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

Professor Fritz Vahrenholt Joins GWPF Academic Advisory Council

VahrenholtProfessor Fritz Vahrenholt was one of the founders of the environmental movement in Germany. In the 1980s his bestseller Seveso ist überall (Seveso is everywhere) triggered a debate which led to a fundamental reorientation of the chemical industry towards sustainable development.

Dr Vahrenholt holds a PhD in chemistry and is Honorary Professor at the Department of Chemistry at the University of Hamburg. Since 1969 he has been a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). From 1976 until 1997 he served in several public positions with environmental agencies such as the Federal Environment Agency, the Hessian Ministry of Environment and as Deputy Environment Minister and Senator of the City of Hamburg. He then held top management positions in the renewable energy industry.

Vahrenholt is a member of the Germany Academy of Technical Sciences and the Senate of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. His 2012 book The Neglected Sun sparked a broad public discussion in Germany about the dogmatism in climate science. He is currently the Chairman of the German Wildlife Trust.

Rupert Murdoch: Climate Change Mostly Natural

murdochClimate change is nothing new, says News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, and is only slightly caused by human activity.

"Climate change has been going on as long as the planet is here, and there will always be a little bit of it," Murdoch said in a television interview on his own Sky News. "At the moment the North Pole is melting, but the South Pole is getting bigger. Things are happening. How much of it are we doing, with emissions and so on? As far as Australia goes? Nothing in the overall picture."

Murdoch's interview was reported in The Guardian.

A worst-case global warming scenario, he said, was that the earth's temperature would rise three degrees Celsius in the next century. Only one of those degrees, he said, would be because of human activity.

"What it means is if the sea level rises six inches it’s a big deal, the Maldives might disappear, but we can’t mitigate that, we can’t stop it, we just have to stop building vast houses on seashores," Murdoch said.

Dr. Roy Spencer: Science Knows 'Almost Nothing' About Global Warming

At the Heartland Institute's 9th International Conference on Climate Change in Las Vegas, Nevada, this week, Dr. Roy Spencer wowed participants with his presentation titled "What Do We Really Know About Global Warming?" wherein he noted that claims of global warming have been greatly exaggerated.


Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

EPA Fast Becoming The Green IRS

cartoon-epa-killing-coalBig Government: The EPA is now claiming the authority to bypass courts and, on its own, garnish the paychecks and attach the assets of those it accuses of violating its rules. And, as with the IRS, its hard drives also crash.

The Environmental Protection Agency's insatiable lust for power has now gone beyond being the pen and the phone for President Obama's climate change, bypassing both the Constitution and the Congress in enacting rules and regulations that the American people and their representatives did not enact or even support.

Through an announcement in the Federal Register, the agency is claiming that existing federal law allows it "to garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order." It claims such authority under the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996.

Correcting the Bloomberg Piece on Heartland’s Climate Conference

screencapCorrecting errors in prominent media reports about Heartland’s just-concluded Ninth International Conference on Climate Change is turning out to be an exhausting job. I did it earlier for Slate’s Will Oremus, and now it’s Abe Streep’s turn over at Bloomberg.

Abe,

An interesting take on our conference. Some errors require correction, however.

1. Pat Garafalo is a state representative in Minnesota. That is, he serves in the Minnesota House of Representatives in St. Paul, not in Congress in Washington. You chatted him up at a two-hour dinner and still made that mistake? Good grief!

Hip, hip hooray for Tony Abbott’s carbon tax repeal

spectatorBarring any more sudden Ricky Muir-like surprises, it looks as if the Senate will repeal the carbon tax; so allow us a little gloating. When the Australian edition of The Spectator was created in 2008, we took a leaf out of Bill Buckley’s National Review in 1955 and stood athwart History, yelling Stop. We yelled because, like broadcaster Alan Jones, pundit Andrew Bolt and the Institute of Public Affairs, we hoped to be heard in a conformist climate. These were the days of Tim Flannery’s hysteria, the Garnaut Report’s hype and Kevin Rudd’s ‘greatest moral challenge’.

The orthodoxy held that even though average temperatures had barely changed in recent times we were headed for an environmental catastrophe in a few years, and only drastic changes to our way of life could possibly prevent it. With his poll numbers in the doldrums, Malcolm Turnbull looked like one of those doctors in Grey’s Anatomy who had observed the ailment but misdiagnosed it. Opposition to Labor’s plans for an ETS, he warned, would annihilate the federal Coalition, so Mr Turnbull fell over himself to accommodate Mr Rudd at every turn. But when his successor Tony Abbott challenged this cozy consensus, the political wind turned into Labor’s perfect storm. After Copenhagen, Mr Rudd imploded. Almost overnight, his stratospheric poll figures cratered. The very experts who only a few months earlier had predicted electoral oblivion for an anti-ETS Coalition — Paul Kelly, Laurie Oakes, Peter Hatcher, Michelle Grattan, Lenore Taylor, Mark Kenny — were forced to concede Mr Abbott’s tactical acumen.

