Warmist crooks above: Keith "One tree" Briffa; Michael "Bristlecone" Mann; James "data distorter" Hansen; Phil "data destroyer" Jones -- Leading members in the cabal of climate quacks

The CO2 that is supposed to warm the earth is mostly in the upper atmosphere, where it is very cold. Yet that CO2 is said to warm the earth. How can heat flow from a cold body to a hot one? Strange thermodynamics!

Against the long history of huge temperature variation in the earth's climate (ice ages etc.), the .6 of one degree average rise reported for the entire 20th century by the United Nations (a rise so small that you would not be able to detect such a difference personally without instruments) shows in fact that the 20th century was a time of exceptional temperature stability.

There is an "ascetic instinct" (or perhaps a "survivalist instinct") in many people that causes them to delight in going without material comforts. Monasteries and nunneries were once full of such people -- with the Byzantine stylites perhaps the most striking example. Many Greenies (other than Al Gore and his Hollywood pals) have that instinct too but in the absence of strong orthodox religious committments they have to convince themselves that the world NEEDS them to live in an ascetic way. So their personal emotional needs lead them to press on us all a delusional belief that the planet needs "saving".

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31 December, 2011

New Paper: The Sun’s Impact On Earth’s Temperature Goes Far Beyond the simplistic total solar irradiance (TSI)

TSI is the only measure Warmists will consider

A recent paper published by the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar Terrestial Physics (74) 2012 87-93 and authored by Souza Echer et al. suggests that solar cycles, to a substantial extent, drive global temperatures, and that likely through amplification mechanisms.

The paper is titled: "On the relationship between global, hemispheric and latitudinal averaged air surface temperature (GISS time series) and solar activity"

The authors decomposed average air surface temperature series obtained from GISS and sunspot number (Rz) from 1880 – 2005 to see if a correlation could be found. They performed a cross correlation analysis between band-passed filtered data around 11-year and 22 years.

Although the authors did not find a strong correlation with the 11-year solar cycle, they found a “very significant correlation” in the 22-year Hale cycle band. The abstract states:
A very significant correlation (Rz 0.57 to 0.80) is found in the 22 yr solar Hale cycle band (16–32 years ) with lags from zero to four years between latitudinal averages air surface temperature and Rz. Therefore it seems that the 22 yr magnetic field solar cycle might have a higher effect on Earth’s climate than solar variations related to the 11-yr sunspot cycle.”

Well then, can we not assume that if the 22-year cycles have an impact, also the 78-year, 210-year, and 1000-year solar activity cycles must have a “significant correlation” with the earth’s climate too? Already there are dozens of proxy records showing that this is precisely the case.

Recall that the CO2 warmists in their half-baked models stubbornly keep focusing only on total solar irradiance (TSI), which itself varies only about 0.1% over an 11-year cycle (and thus by itself is no real climate driver) and ignore all the other amplification mechanisms. Well, the results of this study, as do dozens of others studies, show you can’t do that. Like it or not – the sun is a real player. Eventually the CO2 warmists will have to admit this, as anyone with even just an inkling of intuition would do.

Obviously there are others who feel the same way when it comes to the role of the sun on the earth’s climate. Another paper just published at the same journal shows that other scientists are hot on the sun’s trail. Here Magee and Kavic in their paper titled: "Probing the climatological impact of a cosmic ray–cloud connection through low-frequency radio observations" suspect a solar mechanism and so propose a method of observation. In the abstract they write:
…in order to establish whether or not such a relationship exists, measurements of short-timescale solar events, individual cosmic ray events, and spatially correlated cloud parameters could be of great significance. Here we propose such a comparison using observations from a pair of radio telescopes arrays,the Long Wavelength Array (LWA) and the Eight-meter-wavelength Transient Array (ETA). These low-frequency radio arrays have a unique ability to simultaneously conduct solar, ionospheric and cosmic rays observations and are thus ideal for such a comparison.”

The direction of climate science and investigation is clear. The real discoveries will involve unraveling the solar mechanisms, and not baking simplistic, straight-line CO2-temperature models. With each new study, the CO2 warmists look more and more like broken records that keep repeating: CO2…CO2…CO2…CO2…

Obviously some scientists just aren’t clever enough to snap out of it.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Shock News : Sea Level Almost As High As Eight Years Ago

Sea level has been rising over the last few months (as it does every Northern Hemisphere autumn) and is almost as high now as when Envisat started taking measurements in 2003. If sea level continues to rise at this rate, an ant may drown sometime in the next millennium. Or perhaps not.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

A tip from Michael Mann on how to handle scientific debate: Set up your email server so that it automatically rejects email from people who disagree with you

Email 1566:

"...It appears, by the way, that [McIntyre] has been trying to break into our machine ("multiproxy"). Obviously, this character is looking for any little thing he can get ahold of...

The best that can be done is to ignore their desperate emails and, if they manage to slip something into the peer-reviewed literature, as in the case of Soon & Baliunas, deal w/ it as we did in that case--i.e., the Eos response to Soon et al---they were stung badly by that, and the bad press that followed.For those of you who haven't seen it, I'm forwarding an interesting email exchange from John Holdren of Harvard that I got the other day. He summarized the whole thing very nicely, form an independent perspective...



p.s. I'm setting up my email server so that it automatically rejects emails from the "usual suspects". You might want to do the same. As they increasingly get automatic reject messages from the scientists, they'll start to get the picture..."


A Bad Green Dream

Steve Milloy

“The Obama administration promised a green energy future. What it delivered, though, is a present filled with rancid politics, aching failure and tawdry scandal.”

Investor’s Business Daily editorializes,
… Going where few mainstream media outlets dare to tread because they don’t want to hurt the president’s re-election chances, the [Washington Post] actually took a realistic look at the White House’s $80 billion clean-technology program. It found that “as Solyndra tottered, officials discussed the political fallout from its troubles, the ‘optics’ in Washington and the impact that the company’s failure could have on” a second term for Obama…

While the Post took a hard line, it was not the first left-leaning newspaper to do so. The New York Times provided similar coverage in August, reporting that “the green economy is not proving to be the job-creation engine that many politicians envisioned.”

But all this came out in 2011. Let’s see how much these newspapers mention Solyndra and the green scandal when the 2012 campaign heats up.

Check out the WashPost’s prior assaults on Obama’s green subsidies:

WashPost: Politics powered decisions on Solyndra

WashPost: Obama $5 billion investment in EVs sputters

WashPost: Stop subsidizing clean energy

WashPost: Before Solyndra, a long history of failed government energy projects

WashPost dumps on subsidized electric cars again

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Fifty New Hampshire "scientists" called on the Republican presidential candidates to accept the “overwhelming” scientific evidence behind climate change.

A group called Carbon Solutions New England has circulated a petition that it says was signed by 50 scientists urging the Republican presidential candidates and all other candidates for public office "to acknowledge the overwhelming balance of evidence for the underlying causes of climate change, to support appropriate responses to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, and to develop local and statewide strategies to adapt to near-term changes in climate."

The petition lists recent temperature and weather trends, such as warmer autumns and winters and more storms, and asserts such indisputably rigorous scientific assessments as: "These shifts in New Hampshire’s climate are clearly connected to changes in global climate."

To respond with equal scientific authority: No, they're not.

That is, some seem to be, others might not be, but where is the proof of a connection to human behavior? They provide none.

It is a funny little bit of propaganda made all the more humorous by its labeling as "scientists" a historian, a sociologist, two political scientists, a professor of health economics, several civil engineers, two medical doctors, and some Ph.D. candidates.

Nothing says "We are serious scientists; heed our doomsday predictions!" quite like the overstating of credentials. If they'll overstate their credentials, then why wouldn't they overstate the connection between recent weather events and human behavior?

Nonetheless, the petition got written up in The Hill, which lent it some undue legitimacy. Voters ought to ignore it.


Politics, tax money corrupts Global warming 'science'

The Libertarian News Examiner occasionally writes articles belittling the politicized Algorian version of Global Warming and occasionally takes flack for it. So let's examine some of that flackery:

Climate Change denial

"Climate change" and "global warming" are two different things. The Earth has gone through repeated Ice Ages, interglacial "tropical ages," and virtually every climatic condition in between including the well documented "Medieval Warm Period" and "Little Ice Age." That's proven climate change.

Political opinion pieces are no place to debate science.

But of course they are. Current global warming discussion has become so corrupted by politics, ideology, and government money that it's impossible to separate science from politics. It should and must be debated by political pundits.

The science is peer reviewed

In What's Going on Behind the Curtain H. Sterling Burnett discussed how the WikiLeaks memos exposed the undermining of the peer review process: "On the latter point the researchers involved threatened to boycott and get editors fired at journals publishing findings questioning the urgency of the climate crisis."

Don't wander into conspiracy theory type claims

Again quoting Burnett, the WikiLeaks memos revealed some scientists "conspiring to avoid legally required disclosure of taxpayer-funded data." What's your definition of "conspiracy?"

Still, AGW may be real and dangerous.

That's like saying "Even though there's no scientific proof that God exists we'd better believe in Him anyway just in case." Is that science too?

Every time laymen get into scientific arguments with scientists the laymen lose

But none of the Libertarian News Examiner articles argue the science per se. Articles rest on pointing out that the science is corrupted by politics, and that because many scientists just as credible and numerous as the GW and AGW scientists dispute the legitimacy of the science – some even claiming evidence for global cooling – that the science itself is profoundly immature. How many scientists argue over the existence of gravity or that the Earth orbits the Sun?

As Geophysicist David Deming says in Why I Deny Global Warming, "Global warming predictions cannot be tested with mathematical models. It is impossible to validate computer models of complex natural systems."

Climate science isn't the only science subject to corruption. Michael A. Cremo writes about similar self-serving deception and hypocrisy in what he calls Forbidden Archeology.

From Deming on global warming again: "Anyone who is an honest and competent scientist must be a denier."



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30 December, 2011

Hansen's explanation of why the oceans are not warming

Improving observations of ocean heat content show that Earth is absorbing more energy from the sun than it is radiating to space as heat, even during the recent solar minimum. The inferred planetary energy imbalance, 0.59 ± 0.15 W m−2 during the 6-year period 2005–2010, confirms the dominant role of the human-made greenhouse effect in driving global climate change. Observed surface temperature change and ocean heat gain together constrain the net climate forcing and ocean mixing rates. We conclude that most climate models mix heat too efficiently into the deep ocean and as a result underestimate the negative forcing by human-made aerosols. Aerosol climate forcing today is inferred to be −1.6 ± 0.3 W m−2, implying substantial aerosol indirect climate forcing via cloud changes. Continued failure to quantify the specific origins of this large forcing is untenable, as knowledge of changing aerosol effects is needed to understand future climate change. We conclude that recent slowdown of ocean heat uptake was caused by a delayed rebound effect from Mount Pinatubo aerosols and a deep prolonged solar minimum. Observed sea level rise during the Argo float era is readily accounted for by ice melt and ocean thermal expansion, but the ascendency of ice melt leads us to anticipate acceleration of the rate of sea level rise this decade.


One doesn't need to go into the physics involved to see that this is bad science. It is in fact a particularly egregious example of a post hoc explanation -- being wise after the event in layman's terms. Such explanations get as little respect in science as elsewhere.

Such explanations are given when something predicted by theory fails to occur -- and when there is one clear confounding factor they can have some status. But Hansen's paper has no such status. He has to invoke a whole range of special influences, some of which seem to be entirely imaginary. Without any evidence for it he extends the influence of the Pinatubo eruption to two decades, which is wildly outside the normal expectation of a couple of years at most. The paper is a patent work of desperation.

On the amusing side, he admits an effect of solar variations, something long denied by Warmists, including himself.

Steve Goddard sinks the knife in too.

New Paper Shows Profound Urban Warming Impact

A new paper written by Maeng-Ki Kim, Department of Atmospheric Science, Kongju National University, and Seonae Kim of the Applied Meteorology Research Team, Environmental Prediction Research Inc. of Korea has been published by the Journal of Atmospheric Environment.

The two scientists examined cities in South Korea and the urban heat island effect. According to the abstract:
The quantitative values of the urban warming effect over city stations in the Korean peninsula were estimated by using the warming mode of Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF) analysis of 55 years of temperature data, from 1954 to 2008. The estimated amount of urban warming was verified by applying the multiple linear regression equation with two independent variables: the rate of population growth and the total population. [...] The cities that show great warming due to urbanization are Daegu, Pohang, Seoul, and Incheon, which show values of about 1.35, 1.17, 1.16, and 1.10°C, respectively. The areas that showed urban warming less than 0.2°C are Chupungnyeong and Mokpo. On average, the total temperature increase over South Korea was about 1.37°C; the amount of increase caused by the greenhouse effect is approximately 0.60°C, and the amount caused by urban warming is approximately 0.77°C.”

According to their results, that means well over a half of the warming is caused by urban warming.

Why aren’t we surprised? Anyone who has read Ed Caryl’s very recent stories here at this blog and is familiar with Anthony Watts’s surface stations audit knows why.


Ludicrous: U.S. Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency guess at 2025 car sales

If Congress is seriously interested in finding people to cut perhaps they just need to look at those responsible for producing automobile company sales projections for the year 2025. That’s right, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation spent your tax dollars to make up sales projections for a model year that is thirteen years from now.

Of course, this should not be surprising for the EPA which regularly creates regulations based upon speculative global warming models that project weather patterns fifty to one hundred years in the future. So, automotive industry sales projections for the year 2025 must have seemed like legitimate economic analysis after dealing in the politically driven climate guessing world for the past few years.

Not shockingly, the analysis is based upon the automakers current line-up of vehicles and their dependence upon vehicles which are likely to no longer exist if the Transportation Department’s rule increasing the average gas mileage for a company’s fleet of vehicles to 54.5 miles per gallon in 2025 becomes the law of the land.

The projections were created as part of the CAFÉ standard rulemaking process, and Automotive News quotes Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive as indicting the guesswork on two fronts noting that the report relied upon 2008 sales data making it, “a bit dated, especially given all the changes in the automotive industry over the last few years.”

Schuster continued calling any forecast that far out, “… a crapshoot,” noting, “They don’t even know what their lineup is going to be in 2025, so it’s difficult for a forecaster to know.”
The official government forecasts were not good for twice bailed out Chrysler Corporation which is projected to have a devastating 54% drop in vehicle sales.

Not surprisingly, the government sees good things for Tesla Corporation, the recipient of $465 million in low interest federal loans. In the third quarter of 2011, Tesla reports that they sold 184 of their $109,000 Roadsters, fewer vehicles than the Chevy Volt.

However, in 2025, the crystal ball gazers in the federal government estimate that Tesla will sell 31,974 vehicles, not 31,000 or 32,000 vehicles, but 31,974 little Tesla electric cars will be buzzing around terrorizing the deaf who can’t hear them coming.

Of course, if private bankers believed that Tesla had this kind of massive upside, they would not have had to rely on taxpayer loans to build their manufacturing facilities, so it is reasonable to assume that like Solyndra, the projections of success may be more driven by the hoped for outcome rather than any real market analysis.

Now, a cynical person would believe that the stunningly unreachable CAFÉ standards set for 2025 are less based upon any real expectation that conventional combustion engines will be able to be tweaked to achieve them and more from a social policy desire to force internal combustion engines off the road all-together.

If this is the case and the standards survive, perhaps Tesla is a good investment bet for the future. After all, they are basing their electric engine on 1885 technology and claim a range between charges of around 300 miles. This is compared to the fire-prone Chevy Volt which suffers from an electric charge limitation of 40 miles.


High Prices Will Limit Sales of Electric Vehicles in 2012, According to Pike Research

Many potential buyers will hold off on purchases of electric vehicles (EVs) during 2012 due to the premium pricing of the vehicles, according to a new white paper from Pike Research. Nissan raised the price of the Leaf for 2012, and while the 2012 Chevrolet Volt will sell for $1,000 less, the car comes without several features that were previously standard but are now options.

According to data from Pike Research’s annual Electric Vehicle Consumer Survey, the optimal price for a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) to engage consumers is $23,750. With the 2012 Toyota Prius PHEV ($32,000), the Honda Fit BEV ($36,625), and the Ford Focus EV ($39,995) all north of $30,000 (before federal incentives), consumers hoping for an affordable EV ride have been left wanting. These relatively high selling prices will constrain the market for PEVs in 2012. The white paper, which includes 10 predictions about the EV market in 2012, is available for free download on Pike Research’s website.

“Vehicles on sale in 2012 will not benefit from recent cost reductions in batteries,” says research director John Gartner. “The batteries in these vehicles were ordered before 2012, so any flexibility in reducing vehicle pricing will not occur until 2013 or 2014 at the earliest. Nevertheless, the global market for plug-in electric vehicles will grow to more than a quarter million vehicles in 2012 – a number sufficient to put an end to the ‘are they for real?’ speculation that has surrounded this market.”

Pike Research’s industry predictions for 2012 include the following:

* Car-sharing services will expand the market for EVs and hybrids.

* Battery production will outstrip vehicle production.

* The Asia-Pacific region will become the early leader in vehicle-to-grid (V2G) systems.

* Third-party EV charging companies will dominate public charging sales.

* Employers will begin to purchase EV chargers in large numbers.

* EVs will begin to function as home appliances.

Pike Research’s white paper, “Electric Vehicles: 10 Predictions for 2012”, analyzes 10 key trends that will influence the development of the electric vehicle market in 2012 and beyond. Conclusions and predictions in this paper are drawn from the firm’s ongoing Smart Transportation research coverage, with forecasts included for key market sectors. A full copy of the white paper is available for free download on the firm’s website.


Greener energy will cost £4,600 each a year in Britain

The Coalition's plans to convert Britain to green energy would cost the country the equivalent of £4,600 per person a year, according to official forecasts. Reducing dependence on fossil fuels and moving to renewable and nuclear energy would cost an additional £60billion every year until 2050, the officials said.

But Professor David MacKay, a government adviser on climate change, said that doing nothing to reduce carbon emissions would prove even more expensive because of rising energy prices.

Although the cost of converting to green energy will initially be paid by energy companies and the Government, they are likely to pass it on to taxpayers through higher energy bills and taxes.

The bulk of the cost will lie in replacing the ageing fossil fuel and nuclear power stations and meeting the Government's commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to hit European Union targets.

Meeting the country's current energy needs costs an estimated £220billion, equivalent to £3,700 per person every year.

The cheapest option for switching to green energy would increase the estimated cost of energy to £4,598 per person per year.

Under this plan, just over 40 per cent of energy would come from wind, solar and renewable power, a third would come from nuclear plants and a quarter from gas stations.

The estimates suggest that failing to replace fossil fuel plants with greener energy would be even more costly.

Continuing to rely on coal and gas would cost about £4,682 a year per person, according to the forecasts.

The most expensive scenario, working out at £5,181 per person a year, would rely on a far higher use of nuclear power than any of the other options.

The "cost of energy calculator" has been designed by Prof MacKay for the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The Government estimates that household bills will probably increase by around £200 a year over the next decade, with about half of this rise caused by Britain's climate change policies.

Household energy bills are already at record levels, with the average domestic fuel cost estimated to be about £1,175 for 2011, compared with £1,075 for the same level of energy consumption last year.

Energy companies were criticised for raising their prices this summer. The industry has claimed that gas prices have risen because production has fallen from the Middle East during the Arab Spring, and extra supplies have gone to Japan following the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan last March.

Prof MacKay said: "I was irritated by all the twaddle being talked about energy and the misleading comparisons made. I just wanted the numbers without the hype. I am just the numbers guy, trying to be helpful."



Two current articles below

Solar tariff scheme blows out by $46 million

Now it's Western Australia's turn

WA's solar power tariff feed-in scheme has now blown out from $114 million to $180 million - $46 millon of which will be paid by the state government. Photo: Glenn Hunt

The state government's solar panel rebate scheme has blown out by at least $46 million, after a cap imposed on the program in response to its popularity was breached.

The feed-in tariff scheme was introduced in 2009, and offered new households who fed solar-produced power back into the grid a rebate of 40 cents per kilowatt hour.

More than 76,000 households signed up to the scheme, but its popularity prompted the Barnett Government to impose a cap of 150MW earlier this year and to halve the rate to 20 cents.

The scheme was originally estimated to cost $28.2 million, before being revised to $114 million.

But yesterday's mid-year budget forecasts revealed the estimate had blown out to $180 million, after too many applications were processed and the cap was breached by 15MW. Synergy will pay $20 million of the overrun, while the state government will pay $46 million.

Treasurer Christian Porter has ordered an audit into the scheme, which will analyse all the applications received between May 21, when the cap was announced, and June 30, when it was imposed.

Mr Porter said the audit would find out if any applications were incorrectly approved, which could see the cost blowout reduced.

"The suspicion that we have in Treasury is that there are applications that said they met the requirements, but didn't," he said. "Or alternatively, the Office of Energy or Synergy made an error."

"There's been a cost overrun, there clearly has been... but the money is not wasted, the money has been spent delivering clean electricity and incentivising the product of photovoltaics.

"There weren't appropriate procedures put in place to know which bundle of applications, or which single application, represented the breaching of the cap."

Shadow Energy Minister Kate Doust said the feed-in tariff scheme had been completely mismanaged. "This scheme has been poorly regulated with poor safety records and now there have been huge cost blowouts – it has been one stuff up after another from this minister," she said. "With an extra $46 million needed over the next three years for this scheme, the (Energy Minister Peter Collier's) mismanagement and hands-off approach will ultimately cost our state for a decade."

But Mr Porter said the overrun was closer to $14 million, as the initial forecast from the Office of Energy was inaccurate and the government had always been prepared to pay $165.3 million for the project.


Global cooling hits Sydney

It's been an unusually cool December in Brisbane too

IT'S a good thing December is almost over - it's been the coldest for more than 50 years. With two days to go, it seems certain Sydney will record its coldest December since 1960, with the average daily maximum so far this month 2.2C below the long-term average. Sydney's average top temperature so far this month was a chilly 23C - only 0.2C more than in 1960.

That isn't going to change much over the next two days, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting showers and tops of just 24C.

Not once has the temperature reached 30C in the city this month, the first time since 1999 the mercury has failed to reach that mark in December. Even in 1960, Sydney recorded two days with top temperatures above 30C.

The Weather Channel meteorologist Dick Whitaker said Sydney wasn't the only city to suffer a cold start to summer, with Canberra and Brisbane also experiencing below average temperatures.

"Across eastern Australia we had a lot of cloud cover in December and on top of that we had an above average frequency of southerly winds," Mr Whitaker said.

He said La Nina wasn't solely to blame for Sydney's unseasonably cool weather, despite it being associated with cooler, wetter weather: "Each La Nina is unique, like a fingerprint. La Nina was even stronger last year but Sydney was drier than average, which was a bit unusual. La Nina is just one factor, and this year there are other factors."

One of those is rainfall. So far this month Sydney has received 77.8mm of rain, precisely the long-term average for December. "In 1960 they had 244.9mm of rain, so clearly it was an extremely wet month and that was the biggest issue behind the cooler temperatures then," he said.

Thankfully there will be an extra reason to celebrate when the fireworks go off over the Harbour - the new year will also usher in a new weather pattern, delivering Sydney its first run of blue skies and warm weather this summer.

After a cool start of just 16C, the first day of the year is expected to be sunny with a top of 26C - and the news gets better from there. The sunshine is expected to continue for at least the following two days, with top temperatures of 27C and 28C expected in the city.

"It looks like summer is on its way," Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Michael Logan said. "Longer term, it looks more like what you would expect for summer, with plenty of days in the mid to high 20s."



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


29 December, 2011

Warmist chosen as a "messenger" of science

Chris Mooney is basically an ignoramus. You will see here how ill-informed he is. He is all bluster, speculation and projection. He is not a researcher's rear end. Science is in a bad way if he counts as a scientist

The National Science Foundation (NSF) will be holding a workshop, "Science: Becoming the Messenger" on January 23, 2012, at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa Hotel, 2552 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815.

We are extending an invitation to principal investigators (PI), early career researchers and engineers, graduate students and postdocs from institutions and universities in Hawaii who would like to learn to communicate effectively to a broad audience.

We are also extending an invitation to public information officers (PIO) communicating on behalf of the institutions and universities in Hawaii.

Today, across academia and the research community, there is a growing interest in science communication. Scientists are asking how they can share their knowledge and findings across an increasingly challenging information environment.

Seminars and training workshops are, accordingly, springing up to meet this need. But never before has there been a team like the one NSF has assembled to help members of the scientific community at all levels become more effective messengers.

Featuring three accomplished communicators and trainers--Emmy award winning television producer Joe Schreiber, former PBS executive Dan Agan and bestselling science author Chris Mooney--the NSF workshop "Science: Becoming the Messenger" provides one-stop shopping for those seeking to reach a broader public about their work.

Over the course of this full day of training, participants will learn how to craft a message and deliver it to a variety of audiences. They will also have the opportunity to experience live interview training, to develop writing and new media skills, to hone their public presentations and even to produce video.

Public information officers (PIO) will participate in all aspects of day one of the workshop and be able to participate with the researchers. They will attend a special breakout session designed to collaborate with NSF Public Affairs.


Maybe there is one Warmist who understands adiabatics

Warmist Pierrehumbert says:
Regarding the methane time-bomb issue, I do understand the need to respond to unwarranted predictions of catastrophe. I’ve made responses of this type myself. For example I think that Jim Hansen is demonstrably wrong in his assertion that a Venus-type runaway greenhouse is a virtual certainty if we burn all the coal; he is right about almost everything and I greatly admire him, but he is wrong about this.

Although it is a favorite Warmist assertion that the high surface temperature of Venus is the result of a runaway greenhouse effect, that is rubbish. The surface temperature of Venus is entirely as expected from the huge atmospheric pressure of the huge Venusian atmosphere.

Wriggly Wigley proposes fudging temperature data by .15 degrees C

2009 ClimateGate email:

Phil, Here are some speculations on correcting SSTs to partly explain the 1940s warming blip. If you look at the attached plot you will see that the land also shows the 1940s blip (as I'm sure you know). So, if we could reduce the ocean blip by, say, 0.15 degC, then this would be significant for the global mean -- but we'd still have to explain the land blip. I've chosen 0.15 here deliberately. This still leaves an ocean blip, and i think one needs to have some form of ocean blip to explain the land blip (via either some common forcing, or ocean forcing land, or vice versa, or all of these). When you look at other blips, the land blips are 1.5 to 2 times (roughly) the ocean blips -- higher sensitivity plus thermal inertia effects. My 0.15 adjustment leaves things consistent with this, so you can see where I am coming from. Removing ENSO does not affect this. It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip, but we are still left with "why the blip". [Tom Wigley, to Phil Jones and Ben Santer]

SOURCE (See the original for links)

A Religion Of Mindless Dishonest Superstition
Philippines floods: an expected shock

Even when we do know about climate-related hazards, we still fail to act

The typhoon that hit Mindanao in the Philippines before Christmas to claim 1,000 lives and leave nearly 50,000 homeless was a shock,

And as the planet warms, so too does the potential for meteorological disaster. Not all disasters relate to the climate, but rising levels of greenhouse gases could double the probability of catastrophic rainfall and other weather extremes.

In 2011 the United States has already experienced one of the worst years on record, with a 1,000 dead in a dozen disasters, each exacting a financial toll of $1bn or more. The total cost of these 12 assaults by tornado, wildfire, drought, blizzard, flood and heatwave is put at $52bn.

The number of events that meet the UN definition of a natural disaster has risen steadily with each decade, and catastrophic floods, windstorms and so on have become everyday events: in 2010, there were 385, and they killed 297,000 worldwide. The tally for 2011 is not complete, but the auguries are ominous.

This is complete, unmitigated bullsh*t from the Guardian. In 1927 there were almost ten times as many US disasters as there was in 2011. There is zero evidence that the weather is getting worse. The Guardian is promoting the big lie.

In 1898, a flood in the Phillipines killed 7,000 people, compared to 1,000 in 2011. These things happen, and humans have no power over them.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Even the Warmists Don't Believe In Global Warming

Much was written about the most recent United Nations Climate Change Conference, which was held in Durban, South Africa November 28 through December 9 of this year. However, most commentators gave short shrift to the most important—in a sense, the only—outcome of the meeting. This was, of course, the agreement to hold yet another conference in yet another nice location (Qatar) about a year from now.

The Durban conference was the seventeenth conference of its kind. They have been held annually since 1995 in places such as Geneva (in July 1996) and Bali (in December 2007). Don’t hold your breath for one to be held in Newark, New Jersey, or Fargo, North Dakota.

The meeting in Durban provided an opportunity for Progressives to make their latest argument that ordinary people should surrender their freedom and hand all money and power over to unelected, unaccountable “experts” like, well, the people at the conference. This is, of course, in order to “save the planet” from “climate change”. (The issue that had for years been called “global warming” was rebranded as “climate change” when the most recent decade’s worth of data proved uncooperative.)

First, let’s get the known and knowable facts out of the way. Is the climate changing? Yes. One feature of the manifested universe is the impermanence of all things. The climate has changed over time and will continue to change. Is the change good or bad? Like all change, it is both good and bad.

But, overall, is it good or bad? We can’t say. We don’t even have a conceptual framework that would allow us to answer that question, or even to adequately describe how the climate is changing. “Climate” is an abstraction, and all abstractions are untrue (or at least incomplete).

Is human activity causing the climate to change? We don’t know, and there is no way, even in principle, that we can know. It is difficult enough to determine the “what” of climate change. To determine the “why”, we would need to do controlled experiments. And, for this, we would need another planet, identical in every way to our own earth, which we could use as a “control”.

But wait! Isn’t the science “settled”, thus making anyone who questions the climate change “consensus” an anti-intellectual Luddite? No. Nothing in science is ever settled.

“Science” consists of nothing but theories that have not yet been disproved by evidence, but which, in principle, could be so disproved. Even Einstein’s theory of relativity, which has been validated by thousands of experiments and measurements over almost a century, was recently called into question by experiments involving neutrinos that appeared to travel faster than light.

If something is “settled”, it is not science. It is religious dogma, and an assault upon freedom of thought and inquiry.

But don’t the climate scientists’ computer models prove that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are causing climate change? No. First, no computer model can ever prove anything (see the definition of “science” given above). Second, we do not have the capability to model a system as complex as the earth.

The most any computer model can be is a useful tool. As it happens, all of the computer models that have been developed over the years by climate change proponents have already been invalidated by events that they did not accurately predict. For example, given the fast rising CO2 concentration in the earth’s atmosphere, global temperatures should have gone up much faster than they have over the past ten years. (And, it is not even clear that they have risen at all,)

So, we don’t know what is really happening to the earth’s “climate”. Even if we did, we could not be sure why it was happening. And, we have no way of knowing whether the change was good or bad for mankind as a whole.

But what of the Progressives’ argument that, because the effects of climate change are potentially so disastrous, we should surrender our freedom and move to a centrally planned world economy managed by experts, “just in case”?

Two points about this: first, it’s not going to happen. The Progressives will have to content themselves with extracting a few billion dollars per year from taxpayers to fund cushy “research” and “advocacy” jobs, and to hold climate change conferences like the one that just concluded in Durban. Second, the climate change advocates obviously don’t believe in climate change themselves.

You can’t necessarily tell what people are truly committed to from what they say. However, you can always tell what they are truly committed to by how they negotiate. If someone really wants to do something, they will react to a suggestion by engaging it. They will “work with” the suggestion, trying to see how it can help them do what they say they want to do. If someone says that they want to do something but they really have some other agenda, they will respond to a suggestion with an instant, “Yes, but…”

The climate change crowd has been frantically “yes, butting” geoengineering, which involves using technology to control the climate directly. Their efforts in this regard would be hilarious if the stakes in terms of money and freedom were not so high.

It is obvious that even if “climate change” is happening, and even if it is a bad thing, it is not going to be reversed by reducing CO2 emissions. Despite decades of climate change conferences, protocols, and agreements, fossil fuel use has been rising rapidly as people all over the world have adopted free market economics as a way of escaping poverty. So, if anything at all is going to be done about climate change, it will have to be done by “geoengineering”.

Geoengineering is a far more logical response to “global warming” than are efforts to curb CO2 emissions. First of all, geoengineering does not require that our assumption that it is man-made CO2 emissions that are causing the problem be correct. It would work regardless of what was “really” causing global temperatures to rise. Second, there are geoengineering approaches that could cool the earth at a cost of a few billion dollars per year, rather than tens of trillions of dollars per year. And, third, geoengineering does not require that the people of the world surrender their personal and economic freedom.

Given that geoengineering has the potential to actually do something about the climate change “problem”, the reaction of the climate change crowd to it has been illuminating. They have gone all-out to stop geoengineering experiments from being conducted, and they are doing everything they can to prevent geoengineering from even being discussed.

Climate change proponents recently mounted a desperate effort to stop an experiment in Britain designed to spray 40 gallons of pure water into the upper atmosphere (the so-called SPICE project). Thus far, they have managed to delay the test, and they are arguing that even if the experiment goes ahead, the results should not be made public.

The Progressives are well aware that their opposition to geoengineering experiments exposes their entire game, which is all about money, power, and central-planning control of people’s lives, and has nothing to do with concern about the earth. Unfortunately (for them), they have no choice. Geoengineering solutions might actually work, but they do not require that Progressives be given taxpayer money to hold lavish conferences in lovely places like Durban, South Africa.


Biofuel project to displace 160,000 poor African farmers

Iowa-based Bruce Rastetter and AgriSol Energy have friends in high places. Why else would the US Ambassador to Tanzania step forward and defend AgriSol's activities in Tanzania with false information?

Amidst growing international criticism of AgriSol's plan to develop land and evict over 160,000 long-term residents (refugees from Burundi with over 40 years of established homes, farms and businesses) the Tanzanian government is still planning to move forward with the project. The latest in the AgriSol Energy saga is support extended by the US Ambassador to Tanzania, Alfonso Lenhardt, who recently defended AgriSol's activities in Tanzania's Rukwa and Kigoma region, as important to ensure the country of food security and meet energy needs. See here

In response to concern over allegations of land grabbing by AgriSol in western Tanzanian regions, Mr. Lenhardt said: "Agrisol have not grabbed any land but were actually invited by the Prime Minister when he visited Iowa state two years ago and saw how American technology can produce sufficient food and energy from farms."

Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute corrected Ambassador Lenhardt with this statement: "Honorable Ambassador, our latest Brief dismantles AgriSol's lies around project benefits to the people of Tanzania. It is shocking to us that an appointee of the Obama administration would side with a project that will displace and destroy livelihoods of over 160,000 Africans to accommodate investors including US and Tanzanian politicians and businessmen with questionable records of integrity."

With growing international pressure, AgriSol Energy is rewriting their game plan as they go forward. With hundreds of millions of dollars at stake it is not going to be easy to get them to back off their original plans to take fertile and inhabited land in Tanzania.

Download the latest Brief Eight Myths and Facts About AgriSol

Above summary received by email


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


28 December, 2011

Help! Is There A Scientist In The House?

During the last couple of years, Florida was getting snow because warm air holds more moisture – which naturally causes frozen precipitation to fall on Orange groves in sub-tropical regions.

I’m confused though, because this year we are told that the lack of snow in the East is caused by warm air. Also, the record east coast snow in October was due to warm air.

This has me a tad confused. Can anyone help?


Peregrines NOT saved by DDT ban

Greenie lies never stop

Dr. William Hornaday of the New York Zoological Society referred to [peregrine falcons] as birds that “deserve death, but are so rare that we need not take them into account” — in 1913.

In a story about the annual Audubon Society Christmas bird count, the Sacramento Bee writes,
… Even more incredible is the story of the falcon’s recovery from near-extinction, a story the Christmas Bird Count has helped document.

Decimated in the 1960s by the pesticide DDT, the peregrine was put on the endangered species list in 1973.

Harper, who has participated in the Christmas Bird Count for four decades, said one year in the 1970s created a stir when a counter thought she saw the first peregrine to return to the area. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a ceramic rendering.

After DDT was banned, the peregrine began a slow recovery. It was removed from Endangered Species Act protection in 1999, and now there are more than 2,000 known nesting sites across the nation…

Except as pointed out in “100 Things You Should Know About DDT“:

78. The decline in the U.S. peregrine falcon population occurred long before the DDT years. [Hickey JJ. 1942. (Only 170 pairs of peregrines in eastern U.S. in 1940) Auk 59:176; Hickey JJ. 1971 Testimony at DDT hearings before EPA hearing examiner. (350 pre-DDT peregrines claimed in eastern U.S., with 28 of the females sterile); and Beebe FL. 1971. The Myth of the Vanishing Peregrine Falcon: A study in manipulation of public and official attitudes. Canadian Raptor Society Publication, 31 pages]

79. Peregrine falcons were deemed undesirable in the early 20th century. Dr. William Hornaday of the New York Zoological Society referred to them as birds that “deserve death, but are so rare that we need not take them into account.” [Hornaday, WT. 1913. Our Vanishing Wild Life. New York Zoological Society, p. 226]

80. Oologists amassed great collections of falcon eggs. [Peterson, RT. 1948. Birds Over American, Dodd Mead & Co., NY, pp 135-151; Rice, JN. 1969. In Peregrine Falcon Populations, Univ. Of Wisconsin Press, pp 155-164; Berger, DD. 1969. In Peregrine Falcon Populations, Univ. Of Wisconsin Press, pp 165-173]

81. The decline in falcons along the Hudson River was attributed to falconers, egg collectors, pigeon fanciers and disturbance by construction workers and others. [Herbert, RA and KG Herbert. 1969. In Peregrine Falcon Populations, Univ. Of Wisconsin Press, pp 133- 154. (Also in Auk 82: 62-94)]

82. The 1950′s and 1960′s saw continuing harassment trapping brooding birds in their nests, removing fat samples for analysis and operating time-lapse cameras beside the nests for extended periods of time), predation and habitat destruction. [Hazeltine, WE. 1972. Statement before Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, March 16, 1972; Enderson, JH and DD Berger. 1968. (Chlorinated hydrocarbons in peregrines from Northern Canada). Condor 70:149-153; Enderson, JH.. 1972. (Time lapse photography in
peregrine nests) Living Bird 11: 113- 128; Risebrough, RW. 1970. (Organochlorines in peregrines and merlins migrating through Wisconsin). Canadian Field-Naturalist 84:247-253]

83. Changes in climate (higher temperatures and decreasing precipitation) were blamed for the gradual disappearance of peregrines from the Rocky Mountains. [Nelson, MW. 1969. Peregrine Falcon Populations, pp 61-72]

84. Falconers were blamed for decimating western populations. [Herman, S. 1969. Peregrine Falcon Populations, University of Wisconsin Press]

85. During the 1960′s, peregrines in northern Canada were “reproducing normally,” even though they contained 30 times more DDT, DDD, and DDE than the midwestern peregrines that were allegedly extirpated by those chemicals. [Enderson, JH and DD Berger. 1968. (Chlorinated hydrocarbons in peregrines from Northern Canada) Condor 70:170-178]

86. There was no decline in peregrine falcon pairs in Canada and Alaska between 1950 and 1967 despite the presence of DDT and DDE. [Fyfe, RW. 1959. Peregrine Falcon Populations, pp 101-114; and Fyfe, RW. 1968. Auk 85: 383-384]

87. The peregrine with the very highest DDT residue (2,435 parts per million) was found feeding three healthy young. [Enderson, JH. 1968. (Pesticide residues in Alaska and Yukon Territory) Auk 85: 683]

88. Shooting, egg collecting, falconry and disruption of nesting birds along the Yukon River and Colville River were reported to be the cause of the decline in peregrine falcon population.
[Beebe, FL. 1971. The Myth of the Vanishing Peregrine Falcon: A study in manipulation of public and official attitudes. Canadian Raptor Society Publication, 31 pages; and Beebe, FL. 1975. Brit Columbia Provincial Museum Occas. Paper No. 17, pages 126-144]

89. The decline in British peregrine falcons ended by 1966, though DDT was as abundant as ever. The Federal Advisory Committee on Pesticides concluded “There is no close correlation between the declines in populations of predatory birds, particularly the peregrine falcon and the sparrow hawk, and the use of DDT.” [Wilson report. 1969. Review of Organochlorine pesticides in Britain. Report by the Advisory Committee on toxic chemicals. Department of Education and Science]

90. During 1940-1945, the British Air Ministry shot about 600 peregrines (half the pre-1939 level) to protect carrier pigeons.

91. Peregrine falcon and sparrow hawk egg shells thinned in Britain prior to the use of DDT. [Redcliff, DH. 1967. Nature 215: 208-210; Redcliff, DH. 1970 J Applied Biology 7:67; and Redcliff, DH. 1967. Nature 215: 208-210]


£10m cost of turning OFF British wind farms

Wind farm operators are on course to earn up to £10 million this year for turning off their turbines.

Official figures disclosed that 17 operators were paid almost £7 million for shutting down their farms on almost 40 ­occasions between January and mid-September. Continuing to make payments at that rate would lead to householders paying out £9.9 million in 2011 for operators to disconnect their turbines from the National Grid.

The scale of the payments triggered a review of the rules on so-called constraint payments. The payments are made when too much electricity floods the grid, with the network unable to absorb any excess power generated. The money is ultimately added on to household bills and paid for by consumers.

Last year, only £176,788 of such payments were made, but changes in the way the National Grid, which supplies energy to retail companies, “balances” the electricity network have meant a huge expansion in their use.

The rules meant that some renewable energy companies were paid more to switch off their turbines than they would have received from ordinary operations.

In September, it was disclosed that £1.2 million would go to a Norwegian company that owned 60 turbines in the Scottish Borders, thanks to a period of unusually high wind during the spring. Because of the rising cost, the National Grid “balancing” system could now be overhauled to reduce the use of constraint payments.

Constraint payments have added to political and public hostility to onshore wind farms. A growing number of Conservative MPs are opposed to Coalition plans to increase the number of wind turbines. Ministers say Britain needs more “renewable” energy generation to reduce the dependence on gas imported from Russia and the Middle East.

Chris Heaton Harris, a Conservative MP, said the unpopularity of wind farms was eroding support for all sorts of renewable power. “I know from my mailbag and from the number of emails I receive every day on the matter that people are turning against renewables of just about every type because wind turbines are, among other things, so badly sold,” he said.

“Onshore wind generation requires a 100 per cent back-up of carbon-burning technology or nuclear energy, should the wind not blow, and in addition to the devastation of the visual environment there are the problems of noise and flicker. They are the wrong renewables choice.”

The turbine industry says that constraint payments are a sign of problems with the National Grid, and not the turbines themselves. Charles Hendry, an energy minister, confirmed the latest payments, and said the system the National Grid used to calculate the fees was being reviewed.

“Reducing or increasing the output of generators is a normal part of National Grid’s role to balance supply and demand, and it will pick the most cost-effective way to deliver what is required,” he said. “However, the recent requirement to use wind farms to manage the system has raised questions as to whether the current market-wide balancing arrangements for wind are appropriate. “National Grid has launched a consultation to seek views on the issues involved.”


OSU Fracking Study Misrepresents Natural Gas Benefits

Amanda Weinstein and Mark Partridge, two Ohio State University economists, have published a report titled “The Economic Value of Shale Natural Gas in Ohio.” The report’s primary emphasis is on statements made by industry-funded studies related to the employment benefits of natural gas extraction from the Marcellus and Utica Shales.

While I think their analysis understates the employment benefits of responsible natural gas development, the larger issue with their report occurs when the authors step outside of their expertise to analyze the costs and benefits of natural gas more generally. This section systematically understates the benefits of natural gas, selectively cites literature without acknowledging recent research, and misrepresents the industry’s current response to chemical disclosure.

No Effect on Energy Security?

The report views energy security as being solely a problem of oil imports, but this viewpoint is simplistic and does not account for the greater energy security benefits attained through global supply shifts.

A Department of Energy-funded study produced by the Baker Institute for Public Policy Energy Forum addressed this very topic in depth in July 2011. Some of the most significant energy security findings were that shale development:

* Reduces competition for liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies from the Middle East, thereby moderating prices and spurring greater use of natural gas, an outcome with significant implications for global environmental objectives.

* Combats the long-term potential monopoly power of a “gas OPEC” or a single producer such as Russia to exercise dominance over large natural gas consumers in Europe or elsewhere.

* Reduces the opportunity for Venezuela to become a major LNG exporter and thereby lowers longer-term dependence in the Western Hemisphere and in Europe on Venezuelan LNG.

* Reduces Iran’s ability to tap energy diplomacy as a means to strengthen its regional power or to buttress its nuclear ambitions.

These benefits have been recognized by the Shale Gas Production Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, a multi-stakeholder panel convened by the Obama administration, and have led MIT researchers to suggest greater market liquidity as a result of shale gas extraction will “contribute to security by enhancing diversity of global supply and resilience to supply disruptions for the U.S. and its allies.”

For the authors to understate such a significant benefit so flippantly suggests a lack of knowledge or a desire to direct attention away from the benefits of natural gas.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fracking

Weinstein and Partridge cite the highly discredited Howarth 2011 study without any reference to the numerous, substantive critiques that emerged following its release. I wanted to discount this as a review error; things emerged later in the publishing process that the writers may have missed. But the following paragraph references EPA’s recent allegations of Wyoming water pollution, which suggests the paper was updated very recently. Their statement insinuates the same conclusions as the Howarth study, without directly validating it. The authors would have been better off citing one of the many alternatives that have emerged since.

Fracking Fluid and Voluntary Disclosure

Somewhat in passing, Weinstein and Partridge make accusations about unknown toxic chemicals that are present in hydraulic fracturing fluid that companies “have continually refused to disclose for proprietary reasons.” This may have been the case in years past, but industry groups, such as the Marcellus Shale Coalition, have pledged to voluntarily disclose their chemicals through According to the most recent records, Chesapeake Energy (the largest player in the region) has already voluntarily disclosed the contents of its fracturing fluid in all of its horizontal wells that are either completed or producing natural gas.

I’m not saying chemical disclosure is not warranted, but to stoke fears of chemical contamination without recognizing voluntary initiatives as well as the current regulatory trajectory, serves only to suggest sinister motives that have not proven to be true.

Final Thoughts

The economic analysis of Weinstein and Partridge is important in providing another data point into the projected employment benefits of hydraulic fracturing, but their skewed analysis in placing those benefits within the larger context is lacking and should be revised to reflect a higher standard of research.


Siberian methane researchers reject Greenie panic and urge caution about jumping to conclusions

Semiletov and Shakhova:

We would first note that we have never stated that the reason for the currently observed methane emissions were due to recent climate change. In fact, we explained in detail the mechanism of subsea permafrost destabilization as a result of inundation with seawater thousands of years ago. We have been working in this scientific field and this region for a decade. We understand its complexity more than anyone. And like most scientists in our field, we have to deal with slowly improving understanding of ongoing processes that often incorporates different points of views expressed by different groups of researchers.

Yes, modeling is important. However, we know that modeling results cannot prove or disprove real observations because modeling always assumes significant simplification and should be validated with observational data, not vice versa. Much of our work includes this field validation. Last spring, we extracted a 53-meter long core sample from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, to validate our conclusions about the current state of subsea permafrost. We found that the temperatures of the sediments were from 1.2 to 0.6 degrees below zero, Celsius, yet they were completely thawed. The model in the Dmitrenko paper [link] assumed a thaw point of zero degrees. Our observations show that the cornerstone assumption taken in their modeling was wrong. The rate at which the subsea permafrost is currently degrading largely depends on what state it was in when recent climate change appeared. It makes sense that modeling on an incorrect assumption about thaw point could create inaccurate results.

Observations are at the core of our work now. It is no surprise to us that others monitoring global methane have not found a signal from the Siberian Arctic or increase in global emissions. [This refers to the work of Ed Dlugokencky and others; see his comments in my Dot Earth post.] The number of stations monitoring atmospheric methane concentrations worldwide is very few. In the Arctic there are only three such stations — Barrow, Alert, Zeppelin — and all are far away from the Siberian Arctic. We are doing our multi-year observations, including year-round monitoring, in proximity to the source. In addition to measuring the amount of methane emitted from the area, we are trying to find out whether there is anything specific about those emissions that could distinguish them from other sources. It is incorrect to say that anyone is able to trace that signal yet.

All models must be validated by observations. New data obtained in our 2011 cruise and other unpublished data give us a clue to reevaluate if the scale of methane releases from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf seabed is assessed correctly (papers are now in preparation). This is how science works: step by step, from hypothesis based on limited data and logic to expanded observations in order to gain more facts that could equally prove or disprove the hypothesis. We would urge people to consider this process, not jump to conclusions and be open to the idea that new observations may significantly change what we understand about our world.


The great global climate con

A comment from India

India must eschew the global climate deal that was recently proposed in Durban as it will infringe on the economic freedom of Indians. The proposal seeks to raise money for a global climate fund by setting up an international license-raj for industries and imposing shipping and carbon taxes. The taxes and fees will result in the transfer of wealth from India and China to the West as the two countries will contribute the most to global economic activity in coming years.

The shipping tax will increase the cost of various goods while the carbon tax will reduce India’s competitiveness by retarding the growth of its industries.

While India potentially faces these hardships, supporters of the fund have prepared themselves to reap a windfall. The licences, known as carbon credits, will be traded on financial exchanges resulting in billions of dollars in transaction fees and profits for the European Climate Exchange and financial firms like Goldman Sachs.

A former adviser of the American presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama has even patented a carbon trading plan.

As the creation, supply and demand of the licences depend on legislation, it is certain that lobbyists will pressure governments to pass laws favorable to them. This is already the case with Al Gore, whose London-based firm, Generation Investment Management, has hoarded up carbon credits from the scheme implemented in several countries. The prices of these credits have crashed as troubled east European industries have flooded the market with the credits after getting them for shutting down manufacturing units. Investors left holding these carbon credits can be bailed out only if an international treaty forces Indians and Chinese to shop for carbon credits.

Other lobbyists include associates of American politicians who have invested in expensive, unprofitable and inefficient technologies that they have labeled ‘clean tech.’ They seek subsidies and legislation to create a market for their products by outlawing goods like incandescent light bulbs.

The proposed climate fund will be similar to other international funds that award contracts and grants to corporations and non-profit groups based in the US and Europe. Many members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will receive huge grants. It is little wonder, then, that despite claims of helping poor countries, it is the politicians in the West who are eager to set up the fund.

The rationale behind the fund too is unconvincing. Proponents of the fund claim that global warming is underway and warn of a catastrophic flood of biblical proportions if they are not given money. Supporters of the claim have been likened to members of a doomsday cult. In the 1970s, they predicted the onset of an ice age due to smoke from stoves in India blocking out sunlight. At that time, India was forced to purchase so-called ‘clean stoves’ from the World Bank for millions of dollars. In recent times, Al Gore, the messiah of global warming believers, has accused India’s poor of heating up the earth by using kerosene stoves to cook food. Ironically, Al Gore’s private jet plane burns up thousands of gallons of aviation grade kerosene on each flight.

Data related to the global warming claims too have not been without controversy and some scientists have invited ethics investigations due to scientific misconduct. Jairam Ramesh, as the environment minister, countered claims originating at NASA’s Goddard Center by pointing out that Himalayan glaciers had not shrunk but grown in size.

In recent years, NASA has also quietly lowered its baseline long term global average temperature from 15 to 14 degrees Celsius, allowing it to claim higher temperature deviations. Despite the change, collating NASA’s press releases over several years shows a decline in global temperature. NASA now puts out numbers from a computer software model instead of actual temperatures.

Indians who oppose corruption should also fight it at the global level. The desperation of the proponents of the climate fund to clinch the deal is seen from their wooing of Indian politicians at conferences organised at Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban. It is important for India to reject the climate deal and ensure that its interests are not sold by politicians for personal gains.


Australian Leftist government's pandering to the Greens costs the country a fortune

THE Labor government's tenuous hold on power has already cost taxpayers almost $15 billion.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard spent $65 for every Australian in order to keep the Greens and independents happy - and her party in government - all while facing global financial turmoil and a wafer-thin budget surplus, The Daily Telegraph reported.

An analysis shows the costs extended beyond deals struck after the election, with Labor forced to extinguish political spot fires and buy votes for policies such as the carbon and mining taxes.

The $14.95 billion bill after less than half Labor's term is in contrast to a $950 million revenue windfall after a Greens campaign to adopt its fringe benefits tax to encourage a reduction in driving.

NSW independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott strengthened their positions as major powerbrokers, involved in deals worth $4.2 billion compared to the $364 million of Andrew Wilkie.

Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan defended Labor's economic record, pointing to the regional focus of much of the funds as returning the proceeds of the mining boom.

But the opposition attacked the greener initiatives as wasteful and evidence that Ms Gillard was unable to stand up to Greens leader Bob Brown.

University of Melbourne professor Mark Considine said there were only minor positives in what he called an "inefficient form of democracy".

"It's very similar to what has happened in the American system where every bill has to contain inducements across the board for bringing people on board," he said. "There is a high cost in the time spent bringing people on board and the exaggerated power of some minority groups and electorates that distorts everything."

The Greens have won $10.275 billion - headlined by the $10 billion clean energy fund - while Queensland independent Bob Katter scored a $335 million renewable energy promise a day after backing the Coalition.

In one vote-buying spree last month, Labor spent $320 million securing three lower house votes to allow its mining tax package to pass.

At least one promise has blown out, with the $75 million pledged to Mr Oakeshott to expand Port Macquarie Hospital rising to $96 million.

Mr Windsor, who was promised $20 million for Tamworth Hospital but has since scored another $120 million, said his efforts had won important money for the regions and improved the outcome of key policies. "Very little is local (in my seat)," he said. "I don't think the punter in the street would object to much of this."

A spokesman for Mr Swan defended the deal-making, insisting the federal government still had a strong economic record on jobs, interest rates and maintaining the AAA credit rating.

"Regional Australia - where one third of Australians live - has every right to decent government services and to enjoy the benefits of the mining boom," the spokesman said.

Opposition government waste spokesman Jamie Briggs said while he did not object to regional initiatives such as health and road, he claimed many of the billions demanded by the Greens was a waste.

"Gillard's lack of courage to stand up to the Greens is costing taxpayers," he said.



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


27 December, 2011

Could Public Health Benefits Make Combating Climate Change Free?

The bit of nonsense excerpted below is actually fairly typical of medical writing. They seem incapable of looking at the bottom line. They exult over a beneficial effect of something and ignore other effects that may more than cancel out the benefit. In this case it may be true that some parasites would spread more widely with global warming but the big seasonal killer is winter not summer -- so if winters became milder many deaths would be avoided at that time. And winter deaths show a considerable excess over summer deaths so the health benefits of a warmer world would be large

South Africa—Former entomologist Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum of the World Health Organization worries about nosebleeds more than the average person. That's because he's one of the estimated 12 million people worldwide afflicted with leishmaniasis—a potentially fatal parasitic disease characterized most often by lesions on the skin and/or mucus membranes—caused by the bite of a sandfly.

As the team leader for climate change and health at WHO and an environmental epidemiologist, Campbell-Lendrum is also in a position to worry more about how global warming is going to affect such so-called vector-borne diseases. "Is climate change going to bring malaria back to the U.S. and Europe? It's not," he asserts. "Climate change is eroding the environmental determinants of health: water, food, increasing disease," he says. Already WHO research suggests that current warming of global average temperatures of just under one degree Celsius is responsible for an additional 150,000 deaths per year, largely due to agricultural failures and diarrheal disease in developing countries. "All the inputs are on the conservative side," says Campbell-Lendrum, who helped come up with the number.

As a result, WHO—and a consortium of other public health organizations—declared climate change to be among the most pressing emerging health issues in the world at the recent climate negotiations here in South Africa. Consider some of the changes that are already taking place: extreme heat waves, such as the one in Europe in 2003 that killed 46,000 people; changes in bacterial diseases due to water contamination and a quickening of bacterial growth rates in warmer temperatures; worsening levels of ground-level ozone, otherwise known as smog, which is responsible for worsening asthma and heart attacks (among other health effects); changes in pollen making allergies worse; changes in vector-borne diseases; as well as droughts, floods and other forms of extreme weather such as the 12 natural disasters in the U.S. this year that caused at least $1 billion in damage.


We are living in a COLD period of the earth's history

Above is the factual part of a speculative article in New Scientist

Large climatic variability over the last 2,000 years in Britain

The record is one of the highlights of the most comprehensive record of English weather, dating back to 56BC, which identifies the worst winters seen in Britain in over 2,000 years.

Using a wide variety of sources, including some which less diligent researchers might have eschewed, Jim Rothwell, a retired meteorologist, has built what he believes to be the fullest study of weather across central England in existence.

He has found striking examples of extreme weather going back hundreds of years.

In 1357, after a dry early summer then downpours throughout the autumn, winter saw starving wolves prowling through Sherwood Forest, taking livestock and even threatening humans.

The winter of 1458 saw a bridge destroyed over the river Trent because of floodwaters caused by melting ice which followed prolonged and heavy snowfall.

In 1635, severe blizzards led to very deep snow with drifts up to 20ft deep in Lincolnshire.

However, he had also found evidence of particularly mild winters.

In 1607, in the reign of James I, flowers were reported to be in bloom on Christmas Day.

Four hundred years earlier, in 1249, witnesses claimed the winter was so mild that there were “birds singing like it was spring”.

The summer of 1375 is also noteworthy, as evidence shows the warm, dry weather lasted well into October.

As is the rainy summer of 1315, which was so wet that on July 15 that it is thought to be the origin of the St Swithin’s Day belief that if it rains on that day, it will continue for 40 more.

Mr Rothwell worked for the Met Office for 38 years but was also the expert forecaster for filming of the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball.

On his retirement in 1989, he began to piece together everything that was known about central England’s weather, a roughly pear-shaped area which extends from the north Midlands to Winchester and London in the south.

He chose the area as it is largely flat to make chronological comparison more relevant as hills create local weather patterns which are not necessarily representative of the weather for the country.

Mr Rothwell, 80, who is also a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, has now compiled The Central England Weather Series, which begins at 56 BC in the era of Julius Caesar and is housed with Nottinghamshire County Council’s archives service.

His sources, which number over 50, range from county council and university archives; to historical reference works, particularly those with pictures showing the weather in detail; to the writing of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn, the 17th century diarists.

He also used local newspapers to corroborate information and even used the library of De Bilt, a publication in Holland, to get weather reports for the Middle Ages.

One of the quirks he had to overcome was the 11 days added to the calendar by the government in 1752 when England swapped the Julian calendar for the Gregorian to being it into line with the rest of Europe.

Mr Rothwell, who has a Masters degree in climatology as well as degrees in history and geography, said his combination of skills had helped him in his research.

He said: “I have used history books containing references to key periods in history as part of the research. If there was a photograph or image showing snow, I have pinpointed that date in the records.

“There has been much analysis of data to ensure I have the truest record possible. For example, Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn had a tendency to exaggerate some of their descriptions of weather in their diaries.”

Mr Rothwell said: “The records show that all sorts of unusual weather has occurred during all of the seasons in central England in the past.

“People are alert to unusual weather patterns at the time they happen, but do tend to forget these exceptions as time goes on.”

Mark Dorrington, of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: "This is a fantastic and comprehensive record of weather in Central England and we are privileged to have it in our archives.

“The weather is always a fascination for people and this collection of records is a hidden gem, so we are delighted to let people know it is available.”


His Eminence has a shot at the Warmists

Cardinal Pell's reference to the "Roman warm period" is completely factual. There is no way Hannibal could drive elephants over the Alps these days and yet that is one of the best known episodes in Roman history. But Warmists don't do real history. They just make up their own

The changeable environment loomed large in the Christmas message of Sydney's Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell, who said the blessings of prosperity, peace and a good climate were taken for granted. "The unusual rains after 10 years of drought are a small price to pay in this run-up to Christmas," he said.

Every age was marred by some disasters, he said. "In Biblical times, only Noah escaped the great flood and Jacob's sons had to travel to Egypt for grain during a long drought."

Cardinal Pell said Christ's birth in the "Roman warm period" was a call to worship God and "to acknowledge how powerless we all are before the mighty forces of nature, unable sometimes to escape the caprice of disease and misfortune".


Link to the full address here. He is well known for being a climate atheist.

The Worst NYT Story on Climate Ever?

Regular readers will know that I think that the print media overall has done a pretty good job on covering the science of climate change, if not always getting the politics right. They will also know what I think about the "debate" over climate change and extreme events (above). But every once in a while I see a story that is so breathtakingly bad that it is worth commenting on. Today's installment comes from Justin Gillis at the New York Times and was published on Christmas Eve. The article is so bad that it might just be the worst piece of reporting I've ever seen in the Times on climate change.

Where to begin? How about the start. The NYT laments that the work of attributing the cause of extreme events in NOAA is "languishing":

Scientists say they could, in theory, do a much better job of answering the question “Did global warming have anything to do with it?” after extreme weather events like the drought in Texas and the floods in New England.

But for many reasons, efforts to put out prompt reports on the causes of extreme weather are essentially languishing.

Set aside the unattributed "scientists say" -- a favorite construction of Gillis and the Times. The article fails to explain that NOAA already has a robust effort in place focused on climate attribution and which has put out recent assessments about phenomena as varied as the 2011 US tornado season and the 2009/2010 mid-Atlantic coast snowstorms. No one from that effort was quoted in the article nor was any of their work (perhaps because it utterly contradicts the narrative of the story).

The article repeats the tired statistic that the number of billion dollar disasters have increased in recent decades:

A typical year in this country features three or four weather disasters whose costs exceed $1 billion each. But this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has tallied a dozen such events, including wildfires in the Southwest, floods in multiple regions of the country and a deadly spring tornado season. And the agency has not finished counting. The final costs are certain to exceed $50 billion.

The article does not explain that $1 billion in 2011 is about the same as $400 million in 1980 (XLS). Nor does it explain that a $50 billion total in losses for 2011 is about exactly the same as the total in 1980, after adjusting for inflation -- however, as a proportion of the overall economy those 1980 losses were 250% larger than those experienced in 2011. That is, the equivalent 1980 losses in 2011 would be $125 billion (XLS). The article completely ignores relevant peer-reviewed research on the subject (see here also).

The article fails to cite the recent IPCC report which covered this exact subject, concluding (PDF):

Long-term trends in economic disaster losses adjusted for wealth and population increases have not been attributed to climate change, but a role for climate change has not been excluded.

The IPCC SREX report has a lot of other things to say about extremes, which also contradict the narrative of the story. Also neglected is the US government's own review of extreme events in the US, which found no long-term trends.

The article is extremely sloppy when discussing tornadoes:

Tornadoes, the deadliest weather disaster to hit the country this year, present a particularly thorny case. On their face, weather statistics suggest that tornadoes are becoming more numerous as the climate warms. But tornadoes are small and hard to count, and scientists have little confidence in the accuracy of older data, which means they do not know whether to believe the apparent increase.

Tornadoes are not in the least bit "thorny." You wouldn't know from reading the article that the most powerful tornadoes - the F3,  F4 and F5s which cause almost all of the damage and fatalities -- have actually decreased over the past 50 years (so too has damage). Nor would you know that the NOAA Climate Attribution effort has recently looked at the 2011 tornadoes and found no evidence of causality from increasing greenhouse gases:

So far, we have not been able to link any of the major causes of the tornado outbreak to global warming. Barring a detection of change, a claim of attribution (to human impacts) is thus problematic, although it does not exclude that a future change in such environmental conditions may occur as anthropogenic greenhouse gas forcing increases.

The NYT article relies on a very few people from the usual small circle of folks cited in such articles to say the usual suggestive things - Ben Santer, Jeff Masters, Peter Stott. Not one researcher is cited who actually publishes peer-reviewed work on tornadoes, economic impacts of disasters, or the long-term history of US weather extremes. However, somehow Congressional Republicans show up as the bad guys in the usual good guys-bad guys framing on this topic. No budget numbers are presented nor any specific discussion of what is going on in NOAA. Ink blot.


Obama Energy Programs “Infused With Politics at Every Level”

Even the liberal Washington Post, which hasn’t endorsed a Republican for President since 1952, seems to be souring on the Obama Administration’s failed energy programs, saying they were “infused with politics at every level.” As it noted in discussing the Solyndra scandal: “Obama’s green-technology program was infused with politics at every level, The Washington Post found in an analysis of thousands of memos, company records and internal ­e-mails. Political considerations were raised repeatedly by company investors, Energy Department bureaucrats and White House officials. The records, some previously unreported, show that when warned that financial disaster might lie ahead, the administration remained steadfast in its support for Solyndra,” which was owned by major Obama backers, like George Kaiser.

As law professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds notes, “all the ‘stimulus’ and ‘green energy’ stuff was never anything but a program to put taxpayer money into the hands of cronies and supporters.”

The Obama Administration hastily approved the taxpayer subsidies for Solyndra despite obvious danger signs and warnings from accountants about the company’s likely collapse, the misgivings of agency officials, and the company’s mismanagement and lousy-quality products. (Solyndra executives are now pleading the 5th Amendment to avoid disclosing incriminating information.) The Obama administration was determined to shovel taxpayer money to its cronies as fast as it could. As an Obama fundraiser and Solyndra stakeholder exulted, “there’s never been more money shoved out of the government’s door in world history and probably never will be again than in the last few months and the next 18 months. And our selfish parochial goal is to get as much of it . . . as we possibly can.” “At the time Solyndra received its grant, Vice President Joe Biden declared that the Solyndra investment is ‘exactly what the [the stimulus package] is all about.’”

While diverting taxpayer money away from productive and efficient businesses to corporate-welfare recipients controlled by political cronies, the Obama Administration is busy wiping out jobs through thousands of pages of counterproductive regulations. Some of these new regulations are designed to spawn lawsuits that will enrich trial lawyers at businesses’ and consumers’ expense.

Obama appointees at the EEOC are busy harassing businesses that hire and fire based on merit, thus discouraging employers from hiring or expanding operations, and the EEOC is bringing costly, unjustified lawsuits against businesses. The 2010 healthcare law imposes financial burdens — some of them large, and others difficult to calculate — on the nation’s employers, resulting in some business owners deciding not to expand or hire new employees.

Many businesses are also suffering from the effects of the Dodd-Frank financial “reform” law, a 2,315 page monstrosity that makes it harder for small businesses to obtain credit, and also outsources and wipes out jobs in the financial sector. Even one-time Obama supporters in the business community have grown disenchanted: Democratic businessman Steve Wynn called Obama“the greatest wet blanket to business and progress and job creation in my lifetime,” saying that “the business community in this country is frightened to death of the weird political philosophy of the President of the United States. And until he’s gone, everybody’s going to be sitting on their thumbs.”

The Obama administration has sought to temporarily pump up the economy with stimulus spending paid for with massive deficits, but as the Congressional Budget Office has noted, the stimulus package will actually shrink the economy in the long run, so it will not be able to offset the economic drag resulting from all of the Obama administration’s new regulations and red tape.


No coal, no growth, says South African power company chief

It might be one of the world's worst polluting energy sources, but coal has allowed South Africa to become the continent's largest economy, according to the chief executive of the country's power utility company Eskom.

Speaking to CNN's Robyn Curnow, Eskom's Brian Dames said coal has been key to fueling South Africa's economic growth and improving the lives of many in the country.

"We've been very successful in the use of coal in growing one of the largest economies, in bringing electricity to the majority of South Africans -- we're absolutely not defensive about it," said Dames.

South Africa gets 86% of its energy from coal and, despite the criticism that it is bad for the environment -- when burned, coal emits more air pollution and greenhouse gases than other major energy sources -- Dames argued that South Africa will continue to use the natural resource. An edited version of the interview follows below.

CNN: Why is coal important for South Africa?

Brian Dames: It's about energy security first and foremost for us, it's about affordable energy, it's about energy access. You would agree with me without those three things there is no economic growth, no poverty alleviation, no job creation in any of our economies.

And then it is about, as we do this, how we can do it in a more cleaner manner and at the same time make sure we deal with issues such as job creation -- can we create green jobs -- so we're very clear as to where we want to go and what the balance is and that commitment is there -- it is there to move towards a lower carbon footprint over time.

Read more: Is South Africa addicted to coal?

CNN: What percentage of energy do you get from coal?

BD: It's more than 80%, about 86% of the energy, and it has put us in a position as a company and as a country to really fuel the economic growth in South Africa. That's why this country has got the largest economy on the African continent, that's why we operate one of the world's 10 largest power companies.

CNN: Eighty per cent of all your energy comes from coal -- that is dirty energy and South Africa is the biggest producer of coal in the world. Don't you find that difficult in terms of charting a green future?

BD: No, it is not difficult. We should be quite clear, because South Africa's emissions is about 1.5% of global emissions, the continent's emissions is about 3% of global emissions, it's less than 200 times than what's in the U.S.
We have a clear path as to how we make sure we grow and how we make sure we respond to the needs of the environment.
Brian Dames, CEO Eskom

What you're asking us to do is not do that, not have electricity, not have energy security and not have energy access.

CNN: I think the reality is Eskom relies heavily on coal, South Africa historically has relied heavily on coal to produce its electricity. Why do you seem a bit defensive about it?

BD: No, we're not defensive, absolutely not. Coal has been used very successfully and will be used in future in South Africa. It's a natural resource that we have, we've been very successful in the use of coal in growing one of the largest economies, in bringing electricity to the majority of South Africans -- we're absolutely not defensive about it.

Banker: Spending on climate change makes good business sense

CNN: But it is dirty energy and there is an excess of reliance on coal.

BD: It's not a question of being defensive, it's a question about the ill-informed, because you want us as a country to be cleaner and not have electricity and energy and that is a problem.

CNN: That's not what I'm saying, it's a fact that South Africa relies heavily on coal.

BD: It is a fact and successfully have done so. We've said clearly growth is important, we have said clearly that we're committed to a low-carbon future over time, so it is not growth at all costs.

South Africa has got a very clear path and strategy and is fully committed to deal with that. South Africa has made very clear commitments in terms of its CO2 emissions. South Africa has also made it very clear that it is a developing country that must grow, that we must see the establishment of funding to make sure that it is available for us to do so.

We have a clear path as to how we make sure we grow and how we make sure we respond to the needs of the environment and as a country and as company we're fully committed to that.

CNN: Is nuclear still a very big part of your plans?

BD: South Africa has produced a 20-year energy electricity plan and that plan has got an inclusion of nuclear. That plan says, of the additional capacity of the next 20 years, 42% of it will be renewables, 23% of it will be nuclear, because we do have requirement for base-load energy.

We can't stall electricity -- nuclear as a base-load energy option is a viable option for this continent and again, coming back to my previous point, no one option, whether coal or renewables or hydro will solve our energy problems in the future. We need a combination of all of it, and including nuclear for that matter.



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


26 December, 2011

Monumental fault in manmade global warming notion hiding in plain sight

I don’t mean promoters of the issue comically spinning failed predictions for more frequent hurricanes and warmer snow-less winters into covering any hot/cold/wet/dry extremes. Or Al Gore’s Texas-sized carbon footprint undermining demands for ours to to be minuscule. Sure, the IPCC also has appearance problems as a supposedly ‘unbiased’ organization, caught red-handed with assessments authored by people in environmentalist groups, and its own “ClimateGate” scientists behaving badly doesn’t help, either.

We have an arguably more far reaching problem – one that imperils the issue itself, and the mainstream media’s basic integrity.

This plain-sight problem is invisible when anyone accepts the issue as settled science. No hint of the problem is seen when the media moans about extreme weather and melting icecaps, while offering advice for sustainable lifestyles that use carbon-free renewable energy. Of course, no hint whatsoever is seen when armchair psychoanalysis is offered about public opinion, like when the NY Times’ David Brooks said, “..we have had a lot of information about global warming from Al Gore and many others. And, yet… support for a response to global warming has gone down”,

This monumental problem only becomes evident when we point to skeptic scientists claiming human activity is not a significant part of global warming. The immediate, predictable diatribe is, “Skeptics are few in number, don’t have published papers to their credit, and are on the payroll of big coal & oil.” The problem fades out of sight again when no one challenges those assertions.

Try asking instead, “You can prove any of that?”, and watch what happens.

If the response is that anyone defending skeptic scientists is an ignorant, mind-numbed talk radio listener / right-wing blog reader / Fox News zealot, or is a person who won’t give up their SUV to save the planet, then you see the problem plain as day. This is a sleight-of-hand shell game to ensure the public never thinks there may be legitimate scientific opposition criticism.

A second opinion ought to be welcomed, especially if it’s good news that the little warming we do see is a natural process.

I’ll let others psychoanalyze the bizarre opposition to such news, and I’ll let the scientists explain the science and the actual number of people on each side of the issue. What I am able to do is show what the mainstream media buries, namely all the red flags surrounding accusations against skeptic scientists.

Al Gore’s 2006 movie, An Inconvenient Truth, exposed the heart of the problem, and although it didn’t start there, he faces tough questions about his role with the problem’s origins. After describing all kinds of potential climate disasters – which have thus far failed to happen – Gore takes a short length of time near the end of the movie to equate skeptic scientists with tobacco industry ‘science experts’ who downplayed cigarette smoking health concerns. His comparison is quite effective, he literally spells out the words “reposition global warming as a theory rather than fact” in red letters across the screen, saying they were from a leaked memo no different than an old tobacco company’s leaked internal document, “Doubt is our product, since it is the best means of creating a controversy in the public’s mind.” Pick up a copy of his 2009 “Our Choice” book, and both sentences are spelled out in half-inch tall letters on pages 356 and 357.

There’s an enormous red flag here. A complete context scan of the Brown & Williamson “Doubt is our product” memo is found on the internet within seconds, web sites quoting it link directly to the scan, and there is no question it was a top-down industry directive.

The “reposition global warming” memo literally cannot be found that way. The only web links to the otherwise incredibly hard to find Greenpeace archive scan of the memo are in my own online articles, and when astute readers look through this set of interoffice instructions for a small TV and radio campaign, it becomes abundantly obvious that the sentence has been taken out-of-context in order to portray it as the main goal of a sinister industry directive.

