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Mitch McConnell's Freighted Ties to a Shadowy Shipping Company After drugs were found aboard the Ping May, a vessel owned by his wife's family's company, Colombian authorities are investigating. - Before the Ping May, a rusty cargo vessel, could disembark from the port of Santa Marta en route to the Netherlands in late August, Colombian inspectors boarded the boat and made a discovery. Hidden in the ship’s chain locker, amidst its load of coal bound for Europe, were approximately 40 kilograms, or about ninety pounds, of cocaine. A Colombian Coast Guard official told The Nation that there is an ongoing investigation.
The seizure of the narcotics shipment in the Caribbean port occurred far away from Kentucky, the state in which Senator Mitch McConnell is now facing a career-defining election. But the Republican Senate minority leader has the closest of ties to the owner of the Ping May, the vessel containing the illicit materials: the Foremost Maritime Corporation, a firm founded and owned by McConnell’s in-laws, the Chao family. (The Nation)
Polar Bear Hunting on Rise Despite Species' Decline As the biennial meeting of the international Polar Bear Agreement begins in Moscow, Russia, new data points to an unsustainable rise in hunting that threatens the species. Despite the grim outlook for polar bears due to the growing threat of climate change, Canadian polar bear kills have risen at alarming rate, in excess of 10 percent over previous years.
"Canada's claims at this conference that polar bear hunting is not harming polar bear populations are disingenuous," said Teresa Telecky, director of wildlife at Humane Society International, referring to a recent report by Canada's Polar Bear Technical Committee. "Canada's own scientists are raising alarm about over-harvest not only in the past year but in the past three to five years. Canada and the other parties to the Polar Bear Agreement urgently need to address this problem."
Scientific experts at the meeting detailed the impact of sea-ice loss on polar bear survival, including loss of food source, loss of body condition, and fewer cubs surviving. Scientists continue to predict that two-thirds of polar bears will be lost by 2050. (Humane Society International)
sceptics vs. academics This is part of a long term project to try to understand why the “two sides” in the climate debate look at pretty much the same information and come to very different conclusions. Having met both sides, and tried to understand their motivation and outlook, I am thoroughly convinced that both approach the subject in what they think is the right way and both are horrified at the “antics” of the other. If I have said anything that can be taken as derogatory, that was not the intention. I am sorry but I have done my best to describe what I see.
[From early responses it is clear I need to define more precisely what I mean by sceptic and non-sceptic. Broadly, those supporting the IPCC conclusions that we are heading toward catastrophic warming would be on one side and those who are sceptical of this on the other. For a more precise definition of sceptic I would consider sceptics to be those who generally agree with the statement outlined in the: "The Sceptic View"]
I WOULD VERY MUCH APPRECIATE COMMENTS FROM BOTH "SIDES". (Scottish Sceptic)
Climate sceptics more likely to be conspiracy theorists and free market advocates, study claims -- Research confirms previous findings which caused fury among sceptics of human-caused climate change Do you think the Apollo moon landings might have been faked or that Britain's Royal family maybe, just maybe, conspired to assassinate Princess Diana because they didn't like her very much?
How about that other conspiracy theory, where there really is this secret New World Order group with designs on global domination.
Maybe you're up for that other chestnut that has the US government knowing beforehand about the September 11 attacks but letting them happen anyway so as to have a good excuse to bomb Afghanistan?
If you answered yes to any of these conspiracy theories then a new study published today has found that you probably also think the science of human-caused climate change is some sort of hoax and you might think too that there's no good evidence for vaccinating children.
The study, titled The Role of Conspiracist Ideation and Worldviews in Predicting Rejection of Science and published in the journal PLOS ONE, also finds another strong predictor for the dismissal of the science of human-caused climate change.
That is, if you're a conservative who believes the world runs best when businesses operate in a "free market" with little government interference, then the chances are you don't think human-caused climate change represents a significant risk to human civilisation. (London Guardian)
MIT scientist ridicules IPCC climate change report, calls findings 'hilarious incoherence' Not all experts agree with the latest United Nations report on global warming, some are even amused by its findings.
A climate scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has come out blasting the report for blaming humans for a global warming trend that appears to have cooled in recent decades – and then glossing over the warming slowdown.
‘I think that the latest IPCC report has truly sunk to level of hilarious incoherence,’ Dr. Richard Lindzen told Climate Depot – a site known for questioning the theory of global warming.
Dr Linzen’s amusement from the lack of correlation between predictions and actual conditions.
‘They are proclaiming increased confidence in their models as the discrepancies between their models and observations increase,’ Dr Linzen continued.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change asserted in the report that it is 95 per cent sure humans’ use of fossil fuels is the cause of global warming.
The report also provided what Dr Linzen felt was a shoddy explanation for the lack of warming over the past 17 years. (UK Daily Mail)
Why the IPCC climate change report is flawed The following was written on Thursday, Sept. 26, as a post on Facebook, before the release of the IPCC report on Friday. It was edited and re-posted here on Sunday, Sept. 29.
Tomorrow you will likely hear about a new global warming report released from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It will claim that scientists are more certain than ever (95 per cent certainty) that humans are causing the Earth to warm.
The report will argue that the situation is becoming more and more dire and that failure to act will lead to a “point of no return” where the temperature train will race out of control and Earth’s ice caps will completely melt, and that hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and droughts will all become more frequent.
I hope you take the time to look at some of the facts and do your own research on the matter. (Global Research)
The IPCC and geoengineering The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) just released by the IPCC’s Working Group 1 (pdf) ends with a para on geoengineering (p21), and this fact is receiving some play in media coverage. Not everyone is writing about it, and very few are putting it high up the story, but it’s there, and as various people have pointed out, last time WG1 reported, in 2007, it wasn’t.
