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Republicans Demand EPA Administrator Jackson Give Full Response on Suppression of Dissent

Washington - All Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Investigations Subcommittee, including the full committee's ranking member, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, and the subcommittee's ranking Republican, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, joined Thursday in pressing EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to explain why and how a career EPA official's views were suppressed when he questioned Democrats' policy on global warming.

Their letter marks the second attempt to get information from EPA since a series of bizarre e-mails became public and demonstrated that a long-term EPA official was ordered not only to stop dissenting, but to stop working on global warming issues altogether.

"Questions about the process and treatment of critical opinion and debate within EPA have only increased since we wrote three weeks ago," the lawmakers wrote. "Since that time, you or EPA spokesmen have issued statements at once minimizing the critical comments by a senior career employee, Dr. Alan Carlin, on the quality of the agency's basis for the proposed endangerment finding, and ignoring the substantive questions about the integrity of the EPA process raised by the alleged suppression of Dr. Carlin's report.

Coffee

In Provo, a call to action against federal climate bill

Tom Tripp
© Lance Booth/Daily Herald
Tom Tripp, of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, speaks at the Utah Farm Bureau conference, held at the Marriott, in Provo, on Thursday, July16th.

The U.S. effort to counteract climate change is poised to not only destroy the U.S. economy, but dramatically increase global carbon dioxide levels.

That was the message, on Thursday, from Tom Tripp, a magnesium specialist from Utah who gave a 45-minute keynote address in Provo at the Utah Farm Bureau Midyear Conference.

Beyond magnesium, Tripp has one other distinction to his name -- he is one of 2,000 members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who share half a Nobel Prize, the other half owned by former vice president Al Gore.

But though Tripp and Gore may share the same Nobel honor, Tripp's message on climate change is Gore's polar opposite.

The public, Tripp said, should be warned that the climate bill that just passed the House and is headed for the Senate could bring America to its knees.

Powertool

Temblors Rattle Cleburne Texas

Image
© Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images
Five small earthquakes this month have become the talk of Cleburne, Texas, where a natural gas boom has brought drilling closer to residential areas

This small city at the epicenter of the region's natural-gas boom has been shaken by another arrival from underground: earthquakes.

Five small temblors this month have some people pointing the finger at technology that drilling companies use to reach deep into the earth to shatter rock and release new stores of natural gas -- the same technology that has made many of the locals rich.

Thousands of wells have been drilled in the past five years. Now, a wave of small earthquakes is leading some residents in the north Texas town to link the two developments and some seismic experts to wonder about the cause.

The industry says there isn't any evidence linking the quakes to gas production. Even geophysicists, who take the residents' concerns seriously and are deploying seismic sensors in the area, say they can't prove a connection between the drilling and the quakes.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Magnitude 4.3 - Gaspe Penisula Quebec, Canada

Image
© US Geological Survey
Date-Time:
Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 14:20:55 UTC
Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 10:20:55 AM at epicenter

Location:
49.809°N, 65.709°W

Depth:
18 km (11.2 miles) set by location program

Distances:
65 km (40 miles) SE (132°) from Sept-Îles, Québec, Canada

139 km (87 miles) NW (322°) from Gaspe, Quebec, Canada

188 km (117 miles) ENE (69°) from Baie-Comeau, Québec, Canada

526 km (327 miles) NE (49°) from Québec, Québec, Canada

Bizarro Earth

Japanese fishermen brace for giant jellyfish

Image
© AFP / Getty Images
A diver attaches a sensor to a Nomura's jellyfish off the coast of northern Japan in October 2005
Giant jellyfish descend on the Sea of Japan, causing untold devastation to coastal villages and leaving a trail of destruction and human misery behind. Sounds like a great sci-fi flick. But it's not. It's real and a nightmare for Japanese fishermen.

The massive sea creatures, called Nomura's jellyfish, can grow 6 feet (1.83 meters) in diameter and weigh more than 450 pounds (204 kilos). Scientists think they originate in the Yellow Sea and in Chinese waters. For the third year since 2005, ocean currents are transporting them into the Sea of Japan.

Monty Williams, a marine biologist at Alabama's Dauphin Island Sea Lab, said the jellyfish grow to an enormous size as they are transported by ocean currents. He said they stay together in packs and as they drift northward, they get caught in fishermen's nets.

The giant jellyfish are one of about 200 species of coastal jellyfish or large jellyfish that exist around the world. But Nomura's stands out because of its enormous size. "The sheer size of them, individually, makes them fairly spectacular," Williams said.

Life Preserver

Global Sea Level Updated at UC - still flattening

There was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth when Dr. Roger Pielke mentioned a couple of weeks ago in a response to Real Climate that "Sea level has actually flattened since 2006″.

Today the University of Colorado updated their sea level graph after months of no updates. Note it says 2009_rel3 in lower left.
sea level rise JASON TOPEX
© University of Colorado
Source: University of Colorado.

Here is the next oldest graph from UC that Pielke Sr. was looking at.

The newest one also looks "flat" to me since 2006, maybe even a slight downtrend since 2006. Let the wailing and gnashing begin anew.

Butterfly

Is the Sun Missing Its Spots?

sunspots
© NASA
SUN GAZING These photos show sunspots near solar maximum on July 19, 2000, and near solar minimum on March 18, 2009. Some global warming skeptics speculate that the Sun may be on the verge of an extended slumber.

Ever since Samuel Heinrich Schwabe, a German astronomer, first noted in 1843 that sunspots burgeon and wane over a roughly 11-year cycle, scientists have carefully watched the Sun's activity. In the latest lull, the Sun should have reached its calmest, least pockmarked state last fall.

Indeed, last year marked the blankest year of the Sun in the last half-century - 266 days with not a single sunspot visible from Earth. Then, in the first four months of 2009, the Sun became even more blank, the pace of sunspots slowing more.

"It's been as dead as a doornail," David Hathaway, a solar physicist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., said a couple of months ago.

The Sun perked up in June and July, with a sizeable clump of 20 sunspots earlier this month.

Now it is blank again, consistent with expectations that this solar cycle will be smaller and calmer, and the maximum of activity, expected to arrive in May 2013 will not be all that maximum.

Bizarro Earth

I blame global warming! Michigan sweet corn, tomato crop delayed because of cold

corn
© unknown

Unusually cold weather in Michigan these days. Smack dab in the middle of July, we are having to close the windows because it's too cold outside. I still haven't run the ac yet this year. These weather patterns have other consequences. Just a couple of weeks ago, I reported that the Northern Michigan Cherry Festival was without northern Michigan cherries! (I blame Global Warming! Northern Michigan Cherry festival to be without Northern Michigan cherries. Not ripe yet because of cold!) I kid you not! They had to import cherries from elsewhere! And before that, the strawberry crop had been delayed (I blame global warming! Cool weather delays Michigan strawberry season). Is no crop safe from global warming? Er, I mean - climate change? Not corn or tomatoes apparently! From The Detroit Free Press: Ahh, summer. And we're chillin'?

Alarm Clock

USA Temps: 868 Lowest Max temps and 651 Low temps recorded for week ending 19 July 2009

HAMweather, July 20, 2009
week of lowest max temps US
© Hamweather
HAMweather, July 20, 2009

Smiley

Amazing Piglet Squid

Image

Grinning: The piglet squid, about the size of an orange, gets its name from its tuft of tentacles and rotund shape

He could almost be a new Mr Men character with his rotund shape, cute curls and shy smile. But this is really a piglet squid caught in a rare image on camera.