Wednesday, April 30, 2008


So put that in your pipe and smoke it! There's no way you could lean on THEM!

Russia will not accept binding caps on its greenhouse gas emissions under a new climate regime, currently being negotiated to succeed the Kyoto Protocol after 2012, top officials said on Monday. Kyoto puts a cap on the average, annual greenhouse gas emissions from 2008-12 for some 37 industrialised countries, including Russia. But former communist countries are well within their emissions targets, which are compared to 1990 levels, because their industries and carbon emissions subsequently collapsed after they struggled to adapt to free markets.

As a top energy producer and consumer, Russia welcomed the fact that Kyoto had not limited its carbon emissions and expected the same of any future climate deal, said Vsevolod Gavrilov, the official in charge of Russia's Kyoto obligations. "Energy must not be a barrier to our comfort. Our emerging middle class... demands lots of energy and it is our job to ensure comfortable supply," he said.

"We don't plan to limit the use of fuel for our industries. We don't think this would be right," he said, referring to the current round of Kyoto. Asked if Russia would resist capping the use of fossil fuels, which emit the planet-warming gas carbon dioxide when burned, under a new climate deal after 2012, he said:"In the foreseeable future, this will not be our model, no." He pointed out that the United States had also declined to impose emissions caps.

But Russia welcomed investment from other industrialised countries to help it clean up its energy and industry, saying in this way it could prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. Under Kyoto, industrialised countries which are missing their emissions goals can pay for cuts elsewhere -- if that is cheaper -- getting carbon offsets in return.


Industrialised countries spent some 326 million euros last year buying such offsets from former communist countries, under Kyoto's Joint Implementation (JI) scheme. "We see (Kyoto) as a means, not as an end in itself... It is a way to get new technology for our industries," said Gavrilov.

A key way for Russia to profit from the planned 3 billion tonnes of emission reductions will be by trapping and processing natural gas, a by-product of oil production. By 2012, Russia has called for 95 percent of its associated gas to be harnessed and sold, whereas more than 25 percent of it is currently flared, wasting 20 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

"Why is the flaring of gas so common? It's because of economic barriers to building infrastructure that will process it," said Mikhail Stavsky, vice president of Russia's largest oil firm, Rosneft. With the help of trading in carbon offsets, Stavsky said that the profitability of such gas harnessing will roughly double, and the return on investment in the projects will come in 7 years, compared to 17 years without Kyoto.

Russia's gas export monopoly Gazprom will also use these mechanisms to harness the gas, said Alexander Ishkov, the head of its energy saving and environmental department. "We are expecting to cut tens of millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent" by 2012, he said.

Out of the twelve emissions-reduction projects that have applied for JI approval, several are from companies at least partly owned by Gazprom, Oleg Pluzhnikov, Gavrilov's deputy at the Economy Ministry, told Reuters. "They are keeping a low profile for now. But when they see it working, I think they will put their name behind it."



The Green/Left elite finally notice the workers

Coverage about global warming in UK tabloid newspapers has been significantly divergent from the scientific consensus that humans contribute to climate change. That's according to Max Boykoff and Maria Mansfield of the University of Oxford, UK, who studied papers from 2000 to 2006. "This was surprising, because in other research on the UK broadsheet newspapers I've found that this coverage has been quite accurate," Boykoff told environmentalresearchweb. "We hope that this work will encourage tabloid newspapers to reflect further on the accuracy of their reporting on human contributions to climate change, particularly given their high readership in the UK publics. Contrarian comments in a column by Michael Hanlon in the Daily Mail or Jeremy Clarkson in The Sun may be off-the-cuff or playful at times, but they have a tremendous influence on how readership may understand climate change science and policy."

The team found that the Daily Mail was more divergent from the scientific consensus than other tabloid newspapers. There were generally two main influences behind the tabloids' divergence. "First was reliance on the journalistic norm of balance, where roughly equal attention was placed the view that humans contribute to climate change, and that our contribution is negligible," said Boykoff. "I had found this journalistic norm as influential in other earlier work on US newspaper and television coverage of anthropogenic climate change."

And secondly, almost a third of the divergent coverage was attributed to 'contrarian' views that make claims that humans' role in climate change is negligible. Tabloids have an important influence on public opinion in the UK as they have average daily circulations as much as ten times higher than many broadsheet newspapers. "Assessments of UK media influence on science-policy interactions have tended to focus on the broadsheet or 'quality' press sources - the Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph, Financial Times and Times of London," said Boykoff. "However, we argue that these analyses have suffered from a blind spot in considerations, by overlooking what are called the 'tabloid press' - The Sun (and News of the World), Daily Mail (and Mail on Sunday), the Daily Express (and Sunday Express), and the Mirror (and Sunday Mirror)."

And readers of tabloids tend to come from different socio-economic backgrounds to broadsheet consumers, typically being more working class. "While these segments of the population have been of secondary importance in previous science-policy and science-media-policy analyses, such examinations need to take on a more central role, as these citizens make up critical components of potential social movements and public pressure for improved climate policy action," said Boykoff.

Many media workers interviewed for the study highlighted the political and economic constraints they face in reporting climate change. "For example, with little specialist science training it was challenging to cover the intricacies of climate change while they were also covering a broad range of other news 'beats'," said Boykoff. "There remain few science and environment correspondents in the UK tabloid newspapers, and this has been a challenge for accurate climate change reporting."

Boykoff and Mansfield have also been studying how various climate change issues are framed in the UK tabloid press, and the tone of the coverage. "From this, I am examining how these factors influence considerations of market-based and regulatory interventions to grapple with ongoing environmental challenges," said Boykoff. The researchers reported their work in the open-access journal Environmental Research Letters.


NOTE from Benny Peiser, mentioning his skeptical CCNet newsletter: "Max Boykoff seems to blame a lack of scientific understanding among tabloid journalists for their more critical and less compliant climate change reporting. I rather doubt that lack of understanding is the underlying reason why some of these journalists, from time to time, provide more balanced and less one-sided views on climate change issues. After all, there are more than 30 journalists from the four UK tabloids mentioned (Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Mirror and The Sun) who receive CCNet on a daily basis. I would suggest that many of these journalists are very well informed about the scientific, economic and political controversies that are inherent in the climate debates. It would appear that the main difference between broadsheets and tabloids is that the latter choose to report, from time to time, about conflicting views and research - while the former, most of the time, tend to ignore or stifle them."

Greenies goof again

The worldwide effort by supermarkets and industry to replace conventional oil-based plastic with eco-friendly "bioplastics" made from plants is causing environmental problems and consumer confusion, according to a Guardian study. The substitutes can increase emissions of greenhouse gases on landfill sites, some need high temperatures to decompose and others cannot be recycled in Britain. Many of the bioplastics are also contributing to the global food crisis by taking over large areas of land previously used to grow crops for human consumption.

The market for bioplastics, which are made from maize, sugarcane, wheat and other crops, is growing by 20-30% a year. The industry, which uses words such as "sustainable", "biodegradeable", "compostable" and "recyclable" to describe its products, says bioplastics make carbon savings of 30-80% compared with conventional oil-based plastics and can extend the shelf-life of food.

Concern centres on corn-based packaging made with polylactic acid (Pla). Made from GM crops, it looks identical to conventional polyethylene terephthalate (Pet) plastic and is produced by US company NatureWorks. The company is jointly owned by Cargill, the world's second largest biofuel producer, and Teijin, one of the world's largest plastic manufacturers. Pla is used by some of the biggest supermarkets and food companies, including Wal-Mart, McDonald's and Del Monte. It is used by Marks & Spencer to package organic foods, salads, snacks, desserts, and fruit and vegetables. It is also used to bottle Belu mineral water, which is endorsed by environmentalists because the brand's owners invest all profits in water projects in poor countries. Wal-Mart has said it plans to use 114m Pla containers over the course of a year.

While Pla is said to offer more disposal options, the Guardian has found that it will barely break down on landfill sites, and can only be composted in the handful of anaerobic digesters which exist in Britain, but which do not take any packaging. In addition, if Pla is sent to UK recycling works in large quantities, it can contaminate the waste stream, reportedly making other recycled plastics unsaleable.

Last year Innocent drinks stopped using Pla because commercial composting was "not yet a mainstream option" in the UK. Anson, one of Britain's largest suppliers of plastic food packaging, switched back to conventional plastic after testing Pla in sandwich packs. Sainsbury's has decided not to use it, saying Pla is made with GM corn. "No local authority is collecting compostable packaging at the moment. Composters do not want it," a spokesman said.

Britain's supermarkets compete to claim the greatest commitment to the environment with plant-based products. The bioplastics industry expects rising oil prices to help it compete with conventional plastics, with Europe using about 50,000 tonnes of bioplastics a year. Concern is mounting because the new generation of biodegradable plastics ends up on landfill sites, where they degrade without oxygen, releasing methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. This week the US national oceanic and atmospheric administration reported a sharp increase in global methane emissions last year.

"It is just not possible to capture all the methane from landfill sites," said Michael Warhurt, resources campaigner at Friends of the Earth. "A significant percentage leaks to the atmosphere." "Just because it's biodegradable does not mean it's good. If it goes to landfill it breaks down to methane. Only a percentage is captured," said Peter Skelton of Wrap, the UK government-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme. "In theory bioplastics are good. But in practice there are lots of barriers."

Recycling companies said they would have to invest in expensive new equipment to extract bioplastic from waste for recycling. "If we could identify them the only option would be to landfill them," said one recycler who asked to remain anonymous. "They are not wanted by UK recycling companies or local authorities who refuse to handle them. Councils are saying they do not want plastics near food collection. If these biodegradable [products] get into the recycling stream they contaminate it. "It will get worse because the government is encouraging more recycling. There will be much more bioplastic around."

Problems arise because some bioplastics are "home" compostable and recyclable. "It's so confusing that a Pla bottle looks exactly the same as a standard Pet bottle," Skelton said. "The consumer is not a polymer expert. Not nearly enough consideration has gone into what they are meant to do with them. Everything is just put in the recycling bin."

Yesterday NatureWorks accepted that its products would not fully break down on landfill sites. "The recycling industry in the UK has not caught up with other countries" said Snehal Desai, chief marketing officer for NatureWorks. "We need alternatives to oil. UK industry should not resist change. We should be designing for the future and not the past. In central Europe, Taiwan and elsewhere, NatureWorks polymer is widely accepted as a compostable material."

Other users said it was too soon to judge the new technology. "It's very early days," said Reed Paget, managing director of Belu. "The UK packaging industry does not want competition. It's shortsighted and is blocking eco-innovation." Belu collects its bottles and now sends them to mainland Europe. "People think that biodegradable is good and non-biodegradable is bad. That's all they see," said Chris Goodall, environmental analyst and author of How to Live a Low-carbon Lifestyle. "I have been trying to compost bags that are billed as 'biodegradable' and 'home compostable' but I have completely failed. They rely on the compost heap really heating up but we still find the residues."

Bioplastics compete for land with biofuels and food crops. About 200,000 tonnes of bioplastics were produced last year, requiring 250,000-350,000 tonnes of crops. The industry is forecast to need several million acres of farmland within four years.

There is also concern over the growing use by supermarkets of "oxy-degradable" plastic bags, billed as sustainable. They are made of conventional oil-based plastic, with an additive that enables the plastic to break down. The companies promoting it claim it reduces litter and causes no methane or harmful residues. They are used by Wal-Mart, Pizza Hut and KFC in the US, and Tesco and the Co-op in the UK for "degradable" plastic carrier bags. Some environmentalists say the terminology confuses the public. "The consumer is baffled," a Wrap briefing paper said. "It considers these products degradable but ... they will not degrade effectively in [the closed environment of] a landfill site." A spokesman for Symphony Plastics disputed that. "Oxy-bioplastic can be re-used and recycled, but will degrade and disappear in a short timescale", he said.


A Greenie recognizes Green Fascism

He seems unaware, though, that Fascism and environmentalism were associated from the beginning -- particularly in "Das dritte Reich". See here.

Here is something all right-thinking liberals can agree on. Saving the planet is good; manipulating humanity through eugenics is bad. The trouble is that these two ethical opposites come together when we talk about population control as a means of protecting the environment. Most of us breed. And those of us who do have one ecological footprint in common: our offspring. Me included. So all greens have to ask: is having babies bad for the planet?

Fair enough. But there is another question that I find increasingly being asked. Should we be trying to stop others having babies, especially people in poor countries with fast-growing populations?

I must say I thought this kind of illiberal thinking had been banished from the environmental movement. But it keeps seeping back. When I give public talks on climate change, I am often asked if all the efforts in the rich world won't be wiped out by rising populations in the poor world.

Isn't overpopulation more dangerous than overconsumption? I say no. But the unpalatable truth is that a lot of environmental thinking over the past half century has been underpinned by an unhealthy preoccupation with the breeding propensity of Asians and Africans. They were, it was often held, polluting the human gene pool as well as the planet. Such thinking was not fringe: it involved some of the great names of the environment movement.

So the American academic Garrett Hardin said in his classic and still-revered environment text Tragedy of the Commons in 1968, "Freedom to breed will bring ruin to all." It must be "relinquished to preserve and nurture other and more precious freedoms." Lest we have any doubt who should do the relinquishing, he wrote elsewhere about how college students should have more children than those with low IQs.

Or take Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb from the same era. That book said the world could no longer feed itself and called for population control "by compulsion if voluntary methods fail." Meanwhile the British book Blueprint for Survival, published by The Ecologist magazine, sided with the demagogue-of-the-day Enoch Powell in calling for "an end to immigration". Far from being ostracised as a right-wing tract, its recipe was supported by Friends of the Earth and Peter Scott, the TV wildlife king and founder of the World Wildlife Fund. And this is not ancient history. Only recently, US groups opposed to all migration tried to get their policies adopted by the blue-chip environment group, the Sierra Club. To many they sounded like a fringe group. Actually they were an echo of the earlier mainstream.

And the echo is becoming louder. We hear it in the climate change debate. No matter that the average European or North American has carbon emissions 10 times greater than the average Indian or African, somehow it is those pesky breeding foreigners who are really to blame. And now food shortages are growing and we will get more. Ehrlich, we are bound to be told, was right after all. You have been warned: green fascism could soon be on the march.


The Precautionary Principle: Possibly the biggest sham of our time

Post below recycled from Depleted Cranium.

A Precautionary principle sounds logical: When you aren’t sure if something might cause harm, be careful and don’t do anything that could be dangerous, especially to anything really important like human lives, the environment and so on. It also seems like it would not be a new or revolutionary concept. However, Precautionary Principle is really a lot more extreme and a lot less common sense than one might think.

The term actually dates back to 1998, when The Wingspread Conference on the Precautionary Principle was convened by the Science and Environmental Health Network was issued the statement: ”

“When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.”

And with this one statement, “Precautionary Principle” became the next big thing and was totally the “in” concept for everyone in the enviro-political movement to go to workshops on and state talking about - just to show how up to date they are.

The concept was pushed as if it were somehow amazing and should be the guiding principle behind EVERYTHING. The EU formally adopted Precautionary Principle in 2000 as the fundamental basis of environmental policy, without really ever defining what it was or how it should be applied. Not surprisingly, San Fransisco in the US has adopted the policy as well.

But there’s a problem. precautionary principle assumes that something should be considered harmful or potentially harmful until proven otherwise. Depending on your definition of “proof,” you may run into some problems here. If one goes by the principle that nothing in science is ever proven true beyond any doubt, then you automatically have a paradox where it is impossible to ever do anything on the grounds that it might possibly maybe be harmful.

In precautionary principle, no evidence is needed that something is harmful or even could be harmful. No plausible reason to believe it could be harmful is needed either. In many cases no amount of scientific evidence against the thesis that something is harmful ever seems to be reasonable to counter the argument that something is “not proven safe.” Good scientists are often reluctant to state something is “impossible” - for example, the designer of a nuclear reactor may be highly confident that the reactor will never melt down and that even if it did the containment vessel would hold the material. But despite this, the designer would understandably be reluctant to say it *cannot* happen. After all, it’s not impossible that the containment structure won’t be breached by a hit by a massive meteor, even if it is astronomically unlikely.

In this circumstance, precautionary principle moves the burden of proof, creating a ridiculous burden to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that any claim of harm, no matter how far fetched is 100% false. Since no evidence is ever needed to make a claim and no reasoning for the claim is required either, it’s possible to claim anything might be harmful in one way or another.

Therefore by this logic:

“I think CF lightbulbs will increase the number of herpes cases.”


“I just do. I think I had a dream about it or something.”

“Is there proof to the contrary?”

“No no studies have ever been done into the use of CF lightbulbs and the transmission of herpes”

“Can we do one?”

“Yes, but it’s hard, if not impossible to be totally conclusive about that kind of link, especially if it’s small.”

“Therefore we must ban CF lightbulbs”

On the risk of doing nothing:

Another big issue with “precuationary principle” is that it assumes that it is always best to do nothing when the action is not proven beyond the smallest shadow of a doubt to be harmful. However, since it always favors inaction, this can be significantly worse than taking an action. For one thing, refusing to accept anything new or anything which might possibly be harmful will tend to have economic and societal consequences, which although indirect, can lead to a much greater harm to life health and the environment.

Furthermore, failure to take an action or adopt a method or technology will always favor approaches of inaction which will commonly have a greater impact. For example, if seat belts were a new technology, one might be able to use precautionary principle to argue that there is no proof that they will not injure the body by trying to stop it too quickly or that they will not trap people in burning cars. One might even go as far as to say that there is no proof that they will not have the effect of making people feel secure and therefore drive more erratically and therefore cost lives. Thus, by precautionary principle, no matter how many crash test studies are done and no matter how much theory and design goes into seat belts, there would be grounds for banning them.

This presents another paradox because precautionary principle does not allow for any kind of “risk management” or “acceptably small risk” no matter how small. It can be taken to the point of being ridiculous and often is. It does not allow for any assessment of the risk of inaction. Building a cell phone tower near a school would be considered to be against precautionary principle because there “may be some risk,” but it does not consider that if it were not built near the school it may be more difficult to build and therefore put the lives of workers in more danger. It may also offer poorer coverage and therefore cost the life of a motorist who is unable to call in an emergency. These possibilities, though small, are certainly no smaller than the risk of building near a school.

Example of Applying Precautionary Principle to Inaction:

“The house is on fire. We had better put it out with this extinguisher before the fire spreads and consumes the house.”

“How do we know the extinguisher will not make it worse? Perhaps the extinguisher is full of gasoline and pressured with propane instead of CO2.”

“But how could that happen?”

“I don’t know. Perhaps someone filled it with gas as a joke. Perhaps someone who did not understand the English writing on it believed it was a gas container and filled it.”

“That sounds far fetched.”

“Yes but you cannot prove it could not happen. We have no proof this is not the case.”

“You are right, by precautionary principle we should not attempt to put out the fire.”

Some common sense and when to be cautious:

If you’re not absolutely certain something is safe, then you probably shouldn’t bet your life or anyone else’s on it. Sounds like common sense, right? And in general it is. This is why, even if an aircraft company is pretty damn sure their latest design is totally safe and reliable from wind tunnel testing and calculations, they still build a prototype and give it a good shakedown with an experienced test pilot before it gets the all clear to carry passengers. This is why drugs are tested on tissue cultures, animals and controlled volunteer groups many times before they are put out on the market. It’s also why lifeboats are installed on ships, even if the owners are really damn sure that the ship is not going to sink. It’s always a good idea to take that extra measure of security in case you’re wrong.

In engineering a concept which is goes along these lines is called “factor of safety.” It basically means the margin between what stresses an item is going to be subjected and the stresses that would cause it to fail. Factor of safety tends to be very high for items where there is any uncertainty involved and where a failure could be catastrophic. Exactly how much of a factor of safety is considered necessary depends on certain things. In circumstances where a failure could result in a loss of life, factor of safety is generally high. This is especially true whenever there are uncertainties, such as when a certain type of structure is being built for the first time or in high risk environments like space flight or submarines.

For example, if a bridge is intended to carry a certain amount of traffic, then the design will call for enough strength to support the maximum possible load expected on the bridge, plus an extra load beyond its intended capacity. The reason is simple: to insure a comfortable margin of safety so even if one of the calculations is a little off or if one of the gutters has an undetected flaw in it or even if there has been some damage to the bridge, everyone can rest assured that it won’t come crashing down. (At least, it is not supposed to. If not maintained properly or too much load is placed on it.. well that’s another thing.)

Engineers are asked to work between opposing forces of safety and cost. In many cases, a large factor of safety is practical because the cost of adding more material than is absolutely necessary is nominal. However, in some cases, there is also a need to keep effeciency of materials and construction to the maximum. An example of this is aircraft. Building an aircraft considerably stronger than it needs to be for routine operation would add too much weight and could actually effect safety (as well as effeciency and performance) negatively. In such circumstances, the factor of safety may be smaller, but in order to achieve this while still maintaining acceptable confidence in the safety of the aircraft, the degree of uncertainty must be reduced, thus necessitating rigorous testing and quality control.

Another application of “factor of safety” can be found in pharmaceuticals. In general, doctors are not permitted to prescribe the amount of a medication which would theoretically kill a patient. They’re not even allowed to prescribe anything close to it. Furthermore the greater the difference between a therapeutic dose of a drug is from the lethal dose of the drug is, the greater the factor of safety and thus the safer the drug is considered. Drugs with smaller factors of safety are always monitored very carefully, but those which have very little chance of causing problems are not subjected to the same scrutiny. A drug with a small factor of safety might be considered unsuitable for situations where it is not completely necessary to preserve life or health.

In a few circumstances, there is known to be a very high probability of danger or there are great unknowns. In these circumstances it is considered justified to expend more on safety than would be normally considered necessary in other circumstances. A case in point would be sending men to the moon. The Apollo program had vigorous safety measures, which were increased after the tragic Apollo-1 accident. Despite being tested on static stands and simulations, all rocket stages were tested without humans on board before being used for a manned flight. The Apollo command and lunar modules were completed by Apollo-7, but they were tested in earth orbit and then in lunar orbit before the first attempt to land on the moon. The first landing was brief and carried sparse equipment to save capacity. Later landings increased capability and duration. These safety measure would prove worth their price when Apollo-13 was nearly lost. Despite all the safety measures taken on the program, it was still understood to be a high risk mission and was undertaken by astronauts who understood the dangers. Richard Nixon’s speech writers had even prepared a speech to be given in the event of a loss of the crew.

Precautionary Principle: This is where common sense gets twisted into something very nonsensical.

Case in point: Cell Phone Towers and Wireless Transmitters

According to some, precautionary principle should be applied to cell phone transmitters and other RF devices. The proposals are to restrict the deployment of such towers and to especially assure that they are never placed remotely near to residential structures, schools, population centers and similar. Furthermore, proposals have been made for shielding on buildings in order to reduce exposure.

The consequences of doing so would include great expense on both mobile companies and customers, dramatically reduced quality of service and the need for cell phones to transmit at higher power levels in many areas, thereby actually increasing local RF field intensity. Such restrictions would also dramatically reduce the potential revenue to site owners from leases, including excluding schools and public property from lucrative site leases. Furthermore, the reduced quality of service can impact the use of cell phones for reporting emergencies as well as the ability of the system to triangulate the location of emergency calls. Because many of these protests also address government and dispatch radio services, such as TETRA, restrictions can also have an impact on the quality and reliability of communications to first responders, law enforcement and other emergency services.

Reasons not to worry:

-Extensive scientific study has failed to find any proof or even solid evidence showing any adverse health effects.

-Several extremely large and well controlled studies have been done on the subject and approved by well respected and credible scientific bodies.

-The inverse square law assures that any RF radiation exposure is extremely small at a normal distance from the transmitter.

-The levels at the base of a transmitter are often lower than those near a phone or even around wireless headsets, baby monitors, remote controls and alike.

-More than a half century of use of UHF and microwave communications, many much more powerful has failed to produce any noticable effects on health at low levels.

-The exposure limits set for RF radiation from transmitters are significantly lower than the levels at which damage to health has even been shown to be possible.

-No credible mechanism by which low-level RF radiation could have chronic health effects has been proposed.

-All or nearly all the claims of electrosensitivity, acute effects, health problems around transmitters and alike have failed to be verified by scientific tests, but they are very easily explained by very well established psycological and sociological effects which are analogous to numerous other cases seen throughout history.

Reasons to worry:

-RF radiation fields are rare, but not unheard of in natural settings where humans evolved.

-A lot of people have claimed that they could be harmful, although no valid evidence has been produced.

-RF radiation is known to be hazardous at very high levels, although this is primarily due to dielectric heating.

- It is remotely possible that a long term health effect from exposure to RF fields exists, but is so extremely weak and exists in so few cases that it has failed to stand out from the statistical noise despite the extensive studies done. Long-term associations with conditions like cancer can be difficult to verify when the link is not statistically strong and clear-cut.

The Interest in Precautionary Principle:

One might think that something as general as “Precautionary Principle” would not really be exciting enough to have any organizations devoted to it. This is not the case, however. There are several organizations which not only support Precautionary Principle, but have made it a major part of their reason for being or are entirely dedicated to the idea of precautionary principle. Seems a bit strange really to sit around and talk about precautions and how they can be stretched to the extreme, but that’s what they do!


The Precautionary Principle Project - The Environmental Research Foundation

The Science And Environmental Health Network

Taking Precaution - The Bay Area Precautionary Principle Working Group

Environmental Commons

Be Safe Precautionary Campaign

Southeast Regional Precautionary Conference

The Center For Health, Environment and Justice

A Small Dose of Toxicology

Oregon Center for Environmental Health


For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Newsweak makes some interesting admissions

Article below on global warming's absence as a campaign issue makes two observations that are true, critical, and almost never admitted by the chattering class. First, only the (bi-coastal) elite are interested in the issue or deeply concerned. Second, reducing emissions will be hugely expensive. But in their typical Left-Elitist way they do not even consider the possibility that people may have good reason for being skeptical of the scare

In the summer of 2006 I went to see Congressman Rahm Emanuel, who was running the Democrats' successful effort to regain control of the House of Representatives. I had been reading a great deal about global warming in the mainstream press ("Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid" warned Time). So I asked Emanuel, how are the environment and global warming playing out there in the heartland? Is it stirring voters? No, he replied. In the 2006 congressional elections global warming was virtually a nonissue, he said, a low-priority item way behind the war and the economy and old staples like education and health care. Global warming is an issue for the elites, he said, not for the average voter.That's still true. The mainstream media continues to write urgently about global warming. Last month NEWSWEEK asked on its cover which candidate will be the most green. On Sunday the New York Times Magazine produced a special issue on how to reduce your carbon footprint-from changing your light bulbs to walking more to eating "slow food." Any reader of old-line mainstream media-the traditional news source of the upper middle class-would think that the country is rallying to a crisis.

But the disconnect persists. National polls show that the environment ranks fairly low as an issue that moves voters. In the Pennsylvania primary global warming was such a peripheral issue that exit pollsters did not even bother to measure voter attitudes toward it. Many younger voters wish the candidates would talk more about global warming. But most voters worry more about jobs and keeping fuel cheap. Aside from speaking in broad generalities and making vague promises, the candidates steer away from involved debate on global warming. (Enabled, it should be said, by political reporters. Of the more than 3,000 questions asked in the more than 20 presidential debates, fewer than 10 mentioned global warming.)There is an enormous class divide on the subject. The chattering classes obsess about greenhouse emissions. The rest of the country, certainly the older and less well-off voters, can't be bothered. Slow food to most people means that the waitress at the local IHOP is falling behind. The politicians duck the issue, or so it seems.

It may be, though, that the politicians know something they are not saying-and that the green-conscious upper classes do not wish to confront. Making a serious dent in global warming would be hugely costly. Fueled by population growth and a growing prosperity in underdeveloped parts of the world, greenhouse emissions will more than double by 2050, according to most estimates. About three-quarters of the growth will come in developing countries like China and India that, for understandable reasons, are not about to forgo economic growth at a time when their average citizen still consumes about a fifth as much energy as the average American.

President Bush talks about cutting the rate of growth by 20 percent or so. But that won't do much to keep the temperatures down or the seas from rising. Other politicians posture. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger boasts of a plan to drastically cut his state's greenhouse emissions. But he doesn't spell out how this goal can be achieved.The only way to get from here to there on slashing greenhouse emissions is by massively enforcing limits on consumption, which means heavy regulation, or much higher taxes. Or by developing breakthrough technologies, like a way to cheaply recapture carbon emissions or safer nuclear technology. (The technology has to be so cheap that China and India will buy it.) Higher oil prices will stimulate investment in alternative fuel sources, but every halfway believable estimate leaves us still heavily dependent on fossil fuels.It would be nice to hope that the scientists will solve our problems, and I pray for them. But the politicians will have to get involved and put the thumb of government on the scale-and then lean hard. That means calling for sacrifice-serious wartime sacrifice.


If lies and misrepresentations earned you the name "Hero of the planet", you might well keep repeating them too

Immortalized by Ernest Hemingway, the fabled snows of Mount Kilimanjaro look like a mere dusting [Groan! How often does that nonsense have to be debunked?]. Lake Chad, once a major African water resource, is now only 10 percent of what its surface area was decades earlier. And closer to home, Montana's Glacier National Park seems a misnomer as the ice mass continues to recede. "I'm showing you these not so that you should be panicked," Christiana Figueres said. "We should be more than panicked."

The author and Kyoto Protocol negotiator for the United Nations spoke yesterday morning before an audience of about 250 in the PepsiCo Theater at Norwalk Community College. Figueres, whom National Geographic and the Ford Motor Co. dubbed "Hero of the Planet" in 2001, was speaking as part of an Earth Day 2008 celebration sponsored by NCC's Student World Assembly. She had been invited by Madeline Barillo, the college's director of public relations....

Figueres cited climate changes due to deforestation and dependence on fossil fuels that have increased the planet's greenhouse gases. She said that scientists have discovered that dips and swells in atmospheric carbon dioxide "over the past 600,000 years," have been pretty consistent, with maximum carbon dioxide levels of less than 300 parts per million. That number is now 380 parts per million, she said, "and within 40 years, we will be at carbon dioxide concentrations we can't predict." "Lo and behold, we have one home, our planet," Figueres said. "We are all absolutely interconnected and interrelated." For example, rising temperatures that caused Lake Chad to shrivel resulted in a mass migration to Darfur, which, in turn, led to genocide.

Figueres also described doomsday scenarios in which melting polar ice caps would cause water levels to rise, flooding sections of Manhattan and Florida, and wiping the Maldive islands in the Indian Ocean off the map. Underscoring that this is not apocalyptic hyperbole, Figueres noted that 10 of the hottest years on record occurred in the last 14 years, with 2005 being the hottest [An outright lie. 1998 was the hottest].

Yet Figueres offered some hope. "The good news is that it can be averted," she said, mentioning alternative energy resources and the benefits of cutting carbon emissions. "We have a psychological barrier," she said before the talk. "It's not even a technological barrier, because the technology is there. The problem is that we've grown comfortable in our obsolete ways."

NCC student Matt Loter, president of the school's Student World Assembly, said Figueres was the perfect choice for a speaker on Earth Day because "of the interconnectedness of the world in all the decisions we make. "It's the idea of getting people to think on the global and local scale, and the changes you can make in both."


Another university that dislikes intellectual diversity

Good evidence of intellectual mediocrity

By pioneering the science of seasonal hurricane forecasting and teaching 70 graduate students who now populate the National Hurricane Center and other research outposts, William Gray turned a city far from the stormy seas into a hurricane research mecca. But now the institution in Fort Collins, Colo., where he has worked for nearly half a century, has told Gray it may end its support of his seasonal forecasting. As he enters his 25th year of predicting hurricane season activity, Colorado State University officials say handling media inquiries related to Gray's forecasting requires too much time and detracts from efforts to promote other professors' work.

But Gray, a highly visible and sometimes acerbic skeptic of climate change, says that's a "flimsy excuse" for the real motivation - a desire to push him aside because of his global warming criticism. Among other comments, Gray has said global warming scientists are "brainwashing our children."

Now an emeritus professor, Gray declined to comment on the university's possible termination of promotional support. But a memo he wrote last year, after CSU officials informed him that media relations would no longer promote his forecasts after 2008, reveals his views: "This is obviously a flimsy excuse and seems to me to be a cover for the Department's capitulation to the desires of some (in their own interest) who want to rein in my global warming and global warming-hurricane criticisms," Gray wrote to Dick Johnson, head of CSU's Department of Atmospheric Sciences, and others.

The university may have moderated its stance since last year. Officials said late last week that they intend to support the release of Gray's forecasts as long as they continue to be co-authored by Phil Klotzbach, a former student of Gray's who earned his doctorate last summer, and as long as Klotzbach remains at CSU. When Klotzbach leaves, he will either produce the seasonal forecasts at his new position, or end them altogether.

Not only does this internal dispute reveal a bit of acrimony at the end of Gray's long career at CSU; it highlights the politically charged atmosphere that surrounds global warming in the United States. "Bill Gray has come under a lot of fire for his views," said Channel 11 meteorologist Neil Frank, a former director of the National Hurricane Center and a friend of Gray's. "If, indeed, this is happening, it would be really sad that Colorado State is trying to rein in Bill Gray."

CSU officials insist that is not the case. The dean of the College of Engineering, which oversees atmospheric sciences, said she spoke with Gray about terminating media support for his forecasts solely because of the strain it placed on the college's sole media staffer. "It really has nothing to do with his stand on global warming," said the dean, Sandra Woods. "He's a great faculty member. He's an institution at CSU." According to Woods, Gray's forecasts require about 10 percent of the time a media support staff member, Emily Wilmsen, has available for the College of Engineering and its 104 faculty members.

A professor of public relations at Boston University, Donald Wright, questioned why the university would want to pull back its support for Gray now, after he has published his forecasts for a quarter-century. "It's seems peculiar that this is happening now," Wright said. "Given the national reputation that these reports have, you would think the university would want to continue to promote these forecasts." Gray, he said, seems to deliver a lot of publicity bang for the buck. The seasonal forecasts are printed in newspapers around the country and splashed across the World Wide Web.

There also seems to be little question that prominent climate scientists have complained to CSU about Gray's vocal skepticism. The head of CSU's Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Dick Johnson, said he has received many comments during recent years about Gray - some supportive, and some not. The complaints have come as Gray became increasingly involved in the global warming debate. His comments toward adversaries often are biting and adversarial. In 2005, when Georgia Tech scientist Peter Webster co-authored a paper suggesting global warming had caused a spike in major hurricanes, Gray labeled him and others "medicine men" who were misleading the public.

Webster, in an e-mail from Bangladesh, where is working on a flood prediction project, acknowledged that he complained to Johnson at CSU. "My only conversation with Dick Johnson, which followed a rather nasty series of jabs from Gray, suggested that Bill should be persuaded to lay off the personal and stay scientific," Webster wrote....

Although he ceded lead authorship of the forecasts to Klotzbach in 2006, Gray has remained the headliner in storm prognostication. He annually is among the most popular draws at the National Hurricane Conference. In recent years, as he has increasingly made sharp public comments about global warming, Gray quickly became one of the most prominent skeptics because of his long background in atmospheric sciences. His views on the climate - he says Earth is warming naturally and soon will begin cooling - have been applauded by some scientists, particularly meteorologists such as Frank. But they are out of step with mainstream climate science. The most recent report by an international group of climate scientists, the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change, concluded that there was 90 percent certainty that human activity had caused recent warming of the planet.

Yet at U.S. universities, threats to the rights of scientists who hold minority viewpoints are generally frowned upon. A prominent legal scholar, Stanley Fish of Florida International University, said university public relations offices should not pick and choose where resources go, based upon the content of a professor's work. "If it can in any way be established that (Gray's) global warming views were the basis of this action, then it is an improper action," Fish said.

In his memo, Gray clearly indicates that he believes his academic freedom is imperiled: "For the good of all of us in the Department, the College and at CSU, please believe me when I say this is not a direction any of you want to go," he wrote. "Our department and college are strong enough to be able to tolerate a dissenting voice on the global warming question."



As world food and energy prices rise, look for the policy community to come up with new rounds of explanations and fresh batches of bad policy. A current favourite among United Nations' operatives and the CBC is to blame the current all-purpose whipping boy for adverse economic developments: hedge funds and speculators.

No doubt speculators are playing the food and energy markets. But speculators don't make much of a scene working stable commodities and smooth-functioning markets. It's a dull business of dodging and covering and protecting, as buyers and sellers play out strategies to offset their risks. Speculation is a hot business only when outside forces conspire to upset the tedium - a hurricane that wipes out oil supply routes and orange groves, or a drought that dries up grain fields. Speculators follow the storms, they don't create them. They rescue markets from crises created elsewhere.

The "elsewheres" of the current global spikes in key food and energy markets are not hard to find. All roads lead to government policies and state-run institutions, beginning with central banks. There seems little doubt that the U.S. Federal Reserve and other controllers of monetary policy have set conditions for a global bout of inflation. The U.S. dollar price of oil, rice, wheat and other commodities is in large part the story of a falling U.S. dollar, weakened by U.S. government policies.

In developing countries, the U.S. dollar is still the only true purchasing unit, and consumers who don't have enough of them - due to fixed exchange rates or currency controls - bear the burden of the falling U.S. dollar through higher costs for food and energy.

But food and energy prices are both heavily influenced by government policies in other ways. World trade in food, especially key commodities, is blanketed by market-killing incentives and disincentives, and smothered by central-planning agencies. We have Canada's supply-managed dairy regimes, massive U.S. trade-distorting agricultural policies, European protectionism and paralyzed world trade talks. In the developing world, uncountable regulations, subsidies, taxes and trade restrictions freeze and distort market forces.

The world food system cannot cope with shocks because markets can't function. A microcosm of the kind of policy paralysis that exists is Indonesia, where rice supply and demand is at the mercy of government agents and price controls. As Steve Hanke, of Johns Hopkins University, reports below, the situation is likely to get worse, not because of speculators, but because governments are now seizing the opportunity. "Now that governments in the rice-consuming countries have hit the panic button, we are witnessing a stampede to introduce more interventionist measures, discredited central-planning solutions and more government-to-government trade deals."

In a part of the world with rampant trade in everything from television parts to shoes and shirts, only about 6% to 7% of the number one basic food, rice, is traded. The rest is locked down by national farm protectionism and misguided attempts to control local prices.

The world is not "running out of food," as some have glibly claimed, any more than it is running out of oil. There is certainly rising demand for food, but what the world doesn't have is markets and trade systems capable of responding to that demand. The idea that there might be limits to global food production is just another formulation of the ancient belief that there is only room for so many people consuming so much resources. The world is running out of the open trade and free-market options that can cope with changing demand and supply patterns.

One reason for rising food prices is rising energy prices, another commodity group that in recent years has come under aggressive government control around the world.

The World Investment Report last year highlighted the transformation of world oil and gas supply from a private investor-controlled - and market driven - business to a state-controlled business. The top 10 oil firms in the world are all state owned, accounting for 77% of the total, with Russian firms controlling another 6%. Only about 10% of world oil reserves are in the hands of investor-owned firms such as Exxon Mobil.

State control delivers the usual benefits: erratic and politically driven policy and, in places such as Russia and Venezuela, a national petroleum industry whose production rates are declining. State-generated supply problems are a major factor behind rising oil prices.

These twin pillars of the world's state-dominated industries - food and energy - converge in many ways. Food production needs fuel. But never before has fuel production needed food. Thanks to biofuels, the two most controlled and regulated industries in the world are converging. And we wonder why prices are going up.



Another failed energy policy, courtesy of the Washington central planners

Big-government, command-and-control technocrats believe that when central-planning fails, the solution is a better plan and smarter planners. They never step back and look at whether planning makes sense in the first place. This was true of the Soviet Union, with tragic five-year plan after five-year plan. It was true of Communist China, with Mao's revolutionary upheavals. And today, here in the United States, it is true of government energy policy.

The 1970s and early 1980s saw all manner of failed energy policies - from Nixon's Project Independence price controls, to Ford's CAFE mandates, to Carter's Synthetic Fuels Corporation and windfall profits tax, to Bush and Clinton's publicly financed push for electric cars. The latest example is the 36 billion gallon biofuel mandate enacted into U.S. law last year.

U.S. dependence on imported energy continues to reach record levels while no commercially viable biofuels have been produced. At the same time, the government-subsidized burning of our food supply to create ethanol has both increased carbon dioxide emissions and driven up food prices at a startling rate. This must end.

Even environmentalists are calling for a halt to government subsidies and mandates on biofuels. Lester Brown, founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute, and Jonathan Lewis, a climate specialist with the Clean Air Task Force, spoke out on Earth Day with an article titled "Ethanol's Failed Promise." They outlined the desperate need for Congress to abandon a policy that should never have been enacted. In a daze over rising fuel costs, increased dependence on foreign oil, and a fear of carbon emissions, Congress has been backing the politically favored food-to-fuel ethanol program. But "the mandates are not reducing our dependence on foreign oil," wrote Brown and Lewis. "Last year, the United States burned about a quarter of its national corn supply as fuel - and this led to only a 1 percent reduction in the country's oil consumption."

The failure to reduce oil dependence is not the only flaw in the ethanol program. It also has driven food prices disturbingly high. The World Food Program is warning that the upward pressure on food prices is likely to lead to a "silent tsunami" of hunger. Josette Sheeran, the program's executive director, warned that "The price of rice has more than doubled in the last five weeks." The World Bank estimates that food prices have increased by 83 percent in three years. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown acknowledged what many have been saying for years: "The production of biofuels needs to be urgently re-examined."

Unintended consequences are the inevitable result when politicians pick untested feel-good solutions to market-created concerns. A decade of ethanol policies has once again proven this true. But we now stand on the cusp of an even larger congressional blunder: cap-and-trade. And this time higher food prices will not be the only negative result.

The Congressional Budget Office says current cap-and-trade legislation would amount to a $1.2 trillion tax hike on the American economy over the next ten years. This tax will be passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices for gasoline, electricity, heating oil, food, and any product that is transported to market. In the throes of an ethanol disaster, it would be inexcusable for politicians to ignore these hardships.

But we've seen this too many times before. Each new generation of central planners believes the previous generation wasn't smart enough. Yet central economic planning is forever doomed to failure since the approach itself limits human freedom, ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and innovation. These are the true engines of prosperity, and they will best manage all our problems, including those in the energy arena.


Something Strange Explained

Post below recycled from the Australian blog A Western Heart. See the original for links

Sydney Morning Herald environment reporter, Ben Cubby ominously writes, "Something strange is happening to our weather." Cubby recently came to our attention when he published statistics purporting to show that Australians each used one tonne of plastic bags per year, or that they were using bags weighing 5.5kg each. The article was belatedly corrected with national plastic bag usage reduced by a factor of 1000, but not before the hyped-up message got through.

Now under the hyped-up headline, "Extreme weather is here to stay," Cubby tells us that, "Sydney has endured the most sodden school holidays in living memory," and, "the longest unbroken spell of April drizzle for 77 years," and, "unseasonably early snow fell in the mountains at the weekend." That's what passes for "extreme" these days. It reminds me of then-ALP leader Kim Beazley telling us how Howard planned to replace his "extreme IR laws" with something, well, "even more extreme".

Experts from the BoM are quoted, "The weather's been anything but normal over the last six months... I can't recall a longer period of sustained weather patterns, of various kinds."

Various kinds of weather! Sodden school hols; extreme April drizzle; hopeful skiers. Cubby sounds like he's channeling Eric Oldthwaite from the Ripping Yarns series: When it weren't drizzlin', it were extreme drizzlin'. What could be causing these remarkable weather patterns?
"A zone of high pressure in the Tasman Sea is the main cause of the record-breaking weather because it has a "blocking" effect, meaning that once a weather pattern arrives, it sticks around for a long while."

Oh well, there you go. Seems that "something strange" can be explained quite easily. Let's hear from another expert:
"This has less to do with global warming and more to do with the natural kinks and dips you see in weather patterns each year."

This was from the co-director of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of NSW. It's pretty tough when even the climate change guy won't get excited about your various kinds of weather patterns.


For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Wikipedia bias

Because the actual temperature record of the last 10 years is decisively against them and the only "science" that supports Warmism is speculative, the Green/Left normally rely very heavily on defamation of those who disagree with them in order to "support" their theories. And, although Wikipedia is well-known as an unreliable source of political information, they of course do their best to debauch what appears there. As Fred Singer is a leading skeptic, his Wikpedia entry has recently come under heavy attack. I reproduce below some interesting comments about that from various sources:

Jim Peden writes

I note with interest that today ( 27 April 2008, at 15:49 ) Dr. Singer's biography on Wikipedia was "modified". See

While I don't know the exact nature of today's modifications, it is clear that the AGW folks have been at work there, judging by a number of elements which are uncomplimentary and prejudicial and totally unwarranted on a general "biography". This is becoming commonplace - when the science does not support AGW, then attack the messenger trying to expose the hoax. There may be a silver lining here ( at Dr. Singer's expense ) - the AGW hysterics are now clearly in panic mode.

Under the GLOBAL WARMING section, we have

A 2007 Newsweek cover story on climate change denial reported that: "In April 1998 a dozen people from the denial machine - including the Marshall Institute, Fred Singer's group and Exxon - met at the American Petroleum Institute's Washington headquarters. They proposed a $5 million campaign, according to a leaked eight-page memo, to convince the public that the science of global warming is riddled with controversy and uncertainty." The plan was reportedly aimed at "raising questions about and undercutting the 'prevailing scientific wisdom'" on climate change. According to Newsweek, the plan was leaked to the press and therefore was never implemented.

Fred Singer replies:

1. Unfortunately, Jim Peden is correct. Unnamed parties have been inserting bizarre items into my Wiki biography. Larry Solomon has just published an article about this in the National Post.

The latest Wiki version makes me out to be some kind of wacko who believes in the existence of Martians.

2. Global Warming: The Newsweek allegation is completely untrue. No one from my organization attended such a meeting at the American Petroleum Institute. The NY Times ran the story originally and retracted it later when it was shown to be incorrect. We complained to Newsweek editor Jon Meacham and to writer Sharon Begley. But Newsweek has never corrected its story.

3. NIPCC: On ABC World News (March 23, 2008) reporter Dan Harris asserted that (unnamed) scientists at NASA, Princeton, and Stanford referred to NIPCC as "fraudulent nonsense." On the ABC web story, he changed the words to "fabricated nonsense" but never identified the scientists. I am pretty sure I know who they are (Hansen, Oppenheimer, and Schneider) and wonder if they really used the word "fraudulent" or if Harris made it up. If we sue for libel, we could find out. But is it worth it?

As an aside, ABC clearly stated that the Exxon donation of a decade ago was "unsolicited." The Wiki account does not, and attempts to link it to NIPCC.

4. When all else fails, there's always tobacco. I am nonsmoker, belong to an anti-smoking organization (ACSH), and hate cigarette smoke. But this does not affect my science. Expert epidemiologists, including those at the Congressional Research Service, all agree that EPA cooked the data in order to link 'second-hand' smoke to lung-cancer deaths. See, e.g., here or here

I wanted you to know all this but don't really expect to change Wiki.

Viscount Monckton comments:

There is a well-organized team under a computer nerd called Kim Dabelstein-Petersen who are responsible for dive-bombing the biographies of anyone known to question the alarmist viewpoint on the climate. They did it to me. When I said I would sue, they said legal action would be ineffective because they shelter behind a jurisdiction of convenience in Florida, where the publication of lies is permitted. So I told them that I'd obtain an interdict from the Scottish courts, forbidding the Internet trunk carriers from carrying any Wikipedia inaccuracies about me. That got their attention. My page has been cleaned up and locked against further tampering (for the time being, at any rate).

Lawrence Solomon comments:

Fred Singer, one of the world's renowned scientists, believes in Martians. I discovered this several weeks ago while reading his biography on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. "Do you really believe in Martians?" I asked him last week, at a chance meeting at a Washington event. The answer was "No."

Wikipedia's error was neither isolated nor inadvertent. The page that Wikipedia devotes to what is ostensibly Fred Singer's biography is designed to trivialize his long and outstanding scientific career by painting him as a political partisan and someone who "is best known as president and founder (in 1990) of the Science & Environmental Policy Project, which disputes the prevailing scientific views of climate change, ozone depletion, and second-hand smoke and is science advisor to the conservative journal NewsMax."

Innocent Wikipedia readers would be surprised to learn that Dr. Singer is no conservative kook but the first director of the U.S. National Weather Satellite Center; the recipient of a White House commendation for his early design of space satellites; the recipient of a commendation from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for research on particle clouds; and the recipient of a U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award for the development and management of weather satellites. He is, in short, a scientist of the highest calibre, with a long list of major scientific achievements, including the first measurements, with V-2 and Aerobee rockets, of primary cosmic radiation in space, the design of the first instruments for measuring ozone, and the authorship of the first publications predicting the existence of trapped radiation in the earth's magnetic field to explain the magnetic-storm ring current.

Honest accounts of Fred Singer and his accomplishments have been available on Wikipedia, and on hundreds of occasions. Those occasions don't last long, however - often just minutes - before the honest accounts are discovered and reverted by Wikipedians who troll the site. Such trolls continually monitor Wikipedia's 10 million pages to erase any hint that the science is not settled on climate change. Dissenters by the dozens have been likewise demeaned - to check for yourself, just look up Richard Lindzen, Paul Reiter, or any of the other scientists or organizations that have questioned the orthodoxy on climate change.

In contrast to the high-handed treatment that greet global warming skeptics, those who support the orthodoxy are puffed up and protected from criticism, their errors erased and their controversies hushed. This is the case with Naomi Oreskes, a scientist with a PhD who had arrived at an absurd finding: That no studies in a major scientific database questioned the UN view of climate change.

The trollers insist on characterizing Fred Singer as believing in Martians, in reality it is the Wickipedian trollers who are from Mars. Read more on this here and as most honest professors do, discourage your children from relying on Wiki as an encyclopedia of truth on at least this issue. The Martians have turned it into yet another propaganda vehicle.

The Black and White Aerosols Show

A paper published in Nature Geoscience last month received a lot of media attention. And rightly so. It showed that the Black Carbon (BC) component of soot is responsible for up to 60% as much warming as CO2. That is significant for many reasons, only some of which were covered in the newspapers. The Guardian's account is fairly typical:
Scientists warn of soot effect on climate

* Coal and wood 'more damaging than thought'

* Black carbon harms environment and health

Most reports also mentioned that BC-induced warming is more amenable to mitigation than that caused by CO2. This is because BC persists in the atmosphere for periods of days rather than the decades that CO2 does, so reductions in BC output will take more immediate effect, and because BC and the so-called white aerosols such as sulphates, which have a cooling effect, have only partially overlapping sources, providing the potential to decouple white and black aerosol production. So far, so interesting. But what didn't get mentioned is even more so.

First, there are the implications of the research for the climate models. It hardly needs pointing out that the identification of a factor that causes 60% as much warming as CO2 is going to require something of a re-adjustment of the models. The graph that usually gets wheeled out on such occasions is this one, which shows how the models juggle what are thought to be the five major forcing factors to come up with a line that kind of agrees with observed temperature variation over the last century:

Black carbon doesn't even feature. In its latest round of reports, the IPCC assigns BC a warming effect of 0.2-0.4 Wm-2 (a consensus figure based on 20-30 modelling studies), in contrast to the Nature Geoscience paper's estimate of 0.9 Wm-2 (the result of a review of the models combined with new empirical data from satellites, as well as aerial and terrestrial measurements of "brown clouds" over the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea).

More generally, the findings reveal how little is understood about the role of aerosols (regarded as having a net cooling effect) on climate dynamics. Which is especially interesting because aerosols are absolutely central to the standard way of explaining away a thorny problem for global warmers - the period of cooling (~1944-1974), which occurred in defiance of rising CO2 concentrations (see graph above). The argument goes that the temperature slump is the result of white aerosols - released from coal and oil burning - masking the warming effect of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, until various clean air acts in the US and Europe allowed the anthropogenic warming signal to re-emerge.

Indeed, this is one of those items of 'settled science' flagged up in an open letter to Martin Durkin's Wag TV, makers of the infamous The Great Global Warming Swindle, organised by Bob Ward, former Senior Manager for Policy Communication at the Royal Society and now Director of Global Science Networks at risk analysis firm RMS and signed by 37 scientists. The letter demanded that Wag TV correct "five major misrepresentations of the scientific evidence" before distributing the DVD version of the program. One of those major misrepresentations concerned the post-war temperature slump:
However, the DVD version of the programme does not make any mention of the impact of atmospheric aerosols on the record of global average temperature. The producer of the programme, Martin Durkin has attempted to justify this by suggesting that if aerosols caused the cooling between 1945 and 1975, then global average temperatures should be lower today, because he believes that atmospheric concentrations of aerosols should be even higher today than they were during that period. But the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report pointed out that "[g]lobal sulphur emissions (and thus sulphate aerosol forcing) appear to have decreased after 1980".

However, according to the authors of the Nature Geoscience paper, it is nothing like so clear cut. First up, University of Iowa atmospheric chemist Greg Carmichael:
Climate Resistance: Are we now not so certain that the post-war cooling is due to aerosols?

Greg Carmichael: This is an added complication. But it's also an added level of understanding. And as we get better measurements of the present, and better models that can drive these simulations for the last 50 years, or so, we'll see that we've improved our understanding and that the aerosol effect is as important as we've indicated.

CR: But we don't actually know that yet?

GC: We still have a way to go before understand how the heating-cooling push-pull really plays out.

UC San Diego atmospheric physicist Veerabhadran Ramanathan is more candid:
Climate Resistance: What are the implications of this work for the idea that the post-war temperature decline is the result of sulphate aerosols masking the warming effect of CO2 emissions?

Veerabhadran Ramanathan: After the 1970s, when the West was cleaning up pollution, there was a rise in temperatures. We stopped burning coal in cities etc, and coal puts out a lot of sulphates, and sulphates mask global warming. At the same time, in the tropics, China and India, they were growing fast and putting a lot more Black Carbon.

CR: So the sulphate component must have been reduced more than the Black Carbon component for the aerosol masking theory to hold? We now need empirical data to compare the effect of black and white aerosols during the post-war temperature slump?

VR: Exactly.

CR: Do we have that empirical data?

VR: No. The data we have is for 2002-2003. We don't know what happened in the '50s, '60s and '70s. The implication of this study is that we have to understand what is the relative change in the sulphur emissions versus the Black Carbon emissions - and we don't know that.

CR: So what is the empirical evidence that, 50 years ago, white aerosols were masking GW due to CO2?

VR: It's pretty flimsy. The main information we have [...] is our understanding of the SO2 emissions by coal combustion, and oil. But we need to know not so much how much SO2 we put out, but how much was converted to sulphates, how much was removed [etc]

CR: So you don't even know the life cycle of the SO2 and sulphates?

VR: No. All the information we have is from models... It could still be true [that white aerosols account for the post-war temperature slump]

CR: But it could not be true?

VR: Yes. The picture is complicated. But this paper is not saying it is wrong [...]

CR: So we now have a better idea of what is happening aerosol-wise in the present, but what was going on in the 1950s/'60s is still elusive?

VR: Yes, There's a lot of research needs to be done on that - what happened in the '50s and '60s, and then why the rapid ramp up [from the '70s]. I'm not saying our current understanding is wrong, just that it is a more complicated picture. I would say it's uncertain.

All of which tells a rather different story about the state of knowledge than Bob Ward's letter would have us believe. It continues:
[The Great Global Warming Swindle] misrepresented the current state of scientific knowledge by failing to mention that the cooling effects of aerosol need to be taken into account when considering the period of slight cooling between 1945 and 1975.

Just like Bob Ward failing to mention that the empirical evidence that aerosols account for the period of slight cooling between 1945 is "pretty flimsy", in fact - which is perhaps why Durkin didn't mention it. And just as Ward slights Durkin for bolstering his case by omitting 'inconvenient' facts, there is little difference between what he accuses Durkin of, and the way he and his fellow accusers carried on.


Can Scientists Really Predict a Global Climate Catastrophe?

Just as Al Gore did not invent the Internet, he did not invent global warming theory. Scientists invented it, and they continue to fuel the mass hysteria they created by making predictions about climate change and its dire consequences for our planet. But have any of their followers stopped to consider how scientists are able to predict a global catastrophe in the distant future without being able to make accurate short-term predictions?

For the last two years, scientists were predicting high hurricane activity in the United States. Yet, according to David Demming, writing in the Washington Times last year, "...neither the intensity nor the frequency of hurricanes has increased." The article points out that "the 2007 season was the third-quietest since 1966," and that "in 2006 not a single hurricane made landfall in the U.S."

Seasonal predictions are also challenging for scientists, which might help explain why we have been consulting a groundhog for so long. I live in Buffalo, and when scientists try to forecast our summer or winter weather, they are rarely accurate. Although scientists have sophisticated maps and models and cutting-edge technology, my own predictions based on intuition and conjecture would probably be just as accurate - if not more so.

Even the next day's weather forecasts are a formidable task for scientists. This past winter, on several occasions, they predicted one to two feet of snow in our area, and we barely got a white coating. Last summer, when my wife and I were trying to grow our new lawn, forecasters predicted rain every day for a week, but it hardly rained at all.

Of course, weather predictions are not always wrong. Sometimes scientists are right on target with their predictions, but often they are not, and sometimes they are way off the mark. The point is that their weather predictions should be significantly more accurate before trying to predict the destiny of the planet 50, 100 or 1000 years from now. Otherwise, it would be analogous to a student struggling with arithmetic but mastering calculus. It just doesn't happen.

It's not just scientists' predictions that cast doubt on their ability to predict a global catastrophe; it's also the predictions they don't make. They didn't predict, for example, Buffalo's surprise snow storm in October 2006, which destroyed many trees, knocked out power in Buffalo for several days, and sent the whole city scrambling to find alternative sources of heat. An early warning from scientists would have enabled us to prepare for the storm.

Nor did scientists predict that most parts of the world would be colder rather than warmer in 2007, but that is what happened. In fact, many places experienced record low temperatures and more people died from cold than warmth, according to "Year of Global Cooling." Even some Mediterranean countries like Greece and Israel that normally have mild winters were hit hard by snowstorms.

These events, which seem to conflict with both scientists' predictions and global warming theory, are often explained by global warming itself. Thus, one explanation for the cold weather worldwide is that global warming is creating strange weather patterns. Does this mean that, since global warming is supposed to happen, any event that is not consistent with global warming is strange? Also, why didn't scientists predict that global warming would -- or even could -- manifest as global cooling? In the minds of global warming enthusiasts, all events, whether they were expected or not, are proof of global warming since global warming is a foregone conclusion.

The reason scientists struggle with predictions and should be careful about making too many of them is that the world is incomprehensibly fluid and complex. The earth has always gone through warming and cooling phases. On April 28, 1975, a Newsweek article by Peter Gwynne titled, "A Cooling World," warned about the dangers posed by the earth's cooling. A few years after that article appeared, temperatures rose again, bringing us back to pre-cooling levels.

Scientists, of course, know all of this. So why do they continue to instill fear and guilt in their followers through gloomy prophecies? Perhaps they don't want to take any chances, and feel it is their duty to prevent a global catastrophe.

But how can they help us save the planet when they can't even help the poor farmer in the Midwest by warning him of the upcoming drought, or the newlyweds whose honeymoon plans have been shattered due to an unexpected storm, or the retired couple who spent their life savings on a dream vacation only to have it ruined by rain?

Although scientists are intelligent and serve an important function in our society, they are not soothsayers. Their inability to predict short-term events with a high degree of accuracy suggests their knowledge about the planet and universe is still quite limited. So can scientists really predict a global climate catastrophe? I doubt it.


Anchorage digs out after record storm: Spring dump is heaviest on record after April 1

A day after Anchorage endured one of the city's heaviest one-day snowfalls on record, people spent what would normally be a spring Saturday digging out and slogging through nearly 2 feet of fresh snow and slush.

People who had planned to put on shorts and T-shirts for the popular annual Heart Run instead got out hats, gloves and boots and postholed through the snow. The race, like other events, was postponed. In a place that saw a run of blue-sky days in the 50s earlier in the week, it felt a bit like whiplash to look out the window. Some rejoiced, others cursed, many just threw up their hands and gave over to the oddity of it. "Last night, I looked outside at 10 p.m. It was snowing AND light out," said Kenny Hood, who was playing indoor hockey in South Anchorage. "It certainly does mess with your mind."

The snowfall was the third-heaviest in a single day - measured midnight to midnight - since the National Weather Service started keeping records in Anchorage in 1915. Counting Saturday morning, 17 inches fell in West Anchorage and up to 22 inches in Muldoon. Between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Friday, snow fell at the rate of nearly 2 inches per hour, according to the weather service. Before Friday, the most snow that had ever fallen in one day after April 1 was 8.3 inches. The day's official tally at the airport: 15.5.

"Everyone's grumpy," said Trace Carlos, who had been looking at bicycles to buy and getting ready for his summer kite surfing. "We need summer, and old man winter comes along and gives us a big dump."

By afternoon, much of the snow on the major roads had been plowed or melted. In many neighborhoods, though, drivers had to practically swim through it, listening to the sound of the slush on their cars' underbellies. Juliana Jaroslaw took in her car Friday morning to have the studded tires switched over. She had started thinking about wearing flip-flops. "I hate it," she said Saturday. "Everything now gets put on hold. My gardening. Everything."

The snow bent tree branches, causing electricity outages affecting more than 2,500 customers of Municipal Light and Power and Chugach Electric Association. Outages are par for the course in Alaska in the fall because snow accumulation snaps smaller branches and brings down lines, said Chugach Electric spokeswoman Patti Bogan. This much snow this time of year is highly unusual, though, and had the same effect, she said.


Premature snowfalls in Australia

As we see above, the Northern winter is not yet over but the snow has already started to fall in parts of Australia. More of that global cooling that we have been seeing in recent times. The recent Northern hemisphere winter was deadly in many places

A COLD snap across Victoria's alpine region dumped a heavy layer of snow over the weekend in an encouraging sign that the coming ski season could begin early.

After sub-zero temperatures at Falls Creek early yesterday, resort operators hope the colder than normal weather could result in the best conditions on the slopes in several years. About 15cm of snow was dumped on Falls Creek and Mount Hotham yesterday and forecasters expect more falls in the region over the next 24 hours.

Keen young skiers rugged up and hit the slopes early yesterday while snow and ice covered trees and cars around the resort. With weather experts predicting bigger than expected snowfalls in Victoria this season, Melbourne Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Dean Stewart last night said the heavy falls around Falls Creek followed a cold snap in the area on Saturday night. "There have been some fairly good snowfalls in the last 12 to 18 hours in the alps," he said. "The main rain-producing cloud that led to the falls has pushed east of the alpine area. So over the next 24 hours there's going to be further showers pushing up over the alps."

Mr Stewart said more rain and snow were expected to fall before the weather cleared on Tuesday. "As far as the big dumps go, they've had that already, but there could be some more showers in the next day or so," he said.

Falls Creek spokesman Ian Talbot said the cold weather could herald the best skiing conditions since 2000, when the official season began two weeks early. The season is due to begin on the Queen's Birthday weekend of June 7. "All the predictions suggest we may have a season like 2000," he said. "That started off really well too." Mr Talbot said bookings were already strong for the school holiday period, and yesterday's heavy dumping of snow meant visitors could be confident of a good winter ahead. "For this time of year, it's been quite unusual weather, but from the industry's point of view it's very encouraging," he said.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning late yesterday for people in the southwest of NSW. Severe thunderstorms were expected to produce damaging winds in the region overnight, with towns including Wagga Wagga, Albury and Cobar likely to be most affected. Residents were urged to move cars away from trees, secure loose items around homes and avoid using their phones during the storm.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Climate Change 101: Key Global Warming Facts

By Dennis T. Avery (Dennis T. Avery is director of the Center for Global Food Issues at the Hudson Institute and co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years").

The Earth's warming since 1850 totals about 0.7 degrees C. Most of this occurred before 1940. The cause: a long, moderate 1,500-year climate cycle first discovered in the Greenland ice cores in 1983. The cycle abruptly raises our temperature 1 to 3 degrees C above the mean for centuries at a time--as it did during the Roman Warming (200 BC to 600 AD) and Medieval Warming (950 to 1300 AD).

Between warmings, Earth's temperatures shift abruptly lower by 1 to 3 degrees C--as they did during the 550 years of the Little Ice Age, which ended in 1850. The ice cores and seabed fossils show 600 of these 1,500-year cycles, extending back at least 1 million years.

CO2 Increases Lag Temperature Increases

In Al Gore's movie, the ice record from the Antarctic shows temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels tracking closely together through the radical ups and downs of four Ice Ages. The movie implies that more CO2 in the air produces higher temperatures. But we've recently done more refined ice studies, which show the temperatures changed about 800 years before the CO2 levels. More CO2 did not produce higher temperatures; instead, higher temperatures released more CO2 from the oceans into the atmosphere.

If the climate models' original greenhouse predictions had been valid, the Earth's temperatures would have risen several degrees more by now than they have. The Earth's net warming since 1940 is a barely noticeable 0.2 degrees C, over 70 years.

For the sake of argument, let's give the alarmists credit for half of this, or 0.1 degree C. Moreover, the Earth has experienced no discernible temperature increase since 1998, nearly nine years ago. Remember, too, that the atmosphere is approaching CO2 saturation-- after which more CO2 will have no added climate forcing power.

Temperatures, Sunspots, Cosmic Rays

There is a 95 percent correlation between Earth's temperatures and sunspots since 1860. There is virtually no correlation between our temperatures and CO2 in the atmosphere. The sunspot number has recently dropped to zero. In the past, when sunspot numbers and our temperatures have diverged, the sunspots have been the leading indicator. The temperatures have soon shifted to follow.

Does this mean that Earth's temperatures will soon decline? History says yes. How long will the global warming alarmists be able to sustain the public hysteria without strongly rising temperatures? This will be a key factor in the short-term future of climate warming legislation. Henrik Svensmark of the Danish Space Research Institute says cosmic rays are the link between the sun's variability and Earth's temperatures. More or fewer cosmic rays, depending on the strength of the solar wind, seed more or fewer of the low, wet clouds that cool the Earth. Further experiments to document this impact are planned in Europe.

"There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing, or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate". That statement comes from a petition signed by more than 19,000 American scientists, available online at a site hosted by the Oregon Institute for Science and Medicine at .

Warming Cycles Are the Norm

The Earth has had eight warming cycles since the last Ice Age. Several of these were apparently warmer than today, based on the evidence of fossils and isotopes. The Medieval Warming until recently was known as the little climate optimum. Human numbers increased with the long, stable growing seasons; there were fewer and milder storms; and there were fewer deadly disease epidemics. Bubonic plague attacked Europe during both the Dark Ages and the Little Ice Age.

No wild species have gone extinct due to higher temperatures during the unprecedented warming of the past century. All of the existing species have been through even stronger warmings in the past. We have not examined their coping strategies, preferring to demand instead that somehow the climate cycle be stopped.

Arctic ice area has hit a modern low in recent months, but this cannot be due to global warming because the Antarctic simultaneously has the most ice in modern times. The polar regions have their own climate cycles, which operate within the longer 1,500-year cycle. Earth also has the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the El Nino cycle, and a 22.5-year sunspot-related cycle in Southern Hemisphere rainfall.

The new book Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years cites hundreds of peer-reviewed studies by more than 500 fully qualified scientists who found evidence that: 1) a natural, moderate 1,500-year climate cycle has produced several global warmings similar to ours since the last Ice Age and/or 2) our Modern Warming is linked strongly to variations in the sun's irradiance; 3) sea levels are failing to rise importantly; 4) our storms and droughts are becoming fewer and milder with this warming as they did during previous global warmings; 5) human deaths will be reduced with warming because cold kills far more people than heat; and 6) corals, trees, birds, mammals, and butterflies are adapting well to the routine reality of changing climate.

Despite being published in such journals such as Science, Nature, and Geophysical Review Letters, these scientists have gotten little media attention.


Another dissenter

Indiana State treasurer Richard Mourdock has a graduate degree in geology and is a licensed professional geologist and former field geologist

After running 26.2 miles in the Boston marathon Monday, Richard Mourdock, Indiana's state treasurer, spoke with students Thursday evening about issues in Indiana....

Mourdock serves as the chief investment officer for the state of Indiana, so he decides where to invest the money."The value of the U.S. dollar is dropping," Mourdock said.

"We've probably never been in as turbulent a time as now. I predict we'll see $200 per barrel of oil in the next 18 months. "With a graduate degree in geology, Mourdock said his studies have convinced him that global warming is not happening."I'm scared to death about each of the three candidates and their positions on global climate change," Mourdock said. "Global caps in the last 15 years receded until last year on Mars, but what do we have in common with Mars? Last time I checked, only the sun."

Mourdock explained that humans aren't the cause of global warming and that it's something bigger in the universe, such as the sun. He also discussed hydrogen fuel cell-driven vehicles, the world's first full-scale coal gasification plant in Knox County, Ind., and the largest wind farm in the U.S. with hypermodern wind turbines in Benton, Ind.


Global Warming Holiday

Polls are cruel. Voters consistently say they want to stop global warming. They also say consistently that energy prices, especially for gasoline, are too high. So what are politicians supposed to do? The answer, apparently, is to pretend the contradiction doesn't exist. The latest episode in this long-running bipartisan ruse aired last week, when John McCain proposed a "gas tax holiday" that would suspend federal levies between Memorial Day and Labor Day. "Americans need relief right now from high gas prices," a press release put it, and the holiday will "act immediately to reduce the pain." His Arizona colleague, Jon Kyl, promptly introduced it as Senate legislation.

The 18.4 cent tax per gallon of gas (24.4 cents for diesel) funds interstate highway repairs and other transit needs, though general revenue would offset losses from the moratorium. But even assuming such savings are passed on to consumers, it won't offer much help at the pump. Most of the price of gasoline is determined by the global price of crude oil, which is spiking now due to a combination of the weak dollar and commodity speculation. The source of the problem isn't the tax. Domestic demand for gas always goes up with summer driving, but the McCain holiday doesn't affect production, and anyway, only applies over the short term.

