Daily Archives: April 20, 2011

Activist journal not well received

Nature Climate Change: a new useless journal hyping a collapsing movement

Nature readers such as Gordon were told that Nature has just started to publish a new “excellent” sub-journal,

Nature Climate Change (click)

You may also check the current issue – April 2011 Vol 1 Issue 1.

It is such a pathetic pile of lies, old propagandistic clichés, and misunderstandings that, given the collapsing interest in this irrational way of thinking about Nature, life, and science, you have to ask who is funding this defective and separately unprofitable enterprise.


» Don’t Stop Reading »

(The Reference Frame)

The wackos will just ignore this and continue to pretend there’s a problem, just as they always do

A Toxic Setback for the Anti-Plastic Campaigners
By Jon Entine Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A triumph for sound science.

Advocacy groups targeting plastic products made with bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates took it on the chin last week.

comprehensive review by the German Society of Toxicology of thousands of studies on BPA concluded, “[BPA] exposure represents no noteworthy risk to the health of the human population, including newborns and babies.” The group, which included several scientists who have advised regulatory caution on BPA, bucked calls by advocacy groups to lower safe exposure levels.

This is a huge development in this ongoing saga and a major endorsement of the scientific method. Over the past decade, German toxicologists had been among the most aggressive in arguing for precautionary standards when regulating plastic additives. BPA is used to line metal cans and make epoxy products and polycarbonate plastics, including children’s sippy cups. Phthalates are softeners used to manufacture vinyl products, from gym mats to cabling and medical tubing.

Researchers generally agree BPA is neither mutagenic nor likely to be a carcinogen. But some 200 studies—almost all small-scale “explorative” studies on rats—have suggested that BPA might trigger biological activity, including possible neurological or endocrinological effects, and have called it an “endocrine disruptor.” But after an extensive review of some 5,000 studies, the German toxicologists reaffirmed the scientific consensus that BPA is safe when used even by the most vulnerable populations—young children and pregnant women: “After having carefully considered all arguments, the Committee had to conclude that the criticism was scientifically not justified; moreover, recently published additional data further support the reliability of … studies demonstrating a lack of estrogen-dependent effects.”

BPA has been declared safe based on peer-reviewed scientific evidence by every major government agency in every major industrial country in the world. In the past few years, Canada, France, and Denmark have instituted precautionary restrictions on BPA use in some infant products, in defiance of recommendations from their science advisory boards. Some state and local politicians in the United States have done so too.

The German science panel took a notable swipe at the critics’ central argument, the ultra-precautionary view that biological activity equates to harm. Certainly, BPA can impact the endocrine system, as can many substances, including foods such as tofu and nuts. “Explorative studies may identify a chemical-induced biological event, but this event many not translate into an adverse health effect,” the panel noted. “The long-term low-dose safety-studies on BPA demonstrate this.” (The American Magazine)

Reality slowly intrudes and finally someone does give a cows…

Cows, climate change and the high court
APR 19, 2011 16:39 EDT

If you took all the cows in the United States and figured out how much greenhouse gas they emit, would you be able to sue all the farmers who own them?

That interesting legal question came from Justice Antonin Scalia during Supreme Court oral arguments about whether an environmental case against five big U.S. power companies can go forward.

At issue is whether six states can sue the country’s biggest coal-fired electric utilities to make them cut down on the climate-warming carbon dioxide they emit. One lower court said they couldn’t, an appeals court said they could and now the high court will consider where the case will go next. A ruling should come by the end of June.

For now, though, the question was cows.

Attorney Barbara Underwood argued that the five power companies were the largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the United States, making up 10 percent of U.S. emissions. No other company comes close, she said.

Scalia then leaped into the fray.

“You’re lumping them all together,” he said of the five big power companies. “Suppose you lump together all the cows in the country. Would that allow you to sue all those farmers? I mean, don’t you have to do it defendant by defendant? … Cow by cow or at least farm by farm?”

And if you can lump all the cows together and claim they fuel global warming, Scalia reasoned, “you can lump together all the people in the United States who breathe, I suppose?”

Scalia has a point. Both people and cattle exhale carbon dioxide when they breathe, adding to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Environmentalists point to the amount of CO2 emitted by power plants as a more powerful fuel for climate change.

A slightly gamey aspect of bovines is methane, which they emit in copious amounts, and methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. But that did not make it into these legal arguments. (Reuters)

Must be hard for Junior, a soft-science Colorado greenie with a genuine physical science Dad

Analysis of The Nisbet Report — Part I, Doomed to Fail

Matt Nisbet of American University has issued a report that includes some fascinating information and compelling analysis of a number of issues related to the US environmental community, the media and scientists as related to climate change.  I was a reviewer of the report, which means that I read an early version and provided some critical comments to Matt which he considered (or not) in the revision.

With a few posts, starting with this one, I want to provide a brief discussion of the top line empirical findings in the Nisbet report and why I think that they are important.

