Politics has overtaken science at the EPA (The Daily Caller)
By Gilbert Ross, M.D.
Science depends on rigid observation and independent replication. So what happens when government bureaucrats — seeking to promote a political agenda while acting under the guise of protecting the environment and public health — systematically subordinate sound scientific principles to their own goals?
To answer that question, one need look no further than the EnvironmentalProtection Agency (EPA), where unelected bureaucrats, led by the chemophobic Lisa Jackson, have decided to bypass Congress and avoid the possible change in administration in 2013 by rushing to complete an unprecedented number of major risk assessments ahead of the 2012 election. Those assessments, which will evaluate the danger of various chemicals, will have far-reaching public policy ramifications.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Science often kowtows to politics in today’s policy debates.
Activist groups, sensation-craving media and congressional demagogues have a friendly ear at the EPA when they call for stringent restrictions on safe and useful chemicals and products — products with decades-long histories of harmless, widespread use. The attacks exploit public ignorance of the lack of science behind such terms as “endocrine disruptor,” “gender-bender,” and the latest mythological danger, “obesigens”— chemicals that allegedly can cause obesity. Another favorite distortion is the oft-heard claim that sperm counts, or “semen quality,” are declining due to chemicals in our environment. The only problem: Sperm counts are not declining. Cancer rates are declining, however, while longevity increases every year. Scientific groups worldwide confirm that disfavored chemicals like bisphenol-A are safe, but the message does not reach the activists, the media or the EPA. (ACSH)
Joe Pickrell: Why Publish Science In Peer-Reviewed Journals?
Thursday, 14 July 2011 08:13 Joe Pickrell, Genomes Unzipped
Peer-reviewed journals actively prevent the best scientific results from being disseminated, siphoning off time and money that would be better spent doing other things.
The publishing process as it stands currently
The recent announcement of a new journal sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society, and the Wellcome Trust generated a bit of discussion about the issues in the scientific publishing process it is designed to address—arbitrary editorial decisions, slow and unhelpful peer review, and so on. Left unanswered, however, is a more fundamental question: why do we publish scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals to begin with? What value does the existence of these journals add? In this post, I will argue that cutting journals out of scientific publishing to a large extent would be unconditionally a good thing, and that the only thing keeping this from happening is the absence of a “killer app”. (GWPF)
Andhra Pradesh at the forefront of Indian ‘coal rush’
Energy generated from new coal-power stations in this single state could eclipse emissions from an entire country
A single Indian state is to build a new fleet of coal-power stations that could make it one of the world’s top 20 emitters of carbon emissions – on a par with countries such as Spain or Poland.
The proposed coal plants in the south-eastern state of Andhra Pradesh are part of a wider Indian “coal rush” to bring power to the country’s hundreds of millions living without electricity. They face opposition from local people and environmental NGOs who warn of farmland being turned over to opencast mines and coasts being threatened with pollution from ports that will handle coal.
Australia counts the cost of environmental lunacy – and plots its sweet revenge
By James Delingpole
Bob Brown, parliamentary leader, Australian Greens – not pictured
Gosh I’m looking forward to visiting Australia later this year. And the reason I’m so excited – apart from the fact that I’ve never been before to the Land of the Taipan, the Sydney Funnel Web, the Box Jellyfish, the Saltwater Crocodile, and the Great White Shark – is that I know I’m going to be given a hero’s welcome.
Fatal flaw in case for a carbon tax
Illustration: Peter Nicholson Source: The Australian
THE one thing you need to know about Treasury’s modelling of the carbon tax is this: it assumes that by 2016, the US and all the other developed economies that do not have carbon taxes or emissions trading systems in place will have them up and running.
This implies that in next year’s US presidential election, likely to be fought at a time of high unemployment, the winning candidate will campaign on the basis of introducing a carbon tax that will go from zero to $30 a tonne in a matter of months. And that tax will then not only get through Congress but in record time.
