US: Republicans to limit EPA on emissions

House leader John Boehner

As we all know, Obama failed to get congressional approval for his plan to “tackle climate change” (code for destroying the economy – although he’s done a pretty good job of that anyway), but that wasn’t going to stop the Marxist POTUS, who thinks that the whole democracy thing is just an annoying inconvenience. He just encouraged the EPA to classify the harmless trace gas carbon dioxide as a dangerous pollutant, which they meekly did. However, the Republican majority in the House is doing its best to put an end to Obama’s undemocratic methods:

Republicans in the US Congress have wasted no time in using their new majority in the House of Representatives to try to block the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to act on climate change.

In their first full day in the new Congress, Republicans outlined three different bills – encapsulating three different strategies – aimed at limiting the agency’s powers.

The first would declare that greenhouse gas emissions are not subject to the Clean Air Act. The second would block funding to any government agency associated with cap-and-trade. The third is seeking a two-year delay in EPA regulation of carbon dioxide and methane emissions.

The Republicans also shut down a House committee that had tackled energy and climate issues. (source)

Bravo. Climate sense from the US at last.

US: GHG regulation by the back door

Sign at EPA offices

Somebody once said climate change was too important to be left to democratic processes [Anybody remember who? It was probably said by hundreds of different people, all of them wishing to rule the world through climate change regulation – Ed] and that’s exactly what has now happened in the US. Despite there being no congressional approval for legislation regulating greenhouse gases, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year, in a moment of politically-motivated insanity, classified the harmless trace gas carbon dioxide a “dangerous pollutant“. Now the EPA has begun to regulate emissions:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is beginning to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from energy plants and factories despite vows from Republicans in Congress to stop or slow the regulators.

President Barack Obama, who has pledged the United States will cut the emissions 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, wants Congress to pass limits on the gases blamed for warming the planet. There’s virtually no chance that will happen before Obama’s first term ends in 2012, so he has pushed the EPA to move.

The EPA paved the way for the rules in late 2009 when it declared greenhouse gas emissions a threat to human health.

But Republicans, who are taking control of the House of Representatives and who gained seats in the Senate, want to stop or delay the EPA from acting. They say the regulations will hurt job recovery in states heavily dependent on coal, oil and natural gas. (source)

And it’s blatantly undemocratic. But with luck, a Republican House will squeeze the EPA’s funding until they come to their senses… maybe.

ABC: climate still warming

Heaviest global warming in US for 60 years

Of course it is. No matter how much snow, ice and cold, the ABC will always be there to find a CSIRO scientist (funded by a government which is committed to the global warming narrative) to tell us not to believe our senses, but to put our trust in their flaky models: the climate is still warming, and don’t you forget it! The same is happening in the UK and the US as well, where the faithful are on a desperate crusade of spin to convince an ever more suspicious public that extreme cold is a sign of global warming, even though last year we said there wouldn’t be any more extreme cold, because of… er, global warming:

Snow storms in the northern hemisphere and torrential rainfall in parts of drought stricken Australia could have you wondering whether there’s been a permanent shift in average temperatures.

According to the CSIRO, the recent extreme weather in both northern and southern hemispheres reflect short-term variability’s [sic] in climate.

Barrie Hunt, an Honorary Research Fellow with CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research , says periodic short-term cooling in global temperatures should not be misinterpreted as signalling an end to global warming.

“Despite 2010 being a very warm year globally, the severity of the 2009-2010 northern winter and a wetter and cooler Australia in 2010 relative to the past few years have been misinterpreted by some to imply that climate change is not occurring,” Mr Hunt said. (source)

Neither side of the argument should use individual short term weather events to claim that climate change is or is not occurring. The point is, however, the glaring hypocrisy of the warmists: on the one hand, they claim no single short-term weather event can prove or disprove climate change (especially when it is a cold event), but on the other, when it suits, they cite bush fires and heatwaves as “evidence” of global warming, and on the third hand, as a last ditched effort, try to argue that extreme cold is evidence of global warming as well! And you will never, ever read the opposite, but equally valid, assertion, namely that bushfires and heatwaves are ” entirely consistent with global cooling”…

With twisted logic like that, you can’t possibly lose.

Merry Christmas: polar bears "not endangered"

Party on, dudes

But, but, but… polar bears are the poster child of global warming, er, climate change, er, global climate disruption, or something, aren’t they? They’re the canary in the coal mine for the planet aren’t they? Here’s the national, taxpayer funded broadcaster, the ABC, just a few days ago:

A recent study that suggests there is still a slim chance to save the animals from global warming.

