19 Oct 2008, 2:50pm
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Carbon Tax Seals Liberal Party’s Defeat in Canada

by Jesse Jenkins, the Breakthrough Institute, October 15, 2008 [here]

Canada’s opposition Liberal party was just dealt a stunning defeat, and their Achilles heal turned out to be their proposal to enact a carbon tax.

Yesterday was election day in Canada, a fact that I hope I’ll be forgiven for missing amidst the frenzy of election politics here in the States. However, this stunning headline from the UK Telegraph grabbed my attention:

“Canadian election: Carbon tax proposals sealed Liberal defeat”

That’s right, the opposition Liberal party was just dealt a stunning defeat, and their Achilles heal turned out to be their proposal to enact a carbon tax on coal, natural gas, gasoline and home heating fuels.

As Grist reported in September, the Liberal party called for an election early this summer, gearing up to run on a pro-environment platform they thought would net them enough seats to form a ruling government and dethrone Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Led by the former environment minister Stephane Dion (a man who’s dog is named Kyoto after the international global warming treaty) the party ran with a carbon tax proposal as their central plank.

What seemed like a sound plan this summer, when polls showed the Canadian electorate’s number one issue was global warming, turned out to be doomed to failure amidst the economic insecurity of the recent months. …

The end result: yesterday’s election, in which the Liberals hoped to gain several seats in Parliament in fact led to the opposition party’s stunning defeat. Prime Minister Steven Harper’s reigning Conservative party ended up gaining 17 seats, and Canadian pundits are predicting that Dion will soon be ousted as Leader of the defeated Liberal Party. The election also means a carbon tax is essentially dead in Canada, at least for the foreseeable future. … [more]

19 Oct 2008, 11:47am
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Obama to Declare Carbon Dioxide Dangerous Pollutant

By Jim Efstathiou Jr., Bloomberg.com, Oct. 16 2008 [here]

Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) — Barack Obama will classify carbon dioxide as a dangerous pollutant that can be regulated should he win the presidential election on Nov. 4, opening the way for new rules on greenhouse gas emissions.

The Democratic senator from Illinois will tell the Environmental Protection Agency that it may use the 1990 Clean Air Act to set emissions limits on power plants and manufacturers, his energy adviser, Jason Grumet, said in an interview. President George W. Bush declined to curb CO2 emissions under the law even after the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the government may do so.

If elected, Obama would be the first president to group emissions blamed for global warming into a category of pollutants that includes lead and carbon monoxide. Obama’s rival in the presidential race, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, has not said how he would treat CO2 under the act.

Obama “would initiate those rulemakings,” Grumet said in an Oct. 6 interview in Boston. “He’s not going to insert political judgments to interrupt the recommendations of the scientific efforts.”

Placing heat-trapping pollutants in the same category as ozone may lead to caps on power-plant emissions and force utilities to use the most expensive systems to curb pollution. The move may halt construction plans on as many as half of the 130 proposed new U.S. coal plants.

The president may take action on new rules immediately upon taking office, said David Bookbinder, chief climate counsel for the Sierra Club. Environment groups including the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council will issue a regulatory agenda for the next president that calls for limits on CO2 from industry. … [more]

7 Oct 2008, 10:47pm
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Green Stocks Fall Even Faster

Global Warming Politics, 6 October 2008 [here]

New Energy Finance tracks companies worldwide that claim to focus on ‘climate change’ stocks involving the generation and use of cleaner energy and efficiency. It hosts the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index, known as NEX.

In these dark days, the NEX is not having a happy ride, and, according to the latest report in the Scientific American ['Climate change stocks fall more than wider markets', Scientific American, October 3], “shares in companies specializing in curbing greenhouse gas emissions, including energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, have tumbled faster than wider markets this year.” Figures for the last full quarter (June 30 to September 30) show that they fell by 30.3%, and that they are down by as much as 39% over the year so far.

The NEX is a global index of 91 companies listed on 24 stock exchanges whose, and I quote, “innovative technologies and services focus on the generation and use of cleaner energy, conservation, efficiency and the advancement of renewable energy in general” [see: 'NEX Fact Sheet']. It includes companies which claim to adopt lower-carbon approaches that “are relevant to climate change, and whose technologies help reduce emissions relative to traditional fossil fuel use.”

