Archive for December, 2010

Appeals court blocks EPA's Texas takeover


[Update 1/13/11: the court lifted the stay so the takeover is in effect pending trial.]

“A federal appeals court temporarily blocked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from taking control of Texas’s carbon-emission rules while it considers the state’s bid to fend off federal intervention.

Texas filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington yesterday, saying the EPA didn’t give adequate notice or allow for comments on a proposed federal takeover of the state’s air permitting program on Jan. 2. Last night, the court ordered the agency to hold off on its plan while the court considers whether to delay the move until the case is resolved.

The appeals court ordered the EPA to respond to Texas’s motion by Jan. 6. Challenges to federal rules are brought directly to appeals courts.”  “Texas Spared EPA Takeover of Carbon-Emission Rules as Court Weighs Move”  H/t Green Hell Blog


Warmest year ever!


“Of the past 10,500 years, 9,100 were warmer than 1934/1998/2010.  Thus, regardless of which year ( 1934, 1998, or 2010) turns out to be the warmest of the past century, that year will rank number 9,099 in the long-term list.”  “2010 – where does it fit in the warmest year list?

CO2 rise "most likely due to warming oceans degassing"


“What happens if we use the plant stomata-derived CO2 instead of the ice core data?

We find that the ~250-year lag time is consistent. CO2 levels peaked 250 years after the Medieval Warm Period peaked and the Little Ice Age cooling began and CO2 bottomed out 240 years after the trough of the Little Ice Age. In a fashion similar to the glacial/interglacial lags in the ice cores, the plant stomata data indicate that CO2 has lagged behind temperature changes by about 250 years over the last millennium. The rise in CO2 that began in 1860 is most likely the result of warming oceans degassing.”  “CO2: Ice Cores vs. Plant Stomata

It's the Sun: solar UV has increased 50% since Little Ice Age


Figure 8. Reconstructed solar irradiance in Ly-α: daily (thin solid line) and smoothed over 11 years (thick line).

Abstract: Solar irradiance is the main external driver of the Earth’s climate. Whereas the total solar irradiance is the main source of energy input into the climate system, solar UV irradiance exerts control over chemical and physical processes in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. The time series of accurate irradiance measurements are, however, relatively short and limit the assessment of the solar contribution to the climate change. Here we reconstruct solar total and spectral irradiance in the range 115–160,000 nm since 1610. The evolution of the solar photospheric magnetic flux, which is a central input to the model, is appraised from the historical record of the sunspot number using a simple but consistent physical model. The model predicts an increase of 1.25 W/m2, or about 0.09%, in the 11-year averaged solar total irradiance since the Maunder minimum. Also, irradiance in individual spectral intervals has generally increased during the past four centuries, the magnitude of the trend being higher toward shorter wavelengths. In particular, the 11-year averaged Ly-α irradiance has increased by almost 50%. An exception is the spectral interval between about 1500 and 2500 nm, where irradiance has slightly decreased (by about 0.02%).”  “Reconstruction of solar spectral irradiance since the Maunder minimum”  H/t The Hockey Schtick

Greenies upset at CARB


A cap-and-trade program approved Thursday by the California Air Resources Board [CARB] includes damaging loopholes that would incentivize clearcutting in the name of reducing carbon emissions.  … Among the options [available to industrial CO2 emitters] is buying offset credits from forest clearcutting.  …

Air Resources Board member Dorene D’Adamo proposed an amendment to protect against forests being converted to tree farms for the purpose of generating carbon credits, but the board ultimately voted to allow forest clearcutting to remain in the rule.