Here’s the para is in full. I’ve annotated it to highlight changes made to the authors’ final draft, prepared after all the review stages of the document and thus forming the text that the governments attending the Stockholm plenary started from: (Heliophage)
The new IPCC climate change report makes deniers overheat -- As their erroneous efforts to discredit the 'Hockey Stick' curve reveal, sceptics are tying themselves in knots to maintain denial The fifth IPCC report express confidence that climate change is causing various forms of extreme weather.
It happens every six years or so: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) publishes its assessment of the current state of scientific understanding regarding human-caused climate change. That assessment is based on contributions from thousands of experts around the world through an exhaustive review of the peer-reviewed scientific literature and a rigorous, several-years-long review process.
Meanwhile, in the lead-up to publication, fossil-fuel industry front groups and their paid advocates gear up to attack and malign the report, and to mislead and confuse the public about its sobering message. So, in the weeks leading up to the release of the IPCC Fifth Assessment scientific report, professional climate change deniers and their willing abettors and enablers have done their best to distort what the report actually says about the genuine scientific evidence and the reality of the climate change threat.
This time, however, climate change deniers seem divided in their preferred contrarian narrative. Some would have us believe that the IPCC has downgraded the strength of the evidence and the degree of threat. Career fossil fuel-industry apologist Bjorn Lomborg, in Rupert Murdoch's the Australian, wrote on 16 September:
UN's mild climate change message will be lost in alarmist translation.
On the other hand, serial climate disinformer Judith Curry, in a commentary for the same outlet five days later, announced:
Consensus distorts the climate picture.
So, make up your mind, critics: is it a "mild message" or a "distorted picture"? (London Guardian)
IPCC Climate Change Report Expresses Extreme Confidence In Human Cause Of Global Warming Scientists now believe it's "extremely likely" that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming, a long-term trend that is clear despite a recent plateau in the temperatures, an international climate panel said Friday.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used its strongest language yet in a report on the causes of climate change, prompting calls for global action to control emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.
"If this isn't an alarm bell, then I don't know what one is. If ever there were an issue that demanded greater cooperation, partnership, and committed diplomacy, this is it," said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
The IPCC, which has 195 member countries, adopted the report Friday after all-night talks at a meeting in Stockholm.
In its previous assessment, in 2007, the U.N.-sponsored panel said it was "very likely" that global warming was due to human activity, particularly the CO2 emissions resulting from the burning of coal, oil and gas. (Associated Press)
Climate Report Struggles With Temperature Quirks Scientists working on a landmark U.N. report on climate change are struggling over how to address a wrinkle in the meteorological data that has given ammunition to global-warming skeptics: The heating of Earth's surface appears to have slowed in the past 15 years even though greenhouse gas emissions keep rising.
For years, skeptics have touted what looks like a slowdown in surface warming since 1998 to cast doubt on the scientific consensus that humans are cooking the planet by burning coal, oil and natural gas.
Scientists and statisticians have dismissed the purported slowdown as a statistical mirage, arguing among other things that it reflects random climate fluctuations and an unusually hot year picked as the starting point for charting temperatures. They also say the data suggests the "missing" heat is simply settling — temporarily — in the ocean.
But as scientists study the issue, the notion of a slowdown has gained more mainstream attention, putting pressure on the authors of the new U.N. report to deal with it.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is expected to assert that global warming is continuing. It is also expected to affirm with greater certainty than ever before the link between global warming and human activity. (Associated Press)
IPCC models getting mushy In the next five years, the global warming paradigm may fall apart if the models prove worthless
There has been a lot of talk lately about the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, and whether it will take into account the lack of warming since the 1990s. Everything you need to know about the dilemma the IPCC faces is summed up in one remarkable graph.
IPCCThe above graphic is Figure 1.4 from Chapter 1 of a draft of the Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The initials at the top represent the First Assessment Report (FAR) in 1990, the Second (SAR) in 1995. Shaded banks show range of predictions from each of the four climate models used for all four reports since 1990. That last report, AR4, was issued in 2007. Model runs after 1992 were tuned to track temporary cooling due to the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption in The Philippines. The black squares, show with uncertainty bars, measure the observed average surface temperatures over the same interval. The range of model runs is syndicated by the vertical bars. The light grey area above and below is not part of the model prediction range. The final version of the new IPCC report, AR5, will be issued later this month. (Financial Post)
World's top climate scientists confess: Global warming is just QUARTER what we thought -- and computers got the effects of greenhouse gases wrong Leaked report reveals the world has warmed at quarter the rate claimed by IPCC in 2007 -- Scientists accept their computers may have exaggerated - A leaked copy of the world’s most authoritative climate study reveals scientific forecasts of imminent doom were drastically wrong.
The Mail on Sunday has obtained the final draft of a report to be published later this month by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the ultimate watchdog whose massive, six-yearly ‘assessments’ are accepted by environmentalists, politicians and experts as the gospel of climate science.
They are cited worldwide to justify swingeing fossil fuel taxes and subsidies for ‘renewable’ energy.
Yet the leaked report makes the extraordinary concession that over the past 15 years, recorded world temperatures have increased at only a quarter of the rate of IPCC claimed when it published its last assessment in 2007.
Back then, it said observed warming over the 15 years from 1990-2005 had taken place at a rate of 0.2C per decade, and it predicted this would continue for the following 20 years, on the basis of forecasts made by computer climate models.
But the new report says the observed warming over the more recent 15 years to 2012 was just 0.05C per decade - below almost all computer predictions.
