Friday, October 21, 2016

NOTE:  Once again my normal posting time has come, only to find me still under the influence of both health and cable problems.  The cable problems seem by now to have been banished but too late for me to read much. There is a fair chance that I might be back in normal action by this time tomorrow.

My health problem is a post operative infection in the wound site -- most probably golden staph.  I am on 300 mg of clindamycin 6 hourly so that should help. I can control the pain with di-gesic pretty well but I have to be cautious about sepsis so my next recourse may have to be a vancomycin drip.

Either the infection or the remedies seem to be making me very drowsy so I sleep for long periods, which is probably a good thing on the whole.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Your monthly scare story below

As always, you have to look at what the Greenies and Leftists do NOT say. So here it comes. The news is that the global temperature for last month has just been promulgated by GISS.  So that has to be scary, right?  Problem: The temperature actually DECLINED last month.  September was COOLER than August.  The anomaly went down from .98 of a degree to .91 of a degree.  But nowhere below will you see any mention of that.  

No-one in his right mind would take any notice of  such tiny fluctuations but the Warmists do. Their whole story consists of taking hundredths of one degree seriously.  So all they tell us this time is that September 2015 was warmer than September 2016.  The anomaly was .81 last year.

Note that seasonal influences should normally cancel out in the global figures because while it is summer in the Northern hemisphere, it is winter in the Southern hemisphere.

So the real story this year is one of temperature stasis:  changes too small to mean anything. But if we wanted to play the Warmist game we could see a coming-down off an El Nino high. The anomalies from January to April were all a touch above one degree whereas the May to September anomalies were all below one degree.

So what to do with such frustrating figures?  You see the result below.  They have picked out all the weather events that suit them and presented them as if they proved something global.  As proof of the cherry-picking, note that no "coldest" events anywhere are mentioned.  They are such crooks!

As the Philippines braces for its second major typhoon in just five days, a Canadian glacier spawns a giant iceberg and eastern Australia mops up from a record wet spell, climate scientists can pick from a world of weird weather to highlight evidence of global warming under way.

Just days after nations agreed to curb production of greenhouse gases 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide and a fortnight before the Paris climate agreement comes into force on November 4, many regions are experiencing bizarre conditions.

September continued the run of exceptional global warmth, with last month narrowly edging last year as the hottest September on record, NASA, the US space agency, said overnight.

Typhoon Haima is expected to reach category 5 strength by Wednesday. After data adjustments, NASA said 11 of the past 12 months had set monthly high-temperature records. This year is on course to smash previous records for annual heat set in 2015 and in the year before that.

Climate scientists, such as NASA's Gavin Schmidt, emphasise that while individual weather events and even monthly rankings may be newsworthy, "they are not nearly as important as long-term trends".

Here, though, there are many worrying pointers.

The Philippines is facing the potential for a category 5-strength typhoon Haima just days after typhoon Sarika blew through, leaving a trial of death and destruction that has now extended to neighbours Vietnam and China.

Recent research indicates the western Pacific is experiencing stronger cyclones with the frequency increasing as much as four-fold.

In Canada, the Porcupine Glacier in British Columbia retreated more than two kilometres "in one leap", when a major iceberg broke off during the summer, The Globe and Mail reported recently.

Mauri Pelto, professor of environmental science at Nichols College in Massachusetts, said he couldn't identify a bigger iceberg carved from a Canadian glacier in a quarter century of work.

"It's just a highlight example of what's happening [from climate change]," Dr. Pelto was quoted as saying. "I have worked on over 200 glaciers just in that area, and all but one have been retreating."

The behaviour of ice of a different kind caught the attention of  Andy Pitman, director of the ARC Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of NSW.

After rivalling previously lows in 2007 and 2012, this year's recovery of Arctic sea ice as winter approaches has slowed sharply, placing it again at record low levels.

With less sea ice, more of the sun's energy is absorbed by the Arctic seas rather than reflected back to space, accelerating the pace of warming in an area that's warming faster than almost anywhere else.

"It's moving outside it's normal operating range," Professor Pitman said of the sea ice trend. "Climate extremes are emerging much faster than climate scientists thought."
Rain extremes

While major weather events can't all be attributed to climate change rather than natural variability, a warming world makes them more likely.

Scientists, for instance, estimate that the atmosphere can hold 7 per cent more moisture for each degree of warming - and we've had at least that since the Industrial Revolution triggered a rapid increase in greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels and land-clearing for agriculture.

Hurricane Matthew, which scraped along the east coast of the US earlier this month, is estimated to have dumped as much 52 trillion litres on the US, triggering widespread flooding, according to Ryan Maue, a US-based meteorologist.

Typhoon Sarika, which left at least 25 dead in the Philippines last week, is now expected to bring flooding rains to south-east China.

Behind Sarika, though, looms a more powerful storm, super typhoon Haima, which is likely to generate peak gusts of more than 300 km/h by Wednesday as it nears the northern Philippine island of Luzon.

"[A]long with the dangers of storm surge flooding and damaging winds, rainfall flooding and landslides would also be major threats in Luzon, given saturated ground from Sarika," the website said in a report. "More than a foot of rain could fall over northern portions of Luzon as Haima moves through."

Much of eastern Australia has copped its drenching in recent weeks, although the rains have fortunately been more spread out.

As the Bureau of Meteorology said in a special climate statement last week, the Murray Darling Basin had its wettest September on record, continuing a string of wet months.

"The May to September period was Australia's wettest on record, with each of the five individual months ranking in the 10 wettest in the last 117 years," the report said.
'Off the charts'

"You're seeing more extreme events and in most of the parts of climate that affect people," Professor Pitman said.

Heatwaves, for instance, that used to last typically three days, might be stretching in some places out to 10 days.

"It's like Usain Bolt doing a 4-second,100-metre run," he said. "It's completely off the charts."

Professor Pitman's centre will shift more of its focus to the study of climate extremes after securing funds from the Australian Research Council last month.

"There is some emerging evidence that the system is redefining itself," Professor Pitman said.



APOLOGY: I have undergone surgery and experienced a prolonged cable service outage within the last 24 hours so I am putting up less than I usually would -- JR


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Greenland Temperature Trends 1873 – 2015

You would be forgiven for thinking that Greenland is burning up. But you would be wrong!

DMI have published their Historical Climate Data Collection 1768-2015 for Greenland, and figures for last year continue to show temperatures in the 1930s and 40s were as warm as in recent years.

The only exception to this trend was the anomalously warm year of 2010, which created a lot of excitement in alarmist circles. Numbers since then, however, show that this was no more than an outlier, a weather event. Since then, temperatures have returned to previous levels. Indeed, last year was a particularly cold one, especially in the west.

In Nuuk, for instance, last year was the coldest since 1993. Incredible though it may sound, it was actually colder there than any year between 1922 and 1971.

You will none of this from our supposedly objective media, who would much rather feed you with myths about the Greenland ice sheet melting away.

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

How my factual statement on Fox News about global warming became a Media Matters outrage


Media Matters is a left-wing propaganda machine created by Clinton sycophant David Brock. Positioned as a non-profit organization designed to target “dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.” So, imagine my surprise when my appearance on Fox News Tuesday became one of their multitudes of “outrages” posted and distributed to their legion of followers in the mainstream media.

Media Matters took my factual statement that we have just experienced the longest drought of hurricanes in the past decade in American history and my belief that it was unseemly for Clinton to campaign in Florida by linking hurricanes with global warming considering that state is still cleaning up from Hurricane Matthew from 3 days ago, and turned it into this sub-headline:’s Larry O’Connor Calls It “Politically Gross” That Clinton Is Making The Case For Climate Action In Florida

Beyond spelling my name correctly (which I really appreciate, I hate “O’Conner“) they completely misrepresent what I explicitly said and repeated in the interview:

I just find it a little distasteful, just a couple of days after Hurricane Matthew hit Florida, and I think the death toll in that state was five, that we’ve got Al Gore making the case, the false claim that global warming is the cause of hurricanes considering we just had the longest drought of hurricanes. Isn’t that a little politically gross to be going down there and making that case right after the hurricane hit the state? I don’t like it, I don’t think Floridians will like it.
After host Melissa Francis re-directed my statement on air and re-phrased it, I interrupted (something I rarely do on television) and made it clear that I was specifically talking about the false predictions that global warming would make hurricanes like Katrina “the new normal.”

FRANCIS: There are people out there who believe in that theory, right, Simon? There are people in southern Florida who feel like the reason why a lot of their beaches are disappearing and things are happening and you’re seeing this sort of dramatic weather —

O’CONNOR: I’m talking specifically about hurricanes. We had the longest drought in American history.

But, that was all ignored to serve Media Matters and their intimidation techniques. Pundits beware! If you deviate from the prescribed talking points on issues like global warming you will be outed as a denier.

By the way, this exchange on Fox News took place about an hour before Mrs. Clinton appeared with Gore in Miami. I was merely speculating that she would falsely link Hurricane Matthew with global warming. However, she didn’t let any of us down. With Gore, the man who has made hundreds of millions of dollars on the global warming industry sitting behind her, she directly linked the five people killed by Matthew in the panhandle state and the 21 people killed elsewhere in the Southeast, to “climate change.”

MIT meteorology professor Kerry Emanuel, an expert on hurricanes and climate, called Clinton’s assessment “a simplification of the truth.”

Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami, said the signs of climate change are only seen in “the long-term average.” Clinton’s statement, he said, was “a little bit strongly worded for a single event.”


