Life is getting hard for the proponents of Anthropogenic Global Warming AGW), and Greens who want to use the AGW theory to drive civilization back into the stone age (no, not Bronze – making Bronze requires the use of FIRE).
I mentioned the name of Mark Lynas in a previous article. Mark has always been very much a believer in AGW and strongly supported the UK government’s push to move to mostly “renewable” energy sources. The politically acceptable renewable sources that is, solar and wind, never things like hydro electric generation (it affects the fish, which is a big no-no, but mincing bats and birds in windmills is seemingly ok … odd that.), and no tidal generation (fish again … Greens seem to have a thing about fish). Oh, and ABSOLUTELY NEVER, EVER atomic power. Mark was a true believer.
Note the use of past-tense there.
Today, Mark published an article in the UK Daily Mail. As usual in the mainstream media, the headline is chosen for its shock value, but in this case appears to be very close to the truth.
Mark’s conversion came not on the road to Damascus (don’t worry if you don’t get the reference there) but after going and doing a bit of his own research into the “facts” presented to him by various “Green” organizations on the topic of power generation, and especially nuclear power. What he discovered was that the real scientific facts were very different from what he had been led to believe. The more he looked, the more he discovered that he had not been misled, he had been lied to. Hence the rather strong language in his article headline.
He discovered that the death toll of the Chernobyl accident was 50, not the 5,000 claimed by Greenpeace, that despite all the wailing in the press about Fukushima, not a single person has died, and no one is likely to.
Unfortunately, Mark still clings to the CO2 being totally responsible for global warming theory, but we can assume that once he is over the shock of discovering that he has been lied to about nuclear energy, he will turn his attention to looking at the real science behind climate change (or whatever its called today).
On that topic, a paper was published today; Kaufmann et. al. 2011 which attempts to address an annoying little fact that until now AGW proponents have been trying to ignore. The fact that between 1998 and 2008 (2008 was the latest data the paper examines) there was no global temperature rise, while CO2 levels have continued to rise at the same rate as pre-1998.
This is the first paper in which this has actually been acknowledged. The point of the paper is to show that this can be explained by tweaking a global temperature model, changing various parameters. Basically they lay the blame on particulate matter from Chinese coal fired power stations. They don’t explain exactly why Chinese power stations are different, and their net effect is to lower global temperature, or why the answer to global warming is not therefore to fire up a lot more coal fired power stations in the West.
The paper is generally self-contradictory and based upon a really old and out of date climate model, but is important because it finally puts into print, from AGW approved scientists, the fact that global warming has stopped, and not followed the “inescapable” rise due to increased CO2.
It seems that being Green, as Kermit the Frog has always claimed, really is hard. And seemingly due to get even harder.
In a recent conversation, the topic of what to do in all too common case of losing a job, having the bank foreclose, and so finding oneself in the position of no house and no job came up.
One person simply said “I will just go live off the land”. This is a relatively young, healthy person, the climate in Oregon is relatively mild if you stick to reasonable elevations and don’t go too far East. There is game and fish, there are still the same edible plants that kept generations of Indians and early pioneers alive, so at first glance, this seems like a reasonable plan.
But let’s look a bit closer.
Shelter is your first problem. Seems simple enough, there are lots of trees in Oregon, so building a cabin, even a rough cabin just to keep the wind and rain off to begin with shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Until you look for somewhere to build it. Unlike the old days, the government (the largest landowner by far in the Western US) jealously guards what it has, and is no longer willing to give a plot to some industrious pioneer willing to make it productive. In fact, every square foot of land has an owner. And its not you. You end up trespassing. You get thrown in jail.
Not a good start. But lets assume that you inherited a few acres, so the trespass problem is solved. Now you need wood to build your cabin. You can’t just wander into the woods and cut down trees. The trees are owned by either timber companies, private owners, the state or the federal government. At certain times of the year, you can get permits to go lop down a tree for firewood on state land, but nowhere near enough to build your cabin. You chop down a few trees, the cops arrive. You get thrown in jail.
Hmmm… ok, lets assume that there is enough decent timber to build a house on the land you inherited. Your trees, you can chop them down if you want. Well, there is a good chance that you can’t. There are various permits often required, even to remove a tree from your own property if some busybody decides that you are in a “scenic area”, or a “watershed”, your land is home to the lesser spotted nutgobbler, or whatever. You typically have to pay for the permit. You have no job, and no money. Cut them down anyway. Greenpeace lawyers descend. You get thrown in jail.
So lets assume you are not in some sort of special area … you really lucked out. While you are cutting down trees and building your cabin you need to eat and keep warm. You light a fire. Its in an area subject to a fire ban (practically the whole state in summer). You get thrown in jail.
Ok… we will assume that your piece of land is on the coast, where its usually (but not always) wet enough that open fires are not banned. You shoot your deer … oh, you didn’t have your (rather expensive and restrictive) permit to shoot the deer? You get thrown in jail.
So, no deer, you live on raw roots and blackberries. Your cabin is taking shape nicely. The local building inspector turns up on your doorstep and wants to see your building permit. You don’t have one? Then please remove that structure within a week. You don’t. You get thrown in jail.
