Archive for July, 2011

UN security council to consider climate change peacekeeping

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Source:  UK Guardian

Special meeting to discuss ‘green helmets’ force to intervene in conflicts caused by rising seas levels and shrinking resources

A special meeting of the United Nations security council is due to consider whether to expand its mission to keep the peace in an era of climate change.

Small island states, which could disappear beneath rising seas, are pushing the security council to intervene to combat the threat to their existence.

There has been talk, meanwhile, of a new environmental peacekeeping force – green helmets – which could step into conflicts caused by shrinking resources.

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, is expected to address the meeting on Wednesday. (more…)

A professor speaks out: money has corrupted our global warming debate

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Source:  Herald Sun (Australia)

Australian physicist Professor Brian J O’Brien has worked on the Apollo moon missions. In this interview with the ABC, just 8:15 from the end, he suddenly cuts loose on man-made global warming, and commits a series of heresies that pin back the ears of the interviewer.

- It’s been wildly exaggerated. When he first started researching the topic, “I got rather frightened at the exaggerations that were going around.”

- It’s “certainly not proven” than man is largely to blame for any warming.

- “The sad part was that there were no senior scientists that were independent” in the field. (more…)

‘Record-breaking’ US heat wave breaks records at < 0.4% of stations during past week

Monday, July 25th, 2011
Source: THE HOCKEY SCHTICK
 The news media is saturated with headlines about the “record-breaking” US heat wave over the past week. However, the NOAA database of all-time Max Temperature for the entire US from over 6000 weather stations shows that there were no records broken on July 17, July 18, July 19, or July 20th. A total of 4 stations broke records on July 21, 20 on July 22, and 10 on July 23, 2011, for a grand total of less than 0.4% of stations breaking a temperature record sometime during the past week. More than 99.6% of stations failed to break records sometime over the past week.
see charts and data here:  http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2011/07/record-breaking-us-heat-wave-breaks.html

Opinion: War is not prosperity

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Source: Economic Policy Journal

by Robert Wenzel

Larry Summers: Hitler Was Good for the U.S. Economy

Greg Mankiw points to this Larry Summers comment on the Charlie Rose Show:

Never forget, never forget, and I think it’s very important for Democrats especially to remember this, that if Hitler had not come along, Franklin Roosevelt would have left office in 1941 with an unemployment rate in excess of 15 percent and an economic recovery strategy that had basically failed.

Economist Robert Higgs has ripped apart the notion that war is good for an economy. And, in particular, he has focused on World War 2. On release of Higgs’ book,  Depression, War, and Cold War: Challenging the Myths of Conflict and Prosperity, the publisher wrote:

[Higgs] provides clear evidence FDR’s New Deal actually prolonged the Great Depression and that World War II did nothing to create prosperity…Higgs also demonstrates how little-known changes in weapons procurement policy in 1940–41 transformed the role of defense contractors in the political economy, why the U.S. civilian economy foundered during the Second World War, and how historians and economists have disregarded or misunderstood the economy’s rapid postwar return to genuine prosperity.

“War is the quintessential government activity,” writes Higgs. Employment figures were stellar during World War II only because a number of men equivalent to 22 percent of the prewar labor force were drawn into the military, mostly by the draft, at below-market wages. Making- the critical distinction between wartime prosperity and genuine prosperity, he confirms that the economy did not actually recover fully until after World War II.

Summers is correct that FDR’s pre-war New Deal economic strategy failed, but he is incorrect that world war boosted the economy. As Higgs shows in his book, the private sector did not recover until after the war. The war period was  just another government manipulated period where some statistics may have looked good because young men were coerced into fighting and dying for the state.

Remarkably, the death of young men is never recorded as  a notch against GDP, but the building of bombs that are dropped in far off lands is always counted as a plus for an economy.

AGW and International Wealth Transfer to Bankers

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Source: SPPI

by Dennis Ambler

The Banks are after our money again. 

“Using public funds to remove risks” means that the wealthy may take any level of risk to further enrich themselves, because if anything brings huge losses, the taxpayers will be forced to bail them out.  If the risks result in huge returns for the wealthy, the taxpayers received zero.  Investment and loan guarantees by governments to large corporations and banks are wealth transfers at best, theft at worse.

this account comes from the Climate Group website: The Climate Group.

Date:July 23, 2011

“NEW YORK: On July 20, The Climate Group and Theodore Roosevelt IV of Barclays Capital hosted a roundtable dialogue with Andrew Steer, Special Envoy for Climate Change at the World Bank with senior members of the financial sector, to discuss how public sector funding could be used to stimulate the nearly $1 trillion of private sector investment needed to address climate change worldwide. (more…)

Things More Worrisome than AGW: China building electromagnetic pulse weapons for use against U.S. carriers

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Source: Washington Times

China’s military is developing electromagnetic pulse weapons that Beijing plans to use against U.S. aircraft carriers in any future conflict over Taiwan, according to an intelligence report made public on Thursday.

Portions of a National Ground Intelligence Center study on the lethal effects of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and high-powered microwave (HPM) weapons revealed that the arms are part of China’s so-called “assassin’s mace” arsenal – weapons that allow a technologically inferior China to defeat U.S. military forces. (more…)

Things More Worrisome than AGW: Increasing Areas of Serious Theft

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Farm Thieves Target Grapes, and Even Bees

Source:  NY Times

 

Thieves target North Texas ambulances

Source: WFAA

Things More Worrisome than AGW: New Terror Report Warns of Insider Threat to Utilities

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Source: ABC News

Sabotage by an insider at a major utility facility, including a chemical or oil refinery, could provide al Qaeda with its best opportunity for the kind of massive Sept. 11 anniversary attack Osama bin Laden was planning, according to U.S. officials.

A new intelligence report from the Department of Homeland Security issued Tuesday, titled Insider Threat to Utilities, warns “violent extremists have, in fact, obtained insider positions,” and that “outsiders have attempted to solicit utility-sector employees” for damaging physical and cyber attacks.

“Based on the reliable reporting of previous incidents, we have high confidence in our judgment that insiders and their actions pose a significant threat to the infrastructure and information systems of U.S. facilities,” the bulletin reads in part. “Past events and reporting also provide high confidence in our judgment that insider information on sites, infrastructure, networks, and personnel is valuable to our adversaries and may increase the impact of any attack on the utilities infrastructure.” (more…)

UPROAR AS BBC MUZZLES CLIMATE CHANGE SCEPTICS

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Source:  UK Express

By Nathan Rao

THE BBC was criticised by climate change sceptics yesterday after it emerged that their views will get less coverage because they differ from mainline scientific opinion.

In a report by its governing body, the BBC Trust, the corporation was urged to focus less on opponents of the “majority consensus” in its programmes.

It said coverage should not be tailored to represent a “false balance” of opinion if one side came from a minority group.

The report was partly based on an independent review of coverage by Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College, London.

Although he found no evidence of bias in BBC output, he suggested where there is a “scientific consensus” it should not hunt out opponents purely to balance the story. (more…)

Australian Press Club Debate on Global Warming

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Source: News Busters

http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2011/07/21/global-warming-debate-al-gore-refused-have

Australian National Press Club debate on global warming and policy responses, on July 19, 2011.

Dr. Denniss v. Lord Christopher Monckton

Texas electric regulator says new EPA rule could mean outages

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Source:  Dallas Morning News

Texas’ electric grid operator said Tuesday that a new regulation limiting pollution from coal-fired power plants threatens the state’s ability to “keep the lights on.”

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state’s deregulated power market, said it fears that some utilities will shutter coal-fired plants to comply with the rule, which significantly restricts emissions of sulfur dioxide.

“This is one of those cases where we believe it is our role to voice our concern that Texas could face a shortage of generation necessary to keep the lights on in Texas within a few years,” ERCOT president and chief executive H.B. “Trip” Doggett said after a meeting of the council’s board of directors.

Opinion: What in the world is going on?

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Source: S&A Digest

by Porter Stansberry

Opinion

Last week, I looked around and saw paper flying everywhere.

This week, a look at the world’s financial news reveals all manner of financial and economic destruction, some of it benign, some of it malignant…

In the benign camp, we find the latest victim of the creative destruction of capitalism: Borders Group, the bookstore chain founded in 1971. Nobody wants to buy the company. Nobody wants to invest in turning around a bookstore chain. So Borders is liquidating.

Borders says it could start liquidating its remaining 399 stores as early as this Friday. It’s expected to be gone by September. (more…)

A philosopher on Climategate

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Source: Bishop Hill

I’ve always been rather unimpressed with philosophy and philosophers – I keep feeling that there is much less there than meets the eye. I don’t think this article in the New York Times is going to change my opinion much. In it, philosopher Gary Gutting looks at the AGW `consensus’ and Climategate and frankly doesn’t make much of a case. Here he is on Climategate: (more…)

Some Common Global Warming Fallacies

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Source:  Statistician to the Stars!

by William Briggs

The level of debate on global warming is shriekingly poor. Not that I have any hope of convincing the world to reject bad logic, but here are some of the more common fallacies making the rounds.

  1. The Consensus Appealing to “the” consensus is a form of the appeal-to-authority fallacy, but it is more so a stacking-the-deck fallacy. It works thusly: the IPCC goes out among the credentialed and asks, “Doest thou agree with me?” If the answer be “Aye”, the person is added to the Nice list; if it be “Nay”, the unfortunate is entered into the Persona Non Grataledger. The IPCC then reports that there is a consensus among its membership, and that because this consensus is a consensus, its conclusions are beyond question.But “the” consensus is not a consensus of all climatologists. Your own author, for example, despite offering his services repeatedly—to be remunerated at the same rates as the rest of the Aye-sayers: he has to eat, after all—has never had his offer accepted. “The consensus” is therefore not a consensus in the plain English meaning of the word.

    Actually, of course, even some who say Nay make it onto the Nice list, but their views are not accorded equal weight with those of the leadership. See Judith Curry’s interesting post on “the” consensus for more on this (suggested by an anonymous reader). (more…)

Things More Worrisome than AGW: A 70% Marginal Tax Rate

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Source: WSJ

by Michael Boskin

Some argue the U.S. economy can bear higher pre-Reagan tax rates. But those rates applied to a much smaller fraction of taxpayers than what we’re headed for without spending cuts.

President Obama has been using the debt-ceiling debate and bipartisan calls for deficit reduction to demand higher taxes. With unemployment stuck at 9.2% and a vigorous economic “recovery” appearing more and more elusive, his timing couldn’t be worse.

Two problems arise when marginal tax rates are raised. First, as college students learn in Econ 101, higher marginal rates cause real economic harm. The combined marginal rate from all taxes is a vital metric, since it heavily influences incentives in the economy—workers and employers, savers and investors base decisions on after-tax returns. Thus tax rates need to be kept as low as possible, on the broadest possible base, consistent with financing necessary government spending. (more…)