If it quacks like a duck … it must be a turtle By Robert W. Felix

“Why We’re Definitely Not Headed for Another Ice Age.”

When I saw that headline in Newsweek, I thought, do they know something that I don’t? But once I read the article, it left me wondering how in the world they came to that conclusion.

It reminds me of the great retort by paleontologist Robert Bakker to those who did not agree with his belief that many kinds of dinosaurs were birds.

“There are still a few of my colleagues who think if it walks like a duck, breathes like a duck and grows like a duck, it must be a turtle,” said Bakker.

Let’s see if this Newsweek article is a duck or a turtle.

It starts out by admitting that “there are currently very low levels of activity on the sun – the lowest in more than 100 years – and they are likely to fall further.”

So far so good. I agree.

Then the article reminds us of the “crippling winters” between 2008 and 2010 that closed airports and paralyzed transport systems in western Europe and the eastern United States. (Interestingly, it fails to mention the record cold and snow this past winter in the United States, nor the record cold in the U.S. Midwest this summer.)

The article then describes the Maunder Minimum, a 70-year period between 1645 and 1715 when solar activity almost stopped. It even discloses that the Maunder Minimum coincided with a period of bitter winters known as “the little ice age.”

This is all true.

And finally, the article quotes Mike Lockwood, Professor of Space Environment Physics at Reading University:

“When you look at the overall trend of solar magnetic fields and things, then you see that we’ve now had three cycles where every (solar) maximum has got weaker, every minimum has got deeper, and there’s no reason not to expect that trend to continue. It’s not a negligible probability that we go into a Maunder Minimum.”

Great! This is still good information.

So what do we have here?

If a lack of sunspots correlated with the last little ice age, and if we now have the lowest sunspot activity in more than 100 years (and still dropping), and if the U.S. and Europe have recently endured the coldest, snowiest winters on record, and if we have the “not negligible probability” of descending into a Maunder Minimum, mightn’t we come to the conclusion that we’re heading into a little ice age?

Uh, no.

Look out! Here comes the turtle. Here comes the legerdemain.

“The sun’s cycles, however inactive they become, will not save the world from global warming,” the article asserts. “A slight, temporary change in the sun’s activity cannot mitigate many years of suffocating emissions, whatever the deniers would have us believe.”

Oh, those nasty deniers.

How did we suddenly move from a Maunder Minimum to global warming?

Because researchers say so. Which researchers? Researchers who crunched their numbers through the UK Met Office’s “sophisticated climate models.”

Forget the facts. Forget what we can see with our very own eyes. Instead, lets bury our heads in our models (computer-generated guesses).

Have these Met Office models been programmed to overestimate the effects of CO2? We don’t know.

Have these Met Office models been programmed to underestimate the effects of solar activity? We don’t know.

Have these Met Office models been programmed to estimate the effects of well-known ice-age cycles? We don’t know.

Remember that acronym GIGO (Garbage in, garbage out)?

If it looks like garbage, and smells like garbage, and tastes like garbage, well, maybe it’s garbage.

What about Russian astrophysicist Habibullo Abdussamatov’s contention that we’re headed into a little ice age? No mention of him.

What about British astrophysicist Piers Corbyn’s contention that we’re now headed into a little ice age? No mention of him.

What about American climatologist Cliff Harris’s contention that we’re now headed into an ice age? No mention of him.

What about American climate scientist Don Easterbrook’s contention that we’re now headed into an ice age? No mention of him.

I’ll stick to my guns. I think we definitely are headed into another ice age.

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Source: Ice Age Now

Related

“Dinosaur extinction”
“Earthquakes”
“Global Warming Hoax”

All these titles can be seen at Ice Age Now ( and a lot more)

Greens are the Enemies of Energy By Alan Caruba

Here in America and elsewhere around the world, Greens continue to war against any energy other than the “renewable” kind, wind and solar, that is more costly and next to useless. Only coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear keeps the modern and developing world functioning and growing.

