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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Surprise: First Climate Change Refugee Appeal Officially Rejected

Townhall covered a Pacific Islander's attempt to become the first climate change refugee and avoid deportation from New Zealand. It's official: the High Court described the appeal as "novel," but ultimately inadequate.
If you missed the original story, here is the background:
France 24 reports that the man, Ioane Teitiota, is currently appealing the New Zealand High Court's decision to refuse him refugee status on the basis of climate change predictions.
Teitiota, 37, has had three children in New Zealand and argues that returning to Kiribati would endanger his family:
“There’s no future for us when we go back to Kiribati,” he told the appeal tribunal, adding that a return would pose a risk to his children’s health. ... “Fresh water is a basic human right ... the Kiribati government is unable, and perhaps unwilling, to guarantee these things because it’s completely beyond their control,” [his lawyer] told Radio New Zealand.
Thankfully, this case is finally closed (assuming he doesn't attempt to appeal the ruling on his appeal - a futile exercise). He and his family will likely be deported to his home in Kiribati soon.
Perhaps the most ironic aspect of the whole affair is that, despite thwarting Teitiota's attempt, both New Zealand and Kiribati have taken UN climate change warnings very seriously and are taking pre-emptive action. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Worries over the impact of rising sea levels prompted the Kiribati government to buy 6,000 acres of land in neighboring Fiji this year to grow food and potentially resettle some of its 100,000 people if the country were to become uninhabitable.
Last month, the United Nations reiterated in a landmark report that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal," saying that air and oceans are getting warmer, ice and snow are less plentiful and sea levels are rising. New Zealand has made tackling climate change an environmental priority, and rolled out an emissions-trading program in 2011.
http://townhall.com/tipsheet/nicolebailey/2013/11/30/surprise-first-climate-change-refugee-appeal-officially-rejected-n1754262

Need for pro-consumer and pro-energy groups to pay attention to the off-the-radar regulators like FERC

If we’re going to take control of our energy future; if we’re going to avoid high gas prices every year, we need an all-of-the-above strategy that develops every source of American energy.” -President Obama, March 1, 2012


Wellinghoff’s Moment of Truth


Every once in a while, our politicians in Washington speak their minds and leak the truth about their intentions. In a recent talk by FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, the truth about his anti-energy agenda leaked like a sieve.

During his keynote address at the National Summit on Integrating Energy Efficiency and Smart Grid in October, Chairman Wellinghoff rejected the Obama administration’s “all of the above” energy strategy in favor of his pet initiative, energy efficiency. Wellinghoff said:

“I’ve been doing energy efficiency for a long, long time; an advocate of energy efficiency. Although I have to say, ‘No, we’re advocates of all the above,” all of the above is one of the most overused terms in energy that, hopefully, we can continue to do away with. We really have to start looking at what are the most cost-effective energy sources, and of course, as most of you know, energy efficiency is the most cost-effective thing and the first thing we should all be doing when we talk about our energy usage.”

There’s a lot to sift through here. First, Wellinghoff directly contradicts President Obama’s pledge to “take control of our energy future” with policies that promote “every source of American energy.” That may not be surprising because, judging by the administration’s poor record when it comes to supporting energy production, President Obama himself does not support an all-of-the-above energy policy.  .

Perhaps more revealing, however, is Wellinghoff’s statement that we should continue to do away with the “all of the above” energy strategy. In that statement, does he admit that advocates like himself in government positions are closing the door on energy sources they don’t like—namely coal, oil, and natural gas? These are the fuels Americans have chosen for 80% of the energy they use.

Chairman Wellinghoff’s casual mention that he advocates for a specific niche in the energy industry flies in the face of his mantra that, under his Chairmanship, FERC has remained “technology neutral.”

Lastly, the problem with Wellinghoff’s advocacy for energy efficiency is that market-driven energy efficiency is so cost-effective, there is no need for FERC or any other government action. Energy efficiency is common sense, and people do it because it makes economic sense, but we doubt that’s what Wellinghoff is talking about. He is talking about forced energy “efficiency” which is not economically efficient at all. Like many advocates of energy efficiency, he would compel it through brute government strength.

The Rise of the Regulator-Advocate?


As we explained about the failed nomination of renewables advocate Ron Binz to replace Chairman Wellinghoff, Binz would likely lead FERC further down the anti-energy path Wellinghoff has been forging since 2009, based upon his public statements and well established positions.

President Obama nominated Binz to head FERC just two days after his aggressive climate speech in late June, in which Obama promised to do all he could to push his climate agenda through regulations in the absence of support in congress for costly new programs. And although FERC is a relatively obscure agency, its impact is significant—the Congressional Research Service conservatively estimated that its economic reach is $435 billion per year. Given FERC’s reach and Binz’s history of overreach, IER published several articles highlighting the problems of promoting a renewables advocate to the head of FERC.

Like Wellinghoff, Ron Binz recently exposed his advocacy roots. In his withdrawal letter to the President, he stressed the importance of favoring “clean” energy and appeared to side with Wellinghoff’s sentiments on doing away with “all of the above.” Binz wrote:

“Our nation’s move toward clean energy resources will be much slower without a strong commitment at the FERC to enhance investment in energy infrastructure and to ensure that clean energy resources have full access to electricity markets.  It is essential that your next and future appointees to the FERC have that commitment.”

President Obama has yet to announce his next nominee to fill out the five-person Commission. However, with Binz’s failed nomination and Wellinghoff’s departure last Sunday, FERC has a fantastic opportunity to return to its independent regulatory role. In the meantime, existing Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur is taking over as acting Chairwoman. Notably absent from her acceptance remarks are any references to specific technologies or outcomes, which makes her point of view a welcome contrast from FERC gavels past.