Some kindly relative gets you a building permit. You are getting on well with the cabin. The local building code inspector turns up, and declares that you have about 5,000 code violations. You can either fix them (which will need $$$$) or remove the structure. You don’t. You get thrown in jail.
We have been in the unbelievable realm as far as luck goes for a while now. So lets just say your fairy godmother waves a magic wand and the building code problems go away. Your cabin is finished, its November, cold outside, but you are ok because you have a nice fire keeping you warm as you munch on your deer steak cooked over that same fire. There is a knock on the door, and the postman hands you a property tax bill. With all the improvements you have made, this is now a quite desirable piece of property, and you owe several thousand dollars in property tax. Having no money, you don’t pay. The county takes your property, and you still owe the back tax. You don’t pay. You get thrown in jail.
Society, in its infinite wisdom, has made it all but impossible for people to live without money. It can be done, sleeping in a doorway in a city perhaps. But if you want to look after yourself, and live comfortably even if you have to work at it, society apparently has little patience for the idea.
Those early settlers and Indian tribes had it easy.
For a subject which is supposedly critical to the future of not only humanity, but the Earth itself, the media silence on the latest IPCC blunder is, to say the least, surprising.
Not that misinformation based upon hype rather than science is anything new from the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), but one might think that with enough black eyes from basing its scientific credibility on non-scientific, non-reviewed papers written by non-scientists for “green” pressure groups in the past, and being censured for the practice in the past, that they would have learned their lesson.
Sadly, it appears not. Of course, all the hype they based upon this non-science was immediately picked up by the media and blasted out of every media outlet as the top story, for days on end.
The latest news is that about a month ago, the IPCC released a press statement claiming that it had been shown that 80% of the world’s energy could be obtained from renewable sources. The report on which this press release was based was not available at the time. A month later, with no fanfare at all, the report appeared.
Various people had been intrigued, and a little skeptical about how such a high proportion of energy could be derived from renewable resources, including Steve McIntyre of destroying the hockey-stick fame.
After digging through the report, Steve discovered that the 80% number quoted actually wasn’t 80% at all, but 77%. A small thing in itself, but exaggerated claims have no place in science.
But that wasn’t the worst part. A bit more digging, and it appears that … well, I will quote Steve’s own words:
Here’s what happened. The 80% by 2050 figure was based on a scenario, so Chapter 10 of the full report reveals, called ER-2010, which does indeed project renewables supplying 77% of the globe’s primary energy by 2050. The lead author of the ER-2010 scenario, however, is a Sven Teske, who should have been identified (but is not) as a climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace International. Even worse, Teske is a lead author of the IPCC report also – in effect meaning that this campaigner for Greenpeace was not only embedded in the IPCC itself, but was in effect allowed to review and promote his own campaigning work under the cover of the authoritative and trustworthy IPCC. A more scandalous conflict of interest can scarcely be imagined.
The IPCC must urgently review its policies for hiring lead authors – and I would have thought that not only should biased ‘grey literature’ be rejected, but campaigners from NGOs should not be allowed to join the lead author group and thereby review their own work. There is even a commercial conflict of interest here given that the renewables industry stands to be the main beneficiary of any change in government policies based on the IPCC report’s conclusions. Had it been an oil industry intervention which led the IPCC to a particular conclusion, Greenpeace et al would have course have been screaming blue murder.
So, we have, yet again, Greenpeace writing a report based upon little more than speculation, having the author of the document set up as lead author for the IPCC report, review his own work, and include it as scientific fact in the report.
Given the past problems for the IPCC where, based upon similar pieces of imaginative literature, they claimed that 50% of Holland would flood, 50% of the crops in Africa would fail, 40% of the Amazon rain forest would die because of drought, and, of course, the famous claim that the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2030, it would be reasonable to assume that they would be incredibly careful to avoid such stupid issues again.
So what happens when the claim is questioned, and the IPCC asked to explain how and why this happened? The usual. The AGW crowd come out in force and attack the people asking the questions. They have done this before when one of their own, Professor Judith Curry asked some awkward questions about some of the “science” behind AGW. The non-answers accompanied by personal attacks has turned her from an AGW proponent to someone who is willing to believe, but needs convincing evidence, and hasn’t seen any yet.
The same is happening this time, with Mark Lynas, who was a strong advocate of AGW and author of a book on the subject, beginning to question some of the foundation of his beliefs:
Well. You can imagine the furore this would cause at Greenpeace. The IPCC would be discredited forever as an independent voice. There would be pious banner-drops by Greenpeace activists abseiling down Exxon HQ and harshly criticising the terrible stranglehold that fossil fuel interests had achieved over supposedly independent science. Campaigners everywhere would be up in arms. Greenpeace would feel doubly justified in taking direct action against new oil wells being opened up in the Arctic, and its activists could demonstrate new feats of gallantry and bravery as they took on the might of the world’s oil industry with some ropes and a rubber dinghy somewhere near Greenland.
How is the Exxon scenario different from what has just happened with the IPCC’s renewables report? And why – when confronted with this egregious conflict of interest and abuse of scientific independence – has the response of the world’s green campaigners been to circle the wagons and cry foul against the whistle-blowers themselves? That this was spotted at all is a tribute to the eagle eyes of Steve McIntyre. Yet I am told that he is a ‘denier’, that all his deeds are evil, and that I have been naively led astray by him. Well, if the ‘deniers’ are the only ones standing up for the integrity of the scientific process, and the independence of the IPCC, then I too am a ‘denier’. Indeed, McIntyre and I have formed an unlikely double-act, posing a series of questions – together with the New York Times’s Andy Revkin – to the IPCC report’s lead author Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, to which he has yet to respond.
