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

Polar bear consumption of land-based foods – new paper misses the point

polar bears on landA new paper by polar bear biologists (Rode et al. 2015) argues that terrestrial (land-based) foods are not important to polar bears now and will not be in the future – a conclusion I totally agree with – but they miss the point entirely regarding the importance of this issue.

Whatever food polar bears consume in the summer – whether they are on land or on the ice – doesn’t really matter. What matters is how many fat-rich seals they can consume between March and June each year. The fat put on in late winter/spring from gorging on baby seals carries polar bears over the summer, no matter where they spend it.

DC Cherry Blossoms Coming Late This Year

cherry blossomTalk about late bloomers. D.C.’s cherry blossoms finally started to show their florets on April 1, making this the first time since at least 1992 that blossom florets have not already been showing.

According to the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s website, the cherry blossoms finally started showing their florets on Wednesday, an unusually late time as they usually come out in late February and early March.

Florets are an indication that the flowers will be in full bloom in 16 to 21 days. Before fully blooming, the florets will extend until flower buds begin to poke out. At this point, peak bloom is about two to three weeks away. But this year, full bloom could be much later than any other year on record.

More Tough Times For the Church of Global Warming

AntarcticaBad news comes in clumps for the Church of Global Warming these days. The latest news involves two sad-trombone busts for the movement’s latest efforts to grab headlines, plus a new study that might do fatal damage to the core tenet of the Church: the planet-baking power of Demon Carbon.

“Record high temperatures in Antarctica!” screamed cult members earlier this week. Um, no, not really. The high temperatures were recorded outside the Antarctic region, and temperature data from that forlorn continent is too sparse to make any scientifically valid conclusions about its temperature record. Even if a record high temperature actually was recorded in Antarctica on a particular day, it wouldn’t erase the reality of ice steadily expanding in the region over the past 25 years, exactly the way absolutely none of the vaunted global-warming models predicted.

25th Anniversary of Global Satellite Temperature Monitoring

spencer christyThe silver anniversary of Roy Spencer's career-defining moment arrived with no expectation in March. He didn't realize it until someone mentioned it to him. For John Christy, he had no idea that a discovery announced in 1990 would not only still resonate 25 years later but would be at the center of a raging debate. The date was March 29, 1990. That was the day they publicly became climate change skeptics. What Christy and Spencer (who then worked for NASA at Marshall Space Flight Center just down the street from UAH) announced at that press conference on March 29, 1990, was that their study of temperature data from satellites indicated the world was not warming as much as was believed. --Paul Gattis, Alabama.com, 1 April 2015

White House insists legally binding UN climate agreement is 'not' a treaty

earnestThe New York Times reported yesterday that Secretary of State John Kerry is working closely with his "foreign counterparts" to ensure that the UN-backed climate change deal "does not legally qualify as a treaty," which would require Senate approval. Obama "pledged" yesterday that the United States will reduce its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up to 28%, using executive orders and federal agencies to bypass congressional approval. Even EPA head Gina McCarthy said the "regulations are likely to be litigated all the way to the Supreme Court."

Michael Bastasch, a reporter at The Daily Caller, writes that White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said Tuesday "that senators who 'deny' man-made global warming probably shouldn’t have any say over an international agreement to cut carbon dioxide emissions." Earnest said at the press briefing that many of the Senators at least, "deny the fact that climate change even exists. So I’m not sure they would be in the best position to decide whether or not a climate change agreement is one that is worth entering into."

US Republicans Warn World That Obama’s UN Climate Pledge Could Be Undone

gameThe Obama administration's plan for U.N. climate change talks encountered swift opposition after its release Tuesday, with Republican leaders warning other countries to "proceed with caution" in negotiations with Washington because any deal could be later undone. Republican critics say the administration lacks the political and legal backing to commit the United States to an international agreement. Some observers said that resistance to the administration's climate policies leaves foreign governments questioning whether Obama's commitments can last. --Valerie Volcovici, Reuters, 1 April 2015

President Barack Obama’s pledge to the United Nations Tuesday to sharply cut greenhouse-gas emissions relies on being able to rebuff legal and legislative challenges — and the continuing availability of cheap natural gas. It’s no slam dunk. The power plant rule faces its first court test next month, and the final rule, set to come out within the next six months, is likely to be litigated all the way to the Supreme Court, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said Monday. --Mark Drajem, Bloomberg, 1 April 2015

Fun Fact: Lefty Climate Hypocrisy Finds a Risible Home At The Guardian

guardianThere is a wonderful predictability about the smug political left. Its members always want you to do as they say – not as they do (controlling the world is what lefties think they do best after all). The Guardian is as good a place as any to find such socially progressive hypocrisy.

A recent podcast released by the paper contains a remarkable conversation about the evils of fossil fuel between editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger and some adoring acolytes. See the excerpt below as they attempt to grapple with the question of what happens when the Guardian’s quest to drive other companies to divest themselves of oil company investments – all in the name of saving the planet – meets the harsh reality that they too are guilty of holding the same financial interests.

Reporters Ignore Climate Change Skeptics

newspapersThe views of researchers skeptical of the theory humans are causing potentially catastrophic climate change have become scarce in news stories covering the topic.

A recent study by George Mason University researchers published in the trade magazine Journalism found contrarian views on the subject are no longer welcome in many of the nation’s newspapers. The authors of “Covering Global Warming in Dubious Times: Environmental Reporters in the New Media Ecosystem,” interviewed nearly a dozen journalists who regularly report on climate change, formerly known as global warming.

Forecast the Facts, merchants of smear

merchants movieThis piece is in response to a Congress Blog piece by Sylvie Stein of Forecast the Facts that takes issue with O'Keefe's previous piece in the Contributors section.

Sylvie Stein's recent piece in the Congress Blog, "Don't help the merchants of doubt," tells a great deal about Stein and her organization. Stein and the authors of "Merchants of Doubt" are skilled in distortion and being practitioners of Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, especially the rule to "pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

It is telling that Stein wants her views and those of climate alarmists to be conveyed by the media, but not those of people who challenge them. What does that say about her organization's views of the Constitution and the importance of free speech to a free society? Movements to suppress free speech believe that the end justifies the means. That is unsettling.

Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness

povertyA few years ago, a journalist asked me for my thoughts on the importance of “Earth Hour” – which was reprised this past weekend. What I told him applies today, perhaps even more so.

I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity.

Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as on the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.

Scientists Say New Study Is A ‘Death Blow’ To Global Warming Hysteria

goreA new study out of Germany casts further doubt on the so-called global warming “consensus” by suggesting the atmosphere may be less sensitive to increases in carbon dioxide emissions than most scientists think.

A study by scientists at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Meteorology found that man-made aerosols had a much smaller cooling effect on the atmosphere during the 20th Century than was previously thought. Why is this big news? It means increases in carbon dioxide emissions likely cause less warming than most climate models suggest.

Obama to bypass Congress again with UN climate treaty

obamaPresident Obama is expected today to bypass Congress again with a pledge to cut carbon emissions of up to 28 percent as part of a global climate treaty. By using federal agencies like the EPA to invoke stringent limitations on carbon dioxide emissions, Obama can keep his pledge without congressional approval. White House sources say the United Nations is working on this treaty with the United States and other countries. Under the U.S. Constitution, any International treaty must be approved by Congress, and there is little bipartisan support for the plan as it is expected to hit businesses very hard.