17 May 2008, 12:24am
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2nd Opinion: Facing Fears and Global Warming

by John Christy, the Baptist Standard [here]

With all of the pending disasters blamed on global warming blasting their way through the media, I can understand why many might fear the future climate. We are told emissions of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide (CO2), are destroying not only polar bears and petunias, but the planet as a whole. If we don’t “stop global warming,” The End will surely come.

I am a climate scientist. My research and that of many others does not lead me to be afraid for the climate’s future. However, I am fearful for other reasons:

- I fear for my science. The truth is, our climate system is so complex that we cannot predict its state even into next month. Nonetheless, I see high-profile individuals (usually untrained in science) making claims with unwavering confidence about the climate’s trajectory and a looming catastrophe.

I do not see the humility this science demands. In fact, I suspect an anthropologist, isolated from the media, would observe this global-warming fervor as a religion complete with anointed authority figures, sacred documents, creeds, sins requiring absolution, castigation of heretics and even an apocalypse.

But science doesn’t work by arguments-from-authority or depth-of-feeling. Lord Kelvin said, “All science is numbers.” Our scientific discoveries should be the same, whether one is a Baptist, Buddhist or Bahai.

However, if I’ve learned one thing in this business, it is that we scientists are mere mortals, and we succumb to pride as easily as anyone else. Claiming to know exactly how the climate works and what it will do decades from now has as much to do with belief as science.

- I fear for humanity. When people speak about “doing something about global warming,” please listen carefully. What they advocate are “solutions,” which lead to rationing of energy while having no climate impact. A hidden consequence of these “solutions” is to make energy more expensive—a regressive burden disproportionately inflicted upon the poorest among us.

Is this what we should promote?

Is this the message of Christ?
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16 May 2008, 11:59pm
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Climate Change Catastrophe

by Bob Webster, WebCommentary.com [here]

Gore is right. Climate change catastrophe is imminent!

I’ve been a long-time skeptic of global warming/climate change alarmism. I’ve written many times about the folly of the IPCC/Gore claim that human emissions of CO2 will bring about “catastrophic” change for human society. Well, I now freely admit I was wrong - but not for the reasons most often cited by alarmists.

I’ve been having an interesting exchange on a CO2 alarmists’ blog about the dangers human emissions of CO2 pose for future climate. While the exchange has generally been cordial and it has certainly been interesting while providing great insight into the rationale most alarmists subscribe to, I have yet to find the proverbial “smoking gun” that actually makes their case.

Nevertheless, I do have to agree with them about one thing. The danger and cost to human society from climate change will be catastrophic and is, apparently, unavoidable.

But ironically, while the catastrophe to which I refer is unquestionably human-caused, it is completely avoidable. Therein lies the rub.

The danger is not from a catastrophe arising from soaring temperatures and human misery that alarmists claim will follow (a highly debatable proposition). The catastrophe that seems unstoppable is the human misery that will unquestionably arise from the massive costs of soaring imprudent government regulation of CO2 emissions in the form of Gore-enriching “cap and trade” schemes that will, in the end, provide no discernable impact on global climate.
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Secretary Kempthorne Announces Decision to Protect Polar Bears under Endangered Species Act

U.S. Dept. of the Interior Press Release [here]

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today announced that he is accepting the recommendation of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dale Hall to list the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The listing is based on the best available science, which shows that loss of sea ice threatens and will likely continue to threaten polar bear habitat. This loss of habitat puts polar bears at risk of becoming endangered in the foreseeable future, the standard established by the ESA for designating a threatened species.

In making the announcement, Kempthorne said, “I am also announcing that this listing decision will be accompanied by administrative guidance and a rule that defines the scope of impact my decision will have, in order to protect the polar bear while limiting the unintended harm to the society and economy of the United States.”

Kempthorne further stated, “While the legal standards under the ESA compel me to list the polar bear as threatened, I want to make clear that this listing will not stop global climate change or prevent any sea ice from melting. Any real solution requires action by all major economies for it to be effective. That is why I am taking administrative and regulatory action to make certain the ESA isn’t abused to make global warming policies.”