The 31-page ‘summary for policymakers’ is based on a more technical 2,000-page analysis which will be issued at the same time. It also surprisingly reveals: IPCC scientists accept their forecast computers may have exaggerated the effect of increased carbon emissions on world temperatures – and not taken enough notice of natural variability. (UK Daily Mail)
Living With Less. A Lot Less. I LIVE in a 420-square-foot studio. I sleep in a bed that folds down from the wall. I have six dress shirts. I have 10 shallow bowls that I use for salads and main dishes. When people come over for dinner, I pull out my extendable dining room table. I don’t have a single CD or DVD and I have 10 percent of the books I once did.
I have come a long way from the life I had in the late ’90s, when, flush with cash from an Internet start-up sale, I had a giant house crammed with stuff — electronics and cars and appliances and gadgets.
Somehow this stuff ended up running my life, or a lot of it; the things I consumed ended up consuming me. My circumstances are unusual (not everyone gets an Internet windfall before turning 30), but my relationship with material things isn’t.
We live in a world of surfeit stuff, of big-box stores and 24-hour online shopping opportunities. Members of every socioeconomic bracket can and do deluge themselves with products.
There isn’t any indication that any of these things makes anyone any happier; in fact it seems the reverse may be true.
For me, it took 15 years, a great love and a lot of travel to get rid of all the inessential things I had collected and live a bigger, better, richer life with less. (New York Times)
Sonoma County leads in 'spare the air' complaints Sonoma County apparently is the biggest wood-burning air polluter in the Bay Area during no-burn days, and this year the regional air quality police is cracking down more than ever.
Last year, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District received 409 wood-burning complaints from Sonoma County neighborhoods. Inspection patrols, many stemming from such complaints, resulted in 110 wood-burning violations, the most of any county in the nine-county district, officials said.
Patrick Oster of Buck Pools and Spas in Santa Rosa is reflected in the glass front of a gas fireplace, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)
Across the Bay Area district, there were 3,777 complaints and 346 violations, with most violators receiving a warning letter. But this winter, the district is no longer issuing warnings. Instead, first-time violators will be given the option of paying a $100 fine or taking a smoke awareness course online or by mail. (Watch Sonoma County)
Culture and Agriculture ~ Sue Spaid looks at farming as art Rirkrit Tiravanija’s “Untitled (bicycle shower),” one of the BMA’s new acquisitions, might seem a bit out of place in the formal halls of the museum. That’s because Tiravanija designed it to actually function as a shower for the land, an experimental art/farming/political compound he founded in Thailand in 1998.
According to Sue Spaid’s new book Green Acres: Artists Farming Fields, Greenhouses and Abandoned Lots, it is becoming increasingly common to see such works at museums. The book accompanies a show at Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center, which will come to the area this summer, but Spaid will facilitate a conversation about art and farming at Red Emma’s on Friday, Jan. 18.
Before Spaid came to Baltimore to take over the directorship of the Contemporary Museum in 2010—a position she held until the museum suspended operations and let her go last May—she worked as curator at Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center, where she co-curated Ecovention: Current Art to Transform Ecologies, which led, a decade later, to Green Acres. (Baltimore City Paper)
Global Risks 2013, Eighth Edition The World Economic Forum's Global Risks 2013 report is developed from an annual survey of over 1,000 experts from industry, government, academia and civil society who were asked to review a landscape of 50 global risks. - Rogue Deployment of Geoengineering.
In response to growing concerns about climate change, scientists are exploring ways in which they could, with international agreement, manipulate the earth’s climate. But what if this technology were to be hijacked by a rogue state or individual? (World Economic Forum)
What’s Your Meme? Changing the Climate Change Conversation Yes we can! Ermahgerd. Occupy. I had a dream. Haters gonna hate. Tear down this wall! Gangnam Style. Drill, baby, drill.
We are constantly bombarded by memes in our daily lives. Some spontaneously flare up and then burn out as quickly as they appeared, while others stick around for decades. We hardly consider their presence, much less contemplate their possible influence on our lives.
Researchers in the emerging field of meme science are digging deeper, however, investigating how and why these sticky phrases or trends sink into our cultural psyche and subconsciously influence the way we process the world around us.
“Our goal is to introduce rigorous market research tools that have been developed for the corporate sector and apply them to the most pressing social issues in the world,” said Joe Brewer, co-founder of DarwinSF, a San Francisco-based company founded six months ago to help identify and spread memes that may influence significant global issues, starting with climate change. (New York Times)
California cap and trade: Climate-change bidding begins -- State's initial auction of emission credits is set for Wednesday despite suit California is soon to launch a bold attempt at climate-change reversal: a cap-and-trade program allowing businesses to buy and sell credits for emission of the most notorious greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide.
The first auction of carbon credits is scheduled for Wednesday – despite a lawsuit filed Tuesday by the California Chamber of Commerce that seeks a court ruling to invalidate such auctions.
The program itself is set to begin Jan. 1.
Some 360 manufacturers, utilities and other businesses are expected to take part, representing nearly 600 facilities across the state.
The cap-and-trade market is part of the state's controversial 2006 climate-change law, AB32, which also includes low-carbon fuel standards and promotion of renewable energy projects. (OC Register)
Global warming talk heats up, revisits carbon tax Climate change is suddenly a hot topic again. The issue is resurfacing in talks about a once radical idea: a possible carbon tax.
On Tuesday, a conservative think tank held discussions about it while a more liberal think tank released a paper on it. And the Congressional Budget Office issued a 19-page report on the different ways to make a carbon tax less burdensome on lower income people.
A carbon tax works by making people pay more for using fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas that produce heat-trapping carbon dioxide.