More notably, it makes a hash out of the climate-change policies that the candidate purports to favor. In 2003, Mr. McCain and Joe Lieberman introduced the first Senate bill to mandate greenhouse-gas reductions through cap and trade. "There is no middle ground," Mr. McCain said in 2005. "You've got to have an immediate effort to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Anything less than that is a fig leaf and a joke."

As honest environmentalists admit, any effective policy to reduce emissions must increase the price of carbon, encouraging cuts in consumption and creating an incentive for competing energy sources. This is justified as a necessary sacrifice to avert "dire consequences . . . if we let the growing deluge of greenhouse gas emissions continue," as Mr. McCain said last year.

But as the gas-tax moratorium gambit shows, such purity is dumped as soon as voters start complaining about high prices. Not that the Republican is alone: Hillary Clinton, slipping into her new role as tribune of the working class, has endorsed the holiday, while Barack Obama is opposed because he believes a windfall profits tax on oil companies would provide more relief.

The evasions continue down the line. It is easy for everyone to say the U.S. needs a "Manhattan Project" for alternative energy because the phrase is meaningless. Most politicians favor a cap-and-trade regulatory policy, instead of a carbon tax, because it would shift higher emissions costs onto businesses, which would pass them on to consumers indirectly. Yet the most popular Senate bill that would create a cap-and-trade program applies only to utilities and industry. It excludes automobiles, though about one-third of annual U.S. carbon emissions come from cars and trucks.

Such contradictions are easy to paper over now, because big climate change legislation is still a ways off in Congress. But it's becoming clearer all the time that whatever emerges will be so shot through with loopholes and exemptions that its effect on carbon emissions will be minimal, while still imposing economy-wide distortions. No one could get elected, or for that matter govern, on a platform that called explicitly for increased energy prices. So we get contradictions like a gas tax moratorium married to cap-and-trade carbon limits. To quote Mr. McCain, it's "a joke."


Cooked Books, Warmed Earth

Two Experts Say Data Are Wrong

It may be folly or even apostasy - but only in the eyes of some - to do this mere hours after another Earth Day has passed. But, as we see it, now is the perfect time to praise courageous men, those who persistently stick to their own data and conclusions as they swim against the gadarene tide of global warming. Men like William Gray and Patrick Michaels.

Mr. Gray, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State, is the world's pre-eminent authority on hurricanes. He is also an outspoken foe of the global-warming "consensus," one who has testified before Congress, delivered numerous speeches, and penned myriad articles on the subject. Here's his pungent take on the matter: "I am of the opinion that this is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the American people. I've been in meteorology over 50 years. I've worked damned hard, and I've been around. My feeling is some of us older guys who've been around have not been asked about this. It's sort of a baby-boomer, yuppie thing."

Still, Mr. Gray, now 79, has not merely been ignored. He has been ostracized, his research funding cut off. But such is his conviction that he has poured more than $100,000 of his own money to fight what he deems a rank canard.

Mr. Michaels, a professor of environmental sicence at University of Virginia, knows the feeling all too well, though he is reputed to be the nation's most popular lecturer on the subject of global warming. But he, too, is a warming "skeptic." This mindset was most recently revealed in his commentary piece — "Our Climate Numbers Are a Big Old Mess" — in Friday's Wall Street Journal. Mr. Michaels not only cast a cool eye on recent legislative and executive endeavors to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions — we'll have to do with less energy, as no technology is available to achieve said goals — but also implied that, given the skewed state of data accumulation, these initiatives may not be necessary.

The key paragraph in Mr. Michaels' article is the fourth: "The earth's paltry warming trend, 0.31 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since the mid-1970s, isn't enough to scare people into poverty. And even that 0.31 degree figure is suspect."How so? While records from surface thermometers have indicated a warming trend these last 30 years, data from satellites and weather balloons did not concur — that is, until incessant revisions were made, always in the direction of a warming trend.

Mr. Michaels doesn't say so in such pungent terms, but his piece seems to contend the books have been cooked, or at least "warmed." Consider this, as he does: Six major revisions have been made to warming figures in recent years, all trending the same way. "[I]t's like flipping a coin and getting tails each time," he wrote. "The chance of that occurring is 0.016, or less than one in 50. That doesn't mean that these revisions are all hooey, but the probability that they would all go in one direction on the merits is pretty darned small."

Furthermore, Mr. Michaels takes issue with what the "consensus" scientists abjectly refuse to discuss — for instance, the state of the Eurasian arctic. For thousands of years after the last ice age, it was so much warmer in summer than it is now that green forests extended all the way to the Arctic Ocean. How do we know? Because the trees of these forests are buried in areas now too cold to support them. In other words, what once was forest is now tundra. These facts are conveniently overlooked.

But such is the state of climatology that the news is always bad, Mr. Michaels said. Mr. Gray would attribute this to a zeal, bordering on the religious, to "organize, propagandize, force conformity, and exercise political influence."The key word in that sentence, we believe, is "political." The one missing, but clearly implied, is "power."


Jeb Bush skeptical about global warming

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says he is "light green" on the environment and is skeptical that humans are causing global warming. Bush, whose two terms ended in 2007, also said Wednesday that he "can't imagine" running for national office and isn't interested in being Sen. John McCain's running mate.

The younger brother of President George W. Bush made the comments during an address to several hundred business people meeting in a hotel ballroom. Earlier in the day, he met with other directors of Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp., the hospital chain whose board he joined last year.

As governor, Bush, a Republican, was largely silent on global warming. His successor, Charlie Crist — who is often mentioned as a possible GOP running mate for McCain — has said Florida should become a leader in addressing climate change because its low elevation makes it vulnerable if ocean levels rise.

Bush said those who advocate action to limit climate change are acting out of something like religious zeal. "I don't think our policies should be based on emotion; they should be based on sound science," he said. Rather than reducing oil consumption, Bush said the United States should focus on "energy security" — reducing dependence on oil imported from hostile or politically unstable countries by encouraging alternative fuels.

In response to a question, Bush said he isn't thinking of running for national office. He said he only wanted to be governor. "I loved every minute of it, and when I finished, I finished," he said. He said he didn't "have any burning ambitions" beyond his foundation, which advocates education testing. "I can't imagine that I would get recharged up to do something else," he said.


A cool idea to warm to

The article below by Christopher Pearson appeared in Australia's national daily

About the beginning of 2007, maintaining a sceptical stance on human-induced global warming became a lonely, uphill battle in Australia. The notion that the science was settled had gathered broad popular support and was making inroads in unexpected quarters. Industrialists and financiers with no science qualifications to speak of began to pose as prophets. Otherwise quite rational people decided there were so many true believers that somehow they must be right. Even Paddy McGuinness conceded, in a Quadrant editorial, that on balance the anthropogenic greenhouse gas hypothesis seemed likelier than not.

What a difference the intervening 15 months has made. In recent weeks, articles by NASA's Roy Spencer and Bjorn Lomborg and an interview with the Institute of Public Affairs' Jennifer Marohasy have undermined that confident Anglosphere consensus. On's bestseller list this week, the three top books on climate are by sceptics: Spencer, Lomborg and Fred Singer. Archbishop of Sydney George Pell, a shrewd cleric who knows a dodgy millennial cult when he sees one, has persisted in his long-held critique despite the climate change alarmism of his brother bishops. Even Don Aitkin, former vice-chancellor of the University of Canberra, whom I'd previously been tempted to write off as a slave to political correctness, outed himself the other day as a thoroughgoing sceptic.

The latest countercultural contribution came in The Australian on Wednesday. Phil Chapman is a geophysicist and the first Australian to become a NASA astronaut. He makes the standard argument that the average temperature on earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, with a new twist. As of last year, the global temperature is falling precipitously. All four of the agencies that track global temperatures (Hadley, NASA Goddard, the Christy group and Remote Sensing Systems) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007.

Chapman comments: "This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over. It is time to put aside the global warming dogma, at least to begin contingency planning about what to do if we are moving into another little ice age, similar to the one that lasted from 1100 to 1850." A little ice age would be "much more harmful than anything warming may do", but still benign by comparison with the severe glaciation that for the past several million years has almost always blighted the planet.

The Holocene, the warm interglacial period we've been enjoying through the past 11,000 years, has lasted longer than normal and is due to come to an end. When it does, glaciation can occur quite quickly. For most of Europe and North America to be buried under a layer of ice, eventually growing to a thickness of about 1.5km, the required decline in global temperature is about 12C and it can happen in as little as 20 years.

Chapman says: "The next descent into an ice age is inevitable but may not happen for another 1000 years. On the other hand, it must be noted that the cooling in 2007 was even faster than in typical glacial transitions. If it continued for 20 years, the temperature would be 14C cooler in 2027. By then, most of the advanced nations would have ceased to exist, vanishing under the ice, and the rest of the world would be faced with a catastrophe beyond imagining. Australia may escape total annihilation but would surely be overrun by millions of refugees."

Chapman canvases strategies that may just conceivably prevent or at least delay the transition to severe glaciation. One involves a vast bulldozing program to dirty and darken the snowfields in Canada and Siberia, "in the hope of reducing reflectance so as to absorb more warmth from the sun. We may also be able to release enormous floods of methane (a potent greenhouse gas) from the hydrates under the Arctic permafrost and on the continental shelves, perhaps using nuclear weapons to destabilise the deposits".

He concludes: "All those urging action to curb global warming need to take off the blinkers and give some thought to what we should do if we are facing global cooling instead. It will be difficult for people to face the truth when their reputations, careers, government grants or hopes for social change depend on global warming, but the fate of civilisation may be at stake."

The 10-year plateau in global temperatures since 1998 has already sunk the hypothesis that anthropogenic greenhouse gas will lead to catastrophic global warming. To minds open to the evidence, it has been a collapsing paradigm for quite some time. But Chapman's argument about last year's 0.7C fall being "the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record" ups the stakes considerably. It replaces an irrational panic in the public imagination with a countervailing and more plausible cause for concern. It also raises, more pointedly than before, a fascinating question: since there are painful truths with profound implications for public policy to be confronted, how will the political class manage the necessary climb-down?

In Australia, Rudd Labor's political legitimacy is inextricably linked to its stance on climate change. If the Prime Minister wants a second term, he'll probably have to start "nuancing his position", as the spin doctors say, and soon. A variation on J.M. Keynes's line - "when the facts change, I change my mind" - admitting that the science is far from settled and awaiting further advice, would buy him time without necessarily damaging his credibility.

Taking an early stand in enlightening public opinion would be a more impressive act of leadership. While obviously not without risk and downside, it would make a virtue out of impending necessity and establish him, in Charles de Gaulle's phrase, as a serious man. I don't think he's got it in him. But we can at least expect that some of the more ruinously expensive policies related to global warming will be notionally deferred and quietly shelved. Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Minister Kim Carr will be allowed to invest in high-profile nonsense such as funding "the green car". But the coal industry is unlikely to be closed down or put into a holding pattern. Nor are new local coal-fired power stations going to be prohibited until the technology is developed to capture and sequester carbon.

Since the greater part of the funds for the research underpinning that technology is expected to come from the private sector - and there's a limit to what government can exact by administrative fiat - as the debate becomes calmer and more evidence-based, business will be increasingly reluctant to outlay money on a phantom problem. Budgetary constraints and rampant inflation provide governments with plenty of excuses for doing as little as possible until a new and better informed consensus emerges on climate.

Ross Garnaut could doubtless be asked to extend his carbon trading inquiry for the life of the parliament and to make an interim report in 12 months on the state the science. In doing so, he could fulfil the educative functions of a royal commission and at the same time give himself and the Government a dignified way out of an impasse.

Whatever happens in the realm of domestic spin doctoring, economic realities in the developing world were always going to defeat the global warming zealots. Before the election, Kevin Rudd had to concede that we would not adopt climate policies that were contrary to Australian interests unless India and China, emitters on a vastly larger scale, followed suit.

However, it has long been obvious that neither country was prepared to consign vast parts of their population to protracted poverty and to embrace low-growth policies on the basis of tendentious science and alarmist computer projections. Even if their governments were convinced that global warming was a problem - and they clearly aren't - it's doubtful they could sell the self-denying ordinances we're asking from them to their own people.

A likelier scenario would be full-page ads in our broadsheets and catchy local television campaigns paid for by the Indian and Chinese coal, steel and energy industries that buy our raw materials. Their theme would surely be that if many of the West's leading scientific authorities no longer subscribed to catastrophic global warming, why on earth should anyone else.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Greenie consolation prize

The first great Greenie adventure into climate processes was the Montreal protocol which "saved" the ozone in the atmosphere over the Antarctic. Monkeying around with our refrigerators and spraycans was supposed to shrink the ozone "hole". Many years later, however, there is no evidence that the hole has shrunk. It just oscillates as it always did. The unfalsifiable Greenie way out of that is to say that the hole will shrink one day if we are patient enough -- a bit like waiting for the State to "wither away" under Communism.

But they have now found another consolation in the non-shrinkage of the hole: The ozone hole keeps the Antarctic cool. They simply assert that without recourse to laboratory or observational evidence. They just assert that the ozone hole is the reason why the Antarctic is being so pesky and not warming up. All that they offer to support that claim is another "model" and models depend entirely on the assumptions you feed into them. They prove nothing.

Report below, followed by some more comments from various sources that question in detail the assumptions made in the computer simulation:

A full recovery of the stratospheric ozone hole could modify climate change in the Southern Hemisphere and even amplify Antarctic warming, according to scientists from the University of Colorado at Boulder, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA.

While Earth's average surface temperatures have been increasing, the interior of Antarctica has exhibited a unique cooling trend during the austral summer and fall caused by ozone depletion, said Judith Perlwitz of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, a joint institute of CU-Boulder and NOAA. "If the successful control of ozone-depleting substances allows for a full recovery of the ozone hole over Antarctica, we may finally see the interior of Antarctica begin to warm with the rest of the world," Perlwitz said.

Perlwitz is lead author of a new study on the subject to be published April 26 in Geophysical Research Letters. Co-authors include Steven Pawson and Eric Nielson of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and Ryan Fogt and William Neff of NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder. The study was supported by NASA's Modeling and Analysis Program.

The authors used a NASA supercomputer model that included interactions between the climate and stratospheric ozone chemistry to examine how changes in the ozone hole influence climate and weather near Earth's surface, said Perlwitz.

The study authors calculated that when stratospheric ozone levels return to near pre-1969 levels by the end of the 21st century, large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns now shielding the Antarctic interior from warmer air masses to the north will begin to break down during the austral summer. The circulation patterns are collectively known as a positive phase of the Southern Annular Mode, or SAM.

The scientists found that as ozone levels recover, the lower stratosphere over the polar region will absorb more harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. This could cause air temperatures roughly 6 to 12 miles above Earth's surface to rise by as much as 16 degrees Fahrenheit, reducing the strong north-south temperature gradient that currently favors the positive phase of SAM, said the research team.

The supercomputer modeling effort also indicated that ozone hole recovery would weaken the intense westerly winds that currently whip around Antarctica and block air masses from crossing into the continent's interior. As a result, Antarctica would no longer be isolated from the warming patterns affecting the rest of the world.

NASA's Pawson said ozone recovery over Antarctica would essentially reverse summertime climate and atmospheric circulation changes that have been caused by the presence of the ozone hole. "It appears that ozone-induced climate change occurred quickly, over 20 to 30 years, in response to the rapid onset of the ozone hole," he said. "These seasonal changes will decay more slowly than they built up, since it takes longer to cleanse the stratosphere of ozone-depleting gases than it took for them to build up."

The seasonal shift in large-scale circulation patterns could have repercussions for Australia and South America as well. Other studies have shown that the positive phase of SAM is associated with cooler temperatures over much of Australia and increased rainfall over Australia's southeast coastline.

During late spring and early summer, the positive phase of SAM also is associated with drier conditions in South America's productive agricultural areas like Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, said Perlwitz. If ozone recovery induces a shift away from a positive SAM, Australia could experience warmer and drier conditions while South America could get wetter, she said.

But just how influential a full stratospheric ozone recovery will be on Southern Hemisphere climate largely depends on the future rate of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the GRL authors. Projected increases in human-emitted greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide will be the main driver for strengthening the positive phase of SAM.

"In running our model simulations, we assumed that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide would double over the next 40 years and then slowly level off," said Perlwitz. "If human activities cause more rapid increases in greenhouse gases, or if we continue to produce these gases for a longer period of time, then the positive SAM may dominate year-round and dwarf any climatic effects caused by ozone recovery."


Some comments:

1). Two things to note, the paper refers to changes starting after 2018 with real results by the "end of the 21st century" - which they like to do because none of us will be around to verify.

Also note these scientists must not be aware or are ignoring the JPL findings reported in Nature last October, that the orginal consensus on man made causes for the ozone hole had collapsed. Laboratory experiments properly done at the appropriate pressures showed the rate of chemical reaction too small to be responsible, suggesting unknown likely natural causation. The finding caused quite a stir with comments like: "Our understanding of chloride chemistry has really been blown apart," says John Crowley, an ozone researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry in Mainz, Germany. "Until recently everything looked like it fitted nicely," agrees Neil Harris, an atmosphere scientist who heads the European Ozone Research Coordinating Unit at the University of Cambridge, UK. "Now suddenly it's like a plank has been pulled out of a bridge."

This was followed by a CYA study suggesting it was just a delay.

2). At present, much of the southern hemisphere has been cooling, and the area that has cooled is too large to be attributable to the ozone hole, which - if it is a cause rather than an effect of temperature change - will change temperature in the mid-stratosphere, with only marginal effects on the troposphere. NASA has reported a far closer correlation between stratospheric ozone concentration anomalies and stratospheric temperature anomalies than that between stratospheric temperature anomalies and tropospheric CO2 concentration anomalies. The former correlation indicates the possibility that ozone concentration anomalies may cause stratospheric temperature anomalies or vice versa, the latter absence of correlation demonstrates that stratospheric temperature anomalies neither cause nor are caused by anomalies in CO2 concentration. Bang goes another central plank in the IPCC's attribution case

Newt's Global Warming Surprise

My esteem for the political intellect of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is second to no one's. That said, by appearing in the latest Al Gore propaganda commercial, he joins a disturbingly growing number of ostensibly green-turning Republicans -- our president among them -- who thereby cast doubt upon their own conservative resolve. Harder still to reconcile is this: unlike that given by George Bush last week, Newt's explanation for his apparent duplicity rings excruciatingly hollow and ultimately fraudulent. Leaving dumbfounded admirers to wonder whether they'll ever learn why -- and why now?

The ad by Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection features Newt sitting on a Loveseat (of all things) with Nancy Pelosi (of all people) with the Capitol Building (of all places) looming large in the background. After cursory introductions and each confessing that they don't "always see eye-to-eye," Newt looks into the camera and states "but we do agree our country must take action to address climate change."

Now, while this may have shocked many viewers who thought only the amphibious newt to be green, in reality it didn't abruptly crawl out of a pond. During an April 2007 debate on the subject with the insufferable John Kerry, Newt opened by effectively ceding the point of anthropogenic global warming to his not-so-jolly green opponent. Even before Kerry could utter a single word of eco-babble, Newt admitted his thoroughly off beam conviction "that the evidence is sufficient that we should move towards the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon loading in the atmosphere."

Actually, outside of the Massachusetts Senator's emphasis on regulation as a solution, there was surprisingly little discord between the two "debaters." Declared Newt: "I want to suggest that we need a new science- and technology-based, entrepreneurial, market-oriented and locally led environmentalism." A concept Gingrich would essentially reiterate a year later when he speaks in the Gore-mercial of "spark[ing] the technology we need," not raising taxes or other big-government solutions.

To be sure, if the actions of man were ever to be proven contributory, technology would be the preferred GOP response, not taxes. But that's an extremely big and currently unforeseeable if.

Which leads to the primary quandary created by the highly regarded conservative's very presence in such an ad -- it broadcasts an acceptance that the actions of man have an impact on climate -- a theory never properly tested, much less proven. Moreover, Newt's suggestion that climate change is addressable in any manner other than adaptive preparation for its natural inevitability undermines the rational demand for empirical-evidence-before-action while supporting the alarmists' "debate is over" lie. How could the savvy political historian fail to foresee the tactical advantages his attendance would hand the loony Left?

And yet, his timing was actually worse than his reasoning. For starters, the "settled science" canard is quickly coming apart at the seams. A growing number (currently hundreds) of scientists -- many giants in their fields -- have signed a declaration during and since last month's New York Climate Conference, affirming their positions contrary to the so called "consensus." They emphatically reject CO2 as a pollutant, and assert that global climate has always and will always change -- independent of the actions of man. And that therefore, any schemes to mitigate anthropogenic carbon are a "dangerous misallocation of intellectual capital and resources that should be dedicated to solving humanity's real and serious problems." Additionally, such plans "will pointlessly curtail the prosperity of the West and progress of developing nations without affecting climate." And they conclude "that all taxes, regulations, and other interventions intended to reduce emissions of CO2 [should] be abandoned forthwith."

Meanwhile, another silly Earth Week comes to a close. For five straight days television viewers have suffered through a greater than usual number of straight-faced politicians and assorted talking heads addressing carbon and nuclear proliferation with equal alarm. They've also abided countless carbon-footprint-shrinking "tips" and non-stop advertisers selling the gullible on the premise that an imaginary green life is as important as a sparkling white toilet bowl and minty-fresh breath.

All, mind you, while the war, the housing market, energy costs, the overall economy and other real-world issues seem to have put the environment near dead last on most recent polls measuring respondents' concerns. Add the fact that a recent Gallup Poll found that "the greenhouse effect or global warming" only tied for 9th place in a list of environmental issues people actually do worry about, and it would appear that only the media, self-serving politicians and the alarmists themselves really buy any of this cataclysmic tipping point nonsense.

In fact, it seems as though the public's concerns for imaginary problems are inversely proportional to their exposure to real ones. Bad news for Al Gore, but decidedly good news for the planet. And considering the lethargy of Sun Cycle 24, news of flat global temps since 1998, forecasts of a potential impending ice-age, installed Euro cap-and-trade systems as corrupt as they are counterproductive and zero probability of capping emissions from developing India or development-overdriven China -- it's quite clear that the alarmists have found themselves on the ropes. Unfortunately, adding the name Gingrich to a roster of recently greened "Republicans" already including McCain, Schwarzenegger, Warner, Huckabee, Bloomberg and even - apparently Bush, can only serve to recharge the Big Green Scare Machine's eco-friendly fuel cells.

Yes, Bush is also getting heat for seemingly warming to warmists. Last week's official announcement of his plan to achieve flat U.S. Greenhouse Emissions by 2025 elicited cries of too-little-too-late from the left and Benedict Arnold from the right. But the president gave a fairly compelling explanation for his actions -- one well worth considering.

Earlier this month, 17 states exploited last year's absurd Supreme Court declaration of CO2 as an air pollutant by suing the Environmental Protection Agency to act upon it. As rightly feared at the time, the wrongly decided ruling that the EPA is legally responsible to regulate "greenhouse gas" (GHG) tailpipe emissions has opened the door to the specter of unelected bureaucrats controlling airborne carbon. A horrifying vision indeed, for as MIT climate scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen warned us last year: "Controlling Carbon is a bureaucrat's dream. If you control carbon you control life."

On another front, Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works chair Barbara Boxer and her greenie cronies have also been busy trying to force the EPA's CO2 pollutant status under the existing Clean Air Act. Such a move would all but assure their green dream of cap-and-trade by regulatory diktat.

Meanwhile, the Interior Department has been court ordered to decide whether the polar bear should be protected under the Endangered Species Act. As global warming is being blamed for the reduction of polar ice on which the mammals live and hunt, the confluence of these two so-amended acts could lead to, as Marc Morano -- communications director for the minority on Boxer's committee -- suggested at last month's conference: "someone running a lawnmower in Miami could, theoretically, be cited for endangering the polar bear."

It is just such insanity that Bush suggests his plan will curtail. As explained by the president: "If these laws are stretched beyond their original intent, they could override the programs Congress just adopted, and force the government to regulate more than just power plant emissions. They could also force the government to regulate smaller users and producers of energy - from schools and stores to hospitals and apartment buildings. This would make the federal government act like a local planning and zoning board, have crippling effects on our entire economy. Nicely played, actually.

But contrast the president's to Mr.Gingrich's explanation, as published on his website: After stating that he doesn't think there's conclusive proof of global warming, much less any anthropogenic contribution - a sharp departure from his converse words barely a year old -- Newt moves the discussion to conservation and energy policy:
"There is an important debate going on right now over the right energy policy, the right environmental policy, and making sure we do the right things for our future and the future of our children and grandchildren. Conservatives are missing from this debate, and I think that's a mistake. When it comes to preserving our environment for future generations, we can't have a slogan of `Just yell no!'

I have a different view. I think it's important to be on the stage, to engage in the debate, and to communicate our position clearly. There is a big difference between left-wing environmentalism that wants higher taxes, bigger government., more bureaucracy, more regulation, more red tape, and more litigation and a Green Conservatism that wants to use science, technology, innovation, entrepreneurs, and prizes to find a way to creatively invent the kind of environmental future we all want to live in. Unless we start making the case for the latter, we're going to get the former. That's why I took part in the ad."

Sorry, but that simply can't hold warming-ocean water. The Newt sitting beside Nancy didn't say that our country must take action to address a cleaner environment for our children and grandchildren. Nor did he say anything about energy policy -- surely no one would deny the benefits of energy independence. No -- he stared right into the camera and clearly stated that action must be taken to address climate change.

And just which "debate" does Newt think conservatives are missing from? The one the Left declares only a "tiny, tiny minority" of "deniers" and "flat-Earthers" refute is over? The same Left that labels all dissenting scientists, regardless of credentials and numbers, as hacks and oil company shills? And whose de facto leader has refused Mano-a-Mano debates time and time again?

The undeniable truth is that by continuing to seek knowledge rather than declaring the science "settled," Conservatives are far more involved in the debate than any of their liberal counterparts.

Again, Newt's innovation-over-bureaucracy argument merits none from me. But such actions -- indeed, any actions -- in the glaring absence of proof that global temperatures can be impacted in either direction by mankind's meddling cannot be the conservative position. On the other hand, steadfastly questioning the "science" while inexhaustibly fighting the politically correct scientifically-antithetical hype must be.


The link between solar cycle length and decadal global temperature

This article is from Stephen Wilde

I've been a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society since 1968. Admittedly that was before a science qualification was required but I've been a weather and climate geek for over 50 years.

The alleged link between cosmic ray flux and cloudiness remains to be proved or disproved. The link between solar cycle length and decadal global temperature changes is obvious throughout all the weather records. It's not strictly a sunspot issue, it just happens that the longer the solar cycle is the less intense is the sunspot activity and presumably the overall heat output (not necessarily the same as what we artificially term Total Solar Irradiance) during the cycle. Short fast cycles with many sunspots result in warming. Long slow cycles with fewer sunspots result in cooling.

The mechanism which explains the clear and obvious link has not been ascertained adequately but it sure ain't anything to do with CO2. It is likely that the El Nino/ La Nina cycle is implicated with a dominance of El Nino resulting in global warming and a dominance of La Nina resulting in global cooling.

The scale of the solar induced natural variability that has been observed over more than 500 years totally swamps any warming effect from human CO2. It is even possible that human cooling influences such as particle emissions and albedo changes from crop growing could offset any human induced warming already. There are no calculations quantifying both warming and cooling human influences so we have no idea what our net influence might be.

It is clear that the late 20th Century warming spell matched the duration of the two shortest, fastest solar cycles in the historical record (21 and 22). At the same time there was a matching sequence of strong El Nino events. These points should not be lightly dismissed. The cooling fears of the 60's and early 70's coincided with weak cycle 20 and the cessation of warming occurred during cycle 23 which has been weaker than the two cycles before it.

On balance the evidence shows that solar is more likely the cause than CO2 but the issue can soon be resolved by observing the global temperature changes that occur as a result of the extended cycle 23 and the probable weak cycle 24. If we now get a period of natural cooling it might well last several decades.

There has been a gradual background and wholly natural warming trend since the end of the Little Ice Age. Of course it is all a matter of trends over time periods. You can 'prove' any trend you require by choosing the right time scale. What matters is the scale of human influences either towards cooling or towards warming as against the underlying trend behind natural variability. It really is an unknown quantity. Even the scale and trend behind natural variability is subject to an unknown number of overlapping cycles from multiple causes many of which are unknown, unquantified or both.

Making policy decisions on the basis of current knowledge (and in the light of recent observations) would be wholly irresponsible. Using food for biofuel production should be a crime and yet that is the single most influential result of global warming alarmism so far. Just the start of the potentially murderous cycle of bad policy decisions that are likely to be based on a false premise.

I was open minded as to the cause of global temperature changes when I started my work some time ago. At first all I was pointing out was my observation of a change in global weather patterns around 2000 from a warming mode back to those of the cooling mode of the 60's and 70's. Observations since then have shown me to have been right.

I was also doubtful about the standards of accuracy in official recording sites due to urban development. That doubt was prompted by my own observations of how much a nearby building affected my own readings and has been vindicated by recent surveys of U.S. recording sites showing a pitiful attention to site standards.

After a great deal of reading and research since then I have come more and more to the view that solar is more important than CO2 on all the evidence available and if that causes me to be out of line with the IPCC and any number of scientific experts then, tough.


Greenies lose one

Plans for Britain's biggest land-based wind farm were turned down by the Scottish government yesterday, in a landmark decision with wide implications for the future development of renewable energy in the UK. The 181-turbine development on the Hebridean island of Lewis was vetoed by Scottish ministers because it was at odds with tough protection for wildlife sites afforded by European law. The site was designated as the Lewis Peatlands special protection area under the EU's birds directive to protect its rare breeding birds including the golden eagle, merlin, red-throated diver, black-throated diver, golden plover, dunlin and greenshank. As the wind farm would have "significant adverse impacts" on the wildlife site and its birds, it was in effect legally impossible to approve, said Jim Mather, the Scottish Energy Minister.

The decision sends a clear signal to developers seeking to take part in the "wind rush" expected as part of the massive expansion of renewable energy signalled by the EU earlier this year. It means their proposals will have to be in the right place, and they are likely to be refused if they conflict with the two EU wildlife laws - the birds directive and the habitats directive - which offer the strongest protection for wildlife sites in Britain.

But Mr Mather emphasised that the verdict on Lewis was not meant to block renewable energy expansion in the Hebrides and the rest of Scotland. "This decision does not mean there cannot be onshore wind farms in the Western Isles," he said. "I strongly believe the vast renewables potential needs to be exploited to ensure that the opportunities and benefits of new development can be shared across the country in an equitable fashion. That's why we will urgently carry out work on how to develop renewable energy in the Western Isles, in harmony with its outstanding natural heritage."

He added: "Nor does today's decision alter in any way this government's unwavering commitment to harness Scotland's vast array of potentially cheap, renewable energy sources. Even allowing for [planning] refusals, we are well on the way to meeting our ambitious target to generate 50 per cent of Scotland's electricity from renewables by 2020."

The o500m scheme rejected yesterday, put forward by Lewis Wind Power, a joint venture between the energy giants Amec and British Energy Renewables, was extremely controversial on the island. In outline the biggest land-based wind farm in Europe, it had been slimmed down from a proposal for 234 turbines.

Although in February last year the Council of the Western Isles voted by 18 to 8 for the project - leaving the Scottish government to take the final decision - many people in Lewis felt that even the slimmed-down development would damage the island, despite the community benefits and jobs it would have brought. The Scottish government received 98 support letters - and 10,924 objections.

It would have involved 88 miles of road, eight electrical substations, 19 miles of overhead cables, 137 pylons, 18.3 miles of underground cables, and five rock quarries. Two Labour politicians who supported it, the island's MP, Calum MacDonald, and MSP, Alasdair Morrison, lost their seats, and were ousted by Angus MacNeil and Alasdair Allan respectively, who are both Scottish Nationalists and opponents of the wind farm.


A world of hemp lingerie? No thanks

Women will be returned to the Dark Ages if the eco-fundamentalists end up having their way

Long before we are extinguished by global food shortages or raised sea levels, I predict, we are fated to die of boredom, struck down in our prime by the devastating virus 0157eco-smugness. Doctors will be powerless to stop as the bug invades our minds, causing nervous paralysis leading to eventual seizure. We are doomed, for sure, to terminal ennui brought on by environmental righteousness.

This is the terrible paradox of the environmental movement. The paradox that, if society proceeds down the true path of eco-purity, we may well save the planet; but will simultaneously discover that life is too dull to be worth living on it any more. Women in particular, I fear, will find themselves returned to the Dark Ages.

How can it be otherwise? No skiing, no cars, no travel, no exotic foods, no extravagance, no Hollywood, no wasteful labour-saving devices, no clothes made of anything but recycled plastics and hemp. No more Luxx magazine filled with beautifully engineered, sleek, accessory porn. In their place we will chant a litany of carbon offset, recycling and composting, the buttresses of a new religion that makes radical Islam resemble Methodism.

What is becoming so fascinating about the new puritanism is not just that we are all being brainwashed to accept the inevitability of hair shirts, but also their unquestioned moral worth. That somehow or other, this life of sackcloth and bicycles is going to benefit our souls and make us all better people.

This has been made apparent by the reaction to David Bellamy, the grand old man of botany, who declared recently that the extended spring ski season in Scotland - deep, extensive snow cover, the best in a decade - could be proof that global warming does not exist quite as painted. He pointed out that the global high-temperature record has not been broken for a decade, and temperatures are now flat or falling.

Indeed, the impartial observer might see the harder weather - together with the recent bitterly cold winter in China and the Arctic - as a joyful thing: a sign that maybe things aren't that bad after all. But oh no. This kind of heresy must be crushed. And Bellamy, the author of a paper called Climate Stability: An Inconvenient Truth, is a dangerous man, an anti-Christ to the prevailing orthodoxy, who must be dealt with as quickly as possible by the eco-thought police.

We should not be surprised when global-warming policy officers and climate-change academics rush to declare that the evidence for pending disaster is "overwhelming". Nor when they announce, in as menacing a tone as Abu Izzadeen, that we ignore what is happening "at our peril". These people have, after all, to justify their job titles; the industry of which they are part is worth billions of pounds a year; and for everyone in it to grow and prosper and pay their mortgages, the snow must continue to melt and the seas continue to rise. Just as the makers of aspirin wish you had a headache, the eco-alarmists rather love high temperatures.

My real problem with the eco-alarmists is the pleasure they take in austerity; their evident desire to strip away pleasure. Deep down, they disapprove of skiing, even on a Scottish scale. They dislike colour, excess and fun. They really do want to see us imprisoned in a narrow, grey, scratchy world of recycled car tyres and hemp lingerie (and no, I didn't make that up).

Hence their gleefulness in the economic downturn, because it will mean that people are poorer, and will be forced to do things their way. Slowly but surely, the roundheads will take over the Earth. In their ideal world we will not travel, except by bus; we will read gloomy books like A Short History of the Future (on recycled paper); and luxury will consist of a wind-up MP3 player.

What amuses me, wryly, is how this new religion is following in the path of all traditional ones in its impact on women. Climate change is indeed a feminist issue. Who will be the victims of the eco-smug; of this pious gospel of make-do-and-mend? Why, women - who will have to forgo their washing machines and their dish washers, carry supermarket shopping on the bus, and return to the horror of reuseable nappies.

A group of environmentalists have posted a tuition video called How To Darn A Sock on YouTube, where it has received nearly 8,000 hits. Its popularity has been eclipsed by the short film, How To Sew A Button On, which has been seen by 90,000 people. Funny, isn't it, how women spent centuries escaping from this kind of slave labour, and now it is being sneaked back in under the guise of saving the planet. Women will always suffer in a poorer world.

The environmental movement has become, if not quite a man-made hoax, then at the very least a fashionable bandwagon for very dodgy facts and sharp marketing. How do they know, except by the wildest guesstimate, that British cars emitted 69.9 million tonnes of CO2 last year? How can anyone claim that a o20 "ecobutton" for a computer (the latest gadget for the faithful, to power down the machine when not in use) will save me 135kg of carbon every year? These figures are patently cobblers, just as pictures of lonely polar bears on shrinking icebergs are manipulative sentimentalism.

Meanwhile, we should lift our hats to carbon-management firms, surely the most surreal triumph of modern capitalism, which have created a trade in hypothetical waste; as whimsical as fantasy football. Were we all so clever as to dream that one up. If we may dream at all. Frankly the thought of life in this smug, dull, joyless, labour-intensive, recycled, fair trade, waste-free world makes a woman yearn to be already dead and buried in her eco-friendly coffin, fertilising some field for methane-free cows. At least that way one can be sure of a rest.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World

The mad Greenie policy of diverting food crops into vastly inefficient "biofuel" production begins to hit home. Greenie hatred of dams has also been disastrous. Planned dams have not been built so prime rice-growing land in Australia, for instance, has been forced out of production because of the unavailability of water for irrigation. And Greenie opposition to GM crops has made many crops less productive than they should be. It all adds up and eventually comes to a head

Many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks. At a Costco Warehouse in Mountain View, Calif., yesterday, shoppers grew frustrated and occasionally uttered expletives as they searched in vain for the large sacks of rice they usually buy. "Where's the rice?" an engineer from Palo Alto, Calif., Yajun Liu, said. "You should be able to buy something like rice. This is ridiculous."

The bustling store in the heart of Silicon Valley usually sells four or five varieties of rice to a clientele largely of Asian immigrants, but only about half a pallet of Indian-grown Basmati rice was left in stock. A 20-pound bag was selling for $15.99. "You can't eat this every day. It's too heavy," a health care executive from Palo Alto, Sharad Patel, grumbled as his son loaded two sacks of the Basmati into a shopping cart. "We only need one bag but I'm getting two in case a neighbor or a friend needs it," the elder man said.

The Patels seemed headed for disappointment, as most Costco members were being allowed to buy only one bag. Moments earlier, a clerk dropped two sacks back on the stack after taking them from another customer who tried to exceed the one-bag cap. "Due to the limited availability of rice, we are limiting rice purchases based on your prior purchasing history," a sign above the dwindling supply said.

Shoppers said the limits had been in place for a few days, and that rice supplies had been spotty for a few weeks. A store manager referred questions to officials at Costco headquarters near Seattle, who did not return calls or e-mail messages yesterday. An employee at the Costco store in Queens said there were no restrictions on rice buying, but limits were being imposed on purchases of oil and flour. Internet postings attributed some of the shortage at the retail level to bakery owners who flocked to warehouse stores when the price of flour from commercial suppliers doubled.

The curbs and shortages are being tracked with concern by survivalists who view the phenomenon as a harbinger of more serious trouble to come. "It's sporadic. It's not every store, but it's becoming more commonplace," the editor of, James Rawles, said. "The number of reports I've been getting from readers who have seen signs posted with limits has increased almost exponentially, I'd say in the last three to five weeks."

Spiking food prices have led to riots in recent weeks in Haiti, Indonesia, and several African nations. India recently banned export of all but the highest quality rice, and Vietnam blocked the signing of a new contract for foreign rice sales. "I'm surprised the Bush administration hasn't slapped export controls on wheat," Mr. Rawles said. "The Asian countries are here buying every kind of wheat." Mr. Rawles said it is hard to know how much of the shortages are due to lagging supply and how much is caused by consumers hedging against future price hikes or a total lack of product. "There have been so many stories about worldwide shortages that it encourages people to stock up. What most people don't realize is that supply chains have changed, so inventories are very short," Mr. Rawles, a former Army intelligence officer, said. "Even if people increased their purchasing by 20%, all the store shelves would be wiped out."

At the moment, large chain retailers seem more prone to shortages and limits than do smaller chains and mom-and-pop stores, perhaps because store managers at the larger companies have less discretion to increase prices locally.

Mr. Rawles said the spot shortages seemed to be most frequent in the Northeast and all the way along the West Coast. He said he had heard reports of buying limits at Sam's Club warehouses, which are owned by Wal-Mart Stores, but a spokesman for the company, Kory Lundberg, said he was not aware of any shortages or limits.

An anonymous high-tech professional writing on an investment Web site, Seeking Alpha, said he recently bought 10 50-pound bags of rice at Costco. "I am concerned that when the news of rice shortage spreads, there will be panic buying and the shelves will be empty in no time. I do not intend to cause a panic, and I am not speculating on rice to make profit. I am just hoarding some for my own consumption," he wrote.

For now, rice is available at Asian markets in California, though consumers have fewer choices when buying the largest bags. "At our neighborhood store, it's very expensive, more than $30" for a 25-pound bag, a housewife from Mountain View, Theresa Esquerra, said. "I'm not going to pay $30. Maybe we'll just eat bread."



An insect is killing Canadian forest trees that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But is the insect not part of nature? Is it not part of one of those beloved "ecosystems"? And don't new trees spring up to replace ones that die? So is not the overall effect nil?

The tiny mountain pine beetle has transformed British Columbia's vast pine forests into a major source of greenhouse gases, federal scientists say. By the time the unprecedented infestation ends, the rice-sized beetles will have killed so many trees that an extra billion tonnes of carbon dioxide will be wafting through the atmosphere, researchers from the Canadian Forest Service report in the journal Nature today. That is five times the annual emissions from all the cars, trucks, trains and planes in Canada, says lead author Werner Kurz, who warns the beetle's impact goes far beyond the B.C. border.

Forests, along with oceans and grasslands, are critical sinks that soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is one of the major heat-trapping gases linked to climate change. "This piece of real estate is no longer contributing to the uptake," Kurz says of B.C.'s central interior forests. "To the contrary, it is currently a net source." This is because dead trees release carbon as they rot and burn.

Kurz and his colleagues at the Pacific Forestry Centre say B.C.'s beetle infestation is of "unprecedented scale and severity", and an order of magnitude larger and more severe than any other outbreak on record. By the end of 2006, 130,000 square kilometers of forests had been attacked -- an area almost twice the size of New Brunswick. And by the time the infestation is over, the scientists estimate the pine beetle will have been responsible for the release of 990 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, or 270 million tonnes of carbon. The figures include the amount of carbon the dead trees are no longer taking up, as well as the carbon released as they decay.

Kurz predicts that within the next few years "the beetle will have eaten itself out of house and home" and the forest will begin to recover, at least in British Columbia. The pine beetle is already moving on to greener pastures. It has crossed the Rockies into western Alberta's forests. This year's cold prairie winter should have helped set the bug back in Alberta, says Kurz.

But given favourable conditions in future, such as mild winters, the beetle could spread across Canada's vast northern boreal forest, one of the most important stores of carbon on the planet. "I don't want to be alarmist [C'mon! Be a Devil!], but it is certainly feasible that a future outbreak later this century could go across the boreal," Kurz said in an interview. "Basically the warmer the climate gets, the greater the chances that this could occur."

The study in Nature focuses on the B.C. outbreak that took hold in 1990s. Several factors converged to set what Kurz describes as a "buffet" for the ravenous beetles. Large fires had swept across the western provinces and states in the late 1800s and early 1900s, making way for vast pine forests. Smokey the Bear's "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires" message and other fire prevention programs were so effective the forests grew without major disruption.

"Nearly a century of fire suppression efforts allowed the forest to reach a greater age, over a greater area," explains Kurz, adding that low logging rates also helped the pine forests to mature and flourish.


Wake me up when Global Warming's over

Pollution, conservation bigger worries than climate

It looks like Al Gore is going to need every cent of the $300m war chest he's amassed for climate persuasion. Americans polled by Gallup for 'Earth Day' value "traditional", bottom-up environmental issues such as pollution and conservation as being more worrying than Global Warming. Remarkably, the level of concern about greenhouse gas emissions has barely wavered in a generation. Recklessness, or Huck Finn-style American common sense?

A third of Americans think "Global Warming" is a serious concern - a figure that's effectively unchanged since 1990, when the question was first asked. Ominously for the climate doom-mongers, it ranks 10th on a list of 12 environmental issues. OK, so what are Americans worried about?

Water pollution issues are three of the top four areas of concern, with over 80 per cent of people registering serious concern. Waste contamination comes third, and the loss of natural habitat for wildlife fifth, with 77 per cent expressing concern. Then there's rainforests (69 per cent), bio-diversity (68 per cent). Greenhouse emissions come in 10th - above urban sprawl and acid rain. And when's the last time you ever heard anyone mention acid rain?

(If you add up the "great deal" and "fair amount" worrywarts, then Global Warming comes even lower, 11th out of 12th prompted issues).

Maybe Americans don't trust dodgy computer models, on which the predictions of global catastrophe are based? Or maybe polar bears just aren't cute enough? Either way, it can't be for lack of "awareness", as the mass media goes on about little else.

But perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that traditional issues which affect one's children and family, such as pollution and conservation, are rated as more urgent. Grassroots, bottom-up environmental groups once built their support on bringing these issues into the media - before abandoning them in recent years for the "top-down" agenda of Global Warming. As Gallup shows, the groups have moved away from reflecting the everyday environmental concerns of citizens, onto an agenda largely been driven by a handful of scientists, expensively backed by powerful quangos. Perhaps if you're an NGO, this ensures a better Darwinian option for funding survival - but is this what citizens' groups are supposed to be about?

Today's climate warrior will have performed a 180 degree turn from twenty years ago: rainforests are now being felled in the rush to create biofuels, a strategy which is causing the world's poorest people to go hungry, and toxic substances banned from the home are creeping back in. The justification for each move is CO2.

No wonder Greenpeace's co-founder Patrick Moore wrote recently that "the environmental movement I helped found has lost its objectivity, morality and humanity." Moore frowns on using the term "environmental" for the Global Warming campaigners. I can see his point. Perhaps it's time hear from "traditional" environmentalism for a change, instead of its successor, the Carbon Cult?


The absurdities continue: Global warming blamed for 'extreme cold' that has killed 16 people in Peru

Climate change continues to wreck havoc in Peru's southern altiplano, where the arrival of freezing temperatures since March - almost three months earlier than usual - have killed more than a dozen people. The extreme cold has claimed the lives of 16 people so far in Puno, and 5,053 others are suffering from respiratory ailments, most of them children under 5,

Elsa Paredes, of Puno's Regional Health Institute, told Enlace Nacional.Moderate hail storms are predicted over the next several days over a wide area of the southern department of Puno, according to Senamhi, the national weather bureau, and temperatures are expected to drop in June, July and August to as low as -27§ C (-16§ F) in areas that lie above 4,000m (13,000 ft).

The cold is also affecting the departments of Cusco and Arequipa. There are reports of alpacas and guanacos, which are not protected in barns or sheds, dying in the higher areas of the altiplano. In Huancavelica, north of Puno and Cusco and one of the poorest departments in the southern highlands, 8,000 children are being inoculated against pneumonia by the Ministry of Health, in a program together with AmeriCare, the U.S.-based international disaster relief organization.

In Puno, rain has destroyed harvested potatoes and freezing temperatures as low as -13.5§ C (8§ F) have destroyed more than 50% of the quinoa crops, a staple food. Alipio Canahua, an agronomist and professor at the Universidad Nacional del Altiplano, told Radio RPP that quinoa prices will be higher this season because of the damage. Puno produces approximately 20,000 tons of quinoa.

Canahua believes, however, that "this problem could have been foreseen. In Puno, we permanently face emergencies because of cold temperatures and floods, but there are technological, genetic and traditional resources available to solve problems caused by the climate." Canahua mentioned quinoa varieties resistant to frost, drought or saline soil. "We also have the traditional knowledge of the campesinos, with which we can develop appropriate technology if the government provides investment."



By Dominic Lawson

When the political wind changes direction, it can leave a Prime Minister looking very silly - almost as if what mothers used to warn their children about not pulling faces was actually true. Thus Gordon Brown's last Budget, which removed the concession of a 10p in the pound tax rate for millions of the least well paid, was thought perfectly acceptable at the time, including by the vast majority of Labour MPs, who had cheered the then Chancellor in the House of Commons. Now - as its measures are just about to come into force - it is almost universally excoriated: how could Gordon have been so insensitive?

The reason for this near-180 degree shift in sentiment is not hard to find. Food prices have risen sharply since Brown's final Budget - and so, even more, has the price of heating a home. These are items which form a very significant percentage of the domestic budgets of the least well-off, so they now feel understandably furious to be faced with a government-imposed drop in take-home pay.

This bitter atmosphere lends particular piquancy to a long-arranged meeting later this week between the Business Secretary, John Hutton, and the country's six largest suppliers of energy - the so-called "fuel poverty summit". The Government is understandably concerned about further imminent increases in electricity bills, especially against the background of consumer groups such as energywatch loudly protesting that "an increase in utility bills of 25 per cent will consign another million households to fuel poverty".

Up until now, it has been possible to blame such increases in costs on the rise in the wholesale price of the main raw materials - oil and gas. Now, however, rather as in the style of Gordon Brown's tax changes, it is the Government which is becoming an active agent in the imposition of ever-higher costs on the consumer.

As part of an EU directive designed to combat climate change, Britain is committed to generating 20 per cent of its energy by 2020 through "renewables" - a tenfold increase in the current figure. Yet even the prevailing historically high prices of oil and gas provide domestic heating at between a half and a fifth of the cost of similar amounts of energy from renewables.

By chance, I spoke about this last week to the head of E.ON UK, the British arm of Europe's biggest supplier of wind power. Paul Golby explained to me that, because it was very hard to envisage much of a contribution from renewables for energy used by transport , this means that we would need to generate about 45 per cent of our domestic electricity bills from such sources - principally wind power - in order to conform with the EU directive known as the Renewables Obligation.

According to Mr Golby, meeting such a commitment will involve an increase in electricity generating costs of about 10 billion pounds per year; this is equivalent to almost 400 pounds per household - or, in the roughest terms, an increase of about 40 per cent in annual electricity bills. Try selling that to the British public; and, of course, the Government hasn't. As Mr Golby told me, with understandably diplomatic understatement: "The politicians have not been entirely honest about the cost of our renewables commitment, and so the public don't really know what's coming their way."

I told Mr Golby that I thought he was being somewhat naive if he genuinely expected any government to volunteer to the public that it was responsible for a swingeing increase in energy bills, especially if it thought it could get away with blaming the increase on anyone else - such as Mr Golby and his colleagues.

So far, the likes of E.ON - perhaps because they also stand to make what amount to large heavily-subsidised revenues from wind-power - have been very careful not to blame the Government. I forecast that this gentlemanly conduct will not last. Soon each side will be blaming the other, in a desperate attempt to avoid the full force of the public's anger.

The British public might become even more furious when it learns that one reason for the extra cost of wind power is that its inherent variability means that we will still need to retain our entire existing network of conventional power stations as back-up. That is because it is not a good idea for us to endure what happened two months ago in Texas, America's biggest wind-power producing state: a sudden drop in wind combined with a fall in temperatures led to what was described as "an electric emergency" - customers in west Texas were deprived of power for 90 minutes.

One thing is clear; the British public does need educating about this: even one of The Independent's most intelligent commentators wrote here last week that "The mini-windmill on David Cameron's new house is an economical way for an individual household to generate electricity, even contribute to the national grid". Well, that's if you consider it economical to spend thousands of pounds on a roof-top turbine that produces - even according to its supporters - no more than 1 megawatt hour per year, worth œ40 unsubsidised on the wholesale electricity market. As a contribution to reducing CO2 emissions it's about as cost-effective and meaningful as cycling to the House of Commons while having your chauffeur-driven car follow you with your briefcase, suit and black lace-up shoes.

If a serious economic downturn does hit this country, then such extravagant gestures, far from attracting praise, might begin to seem Nero-like in their irrelevance to an economy threatened by the flames of recession. Some Ipsos-Mori polling data published last week by the Financial Times showed that over the 12 months to January 2008, the proportion of those in Britain declaring "the environment" to be their biggest concern fell from almost 20 per cent to just 8 per cent.

On a more long-term sweep, it was fascinating - though perhaps not surprising - to see that concern about the environment rose and fell in direct inverse proportion to concern about the domestic economy. The headline on the FT's article was: "Greens fear voters will turn selfish in difficult times". That's one way of looking at it; but I don't think any mainstream politician will risk calling the electorate "selfish" if the public rise up against a state-imposed increase of up to 40 per cent in the cost of their domestic electricity bills.

In fact, after his taxing experience of the past few weeks, I imagine that Gordon Brown will be wondering just how to get out of the Government's commitment to do exactly that, as part of the EU Renewables Obligation. He'll be in company, of course - the company of every other European leader. The only uncertainty is whether they'll admit it - even to each other, in private.


Warmist prophecies all washed up

Comment by Andrew Bolt in Australia

RAIN sure is falling this week on the parade of our global warming alarmists. Wettest of all is Tim Flannery, who was made Australian of the Year last year for wailing the world was doomed. We were making the planet heat so fast with our filthy gases, Flannery insisted, that the ice caps were vanishing and we had to "picture an eight-storey building by a beach, then imagine waves lapping its roof". No scare seemed too absurd for this Alarmist of the Year. "I think there is a fair chance Perth will be the 21st century's first ghost metropolis," he groaned. But buy his The Weather Makers before you flee.

Reporters solemnly reported even this: "He (Flannery) also predicts that the ongoing drought could leave Sydney's dams dry in just two years." And when did he say that? Oh, three years ago? Yet what do I read in my papers yesterday but this: "Sydney's run of rainy days in a row - 11 - is the most in April for 77 years." And Sydney's dams? Above 65 per cent capacity now, and rising.

How embarrassing for Flannery and others in the scary weather business. No wonder the NSW Bureau of Meteorology yesterday complained "the rain was getting people down". I bet. So it was probably no surprise Flannery didn't turn up at the Rudd Government's ideas summit last weekend to talk more about how warming was dooming Sydney, despite being issued a gold-edged invitation.

He flew to Canada instead to tell their yokels to cut gases like the ones he just blew out the back of his jet, and talked warming with British Columbia's Premier and businessmen. But once again Flannery picked the wrong time and place to preach his warming gospel. A local paper reports: "In some regions of usually balmy British Columbia, many were caught by surprise by a storm that moved in late Friday and set snowfall records in Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver."

How the weather mocks Flannery. He's flooded in Sydney, where he predicted drought, and snowed in in Canada when he predicted heat. It turns out, in fact, that Flannery is a metaphor for a wider phenomenon - in which our most honoured warming alarmists are finding the weather not conforming to what they predicted. Most significantly, the world has failed to warm above the record of 1998, and last year cooled dramatically, according to all four big monitoring centres.

And with solar activity now unusually low, a small but growing number of scientists is speculating we may be entering a period of cooling - far more dangerous than warming. Indeed, geophysicist Phil Chapman, the first Australian astronaut with NASA, this week put the likelihood of global cooling at 50-50.

Even Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN panel that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore for whipping up global warming panic, says he'd check the apparent pause in warming so far this century, asking: "Are there natural factors compensating?" Natural factors may indeed be at play, drenching Flannery in Sydney, chilling him in Canada, and giving a cold shower to the rest of us, warning us to at least check the predictions of a Flannery with the facts outside. Verdict? Cool it on the overheating.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

What fun! Carbon dioxide levels shot up in 2007 -- a slightly COOLER year

More proof that the gas/temperature correlation is a crock -- not that the blinkered ideologues below can see it

THE amount of two key greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere rose sharply in 2007, and carbon dioxide levels this year are literally off the chart, the US government reported today. In its annual index of greenhouse gas emissions, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found atmospheric carbon dioxide, the primary driver of global climate change, rose by 0.6 per cent, or 19 billion tonnes last year.

The amount of methane increased by 0.5 per cent, or 27 million tonnes, after nearly a decade of little or no change, according preliminary figures to scientists at the government's Earth System Research Laboratory in Colorado. Methane's greenhouse effect is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide's, but there is far less of it in the atmosphere. Overall, methane has about half the climate impact of carbon dioxide.

The primary source of carbon dioxide is the burning of fossil fuels, which is increasing, said Pieter Tans, who studies greenhouse gases at the laboratory. China was now the world's biggest emitter, followed by the United States.

The greenhouse gas index, based on data from 60 sites around the world, showed that that last year's carbon dioxide increase added 2.4 molecules to every million molecules of air, a measurement known as parts per million, or ppm. Carbon dioxide levels were about 270 ppm in the mid-18th century, before the wide use of fossil fuels that began with the Industrial Revolution. Last year's levels were near 390 ppm, and they have been rising more steeply in the past three decades, Mr Tans said.

"The average (annual rise) over the last five or six years has been 2 ppm and that is actually steeper than it has been in previous decades," he said. "This whole decade the rate of increase has accelerated, and we have a very clear candidate (for the cause) and that's emissions from burning fossil fuels." The rise continued in 2008, according to a chart of global carbon dioxide emissions online at, which showed world emissions of this gas heading off the chart at over 386 ppm.

"It's gloomy," Mr Tans said. "With carbon dioxide emissions, we're on the wrong track, it's obvious. And I'm also fully convinced that we're in actually quite a dangerous situation for climate." The increase in methane emissions after years of little change may indicate that methane locked for thousands of years in frozen Arctic soil known as permafrost is being emitted into the atmosphere as the soil melts. It is also possible that the 2007 rise in methane emissions is due to some other cause. Methane emissions rose sharply between 1978 and 1998 and then levelled off.


IPCC Challenged to Recant Global Warming Position

A group of scientists have challenged the IPCC to admit that there is no evidence that human activity drives climate change. Specifically, they sent a letter this month to the Chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change asking those associated with the panel to:
retract support from the current IPCC position and admit that there is no observational evidence in measured data going back 22,000 years or even millions of years that CO2 levels (whether from man or nature) have driven or are driving world temperatures or climate change.

And they issue this challenge: "If you believe there is evidence of the CO2 driver theory in the available data please present a graph of it." The letter is signed by Hans Schreuder (Analytical Chemist), Piers Corbyn (Astrophysicist ), and Dr Don Parkes Svend Hendriksen (1988 Nobel Laureate), and a copy is available at a website operated by the International Climate Science Association. (here)

Evidence presented in the letter goes well beyond putting the "hockey stick" graph, made famous in Al Gore's movie, in doubt. The hockey stick presented exponentially increasing global temperature in the near future due to uncontrolled increases in CO2 - and got its name from the shape of the graph - an apparently long stable period with an upward increase in CO2 and temperature during the industrial age. The UN panel claimed that human activity was driving what Mr. Gore explained as a certain end to civilization as we know it, if extreme political and economic measures are not taken.

The scientists assembled a graph based on actual measurements and did not find evidence that CO2 was the main driving force behind temperature. In fact, temperature increases and decreases, showing little interest in CO2 level.

Graph below shows CO2 (green line) continues upwards while temperature (the other two lines) fluctuates, dropping recently; offering compelling evidence against the belief that CO2 drives global temperature.

The letter goes on to provide an urgent reason for renouncing the UN panel report.
IPCC policy is already leading to economic and unintended environmental damage. Specifically the policy of burning food - maize as biofuel - has contributed to sharp rises in food prices which are causing great hardship in many countries and is also now leading to increased deforestation in Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia, Togo, Cambodia, Nigeria, Burundi, Sri Lanka, Benin and Uganda for cultivation of crops.

Given the economic devastation that is already happening and which is now widely recognised will continue to flow from this policy, what possible justification can there be for its retention?

The position taken by the scientists is not out of the ordinary from the steady stream of data, analysis and commentary from the scientific community. So too have economists and others challenged the global warming political agenda, which calls for unprecedented levels of taxation and government control based on the scariest projections of bad science. Nonetheless, the IPCC report provides a basis for international agreements such as the "Kyoto Protocol" agreement, which is an international start on the agenda. Both Democratic Party presidential candidates, as well as John McCain have spoken in favor of global warming related reform.


Regarding sea ice in the southern hemisphere

Post below recycled from Tiger Hawk . See the original for links

Trolling through the National Climate Data Center's global climate report for March 2008 (issued four days ago), I noticed this interesting bit of news (bold emphasis added):
According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the March 2008 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent, which is measured from passive microwave instruments onboard NOAA satellites, was below the 1979-2000 mean, but greater than the previous four years. This was the sixth least March sea ice extent on record. The past four years had the least March sea ice extent since records began in 1979. Sea ice extent for March has decreased at a rate of 2.8%/decade (since satellite records began in 1979) as temperatures in the high latitude Northern Hemisphere have risen at a rate of approximately 0.37øC/decade over the same period.

Meanwhile, the March 2008 Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent was much above the 1979-2000 mean. This was the largest sea ice extent in March (28.6% above the 1979-2000 mean) over the 30-year historical period, surpassing the previous record set in 1994 by 10.9%. Sea ice extent for March has increased at a rate of 4.2%/decade.

There have only been a few wire service stories written about the March report, and none of them mention the rising sea ice in the southern hemisphere. Probably too inconvenient.

Green Advocates Failing in Climate Debate

A Greenie reports an interesting experience below:

From highly respected fellow blogger, Mark Seal, here is a thought provoking post on why we greenies may need to sharpen our debating skills . . .

When I launched the TalkClimateChange forums last year, I was initially worried as to where I would find people who didn't believe in global warming. I had planned to create a furious debate, but in my experience global warming was such a universally accepted issue that I expected to have to dredge the slums of the internet in order to find a couple of deniers who could keep the argument thriving.

The first few days were slow going, but following a brief write-up of my site by Junk Science I was swamped by climate skeptics who did a good job of frightening off the few brave Greens who slogged out the debate with. Whilst there was a lot of rubbish written, the truth was that they didn't so much frighten the Greens away - they comprehensively demolished them with a more in depth understanding of the science, cleverly thought out arguments, and some very smart answers. If you want to learn about the physics of convection currents, gas chromatography, or any number of climate science topics then read some of the early debates on TalkClimateChange. I didn't believe a word of it, but I had to admit that these guys were good.

In the following months the situation hardly changed. As the forum continued to grow, as the blog began to catch traffic, and as I continued to try and recruit green members I continued to be disappointed with the debate. In short, and I am sorry to say it, anti-greens (Reds, as we call them) appear to be more willing to comment, more structured, more able to quote peer reviewed research, more apparently rational and apparently wider read and better informed.

And it's not just TalkClimateChange. Since we re-launched the forums on Green Options and promoted the "Live Debate" on Nuclear Power, the pro-nuclear crowd have outclassed the few brave souls that have attempted to take them on (with the exception of our own Matt from TalkClimateChange). So how can this be? Where are all these bright Green champions, and why have I failed to recruit them into the debate? Either it's down to poor online marketing skills, or there is something else missing. I've considered a range of theories as to the problem, none of which seem to fit - such as:

Greens are less educated? Nope.

Greens have less time? Nope.

Greens are a little reticent? Nope.

Greens are less intelligent? Definitely nope.

Greens are less passionate? Absolutely nope.]

Greens have less at stake? Clearly not.

The only feasible explanation that I can come up with so far is that perhaps Greens are less invested in the status quo, and therefore less motivated to protect it? The other possibility is that we are all completely wrong and we're deluded - please tell me this isn't so. So I am hoping that La Marguerite, with its insightful host and enlightened readership may be able to help shed some light on this peculiar phenomenon?


Why I Left Greenpeace

By PATRICK MOORE, Noting particularly the scientifically nonsensical attacks on chlorine and Phthalates

In 1971 an environmental and antiwar ethic was taking root in Canada, and I chose to participate. As I completed a Ph.D. in ecology, I combined my science background with the strong media skills of my colleagues. In keeping with our pacifist views, we started Greenpeace. But I later learned that the environmental movement is not always guided by science. As we celebrate Earth Day today, this is a good lesson to keep in mind.

At first, many of the causes we championed, such as opposition to nuclear testing and protection of whales, stemmed from our scientific knowledge of nuclear physics and marine biology. But after six years as one of five directors of Greenpeace International, I observed that none of my fellow directors had any formal science education. They were either political activists or environmental entrepreneurs. Ultimately, a trend toward abandoning scientific objectivity in favor of political agendas forced me to leave Greenpeace in 1986.

The breaking point was a Greenpeace decision to support a world-wide ban on chlorine. Science shows that adding chlorine to drinking water was the biggest advance in the history of public health, virtually eradicating water-borne diseases such as cholera. And the majority of our pharmaceuticals are based on chlorine chemistry. Simply put, chlorine is essential for our health. My former colleagues ignored science and supported the ban, forcing my departure. Despite science concluding no known health risks - and ample benefits - from chlorine in drinking water, Greenpeace and other environmental groups have opposed its use for more than 20 years.

Opposition to the use of chemicals such as chlorine is part of a broader hostility to the use of industrial chemicals. Rachel Carson's 1962 book, "Silent Spring," had a significant impact on many pioneers of the green movement. The book raised concerns, many rooted in science, about the risks and negative environmental impact associated with the overuse of chemicals. But the initial healthy skepticism hardened into a mindset that treats virtually all industrial use of chemicals with suspicion.

Sadly, Greenpeace has evolved into an organization of extremism and politically motivated agendas. Its antichlorination campaign failed, only to be followed by a campaign against polyvinyl chloride.

Greenpeace now has a new target called phthalates (pronounced thal-ates). These are chemical compounds that make plastics flexible. They are found in everything from hospital equipment such as IV bags and tubes, to children's toys and shower curtains. They are among the most practical chemical compounds in existence. Phthalates are the new bogeyman. These chemicals make easy targets since they are hard to understand and difficult to pronounce. Commonly used phthalates, such as diisononyl phthalate (DINP), have been used in everyday products for decades with no evidence of human harm. DINP is the primary plasticizer used in toys. It has been tested by multiple government and independent evaluators, and found to be safe.

Despite this, a political campaign that rejects science is pressuring companies and the public to reject the use of DINP. Retailers such as Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us are switching to phthalate-free products to avoid public pressure. It may be tempting to take this path of least resistance, but at what cost? None of the potential replacement chemicals have been tested and found safe to the degree that DINP has. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently cautioned, "If DINP is to be replaced in children's products . . . the potential risks of substitutes must be considered. Weaker or more brittle plastics might break and result in a choking hazard. Other plasticizers might not be as well studied as DINP."

The hysteria over DINP began in Europe and Israel, both of which instituted bans. Yet earlier this year, Israel realized the error of putting politics before science, and reinstated DINP. The European Union banned the use of phthalates in toys prior to completion of a comprehensive risk assessment on DINP. That assessment ultimately concluded that the use of DINP in infant toys poses no measurable risk.

The antiphthalate activists are running a campaign of fear to implement their political agenda. They have seen success in California, with a state ban on the use of phthalates in infant products, and are pushing for a national ban. This fear campaign merely distracts the public from real environmental threats. We all have a responsibility to be environmental stewards. But that stewardship requires that science, not political agendas, drive our public policy.


Irrational Green Exuberance

The last few years have witnessed an Internet-stock bubble and a real-estate bubble. Could we be approaching the bursting point of the climate-change bubble?

The intensity of the current climate crusade, Al Gore's $300 million ad campaign, and Time's fifth panicky global-warming cover in three years ("Be Worried, Be Very Worried" read the 2006 cover) are all good contrary indicators suggesting that the hysteria is reaching its terminal stage. Like mortgage-backed securities dealers, the climate campaigners are in a panic because the public isn't buying what they're selling. The latest annual Gallup survey on the environment shows that only 37 percent of Americans say they worry "a great deal" about global warming, down from 41 percent last year, about the same level as a decade ago. Americans put global warming way down on their list of major environmental concerns, behind air and water pollution, toxic waste, and the loss of open space

The League of Conservation Voters is apoplectic that the TV anchors aren't asking more climate-change questions in the presidential primary debates - and, if global warming is indeed the gravest threat in the history of mankind, they do have a point. Perhaps the blas‚ performance of the media on this matter is telling us something.

Thirty-five years ago, political scientist Anthony Downs discerned what he called the "issue-attention cycle," a five-stage process during which the public and the media grow alarmed over an issue, agitate for action, generate reams of scary headlines, and then begin to draw back as they gradually recognize that the problem has been exaggerated and they get a good look at the price tag for sweeping action.

While Downs thought that the issue-attention cycle for the environment would last longer than for most issues, global warming is starting to follow the same familiar pattern as the "population bomb" and the "we're-running-out-of-everything" scares of the 1970s. The planet's coldest winter in 30 years has cooled the fever of climate panic. And while one cool year does not a trend make, a few more cool years and there will be a crisis in climate alarmism. Meanwhile, the gung-ho Europeans are looking for a way to retreat gracefully from their fulsome rhetoric as the real price of cutting emissions becomes apparent. U.N. officials now concede that prospects look grim for a successor treaty to Kyoto.

It may be about to burst, but the climate bubble is still sufficiently robust that the U.S. appears determined to enact the climate policy equivalent of Sarbanes-Oxley - an emissions-trading scheme that will deliver high costs while achieving only modest reductions. Meanwhile, concerns about soaring food prices and groundwater depletion are making people think twice about ethanol, though Washington marches on with its array of subsidies and mandates.

One of these days, the editors of Time and other publications are going to grow bored of producing yet another "green" issue and tired of writing editorials demanding "action now," just as the media grew exhausted by the population explosion, AIDS, urban sprawl, homelessness, and other former front-burner stories. No doubt another terrifying novelty will be discovered (the threat of Earth's magnetic field weakening perhaps?) because it is the nature of the media and activist groups to find some new panic to ride. But the current green mania may be reaching a weary, used-up phase that signals a turning point.

Once the climate bubble finally deflates, we can stop tilting at windmills and get back to solving environmental problems through economic growth and market-driven innovation rather than dirigiste dictates from Washington and the U.N.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Prepare for new Ice Age, says Australian scientist

This has aired on Australian TV. An article on the topic by Chapman is also reproduced below (third down)

Sunspot activity has not resumed after hitting an 11-year low in March last year, raising fears that - far from warming - the globe is about to return to an Ice Age. Geophysicist Phil Chapman, the first Australian to become an astronaut with NASA, said pictures from the US Solar and Heliospheric Observatory showed there were currently no spots on the sun.

He said the world cooled quickly between January last year and January this year, by about 0.7C. "This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record, and it puts us back to where we were in 1930," Dr Chapman writes in The Australian today. "If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over."

The Bureau of Meteorology says temperatures in Australia have been warmer than the 1960-90 average since the late 1970s, barring a couple of cooler years, and are now 0.3C higher than the long-term average.

A sunspot is a region on the sun that is cooler than the rest and appears dark. Some scientists believe a strong solar magnetic field, when there is plenty of sunspot activity, protects the earth from cosmic rays, cutting cloud formation, but that when the field is weak - during low sunspot activity - the rays can penetrate into the lower atmosphere and cloud cover increases, cooling the surface.

But scientists from the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research published a report in 2006 that showed the sun had a negligible effect on climate change. The researchers wrote in the journal Nature that the sun's brightness varied by only 0.07per cent over 11-year sunspot cycles, and that that was far too little to account for the rise in temperatures since the Industrial Revolution.

Dr Chapman proposes preventive, or delaying, moves to slow the cooling, such as bulldozing Siberian and Canadian snow to make it dirty and less reflective. "My guess is that the odds are now at least 50:50 that we will see significant cooling rather than warming in coming decades," he writes.


His Eminence also says that global warming is over

It ended 10 years ago but a few courageous people are now being allowed to note the fact in print. Article below by Cardinal George Pell, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney

Canada has just experienced the coldest winter and the heaviest snowfalls since 1970-1, which was called a once in a thousand years event. Another 18 centimetres of snow would set an all time record. A Kingston newspaper had a marvellous cartoon of a tough old Canadian, rugged up against the cold and hacking the ice off the windscreen of his car. The caption read "Global warming my a."!

In China the Chinese New Year coincided with a fierce cold snap and snow storms which prevented many city workers returning to their villages for the celebrations. Police had to deal with the ensuing riots. London has just experienced snow at Easter.

The world is much bigger than both China and Canada combined, which might be the exceptions to the new rule of man-made global warming, but they are inconvenient facts for the climate change bandwagon. And it is an intolerant bandwagon with loud exaggerated claims that the issue is settled and that an unchallenged consensus among scientists confirms the hypothesis of dangerous humanly caused global warming. In fact the issue is far from settled. Politicians sceptical of these claims would need unusual courage to resist the strong tides of public opinion. However the rest of us are not so constrained and we should consider all the available information. Three points are of some significance.

Last December more than 100 prominent international scientists, some of them members of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warned the U.N. that attempting to control the earth's climate was "ultimately futile". So did 500 experts in Manhattan in March. Fighting climate change was distracting governments from helping the most vulnerable citizens adapt to the threat of inevitable natural climate changes, whatever they might prove to be. Futile attempts to prevent global climate change would be a tragic misallocation of resources, they claimed.

Secondly none of the natural changes observed with glaciers, sea-levels and species migration is outside the bounds of known variability, including the warming of 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade in the late twentieth century. But the 1930s decade was warmer than the 1990s. Most importantly the global temperature has not increased since 2001. Global warming has ceased (New Statesman 19/12/2007). This finding invalidates the global warming hypotheses because the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to increase and the temperature should be increasing too. It isn't.

The last point to be acknowledged is that today's computer models cannot predict climate over long periods because there are too many unknowns and variables. We should never forget that while computers are miracles of human ingenuity, able to assimilate extraordinary amounts of information in the briefest time, they are also limited, cannot think for themselves and are totally obedient to their last human master. More than this is needed to predict the future.


Sorry to ruin the fun, but an ice age cometh

By Phil Chapman (Phil Chapman is a geophysicist and astronautical engineer who lives in San Francisco. He was the first Australian to become a NASA astronaut)

The scariest photo I have seen on the internet is, where you will find a real-time image of the sun from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, located in deep space at the equilibrium point between solar and terrestrial gravity. What is scary about the picture is that there is only one tiny sunspot.

Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously.

All four agencies that track Earth's temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over.

There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence that 2007 was exceptionally cold. It snowed in Baghdad for the first time in centuries, the winter in China was simply terrible and the extent of Antarctic sea ice in the austral winter was the greatest on record since James Cook discovered the place in 1770.

It is generally not possible to draw conclusions about climatic trends from events in a single year, so I would normally dismiss this cold snap as transient, pending what happens in the next few years. This is where SOHO comes in. The sunspot number follows a cycle of somewhat variable length, averaging 11 years. The most recent minimum was in March last year. The new cycle, No.24, was supposed to start soon after that, with a gradual build-up in sunspot numbers. It didn't happen. The first sunspot appeared in January this year and lasted only two days. A tiny spot appeared last Monday but vanished within 24 hours. Another little spot appeared this Monday. Pray that there will be many more, and soon.

The reason this matters is that there is a close correlation between variations in the sunspot cycle and Earth's climate. The previous time a cycle was delayed like this was in the Dalton Minimum, an especially cold period that lasted several decades from 1790. Northern winters became ferocious: in particular, the rout of Napoleon's Grand Army during the retreat from Moscow in 1812 was at least partly due to the lack of sunspots.

That the rapid temperature decline in 2007 coincided with the failure of cycle No.24 to begin on schedule is not proof of a causal connection but it is cause for concern. It is time to put aside the global warming dogma, at least to begin contingency planning about what to do if we are moving into another little ice age, similar to the one that lasted from 1100 to 1850.

There is no doubt that the next little ice age would be much worse than the previous one and much more harmful than anything warming may do. There are many more people now and we have become dependent on a few temperate agricultural areas, especially in the US and Canada. Global warming would increase agricultural output, but global cooling will decrease it. Millions will starve if we do nothing to prepare for it (such as planning changes in agriculture to compensate), and millions more will die from cold-related diseases.

There is also another possibility, remote but much more serious. The Greenland and Antarctic ice cores and other evidence show that for the past several million years, severe glaciation has almost always afflicted our planet. The bleak truth is that, under normal conditions, most of North America and Europe are buried under about 1.5km of ice. This bitterly frigid climate is interrupted occasionally by brief warm interglacials, typically lasting less than 10,000 years. The interglacial we have enjoyed throughout recorded human history, called the Holocene, began 11,000 years ago, so the ice is overdue. We also know that glaciation can occur quickly: the required decline in global temperature is about 12C and it can happen in 20 years.

The next descent into an ice age is inevitable but may not happen for another 1000 years. On the other hand, it must be noted that the cooling in 2007 was even faster than in typical glacial transitions. If it continued for 20 years, the temperature would be 14C cooler in 2027. By then, most of the advanced nations would have ceased to exist, vanishing under the ice, and the rest of the world would be faced with a catastrophe beyond imagining. Australia may escape total annihilation but would surely be overrun by millions of refugees. Once the glaciation starts, it will last 1000 centuries, an incomprehensible stretch of time.

If the ice age is coming, there is a small chance that we could prevent or at least delay the transition, if we are prepared to take action soon enough and on a large enough scale. For example: We could gather all the bulldozers in the world and use them to dirty the snow in Canada and Siberia in the hope of reducing the reflectance so as to absorb more warmth from the sun. We also may be able to release enormous floods of methane (a potent greenhouse gas) from the hydrates under the Arctic permafrost and on the continental shelves, perhaps using nuclear weapons to destabilise the deposits.

We cannot really know, but my guess is that the odds are at least 50-50 that we will see significant cooling rather than warming in coming decades. The probability that we are witnessing the onset of a real ice age is much less, perhaps one in 500, but not totally negligible.

All those urging action to curb global warming need to take off the blinkers and give some thought to what we should do if we are facing global cooling instead. It will be difficult for people to face the truth when their reputations, careers, government grants or hopes for social change depend on global warming, but the fate of civilisation may be at stake. In the famous words of Oliver Cromwell, "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."


Rules for increasing deaths on the road released

The new goals can only be achieved by making cars smaller and lighter -- and thus less protective of the occupants in crashes

The government on Tuesday plans to release a proposal to raise fuel efficiency standards for new cars and trucks, putting the nation's fleet on track to reach 35 miles per gallon by 2020. Transportation Department Secretary Mary Peters was making the Earth Day announcement in Washington, responding to a new energy law pushed by Congress last year and signed by President Bush.

Congress sought tougher standards requiring the nation's fleet of new vehicles to increase its efficiency by 10 mpg from its current average of 25 mpg, or a 40% increase. The new law represented the first major changes to the auto mileage rules in three decades.

The proposal will set fuel economy standards from 2011 to 2015 and are expected to be finalized before the end of the Bush administration. A Transportation spokesman declined comment on the plan. The fleet of new passenger cars is currently required to meet a 27.5 mpg average, while sport-utility vehicles, pickups and vans need to hit a target of 22.5 mpg.

Members of Congress and environmental groups have pushed for higher standards, arguing that requiring vehicles to become more efficient would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the nation's dependence upon imported oil. Democrats have said the fuel economy requirements will save motorists $700 to $1,000 a year in fuel costs and reduce oil demand by 1.1 million barrels a day when the more fuel-efficient vehicles are in wide use on the road.

Automakers opposed increases to the regulation in previous years, but supported a compromise version of the legislation amid rising gasoline prices and concerns about global warming. The new law is expected to push the auto industry to build more gas-electric hybrid cars, trucks and SUVs running on diesel and advances such as plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.


Gore Won't Ask Wealthy Hollywoodans to Alter Lifestyle to Save Planet

If you needed a better example of the hypocrisy involved in Nobel Laureate Al Gore's global warming hysteria, read this delicious segment from an article just published by the British Sun:
The man who is now as much part of the Hollywood Establishment as he was a political player with the Democratic Party is very careful not to upset any of his celebrity friends. He wouldn't dream of suggesting that their lavish jet-setting and gas-guzzling lifestyles could be reined in for the good of the environment.

Imagine that. But that was only the beginning of the hypocrisy:
When we point out that David Beckham has recently been given the dubious title of having the worst carbon footprint in history - clocking up enough air miles to fly to the moon and owning 15 gas-guzzling cars, Mr Gore shifts uncomfortably in his seat. [...] When asked what he would say to the football icon - a hero to millions - about his impact on the environment, Mr Gore refuses to be drawn. He gives a huge belly-laugh at the notion that Posh and Becks could invest in an environmentally-friendly hybrid car such as a Toyota Prius. He careful considers his answer before saying: "I don't think that's my place. I don't want to get into personally criticising anyone."

It's not his place? He doesn't want to personally criticise anyone? How about your regular references to everyone that disagrees with you as being "deniers" and "flat-earthers?" And why is it okay for you to travel the world telling governments how they need to alter their energy policies and tax codes, which will end up costing regular people billions nay trillions of dollars, but you don't think it's your place to tell the wealthiest members of society to change their lifestyles?

At the same time, Gore's VERY interested in telling regular people what THEY should do:
"Long-life lightbulbs, recycling, window treatments, extra insulation - these things can all help. "I appreciate they cost money to begin with but they will save money in the long run. "But the main benefit of people going green is that they will join a movement to pressure their governments."

So, let's add this all up: He doesn't want to tell the wealthiest people in the world that they need to make sacrifices in order to save the planet, but he's more than happy telling the common man to spend more money in order to pressure governments to raise taxes and energy prices. Meet the new Robin Hood, ladies and gentlemen: he steals from the poor so the rich can continue their lavish lifestyles without feeling guilty about imminent planetary doom. Honestly, you can't make this stuff up.


Greenie tyranny: British father of four taken to court and fined ... because he overfilled his wheelie-bin by just four inches

With his rubbish collected only once a fortnight, Gareth Corkhill's wheelie bin was so full the lid wouldn't shut. And for that, the father of four finds himself with a criminal record. Magistrates convicted the 26-year-old bus driver after hearing evidence that the lid was four inches ajar, which is against rules to stop bins overflowing. He was ordered to pay 210 pounds - a week's wages - after he declined to pay an on-the-spot fine imposed by the local council's bin police, who visited him wearing stab-proof vests and carrying photographic evidence of his crime. To add insult to injury he was told to pay a 15 pound victim surcharge to help victims of violence - despite there being no victim - and threatened with prison if he failed to pay. Rapists, murderers and other violent criminals who have earned a jail sentence rather than a fine are immune from the penalty.

Yesterday the council, Copeland in Cumbria, said that Mr Corkhill's family had caused problems for "the battle to reduce waste".

His penalty compares with the typical on-the-spot fine of 80 pounds given to shoplifters - even repeat offenders. For failing to pay his fine Mr Corkhill, from Whitehaven, will now have a criminal record which he will have to disclose if he applies for a job, credit or a mortgage over the next five years. Even after that he will have to reveal his crime if he applies for a job in the NHS, working with children, in a bank, or as a security guard. "I can't believe I now have a criminal record for simply putting rubbish in my bin," he said. "My only crime was to leave the lid slightly open. Now I might go for a job interview and be better than someone else but the employer will see that officially, I am a criminal. "They won't know the details of what I did. They won't know that I only put a little too much rubbish in the bin."



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wikipedia's zealots

The thought police at the supposedly independent site are fervently enforcing the climate orthodoxy

By Lawrence Solomon

As I'm writing this column for the Financial Post, I am simultaneously editing a page on Wikipedia. I am confident that just about everything I write for my column will be available for you to read. I am equally confident that you will be able to read just about nothing that I write for the page on Wikipedia.

The Wikipedia page is entitled Naomi Oreskes, after a professor of history and science studies at the University of California San Diego, but the page offers only sketchy details about Oreskes. The page is mostly devoted to a notorious 2004 paper that she wrote, and that Science journal published, called "Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change." This paper analyzed articles in peer-reviewed journals to see if any disagreed with the alarming positions on global warming taken by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position," Oreskes concluded.

Oreskes's paper -- which claimed to comprehensively examine all articles in a scientific database with the keywords "climate change" -- is nonsense. As FP readers know, for the last 18 months I have been profiling scientists who disagree with the UN panel's position. My Deniers series, which now runs to some 40 columns, describes many of the world's most prominent scientists. They include authors or reviewers for the UN panel (before they quit in disgust). They even include the scientist known as the father of scientific climatology, who is recognized as being the most cited climatologist in the world. Yet somehow Oreskes missed every last one of these exceptions to the presumed consensus, and somehow so did the peer reviewers that Science chose to evaluate Oreskes's work.

When Oreskes's paper came out, it was immediately challenged by science writers and scientists alike, one of them being Benny Peiser, a prominent U.K. scientist and publisher of CCNet, an electronic newsletter to which I and thousands of others subscribe. CCNet daily circulates articles disputing the conventional wisdom on climate change. No publication better informs readers about climate-change controversies, and no person is better placed to judge informed dissent on climate change than Benny Peiser.

For this reason, when visiting Oreskes's page on Wikipedia several weeks ago, I was surprised to read not only that Oreskes had been vindicated but that Peiser had been discredited. More than that, the page portrayed Peiser himself as having grudgingly conceded Oreskes's correctness.

Upon checking with Peiser, I found he had done no such thing. The Wikipedia page had misunderstood or distorted his comments. I then exercised the right to edit Wikipedia that we all have, corrected the Wikipedia entry, and advised Peiser that I had done so. Peiser wrote back saying he couldn't see my corrections on the Wikipedia page. Had I neglected to save them After editing them, I wondered. I made the changes again, and this time confirmed that the changes had been saved. But then, in a twinkle, they were gone again! I made other changes. And others. They all disappeared shortly after they were made....

More here

German researchers find that the Antarctic is getting colder!

The translation into English supplied below is a little clumsy. The German original reads: "Die Tiefsee der Antarktis wird kaelter" -- which is best translated as "The Antarctic deep is getting colder"

The Antarctic deep sea gets colder, which might stimulate the circulation of the oceanic water masses. This is the first result of the Polarstern expedition of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association that has just ended in Punta Arenas/Chile. At the same time satellite images from the Antarctic summer have shown the largest sea-ice extent on record. In the coming years autonomous measuring buoys will be used to find out whether the cold Antarctic summer induces a new trend or was only a "slip".

The Polarstern expedition ANT-XXIV/3 was dedicated to examining the oceanic circulation and the oceanic cycles of materials that depend on it. Core themes were the projects CASO (Climate of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean) and GEOTRACES, two of the main projects in the Antarctic in the International Polar Year 2007/08.

Under the direction of Dr Eberhard Fahrbach, Oceanographer at the Alfred Wegener Institute, 58 scientists from ten countries were on board the research vessel Polarstern in the Southern Ocean from 6 February until 16 April, 2008. They studied ocean currents as well as the distribution of temperature, salt content and trace substances in Antarctic sea water. "We want to investigate the role of the Southern Ocean for past, present and future climate," chief scientist Fahrbach said. The sinking water masses in the Southern Ocean are part of the overturning in this region and thus play a major role in global climate. "While the last Arctic summer was the warmest on record, we had a cold summer with a sea-ice maximum in the Antarctic. The expedition shall form the basis for understanding the opposing developments in the Arctic and in the Antarctic," Fahrbach said.

In the frame of the GEOTRACES project the scientists found the smallest iron concentrations ever measured in the ocean. As iron is an essential trace element for algal growth, and algae assimilate CO2 from the air, the concentration of iron is an important parameter against the background of the discussion to what extent the oceans may act as a carbon sink.

As the oceanic changes only become visible after several years and also differ spatially, the data achieved during the Polarstern expeditions are not sufficient to discern long-term developments. The data gap can only be closed with the aid of autonomous observing systems, moored at the seafloor or drifting freely, that provide oceanic data for several years. "As a contribution to the Southern Ocean Observation System we deployed, in international cooperation, 18 moored observing stations, and we recovered 20. With a total of 65 floating systems that can also collect data under the sea ice and are active for up to five years we constructed a unique and extensive measuring network," Fahrbach said.


The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and in oceans of mid and high latitudes. The AWI coordinates polar research in Germany, and provides important infrastructure, such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctic, for international science organisations. The AWI is one of 15 research centres of the 'Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft' (Helmholtz Association), the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

In the International Polar Year more than 50,000 scientists from over 60 countries investigate the polar regions. It is their aim to investigate the role of the Arctic and the Antarctic with regard to the Earth's climate and ecosystems. Germany has very good preconditions for research in the Arctic and in the Antarctic, having the worldwide most efficient research icebreaker Polarstern, several polar stations and two polar planes. In particular, Germany can contribute to the key issues: polar regions and climate change, shifting continents, venture into unknown regions, and development of innovative technologies.


Little Ice Age in Southern South America?

Post below recycled from World Climate. See the original for links and graphics. The Warmists have the amazing habit of saying that any phenomenon that they dislike is not global, while any finding that they do like is global!

Recall our long essay series a few years (e.g., here) ago regarding the now-debunked "Hockey Stick" depiction of hemispheric and/or global temperatures. In 2001, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) rolled out a depiction of temperatures over the past 1,000 years, and as seen below (Figure 1), the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age all but disappeared, and the warming rate of the most recent 100 years looked nothing short of incredible. The second plot below (Figure 2) comes from the most recent IPCC assessment, and note that (a) the plot is clearly labeled as "Northern Hemisphere," (b) the recent warming looks less impressive, and (c) the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age periods are more prominent.

Defenders of these plots insist that the Little Ice Age was likely a regional phenomenon best seen in the mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. However, a considerable debate continues in the scientific literature as to whether or not the Little Ice Age was a global or regional climate event. If the Little Ice Age was truly global in scope, then the temperature depictions presented by the IPCC underestimate the natural variability of Earth's climate over the past 1,000 years.

Figure 1. Hockey stick representation of the northern hemispheric temperature used by the IPCC in the 2001 assessment.

Figure 2. Northern hemispheric temperature reconstruction from the 2007 IPCC report

Literally dozens of articles appear in the literature every month presenting clear evidence of the Little Ice Age, but critics are correct when they argue that most of the work comes from mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. With that in mind, we at World Climate Report keep an eye out for evidence of the Little Ice Age from other parts of the planet, particularly locations far from the mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. A recent article in The Holocene contains a title suggesting evidence of the Little Ice Age from southern Chile - a long way indeed from the mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.

The article was generated by a research team from Chile's Universidad de Concepci¢n and the Pontificia Universidad Cat¢lica de Valpara¡so. Araneda et al. begin their piece noting that "Of all the climatic changes during the Holocene, the recent cooling period, the `Little Ice Age' (LIA), is one of the most broadly recognized events in the Northern Hemisphere. However, the duration and timing of the event has been disputed." Furthermore, they note "A problem for the definition of the LIA is its variable timing and duration in different regions; thus, its synchronicity as a global phenomenon is still a matter of debate." Once again, we learn that "debate" in climate change is still alive and well!

The research team states that "Chile has many historical records dating from Spanish colonial rule in the sixteenth century and it has been confirmed that these documents reliably date a succession of catastrophic events and provide a basis for reconstructing contemporary environmental conditions." With that in mind, Araneda et al. decided to focus on the San Rafael glacier (see Figure 3) located on the northwestern margin of the North Patagonian Icefield (NPI)between 46ø and 47ø S (again, a long way from mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere).

Figure 3. Patagonian icefields of southern South America and the location of the San Rafael glacier (from Araneda et al., 2007)

The Spanish explorer Antonio de Vea arrived at the San Rafael on December 15, 1675, and as was the custom, the explorers left behind maps, diagrams, and descriptions of what they discovered. John Byron was shipwrecked near the glacier 67 years later, and he too described the position of the glacier, the fjords, and the existence of icebergs in the area. Twenty four years later, Jesuit priest Jos‚Garcia Alsu‚ visited the area during a missionary campaign, and he also described the landscape in great detail, including the size of icebergs found in Laguna San Rafael.

From these descriptions, Araneda et al. concluded that it was obvious that the glacier advanced considerably from 1675 to 1766 AD. In addition, Spanish explorer Francisco Machado visited the area in April of 1769 and mentioned snow on the ground at sea-level, suggesting a much colder climate than what is found there today. Araneda et al. note that "Previous research around the NPI has shown that many glaciers are currently retreating from maximum positions reached during the LIA" and that "Both tree-ring and lichenometric evidence indicate that the glacier reached its maximum position sometime before 1876, probably early in the second half of the nineteenth century."

The research team concludes "The major contribution provided by the documentary evidence has been to confirm the occurrence of a cold period in the Laguna San Rafael area, which would be within the temporal window defined for the European LIA." Furthermore, they conclude that "the sole historical evidence suggests that warm conditions prevailed around 1675, a date in which the front of the San Rafael glacier did not extend beyond the eastern shoreline of the lake. Later, a cooling period occurred from 1766 to 1898, with a peak between 1857 and 1871, during which the glacier advanced up to 8 km into the interior of the Laguna San Rafael. This cooling period declined after 1898, as evidenced by the decrease of the San Rafael glacier, which had retreated 1 km by 1904." Most importantly to us at World Climate Report, they clearly state at the end "The recognition of the LIA in Northern Patagonia, through the use of documentary sources, provides important, independent evidence for the occurrence of this phenomenon in the region."

There are those who will insist that the Little Ice Age was not a global event, but somehow, just as the Northern Hemisphere cooled during the Little Ice Age, glaciers were expanding in southern South America? Starting to sound global to us!

ABC News Reveals Gore used fictional film clips in "An Inconvenient Truth"

Styrofoam "ice"!

Imagine a river of volcanic lava oozing down Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, or New York City's Statue of Liberty engulfed by a 300-foot tidal wave. On the silver screen, nothing matches Mother Nature gone wild. The special effects can blow an audience right out of their seats with images of killer tornadoes, catastrophic hurricanes and violent volcanoes. But is good science a myth in these movies? It's hard to tell when the visual images are so convincing.

Some weather disaster movies have no base in reality, such as the futuristic fantasy "Water World." In that one, global warming causes water to completely cover Earth. Kevin Costner's character grows webbed feet and sports gills behind his ears, supposedly to adapt to an environment without land. "Cinema makes good science and bad science equally realistic," said David Kirby, author and professor of science communication at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. Kirby attended a recent National Science Foundation meeting of scientists and entertainment producers. They concluded that good science, while maybe speeded up or compressed, lends to the credibility and entertainment value of films.

Using Movies as a Teaching Tool

Professors Kevin Furlong and Chuck Ammon use clips from popular weather disaster movies to supplement a course at Penn State University on natural disasters. "Every clip is another exercise in critical thinking," explained Ammon. "Was that real? Was that fake? Is that realistic? Or is that completely unrealistic?"

The professors said one movie, "Dante's Peak," did look like an actual volcanic eruption. The bomblike explosion spreads ash and sends gases out that obliterate buildings, topple trees and spread destruction for miles. "That's one of the scenes that probably is the most scientifically accurate," said Furlong. "We know from when Mount St. Helen's erupted, it blew outward and laid all the trees down in one direction." But as the professors say, the worse the movie, the better the teaching tool. Their course includes plenty of movies with exaggerated weather events: "Twister," "Tidal Wave: No Escape" and "Volcano." Movie audiences expect Hollywood to ramp up the action by twisting fact into fiction.

But what happens when Hollywood fiction is used as fact? Al Gore's "traveling global warming show," the award-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," includes a long flyover shot of majestic Antarctic ice shelves. But this shot was first seen in the 2004 blockbuster "The Day After Tomorrow." Sculpted from Styrofoam and later scanned into a computer, the ice shelf "flyover" looks real.

Karen Goulekas, the special effects supervisor for "The Day After Tomorrow" said the shot is a digital image. She was glad Al Gore used it in the documentary since "It is one hell of a shot." Both movies use the shot to convincingly portray global warming, but it is left to the audience to decide if this created image can both entertain and educate us about our changing planet.


Earth Day is a Holiday for Liars

by Alan Caruba

Earth Day is a holiday for liars. I have followed the apocalyptic claims and the legislated mandates of the environmental movement since the 1970s and their single unifying factor has been the lies told to achieve various elements the Green agenda. Since 1970, April 22 has been celebrated as Earth Day. It is generally regarded as the date of the birth of the modern environmental movement.

There are several common attributes of environmentalism. High on the list is its barely hidden contempt for the human race, the view that the world's population has to be drastically reduced and that our consumption of everything from energy resources to agricultural and livestock production threatens the planet. The food riots occurring around the world are the direct result of environmental mandates for biofuels, based on claims of global warming, but the Earth is cooling, not warming.

Earth Day had its antecedents in the United Nations that has long maintained an international environmental program. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has generated the current climate alarmism whose "science", based on flawed computer models, has been totally discredited as often as not by the scientists it pretends to represent.

The incessant Green protests of everything and anything that might advance the welfare of the human race, from nuclear power to the Green Revolution that has insured sufficient food for the current and future population of the Earth, is the third element. These protests, too, are based on deliberate distortions of science and fact.

Fear mongering has always been the movement's instrument of choice to influence public opinion and policy. A simple case in point was the reversal of an extensive campaign in the 1970s warning of a coming Ice Age to one that began in the 1980s about "global warming."

Early Greens spread lies across a vast spectrum of issues, invariably causing incalculable harm. An example was Rachel Carson's claims about DDT that resulted in its ban. Millions have since died for lack of the protection it affords against malaria and other insect-borne diseases. A full-scale attack on all pesticides and herbicides, critical to disease control and the world's food supply, continues.

In 1968 Paul Ehrlich's book, "The Population Bomb", included the claim that "the battle to feed all of humanity is over." He later claimed the Green Revolution, based on the modification of crops to resist drought and predation, would fail. Wrong again. The linking of population and food consumption is a consistent environmental theme.

The claim that greenhouse gas emissions must be drastically reduced is an attack on all forms of industrialization, i.e., corporations and the globalization that require the use of energy resources such as coal, natural gas, and oil. Energy is the single reason for America's and the world's economic growth and the enhancement of life through all manner of technologies involving transportation, communication, and agricultural advances. By blocking access to energy such as the ban on oil extraction in ANWR or off the coasts of the United States, by lobbying against the building of coal-fired and nuclear electricity generation plants, by arguing for inefficient, highly subsidized solar and wind alternatives, Greens are creating a national energy crisis. How insane is it to ban the purchase of incandescent light bulbs?

There is no scientific justification for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon dioxide represents a miniscule 0.038% of the Earth's atmosphere and increases in CO2 always follow climate change. It does not initiate it. The Greens are lying.

The increasing food riots occurring worldwide are a direct result of the way the price of corn and soy has been artificially driven upward by environmental demands for "biofuels." When Congress set in motion the mandate that countless bushels of corn be diverted as a food source for humans and livestock to the production of ethanol, it started a cascade of food shortages worldwide that were further exacerbated by weather related crop failures.

Environmentalists have spread lies about all manner of food consumption. Eating beef is high on their list of grievances. Not incidentally, corn is a major feedstock for beef and other animals that are part of our daily diet. The Associated Press recently reported that "Worldwide demand for corn to feed livestock and to make biofuel is putting enormous pressure on global supply." From prehistoric times to the present, meat has been one of mankind's most invaluable sources of our health.

Along with the nation's politicians, the nation's print and broadcast media and our educational system have accepted environmental claims without skepticism or review. Since its release, children have been required to watch Al Gore's duplicitous documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth", and today's textbooks are replete with environmental falsehoods. On Earth Day, the media is flooded with Green propaganda. Earth Day would be a good day to begin to take back the Earth from those who would deceive us and harm us.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.



Tuesday is Earth Day, the calendar's High Holy Day of Green theology. With each passing year, environmentalism more clearly assumes the trappings of a secular religion. Now, along comes Iain Murray to assert that the Green God is dead. Murray's new book, "The Really Inconvenient Truths: Seven Environmental Catastrophes Liberals Don't Want You to Know About - Because They Helped Cause Them", clarifies the difference between caring for the environment - a reasonable and virtuous belief that people rightly harbor - and the modern-day movement known as environmentalism.

The latter, Murray notes, has amassed a shameful legacy over a half century that has killed millions of people and consigned billions of others to backbreaking poverty. "Environmentalism deserves to be as discredited as Marxism," Murray argues. His book does a superb job of doing just that.

Murray, an energy expert at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, lives a low-carbon lifestyle. He loves nature and the outdoors. He's practically a tree-hugger. Nevertheless, he makes clear, "I am not an environmentalist." Why? Because, as he explains, environmentalism has become a socio-political movement exploiting people's genuine regard for nature as a smokescreen for expanding government and exercising power. And the results have been disastrous for both humanity and the environment.

Murray chronicles seven environmental catastrophes, and shows the hand of the professional environmental movement in each one.

Thanks to the efforts of Green patron saint Rachel Carson, environmentalists have succeeded in curbing the use of DDT, which, Murray writes, is "highly effective in controlling malaria and thereby lifting millions out of poverty." While it's unclear if banning the pesticide has had much in the way of environmental benefits, it has been unquestionably harmful to humankind. Unchecked malaria has killed tens of millions of people, particularly in Africa, and continues to cost people their lives each year. "In 2005 alone, across Uganda, 50,000 children died from malaria," Murray notes. "That is the true Silent Spring."

The current biofuel craze is another case in point. Greens have long favored government mandates to convert corn into motor fuel. They claim this will cut into our supposed addiction to oil, while minimizing harmful greenhouse gas emissions from our tailpipes. The Greens got their wish, and in recent years Congress has ordered billions of gallons of ethanol to be introduced into our fuel supply. European nations have passed similar biofuel mandates to fight global warming.

The result, by almost any account, has been a fiasco. Pouring corn into our gas tanks has led to a spike in food prices worldwide. Those high prices have caused food shortages and even riots in other countries (several in just the last month). While people starve, biofuels are creating an environmental disaster as well. In places like Indonesia, forestland is being cleared at alarming rates in order to plant palm oil crops and cash in on the artificial demand for biofuels. The result is a holocaust for many endangered animals. "The orangutan is being crucified on a cross of green," Murray notes.

Murray also has the number of environmentalists who demand higher automobile fuel efficiency mandates. These government standards have meant smaller, lighter, less crashworthy vehicles. "The tradeoff the liberal environmentalists demand is actually safety for gas mileage. In other words, blood for oil."

At bottom, Murray notes, the environmental movement is rooted not in a concern for the environment, but in a disdain for personal freedom and free-enterprise capitalism. Humanity is the disease plaguing the planet. The antidote must be environmental policies enforced by government diktat, relying on mandates, bans, orders, restrictions and punishments to achieve its goals. The better answer is conservation by private stewards, individuals and corporations, who understand caring for the environment is important, while making choices that are actually logical - and sustainable.

Put in such stark terms the choice isn't that difficult, Murray notes. "Marxism brought us the Gulags. The worst that most commentators can say about free enterprise these days is that it brought us McDonalds."


Atmospheric physicist says CO2 temp link is 'belief based upon emotion'?

A letter from Brian Valentine of Arlington, U.S.A. published in the Prague Post on April 4, 2008

Thanks to President Vaclav Klaus for delivering the message to the U.S. Congress ("Be afraid," Opinion, March 28-April 3). The U.S. government needs to hear the consequences of heeding to the demands of a few who would like to demolish free-market economies and replace them with a system that was failed from the start.

Leninism forced poverty upon the majority of people of a number of formerly prosperous countries in the name of sacrifice for the "state." Leninism was nothing more than a system of favoritism, and the same is true in the parallel case - only the consequences of demands made by "environmentalists" will be more severe for those least able to withstand the economic burdens.

I am an atmospheric physicist and state flatly: A perceived connection between carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel combustion and climate variation is nothing more than a belief based upon emotion alone because there is no mechanism by which such climate variation can occur, and, if you heard otherwise, you have heard it wrong.

Faith-based Oklahoma forecast

In response to the article below, atmospheric physicist Brian Valentine asks: "Drought? What drought? Show me a spot on the Earth affected by any drought of any kind or any duration that is even comparable to any drought the place experienced within a KNOWN history of it. Any place, any place at all, show me, I want to know where it is, and then I will listen"

Weather in Oklahoma always has been a roller coaster - droughts and floods, tornadoes and calm. In the past year, it has become increasingly clear to scientists that future weather patterns will trend even farther toward the extremes. The culprit: climate change. The prediction: more droughts, longer droughts, scarce water, more wildfires and severe weather.

Oklahoma weather is known for its volatility and for good reason. "We kind of get it all," said Derek Arndt, assistant state climatologist with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. The forecast for this year is still inconclusive, Arndt said, citing federal forecasting information. The end of the year might be warmer than normal, but, he said, that's still a long way away.

The weather here is so tumultuous because of the geography of the region. Oklahoma sits in the middle latitudes, where warm air from the south collides with polar air from the north. On a smaller scale, Oklahoma is also surrounded by weather-changing features, such as the Gulf of Mexico and the Rocky Mountains. "We are in this kind of three-way do-si-do," Arndt said. "Warm, moist air to our southeast, warm dry air to our southwest and cold air lurking somewhere up north." The result is warm summers, cool winters, hail and tornados.

The weather situation will be affected by global climate change, Arndt said, though the exact effects won't be easily noticed. The effects are cumulative, he said, so the weather must be closely monitored for long-term changes. "I don't think we'll be able to point at any single event and say, `Ah-ha. That's it,'" he said. "Over the long run, (we will) start to see maybe warming winters, which we've already seen."

In addition to global warming, the climate changes naturally with events such as a change in the output of the sun, according to the report. Oklahoma experienced long-term drought in the 1910s, 1930s and 1950s; periods of abundant rain occurred in the 1980s and 1990s.....


Growing up green: Youngsters are pressuring parents to make not-so-easy lifestyle changes to conserve the environment

Article excerpt followed by a comment from Brian Valentine:

Marika Martin is a vegetarian. So is her husband, Charles Gonzalez, who rides his bicycle to work every day in New York City traffic, rain or shine. The couple care deeply about the environment, but if you ask their kids, 12-yearold Sinika and 8-year-old Soren, it's sometimes not deeply enough. "My hopeless mother is obsessed with plastic bags," said Soren, a third-grader and huge fan of Al Gore's global warming documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." "A lot of plastic can't be recycled," chimed in his sister, who's in seventh grade. "The turtles can get suffocated and it can go into the water. My dad gave her a cloth bag but she doesn't use it. Plastic drives me nuts."

Say hello to Generation Green. They're young, well-researched and mad as heck - inspired by an outpouring of movies, TV shows, books, Web sites and "green classes" at school. They've been learning how to save the planet since they were toddlers, and they're taking on their parents to do more, do better.

While some parents fret that the pop culture tidal wave amounts to environmental indoctrination, others are looking for ways to accommodate their kids - and compromise when the price tag or the convenience factor come into play. "I get it, I get it, I'm a bag lady," Martin said of her plastic-wrapped groceries. "But I'm always doing spontaneous shopping so it's hard. It isn't always feasible. Of course it's making me feel guilty. I know I shouldn't use them, but in everyday living it's hard."

Tiffany Bluemle in Burlington, Vt., knows exactly how she feels. She and her partner, Elizabeth Shayne, drive an environmentally friendly hybrid and live a generally green lifestyle. When their 8-year-old son, Will, wanted a global warming birthday party last year, they treated him to a cake decorated as Earth, a bike-repair workshop for his guests and a pinata in the shape of a gas-guzzling Hummer that partygoers beat to the ground. "He's adamant that I drive 55, but I'm naturally a speedster," Bluemle said. "We have a bumper sticker on the car saying `55 slows down global warming.' It's killing me."

Will has begged his parents to buy a new dishwasher to cut down on energy use. He imagines redesigning their house with solar and wind power and a pass-through of used kitchen-sink water to flush toilets. Earth, he said, "is a lot of animals' home. If a lot of animals become extinct it would be hard for us to live." Bluemle shares her young eco-warrior's passion but said she's careful not to over-promise while encouraging him to dream big. "I want to make good on any pledges that I make," she said. "At this point it's pretty doable, yet we don't use a renewable form of energy to power the house. Very frankly, we don't have the money."

Compromise is key, said Julie Ross, a parent and family therapist in New York who has written three books on childrearing. Not every family can afford to install solar panels, but they can put on a sweater and turn down the thermostat, she suggested. If a new car isn't in the budget, a hybrid is out of the question, but car pooling to school or turning off the car rather than idling when stopped in the pickup line might work. Some parents think composting toilets are way too big a hassle, but they're willing to share a flush.

"I definitely hear a lot of frustration and anger in young kids," Ross said. "They don't feel powerful enough to be able to make changes themselves, yet they're being told that this is a big issue and they're going to have to deal with it. Parents have a tendency to dismiss the young." Debra Weitzel, an environmental educator at Middleton High School in Middleton, Wis., said feedback from parents of her students has been overwhelmingly positive when her assigned home-based green projects force the family to participate. One student meticulously charted his family's computer habits and was able to show a reduction in the electric bill after he trained his loved ones to shut down more often. Another student drafted energy-efficient plans for an addition to his family's house, and his father was wowed by savings from his high-performing insulation recommendation......


Comment from Brian Valentine:

OK kids - that is admirable, you don't care for plastic and you live your lives accordingly. Good for you for making your emotions and your lives consistent by what you perceive - although plastic, of course, as a commodity, will find its way to be used in the commercial market, and someone else will buy it and use it, and all of it is quite independent of what you chose to like or dislike.

But kids - you have to realize, that not everyone subscribes to your preferences and ideals, and not everyone believes what you perceive to be the truth, to be accurate. You've got to understand, that other people by their rational evaluation, have concluded that what you believe to be a true picture of the world around you - is not accurate, and you need to accept that as the honest evaluations of others, who are quite capable of making just that evaluation.

All this means, that other people have chosen to live their lives in am manner that is not consistent with your ideals, and your maturity will come, when you come to accept the reasoned considerations of others equally valid as your own

Global Warming 101: Professor Carter Explains Climate Realism

Post below recycled from Newsbusters. See the original for links

For years, NewsBusters has made the case that foreign press outlets do a far better job of covering both sides of the manmade global warming debate than American media. Friday was a perfect example as New Zealand television's "Nzone Tonight" broadcast an interview with Professor Bob Carter of James Cook University, Queensland, Australia.

As you watch the video embedded to the right, notice the respect and courtesy Carter is given by host Allan Lee as he calmly and methodically explained the position of climate realists without being insulted or referred to as a "denier." Compare that to the disgraceful job ABC's Dan Harris did last month when he interviewed Dr. S. Fred Singer on "World News" in a segment entitled "Welcome to 'The Denial Machine'" that actually began:
One of the most influential scientists in what's been called "The Denial Machine," for decades, Fred Singer has argued loudly that global warming is not dangerous despite the vast majority of scientists who agree it is. His critics say Dr. Singer has helped create the mirage of a scientific debate which has preventing the American public and American politicians from taking action.

By contrast, Lee treated Carter with the respect any guest on a television show should be accorded, leading to an interview that can educate people on both sides of this controversial issue. With this in mind, I challenge American television news outlets to reciprocate, and begin interviewing climate realists on the air, with courtesy and decorum, so that the citizenry can better understand all the intricate facets of the real science involved in this matter and not just the hysteria being advanced by Al Gore.

Bravo, Nzone. Bravo. And, thank you Professor Carter for the much-needed lesson.


Jeroen van der Veer, the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, has given warning that a proposed European Union scheme to force companies to pay for carbon emissions permits previously handed out free threatens to destroy Europe's petrochemicals and refining industry. Mr van der Veer told The Times that the EU needed to be careful not to trigger an exodus of European jobs and investment offshore with no net reduction in global emissions.

Speaking in The Hague, he said that the proposals would undermine the competitiveness of a struggling industry and have a cascading impact on Europe's wider economy because of the close links between the region's oil, chemicals and plastics industries, which collectively support nearly two million jobs. He said: "In the past 20 years the refining industry in Europe has been very difficult . . . But if we have additional penalties because we move away from a system of free allocations to a large extent, then in such a marginal industry that is a real problem."

In January the European Commission announced measures designed to cut EU emissions of CO2 by 20 per cent of 1990 levels by 2020. One of the cornerstones was a reform of the emissions trading scheme (ETS), which allocates a free, fixed quota of emissions permits to heavy industry. The Commission has proposed that from 2013 oil refineries and airlines, and possibly other sectors, will have to pay for 20 per cent of their emissions permits, rising to 100 per cent by 2020. It hopes to formalise the plan by the end of the year.

"We don't want to threaten draconian measures," Mr van der Veer said. "We prefer to make the case in a positive way. But it's a hell of a lot of employment."

His comments were rejected by Peter Madden, chief executive of Forum for the Future, the sustainable development charity, who said: "The EU emissions trading scheme is the most important initiative we currently have in the world to tackle climate change. Our major companies need to be getting behind it and investing in a low-carbon future and not trying to undermine positive action."

Mr van der Veer said that a level playing field for industry was critical if the ETS were to succeed in cutting emissions. He said: "If the regional block is big enough, then that is OK. But it gets very difficult for energy-intensive industries. What will happen if you have to buy auction rights inside EU but not outside?" He claimed that Europe's oil-refining industry, which employs about 100,000 people directly and represents 18 per cent of global refining capacity, should be rewarded, not punished, for the progress that it has made to enhance energy efficiency.

"In Europe our industry is already quite efficient," Mr van der Veer said, "and if [it] is more energy-efficient than elsewhere, then you should not drive that industry away. Maybe we need to benchmark EU industry with the outside world. If it is energy-efficient, you should get a lot of free allocations . . . You have to start with lots of free allocations to get the system to work. Then, over time, you can tighten the measures." He indicated that the global nature of the oil and chemicals industries would force them towards lower-cost regions. Shell has sold three of its refineries in France because of concerns over profitability.

"The industries are very international," he said. "A lot of our refining is Middle Eastern oil, a lot of which is then exported to the US." Europe's petrochemicals industry has an annual turnover of 74 billion euros, according to the European producers' association.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Monday, April 21, 2008


The European commission is backing away from its insistence on imposing a compulsory 10% quota of biofuels in all petrol and diesel by 2020, a central plank of its programme to lead the world in combating climate change. Amid a worsening global food crisis exacerbated, say experts and critics, by the race to divert food or feed crops into biomass for the manufacture of vehicle fuel, and inundated by a flood of expert advice criticising the shift to renewable fuel, the commission appears to be getting cold feet about its biofuels target.

Under the proposals, to be turned into law within a year, biofuels are to supply a tenth of all road vehicle fuel by 2020 as part of the drive to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by the same deadline. The 10% target is "binding" under the proposed legislation. But pressed by its scientific advisers, UN authorities, leaders in Europe, non-government organisations and environmental lobbies, the commission is engaged in a rethink. "The target is now secondary," said a commission official, adding that high standards of "sustainability" being drafted for biofuels sourcing and manufacture would make it impossible for the target to be met.

Britain has set its own biofuels targets, which saw 2.5% mixed into all petrol and diesel fuel sold on forecourts in the UK this week. The government wants to increase that to 5% within two years, but has admitted that the environmental concerns could force them to rethink. Ruth Kelly, transport secretary, has ordered a review, which is due to report next month.

A commission source indicated that the EU executive would not object if European governments ordered a U-turn.

More here

Stop the CO2 scare, before it's too late

As President Bush finally caved in to international pressure last week and committed the US to spending untold billions of dollars on "the fight against global warming", I happened to be in Washington at the same time, talking on the same subject to more than a dozen very lively and opinionated radio shows. I was there with my co-author Richard North, at the invitation of an enterprising Washington think-tank, the Independent Women's Forum, to launch our book Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming, Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth.

Speaking to audiences across the country, for up to an hour at a time, we were impressed by how well informed -and sceptical about global warming - were the array of presenters who interviewed us. We told them it would have been unthinkable to have such intelligent conversations on this subject on any BBC programme back in Britain.

But the highlight of our visit was dinner with Dr Fred Singer, a distinguished US scientist, formerly professor at two universities, and founder of the US satellite weather service. He has done more than anyone in the scientific counter-attack against the ruthless promotion of global warming orthodoxy by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Dr Singer played a key part in last month's scientific conference in New York organised by the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), and gave me an advance copy of its new report (which is now available online - just Google "sepp" and "NIPCC").

The report - Nature Not Human Activity Rules the Climate - presents a devastating analysis of the IPCC's case. Intended for a lay audience and signed by scientists from 15 countries, it takes all the key points of the IPCC's "consensus" case and tears them expertly apart, showing how the Intergovernmental Panel has either exaggerated, distorted or suppressed the evidence available to it, or has imputed much greater certainty to its findings than is justified by the data.

One of the central flaws in the IPCC's case is its reliance on computer models, based only on those parts of the evidence which suit its chosen "narrative", omitting or downplaying hugely important factors which might produce a very different picture. These range from the role played by water vapour, by far the most important of the greenhouse gases, to the influence of solar activity on cloud cover.

The report's most startling passage, however, is one that examines the "fingerprint" of warming at different levels of the atmosphere which the computer models come up with as proof that the warming is man-made. The pattern actually shown by balloon and satellite records is so dramatically different that, even on the IPCC's own evidence, the report concludes, "anthropogenic greenhouse gases can contribute only in a minor way to the current warming, which is mainly of natural origin".

The significance of this can scarcely be overestimated. At just the moment when, thanks to the overwhelming pressure generated by the IPCC, the world's politicians, led by the EU, are committing us to spending untold trillions of pounds, dollars and euros on measures to "mitigate" the claimed effects of man-made warming, here is a galaxy of experts producing hard evidence that - if the problem exists at all - the official explanation for it is oriented in wholly the wrong direction.

Furthermore the consequences of that warming and of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have, on balance, been wholly beneficial, by increasing plant growth.

The real danger, the report warns, is not a continued warming but that temperatures and agricultural production might drop as the world faces its worst food shortage in decades (now being made worse by the crazed rush to give over farmland to biofuels). And if that is the way the evidence lies, how much are any of our politicians doing to prepare for a crisis already upon us?



Last week, the New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin blogged about the World Bank's decision to finance a major new coal fired power plant in India. Revkin ended his blog with a question: "Is all of this bad? If you're one of many climate scientists foreseeing calamity, yes. If you're a village kid in rural India looking for a light to read by, no."

In response, the famed environmental writer Bill McKibben asked his own question: "The really interesting question, to follow on the last sentence of the story, is: what if you're an Indian kid looking for a light to read by-and also living near the rising ocean, or vulnerable to the the range expansion of dengue-bearing mosquitoes, or dependent on suddenly-in-question monsoonal rains."

McKibben may think he knows better but I think the answer for that village kid would probably be the same. Take the electricity and the light to read by and worry about malaria and monsoonal rains later. To get some idea of the problems facing people in rural India, just consider the following:

1. In India, the literacy rate is only 64%. The female literacy rate is even lower. In half the households in rural India, there is not a single female member above the age of 15 who can read or write.

2. Out of a population of one billion, more than 300 million Indians live on less than a dollar a day.

3. In India, some 400,000 children under the age of five die each year from diarrhoea caused by easily preventable factors such as poor hygiene and unsafe drinking water.

4. Indian society continues to be plagued by extreme forms of discrimination and exploitation based on the traditional caste system. There are many millions (estimates range from 40 million to 100 million) of bonded laborers (slaves) in India today, mainly belonging to the lowest castes, the Dalits.

5. There still exists widespread discrimination against women in India. Economist Amartya Sen estimates that in the developing world, due to the preference for sons over daughters, and due to the sheer neglect of women and girls, some 100 million women are simply missing.

In this scenario, how can one seriously suggest that the village kid in India should give up her hopes of prosperity, education, and health care today, in order to prevent rising ocean levels many years down the road? What would Americans do in the same situation? Or Europeans? Or human beings anywhere?

There are some very good reasons why people in rural India should first worry about their basic human necessities today, rather than about the long term effects of global warming.

First, if you and your family don't have access to such things as clean water and basic health care, neither you, nor your children, nor your grandchildren may even be around long enough to witness tomorrow, making the future rise or fall of the world's oceans a moot point.

Second, the life of an educated, healthy and modestly prosperous person living in tomorrow's globally-warmed world of higher ocean levels may well be better than the poverty stricken life of an Indian villager in the pre-global-warming world. In other words, even if the most dire predictions about global warming come true, some of the poorest people in the world may still be better off tomorrow if they are able to enjoy some of the fruits of development, such as education, health care, electricity, etc.

Third, and most important, maybe horses will fly. Let me tell you an Indian story about the Mughal Emperor Akbar and his witty minister, Birbal. One day, for some reason, Akbar became very angry with Birbal, and ordered that he be beheaded. Birbal pleaded for his life, but to no avail. Then Birbal hit upon an idea. He promised Akbar, that if he was spared for a year, he would make Akbar's favorite horse fly. Akbar relented, and let Birbal live. When a friend asked Birbal how he planned to make the horse fly, Birbal replied, "anything can happen in a year; Akbar can die; the horse can die; and who knows, maybe the horse will fly."

In a slightly different context, what this means is that, first and foremost, human beings need to achieve a certain minimum level of material well-being and sense of security. And once this is achieved, who knows what wonders can happen. If the billions of impoverished people in the developing world can get widespread access to education, health care, and job opportunities, who knows what the unleashing of their talent and energy can achieve. Having met their basic needs, maybe they will start thinking about the environment. Maybe new ideas will burst forth. Maybe new and better energy technologies will be adopted, which will not only address global warming, but also ensure a minimum standard of living for all people everywhere. Maybe horses will fly.

As Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger put it in the book Breakthrough, "the satisfaction of the material needs of food and water and shelter is not an obstacle to but rather the precondition for the modern appreciation of the nonhuman world".



Lawrence Solomon's book profiles nearly three dozen top scientists who have resisted the pull of climate alarmism

Once upon a time, the media believed in the open exchange of opinions regarding public policy. People who had doubts about one or another claim put forward by activists and crusaders could express those thoughts without fear of censure or ridicule. And, to be fair, that is still the case in many areas of social policy.

But there's one hot-button issue on which virtually no dissent is allowed: climate change. In a style reminiscent of the old Soviet Union, people disagreeing with any element of the agenda pursued by Al Gore and his climate catastrophists have been derided as "deniers," a term clearly intended to equate dissent with mental illness, if not post hoc complicity in atrocities (as in "Holocaust denier"). "Fifteen per cent of the people believe the moon landing was staged on some movie lot and a somewhat smaller number still believe the Earth is flat," Gore says. "They all get together on a Saturday night and party with the global-warming deniers."

While only a few hotheads have proposed a physical gulag for the deniers, the mainstream press has created a media gulag. Former Boston Globe editor Ross Gelbspan urged the media to do just that in July 2000: "Not only do journalists not have a responsibility to report what skeptical scientists have to say about global warming, they have a responsibility not to report what these scientists say," he told a Washington audience. Analyses of media coverage show that the three big U.S. television networks (CBS, NBC, and ABC) have taken Gelbspan's message to heart: in the last half of 2007, only 20 percent of stories about climate change mentioned skepticism or dissenting viewpoints. Essentially, climate catastrophism is treated as fact.

The dissidents often have much more impressive scientific qualifications than the climate catastrophists. Fortunately, not all journalists have bowed to the politically correct climate crusade. Lawrence Solomon, a columnist for Canada's National Post-and the victim of an earlier smear campaign-decided to ask who these "deniers" really are and what they really believe. What he found is telling: "Among all the deniers I have profiled," Solomon writes, "I have never encountered one who disputes that there is such a thing as a greenhouse effect, or that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas.... The arguments are all about how powerful the effect is, especially when considered in combination with other factors, various feedback mechanisms both negative and positive, and other influences that might or might not overwhelm the effect of CO2." In other words, Solomon found that the "deniers" are, in fact, not in denial at all. They are merely dissidents from the political orthodoxy of climate catastrophism.

Gore would have you believe that these dissidents are marginal players in the scientific community. Solomon shows otherwise. In his new book, The Deniers (Richard Vigilante, $27.95), which is a compilation of his National Post columns, Solomon profiles 34 global warming dissidents who boast impeccable scientific credentials and, in some cases, mind-boggling accomplishments in the field of climatology. By my calculations (supplemented with a bit of Googling), Solomon's "deniers" have published nearly 4,000 articles in peer-reviewed journals and well over 100 books. A list of their academic honors and high-level appointments would be longer than this entire review. The dissidents often have much more impressive qualifications than the climate catastrophists.

In recent years, I too have been slandered as a global warming "denier" in the blogosphere, despite having never denied manmade climate change. I have felt the urge-as Solomon says his deniers have-to downplay my dissidence. Reading The Deniers, however, has strengthened my resolve. It reminds me that in dissent against catastrophic predictions and wrongheaded carbon-regulation schemes, dissidents are in prestigious and courageous company. And it reminds me that the stakes are high: misguided carbon controls have not only damaged economic growth, they have also caused environmental harms, from deforestation, to overtaxed aquifers, to the damming of massive rivers. More recently, misguided biofuel programs-which can be traced at least partly to climate change fears-have contributed to rising food prices and global hunger.

I wish that Solomon's book had been titled The Dissidents, so that it could have been accurately judged by the cover, and I only figured out why he didn't choose this title when writing this review: Solomon wanted his columns to be read, and he knew that many people have bought into global warming propaganda so deeply that they would not have read past that title. It's a shame that one has to resort to such tricks, but we cannot argue with success: The Deniers made it into the newspaper, and then into a book, which is a great achievement in these days of climate alarmism and intellectual bullying.



Sarah Edwards worries about the gasoline she burns, the paper towels she throws out, the litter on the beach, water pollution. She worries so much, it literally makes her sick. "Fear, grief, anger, confusion and depression," Edwards says, pointing to the negativity that has manifested itself in real-life symptoms such as neck and shoulder pain, fibromyalgia and fatigue. "I had so much pathos. It's so sad," says Edwards, who moved from California's crowded Santa Monica to a secluded cabin in Los Padres National Forest to help her cope. Now, she says: "We only drive to the grocery store every three weeks. We have our own source of water. We compost and no longer heat every room on the first floor."

Edwards suffers from eco-anxiety, the growing angst experienced by those who can't handle the thought that they - or anyone - are in some way contributing to global warming, species extinction and dwindling natural resources. She recently launched a blog called "Eco-Anxiety" because she believes environmental dangers should be taken seriously. "This is severely disturbing," she says.

Experts say discussions about the environment - a growing favorite topic in the media - often focus on worst-case scenarios and ever-dwindling resources. So it's no surprise that all that bad news is taking a toll on some psyches. But not all psyches. John Berlau, author of "Eco-Freaks: Environmentalism Is Hazardous to Your Health," said eco-anxious people need to get a life and get the facts about the environment before freaking out. "It may put their mind partially at ease knowing that not all experts subscribe to these apocalyptic views," he said.

Things have gotten so bad, a new kind of therapy has sprouted up to keep people from going nuts over the environment. It's called "eco-therapy" or "eco-psychology." The time on the couch isn't spent delving into a patient's childhood to find the source of misery. Instead, it looks at how much time a person spends in nature, the person's carbon footprint and what the individual is doing to save the planet. And the prescribed treatment may be as simple as a dose of recycling or - you guessed it - hugging a tree.

Sound like a joke? Ecopsychology, popularized in the early 1990s by social critic Theodore Roszak, is being taught in colleges and universities across the country, including at Harvard Medical School. Linda Buzzell, founder of the International Association for Eco-Therapy, said the field is so new that there are few statistics to indicate how many practitioners are using the techniques, but the Web site for the International Community for Ecopsychology lists more than 100 eco-therapists in the United States.

Buzzell told in an e-mail that due to increased awareness about the environment with films such as Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," more people are attuned to "our challenging environmental situation." She said it is "making more and more therapists and clients aware that there is no such thing as human mental or physical health separate from the health of the planet."

The American Psychological Association has no official position on the merits of what it calls an emerging field. But some health care professionals say eco-therapy is more of the latest in a line of money-making gimmicks targeted at the environmentally conscious, an industry estimated by the green group Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability Association at $228 million a year, and growing.

Melissa Pickett, an eco-therapist in Santa Fe, N.M., who says she treats dozens of patients a month, said sometimes she has to tell extreme greenies to chill out for their own good. "The global warming craze will cause your clients to go into extremism fueled by fear," she says. And with eco-therapy around, that extremism can get expensive. Eco-therapy can cost as much as traditional psychotherapy, upwards of $100 an hour. There's a lot of green in being green.

More here

Reality bites Australia's Green/Left

Plastic bag defeat; Price-control defeat

The two ministers set on an inevitable collision course by a contradictory pre-election promise by Kevin Rudd were both mugged last week. Rudd had pledged to simultaneously reduce the impact of climate change and bring down the cost of living for families. In the case of Environment Minister Peter Garrett, it was at the hands of his own state Labor colleagues. In the case of Consumer Affairs Minister Chris Bowen, it was by reality.

First to Garrett. In January he boldly declared he wanted to phase out single use plastic shopping bags by the end of this year. He wanted a plan for how to do this ready for a meeting of federal and state environment ministers last week. For Garrett the deadline turned into a disaster and public humiliation. His Labor colleagues dealt him a brutal lesson on Realpolitik that exposed Garrett's failure to either consult properly with the industry or negotiate effectively with the states.

Instead of a decisive move towards a ban in the form of a retail charge on plastic bags at the check-out -- the outcome Garrett wanted -- Thursday's meeting more resembled a policy version of a splatter attack. South Australia is now going it alone with a proposed ban. Victoria has offered to trial a retail charge in consultation with the big supermarkets. And there's to be a working group to look at raising the use of re-usable bags and biodegradable bags. Twisting in the wind, Garrett emerged from the meeting with a bunch of weasel words declaring the result to be "substantial and positive". "We felt a mandated charge on plastic bags is another cost for Australian communities who are feeling the pinch," Garrett said.

It was all bollocks, of course. Garrett felt no such thing -- at least until he got into the meeting. A retail charge was always his preferred option. It was what his department was costing behind the scenes, despite his public denials. The fact is that having ruled out an immediate ban, and having also ruled out the Commonwealth imposing a levy, the only option left was a check-out charge.And it wasn't Garrett who was alert to the fact that this would cause financial pain to families. It was the states, led behind the scenes by New South Wales Treasurer Michael Costa and Victorian Environment Minister Gavin Jennings, with support from Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.

Costa got into the act after Garrett's plans for a bag charge were revealed last month. And he wasn't having any of it, immediately talking with the big food chains to see where they were with Garrett. That wasn't very far because, according to sources in the retail sector, he had barely bothered consulting them. Costa and the rest of the states quickly woke up to the fact that Garrett's plan required all the states to pass uniform regulations to put it into place. But that would mean the states would also have to police what would effectively be a new tax, and wear the political backlash that would inevitably follow.

On Thursday they made it clear that wasn't on. For Garrett to save some face, Jennings stitched together a deal for a trial in Victoria. The research into bio-degradable bags had been something the supermarkets had been pressing for some time. It should have been the threshold question for the entire debate. The result? Although Garrett wouldn't say it publicly, his office sheepishly admitted late on Thursday that the minister's bold plan to phase out plastic bags by the end of the year could not now be met.

Now onto the minister at the other end of the environment debate, Chris Bowen. He's the minister responsible for trying to bring down the price of petrol [gasoline], which if he achieves it, of course, will increase greenhouse gasses. As Consumer Affairs Minister, he is also the one trying to bring down the cost of living while Garrett is trying to push it up via a charge on bags. Bowen's contribution last week was to unveil a national FuelWatch scheme to cut pump prices.

Well kind of. Before the election Labor promised to put "a cop on the beat" when it came to oil companies ripping off motorists. Now facing the reality of actually having to do that -- and bombarded with concerted questions about whether FuelWatch actually works to bring down prices --Bowen's rhetoric has substantially changed. Suddenly price wasn't the main reason for introducing FuelWatch. "The much more important reason for doing this is to give consumers more information," Bowen said.

Rudd too was laying on the caveats with a trowel: He said the aim was to help families "get the best possible prices for petrol when they go to fill up". "We can't promise the world," he said. "We can't promise the impossible." It's now the "best possible" price for petrol, not the "lowest". Mugged indeed. And playing the voters for mugs as well.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Further reports announced by climate-change panel

Surely we'll all have fried, or drowned, or gone past Hansen's 'tipping points' by 2014, so what's the point!? The meeting is also surely unnecessary because the science is settled. Because the science is settled we should suspend all further government expenditures on climate science including funding to the IPCC!

The fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report will be out by 2014, IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri announced last week in Budapest. The report from the first working group will come out in 2013, however, so that its findings can be incorporated more fully into the reports from the second and third working groups.

At its planning meeting, the IPCC also released a smaller report on the effects of climate change on water supplies worldwide. In addition, the agency plans to produce a special report on renewable energy, which is expected to be released in 2010.


Global warming? Scotland sees its best snow in a decade

The restaurant at the top of the mountain is packed, though the queues are not for tartiflette or omelette savoyarde but for the distinctly un-haute cuisine of haggis and neeps and tatties. In the shop by the funicular railway, Loch Ness Monster books and goat’s- milk soap from a local crofter are on sale next to ski goggles and thermal leggings. The weather forecast — “Some buffeting on higher slopes” — sounds particularly Scottish, while the signs for the “Cairngorm Poo Project”, an initiative to cut human waste left by walkers, would be hard to imagine in Courchevel or Val d’Isere.

Only a year after experiencing its worst season, the CairnGorm Mountain resort near Aviemore is defying the doomsayers of global warming and predictions of its demise. The car park is full and the slopes busy. When the sun comes out, it is almost warm. After several weeks of decent snowfalls, the spring skiing conditions are, according to everyone who knows, the best in living memory. The resort has even run out of up-to-date piste maps, and has had to advertise for extra staff because many of its seasonal workers have already left.

The snow in Scotland is so good that at least two of its five resorts are expecting to extend the season into May. It may be just temporary, but for the moment the Great British Ski Resort is back in business. “Yesterday I had a business appointment at the bank in the morning, but after work I was ski touring until 8 in the evening,” says Bob Kinnair, 54, chief executive of CairnGorm and a former head of the British Association of Ski Instructors. “It was just me and a mountain hare. I’ve been skiing here for 30 years but these are the best spring conditions I can remember.” He adds: “It’s an extraordinary position for Scottish skiing to be in heading for the end of April in this century. We were open for skiing on December 1 and we’re expecting to be open on May 1, which will take us into our sixth month.”

Despite the snow cover — at least a metre has fallen at the top (altitude 3,600ft, or 1,097m) — skiing in Scotland remains a unique experience. The piste names — Over Yonder, M2 and Side Slope — have a prosaic charm of their own. Bright orange signs highlight rocks and streams, while fences at the side of slopes prevent the snow from being blown too far by strong winds. This week, after a fresh dusting of snow on Tuesday, conditions remained surprisingly good. Despite a fair bit of “buffeting” (just 30mph when The Times visited — a good day) and sub-zero temperatures, there was fresh powder to be had in the bowls and gullies surrounding the 37km of groomed runs. Only a few weeks ago it was possible to ski all the way down to the lower car park, an event so rare that it was described as a “once-in-a- generation experience”.

CairnGorm’s target of 51,000 skier days was passed two weeks ago, and it should now comfortably exceed 60,000, with many travelling up from England. Although this is still nothing like the 150,000-200,000 skier days enjoyed by the resort in its prime 30 years ago, it represents a dramatic increase on last year’s 38,000. The improvement in conditions means that CairnGorm can expect to make a small profit this year, though most of that money will be reinvested in the resort infrastructure and used to service bank overdrafts. After just about breaking even for half a dozen years, the resort made a loss of £200,000 last year, raising serious questions about its future and the viability of Scottish skiing.

Scotland’s four other resorts have all enjoyed good conditions this year. Iain Hayes, 22, from Aviemore, who has been skiing in Scotland since he was 3, said yesterday: “These are the best conditions I can remember for ten years. The cover is incredible. It’s opened up the whole mountain.”


"Global warming" scores a ZERO in the latest ABC News poll

Post below recycled from Tom Nelson. See the original for links. Voters asked "What is the single most important issue in your choice for President?" Global Warming got exactly a "0" in response.

From page six here:

"Peak Oil" takes another hit: "Biggest discovery in decades"

A number of news outlets are reporting this morning that Petrobras, the Brazilian oil company, has made a second major find after the discovery of the Tupi field last autumn. Bloomberg reports:
Repsol YPF SA posted its biggest gain in Madrid trading and BG Group Plc climbed to a record in London after the Brazilian government said the Carioca oil field offshore Brazil may be the third-largest ever drilled. [...] The Carioca field may hold 33 billion barrels of oil, Haroldo Lima, director of Brazil's National Oil Agency, said at a seminar in Rio de Janeiro yesterday. Brazil holds an estimated 12 billion barrels of crude reserves, South America's second-largest deposit behind Venezuela, according to London-based BP Plc. Should the 33 billion-barrel estimate for Carioca be confirmed by additional drilling, Brazil's reserves would then surpass those of Libya.

One has a feeling that this gusher won't be the last. Brazil has only barely begun exploring off its coast, and has already found two huge fields. What else is out there?


Australia: Another Greenie false prophecy

Post below lifted from Tim Blair. See the original for links


Perth will become a ghost city within decades as rising global temperatures turn the wheatbelt into a desert and drive species to the brink of extinction, a leading Australian scientist warns. Australian paleontologist and popular author Tim Flannery said Perth was a city on the edge - isolated, dependent on energy and declining water supplies and more likely to feel the effects of global warming ...


Perth remains on track to break the record for the wettest April ever recorded ... Before today, persistent lows have soaked the city with 107.8mm of rain since the start of the month and only 41mm of rain needs to fall to break the 1926 April record of 148.8mm.

The president warms

Some very skeptical comments included in the WASHINGTON TIMES EDITORIAL below

We are all global-warming alarmists now. President Bush's speech yesterday outlining the goal of halting the growth of greenhouse-gas emissions in the United States by 2025 runs the unusual gauntlet of promising something the private sector will probably deliver on its own - witness the spontaneous rise of "carbon offsets" and green investing - while also kicking the intellectual legs out from under a defensible conservative position on climate change.

To be sure, the president's position is parsimonious by Al Gore's standards. It omits a cap-and-trade scheme; it is much less ambitious than the coming Senate proposal, which targets 2012 for the same emissions goals; it shuns tax increases; it strives to remain technologically feasible on today's terms, unlike many others; and it urges Congress, not bureaucrats, to hash out national policy on the subject.

But it also guts what remains of the executive branch's conservative possibilities on the subject of global warming. The strongest conservative position on global warming is as follows: Climate change is happening, always has happened and always will; humans contribute to it to some unknown degree; a hysterical U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has leapt far ahead of the science, and, in its politicized discredit, should be ignored; climate policy is to be determined by elected officials, not unaccountable technocrats; it is surely worth society's efforts to fund, study and develop realistic alternatives to fossil fuels in the event that the man-made impact turns out to be significant - this is advisable for security reasons also; the leading liberal proposals are simply too expensive; and, crucially, forcible mandates are harmful. Productive government attention to technical and scientific problems always more readily resembles the efforts of the National Institutes of Health, ARPANET (the Internet precursor) or the Manhattan Project than mere decrees. Technological research and innovation are the best means of harnessing ingenuity to solve mankind's technical, scientific and environmental problems.

The administration has ceded this intellectually and morally defensible high ground by acting as though the alarmists are correct on first principles while also declining to deliver the platform suggested by those principles. It is weak and tepid. Since this president could easily be the last Republican occupant of the Oval Office for some time - and the viable presidential candidates are all global-warming alarmists - that is significant.

As the Bush administration seems to regard things, the aim is to build a system with this last point in mind: One that does not bankrupt the economy or harm consumers unduly. Some kind of greenhouse-gas emissions framework is needed now, spokesmen argue, to ward off an economically disastrous plan under a President Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or John McCain.

We're glad to hear that Republicans still consider spending restraint and a working economy to be governing priorities. But we've already seen the results of such an approach. Over the last several years, key industries and their lobbyists have endorsed and helped develop various global-warming schemes on the premise that this train has already left the station. They must get on board, or they will be left behind. This may be true in the most immediate short-term self-serving sense for a given industry or company. It is to be expected as lobbyists maximize influence in Washington. But this simply fast-forwards the debate ahead of unresolved scientific and economic questions - where it belongs - and drives it prematurely into public policy, where it threatens disaster.

The new Bush initiative doesn't fit well in the final months of a conservative White House administration seeking to solidify its legacy.


Global Warming: The Hidden Assumption

On the face of it, there is no obvious reason why making the world a few degrees warmer would be a bad thing. Yet many people regard global warming not merely as a random element that might make things better or worse but as something obviously bad and obviously worth going to a lot of effort to prevent. Part of the reason, I think, is an unstated assumption-that, absent human intervention, climate is stable. Given that assumption it seems natural enough to worry about the destabilizing effect of human action, such as increases in carbon dioxide. We know the present situation is tolerable; who knows what change might bring?

That assumption is contradicted by massive geological evidence. As my geologist wife likes to point out, at various points in the past million years England has gone from being warm enough for hippos to live there to being buried under a mile of ice. And while the major glaciations are spaced out at intervals of about a hundred thousand years, they are separated by multiple smaller swings in climate. Looking at an even shorter time scale, it looks as though more than half of the temperature increase from 1600 to the present, at least in Europe, was merely bringing the temperature back up to where it was in 1100, before the start of the little ice age.

If earth's climate is inherently unstable, with or without human interference, the argument that we should play safe by not interfering looks a lot weaker.

All of which raises a factual question to which I think I know the answer but am not sure. If we consider global warming in the context not of the effect of human action but of past swings in climate, which is more dangerous-the hot or the cold end of the range? Given that the cold end involved glaciers covering much of North America and northern Europe, my guess is that it is worse, but I don't have any very detailed idea of just how hot the hot end got, and where.


A foolish overreaction to climate change

By Nigel Lawson

Over the past five years I have become increasingly concerned at the scaremongering of the climate alarmists, which has led the governments of Europe to commit themselves to a drastic reduction in carbon emissions, regardless of the economic cost of doing so. The subject is such a complex one, involving science, economics and politics in almost equal measure, that to do it justice I have written a book, albeit a short one, thoroughly referenced and sourced. But the bare bones are clear.

First, given the so-called greenhouse effect, the marked and largely man-made increase in carbon dioxide concentrations in the earth's atmosphere has no doubt contributed to the modest 20th century warming of the planet. But what remains a matter of unresolved dispute among climate scientists is how great a contribution it has made, compared with the natural factors affecting the earth's climate.

The majority view among climate scientists, as set out in the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is that "most" of the slight (0.5§C) warming in the last quarter of the 20th century was "very likely" caused by man-made carbon dioxide emissions. On that basis, and relying on computer models, its "best guess" of the likely rise in mean global temperature over the next 100 years is between 1.8§C and 4§C.

These projections were made, incidentally, before the recent acknowledgement that so far this century there has been no further global warming at all - in spite of a continuing rapid rise in carbon emissions.

Be that as it may, the IPCC goes on to estimate what the impact of the projected warming would be. It does so on the explicit basis of two assumptions. The first is that, while the developed world can adapt to warming, the developing world lacks the capacity to do so. The second is that, even in the developed world, adaptive capacity is constrained by the limits of existing technology - that is to say, there will be no further technological development over the next 100 years.

The first, distinctly patronising, assumption is almost certainly false. But even it were true it would mean only that, should the need arise, overseas aid programmes would be tailored to ensure that the developing world did acquire the necessary adaptive capacity. The second is self-evidently absurd, not least in the case of food production, given the ongoing developments in bio-engineering and genetic modification.

It is, however, on this flawed basis that the IPCC reckons that, if the rise in global temperature over the next 100 years is as much as 4§C, it would be likely to cost anything between 1 per cent and 5 per cent of global gross domestic product, albeit much more than this in the developing world and less in the developed world.

Even if that were so, what would it mean? Suppose the loss to the developing world were as much as 10 per cent of GDP, then - given the IPCC's economic growth assumptions, on which its emissions assumptions, and hence its warming assumptions, are based- it would imply that, by 2100 or thereabouts, people in the developing world, instead of being some 9.5 times as well off as they are today, would be "only" some 8.5 times as well off - which would still leave them better off than people in the developed world today. This, then, is the scale of the alleged threat to the planet - based, to repeat, on the IPCC's grossly inflated estimate of the likely damage from further warming, arising from its absurdly gloomy view of mankind's ability to adapt.

Indeed, given that warming produces benefits as well as costs, it is far from clear that for the people of the world as a whole, the currently projected warming, even if it occurs, would cause any net harm at all. By contrast, slowing down world economic growth, by shifting to much more expensive non-carbon sources of energy, would be massively costly, as Dieter Helm, Britain's foremost energy economist, has recently spelt out.

That is one good reason why the sought-after global agreement to cut back drastically on carbon dioxide emissions, embracing China, India and the other major developing countries, is not going to happen. But two very real dangers remain. The first is that the European Union, which already has the bit between its teeth on this issue, will severely damage its own economy by deciding to set an example to the world. And the second is that it will seek to limit that damage, as President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and others are already urging, by imposing trade barriers against those countries that are not prepared to accept mandatory cuts in their emissions.

A lurch into protectionism, and the rolling back of globalisation, would do far more damage to the world economy in general and to the developing countries in particular than could conceivably result from the projected resumption of global warming. It is high time this folly ended.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Inhofe Praises President Bush for Rejecting Lieberman-Warner Bill

President Bush stresses new technologies. There has been a lot of dissatisfaction among conservatives over the new Bush approach but I lean to the view that it was the best way of averting a greater folly from Congress. So a comment by someone as politically savvy as Senator Inhofe has considerable interest

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, issued the following statement in response to President Bush's statement in which he set out a new intermediate national goal for stopping the growth of greenhouse gas emissions:

"I applaud the President for outlining a bold alternative climate initiative that rejects the concept that the United States must adopt economically ruinous cap-and-trade legislation such as the Lieberman-Warner bill that would significantly drive up the already skyrocketing cost of energy on the American public," Senator Inhofe said. "Today, as American families and American workers are faced with an economic downturn, the slumping housing market, and rising gas prices, they are unlikely to tolerate a `de-stimulus' climate bill that will not have the sponsors' purported impact on temperatures but will further exacerbate economic pain.

"Rather, the President outlined the only politically and economically sustainable path forward, one that embraces and develops new technologies. I have long advocated a technology approach that brings in the developing world nations such as China and India as the only viable approach. The President is right, as Oklahoma demonstrates; tomorrow's energy mix must include more natural gas, wind and geothermal, but it must also include oil, coal, and nuclear energy, which is the world's largest source of emission-free energy. The President's approach serves multiple purposes - it will reduce air pollution, expand our energy supply, increase trade, and, along with these other goals, reduce greenhouse gases.

"Over the past year we have watched as liberal special interests have employed hundreds of lawyers to try and convert current environmental laws such as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Air Act into climate laws. Their attempt to list the polar bear as a threatened species is not about protecting the bear but about using the ESA to achieve global warming policy that they cannot otherwise achieve through the legislative process. The implications of such a policy would lead to drastic increases in litigation and eager lawyers ready to find ways to shut down energy production.


Carbon Showdown

The First Commandment of climate-change politics is that you can never be green enough - as President Bush learns anew every time he even attempts to address the issue. Critics were quick to claim a victory of sorts after his Rose Garden speech yesterday, while at the same time carrying on about half-measures and delay on "the planetary emergency."

Mr. Bush, however, made few departures from current policy. His larger purpose was to join a debate that so far has been conducted in a reality vacuum, and to force the global warmists to take responsibility for the carbon and greenhouse-gas regulation they say they favor. The major policy revelation was Mr. Bush's announcement that the U.S. would seek to level off the growth of emissions by 2025. The Administration is setting this target in advance of the "major economies" summit this weekend in Paris. Participating are the 17 largest world-wide emitters, and the diplomatic mission is to persuade each, including China and India, to set its own reduction goals, or "aspirations."

One virtue of this process is that it bypasses current negotiations for a post-2012 Kyoto follow-up and dumps the mandates, global bureaucracies and sanctions that the United Nations would impose. Mr. Bush emphasized that the U.S. goal could be reasonably achieved (at least in theory) with the portfolio of binding and voluntary measures already in place domestically, perhaps with some adjustments at the margins and assuming advancements in clean technology. The President emphasized, too, the importance of nuclear power and the obstacles to fossil-fuel generation that provide more than 80% of current energy needs.

Greens are already deriding the goal as not enough, which may be one measure of its realism. A benefit of the major-economies route is to raise questions about what can be practically obtained, and at what cost. If the world is really serious about diminishing emissions, then China, India and other developing nations must be linked in. If every rich country cut emissions to zero tomorrow, the effect on global atmospheric CO2 concentrations would be at best negligible. So a strategy of incremental, feasible improvements is better than a one-sided infliction of costs on the U.S.

The political risk of a target and deadline is that it lends credence to a binding limit on carbon emissions, which is the premise of Congressional efforts to lay down a cap-and-trade program. The target will begin to squeeze the energy sectors today, while the expected technologies, such as carbon sequestration and cleaner burning generators, remain in the laboratory and may never materialize on a commercial scale.

The Administration's prior support for Beltway energy superstitions led to policy failures such as the biofuels and fuel-economy mandates. That said, the Administration has set carbon-reduction goals before - the 2002 concessions and the more recent "20-in-10" program. Billons in subsidies and tax preferences are now available for alternative technology. This is a preferable model (if often wasteful) to the command-and-control now fomenting on Capitol Hill.

Although U.S. CO2 emissions grew by only 2% between 2000 and 2005, everyone believes a major global warming bill is inevitable, and maybe it is. The rationale for yesterday's speech was to acknowledge these political realities but also to pair them with economic ones, expanding the debate to include costs as well as benefits.

Incompatible as it might be with liberal promises about painless global-warming controls, cap-and-trade is designed to disrupt the economy. The only signal that will tell consumers to make less carbon-intensive energy choices is higher prices. An analysis by American Council for Capital Formation and the National Association of Manufacturers of the Senate bill sponsored by Joe Lieberman and John Warner, likely to be the template for future Congressional action, concludes that it will result in as much as a 2.6% reduction in GDP by 2030.

Mr. Bush also went after the Democrats and green activists ginning up a regulatory crisis. Judicial interventions and political pressure are forcing regulators to retrofit existing environmental laws to incorporate global warming - costly purposes for which they were never intended. This effort has been appalling even when graded on the usual Congressional curve of self-interest and buck-passing. Democrats want to take credit for crowd-pleasing goals while shifting the blame for the costs achieving them onto unaccountable bureaucrats. But if a cap-and-trade program really is coming, then lawmakers should, well, make laws.

The White House deserves credit for playing the political hand in front of it. It would have been easy enough to abdicate responsibility to the next occupant of the Oval Office, who will be far more likely to wave aside economic considerations in the interests of "doing something." The Bush stance gives the GOP some political guideposts for the coming argument, and someone from the McCain policy shop ought to be paying attention.


A Maverick Climate Policy

Republican nominee for president John McCain recently returned from a whirlwind tour of Europe meant to promote his global statesmanship. In Europe, he met with leaders such as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and even published opinion pieces in major French and English newspapers that outlined his global vision. Central to that vision is global warming. In his contribution to the French paper Le Monde, McCain gave the fight against climate change equal billing with the war on terror. He warned that Americans and Europeans "will hand over a much-diminished world to our grandchildren" if they do not "get serious" about climate change.

McCain, who once admitted that he "doesn't really understand economics," claimed the solution to the "looming threat" of climate change is to "unleash the power and innovation of the marketplace." Unfortunately, McCain's plan fails to free anything. In fact, his big government climate policy would mitigate not global warming but economic growth.

Some background: Four years ago, Senator McCain co-sponsored-with the then-Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut-the Climate Stewardship Act, a so-called "cap and trade" program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Act was updated in 2007, and is now one of several cap and trade proposals being debated in Congress. Like all cap and trade policies, this would require central planning of the economy. Starting in 2012, the government would assign emissions quotas (caps) to thousands of industrial users and suppliers of energy. Because emissions are synonymous with energy use, McCain's climate plan would be America's first energy rationing program since the oil crises of the early 1970s.

Businesses would receive part of their emissions rations free of charge, but they would have to purchase the rest from a government-run auction. Over time, emissions quotas would get smaller, until 2050, when aggregate emissions are capped at about a third of what they are now. As the cap shrinks, companies would have to find new ways to cut their carbon footprint. In any given year, if a company's emissions exceed its quota, it could avoid a penalty by purchasing surplus emission rights from a business that beat its target.

McCAIN BRAGS ABOUT his "leadership" on the global warming issue, so he must believe that his Climate Stewardship Act makes for good politics. That's likely to change once voters learn more about the plan. For one thing, evidence suggests that controlling billions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions from thousands of sources is too complex for government bureaucracies to handle. For example, in Phase I of the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme, which started three years ago, a huge misallocation of emissions quotas led to a collapse in the price of carbon from $40 to 40 cents. At that price, there was no incentive to reduce emissions, which is why Phase I was an abject failure.

Even a functioning cap could have only a limited effect on emissions. Energy-intensive industries would have every incentive to move their operations to countries without carbon controls, like China. As a result, McCain's plan would cause a net reduction not of greenhouse gas emissions, but of American jobs.

Again, the European example is illustrative. Last month, the European Commission announced it will probably exempt Europe's steel, chemical, and power sectors from Phase II of the Emissions Trading Scheme because "it is not in the interest of the European Union that in the future production moves to countries with less strict emissions limits." But without those high-emission sectors, what possible good can come of a cap and trade scheme? Or maybe we should ask whose good? The Arizona senator's plan might not shrink emissions, but it will surely grow government. Under the Climate Stewardship Act, companies must buy an increasing portion of their annual emissions allotment from a government-run auction that would raise billions of dollars.

McCain does not offset this increase in government revenue with tax cuts elsewhere in the budget, so government would get bigger. He has said that he wants to promote "green jobs," and indeed he would be doing so, by adding green bureaucrats. Ultimately, the burden of the bill would fall upon American consumers. Industry cannot simply absorb the losses imposed upon it by McCain's energy rationing plan. Instead, as noted in a 2007 Congressional Budget Office study, "much of the cost of a cap and trade would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices for energy intensive goods."

In addition to mandatory emissions caps, McCain's bill would establish one of the largest ever government research programs, to develop clean energy technology. But government-funded research is unlikely to achieve a clean energy technological breakthrough because politicians are poor judges of which technologies show the most promise. If they were any good at picking winners, they would probably be venture capitalists. Remember, government has a long history of failed energy initiatives. Synfuels have remained unaffordable for half a century, despite generous government support. The 1970s energy crisis prompted Congress to establish the Solar Energy Research Institute; a generation later, solar power is still far from competitive. And just last month the White House shelved plans for FutureGen, a multi-billion-dollar clean-coal power plant prototype.

McCAIN CLAIMS THE Climate Stewardship Act is a market-based solution to global warming. It is anything but. He would have the government cap emissions; create the emissions market and rake off the profits; and control clean energy research. If he really wants to put forward free market alternatives, they do exist. He could advocate the elimination of government market interventions that obstruct emission reductions and discourage the adoption of lower emission technologies. To wit, the way the electricity market works now-centralized electricity production transmitted over great distances to consumers-is grossly inefficient. This wasteful model will persist only as long as government forbids competition in electricity transmission and distribution. Deregulation of the electricity grid would allow entrepreneurs to profit by making the system more energy efficient, and thus more environmentally friendly.

Then there's nuclear power. It leaves virtually no carbon footprint, but plant construction has slowed to a virtual halt because of the regulatory burden imposed on nuclear energy by local and federal governments. Lightening this burden would allow nuclear to compete properly with coal and natural gas, again to the benefit of the climate.

Another effective free market solution is expensing-the removal of tax penalties on capital investment. By allowing companies to write off more of their investments sooner, expensing would encourage rapid turnover of plants and equipment. In general, newer facilities are more productive than older units, delivering more output per unit of input. Expensing would accelerate carbon intensity decline-without dreaded energy rationing.

Natural gas has half the carbon footprint of coal. There is enough of it off the Gulf Coast to power American industry for 30 years, but it remains locked away because the federal government refuses to open it up to exploration. A certain someone could pressure his colleagues to do just that.

Congress is considering several climate bills, all of which include cap and trade schemes along the lines of McCain's American jobs killing proposal. If the Arizona senator wants to be a true maverick, he should buck the trend that he helped start-by supporting free market solutions to global warming that might actually make a difference.


Our Climate Numbers Are a Big Old Mess


President George W. Bush has just announced his goal to stabilize greenhouse-gas emissions by 2025. To get there, he proposes new fuel-economy standards for autos, and lower emissions from power plants built in the next 10 to 15 years. Pending legislation in the Senate from Joe Lieberman and John Warner would cut emissions even further - by 66% by 2050. No one has a clue how to do this. Because there is no substitute technology to achieve these massive reductions, we'll just have to get by with less energy. Compared to a year ago, gasoline consumption has dropped only 0.5% at current prices. So imagine how expensive it would be to reduce overall emissions by 66%.

The earth's paltry warming trend, 0.31 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since the mid-1970s, isn't enough to scare people into poverty. And even that 0.31 degree figure is suspect. For years, records from surface thermometers showed a global warming trend beginning in the late 1970s. But temperatures sensed by satellites and weather balloons displayed no concurrent warming.

These records have been revised a number of times, and I examined the two major revisions of these three records. They are the surface record from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the satellite-sensed temperatures originally published by University of Alabama's John Christy, and the weather-balloon records originally published by James Angell of the U.S. Commerce Department.

The two revisions of the IPCC surface record each successively lowered temperatures in the 1950s and the 1960s. The result? Obviously more warming - from largely the same data. The balloon temperatures got a similar treatment. While these originally showed no warming since the late 1970s, inclusion of all the data beginning in 1958 resulted in a slight warming trend. In 2003, some tropical balloon data, largely from poor countries, were removed because their records seemed to vary too much from year to year. This change also resulted in an increased warming trend. Another check for quality control in 2005 created further warming, doubling the initial overall rate.

Then it was discovered that our orbiting satellites have a few faults. The sensors don't last very long and are continually being supplanted by replacement orbiters. The instruments are calibrated against each other, so if one is off, so is the whole record. Frank Wentz, a consulting atmospheric scientist from California, discovered that the satellites also drift a bit in their orbits, which induces additional bias in their readings. The net result? A warming trend appears where before there was none.

There have been six major revisions in the warming figures in recent years, all in the same direction. So it's like flipping a coin six times and getting tails each time. The chance of that occurring is 0.016, or less than one in 50. That doesn't mean that these revisions are all hooey, but the probability that they would all go in one direction on the merits is pretty darned small.

The removal of weather-balloon data because poor nations don't do a good job of minding their weather instruments deserves more investigation, which is precisely what University of Guelph economist Ross McKitrick and I did. Last year we published our results in the Journal of Geophysical Research, showing that "non-climatic" effects in land-surface temperatures - GDP per capita, among other things - exert a significant influence on the data. For example, weather stations are supposed to be a standard white color. If they darken from lack of maintenance, temperatures read higher than they actually are. After adjusting for such effects, as much as half of the warming in the U.N.'s land-based record vanishes. Because about 70% of earth's surface is water, this could mean a reduction of as much as 15% in the global warming trend.

Another interesting thing happens to the U.N.'s data when it's adjusted for the non-climatic factors. The frequency of very warm months is lowered, to the point at which it matches the satellite data, which show fewer very hot months. That's a pretty good sign that there are fundamental problems with the surface temperature history. At any rate, our findings have not been incorporated into the IPCC's history, and they probably never will be.

The fear of a sudden loss of ice from Greenland also makes a lot of news. A year ago, radio and television were ablaze with the discovery of "Warming Island," a piece of land thought to be part of Greenland. But when the ice receded in the last few years, it turned out that there was open water. Hence Warming Island, which some said hadn't been uncovered for thousands of years. CNN, ABC and the BBC made field trips to the island.

But every climatologist must know that Greenland's last decade was no warmer than several decades in the early and mid-20th century. In fact, the period from 1970-1995 was the coldest one since the late 19th century, meaning that Greenland's ice anomalously expanded right about the time climate change scientists decided to look at it.

Warming Island has a very distinctive shape, and it lies off of Carlsbad Fjord, in eastern Greenland. My colleague Chip Knappenberger found an inconvenient book, "Arctic Riviera," published in 1957 (near the end of the previous warm period) by aerial photographer Ernst Hofer. Hofer did reconnaissance for expeditions and was surprised by how pleasant the summers had become. There's a map in his book: It shows Warming Island.

The mechanism for the [prophesied] Greenland disaster is that summer warming creates rivers, called moulins, that descend into the ice cap, lubricating a rapid collapse and raising sea levels by 20 feet in the next 90 years. In Al Gore's book, "An Inconvenient Truth," there's a wonderful picture of a moulin on page 193, with the text stating "These photographs from Greenland illustrate some of the dramatic changes now happening on the ice there." Really? There's a photograph in the journal "Arctic," published in 1953 by R.H. Katz, captioned "River disappearing in 40-foot deep gorge," on Greenland's Adolf Hoels Glacier. It's all there in the open literature, but apparently that's too inconvenient to bring up. Greenland didn't shed its ice then. There was no acceleration of the rise in sea level.

Finally, no one seems to want to discuss that for millennia after the end of the last ice age, the Eurasian arctic was several degrees warmer in summer (when ice melts) than it is now. We know this because trees are buried in areas that are now too cold to support them. Back then, the forest extended all the way to the Arctic Ocean, which is now completely surrounded by tundra. If it was warmer for such a long period, why didn't Greenland shed its ice?

This prompts the ultimate question: Why is the news on global warming always bad? Perhaps because there's little incentive to look at things the other way. If you do, you're liable to be pilloried by your colleagues. If global warming isn't such a threat, who needs all that funding? Who needs the army of policy wonks crawling around the world with bold plans to stop climate change? But as we face the threat of massive energy taxes - raised by perceptions of increasing rates of warming and the sudden loss of Greenland's ice - we should be talking about reality.


At least some plankton thrive with more CO2

The ocean acidification scare is now steadily becoming unstuck. The alarmists must be going crazy. They lost warming/hurricanes as a talking point last week and they continue to lose coral reefs as researchers discovered earlier this week that corals are flourishing after a direct Atomic bomb explosion in the Pacific Atoll of Bikini. Now the alarmists have lost plankton as a talking point!

Most concerns about growing emissions of carbon dioxide have focused on the gas's heat-trapping effect on climate. But ocean experts have increasingly warned that the direct chemical impact on marine life, as carbon dioxide dissolves in water and lowers its pH, could profoundly disrupt ecosystems by interfering with the growth of reefs and shell-forming plankton.

Now, though, a new laboratory study has shown that some types of plankton thrive in water with a low pH created by greatly raising concentrations of carbon dioxide. The plankton that demonstrated this unexpected ability are certain coccolithopores, single-celled plants that are sheathed in Frisbee-like plates rich in calcium. They are a cornerstone of ocean ecosystems and play a significant role, as they die and sink, in taking carbon out of circulation and locking it away in rock.

The study, led by Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez of Britain's National Oceanography Center, was published today in Science Express, the online edition of Science. It focused on laboratory tests in which coccolithophores were grown in water made more acidic by infusing it with bubbles of air with elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide. But the study also assessed long-term records of changes in the mass of the individual calcium plates, or coccoliths, which accumulate on the sea bed. Here's what the researchers found:
"Field evidence from the deep ocean is consistent with these laboratory conclusions, indicating that over the past 220 years there has been a 40-percent increase in average coccolith mass. Our findings show that coccolithophores are already responding and will probably continue to respond to rising atmospheric CO2.."

The researchers, noting they only looked at one species, said the work suggests that the organisms could double their rate of photosynthesis and calcium uptake in carbon dioxide concentrations around double the current level of 380 parts per million. They stressed this was a rough projection and did not account for a vast range of variables in ocean conditions to come.


Abstract follows:

Phytoplankton Calcification in a High-CO2 World

By M. Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez et al.

Ocean acidification in response to rising atmospheric CO2 partial pressures is widely expected to reduce calcification by marine organisms. From the mid-Mesozoic, coccolithophores have been major calcium carbonate producers in the world's oceans, today accounting for about a third of the total marine CaCO3 production. Here, we present laboratory evidence that calcification and net primary production in the coccolithophore species Emiliania huxleyi are significantly increased by high CO2 partial pressures. Field evidence from the deep ocean is consistent with these laboratory conclusions, indicating that over the past 220 years there has been a 40% increase in average coccolith mass. Our findings show that coccolithophores are already responding and will probably continue to respond to rising atmospheric CO2 partial pressures, which has important implications for biogeochemical modeling of future oceans and climate.

Science 18 April 2008: Vol. 320. no. 5874, pp. 336 - 340

Teenage Skeptic Takes on Climate Scientists

Pretty surprising to see this on NPR

If you're a scientist trying to convince people they are making the world warmer, Kristen Byrnes is your worst nightmare. She's articulate, intelligent, she has a Web site, and one day her people will be running the world. Her people, meaning 16-year-olds. Kristen's Web site, "Ponder the Maunder," has made her a celebrity among climate skeptics. After she posted a critique of Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth, her Web site got so many hits the family's internet service provider sent them a warning.

Her story may dismay mainstream scientists, but plenty of people are friendly to her ideas. In one poll last year, only about 50 percent of people agreed humans were contributing to global warming. The other half either disagreed, weren't sure or didn't believe the Earth was warming in the first place.

"I don't remember how old I was when I started getting into global warming," Kristen says. "In middle school I remember everyone was like: 'Global warming! The world is going to end!' Stuff like that ... so I never really believed in it."

On the March afternoon I visited, there was still snow on the ground in Maine, and Kristen padded around the house wearing green furry slippers. She earns top grades in school. (Her step-dad, Mike Carson, proudly shows them off.) And she has a quality scientists try to cultivate: she is skeptical. Has someone made a claim? She wants to see the data. So about a year ago, when she was 15, she started to look at the scientific evidence. When she got confused, she consulted Mike. Soon they had printed out a mound of technical documents from the Internet.

Kristen was convinced by the skeptics and she began to write, summarizing their arguments adding her own touches. Yes, she says, the Earth is warming. But no, humans aren't causing it. She says it's part of the natural climate cycle. At some point, Mike and Kristen decided to post her work online. "I felt it was important to inform people that this wasn't completely true," Kristen says. "A public service to let people know."

Mike set up the Web site and Kristen's mom, Tammy Byrnes, typed. Soon "Ponder the Maunder" was born. Kristen admits the title is a little obscure. It's a reference to a dip in solar activity in the 1600s known as the "Maunder minimum." Her Web site includes charts of temperature records, El Nino indexes, isotope measurements. Skeptics loved it: A 15-year-old attacking the mainstream scientific view. "It took off like wildfire," Mike says, "But that was nothing compared to when her Al Gore critique went up."

Kristen had no fear. She took on Al Gore the Nobel laureate, Academy Award winner and former vice president. She went after Jim Hansen, one of NASA's top climate scientists. E-mail poured in, mostly from skeptics happy a young person had taken up the cause.

"I got a letter in the mail on my birthday from a senator," she says. Someone runs off into another room to track it down and returns with an envelope from the office of Sen. James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican famous for calling global warming a hoax. "Dear Kristen," the letter begins. "Thank you so much for your letter and e-mail and for your kind words. I appreciate your help in the fight against global warming alarmism. You are a common sense young lady and an inspiration to me. I want you to keep up the good work. We are winning."

Mainstream scientists would argue that many of the issues on her Web site are red herrings or have been put to rest - and Kristen did get emails from people challenging her science. But after a few exchanges, she says, her opponents backed down. "A few of them gave up and figured they can't win against a 15-year-old," she says. Mike laughs as she says this.

Kristen says when her determination sagged, Mike encouraged her. "Kristen! MOTIVATION!" she remembers him saying. Mike is deeply skeptical humans are behind global warming and pulls up a graph on the computer to help make the case. And the truth is, for people who want to get down into the details, climate change science can get very hairy. There are oceans to consider, which can absorb heat, water vapor and cloud cover to account for.

Much of the evidence comes from detailed computer models. Scientists disagree on some of the details. A handful do not think the case has been made. But the overwhelming consensus is that humans are causing global warming, and the consequences could be serious.

Despite Kristen's online celebrity, she doesn't talk about climate change much with her friends. During lunch at a local chowder house with her friend Chrissy Flanders, they talked about food and friends and clothes. So it came as somewhat of a surprise when Chrissy piped up to say she disagreed with Kristen on climate change. "I think it's partly because of humans," she says. Asked why she believes that she says she doesn't know. Kristen chimes in: "She just believes what everyone else is making her believe."

It's probably fair to say that most people - even those who have strong opinions about global warming - couldn't make a strong scientific argument for why they believe what they believe. Most of us delegate, decide to believe someone we trust. We don't actively seek out the other side. We probably wouldn't know what to make of it, or how to reconcile the two. Who has time? Or the expertise?

Kristen is getting out of the climate-change business. She thinks she would like to become an architect - maybe even build energy-efficient "green" buildings. She does not see herself as an environmentalist, though. She says that makes her think of hippies.


Americans Reject Proposed Expansion of Clean Water Act, Poll Shows

A majority of Americans oppose the Oberstar/Feingold Clean Water Restoration Act (CWRA), according to a nationwide survey by Wilson Research Strategies for the National Center for Public Policy Research. CWRA will receive a hearing of the full House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at 11 AM today.

In the survey, voters were informed the Congress is considering a measure that would expand the areas covered under the Clean Water Act, including to areas that are only intermittently wet. They were then provided brief arguments both for and against the measure and asked if they favored or opposed the proposal. 54% of those with an opinion opposed the measure, while 46% favor it. Among political independents, opposition was higher -- 56% opposed, 44% in support.

"The Clean Water Restoration Act would submit nearly every drop of water in the United States to federal regulation," said David Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. "It's not surprising that the American people have great reservations about such a massive increase in federal power."

The poll found a majority of Americans from all regions oppose the Clean Water Restoration Act, led by the Mountain States (62%), the Farm Belt (59%), and New England (58%).

"The Clean Water Restoration Act would be an enormous burden on farmers, ranchers, home and land owners and to business," said Ridenour, "and also to boaters, hunters, anglers, shooting sports enthusiasts and other outdoor recreationists. If you think natural resources should be enjoyed, you can think again if this proposal becomes law."

The poll was conducted by Wilson Research Strategies, which surveyed 800 registered voters who are likely to vote in the 2008 presidential election.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Friday, April 18, 2008

A Really Inconvenient Truth

The most inconvenient truth for climate alarmists is the swelling ranks of influential scientists with dissenting opinions on global warming

Al Gore says global warming is an inconvenient truth. "Inconvenient" adds a clever twist to the name of the would-be president's popular documentary and book. But far worthier of scrutiny is the other word in the title: "Truth." Man-made global warming, says the former politician and a rising sea of climate alarmists, is not just inconvenient, it's an unequivocal, undeniable truth. In fact, the truth about global warming is so convincing that "debate in the scientific community is over."

Says who? Well, the United Nations for starters. On February 2 last year, the United Nations issued a press release highlighting its latest report, which apparently proved "changes in the atmosphere, the oceans and glaciers and ice caps now show unequivocally that the world is warming due to human activities" (emphasis mine throughout). According to Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program (unep), Feb. 2, 2007, will perhaps one day be remembered as the day "where the question mark was removed behind the debate on whether climate change has anything to do with human activity on this planet."

Then in December, at the UN's circus-like climate conference in Bali, an updated version of the report, produced by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (ipcc), was embraced by scientists and world leaders alike. Since then, the report-which is riddled with qualifying statements that corrode the report's fundamental premise (that global warming is a man-made crisis)-has been touted by the mainstream press as conclusive proof of man-made climate change. To climate activists, the case is closed on man-made global warming. But is it?

The Test of Truth

Flinging the word truth around is easy. Convicted criminals claim that the truth is they're innocent; car salesmen say the truth is they can't afford to drop the price further; a child with brownie mix smeared all over his face argues that he's telling the truth when he denies running his tongue round the mixing bowl. The real test of truth is whether or not it conforms with reality and is backed by verified, indisputable facts. For climate alarmists, the really inconvenient truth is that a burgeoning number of scientists, climate experts and even politicians around the world are discussing facts that clash with the so-called truth that the globe is warming because of human activities.

The real truth is that the theory of man-made global warming-despite being virtually canonized in the UN and the minds of a slew of politicians and celebrities, and naturally in the mainstream media-remains one of the most contentious issues in science. That contention was on full display in New York City March 2-4. Those who depend solely on the mainstream newsmedia to keep them informed might have missed the headlines about the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change, sponsored by the Heartland Institute and featuring nearly 100 speakers and 500 attendees skeptical of man-made global warming. The three-day conference occurred in the wake of reports of global cooling and the release of a blockbuster U.S. Senate minority report featuring over 400 prominent scientists disputing the theory of man-made global warming. The conference testified to one towering truth in the world of science: Debate within the scientific community over global warming is far from dead.

The high-water mark of the conference was the presentation of a report produced by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (nipcc) claiming nature, not human activity, was the cause of climate change. The nipcc is comprised of international scientists and was formed as a counterforce to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

International scientists, climate experts and policymakers at the event listened to lectures and panel discussions exposing the fraud of the global warming "truth," perused studies and reports showing stark division in the scientific community over global warming, and swapped stories about how they'd been "denied tenure, shut out of scientific conferences and rejected by academic journals because no matter how scrupulous their research," their conclusions contradicted the truth espoused by the climate change pharisees (National Post, March 10). Many attendees spoke of colleagues too afraid to attend the conference for fear of losing their jobs.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works outlined the staggering scale of the global warming scam in its article "Climate Skeptics Reveal `Horror Stories' of Scientific Repression" (March 6). Take funding for global warming research, for example. Over the past decade, research intended to prove the veracity of man-made global warming has been funded to the tune of $50 billion, while global warming skeptic research has received a comparatively measly $19 million. That's over 260,000 percent more funding for the alarmists!

During the conference, the Business and Media Institute (bmi), a division of the Media Research Center (America's largest and most respected watchdog group), also released its comprehensive study on how the mainstream media reports on global warming. bmi's analysis of 205 network stories between July 1 and December 31 last year exposed the mainstream media as the largest propaganda vehicle for global warming crusaders: "Global warming proponents overwhelmingly outnumbered those with dissenting opinions. On average, for every skeptic there were nearly 13 proponents featured. abc did a slightly better job with a 7-to-1 ratio, while cbs's ratio was abysmal at nearly 38-to-1. . "Of the three networks (abc, nbc and cbs), 80 percent of stories (167 out of 205) didn't mention skepticism or anyone at all who dissented from global warming. cbs did the absolute worst job. Ninety-seven percent of its stories ignored other opinions" ("Global Warming Censored"). The lesson: Transforming a lie into truth before an unwitting public is made easier by silencing dissenting opinions. Eighty percent of news stories omitted the opposing view altogether. How fair and objective is that?

In an article on New York's climate conference in the Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin wrote: "Sponsored by the Heartland Institute, the 2 _-day session poses a stark contrast to the near-unanimous chorus of concern expressed by top U.S. politicians and most of the scientific mainstream" (March 4).

Near-unanimous chorus of concern?

Might the perceived "near-unanimous" concern about man-made global warming be a result of the gag order imposed on thousands of scientists and hundreds of reporters from around the world espousing a dissenting opinion? Any person who watches cbs News or reads the Washington Post would be forgiven for joining the ranks of those who believe global warming is a man-made crisis. Why? Because unanimity is easy when dissenting voices are ignored.

Despite Al Gore and the UN's claim that the case is closed on global warming, there are dissenting voices. Besides the conference in New York, besides the 400 skeptical scientists that signed the U.S. Senate minority report released a few months ago, countless other studies show dissent in the scientific community over man's role in global warming. The results of a Canadian survey of 51,000 earth scientists and engineers by the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta, released March 6, showed that 68 percent disagreed with the statement "the debate on the scientific causes of recent climate change is settled." Near-unanimous?

Sliding Standards of Credibility

Later in the Post piece, Eilperin compared the UN-sponsored ipcc report with the nipcc report, pointing out that some of the authors of the nipcc report "were not scientists." The clear implication is that the nipcc report lacks scientific credibility, which is patently untrue.

But let's address scientific credibility. According to the bmi study mentioned above, just 15 percent of global warming proponents shown on network television are scientists, while the remaining 85 percent are politicians, celebrities and ordinary men and women (whose viewpoints are often shaped by the mainstream press). Clearly, scientific credibility is not a primary concern of the global warming propaganda machine.

Eilperin concluded her piece with a series of quotes from climate alarmists taking potshots at the so-called quacks who attended the New York conference. Because the media and many politicians are now ignoring the climate skeptics, said Princeton University geosciences professor Michael Oppenheimer, "They have to get together to talk to each other, because nobody else is talking to them."

Oppenheimer's remark makes for a tidy soundbite. But in truth, that conference illustrated the rising tide of scientists proving themselves willing to come out and declare man-made global warming to be a giant fraud. The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works reported: "In such nations as Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands, Russia, Argentina, New Zealand, Portugal and France, groups of scientists have recently spoken out to oppose and debunk man-made climate fears. . "In January 2008, environmental scientist professor Delgado Domingos of Portugal, the founder and director of the Numerical Weather Forecast group, announced publicly that he considered co2-related climate fears to be `dangerous nonsense.'

"In addition, at least one scientist publicly pondered reconsidering his view of man-made climate fears after the Senate report of 400 scientists was released in December. `It (the Senate 400 scientists report) got me thinking: I'm an environmental scientist, but I've never had time to review the "evidence" for the anthropogenic causes of global warming,' wrote environmental scientist professor Rami Zurayk of the American University in Beirut on Dec. 27, 2007. `When I said, in my opening speech for the launch of unep's (United Nations Environment Program) Global Environment Outlook-4 in Beirut: "There is now irrevocable evidence that climate change is taking place ." I was reading from a statement prepared by unep. Faith-based science it may be, but who has time to review all the evidence? I'll continue to act on the basis of anthropogenic climate change, but I really need to put some more time into this,' Zurayk wrote" (op. cit.).

Professor Zurayk's stark admission raises an interesting question: How many scientists on the man-is-the-cause-of-global-warming bandwagon are there simply because they have followed their colleagues, the UN, Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, or Bono? How many have proven scientifically that global warming has been induced by man?


European Birds Refuse to Respond to Warming as Climate Alarmists Say They Should

Warming INCREASES bird populations

In a paper recently published in Global Ecology and Biogeography, Javier Seoane and Luis Carrascal of the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales in Madrid, Spain, write that "global climatic change has been proposed as one of the most likely environmental processes governing population trends," stating more specifically that "it has been hypothesized that species preferring low environmental temperatures, which inhabit cooler habitats or areas, would be negatively affected by global warming as a consequence of the widely accepted increase of temperature during the last two decades," while additionally noting that "this effect is assumed to be more intense at higher latitudes and altitudes because these areas seem to be changing more rapidly."

Hence, they devised a study "to assess whether population changes agree with what could be expected under global warming (a decrease in species typical of cooler environments)," focusing on birds. Working in the Spanish portion of the Iberian Peninsula in the southwestern part of the Mediterranean Basin, the two researchers determined breeding population changes for 57 species of common passerine birds between 1996 and 2004 in areas without any apparent land-use changes.

This work revealed, in their words, that "one-half of the study species showed significant increasing [our italics] recent trends despite the public concern that bird populations are generally decreasing," while "only one-tenth showed a significant decrease."In discussing their findings, Seoane and Carrascal state that "the coherent pattern in population trends we found disagrees [our italics] with the proposed detrimental effect of global warming on bird populations of western Europe."

And they are not the only ones to have come to this conclusion. They note, for example, that "one-half of terrestrial passerine birds in the United Kingdom exhibited increasing recent trends in a very similar time period (1994-2004)," citing Raven et al. (2005); and they note that "there is also a marked consistency between the observed increasing trends for forest and open woodland species in the Iberian Peninsula and at more northern European latitudes in the same recent years," citing Gregory et al. (2005).

Likewise, they write that "Julliard et al. (2004a), working with 77 common bird species in France, found that species with large ecological breadth showed a tendency to increase their numbers throughout the analyzed period."In further commenting on their findings, Seoane and Carrascal say that in their study, "bird species that inhabit dense wooded habitats show striking patterns of population increase throughout time."

Noting that "this is also the case with those bird species mainly distributed across central and northern Europe that reach their southern boundary limits in the north of the Iberian Peninsula," they speculate that "these short- to medium-term population increases may be due to concomitant increases in productivity," citing the thinking of Julliard et al. (2004b) and the empirical observations of Myneni et al. (1997), Tucker et al. (2001), Zhou et al. (2001), Fang et al. (2003) and Slayback et al. (2003), whose work figures prominently in establishing the reality of the late 20th-century warming- and CO2-induced greening of the earth phenomenon, which has produced, in the words of the Spanish scientists, "an increase in plant growth or terrestrial net primary production in middle latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere since the 1980s, particularly in forest environments.

"It should be clear from these several observations that the supposedly unprecedented warmth of the last two decades has not led to what Seoane and Carrascal call "the proposed detrimental effect of global warming on bird populations of western Europe." In fact, it appears to have done just the opposite, with a little help, we might add, from one of man's and nature's very best friends: the contemporary rise in the air's CO2 content.


An open letter to the General Manager, Global Warming - Europe

Dear Sir / Madam

As a long time resident of the south east of France, notably the famous region called "Provence", I would like to make a complaint. Firstly, I am writing to the "General Manager" because I assume that there must be one. With so many "experts" in the world, someone somewhere must manage them. I assume.

I have spent the day with 2 people from the south of England who are very serious about buying a property in northern Provence. They have read most of my previously published news articles about the climate (300 days of sunshine, Provencal summer and Alpine winters), the exchange rate (which is not getting any better - I have written to Mr. Brown and Mr. Bush too and have expressed my wish for comment by return of post), and the lifestyle which, I hasten to add, seems to be the only thing that is not in jeopardy at the moment.

So, why is it, then, that my clients and I have had to endure a day of driving rain, snow and gale force winds when I would have expected 20 degrees Celsius and deep blue skies? Why is it that spring has been denied the right to break when, according to your "experts", the planet is warming at an alarming rate and that "winter in Europe is a thing of the past"? (Incidentally, would you please also respond to the managers of the 31 ski resorts in Haute-Provence - they would be delighted to hear your explanation as to why they have to open for a good month longer than ten years ago).

Now I can already imagine your response - "we promised you 300 days of sunshine, and you'll have them. Yes, we will send you the snow in the winter, a spectacular spring and the beautiful May to September summer". Would you please, however, make sure that you do it when I have promised that you would?

It's spring now. The calendar says so. if the planet really is warming up, would you please send some of that warmth down to Provence and the southern Alps, and NOW. As I'm sure you'll appreciate, one of the reasons that people look for French property in Provence is for the predictable weather. So I'm starting to look a bit silly. I look forward to your swift response - a warm spell would suffice.


Heavy snow breaking plows in Yellowstone

Yellowstone officials say heavy snow has resulted in the breakdown of two bulldozers as road crews attempt to remove snow from park roads before they open for spring. The park has since rented two machines in an attempt to clear roads from Mammoth to the West Entrance and south to Old Faithful by opening day March 2.

Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash said this winter stands out as the snowiest in recent memory. "This is the most significant winter in terms of snowfall in years," he said. "It could be the most snowfall we've seen in seven to ten years. For a change we've had a normal winter."

Though cumulative snowfall amounts park-wide weren't available, Nash said that, during the month of March alone, the park's South Entrance received 101 inches. According to Nash, the snow is so deep in some places that the bulldozer operators have to push the snow off the roadway in layers to feed it to rotary plows that then blow it off the road surface.

The south and east areas of the park typically see the most snow, especially the road between the South Entrance and West Thumb, Dunraven Pass, the Beartooth Highway and Sylvan Pass. Even during poor snow years, snowbanks along Sylvan Pass can reach 30 feet high, Nash said.


So pollution is now good for you?

If it reduces warming, it must be, mustn't it?

Europe is heating up much faster than climate researchers expected, and now they think they know why: air made dramatically cleaner by anti-pollution programs. With less particle pollution clouding the air, more sunlight is coming through and the continent is getting warmer.

The 1970s were a hazy time: Cars ran on sulfur-rich gasoline, power plants and heavy industry burned sulfur-rich coal. Europe lay under a blanket of fumes filled with sulphate particles. Acid rain brought the particles back to earth, ravaging the continent's forests. That was then. The situation today is considerably different. Auto emissions are low in sulfur, power plants only run with smoke filters and acid rain is no longer an issue. But the success of efforts to restore Europe's air quality have had an unintended side effect that is just now coming to light. Because the atmosphere over Europe is increasingly clean, global warming is impacting the continent more quickly than other regions of the world.

The dwindling clouds of pollution are apparently the reason that Europe is heating faster than other mid-latitude regions. Since 1980, the average surface air temperature between the Bosporus and the Bay of Biscay has risen by almost an entire degree Celsius -- twice as much as expected. The reasons for this were until recently a matter of heated dispute. Greenhouse gases could explain half that increase, at best. But now climate researchers in Germany, Switzerland and the United States, using data and computer simulations, claim that the rise in temperatures has been caused most directly by a decline in sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere.

Sulfates work like a filter on sunlight: They reflect short-wave solar radiation back into space, thereby letting less energy pass into the layer of air closest to the ground. But because the concentration of sulfur particles is declining so rapidly, this unintended cooling effect no longer works the way it once did -- and Europe is getting hotter. To Martin Wild of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), it makes perfect sense: "We have less aerosol in the atmosphere, more radiation reaching the surface of the Earth and an exorbitant increase in temperature."

At the annual conference of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), which begins on Tuesday in Vienna, climatologists and atmospheric researchers will discuss whether the trend will continue. As the air in developing regions like India and Central Africa get ever dirtier and the light penetrating the cloud of pollution dims, Europe is rapidly getting brighter.

Together with Joel Norris, an atmospheric scientist at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego, Wild has been calculating fluctuations in European radiation levels. In the middle of the 1980s, there appears to have been a major shift. Until then, as the air became its most sulfur-laden, radiation near the surface reached all time lows of around three watts per square meter. Beginning in 1986, when efforts to clean the air began to pay off and the atmosphere became more transparent to sunlight, radiation started to increase about 2 watts per square meter in each year over the next decade.

Wild based his work on an aerosol-tracking computer simulation developed by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg. "Extensive air pollution temporarily compensated for the global warming in Europe," said Johann Feichter, leader of the institute's Aerosol, Clouds and Climate working group.


Daddy's Little Climate Crusader

A reader writes:
I woke up to NPR this morning, like I usually do (don't hold it against me), and got to hear the story of Kelley Greenman. It was almost too much to stomach. Among the highlights:

- She is part of the youth delegation of the UN, which traveled to Bali to take part in a climate change conference, and accepted a satirical award on behalf of the United States for being obstructive to the talks. " 'Why should America have to do what the rest of the world is already doing?' she asked with a sly smile. 'It's not possible; we don't have the capabilities.' "

- Her father, a lawyer in Miami, quit his law firm and took the whole family backpacking around the world. Without irony she states how people around the world are less fortunate than her, as if every family in the U.S. could take off for six months and backpack around the world.

- She states her concerns with climate change are a "social justice" issue, noting that "People in other countries are being affected by largely the actions of developed nations and largely the U.S." She seems to think that poor nations would be happier if they were poor, but the temperature were cooler. Ironically, before this radio piece, NPR played another segment with the director of the World Health Program admitting the high cost of fuel and demand for biofuel are the largest factors affecting food prices. I guess she is one of the people in favor of your food tax.

-- She organizes teach-ins to "teach" children about climate change.

-- We learn that if more people were vegetarians, it would help more than if people stopped driving a car.

I know this type of stuff goes on all the time, but it summed up so many of the points you have been making, from journalism turning to activism instead of reporting, to the absolute ignorance of some people in the green movement - particularly the falsehood that the rest of the world is curbing emissions, while the U.S. does nothing.

Keep up the good work.

I think the best quote in the NPR story is this one: " 'I remember when I was 7 and my dad showed me the front page article of the Miami Herald about climate change. And it said something about how in 75 years . . . the world was going to end. Now I'm sure the Miami Herald didn't print that, but as a 7-year-old, that's what I understood and I just remember crying about it.' "



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

MEGA-PESKY! Coral survives direct nuclear strike!

Greenies are always moaning that a temperature rise of a degree or two will wipe out coral reefs (despite the fact that corals already flourish over a large climatic range). Yet that change is nothing compared to what hit Bikini atoll back in the 1950s. So Bikini is a sterile wasteland now? Read on

SOME corals are again flourishing on Bikini Atoll, the Pacific site of the largest American atom bomb ever exploded, but other species have disappeared. A team of international scientists, including Australians, recently dived on the atoll, more than half a century after the stunning blast, to examine its marine life.

Zoe Richards from Queensland's James Cook University, along with other scientists from Germany, Italy, Hawaii and the Marshall Islands, said the team had dived into the vast Bravo Crater left by the 1954 atom bomb. The 15 mega-tonne bomb was a thousand times more powerful than the one dropped on Hiroshima in Japan in WWII. It vapourised three islands, raised water temperatures to 55,000 degrees, shook islands 200km away and left a crater 2km wide and 73m deep.

Ms Richards said she did not know what to expect when she dived on the crater but was surprised to find huge matrices of branching Porites coral - up to eight metres high - had established, creating a thriving coral reef habitat. "Throughout other parts of the lagoon it was awesome to see coral cover as high as 80 per cent and large tree-like branching coral formations with trunks 30cm thick. "It was fascinating - I've never seen corals growing like trees outside of the Marshall Islands.''

The healthy condition of the coral at Bikini today was proof of the atoll's resilience and ability to bounce back from massive disturbances if the reef was left undisturbed and there were healthy nearby reefs to source the recovery.'' But Ms Richards said the research also revealed a disturbingly high level of loss of coral species from the atoll. "Compared with a famous study made before the atomic tests were carried out, the team established that 42 species were missing compared to the early 1950s. "At least 28 of these species losses appear to be genuine local extinctions probably due to the 23 bombs that were exploded there from 1946-58, or the resulting radioactivity, increased nutrient levels and smothering from fine sediments.''

The coral survey was carried out at the request of the atoll's local government. For comparison the team also dived on neighbouring Rongelap Atoll, where no atomic tests were carried out directly although the atoll was contaminated by radioactive ash from the Bravo Bomb. Local inhabitants were also evacuated and, for the most part, have not returned.

The marine environment at this atoll was found to be in a pristine condition. "The team thinks that Rongelap Atoll is potentially seeding Bikini's recovery because it is the second-largest atoll in the world with a huge amount of coral reef diversity and biomass and lies upstream from Bikini,'' Ms Richards said.


Climate Speculators Have (Robin's) Egg on Their Face

Ah, spring! I know it's here when swarms of red-breasted robins descend on my Virginia farm, rooting for every worm that survived winter. No one gains much political traction writing about global warming's threat to turkey buzzards, but robins are cute, so they're more often the subject of climate change speculation.

Global warming is not pushing the robin to extinction. Au contraire: It's expanding the robin's range northward, into places where it's never been seen. Robins are venturing so far north that they've even been sighted in the Inuit territory of northern Canada, where, Sen. John McCain tells us, there isn't even a word for the birds. Yes, even John McCain has feathered his political nest with the robin's expansion. Back in 2004, after a hearing McCain organized as chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, The New York Times' Andrew Revkin noted that he was particularly concerned about the rapid warming of the Arctic. "The Inuit language for 10,000 years never had a word for 'robin,'" McCain lamented, "and now there are robins all over their villages." The BBC even titled a program on arctic warming "No Word for 'Robin': Climate Change in the Canadian Arctic." What a shame! Pretty little birds invading the Arctic, bringing joy with their whoop of spring!

But, of course, it's not true. Like the tale of the endangered polar bears that happen to be at or near record population levels, the robin story is yet another climate confabulation. It ranks with the death of frogs in the mountains of Colombia now shown to be caused not by global warming, but by the introduction of fatal fungus on the shoes of concerned ecotourists.

It's always instructive to consult the wisdom of our elders about climate change, and so I found an article, "The Naming of Birds by Nanamuit Eskimo," by Laurence Irving of the U.S. Public Health Service in Anchorage, Alaska, in a 1953 edition of the refereed journal Arctic. Irving describes his extensive visits with the people of Northern Alaska, residing in the Brooks Range - the most northerly mountain chain in the United States. He compared English names for birds with the Eskimo names of the ones they encountered. Irving noted that the bird names were given by the Nanamuit elders. They were no birdie-come-latelys.

Irving's list brings us the Nanamuit word for "robin": "Koyapigaktoruk." While this may surprise Sen. McCain or the BBC, the Nanamuits saw robins, and this is their phonetic way of describing the tones of an arriving redbreast looking for a mate. Nesting, and not just some windblown flotsam? Irving designated the robin's status as "NM," meaning "nesting migrant."

The lack of due diligence on the subject of climate change can be breathtaking. In 1913, Vilhjalmur Stefansson published a book, now available at, called "My Life With the Eskimo." Look it up online and search for "robin," and on page 493 you will find text describing robin sightings, obviously before 1913 (and before global warming), all over the Canadian Arctic. Stefansson gives the word as "Kre-ku-ak'tu-yok," which sounds suspiciously like the 1953 word given by Irving. That's the Canadian word. It's "Shab'wak" in Alaskan Eskimo. There are plenty of words in Inuit, or Eskimo, describing our red-breasted harbingers of spring. What's a little disturbing is how the myth of the robin persists, when it is so easy to find the truth.

My minions in Charlottesville informed The Times of the error six months ago. Finally, on April 3, Andrew Revkin posted an acknowledgement on his blog, but no correction in the newspaper itself. We've been holding our breath waiting for it to appear in print, only to turn robin's-egg blue.

At the same time, how about a little truth-telling about the hoax of "Warming Island," an islet off Greenland that was - erroneously - thought to be a part of Greenland, connected by land lying beneath the ice.

As Greenland warmed over the last decade, the ice melted and revealed open water underneath, thus giving birth to a "new" island. Climate change enthusiasts claimed the channel between island and mainland had not been revealed for countless millennia. As it turns out, maps show that Warming Island, indeed, was very much an island a mere 50 years ago, when Greenland, in fact, was warmer than it has been for the last 10 years.

As sure as the robin's song of spring, we continue to hope that America's best newspaper (and the BBC) will sing out the truth about climate change and the bob, bob, bobbin' of the red, red Koyapigaktoruk in the North American Arctic.



Just recently, Sloan and Wolfendale published a paper in Environmental Research Letters, called "Testing the proposed causal link between cosmic rays and cloud cover". In the Institute of Physics Press Release, it said, "New research has deal a blow to the skeptics who argue that climate change is all due to cosmic rays rather than man made greenhouse gases". Did it really?

First, we should note that so called "skeptics" like myself or my serious colleagues never claimed that cosmic rays explain all the climate change, it does however explain most of the solar-climate link and a large fraction (perhaps 2/3's of the temperature increase over the 20th century). Now for the paper itself.

Sloan and Wolfendale raise three points in their analysis. Although I certainly respect the authors (Arnold Wolfendale is very well known for his contributions to the subjects of cosmic rays and high energy astrophysics, he was even the astronomer royal, and for good reasons), their present critique rests on several faulty assumptions. Here I explain why each of the three arguments raised cannot be used to discredit the cosmic-ray/climate link. [...]


Sloan and Wolfendale raised three critiques which supposedly discredit the CRF/climate link. A careful check, however, reveals that the arguments are inconsistent with the real expectations from the link. Two arguments are based on the expectation for effects which are much larger than should actually be present. In the third argument, they expect to see no phase lag, where one should actually be present. When carefully considering the link, Sloan and Wolfendale did not raise any argument which bears any implications for the validity or invalidity of the link.

One last point. Although many in the climate community try to do their best to disregard the evidence, there is a large solar-climate link, whether on the 11-year solar cycle (e.g., global temperature variations of 0.1øC), or on longer time scales. Currently, the cosmic-ray climate link is the only known mechanism which can explain the large size of the link, not to mention that independent CRF variations were shown to have climatic effects as well. As James Whitcomb Riley supposedly once said:

"If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I would call it a duck".

More here

Hot Air in Bangkok

After five days of contentious discussions in Bangkok, governments from nearly 200 countries last week agreed to an agenda for further talks to forge a new United Nations global warming agreement. One sticking point has been developing nations' insistence that industrialized countries should take the first steps in reducing emissions and should help finance reductions in developing countries. But this represents a serious misreading of the underlying economic situation.

The theory behind the "developed countries should pay" model was articulated by Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change: "The problem of climate change . . . is a result of rich countries' emissions, not the result of poor countries' emissions. The historic responsibility of this problem lies with industrial nations."

Yet although greenhouse gas emissions can be blamed on nations based on the location of emission activities, these emissions are the effluvia of civilization and all its activities. In today's interconnected world, economic activity in one country helps provide livelihoods and incomes for many inhabitants elsewhere, and vice versa. A substantial portion of economic growth in developing countries is attributable to trade, remittances, tourism and direct investment from industrialized countries. For example, remittances, mainly from the United States, Britain and the oil-rich Gulf states, account for 13% of Bangladesh's GDP. Absent economic activities that directly or indirectly fuel such contributions to developing countries, U.S. emissions might be lower, but so would jobs and incomes in developing countries like Bangladesh.

These linkages have had hugely positive effects. Greenhouse-gas-fueled economic activity has enabled today's rich societies to invest in agricultural, medical and public health research that has raised crop yields and lowered hunger in developing countries; to devise effective medical interventions to address old diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, diarrhea and smallpox and new diseases like AIDS; and to provide aid in times of famine or other natural disasters. Absent such economic activity, human capital would have been lower worldwide. Consider, for instance, the millions of non-Americans who have been cycled through universities in the U.S. who then returned to advance their native countries' economic and technological development.

Some might argue that one should not take indirect effects of greenhouse-gas-producing activities into consideration: Only direct effects should be considered. But the notion of assigning responsibility or demanding compensation for climate change is itself based on indirect and inadvertent outcomes. Industrialized countries did not emit greenhouse gas emissions just for fun. There are clearly benefits. So if the U.S. contribution to global warming, for instance, could be estimated, the next step would be to estimate the net harm caused to, say, Bangladesh. This requires estimating both direct and indirect impacts not just of climate change but all greenhouse gas-producing activities on Bangladesh.

This raises some serious questions, including: Had there been no greenhouse gas-producing activities in the U.S., what would have been Bangladesh's GDP and level of human well-being? How would that affect life expectancy, which is currently 62 years but was only 35 years in 1945? Would Bangladesh's hunger and malnutrition rates rise? How many Bangladeshis were saved in the 1960s and 1970s because of food aid from industrialized countries? How much of its increase in agricultural productivity is due to higher CO2 levels, or indirectly due to efforts enabled because the U.S. was wealthy enough to support them? If future agricultural productivity declines due to climate change, how do you subtract past and present benefits from future harms?

Clearly, it's premature to assign "responsibility" to industrialized countries for net damages to developing countries, since we don't know whether those damages have, in fact, been incurred. Even if one could assign responsibility for climate change, it does not follow that it would be "fairer" if industrialized nations were to expend resources now on ambitious mitigation measures, based partly on the premise that it would reduce future climate change risks for developing nations. The same resources would, in the short- to medium term, provide greater and faster benefits to precisely those nations by reducing existing -- and generally larger -- climate-sensitive risks and vulnerabilities such as hunger, malaria and the threat of cyclones and other extreme events. The U.N. climatocrats owe it to the people of the developing world to consider these trade-offs before they charge ahead with their ambitious new agenda.



The EU Commission on Monday rejected claims that producing biofuels is a "crime against humanity" that threatens food supplies, and vowed to stick to its goals as part of a climate change package. "There is no question for now of suspending the target fixed for biofuels," said Barbara Helfferich, spokeswoman for EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. "You can't change a political objective without risking a debate on all the other objectives," which could see the EU landmark climate change and energy package disintegrate, an EU official said.

Their comments came amid growing unease over the planting of biofuel crops as food prices rocket and riots against poverty and hunger multiply worldwide. UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food Jean Ziegler told German radio Monday that the production of biofuels is "a crime against humanity" because of its impact on global food prices.

EU leaders, seeking to show the way on global warming, have pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2020. As part of a package of measures the 27 member states have set a target of biofuels making up 10 percent of automobile fuel by the same year. "We don't have an enormous danger of too much of a shift from food production to biofuels production," said Michael Mann, spokesman for EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel. Mann, like Helfferich speaking to reporters in Brussels, stressed that the 10 percent target would in part be achieved through higher yields and increased production.

Ziegler also accused the European Union of subsidising its agriculture exports with effect of undermining production in Africa. "The EU finances the exports of European agricultural surpluses to Africa ... where they are offered at one half or one third of their (production) price," the UN official charged. "That completely ruins African agriculture," he added.

More here

Will Global Warming Harm Human Health?

This week committees in both the Senate and House of Representatives will be holding hearings on whether global warming will cause future harm to human health. As they examine this question, the Competitive Enterprise Institute urges them to consult the extensive statistical evidence that warmer temperatures and climates are overwhelmingly safer and healthier.

"We are skeptical that the warming predicted by activists will ever appear, but even if it does, the available evidence suggests that slightly warmer temperatures would be a boon for human health and well being," said CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis. "The threats from extreme cold dramatically outweigh those from extreme heat, and whatever possible influence future warming may have on extreme weather, the record of the 20th century-allegedly a period of `unprecedented' global warming-is clear: Both mortality rates and aggregate mortality related to extreme weather have declined dramatically since the 1920s."

In addition to fewer cold-related deaths, a slight warming caused, in part, by increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, would increase agricultural productivity, reduce heating costs and improve transportation safety. Despite dramatic rhetoric that a warmer world would represent a categorical disaster for mankind, most people would likely experience an increase in overall well being.

"Not only do global warming alarmists ignore the advantages of a warmer world, but, even more troublingly, they advocate policies that we know would make the world poorer and less resilient to changes of any kind," said Lewis. "The central policy they advocate - limiting access to affordable energy - would have a far worse impact on poor and vulnerable populations around the world than any expected rise in average global temperatures."



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


An email below from Michael Schewitz []

Attached, please find a letter that I sent to the BBC. I posted the letter to Ceri Thomas, editor of the Today program as well as a copy to Roger Harrabin at the beginning of October last year. I never received a response to this letter. Certainly nothing was discussed on the topic that I raised with the BBC.

This was brought to mind by your recent highlight of the email exchange between Roger Harriban and an environmental campaigner. I was amazed at how ready they were to accommodate an environmental campaigner given the fact that my letter was apparently completely ignored.

The issue discussed in the letter seemed to me to be an open and shut case. When an article on climate stability in the past (and therefore proof that current warming is highly anomalous) by Osborn and Briffa appeared in "Science" the BBC Today Program ran the story as a lead story. However, when a refutation of this article was later published in precisely the same journal no mention of this was made on the BBC.

My understanding was that, given the publicity given to the first Science article, the BBC would have felt an obligation (or indeed have a legal obligation in terms of their mandate) to at least discuss the second article. Apparently this was not so.


In 2006, when Osborn & Briffa published an article in Science that argued that warming in the late 20th century was anomalous, the Today program gave this article considerable coverage. In addition the general news service of the BBC also gave this article considerable exposure.

Attached please find a piece (off the blog World Climate Report) that discusses an article also published in Science by a prominent European statistical climatologist (Gerd Burger) from a respected institution that pretty much debunks entirely the Osborn & Briffa article.

This article was published a few months ago, but there appears to have been no coverage of it anywhere on the BBC. Thus, while the first Science article was brought to your attention, this one seems to have slipped through the net and, for this reason, I have taken the liberty of bringing it to your attention.

As mentioned earlier, the Burger article to which I refer was published in exactly the same journal in which the Osborn & Briffa article was published. Consequently, I feel that the BBC in general and the Today program in particular have a strong obligation - in line with the BBC's policy of objectivity - to give this article the same coverage that the Osborn & Briffa article was given.

I assume it would be appropriate (indeed necessary) in terms of your stated guidelines on balanced reporting to investigate this further, report on it, and maybe interview the relevant authors if they are available.

Incidentally, the attached piece also discusses an article from Earth-Science's review on Lake Baikal's Paleo Climate Record. You may also find this of interest.

I have no connection whatsoever with either the blog, or any of the authors of any of the articles discussed above. I am interested in the debate on climate modelling and so, if you run a story on this, I would greatly appreciate it if you could let me know when this may be.


An email from John McLean []

The WMO statement upon which the BBC and Daily Telegraph report appears to be that here

The statement goes to some length to report warming between December 2007 and January 2008. While it is happy to quote the figures for instances of warming it noticeably omits those for regions that reported cooler conditions. It also make much effort to report a warm January in Australia and notes that it was warmer than the previous record in 1999. Both figures are of course cited but there was no mention of the pattern of higher January temperatures, which in order were 2008 (+1.23 above average), 1999, 1988, 1969, 1879, 2001, 2006, 1973 (+0.94) at which point there is a break of 0.17 degrees. (Is it a coincidence that five of those eight years end in 8 or 9?).

The WMO report also implies that Australia's January temperatures have been steadily rising for many years. In year 2000 the January temperature was 1.01 below average, in 2002 it was 0.25 degrees below average and in 2007 it was just 0.01 above average. In other words Australia's average January temperature is varying as it has done since the Great Pacific Climate Shift of 1976.

Of course no-one should have expected impartiality from the WMO when the opening sentence was "The long-term upward trend of global warming, mostly driven by greenhouse gas emissions, is continuing."

The whole statement puts the WMO in an embarrassing situation. By its admission that La Nina events cause substantial cooling it is also acknowledging that El Nino events cause substantial warming. How much of temperature trend that the WMO draws our attention to is the product of the 1976 Pacific Climate Shift that shifted the balance towards El Nino events? How much of the slightly elevated temperatures of the last 6 years is due to the state of "semi El Nino" that prevailed in the Pacific?

It seems to me that once the influences of the Southern Oscillation (El Nino & La Nina) are removed, along with volcanic eruptions and shifts in cloud cover, the human influence on temperature is likely to be very minor and perhaps impossible to determine.


Developing countries, including China and India, are unwilling to sign up to a new global climate change pact to replace the Kyoto protocol in 2012 because the rich world has failed to set a clear example on cutting carbon emissions, according to the UN's top climate official.

Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said too many rich countries, including the US, had failed to take the action needed to convince the developing nations to sign up to a deal in Copenhagen next year that could help to stabilise global emissions. "You may not be able to get an agreement in one shot, let's say by Copenhagen, that sets you on the path of stabilisation in keeping with some kind of long-term target," Pachauri told the Guardian. "Looking at the politics of the situation, I doubt whether any of the developing countries will make any commitments before they have seen the developed countries take a specific stand."

He said there were "reasons for dismay" at the rich countries' failure to cut carbon emissions. "This really doesn't give anybody the conviction that those that had agreed to take action as the first step are really serious about doing so. And in several developing countries you get the feeling - in fact people state it very clearly - that these guys [rich countries] are going to shove the whole burden on to our shoulders. That's why it's necessary for the developed world to establish a certain credibility."

Pachauri said Germany had set a good example, with significant investment in renewable energy, and Britain had done "quite well". The UK is on track to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions as required under Kyoto, but will miss a separate domestic goal to reduce carbon dioxide pollution by 20% on 1990 levels by 2010. If emissions from aviation and shipping are included, Britain's carbon dioxide emissions are higher now than in 1990.

Analysts say a new global deal needs to be agreed at the Copenhagen meeting for it to come into force by 2012, because it will take several years to be ratified by countries. If a new deal is not in place when Kyoto expires, then confidence in emerging carbon trading markets - seen as a key way to reduce greenhouse gas pollution - could collapse. Schemes such as the European emissions trading scheme, set up under Kyoto, force polluting companies to invest in carbon credits or cleaner technology, but rely on carbon caps continuing past 2012.

Pachauri, who is also director general of the Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi, India, said: "I don't think they [China and India] will come on board in the first round. I think they would like to see some level of ambition on the part of the developed countries before they make any voluntary commitments of their own." Last year Pachauri, an economist and environmental scientist, collected the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC, which it won jointly with the American former vice-president Al Gore. The IPCC analyses the state of climate science and issues reports that form the foundation for international action under the UN.

Any reluctance by China to participate in a new agreement would spell problems for the new US president, who could sign a deal in Copenhagen next year and then find it rejected by the US Senate. Several leading figures in the US have said the Senate would be unlikely to pass a new treaty that did not require China to act on its soaring carbon emissions. All three presidential candidates have promised stronger domestic action on global warming, and are expected to play a more constructive role in the search for a new international treaty than the Bush administration.

Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, told an IPCC meeting in Budapest this week that it would be "very, very difficult" to reach an agreement. He warned that if the carbon emissions of China and India continue to grow at the same pace as their economies, mankind would be unable to prevent a critical level of warming.

Pachauri said there was still time for the developed countries to convince India and China to sign a new deal next year, but that it would require a series of "measures and actions" in the next few months. He urged other rich countries to follow Europe's lead and set ambitious carbon reduction targets for the next 10 years. He said more money was needed to help poorer countries adapt to the likely impact of global warming, as well as "some tangible efforts to make technology transfer a reality". Rich nations could help China to invest in more efficient coal power stations, for example. "If there was low interest financing of some of these measures, it would make it very attractive to developing countries."

Britain and the US have pledged support for new World Bank funds to support climate adaptation and technology transfer, but poorer countries and green campaigners are more sceptical, and would prefer the money to be administered through the UN. Rich countries have failed to keep similar promises in the past - only 90m pounds of a promised 600m to pay for adaptation measures had been delivered to a Global Environment Facility fund by the end of last year.



The recent campaign urging people to turn off their lights was a futile and stupid gesture by environmentalists

By Bjorn Lomborg

When it comes to all things "green", common sense seems to have been abandoned. Our failure to think clearly about such matters would be amusing if the potential consequences were not so serious.

Consider the recent "lights out" campaign that supposedly should energise the world about the problems of climate change by urging citizens in 27 big cities to turn out their lights for an hour. With scores of companies and municipalities signing up, and even the monarchies of Denmark and Sweden turning off the lights in their many palaces, the World Wildlife Fund quickly called it an amazing success. Newspapers around the world dutifully wrote feel-good stories about how engaged environmentalists celebrated as the lights went out around the world.

Nobody, it seemed, wanted to spoil the party by pointing that the event was immensely futile, that it highlighted a horrible metaphor, or that it caused much higher overall pollution.....

Ironically, the lights-out campaign also implies much greater energy inefficiency and dramatically higher levels of air pollution. When asked to extinguish electric lights, most people around the world would turn to candlelight instead. Candles are cozy and seem oh-so-natural. Yet, when measured by the light they generate, candles are almost 100 times less efficient than incandescent light bulbs, and more than 300 times less efficient than fluorescent lights.

Moreover, candles create massive amounts of highly damaging indoor particulate air pollution, which in the United States is estimated to kill more than a 100,000 people each year. Candles can easily create indoor air pollution that is 10-100 times the level of outdoor air pollution caused by cars, industry, and electricity production. Measured against the relative decrease in air pollution from the reduced fossil fuel energy production, candles increase health-damaging air pollution 1,000-10,000-fold....

More here

Anthropogenic Global Warming Hoax Heats Up

Post below recycled from Tim Wood. See the original for links

The BBC today aired a story confirming what responsible scientists have been saying for some time - that there has been no notable variation in global temperatures for the past ten years. This is an inconvenient truth for the vast edifice being built atop the myth that human related carbon dioxide has exceeded some imagined tipping point, turning the world into a deadly hotbox.

The World Meteorological Organization literally blames the El Nino Pacific current for upsetting the carefully orchestrated media meme of runaway heating caused by all that nasty capitalist production. What they should be admitting is the relative ignorance of scientists about all the factors that drive climate variation. The fact that the WMO and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were incapable of reflecting El Nino's impact on their temperature models simply underscores how politically driven and unscientific climate science has become. The "consensus" models must be considered worthless after years of failed predictions. To be fair, the IPCC models admit that they do not even take Pacific Decadal Oscillation into account.

The correspondence between El Nino and recent climate events and trends is striking; no less striking than correlations with Sun spot activity and precipitation systems. Indeed, the WMO admits that El Nino, "has contributed to torrential rains in Australia and to some of the coldest temperatures in memory in snow-bound parts of China." Yet there are countless media stories and journal articles blaming human related carbon dioxide emissions for these events.

Despite the facts directly contradicting the predictions of ever-hotter years unless "greenhouse gas emissions" were severely curtailed, the WMO and others continue to spin the warming myth saying we can be sure 1998's average temperature will be exceeded at some point in the near future. Laughably, Adam Scaife, lead scientist for Modelling Climate Variability at the Hadley Centre in Exeter, told the BBC that La Nina is just noise amidst a larger climate change signal. Isn't it amazing that mere noise can disrupt every major climate change model.

It's worth reviewing why no reasonable person subscribes to the idea that human related carbon dioxide is causing catastrophic global warming. Some basic points:

1. Persons and interests unknown claim to have identified with incredible precision Earth's optimum temperature, sea level, snow cover, ice packing, crop yields, soil moisture, ocean salinity, speciation, particulate concentrations in the atmosphere, crustal movement, weather severity and forestation among thousands of other variables of life. Absurd, isn't it? These supposedly optimum levels have been decreed permanent even though they relate to a recent period when more sophisticated measurement and data analysis became possible, and which conveniently coincides with the end of a mini ice age. The reasons for selecting this false optimum equilibrium must be political rather than scientific since the long-run climate data shows much greater volatility than the earth has recently experienced. Precession, anyone?

2. Ideological interests antipathetic to modernism run the business of global climate change. Consider just the acquiescence of "scientists" to the United Nation's repeated publication of climate policy recommendations before supporting scientific materials are published. In fact, the UN IPCC openly stated last year that scientific reports were being modified to fit policy recommendations, which required the delay in publication. And how else do you take this quote from Maurice Strong, one of the big bananas in the global green junta: "Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring about?"

3. Climate "science" is pimped by big money lobbies and transglobal ideological movements. American federal funding of climate research alone runs to some $5 billion per year. Take careful note how the green movement is hysterically assertive about controlling climate change money flows via the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). The reason is obvious - it provides the best means to wrest policy making away from elected and accountable politicians.

4. Climate science is subject to peer review rather than auditing, which is insufficient control for public policy decisions. Canadian geologists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick demonstrated this by uncovering what can only be described as the fraudulent development of Michael Mann's "Temperature Hockey Stick" graph. The IPCC relied heavily on the graph - which was extensively "peer reviewed" - to support demands for urgent policy changes. The graph has since been abandoned after being exposed as a fabrication.

5. One fraud is sufficient to disqualify any organization from retaining trust, respect and authority. The IPCC is guilty of more than one fraud, whilst elite agencies and academies are routinely being embarrassed by research errors. For example, see how the Hadley Center responded when cold temperatures this January and February disrupted the politically correct view of incessant warming. NASA also recently admitted a serious error with its temperature data. Also, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) does not adjust temperature data the way a sister federal agency, NASA, does.

6. The most widely cited climate models with respect to policy impacts are scenario projects - which is how adults describe creative thinking. To quote a climate change insider: "None of the models used by the IPCC are initialized to the observed state and none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate. In particular, the state of the oceans, sea ice, and soil moisture has no relationship to the observed state at any recent time in any of the IPCC models." - Dr. Kevin Trenberth, Head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and lead author of the UN IPCC's Scientific Assessment of Climate Change. Note his half-hearted admission that climate science is in its infancy, yet he is willing to support destructive policy changes based on his faith.

7. Observed real climate systems behave oppositely to the predictions of the leading computer models.

8. Global temperatures have been much higher (5 degrees centigrade) in the past than they are now or are projected to be.

9. A majority of climate data collection stations in the United States are compromised by poor location and other factors. Agencies have been "adjusting" this data with a clear upward bias for temperatures.

10. Climate politicians have arbitrarily rejected more than 90,000 direct measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere, carried out in America, Asia, and Europe between 1812 and 1961. These measurements are highly accurate and contradict the ice core data that global warming myths are built on.

11. Anthropogenic carbon dioxide is irrelevant to greenhouse effects.

a. Water vapor constitutes 95% of the greenhouse effect.

b. Human activity is responsible for just 3% of CO2 emissions. The other 97% comes from natural sources.

c. CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are not historically unusual, despite the IPCC's false claim that 379ppmv is "far above" the "natural range" for the past 650,000 years. As recently as 1942, CO2 was 400ppmv. More reliable data shows that over the last 10,000 years CO2 concentrations generally exceeded 300ppmv. It is also stands to reason that even if CO2 concentrations are unusual, it is irresponsible to ascribe most of the increase to anthropogenic causes given that humans are responsible for so little of it.

d. The assumptions of CO2 glaciology used to infer historically lower levels of CO2 are demonstrably false.

e. The correct interpretation of CO2 ice core data reveals the gas increases following temperature increases. In other words, the consensus has cause and effect completely reversed. When the earth warms up, CO2 is traded from oceans to the atmosphere and vice versa.

12. Climate politics has ignored astronomical impacts, such as solar activity for the past 50 years exceeding thousands of recent years.

13. Ice measurements show no alarming net loss of ice such that you will need a kayak to get to work in Manhattan in 2015. Satellite data from NASA shows Greenland's ice thinning at the margins, but thickening inland such that the total ice measured has increased. Antarctica has been losing ice in the west and gaining in the east, though there has been a net loss. The estimate for the impact on sea levels is an increase of half a millimeter per year!

14. Demands for anthropogenic greenhouse gas reductions are oblivious to the costs and benefits. This is an unreasonable and irrational approach to any problem, but especially for a project that claims to be able to restore Earth to a mythical optimum climate.

NOTE: The BBC story referenced here was modified - without notification to readers - after publication to reinforce some global warming dogmas. The BBC's compliance with activist demands for the story to be recast is detailed by Marc Sheppard on American Thinker.

World Health Organization nonsense about malaria

Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on the implications of climate change for human health. Malaria will top the menu, but so will ignorance and disinformation. The lead witness will be Dr. Jonathan Patz of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has suggested that U.S. energy policy may be "indirectly exporting diseases to other parts of the world." Dr. Patz, the World Health Organization (WHO) and others claim that global warming is now spreading disease and may be the cause of some 160,000 deaths a year.

In 2007, for example, WHO pointed to rising temperatures in an outbreak of a mosquito-borne virus, Chikungunya, in Italy. Yet WHO misdiagnosed the problem. Modern transportation, not climate change, caused the outbreak. In that case, the transmitter of the disease, or vector, was the Asian Tiger mosquito. It is native to Asia, but exported world-wide in shipments of used tires. It is now abundant in parts of U.S. and in 12 countries in Europe. In cities, it breeds in man-made containers of water, such as saucers under flower-pots, water barrels, blocked gutters and so on. The virus was carried to Italy by an infected Indian who flew from Delhi, where an epidemic of the disease was then raging.

So the real technological villain in that case was the jet airplane. It was irresponsible, then, for WHO to state "although it is not possible to say whether the outbreak was caused by climate change . . . conditions in Italy are now suitable for the Tiger mosquito." And it was absurd for environmental alarmists to chime in with apocalyptic pronouncements.

The globalization of vectors and pathogens is a serious problem. But it is not new. The Yellow Fever mosquito and virus were imported into North America from Africa during the slave trade. The dengue virus is distributed throughout the tropics and regularly jumps continents inside air passengers. West Nile virus likely arrived in the U.S. in shipments of wild birds. These diseases are spread by mosquitoes and therefore difficult to quarantine.

It may come as a surprise that malaria was once common in most of Europe and North America. In parts of England, mortality from "the ague" was comparable to that in sub-Saharan Africa today. William Shakespeare was born at the start of the especially cold period that climatologists call the "Little Ice Age," yet he was aware enough of the ravages of the disease to mention it in eight of his plays.

Malaria disappeared from much of Western Europe during the second half of the 19th century. Changes in agriculture, living conditions and a drop in the price of quinine, a cure still used today, all helped eradicate it. However, in some regions it persisted until the insecticide DDT wiped it out. Temperate Holland was not certified malaria-free by the WHO until 1970.

The concept of malaria as a "tropical" infection is nonsense. It is a disease of the poor. Alarmists in the richest countries peddle the notion that the increase in malaria in poor countries is due to global warming and that this will eventually cause malaria to spread to areas that were "previously malaria free." That's a misrepresentation of the facts and disingenuous when packaged with opposition to the cheapest and best insecticide to combat malaria - DDT.

It is true that malaria has been increasing at an alarming rate in parts of Africa and elsewhere in the world. Scientists ascribe this increase to many factors, including population growth, deforestation, rice cultivation in previously uncultivated upland marshes, clustering of populations around these marshes, and large numbers of people who have fled their homes because of civil strife. The evolution of drug-resistant parasites and insecticide-resistant mosquitoes, and the cessation of mosquito-control operations are also factors.

Of course, temperature is a factor in the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases, and future incidence may be affected if the world's climate continues to warm. But throughout history the most critical factors in the spread or eradication of disease has been human behavior (shifting population centers, changing farming methods and the like) and living standards. Poverty has been and remains the world's greatest killer.

Serious scientists rarely engage in public quarrels. Alarmists are therefore often unopposed in offering simplicity in place of complexity, ideology in place of scientific dialogue, and emotion in place of dry perspective. The alarmists will likely steal the show on Capitol Hill today. But anyone truly worried about malaria in impoverished countries would do well to focus on improving human living conditions, not the weather.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ah, those UN IPCC Climate "Models"

Jim Peden writes:

We received an email asking why we didn't believe the UN IPCC models predicting world climate meltdown in a few years were good models. We sent back a list of items the UN Climate Yo-Yos deliberately omit from their models. And the sketch above, just in case he still didn't get it.

Jim is in fine form. He also writes:

Crystal ball: Found one on Ebay, only $99. I'll be a climate "forecaster" within the week.

The British Antarctic survey reports

For a pro-Warmist group, these guys have some surprising spurts of honesty. I guess that they are actually interested in reality. Some excerpts below:

Why should we study Antarctic climate?

The Antarctic region is an important regulator of global climate. The Southern Ocean is a significant sink for both heat and carbon dioxide, acting as a buffer against human-induced climate change. The sea ice that forms around the continent each winter controls the exchange of energy between the Sun and the Earth, and its partition between atmosphere and ocean. As sea ice forms, brine rejected from the ice increases the density of the upper ocean. These waters then sink and form the deep ocean currents that carry heat around the globe.

Changes in global climate can have impacts on the Antarctic environment. The Southern Ocean supports a unique ecosystem that is well adapted to present climate conditions. Changes in ocean temperatures, currents and sea ice will impact on this ecosystem, possibly changing the ocean's capacity to absorb carbon dioxide. Warming of the atmosphere and ocean around Antarctica may lead to increased loss of mass from the Antarctic ice sheets and hence a rise in global sea level. In order to make soundly-based predictions of how the global environment may change over the coming decades and centuries, we need to understand the role played by the Antarctic in the Earth system.

How has Antarctic climate varied over the past 50 years?

Few continuous observations of Antarctic climate are available before the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58. Since this time, surface temperatures have remained fairly stable over much of Antarctica, although individual station records show a high level of year-to-year variability, which could mask any underlying long term-trend. The majority of stations in East Antarctica, including the two long-term records from the high plateau of East Antarctica (South Pole and Vostok) show no statistically-significant warming or cooling trends. By contrast, large and statistically-significant warming trends are seen at stations in the Antarctic Peninsula. Over the past 50 years, the west coast of the Peninsula has been one of the most rapidly-warming parts of the planet. Here, annual mean temperatures have risen by nearly 3øC, with the largest warming occurring in the winter season. This is approximately 10 times the mean rate of global warming [Hence not caused by it], as reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The east coast of the Peninsula has warmed more slowly and here the largest warming has taken place in summer and autumn.

Significant warming has also been observed in the Southern Ocean. Upper ocean temperatures to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula have increased by over 1øC since 19554. Within the circumpolar Southern Ocean, it is now well-established that the waters of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) are warming more rapidly than the global ocean as a whole. A comparison of temperature measurements from the 1990s with data from earlier decades shows a large-scale warming of around 0.2øC in the ACC waters at around 700-1100 m depth21.

Analysis of weather balloon data collected over the past 30 years has shown that the Antarctic atmosphere has warmed below 8 km and cooled above this height. This pattern of warming in the troposphere and cooling in the stratosphere is seen globally and is the expected signature of increases in greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. However, the 30-year warming at 5 km over the Antarctic during winter (0.75øC) is over three times the average rate of warming at this level for the globe as a whole5.

Reliable year-round measurements of Antarctic sea ice extent are only available from the 1970s, when satellite observations first became available. Unlike in the Arctic, where there has been a significant decline in observed sea ice extent over this period, there has been a small but statistically-significant increase in the overall extent of Antarctic sea ice. However, there are strong geographical variations at a regional scale. Sea ice cover has declined substantially in the seas to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula while it has increased in other parts of the Antarctic

Subtle but important changes have occurred in the atmospheric circulation around Antarctica. Since the early 1960s, atmospheric pressure has dropped over Antarctica and risen in the mid-latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere, a pattern of variability known as the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode (SAM)7. These changes have resulted in a strengthening of the westerly winds that blow over the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. Stronger westerlies will impact on ocean currents, upwelling and mixing, but the consequences of such changes have yet to be fully understood.

Has human activity caused the recent changes?

Climate can vary as a result of changes in forcing factors that affect the way energy is exchanged between the sun, the earth and space. These forcings can be of natural origin (e.g. volcanic dust in the atmosphere, variations in solar output and variations in the Earth's orbit about the sun) or a result of human activity (e.g. increases in "greenhouse" gases such as carbon dioxide). Additionally, complex interactions between atmosphere, oceans and sea ice can cause climate variability, particularly on a regional scale, over a timescale of years to decades. Attributing observed changes in climate to particular changes in forcing (or to natural variability) is a difficult process that can only be accomplished by bringing together reliable observations of past and present climate with the results of experiments carried out with sophisticated models of the climate system. Attribution of Antarctic climate change is particularly difficult because of the relatively small number of instrumental climate records available from this region and the short length of the records.

As part of the work undertaken for the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC13, about 20 different climate models were run with historical changes to natural and anthropogenic forcing factors to simulate the climate of the 20th century. The simulated changes in Antarctic surface temperatures over the second half of the 20th century vary greatly from model to model with no single model reproducing exactly the observed pattern of change. However, when results from all models are averaged, the resulting pattern of change bears some resemblance to that observed, with greatest warming in the Peninsula region and little change elsewhere. This result suggests that some of the observed change may have an anthropogenic origin, but the lack of a clear and consistent response to changed forcing between models also suggests that much of the observed change in temperatures may be due to natural variability. The IPCC model experiments fail to reproduce some of the observed features, notably the rapid warming of the lower atmosphere. These differences between modelled and observed changes could be used to argue against attributing change to anthropogenic forcing but some caution is called for as the models used may not adequately represent all of the complex processes that determine temperatures in the polar regions.

More here


A lot of people have pointed out lately how far the results behind IPCC pronouncements deviate from basic forecasting principles and it would now seem that such criticisms have penetrated even some very bony skulls. Roger Pielke Sr. comments below. See the original for links. "Real Climate" are the chief blogospheric defenders of Warmism

Real Climate's Agreement That The IPCC Multi-Decadal Projections Are Actually Sensitivity Model Runs

In the peer reviewed literature, I have emphasized that the IPCC multi-decadal global climate runs, while they refer them as "projections" and also "scenarios" are actually model sensitivity studies since all of the important climate forcings and feedbacks are not included; e.g. see:

Pielke, R.A., 1998: Climate prediction as an initial value problem. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 79, 2743-2746.

Pielke Sr., R.A., 2002: Overlooked issues in the U.S. National Climate and IPCC assessments. Climatic Change, 52, 1-11.

A summary of the types of climate models is given in the weblog: What Are Climate Models? What Do They Do?. Now, from an unlikely source (Real Climate) have come the statements:
"A scenario only illustrates the climatic effect of the specified forcing - this is why it is called a scenario, not a forecast. To be sure, the first IPCC report did talk about "prediction" - in many respects the first report was not nearly as sophisticated as the more recent ones, including in its terminology. "

"One should not mix up a scenario with a forecast - I cannot easily compare a scenario for the effects of greenhouse gases alone with observed data, because I cannot easily isolate the effect of the greenhouse gases in these data, given that other forcings are also at play in the real world."

Real Climate states that the scenarios can
"... become obsolete, and... cannot be verified or falsified by observed data, because the observed data have become dominated by other effects not included in the scenario."

This is the definition of a sensitivity experiment! In other words, policymakers are being given global and regional multi-decadal model results by the IPCC which are not predictions but sensitivity model runs since a variety of important first order climate forcings and feedbacks are not included in the models! [e.g. as reported in Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. ]. Real Climate now has finally reported to us this serious limitation to the interpretation of the results from climate models.


One prophecy of doom that HAS come true

Pesky though: It is an ANTI-Greenie prophecy.

Sometimes, even pessimists find themselves admitting their predictions have been too sanguine. Four years ago, Dennis Avery warned that, as Western governments fell head over heels for biofuels, passing laws forcing consumers to buy them, "U.S. farmers, who should be exporting food to densely populated Asian countries with rising incomes, will instead turn their corn into ethanol . . . without benefit to the environment."

As growers worldwide cashed in on the sudden appetite for biofuels, he predicted in 2006, there would erupt a "clash between food and forests." Farmers would clear new swaths of land for fuel crops, predicted Mr. Avery, president of the Center for Global Food Issues, affiliated with Washington's Hudson Institute. That message made the former senior agricultural analyst for the U.S. State department unpopular among farmers, who liked the sound of a new market for grain.

He takes no pleasure in knowing his prophecies have come to pass. After all, even he didn't realize things would happen as quickly as they have. "I knew it would be bad. But I would never have believed it would get this bad this quickly," he says. "It's appalling."

In barely a half-decade, biofuels have turned from the darling of environmentalists and policymakers - confident that petrol made from corn, soybeans or other plants would not just relieve us of our dependency on volatile Arab oil, but reduce CO2 emissions in the process - to the target of blame for massive economic upheaval and environmental destruction.

The UN's Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food recently labeled biofuels a "crime against humanity," for burning crops that could be used to fight hunger, as fuel. "The farms have been put to biofuel production creating a shortage of food and therefore creating a problem of high prices," said Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, president of the African Union this week. As he spoke, violent demonstrations over rising food costs in Haiti had killed five people and wounded 40 more, mirroring similar riots in Mexico, Egypt and Cameroon. Other countries are banning grain exports to ration scarce supplies.

It hasn't helped that green groups now say the promise of lower carbon emissions has not materialized -- or at least the reductions (corn-based ethanol is said to produce between zero and 30% less CO2 than good old fashioned fossil fuels) don't justify the devastating ripple effects -- while the powerful push for more plant energy has led to a rapid rise in environmentally-stressful fertilizer usage, and worldwide deforestation.

"It seems almost a necessary consequence, when you take land out of production for growing food, then you take it for producing fuel, then that's going to have an impact on the price of grains and commodities, and that's going to increase. . . farmers moving onto more marginal lands creating deforestation" says Greenpeace agricultural campaigner, Josh Brandon. "I think it's becoming pretty clear across NGOs and in Europe as well as in North America that biofuels, generally, are becoming more of an environmental problem than a solution."....

But with North American governments invested so heavily, backing off biofuels now could be painful. Both Washington and Ottawa relished ethanol's ability to win political points with the farm lobby, dodging WTO rules blocking subsidies for feed (both nations tax ethanol imports). But the political field is tilting. Cattle, turkey, chicken and pork producer associations, squeezed by feed prices, are demanding Congress abandon ethanol subsidies. The USDA's latest planning report suggests that, for the first time in memory, there may not be enough American feed available for the country's record number of pigs and hogs in the coming year, possibly leading to culls that could only hurt the biofuel image, fairly or not.

"I would think the killing of little pigs will have an impact," Mr. Avery says. "The cries of anguish from the [UN] World Food Program will ultimately have an impact." And unless biofuel producers can reverse the mounting backlash, it won't be long before North America's urban voters notice that, with environmentalists, world bodies and foreign governments leaving the fold, the only group seemingly left standing up for biofuels appears to be the industry itself.

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Warmists reverse the burden of proof

In Stalin's Russia any dissenter from the Party Line was guilty. Innocence had to be proved. It's a standard tyrant's trick. During the reign of Oliver Cromwell in England, witchhunters did not have to prove that their victims were guilty. The accused witches had to prove their innocence. That's what Al Gore has done to science: He and his friends have flipped innocence and guilt from normal science to Stalinist science.

In Al Gore's America, any "global warming denier" is guilty until proven innocent. He or she must have been bought off by Big Oil. Skeptics, no matter how well-qualified, must prove the negative about really silly alarmist hogwash. And whenever some prediction is falsified, the warm mongers have an explanation: it's just a temporary glitch in the data. Oh, yes, we were wrong about 1998, but just wait till 2050! The excuses are endless.

Stalin twisted scientific biology over four decades in the Soviet Union. His favorite fake-scientist, Trofim Lysenko, used all the powers of the police state to enforce his batty belief that the bleeding disaster of Soviet agriculture could be fixed just by making plants grow bigger. It's the old idea that giraffes have long necks because their ancestors stretched their necks out more and more, to nibble at higher leaves on the trees. It's nonsense, as horse breeders have known for ages. You can't make a great race horse just by making their ancestors run fast. You have to do selective breeding.

But breeding takes time, and Stalin was in a hurry. So he fell for the Lysenko fraud, and flipped the burden of proof: Any Soviet biologist who disagreed with Lysenko was shot. This went on for forty years, and caused endless suffering as one harvest after the next crashed. People died by the millions, in part because biological science was fundamentally corrupted.

Putting the burden of proof on the doubters is a perversion of normal, healthy science. It's as if Jeremiah Wright demanded that all white folks must prove to him that they're not blue-eyed devils. If politically correct ideas are true by default, the Al Gores can prove anything.

In normal science the burden of proof is on the proposer. Albert Einstein had to prove in his historic 1905 paper that there was a fundamental flaw in classical physics. The distinctive predictions of Relativity Theory had to be verified for decades afterwards. Some are still being tested today. His predecessor Max Planck remarked that he encountered so much skepticism that he had to wait for the older generation of physicists to die off before his work was accepted. Darwin said the same thing.

A healthy scientific community is extremely skeptical. It needs to see more and more evidence, over and over and over again, before it adopts some wild-eyed new idea. It takes all the time it needs; good science is very patient. Einstein himself was a complete skeptic about quantum mechanics, and never accepted it over the last forty years of his life. He had a perfect right to question it, as long as he had rational arguments, and he did. (He was wrong on QM, but he was right on Relativity.)

"Catastrophic global warming," caused by human beings, is a really wild-eyed idea, given the fact that animals have survived on earth for half a billion years, with thousands of massive volcanic explosions, giant meteors hitting the earth, drifting continents, and great biomass changes that would have perturbed the climate, if the hypothesis were true. Just imagine the amount of C02 that must have been released with the Cambrian explosion of animal life. If the earth really saw superfast global ups and downs in temperature, no animals could have survived those 500 million years. The Ice Ages drove animals and people south, but they were not superfast, global events, or you and I would not be here today. Animals and plants are able adapt to temperature changes. Polar bears grow layers of fat and long, dense fur. Camels can stay cool in the desert.

In biology, "catastrophism" has been treated with intense skepticism since Charles Darwin in the mid-19th century. Except today, when biological catastrophism is the in thing. Why would that be, do you suppose?

How have Al Gore and the fraudsters pulled it off? It's really simple. They just flipped the burden of proof and put it on the "deniers" --- the skeptics, who don't believe the computer models. With the Left in control of the media, you can do it. So now it's prove to me you're not a witch! Because there is no decisive evidence. There are 21 computer models that "prove" global warming over the next century. By the time 2050 rolls around, most of the modelers will be dead. To answer the biggest con trick in the history of science, you just have to address a single question to True Believers: What's your evidence for this barmy idea? (Not: Here's my evidence against it. That's not how it works).

And the answer is: There are no facts robust enough, consistent enough, and verified enough to support the mass hysteria. The climate system is hypercomplex, nonlinear and poorly understood. The media spinners are immensely ignorant about real science, and just care about the next scare headline. There's a lot of wild speculation and a mob of self-serving politicians, bureaucrats and media types who stand to gain a ton of power and money by suckering millions of taxpayers. Al Gore just started a 300 million dollar PR campaign to convince everybody. When was the last time you saw 300 million bucks being spent to promote a scientific hypothesis that was already proven? We're not spending millions to prove the existence of gravity. The uproar and money involved in this fraud is in direct proportion to the lack of solid facts.

The last ten years have seen global cooling, not warming. Temperatures over the last hundred years look like the stock market: ups and downs, a very slow rise of a fraction of a degree until the late 1990s, then a drop for the last ten years, with so much cooling in the last year as to cancel out a century of warming. Why? Nobody really knows, but Mr. Sun is the logical suspect. Look it up. But don't get caught in the trap of proving the negative. In normal, healthy science, the skeptics ask questions. It is the proponents who carry the burden of proof.

Now can we talk about 9/11? That's a fact. But Al Gore doesn't think it's a big deal, compared to his favorite science fiction story. Al Gore just wants power, fame, money, and the US Presidency. Well, three out of four ain't bad. Oliver Cromwell and his witchhunters would have understood perfectly.


Report from Australia: Rainwater tanks 'full of lead and aluminium'

Pesky for the Greenies. Greenies love tanks. It gives them a feeling of independence and gives them a rationale for opposing dams. So if they all get lead poisoning, why should I care? They deserve it. I favour much safer tested, filtered, chlorinated and reticulated water from dams. It's just a great pity that Greenie opposition to dams has created a shortage of such water in many places. The study below does not in fact tell half the story. The bacterial load from birdshit and other droppings in tank water is not mentioned at all!

RAINWATER tanks have been found to be commonly contaminated with lead and other heavy metals, a study to be presented this week has found. The joint Melbourne Monash University and CSIRO research found the use of lead in roofs to join surfaces and channel away water elevated the risks, pushing the lead content in tank water as high as 50 times Australia's drinking water guidelines. But even across a broader range of roof types and tanks, one-third of those surveyed contained lead concentrations in the water exceeding safe drinking levels by up to 35 times. "Concentrations of aluminium, cadmium, iron and zinc were also found at levels exceeding acceptable health and esthetic levels," the study reports.

Australians have increasingly embraced rainwater tanks, pushing the share of homes with water tanks to nearly 20 per cent last year from 15 per cent three years earlier. Of the remainder, 60 per cent of homes are considering installing rainwater tanks, amid escalating water restrictions because of the drought, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

But while most homes with tanks install them to save water, the second most common reason for buying them is to service properties that are not connected to mains water. In South Australia, almost half of households use some water from tanks, and more than a fifth use them as their main source of drinking water.

Study co-author Grace Mitchell said some people also simply preferred the taste of rainwater, or considered it more natural. "It is more natural in the sense that it's not treated but in some cases that's not a good thing," she said. The Monash University senior research fellow said the surprisingly large incidence of contamination reinforced the need for people to stick with drinking mains water, or to get their tank water tested for heavy metals.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Hurricane expert reconsiders global warming's impact

More "heretics" keep emerging as knowledge and understanding increases

One of the most influential scientists behind the theory that global warming has intensified recent hurricane activity says he will reconsider his stand. The hurricane expert, Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this week unveiled a novel technique for predicting hurricane activity. The new work suggests that, even in a dramatically warming world, hurricane frequency and intensity may not substantially rise during the next two centuries.

The research, appearing in the March issue of Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, is all the more remarkable coming from Emanuel, a highly visible leader in his field and long an ardent proponent of a link between global warming and much stronger hurricanes. His changing views could influence other scientists. "The results surprised me," Emanuel said of his work, adding that global warming may still play a role in raising the intensity of hurricanes but what that role is remains far from certain.

Emanuel's work uses a new method of computer modeling that did a reasonable job of simulating past hurricane fluctuations. He, therefore, believes the models may have predictive value for future activity.

During and after the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, which were replete with mega storms and U.S. landfalls, scientists dived into the question of whether rising ocean temperatures, attributed primarily to global warming, were causing stronger storms. Among the first to publish was Emanuel, who, just three weeks before Hurricane Katrina's landfall, published a paper in Nature that concluded a key measurement of the power dissipated by a storm during its lifetime had risen dramatically since the mid-1970s. In the future, he argued, incredibly active hurricane years such as 2005 would become the norm rather than flukes. This view, amplified by environmentalists and others concerned about global warming, helped establish in the public's mind that "super" hurricanes were one of climate change's most critical threats. A satellite image of a hurricane emanating from a smokestack featured prominently in promotions for Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

"Kerry (Emanuel) had the good fortune, or maybe the bad fortune, to publish when the world's attention was focused on hurricanes in 2005," said Roger Pielke Jr., who studies science and policy at the University of Colorado. "Kerry's work was seized upon in the debate." After the 2005 hurricane season, a series of other papers were published that appeared to show, among other things, that the most intense hurricanes were becoming more frequent.

What has not been as broadly disseminated, say Pielke and some hurricane scientists, is that other research papers have emerged that suggest global warming has yet to leave an imprint on hurricane activity. One of them, published late last year in Nature, found that warming seas may not increase hurricane intensity. That paper's co-author, Gabriel Vecchi, a research scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said Emanuel's new work highlights the great uncertainty that remains in the field of hurricane science. "While his results don't rule out the possibility that global warming has contributed to the recent increase in activity in the Atlantic, they suggest that other factors - possibly in addition to global warming - are likely to have been substantial contributors to the observed increase in activity," Vecchi said.....

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Emanuel told the NY Times: "The models are telling us something quite different from what nature seems to be telling us. There are various interpretations possible, e.g. a) The big increase in hurricane power over the past 30 years or so may not have much to do with global warming, or b) The models are simply not faithfully reproducing what nature is doing. Hard to know which to believe yet."

Brrrr... Frosty Snake Oil Salesman Admits to Ca$hing In on Global Warming Hysteria

Post below recycled from Gateway Pundit.

Record snowfall continues to blanket the planet.
Global temperatures continue to drop.
Record cold and snow is causing armed clashes.
But, thankfully there were no reports of climate change cannibalism in the news.

Derby County goalkeeper Roy Carroll looks to the sky as snow falls heavily onto the pitch during the English Premier League soccer match at Goodison Park, Liverpool, England Sunday April 6, 2008. (AP Photo/PA, Martin Rickett)

This extremely cold year hasn't stopped the world's most famous snake oil salesman from ca$hing in on the global warming hysteria.
Newsbusters reported this latest admission by Al Gore:

"There are a lot of great investments you can make. If you are investing in tar sands, or shale oil, then you have a portfolio that is crammed with sub-prime carbon assets. And it is based on an old model. Junkies find veins in their toes when the ones in their arms and their legs collapse. Developing tar sands and coal shale is the equivalent. Here are just a few of the investments I personally think make sense. I have a stake in these so I'll have a disclaimer there. But geo-thermal concentrating solar, advanced photovoltaics, efficiency, and conservation."
Newsbusters also has video.

Now, who was it that said that Al Gore should be sued?

Brrrr... Antarctica Records Record High Ice Cap Growth
Brrrr... South America Has Coldest Winter in a 90 Years
Brrrr... Iraqis See First Snow in 100 Years As Sign of Peace
Brrrr... Worst Snowstorms in a Decade in China Cause Rioting
Brrrr... Jerusalem Grinds to a Halt As Rare Snowstorm Blasts City
Brrrr... Worst Snowstorms in 50 Years Continue to Cripple China
Brrrr... China Suffers Coldest Winter in 100 Years
Brrrr... Pakistan Suffers Lowest Temps in 70 Years-- 260 Dead
Brrrr... Record Cold Hits Central Asia-- 654 Dead in Afghanistan
Brrrr... Severe Weather Kills Dozens in Kashmir
Brrrr... Tajikistan Crisis!! Coldest Winter in 25 Years!
Brrrr... Record Cold Wave Blasts Mumbai, India
Brrrr... Snow and Ice in San Diego?
Brrrr... Wisconsin Snowfall Record Shattered
Brrrr... The Disappearing Arctic Ice Is Back And It's Thick
Brrrr... Turkey's snowiest winter continues.
Brrrr... Record Cold & Snow Blankets Acropolis in Greece (Video)
Brrrr... Longest Ever Cold Spell Kills Cattle & Rice in Vietnam
Brrrr... Most Snow Cover Over North America Since 1966
Brrrr... Australia Suffers Through Coldest Summer in 50 Years
Brrrr... Record Snowfall Slams Ohio River Valley
Brrrr... New Data Gives Global Warming the Cold Shoulder
Brrrr... Global Cooling Causes Armed Clashes in Canada

Climate change forecasts 'invalid' - NZ researcher

Karori researcher Kesten Green has told MPs there was no need to pass the Government's Climate Change (Emissions Trade and Renewable Preference) Bill - because global warming forecasts are unscientific. Dr Green, the author of a peer-reviewed paper auditing the forecasting methods of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), opposed the bill because he claimed it was based on "invalid climate forecasts".

He told Parliament's finance select committee that authors of the IPCC fourth assessment report provided sufficient information to observe predic tions violated 72 of 89 accepted principles of forecasting. There was insufficient information to judge how closely a further 51 principles had been followed. "Some individual principles that were violated are so important that violation of any one of them alone invalidates the IPCC's forecasts," he said.

These IPCC forecasts drew on six years of research by 2500 scientists from more than 130 countries, and said global warming was "unequivocal" with human activity more than 90 percent likely to blame for an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, to 379 parts per million (ppm), up from 280ppm before the Industrial Revolution. They warned that by 2050, there is very likely to be loss of high-value land, faster road deterioration, degraded beaches, and reduced farm and forestry production in southern and southeastern Australia and parts of eastern New Zealand. The warmer temperatures and decreasing water resources would increase the burden of some diseases, and global sea levels would rise 59cm this century.

Professor Scott Armstrong, of Pennsylvania University - who wrote the global warming forecast audit with Dr Green - put in a written submission to the committee, claiming they had been unable to find a single "scientific" forecast of global warming.


Cull trees to "save the planet" from global warming!

Not long ago, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid famously suggested that global warming may be causing an increased number of forest fires.In fact, it may be the other way around. "In the green scheme of things, trees are a good thing and deforestation is bad," Investors Business Daily pointed out on March 31. "We must plant as many trees as we can to suck up all that CO2, the pollutant that sustains all plant and therefore all animal life on earth. Old-growth forests must be protected from those nasty loggers."

Trouble is, according to Thomas Bonnicksen, professor emeritus of forest science at Texas A&M University, forests left in 'pristine' condition have too many trees and too many dead ones, both of which provide fuel for the devastating forest fires that ravaged California last year," IBD reported.

Mr. Bonnicksen has authored a study available at the Web site of the California Forest Foundation ( It shows that four recent large California wildfires produced 38 million tons of greenhouse gases through fire and subsequent decay of dead trees -- 10 million from the fires themselves and 28 million from the decay. That's equivalent to the emissions from 7 million cars for a year.

Mr. Bonnicksen reports by the time the un-logged forests burned they were clogged with 350 trees per acre, whereas 50 an acre is considered normal. Some California forests, he says, have more than 1,000 trees per acre, with young trees growing under big trees, serving as "ladder fuel" to make fires more devastating.He advocates "thinning" the forests so they're less like time bombs waiting to explode.

"Harvested trees can be turned into long-lasting wood products that store carbon," he notes, adding that it's important to remove trees destroyed by fires and insects "so that they don't decay and send more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.""So it just might be forest fires that are causing global warming," Investors Business Daily concluded, "not the other way around, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently claimed."

Mr. Bonnicksen concludes that, "Reducing the number and severity of wildfires may be the single most important short-term action we can take to lower greenhouse gas emissions and really fight global warming."Assuming there's anything man can do, that is, to alter a climate cycle that's been repeating every 15,000 years, since long before we had power plants, automobiles or even charcoal grills.


Climate change may help rainforests

Pesky facts again

Climate change may lead to lush growth rather than catastrophic tree loss in the Amazonian forests, researchers from the US and Brazil have found. A study, in the journal Science, found that reduced rainfall had led to greener forests, possibly because sunlight levels are higher when there are fewer rainclouds. But scientists cautioned that while the finding raises hopes for the survival of the forests, there are still serious threats. Climate models have suggested that the forests will suffer as the region becomes drier and will release huge quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Climate models have suggested in the past that the Amazon will suffer enormous die-backs as the region becomes drier and will release huge quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Deforestation is calculated to be one of the main contributors to the rising carbon dioxide levels that are widely held by the scientific community to be causing global warming. The loss of the Amazon would cause enormous quantities of carbon dioxide stored in the vegetation to be released back into the atmosphere, intensifying the warming effect.

Researchers identified the greener regions of the Amazon after analysing satelite images and comparing them to rainfall records. The 2005 drought provided them with "a unique opportunity to compare actual forest drought response to expectation". They said: "Large-scale numerical models that simulate the interactions between changing global climate and terrestrial vegetation predict substantial carbon loss from tropical ecosystems including the drought-induced collapse of the Amazon forest and conversion to savanna. "If drought were to have the expected negative effect on canopy photosynthesis, it should have been especially observable during this period. "The observations of intact forest canopy `greenness' in the drought region, however, are dominated by a significant increase, not a decline."

Growth spurts would be "inconsistent with expectation", they reported in the journal Science, and concluded the reduced rainfall was more than compensated for by extra sunlight. "These observations suggest that intact Amazon forests may be more resilient than many ecosystem models assume, at least in response to short-term climatic anomolies," they added.

Further studies will be needed to assess the long-term impacts of changing weather patterns on the Amazon and other forest regions from factors including strong el Nino events and long-term climate change. Deforestation from logging, legal and illegal, and fires were cited as other threats to the condition of the Amazon forests, especially as the areas pinponted as being in the steepest decline were those that were "heavily impacted by human activites". The paper 'Amazon Forests Green-Up During 2005 Drought' was written by Scott R. Saleska, Kamel Didan, Alfredo R. Huete and Humberto R. da Rocha.



Despite the majority consensus among climate scientists, science organisations and governments, there is a sizeable minority of researchers, economists and political observers who are concerned about the apocalyptic nature of climate hype and the potential risk it poses for political and economic stability. Sceptical researchers have and will continue to publish critical papers that question important parts of even some fundamentals of the current climate consensus. Will the science media provide a platform for these critiques? Will they discuss the weight of their evidence and the validity of their arguments? Or will the science media continue to ignore challenges to the status quo?

The absurdity of the science media's handling of climate science is well illuminated in this week's issue of New Scientist. In an editorial, the editors try to square the principle of falsification (which they claim is vital for science to progress) with their belief that any such attempt would undermine political attempts to mitigate climate disaster: "Some scientists are challenging our ideas on climate change, which is vital if we are to progress. But to overturn present thinking will need very strong evidence because, as the IPCC states, confidence in the idea that anthropogenic warming is changing our world has never been higher." (New Scientist, 14 April 2007)

Yet, at the same time, the editor's zealous defence of the apocalyptic climate consensus and their fierce resistance to provide critical researchers a forum for rebuttals or falsification attempts undermines their own integrity

Let me conclude: The integrity of the science media will depend on whether they will encourage critique and fault-finding analysis by consensus sceptics - or whether they will continue their course towards unbalanced campaign journalism. Given the well-documented reluctance of mainstream science media to accept submissions by critical scientists and the aversion to report on critical papers published elsewhere, I remain unconvinced that science journalism will moderate its blinkered attitudes in the near future.

The diverse groups of critical analysts and researchers will need to develop alternative infrastructures and media outlets if they wish to provide open-minded science writers and policy makers with judicious evaluations of disaster predictions and a genuinely impartial assessment of evidence. Given the evident biases mainstream science media and environmental journalism, there is a growing demand for more balanced and even-handed coverage of climate science and debates. Scientists and science writers who are concerned about the integrity and openness of the scientific process should turn the current crisis of science communication into an opportunity by setting up more critical, even-handed and reliable science media.

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Sunday, April 13, 2008


The BBC is sending this fatuous response to queries about the infamous capitulation to climate activist Jo Abbess's extortion:
Dear Reader

There has been considerable interest in the story about global temperatures authored by our correspondent Roger Harrabin, and the alteration made to the text after publication. A minor change was made to the piece on our website to better reflect the science. A number of people, including the report's authors the World Meteorological Organization, pointed out to us that the earlier version had been ambiguous.

With thanks for your mail, time and interest, BBC News website

Well, for a start the Beeb is supposed to report what is known and in most cases the available data is open to interpretation - it is in fact ambiguous by nature. No points there. So, if the WMO (source of the press release reported on by Harrabin) actually complained (and they might have since they are a UN shopfront):

* what exactly did they say

* what changes did they request

* why was this not noted when edits were made

* why wasn't the editing timestamp updated to reflect changes

* importantly, why was Abbess invited to "Have a look in 10 minutes and tell me you are happier. We have changed headline and more"

* does the BBC believe Abbess to be a representative of the WMO

* if not, what position does Abbess occupy that gives her editorial control over BBC content

* How does this comply with the BBC Trust's stated values?

Our values

Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest.

Audiences are at the heart of everything we do.

We take pride in delivering quality and value for money.

Creativity is the lifeblood of our organisation.

We respect each other and celebrate our diversity so that everyone can give their best.

We are one BBC: great things happen when we work together.

If you'd like to help find out whether the WMO really requested changes and what they said, if they did, then the place to start asking is NewsOnline Complaints and pose your questions. Perhaps ask who contacted them from WMO and what did they say?

If the BBC wants to be a clearing house for activist propaganda that's fine - so long as the activists are the one's footing the bill rather than the fees levied on the British public.



So much for that job requirement of balance and objectivity. When it came to global warming the media clearly left out dissent in favor of hype, cute penguins and disastrous predictions.

"They [penguins] are charismatic, endearing and in serious trouble," warned NBC's Anne Thompson on the Dec. 12, 2007, "Nightly News." Thompson didn't include any disagreement.

While the networks had plenty of time to worry about the future of birds, most network news shows didn't take much time to include any other point of view even though hundreds of scientists have expressed skepticism of manmade climate change theory.

Another NBC reporter, Kerry Sanders, hyped the threat of warming to polar bears and walruses on Dec. 9, 2007, "a world scientists say may melt away by 2050." Sanders didn't include any scientists who disagreed with that claim.

The lack of balance on the issue prompted one network journalist, John Stossel of ABC, to do a story on the media's one-sidedness on "20/20" Oct. 19, 2007.

"You've heard the reports. The globe is warming. And it's our fault. And the consequences will be terrible. But you should know there is another side to this story," teased Stossel as he began his "Give me a Break" segment.

There is another side to the issue. In one story, Stossel interviewed four scientists critical of the so-called "consensus" on global warming. That's four more dissenting scientists than CBS put on its network in six entire months.

To better assess network behavior on this key topic, the Business & Media Institute examined 205 stories from ABC, CBS and NBC that mentioned "global warming" or "climate change" between July 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2007.

BMI found skepticism was shut out of a vast majority of reports. Overall, a measly 20 percent had any dissent at all referenced by a journalist or guest.

Skeptical voices were suppressed by the networks, outnumbered by nearly a 7-to-1 ratio by those promoting fear of climate change or being used by the network for the same purpose. CBS had an even worse record: nearly 38 proponents to one skeptic.

More here


JOURNALISTS at The Age yesterday condemned management for undermining the Melbourne newspaper's editorial independence, claiming reporters were pressured not to write negative stories about Earth Hour and sports coverage was in danger of being compromised by commercial considerations. During what reporters called a "volatile" and "hostile" staff meeting on the editorial floor with the paper's editor-in-chief, Andrew Jaspan [wee Andy, the Scottish socialist], journalists also criticised his decision to attend the 2020 summit and attacked the publication in February of a letter by Fairfax chairman Ron Walker about the Liberal Party.

Mr Walker, a former Liberal Party treasurer, was identified only as "R.Walker, Melbourne" and, staff said, the letter was run unedited at Jaspan's instruction. Staff said the form of the letter "went against all normal practice, where the paper insists letters include full identification and affiliation or position of the writer".

During the meeting, Jaspan defended the letter's publication saying "that was what he (Mr Walker) had asked for". Some staff were openly hostile towards Jaspan, and at times interjected as he spoke. At a subsequent stop-work meeting, staff passed a resolution saying recent developments had undermined the separation between commercial considerations and editorial independence.

In a statement accompanying the resolution, staff said the Earth Hour partnership placed basic journalistic principles in jeopardy: "Reporters were pressured not to write negative stories and story topics followed a schedule drafted by Earth Hour organisers."

Staff said Jaspan's decision to participate in the 2020 summit, along with a senior deputy editor, breached the journalistic principle that the reporter and observer cannot be a participant without affecting objectivity. And the paper's sports coverage was being potentially compromised by an increasingly commercial emphasis on special relationships. "We have felt under increasing pressure to colour our reporting on organisations with whom the newspaper has struck commercial or sponsorship arrangements," the statement said. "Reporters are being encouraged to attend marketing meetings and under pressure not to write 'negative' stories."

Staff demanded management consult with them to draft a protocol that explicitly stated the deals would not entail any suggestion or implication of favourable editorial coverage.



By Andrew Bolt

I've said before that The Age will not report both sides of the debate on global warming. Now The Age's staff confirm they are not allowed to: "In a statement accompanying the resolution, staff said the Earth Hour partnership placed basic journalistic principles in jeopardy: "Reporters were pressured not to write negative stories and story topics followed a schedule drafted by Earth Hour organisers." The Age is not reporting, but propagandising. What else is it refusing to tell its readers about global warming - or anything else?


That Age reporters are encouraged not to tell the full truth about Earth Hour - or, indeed, global warming - can also be deduced by these emails from Fairfax bosses, congratulating staff for "promoting" Earth Hour and asking them to "participate (in) and observe" it.

And the fix is in, as you can tell by a green group directing the Age editor-in-chief on the placement of stories, evidence of Earth Hour's "success" being grossly exaggerated or invented, and inconvenient truths being left unreported.

The conclusion isn't just that the Age readers cannot trust their paper to inform them of the relevant facts about global warming. It's also that all Age reporters writing about global warming must - fairly or unfairly - be considered propagandists until there is evidence that they are free to report all sides of this debate.


David Henderson, in a presentation to the IMF, says this kind of reporting on global warming is only too common:
Across the world, the treatment of these issues by environmental and scientific journalists and commentators is overwhelmingly one-sided and sensationalist: studies and results that are unalarming are typically played down or disregarded, while the gaps in knowledge and the huge uncertainties which still loom large in climate science are passed over. This pervasive one-sidedness on the part of so many commentators and media outlets is in itself worrying; but even more so, to my mind, is the fact that leading figures and organisations connected with the IPCC process, including government departments and international agencies, do little to ensure that a more balanced picture is presented.



Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on the implications of climate change for human health. Malaria will top the menu, but so will ignorance and disinformation.

The lead witness will be Dr. Jonathan Patz of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has suggested that U.S. energy policy may be "indirectly exporting diseases to other parts of the world." Dr. Patz, the World Health Organization (WHO) and others claim that global warming is now spreading disease and may be the cause of some 160,000 deaths a year.

In 2007, for example, WHO pointed to rising temperatures in an outbreak of a mosquito-borne virus, Chikungunya, in Italy. Yet WHO misdiagnosed the problem. Modern transportation, not climate change, caused the outbreak.

In that case, the transmitter of the disease, or vector, was the Asian Tiger mosquito. It is native to Asia, but exported world-wide in shipments of used tires. It is now abundant in parts of U.S. and in 12 countries in Europe. In cities, it breeds in man-made containers of water, such as saucers under flower-pots, water barrels, blocked gutters and so on. The virus was carried to Italy by an infected Indian who flew from Delhi, where an epidemic of the disease was then raging.

So the real technological villain in that case was the jet airplane. It was irresponsible, then, for WHO to state "although it is not possible to say whether the outbreak was caused by climate change . . . conditions in Italy are now suitable for the Tiger mosquito." And it was absurd for environmental alarmists to chime in with apocalyptic pronouncements.

More here


The law of unintended consequences has claimed many millions of victims over the centuries; the first decade of the 21st century is now demonstrating that governments have not lost the knack of destroying the livelihoods of the very people they purport to help.

On a brief visit to Britain, the head of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) yesterday told us of his desperate concern over rising food prices, especially in the developing world. Antonio Guterres singled out for special blame the biofuels business, which he said was having an, "unexpected very negative impact on the availability of food".

Unexpected? How could it not have been anticipated that the turning over of millions of acres of farmland to the production of fuel for cars rather than humans would not have had this effect? To be fair to Mr Guterres, the governments of the developed world showed no outward signs of anticipating this inevitable consequence, so seduced were they by the idea of a "renewable" alternative to fossil fuels; it would, they claimed, simultaneously reduce our political dependency on Middle Eastern oil and save the lives of millions in the Third World who would otherwise perish through climate change.

The first part of that equation was especially attractive to President George W Bush. Following the collapse of his policy to "democratise" the Middle East, he promulgated laws which mandated the turning over of about a third of the US corn belt into the production of ethanol. Since ethanol is dramatically less efficient than dead dinosaurs as a way of powering engines, this has also involved vast subsidies - as much as $25bn a year, according to some estimates.

Don't, by the way, expect this to change after Bush leaves the White House. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain all support this grotesque policy - as they have taken great care to point out when electioneering in Iowa, the Saudi Arabia of ethanol production.

They, rather more than Mr Bush, have tended to justify this monumental bribe as part of a policy to "reduce climate change". In this they are much closer to the governments of the European Union, which is collectively committed to a mad plan to generate a third of our fuel from crops, as part of its attempt to conform to Kyoto treaty obligations. It is especially mad, because recent research has suggested that most biofuel production, especially when it involves the uprooting of vast tracts of forest, is much more environmentally damaging than the burning of fossil fuels.

Gordon Brown has now called for a review of the consequences of this policy for world food production and distribution, to the irritation of the President of the European Commission, who (somewhat bizarrely) sticks to the view that it has no significant consequences for food prices.

Yet one can also understand Jose Manuel Barroso's feelings: it makes the EU look ridiculous to say that it will examine the consequences of a policy - after rather than before the member governments agreed to implement it.

More here


For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

The BBC again

The Wattmaster has a fun flashing GIF showing how the BBC backed down on their global cooling story. There have been many characterizations of the BBC over this but the one characterizing them as having "no balls" gets pretty close, I think.

Krupp's "Warming" meets Ponte's "Cooling"

Michigan, like the Midwest in general, has endured a brutal winter with record cold temperatures, snow two feet above normal as of March, six inches of snow in Detroit on Easter, 26 inches in Marquette on April 5, and more snow predicted for Detroit Metro this weekend as temperatures maintain their sub-normal trend.

But like their news-media brethren, bookstore shelves are strangely at odds with the world outside. While Michigan freezes, local sellers are showcasing Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp's acclaimed new book about the warming apocalypse called Earth: The Sequel - The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming. Krupp gets right to it in Chapter One, warning of warming calamity even as current temperature data suggests recent temperature trends have moderated:
The scientific consensus is that inaction will change the earth within a few decades into a place unlike any ever inhabited by humans. Business as usual will open the door to catastrophe: flooding and dislocation of millions of people; chronic drought and mass malnourishment in Africa; wildfires, deadly heat waves, and coastal destruction; the extinction of half the world's living species.

The words are eerily similar to another acclaimed book on my shelf published 32 years ago. In 1976 Lowell Ponte - like Krupp, an influential think-tank figure with the International Research Technology Corp. - published a book called The Cooling: Has the Next Ice Age Already Begun? Can we Survive It? It too was written at the apex of a frightening (in his case, cold) climate trend. Here's Ponte in Chapter One:
In 1975, the U.S. National Academy of Science issued . . . a warning by some of the world's most prestigious, cautious scientists that an Ice Age (was) beginning in the near future. The tone of the report was one of repressed alarm. A study completed in 1971 by Drs. S. I. Rasool and S. H. Schneider of NASA's Goddard Institute estimates that man's potential to pollute . . . could increase the atmosphere's opacity by 400 percent. That would reduce sunlight enough, say the scientists, to drop the Earth's surface temperature by 3.4 degrees C, which would almost certainly bring on an Ice Age. (The consequences) will hamper world food production as weather gets progressively worse. The damage this can cause is already apparent in global food shortages and the recent deaths of more than 400,000 people in Africa and Asia. If global famine arises, we can expect world war.

Warming, cooling . . . choose your fad. The prevailing weather is simply an excuse to scare us silly.



A Greenie notes the bad attitudes of other Greenies below

Last week, Roger Pielke Jr. and two co-authors published a landmark commentary in the science journal Nature suggesting that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had probably dramatically underestimated the likely growth of carbon emissions over the next century. Many environmentalists did not take the news well, attacking Pielke, his co-authors, and the Breakthrough Institute, where Pielke is a Senior Fellow, for conspiring to undermine efforts to address climate change.

While this post focuses on the disinformation campaign that the blogger Joe Romm [above] has launched against the Nature commentary and it authors, Romm's response is by no means an isolated reaction. Indeed, we initially asked Grist, the online environmental magazine and blog, to allow us to post this piece, and to regularly post as guest bloggers, in order to respond to Romm's serial and misleading attacks, posted regularly on Grist's well read blog, and Grist refused to allow us to do so.

Grist's refusal is, we think, reflective of a larger shift within the environmental movement. Back in 2004, Grist hosted a vigorous debate among environmentalists about the Death of Environmentalism. The debate featured a host of voices, some highly critical of our thesis and some highly supportive, and brought a diverse set of perspectives to a discussion that served both the environmental movement and efforts to address climate change well. This was not only true of the debate at Grist, but the larger environmental movement, where even many of those who initially felt that the debate was divisive now acknowledge that it was healthy and led to a much needed rethink of many environmental strategies.

Today, confident that public opinion has "tipped" on global warming, that Democrats are in control of Congress, and that a new president, Democrat or Republican, will open the way to dramatic progress on climate change both domestically and internationally, many environmentalists no longer see the utility of debating such questions. Such overconfidence will not serve environmentalists well.

New climate, energy, and economic analysis is documenting not only that carbon emissions are growing much faster than anyone thought possible even just a few years ago, but that the primary policy tools that environmentalists propose that we use to deal with it will not be even remotely up to the task of stabilizing the climate. The debate on climate change has fundamentally shifted over the last several years, but not in the way that environmentalists suppose. In the coming years, the climate debate will not be between skeptics who do not believe that global warming is occurring and environmentalists who do.

Rather, it will be a multidimensional debate among a much larger variety of parties, all serious about addressing climate change, about what we will need to do in order to effectively address it. In this debate, the traditional environmental remedies of lifestyle change and pollution regulations will be revealed as so massively inadequate to the climate challenge we face as to be largely irrelevant. Thanks to folks like Joe Romm and the editors at Grist, environmentalists will be the last to know.


Back in the 90's and early part of the current decade, the environmental movement embarked upon a well documented campaign to convince the news media and the American public to stop taking those who questioned the existence of climate change seriously. Environmentalists went to great lengths to demonstrate that those who doubted the existence of climate change were crackpots, paid flaks of the fossil fuels industry, or otherwise lacking in credibility. They urged media reporters to stop covering "both sides" of the debate about climate, pointing out that on one side of that debate was an overwhelming consensus within the scientific community while on the other was a motley collection of ideologues and marginal academics, most with connections to the fossil fuel industry. And they started labeling them "deniers," explicitly referencing those who deny that the Holocaust ever occurred.

The strategy worked. News coverage today rarely, if ever, cites sources who question the existence of climate change or its anthropogenic origins. And few policymakers continue to publicly question climate change. The assumption among environmental leaders was that once the scientific consensus that anthropogenic climate change was occurring was established, this consensus would translate into a consensus as to what to do about it -- a consensus that would embrace the policies long advocated by the national environmental movement, namely the Kyoto framework at the international level and cap and trade legislation at the domestic level.

But a funny thing has happened over the last several years, as opinion about the reality and urgency of the climate crisis has "tipped." The consensus that would allegedly result once broad public acceptance of anthropogenic climate change was achieved has fractured. Efforts to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Accord at the international level have stalled, as developing economies, led by China and India, have balked at any framework that would constrain carbon emissions and slow economic development in the developing world, where most of the growth of carbon emissions over the next century will come from. The fragile coalition of businesses, some segments of the energy industry, and environmentalists that appeared ready to support a domestic cap and trade system has frayed, as the environmental movement has demanded that all carbon allowances be auctioned and business interests have balked at the increasing costs of the regulations.

And a variety of scientific and economic analysis has come out, not from opponents of action to address climate change but from supporters, suggesting that the policy framework developed by environmentalists in the early 1990's to address climate change will not be capable of achieving its objectives. These include a recent Nature commentary suggesting that the IPCC may have vastly underestimated the likely growth of carbon emissions over the next century, and thus underestimated the scale of the technology challenge necessary to stabilize carbon levels in the atmosphere, and a raft of studies and other analysis suggesting that carbon caps, regulations, and pricing, the primary policy mechanisms proposed by the environmental movement to address climate change, will not drive rapid and large scale transition from conventional energy sources to zero and low carbon energy sources.

Unfortunately, the response to these developments from some environmentalists has been to attempt to tar those who have challenged the efficacy of the dominant environmental policy framework to address climate change with the same brush that they used to discredit those who denied the existence of anthropogenic climate change back in the 90's, only this time they are attacking respected climate scientists, energy experts, and activists who have no connection to the fossil fuel industry and have long and well documented track records of advocating for strong action to address climate change....

So it is particularly unseemly for prominent environmentalists, having spent the last decade demanding that policy to address climate change conform to the reality of climate science, are now attempting to destroy, quash, and otherwise discredit good science and important scientific and policy debate because it challenges the immediate political and policy objectives of the movement.

Yet that is exactly what some environmentalists have set out to do and there is no better example than Joe Romm's recent posts on his Climate Progress blog. Romm's employer, the Center for American Progress, on its website, espouses the view that, "Real progress will be achieved only through innovative solutions borne of open collaboration," but it would appear that Romm's primary objective is to slander, intimidate, and generally shout down any deviation from the climate orthodoxy and policy proposals promoted by the national environmental movement. What follows is primer in the new climate politics of personal destruction embraced by Romm and tolerated, if not encouraged, by environmental elites -- from the Center for American Progress, which pays Romm's salary, to Grist, which has provided Romm a very regular platform from which to slander his enemies.

More here


Fluctuations in solar radiation could mean colder weather in the decades ahead, despite all the talk about global warming, retired Western Washington University geologist Don Easterbrook said Tuesday. Easterbrook is convinced that the threat of global warming from mankind's carbon dioxide pollution is overblown.

In a campus lecture, he cited centuries of climate data in an effort to convince a somewhat skeptical audience that carbon dioxide's impact on climate is being much exaggerated by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and by scientists who appear to have won the debate over global warming. "Despite all you hear about the debate being over, the debate is just starting," Easterbrook said.

Easterbrook doesn't deny that the Earth's climate has been warming slowly since about 1980. But he argued that this warming trend fits a longstanding pattern of warming and cooling cycles that last roughly 30 years. Sunspot activity and other solar changes appear to explain the 30-year cycles, he said. If that pattern persists, the earth could now be close to the next 30-year cooling cycle, Easterbrook said.

He noted that the 2007-08 winter set records for cold and snow in many parts of the globe. According to the data he displayed, the Earth's temperature hit a peak in 1998 and has been steady or slightly cooler since then. "One cold winter doesn't mean much of anything," he said. "A 10-year trend is interesting."

He contended that warming periods appear to match periods of sunspot activity, which currently is at a low point. Easterbrook noted that astrophysicists have been expecting that activity to begin increasing soon, but so far it has not. Prolonged periods of low activity could lead to a dramatic cooling such as occurred in Europe during the so-called "Little Ice Age," a term loosely used to describe cooler weather in the 14th to 19th centuries, Easterbrook said.

More here

Climate change: A Contrarian's Opinion

Not a day goes by where we are not all bombarded with angst over global warming and climate change caused, apparently, by our over use of fossil fuels. We are told how oceans will rise, crops will fail, the Arctic will melt, polar bears will die, droughts will happen, and a whole slew of other awful things.

I don't buy it, and would venture that the whole movement is another manifestation of man's inherent need to get power and control over others by any means necessary. The claim is out that the science is unequivocal and beyond doubt, but a cursory examination of the evidence with a skeptical mind suggests that nothing is a simple as we are told. The prophets of doom such as Al Gore and David Suzuki are masters at controlling the agenda sold to the masses while they accumulate wealth and power while generally disregarding the changes in their own behaviour that they advocate against for all the regular less important folk out there.

Who amongst us is not familiar with Gore's excessively sized house and utility consumption? Suzuki is busy with tour buses and jet setting around the world, and in Toronto; Mayor David Miller left Earth Hour to shop and attend a party after extolling the rest to turn off the lights, not at all dissimilar to the communist cadres of the Soviet Union who sold communism to the masses while accumulating their own power, wealth, and privilege. Have a look at Gore's balance sheet pre and post An Inconvenient Truth.

So how about a little bit of old-fashioned common sense to the whole premise of climate change? Could the climate be changing? Absolutely! It has changed significantly one way or another since the dawn of time. Did man cause any of the previous climate changes? Well, Alberta is known to once have been a tropical sea, and no, we had nothing to do with it disappearing. Is carbon dioxide increasing? Yes, but nowhere near as much as it did during other geologic ages such as the Jurassic period (dinosaurs) and others. Is there a correlation between CO2 levels and temperature change? No, but studies have shown it correlates highly with solar cycles.

What has the most effect on temperature and climate cycles? Unequivocally, it is the natural cycles of the sun. Has the temperature actually increased? It depends on whom you read and who funded the study. For the ambitious reader, take some time to study Dr. Theodr Landscheit from Germany and his studies into CO2 levels, and solar cycles. Some of those in these fields are more worried about a potential cooling than warming.

If one studies the human record for the last 10,000 years the climate has varied hugely, and the periods of prosperity are generally the warm periods. One must ask whether they would rather cope with warming or cooling. I think I know which I would fear more.

The world is a complex equilibrium and our creator, if that was the case, installed a lot of checks and balances. The carbon cycle is inherently balanced as an increase in carbon production in the atmosphere is followed by an increase in carbon storage and consumption by plants and algae. It is a generally accepted fact that North America is covered with more trees now than at the turn of the century. And in global terms, 70 per cent of the world is covered by water and correspondingly 70 per cent of the climate is set by the sea regardless of what we do on land. If the world gets warmer, more cloud forms over the sea, reflects sunlight, and cools the world.

If you want to at least open your mind to being skeptical of global warming, you might start with Ask yourself how a politician who failed at the presidency and an amphibian biologist became experts at an incredibly complicated science such as the climate. Ask yourself who and what companies gain in the race to trade and control the consumption/production of carbon.

Ask yourself if the climate can be predicted two weeks ahead let alone for two years. Ask yourself why the last great scare over the Ozone hole proved to be a non-event. We were told that it would take generations to repair the hole then it closed in two years, and then reopened partially indicating that it has a cycle of its own having little to do with hydrofluorocarbons.

Perhaps the whole debate should be reframed in terms of conserving energy, using it more efficiently, and wasting it less, because in the form of fossil fuels, energy is a somewhat finite resource. Energy breakthroughs are good for the economy and can make us more prosperous. In the bigger picture the world is awash in energy thanks to the limitless supply from the sun.

So instead of wasting our resources chasing our tails with carbon taxes and empowering the prophets of doom, unleash the creativity and power of humanity moving the production and use of energy up the chain closer to where it all comes from which is the sun. The market will help take care of this as traditional fossil fuels get pricier due to a higher level of scarcity.

Choose to be an optimist and relax a bit while tuning out the nihilistic Gore and Suzuki who really are more concerned with the vestiges of power and wealth than about what common sense dictates is best for us all. These people have just enough knowledge and conviction to be dangerous and have no place setting the agendas of large-scale policy that can affect us all so much.



The troubling tension between propelling prosperity and limiting climate risks in a world still wedded to fossil fuels is on full display this week. India's Tata Power group just gained important financial backing from the International Finance Corporation, a branch of the World Bank, for its planned $4 billion, 4-billion watt "Ultra Mega" coal-burning power plant complex in Gujarat state.

The I.F.C., along with the Asian Development Bank, Korea, and other backers, sees the need to bring electricity to one of the world's poorest regions as more pressing than limiting carbon dioxide from fuel burning. The plants will emit about 23 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, according to the I.F.C., but using technology that is 40 percent more efficient at turning coal into kilowatt-hours than the average for India.

The decision powerfully illustrates one of the most inconvenient facets of the world's intertwined climate and energy challenges - that more than two billion people still lack any viable energy choices, let alone green ones.

More here

Climate change will harm beer

Wotta lotta rubbish! A warmer climate would be a wetter climate overall and both rain and warmth are GOOD for crops. Article below from Australia

BEER will be in short supply, more expensive and may even taste different as climate change affects barley production, according to a scientist. Drought conditions in parts of Australia where malting barley was grown was likely to get worse, according to Jim Salinger of New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. Barley production in the main growing region of Canterbury in New Zealand - where brewing giant Lion Nathan gets about 70 per cent of its malted barley - would also be affected, the New Zealand Press Association said. "It will mean either there will be pubs without beer or the cost of beer will go up," he said.

Malting barley production in Australia was likely to be hit hard in parts of Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and NSW. The dry areas of Australia would become drier and water shortages would get worse. "It will provide a lot of challenges for the brewing industry," Dr Salinger said. He said breweries could be forced to look at new varieties of malt.

Dr Salinger told the Institute of Brewing and Distilling convention in Auckland today that by 2100, the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases - measured in equivalent amounts of carbon dioxide - would be double, and possibly four times pre-industrial levels, leading to further climate warming. "Most areas in Australia where malting barley is cropped are likely to experience producing declines," he said.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Friday, April 11, 2008


The furore continues but I don't have the time at the moment to comment further on it. Some links here and here and here and here and here and here. Note that there are now TWO BBC articles that are under heavy fire.


Just for a laugh, of course:

* Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest.
* Audiences are at the heart of everything we do.
* We take pride in delivering quality and value for money.
* Creativity is the lifeblood of our organisation.
* We respect each other and celebrate our diversity so that everyone can give their best.
* We are one BBC: great things happen when we work together.



An email from Lee Rodgers [] of Scientific blogging

James Hansen just released another dire warning about CO2 emissions yet seems to make no mention of the prospect of Solar Cycle #25 being the harbinger of a longer period of reduced solar luminance. Evidence is mounting that the sun's internal plasma conveyor belts are slowing down (they work much in the way that Earth's tropical-temperate atmospheric conveyor belt transports work, rising from the equator to the poles & back again). See here.

"...The slowdown we see now means that Solar Cycle 25, peaking around the year 2022, could be one of the weakest in centuries," says Hathaway..."

"...If the trend holds, Solar Cycle 25 in 2022 could be, like the belt itself, "off the bottom of the charts."

But what are the prospects of a longer-term solar minimum, on the order of the Dalton or Maunder minima? I quote from: here:

"...If Theodor Landscheidt' s assertions in 1999, Extrema in Sunspot Cycle Linked to Sun's Motion, are correct and the next "Sixteenth Part" (SP) of the 178.8 Year Solar Retrograde Motion (RSI) is to happen in 2012.5 then the minimum of Cycle 23 should have already happened ... the delay means that the SP looks to be switching to the Solar Minima and that would mean that Cycle 23 should last until 2010.6 at the EARLIEST!. That makes for a [14] year Sunspot cycles. Nothing like that has happened since 1790! According to this paper of the deceased professor, GRHS, we are in for 4 to 5 very weak sunspot cycles. Not like the Dalton minima but like the Maunder Minima!"

