of the year as well.

The achievement of the human race and the last 5,000 years of so-called civilization is the way we have learned to adapt to Nature by creating habitats from villages to cities in which to survive and because we have devised a vast global agricultural and ranching system to feed seven billion of us.

As for the weather, John Christy, the director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama, says he cringes “when I hear overstated confidence from those who describe the projected evolution of global weather patterns over the next one hundred years, especially when I consider how difficult it is to accurately predict that system’s behavior over the next five days.”

“Mother Nature,” says Christy, “simply operates at a level of complexity that is, at this point, behind the mastery of mere mortals—such as scientists—and the tools available to us.”

Whether it is the President or the Pope, or the countless politicians and bureaucrats, along with multitudes of “environmental” organizations, as well as self-serving “scientists”, all aided by the media, a virtual Green Army has been deliberately deceiving and misleading the citizens of planet Earth for four and a half decades. It won’t stop any time soon, but it must before the charade of environmentalism leaves us all enslaved by the quest for political control over our lives that hides behind it.

We must escape the Environmental Insane Asylum in which they want us to live.

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Carbon dioxide emissions keep rising despite Obama’s reign of regs

EIA ChartA report published today by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have increased over the past two years, despite Obama’s bevy of new regulations since taking office in 2009. Collectively, CO2 emissions make up the largest part of overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and Obama has even pledged to cut emissions 26%-28% by 2025 over 2005 levels as part of a U.N.-backed global warming treaty.

The EPA also reported in mid-April that there was a “two percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 from 2012 levels, but a nine percent drop in emissions since 2005.” This new report, though, shows that despite administration efforts, greenhouse gas emissions are still rising and do not appear to be benefitting from the onerous regulations imposed by the EPA. In 2013, CO2 emissions rose 2.5% and the 2014 energy-related CO2 emissions rose 1.1% over the 2013 levels.

The EIA writes that “changes in CO2 emissions reflect changes in economic and energy-related indicators” and it blames the previous two-year rise in emissions on “economic trends in terms of increasing population and per capita GDP.” Put simply, the upward trend in emissions is blamed on the increased energy demands as much of North America suffered through three of the coldest winters, with some states even breaking cold and snow records.

According to the EIA, the 2.5% increase in CO2 emissions in 2013 was the fourth-largest increase since 1990. “Energy intensity changes can reflect weather variations that directly affect energy use for heating and cooling as well as changes in the composition of economic activity.” The EIA also writes that with “higher natural gas prices in 2013, coal’s generation share rose from 39% in 2012 to 40% in 2013, slowing the rate of carbon intensity reduction.”

The EIA expects energy-related CO2 emissions to increase again in 2015 and 2016, depending “largely on a mix of weather, energy sources, and economic factors—as well as potential changes in national and state policies.” And while “CO2 emissions per unit of energy consumption declined in total by 8% during 2005-14, with an average annual decline of .9% … carbon intensity declined by only 0.4%” in 2013 and 2014.

“Future energy consumption and related emission levels,” the EIA writes, “will depend largely on a mix of weather, energy sources, and economic factors—as well as potential changes in national and state policies.” With a slew of coal-fired plants already shut down and more being closed for not meeting new EPA regulations, energy-producing companies are relying more heavily on natural gas to produce electricity.

Natural gas power plants are also coming under attack from the Obama administration, which is using various agencies such as the EPA and Department of the Interior to bypass Congress and impose new rules and fees. Additionally, The Daily Caller reports that “the Obama administration may be ready to hike royalties paid by oil and gas companies drilling on federal lands,” with those costs being passed on to consumers.

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The California Drought and the Free Market

arrowhead bottled waterA long story in The Desert Sun (a Palm Springs daily) recently manufactured a lake out of a puddle in California’s perennial water problems. Maybe it’s just Governor Moonbeam’s gang feeding propaganda to the fourth estate, but it’s a good example of how government regulation and media indoctrination so often contrive to strain at capitalist gnats and swallow collectivist camels.

The story’s complicated (like everything concerning California water), but it’s basically about the Morongo Band of Mission Indians selling its Millard-Canyon water rights to Nestl√© S.A., a Swiss food and beverage giant which annually bottles about 200 million gallons of the Band’s water as Arrowhead 100% Pure Mountain Water. Although that sounds like a lot of water, it’s only about the amount 400 homes or a single golf course would annually use.