It gets worse. Gore’s companion book to his movie says the memo “was discovered by the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ross Gelbspan”. Two problems are easily found. First (as Steve Milloy pointed out long ago), the Pulitzer organization does not recognize Gelbspan as a prize winner, and second, other book authors and reporters refer to the “reposition global warming” sentence prior to Gelbspan’s earliest mention of it in a December 1995 radio interview. Nevertheless, Gore’s 2009 “Our Choice” book again referred to him as a Pulitzer winner and said the memo was “uncovered by investigative journalist Ross Gelbspan” on page 358. Inexplicably in his June 22 Rolling Stone article, Gore instead attributes the memo sentence to a 1991 NY Times article, which was not written by Gelbspan.

There are more red flags. The 1991 NY Times article says it received the memo in a packet provided by the Sierra Club. Yet, intensive searches through current and archive Sierra Club web pages yield not a solitary word about finding what any environmentalist would call the central ‘smoking gun’ evidence of a fossil fuel industry / skeptic scientist conspiracy.

On top of all that, many people point to Ross Gelbspan’s 1997 book, “The Heat is On”, as the first exposé of this memo sentence evidence. The other words he mentions a paragraph after it on page 34 of his book are from other memos in the packet, concerning targets of the coal industry PR campaign: “…older, less-educated men…” and “young, lower-income women”. Meanwhile, page 360 of Al Gore’s 1992 “Earth in the Balance” book says his Senate office received documents “…leaked from the National Coal Association…” which said, “People who respond most favorably to such statements are older, less-educated males from larger households, who are not typically active information-seekers… another possible target is younger, lower-income women…”

Identical words from the same memos in Gore’s Senate office as much as four years prior to Gelbspan, the man he credits with discovering them – a huge red flag if there ever was one. And not a word about this contradiction in the mainstream media. Had reporters taken just a few hours of their time to talk to a now-former employee of that coal organization – as I did just recently – they would have been told that these specific memos were a rejected proposal for the PR campaign, and were never actually implemented, thus they would not have been seen by other fossil fuel company executives. There was no industry directive to “reposition global warming”, period.

There is a sea of red flags to be analyzed, more than space allows here. Ross Gelbspan and John Passacantando, the head of the enviro-activist group Ozone Action from ’93 to 2000, claim to have obtained the “reposition global warming” memo in 1996 while jointly working to publicize it as evidence of skeptic scientists’ guilt, but they never say who gave it to them. Passacantando became the executive director of Greenpeace USA in 2000, merging Ozone Action into it, and his former co-workers now have influential positions elsewhere: Phil Radford is Greenpeace USA’s current director, Kelly Sims Gallagher is an official reviewer of IPCC reports, and Kalee Kreider is Al Gore’s spokesperson.

It is entertaining to note how Ms Kreider started working at Ozone Action in 1993 and transferred to Greenpeace in 1996, and was seen just a year later in a 1997 IPCC Regional Impacts of Climate Change Special Report, in its Annex H USA section for “Authors, Contributors, and Expert Reviewers”. Al Gore says this about her in “Our Choice”, page 411, “[she] has been of invaluable assistance in all of my climate work”. Considering she joined his current staff in 2006, and his “climate work” goes back to 1988, it might be worthwhile to ask him exactly what he meant there.

Legitimate scientific criticism could wipe out the so-called global warming crisis. What’s been the response for twenty years? Don’t debate skeptic scientists, assassinate their character – but hide the evidence proving their corruption.

The monumental fault in global warming is right there in plain sight, and the mainstream media either can’t spot it or offers strangely vague answers when I try to alert them about it. This issue showcases a genuine divide of inexcusable proportions: We have 1% of the media elite who have committed journalistic malfeasance for over twenty years, and we are the 99% who no longer trust them! Expose this problem for all to see, and we knock down not only the politics of global warming, we also potentially put news reporting back to the way it should be done, telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.


Tent Collapsing on Climate Change Circus

During his 2008 campaign, President Obama made his support of climate-change interventions clear, stating that his presidency would slow the rise of the oceans and begin to heal the planet. He promised that a cap-and-trade system would curb global warming.

He was elected, but the electorate hasn’t liked many of his policies. Cap and trade never passed Congress. To this day, President Obama has remained comparatively popular, but people believe he is taking the country in the wrong direction—toward a European system. Even his Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, believes our gasoline prices should be higher, like Europe’s.

Two weeks ago, my column addressed China’s act (ring #1) in the climate-change circus. Last week, I looked at Europe’s staunch support for climate-change intervention when the majority of the industrialized countries have rejected or resisted a Kyoto-style deal (ring #2). Using Italy as an example, I suggested that the country’s lack of natural resources made expensive renewable energy a viable option for them—though an economic tightrope destined to failure.

While Italy is in the news for its brutal economic woes, it shares several components with the US.

Italy has a declining private sector with growth in government, disappearing industrial production being filled in with goods from China, and high gas prices/imported oil. Italians are still consuming, but now their euros are going to other countries—most notably China and the OPEC countries, resulting in exploding trade deficits. (Sound familiar?)

Climate-change mitigation adds to the problem as it artificially inflates energy prices through the troubled Ponzi-like cap-and-trade scheme and creates more government jobs, regulation, fees, and hidden taxes. With the increasing production costs, industry declines and unemployment rises. Over time, some of those put out of work in industry may get absorbed by government—which keeps the unemployment numbers from looking as grim as they might without the government jobs. Government jobs do not create wealth, as mining and farming do, but like a funhouse mirror, they distort the true picture.

All of the above sounds eerily similar to the US—except we did not sign on to the Kyoto protocol, nor did we pass cap-and-trade legislation. However, President Obama has not given up on his plans to “curb global warming.” Instead of cap and trade, we have the EPA directed by President Obama’s appointee, Administrator Lisa Jackson—who, by her own admission, aims to level the playing field. The EPA is doing everything it can to raise the cost of energy, which, if left unabated, will continue the demise of American industry and the growth of the government sector—resulting in exploding trade deficits. (Sound familiar?)

While Italy’s situation and the US have several similarities that are worth noting, there are also some crowd-pleasing differences.

As noted, Italy lacks quantities of large natural resources—America has them in abundance. We often lack the access to our own resources.

Italy is a part of Europe’s cap-and-trade scheme intended to curb manmade global warming. We have Lisa Jackson’s EPA—but Congressional action (encouraged by America’s citizens) can thwart her, and the 2012 election can replace her.

Italy’s economy is collapsing, leaving the stronger countries—mainly England and Germany—to bail it out. The US isn’t quite there yet.

With the economic damage that climate-change interventions deliver, why is the administration still using them as an excuse to implement regulations that will make electricity more expensive for industry and consumers? Maybe, it is because they are, as Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper described Kyoto: “a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations.” More and more, it seems that it never was about saving the planet.

If, in fact, reaching a binding global emissions-reduction agreement is really about global government—with the Green Climate Fund sucking money from the “wealthy” countries and redistributing it to the poor countries, Europe gives us a prime example of why the US should follow Canada’s lead and shun the “at-any-cost” green agenda that stunts economic growth and job creation.

Back to Italy. In EU terms, Italy is one of the “poor” countries—along with the other Club Med countries: Greece, Spain and Portugal. In the mini-global government known as the EU, the “wealthy” countries no longer want to carry the “poor” ones.

Germany and Italy are both EU members and in good times, Italy’s growing government sector could mask the harsh economic realities. By comparison to Italy, Germany has abundant energy supplies from nuclear and coal-fueled power, a strong industrial sector, and a good work ethic. Germany “has”; Italy “has not.” In EU terms, Germany is expected to carry Italy—but they don’t want to.

The US “has” abundant energy supplies; the EU “has not.” The EU has to depend on schemes like carbon trading, about which Rob Elsworth of the climate-campaign group Sandbag in London said: “is a pretty important revenue stream for most member states.” He asks, “If you take away this green-economy narrative, what's really left of Europe?”

The EU’s economic crisis provides the US with living proof that we do not want to play in the global-government game where the “haves” are expected to carry the “have nots.” We have the resources; we still have industry; and we still have a good work ethic. Will we use them to save America and the free market system that has allowed us to grow to strength, or will we be drawn into the green big top?


American Mules Must Eat Certified Weed-Free Hay

Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the country and is one of the worst in foreclosures. “In my district,” Nevada Assemblyman Hansen reports, “one in seventeen houses is in foreclosure. One in eight is vacant. The people are economically desperate. Meanwhile we have an industry that would love to open up mines and create jobs with an average salary of $80,000. Unfortunately we also have a government that takes ten years to permit a mine.”

No wonder 77% of Americans believe the country is heading in the wrong direction.

“Couldn’t we streamline the process or eliminate some steps?” asks Nevada State Senator Settelmeyer. He points out that the high gold and silver prices present a huge opportunity but he’s afraid that if we do not strike while the iron is hot, gold prices may fall before the mining projects get approved and get into production. “We have the resources and people need the jobs.”

In 1900 silver and gold were found in Tonopah, Nevada. Within weeks of the discovery, there was digging and within a year the mine was fully operational. In 1900 dollars, the mine brought in $125 million. Today, it would be multi-billions of dollars.

The Comstock Lode was discovered in 1859 and during its six year run an estimated $50 million of ore was removed. The discovery was largely responsible for Nevada becoming a state and it is credited with helping the Union’s finances as it backed the paper money—assisting the Union’s ultimate victory in the civil war. If Comstock was burdened with today’s regulatory environment, the war would have been over long before an ounce of silver was legally extracted and the outcome could have been different.

Mining has played an important role in the development of the western United States—providing jobs and revenues. It should be doing the same now. In Nevada’s mining towns, the unemployment rate is among the lowest in the country: 5-7%—according to Tim Crowley President of the Nevada Mining Association who says there are hundreds of mining jobs available in Nevada. Skills from the hard hit construction industry can be transferred to mining.

General Moly plans to hire 450 people by the end of the year. There are major copper operations in permitting. Companies are looking at mining rare earths and lithium—both of which are essential for cell phones, batteries, computers, and wind turbines and solar panels.

Imagine the jobs and new wealth that could be created if mining was encouraged. Senator Settelmeyer says, “It is hard enough for companies to get through the regulatory process and get a permit. On top of that there is frivolous environmental litigation that lengthens the process—cutting off vital resources and delaying jobs.”

Last week environmental groups hailed a decision from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld a law prohibiting roads on nearly 50 million acres of national forest. Lawyers for the Colorado and Wyoming Mining Associations contend that the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule violated the law. Previous conflicting federal court rulings have both upheld and overturned the road-building ban.

Jane Danowitz, director of the Pew Environmental Group’s U.S. public lands program acknowledges that the roadless rule blocks “logging, drilling and industrial development.”

Expressing disappointment with the decision, Stuart Sanderson, President of the Colorado Mining Association said, “The decision does not reflect a practical understanding of the impact that the rule will have upon mining jobs or access to needed minerals here in Colorado and the U.S. It is important to develop high quality coal and other mineral reserves, both to ensure our nation’s energy security and reduce our dependence on minerals produced in other countries.”

How does this roadless decision impact mining and jobs?

In Montana’s Finley Basin there are known tungsten deposits. An Australian company wanted to bring revenue and jobs to the state by developing the resource. While the property was successfully drilled and recognized by Union Carbide in the seventies, it is now about 200 yards inside a roadless study area. The Forest Service was willing to offer a conditional drilling permit. Among the conditions were these requirements:

* The drill sites must be cleared using hand tools,

* The drilling equipment and fuel must be transported to the site by a team of pack mules,

* The mules must be fed certified weed-free hay, and

* Drill site and trail reclamation must be done using hand tools.

The company gave up. How can America remain competitive in a global marketplace when we are required to use pick axes and mules? How does this help America’s heavy equipment manufacturers like Caterpillar?

No wonder we are in trouble. We need these resources. They are salable both in the US and in a global market. The question is will we produce our assets—creating revenues, jobs, and new wealth? Or, will we allow countries, such as China, to have a monopoly and control the price?

The issue goes beyond mining. If we are not utilizing our own resources, we will have to buy them from other countries who are ramping up to take advantage of the boom. They can produce them more efficiently without the layers of bureaucratic red tape. Some countries are working to control the market and raise prices—which increases America’s cost of manufactured goods, the deficit, and reliance on foreign suppliers.

When America is struggling with the deficit and Americans are economically desperate, we need to be looking at more than spending cuts and tax increases. We need to eliminate redundant red tape in order to create new wealth, cheaper energy, and real jobs—all of which will contribute to a stronger America.


Photons are wave packages - not particles

In 1954, Albert Einstein wrote: "All these 50 years of conscious brooding have brought me no nearer to the answer to the question, '"What are light quanta?" Nowadays every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks he knows it, but he is mistaken."

The following is a summary of Professor Claes Johnson's paper entitled "Computational Blackbody Radiation."

Electromagnetic radiation does not exhibit a particle like nature. Planck's suggestion of this (made in desperation) appears to be wrong or, at the very least, unnecessary to explain physical phenomena.

The IPCC models depend upon an incorrect assumption that these fictitious particles from a cold atmosphere can warm the surface.

Electromagnetic radiation has been postulated as having wave-particle duality, meaning it can have the nature of both particle and wave motion. However, to consider it purely as a string of "photon" particles that, when it hits a "blackbody" will inevitably warm it is simply incorrect. This is the fundamental fallacy of the arguments about how "back radiation" supposedly warms the Earth.

In order to convert to internal thermal energy in the blackbody, the incoming radiation must have an energy level above a "cut off" value which depends on the temperature of that body. Put simply, most of the high energy associated with incoming solar radiation (direct from the Sun) is above the cut off and so does warm the surface. But there is some low energy infra-red radiation in the solar spectrum (some of which gets absorbed by carbon dioxide) and some other such radiation coming from the atmosphere. All such radiation which is below the cut off will be immediately re-emitted in the same frequency range, this explaining why only low energy infra red radiation is emitted from the surface and from the human body. As we all know, high energy UV radiation can warm and burn the skin, just as it warms the sand and rocks at the beach. But we feel no warming effect from the assumed large quantity of low energy "back radiation" supposedly received from the atmosphere at night.

According to Wien's Displacement Law, the (peak) cut off frequency, ? = kT/h where h is Planck's constant and k is Boltzmann's constant. (The maximum frequency is actually the above multiplied by a constant which is 2.821439..) Hence the cut off frequency is directly proportional to the absolute temperature, T. Whilst in fact there can be some radiation above the cut off, there will be strong damping of any such radiation.

Note that the familiar Stefan-Boltzmann's Law (SBL) is derived by integrating and summing frequencies in Planck's radiation law. The SBL deduces that total energy radiated by a black body is proportional to the fourth power of the absolute temperature. This is not in conflict with the linear relationship between cut off frequencies and temperature.

In contrast, the old Rayleigh-Jeans Law led to the so-called "ultra violet catastrophe” and so, to avoid such, Planck theorised about a “particle” nature of radiation consisting of "photons" which had no mass. Planck admitted that doing so was in desperation and both he and Einstein recognised that resorting to this "statistical mechanics" could be scientifically illogical.

Professor Johnson writes on page 291 of Slaying the Sky Dragon "If explanations can be given by wave mechanics, then both the contradiction of wave-particle duality and the mist of statistical mechanics can be avoided, thus fulfilling a dream of the late Einstein."

Johnson makes a highly significant "breakthrough" point here in that he finds that we can separate the two-way propagation of waves from the one-way propagation of "heat" energy by waves. This is not possible with particle theory, and that is the very reason why everything has gone wrong in the models which assume that particles of heat energy (photons) hitting the surface will warm it regardless of the temperature of that surface. The alarmists are basically claiming that you could use a mirror to reflect infra-red radiation back onto its source and thus further warm the source. This would be creating energy and it simply does not happen. But, yes, it would happen if there was only one-way propagation of "photon" particles.

I find that it helps to think of the night-time situation without incoming solar radiation. We have the surface still radiating infra-red as it cools after the warmth of the day. But would a mirror reflecting that radiation back again actually cause the surface to start getting warmer again? Hardly! Yet that in essence is what the alarmists are saying. Indeed, Professor Nahle has been constructing experiments which show what does happen in reality. Watch for his new one to be published in 2012, the results of which are progressing well I understand.

Professor Johnson sets out a detailed mathematical model which is consistent with (and in fact derives) the observed physical laws. It centres around the concept of resonance (and near resonance) of the wave nature of radiation and essentially disposes of any need to imagine "particles" having no mass.

Johnson's work is as revolutionary as that of any previous scientist, Einstein, Planck or whoever. "Planck's statistical mechanics is replaced by deterministic mechanics," he writes on page 300, explaining that this is "viewing physics as a form of analogue computation with finite precision with a certain dissipative diffusive effect, which we model by digital computational mechanics associated with a certain numerical dissipation."

His model and the computations explain why the spectrum of the incoming radiation from the Sun has hardly any overlap with that of the outgoing spectrum of infra-red radiation. The high frequency coherent radiation above the cut off temperature converts, in a one-way process, to incoherent thermal ("heat") energy, whereas any radiation (mostly from the atmosphere) which has a lower frequency than the cut off frequency will be immediately re-emitted and will not be converted to thermal energy.

Thus “back radiation” can never warm the surface and the "greenhouse effect" is a physical impossibility. Just as is the case with conduction, heat transfer is always from a warmer body to a cooler one even with radiation. The mechanism which ensures this is twofold: (a) the immediate re-emission of any radiation from a cooler scource and (b) the conversion to thermal energy of any radiation from a warmer source.

This is what true science is all about - deriving a theoretical model and then proving that it conforms with empirical evidence. This has never been done, and never could be done, with the back radiation theory - because it does not conform with reality. It is pseudo-science.

Temperatures will now start to decline, as can be seen from the curved trend below..


Modern-day climate change witch hunt

What is it about freakishly cold winters that so agitates intolerant moralists? In Europe 500 years ago, any sign of a dip in the winter weather would be greeted by much gnashing of teeth from the morality police. Sometimes they'd even burn at the stake "witches" who were said to have caused the extreme cold through their wicked behaviour and sorcery.

Fast-forward to the 21st century and still there's nothing like a bitingly cold winter to drive moralists mad with priestly fury. Only today, in a more PC, less pyromaniacal version of what their forebears did, they don't burn people at the stake for causing cold winters - no, they prefer to hector us with op-eds and insults instead.

The last couple of winters in western Europe have been bitterly cold. Last year the British Isles were coated in thick snow, causing chaos. This winter is shaping up to be a bit warmer, though cold snaps are expected in the new year.

All this iciness has put green-leaning moralists in a tailspin. They scour the press and the blogs for any whiff of a hint of a suggestion that perhaps these cold winters disprove the global-warming thesis, and inform us that, actually, extreme coldness is yet another side-effect of man's constant farting of CO2 into the environment.

This week, a top Welsh scientist highlighted one of the key problems associated with very cold winters - no, not the possibility of elderly people going hypothermia or an increased risk of car accidents on slushy roads, but the danger that the dumb public will think all this snow proves hot-headed environmentalists wrong.

Professor Michael Hambrey of the University of Aberystwyth said "the public must not be misled into believing that a series of cold winters are evidence that climate change is a myth".

Echoing green activists, who get strangely defensive during very cold winters, Professor Hambrey reminded us that climate change is not only going to make the world hellishly hotter but will also lead to a situation where "more extreme winters become the norm".

Last year, during Britain's big freeze, greens incessantly lectured us about how cold winters are just as much the fault of greedy, hubristic, polluting man as recent heatwaves and droughts have been.

A writer for The Times said anyone who seizes the opportunity of a wicked winter to ask "what happened to global warming?" is an "idiot", because nobody ever claimed that climate change would "make Britain hotter in the long run". (Er, yes they did.)

A headline in the Guardian informed us that: "The snow outside is what global warming looks like", and the reason the plebs and simpletons who make up modern Britain can't understand this fact is because they are: "simple, earthy creatures, governed by the senses... What [they] see and taste and feel overrides analysis. The cold has reason in a deathly grip."

Perhaps. Or perhaps the reason the public's cynicism towards environmentalism goes up a notch whenever it snows is because for the past 10 years, before the recent big freezes set in, environmentalists told us we'd never see snow again.

"Snow is starting to disappear from our lives", declared the Independent in March 2000, quoting an expert from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia - a major producer of climate-change info - saying that "children just aren't going to know what snow is".

Mark Lynas, one of Britain's chief climate-change alarmists, told us in 2004 to prepare for life on a "hotter planet" in which "the traditional British winter [is] probably gone for good".

And yet today, any mortal who dares to wonder out loud why it's snowing so much if the planet is supposed to be getting hotter is told to shut up, branded an "idiot", pityingly looked upon as a "simple creature" lacking reason. Weird wintry weather is as manmade as hotness is, we're told. In short, snow, like floods and droughts and plagues of locusts, is another by-product of our destructive behaviour.

These greens don't seem to realise how much they sound like medieval witch-hunters. In the Dark Ages, before man enlightened himself, witches were frequently hunted and burned on the basis that they were causing climate change - specifically very cold winters.

One of the driving forces behind the witch-hunting mania in Europe between the 15th and 17th centuries was the idea that these peculiar creatures had warped the weather.

As the German historian Wolfgang Behringer argued in his 2004 book, Witches and Witch-Hunts, "large-scale persecutions were clearly linked to years of extreme hardship and in particular the type of misery related to extreme climatic events".

So during the Little Ice Age, the period of unusual coldness that started around the mid-1500s, there was an upsurge in witch-hunting. There was another outburst in 1628, described by historians as "the year without a summer", because once again people's crops failed and they were desperate to find someone to blame. As Behringer puts it, when the "climate stayed unfavourable or 'unnatural' the demand for persecutions persisted".

Johann Weyer, the 16th-century physicist who spoke out against witch-hunting, described how one woman was forced to confess to causing climate change: "[A] poor old woman was driven by torture to confess - as she was about to be offered to Vulcan's flames - that she had caused the incredible severity of the previous winter of 1565, and the extreme cold, and the lasting ice."

Pointy-hatted Witchfinder Generals were convinced that foul, immoral people, through the magic of their thoughts and words, had conjured up climatic mayhem and icy conditions. Sound familiar? Yep - today, too, hectoring moralists hold wicked human beings responsible for causing unusual coldness.

In the old witch-hunting era, it was a powerful sense of social uncertainty and fear of the future which led the priestly class to view mysterious individuals as being culpable for climate change. Today, too, a similarly profound social and moral malaise has led elite greens to claim that the throng, with its reckless ways and insatiable material desires, is causing dangerously freezing/hot conditions.

Of course, in one important way today's green moaners are more enlightened than the witch-hunters of old: they don't hurl anyone on to "Vulcan's flames". But in another sense they're more backward than the medieval moralists since they don't only old a few sad old women responsible for climatic disarray, but rather point the finger of blame at everyone - all the "idiots" and "simple creatures" whose desire for stuff and wealth and holidays is apparently causing both cruel summers and harsh winters. In the eyes of the green lobby, we are all witches now.


Stuck On "Stupid Liberal" Mode


My dad builds custom homes in California and the regulators at all levels routinely give him new, maddening impediments to practicality. The example that I remember most had to do with toilets.

In response to the apparent public outcry about excessive tank capacity, sales of toilets that exceed 1.6 gallons per flush have been banned throughout America. United States Senator Rand Paul recently told a senior bureaucrat at a Senate hearing, “Frankly, my toilets don’t work in my house, and I blame you.”

If you are like Senator Rand and don’t think that it makes sense to have to flush twice to make up for a deliberately insufficient vortex, you can buy a Canadian-made 3.5 gallon toilet on the black market. Can you imagine having that crime on your rap sheet?


The government’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) at the Energy Department also thought it would be really swell if Americans would use less electricity to match their new toilets. So, they made some suggestions, through nationwide mandates, that we replace our bright, warm, inexpensive light bulbs with compact fluorescent lighting (CFL).

CFLs don’t lend as much ambience, they are vastly more expensive, and they take a while to warm up before they can perform their singular purpose in our lives. But, they do provide an element of mercury for you to deal with when they burn out or break.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that, if your CFL light bulb breaks, first get all people and pets out of the room, shut down your air conditioner for several hours (another excellent suggestion for saving energy), and thoroughly collect every bit of glass and powder into a sealed container.

The government’s Energy Star program argues that this mandate actually reduces mercury emissions in American households because CFLs demand less electricity from mercury-generating coal plants that poison the fish we eat.


About a year ago, I called the manufacturer of our dishwasher with a performance complaint. The 10-month-old appliance was simply no longer getting the dishes clean. The repair guy approached the situation like the main character on the TV show House.

His assessment was that all three name-brand detergents we had on hand were too low on phosphates to get the job done. It turns out that ours is one of millions of households victimized by the latest regulation - low detergent phosphates. We now dump in twice the normal amount of detergent and set the cycle to “stupid liberal mode” which runs the dishwasher for nearly three hours, using 50% more water and electricity.


It is hard to believe that these busybody bureaucrats are simply trying to improve the environment. Evidence to the contrary includes the results of an investigation by the Government Accountability Office. They received an Energy Star label for their application of a gas-powered clock radio (really).

With a full staff of uniformed gropers at every airport, Obamacare and government controlled thermostats on the horizon -- I mean, if one were to undertake the goal of listing the most personally intrusive acts that a government could commit against its people, I think this list would just about be it.

With their hands in my pants, my physical health, my home, and even my toilet, I have never felt so uncomfortably close to my government.



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


25 December, 2011


No postings today
Back tomorrow


24 December, 2011

Glacier lies exposed

One of the most flagrant lies from the IPCC, the EPA, and the Hey-Ho, is that glacial retreat is due to postwar emissions of CO2. But that is not what history shows:
Sydney Morning Herald: January 13, 1939

One of the riddles which is puzzling geologists all over the world is the continuous retreat of the ice glaciers. Does this phenomenon indicate that the sun is getting hotter as some astronomers believe or is it dependent upon comparatively unimportant changes in the earth’s atmosphere?

Consideration such as these were discussed by Professor R. Speight, formerly professor of geology at Canterbury College, Christchurch, New Zealand and now curator of the Canterbury Museum. In his presidential address to the geology section of the Science Congress to-day. His subject was “Some Aspects of Glaciation in New Zealand.”

The steady retreat of the glaciers in New Zealand he said had been observed during the last 70 years. Photographs taken in 1896 and 1935 showed that several glaciers had retreated distances varying from 100 yards to half a mile in 40 years.


The phenomenon, however, was world-wide. Equally impressive records were obtainable from Switzerland, Scandinavia, Iceland and the United States. Attempts had been made to reconcile these observations with the Bruckner cycle of climate change every 16 years. Professor Speight said, but so many discrepancies occurred that in his opinion precise synchronisation with that period could not be accepted.

In Alaska glaciers had been retreating from 100 to 200 years, the average rate of recession being about 50 feet a year. The Antarctic ice-sheet also showed signs of recent retreat.

“In fact,” said Professor Speight, “no case is recorded of a region of the world in which there are present signs of an advance. This is quite apart from the general retreat since the pleistocene age and may be merely a pacing phase. Its precise significance can only be determined by continued observation.”

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Climate crook Tim Wirth: 2012 is Obama’s ‘last window of opportunity’ to get it right on climate change

Wirth is still “riding the global warming issue.” Climatewire reports,
President Obama has a “last window of opportunity” to get it right on climate change, U.N. Foundation President Tim Wirth warned this week…

“I can’t blame these guys,” Wirth said of Pershing and Stern. “I don’t know what they could have done to do any better without a different political dynamic. They were under very tight instruction.”

But in a lengthy interview with ClimateWire, Wirth went on to skewer what he described as the Obama administration’s lack of focus on climate change, and outline a comprehensive vision for the coming year.

“I don’t know who and where the climate leadership in the administration is. It doesn’t exist. There is no resolve in the Obama administration to do anything, and I think they look at Congress and say, ‘We can’t do anything, so why break our pick now?’” Wirth said.

He argued that the administration and environmental groups alike must “spend the year 2012 setting the table for the next four years.” Dismissing the possibility of a Republican win in November, Wirth called a second Obama administration term “the last window of opportunity” to enact policies that can avert a catastrophic rise in global temperatures.

“It’s the last chance we have to get anything approaching 2 degrees Centigrade,” he said. “If we don’t do it now, we are committing the world to a drastically different place”…

Topping the list, he said, was “clarifying” public opinion on climate change and identifying different political constituencies on climate action — ones he delineated as: “big committed,” “probably,” “not really paying attention,” “couldn’t care less” and “it’s all a big fraud.” He called for a series of strategies related to climate science as well as finding new ways to energize the 60 to 65 percent of Americans he claimed are in favor of taking significant steps to address climate change.


Global warming aficionados will remember this infamous Tim Wirth quote from the 1990s:
“We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing, in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”


Obama is achieving his goal of higher energy costs

CNBC reported earlier this week that the typical American family will spend the largest portion ever of its budget — 8.4 percent — on gasoline this year.

With 14 million Americans either out of work or underemployed, a lot of folks aren't buying Christmas gifts or celebrating with a little holiday cheer this year. As Washington Examiner columnist John Stossel makes clear elsewhere in today's edition, a major reason for the continued high and underemployment is found in the massive economic uncertainties that will result if the U.S. Supreme Court allows Obamacare to go forward. Businesses aren't replacing current workers or adding new ones in great part because they simply cannot know how much doing so would cost them until the future of Obamacare is decided. This is a textbook case of the unintended consequences that inevitably accompany grand Big Government programs.

But there is another factor behind the economic stagnation produced by President Obama's policies -- soaring energy costs -- that hurt all Americans, not just those without jobs or who are trapped in lower-paying positions. As CNBC reported earlier this week, the typical American family will spend the largest portion ever of its budget -- 8.4 percent -- on gasoline this year. Economists expect the average price of a gallon of gas to be $3.53, a 76-cent increase over 2010.

Growing world demand for gas caused by economic expansion in China and India only partially explains this increase. Obama's environmental and energy policies are also a key reason why prices are constantly heading higher. The American oil and gas industry is producing record domestic yields these days, thanks to the vastly increased efficiency made possible by technological advances like horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

That ought to be good news because increased supply normally means lower prices. But the energy industry's ability to process oil into gasoline is greatly handicapped by environmental regulations that are so stringent that it's been nearly four decades since a new refinery was built in this country. Plus, existing refineries face a complicated web of government-mandated blends of gas with additives like ethanol that are designed to reduce emissions and that vary by geographical region and seasons of the year. That means refineries frequently must stop producing one blend to change to production of a different one.

Add to these factors the dramatic decrease in the number of new drilling permits issued by the government under Obama, longer waiting times for those that are issued, and the president's success in barring expansion of oil and gas exploration and production to federal lands known to be rich in untapped resources. The result is constant upward pressure on the price consumers must pay at the pump.

Not only is the cost paid by families every time they fill up at the local gas station, the economy takes a hit as well. James Hamilton, an economics professor at the University of California at San Diego, who studies energy prices, told CNBC that high gasoline prices reduce economic growth by about 0.5 percent for the year. In a $14 trillion economy, half a percent is a big deal, especially when growth is about 2 percent a year. And we haven't even mentioned Solyndra.


Greenies may cause the U.S. to lose Canadian oil supplies

Adding up to yet more support for the Islamists from the Green/Left. How unsurprising!

Canada could sell its oil to China and other overseas markets with or without approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline in the United States, says Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

In a year-end television interview, Harper indicated he had doubts the $7-billion pipeline would receive political approval from U.S. President Barack Obama, and that Canada should be looking outside the United States for markets.

“I am very serious about selling our oil off this continent, selling our energy products off to Asia. I think we have to do that,” Harper said in the Monday interview with CTV National News.

Harper’s comments were released a day after the White House sent signals it might kill TransCanada’s oil sands pipeline if it is forced to make a decision on the project in 60 days, saying there wasn’t sufficient time to complete a new environmental review.

Even though the project could still win approval from the Obama administration, Harper appeared to believe that the pipeline would not be completed, meaning Canada would have to look elsewhere to trade its oil.

“When I was down in the United States recently it was interesting. I ran into several senior Americans who all said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll get Keystone done. You can sell all of your oil to us.’ I said, ‘Yeah we’d love to,’ but I think the problem is now that we’re on a different track,” Harper said.

Environmental activists fear an accident along the 1,700-mile (2,700-kilometer) pipeline extension would be potentially disastrous for aquifers in central U.S. Great Plains states.

Others oppose the multibillion-dollar project because exploiting the tar sands requires energy that generates a large volume of greenhouse gases that scientists blame for global warming.

The Obama administration has ordered an extra environmental assessment of a possible new route through Nebraska, which could delay a final decision until after next November’s election.

That move prompted Obama’s opponents to accuse him of dodging a difficult issue to avoid angering sections of his Democratic political base vote.


Chevy Volt Costing Taxpayers Up to $250K Per Vehicle

Analyst: 'This might be the most government-supported car since the Trabant'

Each Chevy Volt sold thus far may have as much as $250,000 in state and federal dollars in incentives behind it – a total of $3 billion altogether, according to an analysis by James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Hohman looked at total state and federal assistance offered for the development and production of the Chevy Volt, General Motors’ plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. His analysis included 18 government deals that included loans, rebates, grants and tax credits. The amount of government assistance does not include the fact that General Motors is currently 26 percent owned by the federal government.

The Volt subsidies flow through multiple companies involved in production. The analysis includes adding up the amount of government subsidies via tax credits and direct funding for not only General Motors, but other companies supplying parts for the vehicle. For example, the Department of Energy awarded a $105.9 million grant to the GM Brownstown plant that assembles the batteries. The company was also awarded approximately $106 million for its Hamtramck assembly plant in state credits to retain jobs. The company that supplies the Volt’s batteries, Compact Power, was awarded up to $100 million in refundable battery credits (combination tax breaks and cash subsidies). These are among many of the subsidies and tax credits for the vehicle.

It’s unlikely that all the companies involved in Volt production will ever receive all the $3 billion in incentives, Hohman said, because many of them are linked to meeting various employment and other milestones. But the analysis looks at the total value that has been offered to the Volt in different aspects of production – from the assembly line to the dealerships to the battery manufacturers. Some tax credits and subsidies are offered for periods up to 20 years, though most have a much shorter time frame.

GM has estimated they’ve sold 6,000 Volts so far. That would mean each of the 6,000 Volts sold would be subsidized between $50,000 and $250,000, depending on how many government subsidy milestones are realized.

If those manufacturers awarded incentives to produce batteries the Volt may use are included in the analysis, the potential government subsidy per Volt increases to $256,824. For example, A123 Systems has received extensive state and federal support, and bid to be a supplier to the Volt, but the deal instead went to Compact Power. The $256,824 figure includes adding up the subsidies to both companies.

The $3 billion total subsidy figure includes $690.4 million offered by the state of Michigan and $2.3 billion in federal money. That’s enough to purchase 75,222 Volts with a sticker price of $39,828.

Additional state and local support provided to Volt suppliers was not included in the analysis, Hohman said, and could increase the level of government aid. For instance, the Volt is being assembled at the Poletown plant in Detroit/Hamtramck, which was built on land acquired by General Motors through eminent domain.

“It just goes to show there are certain folks that will spend anything to get their vision of what people should do,” said State Representative Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills. “It’s a glaring example of the failure of central planning trying to force citizens to purchase something they may not want. … They should let the free market make those decisions.”

“This might be the most government-supported car since the Trabant,” said Hohman, referring to the car produced by the former Communist state of East Germany.

According to GM CEO Dan Akerson, the average Volt owner makes $170,000 per year.


Australia: One "habitat" versus another

THE federal and NSW governments are facing claims their $24 million purchase of the historic Toorale Station near Bourke in 2008 to help the Murray-Darling river system was a waste of money that has harmed the local economy while delivering scant environmental benefit.

Three years after the federal government led the purchase of the 91,000-hectare property to release its irrigated water back to the river system, the dams and irrigation channels are still in place - though their decommissioning was a key part of the environmental plan - the Herald has confirmed.

An "infrastructure decommissioning plan" drawn up by engineering consultants Aurecon in 2009 found there were environmental obstacles to scrapping the dams and channels because a new ecology has grown in the 150 years since the station was established. Also, a complete decommissioning would cost $79 million.

Angry locals have told the Herald their economy has been battered without much gain.

"It's very hard to see that there's been any environmental benefit whatsoever from the $23.75 million that was spent," Geoff Wise, general manager of Bourke Shire, said. "But there's been millions and millions of dollars of lost productivity that would have flowed had it remained a viable property."

He said Toorale Station had provided about 10 per cent of Bourke's business and 4 per cent of the shire rates. "Overnight, we lost that."

The property on the confluence of the Darling and Warrego rivers was bought by the NSW government, though the Commonwealth paid the bulk of the purchase price with nearly $20 million and in return got the water rights.

The then water minister Penny Wong said at the time the infrastructure decommissioning plan would be "implemented as soon as possible". The Aurecon report in August 2009 advised "partial decommissioning".