If there is any justice in the world (which may be a vain hope), the IPCC may have just put the final nail in its own coffin, and governments can turn from spending vast sums on “alternative energy”, which just doesn’t work, and plans to levy crippling “carbon taxes” to facing the prospect of cold and starvation as the sun begins one of its periodic quiet periods.
An announcement by the American Astronomical Society probably not only puts a final nail in the coffin of AGW, but sets up a lot of people for a big U-turn.
It has long been a claim of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) advocates that the sun has no significant effect on the temperature of the earth, that the Sun’s output is constant never changes. This assumption is one of the fundamental constants in climate models in current use.
Reality tells a different story. The Sun is a horribly complex system, not really well understood by scientists. it is much more than just a big ball of (fusion) fire in the sky. It undergoes many dynamic events on regular cycles. The one that most people are at least peripherally aware of is the sunspot cycle, which is an approximately 11 year cycle where the number of sunspots varies, and along with that particle emissions which cause Aurora and radio propagation changes on Earth.
There have been variation in this cycle that have been documented now for around 400 years. During that time there have been observed variation in the intensity of sunspots. There are two well documented minimums, where there were no, or very few sunspots, even at what should have been the height of the 11 year sunspot cycle.
The biggest of these was known as the Maunder Minimum, which lasted from roughly 1645 to 1715, and another known as the Dalton Minimum, running from1790 to 1830.
These minimums have coincided with some very cold periods (which AGW proponents have tried very hard to pretend never happened) – a period known as the Little Ice Age corresponding to the Maunder Minimum.
Paintings from the period document cold not seen in modern times, such as this painting by Pieter Brugel in 1565:
and this painting of the frozen river Thames in 1677:
The Dalton Minimum was not as deep and lasted a much shorter time. However, there were cooling effects such as a measured 2.0°C decline over 20 years measured at a weather station in Oberlach, Germany, and also the “Year Without a Summer” (1816) during which 1,800 people are reported to have frozen to death in New England.
Back beyond the earliest records of sunspot observations, there are indications, based upon analysis of C14 in tree rings, of another minimum, known as the Spörer Minimum, which lasted for approximately 90 years and coincided with abnormally low temperatures.
So what, you may ask, does this have to do with the AAS and today?
The AAS announcement included this:
Some unusual solar readings, including fading sunspots and weakening magnetic activity near the poles, could be indications that our sun is preparing to be less active in the coming years.
The results of three separate studies seem to show that even as the current sunspot cycle swells toward the solar maximum, the sun could be heading into a more-dormant period, with activity during the next 11-year sunspot cycle greatly reduced or even eliminated.
The evidence for this is fairly clear. The predictions for the maximum number of sunspots for the current cycle (24) has been reduced again and again. There are also measurements of magnetic effects of the quietening sun such as this graph showing the weakening magnetic field of the Sun.
Another interesting observation is the following pair of graphs. They basically show the weakening of the observed sunspots.
The brightness of the sunspots is increasing, and the magnetic field they produce is weakening. When the intensity reaches 1, and the magnetic field reaches 1500, sunspots will no longer be observable.
Based upon the past experiences, it is reasonable to assume that if/when the sun does go quiet, we can expect to see some significant falls in temperature.
It may take a while to sink in, but rather than concentrating policy on making energy too expensive to heat homes even now, and developing crops to produce ethanol, energy should be going into build energy resources that will actually work and produce far more energy that currently available, and crop development should be concentrating on crops which can successfully be grown in lower temperatures ans growing season which may be as much as 60 days shorter.
Failure to do so, and continuing to build solar farms that stop working when covered by snow and windmills that will freeze (and wouldn’t produce enough energy even if they did turn) will doom many millions of people to starvation and death by freezing.
As an afterthought, here are the NASA predictions for the current sunspot cycle, starting in 2007 through to today.
Note how not only does the amplitude drop, but things get pushed further and further out into the future:
Articles on the imminent fall of the American Empire are hardly few and far between, but one recently published in the Guardian newspaper (UK) persuaded me to think yet again about this topic.
That America is in a serious situation is hardly open to discussion. Even with government numbers fudged by re-definition to hide the true numbers unemployment and inflation are at worrying levels.
Using the same metrics as during the great depression, unemployment in America is now somewhere north of 20%, and putting fuel and food back into the inflation calculation, it is now running at somewhere around 11%.
American influence is also failing rapidly.
People like to draw parallels with the Greek, Roman and British empires and the way they collapsed, claiming that the collapse is a result of decadence and corruption of the political system. However, it can be argued that these are by-products of collapse, not the cause.
Empires are built upon three things: Industrial capacity, a strong military, and a willingness to use force to achieve dominance. Empires fall when the balance between these three fails.
America gained power and influence through its industrial capacity, which was driven by access to a whole continent’s natural resources, and the huge internal free market and continent-wide, unimpeded, communications. Noth through military conquest as previous empires have been built.
