Category: Norman Rogers

The Parade of Impending Catastrophes


There are organizations whose purpose is to save us from impending catastrophes.  I’m not talking about the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the Red Cross.  I’m thinking of the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the World Wildlife Fund, the National Geographic Society, The National Audubon Society, The Environmental Defense Fund, The Population Connection, and many more.  These organizations depend on impending catastrophes for their lifeblood, to say nothing of their revenue.  So a shortage of real impending catastrophes is a problem.  The solution has been to manufacture impending catastrophes.

A catastrophe is not manufactured out of thin air.  Rather, one starts with a more or less scientific finding and inflates it into an impending catastrophe.  The best made up catastrophes are speculative and resistant to clear analysis.  Global warming is a catastrophe that happens 50 or 100 years in the future.  You can’t argue decisively against it without waiting for 50 years.

It doesn’t seem to matter if a catastrophe defies common sense.  When I lived in Chicago, young people would approach me on the street and ask me to contribute to fight the problem of a water shortage.  This was three blocks from Lake Michigan, an inland sea 300 miles long; 70 miles wide; and, on average, 280 feet deep.  The impending water shortage, like global warming, was presumably based on computer projections supported by dubious theories.

Genetic modification of plants, often considered an impending catastrophe for various exaggerated reasons, has produced wonderful products – for example, herbicide-resistant corn that enables no-till planting.  Rather than plowing under last year’s corn crop to prevent weeds, the new crop is simply planted through the refuse from last year’s crop, and any weeds that emerge with the corn are killed with an herbicide, to which the corn plant is resistant.  This saves a vast amount energy and prevents topsoil erosion from plowing.  The resulting corn is perfectly good.  Almost every Midwest farmer is now doing no-till corn.  But genetically modified corn is subjected to hysterical attacks.  The Sierra Club calls for a ban on the planting of all genetically engineered crops until such time as regulatory procedures are improved.  One suspects that the Sierra Club will be satisfied when fear of genetic modification reaches its expiration date and loses its utility as a fundraising tool.

Sometimes impending catastrophes fight each other.  The 1947 book The Road to Survival recounts the 1939 testimony before congress of Dr. Hugh H. Bennett.  He said 282 million acres of cropland had been destroyed by topsoil erosion and that an additional 775 million acres were in the process of being destroyed.  Genetically modified corn and no-till agriculture provides a solution to soil erosion.  So the new impending catastrophe fights the old impending catastrophe.

Fracking is a technique of fracturing rock to release natural gas and oil.  The environmentalists hate it, mostly because burning natural gas and oil adds CO2, the supposed cause of global warming, to the atmosphere.  But fracking helps with the former impending catastrophe of running out of oil.  So that is another example of a new impending catastrophe fighting an old impending catastrophe.  It also works in reverse.  Running out of oil would fight global warming.

DDT, a safe insecticide, uniquely effective against mosquitos, was banned on dubious impending catastrophe grounds.  That created a new catastrophe that was real: the death of millions of children in Africa from malaria.  Fortunately, after many years, the World Health Organization rehabilitated DDT.

Here is a short list of impending catastrophes: soil erosion, running out of minerals, running out of oil, the ozone hole, biological diversity, radon, death of coral, acid rain, global warming, global cooling, sea level rise,  extreme weather, species extermination, air pollution, polar bear death, clear cutting forests, plutonium, dioxin, nuclear power, coal power, mountaintop mining, the many supposed causes of cancer, food additives, genetically modified organisms, water pollution, overpopulation, chickens in cages, cows fed grain, plastic bags, mid-ocean floating garbage, super-hurricanes, droughts, floods, environmental refugees, pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers.

Science has been thoroughly corrupted by the parade of impending catastrophes.  An impending catastrophe allows scientists to elevate their importance and funding.  So the scientists, like the environmental organizations, jump on the bandwagon of the latest impending catastrophe.  Climate scientists, formerly toiling in nerdy obscurity, have become important heroes in the fight against global warming.  Their funding has gone through the roof.  They even get lucrative research contracts to perform computer crystal-ball hocus-pocus for cities anxious to prepare for the warmer future.

I don’t claim that the climate scientists are faking belief in the global warming catastrophe.  Who wouldn’t believe in something that is the equivalent of winning the lottery?

The situation gets out of control when the promoters of an impending catastrophe go beyond blaming the catastrophe on capitalism and take the next step of recommending national policies to ameliorate an impending catastrophe.  It is important to realize that the managers of the impending catastrophe organizations are promoters rather than practical engineers or economists.  Their ignorance concerning practical matters is boundless.  The former president of the Sierra Club wrote a book in which his explanation of the mechanism behind the supposed global warming showed not only that he didn’t understand elementary science, but that he didn’t know that he didn’t understand elementary science.

The Sierra Club wants the nation to run on renewable energy – basically, wind power and solar power.  That idea is not only extremely expensive, but entirely impractical due to the erratic nature of wind and solar.  If the object is to reduce CO2 emissions, there are better ways than windmills and solar panels – for example, nuclear energy.  But of course, nuclear energy is one of those impending catastrophes that was lucrative in the 1970s and 1980s.  Ironically, the U.S. leads the world in CO2 reduction due to fracking and the resulting increased usage of carbon-lite natural gas to generate electricity.  That is another example of one impending catastrophe fighting another impending catastrophe.

In the P.R. fight between the promoters of an impending catastrophe and the debunkers of the supposed catastrophe, the promoters have a huge advantage.  A catastrophe is sexy and a story too good to check.  Patiently explaining that there is no catastrophe is boring and involves a lot of hard to understand science and statistics.  Scaring people is a much better way of getting attention than giving them a short course on science.  The media people, like the catastrophe-promoters, don’t understand science and thus are unable to spot phony science.  On the other hand, they do understand that sensational stories drive readership and revenue.

The courts do not provide an A team, B team setup, with each presenting its own arguments to an impartial observer, for resolving scientific arguments.  For one thing, most judges are not scientists, and, by and large, the courts have ruled that judging scientific disputes is outside their jurisdiction.  Further, court cases take years.

It is not necessary to have a jury to definitively resolve a scientific issue.  If each side were to write up its arguments and get an opportunity to question the other side, that would go a long way toward shedding light on the substance of an impending catastrophe.  Because the reports of the teams would be important, both sides could not avoid participating.  Currently, the promoters of global warming have a policy of never debating or giving credibility to the skeptics.  This is an effective tactic for suppressing the skeptics’ arguments.

A practical system would be to establish a government-sponsored organization in charge of recruiting the teams, moderating the questions and answers, and publishing the results as print and videos.  Blue ribbon committees are not a substitute for an A team, B team debate, because blue ribbon committees are almost always stacked to ensure a predetermined outcome.  Further, the members of the committee usually consent to a result determined by the staff.  With an impartial fact-finding process, on the other hand, the organization in charge would retain credibility by a policy of not judging the result or otherwise taking sides.

At any rate, something needs to be done – or else we can add the death of science to the long, long list of impending catastrophes.  Unlike the others, we can actually see this one coming.

Norman Rogers writes often on environmental and political matters.  He has a website: climateviews.com.

Image: Scott Cutler via Flickr.

There are organizations whose purpose is to save us from impending catastrophes.  I’m not talking about the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the Red Cross.  I’m thinking of the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the World Wildlife Fund, the National Geographic Society, The National Audubon Society, The Environmental Defense Fund, The Population Connection, and many more.  These organizations depend on impending catastrophes for their lifeblood, to say nothing of their revenue.  So a shortage of real impending catastrophes is a problem.  The solution has been to manufacture impending catastrophes.

A catastrophe is not manufactured out of thin air.  Rather, one starts with a more or less scientific finding and inflates it into an impending catastrophe.  The best made up catastrophes are speculative and resistant to clear analysis.  Global warming is a catastrophe that happens 50 or 100 years in the future.  You can’t argue decisively against it without waiting for 50 years.

It doesn’t seem to matter if a catastrophe defies common sense.  When I lived in Chicago, young people would approach me on the street and ask me to contribute to fight the problem of a water shortage.  This was three blocks from Lake Michigan, an inland sea 300 miles long; 70 miles wide; and, on average, 280 feet deep.  The impending water shortage, like global warming, was presumably based on computer projections supported by dubious theories.

Genetic modification of plants, often considered an impending catastrophe for various exaggerated reasons, has produced wonderful products – for example, herbicide-resistant corn that enables no-till planting.  Rather than plowing under last year’s corn crop to prevent weeds, the new crop is simply planted through the refuse from last year’s crop, and any weeds that emerge with the corn are killed with an herbicide, to which the corn plant is resistant.  This saves a vast amount energy and prevents topsoil erosion from plowing.  The resulting corn is perfectly good.  Almost every Midwest farmer is now doing no-till corn.  But genetically modified corn is subjected to hysterical attacks.  The Sierra Club calls for a ban on the planting of all genetically engineered crops until such time as regulatory procedures are improved.  One suspects that the Sierra Club will be satisfied when fear of genetic modification reaches its expiration date and loses its utility as a fundraising tool.

Sometimes impending catastrophes fight each other.  The 1947 book The Road to Survival recounts the 1939 testimony before congress of Dr. Hugh H. Bennett.  He said 282 million acres of cropland had been destroyed by topsoil erosion and that an additional 775 million acres were in the process of being destroyed.  Genetically modified corn and no-till agriculture provides a solution to soil erosion.  So the new impending catastrophe fights the old impending catastrophe.

Fracking is a technique of fracturing rock to release natural gas and oil.  The environmentalists hate it, mostly because burning natural gas and oil adds CO2, the supposed cause of global warming, to the atmosphere.  But fracking helps with the former impending catastrophe of running out of oil.  So that is another example of a new impending catastrophe fighting an old impending catastrophe.  It also works in reverse.  Running out of oil would fight global warming.

DDT, a safe insecticide, uniquely effective against mosquitos, was banned on dubious impending catastrophe grounds.  That created a new catastrophe that was real: the death of millions of children in Africa from malaria.  Fortunately, after many years, the World Health Organization rehabilitated DDT.

Here is a short list of impending catastrophes: soil erosion, running out of minerals, running out of oil, the ozone hole, biological diversity, radon, death of coral, acid rain, global warming, global cooling, sea level rise,  extreme weather, species extermination, air pollution, polar bear death, clear cutting forests, plutonium, dioxin, nuclear power, coal power, mountaintop mining, the many supposed causes of cancer, food additives, genetically modified organisms, water pollution, overpopulation, chickens in cages, cows fed grain, plastic bags, mid-ocean floating garbage, super-hurricanes, droughts, floods, environmental refugees, pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers.

Science has been thoroughly corrupted by the parade of impending catastrophes.  An impending catastrophe allows scientists to elevate their importance and funding.  So the scientists, like the environmental organizations, jump on the bandwagon of the latest impending catastrophe.  Climate scientists, formerly toiling in nerdy obscurity, have become important heroes in the fight against global warming.  Their funding has gone through the roof.  They even get lucrative research contracts to perform computer crystal-ball hocus-pocus for cities anxious to prepare for the warmer future.

I don’t claim that the climate scientists are faking belief in the global warming catastrophe.  Who wouldn’t believe in something that is the equivalent of winning the lottery?

The situation gets out of control when the promoters of an impending catastrophe go beyond blaming the catastrophe on capitalism and take the next step of recommending national policies to ameliorate an impending catastrophe.  It is important to realize that the managers of the impending catastrophe organizations are promoters rather than practical engineers or economists.  Their ignorance concerning practical matters is boundless.  The former president of the Sierra Club wrote a book in which his explanation of the mechanism behind the supposed global warming showed not only that he didn’t understand elementary science, but that he didn’t know that he didn’t understand elementary science.

The Sierra Club wants the nation to run on renewable energy – basically, wind power and solar power.  That idea is not only extremely expensive, but entirely impractical due to the erratic nature of wind and solar.  If the object is to reduce CO2 emissions, there are better ways than windmills and solar panels – for example, nuclear energy.  But of course, nuclear energy is one of those impending catastrophes that was lucrative in the 1970s and 1980s.  Ironically, the U.S. leads the world in CO2 reduction due to fracking and the resulting increased usage of carbon-lite natural gas to generate electricity.  That is another example of one impending catastrophe fighting another impending catastrophe.

In the P.R. fight between the promoters of an impending catastrophe and the debunkers of the supposed catastrophe, the promoters have a huge advantage.  A catastrophe is sexy and a story too good to check.  Patiently explaining that there is no catastrophe is boring and involves a lot of hard to understand science and statistics.  Scaring people is a much better way of getting attention than giving them a short course on science.  The media people, like the catastrophe-promoters, don’t understand science and thus are unable to spot phony science.  On the other hand, they do understand that sensational stories drive readership and revenue.

The courts do not provide an A team, B team setup, with each presenting its own arguments to an impartial observer, for resolving scientific arguments.  For one thing, most judges are not scientists, and, by and large, the courts have ruled that judging scientific disputes is outside their jurisdiction.  Further, court cases take years.