Anyway, the Cabazon Water District, the State of California, and maybe even the federal government are trying to muscle a sovereign nation (the Morongo Band) out of its right to sell its water to a private company (Nestl√©), which, after all, only processes the stuff for its highest and best use ‚Äì drinking. 

Meanwhile, Governor Moonbeam’s gang has dumped one-third of a trillion gallons of California mountain water into the Pacific Ocean in its ecological crusade to “save” a two-inch smelt in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. That sounds like a lot of water, too, and it is ‚Äì enough, apparently, to service the annual needs of 666,400 homes or 1,666 golf courses.

So ‚Äì unless my arithmetic fails me ‚Äì Californians donating their California water for delta smelts to swim in is 1,666 times more critical than the Morongo Indians selling their California water for Californians to drink. This seems a perverse priority in the midst of an historic California drought. After all, Californians don’t drink delta smelts. Neither do Californians flush their toilets with delta smelts, nor bathe in delta smelts, nor water their lawns with delta smelts, nor wash their dishes, clothes, or cars with delta smelts. In fact, Californians don’t do anything with delta smelts. The same goes for vernal pool fairy shrimp, Santa Cruz long-toed salamanders, Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs, Colorado pikeminnows, unarmored three spine sticklebacks, desert pupfish, tidewater gobies, and Modoc suckers. So why would parched Californians prefer the water needs of delta smelts over the water needs of 666,400 California home owners or 1,666 California golf courses and their patrons? 

That’s not to mention Californians having demolished 29 of their statewide dams during the last two decades. Why would drought-prone Californians squander two decades of their winter rains and snows, which they could otherwise have collected as freshwater in the reservoirs behind the dozens of their dams they demolished?

The short answer in both cases is California’s governing moonbeamery. Rachel Carsonism and Sierra Clubism may not directly send too many voters to the polls, but they both spend mountains of money to indirectly influence the cultural climate and the political process. In no other state has environmental and ecological evangelism succeeded more in distorting free-market decision-making. And, like every other instance of Left-Coast liberal lunacy, the market distortion eventually spreads eastward to academically, journalistically, and politically infect national decision-making.

Forty million Californians live in a Mediterranean clime, which, without intervention, probably couldn’t readily support the water needs of even one fourth as many Californians. For example, Chile ‚Äì another of the only six Mediterranean climes on earth ‚Äì has fewer than half as many people as California living in an area almost twice as big as California. Moreover, most of California’s present water-management and distribution system was initially planned almost half a century ago.

So what’s next for parched Californians ‚Äì besides a $100-billion bullet train (through uprooted almond groves) to nowhere; several millions more thirsty displaced persons from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras; and an avalanche of new regulators and regulations to effect Governor Moonbeam’s 25% water-use reduction order?

In addition to fewer flushes; fewer baths; fewer lawns; fewer golf courses; and fewer dish, clothes, and car washes, the next California crusade will be for fewer steaks, fewer chops, and fewer cheeseburgers. When Friends of the River and For the Sake of the Salmon meet Farm Sanctuary and Mercy for Animals, Governor Moonbeam and his gang will likely be coming next for Californians’ meat.

You see, the water footprint of food from animals is far greater than the water footprint of food from plants. For example, producing a pound of beef requires maybe 90% more water than producing a pound of soy tofu. So each time any Californian eats a pound of California beef rather than a pound of California soy tofu, he’s squandered over 2,000 gallons of California water (probably 20 times more water than the average Southern Californian uses for all other daily purposes). And California has 5.2 million cows, making its cow population the fourth largest in the nation. Of course, in addition to California cows using so much of California’s water, they also degrade California’s land, lessen California’s biodiversity, change California’s climate, and pollute whatever remainder of California’s water they don’t actually drink. Oh, yeah, and beef’s unhealthy for Californians to eat, too. So eventually, you know, California cows gotta go.