Why Santa Barbara Verdict Could Make All Californians the Winners

The Goleta Water District has taken a rancher to Santa Barbara Superior Court over his water sales to nearby Montecito. If the rancher prevails, all Californians could emerge the winners. The case has already showcased a key reality: in the Golden State, water is not evenly distributed.

The 725-acre Slippery Rock Ranch near Santa Barbara sits above 200,000 acre-feet of water, a lake-size supply well beyond the needs of the ranch’s avocado trees. Owner Dick Wolf, who produced “Miami Vice” before creating the popular “Law & Order” television franchise, sought to sell some of the excess water to Montecito, which lacks groundwater resources and relies on surface supplies.

The GWD sued to stop the sales even though in late 2015 it had itself purchased 2,500 acre-feet of California Aqueduct water from the Antelope Valley and East Kern Water Agency for $1.2 million. Water districts in Santa Clara were also in the running, but Goleta needed the water more. The districts that lost out, however, did not respond with a lawsuit to block further sales.

The GWD claims that the lake-size reservoir under the ranch is connected to Goleta’s underground basin, a contention the ranch denies. The ranch’s Cory Black told reporters that the assertion that water on private property belongs to the GWD is “not grounded in fact or law.”

The GWD had purchased water from the ranch in the past and, Black said, “only initiated litigation after negotiations for purchasing more water broke down. How did water that they had been negotiating to buy suddenly become theirs?”

Black also charged that the GWD is squandering ratepayers’ money on frivolous litigation. The court will decide whether the action is frivolous, but Black seems to have a case regarding the wasteful spending.

GWD water supply and conservation manager Ryan Drake told the Santa Barbara News-Press that the cost of the action against the ranch has increased the district’s legal budget by more than $300,000, or 32 percent. According to the report, “Ratepayers are picking up the tab.” The GWD’s budgeted legal costs for the year are $1.3 million, considerably higher than the other three South Coast water agencies.

Drought conditions prompted the GWD to impose restrictions but also to slap farmers with a surcharge that doubled their water bills. Some accused district bosses of poor planning and overstating the water supply.

Meanwhile the ranch seeks a judgment establishing its private water rights.

This is more than a local issue between two parties.

Private tradable water rights empowered arid Australia to make the best use of its existing resources. As the country’s National Water Commission explains: “Water markets and trading were the primary means to achieve this.”

Today, according to the commission, Australia’s water markets are internationally recognized as a success story, “allowing water to be put to its most productive uses, for a price determined by water users” and generating “economic benefits valued in hundreds of millions of dollars annually.”

In arid, drought-ridden California the biggest obstacle for water-starved areas is not private landowners such as the ranch, who are willing to sell the supplies they own. The obstacle proceeds from top-heavy, litigious bureaucracies that seek to prevent such sales.

A verdict in favor of private tradable water rights would make all Californians the winners.


Global Warming would produce a "lush oasis".  Is that bad?

The United Kingdom was once a lush oasis. That can be read from sediments within the Kimmeridge Clay Formation, which were deposited around 160 to 145 million years ago on Dorset’s “Jurassic Coast.” A favorite stomping ground for fossil hunters and the source rock for North Sea oil, the formation is rich in organic matter, which suggests that it likely formed when global greenhouse conditions were at least 4 times higher than present levels.

Normally, organic matter disappears rapidly after an organism dies, as the nutrients are consumed by other life forms and the carbon decays. However, when the seas are starved of oxygen, which occurs when plankton numbers swell owing to increasing levels of carbon dioxide, then organic matter is preserved. An abundance of so-called black shales, or organic-rich muds, within the Kimmeridge Clay Formation points to this past.

Here Armstrong et al. used those black shales to build new climate simulations that better approximate the climate toward the end of the Jurassic period. The model simulated 1422 years of time that suggested a radically different Intertropical Convergence Zone—the region where the Northern and Southern Hemisphere trade winds meet—than the one today. The convergence of these trade winds produces a global belt of clouds near the equator and is responsible for most of the precipitation on Earth.

Not only were the researchers able to verify that the United Kingdom was once a tropical oasis, but they were also able to simulate and map the climate 145 million years ago


Australia: Climate change gloom lessons for kids

Students are being led to believe that global warming will destroy sunsets.  The course materials are clearly far-Left  rather than scientific

DOOMSDAY climate change lessons are being taught to children as young as eight who are concluding that human activity threatens to destroy beautiful sunsets and ­waterways.

Six schools in the state’s north are trialling a “world first” curriculum that is expected to be adopted across the state, if successful.

The NSW Education Department-approved trial is being run by Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus and proposes to give students from Year 3 to Year 8 “political agency” and allow them to be “experts in their own lives”.

Running in tandem with the curriculum is a challenge project in which students form their own response to climate change and how they can personally prevent mass extinctions of animals, plants and their habitats.

Some children have concluded that humans have “succeeded in destroying much of the physical world”.

One student researcher in northern NSW said: “It is selfish and horrible how humans are causing animal and plant species to die.”

Another said: “We must band together to reverse the effects of climate change.”

Organiser and Southern Cross University education lecturer David Rousell said schools in Bexhill, Mullumbimby and Alstonville had taken on the interdisciplinary model, which could be taught in English, creative arts, science and history classes.

“This challenge is about bringing schools together to embark on projects that have a public outcome and can create real change,” he said.

“Kids are doing amazing work where they take a photo which represents some aspect of climate change and they write about it. Some students take photos of beautiful things such as sunsets or waterways and then write about how it could be lost or destroyed because of climate change.”

An Education Department spokesman referred Telegraph inquiries on the new curriculum to the Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards, which said the program was being trialled but was not formally endorsed.

Last week more than 300 students came together in a Climate Change Challenge at the uni’s Lismore campus. One student said: “We were not placed on this Earth to make an acquisitive and ideal life that supports the human race only.”



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Warmists hit airlines

Higher airfares coming

Efforts to fight global warming reached a milestone on Thursday as countries sealed the first international aviation climate deal, the latest in a flurry of moves to cut fossil fuel pollution this week.

Delegates from nearly 200 nations approved the accord at the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal in a step the agency’s head, Fang Liu, described as a “historic first”.

The move came a day after the UN said enough countries had ratified the Paris climate agreement to bring it into effect on November 4, only 11 months after its adoption.

One of the countries that helped push the Paris deal over the line was Canada, where the centre-left government of prime minister Justin Trudeau announced a carbon-pricing plan on Monday that could lead to a tax of C$50 a tonne by 2022.

That is more than five times the current price of carbon permits in the EU’s emissions trading system, the world’s largest carbon market. The EU scheme is likely to be dwarfed next year when China is set to launch a national plan to put a price on greenhouse gas pollution.

The rise in national carbon-pricing systems is one reason many international airlines have been pushing for the ICAO to deliver a uniform global climate agreement.

Instead of facing a patchwork of measures worldwide, airlines have backed a plan that will see them offset their emissions growth by funding projects that cut carbon pollution, such as wind farms or solar-power plants.

The scheme will be phased in over several years from the early 2020s and cost the aviation industry as much as $24bn by 2035, according to estimates from the UN agency.

Nations such as India had been worried about its effect on fast-growing emerging economies, but some environmental campaigners in Europe said the proposal did not go far enough.

“Airline claims that flying will now be green are a myth,” said Bill Hemmings of the Transport & Environment lobby group. “This deal won’t reduce demand for jet fuel one drop. Instead, offsetting aims to cut emissions in other industries.”

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions in the US was more positive, hailing what it said was a practical framework for harnessing market forces to limit growth in airline emissions, which are expected to triple by 2050.

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) also welcomed the deal. It said: “The historic significance of this agreement cannot be overestimated. It is the first global scheme covering an entire industrial sector. The agreement has turned years of preparation into an effective solution for airlines to manage their carbon footprint.”

Boeing said it commended “the International Civil Aviation Organisation for adopting a carbon-offset system for international aviation that will help the industry achieve its goal of reducing emissions”.

Fabrice BrĂ©gier, chief executive of Airbus. said the plan was “another key milestone in supporting the aviation industry’s commitment in reducing CO2 emissions”.


Alarmist Hypocrisy On Linking Hurricanes To Global Warming

When the inevitable blizzard strikes the East Coast, scientists and environmentalists pop up to warn the public against skeptics who argue winter storms disprove global warming.

But when a hurricane rolls around, those same folks come out of the woodwork to claim such storms are harbingers of of things to come as the world warms from human activities.

Hurricane Matthew is no exception.

“Hurricane Matthew is super strong — because of climate change,” Joe Romm, the climate editor at ThinkProgress, recently wrote.

The Huffington Post claimed Matthew “is a reminder of climate change’s potential to turn seasonal weather events into extreme, year-round threats.”

Liberal blogs Slate and Grist have run pieces claiming major hurricanes, like Matthew, shouldn’t be appearing in October. Global warming is the only explanation for it, they claim.

These same publications attacked Republicans who cited winter 2014’s “Polar Vortex” as a major hole in predictions of catastrophic global warming. ThinkProgress, for example, hit Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe for arguing “freezing temperatures across the country to explain climate change science is both ‘laughable’ and rigged.”

The White House even got involved. President Obama’s science czar John Holdren put out a video arguing the “polar vortex” didn’t disprove global warming — in fact, the freezing winter was caused by global warming, he argued.

“If you’ve been hearing that extreme cold spells like the one we’re having in the United States now disprove global warming, don’t believe it,” Holdren said in a 2014 White House video. “The fact is that no single weather episode can either prove or disprove global climate change.”