The most publicized aspect is Obama’s “War on Coal” and, thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency, it has been successful; responsible for shutting down several hundred coal-fired plants by issuing costly regulations based on the utterly false claim that carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced to save the Earth from “global warming.”

The EPA is the government’s ultimate enemy of energy, though the Department of the Interior and other elements of the government participate in limiting access to our vast energy reserves and energy use nationwide. By government edict, the incandescent light bulb has been banned. How insane is that?

The Earth has been cooling for seventeen years at this point, but the Greens call this a “pause.” That pause is going to last for many more years and could even become a new ice age.

A study commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) on the impact of the proposed new EPA regulation of emissions found that, as CNSNews reported, it “could be the costliest federal rule by reducing the Gross National Product by $270 billion a per year and $3.4 trillion from 2017 to 2040” adding $2.2 trillion in compliance costs for the same period. Jay Timmons, CEO and president of NAM, said, “This regulation has the capacity to stop the manufacturing comeback in its tracks.”

As Thomas Pyle, the president of the Institute for Energy Research (IER), said in June, “President Obama is delivering on his promise to send electricity prices skyrocketing.” Noting a proposed EPA regulation that would shut more plants, he said “With this new rule, Americans can expect to pay $200 more each year for their electricity.” Having failed to turn around the nation’s economy halfway into his second term, Obama is adding to the economic burdens of all Americans.

America could literally become energy independent given its vast reserves of energy sources. In the case of coal, the federal government owns 957 billion short tons of coal in the lower 48 States, of which about 550 billion short tons—about 57 percent—are available in the Powder River Basin. It is estimated to be worth $22.5 trillion to the U.S. economy, but as the IER notes, it “remains unrealized due to government barriers on coal production.” It would last 250 years, greater than Russia and China. When you add in Alaska, the U.S. has enough coal to last 9,000 years at today’s consumption rates!

In 2013 the IER estimated the worth of the government’s oil and coal technically recoverable resources to the economy to be $128 trillion, about eight times our national debt at the time.

There isn’t a day that goes by that environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the National Resources Defense Council, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, along with dozens of others, do not speak out against the extracting and use of all forms of energy, calling coal “dirty” and claiming Big Oil is the enemy.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Greens held off attacking the nuclear industry because it does not produce “greenhouse gas” emissions. Mind you, these gases, primarily carbon dioxide, represent no threat of warming and, indeed, as the main “food” of all vegetation on Earth, more carbon dioxide would be a good thing, increasing crop yields and healthy forests.

Events such as the 1979 partial meltdown at Three Mile Island and the 1986 Chernobyl disaster raised understandable fears. The Greens began opposing nuclear energy claiming that radiation would kill millions in the event of a meltdown. This simply is not true. Unlike France that reprocesses spent nuclear fuel, President Carter’s decision to not allow reprocessing proved to be very detrimental, requiring repositories for large quantities.

To this day, one of the largest, Yucca Mountain Repository, authorized in 1987, is opposed by Greens. Even so, it was approved in 2002 by Congress, but the funding for its development was terminated by the Obama administration in 2011. Today there are only four new nuclear power plants under construction and, in time, all one hundred existing plants will likely be retired starting in the mid-2030s.

The Greens’ attack on coal is based on claims that air quality must be protected, but today’s air quality has been steadily improving for years and new technologies have reduced emissions without the need to impose impossible regulatory standards. As the American Petroleum Institute recently noted, “These standards are not justified from a health perspective because the science is simply not showing a need to reduce ozone levels.”

The new EPA standards are expected to be announced in December. We better hope that the November midterm elections put enough new candidates into Congress to reject those standards or the cost of living in America, the capacity to produce electricity, the construction and expansion of our manufacturing sector will all worsen, putting America on a path to decline.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Trampling on Coal Country Families by PAUL DRIESSEN

Between 1989 and 2010, Congress rejected nearly 700 cap-tax-and-trade and similar bills that their proponents claimed would control Earth’s perpetually fickle climate and weather. So even as real world crises erupt, President Obama is using executive fiats and regulations to impose his anti-hydrocarbon agenda, slash America’s fossil fuel use, bankrupt coal and utility companies, make electricity prices skyrocket, and “fundamentally transform” our economic, social, legal and constitutional system.

Citing climate concerns, he has refused to permit construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and blocked or delayed Alaskan, western state and offshore oil and gas leasing and drilling. He’s proud that US oil production has climbed 58% and natural gas output has risen 21% since 2008. But he doesn’t mention that this is due to hydraulic fracturing on state and private lands; production has actually fallen in areas controlled by the federal government, and radical environmentalists oppose fracking all over the USA.

Above all, the President’s war on hydrocarbons is a war on Coal Country families. For 21 states that still rely on coal to produce 40-96% of their electricity, it is a war on people’s livelihoods and living standards – on the very survival of small businesses and entire communities. The price of electricity has already risen 1-2 cents per kilowatt-hour in those states, from as little as 5.6 cents/kWh in 2009. If it soars to the 14.6 to 15.7 cents/kWh paid in “job-mecca states” like California and New York – which rely on coal for less than 3% of their electricity – the impacts will churn through coal-dependant states like a tsunami.

Yet that is where rates are headed, as the Obama EPA’s carbon dioxide and other restrictions kick in. Hundreds of baseload coal-fired power plants (some 180 gigawatts of electric generation capacity) will be forced into premature retirement between 2010 and 2020. That’s more than 15% of the United States’ total installed capacity – enough electricity to power nearly 90 million average homes or small businesses. EPA assumes it can be replaced by expensive, unreliable, habitat-gobbling wind and solar power. It can’t.

EPA rules mean the price of everything people do will skyrocket: heating and air conditioning, lights and refrigeration, televisions, computers, medical equipment, machinery and every other gizmo that runs on electricity. Poor, minority and blue-collar families will have to find hundreds of dollars a year somewhere in their already stretched budgets. Shops and other small businesses will have to discover thousands of dollars, by delaying other purchases or laying people off. Factories, malls, school districts, hospitals and cities will have to send out search parties to locate millions a year at the end of rainbows.

Millions will get laid off – in coal mines, power plants, factories, shops and other businesses. Entire families and communities will be pounded and impoverished. Real people’s hopes, dreams, pride and work ethic will be replaced by despair and dependency. Bread winners will be forced to work multiple jobs, commute longer distances, and suffer severe sleep deprivation, if they can find work.

Families will have to cope with more stress, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, spousal and child abuse. Nutrition and medical care will suffer. More people will turn to crime. More will have strokes and heart attacks. More will die prematurely or commit suicide. For no measurable benefits.

EPA cites mercury, soot, asthma, climate change, hurricanes, seas rising seven inches a century, and even ocean acidification to justify the draconian rules. But the scientific basis is bogus. The agency cherry-picks data and studies that support its agenda, ignores libraries of contradictory research, rejects experts whose analyses question EPA conclusions, pays advisors and activists millions of dollars annually to rubberstamp and promote its regulations, and hides its work from those it decrees “are not qualified to analyze it.” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change operates in much the same fashion.

Moreover, unhealthy US emissions plunged nearly 90% since 1970, even as coal use for electricity generation increased 170% – and the newest coal-fired power plants reduce pollution by almost this amount, using “supercritical” technologies, while also reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20% or more, according the EPA and US Energy Information Administration reports.

Meanwhile, China, India, Germany, Poland and other countries are building some 1,200 new coal-fired power plants, and numerous gas plants, to spur economic growth, preserve jobs and lift people out of poverty. So the sacrifices Mr. Obama is imposing will do nothing to reduce global CO2 levels, which the evidence increasingly shows plays only a minor to trivial role in climate and weather fluctuations.

It’s true that Detroit temperatures didn’t dip below freezing in January and February in’79 – followed by a frost in June. But that was 1879! When he was a boy, “snows were frequent and deep in every winter,” Thomas Jefferson recalled in December 1809. “The Greenland seas, hitherto covered [in ice], have in the last two years entirely disappeared,” Britain’s Royal Society reported … in 1817. “We were astonished by the total absence of ice in Barrow Strait. [Six years ago the area was] still frozen up, and doubts were entertained as to the possibility of escape,” Captain Francis McClintock wrote in his ship’s log – in 1860.

And don’t forget the Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age, and the five frigid epochs that buried North America, Europe and Asia under glaciers a mile thick. Or the 4,000-year-old trees that recently emerged as modern glaciers melted back – proving that a forest grew in the now icy Alps just four millennia ago.

On and on it has gone, throughout Earth and human history: wild weather and climate swings on a recurring basis. But now, climate chaos cultists want us to believe such events began only recently, and we could stop today’s climate and weather aberrations – if we would just eliminate fossil fuels, destroy our economies, and condemn Third World families to permanent poverty and disease.

The truth is, only once in all of human history was a government able to control Earth’s climate, to make it “perfect all year,” and it is highly unlikely that we will ever return to those wondrous days.

So how do the EPA, IPCC, Michael Mann, Al Gore and other Climate Armageddonites deal with all these inconvenient truths, questions and skeptical researchers?

They hide their data and computer codes. Complain that they are being picked on. Refuse to debate “dangerous manmade global warming” skeptics. Harass and vilify contrarian experts, and boot them off university committees. Refuse to attend conferences where they might have to defend their manipulated data, junk science and absurd assertions. Al Gore won’t even take questions that he has not preapproved.

They have no cojones. They hide behind their sinecures the way Hamas terrorists hide behind children.

EPA won’t even hold hearings in Coal Country or states that will be hardest hit by soaring electricity costs. It hosts dog-and-pony shows and “listening sessions” in big cities like Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, DC and Pittsburgh – where it knows passionate lefty students and eco-activists will dominate. People who will be grievously impacted by the draconian job-killing regulations must travel long distances and pay for expensive hotels and meals … or remain silent and ignored.

That stacks the deck – the same way the “public comment” process is tilted in favor of ultra-rich Big Green agitators who have the funding and organization to generate thousands or millions of comments.

We taxpayers pay for these studies, payoffs and propaganda. And we will get stuck with the regulations, soaring prices and lost jobs that result. We have a right to review and analyze the data and claims. We have a right to be heard, in a fair and honest process that truly takes our concerns into account.

The House of Representatives should hold hearings, forcing callous bureaucrats, slick scientists and computer modeling charlatans to present their data, codes and findings under oath. States should sue EPA for violating the Information Quality Act.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.

The Gases of Life are NOT Pollutants By: Viv Forbes

Our atmosphere contains the four gases of life – nitrogen, oxygen, water vapour and carbon dioxide.

Nitrogen is the most abundant gas-of-life in the atmosphere (78%). It is an essential building block of amino acids present in all proteins. It is a very stable unreactive gas, but micro-organisms in the soil and some plants are able to extract nitrogen from the atmosphere, making it available to growing plants. Lightning also manages to oxidise some atmospheric nitrogen.

Oxygen is the second most abundant gas-of-life in the atmosphere (21%). Every animal absorbs oxygen with every breath, using it to fuel bodily digestion of the foods they eat. This process builds bodies and provides the energy of muscles. In the great oxygen cycle, plants extract oxygen from carbon dioxide and exhale it to the atmosphere for animals to breathe.

Water vapour is the third most abundant gas-of-life in the atmosphere (varies up to 5%). Water vapour is part of the great water cycle where water is evaporated into the atmosphere from salty seas, surface water and plants. Rain and snow return it to the surface supply of fresh water. No animals, plants or sea creatures could exist without water.

Water vapour is the most effective “greenhouse gas” in the atmosphere with far more effect than carbon dioxide. It reduces incoming solar radiation by day, and reduces surface cooling at night. Water is also a global temperature stabiliser – heat is transferred from oceans and land as latent heat by evaporation, forming clouds that often cool the surface.

Finally, carbon dioxide is the least abundant gas-of-life in the atmosphere (0.04%) – just a mere trace, but a vitally important trace. No plants could exist on Earth without carbon dioxide and no animals could exist without plants. Plants extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to form proteins, sugars and carbo-hydrates and animals add essential minerals to turn these into protein, fat, sinews and bones. The carbon from carbon dioxide is the building block for all life on earth, for every bit of organic material, and for every carbon fuel – oil, gas and coal.

Carbon dioxide is a “greenhouse gas” which tends to retain some surface warmth, butthere is no evidence in ancient or modern temperature records to suggest that carbon dioxide is a dominant factor controlling global temperature.

None of these natural gases are toxic to life under any feasible atmospheric conditions, but all can be toxic above certain levels. For carbon dioxide, toxic effects on humans don’t even begin until it is fifty times the present atmospheric level – our exhaled breath is 100 times current levels in the atmosphere.

No thinking person could class any of them as an atmospheric pollutant – they are all naturally occurring, non-toxic, essential “Gases of Life”. Together they make up 95% of the human body, which is effectively 68% carbon dioxide – if carbon dioxide is a pollutant, the human body is badly polluted.

Source: Heartland Instiute

Who’s really waging the ‘war on science’? By Paul Driessen

Left-leaning environmentalists, media and academics have long railed against the alleged conservative “war on science.” They augment this vitriol with substantial money, books, documentaries and conference sessions devoted to “protecting” global warming alarmists from supposed “harassment” by climate chaos skeptics, whom they accuse of wanting to conduct “fishing expeditions” of alarmist emails and “rifle” their file cabinets in search of juicy material (which might expose collusion or manipulated science).

A primary target of this “unjustified harassment” has been Penn State University professor Dr. Michael Mann, creator of the infamous “hockey stick” temperature graph that purported to show a sudden spike in average planetary temperatures in recent decades, following centuries of supposedly stable climate. But at a recent AGU meeting a number of other “persecuted” scientists were trotted out to tell their story of how they have been “attacked” or had their research, policy demands or integrity questioned.

To fight back against this “harassment,” the American Geophysical Union actually created a “Climate Science Legal Defense Fund,” to pay mounting legal bills that these scientists have incurred. The AGU does not want any “prying eyes” to gain access to their emails or other information. These scientists and the AGU see themselves as “Freedom Fighters” in this “war on science.” It’s a bizarre war.

While proclaiming victimhood, they detest and vilify any experts who express doubts that we face an imminent climate Armageddon. They refuse to debate any such skeptics, or permit “nonbelievers” to participate in conferences where endless panels insist that every imaginable and imagined ecological problem is due to fossil fuels. They use hysteria and hyperbole to advance claims that slashing fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions will enable us to control Earth’s climate – and that references to computer model predictions and “extreme weather events” justify skyrocketing energy costs, millions of lost jobs, and severe damage to people’s livelihoods, living standards, health and welfare.

Reality is vastly different from what these alarmist, environmentalist, academic, media and political elites attempt to convey.

In 2009, before Mann’s problems began, Greenpeace started attacking scientists it calls “climate deniers,” focusing its venom on seven scientists at four institutions, including the University of Virginia and University of Delaware. This anti-humanity group claimed its effort would “bring greater transparency to the climate science discussion” through “educational and other charitable public interest activities.” (If you believe that, send your bank account number to those Nigerians with millions in unclaimed cash.)

UVA administrators quickly agreed to turn over all archived records belonging to Dr. Patrick Michaels, a prominent climate chaos skeptic who had recently retired from the university. They did not seem to mind that no press coverage ensued, and certainly none that was critical of these Spanish Inquisition tactics.