Sheep, pigs, and chickens aren’t as water-wasteful as cows, but roots, tubers, and vegetables beat sheep, pigs, and chickens by an environmental and ecological mile. Goats, rabbits, and grasshoppers ‚Äì the least water-wasteful animal food ‚Äì might remain marginally acceptable. So, Californians, prepare to order yourselves a goat-meat taco. Side of roots and tubers. Big salad. And as for the soup to nuts, forget the nuts. Hinduism, anyone? How about Buddhism? Seriously, the moonbeam move on meat’s already starting. And what better place for it to start than the Left Coast?

Well, here’s a modest free-market alternative (without the moonbeams) for the California drought:

(1) The needs of Californians trump the needs of delta smelts (or any of the other 152 California endangered, threatened, or rare species listed by the California Game and Fish Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or the National Marine Fisheries Service).

(2) The needs of Californians trump the needs of the California Game and Fish Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

(3) The needs of Californians trump the needs of all government at all levels.

(4) Government should do for Californians only what Californians can’t do for themselves.

(5) Californians who can’t be bothered to prepare for their own needs should prepare to be needy.

(6) Latin-American nationals should live in Latin America.

(7) California should stop tearing down dams and start building dams (along with aqueducts, pumping stations, desalinization plants, grey- and black-water recycling systems, rainwater- containment systems, etc.) rather than wasting the value of Californian labor on trains to nowhere, Latin-American nationals, Californians who can’t be bothered to prepare for their own needs, pandering to environmentalists, buying votes for politicians, etc.

(8) Each Californian who uses public water should pay the full cost of California providing whatever public water he or she actually uses.

(9) Californians who can afford more water should get more water; Californians who can’t shouldn’t.

(10) Californians who can afford two-pound steaks, almond milk, large grassy lawns, and golf courses should get all of them they want; Californians who can’t shouldn’t.

(11) Those who can afford to live in California should live there; those who can’t should live somewhere cheaper.

(12) The Morongo Band of Mission Indians should sell its Millard-Canyon water to whomever it wants.

(13) Nestlé should produce what the users of its products want.

Now there’s an alternative the rest of the nation could thank Californians for spreading eastward. And then we maybe wouldn’t have to call California the Left Coast any longer.

Free markets free people. Controlled markets control people.

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China and other big emitters challenge Australia over its climate change policies

smogThe world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, including China and the US, have questioned the credibility of Australia’s climate change targets and “direct action” policy in a list of queries to the Abbott government.

In the latest sign of diplomatic pressure over Canberra’s stance on global warming, China accused Australia of doing less to cut emissions than it is demanding of other developed countries, and asked it to explain why this was fair.

Beijing also questioned whether the Abbott government’s emissions reduction fund ‚Äì the centrepiece of its direct action policy, under which the government will pay some emitters to make cuts ‚Äì would be enough to make up for the axed carbon price and meet Australia’s commitment of a minimum 5 per cent emissions cut below 2000 levels by 2020.

The questions have been lodged with the United Nations for Australia to answer in the lead-up to the December climate summit in Paris, where the world is supposed to sign a global deal to combat climate change.

It comes as Australia is facing questions in diplomatic circles for not sending a minister or its chief climate change negotiator to a meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate in Washington DC, starting on Sunday.

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Wrong, Bill Maher – Reporting in ’70s on Global Cooling Not Limited to Single Story in Newsweek

On his HBO show last night, comic Bill Maher made a dubious claim about the alleged lack of widespread reporting in the 1970s on global cooling, an assertion that even his core audience of confirmed stoners must have known was inaccurate.

Maher claimed that media accounts of the purported phenomenon were limited to a single story in a major news magazine for the entire decade — which is true only if one ignores the scores of other stories across the spectrum of media during that period.

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Maher trotted out his bogus factoid while trashing GOP politicians for their reluctance to become fellow global-warming bedwetters —

Or how about this one (quotes Sen. Ted Cruz) — Let’s not panic about the earth warming, “in the ’70s everyone was told global cooling was a really big problem.” No, not everyone — just one article in Newsweek that for the deniers is the Dewey Defeats Truman of science. The one time a newspaper in 1948 Chicago got an election result wrong and it proved that journalism is a hoax and Chicago is just a theory.

But here’s the thing about that Newsweek story — it didn’t say an overwhelming consensus of scientists thought the earth was cooling, it said a few were floating that theory.