The idea was considered so radical that in 2009, when President Barack Obama tried to pass a bill on global warming, that he instead opted for the more moderate approach of capping power plant emissions and trading credits that allowed utilities to pollute more. That idea, after passing the House, stalled in the Senate in 2010 and has been considered dead since. (Associated Press)
Obama May Levy Carbon Tax to Cut U.S. Deficit, HSBC Says Barack Obama may consider introducing a tax on carbon emissions to help cut the U.S. budget deficit after winning a second term as president, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.
A tax starting at $20 a metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent and rising at about 6 percent a year could raise $154 billion by 2021, Nick Robins, an analyst at the bank in London, said today in an e-mailed research note, citing Congressional Research Service estimates. “Applied to the Congressional Budget Office’s 2012 baseline, this would halve the fiscal deficit by 2022,” Robins said.
Hurricane Sandy sparked discussion on climate protection in the election after presidential candidates focused on other debates, HSBC said. A continued Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives means Obama’s scope for action will be limited, Robins said. Cap-and-trade legislation stalled in the U.S. Senate after narrowly passing the house in 2009. (Bloomberg)
Gary Johnson Talks Nwo, Bilderberg & Bohemian Grove Gary Johnson has been an outspoken advocate for efficient government, balanced budgets, rational drug policy reform, protection of civil liberties, comprehensive tax reform, and personal freedom. As Governor of New Mexico, Johnson was known for his common sense business approach to governing. He eliminated New Mexico's budget deficit, cut the rate of growth in state government in half, and privatized half of the state prisons. (Prison Planet)
Global warming stopped 16 years ago, reveals Met Office report quietly released... and here is the chart to prove it The figures reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012 there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures
This means that the ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996 - The new data, compiled from more than 3,000 measuring points on land and sea, was issued quietly on the internet, without any media fanfare, and, until today, it has not been reported.
This stands in sharp contrast to the release of the previous figures six months ago, which went only to the end of 2010 – a very warm year.
Ending the data then means it is possible to show a slight warming trend since 1997, but 2011 and the first eight months of 2012 were much cooler, and thus this trend is erased. (UK Daily Mail)
In Barcelona, a Living Wall Is More Than Architecture: It's 'Vegitecture' The environmentally-minded designers at Barcelona firm Capella Garcia Arquitectura take the idea of “green living” to heart. Their latest project, helmed by partners Juli Capella and Miguel Garcia, reimagines and reinvents a unsightly wall left behind from a former building demolition. Their solution: a completely natural makeover.
Completed in March, the “Green Side-Wall,” promoted by the Barcelona City Council, is a foray into what the firm has christened “vegitecture,” or a vertical garden with emphasis on the structure's original architecture. The main material responsible for bringing a breath of fresh air to the residential area: Plants—oxygen-producing, living green that cascades down the once plain wall. (Good)
Germany sets solar record, meets half of electricity demand Germany's investment in renewables has seen the country set the world record for photovoltaic energy generation at 22 gigawatts per hour -- or approximately 50 percent of German electricity demand.
A spate of good weather has helped the country break the record, along with the fact that the milestone was reached on 26 May: a Saturday, with factories and offices closed. However, on 25 May a third of electricity generated in the country still came from solar generators. (Wired)
An ikaite record of late Holocene climate at the Antarctic Peninsula Zunli Lua, Rosalind E.M. Rickabyb, Hilary Kennedyc, Paul Kennedyc, Richard D. Pancostd, Samuel Shawe, Alistair Lennief, Julia Wellnerg, John B. Andersonh - Abstract:
Calcium carbonate can crystallize in a hydrated form as ikaite at low temperatures. The hydration water in ikaite grown in laboratory experiments records the δ18O of ambient water, a feature potentially useful for reconstructing δ18O of local seawater. We report the first downcore δ18O record of natural ikaite hydration waters and crystals collected from the Antarctic Peninsula (AP), a region sensitive to climate fluctuations. We are able to establish the zone of ikaite formation within shallow sediments, based on porewater chemical and isotopic data. Having constrained the depth of ikaite formation and δ18O of ikaite crystals and hydration waters, we are able to infer local changes in fjord δ18O versus time during the late Holocene. This ikaite record qualitatively supports that both the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age extended to the Antarctic Peninsula. (Earth and Planetary Science Letters)
Medieval warming WAS global -- new science contradicts IPCC -- 'It was consensual' claims looking shaky More peer-reviewed science contradicting the warming-alarmist "scientific consensus" was announced yesterday, as a new study shows that the well-documented warm period which took place in medieval times was not limited to Europe, or the northern hemisphere: it reached all the way to Antarctica.
The research involved the development of a new means of assessing past temperatures, to add to existing methods such as tree ring analysis and ice cores. In this study, scientists analysed samples of a crystal called ikaite, which forms in cold waters.
“Ikaite is an icy version of limestone,” explains earth-sciences prof Zunli Lu. “The crystals are only stable under cold conditions and actually melt at room temperature.”
Down in the Antarctic peninsula that isn't a problem, and Lu and his colleagues were able to take samples which had been present for hundreds of years and date their formation. The structure of Ikaite, it turns out, varies measurably depending on the temperature when it forms, allowing boffins to construct an accurate past temperature record. (The Register)
Scientists use rare mineral to correlate past climate events in Europe, Antarctica The first day of spring brought record high temperatures across the northern part of the United States, while much of the Southwest was digging out from a record-breaking spring snowstorm. The weather, it seems, has gone topsy-turvy. Are the phenomena related? Are climate changes in one part of the world felt half a world away?