At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries America’s military was not up to the task of building a traditional empire. Attempts in China and South America failed pretty miserably, which reinforced traditional isolationism. Even the (somewhat belated) entry into what was essentially an European conflict, turning it into WWI only really made a difference because of the added industrial power and large numbers of warm bodies added to the conflict.
American trade was increasing all the time, and reached levels sufficient to cause world-wide problems when the 1929 Wall Street crash occurred.
The financial collapse which led to the great depression was caused by the financial services industry becoming too greedy. This industry existed (and exists) for a reason, it provides a marketplace for the sharing of capital. This should be a service industry, with fairly limited potential to make money, but given the huge amounts of money it controlled (not owned) there was a strong temptation to use the availability of that money to make more money. This can work, and if done correctly is relatively safe. However, with seemingly no limit to the leverage that could be applied, the amount of “virtual money” in the system expanded dramatically. Once it became clear that there actually was insufficient actual money to cover “investments” people panicked and withdrew what they could, effectively bankrupting the entire financial system.
Recovery was possible because the underlying industrial infrastructure was still there. Industries which required access to capital to continue suffered, especially agriculture, but although production slowed, it continued, and continued to make profits, pay workers, and form the base for recovery.
Recovery was finally enhanced by WWII. Not only did this cause a massive expansion in industrial output and capacity, but achieved what America had failed to do militarily in the past; produce a large foreign market with somewhat captive buyers.
The empire that America built was quite different from previous large scale empires. It was not deliberate government policy, with the government providing the military muscle to expand territory, giving access to new resources and cheap labor. Commercial interests did influence government policy significantly though. The changes in immigration policies in the mid 1960’s imposed entry restrictions on the traditional European immigrants, who were becoming more affluent, and less and less reliable as a source of cheap labor, in favor of the much poorer (and therefore much cheaper labor pool) immigrants from the Pacific rim and S. America.
Beyond the territorial expansion of influence post WWII, there was no further real expansion of the empire. There was the possibility of expansion in SE Asia, but the failures to secure victories Korea and later Vietnam effectively excluded America from those areas. The small boost given by the cheap labor available with the modified immigration policies helped to keep American industry competitive, but the real expansion was happening on the periphery, in countries with much cheaper labor, Japan, The Philippines, etc. it was also clear that these countries were detaching from the US as they became self-sufficient and prosperous.
Commercial interests saw these changes and attempted to influence American policy to compensate. NAFTA was one such attempt after seeing the success of the EU Common Market in increasing market sizes and providing access to cheaper labor.
Empire was getting close to unstable. Although the military was strong, there was a distinct lack of will to use it to its full potential. Vietnam was probably the biggest indicator of this. A militarily winnable war was lost because of lack of will. Industry, although still dominant in terms of innovation and sheer capacity, was slowly becoming less and less competitive.
The 1970’s problems with oil supplies was a final indicator that America was not a traditional empire, and was reluctant to defend what it had. Previous empires would not have hesitated one second to annex any resource needed. Indeed, a few years earlier France and the UK had mounted a joint military operation to recover the Suez Canal from “nationalization”. Both countries were less than happy that American pressure halted their operations, especially since at that time America had its own oil sources and was not dependent upon middle eastern oil.
Commercial interests saw these indicators of long-term weakness, and evolved a couple of strategies to decouple their fortunes from those of America as much as possible. There were two principle components to this strategy.
The first was to move many operations offshore. At first, this was not obvious as a strategic move. New factories were built overseas, and this was described as, and seen as simply expansion into new markets. However, over time, more and more of production and operations took place outside America. When existing operations and production were shifted, with consequent loss of jobs the strategy became obvious. The most obvious assumption is that it is simply to make use of cheap labor, but there is more to it than this. Much of the profits for many companies is earned overseas. This is principally why we see news articles on the fact that some company made X billion dollars in profits, but only paid $5 in federal taxes. The taxes were paid overseas. For example, Microsoft has approximately $50 billion in cash, but virtually all of it is held outside America, and is unlikely ever to come to America because of the 30% tax which would be imposed if it did.
The second part of the strategy was to move from companies within America dealing with physical product to services and “soft” industries trading in much less tangible items (media, intellectual property, consumer debt etc.). These companies are much less capital and labor intensive. They can also be leveraged at much higher levels. However, as we saw with the dot com crash, many of these companies are only worth what people think they are worth, and that can change drastically in a very short time.
With the foundations of empire missing (advanced industrial base, military used to impose empire) decay is inevitable. The only question is how fast will that decay happen?
The lessons of the great depression had not really been learned. There are a group of people within the country that put profit before any other consideration. They will push the envelope as much as possible, take risks that are capable of bringing down the economy, and worst of all, believe their own hype about companies and products based upon little more than wishful thinking. The banking crash of 2008 was essentially the same problem that caused the great depression and the dot com crash: Valuation put on traded commodities that far exceeded their intrinsic value.
The big difference between 1929 and now is that there is no longer a vibrant manufacturing base which will drag the country out of recession. The majority of the economy is financial services, which rely on money, which is in very short supply and what there is is rapidly losing its value.
The government has not helped, by consistently spending beyond its limits. As the economic situation became worse, they actually accelerated their runaway spending. The actions that they took exposed the fact that rather than being a government of the people, for the people by the people, they were a government of the people for the benefit of the corporations. Help didn’t go to the people, it went to the corporations, who either transferred the money into their already huge stashes abroad or used it for personal enrichment of their executives.