Only “a few”? Here’s what the article (since retracted) reported —

Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view (emphasis added) that will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.

maherBut heck, who’s counting? And is it not reasonable to infer that warming temperatures would increase “agricultural productivity?” More from Maher, en route to maligning Republicans as “prostitutes” to energy interests

Or as Mike Huckabee remembers it, “When I was in college, all the literature at the time from the scientific community said that we were all going to freeze to death.” And again, by all the literature he means that one Newsweek article, as if Newsweek is Nostradamus.

Come to think of it, scientists who warn of global warming — based on computer models of future climate trends — might also be mistaken for Nostradamus.

Turns out the Newsweek story from April 1975 was merely the tip of a vast icesheet of reportage extending from start to end of the ’70s. Here’s a sampling from 1970 alone —

“Scientists See Ice Age in the Future,” Washington Post, January 11

“Is Mankind Manufacturing a New Ice Age for Itself?”, Los Angeles Times, January 15

“Pollution Could Cause Ice Age, Agency Reports,” St. Petersburg Times, March 4

“Scientist predicts a new ice age by 21st century,” Boston Globe, April 16

“Pollution called Ice Age Threat,” St. Petersburg Times, June 26

“U.S. and Soviet Press Studies of a Colder Arctic,” New York Times, July 18

“Dirt Will Bring New Ice Age,” Sydney Morning Herald, October 19

And these are just from major newspapers that year, not counting smaller publications, as compiled in an extensive listing at PopularTechnology.net that includes scores of other articles throughout the decade.

The Popular Technology post also includes this video, titled “The Coming Ice Age,” excerpted from a 1978 episode of the popular television series In Search Of …, narrated by the late Leonard Nimoy. A scientist who appeared in the segment, Stanford University’s Stephen Schneider, later became a global warming alarmist and adviser to Al Gore. (Pay no attention to my previous predictions of imminent frostbite!).

Any account of media warnings in the 1970s about global cooling would be incomplete without CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite, the oft-touted most trusted man in America (and proposed VP candidate for Democrats in 1972) weighing in with trademark voice-of-God gravitas —

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Cronkite reported on this in September 1972 — which is all the more amazing when one considers that the Newsweek story cited by Maher wasn’t published until more than two years later.

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UN Chief Wants Action on $100 Billion Climate Fund

ban ki moonBan ki MoonMore than five years after President Obama and other leaders agreed on a 2020 goal of raising $100 billion each year from public and private sources to help developing countries deal with climate change, the United Nations wants to see action.

Ahead of Earth Day on Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is pointing to a meeting next month in New York where he says he will be looking for clear indications from governments and investors as to how the ambitious goal will be reached.

“Climate change is the defining issue of our times,” he told a conference hosted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance last week. “It is also an enormous economic opportunity.”

On Saturday Ban again tackled the subject, at an International Monetary Fund event in Washington.

“We need a credible trajectory for realizing the $100 billion goal per year by 2020, as well as the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund,” he said.

“This was a commitment which was made in 2009 during the Copenhagen climate change summit meeting. We have only mobilized $10 billion as an initial capitalization of this Green Climate Fund. I would really hope that there will be a trajectory, a path, which will be shown to the member-states.”

And at a pre-Earth Day concert on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Saturday night, Ban called on concert-goers to raise their voices in support.

“I want to hear from you,” he told the crowd. “It’s our last chance to slow global warming.”

Launched in 2011 as a result of that 2009 decision in Denmark, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is designed to help developing countries curb “greenhouse gas” emissions and cope with occurrences blamed on climate change, such as rising sea levels.

The aim is to reach $100 billion a year by 2020.

As of April 10, the fund had received pledges from 33 countries, totaling $10.2 billion. That includes a $3 billion pledge by Obama last November, by far the largest contribution promised to date. Some GOP lawmakers have signaled an intention to push back.

The next big date on the international climate calendar is a U.N. climate mega-conference in Paris in November that is meant to deliver a new global agreement.

Ban and U.N. climate officials want clarity on the financing issue, as a confidence booster ahead of the Paris gathering.