In January 2007, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the polar bear as threatened throughout its range based on receding sea ice. At that time, Secretary Kempthorne directed the Fish and Wildlife Service and the USGS to aggressively work with the public and the scientific community to broaden understanding of what is happening with the species. In September 2007, the USGS delivered to the Fish and Wildlife Service nine studies related to the future condition of the polar bear and its habitat.

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US lists polar bear as threatened species

The Interior Department declared the polar bear a threatened species Wednesday, saying it must be protected because of the decline in Arctic sea ice from global warming.

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne cited dramatic declines in sea ice over the last three decades and projections of continued losses. These declines, he told a news conference, mean the polar bear is a species likely to be in danger of extinction in the near future.

Kempthorne also said, though, that it would be “inappropriate” to use the protection of the bear to reduce greenhouse gases, or to broadly address climate change.

Reflecting views recently expressed by President Bush, Kempthorne said the Endangered Species Act was “never meant to regulate global climate change.”

He said the decision to list the bear includes administrative actions aimed at limiting the impact of the decision on energy development and other climate related activities.

“This listing will not stop global climate change or prevent any sea ice from melting,” said Kempthorne. He said he had consulted with the White House on the decision, but “at no time was there ever a suggestion that this was not my decision.”

AP - Kempthorne cited as support for his decision conclusions by the department’s scientists that sea ice loss will likely result in two-thirds of the polar bears disappearing by mid-century.

Notwithstanding the secretary’s disclaimers, this is the first time the Endangered Species Act has been used to protect a species threatened by the impacts of global warming. There has been concern within the business community that such an action could have far-reaching impact and could be used to regulate carbon dioxide.

14 May 2008, 11:36am
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Kempthorne to Make Major Announcement on Status of Polar Bear

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Wednesday, May 14, at 2:30 p.m. at the Department of the Interior, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne will make a major announcement on the status of the polar bear.

A press release and other materials will be posted on line at that time [here]

13 May 2008, 4:25pm
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Montana Groups Join Wolf Lawsuit

MISSOULA - Several Montana agricultural and sportsman associations have moved to intervene in a federal lawsuit recently filed by environmental groups to block wolf delisting. Intervenors include the Montana Shooting Sports Association, the Montana Stockgrowers Association, the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd, the Western Montana Fish and Game Association, and the Montana Farm Bureau Federation and are seeking to insure wolf delisting continues. If delisting stalls it will cause irreparable harm to the Montana hunting and agricultural communities.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has long promised to take wolves off the endangered species list once the target population goals were met, Although those target goals were met years ago, the USFWS waited until 2008 to delist wolves. Eleven environmental groups have filed a lawsuit in federal court asserting that existing wolf populations in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming are insufficient and that wolves should be returned to endangered status until wolves number five to ten times the current count. These organizations include the Sierra Club, Oregon Wild, and the Cascadia Wildlands Project.

MSSA president Gary Marbut commented, “Sportsmen spent a century fostering huntable big game populations that are now being fed to the wolves. Anyone who has hunted elk in southwestern Montana knows that our elk there are being ravaged by wolves. It’s high time the courts heard from Montana people about wolves.”

Natural Resource Director for the Montana Stockgrowers Association, Jay Bodner, commented, “Every wolf pack that has come into contact with livestock has resulted in depredations. These losses have had a dramatic impact on the bottom line for many livestock producers. We can’t afford to see our family ranches be put out of business and sold because of wolf recovery.”

Bob Fanning of the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd said, “Wolves streaming out of Yellowstone Park have decimated the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd and are turning the landscape they invade into a biological desert. This is what Lewis and Clark and the Thompson party discovered about western Montana ruled by a ‘natural’ predator-prey balance. The Lewis and Clark expedition had to eat their horses and the Thompson party nearly starved to death.”

Jim Clawson of the Western Montana Fish and Game Association offered, “Wolves and hunters compete for the same hunting opportunity. Each wolf in Montana displaces about 50 Montana hunters, and there is no legal limit on the number of elk one wolf is allowed to kill, as there is with hunters.”

“Wolf numbers are in excess of the amount agreed on as a sustainable population”, said Jake Cummins, Executive Vice President of the Montana Farm Bureau. “Now it is time to let the Endangered Species Act work as it was intended and move forward with state management”, noted Cummins.

