Sunday, January 31, 2010

UN climate change panel based claims on student dissertation and magazine article

UN climate change panel based claims on student dissertation and magazine article

The United Nations' expert panel on climate change based claims about ice disappearing from the world's mountain tops on a student's dissertation and an article in a mountaineering magazine.
Officials were forced earlier this month to retract inaccurate claims in the IPCC's report about the melting of Himalayan glaciers Photo: GETTY
The revelation will cause fresh embarrassment for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which had to issue a humiliating apology earlier this month over inaccurate statements about global warming.
The IPCC's remit is to provide an authoritative assessment of scientific evidence on climate change.
In its most recent report, it stated that observed reductions in mountain ice in the Andes, Alps and Africa was being caused by global warming, citing two papers as the source of the information.

However, it can be revealed that one of the sources quoted was a feature article published in a popular magazine for climbers which was based on anecdotal evidence from mountaineers about the changes they were witnessing on the mountainsides around them.
The other was a dissertation written by a geography student, studying for the equivalent of a master's degree, at the University of Berne in Switzerland that quoted interviews with mountain guides in the Alps.
The revelations, uncovered by The Sunday Telegraph, have raised fresh questions about the quality of the information contained in the report, which was published in 2007. Read more.

Can we ever be carbon neutral?

A ton sounds like a lot right? But for climate alarmists a ton is a great worry inducing tool - a car only weighs two tons - think of the mass we must be throwing into the atmosphere. Well remember people that when it comes to carbon in the air a ton does not weigh a ton!
From fragrance to chocolates, we are now being offered carbon-offset products. But is there a catch?

Our per capita carbon footprint stands at 9.7 tonnes each every year - think of it as six hot-air balloons full of CO2. Illustration: Rob Biddulph
It is notoriously difficult to move a muscle without creating a carbon penalty, and mitigating this can be a full-time obsession (as evidenced by No Impact Man, noimpactproject.org). As if our per capita carbon footprint wasn't big enough at 9.7 tonnes each every year (think of it as six hot-air balloons full of CO2) this winter's cold weather could cause it to swell. In the absence of any meaningful low-carbon power generation system, we retreat to burning huge quantities of coal to fulfil increased power demand. Coal use explains why Australians weigh in with a thunderous annual output of 20.5 tonnes of CO2 per person. Read more.

Ed Miliband declares war on climate change sceptics

It would be nice if these people would stick to the facts, but of course that would not suit the agenda. The warmists are launching a counter attack with 2012 fear mongering gusto.
Climate secretary Ed Miliband warns against listening to 'siren voices', in an interview with the Observer
The climate secretary, Ed Miliband, last night warned of the danger of a public backlash against the science of global warming in the face of continuing claims that experts have manipulated data.

In an exclusive interview with the Observer, Miliband spoke out for the first time about last month's revelations that climate scientists had withheld and covered up information and the apology made by the influential UN climate body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which admitted it had exaggerated claims about the melting of Himalayan glaciers.
The perceived failure of global talks on combating climate change in Copenhagen last month has also been blamed for undermining public support. But in the government's first high-level recognition of the growing pressure on public opinion, Miliband declared a "battle" against the "siren voices" who denied global warming was real or caused by humans, or that there was a need to cut carbon emissions to tackle it. Read more drivel.

Copenhagen climate deal gets low-key endorsement

There is too much potential revenue for the Left to let this beast die. But at the same time they don't seem to have a plan "B". The rest of us moving to a hydrogen economy would be their worst nightmare.
OSLO (Reuters) - Nations accounting for most of the world's greenhouse gas emissions have restated their promises to fight climate change, meeting a Sunday deadline in a low-key endorsement of December's "Copenhagen Accord."
Experts say their promised curbs on greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 are too small so far to meet the accord's key goal of limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.

The U.N. Climate Change Secretariat plans to publish a list of submissions on Monday. That may put pressure on all capitals to keep their promises.
Countries accounting for at least two-thirds of emissions -- led by China, the United States and the European Union -- have all written in. Smaller emitters, from the Philippines to Mali, have also sent promises or asked to be associated with the deal.
The Secretariat says the January 31 deadline is flexible.
"Most of the industrialized countries' (promises) are in the 'inadequate' category," said Niklas Hoehne, director of energy and climate policy at climate consultancy Ecofys, which assesses how far national commitments will help limit climate change.
"The U.S. is not enough, the European Union is not enough. For the major developed countries it's still far behind what is expected, except for Japan and Norway," he said.
Some developing nations, such as Brazil or Mexico, were making relatively greater efforts, he said.
FLOODS, DROUGHTS AND WILDFIRES
The accord's goal of limiting warming to below 2 C -- meant to help limit floods, droughts, wildfires and rising seas -- is twinned with promises of $28 billion in aid for developing nations from 2010-12, rising to $100 billion a year from 2020. Read more.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The case against Dr Phil 'Climategate' Jones

Dr Phil Jones – the (suspended) head of the Prince of Wales’s favourite AGW-promotion institution the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia – had a narrow squeak the other day. Though the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found his department in breach of Freedom of Information laws (Jones and his team had deliberately withheld or conspired to destroy data), Jones was able to escape prosecution on a technicality.

Next time, he may not be so lucky. Our friend John O’Sullivan at Climategate.com has been looking closely at the Climategate emails and reckons there is still a very strong case for a criminal prosecution, which could see Dr Jones facing ten years on fraud charges.
O’Sullivan argues:
What is not being intelligently reported is that Jones is still liable as lead conspirator in the UK’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and may face prosecution under the United Kingdom Fraud Act (2006). If convicted of the offense of fraud by either false representation, failing to disclose information or fraud by abuse of his position, he stands liable to a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment.
As to exactly what the Crown Prosecution Service’s case might be, I recommend you read O’Sullivan’s shrewd and thorough analysis. Read more.

Railroad to Run Hydrogen Locomotive in California

A railroad will run one of its locomotives on hydrogen.
This article in the Orange County (CA) Register says the Burlington Northern Santa Fe will use the first locomotive powered by hydrogen-fuel cells:
"Trains powered by hydrogen instead of diesel fuel could help solve two problems, officials said – provide an alternative to increasingly scarce fuel supplies and prevent millions of tons of carbon from being released into the environment."
The hydrogen-fuel train is a switch locomotive that moves train cars short distances and from track to track. It will initially operate in Los Angeles. The company plans to continue developing the technology, with the hope of eventually pulling entire freight trains through the region.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger calls it “the beginning steps of the technology.”

Friday, January 29, 2010

Honda Opens Solar Hydrogen Fuel Station

Honda has started to operate its next generation solar hydrogen station prototype at the Los Angeles Center of Honda R&D America. This fuel station is smaller than its predecessor, so it can be installed in any garage. The new Honda Solar Hydrogen Station is capable of producing enough hydrogen (0.5kg) through an 8-hour overnight fill which is enough for the average daily commute (roughly 10,000 miles annually) for each fuel cell electric vehicle. Read more.

Cheap Hydrogen From Dirty Water...Maybe

A 2008 MIT chemist Daniel Nocera concocted a very simple, very cheap, robust, self-healing and non-toxic catalyst made from cobalt and phosphate that can split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Nocera's invention has attracted luminous scientists, venture capitalists, and now $4 million from the Department of Energy's ARPA-E funding program. Pure hydrogen, after all, is a wonderful thing to have -- as a fuel or as a feedstock for uncountable numbers of chemicals and fuels....

....Nocera's vision is of a solar-powered home with an energy storage device consisting of a bucket of water and his cheap water-splitting contraption. When the sun goes down, the hydrogen powers a fuel cell that runs your home. It's a nice idea, but for now Metcalfe says the company is simply focused on producing cheap hydrogen. Nocera's initial experiment worked, but it produced hydrogen at extraordinarily slow rates. Read more.

NASA scientists beginning to abandon global warming alarmist dogma

"Remember how I said that we would be witness to scientists abandoning global warming orthodoxy in an attempt to regain lost credibility?

That the global warming dogma -- that the question of global warming was "settled science" and that carbon dioxide emissions from human activity was dramatically warming the planet -- would be challenged with new research, research that would not be suppressed?
Turns out I was right."
NASA and NOAA are organizations from which many of true believers in the global warming religion have come, and they've played a critical role in providing the scientific-sounding justification for the worst of the alarmist predictions. But now scientists from NOAA have published research in Science that challenges the core assumptions of the global warming camp:
"An increase in atmospheric water vapor is responsible for at least a third of the average temperature increase since the early 1990s, say scientists at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Susan Soloman, the respected climate scientist who lead the research, says that this finding does not undermine man-made global warming theories. "Not to my mind it doesn't," she said. Soloman did point out that the research does allude to human emissions having a much smaller role in climate change than previously thought, and serves as a warning to climate modelers who "over-interpret the results from a few years one way or another." Despite Soloman's personally held belief, the NOAA study is expected to give further ammunition to climate skeptics working to draw public attention to perceived flaws in man-made global warming theories." Read more.

Obama announces government greenhouse gas emissions targets

By Anne E. Kornblut and Juliet Eilperin

President Obama set greenhouse gas emissions targets for the federal government, announcing Friday that it would aim to reduce its emissions by 28 percent in 2020.
"As the largest energy consumer in the United States, we have a responsibility to American citizens to reduce our energy use and become more efficient," Obama said in a statement. "Our goal is to lower costs, reduce pollution, and shift Federal energy expenses away from oil and towards local, clean energy."
The White House estimated a savings of $8 billion to $11 billion in energy costs.
The announcement came hours after the Obama administration delivered a non-binding pledge to other countries that the United States would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
The Obama administration submitted its reduction target to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat under the Copenhagen Accord, a non-binding deal brokered by the United States last month at the U.N.-sponsored climate talks. Under the deal President Obama helped secure in Copenhagen, major emitters of greenhouse gases are expected to "inscribe" their reduction targets by Jan. 31.
The international commitment states that the United States will cut its emissions "in the range of 17 percent, in conformity with anticipated U.S. energy and climate legislation, recognizing that the final target will be reported to the Secretariat in light of enacted legislation." It remains unclear if Congress will pass a comprehensive climate bill this year.
Several key developing nations, such as China and India, have not yet indicated what they will commit to under the agreement. Read more.

Can Climate Forecasts Still Be Trusted?

ABC is confused over a no-brainer!
The Siachen Glacier is home to the world's highest crisis region. Here, at 6,000 meters (19,680 feet) above sea level, Indian and Pakistani soldiers face off, ensconced in heavily armed positions. The ongoing border dispute between the two nuclear powers has already claimed the lives of 4,000 men -- most of them having died of exposure to the cold. (Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

The Siachen Glacier is home to the world's highest crisis region. Here, at 6,000 meters (19,680 feet) above sea level, Indian and Pakistani soldiers face off, ensconced in heavily armed positions.

The ongoing border dispute between the two nuclear powers has already claimed the lives of 4,000 men -- most of them having died of exposure to the cold.

Now the Himalayan glacier is also at the center of a scientific dispute. In its current report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that the glacier, which is 71 kilometers (44 miles) long, could disappear by 2035. It also predicts that the other 45,000 glaciers in the world's highest mountain range will be virtually gone by then, with drastic consequences for billions of people in Asia, whose life depends on water that originates in the Himalayas. The IPCC report led environmental activists to sound the alarm about a drama that could be unfolding at the "world's third pole."
"This prognosis is, of course, complete nonsense," says John Shroder, a geologist and expert on glaciers at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. The results of his research tell a completely different story. Read more.

Bin Laden blasts US for climate change

FILE - This is an undated photo of al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden issued a new audio message claiming responsibility for the Christmas day bombing attempt in Detroit and vowed further attacks. (AP Photo, File) (Anonymous - AP)


CAIRO -- Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has called in a new audiotape for the world to boycott American goods and the U.S. dollar, blaming the United States and other industrialized countries for global warming.
In the tape, aired in part on Al-Jazeera television Friday, bin Laden warns of the dangers of climate change and says that the way to stop it is to bring "the wheels of the American economy" to a halt.
He says the world should "stop consuming American products" and "refrain from using the dollar," according to a transcript on Al-Jazeera's Web site.
The new message, whose authenticity could not immediately be confirmed, comes after a bin Laden tape released last week in which he endorsed a failed attempt to blow up an American airliner on Christmas Day. Read more.

Scientists in stolen e-mail scandal hid climate data

The university at the centre of the climate change row over stolen e-mails broke the law by refusing to hand over its raw data for public scrutiny.

The University of East Anglia breached the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for data concerning claims by its scientists that man-made emissions were causing global warming.
The Information Commissioner’s Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the Act but said that it could not prosecute those involved because the complaint was made too late, The Times has learnt. The ICO is now seeking to change the law to allow prosecutions if a complaint is made more than six months after a breach.
The stolen e-mails , revealed on the eve of the Copenhagen summit, showed how the university’s Climatic Research Unit attempted to thwart requests for scientific data and other information, and suggest that senior figures at the university were involved in decisions to refuse the requests. It is not known who stole the e-mails.
Professor Phil Jones, the unit’s director, stood down while an inquiry took place. The ICO’s decision could make it difficult for him to resume his post.

Details of the breach emerged the day after John Beddington, the Chief Scientific Adviser, warned that there was an urgent need for more honesty about the uncertainty of some predictions. His intervention followed admissions from scientists that the rate of glacial melt in the Himalayas had been grossly exaggerated.  Read more. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Hydrogen Highway for the East Coast



One of the big issues facing hydrogen is just where we’re supposed to fill the cars that might run on the stuff. A Connecticut company is answering that question on the East Coast with plans for a “hydrogen highway” that will extend from Portland, Maine, to southern Florida.
California historically has been a hotbed of hydrogen research and development, but SunHydro wants to put the East Coast on the H2 map with 11 solar refueling stations. The self-contained stations use electrolysis technology from Proton Energy that takes electricity generated from solar power and splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. The process results in considerably fewer emissions than the traditional methods of shipping hydrogen to fueling stations by truck or reforming it from natural gas.
“Our goal is to make it possible for hydrogen car to drive from Maine to Miami strictly on sun and water,” company president Michael Grey said.
For all the attention on electric cars these days, several automakers continue developing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Honda is especially enamored with the technology. General Motors put the Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell vehicle in a few dozen driveways. Nissan is leasing a XTrail FCV truck to Coca-Cola. And Mercedes Benz will offer the F-Cell to “selected customers” in Europe and the United States this spring. Mazda and Volkswagen are among the technology’s proponents as well.
So, beyond giving the few hydrogen cars on the road a place to fuel up, the stations could help solve the the “chicken and egg” problem where the lack of fueling infrastructure begot a lack of cars and vice-versa.
“Having talked to several of the auto manufacturers, the indication that we’ve received is that there has to be a network of stations on the east coast for them to bring the cars here,” Grey said. “They want to bring the cars here, but there’s nowhere to fuel them.”
That quandary is familiar to Paul Williamson of the University of Montana College of Technology. “There’s no sense having hydrogen cars if there’s no place to refuel them,” Williamson said. “Most of the development is happening in California. Why? Because they have refueling stations.” Read more.

U.S. Falls on Environmental Index

Pick up your sox or we will write you a nasty letter - and then apply for the grant.
In the new Environmental Performance Index, put together every two years by researchers at Yale and Columbia University, the United States dropped from 39th to 61st. "Countries that take seriously the environment as a policy challenge do improve, and those that don't deteriorate," Daniel C. Esty, the director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, told the New York Times. "Both the U.S. and China are suffering because they're industrial and haven't been paying much attention to environmental policy." (China dropped from 105th to 121st.) Each country is given a score based on performance in areas including preservation of habitat, environmental health and reductions in greenhouse gases, air pollution and waste. (View the index at epi.yale.edu.) Iceland, which gets all of its power from renewable resources, placed first on this year's list. The complete rankings will be released tomorrow at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland—another country that ranked in the top tier. Read more.

Sexed Up Global Warming Data: Not Hot!

The Himalayas are melting! So screamed the latest climate change study. But the lead author of that report admits its claims were hyped, and can’t be backed up with data. When it puts advocacy ahead of the facts, science stops being science. Watch the latest Trifecta here: http://pjtv.com/v/2997

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Another IPCC claim evaporates


Yet another piece of research that has been endorsed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and has underpinned man-made global warming theory has been revealed to be a work of fiction which has misled the world. The Sunday Times reported yesterday that its prediction that the world’s glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035 will probably be retracted. This is because it has been revealed that it was based on nothing more than a news story in the New Scientist eight years previously – and that report was itself based on a short telephone interview with Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist, who has admitted that the claim was ‘speculation’ and was not supported by any formal research. Despite the fact that this claim surfaced in a campaigning report rather than an academic paper and so was not subjected to any formal scientific review, the Sunday Times notes that it rapidly became a key source for the IPCC which when it incorporated the claim went even further.
The report read: ‘Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate.’

However, glaciologists find such figures inherently ludicrous, pointing out that most Himalayan glaciers are hundreds of feet thick and could not melt fast enough to vanish by 2035 unless there was a huge global temperature rise. The maximum rate of decline in thickness seen in glaciers at the moment is 2-3 feet a year and most are far lower.
Ludicrous it may have been, but then AGW zealots promulgate ludicrous claims by the bucketload and still they are believed. The story goes on:

Some scientists have questioned how the IPCC could have allowed such a mistake into print.
Sigh. The IPCC’s entire AGW theory rests upon such ‘mistakes’. This revelation follows hard on the heels of the scandal at East Anglia University’s Climatic Research Unit, which was revealed to have been manipulating temperature data which was part of the IPCC’s core ‘research’, and freezing out scientists who challenged these falsehoods; previous revelations of the manipulation of tree ring proxy temperature data; previous to that, the revelation that the ‘hockey stick’ graph upon which the IPPCC relied and which apparently showed global temperatures suddenly shooting upwards in the industrial age was based on , er, totally flawed mathematics and the omission of several centuries of global temperature history; not to mention a number of scientists used by the IPCC as expert reviewers who have blown the whistle on research which the IPCC has distorted or suppressed. Read more.

The Intergovernmental Perjury over Climate Catastrophe (ctd)


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is seeing its reputation disappear faster than a fish down a polar bear’s gullet.

Christopher Booker reports in the Sunday Telegraph that, following the IPCC’s grovelling admission that its 2007 statement that Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035 had no scientific basis and that its inclusion in the report reflected a ‘poor application’ of IPCC procedures, more has come to light about the bogus ‘research’ on which the IPCC based this claim – which came from a report in New Scientist which was in turn merely drawn from a phone interview with a little-known Indian scientist, and that scientist’s links with the IPCC’s chairman, Dr Rajendra Pachauri:
...the scientist from whom this claim originated, Dr Syed Hasnain, has for the past two years been working as a senior employee of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Delhi-based company of which Dr Pachauri is director-general. Furthermore, the claim – now disowned by Dr Pachauri as chairman of the IPCC – has helped TERI to win a substantial share of a $500,000 grant from one of America's leading charities, along with a share in a three million euro research study funded by the EU.

At the same time, Dr Pachauri has personally been drawn into a major row with the Indian government, previously among his leading supporters, after he described as ‘voodoo science’ an official report by the country's leading glaciologist, Dr Vijay Raina, which dismissed Dr Hasnain’s claims as baseless. Now that the IPCC has disowned the prediction made by his employee, Dr Pachauri has been castigated by India's environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, and called on by Dr Raina to apologise for his ‘voodoo science’ charge. At a stormy Delhi press conference on Thursday, Dr Pachauri was asked whether he intended to resign as chairman of the IPCC – on whose behalf he collected a Nobel Peace Prize two years ago, alongside Al Gore – but he refused to answer questions on this fast-escalating row.
Meanwhile, in the Mail on Sunday David Rose reveals that the co-ordinating lead author of the IPCC report chapter which contained this falsehood about the vanishing Himalayan glaciers, Dr Murari Lal, has admitted that he was well aware that this statement was not backed up by peer-reviewed research but included it anyway purely to put political pressure on world leaders. He said:

It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in. Read more.

GLOBAL WARMING: THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF A QUASI-REALITY?

The pressure to prove that anthropogenic global warming is real, and happening now has become so strong, that in spite of major and irresolvable uncertainties in climate models, there is a daily renewal and re-inforcement of the idea of scientific certainty in the mainstream media. Whilst uncertainties are often acknowledged in the body of scientific reports, they are rarely seen in press releases and executive summaries.
This paper examines how an almost mass acceptance of imminent and potentially catastrophic global warming by politicians, the media and the public, has come about and highlights the role of various UK agencies such as the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the Met Office in producing this result. Read the Report.

Obama and the Copenhagen Syndrome

It's dangerous to believe in your own miracles.
Stockholm Syndrome: "A term used to describe the positive bond some kidnap victims develop with their captor."

Copenhagen Syndrome: The peculiar psychology of Barack Obama's first year in office.
Let's expand on that a bit. In September, Mr. Obama paid a semi-impromptu visit to Copenhagen to make a personal appeal for Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid. It failed. The nice way to think about it: The president was trying to win one for Team America. Less nice: It was a feckless and unpresidential errand on behalf of the Chicago political machine to which he remains beholden.
And then there's the possibility that Mr. Obama really believed that he alone could pull the rabbit out of the hat. Not Dick Daley, not the First Lady. This one would require the full Barack abracadabra.

Mr. Obama was back in Copenhagen a couple of months later, this time for the U.N.'s climate summit. It was a chronicle of a fiasco foretold. In the run-up to the conference, dozens of press accounts noted the gaps between the otherworldly idealism of "Hopenhagen" boosters and the calculated realism of China and India. A politically rational president would either have stayed away or made an appearance at the beginning of the conference, so as to be far from the scene of the crime when it ended.