“On our current path of unrestricted carbon pollution, NOAA researchers have determined that parts of the East Coast would see Sandy-level storm surges every year by mid-century,” Romm wrote.

“[W]e’re fairly certain that, whether we see more or fewer tropical cyclones, we will see more intense hurricanes and super-typhoons, like Katrina, and Sandy and Haiyan and Patricia and now Matthew,” Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann told HuffPo.

Such claims are especially interesting because they are just that: claims. It will be decades before scientists can verify if global warming has, or will continue to, make storms more powerful.

So what’s the actual evidence on global warming’s impact on extreme weather? Not much.

“Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century,” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found in 2013. “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”

“In summary, confidence in large scale changes in the intensity of extreme extratropical cyclones since 1900 is low,” the IPCC found.

The Washington Post’s Chris Mooney — no skeptic of global warming — wrote “the science isn’t settled on precisely what is happening with hurricanes in the Atlantic.” He cited a recent scientific review on what we can say about hurricanes and climate.

“While no significant trends have been identified in the Atlantic since the late 19th century, significant observed trends in [tropical cyclone] numbers and intensities have occurred in this basin over the past few decades, and trends in other basins are increasingly being identified,” reads the 2016 science review.

“However, understanding of the causes of these trends is incomplete, and confidence in these trends continues to be hampered by a lack of consistent observations in some basins,” the review reads.


As we've been saying the solution to British housing costs is to blow up the Town and Country Planning Acts

Tim Worstall

Britain does not have any shortage of land upon which houses could be built. Britain does have a shortage of land upon which houses are allowed to be built. The solution to ever rising prices for land upon which houses may be allowed to be built is therefore to allow more land to have houses built upon it.

But this is not just a matter of house prices. The problem is sufficiently severe that it is distorting the capital allocation process, even what income is available and who is getting it. We're all aware of Piketty's point that capital is both becoming a higher multiple of GDP and also that capital income is becoming a larger share of national income.

These are the same problem in fact. For the rise in capital income, the rise in capital compared to GDP, is almost entirely a function of the rise in the price of land which may be built upon. As a new paper points out:

This investigation reveals three things about the rise in the US housing capital income share in recent decades. First, it has occurred due to an increasing share of income accruing to owner-occupiers through imputed rent. Second, it is concentrated in states that are constrained in terms of new housing supply. Finally, it is closely associated with the long-run decline in real interest rates and inflation.

My results suggest that the ‘rise of housing’ is intimately linked to the same factors that underpin ‘secular stagnation’ (Summers 2014) – that is, the gradual decline in real (and nominal) interest rates since the 1980s has contributed to a gradual run-up in housing prices, and led to household wealth and income being increasingly concentrated in the hands of landowners. This in turn may have implications for intergenerational inequality, given that the home is a key mechanism through which wealth and income are transferred across generations.

The paper does indeed note that this is not restricted to the US - it is happening wherever there are those restrictions on land being built upon. It is almost entirely about imputed rent to owner occupiers - the cries about it being the finance capitalists who are getting more of the money are simply not true.

The answer is also obvious. Do away with the constraints upon building land and all of these problems solve themselves.

That is, as we've been saying for some time now, we should blow up the Town and Country Planning Acts.


The world’s favorite disaster story

One of the most repeated facts about Haiti is a lie

When the geologist Peter Wampler first went to Haiti, in 2007, he didn’t expect to see many trees. He had heard that the country had as little as 2 percent tree cover, a problem that exacerbated drought, flooding and erosion. As a specialist in groundwater issues, Wampler knew that deforestation also contributed to poor water quality; trees help to lock in rich topsoil and act as a purifying filter, especially important in a country where about half of rural people do not have access to clean drinking water.

Haiti is frequently cited by the media, foreign governments and NGOs as one of the worst cases of deforestation in the world. Journalists describe the Caribbean nation’s landscape as “a moonscape,” “ravaged,” “naked,” “stripped” and “a man-made ecological disaster.” Deforestation has been relentlessly linked to Haiti’s entrenched poverty and political instability. David Brooks, the conservative New York Times columnist, once cited Haiti’s lack of trees as proof of a “complex web of progress-resistant cultural influences.” More recently, a Weather Channel meteorologist reporting on the advance of Hurricane Matthew made the absurd claim that Haiti’s deforestation was partly due to children eating the trees.

Few places in the world have as dismal a reputation. And as the recent destruction wrought by Hurricane Matthew shows, Haiti is tragically vulnerable to natural disasters. But as Wampler would discover, Haiti’s reputation as a deforested wasteland is based on myth more than fact — an example of how conservation and environmental agendas, often assumed to be rooted in science, can become entangled with narratives about race and culture that the powerful tell about the third world.

Over the next five years, as Wampler crisscrossed the country for his research, he began to undergo a cognitive dissonance. “I heard that 2 percent number quoted everywhere,” he said. “All the news outlets had this narrative that it’s the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and has 2 percent forest cover. But I’d been to these mountainous areas and seen forest cover that was more than 2 percent. I could see it with my own eyes.”

He began searching for the original source of the forest-cover statistic. To his surprise, he couldn’t find one. The few citations he discovered in scientific studies couldn’t be substantiated. Some scientific and development literature used a 4 percent estimate that came from the Food and Agriculture Organization, a United Nations agency. That number also struck him as too low.

Wampler, a professor at Michigan’s Grand Valley State University, uses geographic information systems and satellite imagery frequently in his work, and he decided to employ them to satisfy his curiosity about the trees in Haiti. He enlisted several students and began gathering high-resolution imagery of the island from LandSat, the database operated by the United States Geological Survey. Stitching together images from 2010 and 2011, he formed a mosaic that covered the entire country. He combined the images in three wavelengths to highlight vegetation and then trained a computer to spot trees in the images. To check the accuracy, he manually compared the computer’s automated analysis to random samples chosen from Google Earth.

When the results came back, his first thought was that he had to do the whole process again. “Let’s check this 10 times to make sure it’s right,” he told his colleagues. According to their analysis, Haiti’s forest cover was more than 32 percent.

Wampler wondered whether they had set a sufficient minimum area for tree cover. So they used the FAO’s definition of a “forest,” which includes trees higher than 5 meters (about 16 feet) covering at least half a hectare. He ran the analysis again. The computer estimated Haiti’s forest coverage at nearly 30 percent, a number similar to the coverage in the United States, France, and Germany, and far higher than in Ireland and England. Wampler had discovered a rarity in today’s world: a good-news environmental story in one of the planet’s poorest countries. But then he had a troubling thought: “People won’t like this.”

“It doesn’t fit the narrative” that poverty causes deforestation and deforestation exacerbates poverty, he said. Foreign governments, charities, development banks, and the foreign media tend to present this relationship as an indisputable fact. “Organizations use this statistic as a lever to get funding and help. For them, it’s a lot more convenient to have a narrative that works.”

He had discovered a rarity in today’s world: a good-news environmental story in one of the planet’s poorest countries. But then he had a troubling thought: “People won’t like this.”

Environmentalists and development experts have drawn a connection between overpopulation, ecological devastation and poverty for decades. “The narrative about overpopulation — and deforestation is usually not far behind — is what’s called a blueprint narrative,” said Jade Sasser, a professor of gender and sexuality studies at the University of California, Riverside. “It gets applied in a variety of different development settings regardless of local history and situations.” Blueprint narratives, first described by policy analyst Emery Roe in 1991, proffer ready-made diagnoses of environmental problems — overgrazing by cattle in Africa leads to desertification, for instance — but the solutions are often unsuited to local contexts and conditions.

Such narratives can also dehumanize. One area of Sasser’s research looks at how Western NGOs portray the poor, often communities of color, as environmentally unaware and in need of outside intervention. In reality, she said, local communities often use “nature” in ways that just don’t fit the notions of pristine wilderness at the heart of many conservation policies.

Paul Robbins, a political ecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, called the environmental movement’s blaming of the poor for deforestation an “obsession” that is both “ironic” and “empirically questionable.” In West Africa, for example, the idea that local communities have caused deforestation is orthodoxy among development and environmental policymakers, but analysis of historical data and first-person accounts rarely support it.

Wampler had debunked the myth of how many trees were in Haiti, but his findings, published in the International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation in 2014, didn’t gain much traction among environmentalists or development agencies. The World Bank, USAID, Oxfam America and multiple United Nations agencies still cite a stat of 1 to 4 percent for forest cover in Haiti. (A USAID spokesperson who was aware of Wampler’s study agreed that the correct figure for tree cover is likely between 32 and 40 percent but defended the 2 percent statistic as referring to “original forest cover,” meaning before European contact.)

“It’s been controversial in some circles,” Wampler said. “Some people don’t want to talk about it. It’s not the story that they want to tell about Haiti.”


No, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is NOT dead. But it is in trouble

The writer makes only a small obeisance to Warmism below.  He says that the ocean is warming overall.  He does not mention that such warming is only in hundredths of a degree

Perhaps you’ve heard that the epic, 1,400-mile-long Great Barrier Reef in Australia has died.

Perhaps you have read its obituary by writer Rowan Jacobsen on the website Outside Online.

But before you start mourning the loss of what Jacobsen calls “one of the most spectacular features on the planet,” the community of scientists that study coral reefs in the Pacific ocean would like you to hold up, slow down, and take a deep breath.

The news isn’t good, but it may not be as dire as the obituary may have you believe.

“For those of us in the business of studying and understanding what coral resilience means, the article very much misses the mark,” said Kim Cobb, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. “It’s not too late for the Great Barrier Reef, and people who think that have a really profound misconception about what we know and don’t know about coral resilience.”