U.S. District Court Judge Don Molloy has already ruled in this case that defendants may not have a time extension to rally support for and craft arguments in favor of wolf delisting. Therefore, these intervening groups have only a few days to construct their briefs in support of delisting.

Attorneys John Bloomquist and Jim Brown of the Helena firm of Doney, Crowley, Bloomquist, Payne and Uda is handling the legal work for these intervenors.

11 May 2008, 1:36pm
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Is It Time to Invade Burma?

By ROMESH RATNESAR, Time Magazine, May 10, 2008 [here]

The disaster in Burma presents the world with perhaps its most serious humanitarian crisis since the 2004 Asian tsunami. By most reliable estimates, close to 100,000 people are dead. Delays in delivering relief to the victims, the inaccessibility of the stricken areas and the poor state of Burma’s infrastructure and health systems mean that number is sure to rise. With as many as 1 million people still at risk, it is conceivable that the death toll will, within days, approach that of the entire number of civilians killed in the genocide in Darfur.

So what is the world doing about it? Not much. The military regime that runs Burma initially signaled it would accept outside relief, but has imposed so many conditions on those who would actually deliver it that barely a trickle has made it through. Aid workers have been held at airports. U.N. food shipments have been seized. U.S. naval ships packed with food and medicine idle in the Gulf of Thailand, waiting for an all-clear that may never come.

Burma’s rulers have relented slightly, agreeing Friday to let in supplies and perhaps even some foreign relief workers. The government says it will allow a US C-130 transport plane to land inside Burma Monday. But it’s hard to imagine a regime this insular and paranoid accepting robust aid from the U.S. military, let alone agreeing to the presence of U.S. Marines on Burmese soil — as Thailand and Indonesia did after the tsunami. The trouble is that the Burmese haven’t shown the ability or willingness to deploy the kind of assets needed to deal with a calamity of this scale — and the longer Burma resists offers of help, the more likely it is that the disaster will devolve beyond anyone’s control. “We’re in 2008, not 1908,” says Jan Egeland, the former U.N. emergency relief coordinator. “A lot is at stake here. If we let them get away with murder we may set a very dangerous precedent.”

That’s why it’s time to consider a more serious option: invading Burma. Some observers, including former USAID director Andrew Natsios, have called on the U.S. to unilaterally begin air drops to the Burmese people regardless of what the junta says. The Bush Administration has so far rejected the idea — “I can’t imagine us going in without the permission of the Myanmar government,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday — but it’s not without precedent: as Natsios pointed out to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. has facilitated the delivery of humanitarian aid without the host government’s consent in places like Bosnia and Sudan. … [more]

11 May 2008, 1:33pm
Latest Climate News
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Burma killed by tyranny

by Andrew Bolt, Melbourne Herald Sun [here]

THE vultures are circling over Burma’s dead. Hey, isn’t that fat one Al Gore?

Sure is. And - flap, flap, plop - there he lands, the first to go picking over carcasses for scraps to feed his great global warming scare campaign.

What the world should be learning from this terrible loss of at least 60,000 people in the cyclone that hit Burma last week is that tyrannies kill more surely than any freak of weather.

But Al Gore, who won a Nobel “Peace” Prize for terrifying people with his error-riddled An Inconvenient Truth, wants you to blame instead his pet bogeyman. Tremble, sinners, before the wrath of a hot planet!

In an interview on America’s NPR on Tuesday, Gore claimed Cyclone Nargis was actually part of a pattern.

“Last year a catastrophic storm . . . hit Bangladesh. The year before, the strongest cyclone in more than 50 years hit China, and we’re seeing consequences that scientists have long predicted might be associated with continued global warming.”

This cyclone that hit Burma is a “consequence” of global warming? Gore should die of shame to peddle such self-serving deceptions.

Fact: The world has not warmed in a decade, says the Hadley Centre and two of the three other institutions that measure its temperature.

Fact: Any link between hurricanes and warming is highly disputed by scientists, with “evidence both for and against”, says the American Meteorological Society.

Fact: The data is “insufficiently reliable to detect trends on the frequency of extreme cyclones”, says a recent paper in Science by world authority Chris Landsea.