Ah well! The bulls and bears of the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index (NEX) may be hunted down [watch out for gun-totin' Sarah Palin] through the NEX Website [here]

At 5.43 am ET today, the Index stood at 244.91, down 4.54% on the day. … [more]

Note: today (10/07/2008) NEX closed at 215.48, down 1% on the day and 46% since January 1.

2 Oct 2008, 10:51pm
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Sneaky: Current credit bailout bill contains carbon tax provisions!

Watts Up With That, Oct. 2, 2008 [here]

If you look at page 180 of the 451-page monster bailout bill that easily passed the Senate yesterday (PDF here), you will see that it includes at Section 116 language about the tax treatment of “industrial source carbon dioxide.” It also provides, at Section 117, for a “carbon audit of the tax code.”

What could a provision about the tax treatment of “industrial source carbon dioxide” and another provision about doing a “carbon audit” of the tax code possibly have to do with restoring confidence in Wall Street’s troubled credit and banking markets?

The answer: NOTHING.

This appears to be an attempt by global warming alarmists to lay the foundation for a carbon tax in the middle of another crisis, hoping nobody will notice. … [more]

24 Sep 2008, 1:22pm
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Gore urges civil disobedience to stop coal plants

By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmental crusader Al Gore urged young people on Wednesday to engage in civil disobedience to stop the construction of coal plants without the ability to store carbon.

The former U.S. vice president, whose climate change documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” won an Academy Award, told a philanthropic meeting in New York City that “the world has lost ground to the climate crisis.”

“If you’re a young person looking at the future of this planet and looking at what is being done right now, and not done, I believe we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration,” Gore told the Clinton Global Initiative gathering to loud applause. … [more]

19 Sep 2008, 12:00am
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Lehman Brothers Close Ties to Gore, Hansen and Carbon Trading

by Eduardo Ferreyra, John McLean, and Joe D’Aleo, ICECAP, Sep 16, 2008

Al Gore’s carbon trading business GIM was banked with Lehman Bros. It will be interesting to see how this will play in the future but I suspect that this increases the risk of participating in Carbon trading. Merrill Lynch was also deeply involved in this business.

Last year Lehman Brothers released a long and highly publicized report about climate change in which they preached about decarbonization, trying to make their investors keep getting high profits from the Kyoto carbon trade scheme and the support of huge public subventions. All that, of course, with the applause of the usual choir of politicians, the entire media and the Greens.

A year ago they couldn’t predict their bankruptcy but were predicting the climate 100 years ahead. Thousands of green militants have been using the Lehman report as a proof of global warming and impending chaos. Lehman Bros said it! sacred words! Its scientific advisor is James Hansen! The report is the basis for policies on climate change in Spain, Argentina and several other countries playing the progress game; it is used by economy professors playing the climatologists; by newspapers editorials, and even by a State Secretary: Lehman Bros, said it! … [more]

6 Aug 2008, 2:16pm
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UW study examines decline of snowpack

Ed note: the headline is exactly opposite from the story and the truth. WA snowpack has NOT declined and this year set records for depth and snow-water-equivalence. Further, there has been no global warming for 10 years, despite dire predictions from the IPCC and Al Gore. The darn facts keep getting in the way of the political stampede.

By Warren Cornwall, Seattle Times, August 6, 2008 [here]

Despite previous studies suggesting a warmer climate is already taking a bite out of Washington’s snowpack, there’s no clear evidence that human-induced climate change has caused a drop in 20th century snow levels, according to a controversial new study by University of Washington scientists.

Maybe the snow in the Cascade Mountains isn’t in such immediate peril from global warming after all.

Despite previous studies suggesting a warmer climate is already taking a bite out of Washington’s snowpack, there’s no clear evidence that human-induced climate change has caused a drop in 20th century snow levels, according to a new study by University of Washington scientists.

In fact, the newest study also predicts the Cascade snows — vital to water supplies, crop irrigation and salmon — could enjoy a delay in the effects of global warming.

But the findings have already become part of a scientific debate with an unusually political tone. It’s an ongoing disagreement that has UW researchers taking sides against each other and has attracted the attention of political groups.

And a leading scientist on the other side of the debate said the latest analysis speculates about the future and offers little new about the past.

“They’re trying to forecast the next 20 years or so, and I don’t think they can do it,” said Alan Hamlet, a UW hydrologist who has written papers about historic Cascade Mountain snowpacks.

Past studies have frequently focused on steep declines in Cascade snowpack in the second half of the 20th century, with drops measuring 30 percent or more.

But Cliff Mass, a well-known UW meteorologist, said the new study, which he co-authored, shows it all depends on which years are examined. He and his co-authors argue snow levels were unusually high in the 1950s, creating a distorted picture of historic patterns.

Measurement of mountain snow levels were spotty before the 1950s, making it harder to get a complete picture. But Mass and his colleagues tried to estimate snowpack for earlier years based on measurement that did exist: the amount of water that flowed down streams as snow melted.

Using that method, they found a smaller drop in snowpack between the 1930s and today — 23 percent. That still may sound like a big drop, but the scientists argue that it could be statistically insignificant, so it’s hard to say whether it’s meaningful. They also say that many of the changes appear to be attributable to shifting weather patterns driven by the Pacific Ocean.

“We can’t see the global-warming signature in terms of a decline in snowpack,” said Mark Stoelinga, the study’s lead author, and a professor in the UW’s Atmospheric Sciences Department. … [more]

17 Jul 2008, 6:36pm
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No smoking hot spot

Despite $50 billion spent on global warming since 1990, no actual evidence that carbon emissions cause global warming

by David Evans, The Australian, July 18, 2008 [here]

I DEVOTED six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian Greenhouse Office. I am the rocket scientist who wrote the carbon accounting model (FullCAM) that measures Australia’s compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, in the land use change and forestry sector.

FullCAM models carbon flows in plants, mulch, debris, soils and agricultural products, using inputs such as climate data, plant physiology and satellite data. I’ve been following the global warming debate closely for years.

When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty good: CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the old ice core data, no other suspects.

The evidence was not conclusive, but why wait until we were certain when it appeared we needed to act quickly? Soon government and the scientific community were working together and lots of science research jobs were created. We scientists had political support, the ear of government, big budgets, and we felt fairly important and useful (well, I did anyway). It was great. We were working to save the planet.

But since 1999 new evidence has seriously weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming, and by 2007 the evidence was pretty conclusive that carbon played only a minor role and was not the main cause of the recent global warming. As Lord Keynes famously said, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”
more »

12 Jul 2008, 1:27am
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What’s Wrong with the Sun? (Nothing According to NASA)

Science@NASA, 07.11.2008 [here]

Stop the presses! The sun is behaving normally.

So says NASA solar physicist David Hathaway. “There have been some reports lately that Solar Minimum is lasting longer than it should. That’s not true. The ongoing lull in sunspot number is well within historic norms for the solar cycle.”

This report, that there’s nothing to report, is newsworthy because of a growing buzz in lay and academic circles that something is wrong with the sun. Sun Goes Longer Than Normal Without Producing Sunspots declared one recent press release. A careful look at the data, however, suggests otherwise.

But first, a status report: “The sun is now near the low point of its 11-year activity cycle,” says Hathaway. “We call this ‘Solar Minimum.’ It is the period of quiet that separates one Solar Max from another.”

During Solar Max, huge sunspots and intense solar flares are a daily occurance [sic]. Auroras appear in Florida. Radiation storms knock out satellites. Radio blackouts frustrate hams. The last such episode took place in the years around 2000-2001.

During Solar Minimum, the opposite occurs. Solar flares are almost non-existant [sic] while whole weeks go by without a single, tiny sunspot to break the monotony of the blank sun. This is what we are experiencing now.

Although minima are a normal aspect of the solar cycle, some observers are questioning the length of the ongoing minimum, now slogging through its 3rd year.

“It does seem like it’s taking a long time,” allows Hathaway, “but I think we’re just forgetting how long a solar minimum can last.” In the early 20th century there were periods of quiet lasting almost twice as long as the current spell. (See the end notes for an example.) Most researchers weren’t even born then.

Hathaway has studied international sunspot counts stretching all the way back to 1749 and he offers these statistics: “The average period of a solar cycle is 131 months with a standard deviation of 14 months. Decaying solar cycle 23 (the one we are experiencing now) has so far lasted 142 months-well within the first standard deviation and thus not at all abnormal. The last available 13-month smoothed sunspot number was 5.70. This is bigger than 12 of the last 23 solar minimum values.”