Subsidies in the firing line

According to the World Bank, two key ways for governments to free up funding to help achieve the $100 billion target is by “putting a price on carbon” ‚Äì through carbon taxes or emission trading schemes ‚Äì and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.

“With a small percentage of the money that saved by ending subsidies or of the revenue raised from a carbon tax or permit sale going to climate finance, governments could help meet the $100 billion climate finance commitment and other mitigation and adaptation needs,” it said in a report Saturday on the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington.

A coalition of eight countries ‚Äì Costa Rica, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland ‚Äì is targeting the subsidy issue in particular. The coalition, calling itself “Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform,” said on Friday governments spent more than $548 billion on fossil fuel subsidies in 2013.

The group noted pointedly that this was more than five times more than the $100 billion target for climate mitigation and adaptation by 2020.

“The elimination of fossil fuel subsidies would make a significant contribution to the goal of keeping average temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” the coalition added, referring to the goal which world leaders several years ago decided was necessary to avoid what global warming advocates say will be potentially catastrophic effects on the planet.

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China’s President In Pakistan To Cement Huge Coal Power Projects

eper14Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to unveil a $46 billion infrastructure spending plan in Pakistan that is a centerpiece of Beijing’s ambitions to open new trade and transport routes across Asia and challenge the U.S. as the dominant regional power. The largest part of the project would provide electricity to energy-starved Pakistan, based mostly on building new coal-fired power plants. —Jeremy Page, The Wall Street Journal, 19 Aril 2015

The US government has stepped up pressure on the World Bank not to fund coal-fired power plants in developing countries. In a letter sent to the World Bank United States Executive Director Whitney Debevoise said, “The Obama Administration believes that the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) have a potentially critical role to play in the future international framework for climate finance, and, in particular, to assist developing countries in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and strengthening their economies’ resilience to climate risks.” Following Debevoise’s controversial guidelines, the axe has already fallen on Pakistan’s Thar Coal and Energy Project on the grounds that “the limited financing available from the Bank should be directed toward investments that address energy supply shortfalls in an environmentally sustainable manner”. —Swati Mather,  The Times of India, 24 January 2010

Out of the total $45 billion investment in Pakistan, China will invest up to $37 billion in various energy projects while give $8 billion concessional loan for infrastructure development projects of Pak-China Economic Corridor project. He said that the energy projects with Chinese support would generate a total of 16,500MW electricity, adding the work on 10,400 MW projects would be completed by 2018 in the first phase. While projects of 60,00MW will be completed in the second phase, he added.  In Thar, Ahsan said that 10 coal-based power plants will be installed on commercial basis which will generate up to 6,600MW electricity from coal.  —Business Recorder, 18 April 2015

A new era of development is set to dawn on the underdeveloped interior Sindh, specially Tharparkar, as inclusion of Thar Coal mining and power project in the prioritised energy schemes under the multi-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will help overcome financial challenges being faced by it. This venture will open not only unprecedented economic opportunities but also prove to be a panacea for energy shortages that are stifling economic growth. —Associated Press of Pakistan, 19 April 2015

India is hoping a new China-backed multilateral lender will fund coal-based energy projects, an official said, putting it in direct conflict with the World Bank, whose chief has maintained that it would stick to its restrictions on such lending. A senior Indian official told Reuters the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), sponsored by China, is expected to allow funding of coal-fired power plants that the World Bank has almost totally blocked. “When you have 1.3 billion people starved of electricity access and the rest of the world has created a carbon space, at this point denying funding is denying access to cheap energy,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. —Manoj Kumar and Tony Munroe, Reuters, Reuters, 5 November 2014

The Geological survey of Pakistan reveals that 175 billion ton of coal is buried under the Thar Desert. These coal reserves alone are equivalent to total combined oil reserves (375 Billion Barrels) of Saudi Arabia and Iran. The coal deposits in Thar can change the fate of the country if utilised in a proper way. The coal reserves at Thar Desert are estimated around 850 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas, and are worth USD 25 trillion.  According to experts, if this single resource is used properly, we not only can cater to the electricity requirements of the country for next 300 years but also save almost four billion dollars in staggering oil import bills. —M Rafaqat Hussain, Pakistan Observer, 26 July 2014