Top line finding number 1
The environmental community spends a truckload of money on a strategy doomed to fail 

While horse race aficionados will continue to focus attention on the minutia of financial accounting in order to argue about who spent more on the cap and trade battle, the good guys or the bad guys, far more interesting is data gathered which documents the sheer magnitude of expenditure by the environmental community in support of a specific approach to climate policy.

The data show quite clearly, no matter how one may try to parse it, that the debate over climate change is not David versus Goliath, but rather two Goliaths slugging it out in high stakes, big money power politics.  According to data gathered by Nisbet, the leading environmental advocacy foundations spent upwards of half a billion dollars from 2008-2010, largely in support of a collective strategy expressed in the little-known but crucially important Design to Win strategy document for environmental philanthropy (here in PDF):

Approximately $368 million was distributed across the 1,246 individual grants. However, given that not all foundation records are publicly available for this period, the total of $368 million likely underestimates the actual amount distributed between 2008 and 2010. If an average based on a foundation’s previous year giving is used as a stand-in for missing years, these nine foundations would have distributed more than $560 million between 2008 and 2010.

The Design to Win strategy is encapsulated in the following figure which helps to explain what the mainstream environmental community thinks it has been doing on the climate issue over recent years.  It also explains what you see many climate bloggers doing which often includes wringing their hands over what they believe to be a lack of education among the public, the media and the politicians. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

There’s no bias – as long as your science is politically correct

New Article Titled “Bias In the Peer Review Process: A Cautionary And Personal Account” By Ross McKittrick

There is an informative article by Ross McKittrick

McKitrick, Ross R. (2011) “Bias in the Peer Review Process: A Cautionary and Personal Account” in Climate Coup,Patrick J. Michaels ed., Cato Inst. Washington DC.

This article appears in the book

Michaels, Patrick J., 2011: Climate Coup: Global Warming’s Invasion of Our Government and Our Lives. Cato Institute. ISBN: 978-1-935308447

with the summary of its content

“A first-rate team of experts offers compelling documentation on the pervasive influence global warming alarmism now has on almost every aspect of our society-from national defense, law, trade, and politics to health, education, and international development.”

With respect to Ross’s chapter,  Pat Michaels writes

“The second chapter in this volume goes to the core of what we consider to be the canon of science, which is the peer-reviewed, refereed scientific literature. McKitrick’s and my trials and tribulations over journal publication are similar to those experienced by many other colleagues. Unfortunately, the Climategate e-mails revealed that indeed there has been systematic pressure on journal editors to reject manuscripts not toeing the line about disastrous climate change. Even more unfortunate, my experience and that of others are that the post-Climategate environment has made this situation worse, not better. It is now virtually impossible to publish anything against the alarmist grain. The piles of unpublished manuscripts sitting on active scientists’desks are growing into gargantuan proportions…..”

Pat is correct that the peer reviews process and, also, the funding of research, has become very politicized and biased.  (Roger Pielke Sr.)

CO2 Science Volume 14 Number 16: 20 April 2011

Editorial
How a Long-Term CO2-Induced Increase in Forest Productivity is Maintained on a Nitrogen-Impoverished Soil: The key to the phenomenon may reside in the type of fungi colonizing the trees’ roots.

Journal Reviews
Central Pacific El Niño Events: Are they increasing in strength and frequency in response to global warming?

A Twentieth-Century Rainfall History of India: Does it vary in the way one would expect, based on IPCC projections for the future?

Catastrophic Superstorms of the French Mediterranean Coast: How have their occurrences varied between warmer and cooler times?

Growth Response of Radish to Super Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment: How high can the plant’s growth rate possibly rise???

The Impact of Warming on Fungal Epidemics in Lakes: Does it promote the climate-alarmist view of a warmer world being a sicker world?

Nitrous Oxide (N2O) Fluxes from Temperate Grasslands in a Warmer, Wetter and CO2-Enriched World: How do the three oft-predicted environmental changes impact natural emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas?

Ocean Acidification Database
The latest addition of peer-reviewed data archived to our database of marine organism responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment is Brown Algae [Laminaria saccharina]. To access the entire database, click here.

Plant Growth Database
Our latest results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature are: Alder (Tobita et al., 2010) and Ginger(Ghasemzadeh and Jaafar, 2011).

Medieval Warm Period Project
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 964 individual scientists from 557 research institutions in 43 different countries … and counting! This issue’s Medieval Warm Period Record comes from Reting, Southern Tibetan Plateau. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project’s database, click here.

World Temperatures Database
Back by popular demand and upgraded to allow patrons more choices to plot and view the data, we reintroduce the World Temperatures section of our website. Here, users may plot temperatures for the entire globe or regions of the globe. A newly added feature allows patrons the ability to plot up to six independent datasets on the same graph. Try it today. World Temperatures Database. (co2science.org)

What are you laughing about? You’re paying for this nonsense

Solar Power on the Taxpayers’ Dime

Someone should really tell the Department of Energy (DOE) about the federal government’s spending crisis.

On Monday, it granted a $2.1 billion loan guarantee to a German developer to help finance a 1,000 megawatt solar thermal power plant in Southern California. But wait, there’s more.