To understand the present, scientists look for ways to unlock information about past climate hidden in the fossil record. A team of scientists led by Syracuse University geochemist Zunli Lu has found a new key in the form of ikaite, a rare mineral that forms in cold waters. Composed of calcium carbonate and water, ikaite crystals can be found off the coasts of Antarctica and Greenland.
“Ikaite is an icy version of limestone,” say Lu, assistant professor of earth sciences in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences. “The crystals are only stable under cold conditions and actually melt at room temperature.” (Syracuse University)
Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong The threat of climate change is an increasingly important environmental issue for the globe. Because the economic questions involved have received relatively little attention, I have been writing a nontechnical book for people who would like to see how market-based approaches could be used to formulate policy on climate change. When I showed an early draft to colleagues, their response was that I had left out the arguments of skeptics about climate change, and I accordingly addressed this at length.
But one of the difficulties I found in examining the views of climate skeptics is that they are scattered widely in blogs, talks, and pamphlets. Then, I saw an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal of January 27, 2012, by a group of sixteen scientists, entitled “No Need to Panic About Global Warming.” This is useful because it contains many of the standard criticisms in a succinct statement. The basic message of the article is that the globe is not warming, that dissident voices are being suppressed, and that delaying policies to slow climate change for fifty years will have no serious economic or environment consequences.
My response is primarily designed to correct their misleading description of my own research; but it also is directed more broadly at their attempt to discredit scientists and scientific research on climate change.1 I have identified six key issues that are raised in the article, and I provide commentary about their substance and accuracy. They are:
• Is the planet in fact warming?
• Are human influences an important contributor to warming?
• Is carbon dioxide a pollutant?
• Are we seeing a regime of fear for skeptical climate scientists?
• Are the views of mainstream climate scientists driven primarily by the desire for financial gain?
• Is it true that more carbon dioxide and additional warming will be beneficial?
As I will indicate below, on each of these questions, the sixteen scientists provide incorrect or misleading answers. At a time when we need to clarify public confusions about the science and economics of climate change, they have muddied the waters. I will describe their mistakes and explain the findings of current climate science and economics. (The New York Review of Books)
How I woke up to the untruths of Barack Obama: The President's State of the Union address was as weaselly as any politician's could be.
When I happened to wake up in the middle of the night last Wednesday and caught the BBC World Service’s live relay of President Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress, two passages had me rubbing my eyes in disbelief.
The first came when, to applause, the President spoke about the banking crash which coincided with his barnstorming 2008 election campaign. “The house of cards collapsed,” he recalled. “We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them.” He excoriated the banks which had “made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money”, while “regulators looked the other way and didn’t have the authority to stop the bad behaviour”. This, said Obama, “was wrong. It was irresponsible. And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work.”
I recalled a piece I wrote in this column on January 29, 2009, just after Obama took office. It was headlined: “This is the sub-prime house that Barack Obama built”. As a rising young Chicago politician in 1995, no one campaigned more actively than Mr Obama for an amendment to the US Community Reinvestment Act, legally requiring banks to lend huge sums to millions of poor, mainly black Americans, guaranteed by the two giant mortgage associations, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
It was this Act, above all, which let the US housing bubble blow up, far beyond the point where it was obvious that hundreds of thousands of homeowners would be likely to default. Yet, in 2005, no one more actively opposed moves to halt these reckless guarantees than Senator Obama, who received more donations from Fannie Mae than any other US politician (although Senator Hillary Clinton ran him close). (London Telegraph)
No Need to Panic About Global Warming -- There's no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to 'decarbonize' the world's economy. Editor's Note: The following has been signed by the 16 scientists listed at the end of the article:
A candidate for public office in any contemporary democracy may have to consider what, if anything, to do about "global warming." Candidates should understand that the oft-repeated claim that nearly all scientists demand that something dramatic be done to stop global warming is not true. In fact, a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.
In September, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever, a supporter of President Obama in the last election, publicly resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) with a letter that begins: "I did not renew [my membership] because I cannot live with the [APS policy] statement: 'The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth's physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.' In the APS it is OK to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?"
In spite of a multidecade international campaign to enforce the message that increasing amounts of the "pollutant" carbon dioxide will destroy civilization, large numbers of scientists, many very prominent, share the opinions of Dr. Giaever. And the number of scientific "heretics" is growing with each passing year. The reason is a collection of stubborn scientific facts. (Wall Street Journal)
Scientific case for man-made global warming fears is dead (Op Ed) Many of the proponents of man-made global warming are now claiming that climate change is worse than they predicted. According to an Oct. 18, 2011, Daily Climate article, global warming activists claim that the "evidence builds that scientists underplay climate impacts," and "if anything, global climate disruption is likely to be significantly worse than has been suggested."
But a forthcoming Climate Depot A-Z Climate Reality Check report on the failure of the science behind man-made global warming theory will shatter any such illusions that the climate is "worse than we thought." Recent scientific data and developments reveal that Mother Nature is playing a cruel joke on the promoters of man-made climate fears.
The scientific reality is that on virtually every claim, the scientific case for man-made climate fears has collapsed. The only thing "worse than we thought" is the shoddy journalism of the mainstream media, which parrots global warming activists' baseless talking points. (Washington Examiner)
CERN 'gags' physicists in cosmic ray climate experiment The chief of the world's leading physics lab at CERN in Geneva has prohibited scientists from drawing conclusions from a major experiment. The CLOUD ("Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets") experiment examines the role that energetic particles from deep space play in cloud formation. CLOUD uses CERN's proton synchrotron to examine nucleation.
CERN Director General Rolf-Dieter Heuer told Welt Online that the scientists should refrain from drawing conclusions from the latest experiment.