They keep babbling about carbon dioxide being “pollution” (which we could use a great deal more of, since it ultimately supports all aerobic life on earth) and how we can tweak the planet’s thermostat by denying this most wonderful resource to the biosphere. What utter crap! Even if we did need to down-adjust the planet’s temperature CCS has no role to play. Damned stupid idea.
CO2 capture will need support beyond 2020-study
By Gerard Wynn
LONDON, July 15 – Power plants fitted with carbon capture technology will need government support beyond 2020, especially following a sharp drop in European carbon prices, an EU and industry-funded study found on Friday.
The China Syndrome
Thursday, 14 July 2011 09:06 Dr. David Whitehouse
The most prominent climate science story of the past week was that of Kaufmann et al writing in the PNAS stating that the temperature standstill of the past decade was caused, in part, by China emitting sunlight-reflecting aerosols from its burgeoning coal-fired power stations.
It was saying nothing new about the temperature standstill of the past decade. The scientific literature is full of references to it and suggestions for explanations, even if commentators and the media do not reflect this.
The paper (and the press release) made a mistake in taking 1998 as a start year for recent temperature trends. As this was the warmest year on record because of the strongest El Nino on record this was unwise, and should have been spotted by the paper’s referee. Later in the paper they change the start to 1999 which is again not a good year due to a La Nina. The same caveats apply for ending a run of climate models without allowing for a later El Nino, which may be the case in this paper.
Another point the referee should have picked up is the reference to temperature increases seen between 2009 – 2010. It should have been noted that this was due to an El Nino and it was misleading of Kaufmann et al not to mention that and imply it was due to anthropogenic factors.
The paper says that China doubled coal consumption between 2003 – 2007. It would have been instructive to see a few more figures at this point before being told this increase in consumption translated to a climate forcing factor of 0.06 W per m sq.
My main worry is that whilst the China coal figures were interesting, I was not convinced that they could easily be applied to be a linearly scalable indicator of aerosol pollution. I was puzzled that no aerosol data was mentioned in the paper, as aerosols include sulphur pollution. Aerosols and their effects are one of the biggest uncertainties in climate science, but at least we have good measurements of them to see if there is any correlation with the China coal figures. (GWPF)
Climate Science Myopia
There is an article
Global warming lull down to China’s coal growth by Richard Black of the BBC which perpetuate an inappropriately narrow view of climate science. The article headlines with the text
“The lull in global warming from 1998 to 2008 was mainly caused by a sharp rise in China’s coal use, a study suggests.”
This article makes the common major erroneous statement that global warming from CO2 and a few other greenhouse gases is climate change. This is NOT true. (Roger Pielke Sr.)
UA Research: warmer ocean will undermine polar ice sheets
TUCSON, AZ – Warming of the ocean’s subsurface layers will melt underwater portions of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets faster than previously thought, according to new University of Arizona-led research. Such melting would increase the sea level more than already projected.
The research, based on 19 state-of-the-art climate models, proposes a new mechanism by which global warming will accelerate the melting of the great ice sheets during this century and the next. (UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA)
Global warming ‘influencing weather extremes’
By Isaac Davison
Human-influenced global warming has played a role in the severe weather events in New Zealand and abroad over the past year, says a visiting climate expert.
Weather-related disasters in the past year range from a heatwave in Russia to flooding in Pakistan, China, India, and Queensland and drought in Brazil.
New Zealand also broke temperature and rainfall records and experienced a deadly tornado in Auckland.
Christchurch-born climate scientist Kevin Trenberth, now employed by the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research, said the effects of cumulative greenhouse gases building up in the atmosphere was most evident in rising ocean temperatures and ice melt.
He calculated that the sea surface temperature has increased 0.55C since the 1970s. This meant the water vapour in the atmosphere immediately above the ocean increased by 4 per cent. (New Zealand Herald)
Science is hard for hippies, Skippy’s coming to dinner and Manbearpig returns to our dimension for a day. (Daily Bayonet)