“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
—Daniel J. Boorstin

Germany’s Green Energy Policy Beginning To Strangle Economy

MerkelChancellor Angela Merkel’s abrupt exit from nuclear energy after the Fukushima disaster in Japan and aggressive push into renewables has unnerved German industry. A recent overhaul of the country’s complex renewable energy law has done little to alleviate uncertainty over future policy or assuage fears about German energy competitiveness. “Energy intensive industries in particular have lost confidence in the future of Germany as a business location,” said Thomas Mayer, a former chief economist at Deutsche Bank. --Reuters, 16 August 2014

The Green Party has criticised Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, for cancelling her attendance at the UN Climate Summit on 23 September in New York and accused her of giving preference to lobby interests. "Instead of fighting for global climate protection on the international stage, she rather goes to speak to the lobby group of German industry which is not known to be a haven of climate change activism," said the party's parliamentary deputy Oliver Krischer.--Die Welt, 15 August 2014

Hopefully Dr. Michael E. Mann Doesn’t Sue Me for This Column

The infamous Hockey Stick GraphThe battle over climate-change science is heating up, so to speak, and it has moved to the courts. The defamation lawsuit brought by climatologist Dr. Michael E. Mann — one of the creators of the famed “hockey-stick graph” that shows a recent spike in world temperatures — has now moved to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the equivalent of a state supreme court for the district.

Mann alleges that a blog post by Rand Simberg on the blog of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), and subsequently quoted by Mark Steyn at National Review Online, was libelous. The Cato Institute, joined by the Reason Foundation, the Goldwater Institute, and the Individual Rights Foundation, has filed an amicus brief supporting the defendants, arguing that courts should not be called upon to referee scientific disputes.

Scientists shouldn't silence the skeptics

michael mannScience is a rough-and-tumble sport; underneath its genteel veneer of peer-reviewed articles and conferences, scientists challenge each other’s most basic assumptions and compete for glory with gusto and glee.

It’s been that way since Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz quarreled over who “invented” calculus. Late in his life, Newton explained his part in the controversy by writing to a friend, “I have never grasped at fame among foreign nations, but I am very desirous to preserve my character for honesty.”

Those are the motives claimed by modern scientist Michael Mann, who is suing a think tank, a magazine and some columnists, who he says libeled him by casting doubt on his global warming claims.

But the truth is that Mann and others simply want to silence skeptics.

Al Gore sues Al Jazeera for fraud after $500 million acquisition

goreAl Gore and Joel Hyatt, co-founders of Current TV, filed suit against Al Jazeera America claiming the news channel is withholding “tens of millions of dollars” that is past due to Current TV's shareholders after it bought Current TV for $500 million.

According to the fraud lawsuit filed in Delaware, Al Jazeera agreed in the acquisition contract to pay Current TV's shareholders the millions sitting in an escrow account, but the satellite network is now refusing to pay it.

“Al Jazeera America wants to give itself a discount on the purchase price that was agreed to nearly two years ago,” Gore's lawyer David Boies said in a statement. “We are asking the court to order Al Jazeera America to stop wrongfully withholding the escrow funds that belong to Current's former shareholders.”

A Climate Crusader's Comeuppance

Tom-Steyer-DNC-2012As political comedowns go, there may be few to compare to the humbling of Tom Steyer. Six months after the climate activist roared on the national political scene vowing $100 million to impose his agenda on this fall's midterms, it would appear that this billionaire don't hunt.

Remember the liberal huzzahs that greeted the February pledge? The New York Times gave Mr. Steyer the front page, heralding a coming "hard-edge campaign of attack ads" that would pressure officials to "enact climate change measures" and persuade voters to back a climate agenda. Democrats hailed him as their new power broker, crowing about a war chest that could rival the Koch brothers and even up the midterm election odds. Environmentalists welcomed a white knight who would finally align the party and public behind their priorities.

Tuvalu PM says Pacific Island Nations Sinking, Science Shows They Aren't

PM Enele SopoagaPM Enele SopoagaPrime Minister Enele Sopoaga of the supposedly sinking Pacific island nations is at it again, this time taking a page out of John "global warming is a weapon of mass destruction" Kerry's handbook of hysteria in his attempts to rabble rouse a "deal." From Rappler (bold added):

"We are caught in the middle, effectively, in Tuvalu. We are very, very worried," Sopoaga told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"We are already suffering. It's already like a weapon of mass destruction and the indications are all there... we only need to garner strong collective leadership to address this.

"The people of Tuvalu are going to underscore again (in New York) the message that we are dying."

Tuvalu, a scattering of nine coral atolls that is home to about 11,000 people, is one of several Pacific nations threatened by rising seas blamed on global warming.

A World In Chaos, And Kerry's Talking Climate Change

kerry john 2Great leadership isn't necessarily about intelligence, expertise or background. It's more about wisdom and judgment. Based on this, Americans should be very concerned about Secretary of State John Kerry.

As the world melts into chaos and threats to the U.S. homeland multiply, America's top foreign policy official seems bizarrely, even dangerously, fixated on ... global warming.

In remarks at the East-West Center in Honolulu on Wednesday, Kerry repeated his claim that climate change is "the biggest challenge ... we face right now."