It is not necessary to have a jury to definitively resolve a scientific issue.  If each side were to write up its arguments and get an opportunity to question the other side, that would go a long way toward shedding light on the substance of an impending catastrophe.  Because the reports of the teams would be important, both sides could not avoid participating.  Currently, the promoters of global warming have a policy of never debating or giving credibility to the skeptics.  This is an effective tactic for suppressing the skeptics’ arguments.

A practical system would be to establish a government-sponsored organization in charge of recruiting the teams, moderating the questions and answers, and publishing the results as print and videos.  Blue ribbon committees are not a substitute for an A team, B team debate, because blue ribbon committees are almost always stacked to ensure a predetermined outcome.  Further, the members of the committee usually consent to a result determined by the staff.  With an impartial fact-finding process, on the other hand, the organization in charge would retain credibility by a policy of not judging the result or otherwise taking sides.

At any rate, something needs to be done – or else we can add the death of science to the long, long list of impending catastrophes.  Unlike the others, we can actually see this one coming.

Norman Rogers writes often on environmental and political matters.  He has a website: climateviews.com.

Image: Scott Cutler via Flickr.



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Tell a Big Lie and Keep Repeating It


If you want to tell a big lie, a good vehicle is “science.” Like a wolf hiding in a sheep’s skin, lies hide in lab coats worn by liars with Ph.Ds. We are gullible because science and scientists have a positive image. The positive image belongs to the science of the past, before the entrepreneurial idea of inventing fake catastrophes to attract vast sums of government money.

When a lie is backed by millions of government dollars, it is difficult for the truth to compete. The truth comes from scientists not corrupted by money, and from small organizations dependent on private donations. The truth is outgunned by government financed propaganda mills. The promoters of fake catastrophe depict themselves as disinterested idealists. The promoters of the truth are depicted as servants of evil industries, or as mentally disturbed crackpots.

Pravda was the official newspaper of the Soviet Union. Pravda means “official truth” in Russian. Pretty much everyone in Russia knew that there was very little truth in the pages of Pravda. But to publicly dispute the “official truth” was a very dangerous step. Often dissenters were sent to insane asylums. In the United States, as a climate skeptic, you may lose your job. Almost certainly you will be vilified as incompetent. But so far, you won’t go to prison or to an asylum, although there are calls to criminally prosecute “climate deniers.” There are also those who think that non-believers in the catastrophe are mentally ill. The obvious solution is to send the skeptics to prison or to an insane asylum. Why should we think that true believers in global warming, if they gain enough power, would be less totalitarian than communists?

Fake science prospers for a number of reasons. Investigative reporters are mostly ignorant concerning science. The average educated person is equally ignorant. Often those who do understand that something is fake don’t dare speak up because they work for bureaucracies that are promoting the fake science.

Solar power is an example of a fake idea that prospers. Billions of dollars are being spent to install solar power. It is often claimed that solar power is competitive with traditional methods of generating electricity — a completely fake claim. There are plenty of people who have exposed the fake nature of solar power, but their side of the story rarely makes it into the popular media. It is not difficult to understand that solar power has severe problems. After all, it doesn’t work at night. If you mention that fact to a believer in solar power he may suggest that batteries can be used to provide power at night. To refute that the argument gets a bit more complex. Batteries are exorbitantly expensive and wear out quickly. Sometimes the sun doesn’t shine in the day, in which case the battery won’t be recharged for the next night. (See here and here for more on solar power.)

If obvious, stupid lies, like the competitiveness of solar power, can gain popularity, how can more complicated lies be refuted? Frankly, I don’t know. As long as those with the potential to expose the frauds are taken in and those who are not taken in are afraid to speak, it’s hard to see how fake science can be stopped or slowed down.

I spent years going to scientific conferences, reading scientific journals and writing articles to try to expose the global warming/climate change fake science industry. I found plenty of scientists who shared my viewpoint, but most keep a low profile concerning their skepticism. Their children need to eat.

The scientists who openly oppose the climate catastrophe industry are invariably retired or otherwise occupy impregnable positions that protect them from economic retaliation. There are plenty of informed climate skeptics. You can consult a list of 1,000 such scientists that oppose global warming alarmism. There are no young and upcoming climate scientists that oppose the industry. If a young scientist opposes fake science he will be unable to remain in the scientific field. He may not be able to get a Ph.D. and he certainly can’t get a job. Remember, an entire multi-billion-dollar industry is dependent on the public credibility of fake science. Dissent is not tolerated.

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is a bureaucratic edifice that the Trump administration has apparently neglected to sweep into the dustbin of history. The USGCRP is an unapologetic promoter of climate catastrophe. Its scientific credibility is nil. Its reports are filled with unsupported fantasy and cherry-picked data.

The USGCRP’s most recent report is the Fourth National Climate Assessment | Volume I. The report is nearly 500 pages long and over 100 authors, editors, contributors, etc. are listed. Although the report if filled with dubious claims, bad methodology and just plain scare stories, refuting the report page by page is an impossible task. It is much easier to make wild claims than it is to explain why these claims are fantasies or even to point out reasons for skepticism. Many scientists have criticized this report as deceptive, politicized and containing outright lies. See, for example: here, here, here, here, here and here.

The USGCRP report gives away the game because the “key findings” are based on the “authors’ expert judgment of the synthesis of the assessed literature.” In other words the report is nothing more than the authors supposedly expert judgment. If the authors’ expert judgment does not predict a climate catastrophe, then there is no need for the report and the authors would soon be unemployed.

Predicting the future climate of the Earth by using computer models is not solid science. The predictions are subject to manipulation and uncertainty. Predictions are made by averaging the results from models that don’t agree with each other, and that don’t even use the same climate histories to calibrate the models. At best the methodology is highly dubious, at worst the methodology is simply a pseudoscientific smokescreen designed to produce a predetermined result. The output of the models, in the words of an important scientist, bear no resemblance to the actual climate of the Earth. Yet, to a layman reading the impressive and voluminous reports, it may seem that climate prediction is on a par with using computers to predict eclipses.

Mother Nature is not cooperating with fake global warming science because the Earth has failed to warm for the last two decades. That simple fact is obscured by the propaganda of the climate catastrophe industry.

Back in 2011 I attended several meetings of the Federal Advisory Committee for the USGCRP when the previous report, published in 2013, was in preparation. I wrote an article detailing the fake nature of the advisory committee. Federal advisory committees are supposed to represent a wide spectrum of views, but this committee was specially selected to support a predetermined outcome. In any case, the committee had no interest in discussing, much less disputing, the global warming catastrophe theory. The committee was only interested in the best way to present propaganda supporting the catastrophe theory.

Opinion on global warming/climate catastrophe is split between Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats generally buy into global warming. The green part of their electoral base represented by fanatical believer organizations, like the Sierra Club, practically forces democrat politicians to preach climate catastrophe. The Republicans are generally skeptical, but sometimes favor green policies such as solar power or wind power. A few politicians, such as Ted Cruz, actually show glimmers of understanding the scientific issues.

As the Italian philosopher Wilfredo Pareto pointed out, people form their opinions based on passion. Resort to logic and data is basically window dressing to support their previously adopted opinions. That’s why it is so difficult to make ideological conversions by means of logical argument.

Scientists are supposed to be different and form their opinions based on logical analysis. But catastrophe theories are the geese that lay golden eggs. If a school of scientists can invent a catastrophe theory they will be showered with government money. After all, it is the government’s job to prevent catastrophes. There are plenty of scientists for whom science trumps money, but for the important bureaucrat scientists that exercise power and run things, money trumps science by a mile.

Norman Rogers writes often on environmental and political issues. He has a website.

If you want to tell a big lie, a good vehicle is “science.” Like a wolf hiding in a sheep’s skin, lies hide in lab coats worn by liars with Ph.Ds. We are gullible because science and scientists have a positive image. The positive image belongs to the science of the past, before the entrepreneurial idea of inventing fake catastrophes to attract vast sums of government money.

When a lie is backed by millions of government dollars, it is difficult for the truth to compete. The truth comes from scientists not corrupted by money, and from small organizations dependent on private donations. The truth is outgunned by government financed propaganda mills. The promoters of fake catastrophe depict themselves as disinterested idealists. The promoters of the truth are depicted as servants of evil industries, or as mentally disturbed crackpots.

Pravda was the official newspaper of the Soviet Union. Pravda means “official truth” in Russian. Pretty much everyone in Russia knew that there was very little truth in the pages of Pravda. But to publicly dispute the “official truth” was a very dangerous step. Often dissenters were sent to insane asylums. In the United States, as a climate skeptic, you may lose your job. Almost certainly you will be vilified as incompetent. But so far, you won’t go to prison or to an asylum, although there are calls to criminally prosecute “climate deniers.” There are also those who think that non-believers in the catastrophe are mentally ill. The obvious solution is to send the skeptics to prison or to an insane asylum. Why should we think that true believers in global warming, if they gain enough power, would be less totalitarian than communists?

Fake science prospers for a number of reasons. Investigative reporters are mostly ignorant concerning science. The average educated person is equally ignorant. Often those who do understand that something is fake don’t dare speak up because they work for bureaucracies that are promoting the fake science.

Solar power is an example of a fake idea that prospers. Billions of dollars are being spent to install solar power. It is often claimed that solar power is competitive with traditional methods of generating electricity — a completely fake claim. There are plenty of people who have exposed the fake nature of solar power, but their side of the story rarely makes it into the popular media. It is not difficult to understand that solar power has severe problems. After all, it doesn’t work at night. If you mention that fact to a believer in solar power he may suggest that batteries can be used to provide power at night. To refute that the argument gets a bit more complex. Batteries are exorbitantly expensive and wear out quickly. Sometimes the sun doesn’t shine in the day, in which case the battery won’t be recharged for the next night. (See here and here for more on solar power.)

If obvious, stupid lies, like the competitiveness of solar power, can gain popularity, how can more complicated lies be refuted? Frankly, I don’t know. As long as those with the potential to expose the frauds are taken in and those who are not taken in are afraid to speak, it’s hard to see how fake science can be stopped or slowed down.

I spent years going to scientific conferences, reading scientific journals and writing articles to try to expose the global warming/climate change fake science industry. I found plenty of scientists who shared my viewpoint, but most keep a low profile concerning their skepticism. Their children need to eat.

The scientists who openly oppose the climate catastrophe industry are invariably retired or otherwise occupy impregnable positions that protect them from economic retaliation. There are plenty of informed climate skeptics. You can consult a list of 1,000 such scientists that oppose global warming alarmism. There are no young and upcoming climate scientists that oppose the industry. If a young scientist opposes fake science he will be unable to remain in the scientific field. He may not be able to get a Ph.D. and he certainly can’t get a job. Remember, an entire multi-billion-dollar industry is dependent on the public credibility of fake science. Dissent is not tolerated.

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is a bureaucratic edifice that the Trump administration has apparently neglected to sweep into the dustbin of history. The USGCRP is an unapologetic promoter of climate catastrophe. Its scientific credibility is nil. Its reports are filled with unsupported fantasy and cherry-picked data.

The USGCRP’s most recent report is the Fourth National Climate Assessment | Volume I. The report is nearly 500 pages long and over 100 authors, editors, contributors, etc. are listed. Although the report if filled with dubious claims, bad methodology and just plain scare stories, refuting the report page by page is an impossible task. It is much easier to make wild claims than it is to explain why these claims are fantasies or even to point out reasons for skepticism. Many scientists have criticized this report as deceptive, politicized and containing outright lies. See, for example: here, here, here, here, here and here.

The USGCRP report gives away the game because the “key findings” are based on the “authors’ expert judgment of the synthesis of the assessed literature.” In other words the report is nothing more than the authors supposedly expert judgment. If the authors’ expert judgment does not predict a climate catastrophe, then there is no need for the report and the authors would soon be unemployed.

Predicting the future climate of the Earth by using computer models is not solid science. The predictions are subject to manipulation and uncertainty. Predictions are made by averaging the results from models that don’t agree with each other, and that don’t even use the same climate histories to calibrate the models. At best the methodology is highly dubious, at worst the methodology is simply a pseudoscientific smokescreen designed to produce a predetermined result. The output of the models, in the words of an important scientist, bear no resemblance to the actual climate of the Earth. Yet, to a layman reading the impressive and voluminous reports, it may seem that climate prediction is on a par with using computers to predict eclipses.

Mother Nature is not cooperating with fake global warming science because the Earth has failed to warm for the last two decades. That simple fact is obscured by the propaganda of the climate catastrophe industry.

Back in 2011 I attended several meetings of the Federal Advisory Committee for the USGCRP when the previous report, published in 2013, was in preparation. I wrote an article detailing the fake nature of the advisory committee. Federal advisory committees are supposed to represent a wide spectrum of views, but this committee was specially selected to support a predetermined outcome. In any case, the committee had no interest in discussing, much less disputing, the global warming catastrophe theory. The committee was only interested in the best way to present propaganda supporting the catastrophe theory.

Opinion on global warming/climate catastrophe is split between Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats generally buy into global warming. The green part of their electoral base represented by fanatical believer organizations, like the Sierra Club, practically forces democrat politicians to preach climate catastrophe. The Republicans are generally skeptical, but sometimes favor green policies such as solar power or wind power. A few politicians, such as Ted Cruz, actually show glimmers of understanding the scientific issues.