See also here

NASA/GISS researchers have modeled the effects of a long-term deep solar minimum and concluded it'd precipitate another miniature ice age.


RESPECTED academic Don Aitkin has seen the ugly side of the climate change debate after being warned he faced demonisation if he challenged the accepted wisdom that global warming poses a danger to humanity. Professor Aitkin told The Australian yesterday he had been told he was "out of his mind" by some in the media after writing that the science of global warming "doesn't seem to stack up". Declaring global warming might not be such an important issue, Professor Aitkin argued in a speech to the Planning Insitute of Australia this month that counter measures such as carbon trading were likely to be unnecessary, expensive and futile without stronger evidence of a crisis.

The eminent historian and political scientist said in a speech called A Cool Look at Global Warming, which has received little public attention, that he was urged not to express his contrary views to orthodox thinking because he would be demonised. He says critics who question the impact of global warming are commonly ignored or attacked because "scientist activists" from a quasi-religious movement have spread a flawed message that "the science is settled" and "the debate is over".

Professor Aitkin is a former vice-chancellor at the University of Canberra, foundation chairman of the Australian Research Council and a distinguished researcher at the Australian National University and Macquarie University. Although not a scientist, he has brought his critical approach as an experienced academic accustomed to testing theories to a debate he says so far lacks clear evidence.

Professor Aitkin's speech cast strong doubt on the Rudd Government's plan to impose significant limits on carbon emissions as the key to combating climate change, while the developing economies of China and India become the world's biggest polluters. "I doubt the proposed extraordinary policies will actually happen," he said. "China and India will not reduce their own use of carbon."

According to Professor Aitkin, attempts to set carbon-use levels in Europe, to be emulated by Australia, have been laughable because of absurd errors involved in allocating quotas and the potential for fraud. He believes carbon trading will lead to rorts, and that the "bubble will burst" on enthusiasm for urgently containing the carbon-producing effects of burning coal and oil.

The story of the human impact on climate change, which Professor Aitkin calls Anthropogenic Global Warming, "doesn't seem to stack up as the best science", according to his own research. Despite thousands of scientists allegedly having "consensus" on global warming, he says there is an absence of convincing data: "Put simply, despite all the hype and models and the catastrophic predictions, it seems to me that we human beings barely understand 'climate'. It is too vast a domain." Much of the evidence of global warming, he says, is based on computer modelling that does not take account of variables, and does not cover the whole planet.

Professor Aitkin calls himself a global warming "agnostic", and his comments are a direct challenge to the orthodoxy successfully promoted by influential figures such as former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery, whose scientific expertise is paleontology, despite his popular writings on climate change. The basis of the Kyoto Protocol, signed by the Rudd Government, is unvalidated models that cannot provide evidence of anything, Professor Aitkin argues. But he says the Rudd Government is among policy-makers trapped, willingly or unwillingly, by the world view of climate change campaigners who take a "quasi-religious view" that the dangers of global warming cannot be doubted.

Professor Aitkin told The Australian last night that Kevin Rudd's climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, was "a captive" because of the riding instructions he had been given to provide solutions that accepted global warming as fact. In his speech, he says: "The hard-heads may not buy the story, but they do want to be elected or re-elected. "Democratic governments facing elections are sensitive to popular movements that could have an electoral effect. I am sure that it was this electoral perception that caused the Howard government at the end to move significantly towards Kyoto and indicate a preparedness to go down the Kyoto path, as indeed the Labor Party had done earlier, and Kevin Rudd did as soon as he was elected."

Professor Aitkin says the earth's atmosphere may be warming but, if so, not by much and not in an alarming and unprecedented way. "It is possible that the warming has a 'significant human influence', to use the (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's) term, and I do not dismiss the possibility. "But there are other powerful possible causes that have nothing to do with us."

He says an increase in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide over the past century is agreed, some of it due to fossil fuels, cement-making and agriculture. However, normal production of CO2 is not known, and it makes up only a tiny part of the atmosphere. "How does a small increase in a very small component have such a large apparent effect? The truth is that no one has yet shown that it does."

According to the professor, much of the inadequate policy-making on climate change is based on "over-certainty in the absence of convincing argument and data" and "over-reliance on computer models". "While governments can never ignore what they see as popular feeling, good policy cannot be based on moods," he says.


An Inconvenient Announcement

Al Gore Equates Global Warming with World War II and Civil Rights Movement, While Europe Announces Cap-and-Trade Failure

On the same week in which the European Union (EU) admitted that its carbon cap-and-trade system is failing miserably, Al Gore shamelessly equated his latest global warming project with fighting Nazism in World War II, the Civil Rights Movement and the moon landing. Talk about "inconvenient truths" for the man behind the discredited film "An Inconvenient Truth."

This week, Gore announced the kickoff of his three-year, $300 million advertising and online lobbying campaign with a group calling itself the Alliance for Climate Protection. Apparently abandoning any remaining sense of shame or restraint, Gore will reportedly equate his latest climate-change pet project with our efforts during World War II, the fight against vicious racial segregation and successfully landing a man on the moon. According to reports, the campaign will in turn demand that the United States join other nations in adopting ineffective, but economically-destructive, emissions cap schemes.

As one might expect, Gore's proposed solution lies in even more big-government bureaucratic mandates from Washington, D.C. As he told the Washington Post, "the path to recovery runs right through Washington." Only one problem: the EU inconveniently acknowledged this week that its own Kyoto-style emission caps are a miserable failure.

According to the EU's website, its greenhouse gas emissions actually rose some 1.1% last year, despite the fact that it has enacted the very type of economically damaging cap-and-trade mandates advocated by Gore and climate alarmists. Under the EU's cap-and-trade system, businesses receive a predetermined allotment of emissions credits from government planners, and those businesses that exceed their limits must purchase spare credits from other businesses.

From the start, however, the EU's cap-and-trade scheme was marred by inherent flaws. Most fundamentally, bureaucratic busybodies were unable to accurately estimate the number of emissions permits to issue. Consequently, they were forced to recalibrate emissions limits and the number of credits, and the program proved a miserable failure. Instead of the intended decline in emissions, they have risen approximately 1% each year since the program's inception.

Lest Al Gore's devotees dismiss the EU's miserable failure as an anomaly, Japan's climate-change scheme has failed just as badly. The home country of Kyoto was itself supposed to reduce its emissions by 6% below 1990 levels, but its emission levels have actually risen steadily as well.

Although these Kyoto-style programs have utterly failed to achieve their intended goals, they have had an impact, albeit a negative one. Namely, they have inflicted great economic harm upon the nations that have implemented them, with no benefit to the environment. Across the EU, energy-intensive businesses are relocating their operations and employment overseas, and the European economies trail the United States economy, which has refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol during both the Clinton and Bush Administrations. Conditions in the EU have deteriorated so badly that the European Roundtable of Industrialists has written the EU to warn that the EU's Kyoto mandates are eroding businesses' ability to compete in the world economy. Further, European businesses are bracing themselves for additional increases in cap-and-trade costs, as EU bureaucrats respond to the increase in European emissions by tightening limits. In turn, this will increase businesses' cost of complying with the EU's cap-and-trade scheme, further eroding EU economic competitiveness.

Ignoring these inconvenient truths, climate change alarmists nevertheless insist that the United States dive into the same self-destructive schemes. But any such scheme inflicted upon the United States is doomed to failure, just as similar mandates have failed across the world. Cap-and-trade laws will fail to curtail emissions, let alone affect the vast global climatic environment. Instead, they will merely inflict great damage on our economic and employment climate precisely when America faces an increasingly-competitive world economy. The American Council for Capital Formation, as one example, estimates that a cap-and-trade law would cost 3.7 million American jobs, reduce gross national product by 2.6%, increase fuel costs even more and punish the average American household some $1,760 each year.

Hopefully, Americans will prove unwilling to pay this economic price for a scheme that fails to reduce emissions or benefit the environment.


Evidence of a Significant Solar Imprint in Annual Globally Averaged Temperature Trends

The article below applies some sophisticated statistical corrections to the raw temperature data. Most Greenies would no doubt shriek at that but since Hansen and other Warmist scientists have been "correcting" their data in various ways more or less from the beginning, they cannot reasonably do that. So the upshot for the layman simply is another demonstration that the "consensus" among scientists is a myth and that different analytical approaches yield different results

By Basil Copeland and Anthony Watts
It is very unlikely that the 20th-century warming can be explained by natural causes. The late 20th century has been unusually warm.

So begins the IPCC AR4 WG1 response to Frequently Asked Question 9.2 (Can the Warming of the 20th Century be Explained by Natural Variability?). Chapter 3 of the WG1 report begins:
Global mean surface temperatures have risen by 0.74øC ~ 0.18øC when estimated by a linear trend over the last 100 years (1906-2005). The rate of warming over the last 50 years is almost double that over the last 100 years (0.13øC ñ 0.03øC vs. 0.07øC ~ 0.02øC per decade).

Was the warming of the late 20th century really that unusual? In recent posts Anthony has noted the substantial anecdotal evidence for a period of unusual warming in the earlier half of the 20th century. The representation by the IPCC of global trends over the past 100 years seems almost designed to hide the fact that during the early decades of the 20th century, well before the recent acceleration in anthropogenic CO2 emissions beginning in the middle of the 20th century, global temperature increased at rates comparable to the rate of increase at the end of the 20th century.

I recently began looking at the longer term globally averaged temperature series to see what they show with respect to how late 20th century warming compared to warming earlier in the 20th century. In what follows, I'm presenting just part of the current research I'm currently undertaking. At times, I may overlook details or a context, or skip some things, for the sake of brevity. For example, I'm looking at two long-term series of globally averaged annual temperature trends, HadCRUTv3 and GHCN-ERSSTv2. Most of what I present here will be based on HadCRUTv3, though the principal findings will hold true for GHCN-ERSSTv2.

I began by smoothing the data with a Hodrick-Prescott (HP) filter with lambda=100. (More on the value of lambda later.) The results are presented in Figure 1.

The figure shows the actual data time series, a cyclical pattern in the data that is removed by the HP filter, and a smoothed long term low frequency trend that results from filtering out the short term higher frequency cyclical component. Hodrick-Prescott is designed to distinguish short term cyclical activity from longer term processes. For those with an electrical engineering background, you could think of it much like a bandpass filter which also has uses in meteorology:
Outside of electronics and signal processing, one example of the use of band-pass filters is in the atmospheric sciences. It is common to band-pass filter recent meteorological data with a period range of, for example, 3 to 10 days, so that only cyclones remain as fluctuations in the data fields.

(Note: For those that wish to try out the HP filter, a freeware Excel plugin exists for it which you can download here)

When applied to globally averaged temperature, it works to extract the longer term trend from variations in temperature that are of short term duration. It is somewhat like a filter that filters out "noise," but in this case the short term cyclical variations in the data are not noise, but are themselves oscillations of a shorter term that may have a basis in physical processes.

For example, in Figure 1, in the cyclical component shown at the bottom of the figure, we can clearly see evidence of the 1998 Super El Ni¤o. While not the current focus, I believe that analysis of the cyclical component may show significant correlations with known shorter term oscillations in globally averaged temperature, and that this may be a fruitful area for further research on the usefulness of Hodrick-Prescott filtering for the study of global or regional variations in temperature.

My original interest was in comparing rates of change between the smoothed series during the 1920's and 1930's with the rates of change during the 1980's and 1990's. Without getting into details (ask questions in comments if you have them), using HadCRUTv3 the rate of change during the early part of the 20th century was almost identical to the rate of change at the end of the century. Could there be some sense in which the warming at the end of the 20th century was a repeat of the pattern seen in the earlier part of the century? Since the rate of increase in greenhouse gas emissions was much lower in the earlier part of the century, what could possibly explain why temperatures increased for so long during that period at a rate comparable to that experienced during the recent warming?

As I examined the data in more detail, I was surprised by what I found. When working with a smoothed but non-linear "trend" like that shown in Figure 1, we compute the first differences of the series to calculate the average rate of change over any given period of time. A priori, there was no reason to anticipate a particular pattern in time (or "secular pattern") to the differenced series. But I found one, and it was immediately obvious that I was looking at a secular pattern that had peaks closely matching the 22 year Hale solar cycle. The resulting pattern in the first differences is presented in Figure 2, with annotations showing how the peaks in the pattern correspond to peaks in the 22 year Hale cycle.

Besides the obvious correspondence in the peaks of the first differences in the smoothed series to peaks of the 22 year Hale solar cycle, there is a kind of "sinus rhythm" in the pattern that appears to correspond, roughly, to three Hale cycles, or 66 years. Beginning in 1876/1870, the rate of change begins a long decline from a peak of about +0.011 (since these are annual rates of change, a decadal equivalent would be 10 times this, or +0.11C/decade) into negative territory where it bottoms out about -0.013, before reversing and climbing back to the next peak in 1896/1893. A similar sinusoidal pattern, descending down into negative annual rates of change before climbing back to the next peak, is evident from 1896/1893 to 1914/1917. Then the pattern breaks, and in the third Hale cycle of the triplet, the trough between the 1914/1917 peak and the 1936/1937 peak is very shallow, with annual rates of change never falling below +0.012, let alone into the negative territory seen after the previous two peaks. This same basic pattern is repeated for the next three cycles: two sinusoidal cycles that descend into negative territory, followed by a third cycle with a shallow trough and rates of change that never descend below +0.012. The shallow troughs of the cycles from 1914/1917 to 1936/1937, and 1979/1979 to 1997/2000, correspond to the rapid warming of the 1920's and 1930's, and then again to the rapid warming of the 1980's and 1990's.

While not as well known as the 22 year Hale cycle, or the 11 year Schwabe cycle, there is support in the climate science literature for something on the order of a 66 year climate cycle. Schlesinger and Ramankutty (1994) found evidence of a 65-70 year climate cycle in a number of temperature records, which they attributed to a 50-88 year cycle in the NAO. Interestingly, they sought to infer from this that these oscillations were obscuring the effect of AGW. But that probably misconstrues the significance of the mid 20th century cooling phase. In any case, the evidence for a climate cycle on the order of 65-70 years extends well into the past. Kerr (2000) links the AMO to paleoclimate proxies indicating a periodicity on the order of 70 years. What I think they may be missing is that this longer term cycle shows evidence of being modulated by bidecadal rhythms. When the AMO is filtered using HP filtering, it shows major peaks in 1926 and 1997, a period of 71 years. But there are smaller peaks at 1951 and 1979, indicating that shorter periods of 25, 28, and 18 years, or roughly bidecadal oscillations. There is a growing body of literature pointing to bidecadal periodicity in climate records that point to a solar origin. See, for instance, Rasporov, et al, (2004). A 65-70 year climate cycle may simply be a terrestrial driven harmonic of bidecadal rhythms that are solar in origin.

In terms of the underlying rates of change, the warming of the late 20th century appears to be no more "unusual" than the warming during the 1920's and 1930's. Both appear to have their origin in a solar cycle phenomenon in which the sinusoidal pattern in the underlying smoothed trend is modulated so that annual rates of change remain strongly positive for the duration of the third cycle, with the source of this third cycle modulation perhaps related to long term trends in oceanic oscillations. It is purely speculative, of course, but if this 66 year pattern (3 Hale cycles) repeats itself, we should see a long descent into negative territory where the underlying smoothed trend has a negative rate of change, i.e. a period of cooling like that experienced in the late 1800's and then again midway through the 20th century.

More here

Ted Turner's Depopulation Plan: "We're Too Many People; That's Why we Have Global Warming"

Extremists of his ilk employ cultish fear-mongering in order to promote their religious environmentalism

In a wide-ranging hour-long interview on PBS, CNN Founder and billionaire environmental extremist Ted Turner let the cat out of the bag on the real goal of climate change extremists - depopulation. Pro-life activists who have attended UN environment meetings where such issues were discussed have often been the subject of ridicule and derision for pointing out that the massive movement behind global warming, retooled to 'climate change', works hand in hand with the culture of death with the aim of depopulation.

Speaking on PBS's Charlie Rose program on Tuesday, April 1, Turner stated plainly that next to nuclear disarmament the most pressing world concern is "global climate change" - which he said is caused by too many people. "We're too many people. That's why we have global warming," explained Turner when Rose questioned his comment that we need to "stabilize the population."

Turner, a fan of China's one-child policy - despite the brutality of forced abortion and sterilizations which are associated with it - proposed similar limits on family size for all. "We've got to stabilize population," he told Rose. "On a voluntary basis, everybody in the world's got to pledge to themselves that one or two children is it."

Pro-life activists have been pointing to the connection between the radical environmentalist movement and depopulation for over fifteen years. Already in 1992 Joan Veon, a veteran UN expert, explained what UN policy-makers meant when they use the term "sustainable development." During the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development Veon observed: "Sustainable development basically says there are too many people on the planet, that we must reduce the population."

Last year China boasted that its one-child policy, which has been criticized by many nations for including forced abortion and sterilization, had reduced greenhouse gases. Speaking at a meeting in Oslo on the UN's Kyoto Protocol, Hu Tao of China's State Environmental Protection Administration said the one-child population control policy has slowed "global warming" by limiting the population to 1.3 billion. "This has reduced greenhouse gas emissions," he said.

Those nations most keenly facing the dire consequences of underpopulation and aging populations know full well that the proposals of radical environmentalists mean an international death sentence.

In 2004 Russian presidential economic advisor Andrei Illarionov called the Kyoto Protocol - a UN sponsored treaty to reduce greenhouse gases - an "undeclared war against Russia" since it required depopulation. Quoting a British team of scientists and government officials Illarionov said, "As long as you reduce your population, you can meet the Kyoto Protocol requirements."

However Turner and environmentalist extremists of his ilk employ cultish fear-mongering in order to promote their religious environmentalism. Speaking on what would happen if climate change were not addressed (i.e. population were not controlled), Turner told Rose, would be "catastrophic".

He prophesied an end to civilization, resorting to cannibalism for the few survivors, and more. He said: "We'll be eight degrees hotter in ten, not ten but 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow. Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals. Civilization will have broken down. The few people left will be living in a failed state -- like Somalia or Sudan -- and living conditions will be intolerable. The droughts will be so bad there'll be no more corn growing. Not doing it is suicide. Just like dropping bombs on each other, nuclear weapons is suicide. We've got to stop doing the two suicidal things, which are hanging on to our nuclear weapons and after that we've got to stabilize the population."

The stance of most of the pro-life movement regarding the environment was recently expressed by Czech President Vaclav Klaus in March of last year. "All of us are very much in favour of maximum environmental protection and protection of nature," he said in an interview with the Cato Institute. "But it has nothing in common with environmentalism, which is ideological and practically attacking our freedom." Environmentalism is, he said "a way of introducing new forms of statism, new forms of masterminding human society from above."



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

BBC now a laughing stock

The BBC's retreat from balance in their global cooling story is now being laughed at all over the place -- e.g. here and here. One lot of mockers even squeezed a brief comment about it out of the BBC -- in which the Beeb calls balance "ambiguous". And we can't tolerate ambiguity, can we? According to received wisdom among psychologists, intolerance of ambiguity is a sign of narrow-mindedness, bigotry and dogmatism -- so who am I to argue with that?


An email from Michael Martin-Smith []. Dr Michael Martin-Smith, BSc MRCGP FBIS, physician, amateur astronomer, and writer, is author of "Man Medicine and Space"

For those of us with a historical perspective, it is interesting, if somewhat chilling, to reflect that the idea that the Natural Order, or, in today's parlance, the Climate, requires great human sacrifice for its maintainance, is not unique to our climate activists. Human original sin is clearly raising its head again, and is being invoked to instil guilt all round.

There are, however, old and darker traditions which have laid upon humans the need to offer up sacrifices to keep the natural show on the road. It is not politically correct to remember that the Conquistadors, in imposing the joys of the Inquisition on Mesoamerica, were to a degree an improvement on their predecessors. The blood drenched temples of the Aztec Ahuitzotl and the earlier Mayan Yikin Can Kaw'ill were built to preserve the Order of Nature, and, if Unreason prevails, will doubtless return in modern PC guise. Evil is not unique to modern civilisation or the free globalised market, as the Environmental cultists tend to suggest. The ideological bureaucrat can be as deadly, if not as colourful, as the bejewelled and befeathered priest.

It has to be said that neither the Aztecs nor the Mayas benefited from their orgies of human sacrifice. Their gods remained coldly indifferent.


An email from John A [] of Climate Audit

Can it be any more apparent that the BBC is actively engaged in laundering environmental reports especially on climate to satisfy a few extremists? That what we read about climate history changes faster and more efficiently than even Winston Smith could have managed with his Speakwrite? Witness the constant changing of historical temperature data by James Hansen now being dissected on Climate Audit.

This is not simply a scandal, it is a crisis reaching to the foundations of our democracy - that news and information be disseminated by a Free Press without fear or favour to the Powers that be, nor to extremists and radicals seeking the overthrow of democracy by stealth through a crisis which bears all the hallmarks of being manufactured?

Just imagine, for a moment, what a global emissions trading scheme would look like: no Western democracy would have any control over the price of energy even in its local markets, its entire economy being subject to minute bureaucratic control of everything from the gas heater in the house to energy required to produce steel. Without any control of the cost of energy, food prices would inevitably rise and a black market in basic foodstuffs would appear (this is what happened during the fall of the Soviet Union) including a resurgent Mafia-style criminal underclass.

What then, would be the point of voting for any party? Or of democracy itself? What state could withstand the inevitable social turmoil when basic foodstuffs become more expensive than the poor can afford because the market has been rigged?

It is axiomatic that any State, no matter how brutal, must eventually fall when it has lost control of the price of food - witness Zimbabwe right now, or the fall of the Soviet Union, or the fall of Suharto in Indonesia, or the Weimar Republic in the early 1930s.

Make no mistake, and speaking as a classical liberal, we are looking at the most serious attempt to collectivize the world economy since the fall of Communism in the 20th Century and to render democracy moot in the Western World and beyond. Who speaks for the farmers of Kenya whose exports into the EU and beyond are the only thing between themselves and starvation and whose products are now being labelled with airmiles by Western environmental extremists?

Did any of us vote for the imposition of world energy cartel? I can't remember such a proposition being on any manifesto. But that's what it is.

All of this makes the betrayal of the BBC even to its own charter that much more dangerous to all of us who hold liberal democracy so dear. In the "Green Room" we see academics and activists talk blandly about population control (really? how?), the marginalization of democracy through a consensus of self-appointed "experts" and the need to somehow control the absolutely uncontrollable (the Earth's climate) via trying to moderate a single variable, carbon dioxide concentration, whose ability to control climate in any meaningful way is entirely absent from any paleoclimatic proxy?

Yet the opinions given by academics on subjects well away from their areas of specialization are published as if those opinions are unquestionable truths. Comments are censored prior to publication to prevent serious criticisms being made, and a false impression of support for the ludicrous and dangerous propositions is thereby created.

No right of reply is ever allowed except by that favourite abuse of propagandists - the "skeptic sandwich". Note that twice now, the BBC has announced that the work of Svensmark has been debunked, and twice Svensmark has replied showing that the studies are flawed and the BBC has refused to publish those replies.


An email from David Lord Howell []

Many commentators on Lawson have obviously not read the book I published last summer, in my capacity as deputy leader of the Conservatives in the House of Lords, which warned against climate and green hysteria and pointed to a more balanced way forward. The book, 'Out of the Energy Labyrinth' is published by I.B. Tauris. I am in Tokyo today, launching the Japanese edition. Lord Lawson is definitely not alone!

Lord Howell of Guildford, Energy Secretary under Margaret Thatcher


Will cutting our carbon emissions really make any difference to the planet? The answer is a definite no, and most of the proposals to do so are ludicrously inadequate anyway. Take Australia, for example, where about 135 million incandescent light bulbs are in use. The Government wants to ban them by 2010 to cut the nation's greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 800,000 tonnes a year by 2012. If this sounds a lot, bear in mind that it represents a reduction of just 0.14 per cent.

American journalist Robert Samuelson derides such tiny cuts as part of a feel-good political culture that is mostly about showing off, not curbing greenhouse gas emissions, and is made worse by politicians who pander to green constituents who want to feel good about themselves. Grandiose goals are declared, he writes, but measures to achieve them are deferred or don't exist. He adds that it's all just a delusional exercise in public relations that, while not helping the environment, might hurt the economy.

Samuelson is right that such puny cuts are ludicrous as a means of preventing global warming. Why? Just take a look at China, which is scheduled to build 562 coal-fired power plants over the next five years. That's more than two a week. China's annual carbon emissions of 1.3 billion tonnes have already overtaken those of Europe and will exceed those of the United States this year. This will make China the biggest emitter on the globe. China, in fact, accounts for half the rise in the world's CO2 emissions since 1992, and Chinese pollution affects the entire Northern Hemisphere, including significant amounts of smog over the western United States.

China is, in fact, doubly responsible for emissions, since it drives much of the world's deforestation. According to the Washington Post, large swathes of the globe's forests are being cut at an alarming pace to feed a global wood-processing industry centred in coastal China. Mountains of logs, many of them harvested in excess of legal limits aimed at preserving forests, are streaming towards Chinese factories where workers churn out such products as furniture and floorboards.

At the current pace of cutting, natural forests in Indonesia and Burma will be exhausted within a decade, writes the Post, while forests in Papua New Guinea will be consumed in as little as 13 years, and those in the Russian Far East within two decades. These forests are a bulwark against global warming, capturing carbon dioxide that would otherwise contribute to heating the planet.

Chinese gangs bribe local officials, who look the other way. In the process, whole ecosystems are being wiped out. If we were to calculate China's total contribution to global warming, it would far exceed that of any other country on earth. This is the most troubling aspect of the entire global warming issue: why should the rest of the world go out of its way to reduce greenhouses gases, when China belches out fumes and tears down forests with impunity? The relatively trivial savings the rest of us make in greenhouse gas emissions are more than offset by China's determination to pollute as much as it wants.

How can greenhouse gas emissions possibly be curtailed when such global population growth and high emissions rates in China (and India) are undoing whatever cuts the rest of the world makes?


World Health Organization joins the panic -- and ignores the facts

In reply to the nonsense below, I will simply quote Lord Lawson: "As to health, in its most recent report, the IPCC found only one outcome which they ranked as "virtually certain" to happen - and that was "reduced human mortality from decreased cold exposure". This echoes a study done by our own Department of Health which predicted that by the 2050s, the UK would suffer an increase in heat-related deaths by 2,000 a year, and a decrease in cold-related mortality of 20,000 deaths a year - something that ministers have been curiously silent about."

Millions of people could face poverty, disease and hunger as a result of rising temperatures and changing rainfall expected to hit poor countries the hardest, the World Health Organization warned Monday. Malaria, diarrhea, malnutrition and floods cause an estimated 150,000 deaths annually, with Asia accounting for more than half, said regional WHO Director Shigeru Omi. Malaria-carrying mosquitoes represent the clearest sign that global warming has begun to impact human health, he said, adding they are now found in cooler climates such as South Korea and the highlands of Papua New Guinea.Warmer weather means that mosquitoes' breeding cycles are shortening, allowing them to multiply at a much faster rate, posing an even greater threat of disease, he told reporters in Manila. [Looks like we had better start using DDT again, then. That's VERY effective against mosquitoes in any climate]

The exceptionally high number cases in Asia of dengue fever, which is also spread by mosquitoes, could be due to rising temperatures and rainfall, but Omi said more study is needed to establish the connection between climate change and that disease. "Without urgent action through changes in human lifestyle, the effects of this phenomenon on the global climate system could be abrupt or even irreversible, sparing no country and causing more frequent and more intense heat waves, rain storms, tropical cyclones and surges in sea level," he said.

In the Marshall Islands and South Pacific island nations, rising sea levels have already penetrated low-lying areas, submerging arable land and causing migrations to New Zealand or Australia, he said. [Name one! It's a myth]

Omi said poorer countries with meager resources and weak health systems will be hit hardest because malnutrition is already widespread, with the young, women and the elderly at particular risk. He said unusual, unexpected climate patterns - too much rain or too little - will have an impact on food production, especially irrigated crops such as rice, and can cause unemployment, economic upheavals and political unrest.

Dr. John Ehrenberg, WHO adviser on malaria and other parasitic diseases, said unchecked human development has contributed to the problem. That includes deforestation and an unprecedented level of human migration. As people move, so do diseases. Omi said governments need to strengthen current systems providing clean water, immunizations, disease surveillance, mosquito control and disaster preparedness.


Good science isn't about consensus

Below is an edited extract from a paper recently presented to the Planning Institute of Australia by Professor Don Aitkin, a historian and political scientist. Don is a very smart guy. He has navigated his way to the top of the Australian academic tree (He has been a university President) yet even in my discussions with him when we both at Macquarie univerity many years ago, I was impressed by his realism and honesty -- neither of which are conspicuous academic virtues in my experience, with notable exceptions, of course

AUSTRALIA is faced, over the next generation at least and almost certainly much longer, with two environmental problems of great significance. They are, first, how to manage water and, second, how to find acceptable alternatives to oil-based energy. Global warming is not one of those two issues, at least for me, and I see it as a distraction.

I am going against conventional wisdom in doing so. But Western societies have the standard of living, the longevity and the creativity we have because we have learned that conventional wisdom has no absolute status and that progress often comes when it is successfully challenged. If you listen hard to the global warming debate you will hear people at every level tell us that they don't want to hear any more talk, they want action. I feel that the actions I have seen proposed, such as carbon caps and carbon trading, are likely to be unnecessary, expensive and futile unless there is much stronger evidence that we are facing a global environmental crisis, whether or not we have brought it about ourselves.

The story about anthropogenic global warming (AGW) doesn't seem to stack up as the best science, despite the supposed consensus about it among "thousands of scientists". Indeed, the insistent use of the word consensus should cause those who are knowledgeable about research to raise their eyebrows, because research and science aren't about consensus, they are about testing theories against data.

In any case, there exists vigorous debate throughout the climate change domain. For example, there is disagreement about whether 2007 was a notably warm year (it had a hot start but a downward cool trend). And all that is simply about measurement. In climate science I see no consensus, only a pretence at a contrived one.

Despite all the hype and the models and the catastrophic predictions, it seems to me that we human beings barely understand climate. It is too vast a domain. Though satellites have given us a sense of the movement of weather systems across the planet, portrayed every night on television, we still know little about the oceans, one of the crucial elements in climate processes, not much more about the atmosphere, another such element, a little about solar energy and the effect of the sun's magnetic field on Earth, and only a little about the land. The Earth is a big place.

One of the yardsticks of the debate is average global temperature. We can all imagine what it might mean: an average of the temperatures taken in a multitude of carefully plotted points across the globe, measured the same way, providing a single figure that could be measured over time to show trends. The actuality is much less. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Science, the National Climate Data Centre and the Hadley Climate Research Centre in Britain produce the data. All use temperature data recorded 1.3m to 2m above Earth's surface and obtain an arithmetic average of the maximum and minimum temperatures over 24 hours. None covers the entire planet, and the southern hemisphere is not as well measured as the northern.

A recent study of one-third of the sites in what is arguably the best temperature measuring system, that of the US, showed that in a majority of the sites surveyed the instruments were inappropriately located: close to buildings, on asphalt or concrete, next to parking areas, on top of roofs, and so on. Common sense tells us that if our knowledge of climate and weather cannot provide forecasts with much accuracy past 24 hours, we don't know enough about the inter-relationships inside the model, no matter how much data we have, even supposing it to be perfect data. Models are models: they are highly simplified versions of reality and cannot provide evidence of anything.

What I see, rather, is something that political theorist Paul Feyerabend wrote about a long time ago in Against Method (1975): the tendency of scholars to protect their theories by building defences around them, rather than being the first to try to demolish their own proposition. We seem to be caught up in what a pair of social scientists has called an "availability cascade": we judge whether or not something is true by how many examples of it we see reported. Fires, storms, apparently trapped polar bears, floods, cold, undue heat: if these are authoritatively linked to a single attributed cause, then almost anything in that domain will seem to be an example of the cause, and we become worried. I should say at once that climate change has become the offered cause of so many diverse incidents that, for me at any rate, it ceases to be a likely cause of any.

Greens and environmentalists generally welcome the AGW proposition because it fits in with their own world-view, and they have helped to popularise it. Governments that depend on green support have found themselves, however willingly or unwillingly, trapped in AGW policies, as is plainly the case with the Rudd Government. The hardheads may not buy the story, but they do want to be elected or re-elected. In short, AGW is now orthodoxy, and orthodoxy always has strong latent support. Because AGW is supposedly science, even well-educated people think it will be too hard for them.

David Henderson, a respected British economist and former Treasury official, has called the orthodoxy in climate change a case of "heightened milieu consensus", in which prime ministers and other leaders tell us that nothing could be more serious than this issue. These are not statements of fact; they are no more than conjecture. But they have become, in his phrase, "widely accepted presuppositions of policy". Intellectually, AGW is what is known in politics as a done deal. But on the evidence that is available, I think it has to be said that the assertion that the increase in carbon dioxide has caused the temperature to rise is no more than an assertion, however attractive or worrying the association may be. There is simply no evidence that this causal relationship exists.

Earth's atmosphere may be warming but, if so, not by much and not in an alarming or unprecedented way. It is possible that the warming has a "significant human influence", to use the term of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and I do not dismiss the possibility. But there are other powerful possible causes that have nothing to do with us. If this were simply an example of scientists arguing among themselves, we might recognise that this is how science proceeds and move on.

But if there is no true causal link between CO2 and rising temperatures, then all the talk about carbon caps and carbon trading is simply futile. But it is worse than futile, because one consequence of developing policies in this area will be to reduce not only our own standard of living, but the standard of living of the world's poorest countries. As someone who has worked closely with ministers in the past, I cannot imagine that I could have advised a minister to go down the AGW path on the evidence available, given the expense involved, the burden on everyone and the possible futility of the outcome.

Some readers of drafts of this paper have raised the precautionary principle as an indication that we should, even in the face of the uncertainty about the science, take AGW seriously. Unfortunately, as I see it, the precautionary principle here is very similar to Pascal's wager. Pascal argued that it made good sense to believe in God: if God existed you could gain an eternity of bliss, and if he didn't exist you were no worse off. Alas, Pascal didn't allow for the possibility that God was in fact Allah, and you had opted for belief in the wrong religion.

The IPCC's account of things seems to me only one possibility, and the evidence for it is not very strong. For that reason, I would counsel that we accept that climate changes, and learn, as indeed human beings have learned for thousands of years, to adapt to that change as rationally and sensibly as we can.


Ethanol politics: update

Paul Krugman, who wrote in Jan 2007 that "There is a place for ethanol in the world's energy future - but that place is in the tropics" today tells his readers that even Brazilian ethanol is contributing to food shortages worldwide. Hmm, maybe ethanol is not such a great idea - who knew? So how does this affect our assessment of the Presidential candidates? Here is Krugman:
Oh, and in case you're wondering: all the remaining presidential contenders are terrible on this issue.

Oh, and in case you are wondering - Krugman is lying. Obama has consistently supported ethanol subsidies and voted in favor of those subsidies in a 2005 energy bill. Hillary favors some subsidies but opposed the relevant 2005 amendment. And John Sidney McCain has consistently opposed ethanol subsidies and voted on Hillary's (losing) side in 2005.

Yet they are "all terrible"? Or when Krugman refers to "all of the remaining Presidential contenders", does he expect us to understand that only Democrats are in contention? Details after the break, including McCain's 2006 "flip" in which he declared support for ethanol as long as it is not subsidized. Strong support indeed! (But do notice that MSNBC hides his "no subsidies" position; who could have predicted that?). I mocked other portions of the Krugman column here.

MORE: I am now on message with the Weekly Standard. On ethanol Barack Obama is probably the worst of the three remaining candidates since he has supported subsidies and lauds corn-based ethanol in his current energy plan:
Develop the Next Generation of Biofuels: Barack Obama will work to ensure that advanced biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol, are developed and incorporated into our national supply as soon as possible. Corn ethanol is the most successful alternative fuel commercially available in the U.S. today, and we should fight the efforts of big oil and big agri-business to undermine this emerging industry.

Right, "big agri-business", as represented by Archer-Daniels-Midland, has been ruthlessly suppressing ethanol for years. Hillary is not a star, but she at least voted against the ethanol subsidies in the 2005 energy bill (Barack favored it). And McCain is in a category of his own. In the 2000 Presidential race he was vocally opposed to ethanol subsidies (and skipped the Iowa caucuses). He also was on Hillary's side in opposing the 2005 ethanol subsidies. However, in what was reported as a flip-flop, McCain told an Iowa audience in 2006 that:
"I support ethanol and I think it is a vital, a vital alternative energy source not only because of our dependency on foreign oil but its greenhouse gas reduction effects."

However, there is support and there is support, as the Fortune piece goes on to explain:
In Grinnell, McCain said he still opposes subsidies but indicated his attitude softened after oil prices crossed $40 a barrel.

So, he supports unsubsidized ethanol. Surely that is not as dreadful as the Obama or Clinton position. McCain explained this to Tim Russert on Nov 12, 2006:
MR. RUSSERT: And now John McCain is embracing ethanol.

SEN. McCAIN: I'm not embracing ethanol. I said when oil is $10 a barrel, ethanol doesn't make much sense. When it's $40 a barrel, it does make sense. I do not support subsidies for ethanol and I have not supported it and I will not. But ethanol makes a lot of sense, particularly our dependence on foreign oil, and my believe that-my belief that climate change is real and is part of the solution to this climate greenhouse gas emissions problem.

MR. RUSSERT: But that is a profound change, senator. You did say here-I'll read it to you. "`Ethanol is a product that would not exist if Congress didn't create an artificial market for it. No one would be willing to buy it,' McCain said in November 2003. ... `Ethanol does nothing to reduce fuel consumption, nothing to increase our energy independence, nothing to improve our air quality.'" And when oil was $60 a barrel, you issued a press release saying that ethanol would result in higher gasoline prices for your constituents. You've changed your mind, which...

SEN. McCAIN: No, I, I, I don't, I don't think I said that at $60 a barrel. I said it when it was $10 a barrel or $9 a barrel. But I think it has a profound influence when, when oil is as high as it is.

Let's say that McCain may have flipped (probably without much conviction or knowledge) on the science by declaring that ethanol "is part of the solution to this climate greenhouse gas emissions problem" but he has been consistently opposed to subsidies, which means that in terms of policy he is miles ahead of Obama.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008


I noted two days ago the way the BBC had changed a climate story to make it more congenial to Warmists. Various other bloggers noted the change and we now have some details of what happened behind the scenes. Jennifer Marohasy reports:
I have been emailed the following correspondence, purportedly between an activist, Jo Abbess, and BBC Environment reporter Roger Harrabin. It would appear that the result of the email exchange between the activist and the reporter was that the BBC changed its story. In particular instead of reporting the story as received from the World Meteorological Organisation, the BBC modified the story as demanded by the activist who was concerned that in its original form it supported 'the skeptics' correct observation that there has been no warming since 1998.

The correspondence concerned is at Jennifer's site. In it we see a Warmist who appears to represent some Warmist group emailing Roger Harrabin in progressively more intimidatory ways, accompanied by a number of false or unsubstantiated assertions about climate events. Harrabin initially stands up under the criticism but when the Warmist in effect threatens to get him flooded with abusive emails he suddenly backs down -- possibly after having consulted with his bosses at the BBC. American Thinker notes that the article was in fact watered down several times.

The whole thing is of course more testimony to the susceptibility of the BBC to Greenie pressure and will always encourage questions about any BBC stories that have reference to Green/Left ideology. The BBC have in effect blown any residual reputation for integrity that they may have had. The Greenies may in fact come to regret their actions in this matter. They have in effect blown the cover of one of their more reliable mouthpieces. ALL BBC stories will from now on be readily ridiculable. All BBC stories will henceforth be easily dismissed as the product of political pressure. If I were a Greenie, I would be pressing for immediate reinstatement of the original story.

The two articles immediately below follow up on the substantive issues originally raised in the BBC article.


The scare: The BBC published an article by its "environment analyst", commenting on an announcement by the World Meteorological Organization that 2008 was likely to be the tenth successive year in which global temperatures had not risen. The BBC's story stressed that the stasis in global temperatures was only temporary and that anthropogenic "global warming" would inexorably resume.

The truth: The BBC opens its story with the words "Global temperatures will drop slightly this year ." However, the BBC somehow fails to mention that, according to the UK's Hadley Centre for Forecasting and the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, global temperatures have already been falling for more than six years, and that the downtrend, far from being slight, is equivalent to 0.4 degrees Kelvin (almost 1 degree F) per decade:

The downtrend that the BBC somehow failed to mention: Since late 2001, the trend of global surface temperatures has been firmly downward. "Global warming" stopped in 1998; and, though it may resume in future years, the rate of warming is self-evidently less than official forecasts had shown, and is very likely to be harmless.

Next, the BBC uses a favorite tactic, citing unnamed "experts" as a way of falsely giving apparent legitimacy to what are in fact its own biased opinions. It says, "Experts say we are clearly in a long-term warming trend." So we are. Since the end of the Maunder Minimum in 1700, global temperatures have recovered from the Little Ice Age at a near-linear rate of 0.5 degrees K (almost 1 F) per century (Akasofu, 2008).

In the 20th century, an additional 0.2 degrees K of warming occurred, over and above the long-term recovery from the Little Ice Age. However, part of this very small addition to the long-established warming rate probably arises from the 70-year Solar Grand Maximum that peaked in the early 1960s and now appears to have ended. Also the direct output of heat by human activities and machines has contributed. It is by no means certain that anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide either has had or could possibly have had more than a very small influence on global temperatures.

The BBC, as usual, fails to point out that temperatures in the Arctic were warmer in the 1940s than they are today; that the Greenland ice sheet actually thickened by 5 cm (2 inches) per year in the decade 1993-2003 (Johannesen et al., 2005); that most of the Antarctic continent has been cooling for half a century (Doran et al., 2002); that there has been no increase in ocean temperatures in recent years (Lyman et al., 2006); that global temperatures were warmer than today in the Mediaeval Warm Period (McIntyre & McKitrick, 2005), in the Roman Warm Period; and, for at least 2000 years, in the Bronze Age Holocene Climate Optimum. The BBC's story also fails to mention that global surface temperatures, as inferred from oxygen isotope ratios in ice-core samples from Antarctica, were at least 5 degrees Celsius (9 F) warmer than today's in each of the four previous interglacial periods (Petit et al., 1999, etc.).

The BBC goes on to say that the unidentified "experts" predict a new record high temperature within the next five years. However, it somehow fails to point out that not one of the computer models relied upon by the IPCC predicted ten years ago that global temperatures would be lower in 2008 than they were in 1998.

Next, the BBC deploys another favorite tactic: it quotes the World Meteorological Organization as saying that "the decade from 1998 to 2007 was the warmest on record." The WMO did not in fact say anything of the kind. The phrase "warmest on record", not uttered by the WMO, is deliberately chosen by the BBC because it sounds far more drastic than the truth, which the BBC somehow fails to mention, that the "record" extends back only as far as 1880. Also, the BBC somehow omits to note that the January-to-January fall in global mean surface temperatures between 2007 and 2008 was the largest since records were first kept in 1880 - or, in the BBC's loaded language, the largest "on record".

The BBC also somehow fails to point out that, given that global mean surface temperatures have been rising at a near-linear centennial rate for the past three centuries, the fact that the most recent decade is the warmest "on record" is not in the least surprising: and it certainly provides no basis for the implicit assumption that the warming which stopped in 1998 is principally (or at all) attributable to anthropogenic "global warming".

Next, the BBC says that unnamed "researchers" say that the long-term temperature trend will be upward. However, it is possible that the rapid slowing of the solar sub-surface magnetic convection currents presages a long-term solar cooling. If so, on the evidence of the Maunder Minimum, when there were no sunspots for 60 years, the small warming effect of additional anthropogenic carbon dioxide will at least be mitigated and potentially altogether eliminated by the cooling Sun and the cooling oceans.

Then the BBC says, "Temperatures have not risen globally since 1998 when El Nino warmed the world." The BBC somehow fails to say that there have been two El Ninos since 1998, leaving its audience with the impression that the only reason for the fall in global temperatures in recent years was the magnitude of the 1998 El Nino event.

The BBC moves on to another questionable tactic: the unverified headcount. It says: "A minority of scientists question whether this means global warming has peaked and argue the Earth has proved more resilient to greenhouse gases than predicted." The BBC offers no evidence that it is "a minority of scientists" who question whether `global warming' has peaked.

It was this very tactic that the BBC's "Head of Newsgathering", Fran Unsworth, deployed when making her public announcement - at a conference of news organizations in Amsterdam in November, 2006 - that the BBC would not in future provide balanced coverage of the climate scare. Here is what she said:

"Once we'd got one person setting the case for man-made global warming, and somebody opposing it, the viewer is probably left with the impression that there's equal weight to these arguments. And I think that we have now moved on in our coverage of it. There is now a dwindling band of scientists who don't accept that there is man-made global warming."

And what expertise does Fran Unsworth have in evaluating how many "scientists" accept or do not accept that there is man-made "global warming"? How many scientific papers has she read? Has she ever read a scientific paper on climate from a peer-reviewed, learned journal? Would she have understood it if she had? We are entitled to ask all these questions, because Fran has adopted the BBC's traditional tactic of not providing any evidence whatsoever for her proposition, which she merely recites, mantra-like, as though it were an article of blind, religious faith.

Besides, the question is not so much whether there is what Fran describes as "man-made global warming", as how much of the warming that began in 1700 and ended in 1998 was attributable to human activities, including greenhouse-gas enrichment of the atmosphere. On that question there is not and has never been a scientific consensus: indeed, the IPCC's calculations of climate sensitivity in each successive quinquennial assessment report are mutually incompatible and contradictory in several fundamental respects.

Next, the BBC quotes a Mr. Jarraud of the WMO as saying, "When you look at climate change you should not look at any particular year. You should look at trends over a pretty long period and the trend of temperature globally is still very much indicative of warming. La Nina is part of what we call 'variability'. There has always been and there will always be cooler and warmer years, but what is important for climate change is that the trend is up; the climate on average is warming even if there is a temporary cooling because of La Nina."

The graph from the Hadley Centre does not demonstrate that "the trend is up or that "the climate on average is warming", or that there is nothing more than "a temporary cooling because of la Nina." A diligent journalist would have looked at this graph before interviewing Mr. Jarraud, and would have asked him to explain it further in the light of the very clear evidence to the contrary. The BBC, of course, asked no such questions: Mr. Jarraud was saying what they wanted to hear.

Mr. Jarraud, on being shown the Hadley Centre's graph, might have replied that the period covered by the graph is too short. And that is why we have gone back 300 years, noticing that the uptrend began in 1700 for well-understood and entirely natural reasons, and continued until 1998. Of course, it is possible that the up-trend will resume in the coming years: increased carbon dioxide concentrations do cause some warming. However, the fact that the warming began 300 years ago, long before the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide had begun to rise, and the fact that the warming ceased as solar activity declined from the Grand Maximum, and the fact that global mean surface temperatures today are still well below the median value for the past half-billion years (some 7 degrees K, or 12.5 F, warmer than the present), do suggest that there are credible natural explanations for the warming that has been observed, and that the warming effect of carbon dioxide - whose magnitude is highly speculative, and which the IPCC's computer models are tuned to assume as a given - may be far less than the assumptions pre-programmed into the models.

Such doubts and cautions as these do not appear in most of the BBC's reports. Fran Unsworth has publicly made it explicit that the BBC intends henceforth only to present biased coverage of the "climate" scare, just as it whipped up needless and scientifically-unjustified alarm about a host of previous and equally baseless scares, such as "salmonella in eggs", "Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease in British beef," and "the bird-flu pandemic". The BBC was wrong, relentlessly wrong, about each and all of these previous scares, and about many others like them. It is wrong, relentlessly wrong, about the "global warming" scare too. End of scare.



An email from David Whitehouse []

Something remarkable has happened! The BBC said that there is a minority of scientists who question 'climate change theory,' in particular the strong link between greenhouse gasses and global temperature. That description is a brief recognition that those who demur from the simple consensus are in fact scientists and not 'climate change deniers.'

We all know that 'climate change deniers' are irresponsible people, funded by the oil industry, oblivious to the facts, determined to spoil the world and put our children in danger. They could never be correct. Scientists however, especially when in a minority, could very well eventually be proven right, and often are.

Having said that, this piece of journalism is rather contradictory. It is not the current strong La Nina that is responsible for global temperatures not having risen since 1998, as it implies, the reason must lie elsewhere. It also misses the entire point. The Met Office Hadley Centre and now the World Meteorological Organisation also, deliberately, miss the point. They all say that the consensus is safe and global warming continues because the decade 1998 - 2007 was the warmest on record. Never mind that the global temperature has not risen and that by their own records 2001-2007 was statistically indistinguishable, that is, completely flat.

The truth is that the data says we are living in the warmest decade but that for ten years it has not got warmer. True, when looked at over 30 years we have a warming trend, but the warming occurred between 1980 - 1998. Since then it is flat. To lump the two distinct periods together is misleading.

The WMO then do another dodgy thing with statistics by saying that throughout the 20th century the world has been steadily getting warmer, so that what we have now is a continual warming. But hold on, the global temperature was static and about average between 1940 - 1980, and rose before that since the start of the century.

But since we have been told many times that prior to 1950 the change was due to solar effects and post 1950 it was due to man-made greenhouse gasses one wonders why the temperature rise over the entire century is used as supporting evidence for today's 'continuing warming.' (Also, as an aside, has anyone noticed and wondered about the remarkable fact that the rise in the global temperature due to the sun (purportedly) and the later rise due to greenhouse gasses (purportedly) has, within the errors, the same gradient!)

The BBC then says that the UK's Hadley centre says that 2005 was the warmest year on record even though this conclusion is totally unsupported statistically because of the uncertainties. Tut tut. Those watching the TV report would also come away confused as it starts off talking about this year being cooler than previous years due to El Nino but towards the end of the report it talks of the 'recent standstill' with no further explanation.

Also Mr Jarraud of the WMO, quoted in the BBC report says that looking at climate change (surely he means temperature change here) is wrong because of what he condescendingly calls 'variability' (his quotes). Isn't it interesting that during the recent temperature rise (1980 -1998) the temperature graph was very variable (partly due to Pinatubo and El Chicon, La Nina, El Nino) but that post 2001 it has not been variable at all!

To a physicist or electrical engineer looking at the data they would say that 1980 -1998 was a rising noisy signal but that post 2001 we have a strong, steady signal with less noise. As far as we can measure the 'variability' that was there is not any more. Somebody tell Mr Jarraud.

The fact is that global temperatures are not going the way of the 'consensus' theory, they haven't been for several years now, though we need a few more years to be sure. El Nino and La Nina events make no difference in the long term because carbon dioxide continues to accumulate in the atmosphere and therefore the 'pressure' to rising temperatures will be all the more greater when the current La Nino has ended (and whatever has temporarily caused the 2001-2007 standstill) and we can expect temperatures to rise rapidly with a steeper gradient as the system tries to restore itself to equilibrium.

The Hadley Centre is talking nonsense when it recently said that half of the forthcoming years will exceed 1998 in temperature. Soon all years will have to or else we will have to continue to find excuses as to why the global temperature does not rise as the theory predicts. The fact is the theory says the temperature must increase. For the most recent third of the current warming spell its hasn't. THAT HAS TO CHANGE.

Also one wonders if this year's weather can, for a while, reduce the global temperature to the region before the current warming spell, one wonders about the true significance of the changes we have seen in the past few years!

We have a good theory and a good set of data that doesn't match. If it continues not to match then I, for one, will eventually throw the theory away and keep the data. I will also never trust another computer-based prediction.


On Thursday 3rd April BBC News website's Richard Black penned an article entitled, 'No Sun link' to climate change, based on a flawed paper (not discussed in detail here) in a lesser known journal called Environmental Research Letters, which refers only to Palle/Butler and Marsh/Svensmark (2000), but not Shaviv/Veizer. The article begins:
"Scientists have produced further compelling evidence showing that modern-day climate change is not caused by changes in the Sun's activity. The research contradicts a favoured theory of climate "sceptics", that changes in cosmic rays coming to Earth determine cloudiness and temperature. The idea is that variations in solar activity affect cosmic ray intensity. But Lancaster University scientists found there has been no significant link between them in the last 20 years".

The paper referred to is: 'Testing the proposed causal link between cosmic rays and cloud cover'. The paper concludes:
"In conclusion, no corroboration of the claim of a causal connection between the changes in ionization and low cloud cover, made in [1, 2], could be found in this investigation. From the distribution of the depth of the dip in solar cycle 22 with geomagnetic latitude (the VRCO) we find that, averaged over the whole Earth, less than 23% of the dip comes from the solar modulation of the cosmic ray intensity, at the 95% confidence level. This implies that, if the dip represents a real correlation, more than 77% of it is caused by a source other than ionization and this source must be correlated with solar activity.

Not exactly, 'no link.' and Giles Harrison from Reading University, is quoted as saying that the work was important "as it provides an upper limit on the cosmic ray-cloud effect in global satellite cloud data". Harrison's own UK study from 2006 concluded:
Changes in diffuse fraction (DF) and the frequency of overcast days represent changes in the weather and the atmospheric energy balance. The decrease in the proportion of direct solar radiation associated with an increase in DF will lead to a local reduction in daytime surface temperature. Further, because the net global effect of cloud is cooling (Hartman 1993), any widespread increase in the overcast days could also reduce temperature. At Reading, the measured sensitivity of daily average temperatures to DF for overcast days is K0.2 K per 0.01 change in DF for 1997-2004). Consequently the inverse relationship between GCR and solar activity will lead to cooling at solar minimum. This might amplify the effect of the small solar cycle variation in total solar irradiance, believed to be underestimated by climate models (Stott et al. 2003), which neglect a cosmic ray effect. In summary, our data analysis confirms the existence of a small, yet statistically robust, cosmic ray effect on clouds, that will emerge on long time scales with less variability than the considerable variability of daily cloudiness.

No mention is made by the BBC of the more favourable 2008 review of the evidence for a cosmic ray-climate link by Usoskin and Kovaltsov, which concluded:
"a CR-climate link seems to be a plausible climate driver, as supported by the bulk of statistical studies and existing theoretical models. However, further studies, in particular a clear case study as well as improved model development, are foreseen to improve our understanding of the link between cosmic rays and the climate on Earth."



The BBC, UK Met Office and UN IPCC had to acknowledge that global temperatures have at least for the time being decoupled from the CO2 rise and levelled off or fallen (6-7 years). They are blaming the cooling on La Nina. They are of course correct, La Nina brings global cooling just as El Nino brings global warming. It must have pained them to do so as they have previously discussed these factors as being secondary to greenhouse gases and with impacts that were mainly regional in nature.

They promise once this event ends, their predicted warming will resume. It is likely that temperatures will bounce as the La Nina weakens but the real key as to where temperatures go over the next few years and decades is not increasing greenhouse gases but whether the multidecadal cycle in the Pacific (PDO) has transitioned back to the cold mode it was in when the earth cooled from the 1940s to the 1970s (and what happens with solar cycles 24 and 25, which many solar scientists the world over feel will revert back to the quiet modes of the so called Dalton Minimum in the early 1800s or possibly worse.)

The PDO warm phase from 1977 to 1997 was dominated by mostly El Ninos (see why here) and since they correlate with warmer global mean temperatures, it is not surprising global temperatures rose. Alarmists blamed greenhouse gases but it was likely the PDO and the Grand Maximum of the longer term solar cycles. The prior three decades had mainly La Ninas with cold temperatures like this year in more years than not and solar cycle 20 which peaked around 1970 was relatively weak and longer in length. Not surprisingly global temperatures declined.

Then with the Great Pacific Climate Shift in 1977, the Pacific warmed and PDO turned positive. El Ninos dominated. You can see how the El Ninos in the satellite era since 1979 have been associated with global warmth.

The PDO and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) have also been implicated in drought probabilities in an excellent paper done by Gregory J. McCabe, Michael A. Palecki, and Julio L. Betancourt in 2004. They found More than half (52%) of the spatial and temporal variance in multidecadal drought frequency over the conterminous United States is attributable to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Recent droughts with broad impacts over the conterminous U.S. (1996, 1999-2002) were associated with North Atlantic warming (positive AMO) and northeastern and tropical Pacific cooling (negative PDO) (the bottom right map in the figure below). That is the case this summer.


"All cows are green"

The [Australian] Carbon Sense Coalition today called on all farmers and those who eat farm products to raise their voices in opposition to the silly proposals of Australian and New Zealand governments to include emissions and motions from farm animals as a taxable carbon emission. The chairman of "Carbon Sense" Mr Viv Forbes, claimed that New Zealand has already agreed to include farm animal emissions in their taxable emissions output and Prof Garnaut is also thinking of driving Australian farmers to the Kyoto bail for a similar milching. "We smart farmers in the South Pacific must have the longest cows in the world - they feed on farms in Queensland and Queenstown and are about to be milked in Canberra and Wellington.

Forbes, who is an animal breeder, pasture manager and soil scientist, said he could not believe the lack of noise from farm groups and consumers on this matter. "Any farmer would know that no cow, sheep, pig or goat has yet managed to create carbon out of nothing. Nor do they eat fossil fuel. Every bit of carbon sequestered in meat, bones, wool and milk, or expelled in solid, liquid or gaseous animal waste, was extracted from the air by the pastures and grain crops the animals ate. Pastures, crops and soil fungi live on carbon dioxide, the universal plant food from the atmosphere, and water and minerals from the soil. Ultimately, all carbon in the food chain comes from the air (apart from some artificial "foods" made from coal or petroleum derivatives, and very minor soil humus derived from oxidised coal or oil shale).

"This carbon extraction process starts the day the animal is conceived and ceases on the day it dies. This is the carbon food cycle we all live by. "In fact all farm animals should get a carbon credit, because they sequester part of the carbon extracted from the air in bones, meat, milk and wool. Much of this carbon then gets transferred to the bones and flesh of the growing human population, and eventually gets sequestered in sewerage (often, unfortunately, on the sea floor), bones in the coffins, and soil in the cemeteries. This is a proven process which provides more secure and far cheaper carbon sequestration than some of the billion dollar schemes being investigated. "In this respect grazing animals are just like trees; both sequester CO2 for their lifetimes, sometimes much longer.

"Of course other parts of the food chain generate net carbon emissions for agricultural machines, processing, chemicals and transport. Each of these activities would attract its own carbon tax. None are essential elements in the raising of domestic animals - the essentials are soil, water, grass and the atmospheric gases, especially oxygen and carbon dioxide.

"No matter how you do the sums, farm animals cause a net removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Thus they should get a carbon credit, certainly not a carbon tax. "We all know the moon is made of green cheese. It is time to educate politicians that "All cows are also green".



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The IPCC of agriculture is also a religious festival

"Religious festival" is putting it as politely as I can. "Barmy" is the word that I would use of it if I were a Brit. They want to solve world food shortages by EXCLUDING high-tech solutions. "Organic" is the only way to go, apparently. Since food-shortage countries are mostly very organic already, reality-defying fanaticism is all that we see in this "conference"

With just weeks to go before the final plenary meeting to agree the outcome of an international assessment of agriculture, it looks like Syngenta will not be rejoining the debate. In January, Syngenta, Monsanto and BASF pulled out of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), a 3-year, US$10m project initiated by the World Bank. Its aim is to do for hunger and poverty what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has done for another global challenge.

By all accounts, the draft agreement says more about the potential dangers of biotechnology than the benefits, something that Syngenta is very unhappy about. And obviously Monsanto and BASF agree. But as a recent editorial in Nature (2008, 451, 2234) points out: 'The views outlined in the draft chapter on biotechnology, although undoubtedly over-cautious and unbalanced, nonetheless do not represent the rantings of a fringe minority'. The 4000-strong writing and review team comprise a coalition of scientists, government officials, representatives from seven UN agencies, farmers' groups, several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and industry.

But John Atkin, chief operating officer, crop protection at Syngenta told C&I: 'We are very concerned about political pressures being exerted by special interest groups and NGOs that are against technology--we can't go back to 1950 when the population was small and agriculture was organic. There is no other solution to feed the world's population but technology.' He added: 'We were spending time and energy on something that was not making progress, on meaningless conversations. There was a complete failure to meet basic standards of objectivity, a total lack of balance and a large voice with an agenda--no intensive farming, no technology--it was very extreme,' he said.

Robert Berendes, head of business development at Syngenta said: 'We have to increase yield with minimal water and minimal acreage. It is our view that we need technology to do that.' But Atkin said: 'We, as an industry, have failed in getting over the importance of technology in agriculture. Agricultural technology can feed the world, and we can do that safely and efficiently.'

IAASTD director Bob Watson said: 'It's very unfortunate that they have walked out even before we agreed the final version. If they can bring evidence forward that we have not been objective ... then we could discuss that'.

Chief executive officer Mike Mack told a recent journalists conference in London that Syngenta has helped small Russian farmers double their yield in just one year. The company is also involved in pilot bio-fuel projects, based on sugar beet engineered to grow in the tropics, in India and Colombia.

Source. More on the subject here and here, including a good cartoon.

Exceptionally icy conditions in the Arctic -- caused by global warming!

Another lamebrain. I suppose you would have to be a lamebrain to want to walk to the North pole alone

After 8 days on the ice and at a position of N.83.57.686 W. 074.12.566 Ben Saunders' expedition to become the fastest man to walk solo and unsupported to the North Pole is over following the critical failure of his ski equipment. Arrangements are currently being made to pick Ben up off the ice.

Ben Saunders said "To have an expedition that is the culmination of seven years training, preparation and experience forced to a halt due to an equipment failure is incredibly disappointing, particularly as I am still in excellent physical condition. I came here well prepared and believe that the daily distances I have achieved to date (in my first four days I covered 29.4nautical miles, something that took a Finnish Special Forces team two weeks to achieve in 2006) show that setting a speed record was within my reach.

The ice conditions I have encountered have been the worst I have ever seen, and worse than I could have imagined. I am witnessing at first hand the disintegration of the last of the Arctic's multi-year pack ice. If climate change in the high Arctic continues at its current rate, I may be one of the last to be able to attempt this journey on foot. I feel enormously privileged to have had that chance and the only true failure would have been not to have started this expedition in the first place.".


Parts of UK colder than Antarctica

Snow blanketed much of Britain yesterday with some areas of the country colder than Antarctica. Just 72 hours after the warmest day of the year so far, temperatures in many parts of the country hovered just above freezing while a thermometer at Palmer Station, a US research centre in the Antarctic, registered 41F (5C). Forecasters said such widespread snowfall had not been seen in April since 1989. They predicted more snow for northern and eastern parts today.

A year ago people were soaking up the sun on Brighton beach, above. Yesterday, on the same stretch of coast in East Sussex, children wore ski coats and built snowmen. In West Sussex the snow gave a special touch to a picturesque scene as a steam train pulled out of Horsted Keynes station on the Bluebell Railway line. More than three inches of snow fell on some parts of Berkshire and Surrey and London was blanketed.

Philip Eden, from the Royal Meteorological Society, said: "Britain faces another northerly blast coming straight out of the Arctic, and this weather is set to last for most of the week. Snow showers are possible more or less anywhere."

In the Cairngorms, the weather hampered a mountain search for a light aircraft which was believed to have crashed. The aircraft disappeared off the radar on Saturday with only a male pilot on board.


False prophecies: Environmental panics go back a long way and all were not borne out by reality

The world population is 6.6 billion. This far exceeds early 20th-century predictions that it would reach about 3.9 billion by 2009. And yet overpopulation barely registers now as a public issue. Not even as part of climate change discussion, which is, after all, about planetary sustainability. This would have been inconceivable for earlier generations. And not just the 1970s generation, who read texts like Paul Erhlich's The Population Bomb. Debates about planetary sustainability began much earlier. In 1911 the Australian statistician Sir George Knibbs warned: "The limits of human expansion are much nearer than popular opinion imagines. The exhaustion of sources of energy is perilously near."

At the time, influential experts the world over were listening to Knibbs. His warnings circulated through the US and Britain, and from India to France. He was the Al Gore of an earlier generation. His message found a ready audience: population growth was cast, not just by him, as "the world's greatest crisis", "the world's basic problem" and "the greatest disaster of all time". (Sound anything like the climate change warnings?)

Casting population growth this way is more remarkable given that these were the generations who lived and died in the world wars, witnessed famines far more common and widespread than today's localised tragedies, and for whom the influenza pandemic of 1918 to 1919 touched most families. Population growth rates were considered potentially catastrophic for familiar reasons such as limited global energy sources and disparate standards of living in a world newly assessed as having finite resources.

The unfamiliar angle, though, was that, for thinkers like Knibbs, population was a security issue: solve disparities in densities across the globe, and you would secure lasting peace.

Some early attempts to solve the population "problem" - the Indian Government's forced sterilisation programs for example - were hugely problematic. But we can learn a great deal from other attempts to find a solution.

When John D. Rockefeller III called together world experts to his Population Council in 1952, his team still thought of the problem as Knibbs did: catastrophic, urgent, global. "Time is running out - there will be a crisis in a few generations," Rockefeller wrote. Reading through the Population Council's deliberations I'm struck by how astutely his scientists grasped reproduction and energy consumption as twin sides of the coin. On the one hand, they discussed (and funded) the development of a cheap and effective hormonal contraceptive. On the other, they worked on solar energy technology. "If a really efficient mode of utilising solar energy could be developed, then the energy aspect of food requirements would completely vanish as a problem," offered a key Rockefeller adviser. His scientists swapped ideas about wind power, thermal energy, atomic energy - all as desirable alternatives to fossil fuels.

There are several reasons why population growth no longer features in such discussions. One is that the monumental rate of growth has slowed. It peaked in 1963 at 2.3 per cent and has since settled to 1 per cent a year. Probably the stronger reason, though, is caution about the problematic pasts of population policies: eugenics, sterilisation, race-based immigration restrictions, coercive programs. Population policies have been standard tools of the racist far right [Name one! The author presumably means Nazism, which was in fact socialist. A historian who doesn't know history?], but equally of liberal-democratic polities.

"Eugenics" is typically the shorthand used to short-circuit public discussion of population growth. I find this enormously irritating (speaking as a historian of eugenics). It flattens out into a single, thin, unsatisfactory line a history that was never single and flat. Knibbs, typical of many of his milieu, was a eugenicist of the crudest kind. The "feeble-minded" and the "degenerate" - by which he meant, in the main, those with mental illnesses - should be segregated and/or sterilised.

But at the same time, he was an early environmentalist, fundamentally opposed to anthropocentrism, and wanted much fairer global distribution of food and resources. Possibly more to the point he was a pacifist, deeply troubled by Australia's racist Immigration Restriction Act and by a world that seemed to foster such sharp racial antagonism.

Critics can also point to Rockefeller's involvement in Puerto Rican population control programs. They will say that this was eugenics for the post-World War II global generation. Yes, this is one important trajectory of 20th-century history. But it was (and is) not an inevitable one. The Rockefeller Foundation also developed solar, wind and thermal energy technology, and what has turned out to be a pretty good contraceptive.


The REAL inconvenient truth: Zealotry over global warming could damage our Earth far more than climate change


Over the past half-century, we have become used to planetary scares. In the late Sixties, we were told of a population explosion that would lead to global starvation. Then, a little later, we were warned the world was running out of natural resources. By the Seventies, when global temperatures began to dip, many eminent scientists warned us that we faced a new Ice Age. But the latest scare, global warming, has engaged the political and opinion-forming classes to a greater extent than any of these.

The readiness to embrace this fashionable belief has led the present Labour Government, enthusiastically supported by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, to commit itself to a policy of drastically cutting back carbon dioxide emissions - at huge cost to the British economy and to the living standards not merely of this generation, but of our children's generation, too. That is why I have written a book about the subject.

Now, I readily admit that I am not a scientist; but then neither are the vast majority of those who espouse the currently fashionable madness. Moreover, most of those scientists who speak with such certainty about global warming and climate change are not climate scientists, or Earth scientists of any kind, and thus have no special knowledge to contribute. Those who have to take the key decisions aren't scientists either. They are politicians who, having listened to the opinions of relevant scientists and having studied the evidence, must reach the best decisions they can - just as I did when I was Energy Secretary in Margaret Thatcher's first government in the early Eighties.

But science is only part of the story. Even if the climate scientists can tell us what is happening, and why they think it is happening, they cannot tell us what governments should be doing about it. For this, we also need an understanding of the economics: of what the economic consequences of any warming might be, and, if there is a problem, the best way of dealing with it.

First, then, what is happening? Given that nowadays pretty well every adverse development in the natural world is automatically attributed to global warming, perhaps the most surprising fact about it is that it is not, in fact, happening at all. The truth is that there has so far been no recorded global warming at all this century. The world's temperature rose about half a degree centigrade during the last quarter of the 20th century; but even the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research - part of Britain's Met Office and a citadel of the current global warming orthodoxy - has now conceded that recorded temperature figures for the first seven years of the 21st century reveal there has been a standstill.

The centre now officially expects global warming to resume at some point between 2009 and 2014. Maybe it will. But the fact that the present lull was not predicted by any of the complex computer models upon which the global warming orthodoxy relies is clear evidence that the science of what determines the world's temperature is distinctly uncertain and far from "settled".

Genuine climate scientists admit that Earth's climate is determined by hugely complex systems, and reliable prediction is impossible. That does not mean, of course, that we know nothing. We know that the planet is made habitable only thanks to the warmth we receive from the rays of the sun. Most of this heat bounces back into space; but some of it is trapped by the so-called greenhouse gases which exist in the Earth's atmosphere. If it were not for that, our planet would be far too cold for man to survive.

The most important greenhouse gas is water vapour, including water suspended in clouds. Rather a long way behind, the second most important is carbon dioxide. The vast bulk of the carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere is natural - that is, nothing to do with man. But there is no doubt that ever since the Industrial Revolution in the latter part of the 19th century, man has added greatly to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide by burning carbon - first in the form of coal, and subsequently in the form of oil and gas, too. So it is reasonable to suppose that, other things being equal, this will have warmed the planet, and that further man-made carbon dioxide emissions will warm it still further.

But in the first place, other things are very far from equal. And in the second place, even if they were, there is no agreement among reputable climate scientists over how much this contributed to the modest late-20th century warming of the planet, and thus may be expected to do so in future. It is striking that during the 21st century, carbon dioxide emissions have been growing faster than ever - thanks in particular to the rapid growth of the Chinese economy - yet there has been no further global warming at all.

Carbon dioxide, like water vapour and oxygen, is not only completely harmless but is an essential element in our life support system. Not only do we exhale carbon dioxide every time we breathe (indeed, an important cause of the increased amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is simply the huge increase in the world's population), but plants need to absorb carbon dioxide in order to survive. Without carbon dioxide, there would be no plant life on the planet. And without plant life, there would be no human life either.

While climate scientists disagree about how much further warming continued carbon dioxide emissions might cause, there is an established majority view. This is articulated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an offshoot of the United Nations, whose view is that 'most' of the modest (0.5 per cent) late-20th century warming was "very likely" caused by man-made carbon dioxide emissions. And if the growth of such emissions continues unabated, their 'best guess' is that in 100 years' time, the planet will be somewhere between 1.8 and 4 per cent warmer than it is today, with a mid-point of a shade under 3 per cent. (Incidentally, this was published before the early 21st century warming standstill was officially acknowledged, so was not taken into account.)

Alistair Darling told us in his recent Budget speech that this would have "catastrophic economic and social consequences". But that is just alarmist poppycock. Let's look at just two of the alleged "catastrophic" consequences of global warming: the threat to food production, leading to mass starvation; and the threat to human health, leading to disease and death.

So far as food production is concerned, it is not clear why a warmer climate would be a problem at all. Even the IPCC concedes that for a warming of anything up to 3 per cent, "globally, the potential for food production is projected to increase". Yes: increase.

As to health, in its most recent report, the IPCC found only one outcome which they ranked as "virtually certain" to happen - and that was "reduced human mortality from decreased cold exposure". This echoes a study done by our own Department of Health which predicted that by the 2050s, the UK would suffer an increase in heat-related deaths by 2,000 a year, and a decrease in cold-related mortality of 20,000 deaths a year - something that ministers have been curiously silent about.

The IPCC systematically exaggerates the likely adverse effects of any warming that might occur because estimates of the likely impact of the global warming it projects for the next 100 years are explicitly based on two assumptions, both of them absurd. The first is that while the developed world can adapt to warming, the developing world cannot. The second is that even in the developed world, the capacity to adapt is constrained by the limits of existing technology. In other words, there will be no technological development over the next 100 years.

So far as the first of these two assumptions is concerned, if necessary, the developed world will focus its overseas aid on ensuring that the developing countries acquire the required ability to adapt. The second is, of course, ludicrous - notably in the case of food production, where, with the development of bio-engineering and genetic modification, the world is currently in the early stages of a genuine revolution in agricultural technology.

All in all, given that global warming produces benefits as well as costs, it is far from clear that the currently projected warming, far from being "catastrophic", will do any net harm at all. To which it will be replied that while that may be so for the world as a whole, the people in the developing world will indeed suffer. But the greatest curse of the developing world is mass poverty, and the malnutrition, disease and unnecessary death that poverty brings. To impede their escape from poverty by denying them the benefits of cheap carbon-based energy would damage them far more than global warming ever could.

Nonetheless, on the basis of its deeply flawed assumptions, the IPCC predicts that if the warming is as much as 4 degrees centigrade by the end of this century, then the economic cost would be a cut of between 1 per cent and 5 per cent of what world output (GDP) would otherwise have been - with the developed world suffering much less, and the developing world much more than this.

But supposing the developing world suffers as much as a 10 per cent loss of GDP from what it would have been in 100 years' time. That means that by the year 2100, people in the developing world, instead of being some 9.5 times better off than they are today, will be 'only' 8.5 times better off (which, incidentally, will still leave them better off than people in the developed world today). And, remember, all this is on the basis of the IPCC's own grotesquely inflated estimate of the likely damage from further warming.

So the fundamental question is: how big a sacrifice should the present generation make now in the hope of avoiding this? The cost of the drastic reduction in carbon dioxide emissions which we are told is necessary would be huge. The Government has introduced legislation to force us to cut emissions by between 60 per cent and 80 per cent by 2050, and Tony Blair, as self-appointed head of a group of "experts", last month declared that "emissions in the richer countries will have to fall close to zero".

One thing is clear: the "feelgood" measures so popular among some sections of the middle classes, from driving a hybrid car and having a wind turbine on one's roof to not leaving the television set on standby, are trivial to the point of total irrelevance. What would be required is for all transport to be 100 per cent electric, and all electricity to be generated by nuclear power.

To cut back carbon dioxide emissions on the scale the present Labour Government (supported by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats) is demanding would require a fundamental restructuring of the economy, involving a rise in the cost of energy dwarfing anything we have seen so far. No doubt we could afford this hardship if it made sense. But does it? The UK accounts for only 2 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions. Even if the entire European Union adopted this policy, that accounts for only 15 per cent of global emissions.

By contrast, China - which has already overtaken the U.S. as the biggest single emitter - has said that there is no way it will agree to a cap on its carbon dioxide emissions for the foreseeable future. And India has said precisely the same. Both of them point out that it was the industrialised West, not they, that caused the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations during the last century, and that it is now their turn to catch up. Also, that their emissions per head of population, although rising fast, are still well below those of the U.S. and Europe; and that their overriding priority is - quite rightly - the fastest possible rate of economic growth, and thus the most rapid emancipation of their people from poverty. One good reason why there will not be any effective global agreement.

So the chief consequence of decarbonising here, and making energy much more expensive, would simply be to accelerate the exodus of industry from the UK and Europe to China and elsewhere in the developing world - with, as a result, little or no reduction in overall global emissions. And even if there were a global agreement to cut drastically carbon dioxide emissions, the economic cost of doing so would far exceed any benefit.

So does all this mean that we should do nothing about global warming? Well, not quite. (Although doing nothing is better than doing something stupid.) We do need to monitor as accurately as we can what is happening to temperatures across the globe, and we do need to assist the developing countries to adapt to a warmer temperature, should (one day) the need arise. It makes sense, too, to invest in research in the hoped-for technology of generating electricity using commercial carbon capture (so that carbon dioxide emissions might be "captured" before they can escape into the atmosphere) and also, as the U.S. is already doing, in the technology of geoengineering to cool the planet artificially. But that is about the size of it.

This is not the easiest message to get across - not least because the issues surrounding global warming are so often discussed in terms of belief rather than reason. There may be a political explanation for this. With the collapse of Marxism and, to all intents and purposes, of other forms of socialism too, those who dislike capitalism and its foremost exemplar, the United States, with equal passion, have been obliged to find a new creed. For many of them, green is the new red. And those who wish to order us how to run our lives, faced with the uncomfortable evidence that economic prosperity is more likely to be achieved by less government intervention rather than more, naturally welcome the emergence of a new licence to intrude, to interfere, to tax and to regulate: all in the great cause of saving the planet from the alleged horrors of global warming.

But there is something much more fundamental at work. I suspect that it is no accident that it is in Europe that eco-fundamentalism in general and global warming absolutism in particular has found its most fertile soil. For it is Europe that has become the most secular society in the world, where the traditional religions have the weakest hold. Yet people still feel the need for the comfort and higher values that religion can provide; and it is the quasi-religion of green alarmism, of which the global warming issue is the most striking example, which has filled the vacuum, with reasoned questioning of its mantras regarded as little short of sacrilege.

Does all this matter? Up to a point, no. Unbelievers should not be dismissive of the comfort that 'religion' can bring. If people feel better when they drive a hybrid car or ride a bicycle to work, and like to parade their virtue in this way, then so be it. Nonetheless, the new and unattractively intolerant religion of eco-fundamentalism and global warming presents real dangers. The most obvious is that the governments of Europe may get so carried away by their own rhetoric as to impose measures that do serious harm to their economies. That is a particular danger at the present time in the UK.

Another danger is that even if the governments do not go too far and damage their own economies, they may still cause great damage to the developing world by engaging in what might be termed green protectionism. The movement to make us feel guilty about buying overseas produce because of the "food miles" involved is just one example of this. And France's President Sarkozy is currently urging the European Union to impose trade barriers against those countries that are not prepared to limit their carbon dioxide emissions. It should not need pointing out that a lurch into protectionism, and a rolling back of globalisation, would do far more damage to the world economy - and in particular to living standards in the developing countries - than could conceivably result from the projected continuation of global warming.

But even if this danger can be averted, it is clear that the would-be saviours of the planet are, in practice, the enemies of poverty reduction in the developing world. So the new religion of global warming, however convenient it may be to the politicians, is not as harmless as it may appear. Indeed, the more one examines it, the more it resembles a Da Vinci Code of environmentalism. It is a great story, and a phenomenal bestseller. It contains a grain of truth - and a mountain of nonsense. And that nonsense could be very damaging indeed.

We appear to have entered a new age of unreason, which threatens to be as economically harmful as it is profoundly disquieting. It is from this, above all, that we really do need to save the planet.


Just when you thought it couldn't get any funnier...

Comment from Jim Peden

Al Gore now combines Amway and Evangelism to produce a series of "training sessions" which in turn will produce an army of "climate change fighters". His new Climate Project is non-profit volunteer group that focuses on his now totally-discredited movie, An Inconvenient Truth and his follow-up presentations. Gore will lead the participants through the junk science and format of his presentation, so they can repeat it in their communities.

His reported advertising budget? $300,000,000.00.

Each participant makes a commitment to give the presentation at least 10 times. No mention of a pink Cadillac as a prize for the most converts.


For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Monday, April 07, 2008

BBC censors Harrabin

Roger Harrabin is one of the less ideological reporters for the BBC and he sometimes mentions things that call global warming into question. But that does not suit the British Bias Corporation of course. In this article, Harrabin mentioned recent global cooling. But when someone senior to him saw it, they were obviously not happy. The article was changed after it initially appeared.

I have a PDF of the article produced shortly after it was posted. I also have a PDF of what was up last time I checked. Let us compare the 3rd/4th sentences in each. In V1, they say:
'This would mean global temperatures have not risen since 1998, prompting some to question climate change theory. But experts say we are still clearly in a long-term warming trend - and they forecast a new record high temperature within five years.'

In V2 they say:
'But this year's temperature would still be way above the average - and we would soon exceed the record year of 1998 because of global warming induced by greenhouse gases.'

How low the BBC has sunk from the grand old days of Lord Reith when it could be relied on as a source of objective and unbiased information! The Left corrupt anything they get their hands on. As Orwell pointed out, they think that truth is what they declare it to be.

Global cooling provokes 'snow rage' in Canada

A record snowfall in eastern Canada this winter has inspired some, crushed others, led to a rash of snow-blower thefts and incited at least two armed clashes, authorities said Wednesday. Police and psychologists describe the latter incidents as "snow rage," akin to road rage or assaults by frustrated drivers in traffic. Quebec City police say they received more than a dozen calls this winter from warring neighbors upset that snow was being shoveled onto their driveway or sidewalk by the folks next door.

The city was buried this winter in a record 460 centimeters (183 inches) of snow, and is running out of places to put the fluffy white powder until spring arrives and it melts. In nearby Montreal, where residents are recovering from a ninth major snowstorm this season, a man was charged this week with threatening a fellow motorist with a toy gun over a rare parking spot on a snow-clogged street. And in likely the worst case, an elderly Quebec City man pulled a 12-gauge shotgun on a female snowplow operator on Sunday for blowing snow onto his property, after warning her. "How can you fight a three-ton snow-blower?" he told the Globe and Mail newspaper, accusing her of trying to run him over with the plow. "It takes a man who stands up."

"People are sick of snow," Quebec police spokeswoman Sandra Dion told AFP. "I'm seeing so much white that I'm seeing red," echoed psychologist Luc Tremblay. "At some point, people feel overwhelmed, crushed. It's playing on their morale and their nerves," he told the Globe and Mail.

According to officials, snow-blower thefts in Quebec and neighboring Ontario provinces are up significantly this winter. Cities throughout the region have blown their multi-million dollar snow removal budgets. Airports reported many more delays or flight cancellations than usual because of bad weather, several roofs collapsed under the weight of snow, and hundreds of traffic accidents were blamed on icy roads and limited visibility due to blowing snow. As well, a woman was killed on a local highway after being struck by a passing snowplow, and a child digging in a snow bank died when it collapsed suddenly.


Global warming? Don't worry about it. It's over

No longer does Al Gore have to fly around the world in private jets emitting greenhouse gases to save the world from greenhouse gases. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization is reporting that global temperatures have not risen since 1998. That would be the same temperatures that models from the U.N.'s Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change said would be scorching the earth into an unlivable wasteland except for those coastal areas flooded by seas gorged with water from melting ice sheets.

Of course the IPCC spins the news. "You should look at trends over a pretty long period," said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, "and the trend of temperature globally is still very much indicative of warming." His explanation for the cool spell is the effect of the Pacific Ocean's La Nina current, "part of what we call 'variability.' " If that's the case, then why can't the Pacific's El Nino current, which played a large part in the warm reading for 1998, simply be seen as a "variability" and not part of a greater warming trend? Because it doesn't fit the agenda?

Were the IPCC not dedicated to spreading fear, it would admit its climate models, on which much of the global warming madness is based, are flawed. While pandering politicians, media sycophants and Hollywood dupes desperately seeking significance have lectured us about our carbon dioxide emissions, real temperature changes measured over the past 30 years have not matched well with increases predicted by the IPCC's models.

This is not some gas-guzzler's fantasy but the finding of a credible study published last year in the International Journal of Climatology. Looking at the data, four researchers [Douglass, Christy, Pearson, Singer] concluded "the weight of the current evidence . . . supports the conclusion" there is no agreement between the models and the observed temperatures.

That means that projections of future warming are too high, that the entire global warming assumption is suspect, and that Gore should find something more productive to do with his time.

It also proves that Howard Hayden, physics professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut, was correct in describing the machinery of the climate model-hysteria industrial complex as one that takes "garbage in" and spits "gospel out." The global warming debate is not over. Indeed, the debate is beginning to favor the skeptics!


Australia: Greenie doctors preaching absurdities

Cold is a bigger threat to health than warmth. Have these crooks ever noticed that winter is the time for coughs, colds, flu etc.? Any increase in heat-related deaths would be more than matched by a reduction in cold-related deaths -- particularly among the elderly

Doctors have warned of disastrous health outcomes over the next 10 years, particularly among children and the elderly, unless greater action is taken on climate change. Improved strategies are required to reduce the impact of climate change on health, including a growing incidence heat-related illness and infectious diseases, a report by Doctors for Environment Australia says. The report, released on the eve of World Health Day and titled Climate Change Health Check 2020, was prepared for the Climate Institute and endorsed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

Newcastle-based GP and co-author of the report Dr Graeme Horton said climate change presented a major challenge for the health system. "Climate change is already a reality in our waiting rooms and surgeries, and is set to be key challenge for our health system over the coming decade," Dr Horton said. "Clearly, climate change will place our health system under increasing stress, and as always the elderly, children and the vulnerable will be hardest hit." Dr Horton said the greatest impact would be felt in rural, regional, remote and indigenous communities.

Some of the impacts on health listed in the report include an increased incidence allergic disease, food poisoning and mosquito-transmitted diseases such as Dengue fever and Ross River virus. There would also likely be increased trauma from extreme weather events such as drought and natural disasters, as well as a large increase in demand for aid from neighbouring countries.

Dr Grant Blashki of the University if Melbourne's Department of General Practice said planning for climate change should be part of every future deliberation on the healthcare needs of the community. "Effective health strategies will require strong collaboration between government, health professionals and the community sector," Dr Blashki said. Future medical workforce planning would need to take account of climate change impacts in areas such as preparing for disasters and supporting communities hit by long-term drought, the doctor said.


Silly scenarios for the Arctic

In 1817, nearly a century before Roald Amundsen first navigated the long-sought Northwest Passage, the Royal Society in London got word of "new sources of warmth" in the Arctic. The society was the Victorian-era equivalent of NASA, and its president reacted with great enthusiasm to the sudden prospect of discoveries "not only interesting to the advancement of science but also to the future intercourse of mankind and the commerce of distant nations."

Times change, as does the climate. New sources of warmth are no longer greeted with such good cheer. Last year's "record" melt of sea ice in the Arctic caused a flood of reporting on the growing threat from global warming. The statistic most tossed about put the area of open water in the Arctic at "six Californias" more than the summer average. The media coverage was mostly characterized by a deep anxiety about the fate of the polar bear. Little prospect for intercourse was seen in its future.

Then came the Arctic winter of 2007-08, described as "colder than average" by NASA researchers in a recent teleconference. The ice recovered remarkably quickly and by March, when it reached its annual maximum, had exceeded the three year average by some 4 percent.

Despite this unusually cold weather, scientists at NASA and elsewhere remain concerned about the state of the Arctic. They point to the loss of multiyear ice, which makes up the thickest sections of the icecap and is therefore more likely to survive the summer melt. Multiyear ice now represents less than 30 percent of overall ice cover, down from as much as 80 percent in the 1980s. They also point to the long-term trend, though long-term may be a misnomer. Reliable records on arctic ice go back only to 1979, when satellites first started to survey the poles. As Richard Lindzen, a prominent global warming skeptic and a professor at MIT, puts it, "this is a primitive field where nobody has much idea of anything."

Still, based on this short record, some scientists predict the Arctic may see ice-free summers as early as 2013. Julienne Stroeve, a researcher at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) who briefed Al Gore on the subject last fall, said she "wouldn't be surprised if that were to happen." Joey Comison, senior research scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, is more cautious, saying only that the Arctic would lose its summer ice cover "within the century." Ignatius G. Rigor, who last year authored a NASA-led study on sea-ice decline, is reluctant to offer any forecast, though he does expect this summer's melt to break last year's record.

Suffice it to say that not everyone agrees the end of the summer sea ice is nigh, but it is the prevailing view. The NSIDC's official projection has the Arctic ice-free in the summer months starting in 2030, and according to Stroeve, there is no way to reverse the process. "I think we are going to lose it," she says.

Which to any layman will raise an obvious question: So what? Stroeve says there may be an impact on the weather further south. Some climate models show reduced rainfall and snowfall in the American southwest as a result of the loss of Arctic ice. Others show more precipitation in southern Europe, "but again, these are climate models, and they're not perfect. ... There's no real consensus now." Beyond that, Stroeve says, "I'm not really sure at this point how it's all going to pan out, because we really don't know."

As Ignatius explains, to some extent how one views the loss of summer sea ice "depends on how you feel about polar bears." "This is a big loss of habitat" for the animals he said, and "for local subsistence hunters this is a retreat or a loss of the surface that they hunt on."

But there's good news, too. The Inuit might find better work in the oil and gas sector, as high energy prices and melting ice make the Arctic an increasingly attractive area for exploration. A few weeks ago, an ambitious U.S. firm with a bent for publicity, Arctic Oil and Gas, petitioned the United Nations for the right to act as the "sole development agent" in the extraction of what they estimate to be 400 billion barrels of oil beneath the Arctic seabed. Shipping promises another windfall for the sparsely populated region. A Denver-based entrepreneur purchased the Canadian port of Churchill on the Hudson Bay for just $7 in 1997, hoping that he might cash in to the tune of as much as $100 million a year once the Northwest Passage becomes a viable shipping lane. The benefits of warming to consumers may be substantial.

Polar bears, on the other hand, are expected to see few benefits, even if the threat they face from warming is a matter of dispute. Lindzen flatly describes worry over polar bears as "gibberish." "Polar bears are going up in number," he says. "They're not worried; they can swim a hundred kilometers." The notion of threatened polar bear populations was recently challenged by J. Scott Armstrong, a professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. In an article for the journal Interfaces, Armstrong and his coauthors argued that a series of complex and "erroneous assumptions" undergird much of the research showing polar bears at risk, and they offer compelling evidence that the animals have survived far warmer conditions in the past.

Still there is a push to have the polar bear officially listed as a "threatened species." Hugh Hewitt, who practices natural resources law in addition to hosting a radio show, explained in a recent column that the move would clear a path for environmentalists to "argue that every federal permit that allows directly or indirectly for increased emissions of hydrocarbons is a federal act that might impact the polar bear." Such permits would thus be subject to a new range of environmental regulations affecting all manner of industry.

Assuming the threat to the bears from climate change is real, and that the computer models are to be believed, there may be a less costly solution. The warming of the last century has had no real effect on the ice floes of the Antarctic. In fact, the Antarctic Ocean appears to have become more favorable to the formation of sea ice over the last 30 years. Could the polar bear be relocated? In Antarctica, Rigor says, "the polar bear would have the issue where most of the sea ice is seasonal, so [with] the big retreat of Antarctic sea ice during the summer, the only place where polar bears could go is onto the Antarctic ice sheet, which probably isn't the happiest place to be."

Can a polar bear's happiness really be allowed to impede the future intercourse of mankind and the commerce of distant nations?


Geologist: Climate change or climate con?

Article below by Dr. Gerrit van der Lingen, a geologist and paleoclimatologist and former director of Geoscience Research and Investigations New Zealand.

Abbreviations: In this article I will use the following: MMGW - Man-made Global Warming; IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; NIPCC - Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change; ppmv - parts per million by volume.

Update: Before commenting on Professor Bryan Storey's article in the March issue of Avenues (`Evidence for climate change'), I want to start with an update on two items I discussed in my article in the February issue, items essential to this debate.

1. I mentioned some of the worldwide extreme cold events in recent time. Since then many more have made the headlines:

* China experienced its worst snowstorms in 50 years, affecting millions of people. More than 100,000 houses collapsed under the weight of snow

* Avalanches in the Indian Kashmir, caused by the worst snowfall in decades, killed 22 people

* A record-breaking cold spell in Vietnam killed about 60,000 cattle

* On 30 January, 20cm of snow fell in Jerusalem

* North America was hit by severe winter storms

* The exceptional cold spell also affected the Arctic. Sea-ice between Canada and Greenland reached its largest extent in 15 years. In many places the ice was 10 to 20cm thicker than last year

* The northern hemisphere recorded its largest snow cover since 1966 (reversing the trend of Professor Storey's Figure 4c)

* On November 17, 2007, Buenos Aires recorded its lowest temperature in 90 years.

The list goes go on and on. However, the amazing aspect of these cold events was the fact that environmental organisations and most of the media maintained a deafening silence about the majority of these extreme cold spells. They certainly never wondered if this was typical for global warming. It would have been a different story had there been a heat wave, like the 2003 one in Europe.

There are three science agencies that provide data on average global temperatures. One of these is the British Hadley Centre. Their latest graph (Figure 1), from 1988 to January 2008 shows a remarkable drop in temperature of 0.595oC between January 2007 and January 2008. This is almost the same as the entire global warming over the last 150 years.

One MMGW promoters' blog (RealClimate) includes the comment that eight years of climate trends is meaningless and people who pay any attention to recent climate trends are misguided. This aptly reveals the mindset of these people. Their comments would have been the opposite had the trend been one of warming. The chairman of the IPCC, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, said he would look into this recent trend and suggested that there may be natural factors causing it. To which we MMGW agnostics would say: "Yeah, right!"

Someone lent me a copy of a recently published book by Gareth Renowden, titled Hot Topic. Renowden, who is not a scientist, but grows grapes, olives and truffles in Waipara, makes a spirited defence of his belief in catastrophic MMGW, as promoted by the IPCC. He starts his Introduction as follows: "Our climate is changing. New Zealand is getting warmer. The whole world is warming, and it will continue to heat up for decades to come."

Yes, the climate is changing and has been doing so for billions of years and will continue to do so and there is nothing humans can do about it. No, New Zealand is not getting warmer. No, there is no evidence that we will continue to heat up. To the contrary, there is better evidence that we may be entering a cooling phase (see comments above and my February article).

This illustrates very well the chasm between the computer-based, virtual reality world, in which the global warming alarmists are living, and the real world.

2. In my February article I expressed concern that some of the draconian measures proposed by MMGW advocates, "to save the planet from catastrophic global warming," are a direct threat to democratic freedoms and freedom of speech. Most of them would also be catastrophic for poor people in the world, as exemplified by the rush into biofuel production, resulting in a dramatic increase in food prices and the cutting down of natural rainforests. `Saving the planet from catastrophic MMGW' and `Making poverty history' are mutually exclusive objectives.

To say that the MMGW hysteria poses a threat to democratic freedoms may seem a bit far-fetched, until one reads some of the anti-democratic utterances from catastrophic-MMGW advocates. For instance, Mayer Hillman, called a `leading green thinker,' said in a published interview: "When the chips are down I think democracy is a less important goal than is the protection of the planet from the death of life. Rationing has got to be imposed on people whether they like it or not."

Al Gore openly expressed hostility towards the democratic process. He called certain elected governments "obstacles to the environmental agenda." Freedom of speech is threatened by the regular calls for the silencing of anyone who dares to doubt or criticise the catastrophic-MMGW dogma. For instance, the Academy Councillor of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Professor Keith Hunter, wrote in the Royal Society Alert newsletter of October 4, 2007: "It is discouraging to see that the media in New Zealand, which is generally not known for the quality of its scientific journalism, continues to pay so much attention to the ravings of the various climate change deniers in our midst. Naysaying of this nature can be very dangerous and counter-productive."

It's a bit rich when scientists who believe in an unproven hypothesis start calling those who don't share their belief `deniers.' One would have expected howls of protest from members of the Royal Society. Not a peep. The only group lodging a protest was we, the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition. But we can be ignored, as we are those "climate change deniers in our midst." It is very sad that this once august, scientific body, whose raison d'^tre should be to uphold the free and frank exchange of scientific ideas and opinions, unencumbered by ideologies, has now stooped so low.

Apocalypse cancelled

I am pleased that Professor Storey is not perpetuating the apocalyptic view of MMGW. This is unusual, as many MMGW advocates are trying to outdo each other in predicting imminent climate catastrophes. For instance, Sir David King, the science advisor to the British Government, has said that, unless we drastically reduce our carbon dioxide emissions, the only habitable place on Earth by the end of this century will be the Antarctic continent. Not to be outdone, James Lovelock, the author of The Revenge of Gaia, predicted that the only habitable place by the end of this century would the Arctic. Our own professor Peter Barrett, of Victoria University, wrote that we only have about ten years to avoid the destruction of our civilisation by the end of this century (Pacific Ecologist, Issue 11, 2005/6). In 1999, he warned a group of politicians visiting McMurdo Station in the Antarctic that the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet was on the point of melting, which would cause a 6-metre rise in sea level (The Press, January 28, 1999). All these apocalyptic predictions have no base in science and are highly irresponsible. But the human species seems to have a predilection for predicting the end of time. I call it a `longing for Apocalypse.'

The science is not settled

One often hears that the science of global warming has been settled and that the debate is over. I am pleased therefore, that Professor Storey does not share that opinion. He writes that the climate is "a complex interactive system" and is "affected by many natural processes and increasingly influenced by human activities. Consequently, there's valuable debate (and argument!) and scientific research in progress." As I wrote in my February article, thousands of scientists disagree with the catastrophic- MMGW hypothesis, and hundreds are actively involved in debating the science.

Points of difference

However, there are many scientific points on which Professor Storey and I differ. In this short space I can only mention a few. By necessity some of these arguments are rather technical. Carbon dioxide (CO2): There is major disagreement on the magnitude of the warming effect of CO2. According to many scientists, its effect is very small and almost impossible to measure. Professor Storey mentions its `blanketing effect.' Yet, this blanket has large holes in it. CO2 can only absorb infrared radiation from the Earth in specific small windows of the electromagnetic spectrum. Outside these areas, the infrared radiation escapes into space. Furthermore, theoretical considerations suggest that those spectral windows can become saturated. This means that at a certain point, any additional carbon dioxide will have no further warming effect. Theoretical considerations also suggest that the warming effect of a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere is not more than 0.5 to one degree.

That the IPCC predicts higher future temperatures is entirely based on computer modelling, by factoring in all sorts of positive feedbacks. The warming predictions of models vary wildly, from 1.4 to 11oC. They are just computer games.

Professor Storey writes that the present level of CO2 (380 ppmv) "has reached a record high relative to more than the past half million years," based on ice core data. The problem is that CO2 data in ice cores are only an average over hundreds to thousands of years - the time it typically takes for snow falling on ice caps to turn into solid ice and trap air in bubbles. However, there are other modern scientific methods to determine past CO2 levels. One is based on stomata (pores) in fossil plant leaves. More CO2 in the atmosphere results in fewer stomata in leaves. Extensive research by scientists at Utrecht University has found that CO2 levels about 1550 years ago were higher than at present (Figure 2).

Moreover, when one tries to join CO2 data from ice cores with present-day actual measurements, there is a big gap, suggesting that the ice core data do not reflect actual atmospheric levels. Finally, a German scientist, Ernst- Georg Beck, investigated over 90,000 chemical analyses of CO2 in the atmosphere, carried out between 1812 and 1957, some by Nobel Prize laureates (Energy & Environment 2007). Many of these analyses had an accuracy better than 3%. There were high CO2 levels around 1825, 1857 and 1942, some higher than 400 ppmv. It is not surprising that his research has been anathema to MMGW believers.

Even if the present-day CO2 is an at alltime high, we have no clear proof that human emissions from burning fossil fuels is a significant cause of increasing temperatures. Figure 3 shows that there is no correlation between fossil fuel consumption and temperature.....

There are several aspects of the MMGW dogma that can be falsified. I will mention two:

1. All climate computer models state that MMGW will first become evident in the polar regions. MMGW advocates will say that this is obvious in the Arctic, which has been warming in recent times. But what they omit to say is that it was warmer in the 1930s and 40s (Figure 5). The falsification is clinched by the fact that the Antarctic continent has been cooling (only the Antarctic Peninsula has been warming, but that is a local phenomenon). This is clearly shown in the temperature record of the South Pole station (Figure 6).

This cooling is an obvious embarrassment to the MMGW advocates. They have been frantically looking for an explanation. Professor Storey writes that the ozone hole is the culprit. This was first suggested by two scientists in 2002 (Thompson and Solomon, Science, vol. 296). However, in 2004 another group of scientists suggested that El Nino might be the culprit (Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 31). It is obvious they simply do not know.

2. A recently published, peer-reviewed, scientific publication provided the most devastating falsification of the IPCC hypothesis (Douglas et al., International Journal of Climatology, 2007). According to all climate computer models used by the IPCC, the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere should cause a decadal rate of warming (especially in the tropics) of the mid-troposphere (the troposphere is that part of the atmosphere directly above the surface of the Earth, about 20km thick at the tropics and 7km at the poles), which then radiates that heat back to Earth, causing the greenhouse warming (Figure 7a).

However, they found that real world, direct measurements by weather balloon radiosondes since the 1960s and satellites since 1979 did not show any such rate of warming (Figure 7b). For a detailed technical analysis see Monckton 2007. As this is a fundamental aspect of the MMGW hypothesis, this falsification should be the final nail in its coffin. But don't hold your breath. The catastrophic-MMGW hypothesis has nothing to do with science anymore, as so clearly demonstrated by Professor Hunter's comments. The hypothesis has become a quasi-religion.

More here

The 'No, Nothing' Democrats

Most sources of energy are beyond the pale in the Democratic Party, but nothing carries quite the moral stigma of coal. The latest excommunication is under way in Kansas, of all places, and it may be a forerunner of national political trends. Governor Kathleen Sebelius calls it "a moral obligation," as though she were opposing crimes against humanity. This is a reference to coal companies guilty of nothing more than attempting to provide power to consumers. But their misfortunes include emitting carbon dioxide into the current political atmosphere, and also the presence of Ms. Sebelius, who recently invented another way of enacting her preferred global-warming policies without legislation.

No one disputes that Kansas needs more baseload energy capacity to meet growing demand, especially at peak times and in the more rural west. In 2006, Sunflower Electric proposed to add two new generators to one of its existing coal facilities. The plans met or exceeded every federal and state air-quality and environmental regulation, and included the latest pollution control technologies.

But in October, one of Ms. Sebelius's cabinet secretaries, Roderick Bremby, denied Sunflower its permits. Using "emergency" discretion, he creatively ruled the expansion an imminent danger to the public - because the estimated 11 million tons of greenhouse gases it would emit each year might contribute to climate change. It was the first time ever that such reasoning formed the sole basis for blocking a power project; and, in the absence of any state laws relating to carbon control, it amounted to a public policy putsch.

Ms. Sebelius joined the green regulatory lobby that wants to unilaterally classify CO2 as an "air pollutant," though it has none of the qualities that have always defined the term under federal or state law. Her effort is also an opening charge for a national moratorium on new coal plants, which is backed by the likes of Democrats Harry Reid, Ed Markey and, needless to say, Al Gore.

By wide bipartisan margins, the Kansas legislature passed a bill resurrecting the project and closing the "discretion" loophole, telling Ms. Sebelius to obey the rules on the books. She vetoed that measure late last month, which the legislature will try to override today, and the votes may come up a few short.

The losers here are ordinary Kansans, who won't benefit from a reliable source of low-cost power and will pay higher electricity rates. The state is running up against the limits of its ability to provide electricity for its growing population and economy. The current generating fleet has an average age nearing 40 years and hence is less efficient (not to mention more polluting).

Ms. Sebelius suggests commercial wind power as an alternative. The numbers suffice as rebuttal: Some three-quarters of Kansas electricity comes from coal-fired utilities. Currently all "renewables," including wind, account for 2%, at best.

Ms. Sebelius is a Democratic wunderkind and her name is circulating for a cabinet post in an Obama Administration, maybe even Vice President. She's representative of the party's "no, nothing" wing, which knows only what energy it wants to ban or limit, not what it is going to offer in place. Coal provides more than half of U.S. electricity because it is cheap and abundant - and viable. Wind turbines and the rest of the boutique alternatives are none of those, a reality that Democrats are going to have to square when they actually bother to pass a climate-change bill.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Sunday, April 06, 2008


The German government reversed a decision to double the ethanol and renewable additives content of gasoline and diesel to 10 percent, a plan that threatened to boost fuel prices for millions of car drivers. Under the plan that was to go into effect in January, more than 1 million mainly foreign-brand vehicles would not be able to burn the new fuel mix, forcing drivers to fill up with more expensive "super-plus" gas, Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel told a news conference in Berlin today. "We don't want to take responsibility if several million people who drive old cars only because they live on lower wages have to use expensive" fuel, he said.

Gabriel came under pressure from members of his own Social Democratic Party as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats to ease pressure on car owners who are already suffering from surging fuel prices, Bild said. As many as 3 million cars won't be able to burn the so-called E10 blend, according to some estimates, a figure well above the 375,000 vehicles that the German carmakers' association estimated.

"In light of the fact that more than 3 million vehicles are not suited to run on E10, it can hardly be expected that there would be any other outcome," Ulrich Becker, vice president of the ADAC German Automobile Association, Europe's biggest lobby group with 15 million members, said on the group's Web site today.



In the pantheon of well-intentioned governmental policies gone awry, massive ethanol biofuel production may go down as one of the biggest blunders in history. An unholy alliance of environmentalists, agribusiness, biofuel corporations and politicians has been touting ethanol as the cure to all our environmental ills, when in fact it may be doing more harm than good. An array of unintended consequences is wreaking havoc on the economy, food production and, perhaps most ironically, the environment.

Biofuels are fuels distilled from plant matter. Ethanol is corn-based, but other common biofuel sources include soybeans, sugar cane and palm oil, an edible vegetable oil. In the search for alternatives to fossil fuels, many countries have turned to biofuels, which has led to a booming business for those involved. In the United States, ethanol is the primary focus and, as a result, corn growers and ethanol producers are subsidized heavily by the government.

But it turns out that the use of food for fuel is wrought with difficulties. Corn, or some derivative thereof, is a common ingredient in a variety of packaged food products. So it's only natural that, as it becomes a rarer commodity due to the conflicting demands of biofuel production, the prices of those products will go up. The prices of food products containing barley and wheat are also on the rise as farmers switch to growing subsidized corn crops. During a time of economic instability, the last thing Americans need is higher prices at the grocery store, but that's exactly what they're getting.

At the same time, corn is the main ingredient in livestock feed and its dearth is causing prices of those products to rise as well. Farmers have had to scramble to find alternative sources of feed for their livestock and, in some cases, have had to sell off animals they can no longer afford to feed. This, in turn, has led to an increase in the price of meat and dairy products for consumers.

The hit on the livestock industry has also affected jobs, with countless employees being laid off due to the downturn. Pilgrim's Pride Corp., the nation's largest chicken producer, announced in March that it was closing a North Carolina chicken processing plant, and six of 13 U.S. distribution centers, due to the jump in feed costs. Even Iowa, the state that produces the most corn and therefore the supposed beneficiary of new jobs due to ethanol production, has seen its unemployment rate rise over the past year. The plant layoffs and closings already underway due to global competition and the fluctuating market have continued unabated.

Another adverse impact of ethanol production is potential water shortage. One gallon of ethanol requires four gallons of water to produce. According to a recent report from the National Research Council, an institution that focuses on science, engineering, technology and health, "increased production could greatly increase pressure on water supplies for drinking, industry, hydropower, fish habitat and recreation."

Not only is ethanol less productive than gasoline as a fuel source, its production is hurting the environment it was intended to preserve, particularly in the Third World. The amount of land needed to grow corn and other biofuel sources means that their production is leading to deforestation, the destruction of wetlands and grasslands, species extinction, displacement of indigenous peoples and small farmers, and loss of habitats that store carbon.

Scientists predict that the Gulf of Mexico, already polluted by agricultural runoff from the United States, will only get worse as demand for ethanol, and therefore corn, increases. Meanwhile, rain forests throughout Central and South America are being razed to make way for land to grow biofuel components. Tortilla shortages in Mexico, rising flour prices in Pakistan, Indonesian and Malaysian forests being cut down and burned to make palm oil, and encroachments upon the Amazon rainforest due to Brazilian sugar cane production - all these developments indicate that biofuels are turning out to be more destructive than helpful.

The latest issue of Time magazine addresses the subject in frightening detail. Michael Grunwald, author of the cover story, "The Clean Energy Scam," posits a worldwide epidemic that could end up being a greater disaster than all the alleged evils of fossil fuels combined. As he puts it:

"Deforestation accounts for 20 percent of all current carbon emissions. So unless the world can eliminate emissions from all other sources - cars, power plants, factories, even flatulent cows - it needs to reduce deforestation or risk an environmental catastrophe. That means limiting the expansion of agriculture, a daunting task as the world's population keeps expanding. And saving forests is probably an impossibility so long as vast expanses of cropland are used to grow modest amounts of fuel. The biofuels boom, in short, is one that could haunt the planet for generations - and it's only getting started."

Accordingly, the United Nations has expressed skepticism about ethanol and other biofuels. But the European Union seems to have bought into the biofuel craze with proposed legislation to mandate its use. This proposal has set off alarm bells in the United Kingdom, particularly with the British government's chief science advisor, Professor John Beddington, who has warned that a food and deforestation crisis is likely to overtake any climate concerns. "The idea that you cut down rainforest to actually grow biofuels seems profoundly stupid," he stated. Similarly, the British government's top environmental scientist, Professor Robert Watson, called the policy "totally insane."

Some British environmentalists apparently agree, as do members of the American environmental movement. As noted in the aforementioned Time article, the Natural Resources Defense Council's Nathanael Greene, the author of a 2004 report that rallied fellow environmentalists to support biofuels, is "looking at the numbers in an entirely new way," now that biofuel production exists on such a large scale.

None of this has deterred American politicians from jumping on the ethanol bandwagon. No doubt, they see it as a means of garnering political support from the farm lobby and in particular ethanol producers, to whom they have provided generous federal subsidies. Indeed, President Bush, who according to his 2006 State of the Union address is a switchgrass enthusiast, has signed a bipartisan energy bill that will greatly increase support to the ethanol industry, as well as mandating the production of 36 billion gallons of biofuel by 2022.

In an election year, there has been no shortage of environmental platitudes aimed at voters and, inevitably, ethanol has been a mainstay. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been singing the praises of ethanol in Iowa, while her rival, Barack Obama, merely criticized her for not doing so earlier. Republican candidate John McCain, once an ardent opponent of ethanol, has suddenly become a convert.

The motto among both Democrats and Republicans on this issue seems to be "If it sounds good, push it," and a gullible public - seduced by climate change hysteria and a "Going Green!" advertising onslaught - is buying into it.

While the search for alternatives to fossil fuels, and in particular the dependence upon foreign sources thereof, is laudable, future avenues must be considered more carefully. As the looming ethanol disaster has demonstrated, yet again, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.



A spring gale is lashing orthodox climate policy. This week, an article was published in Nature that should shake the certainty of anyone who assumes that the Kyoto protocol approach is the sensible way to go, and that signing the accord is a responsible step for the United States to take.

Three climate experts offer some inconvenient truths. Roger Pielke, Tom Wigley and Christopher Green are far from being climate change sceptics, but they are vigorous heretics about some of the orthodoxy of the debate. They show it is even more urgent than we thought to abandon the failed Kyoto strategy and move quickly to policies which might actually reduce carbon emissions. Any workable strategy has to include India and China: Kyoto did not. As they rapidly industrialise and reduce poverty, their CO2 emissions will rise steeply - by as much as 13% a year for the period from 2000 to 2010, in the case of China.

The Nature piece is titled "Dangerous assumptions". The most dangerous assumption is how all the scenarios that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published have a built-in assumption that misleads us about the magnitude of the emissions challenge. It shows that the technological challenge is at least twice as big as people believe. So this is where the rubber hits the road.

The IPCC has assumed that about three-quarters of the emissions reduction required to stabilise CO2 will occur "spontaneously". It would arrive as a free rider on the back of the well-documented trend which indicates that, after an initial upswing, the energy intensity of industrial societies has a record of impressive and continuous decline. What does that mean?

Energy intensity is an elegant and potent function which shows the relationship, over time, between a standardised unit of production - say œ1,000 of gross domestic product - and the amount of energy used to make it. Until recently, mature industrial economies have become less energy-intensive: through greater efficiency they have used less and less energy per unit of production during the later 20th century. Japan is the world leader in this respect.

But "Dangerous assumptions" shows that, globally, this is no longer the case. Principally because of the rapid industrialisation of India and China, reduction in energy intensity has levelled out or reversed in recent years. The global economy is not decarbonising - it is recarbonising. This was noticed by the experts in the IPCC but not reported in its Summary for Policymakers, the politically negotiated document mostly read by politicians and journalists. If the free rider of decarbonisation is not available, the challenge to move quickly to a radically different type of global climate policy is all the greater.

What would a materially effective policy do? It would break the link between poverty reduction and carbon emission. It would recognise that the developing world needs to consume - and will consume - more energy, not less. It would recognise that attempting to control human-created carbon emissions by setting binding output targets and relying on artificial carbon markets and dodgy offsets, as Kyoto does, has not and never will work.

Such policy would shift to the input side, and concentrate on radical improvements in the production and use of energy. It would focus first on the sectors of all economies that are the heaviest consumers of energy: power generation, building, cement and metals production. The sectors that western environmentalists have prioritised hitherto, such as road and air transport, should be much further down the list. If all automobile use in the US stopped tonight, the reduction in global emissions would be less than 6%. Instead, there must be a much larger commitment to fundamental energy technology research and development.

Is there any hope of this happening? Fortunately, there is. At the Bali climate conference in 2007, the geopolitical centre of gravity for climate policy shifted decisively away from the Kyoto enthusiasts, such as Al Gore and the EU, to the Pacific. Despite the headlines about the superficial isolation of the US because of its continuing refusal to sign Kyoto, on deeper matters the US was not alone, and certainly not on the need for a fundamental rethink of climate policy, of which all the presidential campaigns are becoming aware.

The shape of the future agenda may reside with Japan. Supported by other Pacific powers, it is leading a profound shift to an approach emphasising radical improvements in energy intensity. This concentrates initially on the most energy-intensive sectors, with ambitious plans for both technology research and development and technology transfer to help China and India reduce the impact of their programmes of coal burning, which are an inescapable feature of the next 30 years. CO2 targets, which evidence shows do not work as mandatory drivers of policy, can remain as helpful indicative guides.

This strategy will be a centrepiece of July's meeting of the G8 near Hokkaido. The vital importance of the tree-shaking analysis in Nature is that it gives reasons for anybody who takes climate policy seriously - and not just as a surrogate for playing other sorts of political games - to welcome and follow these Japanese guides, travelling the hard but necessary road from Kyoto to Hokkaido.



An email from Donn Dears [] of TsAugust

Quirin Schiermeier commented on the work done by Roger Pielke Jr. et al, and reported on the challenges associated with developing technologies needed to combat climate change. This has been our concern and is the thrust of our recently published book, "Climate Folly".

"Climate Folly" is short, but highlights the key issues in a non technical format targeting the everyday reader. It establishes that we currently do not have the proven technologies needed to achieve a substantial cut in CO2 emissions. The exception, of course, is Nuclear, but it's highly unlikely the United States will build enough nuclear power plants to cut CO2 emissions 80% by 2050.

It emphasizes we should wait to enact Cap & Trade regulations until we have demonstrated that the technologies will really work on the necessary scale. Wind, for example, does not have sufficient scale, even if it was economically justifiable. Indur Goklany's comments support this view.

Much of the debate in the media in the United States has focused on the purported science surrounding global warming. While the scientific arguments are difficult to follow and cause many people to accept the headlines, the idea that we do not have the technologies available to accomplish significant cuts in CO2 is something non-scientists can readily understand.

"Carbon Folly" is an effort to involve the average person in the issues affecting them directly, i.e., no electricity-no jobs, etc. Da Vinci believed man could fly and designed wings to be strapped to a person's body. But, only a fool would jump off a cliff before proving the technology would work.


The Greenies are trying to cover their asses

Global temperatures this year will be lower than in 2007 due to the cooling effect of the La Nina current in the Pacific, UN meteorologists have said. The World Meteorological Organisation's secretary-general, Michel Jarraud, told the BBC it was likely that La Nina would continue into the summer. This would mean global temperatures have not risen since 1998, prompting some to question climate change theory.

But experts have also forecast a record high temperature within five years. [Prophecy trumps reality?]

La Nina and El Nino are two great natural Pacific currents whose effects are so huge they resonate round the world. El Nino warms the planet when it happens, La Nina cools it. This year, the Pacific is in the grip of a powerful La Nina. It has contributed to torrential rains in Australia and to some of the coldest temperatures in memory in snow-bound parts of China. Typically lasts for up to 12 months and generally less damaging event than the stronger El Nino

Mr Jarraud told the BBC that the effect was likely to continue into the summer, depressing temperatures globally by a fraction of a degree. This would mean that temperatures have not risen globally since 1998 when El Nino warmed the world.

A minority of scientists question whether this means global warming has peaked and the earth has proved more resilient to greenhouse gases than predicted. But Mr Jarraud insisted [empty assertion?] this was not the case and noted that 1998 temperatures would still be well above average for the century. "When you look at climate change you should not look at any particular year," he said. "You should look at trends over a pretty long period and the trend of temperature globally is still very much indicative of warming." [Even if it hasn't warmed for 10 years??] "La Nina is part of what we call 'variability'. There has always been and there will always be cooler and warmer years, but what is important for climate change is that the trend is up."

Experts at the UK Met Office's Hadley Centre for forecasting in Exeter said the world could expect [and it could not expect too] another record temperature within five years or less, probably associated with another episode of El Nino.



How pesky for the Greenies!

Lloyd's of London warned yesterday that an absence last year of natural disasters or man-made accidents was putting pressure on firms to reduce premiums in 2008. The world's oldest and biggest insurance market said that though the lack of major disasters had allowed firms to push up profits 5% in 2007, underwriting margins were being squeezed.

Almost half of the 320-year-old market's business was conducted in the US last year. It is a major insurer of the Florida seaboard and oil rigs in the gulf of Mexico. In 2005, a series of natural disasters culminated in Hurricane Katrina clattering into New Orleans. The clean-up bill pushed Lloyd's into a 103m pound loss.

However, two years of relatively few claims for environmental damage have increased competition in the sector. "On the back of a good performance in 2007 we need to sound a note of caution for 2008 because of softening market conditions and because of the financial turmoil we have seen," said Richard Ward, chief executive of Lloyd's.


NOTE: Here's a reminder of another warning less than 2 years ago:

"Lloyd's of London, the oldest insurance market in the world, yesterday urged its members to start taking global warming more seriously, by increasing prices to avoid being "swept away" in a sea of future financial claims. Premiums will have to rise and some risks might even be classed as uninsurable due to greenhouse gases and rising sea levels, warned Lloyd's in a report entitled Climate Change, Adapt or Bust. "Climate change is today's problem not tomorrow's. If we don't take action now to understand the changing nature of our planet we will face extinction," said Lloyd's director, Rolf Tolle."


For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

'No Sun link' to climate change

By Richard Black, Environment correspondent, BBC News website

The Greenie article from the BBC below sounds like a sober and balanced account of scientific findings. It is not. It is so evasive that it does not link to, quote or or even name the scientific article it purports to describe. One would normally expect some link on a website. So why is there none? Because the article says some things that DON'T suit the Greenie agenda. And the BBC writer does not mention those things, funnily enough. Rather amazing cheek but very BBC. These days BBC seems to stand for British Bias Corporation.

There are already some loud grumbles about this BBC propaganda effort and I reproduce some of that below. First is a scathing letter to the BBC author from John A. of Climate Audit and then follows a short excert from a very long and outraged email I have from Piers Corbyn of Weather Action. Corbyn is a very successful long-range British weather forecaster who relies heavily for his forecasts on his knowledge of solar cycles. So he KNOWS that solar variations drive temperature etc. here on earth. Corbyn is particularly outraged by the reference to the slapped-together Royal Society paper by Lockwood and Froehlich and it is commentary from Corbyn about that paper that I briefly excerpt

Scientists have produced further compelling evidence showing that modern-day climate change is not caused by changes in the Sun's activity. The research contradicts a favoured theory of climate "sceptics", that changes in cosmic rays coming to Earth determine cloudiness and temperature. The idea is that variations in solar activity affect cosmic ray intensity. But Lancaster University scientists found there has been no significant link between them in the last 20 years.

Presenting their findings in the Institute of Physics journal, Environmental Research Letters, the UK team explain that they used three different ways to search for a correlation, and found virtually none. This is the latest piece of evidence which at the very least puts the cosmic ray theory, developed by Danish scientist Henrik Svensmark at the Danish National Space Center (DNSC), under very heavy pressure.

Dr Svensmark's idea formed a centrepiece of the controversial documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle. "We started on this game because of Svensmark's work," said Terry Sloan from Lancaster University. "If he is right, then we are going down the wrong path of taking all these expensive measures to cut carbon emissions; if he is right, we could carry on with carbon emissions as normal."

Cosmic rays are deflected away from Earth by our planet's magnetic field, and by the solar wind - streams of electrically charged particles coming from the Sun. The Svensmark hypothesis is that when the solar wind is weak, more cosmic rays penetrate to Earth. That creates more charged particles in the atmosphere, which in turn induces more clouds to form, cooling the climate. The planet warms up when the Sun's output is strong.

Professor Sloan's team investigated the link by looking for periods in time and for places on the Earth which had documented weak or strong cosmic ray arrivals, and seeing if that affected the cloudiness observed in those locations or at those times. "For example; sometimes the Sun 'burps' - it throws out a huge burst of charged particles," he explained to BBC News. "So we looked to see whether cloud cover increased after one of these bursts of rays from the Sun; we saw nothing."

Over the course of one of the Sun's natural 11-year cycles, there was a weak correlation between cosmic ray intensity and cloud cover - but cosmic ray variability could at the very most explain only a quarter of the changes in cloudiness. And for the following cycle, no correlation was found.

Dr Svensmark himself was unimpressed by the findings. "Terry Sloan has simply failed to understand how cosmic rays work on clouds," he told BBC News. "He predicts much bigger effects than we would do, as between the equator and the poles, and after solar eruptions; then, because he doesn't see those big effects, he says our story is wrong, when in fact we have plenty of evidence to support it."

But another researcher who has worked on the issue, Giles Harrison from Reading University, said the work was important "as it provides an upper limit on the cosmic ray-cloud effect in global satellite cloud data". Dr Harrison's own research, looking at the UK only, has also suggested that cosmic rays make only a very weak contribution to cloud formation.

The Svensmark hypothesis has also been attacked in recent months by Mike Lockwood from the UK's Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory. He showed that over the last 20 years, solar activity has been slowly declining, which should have led to a drop in global temperatures if the theory was correct.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its vast assessment of climate science last year, concluded that since temperatures began rising rapidly in the 1970s, the contribution of humankind's greenhouse gas emissions has outweighed that of solar variability by a factor of about 13 to one.

According to Terry Sloan, the message coming from his research is simple. "We tried to corroborate Svensmark's hypothesis, but we could not; as far as we can see, he has no reason to challenge the IPCC - the IPCC has got it right. "So we had better carry on trying to cut carbon emissions."


Letter to Richard Black by John A. below:


I note your latest attempt in your continuing campaign to ignore and demean the considerable and growing evidence of natural influences on climate change, and especially on the cosmic ray/solar cycle hypothesis of Svensmark et al.

Last time you raced out of the blocks with an article entitled "No Sun link' to climate change" about a paper then yet to be published, and couldn't be bothered beyond leaving a few voicemail messages to contact Dr Svensmark for a response. The paper of course was by Lockwood and Froelich.

Then of course, you didn't bother reporting the reply from Svensmark because we don't want the license payers unnecessarily confused with a solid rebuttal, would we Richard? Especially since that paper by Lockwood that you trumpeted was rife with errors.

Here's the reply from Svensmark. Here's another from Ken Gregory. And here's another from Anthony Watts.

Obviously you won't spend any time reporting on them, because life's too short isn't it Richard? After all, what with burning up all of those carbon credits to visit glaciers calving perfectly naturally, and polar bear populations stridently not declining but growing strongly, there's no time for nuanced scientific reporting is there?

Now we have yet another example of your tawdry one-sided reporting with this one: "No Sun link' to climate change" (by the way, are you minimizing your carbon footprint by recycling the titles to articles?).

This time its a letter to a little known and little read environmental science journal - so we're a long way from any expertise in statistics or solar science, aren't we? This time the two scientists are Sloan and Wolfendale, and would you believe it! They come to the same conclusion as the one you want to hear! I'm not a betting man but if I was, I'd bet they contacted you about their forthcoming letter and you got some nice juicy "colour quotes" to pad it out to justify your BBC salary and the rest is history!

Nobody cares, because nobody checks anything! Except that even Sloan and Wolfendale don't show that there is "'No Sun link' to climate change", they say that even with their limited analysis of 20 some years, the Svensmark process on its own contributed perhaps 25% of the warming. That's not insignificant. That's not "no link", that's "some link" Richard. Even this limited analysis showed some connection between the Svensmark process and global climate.

You could have asked them to run the identical analysis looking at the correlation between carbon dioxide rise and temperature over the same time period, but you don't want to rock the boat by showing that the carbon dioxide link is even more tenuous than the Svensmark process you're trying to bury! Carbon dioxide has continued to rise, while global temperatures appear to have stopped rising in 1998 having stabilized below the 1998 level and might even now be starting to fall. Even the Met Office admits this - but you don't report that of course.

But that doesn't save the day, because in the same article that you failed to quote or even link to (and I think I know why you didn't link to it) comes this:
"However, Sloan and Wolfendale are not the only physicists to have recently turned their attention to the cosmic ray hypothesis. Vitaliy Rusov of the National Polytechnic University in Odessa, Ukraine and colleagues do not agree with the IPCC's view that man is to blame for the recent warming. To prove their point, they looked for a direct connection between cosmic ray flux and temperature."

"The team constructed a model of the Earth's climate in which the only significant inputs were variations in the Sun's power output and changes to the galactic cosmic ray flux ( They found that the model's predicted evolution of the Earth's surface temperature over the last 700,000 years agrees well with proxy temperature data taken from Antarctic ice cores ("

"Rusov agrees that Svensmark's cosmic ray ionization mechanism cannot fully account for the observed correlation between cosmic ray flux and cloud cover, as Sloan and Wolfendale have demonstrated. But he believes that a small but direct link between cosmic rays and clouds could itself trigger a mechanism which causes further, and greater, changes in cloud cover."

So here was another model study over 700,000 years and the link between climate change and the solar/cosmic ray variation was crystal clear. But you couldn't be bothered reporting it, could you Richard? It didn't fit the narrative you've constructed.

Between copying and pasting Greenpeace publicity and encouraging reckless damage to the world economy and to the world's poor in the "Green Room", there simply isn't time in your day to even report accurately and fairly on environmental issues.

It doesn't matter that the BBC Trust says that its not the BBC's responsibility to save the planet, nor is it responsible journalism to refuse to report on the criticisms of well-qualified skeptics to the whole global warming scare, because with you and your colleagues in the hot seat to set the agenda of continuing alarm, the BBC Trust can go hang and the concerns of many BBC License payers are so much white noise to be filtered out by the next "Alarm over..." or the next "The IPCC says..." story concocted in the BBC tearoom from the latest mailshot from Greenpeace or Fiends of the Earth or the WWF - those billion dollar multi-national corporations of public alarm.

Of course when you or Shukman or the others are travelling to the four corners of the globe to report on why everyone else shouldn't travel to the four corners of the globe, there isn't time to stop in small faraway places like New York and report on major scientific conferences attended by hundreds of well-qualified scientists who dispute the IPCC reports and the AGW scare? Who knows? You could have interviewed the President of the Czech Republic after he give his keynote speech?

But no. No reporting because its not what you want to hear. So it wasn't reported by the BBC. Problem solved. Your journalistic behaviour has at least been consistent: tawdry, one-sided, lazy, propagandist, alarmist and disgraceful. This isn't BBC journalism that John Reith espoused, its more like extreme left-wing evangelization for the repeal of market economies by way of a faked vision of environmental apocalypse.

I encourage you to get honest: just join Greenpeace's publicity department officially and have done with it. You're doing the job already so you might as well get paid for it.

Excerpt from some comments by Piers Corbyn below:

I think that the BBC link and the related paper by Prof Lockwood is one of the most dishonest pieces of pseudo-science (next to Al Gore's movie) put about in the last 50 years and marks one of the lowest points in the CO2 Global Warming brainwashing enterprise.

The BBC steadfastly refuse to publish anything which refutes their baseless claims, and you may be interested to know that the BBC 'report' on Lockwood's findings appeared at the same time as his paper and had therefore clearly been drawn up in advance as propaganda and NOT a 'report' in the normal (?!) sense of investgating both sides of a subject and reporting fairly. I did appear on News24 and Radio 5 at the time but those comments and also comments by Nigel Calder on BBC around the same time were just to establish pseudo-balance and are not included in the BBC link above which is devoid of comment, gives no opportunity to comment and for which the BBC have refused to allow fair comment.

"Attempts to test influences of solar activity on Earth in detail shorter than 22 years without considering the magnetic links prove nothing. This however is what Prof Lockwood does. Obviously since temperatures driven by solar activity follow a 22yr (solar magnetic) cycle and the measures of solar activity used by Prof Lockwood follow an 11year cycle they must move in opposite directions half the time. Professor Lockwood's `finding' of a period of `oppositely directed trends' is just one such period. In fact Lockwood's finding confirms the general hypothesis of the solar charged particle based theory! The theories he actually tests are something else - involving only 11yr cycles - and amount to `straw men' to be knocked down. The cosmic ray theory is one of these. Although its originators did excellent experiments which showed that charged particles do have weather and climate effects, extra solar cosmic rays as such have no significant weather or climate impact.

It beggars belief that the Royal Society would publish a paper which purports to dismiss all theories of solar influence on Earth's weather while ignoring the ones that actually appear to work (certainly better than all others) and not even mentioning the many published observations of 22yr signals in various weather /flood etc parameters. (I say all theories here because the paper and its write-ups use Lockwood's dismissal of 11 yr theories as proof that all theories of sun-earth drivers fail). This means that the Royal Society peer review process in this case was strained in either integrity or knowledge of the subject.

The 2008 Climate Debate

By William F. Jasper
There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

According to former Vice President Al Gore, "the science is settled" on climate change. "The planet has a fever," Gore said during testimony before Congress in 2007, and its cause, he averred, is too many cars, power plants, factories, and other human-related sources putting too many emissions into the atmosphere. He must be right, many people conclude, since he has received a Nobel Prize and an Oscar for his global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. And many scientists and scientific bodies appear to back him up with endorsements and impressive-looking studies. The media reports repeatedly insist that there is a scientific consensus in favor of the Gore view of climate change

However, for many of the world's leading scientists in the fields of meteorology, climatology, physics, astrophysics, and related sciences, the science is far from settled, Al Gore's media accolades notwithstanding. Over the past few years, more than 19,000 American scientists have signed a dissenting petition coauthored by Dr. Frederick Seitz, renowned physicist and former president of the National Academy of Sciences, and Dr. Arthur Robinson, president of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine ( [1]). The petition urges political leaders to reject the Gore-supported Kyoto Protocol or other similar proposals that would mandate draconian tax and regulatory measures aimed at virtually all human economic activity.

Kyoto and similar proposals are not based on convincing scientific evidence, the petition claims, and "the proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind."

The advocates of Kyoto and other schemes to super-regulate the planet frequently try to portray the scientists who dispute their claims of global warming peril as irrelevant fringies, fogies, and "nut cases" who shouldn't be taken seriously. However, as brutal scientific facts have poked holes in their hypothetical global-warming models, the Gore camp has become more strident and abusive. Rather than answer the scientific critiques, they have tended simply to accuse opposition scientists of being in the pay of the energy companies. Even worse, they have adopted the tactic of labeling scientists who dispute their claims as being "climate-change deniers," on a par with "Holocaust deniers." The more radical elements of the climate-change alarmist movement have targeted dissenting scientists for vilification and harassment, even trying to deprive them of their jobs, research grants, and tenure. The most virulent "Greens" call for them to be tried as "traitors."

According to a January 1, 2007 New York Times article by Andrew C. Revkin, "A New Middle Stance Emerges in Debate over Climate," more scientists are distancing themselves from the extreme fear mongering and exaggerated claims of the climate-change alarmists.

Much of this movement toward the center is the result of the gradual dissemination and percolation through the scientific community of careful research by the scientists who have been denounced as "climate-change deniers." These scientists prefer to call themselves "climate-change realists." Far from denying climate change, they point out that climate is a very complex, dynamic thing that is constantly in a state of change. They note that the Earth's climate has gone through repeated natural warming and cooling periods, many of which have been far more radical than what we are experiencing now or are likely to experience in the next couple centuries.

Jim Martin, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, recently scorned these climate realists, telling the Denver Post, "You could have a convention of all the scientists who dispute climate change in a relatively small phone booth."

On March 2-4, scientists from around the world came to New York City for the "2008 International Conference on Climate Change" sponsored by the Heartland Institute, a research and education organization devoted to promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems. They didn't meet in a phone booth. The convention was held in the ballroom and conference rooms of the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square. The spacious venue was filled with over 400 delegates, including more than one hundred scientists, many of considerable renown., a website of militant climate alarmists, had predicted that no real scientists would show up at this conference. At the opening of the conference, Heartland Institute president Joseph L. Bast noted that the scientists and policy experts came from Australia, Canada, England, France, Hungary, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, and Sweden, as well as the United States. They came from, among other places, the University of Alabama, Arizona State, Carleton, Central Queensland, Delaware, George Mason, Harvard, The Institute Pasteur in Paris, James Cook, John Moores, Johns Hopkins, the London School of Economics, Ohio State, Oslo, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, the Russian Academy of Sciences, Suffolk University, and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

"These scientists and economists have been published thousands of times in the world's leading scientific journals and have written hundreds of books," noted Mr. Bast. "If you call this the fringe, where's the center?"

Among the many distinguished scientists who participated in the conference were Dr. Roy Spencer, principal research scientist for the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer on NASA's Aqua satellite; Dr. Mitch Taylor, one of the premier-polar bear researchers and a continuing member of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group; Dr. William Gray, a pioneer in hurricane forecasting; Dr. Willie Soon, astrophysicist and geoscientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; and meteorologist John Coleman, original weathercaster on ABC's Good Morning America and founder of The Weather Channel. (See his interview in "Weather Channel Founder's Forecast".)

One of the stars of the conference was Vaclav Klaus, recently reelected president of the Czech Republic. Dr. Klaus, a distinguished economist and an admiring student of America's Founding Fathers, pointed out, as he has in many previous speeches at the European Union and elsewhere, that the frightening crisis scenarios and draconian "solutions" offered by the climate alarmists are based not on science, but on computer models.

"I think that many people are misled by the argument that the debate about climate is a scientific debate in the field of climatology," Dr. Klaus said in an exclusive interview with THE NEW AMERICAN. "I don't believe that's the case. What all are talking about is the attempt to influence human society, and in this respect it's much more about the social sciences - my own, economics - not so much about the details of physics and other scientific disciplines."

President Klaus noted that he spent 10 to 15 years of his professional life doing modeling with complex econometric time-series data that is similar in many ways to the modeling done in climate studies. As an economist, he says, he is very unhappy with the simplistic analysis and the "misuse of data, misuse of statistical techniques, misuse of accounting principles" in the climate models and projections produced by the climate alarmists.

"The Kyoto Protocol will have minuscule impact upon climate," he observed, so much so that it's "difficult to find statistical significance." However, he points out, "the costs are very, very heavy, and I don't think it's worthwhile to do that."

Another star of the conference was Dr. S. Fred Singer, professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and the founder and first director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service. Dr. Singer, who served for five years as the vice chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Oceans and Atmosphere (NACOA), is the author of Unstoppable Global Warming - Every 1,500 Years, which has become a New York Times bestseller. He edited the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) report entitled, Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate, which was released at the conference.

The Singer-edited NIPCC report boasts a stellar international lineup of scientist contributors, including Robert Carter (Australia), Richard Courtney (United Kingdom), Fred Goldberg (Sweden), Vincent Gray (New Zealand), Zbigniew Jaworowski (Poland), Thomas Segalstad (Norway), and Gerd Weber (Germany). Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate (hereafter referred to as the NIPCC report) takes aim primarily at the series of shrill doomsday reports that have been issued over the past decade and a half by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body established by the United Nations Environmental Program in 1988.

The IPCC issued its First Assessment Report on global climate change in 1990. The release of that report can be viewed as the main launch of the current global campaign to mobilize people and governments in support of political and economic policies that will reduce anthropogenic (human-caused) "greenhouse" gases. Failure to radically reduce our emissions, especially of carbon dioxide (CO2), they warned, would soon lead to catastrophic global warming, with horrendous consequences: enormous sea level rises and flooding of coastal areas; increasing incidence and severity of killer storms, hurricanes, and droughts; extinction of plant and animal species; and increased disease, pestilence, and famine, with massive loss of human life.

The major media in the United States and many other countries irresponsibly hyped the unproven hypotheses and wild forecasts of the IPCC report and gave short shrift to accomplished scientists who credibly challenged the IPCC's computer models, methodologies, and conclusions. The IPCC's prophecies of a coming global-warming apocalypse received a huge send-off in 1992 at the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, and the release of each of the IPCC's subsequent reports (1995, 2001, 2007) has provided opportunities for media frenzies retailing ever more sensational and exaggerated alarms of impending doom.

The new NIPCC report takes withering aim at the IPCC's errors, false claims, and fear mongering. The foreword to the NIPCC report is written by Frederick Seitz, president emeritus of Rockefeller University and a former president of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Seitz, a legend in the field of modern physics, was to have been one of the speakers at the Heartland conference. Tragically, however, he was unable to attend, and died on March 2, the opening day of the conference.

Professor Seitz wrote in his foreword that the IPCC "is pre-programmed to produce reports to support the hypotheses of anthropogenic warming and the control of greenhouse gases, as envisioned in the Global Climate Treaty." The 1990 IPCC Summary, he notes, "completely ignored satellite data, since they showed no warming. The 1995 IPCC report was notorious for the significant alterations made to the text after it was approved by the scientists - in order to convey the impression of a human influence. The 2001 IPCC report claimed the twentieth century showed `unusual warming' based on the now-discredited hockey stick graph. The latest IPCC report, published in 2007, completely devaluates the climate contributions from changes in solar activities, which are likely to dominate any human influence."

"It is one thing to impose drastic measures and harsh economic penalties when an environmental problem is clear-cut and severe," noted Seitz. But, he continued, "It is foolish to do so when the problem is largely hypothetical and not substantiated by observations. As NIPCC shows by offering an independent, non-governmental `second opinion' on the `global warming' issue, we do not currently have any convincing evidence or observations of significant climate change from other than natural causes."

In the face of overwhelming and steadily mounting evidence to the contrary, the IPCC's 2007 report claimed that "most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations." (Emphasis in the original.)

The NIPCC report hotly contests this IPCC claim. "NIPCC reaches the opposite conclusion - namely that natural causes are very likely to be the dominant cause," writes Dr. Singer. He goes on to note: "We do not say anthropogenic greenhouse (GH) gases cannot produce some warming. Our conclusion is that evidence shows they are not playing a significant role." Participants at the conference, in their speeches and panel presentations, provided the evidence from long-term and recent data and recently published research to back their claims.