To which we respond: Can he be serious?

Climate Science Does Not Support IPCC Conclusions

earth-space 2Since 2008, the Chicago-based, libertarian-leaning Heartland Institute has organized nine ICCCs (International Conferences on Climate Change). Norman Rogers (American Thinker, Aug 9, 2014) has given a general overview of ICCC-9 (at Las Vegas), which attracted an audience of well over 600 and featured speakers from 12 nations.  Here I present a more detailed and personalized account of the two main science issues that appear to be of general concern. The first has to do with future temperatures and the second has to do with future sea level rise (SLR).

When it comes to global average surface temperature (GAST), the concern seems to be to remain below 2O°C. It should be recognized that this limit is entirely arbitrary. There is no established scientific basis for assigning special significance to it; it just happens to be the “Goldilocks” number. Here is what I mean: If one were to choose 0.5O°C, people will say “we’ve already seen that and nothing has happened.”  However, if we were to choose 5O°C, people will say, “we’ll never see that much warming -- hence of no significance.” That is why 2O°C may have become the alarmists’ choice. 

Climate scientist faces broad array of foes in suit vs. National Review

Getting mann-handled from both left and right media outlets.Mann getting Mann-Handled: Dozens of media outlets are backing the defendants' right to free speech.Penn State meteorology professor Michael Mann sounds like a pretty sympathetic character in the brief his lawyers filed last April at the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Mann, who is widely credited with developing groundbreaking evidence of global warming, asked the appeals court to reject ongoing efforts by National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute to dismiss his libel and defamation case under the District of Columbia’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) law.

The defendants hadn’t just expressed their disagreement with his work on climate change, Mann said. They’d accused him of scientific fraud – “a statement of fact subject to objective verification and thus not protected ‘opinion,’” – Mann’s brief said. And they’d done so, according to Mann, even though the right-leaning magazine and think tank were well aware that he has been cleared in academic and regulatory inquiries about some troubling emails stolen from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom that appeared to raise questions about the integrity of his research.

U.S. Democrats Embrace Shale Boom Ahead of Midterm Elections

productionThe US shale boom is shaping a new kind of Democrat in national politics, lawmakers who are giving greater support to the oil and gas industry even at the risk of alienating environmental groups, a core of the party's base. The trend comes as oil-and-gas production moves beyond America's traditionally energy-rich states, a development that also is increasing U.S. geopolitical influence abroad. It is a theme playing out ahead of November's midterm elections, with some Democrats trying to balance environmental groups' concerns about climate change and an industry they see as carrying economic benefits. --Amy Harder, The Wall Street Journal, 12 August 2014

In the run-up to this fall’s midterm elections, Democrats seem to be stifling some of their green sensibilities and embracing the recent U.S. energy revolution. Fracking has completely transformed the American energy landscape in just a few short years, and environmentalists, a key component of the Democratic base, aren’t happy. Fracking is opening up new oil and gas plays all across the country, and Democrats who previously might have vocally criticized fossil fuel production are finding plenty of reasons to hop on the shale bandwagon. Stay tuned; this is a narrative to watch during this year’s midterms. –-Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest, 12 August 2014

Hype about Mercury in the oceans

wildfire“A new paper by a group that includes researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Wright State University, Observatoire Midi-Pyréneés in France, and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research appears in this week’s edition of the journal Nature and provides the first direct calculation of mercury in the global ocean from pollution based on data obtained from 12 sampling cruises over the past 8 years. The work, which was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the European Research Council and led by WHOI marine chemist Carl Lamborg, also provides a look at the global distribution of mercury in the marine environment,” says the press release.

What made headlines in the press is this: “Analysis of their results showed rough agreement with the models used previously—that the ocean contains about 60,000 to 80,000 tons of pollution mercury. In addition, they found that ocean waters shallower than about 100 m (300 feet) have tripled in mercury concentration since the Industrial Revolution…..” “Tripled” is what the press picked up, but most sources did not print the rest of the sentence: …” and that the ocean as a whole has shown an increase of roughly 10 percent over pre-industrial mercury levels.”

The Gases of Life are NOT Pollutants

earth-from-spaceOur atmosphere contains the four gases of life – nitrogen, oxygen, water vapour and carbon dioxide.

Nitrogen is the most abundant gas-of-life in the atmosphere (78%). It is an essential building block of amino acids present in all proteins. It is a very stable unreactive gas, but micro-organisms in the soil and some plants are able to extract nitrogen from the atmosphere, making it available to growing plants. Lightning also manages to oxidise some atmospheric nitrogen.

Oxygen is the second most abundant gas-of-life in the atmosphere (21%). Every animal absorbs oxygen with every breath, using it to fuel bodily digestion of the foods they eat. This process builds bodies and provides the energy of muscles. In the great oxygen cycle, plants extract oxygen from carbon dioxide and exhale it to the atmosphere for animals to breathe.

RC: 20 million Russian black holes needed for methane emergency

One month ago, a very large crater was found on Yamal Peninsula in Siberia.

Where did the black hole come from? What was the cause? These questions were mysterious for us but now it seems that experts have reasons to say that there's lots of methane in the hole and the hole was a result of a methane bubble under the ground that found its way to the surface. Cool.

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