Add to that a $1.6 billion loan guarantee for another plant in California’s Mojave Desert, a $1.2 billion loan guarantee for one in San Luis Obispo County, Calif., and $967 million for a location in Arizona, all since February, according to a Forbes.com report. That’s nearly $6 billion in taxpayer dollars to back up private industry’s green energy ventures.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. (The Foundry)

This will help ease the pressure on crude oil supplies – eventually

Special Report: China set to unearth shale power
By Aizhu Chen

YUANBA, China | Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:39am EDT – China has spent tens of billions of dollars buying into energy resources from Africa to Latin America to slake the unquenched thirst for fuel from its growing industry and burgeoning cities.

But China may have more energy riches under its own soil than policy makers in the world’s second-largest economy ever dared imagine.

Just over a year ago, Beijing awakened to a technology revolution that has unlocked massive reserves of gas trapped within shale rock formations in the United States.

Once deemed too costly to extract, shale gas has turned around U.S. dependence on foreign gas imports. Just a few years ago, the United States was building scores of expensive facilities to import liquefied natural gas (LNG), looking at booming long-term demand forecasts and wondering which countries would supply the huge volume of imports it needed.

Instead, the United States is turning import facilities into export terminals, because its shale gas reserves are estimated to be big enough to meet domestic demand for 30 years. This is an American dream that China wants to emulate.

“America’s shale gas production alone has exceeded that of total Chinese gas output. That gives us a lot of confidence,” said Zhang Dawei, deputy director of the Strategic Research Center for Oil and Gas in the Ministry of Land and Resources(MLR).

China’s confidence has been bolstered by a new report of its estimated reserves of shale gas, which shows them to be, by far, the largest in the world. (Reuters)

This time I’m with the Germans

Ethanol’s for sippin’ liquor, not for killin’ cars:

E10 Debacle Puts the Brakes on Biofuels
By Dietmar Hawranek and Alexander Neubacher

An attempt to introduce the biofuel mixture E10 in Germany has been a disaster, after motorists refused to buy the supposed green gasoline. Car makers, oil companies and politicians have all tried to blame each other for the mess. Even environmentalists oppose the new fuel.

There is a lot of work to be done these days in Schwedt, a town in the eastern German state of Brandenburg, where the Druzhba pipeline — which transports oil from Russia to Central Europe — ends. The odor of Siberian oil hangs in the air. The Easter travel season is coming up and Germany’s filling stations need gasoline. Production is in full swing at the PCK refinery in Schwedt.

Not much is going on at the bioethanol refinery, however, where two tanks are filled to capacity with up to 100 million liters (26 million gallons) of the plant-based fuel, enough to make a billion liters of biofuel mixture. But demand is much lower than expected, which is why the entire production process now has to be shifted away from E10 — a mixture of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline — and back to the old super unleaded fuel. (Spiegel)

German Greens will practice what they preach… on anyone else

NIMBY Protests Threaten Germany’s Energy Revolution
By Michael Fröhlingsdorf

In the aftermath of Fukushima, Germany is pushing ahead with a transition to renewable energy. The energy revolution will only work if massive new power lines are built across the country, but the “energy autobahns” are facing resistance from all sides. (Spiegel)

Truth be told, I don’t think they give a carp:

China risks civil strife with support for foreign dams: activists
By Ben Blanchard

BEIJING | Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:30am EDT – Chinese support for controversial dam-building schemes around the world risks a backlash from affected communities and even violence due to a lack of transparency and the ignoring of residents’ wishes, activists said on Wednesday.

Chinese companies and banks are becoming deeply involved in such projects in Africa and Asia, and despite a growing awareness they have to be more transparent and accountable, this frequently does not happen, the activists said. (Reuters)

Spending vast sums to waste an invaluable resource is “excellent progress”? I think not

Actually I think it is possibly the world’s dumbest activity:

Germany Squanders Chance to Pioneer CO2 Capture Technology
By Alexander Jung

German scientists and industry had been hoping that carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology could help the transition to a low-carbon future. But a new bill drawn up by the German government has put the brakes on the technology before it was even properly tested.

It’s an unusual drilling facility that stands on the outskirts of Ketzin, a town in the eastern German state of Brandenburg. Instead of pumping something out of the ground, it is forcing something into the earth.

That something is carbon dioxide. The scientists with the Potsdam-based German Research Center for Geosciences are injecting the gas into porous sandstone 650 meters (2,100 feet) beneath the surface. “We are making excellent progress,” says project director Michael Kühn, adding that their efforts have been “very successful.” (Reuters)

McDobbin plots on…

Bill McKibben’s sermon at Power Shift

Bill McKibben gave a 16-minute speech in front of the most fanatical and brainwashed children of the English-speaking world.

I find it pretty amazing. Power Shift is an annual conference at which thousands of deluded young climate bigots engineer their chaotic plans to overtake the world. And of course, it’s not the young people themselves who are the ultimate master minds. The true leaders are much older – and McKibben is one of them.

» Don’t Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)