Researchers say the polar bear population this year appears to be in even worse shape than last year.

Researchers have predicted that by the year 2050, only a third of the world’s 22,000 polar bears might be left. (source)

And here’s the über-alarmist Sydney Morning Herald, also just a few days ago:

Climate change is pushing Arctic mammals to mate with cousin species, in a trend that could be pushing the polar bear and other iconic animals towards extinction, biologists said.

“Rapidly melting Arctic sea ice imperils species through interbreeding as well as through habitat loss,” they said in a commentary appearing in the British science journal Nature.

“As more isolated populations and species come into contact, they will mate, hybrids will form, and rare species are likely to go extinct.” (source)

If your sources of news consisted solely of the ABC and the Fairfax press, which they do for many in Australia, you would be forgiven for thinking that polar bears are in dire risk of extinction, because of your evil SUV and your incandescent light bulbs, right? At least Barack Obama has made one sensible decision in his disastrous presidency (strangely not reported by either the SMH or the ABC):

The Obama administration is sticking with a George W. Bush-era decision to deny polar bears endangered species status.

In a court filing Wednesday, the Fish and Wildlife Service defended the previous administration’s decision to give the polar bear the less-protective “threatened” species designation, a move that will frustrate environmentalists [Excellent news! I just love frustrated environmentalists! – Ed] who hoped for stronger protections under the Endangered Species Act.

FWS Director Rowan Gould said the 2008 “threatened” listing was made “following careful analysis of the best scientific information, as required by the ESA.” [Pity they can’t employ the same rigour with climate science – Ed]

Listing the polar bear as “endangered” as a result of global warming could open the door to using the Endangered Species Act to regulate greenhouse gases, an outcome the Obama administration has opposed. (source)

Odd last comment, since the Obama administration clearly doesn’t seem to mind the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulating greenhouse gases without congressional approval…

Discovery Channel gunman "inspired by Al Gore"

One snowflake short of a glacier…

One unhinged eco-warrior inspired by another, er, unhinged (and very rich) eco-warrior. James Lee, the gunman shot dead after taking hostages at the Discovery Channel’s headquarters, has Al Gore to thank for his sticky end:

Lee has a history of protesting Discovery’s programming, saying it has little to do with saving the planet. He was arrested outside the building in February 2008 after throwing thousands of dollars in the air.

At the time, Lee was identified as being from San Diego, listing his address as a local homeless shelter.

At his trial, he said he began working to save the planet after being laid off from his job in San Diego. He said he was inspired by Ishmael, a novel by environmentalist Daniel Quinn and by former Vice President Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

A real climate change victim, at last.

Read it here.

Obama throws AGW court case under a bus

Legal analysis

But, but, but, Obama’s a friend to the environment – he’d never do something like this! Unfortunately, that’s exactly what his administration has done, urging the Supreme Court to throw out a ruling that would allow big emitters to be sued under the law of public nuisance. As the New York Times reports:

In the case, AEP v. Connecticut, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a coalition of states, environmental groups and New York City. The decision, handed down last year, said they could proceed with a lawsuit that seeks to force several of the nation’s largest coal-fired utilities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The defendants — American Electric Power Co. Inc., Duke Energy Corp., Southern Co. and Xcel Energy Inc. — filed a petition for review with the Supreme Court earlier this month, asking the court to reject the argument that greenhouse gas emissions can be addressed through “public nuisance” lawsuits (Greenwire, Aug. 4).

In a brief (pdf) filed yesterday on behalf of the Tennessee Valley Authority, acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal agreed with the defendants, saying that U.S. EPA’s newly finalized regulations on greenhouse gases have displaced that type of common-law claim.

Katyal urged the court to vacate the decision and remand the case to the 2nd Circuit for further proceedings, this time taking into account the administration’s push to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

The environmentalists are speechless (almost):

Matt Pawa, an attorney representing plaintiffs in the case, said he and his colleagues expected the White House to stay out of the matter. During a meeting with more than 30 administration lawyers at the solicitor general’s office on June 24, it seemed they had “a lot of friends in the room,” he said.

“We feel stabbed in the back,” Pawa said. “This was really a dastardly move by an administration that said it was a friend of the environment. With friends like this, who needs enemies?”

