Skeptical Thoughts on Energy, Science and Global Warming

Better To Burn Than To Brew Ethanol

Coming on the heals of the EPA and CARB decisions, to include all production emissions when evaluating biofuels, a new study from the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology says that it may be better to burn crops than turn them into biofuels. The UN has reported that world food prices are rising due to competition with government subsidized biofuel programs. Combined with new concerns over nitrous oxide production from agricultural crops, this may signal the death of America's foolish foray into crop based ethanol.

Crank of the Week - May 4, 2009 - Wesley Clark

After a brief, failed career as a politician, retired US General Wesley Clark has finally sunk to the lowest level of American political life: he has become a lobbyist for the ethanol business. He recently appeared on evening news programs decrying the change in public sentiment away from global warming and, in particular, ethanol biofuel. “Public consensus is wrong.” said Clark, blaming the shift in public opinion on propaganda from global warming deniers.

Russia To Ring Arctic With Floating Nuclear Plants

A Russian project currently underway aims at ringing the Arctic Circle with 70 MW floating nuclear power plants. In a report by Interfax, a Russian state controlled news agency, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and the far northern Siberian Republic of Yakutiya signed an agreement last week for the construction of four floating nuclear power plants for use along the Republic’s coastal areas on the Arctic Ocean. This moves forward existing plans to construct scores of new power plants in the Arctic region.

New Study Adds To Glacial Ice Confusion

In a new report in Science, scientists present results matching neither the hypothesis of inter-hemispheric synchrony during the mid to late Holocene nor rhythmic asynchrony, downplaying the importance of global driving mechanisms. It seems that several glacier advances occurred in New Zealand during classic northern warm periods. Understanding the relationship between climate changes in the northern and southern hemispheres during the Holocene, along with their causes, remains a major problem of climate science.

Arctic Aerosols Indicate Melting Ice Not Caused By CO2

NASA researchers report that much of the atmospheric warming observed in the Arctic since 1976 may be due to changes in tiny airborne particles called aerosols. Though greenhouse gases are invariably blamed for global climate change, and the shrinking Arctic ice cover in particular, this new research indicates that as much as half the warming in the Arctic can be attributed to sort lived particulate pollution—basically soot. Unlike the dreaded gas, CO2, aerosols do not stay in the atmosphere very long, suggesting that the effects of any warming caused by aerosols would quickly be reversed if their emissions ceased.

Earth Institute Meeting Turns Into Complaint Session About “Deniers”

The Earth Institute at Columbia University held a panel discussion recently on the subject of climate change. The main themes of the evening were the complexity and fluidity of climate science, interweaving policy, politics and science, and evolving public attitudes. Not surprisingly, being held in an academic environment, the audience at Columbia was firmly in the camp of climate change believers and was preoccupied mainly with deflecting attacks by deniers. Why do anthropogenic global warming proponents seem so paranoid about opposing views?

Climate Change Spin Doctors

Increased scrutiny of climate catastrophists' claims is leading to panic among the promoters of global warming hype. Rather than attempting to counter mounting evidence that global warming—at least as defined by the IPCC and its supporters—is not a valid scientific theory, a number of leading catastrophists have issued a public call to climate scientists. Their plea? Further dumbing down climate science by using a simplified “common climate language” to “advance the public's decision-making capacity.”

Biofuels Damage the Environment: Nitrous Oxide Trumps Carbon Dioxide

Scientists working on behalf of the International Council for Science (ICSU), a Paris-based federation of scientific associations from around the world, have issued a new report that says biofuels do more to create global warming than burning fossil fuels. The reason is that raising the plants to be turned into ethanol and biodiesel releases large volumes of nitrous oxide (N2O), which is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) as a greenhouse gas. Once again, trying to solve humanity's longterm energy and climate problems by hastily grasping at so called green solutions has resulted in the opposite of what eco-activists have claimed.

Scientists Discover The Sun Does Affect Earth's Climate

Currently the sun is in one of its least active periods since the Maunder Minimum, during the depths of the Little Ice Age. A quiet Sun comes along every 11 years or so—it's a natural part of the sunspot cycle, discovered by German astronomer Heinrich Schwabe in the mid-1800s. What does this have to do with global warming and climate change? It just may be why things keep getting colder as climate activists tell us Earth is melting down.

Crank of the Week - April 6, 2009 - John Holdren

President Obama's new science adviser has stated that global warming is so dire, the administration is discussing radical technologies to cool Earth's air. Former Harvard physicist, John Holdren, described several extreme options including shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun's rays and developing artificial trees to suck carbon dioxide from Earth's atmosphere. This is not the first time so called geoengineering schemes have been proposed by scientists thinking way out of the box—what makes this scary is that this guy is the President's science adviser.

Medieval Warm Period Rediscovered

A recent article in the journal Science has provided a new, detailed climate record for the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA), also know as the Medieval Warm Period. It was the most recent pre-industrial warm period, noted in Europe and elsewhere around the globe. The researchers present a 947-year-long multi-decadal North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) reconstruction and find a persistent positive NAO during the MCA. The interesting thing is that the MCA had basically been removed from the climate record by Michael Mann's infamous “hockey stick” history graph that was adopted by the IPCC a decade ago.

Tiptoeing Through The Tipping Points

The current hot phrase bandied about by talking heads and parotted by news pundits is “tipping point.” We are told that the climate may be near a tipping point, if it has not crossed one already, and that can't be good. But what is a tipping point, where do they come from and how can we identify one when we see it?

Climate Catrastophists Counterattack

“The worst-case IPCC projections, or even worse, are being realized,” said Katherine Richardson, co-chair of the Copenhagen Climate Congress. Emissions are soaring, projections of sea level rise are higher than expected, and climate impacts around the world are appearing with increasing frequency, the University of Copenhagen biological oceanographer told delegates in the opening session of the 3-day meeting. Why are the doomsayers suddenly all over the news media? Because of the changing climate—the political climate that is.

Melting Antarctic Ice Part of Natural Cycle

Historical records for the western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) show that it is particularly prone to rapid climate change—change that occurs in cycles of ~200 years and ~2500 years. By studying major transitions in plankton productivity in the western Antarctic, scientists have shown that “spectacular” ice-cover losses have happened many times in the past. In other words, the “unprecedented rapid loss of ice” from parts of Antarctica that global warming alarmists make so much of are a normal part of nature's cycles.

Americans & Science: Good News and Bad News

The good news: US adults do believe that scientific research and education are important. About 4 in 5 adults think science education is “absolutely essential” or “very important” to the US. health care system (86%), America's global reputation (79%), and the economy (77%). The bad news: most Americans think it is up to someone else to actually do the science. What's worse is that a new national survey, commissioned by the California Academy of Sciences, says that the American public is unable to pass even a basic scientific literacy test.

Syndicate content