In apologising for having Nigel Lawson on to discuss climate change, the BBC has breached its charter

lawsonIt is only a matter of time before Nigel Lawson — if he is allowed on the BBC at all — has to have his words spoken by an actor in the manner of Gerry Adams at the height of the IRA’s bombing campaign during the 1980s. In the case of Mr Adams, whose voice was banned from the airwaves by the government, the BBC stood up for free speech. But it is quite a different story with Lord Lawson. The BBC has effectively banned the former chancellor (and former editor of this magazine) from appearing on its programmes to debate climate change, unless he is introduced with a statement discrediting his views.

California's Low On Water? Time to Fine the Water Resources Board Not Its Citizens

drought-californiaCalifornia is in the midst of one of its many droughts.  To combat the current drought, the otherwise do-nothings of the California Water Resources Board are proposing to fine citizens they call “water hogs” $500 per day.  Instead of fining helpless consumers, California’s government should do its job for once and seriously increase water supplies.

It is well known that California is the most populated state in the Union, with more than 38 million people.  Its population was just under 20 million in 1970, when the bulk of its current water storage and delivery systems were already built.  In other words, the California governments have done very little to significantly increase water supplies in over 40 years, even though its population has doubled during that period of time.

Are Polar Bears Really Endangered?

Christina Wu at the Urban Times (July 3, 2014) recently asked this question. She came up with a surprisingly balanced argument but some predictable responses from IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) biologists. As a consequence, she overlooked some critical facts that make a big difference to the answer.

Figure 1. Are polar bears really endangered? The US Fish and Wildlife Service thinks so, but only because Steven Amstrup, based on a computer model projecting sea ice out to 2050, said so (Amstrup et al. 2007). This information has been used by the Center for Biological Diversity and other NGOs, like WWF and Polar Bears International (where Amstrup is now employed), to solicit donations.

Figure 1. Predictions of polar bear population declines by 2050 are being used by the Center for Biological Diversity, WWF and Polar Bears International to solicit donations.

Wu stated that, for the populations for which we have numbers (see my discussion here), polar bear populations have been increasing overall since the 1970s. She then asked:

“So if polar bear populations are increasing, what’s all the fuss about?”

The Sky Fell last month, but almost nobody noticed

cartoon cry wolfThe sky fell on Hawaii last month, all because carbon dioxide levels peeped above the much-hyped 400 ppm hurdle. Chicken Littles all over the world squawked into their friendly media megaphones about numerous imminent global warming disasters. One warned: “the fate of the world hangs in the balance.” (Similar alarms were rung when the 350 ppm level was passed).

But nobody else noticed anything scary.

Four pieces of well-established evidence say that 400 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not a concern.

Firstly, there has been no increase in global temperatures since 1998 despite 16 years of rising carbon dioxide levels and heavy usage of carbon fuels. Clearly, CO2 is not the main driver of global temperatures.

Heartland Institute Conference: CO2 Rise Increases Biodiversity, Crop Yields

wheatAccording to The Economist, The Heartland Institute is “the world’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change.” On Wednesday, several scientists gathered at the institute’s 9th International Conference on Climate change to address a variety of issues including the biological effects of increased CO2 on the planet due to human activity.

Dr. Craig Idso, the founder, former president, and current chairman of the board of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, provided a plethora of information on exactly how CO2 affects the environment. Global warming alarmists should be comforted that they have a lot more to be happy about and should not be fretting that global catastrophe is knocking at the door.

Are A Few Journalists Starting to Figure It Out?

no free speechLooks like maybe a few journalists are starting to resent being the palace guard for Obama.

Yesterday a group of journalists transmitted the following letter to the White House, reproduced here in full but omitting all of the signatories at the bottom:

President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, D.C
July 8, 2014

Mr. President,

You recently expressed concern that frustration in the country is breeding cynicism about democratic government. You need look no further than your own administration for a major source of that frustration – politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies. We call on you to take a stand to stop the spin and let the sunshine in.

Over the past two decades, public agencies have increasingly prohibited staff from communicating with journalists unless they go through public affairs offices or through political appointees. This trend has been especially pronounced in the federal government. We consider these restrictions a form of censorship — an attempt to control what the public is allowed to see and hear.

The Idiocy of "Environmental Justice"

EPAA news item in late June caught my eye. It was in the Washington Free Beacon and the headline was “EPA spends $1.6 million on hotel for ‘Environmental Justice’ conference.”

The event will occur in the fall and the location is the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel.

By its own description, it is located “Just one mile from the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, this Arlington hotel features a chic lobby and indoor swimming pool. Rooms come with 37’’ HDTVs and plug-in connectivity panels.” A room for one night will cost approximately $349. The EPA is booking 195 of them for 24 nights!

The environmental movement began as the conservation movement. Its early leaders were concerned about preserving our great forests and other landmarks. President Teddy Roosevelt was enthusiastic about that and used his powers to initiate national parks and reserves. These days, however, Clinton and Obama used those same powers to close off access to vast energy reserves.

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