Instead, the president chose to raise expectations by showing up at the end of the conference, as if he were sure that the magic would not fail him twice. It did. "The debacle of Copenhagen is also Barack Obama's debacle," editorialized Der Spiegel, a left-of-center publication. No points in old Europe for the old college try. Read more.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Air Liquide hydrogen station fueling BC Transit fuel cell bus fleet for Winter Olympics

In Canada, BC Transit has inaugurated the hydrogen station that will fuel its fleet of 20 zero-emission fuel cell buses running in Whistler, British Columbia, which will soon be carrying athletes and visitors to the 2010 Winter Olympics.
In addition to supplying certified hydrogen fuel, Air Liquide designed, built, operates and maintains the fueling station that will keep BC’s new fleet of fuel cell buses on the move. It will be the largest hydrogen fueling station in the world, with the capacity to fill 23 buses per day.

Air Liquide worked alongside Canadian companies Sacre-Davey Group, Hydrogen Technology and Energy Corporation, and Hydrogenics to bring this project to completion.
‘Air Liquide’s initiative in this world-leading project represents another step in our strategy to actively develop Canada’s hydrogen energy supply and infrastructure,’ says Luc Doyon, President and CEO of Air Liquide Canada.
Hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles produce no greenhouse gas emissions, and can be twice as efficient as internal combustion engines. Operation of the 20 fuel cell buses will save more than 1800 tonnes of emissions over the course of a year. In the 20-year lifespan of these buses, that means eliminating over 36 000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Read more.

China has 'open mind' about cause of climate change

China's most senior climate change official surprised a summit in India when he questioned whether global warming is caused by carbon gas emissions and said Beijing is keeping an "open mind".

China is now the largest emitter of carbon dioxide, the gas believed to be responsible for climate change. Photo: REUTERS
Xie Zhenhua was speaking at a summit between the developing world's most powerful countries, India, Brazil, South Africa and China, which is now the largest emitter of carbon dioxide, the gas believed to be responsible for climate change.

The four countries have joined forces to intensify pressure on the United States and Europe to fulfil promises to cut their emissions and give more than $10 billion (£6.2 billion) to those countries worst affected by climate change by the end of this year.
Environment ministers from the four countries voiced their frustration at the US for failing to lead the way with carbon emission reductions despite being responsible for much of the emissions most scientists believe to be the cause of global warming.

But Mr Xie, China's vice-chairman of national development and reforms commission, later said although mainstream scientific opinion blames emissions from industrial development for climate change, China is not convinced.
"There are disputes in the scientific community. We have to have an open attitude to the scientific research. There's an alternative view that climate change is caused by cyclical trends in nature itself. We have to keep an open attitude," he said. Read more.

Bill Gates worries climate money robs health aid

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Bill Gates, the world's richest man and a leading philanthropist, said on Sunday spending by rich countries aimed at combating climate change in developing nations could mean a dangerous cut in aid for health issues.
Gates, the Microsoft Corp co-founder whose $34 billion foundation is fighting malaria, AIDS, tuberculosis and other diseases in developing countries, expressed concern about the amount of spending pledged at December's Copenhagen global climate meeting.

Participants at the meeting agreed to a target of channeling $100 billion per year to developing countries to combat climate change by 2020. Gates said that amount represents more than three quarters of foreign aid currently given by the richest countries per year.
"I am concerned that some of this money will come from reducing other categories of foreign aid, especially health," Gates wrote in a letter, released late on Sunday, describing the work of his foundation.
"If just 1 percent of the $100 billion goal came from vaccine funding, then 700,000 more children could die from preventable diseases," Gates added.
Taking the focus away from health aid could be bad for the environment in the long run, said Gates, "because improvements in health, including voluntary family planning, lead people to have smaller families, which in turn reduces the strain on the environment." Read more.

Rich nations urged to provide $10bn in climate funds


These happy people would like you to give away your wealth while they keep theirs!

Brazil, China, India and South Africa have urged wealthy nations to hand over $10bn (£6bn) pledged to poor nations in 2010 to fight climate change.

The group - known as Basic - said the money must be available at once "as proof of their commitment" to address the global challenge.
The plea was issued after a meeting of the four nations in Delhi.
The funds were pledged in a non-binding deal agreed at last year's Copenhagen global climate conference.
The deal - the Copenhagen Accord - envisages that $30bn (£18.5bn) of aid will be delivered for developing nations over the next three years.
Basic members were instrumental in fashioning a political accord at the December climate summit.
The next round of negotiations is due to be held in December in Mexico.
'Soft' deadline
After the Delhi talks, environmental ministers from the four nations issued a joint statement calling for rapid distribution of $10bn that industrialised nations promised to the developing world to tackle climate change in 2010. Read more.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stagnant growth for green jobs

I never saw this coming - not!

MINNEAPOLIS -- Last year, Randy Hagen, president of Solar Skies Mfg in Starbuck, Minn., laid off four of his 14 workers after orders stalled for the rooftop solar collectors he makes. Government rebates promised last year under the Obama administration's green jobs initiative never won final approval, so consumers didn't buy.

"Everyone who is considering buying a solar thermal system in Minnesota was hoping there may be some rebate stimulus dollars available to them," Hagen said. "(But the) proposed rebate for solar thermal has not yet been approved by the Department of Energy. ... This has literally halted solar thermal sales and has directly hurt our business. ... Yet everyone perceives that if you are in renewable energy you should be doing well."
The Obama administration's call for green jobs as an economic savior initially sparked hope for economic recovery. But the federal funds have only dribbled into the sector, held up by various shades of bureaucratic red tape and the lingering credit crisis. As a result, projects stalled and workers got pink slips as banks froze credit, venture capital firms slowed sector investments and government rebates snagged. By year-end, green-sector job freezes and losses far outweighed gains. Read more.

Climategate – the scandal that keeps on giving, even here in Austin

Sitting here in Barbara Jordan Terminal, waiting for my plane home and surfing the net, I came upon yet more Climategate/Glaciergate news from the the superb Timesonline. Now they reveal the UN IPCC’s head climate honcho Rajendra Pachauri has hired the very scalawag who lied to us for years that the Himalayan glaciers were receding, the very “finding” from which Pachauri has suddenly been trying to distance himself. (Two weeks ago it was just the opposite. Don’t we all wish we had Pachauri’s bank account?)

So it goes. Anthropogenic Global Warming is rapidly morphing into the greatest scandal in the history of science since the belief in a flat earth – and people had a lot more excuses for that. Not that the Obama administration is even beginning to acknowledge it. Who knows what they say to each other behind the scenes? They have enough to worry about.
But speaking of climate scalawags, how about my Congressman Henry Waxman of Waxman-Markey fame? The reified liberalist lifer undoubtedly is incapable of understanding the science for himself – in fact he admitted as much in front of his committee, saying he “relied” on scientists for that – but it would be funny to watch if and finally they do make a public rollback on this nonsense. Fortunately for sclerotic Henry, this will probably be avoided, since virtually no one is making noises about the risible cap-and-trade legislation any more. And Al Gore appears to have conveniently vanished from the public eye, a John Edwards of climate. (Actually, I’m surprised Gore hasn’t turned up in Haiti to do “pro bono” work to resurrect his reputation.)
Read more.

Climategate: The Wheels Come Off for the IPCC

Two major errors based on poor science. Not a good week for the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (See also Roger L. Simon: "Climategate: The Scandal that Keeps on Giving")
Back in December 2009, Madhav Khandekar, in a guest posting on the blog of Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., questioned the IPCC AR4 report’s conclusion that glaciers in the Himalayas — vital to the water supply of the whole Ganges Valley — would disappear by 2035. (This was first reported by PJM on December 1.) The problem was that this really couldn’t be verified in the “peer-reviewed” literature. In fact, as it was investigated, it looked more and more suspicious.

Tom Maguire at JustOneMinute followed the footnotes and tracked the suspicious 2035 number down to a World Wildlife Fund report, which mentioned (without citing a source) the 2035 number. The earliest source anyone could find for that number was an article in the New Scientist that quoted “Syed Hasnain of Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, the chief author of the ICSI report.”
The result was that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — after Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, called the 2035 story “voodoo science” — eventually had to withdraw that section of the report. (The full statement is here.)
Bad enough.What had been revealed was that the IPCC had put this inflammatory (and physically impossible) date into the IPCC report, even though it hadn’t been peer-reviewed and couldn’t actually be sourced to anything more than an offhand remark in a casual phone interview. Read more.

Quantum computer simulates hydrogen molecule just right

Team builds device that uses two photons to calculate electron energies
Almost three decades ago, Richard Feynman — known popularly as much for his bongo drumming and pranks as for his brilliant insights into physics — told an electrified audience at MIT how to build a computer so powerful that its simulations “will do exactly the same as nature.”

Not approximately, as digital computers tend to do when facing complex physical problems that must be addressed via mathematical shortcuts — such as forecasting orbits of many moons whose gravities constantly readjust their trajectories. Computer models of climate and other processes come close to nature but hardly imitate it. Feynman meant exactly, as in down to the last jot.
Now, finally, groups at Harvard and the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, have designed and built a computer that hews closely to these specs. It is a quantum computer, as Feynman forecast. And it is the first quantum computer to simulate and calculate the behavior of an atomic, quantum system.
Much has been written about how such computers would be paragons of calculating power should anybody learn to build one that is much more than a toy. And this latest one is at the toy stage, too. But it is just the thing for solving some of the most vexing problems in science, the ones that Feynman had in mind when he said “nature” — those problems involving quantum mechanics itself, the system of physical laws governing the atomic scale. Inherent to quantum mechanics are seeming paradoxes that blur the distinctions between particles and waves, portray all events as matters of probability rather than deterministic destiny, and under which a given particle can exist in a state of ambiguity that makes it potentially two or more things, or in two or more places, at once. Read more.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

How Green Are Your Nukes?

Environmentalists fiercely disagree about the role nuclear power might play in addressing global warming. Two new books by big names in the green movement stake out the boundaries of that debate. On the pro-nuclear side stands Stewart Brand with Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto. In the other corner you’ll find Al Gore with Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis.

Both men have impeccable environmentalist credentials. A self-described Green, Brand edited the landmark hippie handbook, the Whole Earth Catalog, back in 1968. Gore, who served as vice president under Bill Clinton, wrote in his 1992 book Earth in the Balance that we “must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization.” Read more.

A flood of change

On a return cruise to the Yangtze's Three Gorges, Leisa Tyler charts the rise of prosperity and the fall of a natural wonder.

The massive Three Gorges Dam in Yichang

Steeped in history and folklore, for centuries the Yangtze River's Three Gorges were celebrated by bards and artists. Famous for its beauty, infamous for its ferocity, this stretch of river squeezing through Hubei province's mountainous terrain was as spellbinding as it was terrifying.

Tumbling off the Tibetan Plateau, then rushing through the lush Three Parallel Rivers and spinning almost 250 degrees after hitting the Great Bend in Yunnan province, the Yangtze faced a tumultuous journey before even reaching its greatest hurdle, the Three Gorges.
Brimming with whirlpools and rapids, the Three Gorges inspired terror in all who passed. In his 1956 novel, A Single Pebble, journalist John Hersey recounts the experiences of an American engineer surveying the gorges for a dam site: "The primeval landscape seemed to have been arranged by some force of fury ... supernatural and malevolent. [Whirlpools stretching] 30 feet across, [their] centres depressed nearly a foot below the rim, as if the waters of the Great River were running off through some huge partially clogged drainpipe down to the cesspools of Hell ..."
In those days, "trackers", barefoot men - sometimes naked - would scramble along the sides of the river, hauling junks upstream by ropes tied to their waists.
In 2003, I took a farewell cruise through the gorges before China's ambitious Three Gorges Dam began to fill. The three- or four-night trip between Chongqing and Yichang (the upstream journey takes a day longer) had become a popular tourist attraction, with scores of cruise ships plying the route. Read more.

Producing Hydrogen from Landfill Using Solar Thermal Technology-Dry Reformation

Land fill sites will become very valuable properties indeed!
SHEC has been a world leader in clean renewable hydrogen research and is about to become one of the world leaders in hydrogen production with its innovative use of the sun’s energy to create hydrogen from landfill gas. Not only will SHEC create a valuable fuel source, but it will do so by using a form of renewable methane and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from landfill sites.

SHEC has constructed and demonstrated a Dry Fuel Reformation (DFR) system to produce hydrogen using methane that is powered primarily by sunlight-focusing mirrors. The system comprises a solar mirror array, an advanced solar concentrator, a shutter system to control the amount of radiant energy entering the reactor, and two thermo-catalytic reactors that will convert methane, carbon dioxide and water into hydrogen.
Methane from sources such as biogas, landfill gas, flare gas, stranded gas and coal-bed methane is recovered through a collection system consisting of a series of pipes in the ground. When using SHEC’s proprietary process and using renewable methane sources high purity hydrogen and commercial grade carbon dioxide are produced.
Renewable methane generated from biomass and converted to hydrogen using SHEC’s processes results in both a reduction in harmful methane gas entering the atmosphere (methane is 21x more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide) and provides significantly reduced carbon dioxide emissions over most traditional hydrogen production technologies.
Traditionally, hydrogen is produced by splitting the hydrogen molecules from fossil fuels. This process is a net energy user, as the energy needed to split the molecules often comes from electricity or natural gas.
SHEC’s process is unique because it not only diminishes greenhouse gasses by consuming the methane and carbon dioxide emitted by landfills, but uses the sun for the required process heat to drive the reaction that in turn provides a renewable source of energy and when the process uses sunlight, leads to a net energy gain.
The test facility in Arizona has shown that for every 1 m³ of methane feed produces approximately 3.9 m³ of hydrogen in the process. In energy terms 1 m³ of methane equals approximately 40 MJ of thermal energy and 3.9 m³ of hydrogen equals approximately 45.7 MJ of thermal energy, which is a net energy gain of over 14% for the demonstration unit. Read more.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Doorstep of Tomorrow

The upcoming World Expo 2010 Shanghai will be another great event for China after the Beijing Olympic Games. With the theme of "Better City, Better Life," this six-month exposition is expected to attract 70 million people from over 200 countries, providing a showcase for pioneering ideas from across the globe.
Each World Expo writes a new chapter in the dissemination of scientific innovation and social progress through science and technology. World Expos have introduced the public to steam engines, sewing machines, rubber, submarine cables, telephones and televisions. At these great fairs, people were given the first glimpses of the innovations that would come to define their lives and the lives of future generations.
Our world today faces a critical juncture that pits a rising population's desire for affluence against the constraints of limited natural resources and the risks of ecological degradation. This fundamental conflict will determine the direction, scope and progress of our modernization drive to a great extent.
In the next five decades, between 2 and 3 billion people in countries such as China and India will push for continued modernization, with developing countries eager to advance their industrialization.
Consider the historical perspective. Industrialization has ushered in modernization to barely 1 billion people in the past two centuries, yet is has severely exhausted natural resources, especially fossil energy, and has brought shocking damage to the natural environment. Neither the traditional economic growth model of irrational exploitation of nonrenewable resources nor the development pattern of concentrating the world's resources in a few countries is sustainable. Therefore, it is of great urgency for mankind to develop new sources of resources, create new development patterns and overhaul production methods and lifestyles.
This need, along with the conflict mentioned above, has prompted a loud call for revolutionary breakthroughs in science and technology. The current global financial crisis, while leading to a thorough remodeling of the world economy, will accelerate the advent of such a scientific and technological revolution.
Read more:

Ethiopian dam threatens Kenyans’ survival - End of the world scare tactics again!

This is just another case of some lefty nitwit thinking he knows what is best for Africans. It sure looks to me like the abundance of hydro power from this dam could be of great benefit to the Kenyans. Even if Leakey (good name for an anti-dam guy) thinks it will be the end of the world as we know it. Let's check this out again after the dam has been in operation for two years.
Nairobi (AFP) Jan 20, 2010 – Famous archeologist/environmentalist Richard Leakey warns that hundreds of thousands of Kenyans’ survival is being threatened by a one-third completed 240-meter-high Ethiopian hydro-electric dam costing €1.4 billion on Lake Turkana’s primary tributary, the Omo river. Leakey told Agence France Presse news agency on Wednesday that the dam, being built by an experienced Italian construction company, might even create ‘cross-border conflicts’: "The Ethiopian dam project is going to bring nothing but tragedy and harm to Kenya.’



The Omo river supplies 80 percent of all the water in Lake Turkana on the Kenya-Ethiopia border. The experienced Italian dam-builder Salini Costruttori has been fast-tracking the giant 240-metre tall Gilgel Gibe III dam, planning to complete it within four years. Read more.

$7-billion Samsung energy deal to benefit Windsor-Essex County

Sorry, but I don't think this will ever replace the auto industry or provide reliable power.


Windsor and Essex County will learn Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010 they are major beneficiaries of a $7-billion investment that will see the birth of a new solar and wind energy industry in Ontario.

Windsor and Essex County will learn today they are major beneficiaries of a $7-billion investment that will see the birth of a new solar and wind energy industry in Ontario.

Premier Dalton McGuinty was expected to unveil a massive, decades-long investment in green energy today, in partnership with Korean manufacturing giant Samsung. Most of the multibillion-dollar investment is to be made in the high unemployment centres of Windsor, Chatham and Haldimand County, south of Brantford.
Windsor, with its powerful cabinet connections in ministers Dwight Duncan and Sandra Pupatello, is expected to benefit from more than a third of the investment, which will create thousands of highly skilled manufacturing jobs across the province.
Back in mid-December, both Duncan and Pupatello dropped tantalizing hints about today's announcement during a city-county job summit held at Willistead Manor.
Parts of the huge scheme were leaked to The Windsor Star on Wednesday. As many as 16,000 jobs will be generated by the five-phase project, including jobs at four new factories -- two of which may be in Windsor -- plus dozens of suppliers and spinoff jobs in the service sectors. Read more.

Hydro-Electricity In the Highlands

New Dam at Glendoe is the First For More Than Fifty Years

In June 2009, high in the Monadhliadh Mountains, the Queen opened the Glendoe hydro-electric project. It was almost sixty years after another Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) opened the newly-built power station at Sloy, on the banks of Loch Lomond in 1950 – and the first major new hydro-electric project in Scotland for over half a century.
The Beginnings of Hydro-Electricity in Scotland
The first hydro-electric project in the world was opened in Appleton, Wisconsin, in 1882. Scotland, with its high annual rainfall and mountainous terrain, was - and remains - ideally suited to benefit from the technology and development wasn’t far behind, with the country’s first hydro-electric plant opening in Greenock in 1885.
In the Highlands, hydro-electricity arrived in 1890 at Fort Augustus on the shores of Loch Ness, just a few hundred yards from where the new plant at Glendoe has its outfall. A publicly-funded enterprise, the Fort Augustus project was run by the monks of the local abbey and generated enough electricity for the village’s 800 inhabitants. Read more.

Dam forces relocations of 300,000 more

The entire population of the North West Territories and Nunavit is equivalent to a small Southern Ontario town. The Chinese on the other hand have a much greater population issue - yet still are able to build tremendous power dams. Building hydro capability in the north would displace no one and provide many jobs. Yet the venom of protests would be many times greater against Canada than China - it would seem that displacing mosquitoes is much more news worthy than displacing hundreds of thousands of people.



300,000 more people will have to move to escape land hazards

Local residents in Shuangjiang town, Yunyang county of Chongqing, search for reusable steel bars and bricks in a dismantled building on Sep 21, 2009. They can make 100 yuan ($15) to 200 yuan each per day by collecting materials that can be recycled. [Rao Guojun/China Daily]

CHONGQING: At least another 300,000 people living near the Three Gorges Dam will have to be relocated to protect the environment. This is in addition to the 1.138 million people already relocated for the world's largest hydropower project, a local migration official said yesterday.

As part of the nation's strategy to provide cheap energy and prevent flood and draught, the project began in 1992 and began water reserving and hydro-electricity harnessing in 2008. Officials have "basically" finished the first phase of resettling about 1.3 million people in Chongqing and Hubei province, a local government work report said.
"A total 54.18-billion yuan investment has been designated to facilitate the migration project that helped 1.138 million displaced Chongqing people settle down," Chongqing acting mayor Huang Qifan said at an ongoing annual conference of the city's People's Congress.
However, the deputy director of the migration bureau of the heavy-weighted Wanzhou district of Chongqing, which used to be home for one-fifth of the total migration population, told China Daily yesterday that at least another 300,000 people would have to move out of the reservoir area. Read more.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Copenhagen Accord on Climate Change Collapsing?

The nonbinding Copenhagen Accord was hastily cobbled together at President Barack Obama's insistence as the United Nations' Copenhagen climate change conference whimpered to its end in December. Under the Accord, countries are supposed to make their commitments to cut greenhouse gases official by January 31. It now appears that most countries will miss that deadline. As the New York Times reports:
Facing a Jan. 31 deadline, major countries have yet to submit their plans for reducing emissions of climate-altering gases, one of the major provisions of the agreement, according to Yvo de Boer, the Dutch official who is executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which organized the climate meeting.

Fewer than two dozen countries have even submitted letters saying they agree to the terms of the three-page accord. And there has been virtually no progress on spelling out the terms of nearly $30 billion in short-term financial assistance promised to those countries expected to be hardest hit by climate change. Still unresolved are such basic questions as who will donate how much, where the money will go and who will oversee the spending. Read more.

Climate Change Authority Admits Mistake

The use of news reports as sources calls a key finding into question.
One of the most alarming conclusions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a widely respected organization (not so widely nowadays) established by the United Nations, is that glaciers in the Himalayas could be gone 25 years from now, eliminating a primary source of water for hundreds of millions of people. But a number of glaciologists have argued that this conclusion is wrong, and now the IPCC admits that the conclusion is largely unsubstantiated, based on news reports rather than published, peer-reviewed scientific studies.


Still there: The Khumbu glacier, in front of Mount Everest, is one of the longest glaciers in the world. Though the Himalayan glaciers are being affected by global warming, they won’t disappear in 25 years, as the authors of a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change incorrectly predicted.

Credit: Subel Bhandari/AFP/Getty Images
In a statement released on Wednesday, the IPCC admitted that the Working Group II report, "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability," published in the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (2007), contains a claim that "refers to poorly substantiated estimates. " The statement also said "the clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedure, were not applied properly." The statement did not quote the error, but it did cite the section of the report that refers to Himalayan glaciers. Christopher Field, director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology, who is now in charge of Working Group II, confirms that the error was related to the claim that the glaciers could disappear by 2035.
The disappearance of the glaciers would require temperatures far higher than those predicted in even the most dire global warming scenarios, says Georg Kaser, professor at the Institut für Geographie der Universität, Innsbruck. The Himalayas would have to heat up by 18 degrees Celsius and stay there for the highest glaciers to melt--most climate change scenarios expect only a few degrees of warming over the next century. Read more.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Westport Announces LNG Clean Truck Program Update and Management Transition

VANCOUVER, Jan. 20 /CNW/ - Westport Innovations Inc. (TSX:WPT/NASDAQ:WPRT), a global leader in alternative fuel, low-emissions transportation technologies, today announced that as the largest procurement for LNG trucks at the Port of Los Angeles (LA) and Port of Long Beach (LB) (the Ports) edges to completion, Michael Gallagher, President & Chief Operating Officer of Westport, will transition to a new role as Senior Adviser. The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) in concert with the Ports have previously announced funding for natural gas trucks, which is expected to add up to another 500 LNG trucks to the Ports' trucking fleet by April 30, 2010. Dr. Gallagher, who has focused his recent efforts around building up the fleet of natural gas trucks at the Ports, will continue to focus on senior international relationships in government and industry including industry boards and associations.

"It has been an honour and a privilege serving as Westport's President and COO these past seven years; I have enjoyed building our LNG trucking business at the Ports over the last four years, and I will continue to advocate for the importance of replacing oil-based trucks with clean, low-emission trucks running on natural gas," said Michael Gallagher. "As Senior Adviser, I will look to expand Westport's important high-level energy and environmental relationships around the world, and articulate the capabili ties of natural gas vehicles and their positive characteristics including energy security, high performance, lower carbon emissions, and cheaper fuel in comparison to diesel."
As part of a retirement transition plan, Dr. Gallagher will continue as Chairman of the Board of Cummins Westport Inc., and as a Member of the Board of Directors of Westport.
"Mike has been an integral part of the growth of Westport and our Heavy Duty truck business, as well as the natural gas transportation industry," said David Demers, CEO of Westport Innovations. "The success at the Ports has captured the world's interest and allowed us to engage Volvo in Europe and Weichai in Asia to create international LNG truck capacity and leverage. I am sure Mike will continue to be a tremendous steward for Westport and the natural gas transportation industry as he builds on our initial success to national and international visibility and the goal of reducing dependency on oil."
The Port of LB announcement in early January 2010 identifies major milestone achievements in the Clean Trucks Program including the banning of over 8,000 older, polluting trucks and reducing truck emissions by 80%. It is expected that approximately 1,000 LNG trucks will make up the LNG truck fleet by April 30, 2010 including the recent round of funding by the SCAQMD. Adding to the growing fleet of natural gas trucks, the SCAQMD, California Air Resources Board (CARB), and the Ports have now also initiated di scussions for the next round of Prop 1B funding for the Clean Trucks Program for 2010.
The Ports' application of LNG trucks has helped prove LNG truck and engine technology and the viability of LNG as an alternative fuel for trucks. The establishment and early adoption of the Clean LNG Trucks Program required pulling together a complex consortium of stakeholders over a four-year period, who were committed to a common goal of putting alternative fuel trucks on the road at the Ports. Organizations that have helped contribute to the development of LNG trucks and the Clean Trucks Program include but are not limited to Clean Energy Fuels, SCAQMD, CARB, the two ports - LA and LB, the Mayors of LA and LB, OEM's such as Kenworth, Peterbilt and Cummins, and the early adopter fleets such as Southern Counties Express, Total Transportation Services (TTSI) and Cal Cartage.
About Westport Innovations Inc.
Westport Innovations Inc. is a leading global supplier of proprietary solutions that allow engines to operate on clean-burning fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), hydrogen, and biofuels such as landfill gas. The Westport GX engine and LNG system for heavy-duty Class 8 trucks offers class-leading emissions and allows trucking fleets to move to lower-cost, domestically available natural gas. Cummins Westport Inc., Westport's joint venture with Cummins Inc., manufactures an d sells the world's broadest range of low-emissions alternative fuel engines for commercial transportation applications such as trucks and buses. BTIC Westport Inc., Westport's joint venture with Beijing Tianhai Industry Co. Ltd., manufactures and sells LNG fuel tanks for vehicles. Westport's joint venture with OMVL SpA, Juniper Engines Inc., offers light-duty LPG engine solutions for industrial applications such as forklifts. To learn more about our business, please visit: www.westport.com. Follow our business on Twitter at http://twitter.com/WestportWPRT or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed through our website.
Note: This document contains forward-looking statements about Westport's business, operations, technology development or the environment in which it operates, including statements relating to the production, efficiency, performance, emissions, benefits, timing, systems and processes and demand for products, which are based on Westport's estimates, forecasts and projections. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict, or are bey ond Westport's control and are discussed in Westport's most recent Annual Information Form and filings with securities regulators. Consequently, readers should not place any undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. In addition, these forward-looking statements relate to the date on which they are made. Westport disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
%SEDAR: 00004375E %CIK: 0001370416 For further information: Inquiries: Darren Seed, Vice President, Investor Relations and Communications, Westport Innovations Inc., Phone: (604) 718-2046, Email: invest@westport.com

Obama Follows in Bush's Footsteps on Climate Change

The era of massive global climate meetings may finally be ending. Thank goodness.
The collapse of the Copenhagen climate change conference in December killed the Kyoto Protocol—and not a moment too soon.

Since the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change came into effect, there have been 15 Conferences of the Parties (COP) in which 192 nations have tried to hammer out a response of man-made global warming. These meetings resulted in the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, which came into effect in 2005. Under the Kyoto Protocol, 37 nations agreed to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases by 2012 to about 5 percent below the level they emitted in 1990. The United States never got around to ratifying the protocol and withdrew from it completely in 2001. In the meantime, only the countries in the European Union set up a carbon market as a way to implement carbon rationing aimed at meeting their Kyoto Protocol targets. Most other signatories simply ignored their greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Originally, the Copenhagen meeting, COP-15, was supposed to result in a binding international treaty that would establish new and deeper greenhouse gas reduction targets that would come into effect once the Kyoto Protocol expired in 2012. This goal was jettisoned a month before the COP convened when it became apparent that the goals of the developing countries and the developed countries were too far apart to bridge.
So then the Copenhagen meeting was supposed to come up with a strong political agreement that would set overall global greenhouse gas reduction targets and provide climate change damage aid to poor countries. The developing countries wanted commitments for hundreds of billions of dollars in annual climate change aid from the rich countries. On the other hand, the rich developed countries wanted some kind of enforceable emission reduction commitments from big emerging economies such China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil. These countries have no obligations to reduce their emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. Ultimately, it is not too much to say that the Copenhagen conference collapsed over deep differences between the world’s number one and number two emitters of carbon dioxide, China and the United States, respectively. Read more.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

GruberGate Fraud

This sounds oddly familiar. I think the CRU got alot more money though.
GruberGate Fraud Ripped by Jane Hamsher (?) on Huffington Post (???)
Yeah, I don't know what the hell's going on myself.
This is the sort of post that makes me wish I had a third ball and a swimming pool full of tapioca.
Gruber is the MIT guy who was paid -- well paid: $392,000, jack! -- by the White House to run supposed analyses of the economic and other effects of the White House health care proposals.
But this paid relationship was never disclosed to the public. And to sell the White House's proposals, they kept offering up MIT professor Gruber's supposedly objective, third-party analysis. And the media ate it up.
Now the, ahem, special relationship has been revealed -- but no one in the media is talking about it at all.
How the White House Used Gruber's Work to Create Appearance of Broad Consensus
How did the feedback loop work? Well, take Gruber's appearance before the Senate HELP Committee on November 2, 2009, for which he used his microsimulation model to make calculations about small business insurance coverage. On the same day, Gruber released an analysis of the House health care bill, which he sent to Ezra Klein of the Washington Post. Ezra published an excerpt.
White House blogger Jesse Lee then promoted both Gruber's Senate testimony and Ezra Klein's article on the White House blog. "We thought it would all be a little more open and transparent if we went ahead and published what our focus will be for the day" he said, pointing to Gruber's "objective analysis." The "transparent" part apparently stopped when everyone got to Gruber's contractual relationship to the White House, which nobody in the three-hit triangle bothered to disclose.
But that was child's play compared to the effort that went into selling Gruber's analysis of the bill unveiled by the Senate on Wednesday, November 18. Two days later on Friday November 20, Gruber published a paper entitled "Impacts of the Senate High Cost Insurance Excise Tax on Wages: Updated," claiming that the excise tax would result in wage hikes of $234 billion from 2013 through 2019.
And it was off to the races. Read more.

Spencer: A Demonstration that Global Warming Predictions are Based More On Faith than On Science

I’m always searching for better and simpler ways to explain the reason why I believe climate researchers have overestimated the sensitivity of our climate system to increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.

What follows is a somewhat different take than I’ve used in the past. In the following cartoon, I’ve illustrated 2 different ways to interpret a hypothetical (but realistic) set of satellite observations that indicate (1) warming of 1 degree C in global average temperature, accompanied by (2) an increase of 1 Watt per sq. meter of extra radiant energy lost by the Earth to space.


The ‘consensus’ IPCC view, on the left, would be that the 1 deg. C increase in temperature was the cause of the 1 Watt increase in the Earth’s cooling rate. If true, that would mean that a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide by late in this century (a 4 Watt decrease in the Earth’s ability to cool) would eventually lead to 4 deg. C of global warming. Not good news.

But those who interpret satellite data in this way are being sloppy. For instance, they never bother to investigate exactly WHY the warming occurred in the first place. As shown on the right, natural cloud variations can do the job quite nicely. To get a net 1 Watt of extra loss you can (for instance) have a gain of 2 Watts of forcing from the cloud change causing the 1 deg. C of warming, and then a resulting feedback response to that warming of an extra 3 Watts.
The net result still ends up being a loss of 1 extra Watt, but in this scenario, a doubling of CO2 would cause little more than 1 deg. C of warming since the Earth is so much more efficient at cooling itself in response to a temperature increase. Read more.

AIP and AAU call for free public access to the results of the publicly funded research

This is a breath of fresh air for me, because as we’ve seen time and again, often we get the press release on a paper, but not the paper itself, as it is often hidden behind journal membership rules or a paywall.
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 12, 2010 — An expert panel of librarians, library scientists, publishers, and university academic leaders today called on federal agencies that fund research to develop and implement policies that ensure free public access to the results of the research they fund “as soon as possible after those results have been published in a peer-reviewed journal.”

The Scholarly Publishing Roundtable was convened last summer by the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology, in collaboration with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Policymakers asked the group to examine the current state of scholarly publishing and seek consensus recommendations for expanding public access to scholarly journal articles.
The various communities represented in the Roundtable have been working to develop recommendations that would improve public access without curtailing the ability of the scientific publishing industry to publish peer-reviewed scientific articles.
The Roundtable’s recommendations, endorsed in full by the overwhelming majority of the panel (12 out of 14 members), “seek to balance the need for and potential of increased access to scholarly articles with the need to preserve the essential functions of the scholarly publishing enterprise,” according to the report.
“I want to commend the members of the Roundtable for reaching broad agreement on some very difficult issues,” said John Vaughn, executive vice president of the Association of American Universities, who chaired the group. “Our system of scientific publishing is an indispensible part of the scientific enterprise here and internationally. These recommendations ensure that we can maintain that system as it evolves and also ensure full and free public access to the results of research paid for by the American taxpayer.” Read more.

Science needs more blue-sky thinking

Some Scientists seem willing to say or do anything to keep those research grants coming. Here is one who has a brilliant idea and was turned down. Go figure.
The Government is wrong to pursue an "impact agenda" which aims to limit research grants to those resulting in economic or social benefit.

This is a tale about knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing, a fairy story that began more than two decades ago with an article in this newspaper and whose happy ending carries an important moral message for science today. Its hero happens to be one of my chemistry tutors at Oxford: Ken Seddon, a man with extravagant mutton chops, a winning smile and an extraordinary feel for how to snap atoms together like so much Lego.

In 1987, Ken had a brainwave about exploiting ionic liquids. These substances were first studied in 1914 and had the potential to act as "super-solvents", removing grease, glue and other residues with ease and allowing new chemistry to be explored. He applied for funding from a body now known as the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, but the referees were underwhelmed. Too simple, said one; too complex, sniffed a second. The third muttered something about neutrons (he was staring at the wrong application). Their verdict: Ken's bright idea was worth a gamma at a time when even alpha-rated projects struggled to find funds.
Ken was not discouraged, and was fortunate enough to find a fairy godmother in the form of the BP Venture unit. He was given a cheque for £250,000, and his windfall was written up by The Daily Telegraph. That article, in turn, spawned interest from the oil industry, which wanted a way to dissolve kerogen, the thick crud left over from refining, and from the British Library, which was desperate for a means of removing glue from ancient manuscripts. Read more.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Horizon Hydrofill Hydrogen Refueling and Storage Solution


We published about Horizon Hydrofill, when it was announced prior to CES on Jan. 4th, and we got a chance to see the device at the show. Hydrofill is a major fuel cell innovation, allowing everyone to have a personal hydrogen generator and portable hydrogen cartridges. The Hydrofill system basically extracts hydrogen from water using electrolysis, and store it in the Hydrostick solid hydrogen cartridges. 60 W DC power is enoufght to extract 10 liters of Hydrogen per hour and fill one of the Hydrostick cartrigdge.Using the cartridge, you can charge your cellphone, or laprtop or any device with USB connector. According to Horizon, the metal hydride alloys contained in the cartridge absorb hydrogen into their crystalline structure and creates the highest volumetric energy density of any form of hydrogen storage. Horrizon Hydrofill can be powered by AC power, a solar panel or a small wind turbine. Read more.

Antarctic sea water shows 'no sign' of warming

SEA water under an East Antarctic ice shelf showed no sign of higher temperatures despite fears of a thaw linked to global warming that could bring higher world ocean levels, first tests showed yesterday.

Sensors lowered through three holes drilled in the Fimbul Ice Shelf showed the sea water is still around freezing and not at higher temperatures widely blamed for the break-up of 10 shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula, the most northerly part of the frozen continent in West Antarctica.
"The water under the ice shelf is very close to the freezing point," Ole Anders Noest of the Norwegian Polar Institute wrote after drilling through the Fimbul, which is between 250m and 400m thick.
"This situation seems to be stable, suggesting that the melting under the ice shelf does not increase," he wrote of the first drilling cores.
The findings, a rare bit of good news after worrying signs in recent years of polar warming, adds a small bit to a puzzle about how Antarctica is responding to climate change, blamed largely on human use of fossil fuels. Read more.