First Round of Investigations into Climategate

Last week the New York Times reported on the results of an independent panel investigating Climategate. Climategate was the Internet posting of thousands of emails hacked from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU). Skeptics charged there was a cover up, but all the evidence is out there now. Maybe the skeptics should have a look see. The article stated:

A parliamentary panel investigating allegations that scientists at one of the world’s leading climate research centers misrepresented data related to global warming announced Wednesday that it had found no evidence to support that charge.

But the panel, the Science and Technology Committee of the British House of commons, did fault scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit and its director, Prof. Phil Jones, for the way they handled freedom of information requests from skeptics challenging the evidence of climate change.

The panel said that Professor Jones and his colleagues could have saved themselves a great deal of trouble by aggressively publishing all their data instead of worrying about how to stonewall their critics.

They could have saved a lot of delay from moving forward on climate change decisions that’s for sure. All the emails and data are in plain view now. The skeptics screamed there was something to hide. So far there is nothing. It’s so hard to figure out the climate dilemma isn’t it? We’ve got thousands of missing harp seals in Canada because there is no ice this year. A giant ice mass broken off of Antarctica the size of multiple football fields floated past Australia not long ago. And the Arctic ice shelf is steadily collapsing. When someone says man is not causing it, that it is natural, all I think of is that swirling mass of plastic in the Pacific Ocean from man’s waste. It’s doubled in size since its discovery. And guess what? A new plastic garbage swirly is forming in the Atlantic Ocean now. No, we’re not pigs.

It’s a funny picture here. I just blogged about an oil spill in a wildlife refuge that didn’t even make the press, but hacked emails that so far contain nothing of a big scandal raged through the media. Hmmm? A big oil spill specifically in a wildlife refuge gets no mention. Was it bad timing for the fossil fuel industry because of the mining disaster or because President Obama just cleared the way for more offshore drilling that the spill didn’t get any press?

I wondered who has been looking for the hackers? I found out how it was probably done on CNN World. The article presents a pretty good picture of the maneuver and its timely disclosure just before the Copenhagen Conference that allowed skeptics to have a field day and discourage talks from progressing from just talks. In the meantime, I’ve noticed a continual barrage of commercials about taxing oil and gas and how it will mean higher prices for us. It’s not even subliminal brainwashing. If shown enough times the impression becomes New Energy = Taxes.

In the same CNN article, environmental campaigner, Richard Littlemore, acknowledges the emails have emboldened those who deny climate change. He also stated, “Most of this conversation is not about science, it’s about public relations. They want to talk about the emails because they don’t want to talk about the evidence.” The article continued, “The emails were not state secrets. The broad consensus among climate scientists is that the climate is warming and humans are playing a significant role. But given the amount of energy devoted to the emails, the episode has taught us this. Hacking is criminal but it can also be influential.” Sad but true.

Read more:


Northern Britain Hit by Worst Flood Ever

The beloved lake district of Northern Great Britain known as Cumbria was home and inspiration to many of the greatest writers of the romantic period in England like Wordsworth, Shelley, Blake, Coleridge, and Byron. Now it’s unrecognizable except as some sort of fiord. Northern Great Britain flooded in the past few days from the worst rainfall ever recorded. More than a foot of water fell, a month’s worth, in a day.

More than a thousand homes flooded and people had to be rescued by helicopter and Cost Guard boats were deployed on what is supposed to be dry land.

The same scenario happened in County Cork across the Irish Sea where the highest floodwaters in 20 years washed out stone bridges. There is little relief in sight because the weatherman is predicting more rain to come.

Ditto for disastrous flooding from torrential rain in Turkey in September


Now read an article in Science Daily: “Heavier rainstorms lie in our future. That’s the clear conclusion of a new MIT and Caltech study on the impact that global climate change will have on precipitation patterns.” Hmmm.


UK Leading the Way for Humane Farming Practices; McDonalds Takes Notice

I wrote a blog called “Pig Poo Who Knew” about the meatpacking business and CAFO’s when I read Rolling Stone’s incredible expose by Jeff Tietz called “Boss Hog.” It was such an eye opener about the cruelty of industrialized farming that I took a look at the horrid conditions in which chickens are raised too.  We seldom see any documentaries about the plight of farm animals on network television in the U.S. I presume it’s because of the food industry lobby. But in Great Britain it’s another story.