Cobb spoke to the LA Times about the state of the world’s largest reef system, and why there is reason for both concern and hope.
It’s not too late for the Great Barrier Reef, and people who think that have a really profound misconception about what we know ... about coral resilience. — Kim Cobb

Is the Great Barrier Reef dead? No. It’s not. We just had a massive bleaching event, but we know from past research that corals are able to recover from the brink of death.

So bleached corals aren’t dead corals? That’s right. There’s lots of confusion about what bleaching means.

Coral is an animal, and the animal exists in symbiosis with photosynthetic algae. The algae provides food for the coral in exchange for a great home. But when the water gets too warm, the algae become chemically destructive to the coral.

When that happens, the coral convulses and spits out puffs of algae to protect itself. That removes all the color from the coral tissue which is transparent, allowing you to see right through to the underlying skeleton. So you are not necessarily seeing dead coral, you’re really just seeing clear coral without its algae.

But bleaching is still bad, right?

Bleaching events are worrisome because if the coral misses this key food source from the algae for too long it will literally starve to death. But, if the water temperature comes back down, it will welcome the algae back. The key is that the water temperature change has to be relatively quick.

When was the massive bleaching event?

It started with the Hawaiian islands bleaching in the early part of 2015 due to a moderate El Nino event in 2014-2015. After that there was the build up to the massive El Nino that culminated in the warmest ocean waters during the November 2015 time frame.

Unfortunately, these warm waters didn’t release their grip on many of the Pacific reefs until the spring of 2016, so that’s nine months of pretty consistently high temperatures. That is a long time for a coral to be in a mode of starvation.

Has the Great Barrier Reef been through anything like this before?

It has had very severe bleaching events associated with large El Ninos like we had last year, but the problem is we are seeing baseline ocean temperatures getting warmer every year. When you pile a strong El Nino on top of this ever warming trend, you get more extreme and more prolonged bleaching episodes.

What was striking about this year was the extent of the damage. It was staggering. By important metrics the ’97-’98 El Nino was bigger,  but the damage from this last one was far more extensive.

So how can you remain hopeful about the fate of Great Barrier Reef and other reefs in the Pacific?

I work on a research site in the Christmas Islands that is literally smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and which was much more devastated than the Great Barrier Reef. It was worse off than any reef in the world with up to 85% mortality. But even in the face of that whole-scale destruction, we saw individual corals that were still alive, looking like nothing had happened.

I cling to that. I know from my own site that there is a lot more resilience baked into the system then we can hope to understand right now and that out of the rubble will come a reef that may not look exactly like it looked before, but may be better adapted for future temperature change



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Monday, October 17, 2016

HFCs: Mistaking theory for achievement

CFCs and HFCs are the safest gases for use in refrigeration. But in accord with their unfailing agenda of destruction, Greenies have now got both banned.  So more dangerous gases will have to be used. Air conditioners that explode or burst into flames coming to a place near you shortly.

And for what? Because HFCs absorb some frequencies of electromagnetic radiation in the laboratory.  So the Greenies assume that HFCs warm the earth.  But HFCs break down rapidly once they get into the atmosphere so the amount resident at any one point in time is much lower than the amount released.  So the calculations of the effect of a ban on HFcs are undoubtedly well wide of the mark.

But the warmists are so caught up the ecstasy of banning something that they even talk of the recent agreement as already working:  "this is the largest temperature reduction ever achieved by a single agreement".  Whether it achieves ANY effect on temperature remains to be seen, if it can be seen.

The ban on CFCs was driven by similar theory.  Banning them was supposed to heal the hole in the ozone layer. It didn't.  The hole was bigger than ever late last year.  So much for theory.

Nearly 200 nations have reached a deal, announced Saturday morning after all-night negotiations, to limit the use of greenhouse gases far more powerful than carbon dioxide in a major effort to fight climate change.

The talks on hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, were called the first test of global will since the historic Paris Agreement to cut carbon emissions was reached last year. HFCs are described as the world's fastest-growing climate pollutant and are used in air conditioners and refrigerators. Experts say cutting them is the fastest way to reduce global warming.

President Barack Obama, in a statement Saturday, called the new deal "an ambitious and far-reaching solution to this looming crisis." The spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it "critically important."

The agreement, unlike the broader Paris one, is legally binding. It caps and reduces the use of HFCs in a gradual process beginning by 2019 with action by developed countries including the United States, the world's second-worst polluter. More than 100 developing countries, including China, the world's top carbon emitter, will start taking action by 2024, when HFC consumption levels should peak.

A small group of countries including India, Pakistan and some Gulf states pushed for and secured a later start in 2028, saying their economies need more time to grow. That's three years earlier than India, the world's third-worst polluter, had first proposed.

"It's a very historic moment, and we are all very delighted that we have come to this point where we can reach a consensus and agree to most of the issues that were on the table," said India's chief delegate, Ajay Narayan Jha.

Environmental groups had hoped that the deal could reduce global warming by a half-degree Celsius by the end of this century. This agreement gets about 90 percent of the way there, said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development.

Zaelke's group said this is the "largest temperature reduction ever achieved by a single agreement."

The new agreement is "equal to stopping the entire world's fossil-fuel CO2 emissions for more than two years," David Doniger, climate and clean air program director with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement.

It is estimated that the agreement will cut the global levels of HFCs by 80 to 85 percent by 2047, the World Resources Institute said in a statement.

Experts said they hope that market forces will help speed up the limits agreed to in the deal.

HFCs were introduced in the 1980s as a substitute for ozone-depleting gases. But their danger has grown as air conditioner and refrigerator sales have soared in emerging economies like China and India. HFCs are also found in inhalers and insulating foams.

Major economies have debated how quickly to phase out HFCs. The United States, whose delegation was led by Secretary of State John Kerry, and Western countries want quick action. Nations such as India want to give their industries more time to adjust.

"Thank God we got to this agreement that is good for all nations, that takes into consideration all regional and national issues," said Taha Mohamed Zatari, the head of Saudi Arabia's negotiating team.


Simplistic ocean acidification scare

Although some researchers have raised concerns about possible negative effects of rising CO2 on ocean surface pH, there are several lines of evidence demonstrating marine ecosystems are far more sensitive to fluxes of carbon dioxide from ocean depths and the biosphere’s response than from invasions of atmospheric CO2. There is also ample evidence that lower pH does not inhibit photosynthesis or lower ocean productivity (Mackey 2015). On the contrary, rising CO2 makes photosynthesis less costly.

Furthermore in contrast to researchers arguing rising atmospheric CO2 will inhibit calcification, increased photosynthesis not only increases calcification, paradoxically the process of calcification produces CO2 and drops pH to levels lower than predicted by climate change models. A combination of warmer tropical waters and coral reef biology results in out-gassing of CO2 from the ocean to the atmosphere, making coral reefs relatively insensitive to the effects of atmospheric CO2 on ocean pH.

Sixty million years ago proxy evidence indicates ocean surface pH hovered around 7.4. If surface pH was in equilibrium with the atmosphere, then CO2 concentrations would have hovered around 2000 ppm, but there is no consensus that CO2 reached those levels. However as will be discussed, there are biological processes that do lower surface pH to that extent, despite much lower atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

Over the next 40 million years corresponding with the rearrangement of the continents and ocean currents, the formation of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and initiation of Antarctic glaciers, the evolutionary expansion of diatoms and their increasing abundance (diatoms are the most efficient algae for exporting carbon to ocean depths), ocean carbonate chemistry was greatly altered. As a result ocean surface pH gradually rose above pH 8. Then for our last 20 million years, ocean surface pH has fluctuated within this new equilibrium between 8.4 and 8.1, as seen in Figure 1 below (Pearson and Palmer 2000). For the past 400,000 years, pH rose to about 8.35 during the depths of each ice age. Then during each warm interglacial period, when both land and marine productivity increased, pH fell to ~8.1 (Honisch 2005).slide1Although it is commonly assumed atmospheric CO2 and ocean surface pH are in equilibrium, studies examining various time frames from daily and seasonal pH fluctuations (Kline 2015) to the millennial scale transitions from the last ice age to our warm interglacial (Martinez-Boti 2015), demonstrate surface ocean pH has rarely been in chemical equilibrium with atmospheric CO2. Because oceans contain over 50 times as much CO2 as the atmosphere, surface pH is more sensitive to changes in the rates of upwelling of low-pH, carbon-rich deep waters. It is the response of photosynthesizing organisms and the food webs they support that largely determines how much carbon is sequestered in the surface layers and then sent to deeper waters (the biological pump).

As discussed in an earlier essay, the “biological pump” modulates how much CO2 is sequestered and how much CO2 will out-gas to the atmosphere. It has been estimated that without the biological pump, pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 would have out gassed and raised atmospheric CO2 to 500 ppm, instead of the observed 280 ppm. Ironically the processes that build coral reefs also increase surface CO2 concentrations and lower regional pH to levels lower than expected by equilibrium with atmospheric CO2.


World’s Oldest Scientific Academy, the Royal Society, to Allow Climate Skeptical GWPF Lecture to Go Ahead Despite Internal Opposition

The Royal Society will be going ahead with the controversial Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) annual lecture next week despite internal pressure to cancel the event, DeSmog UK has learned.

The decision to allow the lecture to go forward was made during the Royal Society’s governing council meeting last week where several fellows and associates of the society raised concern over the climate science denying GWPF’s 17 October event.