Fact: The cyclone that hit Burma was just a category three storm - not a category five - and less deadly than worse cyclones that struck Bangladesh in 1970 and 1991. What’s more, Gore concedes the record breaker was 50 years ago, before the world got this gassy.

So there’s no recent warming, no agreed link with cyclones, no trend of worse cyclones, and nothing unusually strong about the one that hit Burma.

Yet there goes Gore - caw, caw, caw - flogging the warming scare that has made him so fantastically rich. The great Profit of Doom. …

Let us not be sidetracked. These are people killed not by Gore’s global warming, or even by Friday’s Cyclone Nargis - but by a filthy band of rapacious dictators who have left their people beggared and blinded, at the mercy of even the wind and waves. … [more]

9 May 2008, 7:54pm
Latest Forest News
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Forest Service Announces New Director of Forest Management

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2008 [here]

Forest Service Chief Abigail Kimbell today announced the appointment of Tom Peterson as the Director of Forest Management. This position is responsible for guiding activities to maintain and improve the health, diversity and productivity of the National Forest system.

“Tom brings a wealth of on-the-ground experiences and innovative approaches for integrated resources management to assure forest health and productivity,” said Kimbell. “I look forward to working with him in his new role.”

Since March of this year Peterson has served as Acting Regional Forester for the Southern Region of the Forest Service. He has been the Deputy Regional Forester for Natural Resources in the Southern Region since August of 2005.

Peterson began his career on the Ottawa National Forest in Michigan in 1973. He later worked on the Chequamegon National Forest, Mark Twain National Forest, and Superior National Forest in the Eastern Region. In 1994 he accepted a position in the Eastern Regional Office on the Forest Management Staff until 1998 when he moved to the Forest Management Staff in Washington, D.C.

In 2001, Peterson was named Regional Director for Forest Management in the Southern Region, based in Atlanta, until he was selected for the Deputy Regional Forester for Natural Resources.

Born and raised in Minneapolis, MN, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Forest Management from the University of Minnesota in 1972.

He is expected to report to his new assignment in early July, 2008.

6 May 2008, 7:04pm
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Montana FWP To Intervene in Wolf Delisting Lawsuit

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks announced Thursday that it will intervene in a lawsuit filed this week challenging the federal government’s delisting of gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains.

The agency also plans to oppose a request from 12 conservation groups seeking a preliminary injunction from the federal District Court in Missoula.

The injunction, if approved, would reinstate federal Endangered Species Act protection for gray wolves while the court considers the lawsuit.

“FWP supports wolf delisting and we’ll join the legal proceedings to help ensure that wolves in Montana remain under state jurisdiction and continue to be managed under a plan that has won nationwide praise and support,” said Jeff Hagener, director of FWP in Helena. … [more]

30 Apr 2008, 11:22pm
Latest Fire News
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Ex-fire boss pleads guilty in 4 deaths

Ellreese Daniels, 47, of Lake Wenatchee, Chelan County, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle to two misdemeanor counts of making false statements to investigators.

In exchange, the government dropped four felony counts of involuntary manslaughter and seven felony counts of making false statements.

Sentencing was set for July 23 in what is believed to be the first criminal case against a wildland firefighter for the death of comrades on the line. …

Daniels, who now works for the U.S. Forest Service in a supply capacity, faced as much as six years in prison for each manslaughter count. Instead, he faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine for each misdemeanor. Hunt plans to ask for no prison time. … [more]

30 Apr 2008, 4:46pm
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Harsh winter, hunting, annual cull cut Yellowstone bison population in half

GARDINER, Montana (CNN) — More than half of Yellowstone National Park’s bison herd has died since last fall, forcing the government to suspend its annual slaughter program.

Between harsh weather, hunting and an annual cull, fully half of Yellowstone National Park’s bison have died.

1 of 3 More than 700 of the iconic animals starved or otherwise died on the mountainsides during an unusually harsh winter, and more than 1,600 were shot by hunters or sent to slaughterhouses in a disease-control effort, according to National Park Service figures.