Top attorneys at environmental advocacy groups are buzzing about the brief, sources say. Some feel betrayed by a White House that has generally been more amenable to environmental regulation than its predecessor.

“This reads as if it were cut and pasted from the Bush administration’s briefing in Massachusetts,” said David Bookbinder, who served as the Sierra Club’s chief climate counsel until his resignation in May.

Don’t worry, the EPA has still classified CO2 as a pollutant, so there’s still a chance of fully-blown climate madness in the US.

Read it here.

Spencer: The Global Warming Inquisition has begun

Fetch … the COMFY CHAIR!

The blogosphere is buzzing with the news of the National Academy of Sciences “sceptic blacklist” (see here), and Roy Spencer sums it up eloquently:

The study lends a pseudo-scientific air of respectability to what amounts to a black list of the minority of scientists who do not accept the premise that global warming is mostly the result of you driving your SUV and using incandescent light bulbs.

There is no question that there are very many more scientific papers which accept the mainstream view of global warming being caused by humans. And that might account for something if those papers actually independently investigated alternative, natural mechanisms that might explain most global warming in the last 30 to 50 years, and found that those natural mechanisms could not.

As just one of many alternative explanations, most of the warming we have measured in the last 30 years could have been caused by a natural, 2% decrease in cloud cover. Unfortunately, our measurements of global cloud cover over that time are nowhere near accurate enough to document such a change.

But those scientific studies did not address all of the alternative explanations. They couldn’t, because we do not have the data to investigate them. The vast majority of them simply assumed global warming was manmade.

I’m sorry, but in science a presupposition is not “evidence”.

Instead, anthropogenic climate change has become a scientific faith. The fact that the very first sentence in the PNAS article uses the phrase “tenets of anthropogenic climate change” hints at this, since the term “tenet” is most often used when referring to religious doctrine, or beliefs which cannot be proved to be true.

So, since we have no other evidence to go on, let’s pin the rap on humanity. It just so happens that’s the position politicians want, which is why politics played such a key role in the formation of the IPCC two decades ago.

The growing backlash against us skeptics makes me think of the Roman Catholic Inquisition, which started in the 12th Century. Of course, no one (I hope no one) will be tried and executed for not believing in anthropogenic climate change. But the fact that one of the five keywords or phrases attached to the new PNAS study is “climate denier” means that such divisive rhetoric is now considered to be part of our mainstream scientific lexicon by our country’s premier scientific organization, the National Academy of Sciences.

Read it here.

US National Academy of Sciences publishes sceptic "blacklist"

Better than being blackballed

Clearly the gloves are off, as the alarmists realise they are losing the battle, and all pretence of there being any hint of scientific integrity in the climate change debate vanishes, as Roger Pielke Jr notes:

Little did I know it, but I am intimately associated with the world’s most accomplished “climate skeptic.” But he is not actually a skeptic, because he believes that humans have a profound influence on the climate system and policy action is warranted. More on that in a second.

A new paper is out today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (which I’ll call APHS10 after the author’s initials) that segregates climate scientists into the “convinced” and the “unconvinced” — two relatively ambiguous categories — and then seeks to compare the credentials of the two groups. The paper is based on the tireless efforts of a climate blogger, self-described as “not an academic,” who has been frustrated by those who don’t share his views on climate change:

I’ve also grown all too familiar with the tiny minority of ‘climate skeptics’ or ‘deniers’ who try to minimize the problem, absolve humans of any major impact, or suggest there is no need to take any action. I’ve gotten pretty fed up with the undue weight given to the skeptics in the media and online.

What qualifies one to be on the APHS10 list of skeptics, which I’ll just call the “black list”? Well, you get there for being perceived to have certain views on climate science or politics. You get on the black list if you have,

signed any of the open letters or declarations expressing skepticism of the IPCC’s findings, of climate science generally, of the “consensus” on human-induced warming, and/or arguing against any need for immediate cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.

In fact, it turns out that you don’t even have to sign an open letter or argue against immediate cuts for emissions. You can simply appear unwillingly on Senator James Inhofe’s list. A co-author of APHS10 warns on his website (but not in the paper) of the perils of relying on the Senator’s list:

I caution readers to take this with a grain of salt: a number of experts have been included despite their strong support for GHG reductions. However, the list does record a significant number of people who are outspoken critics of Kyoto or of efforts to cut GHG emissions generally.

So you can find yourself on the black list as a “climate skeptic” or “denier” simply because you express strong support for greenhouse gas reductions, but have been critical of the Kyoto approach. On the other hand, a scientist like James Hansen, who has expressed considerable disagreement with aspects of the IPCC consensus, finds himself on the list of people who are said to agree with the IPCC consensus. In fact, it appears that simply being a contributor to the IPCC qualifies one to be on the list of those who are defined to be in agreement with the IPCC consensus and/or demand immediate action on emissions reductions and support Kyoto (unless of course one doesn’t qualify, in which case you are placed on the other list — it is complicated, trust me).

Read it here.

UPDATE: The UK Telegraph reports on the new paper and quotes Judith Curry and John Christy:

Judith Curry, a climate expert at the Georgia Institute of Technology – who was not part of the analysis – called the study “completely unconvincing” while John Christy of University of Alabama claimed he and other climate sceptics included in the survey were simply “being blacklisted” by colleagues. (source)

Sounds about right.

Obama politicises BP spill to push climate bill

Cheap politics

This environmental disaster could not have come at a better time for the Obama administration, desperate to push their economy-wrecking climate bill through the Senate, and he shamelessly hijacks the BP oil spill to lecture the American people on the evils of fossil fuels (despite the fact that cheap energy is what drives economic growth and prosperity – duh):

In his first Oval Office address, Obama compared the need to end the country’s “addiction to fossil fuels” to its emergency preparations for World War II and the mission to the moon. Hours after the government sharply increased its estimate of how much oil is flowing into the gulf, the president warned that risks will continue to rise because “we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.” He called for fast Senate action on an energy bill that has already passed the House.

“There are costs associated with this transition, and some believe we can’t afford those costs right now,” Obama said. “I say we can’t afford not to change how we produce and use energy, because the long-term costs to our economy, our national security and our environment are far greater.”

In other words, because of one spill (albeit a big one) we should take our economies back to the Dark Ages, right? I can just see people abandoning their SUVs on the roadside as we speak…

Read it here.

Shock: Newsweek runs balanced article on climate

Shock climate realism

Like toppling dominoes, media organisations and institutions are changing their stance on climate at an astonishing rate. Having realised that they have been thoroughly taken in my the politically and financially driven alarmism of the IPCC and many climate scientists, they are now back-pedalling furiously in order to limit the damage to their reputations. Newsweek, a veritable bastion of climate hysteria (thanks in no small part to the rantings of Sharon Begley), publishes a remarkably balanced article about the current state of the climate debate (thanks to Climate Depot):

This is no dispute between objective scientists and crazed flat-earthers. The lines cut through the profession itself. Very few scientists dispute a link between man-made CO2 and global warming. Where it gets fuzzy is the extent and time frame of the effect. One crucial point of contention is climate “sensitivity”—the mathematical formula that translates changes in CO2 production to changes in temperature. In addition, scientists are not sure how to explain a slowdown in the rise of global temperatures that began about a decade ago.

The backlash against climate science is also about the way in which leading scientists allied themselves with politicians and activists to promote their cause. Some of the IPCC’s most-quoted data and recommendations were taken straight out of unchecked activist brochures, newspaper articles, and corporate reports—including claims of plummeting crop yields in Africa and the rising costs of warming-related natural disasters, both of which have been refuted by academic studies.

Just as damaging, many climate scientists have responded to critiques by questioning the integrity of their critics, rather than by supplying data and reasoned arguments. When other researchers aired doubt about the IPCC’s prediction that Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035, the IPCC’s powerful chief, Rajendra Pachauri, trashed their work as “voodoo science.” Even today, after dozens of IPCC exaggerations have surfaced, leading climate officials like U.N. Environment Program chief Achim Steiner and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research head Joachim Schellnhuber continue to tar-brush critics as “anti-Enlightenment” and engaging in “witch hunts.”

All very reasonable commentary, which ACM fully endorses. And the final paragraph sums it up well:

There are excellent reasons to limit emissions and switch to cleaner fuels—including an estimated 750,000 annual pollution deaths in China, the potential to create jobs at home instead of enriching nasty regimes sitting on oil wells, the need to provide cheap sources of power to the world’s poorest regions, and the still-probable threat that global warming is underway. At the moment, however, certainty about how fast—and how much—global warming changes the earth’s climate does not appear to be one of those reasons.

Well said indeed. Let’s wait for the inevitable backlash and torrent of ad hominems from the hysterics towards this poor author…

Read it here (and reinstate my subscription – maybe).

%d bloggers like this: