Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cooling the Planet

Technology is a wonderful thing, the product of human creativity and determination, and in no place does it spring forth more freely than from democratic and capitalistic countries.

This innovation, reported by the Wall Street Journal, is an example.

An excerpt.

“This month's Copenhagen talks focused on the leading climate change culprit: carbon dioxide. But reversing global temperature increases by reducing carbon emissions will take many decades, if not centuries. Even if the largest cuts in CO2 contemplated in Copenhagen are implemented, it simply will not reverse the melting of ice already occurring in the most sensitive areas, including the rapid disappearance of glaciers in Tibet, the Arctic and Latin America.

“So what can we do to effectively buffer global warming? The most obvious strategy is to make an all-out effort to reduce emissions of methane.

“Sometimes called the "other greenhouse gas," methane is responsible for 75% as much warming as carbon dioxide measured over any given 20 years. Unlike carbon dioxide, which remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, methane lasts only a decade but packs a powerful punch while it's there.

“Methane's short life makes it especially interesting in the short run, given the pace of climate change. If we need to suppress temperature quickly in order to preserve glaciers, reducing methane can make an immediate impact. Compared to the massive requirements necessary to reduce CO2, cutting methane requires only modest investment. Where we stop methane emissions, cooling follows within a decade, not centuries. That could make the difference for many fragile systems on the brink.

“Yet global discussions about climate and policies to date have not focused on methane. Methane is formally in the "basket" of six gases targeted by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. But its value is counted as if it has the same lifetime as carbon dioxide.

“This ignores its much larger, near-term potential. As a result, methane represents only about 15% of the projects under the Kyoto Protocol's emissions offset program. And it is not a major focus of climate protection programs in any nation.

“This is huge missed opportunity, and not just for the climate. Methane also forms ozone, the smog that severely damages food crops and kills tens of thousands each year by worsening asthma, emphysema and other respiratory diseases

“Captured methane gas can be used as a clean energy source, contributing to energy security and diversification as well as reducing damaging black carbon (soot) and CO2 emissions. Solving the methane problem will lead to a higher quality of life by cleaning up city and agricultural wastes and odors, and curbing air pollution from dirty stoves and local industries. It will also create local jobs in construction and operation of methane-abating equipment.

“Methane comes from a variety of sources: landfills, sewage streams, coal mines, oil and gas drilling operations, agricultural wastes, and cattle farms. For most of these sources, relatively cheap "end of pipe" technologies are available to collect methane and convert it to useful energy rather than venting it to the atmosphere.”

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Technology Works, Except When it Doesn’t

In determining the immensely complicated aspects of life, such as the brain, and global temperatures over hundreds of years, we should always retain a bit of skepticism when the results seem to confound common sense, as this article from Science News notes.

An excerpt.

"The 18-inch-long Atlantic salmon lay perfectly still for its brain scan. Emotional pictures —a triumphant young girl just out of a somersault, a distressed waiter who had just dropped a plate — flashed in front of the fish as a scientist read the standard instruction script aloud. The hulking machine clunked and whirred, capturing minute changes in the salmon’s brain as it assessed the images. Millions of data points capturing the fluctuations in brain activity streamed into a powerful computer, which performed herculean number crunching, sorting out which data to pay attention to and which to ignore.

"By the end of the experiment, neuroscientist Craig Bennett and his colleagues at Dartmouth College could clearly discern in the scan of the salmon’s brain a beautiful, red-hot area of activity that lit up during emotional scenes.

"An Atlantic salmon that responded to human emotions would have been an astounding discovery, guaranteeing publication in a top-tier journal and a life of scientific glory for the researchers. Except for one thing. The fish was dead.

"The scanning technique used on the salmon — called functional magnetic resonance imaging — allows scientists to view the innards of a working brain, presumably reading the ebbs and flows of activity that underlie almost everything the brain does. Over the last two decades, fMRI has transformed neuroscience, enabling experiments that researchers once could only dream of. With fMRI, scientists claim to have found the brain regions responsible for musical ability, schadenfreude, Coca-Cola or Pepsi preference, fairness and even tennis skill, among many other highly publicized conclusions."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Global Cooling?

As the wheels come off the fudged, suppressed, and manipulated global warming themed research, other research indicates another trend, as reported by Investors Business Daily.

An excerpt.

“Climate Change: A peer-reviewed study by a respected Canadian physicist blames the interplay of cosmic rays and chlorofluorocarbons for 20th-century warming. The CFCs are now gone, and so is warming - perhaps for the next 50 years.

“Much of the nation got a white Christmas this year, some in unprecedented quantities. A record-breaking storm deposited 12 to 30 inches of snow in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Many places set records for the most snow in a single December day as more than 50% of the U.S. was covered by the white stuff.

“Scientists (and here we use the word loosely) at Britain's Climate Research Unit may have tried to "hide the decline" in global temperatures, but it's hard to hide two feet of snow. Their motto seems to be the immortal words of Groucho Marx: "Who are you going to believe, me or your own lying eyes?"

“Qing Bin-Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy at Canada's University of Waterloo, is a believer in the value of drawing conclusions from observable data and not from selective data fed into computer models that are based on false assumptions and include "fudge factors."

“In a peer-reviewed paper published in the prestigious online journal Physics Reports, Lu, who holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Newcastle, reports that CFCs, the compounds once widely used as refrigerants, and cosmic rays, which are energy particles originating in outer space, are mostly to blame for climate change, rather than carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

"Lu puts the start of the cooling trend at 2002 and writes that "the observed data show that CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays most likely caused both the Antarctic ozone hole and global warming. These findings are totally unexpected and striking, as I was focused on studying the mechanism for the formation of the ozone hole, rather than global warming."

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sacramento Flood Status

In this article from the Sacramento Bee rightfully lauding the increase in our flood protection resulting from witnessing what happened in New Orleans, what is neglected is the fact that Sacramento has only increased our protection to 200 year protection—from the 100 year protection we had—which is still below the 250 year protection that New Orleans had when Katrina hit.

The gold standard is 500 year protection and the only way to obtain that for Sacramento is to build the Auburn Dam (which we support) and as a 2008 report to the American River Authority notes (page 19).

An excerpt from the Sacramento Bee article.

“Katrina was both a natural and a man-made disaster, and in California, it had special resonance.

“Many communities here – from Sacramento to Stockton to canyon neighborhoods in Southern California – face a threat of deep flooding. Katrina served a reminder of perils that can arrive with a single Pacific storm.

“Californians responded. On Nov. 7, 2006, voters approved a $4.1 billion bond measure for flood control. Proposition 1E was the largest single investment Californians had ever approved for upgrading the state's flood defenses, and it was remarkable for several reasons.”

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sacramento & Suburbs

Sacramento is a city that is primarily suburban with almost all of its housing being attached or detached rather than multi-housing, and in this article from New Geography, reporting on recent research from Australia regarding greenhouse gas emissions, the suburbs rated higher than the central city.

An excerpt.

“The Mythical “Demise” of the Suburbs: Nearly since the pace of suburbanization increased, following World War II, critics have been foretelling the demise of the suburbs. During the 1950s and 1960s, some planning “visionaries” such as Peter Blake were predicting widespread municipal bankruptcies in the suburbs and for residents. This was occurring even as other urban planners were tearing up cities with urban renewal projects and freeways , setting the stage for “block-busting” and an ever-widening racial divide. The early criticisms have been repeated through the years, justifying a paraphrase of the old saw about Brazil (“Brazil is the country of the future and always will be”): “The suburbs are the wasteland of tomorrow and always will be.”

“The Real Decline of the Cities: In fact, it has more generally been the central cities that nearly went bankrupt, not the suburbs. Examples include New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and that jewel of municipal consolidation, Indianapolis, rescued last year by $1 billion in state taxpayer funds. There are hopeful signs of a renaissance in most central cities, however their financial difficulties remain intractable and large swaths of their land area remain desolate. Meanwhile, the lawns were mowed in the suburbs, the houses painted and a strong sense of community developed among residents that was far too subtle for the prophets of suburban doom to perceive.

“Greenhouse Gas Emissions: More recently, the effort to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has given suburban critics new ammunition. A simple mantra was dictated by “planning common sense.” Cars produce greenhouse gases, therefore people must get out of cars and live in more dense conditions, where they will not need to drive as much. Further, they will live in smaller, multi-family dwellings, which planning common sense teaches are more GHG friendly than the despised – except by those who choose to live in them – detached housing in the suburbs.

“But a funny thing happened on the way toward GHG inspired desurburbanization. Some academics actually began looking at data. The reality of the suburbs turned out to be rather different from that portrayed by the conventional wisdom of the planners. The most comprehensive research comes from Australia, some of which has been previously covered here.

“University of South Australia: The most recent (and new) offering comes from a University of South Australia report that allocates transportation and residential energy produced GHGs by location and housing type in the Adelaide area. The researchers found that the most GHG friendly sector of the urban area was the inner suburbs, which are dominated by single-family attached housing. GHG emissions per capita from housing and transportation were estimated at 7.0 metric tons of GHG emissions per capita annually.

“However, the outer suburbs, principally with detached housing, were not far behind at 7.4 tons GHG emissions per capita. The highest GHG emissions per capita, by far, were in the central area, with its predominance of multi-unit housing. There the annual GHG emissions were estimated at 10.0 tons per capita (See Figure). The University of South Australia study includes an element missing from virtually all other examinations of transportation and residential GHG emissions: “embodied emissions.” Embodied emissions are the GHGs from construction or manufacturing materials, and from building cars, transit vehicles and buildings. Embodied GHG emissions are ignored by much research, but are a significant factor in GHG emissions. For example, multi-unit housing, with higher use of concrete and more complex construction methods, tends to be substantially more GHG intensive than building detached housing or townhouses.”

Saturday, December 26, 2009

ARPPS Letter Published in Bee Today

Safety is a parkway priority

Re "Parkway values clash in Folsom" (Editorials, Dec. 21): We have long held that there needs to be more safe access to the parkway for the frail elderly and disabled. The proposed project in Folsom appears to meet those criteria, and the concept should be heartily supported.

The Bee editorial claiming lights and developed access intrude upon the naturalness of the parkway – while having some validity – should also consider the public safety issue of well-lighted access, especially for the frail elderly and disabled.

The dangerous access in the Lower Reach area of the parkway – from Discovery Park to Cal Expo – should serve as a model of "how not" to provide well-manicured and well-lighted access to our premier outdoor recreational area; while this new project in Folsom may provide a model of "how to."

The proper public review is warranted, and one assumes an even better project will emerge to allow greater and safer access to the parkway for the frail elderly and disabled.

– David H. Lukenbill, senior policy director, American River Parkway Preservation Society

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Supressing Science

In this article from the Wall Street Journal, the sad consequences on public policy when science is supressed are examined.

An excerpt.

“Few people understand the real significance of Climategate, the now-famous hacking of emails from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU). Most see the contents as demonstrating some arbitrary manipulating of various climate data sources in order to fit preconceived hypotheses (true), or as stonewalling and requesting colleagues to destroy emails to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the face of potential or actual Freedom of Information requests (also true).

“But there's something much, much worse going on—a silencing of climate scientists, akin to filtering what goes in the bible, that will have consequences for public policy, including the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recent categorization of carbon dioxide as a "pollutant."

“The bible I'm referring to, of course, is the refereed scientific literature. It's our canon, and it's all we have really had to go on in climate science (until the Internet has so rudely interrupted). When scientists make putative compendia of that literature, such as is done by the U.N. climate change panel every six years, the writers assume that the peer-reviewed literature is a true and unbiased sample of the state of climate science.

“That can no longer be the case. The alliance of scientists at East Anglia, Penn State and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (in Boulder, Colo.) has done its best to bias it.

“A refereed journal, Climate Research, published two particular papers that offended Michael Mann of Penn State and Tom Wigley of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. One of the papers, published in 2003 by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas (of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), was a meta-analysis of dozens of "paleoclimate" studies that extended back 1,000 years. They concluded that 20th-century temperatures could not confidently be considered to be warmer than those indicated at the beginning of the last millennium.

“In fact, that period, known as the "Medieval Warm Period" (MWP), was generally considered warmer than the 20th century in climate textbooks and climate compendia, including those in the 1990s from the IPCC.

“Then, in 1999, Mr. Mann published his famous "hockey stick" article in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), which, through the magic of multivariate statistics and questionable data weighting, wiped out both the Medieval Warm Period and the subsequent "Little Ice Age" (a cold period from the late 16th century to the mid-19th century), leaving only the 20th-century warming as an anomaly of note.”

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Water, Water Everywhere, But…

Strong voices are being raised in the farm country of our beloved state who understand the need for water to continue helping feed the world.

An excerpt from the Manteca Bulletin.

“They huff and they puff over global warming, the budget, the prison system, and education.

“They pontificate like a broken record about campaign reform while dabbling in issues such as whether to legalize marijuana and same-sex marriage.

“Yet the California Legislature continues to ignore the one thing that nothing will work without – water.

“This state built the greatest water conveyance system the world has ever known to turn arid valleys and coastal plains into fertile fields and teaming cities.

“Yes, they threw together an $11 billion water bond package but it is one that is defined by generalities and not specifics. There’s money for more storage but where? Why can’t the 120 men and women we elected to lead make the real big decisions that count? The answer is easy. They are more concerned about their political hide than they are sustaining California’s future.

“Yes, there is danger in saying raise Shasta Dam. Yes, it can trigger a political tsunami to have the legislature back Auburn Dam. And, yes, pushing to build a bigger Friant Dam could prompt various groups to target those who backed such a plan in the next election.

“The San Joaquin Valley water aquifer has plunged nearly 400 feet since the early 1960s.The drought is making it worse. Before much longer, our natural underground reservoirs will be coming up dry meaning even more pressure on the state’s already stressed reservoir system.

“This may come as a shock to folks in Sacramento but agriculture is the state’s No. 1 industry – and employer. Also, what they produce is what we eat.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Real Climate Change

Our climate has been changing ever since the beginning of earth and the record of it’s swings and perambulations—along with some extra-terrestrial causes—is a revealing one to keep in mind as those with an agenda of bringing government more fully in control of ever-larger aspects of our society continue their quest.

An excerpt from the article in the Wall Street Journal about this.

“Climate change activists are right. We are in for walloping shifts in the planet's climate. Catastrophic shifts. But the activists are wrong about the reason. Very wrong. And the prescription for a solution—a $27 trillion solution—is likely to be even more wrong. Why?

“Climate change is not the fault of man. It's Mother Nature's way. And sucking greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is too limited a solution. We have to be prepared for fire or ice, for fry or freeze. We have to be prepared for change.

“We've been deceived by a stroke of luck. In the two million years during which we climbed from stone-tool wielding Homo erectus with sloping brows to high-foreheaded Homo urbanis, man the inventor of the city, we underwent 60 glaciations, 60 ice ages. And in the 120,000 years since we emerged in our current physiological shape as Homo sapiens, we've lived through 20 sudden global warmings. In most of those, temperatures have shot up by as much as 18 degrees within a mere 20 years.

“All this took place without smokestacks and tailpipes. All this took place without the desecration of nature by modern man.

“The stroke of luck that's misled us? The sheets of ice in whose shadow we made a living for two million years peeled back 12,000 years ago leaving a lush new Garden of Eden. In that Eden we invented agriculture, money, electronics and our current way of life. But that weather standstill has held on for an abnormally long amount of time. And it's very likely that this atypical weather truce shall someday pass.

“Why? What's the real cause of the Earth's norm—a climate that rocks back and forth from steamy tropical heat to icy freeze? A climate that deposits fossilized seashells on mountaintops and makes dry land into seas and swamps?

“The Earth is a traveler. Its angle as it sweeps around the sun produces the massive weather flips we call seasons—the dance from summer to winter and back again. But there's more. Our planet has a peculiar wobble—its precession. And that precession produces upheavals in our weather, weather alterations we cycle through every 22,000, 41,000 and 100,000 years. This is called the Milankovich cycle, named for the Serbian engineer and geophysicist who discovered it.”

Monday, December 21, 2009

Opening Safe Parkway Access

We have long held that there needs to be more safe access to the Parkway for the frail elderly and disabled. See our 2008 report on the Parkway and Recreation, (pp. 15-26).

The proposed project in Folsom appears to meet that criteria and the concept should be heartily supported.

The Sacramento Bee editorial claiming lights and developed access intrude upon the naturalness of the Parkway—while having some validity—should also consider the public safety issue of well lighted access, especially for the frail elderly and disabled.

The dangerous access in the Lower Reach area of the Parkway—from Discovery Park to Cal Expo—should serve as a model of how not to provide well-manicured and well-lighted access to our premier outdoor recreational area; while this new project in Folsom may provide a model of how to.

The proper public review is warranted and one assumes an even better project will emerge to allow greater and safer access to the Parkway for the frail elderly and disabled.

An excerpt from the Bee editorial.

“The American River Parkway stretches 29 miles from the confluence with the Sacramento River to Folsom Dam, and communites along it face a tough balancing act:

“How do you preserve a natural setting and create recreational amenities in a greenbelt surrounded by growing cities and suburbs?

“A test of that balancing act comes with a proposed project in Folsom on the south side of Lake Natoma. Currently, the paved bike path ends at Historic Folsom, just past the Folsom Boulevard Bridge. An unpaved path continues for hikers, runners and mountain bikers (and is planned to be a paved extension of the bike path in the future).

“The city of Folsom would like to build a 420-foot curving ramp on the steep 35-foot cliff down to the shoreline from the bike trail close to where the trail currently ends at Historic Folsom. There the city also would build a concrete, lighted 2,600-foot promenade at the shoreline parallel to the bike trail.

“In an application for California River Parkway grant funds, the city claims the project is needed, otherwise "the senior population and people with disabilities will not have any way to access the shoreline on the south side of Lake Natoma."

“At the bottom of the proposed ramp, the city also wants to build a boat launch area "to improve access to the water for those carrying kayaks and canoes," providing a service "not currently available on the south side of Lake Natoma."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Copenhagen by the Numbers

As the various numbers get swirled around, and agreements are made, it is revealing to have the back-story from a few days ago, as this article from the Wall Street Journal provides.

An excerpt.

“Imagine a "dream" agreement emerging from Copenhagen next week: The U.S. agrees to cut greenhouse emissions 80% by 2050, as President Barack Obama has been promising. The other developed countries promise to cut emissions by 60%. China promises to reduce its CO2 intensity by 70% in 2040. Emerging economies promise that in 2040, when their wealth per capita has grown to half that of the U.S., they will cut emissions by 80% over the following 40 years. And all parties make good on their pledges.

“Environmental success, right? Wrong. Even if the goals are all met, emissions will continue rising to nearly four times the current level. Total atmospheric CO2 will rise to near 700 parts per milion by 2080 (the current level is 385), and—if the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) models are right—global temperature will rise about six degrees Fahrenheit at mid latitudes.

“The reason is that most future carbon emissions will not come from the currently industrialized world, but from the emerging economies, especially China. And China, which currently emits 30% more CO2 per year than the U.S., has not promised to cut actual emissions. It and other developing nations have promised only to cut their carbon "intensity," a technical term meaning emissions per unit of GDP.

“China claims it is already cutting CO2 intensity by 4% a year as part of its five-year plan. President Hu Jintao has hinted that at Copenhagen China will offer to continue such reductions. By 2040, that will add up to a 70% reduction in intensity.

“Sounds good, but here's the catch: With 10% annual growth in China's economy, a 4% cut in intensity is actually a 6% annual increase in emissions. India and other developing countries have similar CO2 growth. That 6% yearly increase is what is shown in the nearby chart.

“True, China's CO2 per capita is only a quarter of the U.S. emissions rate. But warming doesn't come from emissions per capita, it comes from total emissions.

“China's carbon intensity is now five times that of the U.S.; it is extremely carbon inefficient. By the time the Chinese cut emissions intensity by 45%, its yearly total will be over twice that of the U.S. And in the proposed Copenhagen dream scenario, by 2025 China's emissions will actually surpass those of the U.S. per capita.

“If the issue is rising emissions in the next several decades, the bottom line is simple: The developed world is rapidly becoming irrelevant.

“Every 10% cut in the U.S. is negated by one year of China's growth. By 2040 China could be the most economically dominant nation on earth. The West might be able to cajole it, but won't be able to impose sanctions on China. Temperature will be at the mercy of the newly powerful economies.”

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sacramento Leads in Green Jobs

This is very good news that we lead the state in green jobs developed, as reported by the Sacramento Business Journal.

An excerpt.

“Green” jobs increased at close to three times the rate of total jobs in the state between 1995 and 2008, with the Sacramento region leading the state with 87 percent job growth in the green sector, or 4,743 jobs added, according to a report released Wednesday.

“Green jobs range from those in air quality emissions monitoring and control to other jobs in the fuel cell and renewable energy industries.

“The report, “Many Shades of Green: Diversity and Distribution of California’s Green Jobs,” was released Wednesday by the nonpartisan organizations Next 10 and Collaborative Economics. Next 10 works to educate, engage and empower Californians to improve the state’s future. Collaborative Economics is a research and consulting firm in Mountain View.

“According to the report, as the economy slowed between 2007 and 2008, total employment fell 1 percent, but green jobs grew by 5 percent.

“Between 1995 and 2008, total jobs in California grew by 13 percent, while green jobs grew by 36 percent, from 117,000 to 159,000 jobs, and green businesses increased by 45 percent, according to the report.

“Sacramento led the state with green job growth of 87 percent between 1995 and 2008, from 7,019 jobs in 1995 to 13,102 jobs in 2008. Sacramento was followed by San Diego (57 percent), the Bay Area (51 percent) and Orange County and Inland Empire (50 percent), according to the report.”

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sacramento Water, Cleanest in State

This is great news, as reported by the Sacramento Bee.

An excerpt.

“Do you drink the water?

“If you live in the city of Sacramento, you probably should, according to a new report on municipal water quality.

“Sacramento has the best tap water among large cities west of the Rockies, according to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. The capital city even beat San Francisco, long fabled for the purity of its source water in Yosemite National Park.

“Sacramento's drinking water also comes from the sacred snows of the Sierra Nevada, a fact that seems lost on residents who prefer bottled water, despite its higher cost and less-certain quality.

“City Councilman Kevin McCarty drinks the water. He confessed that as a child growing up in Sacramento, he drank it mostly from a garden hose.

"We have great water," said McCarty. "With this news, I would think even more people would say it certainly is a smart choice as far as your health and your pocketbook."

“The report is based on a review of five years of water-quality tests by municipal water utilities serving at least 250,000 people. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires the data, but doesn't report them.

“Environmental Working Group ranked cities according to the results. Sacramento ranked No. 1 in California, 18th nationally.”

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Make K Street Two Way?

In the seemingly eternal discussion on what to do with K Street, the success of making Main Street in Vancouver’s downtown a two way—and information from some American cities—as reported in this article from Governing, might be considered.

An excerpt.

“Over the past couple of decades, Vancouver, Washington, has spent millions of dollars trying to revitalize its downtown, and especially the area around Main Street that used to be the primary commercial center. Just how much the city has spent isn’t easy to determine. But it’s been an ambitious program. Vancouver has totally refurbished a downtown park, subsidized condos and apartment buildings overlooking it and built a new downtown Hilton hotel.

“Some of these investments have been successful, but they did next to nothing for Main Street itself. Through most of this decade, the street remained about as dreary as ever. Then, a year ago, the city council tried a new strategy. Rather than wait for the $14 million more in state and federal money it was planning to spend on projects on and around Main Street, it opted for something much simpler. It painted yellow lines in the middle of the road, took down some signs and put up others, and installed some new traffic lights. In other words, it took a one-way street and opened it up to two-way traffic.

“The merchants on Main Street had high hopes for this change. But none of them were prepared for what actually happened following the changeover on November 16, 2008. In the midst of a severe recession, Main Street in Vancouver seemed to come back to life almost overnight.

“Within a few weeks, the entire business community was celebrating. “We have twice as many people going by as they did before,” one of the employees at an antique store told a local reporter. The chairman of the Vancouver Downtown Association, Lee Coulthard, sounded more excited than almost anyone else. “It’s like, wow,” he exclaimed, “why did it take us so long to figure this out?”

“A year later, the success of the project is even more apparent. Twice as many cars drive down Main Street every day, without traffic jams or serious congestion. The merchants are still happy. “One-way streets should not be allowed in prime downtown retail areas,” says Rebecca Ocken, executive director of Vancouver’s Downtown Association. “We’ve proven that.”

“The debate over one-way versus two-way streets has been going on for more than half a century now in American cities, and it is far from resolved even yet. But the evidence seems to suggest that the two-way side is winning. A growing number of cities, including big ones such as Minneapolis, Louisville and Oklahoma City, have converted the traffic flow of major streets to two-way or laid out plans to do so. There has been virtually no movement in the other direction.”

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Green Jobs Lost?

In a very bizarre situation, the greenest state in the nation—our beloved California—is closing recycling centers and losing green jobs, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

An excerpt.

“Recycling centers across California are closing, and scores of troubled youths are being tossed from "green" jobs onto unemployment rolls in the wake of Sacramento's raid on bottle deposit funds.

“California's recycling treasury, filled by consumers' nickel and dime deposits on drink containers, had hummed along successfully for two decades until state officials left it nearly bankrupt after taking $451 million out to help balance the budget.

“The unredeemed deposits that subsidized recycling facilities and such projects as a local conservation corps are virtually gone, leaving the programs in the lurch.

“Now operators of recycling depots in many supermarket parking lots are suing the state. Without the subsidies, Tomra Pacific Inc., a leading depot company, has closed at least 33 recycling sites -- more than 8% of its total, said company president Adrian White.

"Finding a location to recycle is going to get harder," White said.

“Lacking a nearby redemption center, consumers can return containers to the grocery store. But the obscure state law permitting that is as unfamiliar to consumers as it is to most store employees.

"If . . . you have to be in the know just to get your deposit back," then the promise at the core of the bottle program -- pay a deposit, get it back when you recycle -- is voided, said Susan Collins, executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group Container Recycling Institute.

“Beyond the recycling program are the regional conservation groups that employ at-risk youths -- high-school dropouts, former gang members and parolees.

“Scott Dosick, spokesman for the California Assn. of Local Conservation Corps, said that the state's 12 programs typically employ 4,000 but that cutbacks this year have eliminated roughly 500 of those jobs.

"We are their last resort," Dosick said of corps members. "If we lay them off, they're pretty much back on the street.

"Once they're gone," he said, "the odds of getting them back are extraordinarily slim."

“Lawmakers tried last summer to increase deposits or impose new ones on roughly 5 billion drink containers to replenish the recycling fund. Opponents called the effort a back-door tax increase; Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it. On July 1, the Schwarzenegger administration cut 85% of the state subsidies, and this month it eliminated them entirely.”

Monday, December 14, 2009

Parkway Access

It is very understandable, as reported by the Sacramento Bee some time ago, that those neighborhoods adjacent to the Parkway are concerned about open access that may lead to problems—whether parking overflow, nighttime revelry, or crime—but it is not an issue that can be dealt with by restricting access to the premier recreational resource in our area.

What is necessary is dedicated management and fund raising that can provide the type of 24/7 public safety presence that the growing areas adjacent to the Parkway need; which we have made suggestions about in posts and press releases.

An excerpt from the Bee article.

“Before it was scrapped, a plan to build a fence cutting off night access to Paradise Beach in Sacramento's River Park neighborhood drew a mix of scorn and adoration from residents.

“Petitions were circulated. The area's established neighborhood group was criticized. A vote was called to decide the plan's fate.

“In other words, there hadn't been a topic this divisive in River Park since the great speed-hump debates of 2003.

“But the showdown never came. On Nov. 19 – and just three hours before the River Park Neighborhood Association was set to take a formal vote on its support for the fence – the proposal was yanked over concerns that it did not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Supporters of the fence are still exploring designs that would be ADA compatible, but they aren't optimistic. Under the original blueprint, a turnstile would restrict traffic to the beach after sunset, but no one has come up with an alternative to that design.

“The pause, however, has not stopped the debate over the fence. Depending on whom you talk to in this leafy neighborhood tucked into a corner of east Sacramento, residents are either overwhelmingly supportive of a fence – or overwhelmingly against it.

“Here's the background: Last year, the Sacramento Police Department examined how it could make Glenn Hall Park safer. Among the suggestions: Adding lights with motion censors to the parking lot; remodeling the bathrooms; and building a fence with a turnstile that would lock at night, restricting evening access to adjacent Paradise Beach on the American River.

“Police determined that although activities that made Paradise Beach a destination for ne'er-do-wells had calmed since the days in the 1960s and '70s when it was known as "clothing optional," the beach was still a negative influence on Glenn Hall Park and the rest of the neighborhood. According to a city staff report, 66 percent of the crimes at Glenn Hall Park "are directly related to Paradise Beach."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bass eating the Salmon?

A whole new take on the recent reduction in the salmon runs, from this article in the Modesto Bee.

An excerpt.

“Every spring, some of the water that might have gone to farms instead flows down the Tuolumne River to help young salmon get to sea.

“And every spring, officials with the Modesto Irrigation District say, striped bass gobble up many of these fish as they swim through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

“The MID is trying to get state and federal officials to control the bass population rather than seek increased releases from Don Pedro Reservoir.

“The district contends that the bass, introduced to California in 1879, have come to dominate the delta at the expense of salmon and other struggling native fish.

"What's written on the wall, from my perspective, is one word: predation," said Tim O'Laughlin, the district's general counsel, during a Nov. 17 presentation to its board.

“MID General Manager Allen Short said the argument has gained little traction with people who insist that the best solution for salmon is increased flows.

“But water is just what is needed, said Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations.

"MID is just in big-time denial," he said. "They and others have got to acknowledge that a certain amount of water has to be left for the estuary and the fish."

“Grader said salmon and bass co-existed for most of the past 140 years and they can do so again if river flows increase.

“Salmon counts ebb and flow on the Merced, Stanislaus and Tuolumne rivers, peaking most recently in 2000 with nearly 42,000 fish but plummeting to fewer than 2,000 last year. Officials expect low numbers this year because of drought in the mountains and warming ocean temperatures.

“The stakes are high: The MID and Turlock Irrigation District supply about 210,000 acres of farmland with Tuolumne River water, which also is part of the city of Modesto's drinking water supply.”

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Climategate Repercussions

The repercussions are starting to morph into political and policy actions, as this article from the Wall Street Journal reveals.

An excerpt.

'Poor Al Gore. Global warming completely debunked via the very Internet you invented. Oh, oh, the irony!"

“This quip by comedian Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" last week was a welcome break from the steady disclosures of science gone bad. So too was the instantly viral online video called "Hide the Decline," a mocking send-up of the scientists who tried to suppress data showing global cooling. It was viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube.

“Climategate began with the disclosure of emails and other documents showing how leading global-warming scientists had evaded peer review and refused to disclose data. Over the past week, there have been resignations and investigations of top scientists in England and the U.S.

“The British government is recalculating its historic weather findings in light of the now-suspect data from the Climate Research Unit in East Anglia. Even the United Nations, which had claimed "unequivocal" evidence for man-made global warming, pledges that it will review the evidence.

“More details will come out as the leaked documents get fully parsed, but already one certainty is the end of certainty. The one-sidedness of the views of the most influential scientists had led many to believe in the gospel of global warming.”

Friday, December 11, 2009

Auburn Dam

Those who are concerned about floods and water storage realize the continued need for the Auburn Dam, as this editorial from the Manteca Bulletin notes.

Also, the Auburn Dam remains a solution to ensuring the viability of the salmon in the Lower American River, as well as protecting the Parkway from flooding erosion, which is addressed in our research report.

An excerpt from the editorial.

“As water demands grow in Colorado, Arizona and Nevada, California will lose a portion of Colorado River water currently used in the south state.

“The California Department of Resources has offered three potential solutions — the political snake pit known as the Peripheral Canal, the long-stalled Auburn Dam, and raising the height of the Shasta Dam.

“The Peripheral Canal has long been the darling of Southern California metro water interests and the huge corporate agricultural interest in the southern San Joaquin Valley.

“Everyone in urban water planning looks at the amount of fresh water flowing into the Bay as a waste. Many farming interests share that position while environmentalists view any attempt to further stem the flow of fresh water as having the same impact on the Bay-Delta environment as dropping the atomic bomb had on Hiroshima.

“Save the water from flowing into the Bay. It is a dangerously simplistic solution. There are court mandates regarding salinity levels not to mention the protection order for the Delta Smelt. Salt intrusion has to be kept below a certain level or else the federal government hijacks fresh water to add to the flows flushing the Delta.

“If the Peripheral Canal takes Sacramento River water headed for Southern California and bypasses the Delta that leaves only the San Joaquin River system to make up for any shortfalls of fresh water. The most likely target for cleansing the Delta is the New Melones Reservoir on the Stanislaus River.

“Raising the height of Shasta Dam is fraught with environmental concerns as is building the Auburn Dam.

“The Auburn Dam, though, can add the most storage and effectively handle one of the heaviest precipitation watersheds on the western slope of the Sierra. The reservoir could hold 2.1 million-acre feet — almost enough to meet statewide water shortfalls projected for 2025.

“The dam site already has had trees and vegetation removed and other improvements such as a foundation and bridges put in place. After hippies were unable to stop the dam from flooding a nude beach, the earth rumbled in 1972 to effectively stop Congress from authorizing the money for actual construction until seismic safety issues were studied further.

“The Auburn Dam — operated in tandem with Hell Hole, French Meadows and Folsom Dam reservoirs — offers a powerful one-two-three-four punch of expanding water storage and management for growing south state urban needs as well as enhancing flood protection.”

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Auburn Dam for Flood Protection, Graph

It is a good reminder, as Assemblyman Niello provided in a letter published in the Sacramento Bee, that the flood protection—from 100 year protection to 200 year protection—being touted from the Folsom Dam improvements are minimal in relation to what most river cities in the nation have, and especially to what we need to have, which is 500 year protection (the gold standard) which only the Auburn Dam can provide.

The graph says it all, and the print is small so the cities whose current levels of flood protection are listed, from the left are, Tacoma, St. Louis, Dallas, & Kansas City, who all have met the gold standard, while New Orleans has, after their recent improvements, a 250 year level, while Sacramento, in the red at a 100 year level, will have a 200 year level of protection after the Folsom Dam improvements.

The numbers on the left representing the level of coverage, starting from the bottom are 85, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600.

An excerpt.

“Re "Folsom Dam upgrade needs a new rulebook" (Page A1, Dec. 6): It's important to acknowledge the original intent of the Folsom Dam upgrade: flood protection. The article correctly states that "The project is expected to … double flood protection for the Sacramento region."

“It's also crucial for our area to know that after this project is completed, our area will suffer from the one or two lowest levels of flood protection as compared to other metro areas in the country. That's right, we will double our level of flood protection and we will still be about last place in the national rankings. In fact, most areas at risk for flooding have at least double the level of protection that we will have.

“We will never attain a level of flood protection beyond the inadequate standard with which we must suffer without the ability to store water on the American River above Folsom Dam. That was the Auburn Dam, which seems to have been concluded a dead issue by too many.”

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Environmentalism as Religion

This is an issue we wrote about in our 2006 research report, (see pages 19-32), and an article from the Wall Street Journal also finds deep fervor and apocalyptic visions within the environmental movement.

An excerpt.

'I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." Is it not obvious that the vision of apocalypse as it was revealed to Saint John of Patmos was, in fact, global warming?

“Here's a partial rundown of some of the ills seriously attributed to climate change: prostitution in the Philippines (along with greater rates of HIV infection); higher suicide rates in Italy; the 1993 "Black Hawk Down" battle in Somalia; an increase in strokes and heart disease in China; wars in the Middle East; a larger pool of potential recruits to terrorism; harm to indigenous peoples and "biocultural diversity."

“All this, of course, on top of the Maldives sinking under the waves, millions of climate refugees, a half-dozen Katrina-type events every year and so on and on—a long parade of horrors animating the policy ambitions of the politicians, scientists, climate mandarins and entrepreneurs now gathered at a U.N. summit in Copenhagen. Never mind that none of these scenarios has any basis in some kind of observable reality (sea levels around the Maldives have been stable for decades), or that the chain of causation linking climate change to sundry disasters is usually of a meaningless six-degrees-of-separation variety.

“Still, the really interesting question is less about the facts than it is about the psychology. Last week, I suggested that funding flows had much to do with climate alarmism. But deeper things are at work as well.

“One of those things, I suspect, is what I would call the totalitarian impulse. This is not to say that global warming true believers are closet Stalinists. But their intellectual methods are instructively similar. Consider:

“• Revolutionary fervor: There's a distinct tendency among climate alarmists toward uncompromising radicalism, a hatred of "bourgeois" values, a disgust with democratic practices. So President Obama wants to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 83% from current levels by 2050, levels not seen since the 1870s—in effect, the Industrial Revolution in reverse. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, insists that "our lifestyles are unsustainable." Al Gore gets crowds going by insisting that "civil disobedience has a role to play" in strong-arming governments to do his bidding. (This from the man who once sought to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.)”

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Climategate Continues

As more time is spent on analysis of the emails that have shook the world of human caused global warming, the more cogent the thinking becomes, and this article from The Weekly Standard does not disappoint.

An excerpt.

“Slowly and mostly unnoticed by the major news media, the air has been going out of the global warming balloon. Global temperatures stopped rising a few years ago, much to the dismay of the climate campaigners. The U.N.'s upcoming Copenhagen conference--which was supposed to yield a binding greenhouse gas emissions reduction treaty as a successor to the failed Kyoto Protocol--collapsed weeks in advance and remains on life support pending Obama's magical intervention. Cap and trade legislation is stalled on Capitol Hill. Recent opinion polls from Gallup, Pew, Rasmussen, ABC/Washington Post, and other pollsters all find a dramatic decline in public belief in human-caused global warming. The climate campaigners continue to insist this is because they have a "communications" problem, but after Al Gore's Nobel Prize/Academy Award double play, millions of dollars in paid advertising, and the relentless doom-mongering from the media echo chamber and the political class, this excuse is preposterous. And now the climate campaign is having its Emperor's New Clothes moment.

“In mid-November a large cache of emails and technical documents from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Britain were made available on a number of Internet file-servers for download by the public--either the work of a hacker or a leak from a whistleblower on the inside. The emails--more than 1,000 of them--reveal a small cabal of scientists who, in the words of MIT's Michael Schrage, engaged in "malice, mischief and Machiavellian maneuverings." In an ironic twist, one of the frequent correspondents in this long e trail (University of Arizona scientist Jonathan Overpeck) warned several of his colleagues in September, "Please write all emails as though they will be made public." Small wonder why. It's being called Climategate, but more than one wit is calling them "the CRUtape Letters."

“As in the furor over Dan Rather's fabricated documents about George W. Bush's National Guard service back in 2004, bloggers have been swarming over the material and highlighting the bad faith, bad science, and possibly even criminal behavior (deleting material requested under Britain's Freedom of Information Act and perhaps tax evasion) of a small group of highly influential climate scientists. As with Rathergate, diehard climate campaigners are repairing to the "fake but accurate" defense--what these scientists did may be unethical or deeply biased, they say, but the science is settled, don't you know, so move along, nothing to see here. There are a few notable exceptions, such as Guardian columnist George Monbiot, who in the past has trafficked in the most extreme climate mongering: "It's no use pretending that this isn't a major blow," Monbiot wrote in a November 23 column. "The emails extracted by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia could scarcely be more damaging. .  .  . I'm dismayed and deeply shaken by them. .  .  . I was too trusting of some of those who provided the evidence I championed. I would have been a better journalist if I had investigated their claims more closely." Monbiot has joined a number of prominent climate scientists in demanding that the CRU figures resign their posts and be excluded from future climate science work. The head of the CRU, Phil Jones, announced last week that he will temporarily step down pending an investigation.

“As tempting as it is to indulge in Schadenfreude over the richly deserved travails of a gang that has heaped endless calumny on dissenting scientists (NASA's James Hansen, for instance, compared MIT's Richard Lindzen to a tobacco-industry scientist, and Al Gore and countless -others liken skeptics to "Holocaust deniers"), the meaning of the CRU documents should not be misconstrued. The emails do not in and of themselves reveal that catastrophic climate change scenarios are a hoax or without any foundation. What they reveal is something problematic for the scientific community as a whole, namely, the tendency of scientists to cross the line from being disinterested investigators after the truth to advocates for a preconceived conclusion about the issues at hand. In the understatement of the year, CRU's Phil Jones, one of the principal figures in the controversy, admitted the emails "do not read well." Jones is the author of the most widely cited leaked e missive, telling colleagues in 1999 that he had used "Mike's Nature [magazine] trick" to "hide the decline" that inconveniently shows up after 1960 in one set of temperature records. But he insists that the full context of CRU's work shows this to have been just a misleading figure of speech. Reading through the entire archive of emails, however, provides no such reassurance; to the contrary, dozens of other messages, while less blatant than "hide the decline," expose scandalously unprofessional behavior. There were ongoing efforts to rig and manipulate the peer-review process that is critical to vetting manuscripts submitted for publication in scientific journals. Data that should have been made available for inspection by other scientists and outside critics were released only grudgingly, if at all. Perhaps more significant, the email archive also reveals that even inside this small circle of climate scientists--otherwise allied in an effort to whip up a frenzy of international political action to combat global warming--there was considerable disagreement, confusion, doubt, and at times acrimony over the results of their work. In other words, there is far less unanimity or consensus among climate insiders than we have been led to believe.”

Monday, December 07, 2009

More Implications of Climategate

In this article from the Wall Street Journal, we get a sense of the impact this may have on the practice of science itself, and the politicizing of this issue can not be good news for the scientific community which we all rely on to base their positions on replicable data-based experiments and inclusive peer consensus.

An excerpt.

“Surely there must have been serious men and women in the hard sciences who at some point worried that their colleagues in the global warming movement were putting at risk the credibility of everyone in science. The nature of that risk has been twofold: First, that the claims of the climate scientists might buckle beneath the weight of their breathtaking complexity. Second, that the crudeness of modern politics, once in motion, would trample the traditions and culture of science to achieve its own policy goals. With the scandal at the East Anglia Climate Research Unit, both have happened at once.

“I don't think most scientists appreciate what has hit them. This isn't only about the credibility of global warming. For years, global warming and its advocates have been the public face of hard science. Most people could not name three other subjects they would associate with the work of serious scientists. This was it. The public was told repeatedly that something called "the scientific community" had affirmed the science beneath this inquiry. A Nobel Prize was bestowed (on a politician).

“Global warming enlisted the collective reputation of science. Because "science" said so, all the world was about to undertake a vast reordering of human behavior at almost unimaginable financial cost. Not every day does the work of scientists lead to galactic events simply called Kyoto or Copenhagen. At least not since the Manhattan Project.

“What is happening at East Anglia is an epochal event. As the hard sciences—physics, biology, chemistry, electrical engineering—came to dominate intellectual life in the last century, some academics in the humanities devised the theory of postmodernism, which liberated them from their colleagues in the sciences. Postmodernism, a self-consciously "unprovable" theory, replaced formal structures with subjectivity. With the revelations of East Anglia, this slippery and variable intellectual world has crossed into the hard sciences.”

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Sacramento Mayoral Politics Goes National

The largest daily newspaper in the country—the Wall Street Journal (they passed USA Today earlier this year)—has a story on the local politics around the strong mayor proposal.

An excerpt.

“SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- With California's capital city in deep economic trouble, Mayor Kevin Johnson wants to call the shots, just as he once did as a star point guard for the Phoenix Suns basketball team. But there's an obstacle: Sacramento has what is known a "weak mayor" system, making its mayor, in effect, just another city-council member.

“Mr. Johnson says Sacramento needs a "strong mayor" arrangement -- with the mayor as head of the government -- as do a majority of big cities such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco. To get there, Mr. Johnson is campaigning for a controversial ballot measure that would boost his powers to lead this city of 480,000.

"If you have to do everything by committee, it gets bogged down and you miss a ton of opportunities," the 43-year-old Democrat said during an interview in his City Hall office.

“But those who oppose the measure accuse Mr. Johnson of making a power grab. "This initiative, if it passes, will put only one seat at the table," says Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy. "The checks and balances are lopsided" in Mr. Johnson's proposal.
“Mr. Johnson says Sacramento needs a mayor with clout to deal with its economic downturn, which has been exacerbated by furloughs of tens of thousands of state workers. The city faces a 15% unemployment rate, a depressed real-estate market, rising retail vacancy rate and a budget shortfall that is expected to hit $30 million for the next fiscal year.”

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Importance of Climategate

The ramifications of this episode within the scientific and political community are and will continue to be, huge, and this article from First Things looks at its significance.

An excerpt.

“I have always thought that the global warming, or “climate change” debate, was as much about social psychology as science. Now we have the perfect example in the unseemly row over a thousand purloined e-mails to and from the scientists of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain. It’s a significant scandal, and inevitably it is being called “climategate” (that ubiquitous metaphor). East Anglia is one of four centers worldwide which keep the more-or-less official records of world temperature and climate history. They were among the first to claim that human activity was causing global average temperatures to rise to dangerous levels, basing their claims on several research projects, notably on tree rings on an eastern Siberian peninsula; and they adopted Michael Mann’s infamous “hockey stick” graph which claimed to show a sharp upward tick in recent temperatures. When pressed to share their basic data with other scientists, who might in true scientific method see if they could reproduce the conclusions, they refused.

“As I recall (and forgive my faulty memory) their lead researcher Phil Jones, the director of the CRU, told an Australian climate researcher whom he feared was skeptical, something like “I have 25 years invested in this data base; why should I share it with you who are only trying to find fault with it?” Then a Canadian statistician, Steve McIntyre, showed that Mann’s graph was faulty and could not prove a sharp recent rise in temperature. And the Siberian tree rings turned out to have been cherry-picked (they weren’t cherry trees, though) to fit a premature conclusion, while most of the rest in the area told a different story. So the war was on.

“Now an enterprising hacker, unknown as of this moment, has released e-mails to and from the people at East Anglia which show some fairly surprising and dismaying unscientific behavior, dripping contempt for the scientists skeptical of the warming alarm and showing what appear to be attempts to manipulate data to yield a desired result. The unguarded, but now disclosed, ad hominem insults perhaps show the natural nastiness of academics whose theories, representing hard work and deep convictions, are challenged. It becomes personal. Maybe we can chalk that up to original sin. What’s really serious is the perversion of the methods of science to yield a result above all challenge. The CRU repeatedly refused Freedom-of-Information requests from other scientists for its data set. Jones and his colleagues discussed ways to manipulate figures and graphs to make the temperature record prove the anthropogenic-global-warming thesis. He even proposed organizing boycotts of journals that dared to publish anything that would undermine that thesis. And now all this shoddy academic, scientific behavior is on the public record, racing around the internet.”

Friday, December 04, 2009

Global Warming—A Little History

This article in The American Thinker pulls together a brief history of the mistakes or misdirection’s—depending on your perspective—the environmentalists have been involved in with the discussion around human caused global warming.

With the latest email hacking as a reference, it is instructive.

An excerpt.

“The East Anglia Climate Research Unit (CRU) revelations come as no real surprise to anyone who has closely followed the global-warming saga. The Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) thesis, to give it its semi-official name, is no stranger to fraud. It would be no real exaggeration to state that it was fertilized with fraud, marinated in fraud, stewed in fraud, and at last served up to the world as prime grade-A fraud with nice side orders of fakery and disingenuousness. Damning as they may be, the CRU e-mails are merely the climactic element in an exhaustively long line.
“A short tour of previous AGW highlights would include:

“The Y2K Glitch. This episode involved the NASA/GISS team led by James Hansen, possibly the most fanatical and unrelenting of all warmists, a man who makes Al Gore look like a skeptic. (Among other things, Hansen has demanded that warming "deniers" be tried for "crimes against humanity".) While examining a series of NASA temperature graphs, Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre, himself not so much a skeptic as an anti-warming Van Helsing, uncovered a discontinuity occurring in January 2000 that raised temperatures gathered over widespread areas by 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit. McIntyre had no easy time of it, since Hansen refused to reveal what algorithm he'd used to process the data, forcing McIntyre to perform some very abstruse calculations to figure it out.

“Once notified, Hansen's team promised to correct the error, stating that it was an "oversight". When the corrected figures were at last released, they rocked the church of warming from bingo hall to steeple. Vanished was the claim that the past few years were "the warmest on record". Now 1934 took precedence. A full half of the top ten warmest years occurred before WW II, well prior to any massive CO2 buildup.

“No explanation has ever been offered. We have a Y2K glitch that behaves like no other computer glitch ever encountered, uniformly affecting a large number of sources distributed almost nationwide. Although the incident trashed all recent data and raised uncomfortable questions about the warming thesis as a whole, NASA itself made no effort at an investigation or inquiry. All that we're ever going to hear is "oversight". I guess that's how they do things at NASA/GISS.

“The Arctic Ice Melt. We've been informed for the better part of a decade that Arctic ice was melting at an unprecedented rate, and that the North Pole would be ice-free in twenty, thirty, or forty years, depending in the hysteria level of the media platform in question. In truth, ice thinning was due to a cyclical weather pattern in which winds blow ice floes south into warmer water. Everybody involved knew that this cycle occurred, everyone had seen it happen previously time out of mind. But it was too good an opportunity to pass up. Worse yet, when the weather returned to its normal pattern two years ago, large numbers of scientists put in considerable effort to suggest that the "new" ice was thinner than usual and would vanish in a flash as soon as the temperatures went back up. The media went along with the joke. The Germans have a phrase to cover such eventualities: this crew should be stripped of their trade. (Several expeditions setting out for the Pole to "call attention" to the coming Arctic catastrophe had to stop short due to icy conditions. In one case, both women involved suffered serious frostbite.)

“The Poor Polar Bears. Closely related is the saga of the polar bears, staring extinction in the face due to warming while, somewhere beyond the aurora, Gaia weeps bitter tears. This was evidently inspired by a single photograph (you've seen it -- the entire world has at this point) of a woebegone polar bear crouched on a melting iceberg. That bear had to be sulking over allowing a nice juicy seal to escape, because it was in no danger. Out of the twenty major polar bear populations only two are known to be decreasing. Estimates of bear population (there are no exact figures) have increased over the past forty years, from 17,000 to19,000 to the current number of 22,000 to 27,000. The bears are becoming pests in municipalities such as Churchill and Point Barrow. (As clearly shown here.) Despite all this, last year the bear was put on the U.S. "endangered" list.

“The Hockey Stick That Wasn't. The "hockey stick" is a nickname for a chart prepared by Michael Mann, a University of Pennsylvania professor and leading warmist. The chart purports to show temperature levels for the past millennium, and consists of a straight line until it reaches the late 20th century, when it suddenly shoots upward, creating the "hockey stick" profile. This chart was a major feature of International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports on global warming and is a commonly-used media graphic.

“This chart creates immediate doubt in anyone knowledgeable about the climate of the past millennium, which more resembles a roller coaster than a straight line. It developed -- in yet another impressive McIntyre takedown, this time with an assist from Ross McKitrick -- that Mann was utilizing an algorithm that would produce hockey sticks if you fed it telephone numbers. (Mann is the "Mike" mentioned in the CRU e-mails, and this is one of his "tricks".) Despite this disclosure, Mann has never withdrawn the chart, offered an explanation, or made a correction. The chart remains an accepted piece of evidence among warmists.

“Tree-Ring Circus. Due to the fact that direct temperature measures for past epochs are lacking, climatologists utilize "proxy measures", such as tree rings, glacial moraines, and lake sediments. Tree rings have played an important part in the warming controversy, as evidence backing the claim that temperatures have been consistently lower worldwide until recently. A crucial series of measurements, utilized by Mann among others, involves trees located on the Yamal peninsula in Siberia. How many trees were measured, you ask? A hundred? A thousand? Ten thousand?

“The answer is twelve. A number perfectly adequate to trigger international panic, overthrow the capitalist system, establish a Green totalitarianism, and completely turn Western culture on its head.

“But it turns out that further measurements were in fact made in the area, involving at least thirty-four other trees. And when this data is added to the original twelve, then the warming evidence disappears into the same branch of the Twilight Zone as the blade of Mann's hockey stick. Another "oversight", you understand.

“We could go on to mention the automated U.S. weather stations chronicled by the tireless Anthony Watts, which were conscientiously placed next to air-con vents, atop sewage plants, in parking lots, and in one case, in a swamp (as many as 90% may be giving spurious high readings). The glaciers that are vanishing worldwide except where they aren't. The endless papers demonstrating that the coral reefs, along with various birds, animals, insects, and plants, are facing extinction even though no warming whatsoever has occurred for twelve years. (And in the thirty years before that, the total rise was 1.25 degrees Fahrenheit, easily within normal variation.) Powerful stuff, this warming -- it maims and destroys even when it's not happening.

“It's within this context that the East Anglia e-mails must be judged. The vanishingly small number of legacy media writers who are paying attention behave as if the messages comprise some kind of puzzling anomaly, with no relation to anything that came before. In truth, they stand as the internal memos from the East Anglia branch of the Nigerian National Bank, which can save us from the horrors of global warming after payment of a small up-front fee.

“There is always a deeper level to the damage caused by fraud. It strains social relationships, generates cynicism, and debases standing institutions. What has suffered the most damage from AGW is faith in the scientific method, the basic set of procedures -- it could be called an algorithm -- governing scientific investigation. These procedures embody simplicity itself: you examine a phenomenon. You gather data. You construct a hypothesis to explain that phenomenon. And then...”

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Data Thrown Out?

It appears raw data used to justify global warming has been thrown out, according to this report from the London Times.

An excerpt.

“SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

“It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

“The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

“The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.

“The admission follows the leaking of a thousand private emails sent and received by Professor Phil Jones, the CRU’s director. In them he discusses thwarting climate sceptics seeking access to such data.

“In a statement on its website, the CRU said: “We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenised) data.”

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


This is a very interesting article from the Wall Street Journal, connecting the money dots and global warming supporters.

An excerpt.

“Last year, ExxonMobil donated $7 million to a grab-bag of public policy institutes, including the Aspen Institute, the Asia Society and Transparency International. It also gave a combined $125,000 to the Heritage Institute and the National Center for Policy Analysis, two conservative think tanks that have offered dissenting views on what until recently was called—without irony—the climate change "consensus."

“To read some of the press accounts of these gifts—amounting to about 0.00027% of Exxon's 2008 profits of $45 billion—you might think you'd hit upon the scandal of the age. But thanks to what now goes by the name of climategate, it turns out the real scandal lies elsewhere.

“Climategate, as readers of these pages know, concerns some of the world's leading climate scientists working in tandem to block freedom of information requests, blackball dissenting scientists, manipulate the peer-review process, and obscure, destroy or massage inconvenient temperature data—facts that were laid bare by last week's disclosure of thousands of emails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, or CRU.

“But the deeper question is why the scientists behaved this way to begin with, especially since the science behind man-made global warming is said to be firmly settled. To answer the question, it helps to turn the alarmists' follow-the-money methods right back at them.

“Consider the case of Phil Jones,[who has now steepped down from his position] the director of the CRU and the man at the heart of climategate. According to one of the documents hacked from his center, between 2000 and 2006 Mr. Jones was the recipient (or co-recipient) of some $19 million worth of research grants, a sixfold increase over what he'd been awarded in the 1990s.

“Why did the money pour in so quickly? Because the climate alarm kept ringing so loudly: The louder the alarm, the greater the sums. And who better to ring it than people like Mr. Jones, one of its likeliest beneficiaries?

“Thus, the European Commission's most recent appropriation for climate research comes to nearly $3 billion, and that's not counting funds from the EU's member governments. In the U.S., the House intends to spend $1.3 billion on NASA's climate efforts, $400 million on NOAA's, and another $300 million for the National Science Foundation. The states also have a piece of the action, with California—apparently not feeling bankrupt enough—devoting $600 million to their own climate initiative. In Australia, alarmists have their own Department of Climate Change at their funding disposal.

“And all this is only a fraction of the $94 billion that HSBC Bank estimates has been spent globally this year on what it calls "green stimulus"—largely ethanol and other alternative energy schemes—of the kind from which Al Gore and his partners at Kleiner Perkins hope to profit handsomely.”

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Worst Scientific Scandal in Our Generation?

That is what the UK Telegraph is calling Climategate.

An excerpt.

“A week after my colleague James Delingpole , on his Telegraph blog, coined the term "Climategate" to describe the scandal revealed by the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, Google was showing that the word now appears across the internet more than nine million times. But in all these acres of electronic coverage, one hugely relevant point about these thousands of documents has largely been missed.

“The reason why even the Guardian's George Monbiot has expressed total shock and dismay at the picture revealed by the documents is that their authors are not just any old bunch of academics. Their importance cannot be overestimated, What we are looking at here is the small group of scientists who have for years been more influential in driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others, not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“Professor Philip Jones, the CRU's director, is in charge of the two key sets of data used by the IPCC to draw up its reports. Through its link to the Hadley Centre, part of the UK Met Office, which selects most of the IPCC's key scientific contributors, his global temperature record is the most important of the four sets of temperature data on which the IPCC and governments rely – not least for their predictions that the world will warm to catastrophic levels unless trillions of dollars are spent to avert it.

“Dr Jones is also a key part of the closely knit group of American and British scientists responsible for promoting that picture of world temperatures conveyed by Michael Mann's "hockey stick" graph which 10 years ago turned climate history on its head by showing that, after 1,000 years of decline, global temperatures have recently shot up to their highest level in recorded history.

“Given star billing by the IPCC, not least for the way it appeared to eliminate the long-accepted Mediaeval Warm Period when temperatures were higher they are today, the graph became the central icon of the entire man-made global warming movement.

“Since 2003, however, when the statistical methods used to create the "hockey stick" were first exposed as fundamentally flawed by an expert Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre , an increasingly heated battle has been raging between Mann's supporters, calling themselves "the Hockey Team", and McIntyre and his own allies, as they have ever more devastatingly called into question the entire statistical basis on which the IPCC and CRU construct their case.

“The senders and recipients of the leaked CRU emails constitute a cast list of the IPCC's scientific elite, including not just the "Hockey Team", such as Dr Mann himself, Dr Jones and his CRU colleague Keith Briffa, but Ben Santer, responsible for a highly controversial rewriting of key passages in the IPCC's 1995 report; Kevin Trenberth, who similarly controversially pushed the IPCC into scaremongering over hurricane activity; and Gavin Schmidt, right-hand man to Al Gore's ally Dr James Hansen, whose own GISS record of surface temperature data is second in importance only to that of the CRU itself.”