A high-profile Scottish environmental campaigner has given his backing to fracking as long as safeguards are in place and key conditions are met. In a significant intervention that will help to undermine opposition to the energy source, Robin Harper, the first Green MSP and now the chairman of a major environmental trust, said that he would be prepared to give his cautious backing if it could be proved that it was an improvement on the burning of coal and oil. His comments will be a major setback for anti-fracking campaigners, who have argued that anything other than a complete ban would damage the environment. Mr Harper’s powerful green credentials mean that they will not be able to dismiss his views easily. --Hamish Macdonell, The Times, 10 September 2015
Environmentalists should keep cool heads over fracking, says Friends of the Earth's former climate campaigner. Bryony Worthington - now Labour shadow energy minister - says fracking will create less CO2 than compressing gas in Qatar and shipping it to Britain. Baroness Worthington's intervention may prove significant. She is a professional climate and energy analyst, and one of the architects of the UK's radical Climate Change Act. "We have to be realistic," she told BBC News. "We are going to be using gas for a long time because of the huge role it plays for heating homes and for industry. --Roger Harrabin, BBC News, 10 September 2015
Members of Pacific Island ForumTHE Pacific Islands Forum failed come up with a united climate change stance on temperature warming to take to UN talks in Paris this December.
CLIMATE change was the main hot-button issue for the 16 leaders at the retreat in Port Moresby on Thursday.
Small island nations facing rising seas argued desperately for the forum to back restricting global warming to 1.5 degrees or risk their survival.
There are few things more dangerous to private enterprise than government bureaucrats with time on their hands. And since most bureaucrats have no legitimate reason for being – they have lots and lots of time on their hands.
In 2009, the federal government had at least 2,748,978 employees – and 97.6% of civilian federal employees were in the executive branch (and do you think that tally has ticked up a bit during the Barack Obama Administration?) These are the departments, agencies, commissions and boards populated by people who do very little but promulgate and impose regulations – and enforce them.
But government doesn’t even enforce their own rules well. Because in addition to being boorish and overbearing, unilateral and tyrannical – government is unavoidably, inherently incompetent. Because of (at least) two immutable rules of human nature – the Wallet Rule and the Yellow Pages Rule.
Over the last decade, the biggest change in energy was how and where hydrocarbons were removed from the earth. The United States led this change. However, a different kind of energy revolution will take place between now and 2025. While the last decade was about the energy buried in the earth and how to get it out, the next decade will be about how the energy already removed from the earth is moved across it. An energy-transit revolution has begun. The consequences of this next energy revolution will be geopolitical and important. --John Richard Cookson, The National Interest, 4 September 2015
America could soon be exporting a lot of oil. Momentum is building fast on lifting the ban on U.S. oil exports. Some believe the ban may not even live to see its 40th birthday this December. A powerful combination of forces, starting with the massive United States shale oil boom, cheap gas prices and the Iranian nuclear deal is propelling this move much quicker than anybody expected. The effort is picking up a lot of political support in both Houses of Congress. Barton said he hopes to give the American people a "Christmas present" by getting a bill on President Obama's desk before the end of the year. --Matt Egan, CNN Money, 8 September 2015
Here’s a briefing about climate change, prepared for Politifact at their request. Unused, of course, since the reporter was just fishing for smears (here’s an analysis of what they published). However, it’s a useful introduction to this complex subject. What do we know about the consensus of climate scientists, and why does it matter? These are unedited emails, and so roughly written and unproofed. (2nd of 2 posts today.)
Initial Inquiry by Linda Qiu of Politifact, and my response
I’m a reporter with PolitiFact, the fact-checking website of the Tampa Bay Times. I’m currently looking into something Rick Santorum said: 57% of scientists “don’t buy into the idea that CO2 is the knob that’s turning the climate.” His campaign hasn’t gotten back to me on his source but one of your posts also has the figure, but it’s not quite what Santorum said. So I was hoping for your take on Santorum’s reading on your analysis — how accurate is it?
Pope Francis has been brushing up on his English ahead of his arrival in Washington in September, and tickets to his U.S. events are already a hot commodity. But anyone expecting his message to be simply one of mercy and love could be in for a distinct surprise.
In his speech to a joint meeting of Congress, the pope of the poor could well deliver a harsh message for the world’s richest nation. For all the genuine warmth of his smile, his track record suggests he sees it as his job not just to comfort the afflicted, but also to afflict the comfortable. And however delicately he fine-tunes his language, the hard fact is that he believes the United States is as much a part of the problem as the solution.
Here is the lede of Jonathan Chait’s long but optimistic piece on climate change (“This is the year humans finally got serious about saving themselves from themselves” says the subhead) in New York magazine:
Here on planet Earth, things could be going better. The rise in atmospheric temperatures from greenhouse gases poses the most dire threat to humanity, measured on a scale of potential suffering, since Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany launched near-simultaneous wars of conquest. And the problem has turned out to be much harder to solve. It’s not the money. The cost of transitioning away from fossil fuels, measured as a share of the economy, may amount to a fraction of the cost of defeating the Axis powers. Rather, it is the politics that have proved so fiendish.
Okay according to two new studies this is how the global warming enthusiasts say it's going to work. Global warming is going to move the gulf stream (which circulates warm and across the Earth and makes cold water sink).. They say warming is going to mess up the gulf stream and other ocean circulation systems and cause the Northern Hemisphere to get cold. Simplified, their claim is that global warming is going to make things cold (you cant make this up).
AS reported in the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald:
The research, by separate teams of scientists, bolsters predictions of disruptions to global ocean currents - such as the Gulf Stream - that transfer tropical warmth from the equator to northern latitudes, as well as a larger conveyor system that cycles colder water into the ocean's depths. Both systems help ensure relatively mild conditions in parts of Northern Europe that would otherwise be much colder.
President Obama hiked to Exit Glacier in Alaska last week, with photographers in tow, to send the world a message: The glacier is melting.
Obama blames it on the increasing use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, which he wants to restrict not only in the United States but worldwide. The photo-op was designed to build support for an international climate agreement he’s pushing hard to sell, so far with little success.
Trouble is, the president needs to get his facts straight. Exit Glacier has been shrinking for 200 years — since 1815 — long before widespread industrialization and automobiles. As the president ended his trip, he sounded the alarm again: “This state’s climate is changing before our eyes.”
Am I the only one who finds it incongruous that President Obama, when on a carefully choreographed trip to Alaska, even manning his own Instagram account to engage young people, to spotlight the effects of global warming—which he says is happening “right now”—announced the accelerated acquisition of ice breakers? During his trip, he told Alaskans that by the end of this century, Alaska will see “warming of between 6 and 12 degrees,” which he explained: “means more melting.” Six to 12 degrees is a lot of warming, therefore, a lot of melting—which would seem to require fewer ice breakers not more.
I applaud the attempt to catch up, as I’ve written previously, I think America is woefully behind in the Arctic—where Russia is increasingly aggressive. But you have to wonder what his speechwriters were thinking to have him asking Congress to spend more on ice breakers on the same trip where he’s predicting more warming.
“That’s not the American way. That’s not progress. That’s not innovation. That’s rent-seeking and trying to protect old ways of doing business, and standing in the way of the future.”
That wasn’t the Wall Street Journal lambasting the mandate- and subsidy-dependent renewable energy consortium. It was President Obama demonizing critics of his plans to replace carbon-based energy with wind, solar and biofuels, stymie the hydraulic fracturing revolution that’s given the United States another century of oil and gas – and “fundamentally transform” and downsize the US and global economies.
The president thinks this legacy will offset the Iran, Iraq, Islamic State and other policy debacles he will bequeath to his successors. His presidential library exhibits won’t likely mention those foreign policy fiascoes or the ways his energy policies mostly benefit the richest 1% of Americans, especially political cronies and campaign contributors – while crippling the economy and pummeling millions of families and businesses that depend on reliable, affordable oil, gas and coal energy for their income and welfare.
Something strange is happening to the north Pacific. It is setting sea temperature records, scrambling weather patterns, damaging ecosystems, and nudging up the global temperature. The scientists who have observed it call it after what it looks like on temperature maps of the Pacific – behold the “blob.” The warmth of 2015 so far and the expectation that it will get even warmer has already given rise to headlines that the “pause” has ended and that global warming has resumed. However one does not follow from the other. The “blob” and the El Nino are weather events not climate, natural fluctuations and not long-term trends. Their contribution to world temperature does not represent a resumption of long term anthropogenic warming in the same way that the cool year of 2007 did not represent the onset of a rapid decline in global temperature. --David Whitehouse, Global Warming Policy Forum, 6 September 2015