A large part of the problem, says Singer, stems from the fact that "from the very beginning, the IPCC was a political rather than a scientific entity, with its leading scientists reflecting the positions of their governments or seeking to induce their governments to adopt the IPCC position. In particular, a small group of activists wrote the all-important Summary for Policymakers (SPM) for each of the four IPCC reports."

More here


UN-sponsored climate change talks under way in Bangkok this week are likely to result in agreements to hold a whole lot more talks over the next two years to hash out a complex international agreement by 2009, participants said Wednesday. "They are going to more or less have to double the negotiating time," predicted Bill Hare of Greenpeace International. ...

"We have just one and a half years to complete negotiations on what will probably be the most complex international agreement that history has ever seen," said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is hosting the meeting.

Given the time constraints, many observers said they believe that the most substantive outcome from the Bangkok talks would be an agreement to increase the number of negotiations, which would require new financing. "If they agree to that [more negotiations], it's a good sign because it means that governments are putting up this money to pay for them," Hare said.

Currently, the next climate change meeting is planned later this year in Poznan, Poland, and then the finale in Copenhagan in 2009. The Bangkok talks have drawn about 1,200 delegates from 63 countries.



Blaming alarmists, including the United Nations, for "propelling" global warming from a scientific curiosity to "the mother of all environmental scares in a little over 20 years", a new report released in India by Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, has cast serious doubts over the predictions of the Nobel Prize-winning UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its recent reports. This new report has also questioned the Kyoto Protocol, which has been blamed for costing billions of dollars. The new report has accused the UN and its member countries of blaming climate change "for problems that either they have failed to address or that they have actively caused".

The Civil Society Report on Climate Change has been prepared by 41 civil society organisations present in more than 30 countries. The report has also summarised background papers of some eminent names in the field who have been critical of "undue hype" given to climate change. While releasing the report, Dr Ahluwalia said that he was critical of the recommendations of the recent UNDP report on climate change, which has toed the line of the IPCC report in its predictions.

He said that the UNDP report was not balanced in respect to developing countries and all arguments that arise should be taken into consideration. "The threat has been made more visceral through clever marketing on the part of environmentalists as well as journalists who know that bad news sells. Scientists seeking funding for their research - and perhaps also suffering from ideological bias - have been happy conspirators, writing papers and appearing in the media," states the report. On predictions of climate change affecting India's agriculture, the report states, "These observations serve to highlight the contrast between an entrepreneurial, opportunity-seeking view of the world and the misanthropic, passive recipient view promoted by alarmists." It argues that technology advancement in the field has been overlooked.

Questioning the "scaremongering" over the Kyoto Protocol by the agencies involved, this new report says that the post-Kyoto Protocol hype is an attempt to convince developing countries that a post-Kyoto Protocol agreement with binding targets and timetables for emission reductions is necessary. The report has suggested that instead of pushing emission restrictions and "failed" policies, governments should focus on reducing barriers to economic growth and adaptation methods.

Charging the IPCC report of being "inconsistent" in the forecasts of disease incidence, saying that millions of people continue to suffer even when the so-called climate change effects are not obvious, which means that what is needed is for the international community to address the problem of vaccination and treatment to these diseases like malaria and tuberculosis. The report argues that death rate from climate related natural disasters has drastically reduced since the 1920s due to economic growth and technological development and it is going to further reduce regardless of climate change.

The report states that the UN and its various agencies do not have the capacity, knowledge or competence to implement programmes that would significantly reduce incidents of predicted diseases. Accusing alarmists of using individual weather events as definitive evidence of global warming, the report has rubbished the warning that planetary warming will increase the occurrence of these events which will cause loss of lives.



The Australian delegation to climate change talks in Bangkok has turned the clock back to the Howard era by failing to back binding greenhouse targets, environment group Greenpeace says. Negotiators from more than 160 nations are taking part in the first round of UN-led talks since last December's Bali meeting to advance plans for a new global greenhouse treaty.

According to Greenpeace activists in Bangkok, Australian delegation leader Jan Adams yesterday reverted to Howard government rhetoric of supporting US-style, long-term aspirational goals rather than binding targets. "The Australian delegate suggested that a post-2012 commitment period shouldn't have binding emission reduction commitments, it should be aspirational," Greenpeace spokesman Paul Winn said from Bangkok. "They're still following the line of the US, they still seem to be aligned with the Umbrella Group," Mr Winn said. The Umbrella Group is a loose coalition of non-EU developed countries including the US, Canada and Japan - which has argued against binding targets.

Greenpeace said Ms Adams' rhetoric was out of step with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's climate change policies and more in line with those of former prime minister John Howard, who refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. "If this is (Climate Change Minister) Penny Wong and Kevin Rudd's line, we just don't know." Ms Adams heads the Climate Change Department's international division and has the title of ambassador for the environment, a position she held under the former coalition government.

Mr Winn said much of the international negotiating team in the Howard era had remained under Mr Rudd's Government. "There really needs to be a changing of the guard at some stage."



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Friday, April 04, 2008


An email from Chris Horner []

I note in an AFP story, a claim that has gained customary, lazy usage, that "the world has until 2009 to draft a new pact on battling global warming". Absent was any qualifier that used to regularly follow such language, like "so as to avoid having a gap between agreements", though the peril that such a gap would pose is unclear. It also did not carry the alternate, Gore/Hansen rationale, that this is because our planet's doomsday clock is nearing midnight. Instead, it is just posited as being so: we have until 2009 to agree to a new pact.

May I suggest that readers watch for this and similar usages in the coming, oh, 20 months until the Copenhagen COP wraps up. If Kyoto is the profitable deal its champions breathlessly insist, even if experience is rather more mixed than that (of course, with no country actually *reducing emissions* since Kyoto was agreed, I suppose it's fair to admit we don't know!) we should see countries racing to replicate Europe's spectacular success and, of course, no countries looking to abandon their Kyoto promises on the flimsy premise that the extant pact is no longer current. Deadlines, including unexplained and even phony ones such as this, aren't at all necessary.

Or, it is possible that this scheme is the competitiveness-killing economic drain that some of us like to describe (and justify), in which case the expiration of Kyoto in the absence of a new pact leaves Europe to drop its pretense and leave the entire enterprise of this design to die its well-deserved death. Maybe that's what AFP meant.

Another attempt to erase the Mediaeval warm period

This time from NOAA. But in so doing they re-use the now totally discredited Mann "hockeystick". If that is not a warning of loose argumentation, what would be? It says: "Propaganda, not science coming up!" I reproduce the article below and follow it with some comments.
Norse seafaring and colonization around the North Atlantic at the end of the 9th century was generalized as proof that the global climate then was warmer than today. In the early days of paleoclimatology, the sparsely distributed paleoenvironmental records were interpreted to indicate that there was a "Medieval Warm Period" where temperatures were warmer than today. This "Medieval Warm Period" or "Medieval Optimum," was generally believed to extend from the 9th to 13th centuries, prior to the onset of the so-called "Little Ice Age."

In contrast, the evidence for a global (or at least northern hemisphere) "Little Ice Age" from the 15th to 19th centuries as a period when the Earth was generally cooler than in the mid 20th century has more or less stood the test of time as paleoclimatic records have become numerous. The idea of a global or hemispheric "Medieval Warm Period" that was warmer than today however, has turned out to be incorrect.

There are not enough records available to reconstruct global or even hemispheric mean temperature prior to about 600 years ago with a high degree of confidence. What records that do exist show is that there was no multi-century periods when global or hemispheric temperatures were the same or warmer than in the 20th century. For example, Mann et al. (1999) generated a 1,000 year Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstruction (shown above) using data from multiple ice cores and tree ring records. This reconstruction suggests that the 1998 annual average temperature was more than two standard deviations warmer than any annual average temperature value since AD 1,000 (shown in yellow). (For complete scientific reference of this study, please click here. Link to Mann 1999 FTP Data.)

In summary, it appears that the 20th century, and in particular the late 20th century, is likely the warmest the Earth has seen in at least 1200 years. To learn more about the so-called "Medieval Warm Period", please read this review published in Climatic Change, written by M.K. Hughes and H.F. Diaz.

There is actually a lot to like in the article above. It is a rare acknowledgement of hemispheric differences. It is only one small step away from them having to admit that the warming of the 1980s and 1990s was also in the Northern hemisphere only. They won't ever mention that, I imagine, but those of us with no axe to grind can do so.

I also see virtue in their comment that "There are not enough records available to reconstruct global or even hemispheric mean temperature prior to about 600 years ago with a high degree of confidence". 600 years is only a tiny slice of geological time so how can anyone be sure that recent climate events are anything out of the ordinary?

And even if we accept Mann's hockeystick, look where it ends: in 1998. Since then we have only reached within 0.25 deg of that point once; in Jan 2007, and other than that time, we haven't reached within 0.35 deg C of that 1998 point; but then as of Jan 2008, we are all the way back down to about where we were in the year 1000 AD. (according to Mann). Pesky?

But I think that the Coup de Grace for the bulldust above is this paper, which shows that there WAS a mediaeval warm period in the Southern hemisphere. And note that it relies on tree rings, just as Mann does.

Air execs gasp on call for more CO2

"The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better off the planet will be for humans and all other living things". If David Archibald had thrown a thunderflash among delegates at the Greener Skies 2008 conference in Hong Kong it couldn't have made a greater impact than the statement he used to start his presentation.

After a day of hearing from aviation industry leaders how the carbon footprints of the industry were boosting climate change and had to be curbed, the director of the Lavoisier Group was quickly into his stride. "In a few short years we will have a reversal of the warming of the 20th century," Archibald warned. "There will be significant cooling very soon. Our generation has known a warm, giving sun but the new generation will suffer a sun that is less giving and the earth will be less fruitful. "Carbon dioxide is not even a little bit bad - it's wholly beneficial."

There would have been fewer jaws dropping if Archibald had stripped off his clothes and run naked from the room, but as his presentation continued, many no doubt wished he had disappeared. "Plant growth responds to atmospheric carbon dioxide enrichment. In a world of higher atmospheric carbon dioxide, crops will use less water per unit of carbon dioxide uptake. Thus the productivity of semi-arid lands will increase the most," he said.

But Archibald cautioned that he did not bring only good news and said the world should prepare for another Ice Age. "We will need this in-crease in agricultural productivity to offset the colder weather coming. It also follows that if the developed countries of the world want to be caring and sharing to the countries of the Third World, the best thing that could be done for them is to increase atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. It is the equivalent of giving them free phosphate fertilizer. Who would want to deny the Third World such a wonderful benefit?'' He said the ability to grow food would become the overriding concern over the next decade.

In his conclusion, Archibald said higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were "wholly beneficial". "We have to be thankful to the anthropogenic global warming alarmists for one thing: if it weren't for them and their voodoo science, climate science wouldn't have attracted the attention of people from outside the field and we would be sleepwalking into that rather disruptive cooling that is coming next decade."

There was a stunned silence before Martin Craigs, president of Aerospace Forum Asia, called for the microphone. "Don't you have Al Gore's email address?" he asked. "How can you be right and 2,000 scientists wrong?" To which Archibald replied: "I am happy to share the science. It's all reputable."


Did the media "hype" the latest ice shelf crumble?

It's only a first step but the article below is from the Leftist "Columbia Journalism Review". It seems that some journalists are beginning to look seriously at (if not agree with) skeptical viewpoints on climate change. Even this blog gets a mention in passing!

All environmental reporters should sign up to receive the regular blog posts sent out by Marc Morano, the chief communications officer for James Inhofe, the minority leader on the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee. Morano's boss achieved substantial notoriety-or fame, depending on your point of view-in 2003 when he called climate change the "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." Morano's posts (available on Inhofe's EPW Press Blog) still reflect that opinion, despite the overwhelming body of science to the contrary, but they remain useful. As a media critic, in particular, I've always appreciated (though rarely agreed with) his particular fondness for analyzing (actually, usually lambasting) the press.

So I took notice two weeks ago when I spotted a post from Morano with the headline, "Is the Media's Environmental Reporting Improving?" The "evidence" for this seeming rapprochement comprised two acts of journalism - an article in USA Today questioning the proposal to include polar bears on the Endangered Species Act, and an editorial in the Los Angeles Times questioning the wisdom of a cap-and-trade emissions reduction scheme in California. The former was, indeed, a very critical piece of reportage about bear protection. But a close reader might point out that the latter editorial actually advocated carbon taxes in place of cap-and-trade (and give Morano points for trying).

Regardless, any warming from Morano toward the media has been replaced with his usual chill. This morning I received another post from his office with the headline, "Media Hype on `Melting' Arctic Ignores Record Growth." Morano was, of course, referring to the recent collapse of a 160-square-mile piece of the large Wilkins ice shelf in Western Antarctica, on the opposite side of the peninsula from where part of the Larsen ice shelf famously broke apart in 2002. As usual, Morano's argument is not entirely wrong, but rests on cherry picking the slimmest, most sensational phrases from the coverage. And that's exactly why I recommend signing up for his emails - environment reporters should be constantly thinking about issues of accuracy and description, and Morano's tips, for all their bias, often provide a trailhead for such exploration.

This morning, Morano identified a few examples of poor headline writing. A blog entry from Salon asked, "Bye-bye Antarctica?" Yes, that topline ignores that ice is actually growing in parts of Eastern Antarctica that are cooling. But, to be fair, the author of the post, Andrew Leonard, made a point to compare information from the skeptical Greenie Watch and non-skeptical Leonard suspects the skeptics from the outset, and ultimately sides with those worried about global warming, but one should not shake a finger at his intellectually honest writing. Morano cites other articles by Reuters and The Sydney Morning Herald - both of which exhibited perfectly legitimate headlines and supporting text. But he saves his most vituperative thoughts for the Associated Press's Seth Borenstein, accusing him of having a history of "hyped alarm." It's hard to see, however, what Morano finds so disagreeable.

Borenstein's story carried one of the most accurate, straightforward, headlines out there - "Western Antarctic Ice Chunk Collapses." Other headlines seemed to suggest that the whole ice shelf had fallen, rather than a just a portion. As to Morano's argument that the media "ignored" some ice growth on the austral continent. well, here's what Borenstein had: "Much of the continent is not warming and some parts are even cooling . However, the western peninsula, which includes the Wilkins ice shelf, juts out into the ocean and is warming. This is the part of the continent where scientists are most concerned about ice-melt triggering sea level rise."

The most "hyped" (to use Morano's word) phrase of the whole affair seemed to be quote from a scientist at the British Antarctic Survey (which did onsite aerial reconnaissance of the break-up) who said that that remaining 5,000-square-miles of the Wilkins ice shelf (fully ninety-six percent of the total area) is "hanging by a thread." That made it into the Sydney Morning Herald headline that Morano cited, and it is certainly true for the time being, but it is also possible (and many scientists and reporters noted this) the coming winter in the Southern Hemisphere will boost longevity. Whatever the case may be, describing all this coverage as "hype" is a definite stretch.

But you don't have to take my word for it. See, for example, the only two major newspaper editorials that addressed the collapse. The New York Times had this: "Nothing dramatizes the urgency of global warming quite like a fracture of this scale. There is nothing to be done about a collapsing polar ice sheet except to witness it. It may be too late to stop the warming decay at the boundaries of Antarctic ice, yet there is everything to be done. Humans can radically change the way they live and do business, knowing that it is the one chance to find a possible limit to radical change in the natural world around us."

The Times in London had this: "The disintegration of a large section of the Wilkins ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula does not in itself presage major global sea level rises, still less the end of life as we know it. But there is no longer any reasonable doubt that climate change is the cause; that it would take centuries of lower temperatures for these ice shelves to re-form; and that if they do not, the great ice sheets of the Antarctic interior will be the next to melt."

Hype? I think not. But thanks anyways to Morano for provoking the mental gymnastics.

Source. Another journalism site agrees with the above.

Networks Hype Rising Sea Levels in One-Sided Global Warming Reports

Parts of the Eastern English coastline have been sinking for many years

This time, the "CBS Evening News" traveled all the way across the pond to pushing the alarmists' global warming agenda. The March 27 "Evening News" went to the coastlines of England to show melting ice caps causing people to lose their homes. "Much of the effects of climate change have been couched in terms of if or when its effects will be felt," CBS correspondent Mark Phillips said. "Well, here there is no `if.' And when is now. So choices are being made. It's called managed retreat. Some areas of coastline deemed indefensible are being abandoned. Climate change is producing winners and losers, and Diana Wrightson and the others here have already lost."

However, global warming expert Lord Christopher Monckton, a policy adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, told the Business & Media Institute blaming global warming for this is "nonsense." "This story is nonsense from start to finish," Monckton told the Business & Media Institute. "As a result of continuing isostatic recovery following the recent end of the last Ice Age (about 9,000 years ago), the western half of the U.K. has been rising, and the eastern half has been falling."

Monckton continued, "The loss of coastal properties in eastern England, which began occurring long before we could have had any appreciable influence on the climate, has nothing to do with rising seas and everything to do with falling land. But stories like this are constantly peddled by the leftist media, who have no regard whatsoever for objective truth."

That same night, "NBC Nightly News" correspondent George Lewis took on rising sea levels, but they went all the way to Antarctica to find a source of their global warming alarmism.


Green bullying is the last straw

By Andrew Bolt (Writing from Australia)

BORDERS [bookshop] has at last crossed a border of my own - demanding I pay 10 cents for a plastic bag to carry home their books. This senseless green bullying is the last straw. For 10 cents it's lost a customer who's been worth hundreds of dollars a year.

I'm not easily put off by a shop like Borders, you should understand. In this case, I've long tolerated its haphazard stacking of classical CDs and foreign DVDs, its books thoroughly thumbed by its coffee shop customers, and the disengaged, overworked staff, who rarely know much about what they sell.

But my last straw broke last week when I got to the register with another four books for my children, bought on impulse on the way to the movies. "Would you like a plastic bag?" I was asked, in the disapproving tones I've learned to accept from sales staff of a certain age and taste for studs. Why Borders should be so down on a little plastic bag is a mystery, actually, given its business is selling stuff made of murdered trees and plasticised oil.

But, ever placid, I sweetly replied, yes, please - I would indeed like to carry those books in a bag rather than cart them into the cinema in my arms. Not that I said that last bit, of course.

And then I was told Borders now charged 10 cents for each bag. I pointed out that the bag should be given for free as a service to customers kind enough to buy armfuls of the shop's wares. But the sales assistant informed me in tones sanctimonious that this 10 cents was for "the environment" - going to Coastcare, a green group I'd never heard of. As I told her, to the increasing mortification of my 14-year-old son, if I wanted to donate to Coastcare I'd do it myself, and I do not need or want Borders to bully me into it.

As I huffed off with books unbagged, I heard her protest to a colleague that I was wrong to object because the bag levy really was for "the environment". Rubbish. It's for Borders' preening, and a green group's grooming. I've since learned that Borders is far from alone in this green bullying of customers. IKEA does much the same, and Bunnings doesn't even give customers the option of a bag.

Crazy. If plastic bags really were a public menace to rival cigarettes or a Tim Flannery, I could understand such finger-wagging and 10-cent fines. But claims that the bags kill 100,000 animals a year have been completely discredited, and no study can swear they're a big menace to wildlife or even the landscape. Banning or restricting them is purely symbolic, and done at the cost not of retailers but customers.

Enough of this hectoring, moral show-boating and donating with other people's money. It's the principle of the thing: If Borders wants to donate to Coastcare, let it do so with its cash, not mine. And give me my damn bag.

Source. A good reason to order from Amazon. And they use HEAPS of packaging!


For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Ocean Cooling and Global Warming

Below is an NYT article by ANDREW REVKIN that comments on the recent finding that the ocean has not been warming. The man in charge of the research that reported the ocean temperature finding has denied that his findings damage global warming theory and Revkin has seized on that, saying that the adverse findings are just a "speed bump".

The scientist concerned however is clearly engaged in a damage control exercise and makes some wild assertions in the course of it. He says, for instance, that "It is a well-established fact that human activities are heating up the planet and that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come". So in his confused mind a prophecy ("will continue to rise") is a fact! Since that is his opening gambit we know how little to expect of what follows. And in saying that "It is a well-established fact that human activities are heating up the planet" he is simply assuming what he has to prove! Sad. Let's hope his observational skills are better than his logic.

Following the Revkin screed I go on to present a brief critique by Roger Pielke

There's a tendency among energetic advocates on every side of the debate over human-caused global warming to jump on the latest finding that appears to go in their direction, often before reading the fine print in the science.

This has happened with hurricanes, Greenland, Kilimanjaro, and recent wintry weather. Over the last two weeks, it happened with the building body of temperature readings used to chart the heat buildup in the global ocean. (The latest news burst around ocean temperatures echoes one that occurred in 2006, when the first findings pointing to an ocean "speed bump" on the road to a warmer world were released. That finding was adjusted later (pdf alert).)

Along with two co-authors, Josh Willis, a climate scientist and ocean expert at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, found that warming of the seas - as measured by a network of deep-diving "Argo" buoys - essentially stopped over the last four years.

Richard Harris did a National Public Radio report on the ocean heat analysis by Dr. Willis, which is to be published soon in the Journal of Geophysical Research. The provocative headline on the piece was "The Mystery of Global Warming's Missing Heat."

That story led to a burst of blogging, and complaints on Dot Earth, questioning why the rest of the mainstream media were silent on this blockbuster. On Monday, Canada's National Post published a column by Dr. Willis explaining his findings in the context of long-term climate change. The newspaper hosts the Full Comment blog of Lorne Gunther, one of those picking up on short-term ocean cooling as a reason to question global warming.

Dr. Willis included a succinct description of how some people opposed to restrictions on greenhouse gases sometimes operate:
It is a well-established fact that human activities are heating up the planet and that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come. Climate change skeptics often highlight certain scientific results as a means of confusing this issue, and that appears to be the case with Mr. Gunter's description of our recent results based on data from Argo buoys.

Indeed, Argo data show no warming in the upper ocean over the past four years, but this does not contradict the climate models. In fact, many climate models simulate four to five year periods with no warming in the upper ocean from time to time. The same is true for the warming trend observed by NASA satellites; it too is in good agreement with climate model simulations. But more important than agreement with computer models is the fact that four years with no warming in the upper ocean does not erase the 50 years of warming we've seen since ocean temperature measurements became widespread.

It is important to remember that climate science is not a public debate carried out on the opinion pages of newspapers. What we know about global warming comes from thousands of scientists pouring over countless data sets, conducting experiments to figure out how the climate works and scrutinizing every aspect of each other's work.

He added:
It is easy to pick on computer climate models for not simulating certain things or point out the odd measurement that isn't well understood. Despite this, models and data of all different types tell the same story about the past century: the oceans are warming, sea levels are rising, the temperature of the atmosphere is increasing and carbon dioxide levels continue to go up. Given that, you don't need a fancy computer model or an Argo buoy to tell you that the future will be warmer.
The real debate is not over whether global warming exists, but how we as a society will address it. The climate system is already committed to a certain amount of warming from carbon dioxide emissions of the past, but the worst effects of global warming can still be avoided. It only requires the will to look toward the future and to curb our addiction to fossil fuels. That's not alarmist, it's just common sense.

Now that last line on policy might be read by some folks as a bit of rhetorical cover to keep Dr. Willis in good standing with his colleagues. I know him and a lot of his peers, and I doubt very much he's worried about appearances. But that's just my perception.


Comment On Weblog By Josh Willis Titled "Josh Willis On Climate Change: Global Warming Is Real"

Post below lifted from Climate Science. See the original for links

There is an interesting post on March 31 2008 of comments by Josh Willis on by Marni Soupcoff titled "Josh Willis on climate change: Global warming is real" [thanks to Jos de Laat for alerting us to it!].
It reads
"As a scientist, I always enjoy it when people outside my field take an interest in oceanography. But I was a bit disappointed to read Lorne Gunter's column: Perhaps The Climate Change Models are Wrong, March 24.

It is a well-established fact that human activities are heating up the planet and that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come. Climate change skeptics often highlight certain scientific results as a means of confusing this issue, and that appears to be the case with Mr. Gunter's description of our recent results based on data from Argo buoys.

Indeed, Argo data show no warming in the upper ocean over the past four years, but this does not contradict the climate models. In fact, many climate models simulate four to five year periods with no warming in the upper ocean from time to time. The same is true for the warming trend observed by NASA satellites; it too is in good agreement with climate model simulations. But more important than agreement with computer models is the fact that four years with no warming in the upper ocean does not erase the 50 years of warming we've seen since ocean temperature measurements became widespread. Nor does it erase the eight inches of sea level rise we've experienced in the past 100 years. Both of these are important indicators of human-kind's effect on the climate.

It is important to remember that climate science is not a public debate carried out on the opinion pages of newspapers. What we know about global warming comes from thousands of scientists pouring over countless data sets, conducting experiments to figure out how the climate works and scrutinizing every aspect of each other's work.

Scientists don't determine which results will be picked up by the media and "broadcast far and wide" - reporters do that. New science results often spark new questions (that's what makes science fun), but they don't often change the answers to old ones and it's important to place new results in their proper context. For instance, Mr. Gunter quoted me saying we are in a period of "less rapid warming." This was not "climate change dogma," but simply a reminder that other parts of the climate like the atmosphere, sea ice, glaciers and probably the deep ocean- which is not measured by Argo buoys -did continue to heat up even though the upper-ocean didn't.

It is easy to pick on computer climate models for not simulating certain things or point out the odd measurement that isn't well understood. Despite this, models and data of all different types tell the same story about the past century: the oceans are warming, sea levels are rising, the temperature of the atmosphere is increasing and carbon dioxide levels continue to go up. Given that, you don't need a fancy computer model or an Argo buoy to tell you that the future will be warmer.

The real debate is not over whether global warming exists, but how we as a society will address it. The climate system is already committed to a certain amount of warming from carbon dioxide emissions of the past, but the worst effects of global warming can still be avoided. It only requires the will to look toward the future and to curb our addiction to fossil fuels. That's not alarmist, it's just common sense.

- Josh Willis is an oceanographer and climate scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif."

Josh Willis is a well respected scientist and his views merit consideration. In this case, however, Climate Science concludes that he is misinterpreting the significance of his data analysis. He agrees that
"Indeed, Argo data show no warming in the upper ocean over the past four years".

He dismisses this though by claiming that
".but this does not contradict the climate models. In fact, many climate models simulate four to five year periods with no warming in the upper ocean from time to time. "

Where are these model results that show lack of upper ocean warming in recent years? There is an example of a model prediction of upper (3km) ocean heat content for decadal averages in Figure 1 of Barnett, T.P., D.W. Pierce, and R. Schnur, 2001: Detection of anthropogenic climate change in the world's oceans. Science, 292, 270-274, but they did not present shorter time periods. Nonetheless, since Figure 1 is presumably a running 10 year average, the steady monotonic increase in the model prediction of upper ocean heat content (the grey shading) suggests that no several years (or even one year) of zero heating occurred in the model results. The layer they analyzed in the figure is also for the upper 3 km but in Figure 2 the Barnett et al study showed that most of this heating was in the uppermost levels. Thus the lack of heating in the upper 700m over the last 4 years does conflict with at least the Barnett et al model results!

What the upper ocean data (and lack of warming) actually tells us is that if global warming occurred over the last 4 years, it was in the deeper ocean and is thus not available in the short term to the atmosphere. Indeed, if it is in the deeper ocean, it likely more diffused and therefore could only enter the atmosphere slowly if at all. This heat could also have exited into space, although the continuation of global ocean sea level rise suggests that this is less likely unless this sea level rise can be otherwise explained.

The other heat stores in the climate system are too small (and the atmosphere has clearly not warmed over the last few years). Global sea ice cover is actually above average at present (the Antarctic sea ice is at a near record level). The continued sea level rise indicates that the heat is in the deeper ocean (which is not predicted by the models).

Finally, there is also no "unrealized" heat in the system. This is a fallacy of using temperature trends as the surrogate for heat trends as has been reported Climate Science (e.g. see, see and see). Josh Willis too easily dismisses the significance of his research findings.

British policy advisor says Gore is in 'panic' mode

British environmental analyst Christopher Monckton says Al Gore's latest attack on global warming skeptics shows the former vice president and other climate alarmists are "panicking." On Sunday, CBS News correspondent Leslie Stahl asked Al Gore on the television show 60 Minutes what he thinks of people like Vice President Dick Cheney who doubt that global warming is caused by human activity. "I think that those people are in such a tiny, tiny minority now with their point of view, they're almost like the ones who still believe that the moon landing was staged in a movie lot in Arizona, and those who believe the earth is flat," replied Gore. "That demeans them a little bit, but it's not that far off."

However, Lord Christopher Monckton, a policy advisor for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during the 1980s, says the former vice president can enjoy his "flat earth fantasies" for a few months, but in the end, the world will be laughing at him. "The alarmists are alarmed, the panic mongers are panicking, the scare mongers are scared; the Gores are gored. Why? Because global warming stopped ten years ago; it hasn't got warmer since 1998," he points out. "And in fact in the last seven years, there has been a downturn in global temperatures equivalent on average to about [or] very close to one degree Fahrenheit per decade. We're actually in a period ... of global cooling."

Monckton contends Gore is now "panicking" because he has staked his reputation as a former American VP on "telling the world that we're all doomed unless we shut down 90 percent of the Western economies." He also contends that Gore is the largest "global-warming profiteer."

Gore's group The Alliance for Climate Protection is currently launching a new $300 million ad campaign that demands reforms in environmental law to help reduce the supposed "climate crisis." But Monckton points out that in the U.K., Gore is not allowed to speak in public about his "green investment company" because to do so would violate racketeering laws by "peddling a false prospectus." He says that fact came about after a British high court found Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, riddled with errors. Monckton challenged Gore to an internationally televised debate on climate change last year.


Now it's only 'many' scientists

I detect at least one admirable note of prudence in this Canadian Press story about the start today of "complex" new talks to produce a Kyoto II agreement. Specifically, this line: "Many scientists and the United Nations agree that the world needs to stabilize emissions of greenhouse gases in the next 10-15 years and slash them by 50 per cent by 2050 to prevent rising temperatures from triggering devastating changes in the environment." Note, the story does not say most scientists, or a scientific consensus, but simply "many" -- a number which could mean a minority, of course.

However, the story goes in the other direction with this one-sided declaration: "News of accelerating effects of global warming, such as the recent collapse of a massive chunk of Antarctic ice and worsening cyclones and flooding, has put even more pressure on the UN talks to provide decisive action." Omitted, of course, is any recognition of the deccerlation of global warming, as manifested in this winter's (and spring's!) unusually cold weather.


No Consensus on Global Warming

By Jack Dini, a materials engineer and section leader of fabrication processes at Lawrence Livermore National Labs

"Rashomon," a celebrated Japanese film, presents four witnesses observing a single crime. Each witness perceives the situation so differently that the audience experiences what appears to be four distinct events. Current discourse on climate change, or if you prefer, global warming, raises a "Rashomon-like" specter of competing perceptions. On the one side are those of see the world in a heap of trouble.

As Lynn Scarlett notes, "They focus on the moment, see despoliation, and predict doom. They believe we can evade doom, but only through sweeping changes, wrought through single-minded pursuit of an environmental imperative." (1) They are convinced that mankind is responsible for the earth's surface warming about 0.7C over the past century. These are the folks in the `consensus category' that Al Gore and the media talk about. According to Gore, "The science is settled on climate change. The planet has a fever and its cause is too many cars, power plants, factories, and other human-related sources putting too many emissions into the atmosphere." (2)

On the other side are the `disbelievers.' These folks posit that warming is part of Mother Nature's natural cycle and there isn't a whole lot we can do about it. Although they are a `minority,' there are many more scientists that fit this category than most people realize. They aren't given much media attention since the media for the most part belongs too the `consensus' group.

After all, you don't get attention by saying that things are just fine; you need to spruce news up with doom and gloom stories. More than 22,000 scientists signed the dissenting "Petition Project" which urges political leaders to reject the Kyoto Protocol or other similar proposals that would mandate draconian tax and regulatory measures aimed at virtually all human economic activity. The petition states there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other green house gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. (3)

According to a January 1, 2007 New York Times article by Andrew Revkin, a new middle stance has emerged in the debate over climate change. Revkin reports that more scientists are distancing themselves from the extreme fear mongering and exaggerated claims of the climate-change alarmists. (4)

Marc Morano notes that after a May 16, 2007 vote in the Senate on global warming, "there is a shift taking place in climate science. Many former believers in catastrophic man-made global warming have recently reversed themselves and are now climate skeptics. The media's fear factor seemingly grows louder even as the latest science grows less and less alarming by the day. It is also worth noting that the proponents of climate change fears are increasingly attempting to suppress dissent by skeptics." (5)

In December 2007, over 400 scientists from more than two dozen countries voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called `consensus' on man-made global warming. These scientists, many of whom are current and former participants in the UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), criticized the climate claims made by the UN IPCC, and Al Gore in a report issued by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The report lists the scientists by name, country of residence, and academic/institutional affiliation. It also provides their own words, biographies, and weblinks to their peer reviewed studies and original source materials as gathered from public statements, various news outlets, and websites in 2007. (6)

And more recently, scientists skeptical of man-made climate fears met at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change in New York City. The March 2-4 groundbreaking conference featured about 100 speakers with over people in attendance. Key items discussed at the conference included:

- Most of climate change is caused by natural forces.

- The human contribution is not significant.

- Solar activity changes are the main cause of climate change.

William Jasper reports,"The advocates of Kyoto and other schemes to super-regulate the planet frequently try to portray the scientists who dispute their claims of global warming peril as fringies, fogies, and `nut cases' who shouldn't be taken seriously. However, as brutal scientific facts have poked holes in their hypothetical global-warming models, the Gore camp has become more strident and abusive. Rather than answer the scientific critiques, they have tended simply to accuse opposition scientists of being in the pay of energy companies. Even worse, they have adapted the tactic of labeling scientists who dispute their claims as being `climate-change deniers,' on a par with `Holocaust deniers." The more radical elements of the climate-change alarmist movement have targeted dissenting scientists for vilification and harassment, even trying to deprive them of their jobs, research grants, and tenure. The most virulent `Greens' call for them to be tried as `traitors.' (2)

Many of the scientists feature in the Senate Report issued in December 2007 consistently stated that numerous colleagues shared their views, but they will not speak out publicly for fear of retribution. Atmospheric scientist, Dr. Nathan Paldor, Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and author of almost 70 peer-reviewed studies, explains how many of his fellow scientists have been intimidated: "Many of my colleagues with whom I spoke share these views and report on their inability to publish their skepticism in the scientific or public media." (6) Another example is Dr. Robert Giegengack of the University of Pennsylvania, a geologist who studies ancient atmospheres and finds no relationship between global temperatures in the past and carbon dioxide levels. He says other scientists have told him to just stop broadcasting that finding saying, "People come to me and say, `Stop talking like this, you're hurting the cause.'" (7)

Looks like William F. Buckley, Jr., wasn't far off the mark with his comment: "The heavy condemnatory breathing on the subject of global warming outdoes anything since high moments of the Inquisition." (8)

Some Final Words

Assertions by zealots and politicians, who should really know better, that climate change is the `most important environmental problem facing the world,' ought to be subjected to the cold light of reason says Michael Shaw. Before untold resources are spent, shouldn't we at least compare climate change to other problems facing mankind? (9) What about issues like communicable diseases, malnutrition and hunger, sanitation and access to clean water? Many, if not all, of these demand immediate attention and can aid folks in serious need at present, not some future generations, that may or may not be affected by the weather in the 2100s.

Lastly, 30 years ago we were supposedly headed into a cooling cycle akin to the Little Ice Age [Click here to see an actual document from that time. Click on it and use the expansion gadget to read it]. Now, it's an unprecedented heating cycle. If you ask me, that's an awfully quick time for a flip-flop on the weather. If the 14 billion year cosmic history were scaled to one day, then 100,000 years of human history would by 4 minutes and a 100 year life-span would be 0.2 seconds. (11) So, in less than 0.1 second in cosmic time we've switched on climate change. Seems like we need a few more cosmic time seconds to gather more data.



Middle-class neurosis is being exploited to protect an archaic form of agriculture

By Dominic Lawson

Was Prince Charles' chum Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association, expecting the Kenyan High Commissioner to fall to his knees in gratitude? It rather sounded like it yesterday morning, when the two of them met in a BBC radio studio.

They were there to discuss the Soil Association's proposals to discriminate against the "organic food" which is air freighted into this country, mostly from East Africa. "One option was to ban it altogether," declared Mr Holden, but instead he and his colleagues had decided that such food would only be banned if it was "not produced ethically" - whatever that means.

Of course, this is folie de grandeur on the part of the Soil Association. It cannot, fortunately, "ban" us from buying whatever food we wish to eat. All that Mr Holden really meant was that his organisation would withdraw its certification from foreign farmers whom it deemed to be "unethical". Needless to say, British organic farmers (like Mr Holden CBE) will be subject to no such extra conditions, over and above the standard requirement of not using pesticides or other man-made aids to enhance production.

In so far as this is not just old-style agricultural protectionism, it is all about the fashionable obsession with "food miles". The Soil Association, which evidently sees itself as some sort of global environmental organisation, has been agonising over the fact that the farmers of Africa are using aeroplanes - spawn of the devil! - to freight bona fide "organic" food into this country. Somehow it has convinced itself that this means that the food is not "organic", in the spiritual sense, and so must be "banned".

As the Kenyan High Commissioner, Joseph Muchemi, patiently tried to explain, the carbon emissions from his country's food producers are much less per vegetable than those of British "organic" farmers, even if you factor in the CO2 generated by flying the stuff halfway across the world. "Our farmers use manual labour, not tractors; we use compost rather than organic fertilisers," he said.

For some reason, Mr Holden did not want to address this powerful point; instead he asserted that there was really no case at all for "global trade in food", although he allowed that an exception could be made for "things like tea, coffee and bananas - things we can't produce ourselves".

This is the classic argument put by British landowners for the extortion of a monopoly rent from captive local consumers. The great Scottish economist Adam Smith delivered a withering retort to such selfish domestic agricultural interests over two centuries ago: "By means of glasses, hotbeds and hotwalls very good grapes can be raised in Scotland ... would it be a reasonable law to prohibit the importation of all foreign wines, merely to encourage the making of Claret and Burgundy in Scotland?"

This sort of thinking lay behind the recent creation of the Icelandic banana industry: the Icelandic government banned banana imports, as a result of which local landowners began to produce them in gigantic greenhouses. They were fabulously expensive, of course, which was not such good news for families who wished to feed their children healthily at a reasonable cost.

Similarly, there are tiny hobby producers of tea and coffee in Great Britain. In Patrick Holden's perfect deglobalised world, we could do with these products what the Icelanders did with bananas. Obviously this would mean that tea and coffee could be enjoyed only by the rich in this country, and Third World producers would suffer a dramatic loss of revenue and employment. This might seem a preposterous example of "self-sufficiency". Yet if we were to allow a fetish with the carbon emissions from airfreight to dominate agricultural policy, then this is the sort of mutual impoverishment that could result.

Let us, for the sake of argument, accept that the Soil Association's members are not merely acting as a trade union for Prince Charles' Duchy Originals and assorted other quaintly expensive British food producers. Let us accept, therefore, that in implementing some sort of discriminatory policy against long-distance air-freighted food, they really do believe that they are trying to "limit the damage of climate change".

Surely it ought to have occurred to them that they will only be hurting the very people whom they affect to be concerned about? After all, it is Africa, not Great Britain, which would suffer from a significant increase in average temperatures - whether caused by man or nature.

As Clare Malamed of the charity Action Aid has pointed out, the "banning of organic green beans from Kenya or mange tout from Zambia" will make no measurable difference to the UK's carbon emissions: "however, there are many poor people in Africa who depend on that trade so, for them, banning organic air freight means less development of the economy and more poverty". Mr Holden complained yesterday that many of the African food exporters are "multinationals"; but even multinationals employ locals.

There is something else quite odd about the Soil Association's position. Its members assert that "organic food" is healthier for the consumer than food which is produced with the aid of pesticides. If they are right, then if low-cost African producers can land such "good" food in this country at a price which is competitive with non-organic local producers, this ought to encourage more people to buy organic, to the great benefit of the public's health.

In fact there has never been any reliable scientific evidence that so-called "organic" food is actually better for you than food produced with the aid of pesticides. At the weekend, the former head of the Food Standards Agency, Lord Krebs, wearily reiterated that there was no such evidence. Thus last year David Miliband spoke nothing less than the truth when, as Environment Secretary, he described "organic" food as a "lifestyle choice".

On the whole it is a "lifestyle choice" limited to middle-class mothers in the South-east of England who are neurotic enough to believe the insinuations of the Soil Association that little Henry and Caroline are more likely to get cancer if mummy doesn't buy organic (at twice the price).

Now another largely middle-class neurosis - we are all doomed unless everybody stops flying! - is being exploited to protect an archaic form of agriculture which could never feed this country, still less the world. It is, at best, an exercise in self-delusion. At worst, it is a way of using food as the instrument of a deliberate policy of racial discrimination.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

"Warming Island" -Another Global Warming Myth Exposed

In our continuing theme of exposing ill-founded global warming alarmist stories, we'll examine the much touted discovery of "Warming Island"-a small piece of land that has been "long thought to be part of Greenland's mainland"-but that turns out to have been known to be an island back in the early 1950s. Another good story out the window.

As was the case of the previous two scare stories we examined that turned out to be untrue (global warming leading to amphibian decline in Central and South America, and the Inuit language lacking a word for `robin'), the story of "Warming Island" was also prominently featured in the New York Times. On January 17, 2007, The Times dedicated an article to "The Warming of Greenland" and described the recent "discovery" of islands that were exposed as such when the ice connecting them to the mainland melted away. Times writer John Collins Rudolf set the scene:
LIVERPOOL LAND, Greenland - Flying over snow-capped peaks and into a thick fog, the helicopter set down on a barren strip of rocks between two glaciers. A dozen bags of supplies, a rifle and a can of cooking gas were tossed out onto the cold ground. Then, with engines whining, the helicopter lifted off, snow and fog swirling in the rotor wash.

When it had disappeared over the horizon, no sound remained but the howling of the Arctic wind. "It feels a little like the days of the old explorers, doesn't it?" Dennis Schmitt said. Mr. Schmitt, a 60-year-old explorer from Berkeley, Calif., had just landed on a newly revealed island 400 miles north of the Arctic Circle in eastern Greenland. It was a moment of triumph: he had discovered the island on an ocean voyage in September 2005. Now, a year later, he and a small expedition team had returned to spend a week climbing peaks, crossing treacherous glaciers and documenting animal and plant life.

Despite its remote location, the island would almost certainly have been discovered, named and mapped almost a century ago when explorers like Jean-Baptiste Charcot and Philippe, Duke of Orl,ans, charted these coastlines. Would have been discovered had it not been bound to the coast by glacial ice. Maps of the region show a mountainous peninsula covered with glaciers. The island's distinct shape - like a hand with three bony fingers pointing north - looks like the end of the peninsula.

Now, where the maps showed only ice, a band of fast-flowing seawater ran between a newly exposed shoreline and the aquamarine-blue walls of a retreating ice shelf. The water was littered with dozens of icebergs, some as large as half an acre; every hour or so, several more tons of ice fractured off the shelf with a thunderous crack and an earth-shaking rumble. Such ominous implications are not lost on Mr. Schmitt, who says he hopes that the island he discovered in Greenland in September will become an international symbol of the effects of climate change. Mr. Schmitt, who speaks Inuit, has provisionally named it Uunartoq Qeqertoq: the warming island.

The remainder of the article was filled with other tales of the evidence of warming across Greenland and splashed with pictures and maps of the newly freed "Warming Island."

Since "Warming Island" was exposed as an island during the warm period preceding 2005, and seemed to be a peninsula connected to the mainland by a glacial tongue during the cold period in the early 1980s, we wondered what the situation by have been in the early 1950s, near the end of the prolonged warm period extending from the mid-1920s to the early 1960s. So we decided to see what we could find out ourselves.

Many research expeditions were undertaken in the first half of the 20th century by the Danish government to explore and map the geography and geology of Eastern Greenland. The maps that were produced from these many projects were generally of too coarse a resolution or did not quite include the area where "Warming Island" is located. The ones that did cover the region indeed showed "Warming Island" connected to the mainland. However, most of these maps were produced in the early part of the 20th century -a cold time prior to the period when the big warm-up of Greenland had either started, or had gotten much of a foothold. The mostly likely period for "Warming Island" to have shown itself as being an island prior to its "discovery" in 2005, was probably some time in the late 1940s through the early 1960s, after a period of 3-4 decades of temperatures near current levels.

This led us to the Dr. Lauge Koch expeditions of the late 1940s and early 1950s and a book published by the official aerial photographer of the mission, Ernst Hofer, titled Arctic Riviera. Hofer spent four summers in the early 1950s in eastern Greenland serving as an aerial photographer to support ground-based geologic research and mapping efforts. Hofer spent many hours flying over the vicinity of "warming island" as it was located near the mouth of the fjord in which his camp was located. His favorite photos were reproduced in Arctic Riviera.

Surely, among the thousands of photographs Hofer took during his time in Eastern Greenland must be photographs of "Warming Island" but unfortunately none are reproduced in Arctic Riviera. If they do exist, they likely remain in a collection of the research results from the Koch expeditions, stored somewhere in Denmark. But, Hofer did provide us with a map of region over which he so often flew, so as to place his pictures and stories in context.

Lo and behold, right before your very eyes, is three-fingered "Warming Island" shown as an island by probably the person with more first-hand knowledge of the region than anyone alive at the time. Surely if Hofer did not believe it to be an island, he would not have depicted it as such.

So, there is has been all along. And shown to be an island, rather than a peninsula attached to the mainland, by a least one man, and all the readers of his book, since 1957. Rather than the New York Times announcing the "discovery" of "Warming Island," in actuality, it seems that what they were really reporting on was the rediscovery of an island that had been shown to have been such 50 years prior. Funny how Hofer didn't issue a big press release about the Island's existence-oh yeah, back then the warm up was being described as "a climate improvement" by one of the most prominent Arctic researchers of the day (Ahlmann, 1953). My how times have changed!

Certainly, this fact-that "Warming Island" has been shown to have been an island as recently as the 1950s-had it been known the Times, would have tempered its enthusiasm for the story, for the claims made by Denis Schmitt that he had discovery it, and all of the hype that it ushered forth. Or at least we can only hope.

Silly claims like "Warming Island," no Inuit word for `robin,' and global warming killing frogs-claims which with a bit of due diligence are exposed as being inaccurate, but which are held up as poster children for global warming-only serve to hurt the alarmist cause rather than enhancing it. Our advice-stick to the facts, let science tell its own story, and then let the people decide if and how they may want to respond. Of course, if everyone took our advice, we'd be out of material. So on second thought, keep the hype machine in full gear, we're more than happy to spend our time exposing these, and other, silly global warming myths.

See here for more (including graphics)

UK's Sir David King Embarrassed by Skeptical Scientists

Britain's Cambridge university has recently appointed Britain's chief climate alarmist to a prestigious position. Below is a letter written by Britain's Rupert Wyndham about the matter. The letter was in response to a request for donations from his University Master. Wyndham explains a few facts to the Master as to why donations might not be forthcoming this year

31 March 2008.

Lord Butler, Master University College Oxford

Dear Robin

Thank you for your letter last week on the subject of fund raising for the College. When last we exchanged correspondence about this, attention was drawn to the fact that contributions had been made on a number of occasions in the past, and I looked forward to gifting further in the future. However, as I also mentioned, just at this precise moment, I am already fairly heavily committed. In short, there are a dozen small (and now not so small) waifs in Chiangmai, orphaned by AIDS but not themselves carriers of the virus, who depend on me directly for a significant part of their welfare, especially educational.

There is, however, another factor, which I should like to draw to your attention. I ask your indulgence if this letter turns out to be a little long, but think you'll see why. Anyway, a little background history is called for.

Four years ago Dr. Andrei Ilarionov, then chief economic adviser to Vladimir Putin, decided to cross check the advice coming to him from the Russian Academy of Sciences on the subject of global warming. Its members had opined that it would not be significant and would pose no threat. To this end, and here I quote from an impeccable source, "he looked around for the sappiest, laziest, most acquiescent, most true-elieving government in the world, and settled upon the UK.."

The then Foreign Secretary was invited to a meeting avec entourage, including the then Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir David King. Unbeknown to them, six of the world's most eminent sceptical scientists had also been invited. Let me continue by further quoting my source:
"Sir David King, not realizing he had been ambushed, launched into his usual exaggerated, alarmist presentation (he actually knows remarkably little about the science of climate, and makes an ass of himself every time he opens his mouth on the subject).

The six sceptics heard him politely until one of them, who told me the story, could contain himself no longer. When Sir David said that the snows of Kilimanjaro were melting because of "global warming", my informant pointed out that, in the 30 years since satellite monitoring of the summit had begun, temperature had at no instant risen above -1.6oC, and had averaged -7oC (Molg et al., 2003); that the region around the mountain had cooled throughout the period (Cullen, 2006); that the recession of the glacier had begun in the 1880s, long before any anthropogenic influence (Robinson, Robinson & Soon, 2007); and that the reason for the long-established recession of the Furtwangler glacier at the summit was ablation caused by the desiccation of the atmosphere owing to the regional cooling. It had nothing to do with global warming."

Fortuitously, it just so happens that I am a child of empire, one of the last, and this rings a bell entirely personal to me. You see, as a small boy in either Kenya or Uganda, I remember Kilimanjaro (as well as what I now know to be the Furtwangler Glacier) being discussed at my father's dinner table. Of course, I do not remember the detail of the grown-up conversation nor would I have understood it all, but its essence I do remember. It was a speculation about the apparent diminution of ice at the summit. So, to return:
"Sir David King, embarrassed at having been caught out, said he had never been so insulted in all his life. He flounced out of the meeting, followed by the rest of the British delegation. To Dr. Ilarionov, two conclusions were evident: first, that the supporters of the "consensus" position had based their argument on known scientific falsehoods and were accordingly unable to argue against the well-informed sceptics; secondly, that, as he put it at the time, the British Government were behaving like old-style imperialists. The breakdown in relations between the UK and Russia began at that moment."

I will not comment on the conclusion contained in the last sentence, save to say that it wouldn't surprise me any more than would the indented part of paragraph 2 above.

So, what is the point of all this? The point is a simple one. It is that anthropogenic global warming, now spun to climate change, has not a scintilla of authentic scientific evidence to support it. Likewise, there is not a scintilla of authentic scientific evidence to support the plethora of catastrophic phantasmagoria which the likes of David King and Al Gore are determined to promote as fact. In other words, King, himself a distinguished chemist if not scientist, is content not simply to watch the corruption of scientific method, and therefore the scientific endeavour generally, but to act as an enthusiastic participant. This issue, we are admonished ad nauseam, is the defining challenge to the species in the 21st century.

Intellectually, however, it is no more than a vast inverted pyramid constructed on the summit of a sand dune. Let me go a step further and suggest that it is so manifestly shoddy, mendacious and corrupt that it is simply not possible for AGW science to be pursued disinterestedly and with honesty of purpose. At a macro level, Nigel Lawson has called for the dissolution of the IPCC. He's right to do so.

You may or may not agree with the proposition just put, but it represents my carefully considered conviction and, moreover, I believe it to be supremely important on many levels. I am not alone.

So, where does that leave us or, more accurately, where does it leave me? Well, I find myself confronted with an uncomfortable dilemma. In general terms, do I consider that donating to the University in one guise or another is `a good thing'? Yes, of course. Do I, on the other hand, really feel in good conscience that financial support should be given to an institution, which not only promotes the self-preening of a vain man, but actually goes further by installing him in a sinecure calculated to allow him to further his malignant proselytising endeavours.

No doubt, in the fullness of time, the ethical conundrum will resolve itself in my mind - perhaps to the benefit of the university and/or college, perhaps not. Either way, in purely monetary terms, the effect will be insignificant. In the long run, I am not so sure that that it will remain so with regard to the appointment of the Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford. We shall see.

Yours sincerely

R.C.E. Wyndham



In contrast to a widely discussed theory that world oil production will soon reach a peak and go into sharp decline, a new analysis of the subject by Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) finds that the remaining global oil resource base is actually 3.74 trillion barrels -- three times as large as the 1.2 trillion barrels estimated by the theory's proponents -- and that the "peak oil" argument is based on faulty analysis which could, if accepted, distort critical policy and investment decisions and cloud the debate over the energy future.

"The global resource base of conventional and unconventional oils, including historical production of 1.08 trillion barrels and yet-to-be-produced resources, is 4.82 trillion barrels and likely to grow," CERA Director of Oil Industry Activity Peter M. Jackson writes in Why the Peak Oil Theory Falls Down: Myths, Legends, and the Future of Oil Resources. The CERA projection is based on the firm's analysis of fields currently in production and those yet-to-be produced or discovered.

"The 'peak oil' theory causes confusion and can lead to inappropriate actions and turn attention away from the real issues," Jackson observes. "Oil is too critical to the global economy to allow fear to replace careful analysis about the very real challenges with delivering liquid fuels to meet the needs of growing economies. This is a very important debate, and as such it deserves a rational and measured discourse."

"This is the fifth time that the world is said to be running out of oil," says CERA Chairman Daniel Yergin. "Each time -- whether it was the 'gasoline famine' at the end of WWI or the 'permanent shortage' of the 1970s -- technology and the opening of new frontier areas has banished the specter of decline. There's no reason to think that technology is finished this time."



A press release below from Dr Kesten C Green, Business and Economic Forecasting Unit, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. The paper referred to can be found here

The U. S. government commissioned studies to support the listing of polar bears as a threatened or endangered species. Polar bear numbers are currently high and the population has been increasing rapidly in recent decades. Everyone likes polar bears, so this is good news. A decision to list would require forecasts that the current upward population trend will reverse. The government studies concluded that polar bear populations would decrease substantially.

Decision makers and the public should expect people who make forecasts to be familiar with the scientific principles of forecasting just as a patient expects his physician to be familiar with the procedures dictated by medical science. Three scientists, J. Scott Armstrong of the University of Pennsylvania, Kesten Green of Monash University, and Willie Soon of The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, audited the government studies to assess whether they were consistent with forecasting principles. Their paper, "Polar Bear Population Forecasts: A Public-Policy Forecasting Audit," has been accepted for publication in the management science journal Interfaces. It is the only peer-reviewed paper on polar bear population forecasting that has been accepted for publication in an academic journal.

They concluded that the government forecasts were based on false assumptions and their polar bear population forecasts contravened many principles for scientific forecasting. Indeed, the reports followed fewer than one-sixth of the relevant principles. Given the importance of the forecasts, all principles should be properly applied. In short, the government reports do not provide relevant information for this decision.

Research shows that for issues such as the population of polar bears-situations that are complex and where there is much uncertainty-the best forecast is that things will follow a "random walk;" in effect, this model states that the most recent value is the best forecast for all periods in the future. Because the polar bear population has been increasing over recent decades, however, a continuation of that trend over the short term is possible.


France and Germany are close to resolving their dispute over EU auto emissions targets that could see a softening of the proposed regulations, a German newspaper report said on Monday. "The talks are making progress," business daily Handelsblatt cited a source close to the talks as saying. "A deal should be possible by the end of April."

The European Union wants to impose a carbon emissions limit of 120 grammes per kilometre on all new EU cars by 2012, but Handelsblatt said that this may be pushed back to 2015 and that fines on emissions over this limit may be lowered.

Berlin opposes the plans as vehicles made by German firms like BMW, Daimler and Porsche tend to be larger, luxury vehicles with greater emissions. French carmakers like Renault and Peugeot on the other hand are more focused on the market for smaller -- and therefore greener -- cars. The dispute had added to talk of a chill in Franco-German relations.



See below. Note the typically Marxist usage of "problematic" ("problematique") as a noun below. Marxists don't admit to problems because they think that they know it all. There are only things that look like problems: "Problematics"

Eberhard Rhein's proposals for an new international climate regime (see his guest blog post from yesterday) has the merit of being more concrete than what I have seen from the EU up to now in terms of efforts to put a global agreement on the rails. Nevertheless, I have two fundamental problems with it (like I have with the EU's climate policy in general BTW).

Eberhard looks only at the climate change challenge. This might be appropriate if you focus on the current international talks but it is not enough when you take as a starting point the global crisis we are facing. Indeed, the climate crisis is just one symptom of a much broader "problematique" which is the unsustainability of our industrial development model. There are other symptoms which show that we are reaching the limits of this model: peak oil or even peak energy (also gas, coal, uranium), the new commodities price boom, our global water and biodiversity threats. All these symptoms demonstrate that the natural capital, which the Earth had built up over the course of millions of years, has been exhausted in less than 150 years to feed our (mostly Western) "growth and consumption hunger".

Anyone who thinks (like the EU and the whole international community) that by tackling the climate crisis, we are out of the woods, is fundamentally mistaken. We will have to do much more than move to a low-carbon economy; we will have to build a one-planet economy and learn to produce and consume within the Earth's resource constraints. The transition to such a new development model will not be easy and the ride will be even rougher if we keep postponing the structural reforms needed.

Secondly, while I agree with Eberhard's analysis that we will not have binding CO2 targets and we should concentrate on the big sector solutions, I miss in his proposal a frank reflection on what these sector proposals will mean for prices of electricity, driving, food etc. Politicians will need to have the courage to tell their citizens that the era of cheap electricity, cheap car petrol, cheap flights and holidays is over and finished. Will our political systems be resilient and visionary enough to deliver such messages and the required political action? Or will we have to wait until economic and ecological collapse will force sustainability upon us? And what will be the cost of such a forced transition to sustainable development which respects the one-planet limits of our future lifestyles?



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Global Warming Causing Increased Tooth Decay in Children

Scientists at the Food Science Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, have found a link between global warming and tooth decay in children.

Dr. William F. Green, Senior Project Chemist and a member of the Australian Academy of Sciences, revealed the results of an 8-year study on dental health associated with high natural fruit consumption in children at the annual meeting of the Australian Dental Association in Sydney on March 13, 2008. The problem, says Green, is that the increasing world temperatures have significantly changed the ratio between two types of sugar associated with common fruits: Fructose and Galactose. Galactose, which usually combines with Glucose to form Lactose, is normally associated with dairy products and typically not found in large amounts in common fruits, which characteristically are Fructose-dominant in sugar content. But increasing temperatures in the fruit bearing regions of Australia have apparently caused a significant shift in the ratios, with Galactose levels rising in both fruits and grains, whose predominate sugar is Maltose.

The problem lies with the decay-producing bacteria known as Streptococcus mutans, which uses sugar to produce acid leading to calcium deterioration, or tooth decay. The acid produced by Streptococcus mutans when metabolizing Galactose has a 16% lower ph ( is more acidic ) than that produced by the same bacterium metabolizing the more common Fructose. This in turn has led to an 8% rise in tooth decay among the 1800 children involved in the study, which was co-sponsored by the Australian Dental Association. "Increasing Galactose levels are increasing oral acid levels to the point where our common ph-balancing dentifrices cannot keep up," says Dr. Green. "New formulations are going to be required to counter this problem, which has a clear link to ever-increasing mean growing temperatures in our fruit-producing orchard regions."

OK. It's an April 1 spoof -- by Jim Peden. There are similar real idiocies from Greenies, however. For instance, several years ago an article was published in a scientific journal that warned that global warming would cause an invasion of smaller ants from the sub-tropics to the U. S. The authors seemed to feel that the ants currently resident in the U. S. are just the right size. If there were global cooling, I guess we'd face an invasion of larger ants from Canada. Either way our current edenic state (ant-wise anyway) would be gone forever

Inhofe's priorities are "Green" too

A comment from a rare non-angry Greenie

It is arguably common for greens to declare someone like Senator James Inhofe a complete "whacko." It is also common for greens to accuse someone like Inhofe to be a tool, not even a greenwasher, but a puppet of the worst greenwashers, those who are secretly avowed enemies of everything green. He is a "denier," an oil stooge, a war hawk, an immigration xenophobe, and if that weren't bad enough, pro-life. Wow!

Too many environmentalists assume if you want to be an environmentalist, you have to disagree with Senator Inhofe's positions on the environment, if not consider him "whacko," and you should rejoice and support his being targeted by environmental organizations to "eliminate" him in November 2008. These same environmentalist forces eliminated the unbowed California Congressman Richard Pombo in the 2006 election, and now they're taking their war to Oklahoma; to the American heartland.

The problem with environmentalists targeting Inhofe is that nothing is necessarily wrong with Senator Inhofe's positions on the environment. They might even be considered rational environmentalist positions. We need more public works projects; more canals, more deep water reservoirs, more freeways, more parking garages and urban street arteries. We need to build more nuclear power plants and more fossil fuel infrastructure of almost all types.

Naturally all of these projects need to be state-of-the-art and clean, but along with "green" innovations, we need them in order to help make us energy independent and prosperous, and so does the rest of the world.

Another of Inhofe's "crimes" is to try to open Yucca Mountain. But why is it so hard to get Yucca Mountain open for business? We've dug deep into a huge mountain in one of the most remote, inert areas on earth. Even if there is some kind of cataclysmic earthquake or water intrusion - extremely unlikely - so what? The waste is planned to be within containers so strong you could practically drop them from orbit and nothing bad would escape. Opening up Yucca Mountain and starting to empty and clean up smaller dumps around the USA and elsewhere seems fine to me. How many cubic meters of nuclear waste equate to 50 gigawatt-years, anyone?

And commissioning nukes could help save the rainforest from pre-green biofuel incarnations.Perhaps addressing all of Inhofe's infrastructure agenda isn't necessary. But too many environmentalists don't want ANY infrastructure. By the time anything significant is built, it costs 10x and takes 10x as long, and happens 1/10th as often as it should. Many things desperately needed, like more freeways, are off the table. Projects are backed up and our economy suffers because today anti-Inhofe environmentalists wield far too much influence, blocking and micromanaging all development.

As for recognizing the deadly role of CO2 in our planetary future, Inhofe is a heretic, and like all such heretics today, Inhofe is the target of an internationally coordinated professional propaganda effort to demonize him in the public eye. His motives, his sanity, and all of his associations are called into question. This is not healthy debate, nor civil; environmentalists are worthy of something better.

We should embrace debate as to what it is to be a rational environmentalist. We should accept both infrastructure proponants as well as global warming skeptics into the environmentalist fold, because the strengths of their convictions may be no less sincere, and their contributions no less valid.

And to those professionals who are targeting Inhofe from Oklahoma, an independent voice in the heartland of America, know this: California is also in play, because the truth is stronger than the trend, and it is wrong to try to silence and demonize those who disagree.



It will cost every household in the UK at least 2,000 pounds to comply with the new European Union target of producing 15 per cent of all energy from renewable sources by 2020, according to a report commissioned by the government. The report also says the UK will have to spend far more to meet the target than other EU countries, because the UK lags behind the rest of Europe on renewables and is a heavy energy user.

According to energy consultancy Poyry, the bill for the UK to meet the target would be at least 5 billion euros a year for more than a decade, compared with just over 3bn a year for France and Germany, and well under 500m for most other countries. Energy companies are expected to pass on to consumers - who already face soaring utility bills - the costs of building the necessary wind farms, biomass plants and solar generators.

Chris Goodall, author of How to Live a Low-Carbon Life, says even these estimates are conservative, and fail to take into account the huge investment needed to connect new renewable and micro-generators to the national grid.

A government spokeswoman admitted that meeting the EU target would be challenging, but added: 'We must make these hard choices if we are to tackle climate change.'


Why won't there be a "green revolution" in Africa?

Because European lefties have persuaded African governments that their people are better off dead from starvation than alive for having eaten GM foods. Even Jimmy Carter supports GM foods for Africa, which says something about how jaw-droppingly stupid these policies are.

Here's the tough question that the world very much needs to settle: To what extent ought the rich countries of the world act without regard to the sovereign rights of the world's poorest countries when the corrupt fools who run them actually obstruct attempts to save the lives of their people? If rich governments should act against sovereign rights (presumably by force if necessary) in order to rescue people, should there be a difference in how we treat governments that obstruct aid for malign reasons and those that are simply duped by political fashion?

It seems to me that if we are unable or willing to answer these questions, we should stop fretting about Darfur, Rwanda, and other such circles of hell.


Let rest of world (mainly Europe) make climate errors

Comment from Australia

KEVIN Rudd has an unfortunate proclivity for proclaiming Australia should lead the world in its response to global warming. For a country so richly endowed with carbon-based energy resources, this does not immediately commend itself as the most obvious policy course for us to follow. And the latest discussion paper on emissions trading from the Garnaut review, released last Thursday, should have set political alarm bells ringing on the potential costs of action to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong is right to describe emissions trading as one of the most far-reaching and complex reforms in Australian history. Economist Ross Garnaut, who is conducting the review of climate change policies for the state and federal governments, defers to nobody in his alarm at the pace of global warming and his sense of urgency about responding to it.

However, among the "core factors" his terms of reference require him to take into account is this one: "the costs and benefits of Australia taking significant action to mitigate climate change ahead of competitor nations". While Garnaut is keen to see Australia play a full part in international efforts on climate change, his interim report suggests we should calibrate our responses so that they mirror "similar adjustment costs to other developed nations". Just what this will mean in practice is a fascinating question.

The indications are that even the relatively trivial emissions targets set under the Kyoto Protocol are likely to be missed by many signatory nations, including Canada, New Zealand and various European countries, which are looking for ways to avoid the penalties involved for so doing. Britain, which has claimed it will meet its Kyoto target comfortably (because it shut down its coal industry in the 1990s, for reasons that had nothing to do with climate change), turns out to have been using dodgy measurements. According to the method preferred by Britain's National Audit Office, there has been no reduction in its emissions from their 1990 level.

But even more interesting is the way things are unfolding when it comes to future action. The European Union has been a leading proponent of the apocalyptic view of the consequences of climate change and an advocate of strong global action. Yet in recent months there has been a far from unified response to proposals from Brussels on emissions targets and related matters from the EU's members. Germany and France, the EU's two most powerful members, have been unhappy and vocal about the effect on their energy-intensive industries, including the steel and car industries, of targets such as a 20 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020.

Ironically, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who chaired last year's EU spring summit (where she was all for the adoption of such targets), did an about-face this month. Germany led a push to get energy-intensive industries special treatment, alarming the Greens in the European parliament, who described it as small-minded and "a frenzy of bargaining for exemptions and further compromises".

There is growing concern in Europe that energy-intensive industries could move offshore if the EU is too ambitious in setting its emission reduction targets. The summit communique provides for special treatment for energy-intensive industries if international negotiations fail to get other countries to match Europe's emission targets.

The European Commission's president Jose Manuel Barroso is concerned this compromise will undermine Europe's credibility in international negotiations. He is talking of the possibility of protectionist measures against imports from countries such as China, with lower environmental standards, if international agreement on climate change action isn't reached by 2009. This would be a disastrous move, for Europe and the world.

Japan is also running into difficulties with its Kyoto target and appears to be looking for ways to shift the goalposts in the next round of climate change negotiations.

In the US all the presidential candidates are talking about commitment to an emissions trading system and targets, but there is no reason to think Congress, which is in a protectionist mood, will sign on to any international agreement that doesn't impose obligations on China and other developing countries to accept binding targets for emissions cuts. There is no sign China or India will agree to that, and if China and the US don't play ball, then it's game over for any meaningful international agreement post-Kyoto in 2012.

Garnaut has acknowledged that at the present rate of progress in global negotiations, agreement on a comprehensive plan to substantially slash greenhouse gas emissions could be decades away. This is not an environment in which Australia should be rushing to set up an ambitious national emissions trading scheme. The Rudd Government should think again about its aim of finalising its plans by the end of the year.

It is not only a matter of not getting ahead of our international competitors in imposing substantial costs on key national industries. What Garnaut proposes also involves vast transfers of wealth, jobs and resources domestically, as government reallocates the billions of dollars in revenue its emissions trading scheme would raise. Garnaut has suggested ways to use these enormous revenues to compensate households and other victims of the higher prices and job losses involved. But the whole of economic history suggests the scope for misallocation and misuse of these funds by government is great.

Neither climate change alarmism, based on still uncertain science, nor misplaced ambition to be a world leader in emission reductions should rush us into premature decisions on such a fundamental issue. The rest of the world isn't in any hurry.


Australian politicians shun "enviro-friendly" cars

POLITICIANS are spending taxpayers' money on gas-guzzling cars and four-wheel drives while telling average Aussies to cut their carbon emissions. More than 100 federal MPs drive taxpayer-funded 4WDs and V8s, and 113 MPs have family-size sedans and wagons. But there are only 10 Toyota Prius hybrids in the privately plated vehicle fleet. And only five MPs have bothered to request LPG vehicles, which are better for the environment than petrol models.

The Herald Sun obtained details of MPs' taxpayer-funded vehicles after months of bureaucratic buck-passing. But the Department of Finance refused to reveal the vehicle choices of individual MPs, claiming the information was private. The Government, which signed the Kyoto Protocol as its first official act, does not impose any environmental restrictions or guidelines on the selection of privately plated vehicles. MPs must select their car from a list of Australian-made vehicles. If they want a non-standard or imported vehicle, such as a 4WD, V8 or hybrid, they must pay the difference from their electoral allowance. "At present, the onus of choice is on the parliamentarian," said a spokesman for Special Minister of State John Faulkner.

Most of the four-wheel drives selected are Australian-made Ford Territorys, which burn about 13 litres of fuel in 100km on the open road. Ford Falcons and Holden Commodores use about 10-11 litres/100km, while the Toyota Prius uses 4.4 litres/100km.

The Australian Conservation Foundation said politicians should drive the most efficient cars available. "I think it's clear the Australian people would like to see the Government leading the way on this," acting executive director Chris Berger said. Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, who drives a Mitsubishi 380 but has a Prius on order, said the Commonwealth was looking at ways to improve its environmental performance. "The Government has committed to leading by example in reducing emissions from its own operations," her spokesman said.



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