Conclusion


Wellinghoff’s rejection of the administration’s purported “all of the above” energy strategy highlights the need for pro-consumer and pro-energy groups to pay attention to the off-the-radar regulators like FERC and the people appointed to lead them. In fact, this rare glimpse into the mind of an anti-energy regulator justifies the efforts of free-market groups in defending an objective approach to energy policy against regulator-advocates like Wellinghoff and Binz.


http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/59569

Friday, November 29, 2013

You can here it now! Climate Clown , Climate Change do it, Climate Change do it, " no it all atmospheric-river event.now"(What the Jet steam?) Yawn! California, Dry year may be in store



State forecasters are predicting a third dry year for California, the Department of Water Resources announced Wednesday.
The forecast for water year 2014 is of particular interest since water years 2012 and 2013 were both dry, and 2014 brings the possibility of a third dry year.
The experimental forecast, prepared for DWR by Dr. Klaus Wolter of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado, makes the following predictions based on statistical models that consider global influences on California climate:
• Mostly dry conditions for most of California, with dry conditions being especially likely in Southern California.
• Near-normal to drier than normal for the Colorado River Basin, an important source of water supply for Southern California, although not as dry as in water year 2013.
• A small chance of a spring shift to El Niño conditions that could bring wetter weather for Southern California late in the season.
“Atmospheric river (AR) storms are a wild card in this forecast,” Wolter said. “My forecast last year for dry conditions in water year 2013 seemed destined for failure at first, since California experienced record wet conditions in late November/early December of last year courtesy of AR storms. However, the remainder of the season was record dry, producing an overall result of dry for the water year.”
California’s annual water supply is determined by a relatively small number of storms — only two or three storms or their absence can shift the balance between a wet year and a dry year.
On average, about half of California’s statewide precipitation occurs December through February, with three-quarters occurring November through March. Averages can mask great variability within the wet season, however.
Water years 2012 and 2013 were both dry, but their precipitation patterns were complete opposites. Water year 2012 began with record dry conditions, setting a record for the latest closing date for the Tioga Pass highway due to the absence of significant snow until January. Water year 2013 began record wet in Northern California, but then turned record dry from January on.
Atmospheric river (AR) storms are a wild card in this forecast,” Wolter said. “My forecast last year for dry conditions in water year 2013 


Animation of the atmospheric-river event. This animation shows an atmospheric river event over Dec. 18-20, 2010. High-altitude winds pull large amounts of water vapor (yellow and orange) from the tropical ocean near Hawaii and carry it straight to California. Image Credit: Anthony Wimmers and Chris Velden, University of Wisconsin-CI 
› Larger image
Animation of the atmospheric-river event. This animation shows an atmospheric river event over Dec. 18-20, 2010. High-altitude winds pull large amounts of water vapor (yellow and orange) from the tropical ocean near Hawaii and carry it straight to California. Image Credit: Anthony Wimmers and Chris Velden, University of Wisconsin-CI 
› Larger image

Jet Streams


Jets are fast moving ribbons of air high up in the atmosphere.  They are responsible for transporting highs and lows.  They affect precipitation and temperatures, and they mark boundaries between massive air masses.

Why do I care? Jet streams are important to the transport of highs and lows that affect our weather and lives on a daily basis.

I should already be familiar with: Fronts


A cross section of the jet stream, with the center speed being 140mph and the weakest winds being 80mph around the outside edge.
Figure A: Jet Stream Wind Speeds
Image from NOAA

Jet streams are the major means of transport for weather systems.  A jet stream is an area of strong winds ranging from 120-250 mph that can be thousands of miles long, a couple of hundred miles across and a few miles deep.  Jet streams usually sit at the boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere at a level called the tropopause.  This means most jet streams are about 6-9 miles off the ground. Figure A is a cross section of a jet stream.

A cross section of global air circulation in the northern hemisphere. The subtropical jet is at 30°N and the polar jet is at 60°N.
Figure B: Location of Jet Streams
Image from NOAA
The dynamics of jet streams are actually quite complicated, so this is a very simplified version of what creates jets.  The basic idea that drives jet formation is this:  a strong horizontal temperature contrast, like the one between the North Pole and the equator, causes a dramatic increase in horizontal wind speed with height.  Therefore, a jet stream forms directly over the center of the strongest area of horizontal temperature difference, or the front.  As a general rule, a strong front has a jet stream directly above it that is parallel to it.  Figure B shows that jet streams are positioned just below the tropopause (the red lines) and above the fronts, in this case, the boundaries between two circulation cells carrying air of different temperatures.
The subtropical jet sits at the border between the US and Mexico.  The polar jet sits between the border between the US and Canada.
Figure C: Typical Locations of Jet Streams Across North America
Image from NASA
The two jet streams that directly affect our weather in the continental US are the polar jet and the subtropical jet.  They are responsible for transporting the weather systems that affect us.  The polar front is the boundary between the cold North Pole air and the warm equatorial air.  The polar jet sits at roughly 60°N latitude because this is generally where the polar front sits.  The subtropical jet is at roughly 30°N latitude.  The subtropical jet is located at  30°N because of the temperature differences between air at mid-latitudes and the warmer equatorial air. The polar and subtropical jets are both westerly, meaning they come from the west and blow toward the east.  Both jets move north and south with the seasons as the horizontal temperature fields across the globe shift with the areas of strongest sunlight.
The max windspeed of the jet is twice as fast in winter.  Also, it is farther south and has more pronounced troughs and ridges.
Figure D: Typical Locations of Polar Jet Stream Throughout Summer and Winter
http://www.meted.ucar.edu/afwa/climo/intro/media/graphics/polar_front_summer_winter.jpg
In the winter the polar jet moves south and becomes stronger because the North Pole gets colder but the equator stays about the same temperature.  This increases the temperature contrast and moves the strengthened polar front jet farther south.  As you probably have noticed, jet streams are not just straight across, but have a wavy pattern.  The jets follow the contours of low and high pressure areas (troughs and ridges, respectively), which move like waves in the atmosphere across the earth.  In winter when the polar jet dips into the US, the troughs and ridges affect what kind of weather an area will have.  Figure D is a comparison of the strength and position of the polar jet in summer versus winter.  If a trough is sitting over you, it is generally very cold and snowy or rainy.  If a ridge is sitting over you, it is generally warm and dry. So if it’s winter and the jet stream looks like it does in the picture, Utah would be warmer than average and Tennessee would be colder than average, possibly experiencing some snow.

The subtropical jet also moves and evolves over time.  The strongest effect of the subtropical jet in the southeastern US is in winters during years when El Niño is occuring in the eastern Pacific Ocean.  The subtropical jet is then positioned in such a way that southern Georgia and Florida are right underneath the main jet, and experience colder and wetter conditions than years when there is no El Niño.

Links to National Science Education Standards:

5th grade science: 5.E.1.3 : Explain how global patterns such as the jet stream and water currents influence local weather in measurable terms such as temperature, wind direction and wind speed, and precipitation.

7th grade science: 7.E.1.5 : Explain the influence of convection, global winds, and the jet stream on weather and climatic conditions.

Earth Science: EEn.2.5 : Understand the structure of and processes within our atmosphere.



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Al Gore goes vegan, with little fanfare?

Maybe it was something about what they served in the White House mess in the 1990s. Or perhaps it's what happens to baby boomer  Democrats more than a decade after leaving office. For whatever the reason former vice president Al Gore has gone vegan, just like the president with whom he once served.

Gore's recent decision to forgo animal products surfaced as an offhand reference in a Forbes magazine piece about Hampton Creek Foods, an upscale vegan product line carried in Whole Foods. Ryan Mac's article, which posted Saturday, chronicled how wealthy investors including Bill Gates, Tom Steyer and Vinod Khosla have poured money into the company, which hopes to take down the U.S. egg industry with offerings such as a plant-base mayonnaise.

"Newly turned vegan Al Gore is also circling," Mac writes.

An individual familiar with Gore's decision, who asked not to be identified because it involved a personal matter, confirmed that Gore opted a couple of months ago to become vegan. Gore's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It is unclear why Gore, one of the nation's most visible climate activists, has given up dairy, poultry and meat products. People usually become vegan for environmental, health or ethical reasons, or a combination of these three factors.

Bill Clinton explained in a 2011 interview with CNN’s Sanjay Gupta that he adopted a vegan diet primarily for health considerations. Known for consuming a high-fat cuisine while in office, Clinton -- who was 65 at the time -- said he realized he had “played Russian roulette” with his health for too long, and that since making the switch, “I feel good, and I also have, believe it or not, more energy.”

The Humane Society of the United States food policy director Matthew Prescott noted in an e-mail that industrial farm operations are major sources of nutrient pollution, and contribute significantly to the nation's greenhouse gas emissions.

"Overconsumption and overproduction of meat has given rise to the factory farm, which has put huge threats on the planet and our health," Prescott wrote. "Whether it’s the whole Clinton/Gore ticket being vegan now, Oprah promoting meat-free eating, Bill Gates backing plant-based foods or the rise of Meatless Mondays, it’s clear that the way we farm and eat is shifting toward a better model."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/11/25/al-gore-goes-vegan-with-little-fanfare/

Monday, November 25, 2013

What is U.N Agenda 21?


If you were to hear that in the very near future the United States will have no privately owned property, no air conditioning, no dams, no paved roads, no way to correct rivers for flood control, no golf courses, no pastureland used for grazing, would you believe it?

These are all mandates of a United Nations program called Agenda 21 which was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. All delegates watched as four men, holding poles attached to an “Ark of Hope” which contained this Agenda 21 document! Within its pages are a substantial attack on the American Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. The primary target for the changes proposed in 1992 is the United States of America.
Here is a list of some of their “Unsustainable” Targets:


Page Number
Unsustainable =We will take this away!
337 Ski runs
350 Grazing of livestock
351 Disturbance of soil surface-plowing of soil, building fences
728 Commercial Agriculture-Modern farm production, chemical fertilizers, fossil fuels, etc.
730 Any Industrial activity
730 “Human-made caves of brick and mortar (single family homes)
730 Paved and tarred roads, Railroads, floor and wall tiles
733 Technology, range lands, fish ponds, plantations or rangelands
738 Harvesting timber and modern hunting
748 Logging activities
755 Dams and reservoirs, straightening of rivers
757 Power line construction
763 Economic systems that fail to set proper value on the environment.



What is Agenda 21?It is clear that AGENDA 21 is designed to replace the economic and social structure of the United States. The first version of the Declaration of Independence used the phrase “Life, Liberty and Property” and was changed to “Pursuit of Happiness” so that non-landowners could aspire to ownership, thus happiness.
According to the United Nations, the objective of sustainable development is to integrate economic, social and environmental policies in order to achieve reduced consumption, social equity, and the preservation and restoration of biodiversity.

Biodiversity is a key component of the UN Agenda 21. Through this “word” an entire program is created and being implemented without Congressional approval or American Voter involvement through Non-Government Organizations such as “Envision Central Texas” where members are selected through appointment, not elections. These NGOs are granted authority by Federal Executive Orders and Agency Regulations to control much of our daily lives. End result is the BIODIVERSITY MAP that has 85% of the United States uninhabited!

https://axiomamuse.wordpress.com/tag/dr-michael-coffman/

Combined with Public-Private Partnerships and NGOs (Texas.org shows thousands of these entities in Texas,) we have a “created underworld” of government designed to eliminate the checks and balances of the American citizens.
Operations like WILDLANDS PROJECT and WETLANDS PROJECT are samples of how a citizen can lose rights to property, required to pay taxes for the “ownership” without having any say in how that property is to be used and therefore, making this land unsellable!

President George H.W. Bush called Agenda 21 and UN Charter “Sacred Principles” and called on all Americans to pledge allegiance to these same principles!

President Clinton, in 1993, issued an Executive Order requiring EVERY FEDERAL OFFICE to implement the principles of Agenda 21 in all possible areas of authority! ALL subsequent presidents reinforced these orders and Barack Hussein Obama has issued more executive orders to expand on this non-constitutional regulatory reduction of liberty.
These “Sacred Principles” are expressed as the “Triple Bottom Line” or the “Three E’s.” 

EQUITY


Social EQUITY or Social INJUSTICE. Agenda21 intends to restructure Human nature through Law and Regulation. The agency created to bring Agenda21 down to the local city and county of the United States and the rest of the world is the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives (hereafter referred to as ICLEI) and have offices in every State of the United States!

Social justice is defined as the right and opportunity of all people “to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment.” As preached by the current President Barack Hussein Obama, this includes redistribution of wealth. Agenda21 proclaims that private property is a social injustice since only those owning property are able to benefit or build wealth from it. National sovereignty is a social injustice. Lack of universal health care is a social injustice.

ECONOMY


Economic Prosperity is defined in the preamble of Agenda21, “The developmental and environmental objectives of Agenda 21 will require substantial flow of new and additional financial resources to developing countries.”

This thinking is based on the failed belief that the wealth of the world was made at the expense of the poor, forcing them to be poorer while the rich got richer! The United States was founded on the premise that individual freedom, free market economics would benefit all by raising the living level of all. The ability to succeed in America was open to all “Equality of opportunity,” not equality of results!

I believe this all is intended to centralize all financial and political power into the hands of the elite few who will be the government for the world, The UN.

ENVIRONMENT


“Sustainable Development” is, simply, the vehicle of the United Nations to remove the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution from the legal foundation of the United States. The Cato Institute, in 2002, stated, “This fact alone casts a serious shadow of doubt on the motives of Sustainable Development planners who would discard the unalienable rights to life, liberty and property in order to pursue dubious programs!”

The Agenda21 is nothing less than an Anti-Human Initiative. By using the three E’s to sell the Agenda21 plans, the major attack point on America is though the educational system and the capture of children’s minds and bending them into “global citizens” and instruction that is designed to “broaden their loyalties to a world-wide society” or as Hillary Clinton states, “It takes a Village!”

Outcome based education (OBE) and School to Work (STW) programs are major efforts being adopted in school systems nation-wide. Straight from the Soviet Union, schools are using the tax funds to operate indoctrination centers to foster “World Citizenship” and “Environmental Responsibility.” Nazi mandates were similar in turning children against parents by “exposing the failure of parents” to adhere to the “Consensus” of the State. The State now being promoted is the United Nations.

Most of these people are what Lenin called “Useful Idiots” in they do not try to identify if actions and votes they make are within the framework of the United States or State of Texas Constitutions. For political and financial reasons (Block Grants, etc.), they sign away the freedoms that generations have died to preserve!

In Closing, Agenda21 is an octopus with millions of tentacles squeezing the very life of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution from our God-given unalienable rights. Each tentacle or program, such as Smart Meters, Smart Growth or LEED Building Codes comes to each of our homes and reaches out through City, County, State and Federal agencies, never “needing” citizen approval or congressional oversight!

A Final Quote, “Individual rights will have to take a back seat to the collective.” Harvey Ruvin, Vice Chairman, ICLEI. The Wildlands Project

John R. Marler jmarler@marfam.com



Agenda 21 ICLEI Presentation

John Marler travels throughout Texas presenting a 1-1/2 hour explaination of Agenda21/ICLEI to groups as his schedule permits. For more info email: jmarler@marfam.com







Agenda 21 | Sustainable Development | ICLEI | Resources

http://www.teaparty911.com/issues/what_is_agenda_21.htm

Warsaw Follies II, Goodbye science, hello agenda 21 redistribution of wealth r

Message from Craig Rucker From CFACT, an organization opposed to the latest Climate Treaty nonsense.

Rucker attended the Warsaw meet of the UN climate gang.



Craig Rucker’s message:

The UN struck a deal last night in Warsaw.

Just when it seemed the UN climate summit would disintegrate amidst acrimony and recriminations, Obama agreed to announce U.S. emissions reductions in time to ink a global warming treaty in Paris in 2015.

The UN delegates couldn’t resist bringing the U.S. on board.

Among the more damaging outcomes, the U.S. and the developing world agreed to a “loss and damage” mechanism. Industrialized nations pretty much accepted liability for natural disasters which strike poor countries.

Goodbye science, hello redistribution. Aka un agenda 21 redistribution of wealth

Economic Prosperity is defined in the preamble of Agenda21, “The developmental and environmental objectives of Agenda 21 will require substantial flow of new and additional financial resources to developing countries.”

This thinking is based on the failed belief that the wealth of the world was made at the expense of the poor, forcing them to be poorer while the rich got richer! The United States was founded on the premise that individual freedom, free market economics would benefit all by raising the living level of all. The ability to succeed in America was open to all “Equality of opportunity,” not equality of results!

I believe this all is intended to centralize all financial and political power into the hands of the elite few who will be the government for the world, The UN.
http://www.teaparty911.com/issues/what_is_agenda_21.htm




Dunn comments:

Treaties have to be ratified by the Senate. We never ratified Kyoto. Paris in 2015 certainly will be signed by the lefty enviro President, but ratified by the senate that has to answer to the people of the US–not likely.

UN ambitions to become the world government and central money re-distributor for weather events and other “climate catastrophes” appeal to whom?

I learned in International Law studies that International Agreements are made to be broken and only survive by consent of the parties. There is no mechanism to enforce an International Treaty unless we cede sovereignty to the UN.

In this case there is little chance of ratification and much less chance that the UN will become a world wide taxation and redistribution entity. Even the quirky Europeans aren’t about to open up their checkbooks for UN apparatchiks.

Quick, name the UN Secretary General and tell me if the last 3 SGs of the UN have been competent to run a Dairy Queen or a Chili’s.

Maybe, just maybe, that whole ethanol/gasoline absurdity will fade away

The key reason ethanol is added to gasoline is very simple. Most of it is derived (in the US) from corn. Iowa, the first State in the Presidential election primary calendar grows lots of corn.
(To be sure, the so-called “oxygenation” additives to fuel have some, emphasize some, utility in reducing local air pollution in congested urban areas. But there are huge, make that HUGE, downsides to ethanol. Including massive increases in the price of food).

Now it’s starting to look like it’s losing some of its clout.

Per the Associated Press:
“That rule of politics collapsed resoundingly in the 2012 campaign when five of the six top Republican candidates said it was time for such intervention in the private market to end.

“Now, Iowa’s senior political leaders are pondering how to shore up political support for the corn-based fuel at a time when its economic and environmental benefits are under attack .”





But the case has become a tough sell for Republicans as the party has moved to the right and become increasingly hostile to government programs and directives.

Even among Democrats, concern has grown about ethanol's role in rising food prices and in cultivation of land that had been used for conservation.

The recent boom in domestic oil production has also made ethanol less prized as a U.S.-produced fuel that limits dependence on foreign oil. The grain alcohol burns cleaner than gasoline but produces less energy.

"I think there are some that feel it's potentially safer now to be lukewarm at least, or not supportive of it," said Iowa's Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, a Republican. "I think it's yet to be seen if that's a smart political position."

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa said he hopes to thwart the administration's proposal in Congress if it survives the 60-day comment period.

Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Terry Branstad planned to press his fellow GOP governors, especially those with possible presidential aspirations, to be mindful of the ethanol industry's economic importance. He met with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at a governors' association meeting in Arizona this week. On Tuesday, Branstad launched a Website for people to leave comments for the EPA.

For politicians eying the White House, "Whoever comes here better understand the importance of renewable fuels, or they are going to have hell to pay in rural Iowa," Branstad said in a recent interview.

The federal government began actively supporting ethanol, which is made by fermenting and distilling corn, about 40 years ago when petroleum prices spiked and anti-air pollution efforts were ramping up. Refineries initially were given a tax credit to produce the grain alcohol and Congress later required oil companies to blend it in their gasoline.

In Iowa, the nation's leading corn producer, about 45 percent of its crop went into ethanol last year. The state has 42 ethanol plants that produced 3.8 billion gallons.

Branstad said cutting the federal requirement would lower corn prices that have already fallen this year because of an unexpectedly robust harvest.

"They're making a huge mistake," Branstad said at the governors conference this week. "And they're going to drive corn below the cost of production."

Democratic U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack of Iowa City said a loss of federal support would be "a devastating decision for Iowa's farmers, rural communities and economy."

If the federal mandate was reduced or ended, ethanol producers would rely on the handful of states with their own ethanol fuel standards, and on exports which accounted for about 1 billion gallons last year. The proposed change would likely hurt smaller producers more than powerhouses like Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill.

Ethanol supporters insist the federal requirement is still justified even though the U.S. reliance on foreign oil is dropping, and for the first time in two decades, the U.S. produces more crude oil than it imports.

"We use 10-percent of ethanol in the gasoline in our cars. Do you want to import another 10 percent of oil" Grassley told the AP. "No, you don't."

While oil companies are pushing to escape the ethanol mandate, environmental groups are growing concerned about the impact of increased corn production. Farmers planted 15 million more acres of corn last year than a decade ago, according to an Associated Press analysis, taking land out of conservation use and applying more pesticides and herbicides.

Years ago, "there was a strong argument for encouraging the use of available resources like corn, for ethanol. Those days have passed," Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont said in a statement.

In a sign of ethanol's eroding political support, the winner of the 2012 Iowa caucuses, Rick Santorum, called during his campaign for phasing out the federal mandate.

The prospects for support in the possible 2016 presidential field are uncertain. About a week ago, Branstad brought up ethanol support privately with 2012 vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan before the Wisconsin representative headlined a Branstad campaign fundraiser.

Ryan declined to comment publicly on the EPA's ethanol proposal. A spokeswoman for Christie also declined to comment on Christie's position. Among possible Democratic candidates, neither Clinton nor Vice President Joe Biden has commented publicly about the issue recently.

Some question whether the economic impact on Iowa would be as dire as its political leaders suggest.

Only about 2,000 people work full time in the industry nationwide, said Iowa State University economist Dave Swenson, adding, "Worldwide demand for corn is still very strong."

http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268773/contentdetail.htm?full=true&contentguid=PcufzQKv&detailindex=#display

---------------------------------

Prominent Yale warmist admits global warming impact is ‘invisible’

From the NYTimes ombudsman’s column today, whinging about the paper’s lack of climate coverage:

The Times, which has published many groundbreaking series on the environment, has not had such a series since Mr. Gillis’s “Temperature Rising” ended in January. Such series not only provide especially deep reporting, but their presence also shows the subject is a high priority. “The Times is the thought leader and the agenda-setter, both globally and in the United States,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of Yale University’s Project on Climate Change Communication. “What it does matters tremendously, especially on this topic whose impact is invisible.”




EARLY this year, The Times came under heavy criticism from many readers who care deeply about news coverage about the environment — especially climate change

In January, The Times dismantled its “pod” of reporters and editors devoted to that subject. And in March, it discontinued its Green blog, a daily destination for environmental news.
      
Times editors emphasized that they were not abandoning the subject — just taking it out of its silo and integrating it into many areas of coverage.  The changes were made for both cost-cutting and strategic reasons, they said, and the blog did not have high readership. Readers and outside critics weren’t buying it. They scoffed at the idea that less would somehow translate into not only more, but also better.
      
So what has happened since? And where does the situation stand now? I talked to Times journalists and outside observers who are close readers of The Times’s environment coverage — including former Vice President Al Gore, a leading voice and a former newspaper journalist himself. And with the help of a news assistant, Jonah Bromwich, my office did its own analysis.
Some observations:
      
• The quantity of climate change coverage decreased. Maxwell T. Boykoff, who tracks media coverage of the environment at the University of Colorado, said that from April to September of last year, The Times’s print edition published 362 articles in which climate change featured prominently. In the same six months this year, that number dropped significantly — by about a third — to 242 articles. However, he warned: “It’s complicated. We can be lulled into thinking that more coverage is better; that’s not always true.”  And the amount of news coverage, of course, often corresponds to particular events or controversies. (Overall U.S. news coverage of climate change has plummeted, he said, after peaks in 2007 and 2009.)    
 
 
Some observations:
• The quantity of climate change coverage decreased. Maxwell T. Boykoff, who tracks media coverage of the environment at the University of Colorado, said that from April to September of last year, The Times’s print edition published 362 articles in which climate change featured prominently. In the same six months this year, that number dropped significantly — by about a third — to 242 articles. However, he warned: “It’s complicated. We can be lulled into thinking that more coverage is better; that’s not always true.”  And the amount of news coverage, of course, often corresponds to particular events or controversies. (Overall U.S. news coverage of climate change has plummeted, he said, after peaks in 2007 and 2009.)
      
• Beyond quantity, the amount of deep, enterprising coverage of climate change in The Times appears to have dropped, too. In that six-month period this year, there were only three front-page stories in which climate change was the main focus, compared with nine the year before. All three were written by the excellent science reporter Justin Gillis, and two of three were pegged to a specific global warming milestone (the other had to do with President Obama’s policy on the environment). With fewer reporters and no coordinating editor, what was missing was the number and variety of fresh angles from the previous year — such as a September article on what is being revealed beneath that Arctic ice melting at a record pace.
      
• The Times, which has published many groundbreaking series on the environment, has not had such a series since Mr. Gillis’s “Temperature Rising” ended in January. Such series not only provide especially deep reporting, but their presence also shows the subject is a high priority. “The Times is the thought leader and the agenda-setter, both globally and in the United States,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of Yale University’s Project on Climate Change Communication. “What it does matters tremendously, especially on this topic whose impact is invisible.”
      
• The Green blog, which Dr. Leiserowitz called “an invaluable and trusted place,” has not been replaced, nor has the approximately $40,000-a-year worth of freelance reporting for the blog that extended the sweep and scope of environmental coverage.
      
Despite all this, many observers, including Mr. Gore, praised the strengths of The Times’s environmental journalism, including Mr. Gillis’s work. They applauded The Times’s recent hiring of Coral Davenport, an outstanding Washington-based environmental reporter, to cover the Environmental Protection Agency. (The Times lost a major E.P.A.-related scoop on coal-fired power plants to The Wall Street Journal in September after its longtime beat reporter John Broder moved to a new post.) Two other well-respected reporters, John Schwartz and Michael Wines, have begun covering environmental issues. And with the integration of the former International Herald Tribune as the International New York Times, all Times readers are seeing expanded worldwide offerings on this subject, both in news and opinion.
      
Nonetheless, some observers worry.
      
“This subject requires a champion because it doesn’t really generate its own news pegs,” said Daniel R. Fagin, a longtime Newsday environmental reporter, now a New York University professor and author. “It’s not a news beat; it’s an ooze beat.
The Times’s top editors addressed that recently. Perhaps recognizing that the topic had become fragmented, if not rudderless, they appointed a science desk editor, Mary Ann Giordano, to coordinate environmental coverage, in addition to other duties. She is putting together a list of enterprise articles and looking for holes in coverage, and said that a new series was in the works.
“There are so many tentacles to this subject and a lot of big topics we need to delve into,” she said. “And someone needs to keep track.”
      
While there may be disagreement on how to proceed, there should be no dispute about the importance of The Times’s role or the crucial nature of the subject.
      
“Simply assuming that this is an interesting controversy that we should check in on occasionally is not correct. The survival of human civilization is at risk,” Mr. Gore said. “The news media should be making this existential crisis the No. 1 topic they cover.”
 

     

That whole hypothermia treatment for cardiac arrests? Not so fast…

 


Despite the best claims of tv shows, the actual survival rates of people in cardiac arrest is in the one percent rate. Or worse. There’s been lots of continuing research to try to improve the figures.

One new treatment that’s been getting a lot of hype, hope, and publicity is induced hypothermia, namely taking the patients and quickly cooling them down, in the hope that this will reduce brain damage and give the patient a better chance at recovery.
The New England Journal of Medicine just reported on a study that casts, err, cold water on this:


Conclusions

In unconscious survivors of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest of presumed cardiac cause, hypothermia at a targeted temperature of 33°? C[91.4 F] did not confer a benefit as compared with a targeted temperature of 36 C [96.8 F].
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1310519

20 Rules for Junk Science Detectives

This is an outstanding set of rules for science detection and evaluating scientific assertions.



Put up in Nature Mag. Thank you Joe Bast, for forwarding, tipped off by Bob Ferguson

http://www.nature.com/news/policy-twenty-tips-for-interpreting-scientific-claims-1.14183

I keep telling you about Cargo Cult Science, and it is all around us, charlatans with credentials and an agenda.

The extraordinary physics genius and Nobel Prize winner, Richard Feynman, splains it in his 1974 Commencement Speech at Cal Tech.

Here is a nice intro to the great Feynman if you don’t know of him.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/06/08/richard-feynman-caltech-cargo-cult-science/

Here is the text of the speech that unfortunately was not recorded or filmed. Feynman was a charismatic speaker.

http://neurotheory.columbia.edu/~ken/cargo_cult.html

ONE MORE THING. Any reader who is of our skeptical group would note that the Nature article show a little bit of pandering to the editors. The authors hint that a better science climate and doing what the scientific elites advise is good, and would put them in control and charge of policy. The implication is that skeptics on warming, for example are detrimental to good policy making. I would beg to differ.

The authors declared, incorrectly, that guns in the house increases risk of gun violence 100 fold, without mentioning that maybe there are some serious socio economic confounders that should temper that assertion and whatever policy making decisions are made in regards to gun ownership, but the journal is British, so they are all mixed up.

There were a few other asides in this otherwise good paper that struck me as showing a tendency to recite the right rules while confirming the editors’ confirmation and consensus biases. You might recall that Nature was irresponsible in its attacks on Bjorn Lomborg, for example. The boys at Nature are academic and scientific thugs at times and they are, in my opinion suffering from some biases born of political mindset. I hope they take this fine article to heart.




Calls for the closer integration of science in political decision-making have been commonplace for decades. However, there are serious problems in the application of science to policy — from energy to health and environment to education.



Policy: Twenty tips for interpreting scientific claims
One suggestion to improve matters is to encourage more scientists to get involved in politics. Although laudable, it is unrealistic to expect substantially increased political involvement from scientists. Another proposal is to expand the role of chief scientific advisers1, increasing their number, availability and participation in political processes. Neither approach deals with the core problem of scientific ignorance among many who vote in parliaments.

Perhaps we could teach science to politicians? It is an attractive idea, but which busy politician has sufficient time? In practice, policy-makers almost never read scientific papers or books. The research relevant to the topic of the day — for example, mitochondrial replacement, bovine tuberculosis or nuclear-waste disposal — is interpreted for them by advisers or external advocates. And there is rarely, if ever, a beautifully designed double-blind, randomized, replicated, controlled experiment with a large sample size and unambiguous conclusion that tackles the exact policy issue.

In this context, we suggest that the immediate priority is to improve policy-makers' understanding of the imperfect nature of science. The essential skills are to be able to intelligently interrogate experts and advisers, and to understand the quality, limitations and biases of evidence. We term these interpretive scientific skills. These skills are more accessible than those required to understand the fundamental science itself, and can form part of the broad skill set of most politicians.

To this end, we suggest 20 concepts that should be part of the education of civil servants, politicians, policy advisers and journalists — and anyone else who may have to interact with science or scientists. Politicians with a healthy scepticism of scientific advocates might simply prefer to arm themselves with this critical set of knowledge.

We are not so naive as to believe that improved policy decisions will automatically follow. We are fully aware that scientific judgement itself is value-laden, and that bias and context are integral to how data are collected and interpreted. What we offer is a simple list of ideas that could help decision-makers to parse how evidence can contribute to a decision, and potentially to avoid undue influence by those with vested interests. The harder part — the social acceptability of different policies — remains in the hands of politicians and the broader political process.

Of course, others will have slightly different lists. Our point is that a wider understanding of these 20 concepts by society would be a marked step forward.

Differences and chance cause variation. The real world varies unpredictably. Science is mostly about discovering what causes the patterns we see. Why is it hotter this decade than last? Why are there more birds in some areas than others? There are many explanations for such trends, so the main challenge of research is teasing apart the importance of the process of interest (for example, the effect of climate change on bird populations) from the innumerable other sources of variation (from widespread changes, such as agricultural intensification and spread of invasive species, to local-scale processes, such as the chance events that determine births and deaths).

No measurement is exact. Practically all measurements have some error. If the measurement process were repeated, one might record a different result. In some cases, the measurement error might be large compared with real differences. Thus, if you are told that the economy grew by 0.13% last month, there is a moderate chance that it may actually have shrunk. Results should be presented with a precision that is appropriate for the associated error, to avoid implying an unjustified degree of accuracy.

Bias is rife. Experimental design or measuring devices may produce atypical results in a given direction. For example, determining voting behaviour by asking people on the street, at home or through the Internet will sample different proportions of the population, and all may give different results. Because studies that report 'statistically significant' results are more likely to be written up and published, the scientific literature tends to give an exaggerated picture of the magnitude of problems or the effectiveness of solutions. An experiment might be biased by expectations: participants provided with a treatment might assume that they will experience a difference and so might behave differently or report an effect. Researchers collecting the results can be influenced by knowing who received treatment. The ideal experiment is double-blind: neither the participants nor those collecting the data know who received what. This might be straightforward in drug trials, but it is impossible for many social studies. Confirmation bias arises when scientists find evidence for a favoured theory and then become insufficiently critical of their own results, or cease searching for contrary evidence.

Bigger is usually better for sample size. The average taken from a large number of observations will usually be more informative than the average taken from a smaller number of observations. That is, as we accumulate evidence, our knowledge improves. This is especially important when studies are clouded by substantial amounts of natural variation and measurement error. Thus, the effectiveness of a drug treatment will vary naturally between subjects. Its average efficacy can be more reliably and accurately estimated from a trial with tens of thousands of participants than from one with hundreds.

Correlation does not imply causation. It is tempting to assume that one pattern causes another. However, the correlation might be coincidental, or it might be a result of both patterns being caused by a third factor — a 'confounding' or 'lurking' variable. For example, ecologists at one time believed that poisonous algae were killing fish in estuaries; it turned out that the algae grew where fish died. The algae did not cause the deaths2.

Regression to the mean can mislead. Extreme patterns in data are likely to be, at least in part, anomalies attributable to chance or error. The next count is likely to be less extreme. For example, if speed cameras are placed where there has been a spate of accidents, any reduction in the accident rate cannot be attributed to the camera; a reduction would probably have happened anyway.

Extrapolating beyond the data is risky. Patterns found within a given range do not necessarily apply outside that range. Thus, it is very difficult to predict the response of ecological systems to climate change, when the rate of change is faster than has been experienced in the evolutionary history of existing species, and when the weather extremes may be entirely new.

Beware the base-rate fallacy. The ability of an imperfect test to identify a condition depends upon the likelihood of that condition occurring (the base rate). For example, a person might have a blood test that is '99% accurate' for a rare disease and test positive, yet they might be unlikely to have the disease. If 10,001 people have the test, of whom just one has the disease, that person will almost certainly have a positive test, but so too will a further 100 people (1%) even though they do not have the disease. This type of calculation is valuable when considering any screening procedure, say for terrorists at airports.

DAWID RYSKI

Controls are important. A control group is dealt with in exactly the same way as the experimental group, except that the treatment is not applied. Without a control, it is difficult to determine whether a given treatment really had an effect. The control helps researchers to be reasonably sure that there are no confounding variables affecting the results. Sometimes people in trials report positive outcomes because of the context or the person providing the treatment, or even the colour of a tablet3. This underlies the importance of comparing outcomes with a control, such as a tablet without the active ingredient (a placebo).

Randomization avoids bias. Experiments should, wherever possible, allocate individuals or groups to interventions randomly. Comparing the educational achievement of children whose parents adopt a health programme with that of children of parents who do not is likely to suffer from bias (for example, better-educated families might be more likely to join the programme). A well-designed experiment would randomly select some parents to receive the programme while others do not.

Seek replication, not pseudoreplication. Results consistent across many studies, replicated on independent populations, are more likely to be solid. The results of several such experiments may be combined in a systematic review or a meta-analysis to provide an overarching view of the topic with potentially much greater statistical power than any of the individual studies. Applying an intervention to several individuals in a group, say to a class of children, might be misleading because the children will have many features in common other than the intervention. The researchers might make the mistake of 'pseudoreplication' if they generalize from these children to a wider population that does not share the same commonalities. Pseudoreplication leads to unwarranted faith in the results. Pseudoreplication of studies on the abundance of cod in the Grand Banks in Newfoundland, Canada, for example, contributed to the collapse of what was once the largest cod fishery in the world4.

Scientists are human. Scientists have a vested interest in promoting their work, often for status and further research funding, although sometimes for direct financial gain. This can lead to selective reporting of results and occasionally, exaggeration. Peer review is not infallible: journal editors might favour positive findings and newsworthiness. Multiple, independent sources of evidence and replication are much more convincing.

Significance is significant. Expressed as P, statistical significance is a measure of how likely a result is to occur by chance. Thus P = 0.01 means there is a 1-in-100 probability that what looks like an effect of the treatment could have occurred randomly, and in truth there was no effect at all. Typically, scientists report results as significant when the P-value of the test is less than 0.05 (1 in 20).

Separate no effect from non-significance. The lack of a statistically significant result (say a P-value > 0.05) does not mean that there was no underlying effect: it means that no effect was detected. A small study may not have the power to detect a real difference. For example, tests of cotton and potato crops that were genetically modified to produce a toxin to protect them from damaging insects suggested that there were no adverse effects on beneficial insects such as pollinators. Yet none of the experiments had large enough sample sizes to detect impacts on beneficial species had there been any5.

Effect size matters. Small responses are less likely to be detected. A study with many replicates might result in a statistically significant result but have a small effect size (and so, perhaps, be unimportant). The importance of an effect size is a biological, physical or social question, and not a statistical one. In the 1990s, the editor of the US journal Epidemiology asked authors to stop using statistical significance in submitted manuscripts because authors were routinely misinterpreting the meaning of significance tests, resulting in ineffective or misguided recommendations for public-health policy6.

Study relevance limits generalizations. The relevance of a study depends on how much the conditions under which it is done resemble the conditions of the issue under consideration. For example, there are limits to the generalizations that one can make from animal or laboratory experiments to humans.

Feelings influence risk perception. Broadly, risk can be thought of as the likelihood of an event occurring in some time frame, multiplied by the consequences should the event occur. People's risk perception is influenced disproportionately by many things, including the rarity of the event, how much control they believe they have, the adverseness of the outcomes, and whether the risk is voluntarily or not. For example, people in the United States underestimate the risks associated with having a handgun at home by 100-fold, and overestimate the risks of living close to a nuclear reactor by 10-fold7.

Dependencies change the risks. It is possible to calculate the consequences of individual events, such as an extreme tide, heavy rainfall and key workers being absent. However, if the events are interrelated, (for example a storm causes a high tide, or heavy rain prevents workers from accessing the site) then the probability of their co-occurrence is much higher than might be expected8. The assurance by credit-rating agencies that groups of subprime mortgages had an exceedingly low risk of defaulting together was a major element in the 2008 collapse of the credit markets.

Data can be dredged or cherry picked. Evidence can be arranged to support one point of view. To interpret an apparent association between consumption of yoghurt during pregnancy and subsequent asthma in offspring9, one would need to know whether the authors set out to test this sole hypothesis, or happened across this finding in a huge data set. By contrast, the evidence for the Higgs boson specifically accounted for how hard researchers had to look for it — the 'look-elsewhere effect'. The question to ask is: 'What am I not being told?'

Extreme measurements may mislead. Any collation of measures (the effectiveness of a given school, say) will show variability owing to differences in innate ability (teacher competence), plus sampling (children might by chance be an atypical sample with complications), plus bias (the school might be in an area where people are unusually unhealthy), plus measurement error (outcomes might be measured in different ways for different schools). However, the resulting variation is typically interpreted only as differences in innate ability, ignoring the other sources. This becomes problematic with statements describing an extreme outcome ('the pass rate doubled') or comparing the magnitude of the extreme with the mean ('the pass rate in school x is three times the national average') or the range ('there is an x-fold difference between the highest- and lowest-performing schools'). League tables, in particular, are rarely reliable summaries of performance.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Liberal Science, A Climate of Fear, Cash and Correctitude, Modern environmentalism, coupled with fears first of global cooling and then of global warming,

Earth’s geological, archaeological and written histories are replete with climate changes: big and small, short and long, benign, beneficial, catastrophic and everything in between.
The Medieval Warm Period (950-1300 AD or CE) was a boon for agriculture, civilization and Viking settlers in Greenland. The Little Ice Age that followed (1300-1850) was calamitous, as were the Dust Bowl and the extended droughts that vanquished the Anasazi and Mayan cultures; cyclical droughts and floods in Africa, Asia and Australia; and periods of vicious hurricanes and tornadoes. Repeated Pleistocene Epoch ice ages covered much of North America, Europe and Asia under mile-thick ice sheets that denuded continents, stunted plant growth, and dropped ocean levels 400 feet for thousands of years.

Modern environmentalism, coupled with fears first of global cooling and then of global warming, persuaded politicians to launch the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Its original goal was to assess possible human influences on global warming and potential risks of human-induced warming. However, it wasn’t long before the Panel minimized, ignored and dismissed non-human factors to such a degree that its posture became the mantra that only humans are now affecting climate.
Over the last three decades, five IPCC “assessment reports,” dozens of computer models, scores of conferences and thousands of papers focused almost entirely on human fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide/greenhouse gas emissions, as being responsible for “dangerous” global warming, climate change, climate “disruption,” and almost every “extreme” weather or climate event. Tens of billions of dollars have supported these efforts, while only a few million have been devoted to analyses of all factors – natural and human – that affect and drive planetary climate change.
You would think researchers would welcome an opportunity to balance that vast library of one-sided research with an analysis of the natural causes of climate change – to enable them to evaluate the relative impact of human activities, more accurately predict future changes, and ensure that communities, states and nations can plan for, mitigate and adapt to those impacts. You would be wrong.
A few weeks ago, Nebraska lawmakers called for a wide-ranging study of “cyclical” climate change. Funded by the state, the $44,000 effort was to be limited to natural causes – not additional speculation about manmade effects. Amazingly, University of Nebraska scientists are not just refusing to participate in the study, unless it includes human influences. One climatologist at the university’s National Drought Mitigation Center actually said he would not be comfortable circulating a study proposal or asking other scientists to participate in it; in fact, he “would not send it out” to anyone. The director of the High Plains Climate Center sniffed, “If it’s only natural causes, we would not be interested.”
Their dismissive stance seems mystifying – until one examines climate change politics and financing.
None of these Nebraska scientists seems reluctant to accept far larger sums for “research” that focuses solely on human causes; nor do professors at Penn State, Virginia, George Mason or other academic or research institutions. They’re likewise not shy about connecting “dangerous manmade global warming” to dwindling frog populations, shrinking Italian pasta supplies, clownfish getting lost, cockroaches migrating, and scores of other remote to ridiculous assertions – if the claims bring in research grants.
American taxpayers alone are providing billions of dollars annually for such research, through the EPA and numerous other government agencies – and the colleges, universities and other institutions routinely take 40% or more off the top for “project management” and “overhead.” None of them wants to derail that gravy train, and all fear that accepting grants to study natural factors or climate cycles would imperil funding from sources that have ideological, political or crony corporatist reasons for making grants tied to manmade warming, renewable energy and related topics. Perhaps they would be tempted if the Nebraska legislators were offering $4 million or even $440,000. But a lousy $44,000?
Peer pressure, eco-activist harassment, politically correct posturing, and shared ideologies about fossil fuels, forced economic transformations and wealth redistribution via energy policies also play a major role, especially on campuses. Racial and sexual diversity is applauded, encouraged, even required, as is political diversity across the “entire” spectrum from communist to “progressive.” But diversity of opinion is restricted to 20x20-foot “free speech zones,” and would-be free speech practitioners are vilified, exiled to academic Siberia, dismissed or penalized – as “climate skeptics” from Delaware, Oregon, Virginia and other institutions can testify. Robust debate about energy and climate issues is denounced and obstructed.
As The Right Climate Stuff team points out, we cannot possibly model or distinguish human influences on climate change, without first understanding and modeling natural factors. But solar, cosmic ray, oceanic and other natural forces are dismissed in the corridors of alarmism. Even the adverse effects of climate change and renewable energy policies on jobs, economic growth, human health and welfare, and bird and bat populations receive little attention. Sadly, science has been subjected to such tyranny before.
When Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo found that science and observations did not support Ptolemy’s clever and complex model of the solar system, the totalitarian establishment of their day advised such heretics to recant – or be battered, banished or even burned at the stake. Today’s climate models are even more clever and complex, dependent on questionable assumptions and massaged data, unable to predict temperatures or climate events, and employed to justify costly energy and economic policies.
The modelers nevertheless continue to enjoy fame, fortune, power and academic glory – while those who question the garbage in-garbage out models are denounced and ostracized.
A particularly ugly example of junk science occurred in Stalin’s Soviet Union, where Trofim Lysenko rejected plant genetics and promoted the idea that traits were acquired by exposure to environmental influences. His delusions fit the regime’s utopian fantasies so well that a generation of scientists accepted them as fact, or at least said they did, so as to stay employed, and alive. Meanwhile, Lysenko’s crackpot ideas led to agricultural decline, crop failures, starvation, and finally the demise of the centrally planned Soviet economic system that perpetrated and perpetuated suffering for millions of people.
Skepticism and debate would have saved resources and lives. However, the Stalinist political machine would not tolerate dissent. Today’s scientific disease is less pernicious. However, politically driven science still frames critical public policies, because ideologically driven government has become the dominant financier of science. The disease has already crippled Europe’s industry and economy. It now threatens the vitality of the once powerful and innovative American system.
We’re all familiar with the Third World “democratic” process, where voters are “persuaded” by fear, fraud, deception, free meals and sham theatrics to give tin-pot dictators 97% of the “freely” cast votes.
Today we’re told 97% of climate scientists agree that the science is “settled” on climate change. Not only is this sham “consensus” based on a tiny percentage of scientists who bothered to respond to a carefully worded survey. It also ignores the700 climate scientists31,000 American scientists and 48% of US meteorologistswho say there is no evidence that humans are causing dangerous climate change.
More important, science is not a popularity contest or a matter of votes. As Galileo and Einstein demonstrated, one scientist who is right, and can prove it with evidence, trumps hundreds who have nothing but models, old paradigms, scary headlines and government cash to support their hypotheses.
Few scientists would say the Dust Bowl was caused by humans, even though poor farming practices clearly exacerbated it. Few would say cancer research should be limited to manmade chemicals, even though they may be responsible for some cancers.
Nebraskan (and other) researchers must end their hide-bound focus on human causes – and start working to understand all the complex, interrelated factors behind global climate changes and cycles. Government financiers and policy makers must do likewise. Our future well-being depends on it.