However, when the American Tradition Institute later filed a similar FOIA request for Dr. Mann’s records, UVA marshaled the troops and launched a media circus, saying conservatives were harassing a leading climate scientist. The AGU, American Meteorological Society and American Association of University Professors (the nation’s college faculty union) rushed forward to lend their support. All the while, in a remarkable display of hypocrisy and double standards, UVA and these organizations continued to insist it was proper and ethical to turn all of Dr. Michaels’ material over to Greenpeace.

Meanwhile, although it had started out similarly, the scenario played out quite differently at the University of Delaware. Greenpeace targeted Dr. David Legates, demanding access to records related to his role as the Delaware State Climatologist. The University not only agreed to this. It went further, and demanded that Legates produce all his records – regardless of whether they pertained to his role as State Climatologist, his position on the university faculty, or his outside speaking and writing activities, even though he had received no state money for any of this work. Everything was fair game.

But when the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed a FOIA request for documents belonging to several U of Delaware faculty members who had contributed to the IPCC, the university told CEI the state’s FOIA Law did not apply. (The hypocrisy and double standards disease is contagious.) Although one faculty contributor clearly had received state money for his climate change work, University Vice-President and General Counsel Lawrence White claimed none of the individuals had received state funds.

When Legates approached White to inquire about the disparate treatment, White said Legates did not understand the law. State law did not require that White produce anything, White insisted, but also did not preclude him from doing so. Under threat of termination for failure to respond to the demands of a senior university official, Legates was required to allow White to inspect his emails and hardcopy files.

Legates subsequently sought outside legal advice. At this, his academic dean told him he had now gone too far. “This puts you at odds with the University,” she told him, “and the College will no longer support anything you do.” This remarkable threat was promptly implemented. Legates was terminated as the State Climatologist, removed from a state weather network he had been instrumental in organizing and operating, and banished from serving on any faculty committees.

Legates appealed to the AAUP – the same union that had staunchly supported Mann at UVA. Although the local AAUP president had written extensively on the need to protect academic freedom, she told Legates that FOIA issues and actions taken by the University of Delaware’s vice-president and dean “would not fall within the scope of the AAUP.”

What about the precedent of the AAUP and other professional organizations supporting Dr. Mann so quickly and vigorously? Where was the legal defense fund to pay Legates’ legal bills? Fuggedaboutit.

In the end, it was shown that nothing White examined in Legates’ files originated from state funds. The State Climate Office had received no money while Legates was there, and the university funded none of Legates’ climate change research though state funds. This is important because, unlike in Virginia, Delaware’s FOIA law says that regarding university faculty, only state-funded work is subject to FOIA.

That means White used his position to bully and attack Legates for his scientific views – pure and simple. Moreover, a 1991 federal arbitration case had ruled that the University of Delaware had violated another faculty member’s academic freedom when it examined the content of her research. But now, more than twenty years later, U Del was at it again.

Obviously, academic freedom means nothing when one’s views differ from the liberal faculty majority – or when they contrast with views and “science” that garners the university millions of dollars a year from government, foundation, corporate and other sources, to advance the alarmist climate change agenda. All these institutions are intolerant of research by scientists like Legates, because they fear losing grant money if they permit contrarian views, discussions, debates or anything that questions the climate chaos “consensus.” At this point, academic freedom and free speech obviously apply only to advance selected political agendas, and campus “diversity” exists in everything but opinions.

Climate alarmists have been implicated in the ClimateGate scandal, for conspiring to prevent their adversaries from receiving grants, publishing scientific papers, and advancing their careers. Yet they are staunchly supported by their universities, professional organizations, union – and groups like Greenpeace.

Meanwhile, climate disaster skeptics are vilified and harassed by these same groups, who pretend they are fighting to “let scientists conduct research without the threat of politically motivated attacks.” Far worse, we taxpayers are paying the tab for the junk science – and then getting stuck with regulations, soaring energy bills, lost jobs and reduced living standards … based on that bogus science.

Right now, the climate alarmists appear to be winning their war on honest science. But storm clouds are gathering, and a powerful counteroffensive is heading their way. ESR

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.