29 May 2009, 1:11am
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The Coming Ice Age

By David Deming, American Thinker, May 13, 2009 [here]

Those who ignore the geologic perspective do so at great risk. In fall of 1985, geologists warned that a Columbian volcano, Nevado del Ruiz, was getting ready to erupt. But the volcano had been dormant for 150 years. So government officials and inhabitants of nearby towns did not take the warnings seriously. On the evening of November 13, Nevado del Ruiz erupted, triggering catastrophic mudslides. In the town of Armero, 23,000 people were buried alive in a matter of seconds.

For ninety percent of the last million years, the normal state of the Earth’s climate has been an ice age. Ice ages last about 100,000 years, and are punctuated by short periods of warm climate, or interglacials. The last ice age started about 114,000 years ago. It began instantaneously. For a hundred-thousand years, temperatures fell and sheets of ice a mile thick grew to envelop much of North America, Europe and Asia. The ice age ended nearly as abruptly as it began. Between about 12,000 and 10,000 years ago, the temperature in Greenland rose more than 50 °F. …

For thousands of years, people have learned from experience that cold temperatures are detrimental for human welfare and warm temperatures are beneficial. From about 1300 to 1800 AD, the climate cooled slightly during a period known as the Little Ice Age. In Greenland, the temperature fell by about 4 °F. Although trivial, compared to an ice age cooling of 50 °F, this was nevertheless sufficient to wipe out the Viking colony there.

In northern Europe, the Little Ice Age kicked off with the Great Famine of 1315. Crops failed due to cold temperatures and incessant rain. Desperate and starving, parents ate their children, and people dug up corpses from graves for food. In jails, inmates instantly set upon new prisoners and ate them alive.

The Great Famine was followed by the Black Death, the greatest disaster ever to hit the human race. One-third of the human race died; terror and anarchy prevailed. Human civilization as we know it is only possible in a warm interglacial climate. Short of a catastrophic asteroid impact, the greatest threat to the human race is the onset of another ice age. … [more]

Note: David Deming is a geophysicist and associate professor of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma.

26 May 2009, 10:15am
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Fairbanks a good place to live if you’re an ice cube

by Ned Rozell, Alaska Tracks.com, March 30, 2007, [here]

As of tonight, the temperature at the official thermometer at Fairbanks International Airport has not risen above freezing during the month of March. Or February. Or January. On one day in December, during a chinook wind, the temperature got above freezing for a few hours. Then it got cold again.

Martha Shulski of the Alaska Climate Research Center crunched some numbers for March, so far. She found that Fairbanks, with an average temp of -8.3 F this month, has never been colder as long as records have been kept here. Anchorage has a new record cold March too, with 13.5 degrees. Another spot with long-term records and its coldest March so far is Gulkana, at -1.1 F. … [more]

20 May 2009, 11:28am
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What if global-warming fears are overblown?

In a Fortune interview, noted climatologist John Christy contends the green crusade to fight climate change is “all cost and no benefit.”

CNNMoney.com, May 14, 2009 [here]

NEW YORK (Fortune) — With Congress about to take up sweeping climate-change legislation, expect to hear more in coming weeks from John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at University of Alabama-Huntsville.

A veteran climatologist who refuses to accept any research funding from the oil or auto industries, Christy was a lead author of the 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report as well as one of the three authors of the American Geophysical Union’s landmark 2003 statement on climate change.

Yet despite those green-sounding credentials, Christy is not calling for draconian cuts in carbon emissions. Quite the contrary. Christy is actually the environmental lobby’s worst nightmare - an accomplished climate scientist with no ties to Big Oil who has produced reams and reams of data that undermine arguments that the earth’s atmosphere is warming at an unusual rate and question whether the remedies being talked about in Congress will actually do any good. … [more]

3 Apr 2009, 5:38pm
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See whether you can spot the lunacy

by Patrick McIlheran, Journal Sentinel, Mar. 31, 2009 [here]

Anastasios Tsonis is not a lunatic, and no serious person says he is.

He is a scientist, a mathematician at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee whose specialty is climate. He and a colleague say they’ve figured out why the Earth is cooling.

It has been cooling, since about 2001, and Tsonis and a colleague say temperatures may go on cooling for 10 or 20 more years. Climate, says Tsonis, is heavily affected by a few well-known oscillating systems - El Niño, in the Pacific, is one - and from time to time, four big oscillations synchronize.

When they do, he says, they become coupled, as if synchronized swimmers tried holding hands, and this messes up the dance. There is, then, a sudden shift in trends. If it had been getting hotter, it gets cooler, and vice versa. This happened in 1943, in the 1970s, in 2001, and it will happen again, he says.

Though this doesn’t mean humans aren’t also pushing temperatures up. The trend “might be on top of something we’re doing” with carbon dioxide, he says. Some laymen skeptical about climate Armageddon read too much into his work, says Tsonis.

Willie Soon is not a lunatic, either, nor a “denier,” though militants use the word to slander him. He is an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The data, he says, show the Earth has been getting warmer - and the data show, further, that this is linked to solar output. Blame our variable sun.

“The sun is not a constant light bulb,” he says.

more »

3 Apr 2009, 5:28pm
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Senate blow to climate change laws

By Andrew Ward and Sarah O’Connor, Financial Times, April 2, 2009 [here]

President Barack Obama’s plan to push through climate change legislation as part of his $3,600bn federal budget appeared all but dead on Thursday after the Senate ruled out fast-track action on the issue.

A Republican-sponsored amendment passed on Wednesday night ruled that Congress should not try to set up a cap-and-trade system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions as part of the budget “reconciliation” process.

It also underscored the difficulty that Mr Obama will face winning support for his proposed cap-and-trade system even outside of the budget process, raising the possibility of the US arriving empty-handed at the next round of United Nations talks on climate change in Copenhagen in December.

Mr Obama had wanted legislation either passed or making progress before the Copenhagen meeting to signal US commitment to reducing carbon emissions and to encourage other nations to take action.

Draft climate change legislation was unveiled by senior Democrats in the House of Representatives on Tuesday in a sign that party leaders were determined to press on whether it was included in the budget or not.

But opposition is mounting as Republicans and some Democrats raise fears that cap-and-trade would undermine economic recovery by increasing energy costs. John Boehner, Republican leader in the House of Representatives, said the proposals would “raise taxes on every American who drives a car, flips on a light switch or buys a product manufactured in the United States.” … [more]

31 Mar 2009, 11:46pm
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House Democrats release draft energy, climate bill

By DARREN SAMUELSOHN AND BEN GEMAN, Greenwire, NY Times, March 31, 2009 [here]

Democratic leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee today unveiled a 648-page draft global warming and energy bill that is being praised by environmental groups but presents significant political challenges.

The bill by Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Ed Markey of Massachusetts would establish a cap-and-trade program curbing U.S. emissions 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, with a midcentury target of 83 percent reductions of the heat-trapping gases. It also creates a nationwide renewable electricity standard that reaches 25 percent by 2025, new energy efficiency programs and limits on the carbon content of motor fuels, and requires greenhouse gas standards for new heavy duty vehicles and engines.

Statements from the two congressmen now atop the powerful House panel included a seven-week schedule leading to a final committee vote on the measure before the Memorial Day recess. … [more]

30 Mar 2009, 9:59am
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Rise of sea levels is ‘the greatest lie ever told’

The uncompromising verdict of Dr Mörner is that all this talk about the sea rising is nothing but a colossal scare story

by Christopher Booker, London Telegraph, 28 Mar 2009 [here]

If one thing more than any other is used to justify proposals that the world must spend tens of trillions of dollars on combating global warming, it is the belief that we face a disastrous rise in sea levels. The Antarctic and Greenland ice caps will melt, we are told, warming oceans will expand, and the result will be catastrophe.

Although the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) only predicts a sea level rise of 59cm (17 inches) by 2100, Al Gore in his Oscar-winning film An Inconvenient Truth went much further, talking of 20 feet, and showing computer graphics of cities such as Shanghai and San Francisco half under water. We all know the graphic showing central London in similar plight. As for tiny island nations such as the Maldives and Tuvalu, as Prince Charles likes to tell us and the Archbishop of Canterbury was again parroting last week, they are due to vanish.

But if there is one scientist who knows more about sea levels than anyone else in the world it is the Swedish geologist and physicist Nils-Axel Mörner, formerly chairman of the INQUA International Commission on Sea Level Change. And the uncompromising verdict of Dr Mörner, who for 35 years has been using every known scientific method to study sea levels all over the globe, is that all this talk about the sea rising is nothing but a colossal scare story.

Despite fluctuations down as well as up, “the sea is not rising,” he says. “It hasn’t risen in 50 years.” If there is any rise this century it will “not be more than 10cm (four inches), with an uncertainty of plus or minus 10cm”. And quite apart from examining the hard evidence, he says, the elementary laws of physics (latent heat needed to melt ice) tell us that the apocalypse conjured up by Al Gore and Co could not possibly come about. … [more]

28 Mar 2009, 5:02pm
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Fargo gets good news with new flood forecast

Colder Temperatures Cause River to Retreat

By DAVE KOLPACK and JIM SUHR, Google News, March 28, 2009 [here]

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Fargo’s fears of a catastrophic flood eased Saturday with word that the Red River apparently crested at lower-than-expected levels, and weary residents turned their attention to ensuring their hastily built levees hold up against an onslaught of ice-laden water expected to stay high for at least a week.

National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Hudson said the Red River began receding Saturday morning, surprising residents who were bracing for a crest on Sunday. But the river can still fluctuate up to a foot and may remain at dangerous levels for a week, meaning people will still have to wait several days before they are completely safe.

“The best news we can take from this is the river has crested,” Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker said. “But diligence is going to have to be required for at least eight more days and hopefully things will continue to drop.”

Forecasters say the river is retreating because cold temperatures have been freezing water that normally would be flowing into the river. By the time that water thaws, the biggest flooding threat should have passed, Hudson said. … [more]

24 Mar 2009, 10:11pm
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EPA Finds CO2 a Public Health Hazard, Invokes CAA

By IAN TALLEY, Wall Street Journal Online, March 24, 2009 [here]

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency has sent the White House a proposed finding that carbon dioxide is a danger to public health, a step that could trigger a clampdown on emissions of greenhouse gases across a wide swath of the economy.

If approved by the White House Office of Management and Budget, the endangerment finding could clear the way for the EPA to use the Clean Air Act to control emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases believed to contribute to climate change. In effect, the government would treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant. The EPA submitted the proposed rule to the White House on Friday, according to federal records published Monday. … [more]

Woodchips With Everything

Here comes the latest utopian catastrophe: the plan to solve climate change with biochar

By George Monbiot, Monbiot.com, 24th March 2009 [here]

Whenever you hear the word miracle, you know there’s trouble just around the corner. But however many times they lead to disappointment or disaster, the newspapers never tire of promoting miracle cures, miracle crops, miracle fuels and miracle financial instruments. We have a bottomless ability to disregard the laws of economics, biology and thermodynamics when we encounter a simple solution to complex problems. So welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the new miracle. It’s a low-carbon regime for the planet which makes the Atkins Diet look healthy: woodchips with everything.

Biomass is suddenly the universal answer to our climate and energy problems. Its advocates claim that it will become the primary source of the world’s heating fuel, electricity, road transport fuel (cellulosic ethanol) and aviation fuel (bio-kerosene). Few people stop to wonder how the planet can accommodate these demands and still produce food and preserve wild places. Now an even crazier use of woodchips is being promoted everywhere (including in the Guardian(1)). The great green miracle works like this: we turn the planet’s surface into charcoal.

Sorry, not charcoal. We don’t call it that any more. Now we say biochar. …

As Almuth Ernsting and Rachel Smolker of Biofuelwatch point out, many of the claims made for biochar don’t stand up (17). In some cases charcoal in the soil improves plant growth; in others it suppresses it. Just burying carbon bears little relationship to the complex farming techniques of the Amazon Indians who created terras pretas. Nor is there any guarantee that most of the buried carbon will stay in the soil. In some cases charcoal stimulates bacterial growth, causing carbon emissions from soils to rise. As for reducing deforestation, a stove that burns only part of the fuel is likely to increase, not decrease, demand for wood. There are plenty of other ways of eliminating household smoke which don’t involve turning the world’s forests to cinders. … [more]

21 Mar 2009, 9:54pm
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Global hurricane activity reaches 30-year low

by Ryan N. Maue, Florida State University COAPS, Climate Audit, March 12th, 2009 [here]

As previously reported at Climate Audit, and chronicled at my Florida State Global Hurricane Update page, both Northern Hemisphere and overall Global hurricane activity has continued to sink to levels not seen since the 1970s. Even more astounding, when the Southern Hemisphere hurricane data is analyzed to create a global value, we see that Global Hurricane Energy has sunk to 30-year lows, at the least. Since hurricane intensity and detection data is problematic as one goes back in time, when reporting and observing practices were different than today, it is possible that we underestimated global hurricane energy during the 1970s. …

During the past 2 years +, the Earth’s climate has cooled under the effects of a dramatic La Nina episode. The Pacific Ocean basin typically sees much weaker hurricanes that indeed have shorter lifecycles and therefore — less ACE. …

Through March 12, 2009, the Southern Hemisphere ACE is about half of what’s expected in a normal year, with a multitude of very weak, short-lived hurricanes. All of these numbers tell a very simple story: just as there are active periods of hurricane activity around the globe, there are inactive periods, and we are currently experiencing one of the most impressive inactive periods, now for almost 3 years. …

Under global warming scenarios, hurricane intensity is expected to increase (on the order of a few percent), but MANY questions remain as to how much, where, and when. …

The perceptible (and perhaps measurable) impact of global warming on hurricanes in today’s climate is arguably a pittance compared to the reorganization and modulation of hurricane formation locations and preferred tracks/intensification corridors dominated by ENSO (and other natural climate factors). Moreover, our understanding of the complicated role of hurricanes with and role in climate is nebulous to be charitable. … [more]

Shell dumps wind, solar and hydro power in favour of biofuels

Tim Webb, guardian.co.uk, 17 March 2009 [here]

Shell will no longer invest in renewable technologies such as wind, solar and hydro power because they are not economic, the Anglo-Dutch oil company said today. It plans to invest more in biofuels which environmental groups blame for driving up food prices and deforestation.

Executives at its annual strategy presentation said Shell, already the world’s largest buyer and blender of crop-based biofuels, would also invest an unspecified amount in developing a new generat­ion of biofuels which do not use food-based crops and are less harmful to the environment.

The company said it would concentrate on developing other cleaner ways of using fossil fuels, such as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology. It hoped to use CCS to reduce emissions from Shell’s controversial and energy-intensive oil sands projects in northern Canada.

The company said that many alternative technologies did not offer attractive investment opportunities. Linda Cook, Shell’s executive director of gas and power, said: “If there aren’t investment opportunities which compete with other projects we won’t put money into it. We are businessmen and women. If there were renewables [which made money] we would put money into it.” … [here]

19 Mar 2009, 5:01pm
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The Answer, My Friend is NOT Blowing in the Wind

By Jay Dwight and Joe D’Aleo, ICECAP, March 19, 2007 [here]

Many states and the Federal Government are putting a lot of faith in renewable energy sources especially wind and solar as solutions for our energy independence and future cost reduction. However, unlike other energy sources such as natural gas, oil, coal, nuclear, tidal, geothermal and to a large degree hydro, wind and solar are much less reliable and cost effective, requiring heavy subsidization. See how Shell Oil just announced today it is backing off its wind and solar efforts as they found them to be not cost effective.

In fact of the primary energy sources, wind power is the most expensive:

Wind = 21.97 cents per kwh
Gas and oil = 12.28 cents per kwh
Nuclear = 11.06 cents per kwh
Hydro = 7.60 cents per kwh

Believing in wind is a fool’s errand. The reasons are simple. Wind is costly, inefficient and erratic.

The New Hampshire Climate Action plan to be released on March 27th by Governor Lynch like the one in neighbor state Maine relies heavily on wind power. Dr. Fred Ward using the NHDES’s own calculations, found you could put a wind power turbine on every hill in the state and yet get at most half the electricity that one single nuclear power plant could deliver.

Vaclac Klaus from the Czech Republic in his book “Blue Planet in Green Shackles” asked the question “Could the Czech Republic replace the power output from the Temelin nuclear power plant by wind?” Using conservative estimates the answer is yes but it would take 7,750 wind turbine power plants requiring 8.6 million tons of material and would cover a 413 mile long line of turbines 492 feet high, corresponding to a distance from Temelin in the southern Czech Republic to Brussels in Belgium or in the US, the distance from Concord, NH to Washington DC.

Even if, under ideal conditions, wind could provide a substantial portion of the energy needed for a state or region, you would have to have a back-up permanent and reliable source to turn to when the wind fails. See examples of how the wind has stopped when needed most [here, here and here]. In other words, hydro, gas, oil, nuclear, or coal turbines must be available and in ready back-up mode at all times. If the ’shovel ready’ sources are at a much less expensive cost, why waste money on an unreliable source? Ask Arnold how the enviro inspired government programs are working so far in his state, which he proudly announced was leading the nation. [more]

19 Mar 2009, 4:55pm
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U.N. climate chief hustles on global warming deal

By Gerard Wynn, Reuters, Mar 18, 2009 [here]

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Big gaps remain in a new U.N. deal on global warming meant to be agreed in December and time is running worryingly short with just 265 days left, the U.N. climate chief said on Tuesday.

Yvo de Boer criticized a meeting of European Union finance ministers last week, which he said put conditions on financial help for climate action in developing countries, contrary to promises at the launch of the two-year climate talks in Bali in 2007.

The talks are meant to conclude in Copenhagen in December with a new climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol after 2012. One battleground is between industrialized and developing countries on how to split the cost of curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

“How are things looking in terms of that agreement? Worrying,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a carbon trading conference in Copenhagen. … [more]

18 Mar 2009, 5:41pm
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Cow Fart, Burp Taxes Denounced in Europe

By Carl Mortished, World Business Editor, The London Times, March 10, 2009 [here]

Proposals to tax the flatulence of cows and other livestock have been denounced by farming groups in the Irish Republic and Denmark.

A cow tax of €13 per animal has been mooted in Ireland, while Denmark is discussing a levy as high as €80 per cow to offset the potential penalties each country faces from European Union legislation aimed at combating global warming.

The proposed levies are opposed vigorously by farming groups. The Irish Farmers’ Association said that the cattle industry would move to South America to avoid EU taxes.

Livestock contribute 18 per cent of the greenhouse gases believed to cause global warming, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. The Danish Tax Commission estimates that a cow will emit four tonnes of methane a year in burps and flatulence, compared with 2.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide for an average car. … [more]

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