As a result, the park estimates its bison herd has dropped from 4,700 in November to about 2,300 today, prompting the government to halt the culling program early. … [more]

30 Apr 2008, 4:43pm
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Sacred Mountain Controversy

By Diane Fowler, Cibola County Beacon-News [here]

GRANTS - Tsoodzil, Kaweshtima, Turquoise Mountain and Mount Taylor are names that have been given over the years to the dormant volcano on the horizon. The mountain represents sacred sites and the home of gods to some Native American neighbors and a place for recreation, ranching, Land Grant communities and appreciation of nature for others. Currently there has been a growing interest in resuming uranium mining on Mount Taylor, coinciding with some designations of protection by both the U.S. Forest Service and the New Mexico Cultural Properties Review Committee.

These state and federal designations have produced debate in Grants and led to allegations about how the measures would limit public activity on the mountain.
Some government leaders and the mining interests have reacted with hostility and many uninformed citizens have made dramatic, if incorrect, public statements on the situation.
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30 Apr 2008, 4:39pm
Latest Climate News
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La Nina and Pacific Decadal Oscillation Cool the Pacific

NASA Earth Observatory [here]

A cool-water anomaly known as La Nina occupied the tropical Pacific Ocean throughout 2007 and early 2008. In April 2008, scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced that while the La Nina was weakening, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation-a larger-scale, slower-cycling ocean pattern-had shifted to its cool phase.

This image shows the sea surface temperature anomaly in the Pacific Ocean from April 14–21, 2008. The anomaly compares the recent temperatures measured by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for EOS (AMSR-E) on NASA’s Aqua satellite with an average of data collected by the NOAA Pathfinder satellites from 1985–1997. Places where the Pacific was cooler than normal are blue, places where temperatures were average are white, and places where the ocean was warmer than normal are red.

The cool water anomaly in the center of the image shows the lingering effect of the year-old La Nina. However, the much broader area of cooler-than-average water off the coast of North America from Alaska (top center) to the equator is a classic feature of the cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). The cool waters wrap in a horseshoe shape around a core of warmer-than-average water. (In the warm phase, the pattern is reversed).

Unlike El Nino and La Nina, which may occur every 3 to 7 years and last from 6 to 18 months, the PDO can remain in the same phase for 20 to 30 years. The shift in the PDO can have significant implications for global climate, affecting Pacific and Atlantic hurricane activity, droughts and flooding around the Pacific basin, the productivity of marine ecosystems, and global land temperature patterns. “This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation ‘cool? trend can intensify La Nina or diminish El Nino impacts around the Pacific basin,” said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “The persistence of this large-scale pattern [in 2008] tells us there is much more than an isolated La Nina occurring in the Pacific Ocean.”

Icecap Note [here]: We have been noting this shift in the Pacific as has Bill for a while. As he says it favors more of these cool La Ninas, more tornadoes, hurricanes, winter snow, spring flooding and summer heat waves and drought - and importantly a cooling of the global temperatures, which will be augmented if cycle 24 proves to be quiet and when the AMO cycles back into its cool mode.

29 Apr 2008, 8:46pm
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Climate Change and the Human Condition

by Sherwood, Keith, and Craig Idso

CO2 Science, Volume 11, Number 17 [here]

In the introduction to their illuminating paper, the authors say they previously studied “a long span of Chinese history and found that the number of war outbreaks and population collapses in China is significantly correlated with Northern Hemisphere temperature variations and that all of the periods of nationwide unrest, population collapse, and drastic change occurred in the cold phases of this period.” In their current study, they write that they “extend the earlier study to the global and continental levels between AD 1400 and AD 1900.” This they do by using high-resolution paleoclimate data to explore “at a macroscale” the effects of climate change on the outbreak of war and population decline in the pre-industrial era as discerned by analyses of historical socioeconomic and demographic data.

In describing their findings, the five scientists say their newest analyses, like their earlier ones, show that “cooling impeded agricultural production, which brought about a series of serious social problems, including price inflation, then successively war outbreak, famine, and population decline.” And they suggest, as they put it, that “worldwide and synchronistic war-peace, population, and price cycles in recent centuries have been driven mainly by long-term climate change,” wherein warm periods were supportive of good times and cooling led to bad times, some of which (in our opinion) could arguably be described as a descent into hell. … [more]

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