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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Britain faces one of its bitterest winters for 100 years

31 Dec 07

Temperatures are set to plummet to -17C (1.4F), forecasters warned last night. The New Year will begin with a freezing cold snap that will sweep across the country, causing "havoc" in its wake. An even icier Arctic blast is forecast later in the month.Sleet and snow are expected in many parts over the next few days, and spells of freezing weather are set to last until the end of February.The Highways Agency has already put 500 gritting vehicles on standby to cope with the predicted snowfall.Piers Corbyn, from long-range weather forecasters WeatherAction, said: "It is likely to be one of the six coldest Januarys for 100 years and is expected to include at least one exceptionally cold spell, similar to that experienced in January 1987 and the legendary January of 1740 when biting, strong, easterly winds and snow wreaked severe havoc. "There is likely to be a number of days when temperatures in many parts stay below freezing all day. The lowest night temperatures in parts of the Midlands, Northern England or Scotland could be as low as -17C (1.4F) or possibly colder."The Met Office expects temperatures to plunge from a mild 10C (50F) to -4C (25F) overnight in northern areas by Thursday.Robin Downton, of the Met Office, predicted snowfall in the East and North of England and eastern Scotland on Wednesday, possibly spreading to the Midlands, East Anglia and the South on Thursday.Jonathan Powell, senior forecaster at Positive Weather Solutions, said: "During February we will see an extended cold snap. We would expect it to be much colder than January. "We would expect many days where the temperatures struggle to get above freezing. There will be harsh frosts and snow at the start and the end of the month."

See entire article by Jane Wharton, Daily Express

Thanks to James P. Madden and Geoff Alder for this link

Monday, January 29, 2007

Global warming nothing but a paper tiger

By Vlado Bevc

THE MOVIE "An Inconvenient Truth," with which the indoctrinating centers in the Tri-Valley are propagandizing our children, comes across like this: We only have 10 years to return to a medieval lifestyle, to figure out how to get the sun to radiate more than 1.4 kW per square meter without melting the icecaps or to invent other "alternative" (what a ridiculous name) non-nuclear energy sources.

The Al Gore (or should I say Goebbels?) propaganda machine seeks to limit each person to 1 ton of carbon per year. The proposal is to create a system of carbon allowances that will be the rationing cards of the future.

The government would dole out what bureaucrats think we should have.

Kyoto targets, however, will not be met. Two facts about the futility of controlling emissions:

1) Uncontrolled fires in China's abandoned coal mines release as much carbon dioxide as the entire nation of Japan does from useful fuel consumption.

2) The oceans and land outgas 210 billion tons per year compared to 3 billion tons per year from human activity.

Ian Murray, a critic of Gore's "work," recently detailed 25 truths that Gore conveniently leaves out of the companion book to his video because they are inconvenient to his argument.
A few examples: The relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide is not linear; therefore the graph on pages 66-67 is seriously misleading.

The Peruvian glacier disappeared during a climate change a few thousand years ago.

The only way to turn off the Gulf Stream is to turn off the wind system, stop the rotation of the Earth, or both.

Gore fails to mention that introducing coal-fired electrical power generation in Africa and South America would reduce the 30 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions from burning wood to cook substantially and save more than 1.6 million lives per year.

Perhaps the biggest lie of all is the assertion that a consensus exists on human-attributed catastrophic global warming when scientific agreement only exists on a narrower range of issues such as the increase in temperature between 1919 and 1940.

From irregular sequences such as climate observations almost any trend one desires can be obtained purely by choosing the starting point and the right ending point and turning the extrapolation crank.

The climate charlatans play up this process to the hilt. Global warmers select whichever data tend to support their preconceived notions. They never go back to 1855 or try to explain decreases instead of increases in temperature. And they keep their data and algorithms close to their chest lest someone check them and expose the fallacy of their arguments.

Stephen McIntyre, a minerals consultant, recently demonstrated that the global warmers' favorite graph is wrong. Their reconstruction of global temperatures over the past 1,000 years shows slight oscillations until a sharp upward swing (the "blade" of the hockey stick) in recent years. McIntyre showed that the method used by climatologist Michael Mann and colleagues generates hockey sticks even from random data. Global warming guru Mann then published a partial correction but he refuses to release his computer algorithm for further checking. Diehards such as Mann et al. continue to defend the climate icon. Others, however, are beginning to downplay the hockey stick graph.

Consider what you get from 1 ton of carbon: You could heat your house with a small electric stove (1 kilowatt) for six hours a day for 10 months of a year. Nothing would be left for cooking, lighting, hot water, refrigeration, vacuuming or washing. No travel would be possible except on foot or on bicycle. A 1-ton footprint would actually return you to a lifestyle that existed before our lifetime.

Answering your propagandized children (for the time being they are not yet recruited to report you to the thought police, but watch out anyway): Giving in to the global warming lobby when so much evidence indicates that it is a gigantic paper tiger is irresponsible, unscientific, immature and selfish.

Our children and grandchildren will ask us whether we believed the great hoax of global warming and I, for one, don't want to be telling them that I kept a chart of my carbon footprint. I love to take my SUV to Tahoe, ski at night on well-lit slopes, fly airplanes and do all the power-intensive activities within my reach.

I recommend you keep doing the same or whatever else you enjoy. Have no fear. The Earth is a big place and your enjoyment of life will not hurt it in the least.

Bevc received a doctorate in electrical engineering from UC Berkeley. He was a postdoctoral fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and Air Force Office of Scientific Research at Oxford University in England, conducted scientific research for the Department of Defense and the aerospace industry, and held senior staff positions at the California Public Utilities Commission. He is a resident of Danville.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Very, Very Big Corn

Wall Street Journal

January 27, 2007

President Bush made a big push for alternative fuels in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, calling on Americans to reduce gasoline consumption by 20% over 10 years. And as soon as the sun rose on Wednesday, he set out to tour a DuPont facility in Delaware to tout the virtues of "cellulosic ethanol" and propose $2 billion in loans to promote the stuff. For a man who famously hasn't taken a drink for 20 years, that's a considerable intake of alcohol.

A bit of sobriety would go a long way in discussing this moonshine of the energy world, however. Cellulosic ethanol -- which is derived from plants like switchgrass -- will require a big technological breakthrough to have any impact on the fuel supply. That leaves corn- and sugar-based ethanol, which have been around long enough to understand their significant limitations. What we have here is a classic political stampede rooted more in hope and self-interest than science or logic.

Ostensibly, the great virtue of ethanol is that it represents a "sustainable," environmentally friendly source of energy -- a source that is literally homegrown rather than imported from such unstable places as Nigeria or Iran.

Inside Bush's Energy Proposals

That's one reason why, as Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren note in the Milken Institute Review, federal and state subsidies for ethanol ran to about $6 billion last year, equivalent to roughly half its wholesale market price. Ethanol gets a 51-cent a gallon domestic subsidy, and there's another 54-cent a gallon tariff applied at the border against imported ethanol. Without those subsidies, hardly anyone would make the stuff, much less buy it -- despite recent high oil prices.

That's also why the percentage of the U.S. corn crop devoted to ethanol has risen to 20% from 3% in just five years, or about 8.6 million acres of farmland. Reaching the President's target of 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels by 2017 would, at present corn yields, require the entire U.S. corn harvest.

No wonder, then, that the price of corn rose nearly 80% in 2006 alone. (See the chart nearby.) Corn growers and their Congressmen love this, and naturally they are planting as much as they can. Look for a cornfield in your neighborhood soon. Yet for those of us who like our corn flakes in the morning, the higher price isn't such good news. It's even worse for cattle, poultry and hog farmers trying to adjust to suddenly exorbitant prices for feed corn -- to pick just one industry example. The price of corn is making America's meat-packing industries, which are major exporters, less competitive.

In Mexico, the price of corn tortillas -- the dietary staple of the country's poorest -- has risen by about 30% in recent months, leading to widespread protests and price controls. In China, the government has put a halt to ethanol-plant construction for the threat it poses to the country's food security. Thus is a Beltway fad translated into Third World woes.

As for the environmental impact, well, where do we begin? As an oxygenate, ethanol increases the level of nitrous oxides in the atmosphere and thus causes smog. The scientific literature is also divided about whether the energy inputs required to produce ethanol actually exceed its energy output. It takes fertilizer to grow the corn, and fuel to ship and process it, and so forth. Even the most optimistic estimate says ethanol's net energy output is a marginal improvement of only 1.3 to one. For purposes of comparison, energy outputs from gasoline exceed inputs by an estimated 10 to one.

And because corn-based ethanol is less efficient than ordinary gasoline, using it to fuel cars means you need more gas to drive the same number of miles. This is not exactly a route to "independence" from Mideast, Venezuelan or any other tainted source of oil. Ethanol also cannot be shipped using existing pipelines (being alcohol, it eats the seals), so it must be trucked or sent by barge or train to its thousand-and-one destinations, at least until separate pipelines are built.
Even some environmentalists cry foul. Steve Sanderson, president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, tells us that intensive, subsidized sugar farming in Brazil -- where the use of ethanol is most widespread -- has displaced small tenant farmers, many of whom have taken to cutting down and farming land in the Amazon rain forest.

In the U.S., there is now talk of taking the roughly 40 million acres currently tied up in the Agriculture Department's conservation reserve and security programs and putting them into production for ethanol-related plants. "The land at risk under this ethanol program is land that's shown by the USDA to have had great results for the restoration of wildlife," Mr. Sanderson says, pointing especially to the grasslands of eastern Montana and the Dakotas. Hello ethanol, goodbye bison.

But what about global warming, where ethanol, as a non-fossil fuel, is supposed to make a positive contribution? Actually, it barely makes a dent. Australian researcher Robert Niven finds that the use of ethanol in gasoline -- the standard way in which ethanol is currently used -- reduces greenhouse gas emissions by no more than 5%. As Messrs. Taylor and Van Doren observe, "employing ethanol to reduce greenhouse gases is fantastically inefficient," costing as much as 16 times the optimal abatement cost for removing a ton of carbon from the

It's true that scientific advances will probably improve and perhaps even transform the utility of ethanol. Genetic modification will likely improve corn yields. And the President insists we are on the verge of breakthroughs in cellulosic technology, though experts tell us the technical hurdles are still huge. We'd be as happy as anyone if DuPont researchers finally discover the enzyme that can efficiently break down plants into starch, but betting billions of tax dollars and millions of acres of farmland on this hope strikes us as bad policy. If cellulose is going to be an energy miracle -- an agricultural cold fusion -- far better to let the market figure that out.

Not that any of these facts are likely to make much difference in the current Washington debate. The corn and sugar lobbies have their roots deep in both parties, and now they have the mantra of "energy independence" to invoke, however illusory it is. If anything, Congress may add to Mr. Bush's ethanol mandate requests.

So here comes Big Corn. Make that Very, Very Big Corn. Sooner or later, our experience with this huge public gamble may make us yearn for the efficiency, capacity, lower cost and -- yes -- superior environmental record of "Big Oil."

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Snow in Florida? Would I Kid You?

By Alan Caruba

2 Jan 07

Snow in Florida? How is that possible? After all, Al Gore says the Earth is rapidly warming and Florida is going to be under water any day now. In fact, that’s the message out of the United Nations recent climate conference—wisely held in Bali where it does not snow—yet.In 2007 I predicted it would be the year that, looking back, historians would identify as the year the global warming hoax began to unravel. News like this at the beginning of 2008 is just one more nail in its coffin.This report, however, is entirely consistent with the view of climatologists and others who, knowing that the Earth is at the end of an interglacial period, anticipate the beginning of a new Ice Age.I have no doubt that the media will cling to the global warming hoax until the snows begin to fall…and fall…and fall. Keep in mind that one inch of rain is comparable to one foot of snow. When it gets cold enough to produce snow, it will bury large portions of the northern continent.If it does snow in Orlando, Florida, don’t assume it is just freakish weather anomaly. It is a portent of things to come.See entire article:

My Rant

The claim that climate change is direct result of man's energy consumption is simply unproven and politically motivated. While they propound lies that certain lightbulbs or cars will destroy the earth and raise ocean levels as much as 20 feet within the next century, fascists, like Al Gore, fly around in their Gulfstream jets and live in homes that use 22 times the energy of an average American's home! Their propaganda is outrageous and potentially catastrophic for the economies of United States, the developed world and developing world.

The proof of global warming or man's influence on climate change is not settled science. Just consider the source of the big lie: the proselytizing hypocritical high priest of the pagan environmental religion Al Gore or the other Kool-Aid drinking climateers from the left such as Learjet liberals, Hollywood high school drop-outs, billonaire elitists, the left-leaning mainstream media, the United Nations, academia, environmental radicals, socialists, other anti-capitalists and so called "researchers", "experts" and/or "scientists" whose paychecks depend upon the apparent existence of the "issue".

United States energy conservation and independence is a worthy goal that should be supported by Republicans, the Democrat Party, true Democrats, Independents and environmentalists. Energy independence is a major national security concern. However, lying to our people, implementing the cap & trade boondoggle which will crush our economy or doing anything that will cause the United States to transfer an portion of its sovereignty to the United Nations is idiotic. Not in my name!