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India To Overtake China As The World’s Biggest Coal Importer

india risingIndia is set to overtake China as the biggest importer of power-station coal. Indian thermal-coal imports will surpass China’s by 2017 or sooner, Bloomberg Intelligence analysts William Foiles and Andrew Cosgrove said in a report. China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, is cutting down on coal use to fight pollution. India and its regional peers including Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea plan to increase their combined coal-fired generating capacity by more than 204 gigawatts, or 60%, through 2019, as per the report. —Bloomberg, 17 April 2015

India has announced that it will double its coal use by 2020, in the process overtaking the U.S. as the world’s second largest coal consumer after China. The International Energy Agency predicts that global coal demand, along with that of oil and gas, will still be rising in 2040, when fossil fuels will account for three-quarters of energy use. Asia in particular is destined for an enormous burst of coal investment. A great deal of the funding will likely come from the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, AIIB, an initiative promoted by China in the face of staunch U.S. opposition. The AIIB initiative ‚Äì and its boost to coal-fired funding ‚Äì leaves the U.S. president looking even more lonely on the geopolitical shore, a lame duck Canute vainly commanding the seas — and smokestacks — not to rise. –Peter Foster, Financial Post 17 April 2015

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday forecast India’s growth to strengthen from 7.2 per cent in 2014 to 7.5 per cent in both 2015 and 2016, overtaking China’s growth — for the first time since 1999 — that it projected will slow down to 6.8 per cent. The country is attempting to shift from consumption to investment-led growth, at a time when China is undergoing the opposite transition, the Bank said in its bi-annual South Asia Economic Focus report. –Puja Mehra, The Hindu, 15 April 2015

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is typically called “controversial” or “divisive,” which means the liberal establishment of India and internationally doesn’t like him. I don’t know if he deserves the accolade as the “Ronald Reagan of India,” but I hear he has some reformist instincts about opening up India’s economy and fighting corruption. One thing his government has done is tell Obama and the UN to go stuff it on climate change. While India mouths a few platitudes, for the most part they talk sense, saying they’re going to increase coal production, for example. –Steven Hayward, Power Line, 16 April 2015

It’s a manifesto smackdown, a fight among the members of the green Left for the intellectual and moral high ground. It’s also a fight that reflects the growing schism within American environmentalism. On one side are the pro-energy, pro-density humanists. On the opposite side are the anti-energy, pro-sprawl absolutists. The group’s backers — who include former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg — have pledged some $60 million in funding for the effort, which aims to shutter half of U.S. coal plants by 2017. –Robert Bryce, National Review, 17 April 2015

A loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires presides over a vast well-knit network of like-minded funders, government bureaucrats, and enviro-activists who manufacture phony grassroots campaigns and churn out bogus propaganda disguised as science and journalism in an effort to control economic decision-making across America. Between 2000 and 2012 some 26,500 distinct US-based environmental NGOs collected revenues of $81 billion ($6.6 billion per year). Having seized branches of government, they now lavish tax dollars upon the ENGOs. This enviro-regulatory regime is being gamed by rent-seeking crony capitalists from the renewable energy and pollution control industries who now number among environmentalism’s principal cheerleaders. –William Walter Kay, Ecofascism blog, 16 April 2015

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A Thank You to Rep. Raul Grijalva, Narrative Killer

facts vs ignorance(h/t Climate Depot) With this post I’d like to express a sincere Thanks to representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ). As most readers here will know, Rep. Grijalva is “investigating” me based on his belief that I do research and public service as a consequence of shadow payments from fossil fuel companies. Ridiculous, I know.

I’m thanking Rep. Grijalva not for the media exposure (e.g., NPR, NYT) or for the bump in sales of my books (e.g., THB, TCF, D&CC), and not even for the many bits of fan mail via email and Twitter from the fringes of the climate debate. Rather, I am thanking Rep. Grijalva for doing more than his part in helping to kill a narrative.

For more than a decade, leading elements of the science and media communities have advanced a narrative which said that conservatives were stupid and/or evil and were singularly responsible for pathologically politicizing science. Reality, as the saying goes, has a liberal bias. It turns out that concerns over the “politicization of science” were themselves subject to politicization.

I wrote about this in 2003:

Politicization of science is a problem irrespective of the ideology of those doing the politicizing. Our scientific enterprise is too important to allow putative concerns about the politicization of science to become just another weapon in partisan battle.

And in 2005:

It is clear that there is an ample supply of people willing to use concern over the politicization of science as a political bludgeon to score points on the Bush Administration. It is also clear that there are plenty of others aligned with the Bush Administration willing to do exactly the opposite. The question I have is, where are the analysts (including reporters) who care about the politicization of science irrespective of possible advantages that are lent to today’s partisan political battles?

A decade ago the face of the “Republican War on Science” narrative was a journalist named Chris Mooney, then a fresh-faced 20-something who had capture the zeitgeist in a book by the same title. I offered a detailed critique of of the “War on Science” framing in 2005. I think that critique stands up pretty well.

For his part, Mooney followed up his “War on Science” book with a bizarre book on eugenics, claiming that US conservatives were somehow genetically inferior. Mooney turned his prominent role in Republican-bashing into a spot on the board of directors of the American Geophysical Union (I kid you not), as an “expert” in science communication hired by the National Science Foundation to tour the country, training young scientists (still not kidding), and ultimately as a reporter for The Washington Post. Not a bad resume for an English major who has dabbled in eugenics.

This critique is less about Mooney, who I met once and seemed a nice fellow, and more about the power of a narrative. One that has been so fully accepted and reinforced by significant parts of the science and media communities. Mooney captured that narrative and went along for the ride. One day, hopefully, we’ll look back at this era and ask “What the hell were we thinking?”

Writing in The New Republic last week Erik Nisbet and Kelly Garrett offered a welcome tonic to the “war on science” meme and a good indication that perhaps, just perhaps, that narrative has reached its sell-by date:

[P]olitical journalism too often treats science like a political issue to be debated by non-experts in televised partisan theater. This type of media coverage about scientific issues often obscures the actual scientific evidence and consensus and unfortunately only deepens polarization by providing partisan cues for both conservatives and liberals.

Our study’s findings suggest that such intensive, polarizing media attention depresses the public’s confidence in the scientific community for liberals and conservatives alike.

The second lesson is that that science communicators who target conservatives specifically as somehow uniquely deficient when it comes to understanding science turn the focus to a clash of ideologies and away from promoting communication that bridges ideological gaps about science issues—and yes we think such gaps can be bridged!

Demonizing a third of the population in science policy debates by claiming they have an insurmountable psychological deficit does nothing to promote a solution to the challenges of effective science communication—and unfortunately represents our human biases at work.

Nisbet and Garrett are reporting on research which provides a solid empirical basis for rejecting the politicization of the politicization of science as a way of doing business in science or in journalism. It is neither accurate nor effective. Other scholars doing excellent work in this area include Dominique Brossard, Brendan Nyhan, Dan Kahan. Dietram Scheufele, Matt Nisbet, among others. But despite all this good empirical, historical and political research, the “war on science” narrative still has deep roots and fervent adherents.

Which brings me all the way back to Rep. Grijalva. In his “investigation” of me — someone who probably shares many of his policy preferences, including on climate — Rep. Grijalva has admitted to not liking my peer reviewed research (and logically the assessments of the IPCC). It is hard to maintain a uniquely Republican “war on science” meme with this type of high profile nonsense going on. Of course, in his Washington Post column, Mooney hasn’t acknowledged Rep. Grijalva’s “witch hunt.” Probably just something deficient in his partisan brain.

As I have often written, there is no “war on science” being conducted by Republicans or by Democrats. There is however plenty of politics. Politics can be conducted in ways that contribute to common interests, or in ways that are pathological. The science community has tried the latter for a decade. It is time to move beyond the toxic partisanship of the most recent science wars. Oddly enough, Rep. Grijalva’s overreach helps us to move in that direction.

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India’s Pachauri asks court for permission to travel

Rajendra Pachauri, who stood down as head of the UN climate panel in February facing investigation for alleged sexual harassment, asked an Indian court Friday for permission to travel to Greece for a water conference.

The 74-year-old was barred from leaving the country pending a police investigation after a researcher at his New Delhi research institute accused him of sexual harassment — an allegation he denies.

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