I ran across an article on Reuter’s online that states: “McDonalds sees animal welfare gaining ground in the UK.” McDonalds is anticipating that a British documentary airing on TV over there will really make a difference to farm animals particularly poultry. Admittedly, 91% of all the British know nothing about their food farms. In that case, insight into how the hens are raised should arouse quite a lot of concern. We don’t know all that much over here either and probably don’t know that chicken outsold beef at US McDonalds last year. So much for the Big Mac, and Quarter Pounder. The Reuter’s article stated that: “McDonald’s in Britain has served only free range eggs during the last 10 years,” and that “the company was currently looking at providing canopy cover for chickens to encourage hens to range more.” UK McDonalds is also looking into pig-rearing practices. It seems the poor pigs are confined, and distressed in such close proximity all the time they chew each other’s tails. The tails end up getting docked. There are infection issues I imagine, and all would be unnecessary if the pigs were raised humanely in the first place. Concern for their tails is a start. This is an intelligent animal also remember?  McDonalds UK said they don’t mind the added costs of humane farming if it served the public well. Everything comes back to the consumer. It’s our responsibility no matter how hard we try to shrug it off because if we don’t buy, things change. It’s that simple.

The actual UK documentary about the horrific way chickens are raised was highlighted in “The Independent” UK news and showcased on a website called “Chicken Out, Campaign for a Free Range Future.” “Chicken Out” is kind of catchy isn’t it? The covert filming for the documentary was done by an animal welfare group called “Compassion in World Farming” or CIWF. The article said it was about the grim life inside a chicken coop for 25 to 50 THOUSAND chickens. Imagine the ammonia stench? That would knock you down. It also stated: “Britain’s RSPCA called on supermarkets to quit selling the mass produced chickens.” Go RSPCA!

The British documentary will air on mainstream British television and be given a boost by chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver. They want to highlight what food animals go through in order to keep prices down and mass production up, and that free range chickens and organic birds are the way to go if the industry is ever going to change. Imagine some of our stellar chefs hosting a show on NBC or Fox that would air the extremely bad conditions of farm animals perpetuated by one of our big, national food suppliers? Yeah, that’ll happen. 

So what’s wrong with our media? Sure I’ve caught many articles in magazines and documentaries on PBS, and subscription TV channels about the horrid conditions for our farm animals, but 20 million Americans don’t have subscription TV. The rest that do aren’t getting-in-your-face documentaries. Let’s face it, our news media is not going to upset a major lobby like big meatpacker, Smithfield Foods, unless it’s Rolling Stone magazine of course. So I have to say kudos to the UK and the spirit of revealing the unnecessary cruelty of the food business to the mainstream public in an effort to change, whether their food industry takes a hit or not.


Thermal Expansion Causes 57% of Total Sea Level Rise

I run into a lot of people who apply basic logic to the idea of global warming. I too apply basic logic to most things so I understand when some people don’t get upset that many large glaciers are melting. They know that the amount of water released by a melting glacier will not make sea level rise anymore than the displacement from the original frozen mass. An example of displacement is watching to see how much the pool water rises when good old fat uncle Charlie and aunt Rose get into the pool, or why we always want the largest person to do a cannonball.

But there is this phenomenon called Thermal Expansion that really compounds the rise in sea level. Since 1993 thermal expansion accounts for 57% of the sum total of rising water. So more than half of the increased rise in sea level is due to thermal expansion. Not to talk down to anyone but I found a grade 6-8 school project to do that demonstrates the thermal expansion of water. It’s a pretty neat project that explains much I think.

According to a Nova article on “In its 2001 assessment of global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected that global mean sea level is expected to rise between 9 and 88 centimeters by 2100, with a ‘best estimate’ of 50 centimeters.” This is around 20 inches. So thermal expansion accounts for 11.4 of those inches? That’s a little scary. Only 8.6 inches of extra water is actually present, but turns into 20 with heat. Siberia is melting at a rate right now that is gorging 3 rivers that lead to the seas and the Arctic Ocean. The Gulf Stream around the British Isles is slowing for what is speculated to be from lesser salt concentration because of dilution off of Siberia. Salt concentration has a huge bearing on our gulf streams, and the air masses above them.  

The article explained further on: “The reality promises to be a little grimmer. In many places, 50 centimeters would see entire beaches being washed away, together with a significant chunk of the coastline. For people living on low-lying islands such as Tuvalu, Kiribati or the Maldives, where the highest point is only 2-3 meters above current sea levels, an extra 50 centimeters could see significant portions of their islands being washed away by erosion or covered by water. Even if they remain above the sea, many island nations will have their supplies of drinking water reduced because sea water will invade their freshwater aquifers.” Here that Michigan? Here we have emphasis on drinking water again. Read my blog about Kiribati:

 For Australia the consequences of even moderate sea level rise is multiplied. The same Nova article, by Australia’s Greenhouse Office states: “Each centimeter of sea-level rise will lead to increasing impacts on low-lying coastal land. Modeling predicts the inundation would cause sandy beaches on the Australian coastline to recede by the order of 100 times the vertical sea-level rise. For example, if the sea level rises by a meter, the coastal beaches could retreat by about 100 meters unless some preventative action is taken. Given that about 85 per cent of Australia’s population lives within an hour’s drive of the coast, this is particularly relevant.” Make note this is based on IPCC’s 2001 assessment. Much has changed. 