In summary, “the current minimum is not abnormally low or long.”

The longest minimum on record, the Maunder Minimum of 1645-1715, lasted an incredible 70 years. Sunspots were rarely observed and the solar cycle seemed to have broken down completely. The period of quiet coincided with the Little Ice Age, a series of extraordinarily bitter winters in Earth’s northern hemisphere. Many researchers are convinced that low solar activity, acting in concert with increased volcanism and possible changes in ocean current patterns, played a role in that 17th century cooling. … [more]

[The stat babble in this article is misleading. The article states "the ongoing lull in sunspot number is well within historic norms for the solar cycle" but historical norms include long lulls such as the Maunder Minimum. The article states the 142 month decaying Solar Cycle 23 is "within a standard deviation." That is a meaningless statistic since non-linear cycle lengths are not normally distributed.

The word "normal" is used in this article with two different meanings. Statistical normal is not the same as common usage normal. The article confuses the two.

Facts: Solar Cycle 24 still overdue by more than a year and solar magnetic activity is low, indicating that Solar Cycle 24, when it does show up, will be very weak. - Ed]

9 Jul 2008, 6:10pm
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Doomed to a fatal delusion over climate change

by Andrew Bolt, July 09, 2008

PSYCHIATRISTS have detected the first case of “climate change delusion” - and they haven’t even yet got to Kevin Rudd and his global warming guru.

Writing in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, Joshua Wolf and Robert Salo of our Royal Children’s Hospital say this delusion was a “previously unreported phenomenon”.

“A 17-year-old man was referred to the inpatient psychiatric unit at Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne with an eight-month history of depressed mood… He also… had visions of apocalyptic events.”

(So have Alarmist of the Year Tim Flannery, Profit of Doom Al Gore and Sir Richard Brazen, but I digress.)

“The patient had also developed the belief that, due to climate change, his own water consumption could lead within days to the deaths of millions of people through exhaustion of water supplies.”

But never mind the poor boy, who became too terrified even to drink. What’s scarier is that people in charge of our Government seem to suffer from this “climate change delusion”, too. … [more]

7 Jul 2008, 7:03pm
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New Cars in California Must Display Global Warming Score

GreenBiz, July 7, 2008 [here]

OAKLAND, Calif. — California is making it mandatory for cars to be labeled with global warming scores, figures that take into account emissions from vehicle use and fuel production.

The law requiring the labels goes into effect at the start of next year for all 2009 model cars, though its expected the labels will be popping up on cars in the coming months.

The labeling law forces cars for sale to display a global warming score, on a scale of one to 10, which is based on how vehicles in the same model year compare to one another. The higher the score, the cleaner a car is. The score takes into account emissions related to production of fuel for each vehicle as well as the direct emissions from vehicles.

The score will be displayed next to the already-required smog score, which also rates cars one to 10 for how many smog-forming emissions they emit. For both scores, an average vehicle will have a score of five.

California is the first state of pass such as law, and a similar law will take effect in New York for 2010 model year vehicles. Global warming scores will be included on the state’s DriveClean website.

While this law is intended to help consumers take into account emissions while purchasing cars, a proposed law in the European Union would require E.U. public sector bodies put a price on emissions.

A law endorsed by the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety would make governments put a monetary cost on the emissions of vehicles they plan to purchase, and add that to expense calculations. The law would exclude certain types of vehicles, such as ambulances and fire trucks.

[The real meat in this article is the 100+ comments found beneath it. It seems the vast majority of readers think the new global warming score law is stupidest thing since the Dark Ages. Be sure to check out the comments, and enjoy the fact that you are not alone in thinking Al Gore is the Antichrist. - editor]

1 Jul 2008, 7:30pm
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Okanagan cherry crop will take $36 million hit

By Judie Steeves - Kelowna Capital News - June 26, 2008

It’s estimated April’s record-breaking cold has caused $36 million in losses to this year’s cherry crop in the Okanagan Valley.

Adjusting agrologist Trevais Mellum, who works out of the agriculture ministry’s Kelowna office, says he’s looked at what’s on the trees from the south of the valley to the north, and he expects growers will only pick about a quarter of their normal production.

The worst damage is in the Central Okanagan, where most of the large cherry orchards are located, so that’s where the biggest economic hit will be felt, Mellum says.

Because many cherry growers pack fruit in the orchard, rather than shipping it to a central packing plant, it’s difficult to estimate the value of the total crop.

But Mellum estimates a normal crop in the valley is worth $50 million on the retail market.

Cherry growers are finding more damage was done than had been initially thought, although it’s patchy and varies by variety, so final figures could be different once the crop is in the box.

But East Kelowna grower Christine Dendy admits, “it’s going to be a tough year.”

Dendy figures she has about 35 per cent of her crop left, after the cold damaged the blossoms, the remaining ones weren’t properly pollinated and there was a heavy drop in early June. … [more]

15 Jun 2008, 10:59pm
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More Signs Of The Sun Slowing Down

by Anthony Watts, Watt’s Up With That, June 15, 2008

In my post from yesterday, I highlighted a paragraph from a NASA press release which touched on one of the final findings of the soon to be ended Ulysses spacecraft mission to study the sun:

“Ulysses ends its career after revealing that the magnetic field emanating from the sun’s poles is much weaker than previously observed. This could mean the upcoming solar maximum period will be less intense than in recent history.”

A few months ago, I had plotted the Average Geomagnetic Planetary Index (Ap) which is a measure of the solar magnetic field strength but also daily index determined from running averages of eight Ap index values. Call it a common yardstick (or meterstick) for solar magnetic activity.

… [T]he Ap Index has continued along at the low level (slightly above zero) that was established during the drop in October 2005. As of June 2008, we now have 32 months of the Ap hovering around a value just slightly above zero, with occasional blips of noise. … [more]

13 Jun 2008, 9:39pm
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Flooded ethanol industry threatens US mandates

By Timothy Gardner, uk.reuters.com, Jun 13, 2008

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Floods in the Midwest that have pushed corn prices to record levels have wiped out profits for making U.S. ethanol and threaten to sink production of the fuel below government mandates.

“If it’s simply economically impossible to make ethanol. then (the government) may have to amend or suspend the Renewable Fuel Standard,” analyst Pavel Molchanov at Raymond James and Associates in Houston said by telephone.

The floods ravaging the corn crop across at least eight states, including Iowa and Illinois, at a time of growing global demand have put another roadblock before the U.S. biofuels policy. Hoping to wean the country off foreign oil, the Bush administration has boosted incentives and mandates for alternative fuels made from food crops. Many have blamed those steps for lifting food prices at a time of mounting hunger problems.

Corn prices for the new-crop July 2009 corn hit a record near $8 per bushel on Friday, while old-crop also hit a record above $7.

Molchanov estimated that average U.S. producers now lose 8 cents for every gallon of ethanol distilled, compared with a profit margin of 20 cents a gallon two weeks ago. Besides higher corn prices, margins also have been squeezed by two-year highs for natural gas, which fires most ethanol plants.

As much as 2 billion to 5 billion gallons of ethanol “could go offline in the next few months due to high corn prices,” a Citi Investment Research note said. U.S. ethanol production capacity is about 8.8 billion gallons per year from 154 distilleries.

“If the ethanol is not there, I don’t think the government expects blenders to blend as much,” said Ron Oster, an analyst at BroadPoint Capital in St. Louis. … [more]

10 Jun 2008, 10:25pm
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Coldest June in History

by Susan Gilmore, Seattle Times

Think it’s cold? You have good reason.

Seattle just experienced the coldest first week of June, according to climate records dating to 1891, said Cliff Mass, University of Washington metrologist. Both 1999 and 2008 share the record, with 1917 falling in second place, he said. “Just wait until tomorrow,” he said, when temperatures are going to be even colder.

A heavy snow warning has been issued for the Washington Cascades and Olympics as a storm from the Gulf of Alaska plows into the state tonight.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service said up to a foot of snow may fall in the mountains as low as 3,000 feet, which means Snoqualmie Pass may get a dusting. …

While it won’t snow in the Puget Sound area, records for the lowest high temperature may be broken today and Tuesday. Forecasters said the high temperature today should be 57 degrees, 1 degree below the record set last year. On Tuesday, under windy and rainy skies, the temperature should only get to 54 degrees, 2 degrees below the record set in 1972. … [more]

 
  
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