As economic progress falters, the difference in wealth between the have and have nots is rapidly increasing. Wealth is being taken from the majority for the further enrichment of the corporations and the very rich individuals within society.
Government is taking actions that are by any reasonable standards calculated to cause further deterioration.
The American (to say nothing of world) economy is highly dependent upon relatively cheap energy. America government policies are (seemingly intentionally) forcing energy costs to rise. This is compounded by speculation in energy prices, which because of the artificially restricted supply (bans on drilling, bans on new power plants, threats of new carbon taxes) allows the traded value to soar well above the intrinsic value, and enrich the very same people that already at least partially destroyed the economy.
Higher energy prices cause virtually everything else to rise in price too. This is especially true of food. Not only is food production being limited by government policies favoring using land to produce ethanol rather than food, but the entire food distribution system relies heavily on land transport. Even the largest supermarkets only have a day or so of stock. That stock is constantly being replenished with “just in time” deliveries from food producers. As the cost of the constant deliveries rises due to fuel rises, so do food prices. Remember, food and fuel are excluded from the inflation calculation, so the problem goes unnoticed, except by the population that has progressively less and less money because they have to spend more to get to work (if they have any work) to spend on food which is getting progressively more expensive.
As if this is not bad enough, the runaway overspending by the government is rapidly devaluing the currency, which further adds to the cost of imported energy.
The inaction of government to acknowledge, let alone address the fundamental issues guarantees continued decay.
Corporations undoubtedly would welcome a collapse of the USA. The huge pool of relatively well educated cheap labor that would become available would be most welcome to them.
Federal government policies all point to a desire for a system in which states and individuals have much less freedom, and actions appear to be pushing towards a breaking point, whether deliberately or through incompetence is perhaps open to question.
If (or is it when?) the breaking point is reached the big question is whether the American empire will go quietly into the night, or whether the disintegration will look more like this painting.
A recent article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of the leading newspapers and probably the most mainstream political commentary publication in Germany was by any standards a rather negative and stinging commentary on the growing “Green Tyranny” in Germany.
The source of their concern is one Winfried Kretschmann being sworn into office as a State Minister. Herr Kretschmann is a very hard line Green proponent, and upon taking office made no conciliatory noises at all, simply stated that the ways of doing business are going to change.
Perhaps unrelated to Herr Kretschmann’s elevation (or perhaps not), we now have news that the German government has decided to close down all of its nuclear power generation by 2022. This is a complete reversal of policy, which was to increase nuclear capacity at the expense of coal, oil and gas powered generation (and so reduce CO2 emissions). Exactly what is going to replace this capacity, as well as expand upon current capacity over the next 10 years isn’t mentioned, only that it will be “renewable”. This much capacity may be feasible from hydro electric generation, but for reasons never clearly explained, the “renewables” crowd refuse to recognize hydro electric generation as being “green” or “renewable”.
One of the disturbing aspects of this nuclear decision is that it is directly in line with a document published recently by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), which appears to be a self-appointed “advisory council” consisting entirely of academics involved in climate research.
In this document they propose that within the next 40 years the world must abandon all nuclear power as well as all fossil fuel based power generation and transport systems.
The proposal to abandon all nuclear power is based upon a rather hand-waving explanation pointing to Fukushima, and spent fuel problems. Of course, they don’t take into consideration the fact that the Fukushima failure was the result of an earthquake of a scale not taken into account in the (40 year old) design, which the plant actually survived, or the tsunami which followed, which was not taken into account at all in the design, and that so far, there has not been a single fatality related to the nuclear nature of the plant. On the spent fuel issue, they do not acknowledge that the “problems” are mostly political. Nor do they consider alternative nuclear technologies which are not only cheaper and safer, but produce much less (if any) waste to deal with. It is simply assumed that nuclear = bad, and that it must go.
Similarly, there is no discussion of the problems with their assumptions on man made global warming and its implications.
They do not acknowledge that all the computer models upon which their impending catastrophe is based predict a direct relationship between atmospheric CO2 and temperature and that although CO2 has continued to rise, there has been no rise in temperatures for the past 12 years, perhaps even a slight decline.
They do not acknowledge that these same models have as an unavoidable consequence a rise in tropospheric temperature, and that no such rise has ever been detected, no matter how hard they have tried, and that, in fact, tropospheric temperatures have actually declined.
They do not discuss why they assume that the effects of temperature rise are all negative and catastrophic.
They talk about not only limiting CO2 emissions, but employing technologies to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Carefully ignoring the fact that current CO2 levels are at one of the lowest points ever in the history of the Earth, dangerously close to the point where plant life cannot exist. That increased CO2 improves harvests (which is why CO2 levels are artificially raised in commercial greenhouses).
They also talk of the need to change dietary habits, to remove meat from the diet. At first glance, this may seem consistent with the need to use vast tracts of arable land to produce bio-fuels, but a closer reading seems to imply that even bio-fuels are not acceptable, since they still produce CO2.
Then there is the discussion on the need to reform urbanization. Presumably this involves re-deploying city residents who no longer have jobs in the “carbon economy” to the land to grow crops. Its hard to say, there is a lot of hand-waving around exactly what they mean in this area.