Keep up to date with our ever-changing environment. Read the most current reports from the IPCC from December, 2007:  The IPCC shared the Nobel Peace Prize honor for ‘efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.’ This panel had a series of four conferences dealing with current global climate change topics and many categories within each topic. Hopefully many answers to most questions are contained in these reports.        


Biodiesel Fuel From Chocolate?

Imagine fueling your car with a biodiesel that gives off the sweet smell of chocolate and costs around $1.16 per gallon. That is a reality for Andy Pag of London and John Grimshaw of Poole. They are planning a trip from England to Timbuktu in their FORD Ford Iveco Cargo truck. Notice the emphasis on Ford. You know if other people in other places are fueling our cars and buses with different, and this one is different, biodiesels than what’s our hold up? Chocolate of all things. I guess it keeps the engine lubed better too. 

The article in Environmental News said the company, “Ecotec developed a proprietary process for converting waste chocolate from the nearby factory into bioethanol on an industrial scale. Previously this waste was thrown away in landfill sites but now the bioethanol it makes can be used for fuel in petrol-burning cars and in the production of biodiesel.” So there really are chocolate factories.

It said Andy and John would be carrying “2,000 liters of biodiesel produced from 4,000 kilos of chocolate mistakes…” I wonder if it smells faintly like chocolate in its biodiesel state? I could not endure the 4500 mile journey with the constant smell of chocolate. I wonder what this biodiesel tastes like?

Read the story. It’s probably one of the most unusual substances used for biodiesel so far. Who knew bad chocolate is just thrown away and whoever heard of a chocolate mistake of all things?



Boeing Premiers Its 787 Dreamliner Jet

Boeing premieres its 787 “Dreamliner” jet tonight at around 7:00 pm EST. It will more than likely be on CNN since they announced it. It is more environmentally friendly than the usual airliner because it is lighter and more fuel-efficient. Boeing estimates the 787 will use 27% less than the jets it will be replacing.

The Dreamliner isn’t huge. It’s a wide, mid-size, twin-engine jetliner that will hold 210-330 people in two interior sections. There will be three categories of 787, the 787-3,  8, and 9 with a price tag that spans from lowest to highest also. For a mere $138-143 million you can purchase a 787-3. The 787-8 will cost $148-157 million, and the 787-9 a whopping 178.5 to 188 million. Over 500 of these planes are sold already. If you want to preview the plane and get more info on-line click here:

On the same note, the British have come up with a smaller jet that is really different in design and meant for the short haul such as cross-country. It has been called easyJet ecoJet because it will emit 50 percent less CO2 and 75 percent less nitrous oxide than our newest short haul jets. Now that’s really environmentally friendly.

The ecoJet uses much the same material for its body as the Boeing “Dreamliner.” It uses open rotor engines and is supposed to be 25 percent quieter. With all the jets going over my house, I hope we get these up and running soon. Major airliner manufacturers are applying the same type of technology to new jets in development all over. When this jet comes out, the airlines are poised to eat them up.

It appears the original easyJet wasn’t that hard on the environment to begin with. When the amount of CO2 emitted by the jet is divided among the passengers per kilometer it only generates 97.5 grams of CO2. The Toyota Prius emits 104 grams. The European car industry has a target of 130 grams of CO2 per kilometer for the energy standards. 

If you’re wondering why this is important, well NASA did a study in 2004 that showed a 1 percent per decade increase in cirrus cloud cover over the U.S. due to air travel. You know all those jet trails that blend in with the clouds? Those jet plumes caused a 1 percent increase in clouds per decade. If you don’t think that’s much, I would have to say that it shouldn’t be evident at all, at least not an amount that can actually be measured. No wonder all our patio furniture gets so pitted up. Those emissions eventually rain down on everything. We breathe that air. We’ve become way too comfortable with pollution. It’s good to see the easyJet is not that far off from production and that most jet manufacturer’s are embracing that same technology.  For now we have the 787 Dreamliner, a step in the right direction for going green. Read more about the easyJet ecoJet at Live Science: