The history of human progress is essentially the history of man's mastery of ever more powerful and effective sources of energy. Today, with misguided “greens” attempting to roll back the clock on energy production, it is a good time to teach our children and remind ourselves where we came from. The following is an entertaining history of humans and their energy sources by Viv Forbes—a science graduate, geologist, mineral economist, farmer and Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition—with illustrations by cartoonist Steve Hunter.
Mixed in with the swirling cloud of misinformation about global warming is also a bit of blather regarding the onset of a new Ice Age. What the promoters of a new big freeze are talking about is a glacial period, since technically we are still in the midst of an ice age—the Pleistocene. A number of scientists have warned that the planet might be headed for a new period of glacial growth based on Earth's recent history. Over the past half million or so years there has been a series of short (15-20k year) warm period sandwiched between longer (70-100k year) glacial episodes. Make no mistake, global cooling is much worse than global warming, so this really matters to our descendants and the whole human race. Now, a new study in Nature says that we maybe off the hook, glacial wise. Not only that, human activity might be the reason.
On October 14, 2015, Dr Patrick Moore delivered the Global Warming Policy Foundation annual lecture in London. An ecologist and environmentalist for more than 45 years, Moore was one of the founding members and a leader of Greenpeace. After 15 years he left the organization because he felt its mission and message had changed. “Over the years the 'peace' in Greenpeace was gradually lost and my organization, along with much of the environmental movement, drifted into a belief that humans are the enemies of the earth.” Since then, Dr. Moore has been a consistent voice for sanity in ecological matters. In his address he asserts that CO2 is not evil rather it is the currency of life and the most important building block for all life on Earth. Human emissions of carbon dioxide have helped save plant life on our planet. “We are not the enemy of nature but its salvation,” he proclaimed.
Finally giving a more or less straight answer to a question—perhaps a first for Ms. Clinton's presidential champagne—Hillary has come down in favor of the President's new “Clean Energy Plan.” According to a web posting, Hillary said “You don’t have to be a scientist to take on this urgent challenge that threatens us all. You just have to be willing to act.” In other words, don't bother to understand the science or the possible ramifications, just trust me! Interesting that during the same week she refused to answer a question about the Keystone Pipeline, saying she wouldn't comment while the Obama administration was still weighing its decision. What a cop out.
The Triassic–Jurassic boundary 200 million years ago marked the beginning of the dinosaurs’ dominance of the entire planet. Following the worst ever extinction event at the end of the Permian, 252 mya, dinosaurs started showing up in the fossil record around 245 mya but did not spread to all areas of the globe until the end of the Triassic. A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) posits one possible explanation for why the spread of dinosaurs was stymied. Sadly, this interesting but not conclusive report was immediately seized upon by climate alarmists as a cautionary tale about atmospheric CO2 levels. A news item in Science online labels modern levels “alarming” and implies that a fiery fate, like the one that held the dinosaurs at bay for so long ago, awaits us all.
Climate alarmists are all atwitter over a new paper from researchers at NOAA/NCDC. In that paper the claim is made that the 18+ year pause in global warming is not real and that temperatures have been going up as expected. After more than a decade agonizing over the cause for the pause, desperately searching for the “missing” heat, dogmatic climate scientists have given up and simply declared the whole “hiatus” an accounting error. The temperature record in question is a kludged up global yearly average based on a hodgepodge of reporting stations, some on land and others at sea. In performing a “reanalysis” of the temperature record it was “discovered” that changes in the way temperatures were measured, particularly at sea, were systematically wrong, and “correcting” these readings causes the whole pesky pause thing to go away. What isn't mentioned are the other datasets that clearly show the pause is real, including two different satellite records. Has the climate catastrophe cabal given up all pretense of doing real science and decided to manipulate the data to give the answer they want? Many think so.
Germany is the economic powerhouse of the EU, with a far larger and more industrialized economy than other European nations—the fourth largest in the world. Given such a large industrial base it is unsurprising that Germany needs reliable power, which makes its headlong rush into renewable energy, called Energiewende (“energy transition”), even more mystifying than similar attempts by smaller EU states. Now come reports that the country’s rapid expansion into solar, wind, and other renewables has not been entirely smooth. Subsidies and regulations are promoting ill considered wind and solar installations while driving up costs. Slipped in among the solar panels and wind turbines are "biomass" generators—in other words, things that burn wood and agricultural waste—and the green party's anti-nuclear pogrom has led to an upsurge in coal usage. This hardly sounds like progress. Meanwhile, a new article makes bold claims for three of the smaller EU markets. Denmark, Portugal, and Spain have all made rapid transitions away from fossil fuels for electricity, but each in a different way. Are they truly examples for the world to follow?
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a known greenhouse gas (GHG) that is more potent than CO2 and is a contributing factor in ozone layer depletion, yet little has been published on natural sources of this compound. Despite the importance of fungi in several soil functions, the production of N2O by fungi has only been studied in a limited number of strains. A new report in the journal Nature has revealed that may types of fungi naturally produce N2O. Obviously this is more of that “settled science” the climate alarmists forgot to mention.
Despite what gets reported in the news media, there are good climate scientists out there, quietly laboring away at that “settled science.” They are actually trying to understand climate instead of making unsubstantiated, bombastic predictions about future global warming. As a result, several recent papers have cast additional doubt on the validity of climate models as they now stand. In one, wide variation in solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere adds to the major errors in basic physics inherent in the so-called “state of the art” climate models. Another paper, on aerosol radiative forcing, casts doubt on the fundamental assertion of climate alarmists regarding the warming power of CO2. Adding to the stink over the settled science claim, the journal Nature carried a news article that says such assertions are “absolutely not true” and pleads for a new crop of physicists to help unravel the persistent ongoing climate mysteries. The outlook for climate science is cloudy indeed.
Proving the old adage, if your first lie isn't believed lie again and make it a whopper, NASA GISS announced another study proclaiming imminent climate catastrophe. This time it's the US Southwest and the scourge is not just drought, it's Megadrought! The report predicts that decades-long droughts are likely to ravage the US Southwest and Great Plains within the next century. “This drying could be worse than any other in the past 1,000 years, including a 'megadrought' seven centuries ago that helped drive an ancient civilization to collapse,” wails Nature online. But just how did the researchers come to this conclusion and what evidence do they base their predictions on? As it turns out the whole thing is a house of cards.
As the new year begins the forces of climate alarmism find themselves in disarray. The world refuses to warm, despite contorted data manipulation aimed at squeezing out a claimed “hottest year ever” record by NOAA. One hundredth of a degree does not a warming trend create. Northern hemisphere temperatures are depressed for the second year in a row—also not a climate trend in itself but a psychological blow to the warmists trying to sell the idea that temperatures are at a record high. Moreover, there are indications that the climatologists' bane, CO2, is not ravaging tropical forests and is not being produced where the “blame the developed world first” crowd expected. In all, a good start to the new year because it is a bad start for the alarmists.
Despite efforts to correct and educate many ersatz climate experts, many persist in using consensus as an argument in favor of the failed theory of global warming caused by human CO2 emissions. From froth at the mouth fanboys on Twitter to empty headed politicians on network television, the cry comes: “what about the 97% consensus among scientists?” On occasion old, and evidently lazy, scientists revert to using “consensus” as an argument. Once again I will try to set the record straight when it comes to polls among scientists and scientific proof.
Hoards of non-scientists have been making a career out of pushing “settled science,” particularly when it come to climate change, the eco-socialists' favorite excuse for dismantling the world's existing economic and industrial base. Unlike the notoriously squishy science of climate change, physics is viewed as being mature and on a more solid foundation, at least by those who are physicists. Given the recent furor caused by the IPCC and NCA reports, plus the US EPA's ham handed attempt to institute CO2 Cap & Trade without the agreement of Congress, it is instructional for scientific outsiders to review recent events in both fields. Read on, believers in the myth of settled science and those who think scientific questions are resolved by consensus.
It is Earth Day today, a chance for all tree huggers, green activists and other self absorbed eco-types to feel good about themselves by disparaging their neighbors. There was a time when environmental issues were rightfully at the top of people's concerns—the skies above our cities were brown and noxious, our rivers and streams poisoned with pollution, lead was accumulating in the environment and our children. The problem is, though most major problems have been addressed, the bureaucracy that was created to fix the environment cannot help but look for new problems that demand solutions, even if the problems are slight and the solutions draconian. Chief among these new problems is “carbon pollution” by which the eco-enforcers mean CO2 emissions. The tragedy of Earth Day is that governments spend billions of dollars on meaningless efforts to curb carbon dioxide while billions live in poverty and squaller around the world.
As this blog has previously noted, the mainstream media are all a twitter over the IPCC's latest screed, advising, no, demanding that governments around the world take decisive action to combat that mythical bugaboo, anthropogenic global warming. Their own supporters, including President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, have been generating a lot of hot air about AGW but doing precious little, mainly because cooler heads in Congress have prevailed. What hasn't been widely presented are the counter arguments. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), has issued its own report, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, to counter the half truths and outright lies in the IPCC propaganda piece but it seems that information about the report has been suppressed. As a public service we proudly present an op-ed by Dr. Craig Idso, lead editor and scientist for the NIPCC.