"I have asked the colleagues to present the results clearly, but not to interpret them," reports veteran science editor Nigel Calder on his blog. Why?
Because, Heuer says, "That would go immediately into the highly political arena of the climate change debate. One has to make clear that cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters." (The Register)
10 Facts That Prove The Bin Laden Fable Is a Contrived Hoax Every indication clearly points to last Sunday’s raid being a manufactured ploy to return Americans to a state of post-9/11 intellectual castration - Merely a week after President Obama announced the death of Osama Bin Laden, there is literally a deluge of evidence that clearly indicates the whole episode has been manufactured for political gain and to return Americans to a state of post-9/11 intellectual castration so that they can be easily manipulated in the run up to the 2012 election. Here are ten facts that prove the Bin Laden fable is a contrived hoax….
1) Before last Sunday’s raid, every intelligence analyst, geopolitical commentator or head of state worth their salt was on record as stating that Osama Bin Laden was already dead, and that he probably died many years ago, from veteran CIA officer Robert Baer, to former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, to former FBI head of counterterrorism Dale Watson. In addition, back in 2002 Alex Jones was told directly by two separate high level sources that Bin Laden was already dead and that his death would be announced at the most politically opportune moment. Top US government insider Dr. Steve R. Pieczenik, a man who held numerous different influential positions under five different Presidents, serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under the Nixon, Ford and Carter, told the Alex Jones Show last week that Bin Laden died of marfan syndrome shortly after he was visited by CIA physicians at the American Hospital in Dubai in July 2001.
2) The official narrative of how the raid unfolded completely collapsed within days of its announcement. First there had been a 40 minute shootout, then there was no shootout and just one man was armed, first Bin Laden was armed then he was not, first Bin Laden used his wife as a human shield and then he did not. First the compound was described as a “$1 million dollar mansion” then it turned out to be a rubbish-strewn dilapidated compound that was worth less than a quarter of that. Almost every single aspect of the official narrative has changed since Obama first described the raid last Sunday as the White House struggles to keep its story straight. (Prison Planet)
Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power Japan's disaster would weigh more heavily if there were less harmful alternatives. Atomic power is part of the mix - You will not be surprised to hear that the events in Japan have changed my view of nuclear power. You will be surprised to hear how they have changed it. As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology.
A crappy old plant with inadequate safety features was hit by a monster earthquake and a vast tsunami. The electricity supply failed, knocking out the cooling system. The reactors began to explode and melt down. The disaster exposed a familiar legacy of poor design and corner-cutting. Yet, as far as we know, no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation.
Some greens have wildly exaggerated the dangers of radioactive pollution. For a clearer view, look at the graphic published by xkcd.com. It shows that the average total dose from the Three Mile Island disaster for someone living within 10 miles of the plant was one 625th of the maximum yearly amount permitted for US radiation workers. This, in turn, is half of the lowest one-year dose clearly linked to an increased cancer risk, which, in its turn, is one 80th of an invariably fatal exposure. I'm not proposing complacency here. I am proposing perspective.
If other forms of energy production caused no damage, these impacts would weigh more heavily. But energy is like medicine: if there are no side-effects, the chances are that it doesn't work. (London Guardian)
Six Ways Fukushima is Not Chernobyl The crisis at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi has already been dubbed the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, and the situation there continues to worsen.
But along with references to the "ch-word," as one nonproliferation expert put it , experts have been quick to provide reasons why the Daiichi crisis will not be "the next Chernobyl."
Experts have noted several key differences in the design of the reactors in question, as well as in the government's reaction to the crisis:
1. Chernobyl's reactor had no containment structure.
The RBMK reactor at Chernobyl "was regarded as the workhorse of Soviet atomic energy, thrifty and reliable -- and safe enough to be built without an expensive containment building that would prevent the release of radiation in the event of a serious accident," The Guardian's Adam Higginbotham noted .
As a result, when a reactor exploded on April 26, 1986, the radioactive material inside went straight into the atmosphere .
Fukushima's reactors  are surrounded by steel-and-concrete containment structures . However, as the New York Times reported Tuesday, the General Electric Mark 1 reactors at Fukushima have "a comparatively smaller and less expensive containment structure " that has drawn criticism from American regulators. In a 1972 memo , a safety official suggested that the design presented serious risks and should be discontinued. One primary concern, the Times reported, was that in an incident of cooling failure -- the kind Fukushima's reactors are now undergoing -- the containment structures might burst, releasing the radioactive material they are supposed to keep in check. (ProPublica)
Can geoengineering put the freeze on global warming? Scientists call it "geoengineering," but in plain speak, it means things like this: blasting tons of sulfate particles into the sky to reflect sunlight away from Earth; filling the ocean with iron filings to grow plankton that will suck up carbon; even dimming sunlight with space shades.
Each brings its own set of risks, but in a world fretting about the consequences of global warming, are these ideas whose time has come?
With 2010 tying as the world's warmest year on record and efforts to slow greenhouse gas emissions looking stymied, calls are rising for research into engineering our way out of global warming — everything from launching solar shade spacecraft to genetically engineering green deserts. An international consortium of 12 universities and research institutes on Tuesday, for example, announced plans to pioneer large-scale "ocean fertilization" experiments aimed at using the sea to pull more greenhouse gases out of the sky. (USA Today)
Did The Sun Rise 2 Days Early In Greenland? Global Warming May Be Cause Vampires aren't the only ones who worry about the sun rising. After living in complete darkness for a chunk of winter, one might think Greenland citizens would be happy to finally see sunlight. But instead, the first sight of sun sent residents of Ilulissat, a town on the western coast, into a panic, with good reason -- the sun supposedly rose two days early.
According to LiveScience, Ilulissat is about three degrees north of the Arctic Circle -- where the sun doesn't set during summer solstice, and the sun doesn't rise on winter solstice. In other words, people living near this region experience winters without any sunlight. Ilulissat normally sees its first sunrise on January 13th -- this year, the sun allegedly rose on January 11th instead. (Huffington Post)
Save Obama's presidency by challenging him on the left People who used to say, "Give President Obama more time" when the president was criticized for capitulating to the right, or who argued that Obama must have a plan to turn things around, are now largely depressed and angry. To many liberals and progressives, the president's unwillingness to veto any measure that includes continued tax relief for billionaires is the last straw, building on a record of spinelessness that includes his escalation of the war in Afghanistan, abandonment of a public option for health-care reform, refusal to prosecute those who tortured in Iraq or lied us into that war, and unwillingness to tax carbon emissions.
With his base deeply disillusioned, many progressives are starting to believe that Obama has little chance of winning reelection unless he enthusiastically embraces a populist agenda and worldview - soon. Yet there is little chance that will happen without a massive public revolt by his constituency that goes beyond rallies, snide remarks from television personalities or indignant op-eds.
Those of us who worry that a full-scale Republican return to power in 2012 would be a disaster not just for those hurting from the Republican-policy-inspired economic meltdown but also for the environment, social justice and world peace believe it is critical to get Obama to become the candidate whom most Americans believed they elected in 2008. Despite the outcome of last month's election, it is unlikely that the level of his base's alienation will register with the president until late in the 2012 election cycle - far too late for society today and our future tomorrow. (Washington Post)
IPCC Official: "Climate Policy Is Redistributing The World's Wealth" Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection, says the German economist and IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer. The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world's resources will be negotiated. - Interview: Bernard Potter
NZZ am Sonntag: Mr. Edenhofer, everybody concerned with climate protection demands emissions reductions. You now speak of "dangerous emissions reduction." What do you mean?
Ottmar Edenhofer: So far economic growth has gone hand in hand with the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. One percent growth means one percent more emissions. The historic memory of mankind remembers: In order to get rich one has to burn coal, oil or gas. And therefore, the emerging economies fear CO2 emission limits.
But everybody should take part in climate protection, otherwise it does not work.
That is so easy to say. But particularly the industrialized countries have a system that relies almost exclusively on fossil fuels. There is no historical precedent and no region in the world that has decoupled its economic growth from emissions. Thus, you cannot expect that India or China will regard CO2 emissions reduction as a great idea. And it gets worse: We are in the midst of a renaissance of coal, because oil and gas (sic) have become more expensive, but coal has not. The emerging markets are building their cities and power plants for the next 70 years, as if there would be permanently no high CO 2 price.
The new thing about your proposal for a Global Deal is the stress on the importance of development policy for climate policy. Until now, many think of aid when they hear development policies.
That will change immediately if global emission rights are distributed. If this happens, on a per capita basis, then Africa will be the big winner, and huge amounts of money will flow there. This will have enormous implications for development policy. And it will raise the question if these countries can deal responsibly with so much money at all.
That does not sound anymore like the climate policy that we know.
Ottmar Edenhofer was appointed as joint chair of Working Group 3 at the Twenty-Ninth Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Geneva, Switzerland. The deputy director and chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Professor of the Economics of Climate Change at the Berlin Institute of Technology will be co-chairing the Working Group “Mitigation of Climate Change” with Ramón Pichs Madruga from Cuba and Youba Sokona from Mali. (Global Warming Policy Foundation)
Climate Heretic: Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues -- Why can't we have a civil conversation about climate? In trying to understand the Judith Curry phenomenon, it is tempting to default to one of two comfortable and familiar story lines.
For most of her career, Curry, who heads the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been known for her work on hurricanes, Arctic ice dynamics and other climate-related topics. But over the past year or so she has become better known for something that annoys, even infuriates, many of her scientific colleagues. Curry has been engaging actively with the climate change skeptic community, largely by participating on outsider blogs such as Climate Audit, the Air Vent and the Blackboard. Along the way, she has come to question how climatologists react to those who question the science, no matter how well established it is. Although many of the skeptics recycle critiques that have long since been disproved, others, she believes, bring up valid points—and by lumping the good with the bad, climate researchers not only miss out on a chance to improve their science, they come across to the public as haughty. “Yes, there’s a lot of crankology out there,” Curry says. “But not all of it is. If only 1 percent of it or 10 percent of what the skeptics say is right, that is time well spent because we have just been too encumbered by groupthink.”
She reserves her harshest criticism for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). For most climate scientists the major reports issued by the United Nations–sponsored body every five years or so constitute the consensus on climate science. Few scientists would claim the IPCC is perfect, but Curry thinks it needs thoroughgoing reform. She accuses it of “corruption.” “I’m not going to just spout off and endorse the IPCC,” she says, “because I think I don’t have confidence in the process.” - The uncertainty lies in both the data about past climate and the models that project future climate. Curry asserts that scientists haven’t adequately dealt with the uncertainty in their calculations and don’t even know with precision what’s arguably the most basic number in the field: the climate forcing from CO2—that is, the amount of warming a doubling of CO2 alone would cause without any amplifying or mitigating effects from melting ice, increased water vapor or any of a dozen other factors.
Things get worse, she argues, when you try to add in those feedbacks to project likely temperature increases over the next century, because the feedbacks are rife with uncertainty as well: “There’s a whole host of unknown unknowns that we don’t even know how to quantify but that should be factored into our confidence level.” One example she cites is the “hockey stick” chart showing that current temperatures are the warmest in hundreds of years. If you are going to say that this year or that decade is the hottest, you had better have a good idea of what temperatures have actually been over those hundreds of years—and Curry, along with many skeptics, does not think we have as good a handle on that as the scientific community believes. (Scientific American)
Climate change: a summary of the science Changes in climate have significant implications for present lives, for future generations and for ecosystems on which humanity depends. Consequently, climate change has been and continues to be the subject of intensive scientific research and public debate.
2 There is strong evidence that the warming of the Earth over the last half-century has been caused largely by human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use, including agriculture and deforestation. The size of future temperature increases and other aspects of climate change, especially at the regional scale, are still subject to uncertainty. Nevertheless, the risks associated with some of these changes are substantial. It is important that decision makers have access to climate science of the highest quality, and can take account of its findings in formulating appropriate responses.
3 In view of the ongoing public and political debates about climate change, the aim of this document is to summarise the current scientific evidence on climate change and its drivers. It lays out clearly where the science is well established, where there is wide consensus but continuing debate, and where there remains substantial uncertainty. The impacts of climate change, as distinct from the causes, are not considered here. This document draws upon recent evidence and builds on the Fourth Assessment Report of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in 2007, which is the most comprehensive source of climate science and its uncertainties. (The Royal Society)
Climate scientists suggest geoengineering approach with engineered nanoparticles There may be better ways to engineer the planet's climate to prevent dangerous global warming than mimicking volcanoes, a University of Calgary climate scientist says in two new studies.
"Releasing engineered nano-sized disks, or sulphuric acid in a condensable vapour above the Earth, are two novel approaches. These approaches offer advantages over simply putting sulphur dioxide gas into the atmosphere," says David Keith, a director in the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy and a Schulich School of Engineering professor.
Keith, a global leader in investigating this topic, says that geoengineering, or engineering the climate on a global scale, is an imperfect science.
"It cannot offset the risks that come from increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. If we don't halt man-made CO2 emissions, no amount of climate engineering can eliminate the problems – massive emissions reductions are still necessary."
Nevertheless, Keith believes that research on geoengineering technologies,their effectiveness and environmental impacts needs to be expanded.
"I think the stakes are simply too high at this point to think that ignorance is a good policy." (Nano Werk)
Devices detonated at Discovery gunman's home A gunman who burst into the Discovery Communications headquarters with explosive devices strapped to his body and took three people hostage on Wednesday was armed with starter pistols, Montgomery County Police said Thursday.
The two weapons in gunman James J. Lee's possession were starter pistols, and not handguns as police previously thought, Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger said at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Starter pistols are incapable of firing bullets.
Authorities also found four explosive devices during a search of Lee's home in the 2500 block of Kimberly Street in Wheaton on Thursday morning. Those devices were successfully detonated. (WTOP)
James J Lee Manifesto: The Discovery Channel MUST broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet and to do the following IMMEDIATELY: 1. The Discovery Channel and it's affiliate channels MUST have daily television programs at prime time slots based on Daniel Quinn's "My Ishmael" pages 207-212 where solutions to save the planet would be done in the same way as the Industrial Revolution was done, by people building on each other's inventive ideas. Focus must be given on how people can live WITHOUT giving birth to more filthy human children since those new additions continue pollution and are pollution. A game show format contest would be in order. Perhaps also forums of leading scientists who understand and agree with the Malthus-Darwin science and the problem of human overpopulation. Do both. Do all until something WORKS and the natural world starts improving and human civilization building STOPS and is reversed! MAKE IT INTERESTING SO PEOPLE WATCH AND APPLY SOLUTIONS!!!! ... (James J Lee)
Will the media call the Silver Spring/Discovery Channel gunman an environmental terrorist? In Silver Spring, Maryland a gunman has entered the headquarters of the popular cable network the Discovery Channel and taken at least one hostage. The gunman appears to have been protesting the cable channel for sometime, and has left behind an internet manifesto dedicated to pushing a radical environmental and anti-population growth philosophy. In the manifesto, he demands: “The Discovery Channel MUST broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet and to do the following IMMEDIATELY.” (Washington Examiner)
Prices rise as New Zealand passes emissions trading scheme Petrol and power prices have risen sharply in New Zealand after the government introduced a controversial emissions trading scheme. - The government has pressed ahead with plans to slash the nation's carbon output, despite widespread opposition and New Zealand's larger neighbour Australia shelving its own scheme.
Motorists were hit by a 3c (1.4p) rise in the price of a litre of petrol overnight, while householders face a 5 per cent increase in gas and electricity prices.
- Under the scheme, to be fully phased in over several years, companies trade carbon credits known as New Zealand Units (NZUs).
Industries that are net creators of carbon must buy the units from the government or from sellers whose businesses absorb carbon, such as those that plant trees.
The units can be traded internationally with other countries implementing a similar scheme under the Kyoto Protocol. (London Telegraph)
Extreme DIY: Building a homemade nuclear reactor in NYC Many might be alarmed to learn of a homemade nuclear reactor being built next door. But what if this form of extreme DIY could help solve the world's energy crisis? - By day, Mark Suppes is a web developer for fashion giant Gucci. By night, he cycles to a New York warehouse and tinkers with his own nuclear fusion reactor. (BBC)
Vostok Ice Core Data Graph of CO2 (Green graph), temperature (Blue graph), and dust concentration (Red graph) measured from the Vostok, Antarctica ice core as reported by Petit et al., 1999. Higher dust levels are believed to be caused by cold, dry periods. (Wikipedia)
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