As the Italian philosopher Wilfredo Pareto pointed out, people form their opinions based on passion. Resort to logic and data is basically window dressing to support their previously adopted opinions. That’s why it is so difficult to make ideological conversions by means of logical argument.

Scientists are supposed to be different and form their opinions based on logical analysis. But catastrophe theories are the geese that lay golden eggs. If a school of scientists can invent a catastrophe theory they will be showered with government money. After all, it is the government’s job to prevent catastrophes. There are plenty of scientists for whom science trumps money, but for the important bureaucrat scientists that exercise power and run things, money trumps science by a mile.

Norman Rogers writes often on environmental and political issues. He has a website.



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The New York Times Embraces Fake Science, Fake Engineering, and Fake Economics


The Oct. 16, 2017 New York Times devotes most of a full page to an editorial promoting “5 Climate Truths Mr. Trump Doesn’t Get.” They even have graphs to supposedly illustrate their five truths. As someone who has studied climate change and renewable energy I immediately understood that their editorial was very simplistic and does not engage with economic or engineering realities.

The Times’ view is that it is important to reduce CO2 emissions and that wind and solar energy are the way to do that. They also imagine that batteries storing power are the solution for the erratic nature of wind and solar generation. They particularly dislike coal because it emits more CO2 when burned compared to natural gas.

I have to assume the editors of the New York Times are not stupid. Probably they have a very weak grasp of science and engineering and probably ideology blinds them, preventing objective study of the issues.

Global warming is now called climate change because the globe has not warmed for two decades. The “science” behind predictions of global warming due to emissions of CO2 has clearly collapsed. The promoters of the catastrophe are most charitably described as bad scientists and less charitably as snake oil salesmen. The predictions are based on computer models that don’t agree with each other and that have failed miserably in predicting the actual global temperature. There is no shortage of distinguished scientists screaming that global warming is a fraud.

Even if you believe the junk science of climate change, the CO2 emissions are concentrated in Asia. Reducing CO2 emissions in the U.S. at great cost makes no sense because the supposed problem is in Asia. The way to really reduce CO2 emissions is to replace fossil fuel electricity generation with nuclear generation. Nuclear power does not emit CO2 and it works at night when the sun is not shining and it works when the wind is not blowing. Further, there are great prospects for improving the cost and safety of nuclear power. The Times and the promoters of wind and solar ignore or demonize nuclear power.

The globe is not warming in the face of rapidly increasing CO2 levels, giving lie to the theory that CO2 will create a catastrophe, or create any problem at all. It is beyond question that increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere enhances agricultural productivity and greens deserts. Plants are hungry for CO2 and don’t need as much water if they have more CO2.

The Times makes the point that natural gas emits less CO2 than coal and is cheaper than coal. There is some truth in this but there are other issues that should be taken into account. Natural gas is a premium fuel of many uses. It burns cleanly, it is easily transported by pipeline, and due to fracking it has become very cheap. It is feasible to power automobiles with compressed natural gas, the main problem being a lack of refueling stations. Coal, on the other hand, is mainly useful for generating electricity. Modern coal plants are non-polluting because they have elaborate pollution controls. Our reserves of coal are vast, enough for many centuries, and are much greater than the reserves of natural gas. Natural gas is cheap, often nearly as cheap as coal per unit of energy. But the low price may be temporary because we will become an exporter of liquefied natural gas to lucrative markets in Asia and Europe.  Natural gas now is used sparingly in transportation, but may be used more in the future due to its cost and clean burning advantages. The price of natural gas may increase substantially as supply and demand equalize.

A terrible danger is being ignored in the rush to make the electrical grid “green.”  The grid is vulnerable to a catastrophic attack that could take the grid down for months or years. Our deadly enemies in Iran and North Korea understand this. The electrical grid is powered by large machines: turbines, generators and transformers. These devices are as big as a house, cost millions of dollars, and have to be ordered many months in advance. The most vulnerable devices are the large transformers that step voltage up and down to enable the transport of electricity over longer distances. Vast energy passes through these transformers. If something goes wrong, the energy flow is sufficient to destroy the transformer in seconds. The transformer will melt or explode. The easiest way to destroy the few thousand of these large transformers is by electromagnetic pulse attack. Such an attack may be performed by exploding a small nuclear weapon 200 miles above the Earth, over the central U.S. Interaction between the gamma rays emitted by the weapon, the atmosphere and the Earth’s magnetic field creates an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). One of the effects of EMP is to cause a modulation of the Earth’s magnetic field that in turn induces direct current flow in long transmission lines. The direct current causes saturation of the magnetic core of the transformers that results in catastrophic deposit of energy in the transformer. Such an EMP can also be caused by natural storms on the Sun that eject charged particles that strike the Earth. Such a solar storm in 1989 crashed the Quebec grid and destroyed a transformer in New Jersey. The nuclear EMP also has the capacity to damage computer controls throughout the economy and even automobile engine controls. (Military systems have long been hardened against EMP.)

Coal generation of electricity has a resiliency advantage because a month’s supply of coal is typically on hand. Natural gas plants depend on just in time deliveries of natural gas, with perhaps limited backup supplies of fuel oil, an alternative fuel that some plants can use. Natural gas pipelines are susceptible to sabotage. For example California is highly dependent on a handful of pipelines that bring gas into the state.

The Times compares the cost of wind and solar energy by comparing the cost of the electricity at the plant fence and by ignoring the substantial government subsidies and mandates. Since wind and solar generate electricity unpredictably, depending on clouds, nighttime and the wind velocity, there must be a backup source of power. Typically the backup will be a natural gas plant. The only cost saving from introducing wind and solar into the grid is the reduced consumption of fossil fuel when the wind and solar are actually generating electricity. This avoided cost amounts to 2-3 cents per kilowatt hour while the cost of the electricity from wind or solar is about three times as much as the saving in fuel for the backup plant.

The Times suggests that lithium ion batteries costing $273 per kilowatt-hour of capacity could be used store electricity as backup to wind and solar. That idea is just dumb. Take for example a solar plant with a nameplate capacity of 400 megawatts and capable of generating an average of 100 megawatts in a sunny location. Such a plant would cost about $600 million. A lithium battery system capable of storing 2400 megawatts, or one day’s output, would cost approximately another $600 million. However even the sunniest city in the U.S. has about 50 cloudy days a year. One or two cloudy days and the plant would fail to deliver electricity.  The batteries would also have to be replaced every 5 or 10 years. Grid scale battery systems may be useful for smoothing short peaks in demand, but not for backing up wind or solar.

Trump gets the truths far better than the Times does.

 

Norman Rogers writes often about climate, energy and politics. He has a website.

 

The Oct. 16, 2017 New York Times devotes most of a full page to an editorial promoting “5 Climate Truths Mr. Trump Doesn’t Get.” They even have graphs to supposedly illustrate their five truths. As someone who has studied climate change and renewable energy I immediately understood that their editorial was very simplistic and does not engage with economic or engineering realities.

The Times’ view is that it is important to reduce CO2 emissions and that wind and solar energy are the way to do that. They also imagine that batteries storing power are the solution for the erratic nature of wind and solar generation. They particularly dislike coal because it emits more CO2 when burned compared to natural gas.

I have to assume the editors of the New York Times are not stupid. Probably they have a very weak grasp of science and engineering and probably ideology blinds them, preventing objective study of the issues.

Global warming is now called climate change because the globe has not warmed for two decades. The “science” behind predictions of global warming due to emissions of CO2 has clearly collapsed. The promoters of the catastrophe are most charitably described as bad scientists and less charitably as snake oil salesmen. The predictions are based on computer models that don’t agree with each other and that have failed miserably in predicting the actual global temperature. There is no shortage of distinguished scientists screaming that global warming is a fraud.

Even if you believe the junk science of climate change, the CO2 emissions are concentrated in Asia. Reducing CO2 emissions in the U.S. at great cost makes no sense because the supposed problem is in Asia. The way to really reduce CO2 emissions is to replace fossil fuel electricity generation with nuclear generation. Nuclear power does not emit CO2 and it works at night when the sun is not shining and it works when the wind is not blowing. Further, there are great prospects for improving the cost and safety of nuclear power. The Times and the promoters of wind and solar ignore or demonize nuclear power.

The globe is not warming in the face of rapidly increasing CO2 levels, giving lie to the theory that CO2 will create a catastrophe, or create any problem at all. It is beyond question that increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere enhances agricultural productivity and greens deserts. Plants are hungry for CO2 and don’t need as much water if they have more CO2.

The Times makes the point that natural gas emits less CO2 than coal and is cheaper than coal. There is some truth in this but there are other issues that should be taken into account. Natural gas is a premium fuel of many uses. It burns cleanly, it is easily transported by pipeline, and due to fracking it has become very cheap. It is feasible to power automobiles with compressed natural gas, the main problem being a lack of refueling stations. Coal, on the other hand, is mainly useful for generating electricity. Modern coal plants are non-polluting because they have elaborate pollution controls. Our reserves of coal are vast, enough for many centuries, and are much greater than the reserves of natural gas. Natural gas is cheap, often nearly as cheap as coal per unit of energy. But the low price may be temporary because we will become an exporter of liquefied natural gas to lucrative markets in Asia and Europe.  Natural gas now is used sparingly in transportation, but may be used more in the future due to its cost and clean burning advantages. The price of natural gas may increase substantially as supply and demand equalize.

A terrible danger is being ignored in the rush to make the electrical grid “green.”  The grid is vulnerable to a catastrophic attack that could take the grid down for months or years. Our deadly enemies in Iran and North Korea understand this. The electrical grid is powered by large machines: turbines, generators and transformers. These devices are as big as a house, cost millions of dollars, and have to be ordered many months in advance. The most vulnerable devices are the large transformers that step voltage up and down to enable the transport of electricity over longer distances. Vast energy passes through these transformers. If something goes wrong, the energy flow is sufficient to destroy the transformer in seconds. The transformer will melt or explode. The easiest way to destroy the few thousand of these large transformers is by electromagnetic pulse attack. Such an attack may be performed by exploding a small nuclear weapon 200 miles above the Earth, over the central U.S. Interaction between the gamma rays emitted by the weapon, the atmosphere and the Earth’s magnetic field creates an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). One of the effects of EMP is to cause a modulation of the Earth’s magnetic field that in turn induces direct current flow in long transmission lines. The direct current causes saturation of the magnetic core of the transformers that results in catastrophic deposit of energy in the transformer. Such an EMP can also be caused by natural storms on the Sun that eject charged particles that strike the Earth. Such a solar storm in 1989 crashed the Quebec grid and destroyed a transformer in New Jersey. The nuclear EMP also has the capacity to damage computer controls throughout the economy and even automobile engine controls. (Military systems have long been hardened against EMP.)

Coal generation of electricity has a resiliency advantage because a month’s supply of coal is typically on hand. Natural gas plants depend on just in time deliveries of natural gas, with perhaps limited backup supplies of fuel oil, an alternative fuel that some plants can use. Natural gas pipelines are susceptible to sabotage. For example California is highly dependent on a handful of pipelines that bring gas into the state.

The Times compares the cost of wind and solar energy by comparing the cost of the electricity at the plant fence and by ignoring the substantial government subsidies and mandates. Since wind and solar generate electricity unpredictably, depending on clouds, nighttime and the wind velocity, there must be a backup source of power. Typically the backup will be a natural gas plant. The only cost saving from introducing wind and solar into the grid is the reduced consumption of fossil fuel when the wind and solar are actually generating electricity. This avoided cost amounts to 2-3 cents per kilowatt hour while the cost of the electricity from wind or solar is about three times as much as the saving in fuel for the backup plant.

The Times suggests that lithium ion batteries costing $273 per kilowatt-hour of capacity could be used store electricity as backup to wind and solar. That idea is just dumb. Take for example a solar plant with a nameplate capacity of 400 megawatts and capable of generating an average of 100 megawatts in a sunny location. Such a plant would cost about $600 million. A lithium battery system capable of storing 2400 megawatts, or one day’s output, would cost approximately another $600 million. However even the sunniest city in the U.S. has about 50 cloudy days a year. One or two cloudy days and the plant would fail to deliver electricity.  The batteries would also have to be replaced every 5 or 10 years. Grid scale battery systems may be useful for smoothing short peaks in demand, but not for backing up wind or solar.

Trump gets the truths far better than the Times does.

 

Norman Rogers writes often about climate, energy and politics. He has a website.

 



Source link

How to Survive: Lessons from Puerto Rico


The takedown of the Puerto Rican power grid by Hurricane Irma will, we hope, provide a teaching moment.  The United States power grid is vulnerable, and the consequences of a widespread failure, especially if lengthy, will be a disaster of monumental proportions.  This should not be a new realization.  Serious analysts such as the Foundation for Resilient Societies and the EMP Commission have been warning us for a long time.  The warnings have been ignored or even actively opposed by the electric power industry.