But the real killer in this document is the admission that even with “agents of change” in place in all appropriate positions of power – which, by the way, they claim is already the case, people will need to be “educated” to accept these changes and help move them forward. Also that the democratic process doesn’t lend itself to such rapid change in fundamental sociological and lifestyle changes, so a “strong liberal government” is required, along with a (presumably un-elected) steering body driving appropriate legislation.
The steering committees are needed at national and supra-national level (e.g. EU and UN).
Democracy has to take a back seat for a while.
You have heard tales of “A New World Order”. This is your first glimpse of what it looks like, and more worryingly, that it seems to be actually starting to take shape.
The sudden rush appears to be perhaps recognition of the fact that their whole excuse for having to take drastic action is based upon the man made global warning theory, and that reality is rapidly disproving the model results. Without impending doom, there will be no stampede down their carefully prepared path. In fact, people will begin to see the whole operation for what it really is – a power grab by a small group of eco-fanatics.
Doing the very quick review of press articles with headlines including the phrase “Scientists Say” was so illuminating last time I did it, that I thought that I would repeat the exercise to see what new stuff out intrepid scientific researchers have been up to recently – mostly with our money.
This is a story of how a fairly simple thing can turn into a long drawn out saga.
In the following, there are some gross simplifications made in some of the descriptions of how things work, this is necessary to keep this article from expanding into a book.
One of my hobbies is shooting, and one of the easiest guns to customize for specific types of shooting (target, competition etc.) is the AR-15. The AR-15 is an interesting gun, it is a relative of the military M16 and M4 rifle and shares a lot of the hardware, minus the full-auto/burst/machine gun bits. This makes that hardware relatively cheap and easy to obtain. The ammunition is likewise relatively cheap, although with vast quantities being diverted to the Middle East recently, the cost and availability has been something of a problem.
The relatively small 5.56mm cartridge it uses means fairly light recoil, which is helped by the design of the rifle, which has the stock directly in line with the barrel rather than below it as in classic rifle designs. This light recoil, along with its semi-automatic operation make it very easy to shoot. There is, however, one small problem – it is LOUD.
The answer to a loud gun is fairly simple, fit it with a silencer (or more technically correct, a suppressor). Physically an easy thing to do. Practically, at least in the USA, more difficult.
The US government, in its infinite wisdom, have watched some old gangster movies and determined that a silencer makes guns just go “pffttt”, which encourages silent murder or something, and if people are going to be shot, then they must be shot with a LOUD gun. For that reason, in the US silencers are very highly regulated and subject to a $200 tax.
After jumping through all the hoops and paying my $200 tax, I obtained a suppressor for my AR-15. Problem is, attached to the existing rifle the combination is rather long and unwieldy.
For the answer, look to how the military solved this problem – the M4, which is a stubby version of the M16 with a collapsible stock and short barrel.
So, just build one with a short barrel – right?
Hang on a second … the US government, in its infinite wisdom, has decreed that rifles will have a barrel length of 16″. If you fit a barrel of 15.95″, you do not pass go, do not collect $200 and go straight to jail. Apparently, that 50 thousandths of an inch makes the difference whereby you could conceal the rifle by stuffing it down your trousers, or something, but 50 thousandths of an inch longer, and it becomes impossible … what was that? handguns don’t have long barrels? and you could conceal one of them easier? … hmm … you are just confusing the issue! go away!
It is possible to build a short barreled rifle, but (you guessed it!) its highly regulated, and subject to a $200 tax.
So, after going through all the background checks … one to buy the gun, which is apparently not enough to then fit it with a short barrel, and the one you passed to get a silencer … well … um … that was for a silencer, not a short barrel! so another to prove you are not an abuser of short barrels … and forking over another $200, then you can fit your short barrel.
So we are there … nice easy to shoot gun, relatively quiet (no, not the “pfftt” as in the movies, but now at a level that won’t perforate eardrums) and a manageable size.
Just one small problem …
After shooting it for a few minutes, you end up looking like a refugee from the Black and White Minstrel Show (if you are old enough to know what that is — if not, Wikipedia is your friend).
This is due to the design of the gun. As with most semi-automatic rifles, there is a small hole tapped into the barrel to let a small amount of the very high pressure gas driving the bullet escape, and be used to operate the mechanical system which ejects the empty cartridge case and load a new cartridge into the chamber. In many guns the gas is directed into a cylinder and drives a piston which pushes a mechanical linkage to do the work. In the AR-15/M16 the gas is taken directly into the internal workings of the gun, and directly drives the mechanics.
This design has always been a point of discussion. In one way, it is an elegant design, removing gas cylinders, pistons and mechanical linkages. In another view, deliberately diverting hot gas and soot into the precision components of the gun is asking for trouble. In practice, these guns probably do need a more regular cleaning than, say, an M1, M14, AK47 etc. but that is offset by not needing to do a much more complex cleaning operation on piston operated systems, and less moving parts to go wrong.
The other small problem is the AR-15 charging handle. This is used to initially cock the gun. It sits at the back and top – right in front of your face. When a silencer is fitted it causes higher than normal back-pressure in the barrel, so more gas back into the works. This gas has to go somewhere when it is finished driving the eject-reload cycle, and a large proportion of it ends up escaping around the charging handle, carrying black soot with it.