“At best, this will subsidize, at the expense of the people of California, the operations of some of the most damaging forest management going on today,” said [Brian] Nowicki [California climate policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity]. “At worst, this will incentivize the clearcutting of natural forests to be replaced by tree farms.”  …

The cap-and-trade regulations adopted Thursday also allow industrial [CO2 emitters to ignore] … greenhouse gas emissions caused by burning forest “biomass” — including whole, live trees — for the generation of energy and other industrial uses. This not only would encourage the wholesale logging of California’s forests to provide fuel for industrial processes and electrical power generation, but also threatens to increase overall greenhouse gas emissions because the actual greenhouse gas emissions from burning wood can be higher than from burning fossil fuels.”  “California Board Endorses Forest Clearcutting in Fight Against Global Warming”  H/t Tom Nelson

New paper by Prof. Akasofu (Int'l Arctic Research Center, U. Alaska Fairbanks)


A number of published papers and openly available data on sea level changes, glacier retreat, freezing/break-up dates of rivers, sea ice retreat, tree-ring observations, ice cores and changes of the cosmic-ray intensity, from the year 1000 to the present, are studied to examine how the Earth has recovered from the Little Ice Age (LIA). We learn that the recovery from the LIA has proceeded continuously, roughly in a linear manner, from 1800-1850 to the present. The rate of the recovery in terms of temperature is about 0.5°C/100 years and thus it has important implications for understanding the present global warming. It is suggested, on the basis of a much longer period data, that the Earth is still in the process of recovery from the LIA; there is no sign to indicate the end of the recovery before 1900. Cosmic-ray intensity data show that solar activity was related to both the LIA and its recovery. The multi-decadal oscillation of a period of 50 to 60 years was superposed on the linear change; it peaked in 1940 and 2000, causing the halting of warming temporarily after 2000. These changes are natural changes, and in order to determine the contribution of the manmade greenhouse effect, there is an urgent need to identify them correctly and accurately and re-move them from the present global warming/cooling trend.  …

In this paper we learned:
1) The Earth experienced the Little Ice Age (LIA) between 1200-1400 and 1800-1850. The temperature during the LIA is expected to be 1°C lower than the present temperature. The solar irradiance was relatively low during the LIA.
2) The gradual recovery from 1800-1850 was approximately linear, the recovery (warming) rate was about 0.5°C/100 years. The same linear change continued from 1800-1850 to 2000. In this period, the solar irradiance began to recover from its low value during the LIA.
3) The recovery from the LIA is still continuing today.
4) The multi-decadal oscillation is superposed on the linear change. The multi-decadal oscillation peaked in about 1940 and also in 2000, causing the temporal halting of the recovery from the LIA.
5) The negative trend after the peak in 1940 and 2000 overwhelmed the linear trend of the recovery, causing the cooling or halting of warming.
6) The view presented in this paper predicts the temperature increase in 2100 to be 0.5°C ± 0.2°C, rather than 4° C ± 2.0°C predicted by the IPCC.”  “On the recovery from the Little Ice Age”  H/t Tom Nelson

Judge condemns U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's junk science


The notorious U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its new Natural Resources Defense Council science adviser, which in the name of protecting a tiny bait fish (the delta smelt) is responsible for cutting off water to California farmers, resulting in staggering unemployment in the agricultural sector, has been dealt a serious blow by a federal district court judge in California:

“Tuesday, a federal judge’s opinion struck a blow against one-sided delta policies that have tilted back and forth over the decades, more recently in favor of concern for fish teetering on the brink of extinction and at the expense of municipal and agricultural water users. U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger, waist-deep in the state’s long-running courtroom battle over delta water, ruled that [water] export restrictions primarily meant to protect the endangered delta smelt were based on “sloppy science” and “uni-directional prescriptions that ignore California’s water needs.”  “Delta ruling doesn’t mean much — yet

“”The 2008 (biological opinion findings) are arbitrary, capricious, and unlawful, and are remanded to Fish & Wildlife for further consideration in accordance with this decision and the requirements of law,” Wanger wrote.  …

“With the economy struggling and unemployment still soaring, it is welcome to see a judge refusing to rubber stamp extreme, destructive and unjustified environmental regulations,” said Damien Schiff, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, which represented three farmers who say water cutbacks harmed their businesses.”  “Federal Judge Orders Rewrite of Delta Smelt Plan

“Mr. Schiff said the science “should have been sterling” to justify reducing water to farmers. “It wasn’t even mediocre. That is illegal.”

“The court cannot maintain the status quo because it would be in effect allowing … sloppy science to rule the day,” Mr. Schiff said …”  “California water, here it comes?