America’s electric grid can be brought down by sabotage or by natural forces, such as the hurricane in Puerto Rico.  Hurricanes have limited geographic scope, but solar storms can affect the entire country.  As was shown by the Puerto Rican experience, without electricity, credit and debit cards don’t work.  Cash becomes king.  Without electricity, communications become dubious.

Among natural threats to the electric grid, solar storms are perhaps the most serious.  A solar storm causes the Earth’s magnetic field to move and induce large direct currents in long conductors, such as power lines and communications cables.  The 1859 Carrington Event was so powerful that some telegraph operators were electrocuted by voltages induced in the wires.  Fortunately, in 1859, the power grid did not exist.  A smaller March 1989 solar storm crashed the Quebec power grid and destroyed a large power transformer at the Salem nuclear generating station in New Jersey.  If the 1989 solar storm had been as severe as the Carrington Event, much of the North American grid could have gone down for months or years.

Since a solar storm is associated with the mass ejection of charged particles from the Sun, it is possible to have a warning and possibly prevent damage to the grid by turning off the grid until the storm is over.  Obviously, a deliberate blackout would be inconvenient, but not as inconvenient as a blackout lasting for years.  But electric utilities are unlikely to proactively turn off the grid, because their insurance companies have policy exclusions for “intentional acts.”

Deliberate physical attack and sabotage of the grid are also major threats.  But perhaps the biggest danger would be an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) created by detonation of a nuclear device above the atmosphere.  The North Koreans have already threatened an EMP attack.

A small nuclear weapon detonated 200 miles above Kansas would create no direct damage – only a bright flash in the sky.  But gamma rays released from the explosion would interact with atoms in the upper atmosphere, knocking electrons loose.  These electrons would move in a spiral path as they interact with the Earth’s magnetic field.  Strong electric and magnetic fields would strike the entire United States as a kind of electromagnetic shockwave.  There would also be slower variations in the Earth’s magnetic field, much like the effect of a solar storm.

An EMP attack has the potential to damage computers and other semiconductor-dependent devices.  Stalled automobiles could fill the roads and block emergency vehicles.  Control system for power plants and refineries could fail.  Above all, there could be widespread destruction of the all-important high-voltage grid transformers.  Critical infrastructure can be hardened against EMP, as, indeed, our military systems are and have been for decades.

If there is a large-scale blackout lasting for weeks or longer, the immediate problem is food; water; and, in cold areas, sufficient heat to sustain life.  Without power, the normal food pipeline would be disabled.

To bolster societal resilience, everyone could be required to have a 30-day supply of food and water, or local areas could have warehouses and distribution schemes to fill the void.  Certainly, there is no shortage of food.  At any time, there are enough corn and soybeans stored in the Midwest to feed the entire country for five years.  The problem is distribution, as well as preparing the grain as an edible meal.  As an example, the Las Vegas, Nevada metropolitan area has about 2 million people.  If each person consumes two pounds of corn and soybeans per day, then 4 million pounds, or 2,000 tons, a day is required.  A train with 100 cars could transport enough food to Las Vegas for five days’ consumption.  But will their diesel engines be disabled by the EMP?  Can the railroad operate if much of its electronic infrastructure is damaged?  Can sufficient diesel fuel be found to operate the trains?

The grid’s high-voltage transformers would take years to replace and must be protected against damage.  These devices can be as big as a house and are mainly manufactured in Asia.  Lead time is months or years and would be longer if large numbers of orders were placed.  The manufacture of these transformers is an example of a critical industry that should be preserved and protected within the U.S.  Protecting the thousands of  transformers with automatic devices might cost $50 billion, or possibly much less, but this cost is nothing against the $50-billion-per-day cost of a national blackout.  Other capital equipment, such as generators and turbines, must also be protected, but these devices are probably less vulnerable to damage than the transformers.

In times of crisis, there must be a plan to produce and distribute enough diesel fuel to keep the railroads and heavy trucking industry operating.  The railroad engines and truck tractors must be hardened against an EMP.  The idea that it is enough to have 24 or 48 hours’ worth of fuel for emergency generators simply postpones the disaster for 24 or 48 hours.  There has to be a plan to keep essential services going until the grid can be bought back up.  Without communications, nothing can be coordinated, so basic means of communication, such as the cell phone network, must be protected.

The problem in Puerto Rico of truck drivers being unavailable because they were busy taking care of their families is instructive.  Organizations equipped for emergencies, such as the military, fire departments, and police, are too small in numbers and not necessarily located where they are needed to hold things together in a widespread blackout.  A volunteer corps of people ready to deal with emergencies is necessary.  Such a corps would also be invaluable for emergencies such as earthquakes and hurricanes.

Everything comes down to having a plan to deal with what might happen.  There is no such plan today.  In the case of a national blackout, help will not come from outside the affected area, because the entire country is affected.

The threat by North Koreans to detonate a nuclear device over the Pacific Ocean could be a ploy to test an EMP device.  A variation of nuclear weapons is devices, probably with low explosive yield, designed to have a high gamma ray output to create a powerful EMP.  Given such devices, along with delivery systems, the North Koreans could institute a devastating attack on the United States.  They must be denied this technology.  Nuclear weapons often have a shell or “tamper” made of a heavy metal to contain the explosion for a few more nanoseconds before the bomb blows itself apart and aborts the increasing chain reaction.  The tamper increases explosive yield but also absorbs gamma rays.

It would be incredibly foolish to allow the North Koreans to continue on the path of developing the means to destroy the American economy and perhaps kill a large part of the population.  The North Koreans are clearly working on these technologies that permit a weak state to launch a devastating attack against a strong state, and further, they are obviously prepared to sell the technology to states that are even more dangerous, such as Iran.  The Russians and Chinese are obviously delighted to have a proxy that can attack or threaten the U.S. while said Russians and Chinese protest their innocence.  We can have a small war now or something much worse later.

Norman Rogers writes often on environmental and political topics.  He has a website.

The takedown of the Puerto Rican power grid by Hurricane Irma will, we hope, provide a teaching moment.  The United States power grid is vulnerable, and the consequences of a widespread failure, especially if lengthy, will be a disaster of monumental proportions.  This should not be a new realization.  Serious analysts such as the Foundation for Resilient Societies and the EMP Commission have been warning us for a long time.  The warnings have been ignored or even actively opposed by the electric power industry.

America’s electric grid can be brought down by sabotage or by natural forces, such as the hurricane in Puerto Rico.  Hurricanes have limited geographic scope, but solar storms can affect the entire country.  As was shown by the Puerto Rican experience, without electricity, credit and debit cards don’t work.  Cash becomes king.  Without electricity, communications become dubious.

Among natural threats to the electric grid, solar storms are perhaps the most serious.  A solar storm causes the Earth’s magnetic field to move and induce large direct currents in long conductors, such as power lines and communications cables.  The 1859 Carrington Event was so powerful that some telegraph operators were electrocuted by voltages induced in the wires.  Fortunately, in 1859, the power grid did not exist.  A smaller March 1989 solar storm crashed the Quebec power grid and destroyed a large power transformer at the Salem nuclear generating station in New Jersey.  If the 1989 solar storm had been as severe as the Carrington Event, much of the North American grid could have gone down for months or years.

Since a solar storm is associated with the mass ejection of charged particles from the Sun, it is possible to have a warning and possibly prevent damage to the grid by turning off the grid until the storm is over.  Obviously, a deliberate blackout would be inconvenient, but not as inconvenient as a blackout lasting for years.  But electric utilities are unlikely to proactively turn off the grid, because their insurance companies have policy exclusions for “intentional acts.”

Deliberate physical attack and sabotage of the grid are also major threats.  But perhaps the biggest danger would be an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) created by detonation of a nuclear device above the atmosphere.  The North Koreans have already threatened an EMP attack.

A small nuclear weapon detonated 200 miles above Kansas would create no direct damage – only a bright flash in the sky.  But gamma rays released from the explosion would interact with atoms in the upper atmosphere, knocking electrons loose.  These electrons would move in a spiral path as they interact with the Earth’s magnetic field.  Strong electric and magnetic fields would strike the entire United States as a kind of electromagnetic shockwave.  There would also be slower variations in the Earth’s magnetic field, much like the effect of a solar storm.

An EMP attack has the potential to damage computers and other semiconductor-dependent devices.  Stalled automobiles could fill the roads and block emergency vehicles.  Control system for power plants and refineries could fail.  Above all, there could be widespread destruction of the all-important high-voltage grid transformers.  Critical infrastructure can be hardened against EMP, as, indeed, our military systems are and have been for decades.

If there is a large-scale blackout lasting for weeks or longer, the immediate problem is food; water; and, in cold areas, sufficient heat to sustain life.  Without power, the normal food pipeline would be disabled.

To bolster societal resilience, everyone could be required to have a 30-day supply of food and water, or local areas could have warehouses and distribution schemes to fill the void.  Certainly, there is no shortage of food.  At any time, there are enough corn and soybeans stored in the Midwest to feed the entire country for five years.  The problem is distribution, as well as preparing the grain as an edible meal.  As an example, the Las Vegas, Nevada metropolitan area has about 2 million people.  If each person consumes two pounds of corn and soybeans per day, then 4 million pounds, or 2,000 tons, a day is required.  A train with 100 cars could transport enough food to Las Vegas for five days’ consumption.  But will their diesel engines be disabled by the EMP?  Can the railroad operate if much of its electronic infrastructure is damaged?  Can sufficient diesel fuel be found to operate the trains?

The grid’s high-voltage transformers would take years to replace and must be protected against damage.  These devices can be as big as a house and are mainly manufactured in Asia.  Lead time is months or years and would be longer if large numbers of orders were placed.  The manufacture of these transformers is an example of a critical industry that should be preserved and protected within the U.S.  Protecting the thousands of  transformers with automatic devices might cost $50 billion, or possibly much less, but this cost is nothing against the $50-billion-per-day cost of a national blackout.  Other capital equipment, such as generators and turbines, must also be protected, but these devices are probably less vulnerable to damage than the transformers.

In times of crisis, there must be a plan to produce and distribute enough diesel fuel to keep the railroads and heavy trucking industry operating.  The railroad engines and truck tractors must be hardened against an EMP.  The idea that it is enough to have 24 or 48 hours’ worth of fuel for emergency generators simply postpones the disaster for 24 or 48 hours.  There has to be a plan to keep essential services going until the grid can be bought back up.  Without communications, nothing can be coordinated, so basic means of communication, such as the cell phone network, must be protected.

The problem in Puerto Rico of truck drivers being unavailable because they were busy taking care of their families is instructive.  Organizations equipped for emergencies, such as the military, fire departments, and police, are too small in numbers and not necessarily located where they are needed to hold things together in a widespread blackout.  A volunteer corps of people ready to deal with emergencies is necessary.  Such a corps would also be invaluable for emergencies such as earthquakes and hurricanes.

Everything comes down to having a plan to deal with what might happen.  There is no such plan today.  In the case of a national blackout, help will not come from outside the affected area, because the entire country is affected.

The threat by North Koreans to detonate a nuclear device over the Pacific Ocean could be a ploy to test an EMP device.  A variation of nuclear weapons is devices, probably with low explosive yield, designed to have a high gamma ray output to create a powerful EMP.  Given such devices, along with delivery systems, the North Koreans could institute a devastating attack on the United States.  They must be denied this technology.  Nuclear weapons often have a shell or “tamper” made of a heavy metal to contain the explosion for a few more nanoseconds before the bomb blows itself apart and aborts the increasing chain reaction.  The tamper increases explosive yield but also absorbs gamma rays.

It would be incredibly foolish to allow the North Koreans to continue on the path of developing the means to destroy the American economy and perhaps kill a large part of the population.  The North Koreans are clearly working on these technologies that permit a weak state to launch a devastating attack against a strong state, and further, they are obviously prepared to sell the technology to states that are even more dangerous, such as Iran.  The Russians and Chinese are obviously delighted to have a proxy that can attack or threaten the U.S. while said Russians and Chinese protest their innocence.  We can have a small war now or something much worse later.

Norman Rogers writes often on environmental and political topics.  He has a website.



Source link

Big Brother's Cashless Scheme


The Wall Street Journal recently ran pro and con articles on the idea of abolishing cash — that is, paper currency. If that were done, all transactions would have to be carried out electronically via means such as credit and debit cards or other electronic payment means. The supposed advantage is that it would make it difficult for criminals and the underground economy to carry on their business, because the government would know exactly what they are up to.

Another supposed advantage is that it would make it easier for the government to impose negative interest rates to fight deflation. Negative interest rates means that the government steals some percentage of your bank balance each year. Negative interest rates are difficult to impose if people can hide their money as anonymous currency.

A Puerto Rican commentator on the Wall Street Journal article pointed out that Puerto Ricans without cash were in difficult straits because the failure of the electric grid due to hurricane Maria made it impossible to use credit or debit cards.

The prospect of total and long-term failure of the electric grid due to electromagnetic pulse suggests that everyone should keep $500 or more cash in their house. Electromagnetic pulse, EMP, can result from a natural solar flare, or from the detonation of a single nuclear weapon in near outer space above the USA. The North Koreans have threatened to use EMP against the USA.

The government has already taken some steps to make the use of cash more difficult. The largest U.S. currency is now the $100 bill. Formerly $500 and larger notes were available.

The U.S. $100 bill is a de facto international currency. About $1.1 trillion in $100 dollar bills are in circulation, 75% outside of the U.S. Citizens of countries with unstable money often keep savings in $100 bills, out of sight of their governments. This money is an interest-free loan to the U.S. government. If the $100 bill is recalled, the loan would have to be paid off. When I traveled to South America in the 1970s with $100 bills, I was able to obtain favorable exchange rates from citizens of various countries eager to hoard $100 bills. The U.S. government is already profiting from the international underground economy.

A million dollars worth of gold at the current price weighs about 53 pounds. Gold is a practical alternative to $100 bills and is available as coins of the U.S. and various nations, as well as in the form of various types of tokens. Ninety-percent U.S. silver coins, minted in 1964 and earlier, are also available, as well as current silver coins produced by the U.S. government and private mints. Clearly, gold would be a viable alternative to paper currency for underground transactions. Gold and $50 bills weigh about the same for the same value. At the current price, silver is about 50 cents a gram, making silver weigh twice as much as $1 bills.

The government could outlaw the use of gold, as it did in 1933. As a result of the 1933 gold confiscation, the dollar was debased from $20.67 an ounce of gold to $35 an ounce. (Gold is currently worth $1300 an ounce.) The owners of confiscated gold were paid off at the old price, causing them to lose 40% of the value of the gold. The 1933 confiscation was ruled legal, but hardly encourages trust in the integrity of the government.

The U.S. $500 bill was discontinued in 1969, leaving the largest bill as $100. Since 1969 inflation means that $100 in 1969 has a value of $700 in today’s money. In order to keep up with inflation, it seems clear that now is a good time to bring back the $500 bill.

Abolishing paper currency would drive the underground economy to the use of gold or other country paper currency. If all transactions are electronic, the government can track your every move and seize all your money with a keystroke. According to the Constitution, you are entitled to recover money wrongfully seized, but the deck is stacked against you and you may have to fight in court for years if you can find a lawyer who doesn’t want money up front.

A recent article reported that the Internal Revenue Service seized about $15 million from innocent people and “The report also found that investigators violated internal policies when conducting interviews, failed to notify individuals of their rights, and improperly bargained to resolve civil cases.” The IRS also “…leveraged its civil forfeiture cases by threatening to file criminal charges.” Is it a big surprise that government agencies abuse their authority because a bureaucratic mountain must be climbed into order to fight back?

If the USA were to go cashless or even eliminate the $100 bill, there would be a loss of international confidence. The U.S. would lose the huge anonymous loans from foreigners holding $100 bills. Another government, probably China, would offer an alternative that might be better than $100 bills. For example, China could offer a crypto currency backed by gold. Transfers between individuals could be done anonymously online. The China bank would have no idea who the money belonged to. Deposits or withdrawals could be done anonymously by depositing or withdrawing gold or currency. A cryptological key would be presented or received for withdrawals or deposits. Once a deposit was made or withdrawn the records or ownership, if any, would be destroyed. Such a currency would be hidden from the government, including the government sponsoring the bank, and provide a perfect mechanism for criminal use of money.

Although criminals, terrorists and tax evaders can use U.S. currency for nefarious purposes, abolishing paper money will only cause the bad guys to utilize other means that might be even more difficult to track. The U.S. has a great business based on the confidence that people all over the world have in the dollar. Rather than destroying this business in a futile attempt to catch tax evaders, the U.S. would be better advised to enhance the international holdings of U.S. currency. Resurrecting the $500 dollar bill would be a good start.

Norman Rogers writes often about energy and politics. He has a website.

The Wall Street Journal recently ran pro and con articles on the idea of abolishing cash — that is, paper currency. If that were done, all transactions would have to be carried out electronically via means such as credit and debit cards or other electronic payment means. The supposed advantage is that it would make it difficult for criminals and the underground economy to carry on their business, because the government would know exactly what they are up to.

Another supposed advantage is that it would make it easier for the government to impose negative interest rates to fight deflation. Negative interest rates means that the government steals some percentage of your bank balance each year. Negative interest rates are difficult to impose if people can hide their money as anonymous currency.

A Puerto Rican commentator on the Wall Street Journal article pointed out that Puerto Ricans without cash were in difficult straits because the failure of the electric grid due to hurricane Maria made it impossible to use credit or debit cards.

The prospect of total and long-term failure of the electric grid due to electromagnetic pulse suggests that everyone should keep $500 or more cash in their house. Electromagnetic pulse, EMP, can result from a natural solar flare, or from the detonation of a single nuclear weapon in near outer space above the USA. The North Koreans have threatened to use EMP against the USA.

The government has already taken some steps to make the use of cash more difficult. The largest U.S. currency is now the $100 bill. Formerly $500 and larger notes were available.

The U.S. $100 bill is a de facto international currency. About $1.1 trillion in $100 dollar bills are in circulation, 75% outside of the U.S. Citizens of countries with unstable money often keep savings in $100 bills, out of sight of their governments. This money is an interest-free loan to the U.S. government. If the $100 bill is recalled, the loan would have to be paid off. When I traveled to South America in the 1970s with $100 bills, I was able to obtain favorable exchange rates from citizens of various countries eager to hoard $100 bills. The U.S. government is already profiting from the international underground economy.

A million dollars worth of gold at the current price weighs about 53 pounds. Gold is a practical alternative to $100 bills and is available as coins of the U.S. and various nations, as well as in the form of various types of tokens. Ninety-percent U.S. silver coins, minted in 1964 and earlier, are also available, as well as current silver coins produced by the U.S. government and private mints. Clearly, gold would be a viable alternative to paper currency for underground transactions. Gold and $50 bills weigh about the same for the same value. At the current price, silver is about 50 cents a gram, making silver weigh twice as much as $1 bills.

The government could outlaw the use of gold, as it did in 1933. As a result of the 1933 gold confiscation, the dollar was debased from $20.67 an ounce of gold to $35 an ounce. (Gold is currently worth $1300 an ounce.) The owners of confiscated gold were paid off at the old price, causing them to lose 40% of the value of the gold. The 1933 confiscation was ruled legal, but hardly encourages trust in the integrity of the government.

The U.S. $500 bill was discontinued in 1969, leaving the largest bill as $100. Since 1969 inflation means that $100 in 1969 has a value of $700 in today’s money. In order to keep up with inflation, it seems clear that now is a good time to bring back the $500 bill.

Abolishing paper currency would drive the underground economy to the use of gold or other country paper currency. If all transactions are electronic, the government can track your every move and seize all your money with a keystroke. According to the Constitution, you are entitled to recover money wrongfully seized, but the deck is stacked against you and you may have to fight in court for years if you can find a lawyer who doesn’t want money up front.

A recent article reported that the Internal Revenue Service seized about $15 million from innocent people and “The report also found that investigators violated internal policies when conducting interviews, failed to notify individuals of their rights, and improperly bargained to resolve civil cases.” The IRS also “…leveraged its civil forfeiture cases by threatening to file criminal charges.” Is it a big surprise that government agencies abuse their authority because a bureaucratic mountain must be climbed into order to fight back?

If the USA were to go cashless or even eliminate the $100 bill, there would be a loss of international confidence. The U.S. would lose the huge anonymous loans from foreigners holding $100 bills. Another government, probably China, would offer an alternative that might be better than $100 bills. For example, China could offer a crypto currency backed by gold. Transfers between individuals could be done anonymously online. The China bank would have no idea who the money belonged to. Deposits or withdrawals could be done anonymously by depositing or withdrawing gold or currency. A cryptological key would be presented or received for withdrawals or deposits. Once a deposit was made or withdrawn the records or ownership, if any, would be destroyed. Such a currency would be hidden from the government, including the government sponsoring the bank, and provide a perfect mechanism for criminal use of money.

Although criminals, terrorists and tax evaders can use U.S. currency for nefarious purposes, abolishing paper money will only cause the bad guys to utilize other means that might be even more difficult to track. The U.S. has a great business based on the confidence that people all over the world have in the dollar. Rather than destroying this business in a futile attempt to catch tax evaders, the U.S. would be better advised to enhance the international holdings of U.S. currency. Resurrecting the $500 dollar bill would be a good start.

Norman Rogers writes often about energy and politics. He has a website.



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Green Delusions and the Wind Bully


Green ideology is a collection of beliefs and superstitions that have been elevated into a religious cult.  The green cult is rife with contradictions and dogma.  For example, people in Wisconsin must eat fresh natural food, grown locally…and Wisconsin farmers are still working on the problem of growing lettuce in the snow.

The electric power grid is an essential of modern life.  Take it away, and the consequence would be mass extinction.  The greens are eager to tamper with the grid.  They want to substitute “clean” wind and solar electricity for the “dirty” nuclear, coal, and natural gas electricity.

The word “clean,” like the word “green,” has a new meaning.  Now “clean” means politically correct.  Something is clean if it conforms to green dogma.

The Panera Bread fast food chain tells us that its food is now “clean.”  It means that its food is politically correct, not containing a long list of taboo ingredients.  The greens have their own dietary laws.  Read the magazine Clean Eating for details.

Renewable is another word that has been twisted to conform to green dogma.  Renewable electricity, according to the dictionary, is a source of electricity that is naturally replenished.  The state of California has a definition of renewable electricity that is more complicated.  California collects a variety of green dogmas under the umbrella “renewable.”  Fossil fuels are taboo.  Hydro electricity is naturally replenished by the rain, but to California, it is renewable only if it does not interfere with kayaking and fish.  California loves wind and sunlight for generating electricity.  Among greens, anti-nuke hysteria trumps global warming hysteria, so carbon-free nuclear electricity is not renewable.  A 112-page RPS Eligibility Guidebook, Ninth Edition Revised, details the California definition of renewable electricity.

As George Orwell often pointed out, changing the meaning of words is a method of controlling and limiting the ability to think.

California has passed a law that 50% of its electricity is to be renewable by 2030.  Taken seriously, that would be technically impossible.  But California has a method of turning non-renewable electricity into renewable electricity by legal fiat.  Instead of importing electricity, “Renewable Energy Certificates” can be imported from someone generating and selling renewable electricity outside California.  The abstract “renewable attribute” comes with the certificate and can be used to legally turn non-renewable electricity into renewable electricity.  It’s modern alchemy.  The wind farmers selling these certificates to California utilities are supposed to sell the renewable attribute only one time.  But there is an incentive to counterfeit certificates.  Renewable electricity auditors police that.  Both the seller and the buyer of the certificate have an incentive to cheat.  The seller is selling a piece of paper that costs him nothing.  The buyer needs the paper just to satisfy a government agency.

The owner of a wind farm in Colorado can sell the electricity to consumers in Colorado and separately sell Renewable Energy Certificates to utilities in California.  The wind farm owner also collects a federal subsidy of 2.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour of electricity sold.

The claim is often made that wind electricity is cheaper than fossil fuel electricity, a claim that can be easily disproven.  Wind electricity is about three times as expensive as electricity produced by the best fossil fuel plants.  A combined cycle natural gas plant can generate power at a cost of 3 cents per kilowatt-hour.  From real U.S. wind farms, wind electricity costs about 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Wind electricity is the most important form of renewable electricity.  Other forms of renewable electricity, such as solar, are even more impractical than wind.  Adding wind power to the U.S. grids makes no economic sense.  It just increases the cost of electricity and gains nothing unless you believe that limiting CO2 added to the atmosphere will prevent catastrophic global warming.

Increasing the CO2 in the atmosphere is highly beneficial for plants and agriculture.  Plants grow better with less water if there is more CO2.  Even if you believe in global warming, cutting back on U.S. emissions of CO2 is a waste of time because the heart of increasing CO2 emissions is in China.

In the conventional electric grid, the manager of the grid instructs the generating plants when to generate electricity and how much to generate.  Wind works the opposite way.  When the wind is blowing, the grid is expected to accept whatever wind power is available and adjust the other generators to balance supply and demand.  Wind is a bully that pushes the other generators around to suit its needs.  Wind generators have this power because many states have requirements, like California, that a certain percentage of the power be renewable by certain dates.  The politicians enable the wind bully.  Green propaganda and the wind turbine manufacturers drive the politicians.

According to Disraeli and Mark Twain, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.  A forth type of lie, green lies, should be added.  The best liar is someone who believes his own lies, and that makes green lies particularly believable.  Goebbels noted that if you keep repeating a big lie enough, people will come to believe it.

An important green big lie is the claim that global warming is affecting the current climate and is responsible for extreme weather events.  According to the best measurements, global warming has been absent for 18 years.  The scientific link between global warming and extreme weather is not just weak, but negative.  Logically, one would expect global warming to make the weather less extreme, because global warming decreases the temperature difference between the poles and the equator that drives weather.

Do not think that the green cult is populated only by hippies with ponytails, driving Volvos and composting garbage in their backyards.  Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York and the 10th richest man in the world is a card-carrying member.  The card is a Sierra Club membership card.  Bloomberg and the former president of the Sierra Club, Carl Pope, wrote a recent book, Climate of Hope.  The book is a demonstration that you can write any ignorant drivel and be taken seriously if you are important and pretend that the drivel is science.

The green cult, especially the global warming branch, is like Lysenkoism in the former Soviet Union.  It is an official scientific ideology that scientists are expected to support.  The scientists who refuse to support it – there are many – suffer the consequences.  Most scientific dissenters keep quiet.  They have families to support.  Thankfully, there are signs that the official support is starting to crumble.

Norman Rogers writes often about environmental issues. His website is climateviews.com.  See this study for a detailed analysis of the cost of wind electricity.

Green ideology is a collection of beliefs and superstitions that have been elevated into a religious cult.  The green cult is rife with contradictions and dogma.  For example, people in Wisconsin must eat fresh natural food, grown locally…and Wisconsin farmers are still working on the problem of growing lettuce in the snow.

The electric power grid is an essential of modern life.  Take it away, and the consequence would be mass extinction.  The greens are eager to tamper with the grid.  They want to substitute “clean” wind and solar electricity for the “dirty” nuclear, coal, and natural gas electricity.

The word “clean,” like the word “green,” has a new meaning.  Now “clean” means politically correct.  Something is clean if it conforms to green dogma.

The Panera Bread fast food chain tells us that its food is now “clean.”  It means that its food is politically correct, not containing a long list of taboo ingredients.  The greens have their own dietary laws.  Read the magazine Clean Eating for details.

Renewable is another word that has been twisted to conform to green dogma.  Renewable electricity, according to the dictionary, is a source of electricity that is naturally replenished.  The state of California has a definition of renewable electricity that is more complicated.  California collects a variety of green dogmas under the umbrella “renewable.”  Fossil fuels are taboo.  Hydro electricity is naturally replenished by the rain, but to California, it is renewable only if it does not interfere with kayaking and fish.  California loves wind and sunlight for generating electricity.  Among greens, anti-nuke hysteria trumps global warming hysteria, so carbon-free nuclear electricity is not renewable.  A 112-page RPS Eligibility Guidebook, Ninth Edition Revised, details the California definition of renewable electricity.

As George Orwell often pointed out, changing the meaning of words is a method of controlling and limiting the ability to think.

California has passed a law that 50% of its electricity is to be renewable by 2030.  Taken seriously, that would be technically impossible.  But California has a method of turning non-renewable electricity into renewable electricity by legal fiat.  Instead of importing electricity, “Renewable Energy Certificates” can be imported from someone generating and selling renewable electricity outside California.  The abstract “renewable attribute” comes with the certificate and can be used to legally turn non-renewable electricity into renewable electricity.  It’s modern alchemy.  The wind farmers selling these certificates to California utilities are supposed to sell the renewable attribute only one time.  But there is an incentive to counterfeit certificates.  Renewable electricity auditors police that.  Both the seller and the buyer of the certificate have an incentive to cheat.  The seller is selling a piece of paper that costs him nothing.  The buyer needs the paper just to satisfy a government agency.

The owner of a wind farm in Colorado can sell the electricity to consumers in Colorado and separately sell Renewable Energy Certificates to utilities in California.  The wind farm owner also collects a federal subsidy of 2.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour of electricity sold.

The claim is often made that wind electricity is cheaper than fossil fuel electricity, a claim that can be easily disproven.  Wind electricity is about three times as expensive as electricity produced by the best fossil fuel plants.  A combined cycle natural gas plant can generate power at a cost of 3 cents per kilowatt-hour.  From real U.S. wind farms, wind electricity costs about 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Wind electricity is the most important form of renewable electricity.  Other forms of renewable electricity, such as solar, are even more impractical than wind.  Adding wind power to the U.S. grids makes no economic sense.  It just increases the cost of electricity and gains nothing unless you believe that limiting CO2 added to the atmosphere will prevent catastrophic global warming.

Increasing the CO2 in the atmosphere is highly beneficial for plants and agriculture.  Plants grow better with less water if there is more CO2.  Even if you believe in global warming, cutting back on U.S. emissions of CO2 is a waste of time because the heart of increasing CO2 emissions is in China.

In the conventional electric grid, the manager of the grid instructs the generating plants when to generate electricity and how much to generate.  Wind works the opposite way.  When the wind is blowing, the grid is expected to accept whatever wind power is available and adjust the other generators to balance supply and demand.  Wind is a bully that pushes the other generators around to suit its needs.  Wind generators have this power because many states have requirements, like California, that a certain percentage of the power be renewable by certain dates.  The politicians enable the wind bully.  Green propaganda and the wind turbine manufacturers drive the politicians.

According to Disraeli and Mark Twain, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.  A forth type of lie, green lies, should be added.  The best liar is someone who believes his own lies, and that makes green lies particularly believable.  Goebbels noted that if you keep repeating a big lie enough, people will come to believe it.

An important green big lie is the claim that global warming is affecting the current climate and is responsible for extreme weather events.  According to the best measurements, global warming has been absent for 18 years.  The scientific link between global warming and extreme weather is not just weak, but negative.  Logically, one would expect global warming to make the weather less extreme, because global warming decreases the temperature difference between the poles and the equator that drives weather.

Do not think that the green cult is populated only by hippies with ponytails, driving Volvos and composting garbage in their backyards.  Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York and the 10th richest man in the world is a card-carrying member.  The card is a Sierra Club membership card.  Bloomberg and the former president of the Sierra Club, Carl Pope, wrote a recent book, Climate of Hope.  The book is a demonstration that you can write any ignorant drivel and be taken seriously if you are important and pretend that the drivel is science.

The green cult, especially the global warming branch, is like Lysenkoism in the former Soviet Union.  It is an official scientific ideology that scientists are expected to support.  The scientists who refuse to support it – there are many – suffer the consequences.  Most scientific dissenters keep quiet.  They have families to support.  Thankfully, there are signs that the official support is starting to crumble.

Norman Rogers writes often about environmental issues. His website is climateviews.com.  See this study for a detailed analysis of the cost of wind electricity.



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The Coal-Asthma Connection


The organized enemies of coal are at bottom enemies of carbon dioxide (CO2). Enemies of CO2 are believers in the greenhouse gas catastrophic global warming hypothesis. That hypothesis is and always has been poorly supported by evidence. The “evidence” is really computer models that make predictions. Those predictions have failed to materialize.

Coal is the hydrocarbon fuel with the most carbon and the least hydrogen. Thus, when coal is burned as fuel, more CO2 is released to the atmosphere than would be the case if natural gas were used. The main use of coal is generating electricity. Natural gas is the main alternative to coal for electricity. For the same amount of electricity, using the most efficient technology, coal emits about 2.5 times as much CO2 as natural gas. This is not only due to coal having a greater proportion of carbon, but also to the fact that so-called combined cycle natural gas plants are 50% more efficient than coal plants. The hydrogen in hydrocarbon fuels turns into water (H2O) when the fuel is burned. Liquid hydrocarbon fuels, such as diesel fuel, are rarely used for large-scale electricity production because they are too expensive.

Historically, coal has been a much cheaper fuel than natural gas. But, due to the advent of fracking, plentiful supplies of natural gas have driven down the price of gas to the point where it is often competitive with coal for electricity generation. But the low price of natural gas may be temporary. The price may increase as facilities for the export of natural gas are constructed, expanding the market beyond North America. In the long term it may be unwise to lock the electricity sector into natural gas. Natural gas is a premium fuel. It naturally burns cleanly and it can be used in many applications, including transportation, for which coal is not practical. On the other hand, the U.S. is blessed with vast coal reserves that could last for hundreds of years.

The greatest enemy of coal is the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club is a big business with three million members and supporters, and a budget of around $100 million per year. The Club has a long-running propaganda campaign intended to destroy the coal industry.

The threat of global warming is no longer convincing to most of the general public. There has been little or no global warming for two decades in spite of increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. Increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere helps crops to grow faster with less water. CO2 is for plants like oxygen is for animals.

Rather than honestly say that they want to shut down coal because the CO2 emissions will cause global warming (that they now call climate disruption), the Club has made many dubious claims to the effect that burning coal creates medical problems, especially causing and aggravating asthma, especially among children. A search of the Club’s Beyond Coal website brings up eight pages of claims linking coal to asthma. A recent book by billionaire Michael Bloomberg and former Sierra Club president, Carl Pope, also harps on the supposed coal-asthma connection.

The coal-asthma connection is basically made-up science. Experts on asthma say that they don’t know what causes asthma. The existence of dubious correlations underlines the lack of knowledge. For example, planned caesarian birth is associated with childhood asthma; but not unplanned caesarian birth. People who have asthma seem to have attacks triggered by a wide variety of circumstances, including such things as the weather, dust mites, air pollution, and stress. It is known that there are genetic factors involved.

An interesting study compared immigrant Chinese adolescents in Vancouver, Canada, with Chinese adolescents in three big cities in China, and Chinese adolescents born in Vancouver. Vancouver has extraordinarily clean air, while the Chinese cities have very dirty air and massive use of coal electricity. But asthma rates are lowest in China, intermediate among immigrants, and highest among Chinese born in Vancouver. The asthma rate for Chinese born in Vancouver was more than double the rate for Chinese living in the dirty, coal friendly, Chinese cities.

The hygiene hypothesis is that asthma is the result of leading an excessively clean lifestyle without early life exposure to various allergens. Then when the allergens are encountered later in life the immune system overreacts. That might explain the Vancouver study citied above.

Modern coal plants are very clean, something not highlighted by the Sierra Club. I had occasion to visit the John W. Turk, Jr. power plant near Fulton, Arkansas. This modern plant, completed in 2012 operates very efficiently producing electricity at low cost and with very low pollution. Nothing can be seen exiting the smokestack when operating at full power. Pollution control systems remove the major pollutants: sulfur, particulate matter, mercury, and oxides of nitrogen. The minor pollution that escapes removal is dispersed by the high smokestack and cleaned by natural purification and sequestration processes.

Instead of telling the truth about coal pollution, the Sierra Club prints misleading photos of smokestacks and cooling towers backlit by the sun so as to make it appear that harmless steam is black smoke.

If a commercial company makes up lies to sell its products there are many legal channels for correcting the situation. For example, pharmaceutical companies suffer massive lawsuits if they slightly misrepresent the efficacy of their products. There are many government agencies dedicated to protecting the public from commercial misrepresentation. Additionally, free speech does not legally exist for commercial companies. The system is certainly not perfect; the regulated often “capture” the regulators. But, in the environmental area, the government agencies charged with protecting the environment often work hand in hand with the scare campaigns run by environmental groups. The environmental groups often sue the government and commercial companies, but rarely suffer lawsuits themselves for the many lies they tell.

Unfortunately it is easier to make up scare stories than it is to refute them. The Sierra Club and many similar organizations make up stories with a scientific gloss. In order to refute the scare stories, one has to objectively study the evidence and bore the reader with complex arguments. By means of lies and distortions designed to raise the maximum amount of money and membership, environmental organizations can send the country down the wrong course, impoverishing the economy, and doing next to nothing to improve the environment or American lives. Substituting windmills for coal plants is an excellent example of this.

Norman Rogers writes often about global warming and environmental matters. He has a website.

The organized enemies of coal are at bottom enemies of carbon dioxide (CO2). Enemies of CO2 are believers in the greenhouse gas catastrophic global warming hypothesis. That hypothesis is and always has been poorly supported by evidence. The “evidence” is really computer models that make predictions. Those predictions have failed to materialize.

Coal is the hydrocarbon fuel with the most carbon and the least hydrogen. Thus, when coal is burned as fuel, more CO2 is released to the atmosphere than would be the case if natural gas were used. The main use of coal is generating electricity. Natural gas is the main alternative to coal for electricity. For the same amount of electricity, using the most efficient technology, coal emits about 2.5 times as much CO2 as natural gas. This is not only due to coal having a greater proportion of carbon, but also to the fact that so-called combined cycle natural gas plants are 50% more efficient than coal plants. The hydrogen in hydrocarbon fuels turns into water (H2O) when the fuel is burned. Liquid hydrocarbon fuels, such as diesel fuel, are rarely used for large-scale electricity production because they are too expensive.

Historically, coal has been a much cheaper fuel than natural gas. But, due to the advent of fracking, plentiful supplies of natural gas have driven down the price of gas to the point where it is often competitive with coal for electricity generation. But the low price of natural gas may be temporary. The price may increase as facilities for the export of natural gas are constructed, expanding the market beyond North America. In the long term it may be unwise to lock the electricity sector into natural gas. Natural gas is a premium fuel. It naturally burns cleanly and it can be used in many applications, including transportation, for which coal is not practical. On the other hand, the U.S. is blessed with vast coal reserves that could last for hundreds of years.

The greatest enemy of coal is the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club is a big business with three million members and supporters, and a budget of around $100 million per year. The Club has a long-running propaganda campaign intended to destroy the coal industry.

The threat of global warming is no longer convincing to most of the general public. There has been little or no global warming for two decades in spite of increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. Increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere helps crops to grow faster with less water. CO2 is for plants like oxygen is for animals.

Rather than honestly say that they want to shut down coal because the CO2 emissions will cause global warming (that they now call climate disruption), the Club has made many dubious claims to the effect that burning coal creates medical problems, especially causing and aggravating asthma, especially among children. A search of the Club’s Beyond Coal website brings up eight pages of claims linking coal to asthma. A recent book by billionaire Michael Bloomberg and former Sierra Club president, Carl Pope, also harps on the supposed coal-asthma connection.

The coal-asthma connection is basically made-up science. Experts on asthma say that they don’t know what causes asthma. The existence of dubious correlations underlines the lack of knowledge. For example, planned caesarian birth is associated with childhood asthma; but not unplanned caesarian birth. People who have asthma seem to have attacks triggered by a wide variety of circumstances, including such things as the weather, dust mites, air pollution, and stress. It is known that there are genetic factors involved.

An interesting study compared immigrant Chinese adolescents in Vancouver, Canada, with Chinese adolescents in three big cities in China, and Chinese adolescents born in Vancouver. Vancouver has extraordinarily clean air, while the Chinese cities have very dirty air and massive use of coal electricity. But asthma rates are lowest in China, intermediate among immigrants, and highest among Chinese born in Vancouver. The asthma rate for Chinese born in Vancouver was more than double the rate for Chinese living in the dirty, coal friendly, Chinese cities.

The hygiene hypothesis is that asthma is the result of leading an excessively clean lifestyle without early life exposure to various allergens. Then when the allergens are encountered later in life the immune system overreacts. That might explain the Vancouver study citied above.

Modern coal plants are very clean, something not highlighted by the Sierra Club. I had occasion to visit the John W. Turk, Jr. power plant near Fulton, Arkansas. This modern plant, completed in 2012 operates very efficiently producing electricity at low cost and with very low pollution. Nothing can be seen exiting the smokestack when operating at full power. Pollution control systems remove the major pollutants: sulfur, particulate matter, mercury, and oxides of nitrogen. The minor pollution that escapes removal is dispersed by the high smokestack and cleaned by natural purification and sequestration processes.

Instead of telling the truth about coal pollution, the Sierra Club prints misleading photos of smokestacks and cooling towers backlit by the sun so as to make it appear that harmless steam is black smoke.

If a commercial company makes up lies to sell its products there are many legal channels for correcting the situation. For example, pharmaceutical companies suffer massive lawsuits if they slightly misrepresent the efficacy of their products. There are many government agencies dedicated to protecting the public from commercial misrepresentation. Additionally, free speech does not legally exist for commercial companies. The system is certainly not perfect; the regulated often “capture” the regulators. But, in the environmental area, the government agencies charged with protecting the environment often work hand in hand with the scare campaigns run by environmental groups. The environmental groups often sue the government and commercial companies, but rarely suffer lawsuits themselves for the many lies they tell.

Unfortunately it is easier to make up scare stories than it is to refute them. The Sierra Club and many similar organizations make up stories with a scientific gloss. In order to refute the scare stories, one has to objectively study the evidence and bore the reader with complex arguments. By means of lies and distortions designed to raise the maximum amount of money and membership, environmental organizations can send the country down the wrong course, impoverishing the economy, and doing next to nothing to improve the environment or American lives. Substituting windmills for coal plants is an excellent example of this.

Norman Rogers writes often about global warming and environmental matters. He has a website.



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California's Bogus 'Renewable Energy'



California's "renewable power" mandate is a scandal waiting to happen.



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The Popes of Global Warming Religion Write a Book


Michael Bloomberg, according to Forbes, is the 10th richest man in the world, with a net worth of $47.5 billion.

Bloomberg graduated from the Harvard Business School, and built a huge business. He is no dummy. So, why has he given millions of dollars to the extremist Sierra Club? Why did he co-write Climate of Hope, an ignorant, anti-science book, with Carl Pope, the former head of the Sierra Club? Bloomberg studied electrical engineering as an undergraduate, so he can’t plead that he is a science-dumb liberal arts major. Sadly, Bloomberg seems to believe what he wrote.

Global warming is a scare story that is on the decline. The failure of the Earth to warm for over 18 years, many unresolved questions and contradictions, and repeated scandals, have gravely damaged the catastrophic global warming story.

Different chapters in their book are written by either Bloomberg or Pope. Pope wrote a “science” chapter that is extremely amusing because Pope, a history major, obviously hasn’t the vaguest understanding of the basic science behind claims of global warming. Worse, he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

Pope says:

 “Different gases and particles in the atmosphere capture some of the solar energy both as it hits the atmosphere and as it bounces back as heat. These are the greenhouse gases…”

This is confused gibberish. Very little of the incoming radiation from the Sun is absorbed by greenhouse gases.

Pope says that without greenhouse gases the Earth would be like the Moon, 253 degrees Fahrenheit by day and 243 degrees below zero at night. That’s wrong. Even without greenhouse gases, the Earth, unlike the moon, has an atmosphere. The Earth rotates 13 times faster than the moon. The Earth would not experience the extreme temperatures of the moon even without greenhouse gases because days and nights are short compared to the moon and because the atmosphere provides far more thermal inertia than the Moon’s surface does.

Pope states that greenhouse gases cause the blanket of air surrounding the Earth to retain more solar energy, causing the temperature to rise. Pope seems to think that the greenhouse gases are a kind of bank vault for energy. According to Pope: “…carbon dioxide is the second-largest heat-storage gas in the atmosphere…” But very little energy is stored in greenhouse gases as heat, the more so because they constitute a very small part of the atmosphere. The amount of atmospheric heat that can be stored in the atmosphere’s CO2 is more than a thousand times less that the amount of heat stored in the major atmospheric gases, nitrogen and oxygen. Pope was very clear about his mistaken beliefs in his 2006 book about the Bush administration, Strategic Ignorance:

“the science is, in fact, settled. greenhouse gases-carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and certain other atmospheric chemicals — absorb heat from the Sun during the day and do not re-radiate it at night”

This is gibberish. Pope seems to think that greenhouse gases store heat and make the earth warmer. Do they store more energy every day and not release it every night? Will they eventually explode from all the energy accumulated over the years?

Pope says in Climate of Hope:

“More retained solar energy has two effects. It causes temperatures to rise — hence global warming. It also makes the atmosphere more energetic, just as heating a pot of spaghetti sauce not only heats it but eventually causes it to bubble over. Storing more — and reflecting less — of the incoming Sunlight puts weather on steroids.”

Just as Newton supposedly understood gravity after observing an apple falling off a tree, Pope has grasped global warming while cooking up a batch of spaghetti. Global warming is supposed to take place most strongly in the polar regions, reducing the pole-equator temperature difference. It is this temperature difference that drives weather, so global warming should make the weather more moderate — more like spaghetti at a low simmer.

The many termite companies in Chicago would not be amused to know that Pope thinks there are no termites in Chicago due to the cold winters.

I am not surprised that Carl Pope, a summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College, has a knowledge of science barely one step up from explaining things in terms of Moon gods and Sun gods. What does surprise me is that obviously no attempt was made to fact check the information in a book written by the 10th richest man in the world and the former head of a 2-million-member environmental organization.

Michael Bloomberg has a history of supporting global warming hysteria. See this article concerning his previous efforts to promote global warming with two other billionaires. In Bloomberg’s chapter, The Stakes, quoting his previous efforts, he says:

“In the decades ahead, coastal storm damage could grow to $35 billion annually, agriculture could face yield losses of more than 10 percent, and increasing power demand caused by rising temperatures could cost ratepayers an additional $12 billion annually.”

A lot of things “could” happen as a result of global warming. None of these things is happening. But then, neither is global warming happening. If adding CO2 to the atmosphere is going to hurt agricultural yields, one has to wonder why the owners of greenhouses routinely install CO2 generators. Plants breathe CO2. Increased CO2 makes plants grow better with less water.

Bloomberg says: “Never in recorded history have the seas risen as much, as quickly, as they did during the twentieth century.” To see how misleading that is, look at the graph here. “Recorded history” is not relevant in this context.

Bloomberg uses tricks to make the reader think global warming is progressing rapidly. But, the Earth’s temperature has been flat since 1998, contrary to the predictions of global warming disaster. The flat temperature has slight ripples that enable the promoters of global warming to say this year or that year is the hottest on record. The “record,” of course, doesn’t go back very far. It was probably hotter 6,000 years ago during a period known as the Holocene Optimum.

Bloomberg has a lot to say about increasing the energy efficiency of buildings. If you add enough insulation, enough triple pane windows and restrict fresh air intake, or use heat exchangers to condition fresh air intake, it is possible to make buildings that hardly consume any energy for heating or cooling. Instead of wasting energy, the greens prefer to waste money. Usually it is not their money. Then people move into the wonderful green building and ruin the best laid plans by opening the windows. The plunging price of natural gas due to fracking has made green buildings ever more wasteful of money. Because gas is so cheap, the sweet spot is less building and more energy.

Bloomberg and Pope hate coal, undoubtedly because burning coal generates more CO2 than other fuels. To promote their hatred of coal, they claim that pollution from coal is responsible for all sorts of medical problems. Claims that the low level of pollution from coal plants is responsible for medical problems and premature death is based on calculations and the assumption that small doses of pollutants cause problems in linear proportion to the problems caused by large doses. There is every reason to believe that this is not true. The claim that coal generation of electricity causes medical problems is thus unsupported by good science.

I’ve hardly scratched the surface of the mistakes, misrepresentations and lies in the Bloomberg-Pope book. What is really going on? What is this book, filled with crazy but fashionable ideas, really about? It is certainly not about science. It has to do with a new religion that instead of invoking God, invokes science. The role of the devil is assigned to fossil fuel companies and Republicans. The prophets are computer models that supposedly predict the future climate of the Earth. The science that is invoked is not real science, but a confused mix of wild claims larded with scientific terminology.

Norman Rogers has a website.

Michael Bloomberg, according to Forbes, is the 10th richest man in the world, with a net worth of $47.5 billion.

Bloomberg graduated from the Harvard Business School, and built a huge business. He is no dummy. So, why has he given millions of dollars to the extremist Sierra Club? Why did he co-write Climate of Hope, an ignorant, anti-science book, with Carl Pope, the former head of the Sierra Club? Bloomberg studied electrical engineering as an undergraduate, so he can’t plead that he is a science-dumb liberal arts major. Sadly, Bloomberg seems to believe what he wrote.

Global warming is a scare story that is on the decline. The failure of the Earth to warm for over 18 years, many unresolved questions and contradictions, and repeated scandals, have gravely damaged the catastrophic global warming story.

Different chapters in their book are written by either Bloomberg or Pope. Pope wrote a “science” chapter that is extremely amusing because Pope, a history major, obviously hasn’t the vaguest understanding of the basic science behind claims of global warming. Worse, he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

Pope says:

 “Different gases and particles in the atmosphere capture some of the solar energy both as it hits the atmosphere and as it bounces back as heat. These are the greenhouse gases…”

This is confused gibberish. Very little of the incoming radiation from the Sun is absorbed by greenhouse gases.

Pope says that without greenhouse gases the Earth would be like the Moon, 253 degrees Fahrenheit by day and 243 degrees below zero at night. That’s wrong. Even without greenhouse gases, the Earth, unlike the moon, has an atmosphere. The Earth rotates 13 times faster than the moon. The Earth would not experience the extreme temperatures of the moon even without greenhouse gases because days and nights are short compared to the moon and because the atmosphere provides far more thermal inertia than the Moon’s surface does.

Pope states that greenhouse gases cause the blanket of air surrounding the Earth to retain more solar energy, causing the temperature to rise. Pope seems to think that the greenhouse gases are a kind of bank vault for energy. According to Pope: “…carbon dioxide is the second-largest heat-storage gas in the atmosphere…” But very little energy is stored in greenhouse gases as heat, the more so because they constitute a very small part of the atmosphere. The amount of atmospheric heat that can be stored in the atmosphere’s CO2 is more than a thousand times less that the amount of heat stored in the major atmospheric gases, nitrogen and oxygen. Pope was very clear about his mistaken beliefs in his 2006 book about the Bush administration, Strategic Ignorance:

“the science is, in fact, settled. greenhouse gases-carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and certain other atmospheric chemicals — absorb heat from the Sun during the day and do not re-radiate it at night”

This is gibberish. Pope seems to think that greenhouse gases store heat and make the earth warmer. Do they store more energy every day and not release it every night? Will they eventually explode from all the energy accumulated over the years?

Pope says in Climate of Hope:

“More retained solar energy has two effects. It causes temperatures to rise — hence global warming. It also makes the atmosphere more energetic, just as heating a pot of spaghetti sauce not only heats it but eventually causes it to bubble over. Storing more — and reflecting less — of the incoming Sunlight puts weather on steroids.”

Just as Newton supposedly understood gravity after observing an apple falling off a tree, Pope has grasped global warming while cooking up a batch of spaghetti. Global warming is supposed to take place most strongly in the polar regions, reducing the pole-equator temperature difference. It is this temperature difference that drives weather, so global warming should make the weather more moderate — more like spaghetti at a low simmer.

The many termite companies in Chicago would not be amused to know that Pope thinks there are no termites in Chicago due to the cold winters.

I am not surprised that Carl Pope, a summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College, has a knowledge of science barely one step up from explaining things in terms of Moon gods and Sun gods. What does surprise me is that obviously no attempt was made to fact check the information in a book written by the 10th richest man in the world and the former head of a 2-million-member environmental organization.

Michael Bloomberg has a history of supporting global warming hysteria. See this article concerning his previous efforts to promote global warming with two other billionaires. In Bloomberg’s chapter, The Stakes, quoting his previous efforts, he says:

“In the decades ahead, coastal storm damage could grow to $35 billion annually, agriculture could face yield losses of more than 10 percent, and increasing power demand caused by rising temperatures could cost ratepayers an additional $12 billion annually.”

A lot of things “could” happen as a result of global warming. None of these things is happening. But then, neither is global warming happening. If adding CO2 to the atmosphere is going to hurt agricultural yields, one has to wonder why the owners of greenhouses routinely install CO2 generators. Plants breathe CO2. Increased CO2 makes plants grow better with less water.

Bloomberg says: “Never in recorded history have the seas risen as much, as quickly, as they did during the twentieth century.” To see how misleading that is, look at the graph here. “Recorded history” is not relevant in this context.

Bloomberg uses tricks to make the reader think global warming is progressing rapidly. But, the Earth’s temperature has been flat since 1998, contrary to the predictions of global warming disaster. The flat temperature has slight ripples that enable the promoters of global warming to say this year or that year is the hottest on record. The “record,” of course, doesn’t go back very far. It was probably hotter 6,000 years ago during a period known as the Holocene Optimum.

Bloomberg has a lot to say about increasing the energy efficiency of buildings. If you add enough insulation, enough triple pane windows and restrict fresh air intake, or use heat exchangers to condition fresh air intake, it is possible to make buildings that hardly consume any energy for heating or cooling. Instead of wasting energy, the greens prefer to waste money. Usually it is not their money. Then people move into the wonderful green building and ruin the best laid plans by opening the windows. The plunging price of natural gas due to fracking has made green buildings ever more wasteful of money. Because gas is so cheap, the sweet spot is less building and more energy.

Bloomberg and Pope hate coal, undoubtedly because burning coal generates more CO2 than other fuels. To promote their hatred of coal, they claim that pollution from coal is responsible for all sorts of medical problems. Claims that the low level of pollution from coal plants is responsible for medical problems and premature death is based on calculations and the assumption that small doses of pollutants cause problems in linear proportion to the problems caused by large doses. There is every reason to believe that this is not true. The claim that coal generation of electricity causes medical problems is thus unsupported by good science.

I’ve hardly scratched the surface of the mistakes, misrepresentations and lies in the Bloomberg-Pope book. What is really going on? What is this book, filled with crazy but fashionable ideas, really about? It is certainly not about science. It has to do with a new religion that instead of invoking God, invokes science. The role of the devil is assigned to fossil fuel companies and Republicans. The prophets are computer models that supposedly predict the future climate of the Earth. The science that is invoked is not real science, but a confused mix of wild claims larded with scientific terminology.

Norman Rogers has a website.



Source link

Academic Global Warming Advocates and the Power of Incoherent Jargon


The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink. — George Orwell

Nature Climate Change is a monthly magazine that is devoted to supporting the idea that we face a man-caused climate disaster that will surface at some future date.  The magazine presents itself as if it is a scientific journal. But scientific journals, real scientific journals, don’t fill their pages with advocacy for a single point of view.

The April 2017 issue of Nature Climate Change carries a commentary: The food-energy-water nexus and urban complexity. The title is an indication of things to come. “food-energy-water” is abbreviated as “FEW.” Obviously, people need food, energy and water. But, why are these grouped together? People need lots of other things, for example: police, transportation, housing, and education.  Is water a more urgent problem than, say, education? Some people think so. When I lived in Chicago there were true believers wandering on Michigan Avenue, proselytizing for the supposed future global warming-caused water crisis. This a few blocks from one of the great fresh-water inland seas of the world. These true believers were, no doubt, less interested in the education crisis represented by the failing public schools of Chicago.

According to the article:

“The world’s FEW systems are significantly stressed and already experiencing shortfalls due to their interactions with global anthropogenic processes such as urbanization and climate change”

Okay — urbanization, the migration of poor rural people to cities, is an anthropogenic process. In fact, everything that people and societies do is an anthropogenic (man-caused) process. Urbanization in the U.S. was largely finished by the 50s and instead we had migration out of the cities to the suburbs. But, is “climate change” a man-caused process? Not unless you believe that carbon dioxide is the great controller of the Earth’s climate.

The authors explain some of their thinking with this quote:

“National and human security approaches illuminate contrasting aspects of FEW security and their epistemological and ontological differences lead to differing proposed response options, and can hinder communication and incorporation of insights and lessons across disciplines. These differences need to be carefully elicited to avoid the risk of theoretical and practical incompatibility of inconsistency.”

I have tried to translate this into plain English, but it defies a translation that makes sense.

When the authors occasionally descend into the real world, they appear to embrace conspiracy and be badly misinformed:

“While the energy security of consumers would benefit more from distributed [solar] installations, utilities and their investors have supported regulations, business plans, and technology designs that favor industrialized, large-scale plants managed by a few.”

Utilities have little to fear from rooftop solar installations because the utilities can supply power much cheaper than these installations can. What the utilities object to is a state enforced requirement to buy this power at the retail price of power. Utilities need to buy power wholesale and sell it retail in order to be able to operate. So it is not a conspiracy of capitalists against rooftop solar. If you own a cow, the state does not require that dairies buy your milk at the same price they sell milk. Rooftop solar does not provide consumers with a backup source of power for the simple reason that in the vast majority of cases, for technical reasons, the rooftop power will not work if the power grid is not working. At least, if you have a cow, you can drink the milk.

A favorite academic trick is to restate the obvious in pompous, obscure language. For example:

“A nexus approach to interdependencies among food, energy and water security is promising in many ways. It call on us to go beyond academic and policy silos and look at how are efforts to attain one goal may prevent achievement of others. It provides a vision within which an interrelated set of goals and outcomes can be defined. It can help to determine key thresholds below which urban users become FEW insecure, or beyond which FEW systems are unsustainable.”

All this really says is that we should plan carefully and consider all contingencies.

It is not surprising that the three academics who wrote this drivel are supported by government subsidies (see: here, here and here). Certainly it is a worthy thing to study ways to provide security and resilience for our cities. However, if you start with an unchallenged belief in imaginary global warming, you are going to end up making things worse. Substituting wind or solar power for conventional power plants does not provide greater energy security, for obvious reasons. Worrying about fashionable, imaginary water shortages distracts from real urban problems such as crime or broken families. Worrying about food security is fairly comical given the obesity epidemic. There are real threats to the urban world, such as electromagnetic pulse. But that threat is largely ignored.

Nature Climate Change is published by the same company that publishes Nature, a scientific journal begun in 1869, has published some of the most original and important research of the last century and a half. The company is in no position to not pay homage to global warming mythology. If the company dared to publish works openly skeptical of the global warming religion there would be a furious counterattack by the largely academic customer base. It’s all about money, the vast flows of money that global warming disaster predictions have bought to a large segment of academia.

When an academic discipline runs out of progress, fake progress is substituted. Fake progress consists of restating well-known truisms in a more obscure, abstract and pompous form. For example, there is a trend in sociology called grand theory. Established sociological ideas are restated in tortured and obscure language. The Polish émigré sociologist Stanislav Andreski remarked that the communist government of Poland saw no need to censor grand theory. Obscure, abstract theorizing was no threat to Polish communism.

One investigator attempted to confirm 100 published psychology papers. Only 39% were confirmed. This illustrates the great pressure to publish; to publish something or anything. The low quality of academic investigations is well known. The government agencies that finance academia are complicit in the vast outpouring of academic garbage.

I’m not claiming that everything academic is fake or that we should cut off all the money to academia. Generally, the softer the discipline, the greater the rot. Climate science prediction is weak scientifically. Sociology is very far down the road to irrelevance and has become largely a promoter of left-wing dogma, but with honorable exceptions.

Norman Rogers writes often on climate and politics. He has a website.

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink. — George Orwell

Nature Climate Change is a monthly magazine that is devoted to supporting the idea that we face a man-caused climate disaster that will surface at some future date.  The magazine presents itself as if it is a scientific journal. But scientific journals, real scientific journals, don’t fill their pages with advocacy for a single point of view.

The April 2017 issue of Nature Climate Change carries a commentary: The food-energy-water nexus and urban complexity. The title is an indication of things to come. “food-energy-water” is abbreviated as “FEW.” Obviously, people need food, energy and water. But, why are these grouped together? People need lots of other things, for example: police, transportation, housing, and education.  Is water a more urgent problem than, say, education? Some people think so. When I lived in Chicago there were true believers wandering on Michigan Avenue, proselytizing for the supposed future global warming-caused water crisis. This a few blocks from one of the great fresh-water inland seas of the world. These true believers were, no doubt, less interested in the education crisis represented by the failing public schools of Chicago.

According to the article:

“The world’s FEW systems are significantly stressed and already experiencing shortfalls due to their interactions with global anthropogenic processes such as urbanization and climate change”

Okay — urbanization, the migration of poor rural people to cities, is an anthropogenic process. In fact, everything that people and societies do is an anthropogenic (man-caused) process. Urbanization in the U.S. was largely finished by the 50s and instead we had migration out of the cities to the suburbs. But, is “climate change” a man-caused process? Not unless you believe that carbon dioxide is the great controller of the Earth’s climate.

The authors explain some of their thinking with this quote:

“National and human security approaches illuminate contrasting aspects of FEW security and their epistemological and ontological differences lead to differing proposed response options, and can hinder communication and incorporation of insights and lessons across disciplines. These differences need to be carefully elicited to avoid the risk of theoretical and practical incompatibility of inconsistency.”

I have tried to translate this into plain English, but it defies a translation that makes sense.

When the authors occasionally descend into the real world, they appear to embrace conspiracy and be badly misinformed:

“While the energy security of consumers would benefit more from distributed [solar] installations, utilities and their investors have supported regulations, business plans, and technology designs that favor industrialized, large-scale plants managed by a few.”

Utilities have little to fear from rooftop solar installations because the utilities can supply power much cheaper than these installations can. What the utilities object to is a state enforced requirement to buy this power at the retail price of power. Utilities need to buy power wholesale and sell it retail in order to be able to operate. So it is not a conspiracy of capitalists against rooftop solar. If you own a cow, the state does not require that dairies buy your milk at the same price they sell milk. Rooftop solar does not provide consumers with a backup source of power for the simple reason that in the vast majority of cases, for technical reasons, the rooftop power will not work if the power grid is not working. At least, if you have a cow, you can drink the milk.

A favorite academic trick is to restate the obvious in pompous, obscure language. For example:

“A nexus approach to interdependencies among food, energy and water security is promising in many ways. It call on us to go beyond academic and policy silos and look at how are efforts to attain one goal may prevent achievement of others. It provides a vision within which an interrelated set of goals and outcomes can be defined. It can help to determine key thresholds below which urban users become FEW insecure, or beyond which FEW systems are unsustainable.”

All this really says is that we should plan carefully and consider all contingencies.

It is not surprising that the three academics who wrote this drivel are supported by government subsidies (see: here, here and here). Certainly it is a worthy thing to study ways to provide security and resilience for our cities. However, if you start with an unchallenged belief in imaginary global warming, you are going to end up making things worse. Substituting wind or solar power for conventional power plants does not provide greater energy security, for obvious reasons. Worrying about fashionable, imaginary water shortages distracts from real urban problems such as crime or broken families. Worrying about food security is fairly comical given the obesity epidemic. There are real threats to the urban world, such as electromagnetic pulse. But that threat is largely ignored.

Nature Climate Change is published by the same company that publishes Nature, a scientific journal begun in 1869, has published some of the most original and important research of the last century and a half. The company is in no position to not pay homage to global warming mythology. If the company dared to publish works openly skeptical of the global warming religion there would be a furious counterattack by the largely academic customer base. It’s all about money, the vast flows of money that global warming disaster predictions have bought to a large segment of academia.

When an academic discipline runs out of progress, fake progress is substituted. Fake progress consists of restating well-known truisms in a more obscure, abstract and pompous form. For example, there is a trend in sociology called grand theory. Established sociological ideas are restated in tortured and obscure language. The Polish émigré sociologist Stanislav Andreski remarked that the communist government of Poland saw no need to censor grand theory. Obscure, abstract theorizing was no threat to Polish communism.

One investigator attempted to confirm 100 published psychology papers. Only 39% were confirmed. This illustrates the great pressure to publish; to publish something or anything. The low quality of academic investigations is well known. The government agencies that finance academia are complicit in the vast outpouring of academic garbage.

I’m not claiming that everything academic is fake or that we should cut off all the money to academia. Generally, the softer the discipline, the greater the rot. Climate science prediction is weak scientifically. Sociology is very far down the road to irrelevance and has become largely a promoter of left-wing dogma, but with honorable exceptions.

Norman Rogers writes often on climate and politics. He has a website.



Source link