As DeSmog UK understands, there was a strong sense among many at the meeting that the Royal Society – the world’s oldest scientific academy, founded in 1660 – had made a mistake in accepting the booking for the GWPF’s ‘by invitation only’ lecture to be delivered by Matt Ridley.

However, there was a divergence in opinion on what should be done in response – for example, cancel it or allow it to continue.

Joanna Haigh, Royal Society fellow and council member who attended the meeting, told DeSmog UK: “The Royal Society has decided that cancelling the booking would give the event an unwarranted higher profile.”

She added that “some scientist experts will attend the meeting and keep check on the accuracy of the statements.”

According to a spokesperson for the Royal Society, a range of views were expressed during the meeting, but their position remains unchanged: “The GWPF is one of many organisations who hire space to hold its own events at the Royal Society.  There is no suggestion of endorsement by the Royal Society for the views expressed at these events.”

They continued: “The evidence shows us that the earth is warming and that recent warming is largely caused by human activities. Once that is accepted, there is scope for debate on the policy responses and that is the area that the GWPF claims to be interested in.

“If the GWPF uses this opportunity to misrepresent the scientific evidence it would undermine the legitimacy of its views on policy responses to climate change.”

The GWPF, founded by former chancellor and Conservative peer Lord Nigel Lawson, was forced to split its operations in 2014 after a Charity Commission report found its materials lacked balance and “promoted a particular position on global warming.”

And as DeSmog UK understands, it was a commonly held view by everyone who spoke up during last week’s meeting – which was the majority of those who attended – that the GWPF’s activities are reprehensible.

The fact that the climate denial think tank has a few Royal Society fellows in its ranks was also noted.

As Professor Andrew Watson, a Royal Society Fellow and Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Exeter, who is not on the council, previously told DeSmogUK: “I expect the RS agreed to this [booking] because they didn't want to be accused of censorship, but the GWPF is not just interested in hiring a lecture theatre — they are also hiring the brand.”

This isn’t the first time either that a GWPF event has been held at the Royal Society. In 2012, the group’s annual lecture was delivered at the venue by the climate science denying German electric utility executive Fritz Vahrenholt, where he dismissed the role of CO2 in climate change.


Canada still likes nukes

Today, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) starts Canada's largest clean energy project, the refurbishment of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station east of Toronto.

"Refurbishment of Darlington will ensure emissions-free nuclear continues to be Ontario's single largest source of power. The project will create up to 11,800 jobs annually and contribute nearly $15 billion to Ontario's economy." said Glenn Thibeault, Ontario Minister of Energy.

"This project is an investment in Ontario's future. It benefits communities across the province, it provides clean, safe and reliable power and will help moderate customer prices," said Jeff Lyash, OPG's President and CEO. "I've been involved in a lot of major projects over the years and I can confidently say, I've never seen one that has had this amount of rigorous preparation and is this poised for success," Lyash added.

The Darlington Nuclear Generating Station is a mainstay of the Ontario economy and its refurbishment will permanently boost the Ontario economy, according to the results of research conducted by the Conference Board of Canada and presented to Ontario Power Generation.

"The boost to economic activity would have far-reaching and long-term stimulative effects on the Ontario economy," said Pedro Antunes, Executive Director and Deputy Chief Economist, the Conference Board of Canada. "The operational expenditures associated with Darlington through 2055 will lift employment by roughly 555,000 person-years in Ontario over the life of the station, with Darlington serving as a critical source of job creation for Ontarians, both within and outside the utilities industry."

A report released last week by Intrinsik Environmental Sciences, Inc. says "continued operations of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station will remove the equivalent of two million cars a year from Ontario's roads."
"These reports clearly show that Darlington will continue to play a major role in Ontario's future economic and environmental success," Lyash said.

OPG is also planning to continue to operate its Pickering Nuclear Generating Station until 2024. The recent "Speech from the Throne" indicated this will save Ontario's electricity customers $600 million, and provide a clean energy source of electricity when Darlington and Bruce Power units are offline for refurbishment.


OPG generates safe, clean, reliable, low cost power for the province. More than 99 per cent of this power has no greenhouse gas or smog causing emissions. OPG's power is priced 40 per cent lower than other generators, which helps moderate customer bills.


The Darlington Nuclear Generating Station is an essential source of electricity in Ontario. It produces 20 per cent of the province's generation. This output is baseload generation, flowing into the electricity system 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Operating Darlington until 2055 will be the equivalent of removing two million cars from Ontario's roads each year.

In 2014, OPG stopped burning coal to create electricity. It was North America's largest climate change action to date.

The price for the electricity from the refurbished station is projected to cost about 8 cents a kilowatt hour. This is below prices for power from alternate sources of baseload power. The final price will be set by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) after a full public process.

The ongoing operation of Darlington is expected to boost personal income in Ontario by an average of $1.6 billion per year from 2017 to 2055, or by a total of $61.4 billion. Corporate profits before tax will increase by $7 billion over the same period.

The continued operation of Darlington is projected to result in a $9.3 billion increase in Ontario provincial government revenues. The federal government will collect $13.8 billion in revenue, while local municipalities in Ontario will collect $356 million.

OPG will work with the Ministry of Energy, the Independent Electricity System Operator and the OEB to pursue continued operation of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station to 2024. All six units would operate until 2022; two units would then shut down and four units would operate to 2024. Extending Pickering's operation will ensure a reliable, clean source of base load electricity during the Darlington and initial Bruce refurbishments.

Technical studies show that Pickering Nuclear Generating Station can be safely operated to 2024. Extending its operating life will save Ontario electricity customers up to $600 million, avoid eight million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and protect 4,500 jobs across Durham Region.


Stormy climate deception

Continued hype and deceit drive climate, energy agenda – clobbering poor families

Paul Driessen

Despite constant claims to the contrary, the issue is not whether greenhouse gas emissions affect Earth’s climate. The questions are whether those emissions are overwhelming the powerful natural forces that have always driven climate fluctuations, and whether humans are causing dangerous climate change.

No Real-World evidence supports a “dangerous manmade climate change” thesis. In fact, a moderately warmer planet with more atmospheric carbon dioxide would hugely benefit crop, forest and other plant growth, wildlife and humans – with no or minimal climate effect. A colder planet with less CO2 would punish them. And a chillier CO2-deprived planet with less reliable, less affordable energy (from massive wind, solar and biofuel projects) would threaten habitats, species, nutrition and the poorest among us.

And yet, as Hurricane Matthew neared Florida on the very day the Paris climate accord secured enough signatures to bring it into force, politicians, activists and reporters refused to let that crisis go to waste.

Matthew is the kind of “planetary threat” the Paris agreement “is designed to stop,” said one journalist-activist. This hurricane is a “record-shattering storm that is unusual for October,” said another; it underscores how climate change could “turn seasonal weather events into year-round threats.”

What nonsense. What hubris. Suggesting that humans can control planetary temperatures and prevent hurricanes, tornadoes and other severe weather is absurd. Saying an October hurricane augurs year-long chaos is either grossly ill-informed or deliberately disingenuous.

Matthew was a powerful storm that left destruction and death in its wake, especially in impoverished Haiti. Its slow track up the southeastern US coastline pummeled the region with rain, flooding and more deaths. But it was a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds when it made landfall in South Carolina October 8, and a post-tropical storm as it moved offshore from North Carolina a day later.

Despite the rain and floods, that makes a record eleven years since a major (Category 3-5) hurricane last made landfall in the United States (Wilma in October 2005). The previous record major hurricane hiatus was nine years, 1860-1869, according to NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division.

Only a charlatan would suggest that this record lull is due to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. But plenty of alarmist charlatans claim that any violent or “unseasonal” storms are due to “too much” CO2.

Since recordkeeping began in 1851, the US has been hit by 63 Category 3 hurricanes, 21 Cat 4 storms and three Category 5s (1935, 1969 and 1995). Of 51 hurricanes that struck in October, 15 were Category 3-4. Other significant gaps in major hurricane strikes on US coasts occurred in 1882-86, 1910-15 and 1921-26.

The worst periods were 1893-1900 (8 Category 3-5 ‘canes), 1915-21 (8 Cat 3-4), 1926-35 (8 Cat 3-5), 1944-50 (8 Cat 3-4), 1959-69 (7 Cat 3-5), and 2004-05 (7 Category 3-4 hurricanes in just two years).

There is no pattern or trend in this record, and certainly no link to carbon dioxide levels.

Even more obscene than the CO2-climate deception is the response to Matthew’s devastation. More than a week after the Category 4 version of this hurricane struck Haiti’s unprepared shanty towns, hundreds of thousands still had not received food, water, medicine or clothing.

Just as intolerable, United Nations “humanitarian and disaster relief” agencies were issuing “emergency appeals” for $120 million in “life-saving assistance” funds for the desperate Haitians. This after President Obama improperly diverted $500 million from an economic aid program set up to address disease epidemics – like the Zika and cholera cases that are rapidly rising in Haiti – to the UN’s Climate Action Fund. So Obama and the UN blame hurricanes and diseases on manmade climate change, but refuse to spend money they already have on a hurricane disaster, and instead beg for more money. Incredible!

It is clearly not climate change that threatens the poor. It is policies imposed in the name of preventing climate change that imperil poor, minority, blue-collar, farm and factory families.

A new study by the Institute for Competition Economics concludes that Germany’s “green energy transition” will cost €520 billion ($572 billion) by 2025 – just to switch from gas and coal to renewable electricity generation. These costs will keep accumulating long after 2025, and do not cover “decarbonizing” the country’s transportation, heating and agriculture sectors, the study points out.

This €520-billion bill amounts to a €25,000 ($27,500) surcharge for every German family – and 70% of it will come due over the next nine years. That bill is nearly equal to the average German family’s total net worth: €27,000. It is a massive regressive tax that will disproportionately impact low-income families, which already spend a far higher portion of their annual incomes on energy, and rarely have air conditioning.

Germany is slightly smaller than Montana, which is 4% of the USA, and has just 25% of the US population and 22% of the US gross domestic product. (One-fifth of US families have no or negative net worth.)

All of this strongly suggests that a forced transition from fossil fuels to wind, solar and biofuel energy would cost the United States tens of trillions of dollars – hundreds of thousands per American family.

The impacts of climate change obsession on developing nations would be far worse, if they bowed to President Obama’s suggestions and agendas. African nations, he has said, should “leapfrog” “dirty” fossil fuels and instead utilize their “bountiful” wind, solar, geothermal and biofuel resources. In practice, that would mean having expensive, intermittent electricity and growing biofuel crops on Africa’s nutrient-depleted, drought-stricken lands, with no fertilizer, mechanized farming equipment or GMO seeds.

That is racist. It reflects an elitist preference that the world’s poor should die, rather than emit carbon dioxide “pollution,” drive cars, build modern homes, or engage in other “unsustainable” practices.

Thankfully, few developing countries are listening to such nonsense. Instead, they are using oil, natural gas and especially coal, in ever-increasing amounts, to lift their people out of abject poverty – because the “climate-saving” Paris non-treaty imposes no restrictions on their use of fossil fuels.

But meanwhile, “keep it in the ground” pressure groups are redoubling their efforts to prevent Americans from using their own bountiful fossil fuels to create jobs and prosperity. Even though a new NOAA study confirms that rice growing and meat production generate far more methane than do oil, natural gas and coal production and use – with US operations contributing a tiny fraction of that – these groups use every legal and illegal tactic to block drilling, fracking and pipelines. (Methane is 0.00017% of the atmosphere.)

The dictatorial USEPA nevertheless stands ready to issue tough new methane rules for oil and gas operations, while Al Gore and assorted regulators advocate forcing farmers to control cow flatulence “to combat climate change.” Meanwhile, even Hillary Clinton has recognized that Russia provides millions of dollars in support for anti-fracking and anti-pipeline agitators in Europe and the United States.

Keeping fossil fuels in the ground really means depriving people of reliable, affordable electricity; prolonging unemployment and poverty; having no feed stocks for plastics and petrochemicals, except what might come from biofuels; and blanketing hundreds of millions of acres of farm, scenic and habitat land with biofuel crops, 400-foot-tall wind turbines, vast solar arrays and new transmission lines.

And as the UN’s top climate officials have proudly affirmed, “preventing climate change” is really about replacing free enterprise capitalism with “a new economic development model” and having an excuse to “distribute the world’s wealth” to crony corporatists and other “more deserving” parties.

When taxpayers, consumers, unemployed workers and poor families finally recognize these inconvenient truths, the world will be a far better place – with true freedom, justice and opportunity for all.

Via email


For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Can the Great Barrier Reef be saved? Uproar as writer claims world’s largest living structure is DEAD

We went through all this a few months ago.  The galoots below are just catching up. To summarize:  The tourism operators in Far North Queensland  -- who go to the reef daily -- were all amazed to hear this guff.  The reef does undergo bleaching (which in NOT "death") from time to time but not all parts are affected.  So they did their own survey and found that only a relatively small part of the reef was bleached at the time:  A MUCH smaller part than what the Greenies claim.

They have NO difficulty in finding parts of the reef where they can take their tourist boats and show visitors the reef in all its glory. The main departure point for the reef is the city of Cairns and the tourism industry there at the moment is booming.

The Greenie claim is that agricultural runoff is killing the reef but the main area of coral bleaching at the moment is parallel with the Northern half on Cape York peninsula, where there are essentially NO farms -- So it's ideology, not reality speaking

The Great Barrier Reef was once a scene of thriving coral, but one environmental writer has claimed it is now beyond help.

'The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness. It was 25 million years old,' wrote Rowan Jacobsen in Outside magazine.

Recent pictures show many parts of the reef appear full of swampy algae, brown sludge and rubble, and it is estimated 93 per cent of Great Barrier Reef has been affected by bleaching, which can kill corals.

In his 'obituary', Jacobson wrote 'The Great Barrier Reef was predeceased by the South Pacific’s Coral Triangle, the Florida Reef off the Florida Keys, and most other coral reefs on earth.

'It is survived by the remnants of the Belize Barrier Reef and some deepwater corals.'

However, a Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority report released this week said its preliminary findings show 22 per cent of coral on the Reef died due to the worst mass bleaching event on record.

However, that's not to say the remaining coral is not in dire trouble.

A destructive bleaching process has already affected about 93 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef as of April this year, according to scientists at James Cook University.

The latest before and after shots of the devastating effect of coral loss in the tropical far north Queensland in recent years.

With the December 1 deadline looming, Australia must report to the UNESCO to demonstrate an investment strategy to save the Reef.

WWF-Australia spokesman Sean Hoobin said while there was no scientific study on what killed coral in this specific area, the pictures were indicative of what was happening along the Reef's coast.

'Inshore reefs along the coast are deteriorating and studies say sediment, fertiliser and pesticide run off are taking a toll on coral,' Mr Hoobin said.

An independent report estimated it would cost $8.2 billion to achieve most of the water quality targets for the Reef that governments have committed to deliver by 2025.

'Stopping water pollution will help restore the beautiful coral gardens choked by runoff. This image drives home what a big job we face,' Mr Hoobin said.

'Australia must commit the $8.2 billion as a national priority to protect the Reef and the tourism jobs that rely on it.

This comes as coral samples dating back thousands of years show evidence of the human impact on the Reef, researchers have claimed.

University of Queensland Professor Gregg Webb said coral 'cores' taken from along the Queensland coastline showed definable difference in trace element chemistry, including those linked to European arrival in Australia.

'We can look at ancient events where they're been stressed by bad water, high nutrients, but also just sediment load and see what killed them, what was sub-lethal, how common events are, and just get an idea of what the reef can handle,' he said


Gore Ties Global Warming to the Zika Virus

He would, wouldn't he?  The vector for Zika is the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which is endemic in the Queensland tropics, where I come from.  And it does carry nasties like Dengue and Ross River virus.  So modern public health measures have been taken in Queensland which nearly eliminate the mozzie concerned -- and it is now rare for people to get ill from those viruses.  So areas troubled by Zika in a warmer world could be similarly protected  

During a campaign rally for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Miami, Fla., on Tuesday, former Vice President Al Gore warned of the dangers of global warming on mosquitos, specifically as it pertains to the Zika virus.

“These tropical diseases have spread so quickly, partly because of airline travel and the transportation revolution, but the changing climate conditions change the places where these tropical diseases become endemic and put down roots,” Gore said.

Gore noted that there were six more cases of the Zika virus in Dade County.

“The mosquitos mature faster, and then the virus in the mosquito incubates much faster, and they bite more often, because they’re cold-blooded, and when the temperature goes up, their metabolism goes up, and they spread the disease way more quickly,” he said.

“So these and many other consequences, including the fires out West that Secretary Clinton talked about, are really wake-up calls for us,” Gore added.

“Mother Nature is giving us a very clear and powerful message,” he said.

“We cannot continue putting 110 million tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere everyday as if it’s an open sewer. We’ve got to stop that. We’ve got to wake up and recognize the need for change,” Gore added.

“So most people know that we have to change this, but here’s the really good news that more people should know: We can change this. We now have the ability to change this,” he said. “It’s going to be a long, hard fight.

“We’ve got a long way to go, but we now have the renewable energy technologies and the efficiency improvements and electric vehicles and sustainable and organic agriculture and sustainable forestry and the other ways of changing our lives for the better that can sharply diminish the amount of global warming pollution that we’re putting up there,” Gore said.

“Secretary Clinton is exactly right, that we can create good jobs in the process - jobs that can be outsourced,” he said.


No Slowdown In Temperature Hiatus Research

A small sample of new research papers in scientific journals shows that the global temperature hiatus is widely accepted in the scientific community.

“There was no global hiatus,” said Hansen et al. in a review of the global temperature of 2015. Last year, of course, like the year before and this year, had global temperatures elevated by a very strong El Nino – a short-term weather event.

The so-called pause or hiatus in average annual global surface temperature has been the most talked about aspect of climate science for some years now. To those who only pay attention to the most vocal scientists, campaigners and activists the situation is now clear. The hiatus either never existed, or it is now over.

For some the proof of this viewpoint is easy. To prove it one has to draw a straight line through all of the available data and say that anything else is cherry-picking the data, or hold up a particular graph on a chat show and ridicule any opposition, or seek the opinion of those selected to agree.

There is however a better way to judge what is going on and that is to look at the peer-reviewed scientific literature. What questions are being asked and what research is being done away from the partisan blogs, the TV studios, the twitter put-downs and the soundbites?

Nobody would say that the Geophysical Research Letters is a fringe journal. In it Sevellec at al discuss the nature of hiatus’ in global warming saying that there has been a “recent unprecedented decade-long slowdown in surface warming.”

They write that the global surface temperature was never expected to increase monotonically with increasing radiative forcing because of decadal variations. To my mind, this is rewriting history somewhat. A decade ago there was hardly any discussion of decadal variability in the climate record and it was held that the anthropogenic signal was strong. It was only when surface temperatures did not increase by the 0.3°C per decade that some had predicted that qualifications were made.

Slowly decadal variability was brought in to explain the lack of temperature rise which led to a complete change of view. Now the anthropogenic signal was being obscured by decadal climatic variability and it would be several decades before it emerged and exceeded it, as Meehl et al said recently in Nature Climate Change, “Longer-term externally forced trends in global mean surface temperatures are embedded in the background noise of internally generated multidecadal variability.”

Sevellec et al use a model and they it say demonstrates that hiatus periods are extremely unlikely using the term “rogue event.” They add that hiatus periods will vanish by 2100 and surges in global temperature, greater than that expected due to radiative forcing alone, will take over.

Shi et al in the Journal of Meteorological Research disagree. They analyse what they describe as “the so-called global warming hiatus 1998 – 2012.” They say such a hiatus period has occurred many times in the past and it is likely to be a “periodical feature” of long-term temperature change. Exactly the opposite of Sevellec et al.

Environmental Research Letters contains a paper by Checa-Garcia et al on the “contribution of greenhouse gasses to the recent slowdown in global mean temperature trends.” They say the slowdown has generated “extensive discussion.” They suggest that the hiatus is in part due to variations in ozone-destroying chemicals and the stratosphere’s response – a non CO2 effect.

Middlemas and Clement writing in the Journal of Climate say that “the causes of decadal time-scale variations are currently under debate” and propose that the hiatus is due to atmospheric air interactions with the upper ocean.

Challenging Understanding

Talking to the European Geophysical Union assembly in Vienna in April, Tao and Yunfei state that, “global temperature has not risen in the 21st century, termed a hiatus.”

They think its due to variations in the thickness of the tropopause. According to Gu et al in Climate Dynamics, “global mean surface temperature rapidly increased up to the late 1990s.” They maintain the influence of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation on this hiatus is strong.

And in Nature Geoscience Xie et al say that the earth’s energy budget for the past four decades can now be closed, albeit with a few unrealistic assumptions. In doing so they mention, “the so-called global warming hiatus since the late 1990s.”

Song et al in Scientific Reports say, “the rate at which global average surface temperature has slowed down since the end of the last century.” They think it is due to a downward tendency in cloud activity which started in the early 1990s adding, “it is now accepted that a recent warming deceleration can be clearly observed.”

Yao et al in Theoretical and Applied Climatology say that the globally-averaged annual combined land and ocean surface temperature (GST) anomaly change features a slowdown in the rate of global warming in the mid-twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century.

“Here, it is shown that the hiatus in the rate of global warming typically occurs when the internally generated cooling associated with the cool phase of the multi-decadal variability overcomes the secular warming from human-induced forcing.”

“We provide compelling evidence that the global warming hiatus is a natural product of the interplays between a secular warming tendency due in a large part to the buildup of anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations, in particular CO2 concentration, and internally generated cooling by a cool phase of a quasi-60-year oscillatory variability that is closely associated with the Atlantic multi-decadal oscillation (AMO) and the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO).”

The hiatus is being found in new areas. An et al report that it has been detected in ice-core records from the Tibetian plateau.

The cores were taken from the Chongce glacier in 2012 and show a warming trend between 1970 – 2000 and a cooling between 2001 – 2012 which they say has contributed to the relatively stable status of the glaciers in the north western Tibetian plateau.

It has also been found in neighbouring China by Xie et al reporting in the International Journal of Climatology, “As the recent global warming hiatus has attracted worldwide attention, we examined the robustness of the warming hiatus in China. Based on the results confirmed by the multiple data and trend analysis methods, we found that the annual mean temperature in China had a cooling trend during the recent global warming hiatus period, which suggested a robust warming hiatus in China.’

When looking at this small sample of peer-reviewed literature it is clear that there is acceptance of the hiatus among many in the scientific community, and much research being carried out into its nature and causes. Xie et al in Nature Climate Change say that the “recent slowdown in global warming challenged our understanding of climate dynamics and anthropogenic forcing.”

Such a body of peer-reviewed literature cannot be ignored or deleted from soundbyte debates without demonstrating a lack of understanding or interest of what is actually going on in the scientific community. Denial and ridicule of such work is disappointing, and anti-scientific.


UK Falls Back On Coal And Gas Plants To Keep The Lights On

Contracts worth £122m to keep coal and gas-fired power stations on standby will help Britain avoid electricity blackouts this winter, National Grid has forecast, highlighting the difficulties facing the UK as it attempts to wean its power sector off fossil fuels.

The UK’s electricity system operator forecast that the margin between supply and demand over the course of the winter would be 6.6 per cent, an increase of almost 30 per cent on last year’s cushion and wider than a provisional forecast made in July.

However, without measures to ensure the availability of back-up generating capacity when regular supplies run low, the margin this winter would be close to record lows at 1.1 per cent, according to National Grid’s annual Winter Outlook.

National Grid will pay for 10 coal and gas-fired plants to keep spare capacity on standby, with further sums to be paid if they are called into action. These include coal plants at Eggborough in Yorkshire and Fiddlers Ferry in Cheshire that had previously been earmarked for closure.

The dependence on fossil fuels to guarantee energy security during the winter months highlights the challenge facing the UK government as it seeks to phase out coal-fired power by 2025 in pursuit of aggressive carbon reduction goals.


Australia: Huge potential oilfield will not now be exploited

So now Australia will have to continue as an importer.  Despite denials, the decision was undoutedly influenced by the prospect of a big battle with the Greens

The minister for resources, Matt Canavan, says he is “bitterly disappointed” by BP’s decision to not proceed with its controversial plan to drill for oil in the commonwealth marine reserve in the Great Australian Bight.

He said the Turnbull government was still confident the region could be developed, and he would be speaking to other oil and gas companies in coming days.

He criticised environmental groups that have campaigned against BP’s project, saying their celebratory response to the decision showed the “ugly side of green activism”.

“We think up to 100 workers will be impacted, and those workers I’m sure went to bed last night a little restless ... but we had other people in this country popping the champagne corks and celebrating that fact,” Canavan said on Wednesday.

BP announced on Tuesday it would scrap its $1.4bn drilling program in the Great Australian Bight, off South Australia, citing commercial reasons.

The announcement was applauded by green groups, coming after repeated requests for more information from the Australian regulator, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority, and mounting public concerns about the impact the drilling and any potential oil spill would have on the pristine waters of the bight.

BP had previously boasted the bight had the potential to be as big an oilfield as the Gulf of Mexico, where there are now more than 4,000 oil rigs.

Karoon Gas Australia, which announced its plans to explore for oil last week, has said the bight holds “the world’s last underexplored Cretaceous basins”.

Canavan told ABC radio on Wednesday he was bitterly disappointed . He said BP had been allowed to explore for oil in the marine reserve after making almost half a billion dollars worth of commitments to do work in the area, and now it was walking away from them.

He said he now expected BP to “make good” some of those commitments in other ways. “I’ll be very interested in discussing with them in coming days what those plans might be,” he said.

He criticised environmental groups that campaigned against the project. “What does frustrate me is sometimes the workers in these industries, who tend to be fairly quiet, reticent types of people, aren’t the ones on the radio or in the media telling their stories,” he said.

The government still believed the region could produce large amounts of oil and gas, he said. “Obviously there is still a lot of uncertainty about the area, but we remain confident of its long-term prospectivity and I’ll be talking to some of those other companies about their plans in coming days,” he said.

Canavan was also asked about the effectiveness of the petroleum resource rent tax, after reports that just 5% of oil and gas projects operating in Australia are paying the tax.

The Tax Justice Network has warned that Australia is set to blow another resources boom, forgoing billions of dollars in potential tax revenue, because the PRRT is failing to collect adequate revenue from the explosion in liquefied natural gas exports.

“[The PRRT] is a profits-based tax and what happens, of course, is that resource developments take large upfront costs, particularly some of these LNG developments … that take some time before profits are realised,” Canavan said.

“This tax has delivered billions to the federal government over a number of decades, and it has underpinned the development of a massive industry in this country.

“So we’ve got to be very careful about making any changes, particularly to people that make massive investments. We’ve got to attract this investment to our country.”



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Friday, October 14, 2016

New book: Twenty-five Myths That Are Destroying the Environment: What Many Environmentalists Believe and Why They Are Wrong

Written by Daniel Botkin. Published by Rowman & Littlefield Lanham, MD 20706. $12.71 from Amazon

The Introduction discusses the distinctions between myths, folktales, and science, and the chapters discuss which generalizations about environment are which of these.


Myth 1 We Are the Only Species That Has Had Global Effects on Environment
Myth 2 Life Is Fragile and Can't Adjust Easily to Change
Myth 3 Extinction Is Unnatural and Bad, but Easy to Accomplish
Myth 6 Beauty in Nature Happens Only in Areas Completely Undisturbed by Us
Myth 10 People Have Changed Environment Only Since the Industrial Age
Myth 11 Without Human Interference, Earth's Climate Is Stable
Myth 13 Climate Change Will Lead to Huge Numbers of Extinctions
Myth 20 We Can't Do Much about Environmental Risks
Myth 21 Smokey Bear Is Right: Only You Can Prevent Wildfires
Myth 23 Solar and Wind Energy Require Huge Areas
Myth 24 Large-Scale Solar Energy Projects RequireVery Hot Climates
Myth 25 Compared to Climate Change, All Other Environmental Issues Are Minor

Clinton pumps out mainstream climate BS

Of all the problems facing this nation, climate change is at the top, Democrat Hillary Clinton told a campaign rally in Miami, Florida on Tuesday.

"And I will tell you this -- it is one of the most important issues at stake in this election," she said.

Appearing with climate change activisit Al Gore -- her husband's vice president -- Clinton capitalized on Florida's recent brush with Hurricane Matthew, saying the storm was "likely more destructive because of climate change."

She painted a doom-and-gloom scenario of rising oceans, Zika-spreading mosquitoes, and a rise in asthma and allergy cases due to longer pollen seasons.

"Look at it this way," Clinton said. "Our next president will either step up our efforts to address climate change to protect our planet, to protect our health, and to create good jobs that cannot be outsourced, by growing our clean energy economy -- or, in the alternative, we will be dragged backwards, and our whole future will be put at risk. So we've really got to get this right.

"And if you need additional convincing, just remember what happened this week. Hurricane Matthew killed at least 26 people in our country, more than 1,000 as far as we know right now in Haiti. North Carolina is still dealing with serious flooding...Now some will say, we've always had hurricanes. They've always been destructive. And that's true.

"But Hurricane Matthew was likely more destructive because of climate change. Right now, the ocean is at or near record high temperatures, and that contributed to the torrential rainfall and the flash flooding that we saw in the Carolinas. Sea levels have already risen about a foot -- one foot -- in much of the Southeast, which means that Matthew's storm surge was higher and the flooding was more severe.

"Plus, as you know, the impact of climate change goes beyond extreme events like hurricanes. It's become a daily reality here in Miami." Clinton noted that streets in Miami Beach are now flooding at high tide. "The ocean is bubbling up through the sewer system. Sometimes, people call 311 because they assume a water main must have broken when actually, it is the sea rising around them. So if you need proof that climate change is real and that it's costly, there you go."

Clinton predicted that one in eight homes in Florida could be underwater by the end of the century.

And she slammed "climate change deniers," including her rival Donald Trump: "Please, let's come together as a country and do something about it. We cannot risk putting a climate denier in the White House."

As president, Clinton said she wants to "have 500 million more solar panels installed across America by the end of my first term." She said she plans to "transform our economy" with "new clean energy solutions."


Improper Recycling Could Land You in Jail: How Overcriminalization Threatens Everyone

Criminal laws and regulations in the United States have increased to absurd proportions in the past few decades, posing a growing threat to our constitutional liberties.

There are nearly 5,000 criminal laws and an estimated 300,000 or more criminal regulations at the federal level alone. In fact, there are so many possible criminal offenses that Harvey Silverglate, a civil liberties attorney, contends the average American probably commits at least three felonies a day, most without knowing it.

In April, the perils of overcriminalization were on full display when Brian Everidge traveled to Michigan with more than 10,000 bottles and cans, seeking to capitalize on Michigan’s generous 10 cents-per-bottle refund program. He stood to make $1,000.

Everidge was pulled over for speeding and found himself facing a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison after the state trooper discovered his cargo. As it turned out, transporting more than 10,000 bottles into Michigan with the intent to collect a deposit is a felony.

The average American probably commits at least three felonies a day, most without knowing it.

Besides Michigan, nine other states have bottle deposit laws—California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maine, New York, Oregon, and Vermont. Though each state law varies slightly from the others, each law operates on the same basic premise: Consumers pay a deposit on specified beverage containers and get reimbursed upon returning the emptied container.

Deposits vary from 5 cents to 15 cents by state and container size. When a person knowingly brings in containers sold outside the state, they are deceiving state officials by seeking the return of a deposit they never paid.

Surprisingly, interstate bottle fraud can be big business. In 2015, California officials uncovered a recycling ring that raked in $14 million from 2012 to 2014 on approximately 250 million containers brought from Arizona to California recycling centers.

The Michigan Treasury Department reported that interstate bottle fraud costs the state $10 to $13 million every year. Michigan state Rep. Kenneth Kurtz, a Republican, said of repeat “scammers who drive car and truck loads of cans from Indiana, Wisconsin, and Ohio,” that “If you are intending to defraud … then you should be held accountable for it.”

Six of the 10 bottle bill states—California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Vermont—have codified penalties specifically for cashing in on out-of-state bottles, or attempting to. Only Michigan and California, however, make it a crime.

Michigan’s penalties work on a sliding scale. Attempt to return up to 99 containers, you’ll get off with a civil fine; attempt to return 100 to 9,999 containers, you’re guilty of a misdemeanor; and if you attempt to return 10,000 or more, you’re now a felon and subject to up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine or both.

Other types of fraud, such as dishonest practices in connection with official records on milk and butter production or failing to label imitation leather boots as such, are misdemeanors—no matter how much butter is produced or how expensive the boots are.

In California, trading in out-of-state recyclable containers is also a felony if the redemption value is more than $400. One truck driver faced criminal charges for smuggling 7,000 pounds of containers worth more than $7,100 in redemptions, with possible jail time of six months to three years.

The United States Supreme Court stated recently, in Bond v. U.S. (2014), that states “have broad authority to enact legislation for the public good—what we have often called a ‘police power.’” It also ruled in Minnesota v. Clover Leaf Creamery (1981) that a state can outright ban the sale of retail goods in a “plastic nonreturnable, nonrefillable container” if it so chooses, respecting the states’ broad discretion to implement environmental policies.

Heritage Foundation scholars have argued, however, that “the most successful environmental policies emanate from liberty.”

Lawmakers must reassess current laws and scrutinize any new laws that use criminal instead of civil penalties.

Criminal laws and penalties, writes John Malcolm, director of Heritage’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, are “meant to enforce a commonly accepted moral code that is set forth in language the average person can readily understand and that clearly identifies the prohibited conduct.”

Administrative schemes like state bottle recycling programs, Malcolm writes, should “establish rules of the road (with penalties attached for violations of those rules) to curb excesses and address consequences in a complex, rapidly evolving, highly industrialized society.”

Maine’s bottle fraud rules exemplify a proper understanding of how law ought to work. Maine imposes civil fines whenever a person attempts to deposit more than 48 containers not sold in the state, with the penalty being the greater of a $100 fine for each container or $25,000 fine for each attempted transaction.

This creates a disincentive for cashing in on out-of-state containers and more than compensates the state for its losses without branding every person who violates the scheme as a criminal.

Moreover, Maine requires all recycling centers to post a sign that clearly defines “bottle fraud” and warns customers of its penalties, so anyone who unlawfully takes advantage of Maine’s incentive structure does so with a full understanding of the consequences.

Heritage scholars have identified ways to address the overcriminalization crisis. Lawmakers must reassess current laws and scrutinize any new laws that use criminal instead of civil penalties, incorporating safeguards to ensure that the criminal code is not a trap for the unwary. Everidge and the many others caught up in cases of overcriminalization deserve better from our justice system.


First US Offshore Wind Plant Costs $17,600 Per Home Powered

America’s first offshore wind power plant will cost about $17,600 dollars to build per home it will power. Three miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, the wind farm is supposed to generate enough energy to power 17,000 homes, but will cost $300 million to build five turbines. This cost is just to build the turbines, not to operate them.

The extremely high cost of offshore wind doesn’t worry environmentalists and progressives, however, because, as says about the project, “it’s the precedent that counts.”

Despite the extremely high cost, federal officials want to power a whopping 23 million homes with offshore wind by the year 2050.

Offshore wind power is so expensive because installing and maintaining any kind of infrastructure underwater is extremely difficult. The salt water of the ocean is incredibly corrosive and makes operating such facilities difficult and expensive. Electricity is so comparatively cheap in most parts of the country that offshore wind isn’t generally necessary.

Offshore wind is so pricey that early investors in it, like Germany, plan to stop building new turbines to lower the costs of electricity and prop up its ailing power grid.

However, the average American’s electric bill has gone up 10 percent since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, due to regulations imposed by government officials and taxpayer support for green energy.

Most analysts agree rising residential electricity prices are also harmful to American households. Pricey power disproportionately hurts poorer families and other lower-income groups as the poor tend to spend a higher proportion of their incomes on “basic needs” like power, so any increase in prices hits them the hardest.

As essential goods like electricity become more expensive, the cost of producing goods and services that use electricity increases, effectively raising the price of almost everything. The higher prices are ultimately paid for by consumers, not industries.


Power fully restored across South Australia -- after two weeks

So who in their right mind would want to set up a business there? Greenie craziness will have done huge damage to employment in S.A.

Big industrial companies in South Australia finally have full loads of electricity two weeks after extreme weather damaged transmission towers and plunged the state into darkness.

ElectraNet, which provides electricity infrastructure across Australia, has announced the third damaged circuit was back in action ahead of schedule and was energised, returning full access to the transmission network.

The company has built five temporary transmission towers near Melrose in regional South Australia after three transmission lines and 22 towers were damaged in the September 28 storm.

The damage led to a statewide blackout and several regional communities were left without power for days.

ElectraNet has previously described the damage to the lattice steel towers, which were made in the 1980s, as unprecedented.

ElectraNet chief executive Steve Masters said in a statement that "full access to the South Australian transmission network has been restored to all our customers across the state".

"This is a significant achievement that will allow work to begin on permanent repairs," Mr Masters said.

"While the design and scheduling details are still being confirmed, we expect permanent towers to be in place over the coming months, provided weather conditions remain stable."

South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis tweeted that large companies like BHP would have a "full load" with the system "effectively" back on.

Large industrial sites in the days since the storm had access to some power but not normal loads.

Power was urgently restored to Whyalla's Arrium steelworks which minimised its loss to about $10 million, while the furnace at Port Pirie's Nyrstar smelter was damaged during the outage which is expected to cost the company millions of dollars.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here