“”Despite the harm visited on California water users, (the Fish and Wildlife Service) has failed to provide lawful explanations for the apparent over-appropriation of project water supplies for species protection,” Wanger wrote.  …

Tuesday’s ruling dates back to a 2005 Fish and Wildlife Service plan for managing a dwindling delta smelt population. That first biological opinion concluded that the pumps in the south delta near Tracy posed no threat to the species. The Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups disagreed and filed suit later that year.

In 2007, Wanger sided with them, invalidating the opinion and ordering the agency to rewrite it.

The next year, the Fish and Wildlife Service reversed itself entirely and declared the pumps “likely to jeopardize” the federally protected smelt. That set the stage for 15 percent to 40 percent water cutbacks from the delta at the same time California was in the grip of a nasty dry spell. As tens of thousands of acres lay fallow in 2008 and 2009 [and 2010], Central Valley farmers and conservative commentators took to calling the situation a “Congress-created California dust bowl.”

In 2008, it was the farmers’ and urban water districts’ turn to file suit against the Fish and Wildlife Service. Tuesday’s decision was the culmination of those combined lawsuits.”  “U.S. agency’s smelt plan ‘arbitrary,’ judges rules

“The ruling is a “step closer to accomplishing California’s coequal goals of restoring the Delta environment and ensuring that the public will have an adequate and reliable water supply,” said Tom Birmingham, general manager of the Westlands Water District.”  “Federal judge finds major flaws in smelt plan

Judge Wanger issued a similar opinion in a different case in May.

Greenies discover carbon leakage


In a prior post I asked, “Doesn’t EPA understand that if it shuts down coal use in the U.S., U.S coal and jobs will be exported to China and other developing countries which will burn the coal without regulation?”  Well, the enviro obstructionists are working on that too:

“Conservationists are challenging the approval of a Columbia River port that will export coal to Asia.

Cowlitz County commissioners voted in November to allow a subsidiary of Australia-based Ambre Energy to redevelop a port in Longview, Wash., to handle 5 million tons of coal annually.

Earthjustice on Monday appealed the permit decision to the Washington state Shorelines Hearings Board on behalf of Climate Solutions, Sierra Club, Washington Environmental Council and Columbia Riverkeeper.  …

Coal would be shipped from Montana and Wyoming by rail to the new terminal located about 40 miles north of Portland, Ore.  It would be the first of several proposed new coal terminals on the West Coast.  …

Environmentalists say the project runs counter to efforts by Washington, Oregon and other states to curb their own greenhouse gas emissions — and will simply shift those emissions overseas.”  “Groups fight decision allowing Asia coal exports

Greedy government green parasite to destroy British host


“BUSINESSES are facing a “perfect storm” from 2012 when they will be hit by a doubling in their energy bills at the same time as the UK government’s controversial “carbon tax”.

Carbon Masters, a spin-out company from the University of Edinburgh, has calculated that most UK firms will be see their gas and electricity bills soar by 100 per cent between 2012 and 2016 while they will also be saddled with a carbon tax bill of at least £42,000 under the government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) energy efficiency scheme.

Kevin Houston, chief executive of Carbon Masters, believes most companies are completely unprepared for the enormous jump in their energy costs from 2012 onwards.  …

The original scheme was designed to be tax neutral with the most energy efficient companies receiving their money back at the end of the year. However, under controversial changes announced by the coalition earlier this year, the funds raised will go to the Treasury, raising £1 billion for the depleted taxpayer’s purse.”  “Carbon tax and energy price hike to create ‘perfect storm’”  H/t CCNet

Talk about denial!


“Recent trends in the public’s understanding of climate change have diverged from the broad, and well-documented consensus held by scientists. While the level of consensus regarding climate change among scientists is very high, the public remains deeply divided. Furthermore, a large percentage of the general public perceives that a serious debate exists within the science community on the basic theory of anthropogenic climate change. This disconnect between the scientific community and the general public should motivate scientists to take a more active role in public outreach.”  “An Emerging Ethic of Responsibility: A Case Study for Engaging the Public