The insides of a suppressed AR-15 get very dirty, very quickly – and so does the face of the shooter.
There are some things you can do to help with this. The cheapest is to use some black silicone gasket sealing compound applied carefully around the charging handle, making certain that the handle remains free to move.
Well, it sort of works, for a while. It also looks a complete mess. Not a good engineering solution at all.
Next there is a replacement charging handle with some extra bits molded onto it to deflect the gas. This sort of works. Not entirely, but makes a big difference. It does make a big hole in your pocket though. It is exorbitantly expensive for what it is. It also does nothing for the accumulating grunge inside the gun.
The final solution is to rip out the existing gas system and replace it with a gas piston and an operating rod to move the mechanics. There are several manufacturers that build complete AR-15 uppers that are gas operated. They tend to be very expensive. Then there are manufacturers of add-on gas piston systems.
I chose this route, and selected the Osprey gas piston system. Mostly because it is simple (and IMHO, simple is usually better) but also because it seemed to address one of the most common complaints about add-on gas systems — that it made the gun unreliable.
Now there are different degrees of reliability that people look for in rifles. I am not going to be taking mine to war, dragging it through swamps and deserts and needing it ALWAYS to go bang when the trigger is pulled. However, I don’t want to be having to pull it to pieces to find out why it jammed every five minutes either.
The Osprey system is really designed for military use, and the claim is that it actually improves reliability. One of the worst enemies of semi-auto (and full auto for that matter) guns is sand. Osprey produced this video to show off their system’s resistance to sand:
By the way – notice how long and unwieldy his full size M16 with suppressor is?
So I bought one of these kits and fitted it to my shorty rifle:
Worked perfectly, and no more black face. The only thing that I didn’t like much was the hand guards that come with the kit. They maintain the same style as the traditional hand guard, but are larger to accommodate the piston assembly. Just a bit too chunky for my liking.
You can see the bottom half of the hand guard in this photo, along with the piston assembly sitting on top of the barrel.
So began the search for hand guards that would fit with an Osprey gas system in place.
There were people who managed to get various ones to fit, but this usually seemed to involve the use of a Dremel tool … not too appealing.
Then I saw a note on the Osprey website about a set which were being manufactured by Midwest Industries, specifically for use with an Osprey gas piston.
I have used hand guards from MI before, and know that they are of good quality. The hand guard being built for the Osprey is of the “tactical” variety, with accessory mounting rails on top, bottom and both sides. For those people that like hanging lights, lasers, whatever off their guns these are wonderful. For me, they are mostly just sharp edges for my hands.
While poking around the MI website I came across another, simpler (and cheaper!) hand guard which seemed just what I needed. In addition, it also said that it fits with Osprey (amongst others), the SS free-float hand guards (free-float just means that the hand guard doesn’t touch the barrel – this is a good thing).
A while later, when I had saved up enough pennies, I went to Brownell’s website (Brownell’s is probably the best known gunsmiths merchant in the US). They had the hand guard in stock, so I placed my order.
When the package arrived, I assumed this was about a 30 minute job. Yes, I had to remove the front sight (which can be a royal pain to do) but even so, I had all the right tools -plain sailing.
Except for those taper pins holding the front sight on. They would not move. Typically, the answer to this is to use a bigger hammer. Even that didn’t work. What eventually did work was using a blow-torch to heat everything up, then a couple of whacks with the big hammer and both pins moved.
Well past my 30 minute estimate, I could actually start. I fitted the new barrel nut – this replaces the original and is threaded on the outside to screw the hand guard onto. Next I put the gas piston and front sight back into place.
Hmmm… with that much wider barrel nut, it leaves only about 1/4″ for the piston to move. Nowhere near enough.
What am I missing?
Back to the MI website, where I discovered that they no longer claimed that it would work with the Osprey gas system!
Checked on Brownell’s website. they still had the original text, saying that it would.
In fact, it probably will work in some cases. There are three different length gas systems on AR-15s, mainly depending upon the barrel length. With the two longer systems, this would probably work fine, but no way with the short system I have.
I was preparing to pack it all up and return it, probably getting credit towards buying the more expensive “tactical” version (which would work), when I had a last desperate idea — call Osprey and see if its possible to get a rod with a longer actual rod, and shorter connector to connect it to the piston. It looks like this might be possible.
I fired off an email, and an hour or so later got a reply from the general manager of Osprey saying that this was a problem that they had seen before, and yes, there is an alternate op-rod. Unfortunately, they couldn’t give me one, I would have to buy it.
Hand over my credit card number, and one is in the mail.
Hopefully, this will be the end to the long saga of ringing ears and dirty faces.
More news to follow, once I have received the package.
A week later:
The new op-rod arrived. Fitting was a matter of 30 seconds, re-assembling the rifle took all of 5 minutes. Test fired, and it works perfectly.
When America fought for and gained independence from England, one of the first things that they did was to establish a framework of laws. These laws were largely based upon English Common Law, and later, when deciding upon a constitution for the United States of America, the freedoms and limitation upon government power enshrined in Magna Carta, which was established in England in 1215 were used as the base.
The most fundamental of these freedoms was the idea that an Englishman’s home was his castle, and that he was safe there from government interference (unless a court could be convinced of the necessity of violating the sanctity of that castle) and that he could defend his home against any and all trespass with only the exclusion of court ordered proceedings.
That basic idea, nearly 1,000 years old, has stood the test of time. That is, until 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The supreme court of that state has decreed that if a police officer wants to enter a home, for any or even no reason, the homeowner must allow him to do so and not impede him in any way.
The rationale is that in resisting a police officer, the stakes are raised and violence is a likely outcome. What the homeowner should do, is to take his grievance to court, and allow them to take any action it may see fit.
This is supposing that the invading police officer cares to give his name to the home owner. Before attempting to record the invasion, the homeowner probably needs to remember that Indiana police are apparently quite camera shy.
Besides overturning 1,000 years of legal precedent and one of the cornerstones of the US Constitution this is alarming because of the implications for future broadening.
The same rationale can be used to determine that the homeowner should not attempt to prevent any person from entering his home. Trying to do so is highly likely to lead to violence, and assuming that the invader will provide his name and address, the homeowner can seek his redress in court.
The sooner this makes its way to the United States Supreme Court the better. Should they fail to slap it down, with (hopefully) a sharp rebuke to the justices of the Indiana supreme court, then we can officially declare the USA to be a police state and the constitution formally abolished.
For reference, the 4th amendment to the US Constitution says:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
These people just said:
We hold that there is no right to reasonably resist
unlawful entry by police officers.
A recent blog post by a friend of mine on the subject of gun ownership included a short essay by L. Neil Smith, which has been around a while, but is still as true today as it was the day it was written.
For those that have already seen it, refresh your memory. For those that haven’t ever read it, read, and think.
by L. Neil Smith
Over the past 30 years, I’ve been paid to write almost two million words, every one of which, sooner or later, came back to the issue of guns and gun-ownership. Naturally, I’ve thought about the issue a lot, and it has always determined the way I vote.
People accuse me of being a single-issue writer, a single- issue thinker, and a single- issue voter, but it isn’t true. What I’ve chosen, in a world where there’s never enough time and energy, is to focus on the one political issue which most clearly and unmistakably demonstrates what any politician — or political philosophy — is made of, right down to the creamy liquid center.
Make no mistake: all politicians — even those ostensibly on the side of guns and gun ownership — hate the issue and anyone, like me, who insists on bringing it up. They hate it because it’s an X-ray machine. It’s a Vulcan mind-meld. It’s the ultimate test to which any politician — or political philosophy — can be put.
If a politician isn’t perfectly comfortable with the idea of his average constituent, any man, woman, or responsible child, walking into a hardware store and paying cash — for any rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything — without producing ID or signing one scrap of paper, he isn’t your friend no matter what he tells you.
If he isn’t genuinely enthusiastic about his average constituent stuffing that weapon into a purse or pocket or tucking it under a coat and walking home without asking anybody’s permission, he’s a four-flusher, no matter what he claims.
What his attitude — toward your ownership and use of weapons — conveys is his real attitude about you. And if he doesn’t trust you, then why in the name of John Moses Browning should you trust him?
If he doesn’t want you to have the means of defending your life, do you want him in a position to control it?
If he makes excuses about obeying a law he’s sworn to uphold and defend — the highest law of the land, the Bill of Rights — do you want to entrust him with anything?
If he ignores you, sneers at you, complains about you, or defames you, if he calls you names only he thinks are evil — like “Constitutionalist” — when you insist that he account for himself, hasn’t he betrayed his oath, isn’t he unfit to hold office, and doesn’t he really belong in jail?
Sure, these are all leading questions. They’re the questions that led me to the issue of guns and gun ownership as the clearest and most unmistakable demonstration of what any given politician — or political philosophy — is really made of.
He may lecture you about the dangerous weirdos out there who shouldn’t have a gun — but what does that have to do with you? Why in the name of John Moses Browning should you be made to suffer for the misdeeds of others? Didn’t you lay aside the infantile notion of group punishment when you left public school — or the military? Isn’t it an essentially European notion, anyway — Prussian, maybe — and certainly not what America was supposed to be all about?
And if there are dangerous weirdos out there, does it make sense to deprive you of the means of protecting yourself from them? Forget about those other people, those dangerous weirdos, this is about you, and it has been, all along.
Try it yourself: if a politician won’t trust you, why should you trust him? If he’s a man — and you’re not — what does his lack of trust tell you about his real attitude toward women? If “he” happens to be a woman, what makes her so perverse that she’s eager to render her fellow women helpless on the mean and seedy streets her policies helped create? Should you believe her when she says she wants to help you by imposing some infantile group health care program on you at the point of the kind of gun she doesn’t want you to have?
On the other hand — or the other party — should you believe anything politicians say who claim they stand for freedom, but drag their feet and make excuses about repealing limits on your right to own and carry weapons? What does this tell you about their real motives for ignoring voters and ramming through one infantile group trade agreement after another with other countries?
Makes voting simpler, doesn’t it? You don’t have to study every issue — health care, international trade — all you have to do is use this X-ray machine, this Vulcan mind-meld, to get beyond their empty words and find out how politicians really feel. About you. And that, of course, is why they hate it.
And that’s why I’m accused of being a single-issue writer, thinker, and voter.