The federal Environment Department said in a statement to the Herald the purchase had delivered an extra 56 billion litres of water to the environment by releasing water out of the dams. This falls short of the average 20 billion litres a year - peaking at 80 billion in flood years - Senator Wong promised in 2009, despite the heavy rains and flooding of recent years.

In the 2010-11 financial year, 7.6 billion litres were returned to the river system - just 0.01 per cent of the total flow of water through the Darling River at the Louth gauge, downstream.

The Water Minister, Tony Burke, acknowledged decommissioning had "taken longer than originally expected" and added "we're still working through the technical details with NSW as to which is the best pathway".

He said the water already recovered had helped the Darling River, the Warrego River, the Great Darling Anabranch and the River Murray wetlands.

Even supporters of the purchase are disappointed by the lack of progress. Justin McClure, the owner of Kallara Station, a flood plain grazing property south-west of Bourke on the Darling River, said it had always been the understanding the dams would be removed.

"I'm disappointed that the infrastructure hasn't been decommissioned," he said."I'm disappointed that more water hasn't been returned to the river, although I understand the issues the government is facing."

Mr McClure said there had been environmental gains downstream and he still believed the purchase had been worth the money. But he added: "The fact there's no information on what they're actually doing is what upsets me the most … I don't think it's a transparent process."

The opposition water spokesman, Barnaby Joyce, said the Toorale situation boded ill for Murray-Darling Basin reform.

"When the nation pays for a property that doesn't actually deliver much water into the Darling River and now they are reorganising the nation's food bowl and how we feed ourselves, I get very worried."



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


23 December, 2011

The fraud continues

Despite having no data north of 80N, Hansen has determined that it was very hot there in November. By fabricating a huge 4-8C anomaly at the North Pole, he is able to keep global temperatures (barely) rising this century, while HadCRUT shows global temperatures falling.

He also did a bang up job warming Greenland well above measured temperatures. RSS showed almost all of Greenland cold, but Hansen’s magic crayon did an impressive job of heating the place up.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Obama Sides with Whackos over Workers- Kills Another 3000 Jobs

The EPA went last-minute Christmas shopping for votes this year to stick in their boss’, um… ballot-box shaped stocking. Once he realized his economic plans wouldn’t create jobs, Obama has been like an employment Typhoid Mary, killing jobs wherever he can in order to boost support from his whack-job supporters in the hopes for some votes, any votes.

In a desperate bid to win back support of the enviro-whackos who have been critical of the Obama administration, the EPA issued a final ruling on MACT standards that will shutter up to 60 coal-fired power plants, costing an estimated 3000 jobs in the plants alone. Merry Christmas!

A typical coal-fired plant employs an average of 54 workers.

The move was blasted by Congressman John Sullivan, Vice Chairman of the House Energy and Power Subcommittee as the “EPA gone rogue.”

“Utility Mact is the most expensive rule EPA has ever written for power plants – its going to layoff American workers,” said Sullivan, “could shut down over 60 power plants all together and raise the price families pay to heat their homes this winter. EPA has gone rouge – they are catering to radical left wing environmentalists instead of presenting a workable plan that protects the environment as well as American jobs.”

EPA said that by shutting down the plants, they’ll be preventing 17,000 deaths per year caused by polar bear cannibals, er, strike that…by pollution…yeah… pollution. Of course they provide little-to-no data to support the claim. Indeed, in one place the EPA revises the number downward to 4,200-11,000 global warming, er,...pollution deaths. With the many global crises going on, it’s hard to keep track of which crisis the Democrats are saving us from on any given day.

The EPA trotted out the new death statistics in the spring after meeting opposition to the new MACT standards by those silly people who would like to keep their jobs and the rest of us who’d like to pay reasonable prices for electricity, presumably so that we can all keep our Chevy Volts going- 33 miles between a 12 hour charge!. You know? When we aren’t driving our Nat Gas powered Pelosi-mobiles.

Previously the EPA had argued hard for poor visibility as the driving force behind the new regulations. But that argument ran into a buzz saw of opposition called common sense, aka, the House Energy and Power Subcommittee.

Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, told Power Engineering Magazine that the rule will cost more than just jobs and coal generation.

"It will increase the cost of power, undermining the international competitiveness of almost two dozen manufacturing industries," Segal said.

The Wall Street Journal estimates that the scheme will cost the industry $10 billion, which of course will be passed along to consumers.

Of course the consumers won’t be hit the worst. It’s the employees who are being told just a few days before Christmas that they will have to find new jobs, who are the ones that will pay for Obama’s electioneering.

But Obama’s already made it clear that if he has to pick between workers and his far-left base, he’s going with his base- at least until he can turn on them again; you know, like he did with Hispanics, Blacks, Unions and once-upon-a-time enviro-whackos?

Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America has recently blasted Obama for double dealing against American jobs on behalf of the enviro-whackos like he did on the Keystone Oil Pipeline. O’Sullivan represents pipefitters and others who would be employed on the Keystone project.

“Environmentalists formed a circle around the White House and within days the Obama Administration chose to inflict a potentially fatal delay to a project that is not just a pipeline,” said O’Sullivan when Obama punted on the pipeline project to side with whackos over workers, “but is a lifeline for thousands of desperate working men and women. The Administration chose to support environmentalists over jobs – job-killers win, American workers lose. Environmental groups from the Natural Resources Defense Council to the Sierra Club may be dancing in the streets, having delayed and possibly stopped yet another project that would put men and women back to work. While they celebrate, pipeline workers will continue to lose their homes and livelihoods.”

Merry Christmas, Mr. Obama. You should be proud.

Still, the whack-job left remains skeptical of Obama largely because they have yet to see him confiscate your home, my home and all other homes with up-to-date mortgages. Remember: This is a group of people who think recycling is dropping “trou” in Zucotti Park.

OWS groups have been “occupying” both Obama’s Iowa campaign headquarters and the headquarters of the Democrat National Committee to protest Obama’s sellout to Wall Street.

While protests from the hard left continue, expect Obama to show he’s not a sellout by selling out to the radicals over American workers who not only install indoor plumbing for a living, but also know how to use it.


Canada and the Kyoto Protocol: Who Says Quitters Never Win?

In a victory for common sense, America's top trading partner has become the first country to bail on the Kyoto Protocol before the nearly $7 billion in noncompliance costs comes due next year. Thus ends a pointless and pricey exercise in martyrdom.

Having committed to reducing 1990-level carbon emissions by 6 percent, Canada somehow managed to go in the other direction by about a third. Not that anyone in Canada would have noticed by any tangible common-sense measure, except perhaps for all the Canadian plants and trees quietly cheering the abundance of carbon dioxide and overproducing fresh oxygen as a result.

So what, exactly, is the valid scientific reason for which a well-managed country with a natural-resource-based economy would purposely choose to sacrifice its competitive advantage amid economic uncertainty, particularly when oil and natural-resource competitor Russia has a mandate to reduce its emissions by exactly zero, and America wisely didn't even sign the agreement?

Environmentalism is all feel-good fun and games until taxpayers get mugged. Times and priorities have changed, and scammy nonsense like taxing and trading in plant food credits has lost its luster. Protesters are already complaining about Wall Street. We really don't need yet another (and even dodgier) market system for them to whine about.

Carbon reduction is just a luxury pastime, and arguably a useless one. Where can you breathe better -- "carbon-dumping" Canada, or Europe? I rest my case.

European countries have long been proudly fiddling with carbon credits both amongst themselves and on the world stage. Good for them. Given the current economic state of the euro zone, it's obvious they've been busy debating wallpaper samples while the bulldozer rolls full speed toward the house. Good luck saving the world when you can't pay the rent. Europe will probably keep trying to impose its moral example through climate-change activism, even when it's in debt to China and Russia, both of which have zero Kyoto obligations.

A developed country under the carbon tax system can choose to offset its guilt with actions rather than cash transfers to less-industrialized countries. Nice racket. So Canada may have been able to reduce its billions owed with "do-gooder credits," furiously running around the world planting trees, French-kissing rainbow trout, hosting one rock concert on arctic ice floes featuring Bono for every gigatonne of carbon spewed, or something else equally absurd.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper reiterated at a Toronto press conference last week that his government was committed to working with the private sector in the ongoing development of emissions-reduction technology, thereby differentiating between a heartfelt, morally genuine effort and a crippling political imposition.

Existing gentlemen's agreements between provinces and American regions on emission reduction might be a fun distraction from practical life, like a badminton league or hockey pool. They should never have been parlayed into something that costs anyone more than a beer, let alone billions.

Canadian opposition parties predictably whined about not being allowed to tag along with the environment minister to the recent Durban summit, where they were hoping to run around profusely apologizing for the government's lack of sensitivity in saving Canadian taxpayers a multibillion-dollar bill.

The Liberal Party's environment critic, Kirsty Duncan, accused Harper's government of ignoring the "science" of this. "While the world emits 48 gigatonnes of carbon each year," she wrote, "most models suggest that emissions need to drop to 44 gigatonnes by 2020 to maintain a likely chance (66 percent) of remaining under 2 degrees Celsius."

Harper should have responded that this overwrought, overfunded reasoning can be alleviated, according to bought scientific consensus, by running 6 million to 11 million barrels of Canadian crude (or Molson Canadian beer) over a leftist brain at 40 degrees Celsius to maintain a 66 percent chance of reducing its temperature to 38 degrees Celsius by 2020.

The Socialist NDP official opposition leader added: "While the Harper Conservatives are causing Canada to fall behind, the rest of the world is moving forward in the new energy economy."

Good for "the rest of the world." Have fun playing with your new taxes. The rest of us have real problems to deal with.


Ohio Union to Obama: Enviro Job-Killers Win, American Workers Lose

I have written before on these pages about how an administration that kowtows to the environmental lobby has played havoc with jobs in my adopted home state of Utah, with the caveat that sooner or later prohibitions on energy development and multiple use of public lands would find its way to other parts of the nation. And unfortunately, I was right. I submit for your consideration the issue of shale gas in Ohio. Yes, Ohio. Not Utah. Not Colorado, not even Pennsylvania but Ohio.

Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel is stumping for Senator. He recently published a piece in the Wall Street Journal and on his website about the federal government derailing the oil shale gas industry in Ohio before it even gets off, or more appropriately out of the ground.

According to Mandel, exploration of Ohio’s Utica shale formation could create 200,000 jobs in Ohio, shovel ready and otherwise. Let me say that again: 200,000 jobs. That number includes the people needed to get the energy out of the ground and the umber of people needed by Republic Steel and U.S. Steel who will have to produce the pipes and other equipment. And don’t forget the people who will be employed in the various stores, hotels, restaurants and trucking companies needed to back all of this production up.

There is a precedent for this, I saw it happen in Utah, and it is happening right now in North Dakota. The extraction industry brings jobs. Many of them are high-paying jobs that include things like health insurance and retirement plans.

But the promise in Ohio is in limbo at the moment, and may not come to pass, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that it has decided to suspend oil and gas leases on three thousand acres of federal land in Ohio.

According to Mandel’s article, add Administration’s brinksmanship regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline, and even the unions are unhappy. In fact, the president of the Laborer’s International Union of North America, in reference to Keystone XL stated “The administration chose to support environmentalists over jobs…Job-killers win, American workers lose.”

I grew up in Ohio, back before all the cool kids were environmentally sensitive, and love of the earth was de rigueur. And yes, there was a time in which corporations did not care. I remember giant open strip mines left to fester, and ponds so polluted that new words practically had to be invented to describe their color.

But that was then, this is now. Oil and gas companies no longer view the land as something to be seized and drained. I know this because I watch them here in Utah do things like enhance and increase sage grouse habitat, and spend the extra time and money to develop directional drilling, find ways to reduce their emissions, and reduce and recycle production water.

It may be heartwarming for some to spread misconceptions about hydraulic fracturing ushering in the end of the world, or to go to war for the continued existence of the Western Glacier Stonefly (and yes, U.S. Fish and Wildlife is seriously considering a petition to list it as endangered) This stuff may sound god on spec, but when it begins to separate the American people from American lands, it may be time to reexamine the no-people/no industry/no jobs approach to lands management.

The irony here is that with the simple approval of the XL pipeline, and the jobs and cheaper energy it would bring, President Obama would do wonders for his flagging public opinion. People want and need jobs right now, not the promise of an electric car they cannot afford. A decision by the President to allow the pipeline to go through and to allow more energy extraction in America would show the country that he is more concerned with American prosperity and security than he is with favoring campaign donors and mollifying the environmentalists whose votes he seeks.

So Ohio is apparently out in the cold right now. I know the feeling, because in my town we watched jobs and money head to North Dakota because of the policies of the federal government. And chances are very good, that under the noble auspices of preserving a species or protecting the land, energy or some other activity may soon be curtailed in your state or town as well. I invite you to peruse the Department of The Interior’s press release page. The DOI has been very busy of late with its Great Outdoors initiative. Not all of the projects listed are aimed at curtailing multiple use and access of public lands. Some in fact are quite benign. But you should remember the lesson that we in Utah have learned: government largesse almost always comes with government strings, which can be drawn very tight.


Now Brussels clobbers British holidaymakers with a green tax on flights: Family of four forced to pay £80 more to fly to America

A green tax imposed by Brussels will cost a family of four £80 more to holiday in the U.S. The controversial levy comes into force on January 1. A ruling yesterday by the European Court of Justice means any airline using any EU airport will be subject to the environmental charge.

This will add an estimated £21 to the price of a return flight to America. It comes on top of charges to be introduced in April by the UK Treasury which will add to the burden faced by British holidaymakers. In all, the cost to a family of four of a return flight to Florida will rise by a daunting £344.

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme is designed to curb emissions from aircraft jet engines of carbon dioxide. From January 1, all airlines will be required to buy a ‘permit to pollute’ to cover the cost of their carbon emissions plus extra costs if they exceed their emissions limit.

The court yesterday rejected a challenge from the U.S. and other non-EU nations that the levy infringes their national sovereignty and violates international aviation treaties.

The cost will almost inevitably be passed on to passengers, and the EU calculates the cost will be £10.50 on a one-way transatlantic flight – or £21 return. For many shorter flights it will be up to £1.75 each way.

The EU does not have power to raise direct taxes but can impose expensive regulations on businesses in member states, which have a similar effect. The money raised each year by the sale to airlines of the ‘pollution permits’ will go back to the country in which the airline is based, rather than to Brussels.

The ECJ rejected an American challenge that the scheme violates the Open Skies treaty prohibition against unilateral taxation or discriminatory treatment.

It is especially bad news for British passengers, who will be forced to pay twice over because the Government also imposes the Air Passenger Duty departure levy, known as ‘the poll tax of the skies.’

Last month the Daily Mail revealed how Mr Osborne had finally abandoned all previous Government pretence of using Air Passenger Duty as a ‘green tax’ and admitted in a letter to European airport bosses that it was now ‘fundamentally a revenue-raising duty’ which provides Treasury coffers with £2.5billion a year.

Yesterday’s decision sparked fury from countries outside the EU and threatened to ignite a transatlantic and worldwide trade war with Britain and the rest of the European Union. The rejected lawsuit was brought by U.S. and Canadian airlines acting through the trade organisation Airlines for America and backed by Russia, China and other non-EU countries.

They object strongly on ‘sovereignty’ grounds to being forced to pay ‘green’ taxes to foreign governments. A Bill currently going through the U.S. Congress will even make it illegal for airlines to pay them.

Tory MP Philip Davies said: ‘It’s unacceptable. The last thing people need at this time of year is the EU sticking extra taxes on us. Families are struggling to make ends meet as it is.’


Another Australian State Government offers veto option for residents in proposed wind farm zones


PEOPLE living within 2km of proposed wind farms will have the right to veto them, under a NSW Government proposal.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Brad Hazzard says NSW remains committed to being part of the Federal Government's 20 per cent renewable energy target by 2020, despite proposing what he has described as the world's toughest wind-farm guidelines.

Under the proposal, a company wanting to set up a wind farm in an area where landowner consent has not been given will have to go to an independent regional planning panel if there is community opposition. "That means 100 per cent of neighbours have to be happy within that 2km zone," Mr Hazzard said.

Mr Hazzard said he hoped the idea would find a balance between residents living near wind turbines and supporters of renewable energy.

"Today I am announcing that the NSW coalition Government is putting out for public discussion some of the toughest wind-farm guidelines in the country, possibly the world," he said.

The Victorian Government this year gave residents within a 2km radius a right of veto over wind turbines. But Mr Hazzard said the NSW proposal was different to Victoria's and that wind-farm proponents would get a bigger say. People wishing to write submissions to the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure have until March 14.

Across NSW, there are 17 applications to build wind farms, including 13 that are yet to be shown to the public.

The NSW Greens said the proposal would kill off the wind-generation sector in favour of coal seam gas as a solution to the state's future energy needs.

"If this draft plan becomes law, the Government has effectively chosen a destructive coal seam gas future for NSW, over the clean, green and jobs-rich wind-energy sector," Greens planning spokesman David Shoebridge said.

"NSW is abandoning the most cost-effective option for reducing its carbon footprint, which in effect means it is giving the green light for coal seam gas projects across the state."



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


22 December, 2011

Green chemistry’s march of the ostriches

In an age of routine life-enhancing improvements, self-appointed public policy ostriches are spreading myths as divorced from reality as those surrounding the ostrich. The myths envelop man-made chemicals. Advocates wave an innocent-looking banner extolling “green chemistry,” which in reality involves government second guessing decisions made within the private sector to force industry to make more “environmentally sound” or “green” products. This movement has succeeded in pressing its anti-chemicals agenda in numerous state capitals, and is trying to take it nationwide.

Advocates of regulation to advance green chemistry suggest it serves the “precautionary principle,” which calls on companies to prove their products are safe before they are allowed on the market. It may sound reasonable, but since no one can prove 100 percent safety, precautionary policies grant government agencies the power to regulate arbitrarily, targeting products for elimination based largely on political, rather than scientific, grounds.

For decades, self-styled “public health” activist groups and the news media have fed Americans a diet of doubts and fears about the chemicals and substances that have made life better in the developed world. Contrary to their precautionary rhetoric, the level of danger that surrounds the modern American continues to decline across the board. U.S. life expectancy keeps rising—more than a year and a half over the last decade, according to the World Health Organization. Despite news that chemicals pose a serious risk, both cancer mortality and incidence levels have declined as mankind has increased their use.

Nonetheless, with their heads buried in the proverbial sand, lawmakers around the nation are responding to the hype with a host of laws and regulations. A November 2010 report by the Safer States Coalition, a leading green chemistry proponent organization, boasts: “In the last eight years, both the number of state chemical laws and the number of states passing toxic chemical reforms have tripled.” A major goal of these laws is the replacement of products that have stood the test of time and prevailed among others in the marketplace.

Government-directed green chemistry is based on the assumption that market processes fail consumers by releases of needlessly dangerous or environmentally damaging products. Green chemistry advocates argue that, with a little direction, government can fix this problem. Yet the assumption that regulators can find less risky alternatives is unrealistic.

Truly “green”—that is, efficient and safe—innovations rarely are driven by government. They are the natural outcome of the competitive market which “green” policies seek to control. The market development of chemical products is also naturally “green.” After all, chemical companies do not succeed if they poison their customers. They succeed by providing high-quality, safe products their customers want. The unique nature of chemicals demands that they conduct the research to ensure their products perform in a safe manner.

Given market incentives to ensure product safety, companies join associations of various kinds to share information and self-regulate. The ubiquitous nature of such standard-setting organizations underscores the role that incentives play in ensuring product safety and quality. Today, chemicals are covered under numerous voluntary regulatory programs for consumer products around the world including cosmetics, plastics, and chemicals in general. Unfortunately, government regulations can hinder such voluntary standards systems and replace them with fewer, less effective programs.

A complex society needs simple rules built on bedrock principles. With the green chemistry movement’s anti-chemical agenda proceeding in so many states, we have begun to overturn one of our cherished principles by giving government the authority to clog scientific inquiry without convincing evidence. At the heart of the matter, Americans must understand and tolerate reasonable amounts of risk. It is in our economic and ecological interest to let inventors make discoveries outside the widening orbit of legal and governmental overregulation.


Global warmers betrayed by bald-faced honesty

While barely reported in US mainstream media, which comes as little surprise to libertarians, two top US hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University admitted they "are quitting the practice of making a seasonal forecast in December because it doesn't work."

For 20 years William Gray, recently joined by Phil Klotzbach, has been preeminent at making December forecasts on how many named storms and hurricanes to expect during each official June-to-November hurricane season.

To punctuate their superlative work in the past the Ottawa Citizen gushed over the pair as "revered like rock stars in Deep South hurricane country" in their December 12 article but for unknown reasons rewrote the same linked lead-in the following day to "famous across Deep South hurricane country."

The article even said of Gray, "Southerners hang on his words, as even a mid-sized hurricane can cause billions in damage."

But now the prognosticators are saying, "Our early December Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane forecasts of the last 20 years have not shown real-time forecast skill." Put simply, their predictions are worthless.

"Fortunately, no major hurricanes made US landfall in 2011, despite a forecast of above-average probability. In fact, no major hurricanes have made landfall in the US in six years!"

This appears to be yet another blow to the politically-driven global warming aka climate change crusade following two different WikiLeaks data dumps that disclosed memos of government climate experts conspiring to manipulate scientific data and computer projections in order to publicize desired scaremongering results.

True Believer Global Changers and Climate Warmers will likely lash out at the pair as Traitors to the Cause while claiming that it still doesn't change the science.

People who actually read actual history may detect an echo of this tenuous grasp on "science" from the darkest distant past:

"Of course we can transmute base metals into gold and silver through the magic of alchemy. We just need the king to keep supporting us from His Majesty's treasury so we can develop better chants and spells as we pour our chemical potions upon our lead and iron ore specimens. We just need more study and research."

Truth is, science constantly changes based on testable and verifiable new data and discoveries. The political football of "earth sciences" today may become a real science in the future once all the social engineering, agenda-driven ideology and taxpayer-looted government subsidies and international wealth redistributions are washed out of it and scientists are allowed to act like scientists again.

As for William Gray and Phil Klotzbach, thank you for your honesty.


Warmist Ken Caldeira resigns as IPCC lead author, says "it is not clear how much additional benefit there is to having a huge bureaucratic scientific review effort under UN auspices"

New Directions for the Intergovernmental Climate Panel -

Clearly, at the outset, the early IPCC reports played an important role showing that there was a high degree of consensus around the reality and basic science of human-induced climate change. It was important to show that, despite a few climate-science deniers, the fundamental science was well-accepted by the mainstream scientific community.

But can anybody point to any important positive outcomes resulting from the IPCC AR4 process? [AR4 is shorthand for the panel's fourth assessment, which was published in 2007.] Is there reason to expect a greater positive impact from the IPCC AR5 process? [This is the forthcoming fifth assessment of climate science and policies, coming in 2013 and 2014]

I am all for scientific reviews and assessments, and I think the multi-model comparisons reviewed by the IPCC have been especially useful. However, it is not clear how much additional benefit there is to having a huge bureaucratic scientific review effort under UN auspices...

(As an aside, I recently resigned as a lead author of an IPCC AR5 chapter simply because I felt I had more effective ways of using the limited amount of time that I have to engage in scientific activities. My resignation was made possible because I believe that the chapter team that I was part of was on the right track and doing an excellent job without my contribution. Had I had a scientific criticism of my chapter team, you can be assured that I would have stayed involved. So, my resignation was a vote of confidence in my scientific peers, not a critique. It is just not clear to me that, at this point, working on IPCC chapters is the most effective use of my time.

Carnegie Department of Global Ecology

Caldeira is a lead author for the upcoming IPCC AR5 report and was coordinating lead author of the oceans chapter for the 2005 IPCC report on Carbon Capture and Storage. In 2010, Caldeira was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.He was a co-author of the 2010 US National Academy America's Climate Choices report

About Ken Caldeira
KENNETH G. CALDEIRA joined the Laboratory's Atmospheric Chemistry Group as a physicist in 1993 and has been an environmental scientist in the Climate System Modeling Group since 1995. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in atmospheric science from New York University in 1991 and 1988 and his B.A. in philosophy from Rutgers University in 1978. He also served as a postdoc at Pennsylvania State University's Earth System Science Center. Caldeira has published many papers, for example, on climate stability of early Earth and the global carbon cycle as it has been affected by human activity over millions of years.


Europe fights to save cap-and-trade as crisis hits

Europe's main weapon in the battle against climate change is now fighting for its own survival.

In early January, investors in the continent's cap-and-trade system still had to pay some euro14 ($18.30) for the right to emit one ton of carbon dioxide into the air. By last week, the price of one emission allowance had tumbled to a meager euro6.41 - making it much cheaper to pollute and slashing the financial incentives for companies to invest in low-carbon technologies.

Analysts warn that the prospect of another recession in the debt-ridden continent, and the accompanying decline in emissions, could push prices below euro2 by the end of next month.

The troubles in the carbon market, a system being watched closely from California to China, is linked to the struggles of Europe' other ambitious project, the euro. And just as financial investors have looked to the European Central Bank to save the currency through massive intervention in the bond markets, analysts say the emissions market may need similar centralized help.

Last week, 19 companies, including oil giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Philips Electronics NV and supermarket chain Tesco PLC, sent a letter to the European Commission urging it to reduce the number of emission allowances in the system and figure out how to protect the market from future economic shocks. The commission and national governments jointly manage the cap-and-trade system.

"The lower price is really undermining the development of technologies that will be needed in the decades to come," said David Hone, Shell's climate change adviser.

Shell, which is mostly known for selling oil and gas, has been one of the pioneers of carbon capture and storage, projects in which CO2 emissions are stored underground so they don't get released into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. But investing in new technologies like carbon capture and storage only becomes commercially viable at a carbon price of between euro25 and euro30, Hone said.

"Over the last few months, we have seen some of these projects disappear," he added.

In October, the U.K. government shut down the carbon capture project in Longannet in eastern Scotland in which Shell was one of the partners.

While the prospect of another recession is the main reason for the recent drop in carbon prices, experts say that - just like with the euro - serious flaws in the system are exacerbating the problems and could lead to its failure if they can't be fixed.

The economic crisis has lowered emissions and thus hit the price of carbon allowances. But the drop has been so dramatic because there were too many allowances in the system to begin with.

To get industry and skeptical governments on board, the Commission set a very high cap for emissions when it launched the carbon market in 2005.

Since then, most allowances have been given out for free to the 11,000 power stations and factories covered by the system based on their historical emissions. Companies that emit less carbon dioxide than they are allowed can sell their spare permits to firms that exceed their limit. As of next year, airlines will also be included in the system.

But the big test for Europe's carbon market - and whether it can provide the financial incentives for cutting emissions - will come in 2013, when governments start selling a growing number of allowances at auctions.

It is before then that the Commission has to intervene, say the companies that wrote last week's letters.

There are signs that their calls are being heard. On Tuesday, the environment committee of the European Parliament voted to withdraw some 1.4 billion allowances, about 15 percent of the total, from the carbon market between 2013 and 2020. At the same time, the committee said, the annual cap should be cut by 2.25 percent per year, rather than the 1.74 percent currently planned.

While the committee vote is the first step in a long process of changing the system and few industry watchers expect the figures to survive negotiations among EU states trying to protect their national industries, it caused carbon prices to jump more than 18 percent.

"It opens up a much deeper discussion about what does the intervention look like and when is it going to happen," says Sanjeev Kumar, an expert on carbon trading at environmental watchdog E3G in Brussels.

"Without intervention," warned Kumar, "not only the ETS is over, but Europe's climate policy is over. It will put Europe back into the dark ages."

Apart from failing to encourage the necessary cuts in emissions and technological innovation, the collapse in the carbon price could also worsen Europe's debt crisis.

Between 2013 and 2020, when companies have to pay for more and more of their allowances, the cap-and-tade system could raise as much as euro190 billion for governments across the EU if prices recover.

"This is a pretty important revenue stream for most member states," says Rob Elsworth, of climate campaign group Sandbag in London. "And they are watching revenues just disappear."

Experts like Kumar and Elsworth are hopeful that states will garner the political will to save the carbon trading system, which has pioneered the market-based approach to saving the environment.

"If you take away this green-economy narrative," asked Elsworth, "what's really left of Europe?"


Unsafe wind power

1,500 accidents and incidents on UK wind farms

The wind energy industry has admitted that 1,500 accidents and other incidents have taken place on wind farms over the past five years. The figures – released by RenewableUK, the industry's trade body – include four deaths and a further 300 injuries to workers.

The scale of incidents – equivalent to almost one a day – emerges following the publication of dramatic photographs showing one turbine which had crashed to the ground in a field near a road and another exploding into flames, caused by 150mph winds which buffeted Scotland and northern England last week.

Charles Anglin, RenewableUK's director of communications, stressed that last week's incidents were caused by "freak weather". The organisation said that no member of the public had ever been hurt as a result of a wind turbine accident.

A dossier of incidents, compiled by a campaign group opposed to wind farms, includes cases where blades, each weighing as much as 14 tonnes, have sheared off and crashed to the ground.

Residents living near a wind farm have reported sheltering in their homes when lumps of ice were thrown from blades from a 410-ft high turbine near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.

One manufacturer of wind turbines admitted one of its models had a defect – understood to be caused by a faulty braking system that meant the blades could fly off – that led to hundreds of turbines being ordered to be shut down in September by the Health and Safety Executive. The company, Proven Energy Ltd, based in Scotland, went into receivership shortly after.

Blades attached to smaller domestic wind turbines have also become detached and hit buildings – in one case penetrating the roof of a cabin used as an office.

Campaigners claim that the incidents show that "some parts of the country are too windy for turbines". Most turbines automatically shut down when the wind speed rises above 56mph because at that speed they can become unsafe.

In September a blade flew off a wind turbine on the roof of a new car park at Lister hospital in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, hitting a staff member’s car.

Last year a 140-turbine wind farm near Glasgow was temporarily shut down after a 14-tonne fibreglass blade broke off in windy conditions and landed at the base of its tower.

Two years ago, a 50ft turbine collapsed in the playground of a school on the Island of Raasay off the coast of Scotland, and in the same year a blade on a 190 ft wind turbine in Rotherham owned by Sheffield University broke in strong winds, prompting an investigation by its manufacturers.

The incidents were compiled by the Caithness Wind Farm Information Forum, which campaigns against turbines in Scotland and publishes accidents - backed up by media reports - on its website. RenewableUK said the deaths had been recorded in 2009 and 2010.

One involved a maintenance worker in Scotland who had become 'tangled' with the driveshaft of a turbine while the other three deaths took place during construction of onshore and offshore wind farms.

Chris Streatfeild, RenewableUK's director of health and safety, said: "No members of the public have ever been injured or harmed in the reports we have received.

"The risk to the public is one in 100 million. You are much more likely to be injured by a lightening strike than by a wind turbine."

Mr Streatfeild said RenewableUK had recorded 1,500 incidents over the past five years, many of which were very minor. Of those, about 18 per cent - or close to 300 incidents - led to an injury, again usually very minor.

He said planning and safety rules meant turbines were always at a certain minimum distance from roads and homes, reducing further the risk to the public. He said the number of fires and structural collapse each amounted to just a ‘handful’.

Mr Anglin said last week that wind farms had an “excellent health and safety record”, adding: “In stressful situations any power equipment may develop faults, and that’s true of gas, nuclear, oil, and is also true of wind.”

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said last week it was “extremely difficult” to assemble a “complete picture of reported incidents at wind farms” because accidents are not recorded by industry type.

The HSE said its figures showed three fatal accidents between 2007/08 and 2009/10 and a total of 53 major or dangerous incidents in the same time frame.

An HSE spokesman said wind turbines were classed as machines rather than buildings or structures and that there was no obligation to report mechanical failures.

Angela Kelly, chairman of the Country Guardian, a national network of anti-wind farm campaigns, said: “We have been aware of accidents on wind farms for years but the new figures released by the industry’s own trade body are particularly alarming. “Developers seem to have ignored the fact that some parts of the country are too windy for turbines.”


More oppressive Green insanity coming to Australia

THE cost of cooling your home and cooking dinner could double under a new Gillard government power proposal. Charging consumers more for electricity during the evening peak, and less at other times, is among a raft of "policy options" contained in a discussion paper made public yesterday.

The plan would involve a statewide rollout of so-called "smart meters", which have caused anger among some consumers whose bills have risen sharply. Other proposals put forward in the paper include minimum energy standards for appliances, rebates and green building regulations.

There is also a bizarre plan allowing energy companies to remotely control home airconditioners in high-demand periods in return for a discount at other times - a move experts say would hit western Sydney hard.

After the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency released the consultation paper for a proposed national energy savings initiative, acting Greens leader Christine Milne claimed it was "another great Greens idea coming to fruition".

The push for a new green scheme would, according to the paper, "complement" the carbon tax, which will add $171 to power bills and would come on top of the existing renewable energy target scheme which added $100 to power bills this year. Smart meters monitor electricity usage in 30-minute intervals and feed information back to the energy company.

Some families in new homes with so-called smart meters are already on time-of-use tariffs where, between 2pm and 8pm, they pay 44c a kilowatt hour - twice the flat rate.

Energy Australia was forced to allow 200,000 households in NSW to revert to a flat rate if they wanted to after time-of-use charging hurt those who were at home during the peak period - new parents, pensioners and the disabled.

Energy Australia claimed 70 per cent of households were better off with smart meters. But research by St Vincent De Paul has shown time-of-use charging imposes double-digit increases on young families and the welfare-dependent.

Senator Milne said: "For too long, governments, businesses and householders haven't tackled our hugely wasteful use of energy because there has been no clear and urgent driver to do so." She said a target for energy use reduction should be set at 3 per cent a year.

Energy Users Association executive director Roman Domanski said similar schemes in Australia and overseas had produced limited benefits. He said time-of-use pricing would be more pronounced in hotter areas of Sydney - the west. "If the government introduces a scheme like that, it is going to increase bills," he said.

"We're now going to have a carbon price that is going to encourage people, supposedly, to lower emissions and also reduce the amount of energy people use so we wonder why you need one of these sorts of schemes to push electricity prices up even more."

A spokeswoman for parliamentary secretary for climate change Mark Dreyfus said a national energy savings initiative was aimed at "helping households and business save money on energy costs".



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


21 December, 2011

Arctic cooling coming

No area of the earth gives Warmists erections like the Arctic. They are always talking about it. For reasons that I have never tried to follow, they say that the effects of global warming will be greatest and most significant there. And since the ice-cover there has always waxed and waned, they can always cherry-pick a particular period of years that suits their theories.

Every now and again, however, somebody nastily looks at the whole temperature record, not just a selected slice of it. And the latest example of that is woeful news for the Warmists. Some Norwegian scientists have gone to the town of Longyearbyen in Norway's far North (bordering the Arctic circle) and checked out the temperature record there -- dating from 1912.

They found two things: That the temperature changes there are cyclic and the cycles are mainly explained by the activity of the sun. That enables them to predict Arctic COOLING from now to the year 2020. Abstract below

The long temperature series at Svalbard (Longyearbyen) show large variations, and a positive trend since its start in 1912. During this period solar activity has increased, as indicated by shorter solar cycles. The temperature at Svalbard is negatively correlated with the length of the solar cycle. The strongest negative correlation is found with lags 10F12 years.

The relations between the length of a solar cycle and the mean temperature in the following cycle, is used to model Svalbard annual mean temperature, and seasonal temperature variations. Residuals from the annual and winter models show no autocorrelations on the 5 per cent level, which indicates that no additional parameters are needed to explain the temperature variations with 95 per cent significance.

These models show that 60 per cent of the annual and winter temperature variations are explained by solar activity. For the spring, summer and fall temperatures autocorrelations in the residuals exists, and additional variables may contribute to the variations. These models can be applied as forecasting models. We predict an annual mean temperature decrease for Svalbard of 3.5±2 degrees Celsius from solar cycle 23 to solar cycle 24 (2009-20) and a decrease in the winter temperature of around 6 degrees Celsius.


America’s energy pipeline dreams

The Keystone XL ruckus shone a light on pipelines like never before. From the heated nature of the debate one could be forgiven for thinking that long, high-volume pipelines are something new to America. Really, that couldn't be further from the truth: The United States built its first pipeline in the 1840s, and there are now more than a million kilometers of oil and gas pipelines crisscrossing the country.

When it comes to moving oil and gas across land, pipelines are far and away the best choice. They are the safest transportation mechanism for the people who work in the industry and for the environment, and they are the most efficient, meaning they burn less energy to move all that fuel than the other options. And really, there are not many other options. In a few places oil is moved by rail, but rail is slower and less energy efficient, and trucks are too small. Pipelines are it, and have been since that first pipeline moved gas from Pennsylvania to New York City to light street lamps. Every hour the world consumes a million tonnes of oil and a quarter of a trillion cubic meters of gas – and almost all of it moves, at one point or another, through a pipeline.

The pipelines in North America are among the safest in the world. According to the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, the average annual loss of liquid fuels from its pipelines is two liters for every million liters moved. In other words, Canadian pipeline companies have earned themselves a safety record of 99.99%. American operators are similarly laudable. The American Petroleum Institute tracks pipeline performance; the charts below show that not only are things pretty darn good, they also continue to improve.

Accidents do happen. The primary cause is corrosion in old pipes. But think about that for a second: The fact that old pipelines can become corroded and develop leaks is not an argument against pipelines – it's an argument for new pipelines. The charts above show just how much the pipeline industry has improved its spill record in just nine years. In that context, consider this: 41% of the pipelines in North America were built in the 1950s and 1960s, while another 15% are even older than that. Not surprisingly, technology has advanced leagues since then, and unfortunately many of those old pipelines were build using protective coatings that we now know break down over time.

So old pipelines need to be replaced with newer, safer ones, but that is only one side of the story. The other side is that North American oil and gas production is on the brink of a major upswing, and we need to add significantly to our pipeline network in order to move these huge new volumes of oil and gas from the field to the market.

Most energy-market watchers are aware of the natural gas boom, borne out of trillions of cubic feet of gas discovered in the continent's shale deposits. Production has already risen, but the best is yet to come. In the coming decades shale gas will come to account for some 40% of America's gas production and will be the reason the country's gas output is expected to climb come 30% instead of declining. These trends are illustrated nicely in the chart below, which we borrowed from the US Energy Information Administration.

It ain't just gas that's booming. Oil production in North America is also rising, and if any small portion of the continent's shale oil deposits can be put into production economically, then output will shoot skywards. Right now America's total proven onshore oil reserves stand at roughly 15 million barrels. The oil that geologists believe lies within America's shale deposits dwarfs that number: estimates for the Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Marcellus shales average 20 billion barrels each. Now, these barrels are not "proven," which describes reserves expected to be economic. But the oil is there and, as Canada's oil sands have so clearly shown, uneconomic deposits turn into black gold when the price of crude rises. Those oil sands are the other reason North America's oil output is climbing: The oil sands are already pumping out 1.5 million barrels of crude oil per day (bpd), with production expected to double by 2020 and then rise to 3.7 million bpd by 2025.

All of this domestic oil and gas is a blessing. People may not love the idea of oil and gas wells in their beloved homeland, but the only other choice is to continue buying oil from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela, Iraq, Angola, Colombia, and Algeria. The list speaks for itself – all are countries with US relations ranging from delicate to downright difficult and unstable.

Finally, whether or not one wants to believe that we need all this oil, the fact is that we do. North America is addicted to fossil fuels. That addiction needs to be treated, but the transition will take a long time, especially because none of the alternative energies developed to date stand the test of economics. Until those options improve and then expand, even environmentalists will need to heat their homes, buy food and goods transported on trucks and rail, use cars, buses, and planes to get around, and plug in their electronics.

And don't forget that oil is not just used to make fuel – oil is also a major ingredient in plastics, rubbers, fertilizers, paints, dyes, detergents, synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon, and makeup. We really do operate in a world that turns on oil and gas.

More HERE (See the original for graphics)

Green Prophets Miss it Again!

Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

On May 21st of this year, thousands of expectant followers of cult leader Harold Camping eagerly awaited the end of the world. Some gave away all their possessions and quit their jobs, only to be bitterly disappointed when their prophet’s dire prediction proved to be wrong. While a number of these people undoubtedly learned a tough lesson, you and I both know that many will prepare in similar fashion for the next Armageddon date that sounds convincing. They believe because they want to.

It is a tragedy when people become so blinded by ideology that they waste their life savings or lose their jobs. When the blinded individuals hold power over federal spending, however, they waste other people’s money and lose other people’s jobs. Solyndra—the solar panel manufacturing company which became the graveyard for hundreds of millions of federal dollars—is just one of many such disasters.

Throughout the 2008 campaign and the early days of his presidency, the Obama administration prophesied about the coming “green” economy. They assured their followers that this administration would create no fewer than 5 million green jobs. These would be jobs working for companies that produced environmentally-friendly solar panels, wind generators, geothermal energy units and so on. We were told this was the future of economic growth for America.

To his credit, President Obama followed through immediately on his promise by setting his Department of Energy to work. They gave out millions of dollars to companies that produced such green products. Were these grants and loan guarantees based on sound research into the fiscal sustainability of such endeavors, or were they grounded in blind faith in the coming green economy? Time would certainly tell.

Solyndra was the poster child for this kind of company and these kinds of jobs. Throughout the first half of 2010, both President Obama and Vice President Biden publicly praised Solyndra as the type of company that was the future of American exports. The 1,100 people they employed were just “the first of those five million green jobs that were well on their way.” This was the key, they insisted, to revitalizing the struggling American economy.

I first wrote about the Solyndra debacle in a September 11th column, shortly after the company filed for bankruptcy on September 1, 2011. Despite over half a billion federal dollars, the company failed. Since that writing, leaked emails make it clear that Solyndra’s failure was anything but a surprise. The White House pressured the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve the loan guarantees in August of 2009, despite warnings that they had not had sufficient time to review the company’s risk to taxpayers. In the final days before its bankruptcy announcement, the White House considered another bailout to keep the company afloat, according to Politico. The White House believed Solyndra would be profitable because it wanted to believe.

Just as followers of Harold Camping threw away jobs and money for false promises, ideologically-blinded. policy makers are throwing away taxpayer money for the false promise of green jobs. To add insult to injury, the Labor Department announced on November 21st taxpayers would have to give another 14.3 million dollars to Solyndra (since its file for bankruptcy) to help its 1,100 employees with income assistance and job-retraining. I wonder if they will be retrained for one of those five million green jobs we were promised?

Solyndra’s failure is not unique. Just two months after its failure, Beacon, a Massachusetts based energy storage company (which received 43 million dollars in federal loan guarantees), also filed for bankruptcy. Ener1 which received a Department of Energy grant for 118.5 million dollars was also showing signs of trouble this month; Politico reported that it failed to file its quarterly report on time.

Green energy initiatives have proven unsustainable more often than not. This doesn’t mean that we should not keep trying. To the contrary, innovation—whether it is carbon capture and storage for existing plants, clean natural gas or any number of environmentally friendly methods of extracting affordable energy—hold the key to much of our nation’s future. What Solyndra’s failure reminds us is that when the government bets on the wrong company or the wrong technology, not only do the taxpayers foot the bill, but the very innovation we are hoping for is stifled and discouraged.

Economist and political scientist Joseph A. Schumpter once observed, “The first thing a man will do for his ideals is lie.” It seems to me that well meaning, but deceived people, lied to get Solyndra money in the first place. Then they misrepresented its failure, believing things would turn around. The Washington Post reported that the White House pressured Solyndra back in 2010 to postpone announcing its layoffs until after the 2010 elections.

As a man of faith, I understand how difficult it is took look at trends that contradict your belief system. But politicians must report real results to the public. To do anything less does not serve their constituencies. Ideology of any variety can indeed blind people to truth; and it can tempt anyone to misrepresent the truth.

In these tumultuous times, we cannot tolerate public servants whose consciences are seared. Neither can we tolerate those who take a Machiavellian approach - thinking they must use any means necessary to spare the public from “its own ignorance.” When blinded individuals control taxpayer money, their deception harms the entire nation. Both the administration and the nation deserve the truth - not false prophecies.


California Dreams and Low Carbon Fuels

Last month the Obama Administration announced it would delay a decision on whether to permit the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline – a 1,700 mile long proposed pipeline that will connect the Alberta oil sands and Bakken crude oil reserves to Gulf Coast refineries – until after the 2012 election. The decision was no doubt influenced by the boisterous protests led by environmental groups like the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Tar Sands Action among others.

What casual observers of the Keystone XL debate don’t realize is that opposition to the pipeline is only one front in a broader anti-oil sands campaign. At the heart of the oil sands opponents’ position is their contention that the carbon content of the oil sands is higher than other crude oils. The NRDC refers to the Alberta oil sands as “dirtier and more corrosive” than other oil supplies. Tar Sands Action referred to Keystone XL as “the fuse to North America’s biggest carbon bomb.” Indeed, these advocates have routinely circulated the alarmist claim that development of the oil sands means “game over” for the climate.

Another major front in the anti-oil sands campaign is an effort to implement Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS). An LCFS is, in a nutshell, a cap-and-trade program for transportation fuels that forces consumers to ditch affordable fuels like gasoline and diesel and replace them with alternative and renewable fuels and technologies that are not fully developed yet, like electric cars and cellulosic biofuels. Ironically, the NRDC even admits that the advanced biofuels necessary to achieve the mandate “have yet to be produced on a large scale.”

Fortunately, the American public has not embraced the LCFS concept. According to polls by CNN and Rasmussen, 51% of Americans oppose carbon credit trading and energy mandates called for under LCFS. Even larger majorities of Americans oppose paying more in taxes and higher energy costs to artificially prop-up renewable energy. This explains why Congress failed to enact an LCFS mandate even when the Democrats had massive majorities in both the House and the Senate.

Realizing that they’re arguing against public opinion, environmental groups have shifted their strategy to the state level. As a result of intense lobbying by environmental activists, California – which has proven itself more than willing to sacrifice its economy in the pursuit of ideological goals – has adopted an LCFS that calls for a ten percent carbon intensity reduction in the state’s transportation fuel pool over 10 years.

Anti-oil sands activists hope that California’s LCFS will serve as a model for a national LCFS. However, a recent study by Charles River Associates finds that such a mandate would increase the costs transportation fuels by up to 170 percent over ten years, reduce household purchasing power by between $1,400 and $2,400 annually and kill up to 4.5 million jobs nationwide.

Environmental activist claims that enacting low carbon fuel standards or killing the Keystone XL pipeline will reduce demand for oil in the United States also fly in the face of government projections that we will continue to rely on gasoline, diesel and jet fuel for decades.

Similarly, claiming that blocking imports of oil sands to the U.S. will stop the Canadians from developing them ignores the fact that Asian markets will gladly take the oil. In fact blocking imports of oil sands into the U.S. – either by killing the Keystone XL pipeline or enacting low carbon fuel standards – would actually result in higher carbon emissions due to what’s known as “crude shuffling.” Instead of obtaining crude oil from a geographic neighbor through a pipeline – the safest and most efficient form of transport – America would instead import more oil via ocean tankers from places like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Venezuela (countries also not exactly known for ‘green’ policies). Meanwhile, the Canadian crude originally destined for the United States would go to Asia on bunker fuel-burning tankers. According to a 2010 study by Barr Engineering, this crude shuffle could result in a nearly three-fold increase in global GHG emissions from crude oil transport.

Blocking imports of Canadian oil into the United States is a terrible policy goal. In addition to increasing carbon emissions, it would drive up transportation and home heating prices, kill jobs and reduce household spending power.

Our economy is already a disaster. Do we really want to make it worse by following California off an anti-oil sands cliff?


Obama's Electric Car Aid Goes Bust

No one, no matter how bright, can possibly know what is in the best interest of everybody

If Tolkien was right that the burned hand teaches best, then a question arises: Will President Obama ever learn?

In a recent appearance on 60 Minutes, Obama traded in his old analogy about the car in the ditch for a new one, about a ship in rough seas. No matter how well the captain—Obama—steers it, if the ship is being tossed about with violent abandon, then the passengers will not enjoy the ride.

The implication is that Obama is doing a fine job, so don’t blame him. The president is right, in part: The voters should not blame him. But he is wrong about why. It’s not because the president is a great economic helmsman. He is an awful one. Consider his performance in just one sector: energy. The Obama administration has shoveled boxcars full of money to “green” energy, with demonstrably deplorable results.

Those results go well beyond Solyndra. Take the administration’s policy of pushing electric cars, in which it has invested billions of taxpayer dollars. As The Washington Post reported recently, “analysts say the risk is rising that taxpayers in many cases will not see a return on their money soon, if ever. Instead, they warn that some federally subsidized companies could be forced to shut down in coming months.” A123 Systems, a battery maker the administration supported to the tune of nearly $400 million, recently announced layoffs “instead of up to 3,000 new Michigan jobs as Obama and the company had predicted,” the story reported.

Despite a $7,500 tax credit for each vehicle sold, in October GM unloaded about 1,000 Chevy Volts out of 187,000 total cars sold that month. Even if the administration’s rosy prediction of 1 million electric vehicles by 2015 proves correct, that is a drop in the bucket in a nation with 250 million cars, so the effect on greenhouse-gas emissions—the ostensible justification for all this intervention—would be negligible.

What’s more, electric cars get their juice largely from coal-fired power plants, making claims about emissions highly dubious. Battery disposal is a huge environmental problem. Electric cars and plug-in hybrids are dangerous and expensive to work on. (Ask your local mechanic for an education on that score.) And they are hugely impractical. The Volt, a four-door compact, averages 30-40 miles on battery power alone. Then it needs to recharge for 10 hours.

Clara Ford, Henry Ford’s wife, owned an electric car. There’s a reason the idea has been collecting dust for the past century. Electric cars one day may take their place alongside the Internet as one of the great life-changing innovations of our time. But right now it looks as though they will join what Jimmy Carter called the “keystone” of his energy policy, the Synthetic Fuels Corporation, in the rogues’ gallery of gawdawful government flops.

In short, then, the president is using political power to reallocate economic resources to make people adopt an inferior technology that nobody wants. So much for his stellar performance as captain of the economy.

But Obama is less concerned with what the public wants than what he thinks is best for it. This is modern liberalism’s chief project: empowering a cognitive elite to correct what it sees as the poor choices of the stupid, venal masses. (Energy Secretary Steven Chu neatly summarized this approach when he argued for new lightbulb standards by saying, “We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money.”) And the president is more cognitively elite than most. Or at least he thinks he is, referring sometimes to “teachable moments," i.e., occasions for people to be given the gift of his enlightenment.

As California Rep. Dennis Cardoza, a Democrat, wrote recently in The Hill, “President Obama has behaved more like Professor Obama,” constantly lecturing others about their shortcomings and trying to impose his will on them. “In the president’s first year in office, his administration suffered from what I call ‘idea disease.’ Every week, and sometimes almost every day, the administration rolled out a new program for the country.” You don’t get to the Oval Office through a surplus of humility. Still, it takes a remarkable amount of hubris to come up with so many great new ideas about how other people ought to live their lives.

No one, no matter how bright, can possibly know what is in the best interest of everybody. Nor can any government, no matter how large, possibly manage the monumental complexity of the modern economy, or even one sector of it. Much of the current economic mess is indeed beyond Obama’s control. The trouble is, he doesn’t think so. And the harder Washington tries to run everything, the more likely it will bollix everything up. The pages of history are littered with case studies, which now include Solyndra and (probably) electric cars.

Perhaps one day Obama will look back on them as teachable moments, too.


Global warming would REDUCE malaria

In their usual simple-minded way, the Warmists say the opposite, of course

A common assumption is that rising global temperatures will increase the spread of malaria — the deadly mosquito-borne disease that affects millions of people worldwide. But a study out today in Biology Letters finds that warmer temperatures seem to slow transmission of malaria-causing parasites, by reducing their infectiousness1.

The study was done with rodent malaria, but the researchers, at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, expect the pattern to apply to human malaria and possibly to other mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever and West Nile virus.

Studies predicting that warmer climates will increase malaria infections commonly assume that the disease-causing parasites will develop faster and that the ability of the mosquito to acquire, maintain and transmit the pathogen will remain constant. They conclude that as temperature rises, mosquitoes become infectious quicker and therefore malaria transmission increases.

But the latest study shows that temperature has a more complex effect. As temperature rises, parasites do develop faster, but fewer of them become infectious.

“It is a trade-off between parasite development and parasite survival,” says Krijn Paaijmans, an entomologist and study author. “And if you don't factor this in I think you come to the wrong conclusions.”

To tease out the factors involved, Paaijmans and his colleagues incubated mosquitoes infected with Plasmodium yoelii, which causes rodent malaria, at 20, 22, 24 and 26 degrees Celsius for 5–14 days. The researchers then examined the salivary glands of the mosquitoes — where the parasite travels when it is mature — and found that the parasite developed more quickly in warmer temperatures. But they also found fewer sporozoites — the infectious form of the parasite — indicating that the mosquitoes were less infectious at higher temperatures.

Although parasite development peaked at 26 ºC, malaria risk was higher at 24 ºC, because parasite survival rates peaked at a lower temperature of 22 ºC. “We see better potential transmission at these lower temperatures,” says Paaijmans, although he adds that the effect of temperature on other factors, such as mosquito biting rate, still needs to be explored.

Paaijmans says that there are several possible explanations for why parasite survival falls as temperature increases: the parasite may not be able to cope with the higher temperatures, or mosquito immune systems may work better at warmer temperatures.

Sarah Reece, a malaria researcher at Edinburgh University, UK, who reviewed the study but was not involved in the work, says that although interest in the effects of climate change on the transmission of malaria is increasing, details about the interactions between parasites and mosquitoes are often overlooked. “[This study] demonstrates the importance of paying attention to parasite ecology,” she says.

Simon Hay, an expert in malarial epidemiology at the University of Oxford, UK, who in 2010 reported a scant correlation between malaria and global warming, says that the study could have wide significance, if the results can be extended to human malaria. Rising temperatures “may well contribute to the host of other changes that have occurred during the last 100 years that have caused malaria to contract in extent and intensity globally,” he says.

The researchers plan to repeat the experiments with human malaria, a more challenging prospect. But Reece thinks that it should also be done outside the lab with wild mosquitoes. “The [reduced transmission] effects might be even stronger if mosquitoes in the wild are in poorer condition than in the lab,” she says.



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


20 December, 2011


Three current articles from Australia below -- followed by more articles from the USA

A splendid example of projection from a Warmist who wouldn't have a clue about science

Paul Biegler below says it is their childish emotional state that motivates climate atheists. He is Australian Research Council postdoctoral fellow in bioethics at Monash University. He may know a lot about ethics but he shows no sign of knowing any climate science. He reveals his inspissated ignorance by his coat-trailing reference to "A truckload of science" in support of global warming -- but he names not one scientific fact from that "truckload". Why? Because no such facts exist. Warmism is prophecy that flies in the face of the scientific facts (See the header on this blog). It is believers in prophecy who are in a childish emotional state

Projection -- accusing others of your own faults -- is good rhetoric but is fundamentally dishonest

He does make extended reference to a concept from social science -- delay of gratification -- but as my paper on that subject showed, most of the generalizations put forward in that research field are false. So he is leaning on a broken reed there too. Deferment of gratification is only weakly generalizable so even if a skeptic were a "non-deferrer" in one way, it would be unlikely to explain his skepticism. So Biegler is ignorant of the facts there too. Perhaps he should do some real research some day, instead of just pontificating

Instant gratification is a powerful, but flawed, human motivator.

IF YOU are down a blind alley searching for that perfect Christmas gift for your climate sceptic friend, you could do worse than slinging them a book on Emotional Intelligence. Why? Research is mounting that your friend is the victim of one of the brain's many computing glitches. More particularly, he has been derailed by an emotional response that is at best unhelpful and at worst catastrophic. He has capitulated to the pleasure of the here and now.

In his recent book Brain Bugs, psychology professor Dean Buonomano summarises a wealth of evidence that when it comes to putting off rewards, many of us suck. In the most famous study, back in the 1960s, Walter Mischel sat unsuspecting toddlers at tables laid with a single marshmallow. They could eat it now or receive an extra one if they waited a short time. Some rug rats unceremoniously demolished the treat without delay, while others exercised supreme self-control and resisted temptation until the appointed moment. Follow-up of the youngsters two decades later found those who showed restraint had better college admission scores. Other studies have linked weakness of will with obesity and addiction.

From a food-gathering perspective, it is simply irrational to forgo a double treat for the sake of a few minutes' wait. But, of course, we expect most four-year-olds to act irrationally and, in so doing, they mirror adult behaviour from our own evolutionary past. In our primordial history, when futures were predator-ridden and uncertain, it made sense to grab the food now rather than wait for a bigger, but later, chow-down. This is an example of temporal discounting, where greater rewards in the future are tagged with lesser value in virtue of their temporal distance.

Adults remain prone to temporal discounting. Given the choice of $100 now or $120 in a month, most take the money and run, sacrificing what amounts to an annual return on their one-month investment of 240 per cent. How could we be so dumb? It turns out that the allure of the immediate reward is strongly reinforced by emotions at the more pleasant end of the spectrum. Put simply, it often feels better to be rewarded straight away than to wait.

Climate scepticism is a strong candidate example of temporal discounting. A truckload of science supports global warming and its attendant perils. Yet, addressing this temporally far-flung threat, while generating distant benefit for our planet's inheritors, will cost us real pleasure now. Self-imposed measures to reduce our carbon footprint do not bring universal glee, and the carbon tax will hit both our wallets and our wellbeing.

But one of the reasons for the astounding reproductive success of humans is our capacity to bring our cortical computing power, and its rationality, to bear on our insistent emotions, Plato's unruly horse.

Many emotions still help and validly guide action, such as the fright one feels when a car whizzes dangerously close as we cross the road. But others need reining in when faced with compelling evidence on future prospects. The ability to apply rational foresight to limit the sway of short-term emotional reward is a true intelligence.

The task is difficult, not least because many of our emotional decisions are backed by post hoc - but aberrant - rationalisation. Nowhere is this writ larger than in the domain of marketing and consumer behaviour. For example, a large body of evidence shows that the emotional reward of status enhancement fuels prestige-car purchases. Yet most of us either wilfully deny this, or simply lack introspective access to our true motivations. Instead we convince ourselves that it was the eight air bags or the stability control that clinched it.

In the climate realm, fabrication is also rife. Enthralled by their emotional biases, sceptics mouth desperate appeals to the corruptibility of scientists, or to the fallibility of climate prediction models.

To err is human and we should forgive many their inability to constrain the draw of the emotions. But this failure is inexcusably egregious in our politicians who are steering the ship for the long voyage, not just around the next reef. To those who still succumb to immediate gratification at the expense of our long-term good, I say welcome any Christmas gifts on brain bugs and emotional intelligence with open arms. Our grandchildren's future could depend on it.


Lots of opposition to wind farms in the State of NSW

The cabinet debated new wind farm guidelines yesterday, with division over whether NSW should follow Victoria and order wind turbines to be set further back from houses.

The Shooters and Fishers Party, which shares the balance of power in the upper house with the Christian Democrats, said yesterday it wanted a moratorium on new wind farms.

Industry sources said a US Tea Party-style "astroturf" campaign, which mimics grassroots local opposition but is at least partly directed from elsewhere, was being waged against wind energy in NSW, which was expected to bring up to $10 billion in investment this decade as it accelerated to meet the national 20 per cent renewable energy target.

Wind farm opponents include a coalition of local groups under the banner "landscape guardians", and the Australian Environment Foundation, which sprang up seven years ago from a conference run by the right-wing think-tank the Institute of Public Affairs, but is now a separate group. "Our role is, if you like, aiding and abetting what local communities are doing and helping them voice their disapproval over wind farms," said the foundation's executive director, Max Rheese.

While local groups say they believe the inaudible noise and vibration from wind farms affect human health, the foundation does not think humans have a role in causing climate change and therefore believes wind farms are an expensive extravagance.

It hosted the British climate sceptic Lord Monckton last year and says it "questions the whole science behind anthropogenic global warming".

Mr Rheese said the foundation had paid for anti-wind signs at public meetings and lobbied the Shooters and Fishers Party, and the National and Liberal parties in NSW.

The Shooters and Fishers MP Robert Borsak said yesterday the party would wait for the cabinet decision but would use its critical position in the upper house to oppose any pro-wind farm legislation that came to Parliament.

The party had discussed wind farms with the foundation but had come up with its own policy calling for a moratorium and public inquiry into wind turbines, Mr Borsak said. "We do probably see eye to eye with them on this and many issues, but this is a party position that we have finalised internally."

The Premier, Barry O'Farrell, said in August it was his opinion that no new wind farms should be built in NSW, but it is understood there are divisions in cabinet about the issue.

The Nationals MP and Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, said yesterday his anti-wind farm views were well known and he hoped yesterday's cabinet meeting "addresses the sins of the past". "I live at Crookwell; we've certainly come under the brunt of poor planning and lack of community consultation of wind farms in the past . It puts friends against friends, neighbours against neighbours."

The Waubra Foundation is a national group arguing wind farms can cause illness because of the vibrations from turbines. It lodged a submission based on perceived health concerns with the government yesterday.

The chairman, Peter Mitchell, said his opposition to wind farms was based on health concerns and nothing to do with his background as a former director of oil and gas companies. "The critics here are really playing shoot the messenger, which I find ridiculous," he said.

The British equivalent of landscape guardians, "country guardians", was funded and supported by elements of the British nuclear energy industry.

Labor's environment spokesman, Luke Foley, said "flat earthers" were running a scare campaign against wind power.


Some electricity generators already on the brink -- with the carbon tax a last straw

LOY YANG POWER, a major supplier to the east coast electricity market, has been forced to ask the corporate regulator for special permission to continue trading in the face of financial strain due to debt refinancing and the carbon tax.

Details of the financial difficulty come less than a week after a federal government report predicted that, should the Loy Yang A plant be forced to close suddenly, wholesale electricity prices would nearly double, with an immediate flow on to household power costs.

The findings, contained in the federal government's draft white paper on energy, said wholesale power prices would surge by nearly 80 per cent in Victoria and by more than 45 per cent in NSW.
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Loy Yang Power's chief executive, Ian Nethercote, told the Herald the company had received a "no action" letter from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission - allowing it to continue to trade after debt totalling $565 million due in November became a current liability on its books.

Mr Nethercote said Loy Yang Power was already in talks with federal ministers, the Treasury and the government's new Energy Security Council about its share of $5.5 billion worth of free carbon permits set aside to help electricity generators through the introduction of the carbon tax.

The company, whose Loy Yang A plant in Victoria's Latrobe Valley supplies one-third of Victoria's power needs, was also talking to ministers and the council about the possibility of the government becoming its lender of last resort in its bid to refinance the debt.

Mr Nethercote said this was not "our preferred option" because "we imagine the conditions will be more onerous".

Other energy industry sources said Loy Yang was emerging as the first big test of the government's policies aimed at ensuring the electricity market coped with the introduction of the $23-a-tonne carbon price in July without major disruption.

Mr Nethercote said it was "more than likely" Loy Yang would have had to get a no action letter from ASIC even without a carbon price, which will cost it about $450 million a year.

He said some of Loy Yang's customers had asked for more information about the company's financial situation and were reviewing the conditions they placed on their dealings with the generator. Other sources said several companies had stopped trading with Loy Yang.

Only the chairman of the Energy Security Council - a Tasmanian, Michael Vertigan - has been publicly announced, but the Herald has learnt the other eight members of the crucial advisory body have been appointed and the council has begun negotiations with several generators, investment banks and financial institutions.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company, operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, owns 32.5 per cent of Loy Yang, but the company has denied its Japanese shareholder is looking to divest in order to concentrate on the clean-up operations required at home. Another 32.5 per cent is owned by AGL.

Loy Yang lobbied fiercely but unsuccessfully for an amendment to the carbon tax laws that would have allowed deferred payment when generators bought forward-dated pollution permits under the scheme, a provision included under the Rudd government's emissions trading scheme that would have reduced the sudden increase in their working capital requirements.

Loy Yang is ineligible for the government's scheme to pay for the closure of brown coal plants. Plants that could access it are Hazelwood, Yallourn and Morwell in the Latrobe Valley, Playford in South Australia and Collinsville in Queensland.


EPA rules threaten older power plants

More than 32 mostly coal-fired power plants in a dozen states will be forced to shut down and an additional 36 might have to close because of new federal air pollution regulations, according to an Associated Press survey.

Together, those plants _ some of the oldest and dirtiest in the country _ produce enough electricity for more than 22 million households, the AP survey found. But their demise probably won't cause homes to go dark.

The fallout will be most acute for the towns where power plant smokestacks long have cast a shadow. Tax revenues and jobs will be lost, and investments in new power plants and pollution controls probably will raise electric bills.

The survey, based on interviews with 55 power plant operators and on the Environmental Protection Agency's own prediction of power plant retirements, rebuts claims by critics of the regulations and some electric power producers.

They have predicted the EPA rules will kill coal as a power source and force blackouts, basing their argument on estimates from energy analysts, congressional offices, government regulators, unions and interest groups. Many of those studies inflate the number of plants retiring by counting those shutting down for reasons other than the two EPA rules.

The AP surveyed electricity-generating companies about what they plan to do and the effects on power supply and jobs. It was the first survey of its kind.

The estimate also was based in part on EPA computer models that predict which fossil-fuel generating units are likely to be retired early to comply with the rules, and which were likely to be retired anyway.

The agency has estimated that 14.7 gigawatts, enough power for more than 11 million households, will be retired from the power grid in the 2014-15 period when the two new rules take effect.

The first rule curbs air pollution in states downwind from dirty power plants. The second, expected to be announced Monday, would set the first standards for mercury and other toxic pollutants from power plant smokestacks. Combined, the rules could do away with more than 8 percent of the coal-fired generation nationwide, the AP found. The average age of the plants that could be sacrificed is 51 years.

These plants have been allowed to run for decades without modern pollution controls because it was thought that they were on the verge of being shuttered by the utilities that own them. But that didn't happen.

Other rules in the works, dealing with cooling water intakes at power plants and coal ash disposal, could cause the retirement of additional generating plants. Those rules weren't included in the AP survey.

While the new rule heralds an incremental shift away from coal as a power source, it's unlikely to break coal's grip as the dominant domestic electricity source. Most of the lost power generation will be replaced, and the coal-fired plants that remain will have to be cleaner.

"In the industry we retire units. That is part of our business," said John Moura, manager of reliability assessment at the North American Electric Reliability Corp. NERC represents the nation's electrical grid operators, whose job is to weigh the effect a proposed retirement will have on reliability. With so many retirements expected, that process could get rushed. "We are getting a little hammered here, because we see multiple requests," Moura said.

NERC, along with some power plant operators, is pressing the Obama administration to give companies more time to comply with the rules to avoid too many plants shutting down at once.

In addition to anticipated retirements, about 500 or more units will need to be idled temporarily in the next few years to install pollution controls. Some of those units are at critical junctions on the grid and are essential to restarting the electrical network in case of a blackout, or making sure voltage doesn't drain completely from electrical lines, like a hose that's lost its water pressure.

"We can't say there isn't going be an issue. We know there will be some challenges," Moura said. "But we don't think the lights are going to turn off because of this issue."

That hasn't stopped some critics from sounding alarms. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a letter to the White House this month that the EPA mercury rule could "unintentionally jeopardize the reliability of our electric grid." At a speech in New Hampshire in November, GOP presidential candidate and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman predicted summer blackouts. A recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce ad said a single EPA regulation "could threaten America's energy supply."

Particularly at the older, less efficient plants most at risk, coal already was at a disadvantage because of low natural gas prices, demand from China and elsewhere that was driving up coal's price, and weaker demand for electricity.

For many plant operators, the new regulations were the final blow. For others, the rules will speed retirements already planned to comply with state laws or to settle earlier enforcement cases with the EPA. In the AP's survey, not a single plant operator said the EPA rules were solely to blame for a closure, although some said it left them with no other choice.

"The EPA regulation became a game changer and a deal changer for some of these units," said Ryan Stensland, a spokesman for Alliant Energy, which has three units in Iowa and one in Minnesota that will be retired, and four in Iowa that are at risk of shutting down, depending on how the final rules look. "Absent the EPA regulations, I don't think we would be seeing the transition that we are seeing today. It became a situation where EPA broke the back of coal."

Some believe the change is long overdue. The two rules will cut toxic mercury emissions from power plants by 90 percent, smog-forming nitrogen oxide pollution by half, and soot-forming sulfur dioxide by more than 70 percent.

"Many of them are super old. They've either got to be brought up to code, fixed with the best available technology, or close them down," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who heads the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "You can't keep on going."

The impact is greatest in the Midwest and in the coal belt _ Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia _ where dozens of units probably will be retired.

Coal "is the fuel that is local to this area," said Leonard Hopkins, the fuel and compliance manager for the Southern Illinois Power Cooperative, which serves rural electric customers in 25 counties in the state. "We are scrambling to find ways to comply."

His options: switch to a lower sulfur coal, install additional pollution controls or retire the oldest boiler and buy cheaper power from elsewhere.

For many of the country's oldest coal-fired plants, retirement is the cheapest option. "It is more expensive to retrofit these plants than retire them and build new generation," said Chris Whelan, spokeswoman for Kentucky Utilities, which announced in September that it was retiring three coal-fired power plants in the state. The plants, which came on line in 1947, 1962 and 1950, employ 204 people.

Whelan said the company is "going to do everything we can to reallocate the work" by shifting employees to a new gas-fired power plant.

In some places, a job at the power plant is the best thing going. Thirty people work at the Central Electric Power Cooperative plant in Chamois, Mo., where EPA regulations have put the plant in danger of shutting down. Some employees are looking to see if there are other power plants where they could find work.

"We always knew there was a chance we could get shut down," said Robert Skaggs, who has worked at the 50-year-old power plant for 10 years and is also an alderman in the town of 400. "It's pretty obvious. Our plant is an old plant."

Chamois Mayor Jim Wright saw the sewing factory leave and doesn't understand why coal has to do the same. "Coal's coal. If you are going to dig and ship it to China, you might as well burn it here," he said.

Electricity bills are also a concern. Kentucky Utilities expects its customers to see as much as a 14 percent rate increase to make up for the $800 million it is spending to replace what will be retired, and the $1.1 billion it plans to spend on anti-pollution upgrades. Other power companies have applied to recoup the cost of retrofits or of building new gas-fired power plants. The EPA estimates that industry will spend $11 billion complying with the two rules by 2016.

For others, the biggest issue with plant retirements is the loss of property taxes. As plants wind down and close, their assessed value drops, reducing what they pay to local governments.

In Salem, Mass., Dominion plans to retire two units at the Salem Harbor Station later this year, a move that could halve the plant's workforce in a town famous for its 17th century witch trials and where the major business is tourism. The loss of its 50-year-old power plant poses two dilemmas: how to replace its biggest taxpayer and what to do with the 60 acres of waterfront property when the plant is gone.

"It's not like losing a Dunkin' Donuts," said Mayor Kim Driscoll, noting that attractions such as Baltimore's Inner Harbor took decades to redevelop from abandoned industrial property.

For the next five years, Salem will make up for Dominion's dwindling $4.75 million tax bill with state money, but after that the future is unclear.

"It's a big chunk of change when you're looking at we still have the same number of kids in school, we still have the same number of calls for police and fire, we have the same number of parks and resources that need to be maintained and kept up," Driscoll said. "That's not to say there aren't folks locally that are happy with the fact that a coal-based plant won't be here forever. There are certainly folks here that see it as a way for Salem to flourish in other ways."


EPA Ponders Expanded Regulatory Power In Name of 'Sustainable Development'

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to change how it analyzes problems and makes decisions, in a way that would give it vastly expanded power to regulate businesses, communities and ecosystems in the name of "sustainable development," the centerpiece of a global United Nations conference slated for Rio de Janeiro next June.

The major focus of the EPA thinking is a weighty study the agency commissioned last year from the National Academies of Science. Published in August, the study, entitled "Sustainability and the U.S. EPA," cost nearly $700,000 and involved a team of a dozen outside experts and about half as many National Academies staff.

Its aim: how to integrate sustainability "as one of the key drivers within the regulatory responsibilities of EPA." The panel who wrote the study declares part of its job to be "providing guidance to EPA on how it might implement its existing statutory authority to contribute more fully to a more sustainable-development trajectory for the United States." Or, in other words, how to use existing laws to new ends.

According to the Academies, the sustainability study "both incorporates and goes beyond an approach based on assessing and managing the risks posed by pollutants that has largely shaped environmental policy since the 1980s."

It is already known in EPA circles as the "Green Book," and is frequently compared by insiders to the "Red Book," a study on using risk management techniques to guide evaluation of carcinogenic chemicals that the agency touts as the basis of its overall approach to environmental issues for the past 30 years.

At the time that the "Green Book" study was commissioned, in August, 2010, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson termed it "the next phase of environmental protection," and asserted that it will be "fundamental to the future of the EPA."

Jackson compared the new approach, it would articulate to "the difference between treating disease and pursuing wellness." It was, she said, "a new opportunity to show how environmentally protective and sustainable we can be," and would affect "every aspect" of EPA's work.

According to the study itself, the adoption of the new "sustainability framework" will make the EPA more "anticipatory" in its approach to environmental issues, broaden its focus to include both social and economic as well as environmental "pillars," and "strengthen EPA as an organization and a leader in the nation's progress toward a sustainable future."

Whatever EPA does with its suggestions, the study emphasizes, will be "discretionary." But the study urges EPA to "create a new culture among all EPA employees," and hire an array of new experts in order to bring the sustainability focus to every corner of the agency and its operations. Changes will move faster "as EPA's intentions and goals in sustainability become clear to employees," the study says.

The National Academies and the EPA held a meeting last week in Washington to begin public discussion of the study.

Even as it begins to go public, EPA, which has come under renewed fire for its recent rulings on new auto emissions standards and limits on coal-fueled power plant emissions, is being determinedly low-key about the study.

Initially questioned about the document by Fox News weeks ago, an EPA spokesman eventually declared that "we are currently reviewing the recommendations and have not yet made any decisions on implementation." During the deliberations, he said, "the agency will seek a wide range of perspectives on the recommendations from the business community, non-governmental organizations, the scientific community, and others."

The spokesman also said that EPA had "no current plans" for the so-called "Rio + 20" environmental summit next summer "that pertains to the Green Book's recommendations."

The U.N. summit meeting, however, is mentioned in the Green Book itself as an instance where "sustainability is gaining increasing recognition as a useful framework for addressing otherwise intractable problems. The framework can be applied at any scale of governance, in nearly any situation, and anywhere in the world."

When it comes to applying the framework via EPA, the study says it is likely to happen only "over time." The Red Book risk assessment approach now in use, it notes, "was not immediately adopted within EPA or elsewhere. It required several years for its general acceptance at EPA and its diffusion to state and local agencies."

What is "sustainability" in the first place? That is a question the study ducks, noting that it is only advising EPA on how to bring it within the agency's canon.

The experts take their definition from an Obama Administration executive order of October, 2009, entitled Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance. It defines sustainability in sweeping fashion as the ability "to create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations."

The study specifically notes that "although addressing economic issues is not a core part of EPA's mission, it is explicitly part of the definition of sustainability."

The experience of the European Union is deemed "particularly relevant" to achieving the sustainability goal.

That European strategy involves a virtually all-encompassing regulatory vision. The study notes that its priorities include "climate change and clean energy; sustainable transport; sustainable consumption and production; conservation and management of natural resources; public health; social inclusion, demography, and migration; and global poverty and sustainable development challenges."

In an American context, the study says sustainable development "raises questions that are not fully or directly addressed in U.S. law or policy." Among them: "how to define and control unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and how to encourage the development of sustainable communities, biodiversity protection, clean energy, environmentally sustainable economic development, and climate change controls."

The study notes that sustainable development is "broader than the sum of U.S. environmental and conservation laws." It adds that "a great deal more needs to be done to achieve sustainability in the United States."

The experts say they found the legal authority for EPA to foster sustainable development without further congressional approval in the wording of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, or NEPA. The study says the law, the cornerstone of U.S. environmental policy, declared that the "continuing policy of the Federal Government" is to "create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations."

(In fact, the study quotes selectively from that portion of NEPA. What that section of the Act says in full is that "it is the continuing policy of the Federal Government, in cooperation with State and local governments, and other concerned public and private organizations, to use all practicable means and measures, including financial and technical assistance, in a manner calculated to foster and promote the general welfare, to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony, and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans.)

What ends that tacit authority should be used for are far less clear, because the study asserts that they need to be made up and codified as EPA goes along.

"EPA needs to formally develop and specify its vision for sustainability," the study says. "Vision, in the sense discussed here, is a future state that EPA is trying to reach or is trying to help the country or the world to reach."

The study offers up new tools for EPA to do the job. As opposed to environmental impact assessment, the study encourages the use of "sustainability impact assessment" in the evaluation of the hundreds and thousands of projects that come under EPA scrutiny to see whether they are moving in the proper direction

"Environmental impact assessment tends to focus primarily on the projected environmental effects of a particular action and alternatives to that action," the study says. Sustainability impact assessment examines "the probable effects of a particular project or proposal on the social, environmental, and economic pillars of sustainability"-a greatly expanded approach.

One outcome: "The culture change being proposed here will require EPA to conduct an expanding number of assessments."

As a result, "The agency can become more anticipatory, making greater use of new science and of forecasting."

The catch, the study recognizes, is that under the new approach the EPA becomes more involved than ever in predicting the future.

"Forecasting is unavoidable when dealing with sustainability, but our ability to do forecasting is limited," the document says.

One forecast it is safe to make: the study shows whatever else the new sustainability mission does for EPA, it aims to be a much, much more important-and powerful-- federal agency than it is, even now.


Is Global Warming Really Harming Africa's Sahel Region?

Dubious Warmist "science" again

Global warming activists are sounding four-alarm fire bells over a new study claiming global warming is causing drought and killing trees in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa. Much like previous claims that have fallen by the wayside, the notion that global warming is devastating the Sahel is unlikely to stand the dual tests of time and scientific scrutiny.

According to the new study, a rise in temperatures and a decline in precipitation during the 20th century reduced tree densities in the Sahel by approximately 18 percent from 1954 through 2002. Lead author Patrick Gonzalez says in a press release accompanying the study, "Rainfall in the Sahel has dropped 20-30 percent in the 20th century."

Lead author Gonzalez is also a lead author for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose funding and very existence are dependent on the assertion that humans are causing a global warming crisis. Moreover, IPCC is on record claiming global warming is causing an increase in drought, so having a new study claiming global warming is causing drought and related problems in Africa's Sahel region bolsters the shared interests of Gonzalez and IPCC.

Turning to the science, assertions that global warming is causing drought and tree deaths in the Sahel is surprising news to many scientists and Sahel observers. The Sahel is a relatively narrow band of land stretching east-west across the African continent at the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. Contrary to what Gonzalez reports in his new study, many studies have documented improving conditions in the Sahel as the earth has warmed.

"The southern Saharan desert is in retreat, making farming viable again in what were some of the most arid parts of Africa," New Scientist reported in 2002. "Burkina Faso, one of the West African countries devastated by drought and advancing deserts 20 years ago, is growing so much greener that families who fled to wetter coastal regions are starting to go home."

An "analysis of satellite images completed this summer reveals that dunes are retreating right across the Sahel region on the southern edge of the Sahara desert," New Scientist explained. "Vegetation is ousting sand across a swathe of land stretching from Mauritania on the shores of the Atlantic to Eritrea 6000 kilometres away on the Red Sea coast. Nor is it just a short-term trend. Analysts say the gradual greening has been happening since the mid-1980s."

"There are more trees for firewood and more grassland for livestock. And a survey among farmers shows a 70 per cent increase in yields of local cereals such as sorghum and millet in one province in recent years," New Scientist added.

These trends have continued throughout the past decade. In 2009 scientists at Boston University used satellite data to study African vegetation patterns since the mid-1990s. As reported by BBC News, "satellite images from the last 15 years do seem to show a recovery of vegetation in the Southern Sahara."

"The broader picture is reinforced by studies carried out in the Namib Desert in Namibia," BBC News added. "This is a region with an average rainfall of just 12 millimetres per year - what scientists call `hyper-arid'. Scientists have been measuring rainfall here for the last 60 years. Last year the local research centre, called Gobabeb, measured 80mm of rain."

Scientists at Brown University and the University of Minnesota-Duluth confirmed a longer term improvement in African soil moisture. After studying African drought patterns since the 1400s, the scientists reported in January 2007 in the peer-reviewed science journal Geology that Africa is "experiencing an unusually prolonged period of stable, wet conditions in comparison to previous centuries of the past millennium."

Moreover, "the patterns and variability of twentieth-century rainfall in central Africa have been unusually conducive to human welfare in the context of the past 1400 yr," the scientists explained.

The same patterns are occurring globally. Analyzing satellite imagery that has been available since 1982, scientists reported in a 2003 peer-reviewed study in Science, "We present a global investigation of vegetation responses to climatic changes by analyzing 18 years (1982 to 1999) of both climatic data and satellite observations of vegetation activity. Our results indicate that global changes in climate have eased several critical climatic constraints to plant growth, such that net primary production increased 6% (3.4 petagrams of carbon over 18 years) globally."

With so many studies and data indicating global warming is benefiting soil moisture, plant growth and forest expansion in the Sahel region, Africa as a whole and globally, the new assertion that global warming is causing a climate crisis in the Sahel is speculative and controversial at best.


Another Sweet deal for Buffett – Who pays? You do!

by Bruce Krasting

Yesterday, First Solar (FSLR) announced that it had sold its interests in a big solar project called Topaz. The buyer was MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. So Warren B. is behind the transaction. I think he got another sweetheart deal. This time, it’s the taxpayers who will be making Buffett richer.

The transaction is between two companies. As a result there has been little disclosure of the actual terms and conditions. The following is my thinking on what is behind the transaction. If I have it wrong, the nice folks from Omaha can send me a note and I’ll publish their response.

There are a number of angles to consider in this story. I’ll outline a few and try to tie them together.

The Topaz solar project is in San Lois Obispo, California. Construction began a month ago, and will not be completed until 2015. The facility is designed to produce 550MW of energy. The cost per MW of these types of facilities is between $3mm and $4mm per MW. Using the mid point of $3.5mm you get an estimated cost of construction of $1.925 billion. Add in another $75mm of soft costs and the total should come to $2 billion.

Bloomberg confirms my estimate on the completion costs of Topaz with this headline.

Buffett has purchased the rights to build a solar farm. The money he is putting up will be the construction costs over the next four years. First Solar will get some consideration as it has absorbed all the front-end costs, but it would be a mistake to assume that FSLR is getting anything close to $2B from Buffet. (Neither of the press releases from the companies mentions cash consideration.)

Buffett’s only condition to the deal is that the Power Purchase Agreement ("PPA") that Topaz has previously entered into is affirmed to Berkshire’s lawyer’s satisfaction. This is a critical part of the deal.

California’s monster electric utility, Pacific Gas & Electric (PGE), has entered into a 25 year PPA with Topaz. With PGE taking all of the power from Topaz, the risks in the deal fall sharply. The output of Topaz has already been successfully monetized. All that needs be done is complete the construction and then let the sun shine.

It’s important to understand that Uncle Warren has a seat at this table because the Department of Energy failed to approve a big loan to Topaz prior to 9/30/2011 (the deadline to get federal subsidies). The DOE did substantial work before nixing the deal. This PDF link to the DOE shows just how much had been accomplished prior to 9/30. (How much did this report cost the DOE/us? Many millions.) All of the necessary approvals and engineering work had been completed. Construction of these solar farms is not all that complicated once the approvals and site work has been signed off on. Buffet got a deal that was teed up and ready to go. Construction commenced a month ago. Warren bought into a deal in the 11th hour. He got a shovel ready investment. He has very little risk at this point.

When Topaz is completed, energy will be produced. Pursuant to the PPA Topaz/Buffet will receive checks monthly from PGE for the next 25 years. That stream of revenue is assured. PGE is a single A. Its long-term debt yields are in the mid 4% range. I’m certain that Buffet got a better yield than that. But the yield is not what brought Buffet into the deal. It was taxes and his desire to avoid them that got this deal inked. Again, that Bloomberg Headline:

It's clear that as part of the deal, Buffett got the tax breaks associated with Topaz. The federal tax subsidies for solar construction belong to Buffett. The numbers are huge.

Once completed, the owners of a solar farm get one of two massive incentive payments:

1) The owner gets a cash grant equal to 30% of the construction cost, or;

2) The owner gets a break on their federal taxes equal to (get this) 100% of the cost of the project. This “Bonus tax deduction” can be used to reduce federal taxes in the year that that the project is first completed.

Berkshire Hathaway paid 29% taxes in 2010. This would imply that it would opt for the cash payment of 30% ($600MM!). But BRK is actually faced with a statutory tax rate of 35%. Therefore the value of the tax reduction could be as high as $700mm. (Warren can engineer any income necessary to max out the tax deduction.)

The PPA with PGE will return all of Buffett’s $2B of investment plus a return of at least 5%. But when you add into the calculation that in four years Buffett gets a mega tax-break the implied returns soar. I did an IRR assuming a 2015 construction completion, $2b cost and a 25-year payback. It comes to a return of 15 -17% pa. This is a terrific return from what is functionally an A risk.

This monster result is exclusively the result of the tax breaks Buffet will enjoy. In other words, “you” are making Warren richer.


As I indicated, the PPA with PGE is central to Buffett’s investment. It’s important to understand why PGE has stepped up to facilitate Topaz. California (and 30 other states) have passed laws that mandate that electric utilities MUST produce or acquire a percentage of their electricity from alternative sources. In California. Executive order S-14-08 mandates that 30% of all power sold in California must come from alternative sources by the years 2020. This means that PGE is in a bind. It HAS to have alternative energy or it can’t grow. So PGE came into the Topaz deal desperate for a supply of power that did not come from fossil fuels. Topaz solved (in part) PGE’s problems.

There is one technical aspect to the Buffet/Topaz deal that I don’t quite understand. The rules on the tax breaks/rebate are very clear. Not less than 5% of construction must have been completed by 9/30/2011 in order to qualify for the subsidies. As I have indicated construction of Topaz did not commence until November. It would appear that the requirements for the subsidies has not been met. The possibility exists that the DOE agreed to allow for the subsidy and waived the 9/30 deadline. Another possibility is that the DOE gave credit toward the 5% completion by allowing for the pre-construction soft costs of the project. If it is the latter, I’m confused. Other projects that I’m aware of did not get credit for pre-construction soft costs. One additional possibility is a waiver of the completion requirements was granted, AKA "Side Deal".

When the DOE money did not come through, it must have been a big blow to the White House. Topaz was a big prize for them. I wonder if Obama called his pal Buffett and asked for a "fix". Warren B. delivered. But, as usual, he charged a pound of flesh. Obama got what he wanted. He avoided another solar disaster when WB stepped in.


-Buffett gets another sweetheart deal that makes him richer.

-PGE gets a long-term supply of alternative energy that allows them to grow for a few more decades.

-First Solar gets out of a huge headache. It gets get to sell solar panels to Topaz.

-The citizens of California that will use this power will get nothing. They will continue to pay the highest rates for electricity in the country.

-The US tax payers foot the bill for another $600 - $700mm. That's the "Vig" for Warren. Those taxpayers also get nothing in return.



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


19 December, 2011

Green Technology that Pollutes the Planet

In previous columns, we’ve exposed that "renewable" technology is neither renewable, nor clean, nor green because it relies upon rare earth elements—it’s also neither cost effective nor efficient but that’s another column. Currently the Chinese have a stranglehold over all phases of rare earth production, including mining, processing, and refining. China accounts for ninety five percent of the world market in rare earth elements (REEs).

With virtually no regulations or concerns over worker safety, the Chinese monopoly has resulted in an ecological disaster. Sites such as those in Baotou, Inner Mongolia make the Love Canal, the impetus for the Environmental Protection Agency’s "Superfund," look like Rocky Mountain National Park.

Finally, we’ve been able to quantify the pollution of some green technology sectors in a way that makes sense to the average American family sitting at their kitchen table.

The Math of Pollution

The U.S. Department of Energy, in studying the reductions of REEs available in the world market due to Chinese cutbacks, has identified the seventeen elements as "key" and "critical" to ongoing technological development, including use in electronic components for defense purposes, but also for the "clean" green energy sector.

The DOE’s efforts prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to examine the development of REE resources here in the U.S., paying particular attention to the economic feasibility but also the more important question of—you guessed it—environmental impact.

In its August 2011 study, "Investigating Rare Earth Element Mine Development in EPA Region 8 and Potential Environmental Impacts," the EPA reported on several sites located in the intermountain West, from Idaho to Colorado, which could become only the second REE mining operation in the entire country.

The study also reported extensively on the possible sources of contaminants and waste byproducts associated with all mining, and especially those concentrated in REE-related extraction.

In the section titled "Potential Risks to Human Health and the Environment," the EPA reports that:

"…every ton of rare earth elements produced generates approximately 8.5 kilograms of fluorine and 13 kilograms of flue dust. Additionally, sulfuric acid refining techniques used to produce one ton of rare earth elements generates 9,600 to 12,000 cubic meters of gas laden with flue dust concentrate, hydrofluoric acid, sulfur dioxide, and sulfuric acid. Not only are large quantities of harmful gas produced, alarming amounts of liquid and solid waste also resulted from Chinese refining processes. They estimate at the completion of refining one ton of rare earth elements, approximately 75 cubic meters of acidic waste water and about one ton of radioactive waste residue are produced. The IAGS reports China produced over 130,000 metric tons of rare earth elements in 2008 alone (IAGS, 2010). Extrapolation of the waste generation estimates over total production yields extreme amounts of waste. With little environmental regulation, stories of environmental pollution and human sickness remain frequent in areas near Chinese rare earth element production facilities."

So for each metric ton of REEs produced, an equal amount of radioactive waste is also produced. At approximately 2,204 lbs, that’s about the weight of an average sedan. As for those 75 cubic meters of acidic waste water, just think of a swimming pool measuring thirty feet long by fifteen feet wide by six feet deep. That’s approximately 20,000 gallons of acid water. Just remember, China produces 95 percent of all REEs in the world—so that’s more than 130,000 swimming pools.

To further the perspective, each 3 MW wind turbine requires two tons of REEs for the permanent magnet that converts wind into electricity. So much for "clean."

The EPA report continues:

"As discussed, mining and refining processes can introduce radionuclides, rare earth elements, metals, and other potential contaminants into the environment at unnaturally high rates. Once introduced into the environment, the potential contaminants can be redistributed through the three ‘environmental mediums.’ These three mediums include air, soil, and water. Living organisms depend on environmental mediums with stable chemical properties for their survival. The release of the possible contaminants from rare earth element production could alter the properties of the three environmental mediums."

The Chinese have labeled areas around rare earth mines, like Baotou, as "cancer villages." To call the situation a "human sickness" is like calling Hurricane Katrina just another rainstorm. The toxic bi-products literally kill everything – animals, vegetation, and people by contaminating the air, soil, and water.

Toyota Prius and Chevy Volt, crimes against the environment

A hybrid-owning friend labeled Amy’s 2001 Jeep Cherokee "earth cancer." The assumption that a hybrid is eco-friendly has been one of the greatest propaganda campaigns of our time.

Let’s return to the EPA report:

"Permanent magnets represent the staple clean energy technology of future green economies. They constitute main components of lightweight, high powered motors and generators due to their production of a stable magnetic field without the need for an external power source. Permanent magnet motors power contemporary electric, hybrid electric, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, while permanent magnet generators produce electricity from wind turbines (USDOE, 2010). The key element derived samarium-cobalt permanent magnets dominate rare earth technology because they produce a magnetic field in a much smaller size. The samarium-cobalt permanent magnet also retains its magnetic strength at high temperatures making it ideal for clean energy and even military applications, including precision guided munitions and aircrafts (IAGS, 2010).

Permanent magnets work in conjunction with high efficiency rare earth based batteries to store energy in electric, hybrid electric, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (USDOE, 2010). Current generation hybrid electric vehicles use a battery with a cathode containing a host of rare earths including lanthanum, cerium, neodymium, praseodymium, and cobalt (Kopera, 2004). Each hybrid electric battery may contain several kilograms of rare earth materials (USDOE, 2010). Plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles require even greater storage capacity and higher power ratings than typical hybrid vehicles. In light of this, automakers will likely use the lithium ion battery, increasing demand for yet another key element. Scientists at the Argonne National Laboratory estimated one lithium ion battery contains 3.4-12.7 kilograms of lithium depending on proprietary design (USDOE, 2010)."
Through November 2011, 237,707 hybrid vehicles were sold in the U.S. with the Toyota Prius leading the pack with 119,459 vehicles sold this year. Hybrid’s "green, clean" technology requires between 20 -25 pounds of rare earth elements, twice that of regular vehicles.

Thinking electric such as Chevy Volt? So far in 2011, auto manufacturers have sold 15,068 electric vehicles in the U.S., and each one requires 10 pounds of rare earth magnets.

That means that through the end of November, hybrids and electric vehicles sales consumed between 4,904,820 and 6,093,355 pounds of rare earths. That’s somewhere between 2,452 and 3,047 tons.

If processing one ton of rare earth elements produces approximately 75 cubic meters of acidic waste water and about one ton of radioactive waste residue, then hybrid and electric vehicles alone produce between 183,900 and 228,525 cubic meters of acidic waste water and between 2,452 and 3,047 tons of radioactive waste.

A little conversion: one cubic meter is roughly 264 gallons. On the low end, that’s enough to cover nearly 150 football fields with toxic waste water a foot deep. Or put another way, the more than 48,550,000 gallons of fouled water from alternative vehicles is equal to the annual household usage of 445 families of four. That’s just one toxic byproduct. There are many more.

To add insult to ecological injury, these cars are expensive and don’t perform or handle very well. And owners still need fossil fuels either to run them (oil, gasoline) or for the electricity to charge them (coal). So why on earth would anyone buy one?

In your face

Apparently hybrid vehicles owners don’t really want to save the world, they just want to look like they do.

The New York Times reported in 2007 that the number reason why people buy the Toyota Prius is "it makes a statement about me."

"‘I really want people to know that I care about the environment," said Joy Feasley of Philadelphia, owner of a green 2006 Prius. ‘I like that people stop and ask me how I like my car.’"

And Mary Gatch of Charleston, S.C., explained, "’I felt like the Camry Hybrid was too subtle for the message I wanted to put out there…I wanted to have the biggest impact that I could, and the Prius puts out a clearer message.’"

"The Prius allowed you to make a green statement with a car for the first time ever," said Dan Becker, head of the global warming program at the Sierra Club (and yes, a Prius owner).

Translation—what the fine folks quoted in the Times are really saying is, "My image as an eco-conscious consumer is more important than the actual images of environmental degradation no one ever sees."

Of course, it also helps when green Kool-Aid drinking Hollywood celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, and Bill Maher make their planet-saving statements driving the Pacific Coast Highway in their eco-polluting hybrid.

Conspicuous conservation

It isn’t just hybrid owners that are sanctimonious eco-evangelicals. A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology explains that being green is a status symbol of both wealth and altruism.

"Given the relationship between self-sacrifice and status, costly signaling theory suggests that people might engage in costly pro-social behaviors such as environmental conservation particularly when they are motivated to attain status. Because the purchase of green products enables a person to signal that he is both willing and able to buy a product that benefits others at a cost to his personal use, activating a motive for status might lead people to engage in conspicuous conservation—public pro-environmental acts."

It gets worse. Eco-evangelicals want to spend more not less. They simply can’t be trusted on cost effectiveness.

"Additional findings showed that status motives increased desirability of green products especially when such products cost more—but not less—relative to non-green products. In line with costly signaling theory, buying inexpensive green products can undermine a person’s ability to signal wealth. This finding suggests that green products such as the Toyota Prius might be selling well not despite their premium price tag but perhaps in part because such products are more expensive. Indeed, 40% of hybrid owners indicate that they bought a green car as an alternative to a traditional luxury car such as a BMW."

They’ll have to be prepared to pay given China’s decision to further reduce the world supply of REEs. The New York Times characterized the jump in prices for just one common "green" technology—compact fluorescent lightbulbs:

"General Electric, facing complaints in the United States about rising prices for its compact fluorescent bulbs, recently noted in a statement that if the rate of inflation over the last 12 months on the rare earth element europium oxide had been applied to a $2 cup of coffee, that coffee would now cost $24.55."

In other words, forget reason, forget economics, forget the environment; we’ll pay more for everything – energy, a car, light bulbs, or hair products – if we think the world will know that we can afford to be green. Not actually "green," mind you.

National security versus "green economy"

Pollution aside, the U.S. relies upon these rare minerals for everything, including iPods, laptops, solar panels, windmills, alternative fuel vehicles, and advanced military weaponry. While the demand and price have gone up, China has strategically limited the supply. It is building it’s own supply while cutting production to roughly 70 percent by 2015.

This situation has the federal government worried. The EPA reports that the Department of Energy is "concerned the rising demand for key elements in electronic and military sectors could hamper the growth of the U.S. ‘green economy,’ or an economy based on renewable energy."

The real worry should be whether or not the world believes we can afford to waste money on "green" technology. Our reputation is at stake. What will the rest of the world think of us?

Even though estimates put total U.S. reserves around 13 percent of known REE resources worldwide, the first (and only) U.S. mine expected to be anywhere near production of REEs, Mountain Pass, was only just granted permission by the U.S. government this month to begin exploration, with actual extraction not set to begin until 2012. A second possible site located in Wyoming has been identified by the EPA as holding production potential, but is many years away from completing the myriad required impact statements and permit approvals. Among the biggest concerns surrounding the Wyoming site? Airborne radionuclides and waste water associated with the chemical refining process.

So for the next few years at the very least, China will continue to control the REE market while other countries, including the U.S., ramp up exploration and possible production of the elements and their known pollutants and waste material byproducts.


The age of "conspicuous conservation" will have to compete with more important things such as national security, as much of our high tech weaponry requires rare earth minerals. The demand for "green" will also compete with our love of gadgets such as iPods and computers, and with those civilization-required things like lighting, batteries, and basic electricity.

The new "high efficiency light bulbs" require rare earths while old fluorescents did not—to make them more "visually pleasing." At least consumers face a temporary reprieve of that particular government mandate, with the ban on "non-green" incandescent light bulbs commuted for at least a little longer.

While alternative vehicle owners, solar panel supporters, and wind turbine advocates may feel better about themselves, they’re actually polluting the planet with their "clean/green" technology. Advancing these policies is beyond irresponsible, especially when the foundation of the "clean" scheme is revealed.

This green hypocrisy has Mother Nature crying out for a separation of earth and state.


Thou Shalt Not Question UN Experts

By physicist Kelvin Kemm

British Lord Christopher Monckton parachuting into Durban, South Africa, to challenge UN climate crisis claims, brought numerous journalists and onlookers to the beaches where he landed. A 20-foot banner across our press conference table gave the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow further opportunities to present realistic perspectives on the science and economics of climate change.

CFACT played by the rules, obtained the necessary permits beforehand, and ensured that its message was heard throughout the seventeenth annual climate conference (COP-17). Greenpeace, on the other hand, got no permits before staging an Occupy Durban protest in the hallway outside the plenary session – and got kicked out of the conference.

Shortly thereafter, however, Lord Monckton and another CFACT representative were summarily (though temporarily) ejected from Durban, for preposterous reasons that dramatize how thin-skinned and arrogant the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has become.

As a South African and delegate at the COP-17 conference, I witnessed more amazing and absurd exhibitions than one would find at a Believe It Or Not circus sideshow. Along with thousands of government delegates, scientists and journalists, we witnessed music and dance groups, Women for Climate Justice, the Alliance for Climate Protection, APEs (Artists Protect the Earth) and others pleading for "planetary salvation."

It took a truly nimble mind, and abiding sense of humor, to appreciate their often competing messages. One large official poster proclaimed "More climate change means less water," while the one next to it said "More climate change means more floods."

A socialist group sloganeered "One planet living is the new aspiration." I could only conclude that they were neo-Malthusians worried about speculative climate chaos and resource depletion – and promoting a roll-back of energy use and living standards, so that people can share "more equitably" in sustained poverty and misery, enforced by UN edicts.

Yet another group insisted that the world should "Stop talking and start planting." However, this group and countless others oppose profits and private enterprises. They apparently haven’t yet realized that large paper and timber companies plant the most trees and create the largest new-growth forests, which breathe in the most carbon dioxide and breathe out the most oxygen.

These and similar organizations also demanded that profit-making companies give more money to environmentalist NGOs – which might temporarily make the companies less reprehensible and more eco-friendly. Of course, if the activists succeed in further obstructing the companies, they will plant fewer trees, remove less CO2, create fewer jobs and have less money to give to NGOs.

This parallel universe aspect of the Durban extravaganza was troublesome enough. Another aspect of the conference was much more sinister and worrisome. Which brings us back to Lord Monckton, a renowned debater and expert in IPCC and climate science, economics and politics.

One day he and I were meandering through the halls, as advisors to CFACT and its official delegation to the conference. We were accompanied by CFACT project organiser Josh Nadal, who was using his video camera to film anything he liked, to make a video of "what we did at COP-17."

As we rounded a corner, we saw someone we didn’t know being interviewed for the in-house television information system that transmitted programs throughout the official venue. We were astounded by how biased and inaccurate his comments were. When atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose, temperature also rose, he insisted – very simple. Of course, that is simply not true.

His interview over, he stepped off the dais and headed our way. I asked him whether he would agree that global temperatures had actually gone down during the early 1970s, even as CO2 levels continued to rise. He refused to acknowledge this universally accepted fact. I then mentioned the Medieval Warm Period of a thousand years ago. In response, he asserted that the MWP was merely a localized event of no consequence. Also simply not true.

At that point Monckton asked him to acknowledge that the science was nowhere nearly as clear cut as he had proclaimed. The official refused to do so, asserted "I have work to do," and walked off.

Josh had been filming the entire exchange, but now an aide put a hand over the camera lens. When I remarked that just walking off was bad manners, the aide said "You are not worth debating." I replied, "All he had to do was answer two simple questions." I was amazed when the aide responded, "He is the Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organisation. He does not have to answer your questions." The aide then walked off just as rudely as his boss had.

These unelected technocrats and bureaucrats want to decide the science and ordain the energy and economic policies that will determine our future livelihoods and living standards. And yet they are of the opinion that they can talk scientific nonsense and ignore anyone’s inconvenient questions. We had not known that he was Michel Jarraud, Secretary General of the WMO. But that is irrelevant. We were polite, and he should have been, as well. But it gets worse.

Two hours later, Lord Monckton and Josh were informed that they had violated ad hoc rules and were banned from further participation in the conference: Josh for filming without permission, Monckton for "unprofessional" conduct. Somehow I was spared. The next day, following negotiations between CFACT and UN officials, the two were reinstated.

A couple of days later, a TV interviewer asked IPCC Vice Chair Jean-Pascal van Ypersele whether there was now enough information to decide the next steps COP-17 should take. van Ypersele answered, "The body of knowledge was there already in the first [IPCC] report twenty years ago and was actually good enough to start the action which inspired the convention on climate change."

The interviewer then asked if the science was well enough understood. "Not only is there enough science" the Vice Chair replied, "but that science has been there, available and explained by the IPCC, already from the first report."

In other words, in the view of the IPCC, climate change science was settled even before the term "climate change" was coined – and all "research" and "findings," reports and conferences since then have been window dressing – inconsequential. Even new evidence about cosmic ray effects on cloud cover, and thus on the amount of the sun’s heat reaching the earth, is irrelevant in the view of the IPCC and other UN agencies, and thus may be intentionally ignored.

The imperious attitudes and intolerance of dissenting opinions displayed by these officials further underscores the wholly unscientific and politicized nature of the IPCC process. Even in the face of Climategate 2009 and 2010, The Delinquent Teenager, Marc Morano’s A-Z Climate Reality Check and other revelations, the UN and IPCC fully intend to impose their views and agendas.

At this point, in the view of the IPCC, the only thing left is for first world countries to pay up and shut up – and poor countries to develop in the way and to the extent allowed by the United Nations.


Warming denialism is in the political eye of the beholder

Bob Carter

Robert Manne commences his essay on the human-caused global warming that he presumes to be dangerous with the statement: "For several decades I have engaged in ideological disputes".

And therein lies the problem, for ideology is the business of politics whereas global warming is the business of science.

From this ideological launching pad, Manne moves directly to the assumption that persons who support alarmism on global warming (and therefore dramatic and costly intervention) are associated with the political Left, and their opponents with the Right.

He couldn't be more wrong.

First, because science does not recognise political lefts or rights, or even centres. And, second, because across the world scientists of differing political persuasions can be found on all sides of the discussion, some supporting and some opposing warming alarmism, and that to a wide variety of degrees.

For example, two international climate policy organisations for which I act as a scientific advisor state the following on their websites:
Global Warming Policy Foundation (London): We are an all-party and non-party think tank and a registered educational charity which, while open-minded on the contested science of global warming, is deeply concerned about the costs and other implications of many of the policies currently being advocated.

International Climate Science Coalition (Ottawa): The ICSC is a non-partisan group of independent scientists, economists and energy and policy experts who are working to promote better understanding of climate science and policy worldwide.

While we welcome contributions from all sources, including corporations, foundations and government... ICSC operates as a non-partisan entity, not left or right and independent of political or commercial vested interests. We will not accept donations that are contingent on ICSC promoting a point of view in favour of, or against, any philosophical, political or commercial interest.

Manne continues his faulty analysis with the comment that
With the Right and climate change, the problem is the unwillingness or incapacity to accept the truth of an argument of almost embarrassing simplicity.

He then promises to "outline the bare bones of that argument". One reads on with a sense of foreboding. It proves to be justified.

Manne's skeleton of climate truth turns out to have as its backbone the well traversed and sound scientific understanding that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which means that adding more to the atmosphere (as human activities do) has the potential to cause mild, and perhaps even measurable, global warming. But as the skeleton building proceeds from here, many needed bones are substituted by the flimsy straw of special pleading arguments casuistically set up for later routing. When Manne has finished we are confronted not with a single climate skeleton, but instead by an army of straw climate men.

Demonstrating his incomprehension that science works on logical and not democratic principles, Manne intones the activists' psalm that "almost all climate scientists", "many governments", "many models" and "tens of thousands of climate scientists" "believe that global warming is caused primarily by human activity, and that unless human beings change their behaviour, the Earth is headed for disaster".

Never mentioned is the fact that an equivalent army of scientists is firmly of the opposite opinion (e.g., Carter, 2010, Chapter 9); nor that thousands of refereed scientific papers contain information that conflicts with the dangerous human-caused warming hypothesis; nor that even the most rudimentary cost-benefit analysis demonstrates that it is far more cost-effective to adapt to, rather than to try to prevent, any possible human-caused climate changes.

"Evidence" that is advanced in favour of taking action to combat dangerous warming includes the following:

Average global temperature has risen by 0.7°C in the last 100 years. (Prima facie, perhaps; but (i) the accuracy of the figure is under challenge, a conservative possible error range being 0.7 ± 0.7°C, and (ii) that some warming may have occurred says nothing whatever about the likelihood of human causation).

A further increase of 0.5°C is guaranteed even without further emissions. (Such computer model projections conflict with the fact that no warming has now occurred for the 15 years since 1995 despite an increase of carbon dioxide of 10 per cent – an increase that of itself represents 34 per cent of all the extra carbon dioxide contributed since the start of the industrial revolution. Remembering that the radiative effects of extra carbon dioxide occur at the speed of light, and that both the ocean and the atmosphere are currently cooling, just where is this 0.5°C. of "pipeline" heat supposed to be hiding?).

An increase of 2°C in global temperature above pre-industrial levels will be "dangerous".(Another fable of Arthurian proportions, the figure being plucked out of the air at a 2005 meeting of the climate faithful in Exeter in response to a belief that "if politicians are to take action, then they need a number"; no sound empirical evidence existed then, nor exists now, that 2°C of warming will be harmful, and indeed from a human perspective any such warming is most likely to be beneficial).

Warming of 7°C is possible by 2100. (Anything is possible, the question is whether it is probable; and the answer is "no". Such extreme warmings are projected only by unvalidated computer models that conjure future virtual realities, or gedankenwelt; by no stretch of the imagination can such projections be viewed as accurate forecasts; see Carter et al., 2009, Appendix D).

Sea-level rise will displace hundreds of millions of persons from coastal regions. (If global sea-level rise continues at its current, natural rate of about 1.7 mm/yr, then in several thousand years many persons doubtless will be displaced from present coastal locations. But such an occurrence will have nothing to do with human carbon dioxide emissions, the rise being a natural environmental change that humanity will simply have to adapt to, as the Dutch and many others have done for similar rises in the past.

There will be more or more intense droughts, floods, cyclones/hurricanes, heat-waves and forest fires; a melting of Himalayan glaciers; and mass extinctions of species. (Selective computer models may specify so, but empirical evidence stubbornly refuses to endorse such theoretical projections as reality. To date, and despite an intensive research effort, not a single paper exists that demonstrates modern variation in any of these processes to lie outside of their natural range (Carter, 2010, Chapter 6). In reality, variations in all of these processes, including their intermittent extreme manifestations, are part and parcel of the dynamic natural planet on which we happen to live. For as the IPCC itself concluded in 1996: "overall, there is no evidence that extreme weather events, or climate variability, has increased in a global sense, through the twentieth century".)

Ninety-seven per cent of scientists accept dangerous warming is occurring. (How gullible can you be? Figures such as these are simple fantasy, based on selective or biased studies. In reality, no-one can actually know what "most scientists" think, but there is overwhelming evidence that at least hundreds of accomplished scientists are lined up on all the main sides of the debate. Any idea that "the science is settled" is simply banal).

There exists no plausible alternative theory to explain global warming. (A statement of scientific farce, equivalent in intellectual merit to "the dog ate my homework, Miss". The statement also grotesquely misrepresents scientific reality.

The scientifically preferable null hypothesis regarding observed modern climate change (because it is the simplest consistent with the known facts) is that it has a natural causation unless and until factual evidence indicates otherwise (Carter, 2010, p.144). Literally tens of thousands of scientific papers describe facts that are consistent with this null hypothesis; in contrast, not a single credible paper yet provides factual information that substantively conflicts with it).

Readers who survived reading this wearisome catalogue of hypothetical disasters may have experienced the same uncomfortable feeling that I had, which can be summarised as: "This all sounds very familiar, haven't I heard it somewhere before?" To which the answer is yes, a million times yes, in multifarious scientifically illiterate and prejudicial global warming reports that the self-anointed "mainstream media" has now been streaming for more than a decade.

Indeed, Manne's list of imaginary woes scarcely differs in any way from those that were listed by Mr. Al Gore in his infamous 2006 book and film An Inconvenient Truth. Thank goodness, then, that Manne apparently has yet to discover John Brignell's wonderful web page that catalogues a mind-numbing list of 862 similar such scares, many of which are beyond parody.

Can Manne really be unaware that a London High Court judge has identified nine fundamental errors of fact (out of 35 identified by expert witnesses) in Gore's film? Alternatively, if he is aware of the court judgement then why does he simply replicate many of Gore's errors in his own list of assertions?

There is therefore nothing new, and much that is both old and discredited, in the list of hypothetical warming scares that Manne presents, so why is he so mystified that public opinion remains unmoved? Mystified, what's more, to the degree that a large part of his article is devoted to trying to account for the public's perceived recalcitrance about warming alarmism. Well, according to Manne the explanation goes like this.

The fault lies with "an army of climate change denialists", scattered worldwide, who are funded by the fossil fuel industries to serve their selfish and devious ends (which, obviously, include the provision of cheap and convenient energy of all types to consumers: how naughty is that). Then, wouldn't you know it, the views of these denialists are spread by Fox News, the rest of the evil Murdoch media empire and various - you guessed it - right wing think tanks and blogs.

Goodness, the denialists have even gone so far as to claim that much warming alarmism is based upon post-modern science (which it is), and that it represents a suffocatingly strong paradigm of political correctness (which it does).

In Manne's make-believe world, and in such fashion, "climate change denialism" (whatever that is) becomes "legitimised" (whatever that might mean).

Stop it, please; if you tickle me any more I shall explode! If all of this were perhaps more plausible, or better written, it would be just like reading a Robert Ludlum (or should that be Michael Crichton) novel. But it isn't and so the polemic presents instead as the type of deadly dull repetition that is the time-honoured basis of successful propaganda.

Unfortunately, rather than stopping, as he works up to his peroration, Manne manages to depart even further from reality.

First, by generously acknowledging Clive Hamilton's inspired analysis that the fight against warming alarmism is led by "ageing white males of science, engineering and technology backgrounds", to whom
The conclusions of the [alarmist] climate scientists are experienced as a shock, as a challenge, but most deeply of all as an affront to their deepest and most cherished basic faith: the capacity and indeed the right of "mankind" to subdue the Earth and all its fruits and to establish a "mastery" over nature.

Not content with thereby having assassinated the characters of hundreds of highly qualified and meritorious scientists around the world, Manne concludes by turning his attention once more to the obstinately recalcitrant public. His intended triumphant, but actually lame, conclusion is that
Citizens of the consumer society are unwilling to risk the loss of any of their comforts. However they wish to feel good about themselves. The climate change denialists... offer them the alibi for doing nothing they so desperately need.

Well, as someone who presumably counts as both a citizen and a reprehensible denialist, you can sure count me in on that. For as Lord Monckton so memorably put it, the correct response to a non-problem – which is what the threat of dangerous human-related global warming has turned out to be - is indeed to have the courage to do nothing.

Of course, that still leaves us with the all-too-real climate elephant that Manne's article remarkably manages to ignore, which is the hazard posed by natural events and change - and that nowhere more so than in Australia, with our deadly cyclones, floods, bushfires and droughts.

Like most knowledgeable commentators, including now even the rusted-on alarmist, Bjorn Lomborg, I urge that preparation and adaptation are the most effective ways to deal with (all) climate risk. Australia's national climate policies urgently need reshaping towards that end.

I used to wonder what it was about the scientific method that is so difficult for commentators like Robert Manne to grasp, for as long ago as the fifth century BC the Greeks had worked out that scientific technique involved observation, experimentation, induction, deduction and hypothesis testing.

Why, then, cannot Manne and other similar commentators understand that the number of scientists or governments that support a proposition is simply irrelevant to determining the truth of a scientific issue? That science is based upon evidence, not opinion. That simply asserting something is true does not make it so. That correlation does not indicate causality. That circumstantial evidence never constitutes proof, no matter how loudly or ceaselessly it is repeated? And that each and every environmental scare that has been erected within the global warming meme relates to something that varies quite naturally as our planet majestically traverses through space and time.

But some time ago now, the penny dropped for me. That penny is the fact that most big environmental scares, including especially the global warming one, are not about science, nor even about the environment. Rather, they are about politics.

And that is an art that is undeniably practised with great skill by both the IPCC and by Latrobe University's Professor of Politics, Robert Manne.


North Carolina utilities say "No" to expensive wind power

Documents obtained by the Civitas Institute suggest Gov. Bev Perdue is attempting to strong-arm North Carolina’s three major utility companies into supplying more expensive energy to their customers in the northeastern part of the state. In a political power-play to reward big business reminiscent of the handling of the Solyndra debacle that embarrassed the Obama administration, Perdue is urging for special treatment that would secure a $200 million federal government subsidy for a multi-billion dollar Spanish company.

Perdue recently sent a letter to the heads of Duke, Dominion, and Progress Energy stressing the importance of the proposed Desert Wind Power Project in Elizabeth City to be built by Iberdrola Renewables (to see copies of the letters, click the links below). The Project involves the development of a 300 megawatt wind energy farm. In her letter, Perdue stated: "I urge you to give serious consideration to partnering with Iberdrola Renewables to make the Project a reality." Perdue also added that it is urgent that a major utility provider agree to purchase power from the wind farm in order for it to be a "long-term success."

Small problem: North Carolina’s major utility companies already said no to purchasing electricity from the wind power project because the rates Iberdrola were demanding are so much more expensive than the conventional energy currently being used by the utilities. As quoted in a recent Raleigh News & Observer article, Duke spokeswoman Betsy Alley Conway said, "What we are looking for is wind energy at a price that is cost-effective for the company and our customers. If we receive a proposal from developers that is a good value for our customers and our company, we would execute the contract."

Translation: Iberdrola’s expensive wind energy would force us to hike rates on our consumers too much – so no thanks.

Perdue’s urging utility companies to provide even more expensive energy to consumers appears particularly out-of-touch in light of recent protests of a moderate rate increase approved by Duke Energy. State Attorney General Roy Cooper also publicly denounced Duke’s rate increase in a press release, declaring: "Now is not the time to ask North Carolina consumers to pay significantly more for electricity."

Iberdrola Renewables is the U.S. arm of the Spanish "renewable energy" corporation, Iberdrola, S.A., a massive company with a presence in more than 40 countries and global revenue exceeding $40 billion.

Despite such massive revenue, in order for the new Desert Wind Power Project to be a "long-term success," Iberdrola is counting on a $200 million federal subsidy to help finance the $600 million project. In order to be eligible for this handout, Iberdrola needs to begin work on the project before the end of this calendar year. Without an agreement from a large utility company to purchase the energy generated by the wind farm, however, Iberdrola will not proceed with construction.

In short, Perdue’s letter is meant to apply political pressure on the utilities to purchase expensive energy from the wind farm. As a result, the highly profitable foreign energy company would collect nearly a quarter billion of taxpayer dollars and impose more expensive energy bills onto northeastern North Carolina homeowners and businesses.

According to North Carolina Secretary of State records, Iberdrola has three active registered lobbyists in the state, two of whom registered earlier this year. No doubt, these agents have spent countless hours applying pressure on state lawmakers and the Governor to gain support for the Elizabeth City wind farm.

In Perdue, it appears they found another politician willing to use her political power to further enrich a highly-profitable, giant corporation at the expense of average taxpayers and ratepayers.

With these letters, Gov. Perdue yet again shows her true crony capitalist colors. Time and again, she uses political power to benefit politically-connected corporations – at the expense of taxpayers, small businesses and in this case, energy consumers. Anytime she attempts to position herself as being in favor of "the little guy," remember the case of Iberdrola. Perdue will gladly throw the little guy under the bus if it means an opportunity to shower deep-pocketed corporations with more taxpayer money. Making matters worse in this instance, her actions would also force up the bills of struggling energy consumers.

When asked via email if Perdue’s actions indicate her disagreement with Cooper’s stance that "now is a bad time to raise rates on energy consumers", the Governor’s office did not respond. Her silence speaks volumes.

UPDATE (12/15/11): According to a report in the Charlotte Business Journal, Iberdrola has announced they will not begin construction on the Desert Wind Power Project in Elizabeth City due to their inability to come to a purchase agreement with a major utility provider.


Australian Households could be forced to find an extra $1400 for non-electric hot water under Labor Party green scheme expansion

I have had experience with both types of gas hot water systems and they are all prone to blowing out when it is windy -- which is hugely pesky

HOUSEHOLDS could be forced to find an extra $1400 for hot water under a massive expansion of another federal Labor green scheme.

The state government has warned that some families could struggle to comply with the little-known scheme, which bans electric systems in favour of expensive solar units and other systems.

NSW families will most likely have to pay $1.7 billion over the 10-year life of the scheme.

Under the second phase of the plan, about 70 per cent of NSW households will have to find up to $1400 for new solar, heat pump or gas systems if their energy-intensive electric hot water units break down and can't be repaired.

A spokeswoman for the Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency said the scheme would help the "hot water industry to move to a low emission future" within 10 years.

Phase one of the scheme started last year, when electric water heaters were banned from being installed in new detached, terrace or town houses.

Phase two, which extends the ban to existing homes, was slated for next year but is likely to be delayed because the majority of households that rely on electric hot water systems do not have access to reticulated natural gas and only 7 per cent have solar.

The scheme was greeted with caution yesterday. "Before making a decision on implementation in NSW we need to be satisfied that the industry has a clearly demonstrated capacity to supply and install alternative technologies and that there are means available to assist lower income householders to manage the higher upfront costs of a solar or heat pump systems, where gas is unavailable," a NSW Office of Environment and Heritage spokeswoman said.

Industry bosses said plumbers need more training before the program is fully rolled out. "You can't just remove hot water systems without there being greater access and availability of gas as a cheaper alternative to going solar," Master Plumbers Association chief executive officer Paul Naylor said.

The Clean Energy Council said substantial rebates would need to be provided, backed by a strong educational campaign, to ensure households did not simply install the cheapest system with no environmental benefits.


Carbon trading dead on its feet

With progress slow on climate talks, banks withdraw from the industry

Greenhouse gases aren’t rising to the top of most agendas right now. Emission caps established under the Kyoto Protocol are set to expire at the end of 2012, and a United Nations-led effort to forge a new global compact is inching forward. The European Union, which runs the world’s biggest carbon trading market, has other things on its collective mind. One side effect of all this is a 47 percent drop this year through Dec. 12 in the value of C0₂ allowances issued under the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme. The permits, which mostly go to utilities and other industrial companies, can be banked or traded.

The biggest banks, trying to recover from trading losses and a regulatory clampdown on using their own money to make bets, are scaling back their carbon trading operations. "People are leaving the industry because they’ve been fired or because they see no prospects," says Emmanuel Fages, head of energy research for Europe at Société Générale (SCGLF) in Paris. "That is the sad story."

The latest casualties include Odin Knudsen, managing director for environmental markets at JPMorgan Chase (JPM), who in October left his New York post after his team was shrunk. The previous month, UBS Securities (UBS) fired Vice-Chairman Jon Anda and the rest of his Stamford (Conn.)-based climate policy team. Anda and Knudsen confirmed their departures in interviews. JPMorgan would not comment. UBS spokesman Christiaan Brakman said in an e-mailed response to questions that UBS "remains committed to address climate change." Fages’s employer, Société Générale, announced on Nov. 25 that it had agreed to sell its 50 percent stake in carbon trading joint venture Orbeo to partner Solvay Group (SVYZY), a chemical maker.

In Europe, demand for emissions permits has been crimped by the economic slowdown, which has forced industry to idle plants. The value of carbon trading fell 8 percent, to €23.7 billion ($32 billion), in the third quarter from the previous three months as the price of permits tumbled, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data.

A carbon offset program operated by the UN is in jeopardy as a result of the expiration next year of greenhouse gas caps set by the Kyoto Protocol. Under the UN program, companies and nations can earn credits to offset fossil-fuel emissions by sponsoring renewable-energy projects. A follow-up treaty to Kyoto won’t come into force until 2020 at the earliest. Japan, Russia, and Canada have refused to accept new limits in the meantime.

The carbon trading industry’s dimming outlook can be seen in the thinning membership rolls of the International Emissions Trading Assn. About 10 institutions have quit the Geneva-based trade group this year, cutting membership to around 150 companies. "There are shakeouts and departures happening as you would expect to be the case during any market that was a little bit unsure about where it was going," says Henry Derwent, the organization’s president. Carbon trading "is currently suffering, as so many other markets are, from low economic activity in the main area, which is the European Union."



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


18 December, 2011

German Climate And Energy Experts To Publish Controversial New Book – Reject Alarmism, Call For Reopening The Debate

A new book is coming out. Personally I believe it’s going to cause a political storm in Germany, if not Europe. It’s going to upset a large number of climate Scrooges and the profiteers of doom.

The book Die kalte Sonne, Warum die Klimakatastophe nicht stattfindet (The Cold Sun, Why The Climate Catastrophe Is Not Taking Place) seriously challenges global warming alarmism. The book is written by Prof. Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt and Dr. Sebastian Lüning. Deliveries start at February 22, 2012. But I’m told the date may actually be February 8! The publisher is influential publishing house Hoffmann & Campe in Hamburg.

What compelled the authors to write the book? In short, being trained scientists, they noticed stark contradictions between model projections and real-life observations. Nothing matched up, something was wrong with the science, the models, and the IPCC. They explain it in detail in the book and in layman’s terms. The German Amazon description writes:

"The IPCC is sure: The climate warming is because of man. However, are the infamous climate gases really the primary driver of our climate? And why hasn’t it been getting warmer? Vahrenholt and Lüning have taken a close look at the various climate models during their research. They reach the conclusion that a part of the Earth’s warming of the last 150 years is because of a natural cycle that is predominantly controlled by the sun. The next decades are more likely to lead us to a slight cooling instead of a warming. This provides the time to rationally develop and expand renewable energy sources, and to carry out the energy transformation in an economically, sensible and sustainable way.”

The book is up-to-date, and its content is well-researched – over 800 footnotes. Many of the cited sources are the most recent scientific papers and findings. Also many of the well-known climate blogs and sites are cited as well. Some blogs are prominently featured, like Climate Audit, WUWT, and Real Climate. I had the privilege of reading the manuscript, so I’m familiar with the book’s content. I really wish I could spill more about it. The book concludes, paraphrasing: "The IPCC is in error, the models are bogus, and the climate catastrophe is not coming. The climate debate has to be started anew.”

Die Kalte Sonne also features guest contributions by leading international scientists.

I think this book is surely going to change the minds of a lot of readers here in Germany, and hopefully lead to a new and rational discussion, which is so badly needed here. The authors make a powerfully convincing case that the science behind global warming alarmism is extremely shaky and dubious, and that the current, panicked energy transformation stampede cannot continue on its current path without something very painful happening.

The book also underscores that a transition to renewable energy source is essential and that we need to do it. But it has to be done rationally and in a sensible step-by-step approach. Only in this way will it be possible to make the energy transition while assuring the needs of 9 billion people on our home planet are humanely met.

About the authors:

Prof. Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt is a professor of chemistry at the University of Hamburg. He has been active in politics and renewable energy for 30 years. From 2001 to 2007 he was Chairman of the Board of wind turbine manufacturer REpower Systems, Since 2008 he has been the CEO of RWE Innogy, the renewable energies arm of German energy giant RWE. Vahrenholt was also a member of the council for Sustainable Development under Chancellors Gerhard Schroder and Angela Merkel.

Dr. Sebastian Lüning has a doctorate in geology and paleontology. He has been involved in the reconstructions of natural environmental changes for 20 years. He was a guest professor at the University of Vienna, and has received a number of awards for his studies and research. He is currently a geological expert for Africa for RWE Dea.


Watch Out! Polar Bear Cannibalism Rises on Global Warming!

Yesterday we learned, to our great joy, that we no longer have to worry about the twin evils of global warming and hurricanes combining to stop Obama’s stimulus plan.

For those of you who missed yesterday’s column, we showed that the not-greedy scientists, who very unlike the Republican bankers who took down the whole housing sector just because they are greedy… well, the scientists anyway demonstrated that hurricanes and global warming are not in any way scientifically or romantically linked.

In a work published in late November on the site for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the chief scientist studying hurricanes in the US concludes that “the overall impact of global warming on hurricanes is currently negligible and likely to remain quite tiny even a century from now.” Hurray! Finally, some good news.

Previously it was part of the liberal religion that you must say out loud at least several times a week that intense hurricanes have been ravaging the world on account of global warming caused in part by greedy Republican bankers who took down the housing sector because they are greedy, except Warren Buffett and George Soros who aren’t greedy or Republican.

George and Warren just got really lucky, accidentally. Like Obama’s friends George Kaiser and Jon Corzine did.

So, anywho… as I was saying, there was great celebration in liberal-land because it turns out that we aren’t having more and worse hurricanes than in the past on account of global warming.

Presumably as a liberal you now no longer have to mindlessly repeat that hurricanes and global warming are linked, which is good news for liberals because: 1) it means we are safer from hurricanes than was presumed in the past; and 2) it wasn’t, you know… true.

But if anything is certain in life it is this: that once you allocate to scientists federal grant money, they’ll selflessly exert themselves to find out what in the world is wrong with mankind even if they have to spend more and more money every year doing it selflessly! Those are just the kind of guys scientists are.

So it was unsurprising that after dodging that whole hurricane bullet yesterday scientists revealed- or at least writers who have a website with the word “science” in the name revealed- that there could be an epidemic of polar bear cannibals on account of global warming, which by now, we all know was caused by the global meltdown of the real estate market caused by greedy Republican bankers who are both greedy and Republican.

And there is only one thing worse than polar bear cannibals. That is…drum-roll… all together now: greedyrepublicanbankers.

So, anywho… as I was saying, this website with the word “science” in it called asks the question that we all, at least subconsciously, have been asking ourselves for years: Is Global Warming Driving Polar Bears to Cannibalism? The answer is: yes, according to people who write about stuff that scientists say on the spur of the moment., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tech Media Network, by its own account, is made up of “science reporters, editors and video producers” who have unimpeachable resumes with academic degrees in studies like Olde English, Arts and Journalism. The journalism degree alone ought to disqualify anyone from writing about anything.

Well some of these reporters rounded up the scientists who previously miscounted the polar bear population- sparking the theory that polar bear populations had reached the lowest levels ever- and these reporters did a hard hitting story about a new theory these scientists have.

Presumably they are looking for a new theory that can be debunked in ten years after millions in grant money is spent studying the theory in order to fill the hole in the global warming theory now that hurricanes aren’t as scary anymore.

So, anywho… “A new article in the journal Arctic,” writes, “suggests that polar bear cannibalism — typically the predation of small bears or cubs by much larger adult males — is either much more commonplace than previously thought, or has lately become more common. In the paper, leading polar bear biologist Ian Stirling and nature photographer Jenny Ross detail three recent instances of the behavior among polar bears in Norway's Svalbard Archipelago, each of which was photographed from the decks of ecotourism and research boats anchored a few hundred yards away.”

And the cause of this eco-outrage? That’s right: global warming. The greedy Republican bankers are implied.

Ok, so Sterling made a mistake by undercounting polar bears by an order of magnitude of five times. Ok, so he’s postulating a theory on the basis of only three pictures.

So what’s the big deal? It’s not like science needs to be an exact art form. Guessing is an important part of mainstream global warming science that has an honorable tradition going back to traveling carnivals in America.

But there is one thing that bothers me: I thought it was more likely that polar bears would team up with “the Rand Corporation, in conjunction with the saucer people, under the supervision of the reverse vampires,” than become cannibals. Polar bears always seemed more like Republicans than liberals to me.


Durban climate conference: Canada withdraws from Kyoto Protocol

Within days of the world reaching an agreement at the Durban climate conference on the extension of the Kyoto Protocol and framework for a new climate treaty, the efforts have suffered a major blow with Canada announcing its decision to pull out of the protocol. The extension of the protocol beyond 2012, when the first round of commitments expires, was agreed to at Durban after hectic parleys and 'give and take'. Industrialised countries agreed for a second round of commitments only after developing countries gave their nod for a new treaty for emission reduction from 2020 onwards.

The decision of Canada to exercise its legal right to withdraw from the protocol has dealt a blow to the spirit of the Durban deal. For long, industrialised countries have been seeking abandonment of the protocol. The US, of course, never signed this agreement. Now another major carbon emitter is out of it. Russia and Japan too have opposed any extension of commitments. All this may render the protocol a dead instrument.

The Kyoto Protocol is currently the only legal instrument in force to combat climate change. It sets a clear target for reducing greenhouse gases by 25-40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 for the group of countries that are collectively known as Annex 1 parties. Canada and other industrialised countries are part of Annex 1. Under the protocol, poorer countries, including China and India, take voluntary, non-binding steps to curb the growth of emissions while they focus on economic development.

Canada on Monday became the first country to formally renounce the protocol. Announcing the pullout, Canada's environment minister Peter Kent said Kyoto doesn't represent the way forward for Canada or the world. "The protocol does not cover the world's largest two emitters, the US and China, and therefore cannot work. It's now clear that Kyoto is not the path forward to a global solution to climate change. If anything it's an impediment," Kent said.

The decision to withdraw from Kyoto, Kent said, would save Canada $ 14 billion in penalties for not achieving its Kyoto targets. "To meet the targets under Kyoto for 2012 would be the equivalent of either removing every car, truck, ATV, tractor, ambulance, police car and vehicle of every kind from Canadian roads or closing down the entire farming and agriculture sector and cutting heat to every home, office, hospital, factory and building in Canada," Kent said.

He said he would not be surprised if other countries follow Canada in pulling out of Kyoto.

Canada has the world's third largest oil reserves, more than 170 billion barrels. Daily production of 1.5 million barrels from the oil sands is expected to increase to 3.7 million in 2025. Only Saudi Arabia and Venezuela have more reserves. But critics say the enormous amount of energy and water needed in the extraction process increases greenhouse gas emissions.

Kent's announcement drew immediate criticism from China, which has long insisted the Protocol remain a foundation of global efforts to curb emissions causing global warming. "It is regrettable and flies in the face of the efforts of international community for Canada to leave the Kyoto Protocol at a time when the Durban meeting, as everyone knows, made important progress by securing a second phase of commitment to the protocol," China's foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a news briefing.

China's state news agency, Xinhua, denounced Canada's decision as preposterous, calling it an excuse to shirk responsibility. While also describing the decision regrettable, Japan's environment minister Goshi Hosono urged Canada to stay with the pact, saying the Kyoto framework included important elements that could help fight climate change.

The tiny South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, one those most at risk from rising sea levels caused by climate change, was more blunt. For a vulnerable country like Tuvalu, it is an act of sabotage on our future, Ian Fry, its lead negotiator said.

An Indian official said Canada's decision could jeopardise any gains made at the Durban meeting.

Scientists say that if levels of greenhouse gases continue to rise, eventually the world's climate will reach a tipping point, with irreversible melting of some ice sheets and a several metre rise in sea levels. However, they cannot pinpoint exactly when that would happen, but the climate negotiations have been focused on preventing global temperatures from rising more than 1.2 ° Celsius above current levels by the end of this century.


Spending bill blocks light bulb standards

The shutdown-averting budget bill will block federal light bulb efficiency standards, giving a win to House Republicans fighting the so-called ban on incandescent light bulbs.

GOP and Democratic sources tell POLITICO the final omnibus bill includes a rider defunding the Energy Department's standards for traditional incandescent light bulbs to be 30 percent more energy efficient.

DOE's light bulb rules — authorized under a 2007 energy law authored signed by President George W. Bush — would start going into effect Jan. 1. The rider will prevent DOE from implementing the rules through Sept. 30.

But Democrats said they could claim a "compromise" by adding language to the omnibus that requires DOE grant recipients greater than $1 million to certify they will upgrade the efficiency of their facilities by replacing any lighting to meet or exceed the 2007 energy law's standards.

Fueled by conservative talk radio, Republicans made the last-ditch attempt to stop federal regulations from making their way into every Americans' living room.

"There are just some issues that just grab the public's attention. This is one of them," said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.). "It's going to be dealt with in this legislation once and for all."

After giving up in recent weeks on dozens of other riders aimed at stopping EPA rules because of opposition from Senate Democrats and the White House, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) told POLITICO that the light bulb rider was "going to be in there."

"Speaker [John] Boehner to Chairman [Fred] Upton to Chairman [Hal] Rogers, they all strongly support keeping it in," said Barton, who served as ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee in 2007 when the light bulb language got approved. "And it's a personal commitment because of their philosophy."

The White House was not publicly spelling out which riders it didn’t want in the final spending package, with communications director Dan Pfeiffer only saying Wednesday that the House GOP plan would "undercut environmental protections."


Here We Go Again: Earthquakes Blamed on Climate Change Hoax

Wm. Teach

The Warmists really can't help themselves. They keep digging and digging and attempting to blame mankind's release of greenhouse gases for events that have happened for time immemorial
Could the earthquake in Haiti have been a man-made disaster?

No. But, don't let reality, history, and science get in the way.
If you ever doubted that human action was capable of profoundly effecting the Earth's ecology, consider this: Scientists now believe that our mismanagement of the environment is quite literally causing the Earth to shake.

New research has confirmed a correlative link between the occurrence of major earthquake events, such as the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and rapid soil erosion caused by deforestation and man-made climate change, reports the Independent.

The idea that the weather plays a role in triggering earthquakes is highly controversial, and scientists have largely discounted previous attempts to establish a link between earthquakes and changes in atmospheric pressure, such as what happens during typhoons and hurricanes.But a new study, recently presented at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, takes a different angle. It looks at how changes to the weight of soil bearing down on faultlines might serve to release geological stress.

"Very wet rain events are the trigger. The heavy rain induces thousands of landslides and severe erosion, which removes ground material from the Earth's surface, releasing the stress and encouraging movement along faults," said Shimon Wdowinski of the University of Miami in Florida.

And we all know that heavy rain and hurricanes only started when Mankind decided to build stuff and stop living in caves. The story goes on in breathless fashion telling us about hurricanes and tropical storms that hit Haiti that year, because Haiti is in an area that typically gets hit by tropical storms a lot, but, this time it's different, because someone drove a fossil fueled vehicle while talking on an iPhone and eating a BigMac. Therefore, there must be a correlation.

Could there be? Possibly. That's what science is for. But, obviously, it can't simply be natural, it has to be "extreme weather events" caused by Mankind living a modern life
These findings should also cause a shudder in our collective conscience. Since an uptick in extreme weather is one of the many unfortunate consequences of man-made climate change, we may want to reevaluate our role in disasters that were once believed to be entirely 'natural.

See? We should be super scared. If Mother Nature News was so scared, they'd shut the website down, because it uses lots of electricity which comes primarily from fossil fuels.


Windmill restrictions coming in Massachusetts

Should give NIMBYs power to stop just about all new windmills. Today Massachusetts, tomorrow the world? It's a big breakthrough in politically-correct Massachusetts

At an energy forum in Great Barrington on December 14th, Senator Ben Downing announced that he is tabling the controversial wind siting bill. The surprise announcement came a little over a week after Senate President Therese Murray changed her position on the bill. She said she was persuaded by her constituents, who have testified to the adverse impacts of wind turbines on health as well as property values.

According to Patrick Cassidy’s Cape Cod Times article on December 6, 2011, Senator Murray told the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, “I think wind power has to be part of the solution for our energy fixes, but I don’t believe losing local control is the way to go so I would have to support my towns who don’t support the siting bill.”

Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts applauds this change of view, and welcomes Senator Downing’s intention to send the bill to study. All three bills filed to streamline the siting of industrial scale wind turbines were filed as “emergency” legislation, which would have allowed them to go into effect as soon as they were signed by the governor.

As co-chair, with Representative John D. Keenan, of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy, Downing has encountered a barrage of environmentalists, municipal officials, and anti-industrial-wind activists at two hearings and many other public meetings. WESRA opponents have emphasized that communities need local control over wind siting decisions because of the array of potential impacts to human health, wildlife, water supplies, and scenic vistas.

This is what he heard from people opposing WESRA and industrial wind turbines.

* The desire for local control

* Frustrations with corporate subsidies

* Lack of local benefit

* Concern about replacing existing environmental law

* Standards should be developed first

* Impact of overdevelopment of wind energy on tourism

* Impact on real estate

* More focus on conservation and efficiency

* More support for solar

He also told the crowd of 75 people at the Berkshire South Regional Community Center that he had watched the movie Windfall and had talked with Dr. Ben Luce, about why wind energy is not viable on the ridgelines of the northeast.



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


17 December, 2011

Climategate Bombshell: Did U.S. Gov't Help Hide Climate Data?

Are your tax dollars helping hide global warming data from the public? Internal emails leaked as part of “Climategate 2.0” indicate the answer may be "Yes."

The original Climategate emails -- correspondence stolen from servers at a research facility in the U.K. and released on the Internet in late 2009 -- shook up the field of climate research. Now a new batch posted in late November to a Russian server shows that scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit refused to share their U.S. government-funded data with anyone they thought would disagree with them.

Making that case in 2009, the then-head of the Research Unit, Dr. Phil Jones, told colleagues repeatedly that the U.S. Department of Energy was funding his data collection -- and that officials there agreed that he should not have to release the data.

“Work on the land station data has been funded by the U.S. Dept of Energy, and I have their agreement that the data needn’t be passed on. I got this [agreement] in 2007,” Jones wrote in a May 13, 2009, email to British officials, before listing reasons he did not want them to release data.

Two months later, Jones reiterated that sentiment to colleagues, saying that the data "has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (U.S. Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.”

A third email from Jones written in 2007 echoes the idea: "They are happy with me not passing on the station data," he wrote.

The emails have outraged climate-change skeptics who say they can't trust climate studies unless they see the raw data -- and how it has been adjusted. "In every endeavor of science, making your work replicable by others is a basic tenet of proof,” Anthony Watts, a meteorologist and climate change blogger, told “If other scientists cannot replicate your work, it brings your work into question.”

Is the Department of Energy to blame? The Climategate emails reveal correspondence only between Jones and his colleagues -- not between him and the DoE.

"What’s missing," Watts said, "is a ... directive from DoE that they should withhold station data gathered under their grant. The email may be there, but ... still under lock and key.”

Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, wants that key. He recently filed Freedom of Information acts with the DoE, requesting the emails they exchanged with Jones. "So far no administration department has bothered to respond, indicating they … believe the time bought with stonewalling might just get them off the hook for disclosure," Horner told "Not with us, it won't," he said.

The Department of Energy has until December 29 before it must legally respond to Horner's request. When contacted by, DoE spokesman Damien LaVera declined to comment.

However, climate change researcher and blogger Steve McIntyre forwarded an email exchange from 2005 in which climate scientist Warwick Hughes asked an official at a DOE lab if he could get the data that the government paid Jones to collect.

"I am asking you to provide me with the following data … DoE has been funding [the data] since the 1980s," Hughes noted in his request.

But Tom Boden, of the DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, told Hughes at the time that the DOE itself did not have the data, and that "you will need to contact Phil [Jones] directly. I spoke today with the DOE program manager who indicated Phil was not obligated under the conditions of past or present DOE proposal awards to provide these items."

McIntyre said he himself later had a similar exchange with the DOE, after which "I suggested that they amend this as a condition of further financing." "I was surprised that the new emails show them actively taking the opposite approach," he added.

Asked about the connection with the Department of Energy, Simon Dunford, a spokesman for Jones’ Climatic Research Unit, told that Jones has changed his tune since the emails were made public.

"Prof Jones has already accepted he should have been more open, and has since made all the station data referred to in these emails publicly available," Dunford told

Watts said that while much of the data itself is now available, the methods of adjusting it -- statistical modification meant to filter anomalies, "normalize" the data, and potentially highlight certain trends -- remain a secret.

"Much of climate science, in terms of the computer processing that goes on, remains a black box to the outside world. We see the data go in, and we see the data that come out as a finished product -- but we don’t know how they adjust it in between.”

Watts said he would like to be given the adjustment formulas to make his own determination. "The fact that they are trying to keep people from replicating their studies -- that's the issue," Watts noted. "Replication is the most important tenet of science."


Medieval Warm Period in Southern South America

Discussing: Neukom, R. et al. Multiproxy summer and winter surface air temperature field reconstructions for southern South America covering the past centuries. Climate Dynamics 37: 35-51.

In order to know how unusual, unprecedented or unnatural the global warming of the 20th century was, it is necessary to do what the eighteen authors of this important paper did, so as to be able, as they describe it, "to put the recent warming into a larger temporal and spatial context."

Working with 22 of the best climate proxies they could find that stretched far enough back in time, Neukom et al. (2011) reconstructed a mean austral summer (December-February) temperature history for the period AD 900-1995 for the terrestrial area of the planet located between 20°S and 55°S and between 30°W and 80°W -- a region they call Southern South America (SSA) -- noting that their results "represent the first seasonal sub-continental-scale climate field reconstructions of the Southern Hemisphere going so far back in time."

The international research team -- composed of scientists from Argentina, Chile, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States -- write that their summer temperature reconstruction suggests that "a warm period extended in SSA from 900 (or even earlier) to the mid-fourteenth century," which they describe as being temporally located "towards the end of the Medieval Climate Anomaly as concluded from Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstructions." And as can be seen from the figure below, the warmest decade of this Medieval Warm Period was calculated by them to be AD 1079-1088, which as best as can be determined from their graph is about 0.17°C warmer than the peak warmth of the Current Warm Period.

Figure 1. Reconstructed mean summer SSA temperatures. Adapted from Neukom et al. (2011)

The findings of Neukom et al. go a long ways towards demonstrating that: (1) the Medieval Warm Period was a global phenomenon that was comprised of even warmer intervals than the warmest portion of the Current Warm Period, and that (2) the greater warmth of the Medieval Warm Period occurred when there was far less CO2 in the air than there is nowadays, which facts clearly demonstrate that the planet's current -- but not unprecedented -- degree of warmth need not be CO2-induced.


Himalayan Glaciers 'Safe From Warming’

Global warming will melt far less of the glaciers of Central Asia than of those in other mountain ranges, shielding the people who depend on them for water from the effects of climate change for several decades at least, scientists say.

The mountains in and around the Himalayas are so high, unlike in the Andes, the Alps or the Rockies, that even in summer, temperatures remain below freezing point and most of the glaciers don’t melt away at all, Richard Armstrong, a geographer at Colorado University’s National Snow and Ice Centre, tells IPS. "It doesn’t make much difference if it gets a little warmer up there because it’s still far below zero."

Glaciers are rivers of ice fed by snowfall at the top. As they flow downhill to warmer temperatures, they eventually melt, providing water in summer, when rainfall is usually lowest.

Since the end of the two-centuries-long Little Ice Age in 1850, the terminus point of most glaciers has been slowly retreating uphill. That retreat accelerated since gases like carbon dioxide emitted by coal burning and cars have been accumulating in the atmosphere, creating a greenhouse effect that has raised global temperatures on average by half a degree Celsius in the past 30 years.

How much water a glacier produces each year is mostly determined by how much snow falls on their upper part, not at what point they end. So far there is no evidence that less snow is falling on their higher parts or that they produce more or less melt water, according to Armstrong and other scientists.

In the first comprehensive study of a part of what is called High Asia, the scientists found that 96 percent of the water that flows down the mountains of Nepal into nine local river basins comes from snow and rain, and only 4 percent from summer glacier melt. Of that 4 percent, says Armstrong, the lead author, only a minuscule proportion comes from the melting away of the end points of the glaciers due to global warming.


Introducing: Don’t Sell Your Coat

Ask anyone who's lived through a real winter: It's not easy being cold. What follows is an excerpt from my new book Don’t Sell Your Coat, available here:

I want to examine the moral component of meteorological journalism. As I mentioned near the beginning of this book, I used to be an avid watcher of The Weather Channel. For a good couple of decades, the network was not only an important component for the fledgling cable industry, but an excellent source of information about current weather and climate, as well about atmospheric science itself. An interesting thing took place during the 1990s, though. Weather Channel viewership was found to spike during hurricanes, and not merely among viewers in areas that could be affected by the individual storm being discussed. A lot of folks evidently loved watching the progress of tropical storms, the stronger the better. Hurricanes became, over time, a revenue producer for the network. Experts were hired and given regular on-air time, and hurricane segments were given their own titles, their own graphics, and their own music.

People loved it. Much of this was quite innocuous, and arguably inevitable. Hurricanes are indeed interesting, and for a period of about 15 years it was widely believed, even by many scientists, that manmade global warming was ramping up the number, intensity, and duration of storms. In the last few years, however, links between recent atmospheric warming and hurricane activity, as we have seen, have been reconsidered.

In the meantime, though, the false link had lodged in the popular imagination, and The Weather Channel was more or less avidly exploiting it. The network’s presenters didn’t overtly come out and say that individual storms were generated by tailpipe and smokestack emissions, but they didn’t really have to at this point. The misconception was so pervasive and so widespread that merely trumpeting the “unusual” power of the storms themselves sufficed. In the meantime, the network slowly upped its on-air mentions of the phenomenon of global warming during the daily program cycle and eventually devoted a new segment to the phenomenon known as “Forecast Earth.”

Video alarmism regarding atmospheric phenomena is, perhaps, to be expected by a network like The Weather Channel. After all, it is hardly alone. The major cable news networks routinely send meteorologists and other reporters into the path of hurricanes, so that they can be seen amid the rising waters, gusting winds, and torrential rains.

On the other hand, the tranquil weather being experienced by most people around the globe at any given time goes ignored and unvideotaped. Again, one can understand why this would be so. In the newspaper business, and other journalistic domains as well, fires are of note. Non-fires aren’t. Fair enough. But something very insidious has taken place. The selling of weather disasters as entertainment has led to a state in which big business stands to gain handsomely from the perception that the planet has gone meteorologically mad. Specifically, General Electric stands to profit. When in 2008 NBC (owned by General Electric) purchased The Weather Channel, an interesting thing took place: the largest domestic producer of wind turbines became the owner of the best-positioned purveyor of images of destructive weather. The same year, NBC’s Today Show continued its longstanding practice of “showing” the great destruction to the ocean-atmosphere system caused by manmade global warming, with story after story: fires, floods, melting Kilimanjaro, you name it. The rest of NBC News, and the Weather Channel, meanwhile, keep the same pieces of videotape on nearly infinite repeat.

Summing up: Wind turbines do not deliver reliable electric power; the ocean-atmosphere system is not broken; scaring people needlessly isn’t nice – and it distracts them from the actual environmental problems surrounding them.


Desperate Climate Campaigner Stoops to Criminality to Smear Skeptics

John O'Sullivan

In a week when skeptics of the predicted man-made climate catastrophe are having their computers seized by police, a more patently criminal campaign of harassment is now underway in the blogosphere. But is an ironic twist in store?

It appears faked and defamatory web pages are currently being created and disseminated around the Internet by green crusader, Andrew Skolnick, a former Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) fired from his post for misconduct.

A disgruntled Mr. Skolnick has been hard at work hoping to salvage his shattered reputation and forlorn dreams of Big Green Global Government. Now reduced to scraping a meager income as a pet photographer, an embittered Andrew Skolnick seems to be pursuing a hate campaign against those conducting honest skeptical scientific inquiry into the man-made global warming narrative.

It seems Mr. Skolnick has been using his ample spare time to create anti-skeptic malicious counterfeit web pages for his nefarious use and distributing them to prominent participants on both sides of the ongoing climate debate. Mr. Skolnick has been exceedingly downcast since the British Columbia Law Society threw out his complaint against me in my capacity as consultant to prominent skeptic climatologist, Dr. Tim Ball. More on that in my article, Canada Bar Association Rules ‘No Misconduct’ by Tim Ball’s Legal Team.

The latest matter is subject to an internal investigation by the providers of the popular networking website for professionals, Linkedin, whose system and identity may have been misappropriated in the scam. As such we may yet see criminal charges, under New York’s Penal Code, against Mr.Skolnick (NY resident) pursued by this author (also possessing NY residence).

As background to this story, Mr. Skolnick has made repeated accusations that I have been criminally portraying myself as a licensed attorney. But I have never made any such claims and he's not offered any verifiable proof ot it. Pointedly, in the six months since “investigative journalist” Skolnick first made his wild assertions I've yet to hear from the police, let alone be indicted for false representation. That speaks volumes as does the dismissal of the formal complaint Skolnick made against me with the British Columbia Law Society.

At the root of it all is that the ex-JAMA bad boy is irked that I have successfully assisted Dr. Tim Ball in his ongoing defense against the vexatious libel suit of Dr. Michael Mann. Mann took exception when Ball opined that Mann belonged, “in the State Pen, not Penn. State” for allegedly faking his infamous ‘hokey stick’ graph. It's such a pivotal lawsuit in the entire global warming controversy and one I'm so convinced Dr. Ball is right about that I've provided his attorney with a legally binding undertaking and formally "bet the farm" on him beating Mann.

Undeterred by such moral conviction, our intrepid “investigator” wasn’t going to give up so easily in his smear campaign. This week Skolnick says he just happened to be browsing the Linkedin professional networking website when he stumbled upon a web page called “John O.” He claims that upon examining the page he found it was mine and used by me for the purposes of defaming him; all an utter pack of lies.

Now our petulant pet photographer’s dastardly plan is fast unraveling because the eagle eyes of others spotted critical flaws in what Skolnick claims is his genuine "screenshot" of this mythical “John O” Linkedin profile. I say ‘mythical’ because no such profile appears to have ever existed (except, perhaps, in the photo editing software on Mr. S’s computer!).

As can readily be seen from the images, the web pages appear to have dissimilar font sizes; Skolnick’s has additional text lines, altered line spacing, plus a darker toned background compared with my genuine Linkedin profile page.

For fuller affect Mr. Skolnick emailed this “evidence” to me and 29 other recipients prominent in the ongoing climate debate. Evidently, the ruse was to persuade the 29 to roundly condemn me and convey words of sympathy and comfort to the injured Mr. Skolnick.

But so damning for Skolnick is that Linkedin may soon confirm there is no such profile currently on their server because the bogus “John O” never did exist to begin with. So where did it originate? NY Police may soon have the answers if Linkedin can confirm grounds for “probable cause.” They can then execute a search warrant on Mr. Skolnick and seize his computer for forensic analysis. Now that’s a REAL reason for a police raid in these climate capers.


Impurities are contaminating the purity of our recyclables, and the trashiness of our trash!

I got quite a kick out of this story about the DC resident who was fined thousands of dollars for not recycling contaminated recyclables:
Dupont Circle resident Patricia White says she has been fined eight times for throwing homemade cat litter in her trash. The fines total $2,000. White says she shreds old newspaper and junk mail to use as cat litter. She believes she is helping the environment by reusing the paper and avoiding cat litter you will find in stores.

After being fined several times, White says she called the Department of Public Works inspector who issued the tickets. According to White, the inspector admitted to digging through trash looking for violations. White even appealed the violations in D.C. court. Judge Audrey Jenkins agreed with the inspector after White explained the situation. FOX 5 tried to reach Judge Jenkins, but her office has declined to comment.

Isn’t it nice to know they’re finally getting tough on real crime in the nation’s capital?

Recycling started as a way to separate things like cans and bottles from regular trash. In those days, it was easy. But thanks to predictable bureaucratic escalation (by people who want more power and more jobs for their class, natch), it has turned into an almost comical war against impure trash. “Commingling” has become the latest crime, and in the case of the woman who uses newspaper as cat litter, she could be cited for putting her shitty newspapers in either container! Ditto the criminal scumbags who dare to use old newspaper in bird or hamster cages! You may not recycle it, and you may not throw it away!

Garbage must be free of recyclables, and recyclables must be free of garbage.

Hear hear.

Did you know that if you put a cardboard pizza box in your recycle bin, you are guilty of contamination if there are remnants of grease on it? In many communities, the same applies to unwashed peanut butter jars, dog or cat food bags, paper napkins, frozen food containers, and milk cartons. And one of the worst offenders is Tyvek mailing envelopes, which are said to wreak havoc with the paper shredding machines.

As to which is a greater crime? Putting trash in the recyclables, or recyclables in the trash? Why not simplify the process, and simply declare that Everything Should Be Recycled and therefore Nothing Can Be Put In The Trash, and also that Everything Is Too impure To Be Recycled? (Like the direction we’re headed with regulations governing water runoff; it is too polluted to go into city storm drains, and too “clean” to be allowed in sewers.) If only Lewis Carroll could weigh in….

I love government Catch-22 situations.


Pesky! Free-range hens 'boost carbon 20%'

EGGS from free-range hens produce more greenhouse gas than caged birds, a report has found, prompting calls for carbon footprint labelling for all food products in Australia.

A report for the Australian Egg Industry Corporation, which represents most egg farmers, found that producing free-range eggs increased carbon output by 20 per cent.

The main reason was that free-range egg production used more feed per kilogram of eggs produced than caged egg production, the report, half-funded by the federal government, found.

It also found that Australian egg production had a lower carbon footprint than several European egg studies, mainly due to more efficient grain production in Australia.

The corporation's managing director, James Kellaway, used the findings to call for carbon footprint labelling to be included on food products. "The egg industry would be very happy to consider adding the environmental footprint or greenhouse gas emission status on egg labels," Mr Kellaway said.

"However, it would be meaningless without other food products having to do it, or providing a reference point so consumers can compare food types or food categories."

Mr Kellaway said the report also suggested that eggs had the lowest carbon footprint of all the main protein foods. "But the research also highlighted that there is still scope for refinements to current practices in egg production to allow further reductions in emissions," he said.

Paul Klymenko, the chief executive of Planet Ark, welcomed Mr Kellaway's calls.

Planet Ark and the Carbon Trust, UK, launched the Carbon Reduction Label in Australia after the labelling program was introduced in Britain in 2007 with just three products, chips, shampoo and smoothie drinks.

There are now hundreds of products in Britain with the label, including bread, milk, juice, cereal, sugar, potatoes, detergent, toilet and kitchen paper, light bulbs, clothing and appliances.



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


16 December, 2011

Lord Monckton to sool the law onto climate fraudsters

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley in London

Now that six policemen from the Norfolk and Metropolitan forces have invaded the home and “borrowed” the computers of “Tallbloke”, the first blogger in the UK to reveal the existence of the 5000 Climategate 2.0 emails, you may ask why the British police seem so much more interested in tracking down and punishing the whistle-blower/“thief” than in dealing with the many crimes by crooked IPCC “scientists” that the emails expose.

There is a good reason why the police have gone after the whistle-blower and yet have not moved against those whose far more serious crimes the emails he released expose. Though the University of East Anglia has complained to the police about the “thief”, no one has complained about the climate crooks whose crimes the University seems so zealous to conceal.

Until now, those of us who have dared to question how much “global warming” a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration this century may cause have been altogether too nice to lodge a criminal complaint with our local police precinct. That must now change. This note proposes a way forward.

What offenses have been committed? Serious frauds, that's what. Some of the most prominent Climategate emailers appear, on the face of the evidence in the emails, to be engaged with each other and with others in an elaborate series of connected deceptions calculated to enrich themselves and their associates, impoverish everyone else and destroy key industries and national economies wholesale by systematically and often greatly exaggerating the supposed threat and costs of anthropogenic “global warming”, the certainty of the science that underlies the IPCC's claims, and the effectiveness of the various methods proposed for the attempted mitigation of anthropogenic “global warming”, while correspondingly understating the benefits of that warming and the costs of its attempted mitigation.

So, why don't the police go and feel their collars rather than picking on the blameless “Tallbloke”? Not least because the police are by no means as expert in understanding the ins and outs of climate physics and economics as we are. They simply don't get the significance of the emails because no one has ever explained it to them.

The true significance of “hide the decline”, for instance, is not at all evident on a superficial reading of the emails. The police will not, therefore, read the emails with our eyes, unless we help them to understand their shocking significance.

If we explain to the police how the various frauds evident in the Climategate emails work, and how they are connected to each other and to additional frauds designed artificially and dishonestly to magnify the supposed threat of “global warming” in the IPCC's documents and to minimize the egregiously disproportionate cost of trying to make “global warming” go away, they will understand and – more importantly – they will act, for that is what the law requires them to do.

In many jurisdictions, fraud is a common-law offense: that of obtaining a pecuniary advantage for oneself, or inflicting a pecuniary disadvantage upon another, by deception. The twin tests are money gain or loss, and deception.

In the United Kingdom, the Fraud Act 2006 has given fraud a very detailed, statutory definition, which may be summarized as the obtaining of a temporary or permanent gain (whether by keeping what one has or by getting what one does not have) or the infliction upon another of a temporary or permanent loss (whether by not getting what one might get or by parting with what one has), the gain or loss being in money or other real or personal property (including things in action or other intangible property), with the intent either of obtaining a gain for the offender or for another or of causing loss to another or of exposing another to a risk of loss, whether by dishonestly making an untrue or misleading express or implied representation that the offender knows is or may be untrue or misleading; or by dishonestly failing to disclose to another person information which the offender is under a legal duty to disclose; or by dishonestly (by act or omission) abusing a position in which he is expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interest of another person.

In some jurisdictions, “serious fraud” is defined as a fraud that either involves offenders in a position of public trust or very substantial sums of money or both. The connected frauds revealed in the Climategate emails involve both.

The test for money gain or loss is automatically passed by all of the connected frauds that have led to the exaggerated claims of the IPCC and its supporters: for the massive loss to taxpayers and to users of gasoline and electricity, to name but many, is already well documented.

Each fraud that we allege, therefore, must be a clear, demonstrable instance of a specific deception by an identifiable person that contributes to the overall deception. Some examples –

Suppose, for instance, that a particular graph appearing thrice in the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report uses a bogus statistical technique so as falsely to demonstrate that the Earth is warming ever faster and that we are to blame. That may be a mistake.

However, if a report by a competent statistician demonstrates that the technique is indeed bogus, and if, say, a lead author of the Fourth Assessment Report is asked to have the error corrected but refuses to do so and instead writes attempting to justify the false graph on deceptive and erroneous grounds, then that lead author may be guilty of fraud.

It is then open to any citizen of his or her nation to go to the police and make a complaint. The deception lies in the willingness of the lead author to leave the erroneous graph uncorrected, knowing that it conveys incorrect information calculated falsely to exaggerate the influence of Man on the climate. The perpetrator's omission to act as a reasonable lead author would act is fraud.

Suppose that the lead author of an IPCC chapter admits that he allowed a flagrantly incorrect value to appear in the Fourth Assessment Report because “I wanted to influence governments”, and suppose that notwithstanding the objections of the “reviewers” the erroneous value was printed, and suppose that for several months the IPCC, at the highest levels, tried to conceal the deception. That is fraud.

Suppose that a politician has gotten rich by preaching about “global warming” in an unduly alarmist way. Suppose that in a widely-publicized presentation he shows details of an experiment that was not conducted in the purported fashion and did not, therefore, confirm the official story-line to the degree he was suggesting. That is plainly a deception. It is fraud.

Suppose that a senior official of an international meteorological organization is filmed saying that global mean surface temperature trends should be taken over 30 years, and that his interlocutor politely points out that those 30 years largely coincided with the warming phase of the great ocean oscillations and that, therefore, the trends should be taken over 60 years so as to remove the exaggeration by including the cooling phase as well.

Suppose that the official then tells his interlocutor that he does not wish to be lectured, and then makes a false complaint to the UNFCCC secretariat that he has been harassed. In isolation the episode is insignificant. But in the context of the wider series of connected frauds by this and other organizations, the official has furthered or attempted to further the deception by initially attempting to conceal the fact that the 30 years in question fell largely in the warming phase of a natural ocean oscillation and then, upon being challenged, by making a false allegation against his interlocutor. The official's misconduct – in the wider context – is not merely gross unprofessionalism. It is fraud.

Suppose the keeper of a global temperature record, on receiving requests to supply the data and methods underlying the compilation of that record, refuses to comply, corresponds with other “scientists” about how to avoid complying with freedom-of-information requests, and thereby succeeds in concealing for many years several fundamental defects in the keeping and processing of the data. In isolation the episode may be put down to mere incompetence combined with an understandable desire to avoid a deserved professional humiliation. However, in the context of the wider series of connected frauds, a jury might well find such an episode to constitute fraud, in that a false air of reliability and respectability has been created so as to give the IPCC process a specious air of scientific integrity.

Notice how each such episode – in isolation – might well provoke little more than a shrug of the shoulders from the prosecuting authorities, because they do not realize how the fraud fits into the grander scheme of those who are by a multitude of related artifices and deceptions driving the climate scare beyond all scientific justification. However, look at the frauds I have described, but this time look at them not in isolation but together. It is only then that the sheer, breathtaking, arrogant enormity of the overall scheme of deception becomes visible to those who have not observed it before.

Next steps: I have begun drafting a memorandum for the prosecuting authorities, together with all evidence necessary to establish not only the existence of numerous specific instances of scientific or economic fraud in relation to the official “global warming” storyline but also the connections between these instances, and the overall scheme of deception that the individual artifices appear calculated to reinforce. In each instance, the perpetrators of the fraud will be named and their roles described.

Once the report has been completed, it will be reviewed carefully by experienced criminal lawyers in each of the national jurisdictions in which the perpetrators reside. The report will then be submitted to the prosecuting authorities in each jurisdiction, with a complaint lodged by lawyers acting for citizens of that jurisdiction against perpetrators there. No complaints can be lodged against the IPCC or the UNFCCC, for they are beyond any national jurisdiction. However, individual “scientists” can be brought to book in the countries where they normally reside.

Here is how you can help. If you consider any specific aspect of “global warming” science to contain an element of fraud as defined and illustrated here, then please – in strictest confidence – get in touch and let me have as much detail as possible. Be specific. Name names. Give details. If you can, supply or point me to backup evidence.

Since the information you will be supplying to me is in contemplation of criminal proceedings, it is privileged and no libel suit would succeed even in the unlikely event that the perpetrators discovered you had contacted me. Your details will be kept confidential, and will not appear in the report or be passed to any authorities.

Don't be coy. It is all too easy to fall for the line now being ever-more-anxiously peddled by some of the more notorious fraudsters – that science cannot thrive in an atmosphere where scientists who publish honest research in good faith can find themselves having to answer charges in a criminal court.

Let one thing be quite clear: the test for the felony that is fraud is a high one. The lawyers who will be reading the memorandum when it is complete will not allow any element of the fraud to go forward as a complaint to the prosecuting authorities unless there is a clear, prima-facie case that wilful deception has occurred. Honest science is not under attack here: only dishonest science. And a dishonest scientist can no more claim immunity from prosecution than anyone else.

Don't hang back. This is your chance to make the police state work not for Them but you, and to bring this costly scare to an end.


The Contrarians Have Better Data

Lord Christopher Monckton had the following letter published in the WSJ

Prof. Michael E. Mann writes ("Climate Contrarians Ignore Overwhelming Evidence," Letters, Dec. 5) that his 1999 "hockey stick" graph "showed that average temperatures today are higher than they have been for at least the past 1,000 years."

But Mr. Mann's paper only covered the northern hemisphere. It included the questionable use of annual bristlecone-pine tree rings for temperature reconstruction. Even then, it replaced some tree-ring data with estimates. Tree-ring series that showed a 20th-century uptick were given 390 times the weighting of other series, according to a 2005 study by Ross McKitrick, an environmental economist at the University of Guelph. Mr. Mann and his fellow Climategate emailers used what they called "Mann's Nature trick" to "hide" the mismatch between late-20th-century warming and the cooling the tree-rings showed.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mann has often refused to supply programs and data to researchers wishing to verify his work. The 2006 Wegman report for the U.S. House of Representatives showed that many of the papers supporting Mr. Mann's results, which appeared shortly after Mr. McKitrick and his colleague Stephen McIntyre published their exposé of his graph, were written largely by Mr. Mann's associates and co-authors.

The National Academy of Sciences did not, as Mr. Mann says, "affirm" his conclusions, for the data were insufficient. Papers by scientists from all over the world show the medieval warm period that Mr. Mann's work appeared to abolish was real, global and warmer than today.

Mr. Mann's questionable result casts doubt on the scientific standards of the Climategate scientists and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


Carbon price hits all-time low

EU carbon prices fell to their lowest ever level on Wednesday as the euro currency and equities slid on renewed fears over the bloc’s debt crisis and oil prices tanked after producers promised to maintain high output.

The ICE ECX December 2011 EUA contract fell 73 cents to an all-time low of 6.30 euros, down 10.4 percent on Tuesday’s 7.03-euro settlement.

By 16.30 GMT, the contract had recovered slightly to 6.41 euros on healthy turnover of around 15 million units.

The drop sends the contract into unchartered territory, falling well below its previous low of 6.77 euros on December 6 as market traders saw few signs of respite in the EU economy to boost demand for emission permits.

“I still don’t see any bottom to this market,” said one carbon trader, who said any positive sentiment from this weekend’s landmark U.N. climate summit in Durban was purely psychological as it brought no increase in demand for permits.

“It’s clear that Durban didn’t help, and Canada’s announcement of its Kyoto Protocol withdrawal tells you what little countries think about international agreements,” he added. ["Little country"?? Canada is the second-largest country on earth]


What’s Going on Behind the Curtain? Climategate 2.0 and Scientific Integrity

Climategate, both 1 and 2, are textbook cases of gross lapses in professional ethics and scientific malfeasance. To understand why, one must first understand what science is and how it is supposed to operate.

Science is the noble pursuit of knowledge through observation, testing and experimentation. Scientists attempt to explain, describe and/or predict the implications of phenomena through the use of the scientific method.

The scientific method consists in gaining knowledge or explanatory power through a process. Progress is made in science by proposing a hypothesis, and developing a theory to explain or understand certain phenomena, and then testing the hypothesis against reality. A particular hypothesis is considered superior to others when, through testing, it is shown to have more explanatory power than competing theories or hypotheses and when other scientists running the same testing regime can reproduce the results of the original test.

Every theory or hypothesis must be disconfirmable in principle, which means that, if the theory predicts that "A" will occur under certain conditions, but instead, "B" and sometimes "C" result, then the theory has problems. The more a hypothesis's predictions prove inconsistent with or are diametrically opposed to the results that occur during testing, the less likely the hypothesis is to be correct.

Which brings us to Climategate. Climategate parts one and two are a series of leaked e-mails from arguably the most prominent researchers promoting the idea that humans are causing catastrophic global warming. The e-mails show the scientists involved to be violating their professional ethics with the result that climate science in particular and science as an institution more generally is brought into question.

The first group of e-mails released in 2009 showed scientists attempting to suppress or alter inconvenient data, destroying raw data so that others would be unable to analyze it, using tricks to change reported outcomes, conspiring to avoid legally required disclosure of taxpayer-funded data, and trying to suppress dissent by undermining the peer review process. On the latter point the researchers involved threatened to boycott and get editors fired at journals publishing findings questioning the urgency of the climate crisis.

Climategate 2 is a second release of e-mails, in November 2011, from the same cabal of scientists exposed in Climategate 1. There is little new to the revelations—just more hiding data, trying to figure out how to downplay dissent or have papers that would seem to undermine one part or another of anthropogenic global warming theory ignored or discredited.

To be clear, these e-mails do not disprove that humans are causing potentially catastrophic global warming. Whether or not humans are or are not, in fact, causing or contributing to dangerous climate change, the only thing clear that emerges from the Climategate e-mails is that the scientists claiming that “the science is settled” and that there is “consensus” among scientists that humankind are acting as planet killers, can’t be trusted, nor can their research be pointed to as solid proof of anthropogenic global warming.

Some examples of the Climategate 2 e-mails will serve to make the point [“< >” show the number of the e-mail and the name of the researcher]:

The following three e-mails show dissent in the climate ranks -- some researchers are concerned that in portraying the current state of climate science in journals, to the press, to politicians and to the general public, lead climate researchers are not being honest and are downplaying significant uncertainty. The concerned researchers note the risk to such a strategy:

<1939> Thorne/MetO

Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these further if necessary [...]

<3066> Thorne:

I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.

<2884> Wigley:

Mike, The Figure you sent is very deceptive [...] there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC [...]

The next couple of e-mails show researchers putting their political goals before scientific integrity in part by cherry-picking which data to focus on:

<4755> Overpeck:

The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what’s included and what is left out.

<0170> Jones:

Kevin, Seems that this potential Nature paper may be worth citing, if it does say that GW [global warming] is having an effect on TC [tropical cyclone] activity.

The next bunch of e-mails discuss specific instances wherein global warming has been claimed to be causing a particular climactic change, but in which the data either don’t support human activities as the cause of the change or where the change does not fit the predictions.

<5111> Pollack:

But it will be very difficult to make the MWP [medieval warm period] go away in Greenland.

<1682> Wils:

[2007] What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably [...]

<5315> Jenkins/MetO:

would you agree that there is no convincing evidence for kilimanjaro glacier melt being due to recent warming (let alone man-made warming)?

<2292> Jones:

[tropical glaciers] There is a small problem though with their retreat. They have retreated a lot in the last 20 years yet the MSU2LT data would suggest that temperatures haven’t increased at these levels.

The next few e-mails are interesting because they indicate that critical research, findings that were the cornerstone of the last two IPCC reports, while being defended against critics in public, were, in fact, considered to be unsupportable, indicative of shoddy work, in private.

<4693> Crowley:

I am not convinced that the “truth” is always worth reaching if it is at the cost of damaged personal relationships

I’m sure you agree–the Mann/Jones GRL paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year “reconstruction”.

<4369> Cook:

I am afraid that Mike is defending something that increasingly cannot be defended. He is investing too much personal stuff in this and not letting the science move ahead.

<0850> Barnett:

[IPCC AR5 models] clearly, some tuning or very good luck involved. I doubt the modeling world will be able to get away with this much longer

<4443> Jones:

Basic problem is that all models are wrong – not got enough middle and low level clouds.

Finally, some e-mails detailing leading climate scientists’ efforts to prevent the release of their raw data and/or methodologies for critical review.

<2440> Jones:

I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process

<1577> Jones:

[FOI, temperature data]
Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (US Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data

While all of these e-mails paint a troubling betrayal of the scientific method, the last two are particularly troubling to me. The pursuit of knowledge through science can’t proceed if scientists refuse to share data and methods. In defense of their refusal to share data, suppress its release or even destroy it, climate scientists have claimed that because those asking for the data are skeptics, they will only use the data to try and undermine their results.

So what? Either the data and methods stand up to scrutiny and the results are robust or they are not. Either way, the skeptics have done the world a service. If the skeptics’ attempts to recreate the results end up confirming the results, then the findings are on more solid ground and the public can lend the work greater credence. If, on the other hand, skeptics do find flaws in the data, methods or results, then from the point of view of knowledge, the world is still better off. Rather than continuing down a blind path, or worse, making policy based on flawed research, scientists can reassess where the original research went wrong and determine if it can be corrected or if an entirely new hypothesis, or research methodology, is called for.

The term skeptic has historically been a badge of honor proudly worn by scientists as indicating their commitment to the idea that in the pursuit of truth, nothing is beyond question, every bit of knowledge is open to improvement and/or refutation as new evidence or better theories emerge. However, in the topsy-turvy field of climate science, “skeptic” is a term of opprobrium and to be labeled a skeptic is akin to being a heretic in the Middle Ages – you may not be literally burned at the stake, but your reputation will be put to flames.

The Climategate scientists continue to claim that the actions disclosed are not bad as they seem and that nothing contained in the e-mails is really important. But this is like the Wizard of Oz saying “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” when in fact the real action is going on behind the curtain.


German solar firms go from boom to bust

When Tino Blaesi joined the solar sector gold rush, he thought his career was made. Seven years later, he is looking for a job outside the industry after his company slashed more than a third of its workforce in one day.

Workers in Germany's once booming solar energy industry face a shakeout of major proportions following declines in the price of solar panels over the past year.

Cuts in subsidies for solar energy, weaker demand for panels and fierce competition from cheaper Asian rivals are eating into what was once the world's biggest hub for the production of solar cells, taking the shine off an industry that was effectively born in Germany.

A decision by the German government earlier this year to phase out nuclear energy has done little to reignite the sector. The resulting power gap is likely to be filled by coal and gas rather than solar and wind energy.

"I don't want to work in this sector anymore, I'm sick and tired of it," said 44-year old Blaesi, who worked for seven years at Vogt Group, a German support services firm that deals with the planning and logistics for solar plants.

Vogt had some 160 employees in its heyday in the mid 2000s, Blaesi said, but has shriveled as the young industry matured. It was forced to carry out a large round of lay-offs earlier this year after price declines and weaker demand dampened growth.

Subsidies, or so-called feed-in tariffs, through which operators of solar panels receive a guaranteed price for the electricity they generate, made Germany the world's largest solar market and had created 150,000 jobs by 2010.

But over the past two years, Germany has sharply reduced the tariffs, and a recent proposal to limit subsidies for new solar installations may seal the industry's fate.

Now, German solar companies are either laying off staff or putting them on reduced working hours. The contrast with the broader economy is stark. Overall, German unemployment has steadily declined in recent years as Europe's biggest economy outperforms its rivals in Europe.

Since the end of last year, roughly 5,000 companies involved in the solar business have shut up shop, shedding about 20,000 jobs, according to German solar industry group BSW.


Berlin-based Solon (SOOG.DE), Germany's first solar energy company to go public, said late on Tuesday it would file for insolvency, becoming Germany's biggest casualty so far.

SMA Solar (S92G.DE), Germany's top solar group, said last month it would lay off up to 1,000 temporary workers by the end of the year, citing weak demand for its inverters, a vital piece of equipment in solar systems.

"It's the worst year the industry has seen in its short history," Andreas Haenel, chief executive of German solar company Phoenix Solar (PS4G.DE) said.

The bloodletting is particularly bitter since most of the industry's jobs are located in the formerly communist eastern part of the country, a region that has suffered from an exodus of young, educated people for two decades.

More here

Frozen con

Melanie Phillips

As regular readers of this site will know, I have long been troubled by the systemic political and cultural bias at the BBC. It is not just that I am so concerned about the effects of this distorted world view, refracted through such a uniquely influential lens upon the world, upon public discourse. It is also because such an abdication from the founding principles of the BBC, one of the pillars of British society and the erstwhile crucible of some of its noblest ideals of the public good, seems to me to strike at the very heart of not just the Beeb itself but of all that I most loved and admired about Britain. As with the BBC, so it is with the country.

Throughout the relentless escalation of such concerns, however, there were a few oases in the Beeb’s output in which those otherwise rapidly diminishing ideals seemed to continue to flower. One such was its natural history programmes, which became ever more glorious, astounding and mesmeric, and their iconic presenter, Sir David Attenborough, widely considered to be one of Britain’s national treasures, largely because of his wonderful voice and magisterial presence.

Some may have winced at the anthropomorphism of these programmes and the grating implicit message that the animal world was far superior to the human race. But the real draw was of course the footage of the animals in their habitats, filmed by the most incredible photography which produced images of outstanding beauty.

Well, now we know some of this photography seemed incredible because it was just that -- incredible. It was not what it made itself out to be at all. It was a fake, a fix, a fraud. It emerged last week that shots of newborn polar bear cubs, which viewers were led to believe had been shot in the Arctic like the rest of the programme, had actually been filmed at a wildlife centre in the Netherlands – interspersed with actual pictures of the Arctic. The programme did not tell viewers that the cubs were born to a polar bear in a zoo. This was only revealed in a video among 14 other clips accompanying this programme on the BBC website.

The BBC claimed that Sir David’s narration was carefully worded so that it did not mislead audiences. Yet as the camera followed a female polar bear in the Arctic, he said: ‘“She starts to dig a shallow nest... once the snow here is deep enough, she'll dig down to make a den. She’ll then lie waiting for her cubs to be born as winter sets in...On these side slopes beneath the snow, new lives are beginning.”’

The viewers were thus led to believe that this was the bear which gave birth to these cubs. Much of the wonder and attraction of such footage derives from the impression that viewers are actually watching these events in their spectacular natural habitat – that they are watching nature in the frozen wild. For this particular sequence, viewers were therefore grossly misled.

That in itself was shocking enough. What was far worse, however, was the reaction to this revelation. For many seemed not to care in the slightest. The BBC justified it with an apparently uncomprehending insouciance which totally missed the point. Sir David’s own response, when he was asked about the fake footage, was quite jaw-dropping.

‘“During the middle of this scene, when you're trying to paint what it's like in the middle of winter in the Pole, do you say, ‘Oh, by the way, this is filmed in a zoo? It would completely ruin the atmosphere and destroy the pleasure of the viewers. It’s not a falsehood. How far do you take this? This is a penguin but actually it’s a different penguin colony than we did for that one’ – come on. We’re making movies.”' Making movies?

He said also: ‘“If you had tried to put a camera in the wild in a polar bear den, she would either have killed the cub or she would have killed the cameraman.”’ --a response echoed by Lord Patten, chairman of the Beeb’s own regulatory body, the BBC Trust, who said: “The alternative was either been dead bears or dead people.”

Well maybe so; but what kind of an excuse is that? What if, during last summer’s riots, broadcasters had arrived in an area after the looting had finished -- and had then got some young people to put on hoodies and smash a few more windows so they could film them?

What if it footage of, say, a war reporter pictured running the gauntlet of roadside bombs in Afghanistan had actually been filmed in a mocked-up sandpit in Shepherd’s Bush? What would be the reaction if the producer had then justified this on the grounds that actually filming in Afghanistan would have got the film crew killed, but that telling viewers it was filmed in Shepherd’s Bush would have ruined the atmosphere because after all – come on! -- they were making movies?

The vacuity of these responses was excelled only by the BBC’s Director-General Mark Thompson, who had the gall to suggest to a Commons committee that this was a non-story that newspapers had whipped up in revenge for the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking—and that BBC surveys showed that viewers didn’t want programmes interrupted by disclaimers.

Among the media, various commentators too sprang to the BBC’s defence with some even more astonishing arguments. One declared it was mean and how ludicrous to charge Sir David with falsehood -- even though she went on to describe how she herself had been with him on a previous occasion when he went to film birds in the rainforest , but when the birds failed to materialise for the benefit of the cameras other birds were filmed in a cave elsewhere and spliced into the rainforest sequence.

Another expressed fury – not with Frozen Planet but with those in the press who had attacked: ‘...a completely standard and legitimate technique, openly explained on the BBC website, of filming in zoos, or the studio, images that cannot conceivably be recorded in the wild... No one who has admired these programmes can take the accusations seriously... The sheer abundance of rare and unprecedented images in these programmes dwarfs the supposed flaws their critics fixate on. For me it raises a horrible question. Is newspaper journalism a destructive enterprise?’

Exposing a deceit is a destructive exercise, eh? Of course, because this deceit was exposed by the Daily Mirror – and since the tabloids are held to be the incarnation of evil, any truths they report must be damned as an attack upon the righteous, and any lies they expose must be defended at all costs.

Even more dismaying still was the huge number of comments by readers on newspaper websites stating that indeed they didn’t care if the footage was faked because the films were so gorgeous and so who cared whether the Arctic was in fact a Dutch zoo and Sir David was a national treasure and how dare anyone attack him. Yet there are others still who have been appalled by these revelations:

'Tory MP Therese Coffey said she was one of those that ‘did believe that the extraordinary coverage of the polar bears was genuine’. She said the BBC had ‘spoilt’ the ‘fantastic’ programme, adding: "For me I will probably never look at a BBC nature programme in the same way, [but instead] to see, was it trick cameras."'

There is more than shock in such a reaction. There is deep disappointment and even sadness. For the BBC is more than just a venerable British institution. It is an emblem of the nation. As it is with the BBC, so it is with the country. The dismissal and even defence of the BBC’s polar deceit is an emblem of a culture that no longer understands the distinction between fact and fakery. I think that for those who have understood the significance of this deception for both the BBC and for Britain, their hearts are simply broken.


The New Zealand approach on emissions

Luke Malpass

This week’s climate fiasco in Durban should serve as a reminder of the flaws inherent in international climate policy. Hailed as a success by backers and a failure by critics, Durban’s outcome was simply to agree to another meeting. Importantly, however, it raised questions about the international treaty vehicle in the future. This is significant for New Zealand, one of the few countries with an emissions trading scheme.

New Zealand’s announcement that it is unsure whether it will use the Kyoto vehicle for future negotiations or make different arrangements with its trading partners is significant. Tim Groser, Minister for Trade, stressed that New Zealand wasn’t withdrawing in the same manner as Canada, but that, as this is the real world, New Zealand was going to act in its best interests.

The crux of the issue is that Europe is committed to Kyoto, while developing nations – New Zealand’s major and emerging trading partners – are not to the same extent. It is this painfully obvious barrier that stops any meaningful deal: smug and unimportant European nations lecturing emerging nations on their environmentally unfriendly developmental ambitions.

Given this impasse, and its own emissions trading scheme experience, New Zealand is rightly siding with the developing nations. The Kiwi carbon trading market is on the verge of collapse – the price of carbon has dropped by more than half in six months – as a result of the combination of European credits being offloaded to ease companies, debt and dodgy quality permits being sold in New Zealand. It is close to a national embarrassment, and will surely be scrapped if Australia rescinds the carbon tax after the next election.

In preparation for this possibility, the Key government has also stopped including new sectors such as agriculture, which accounts for half of all emissions, into the scheme.

Betting on the long odds of an international agreement, New Zealand now seems to be approaching climate policy as an issue of trade: working on the implications with its trading partners.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated 16 dec. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.


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


15 December, 2011

Big Picture Items

Oftentimes, World Climate Report focuses on how elevated atmospheric levels of CO2 benefits various organisms or how observed changes in elements of climate in specific regions are not consistent with expectations from numerical climate model experiments. We could almost feature an article on climate change and hurricanes every week—these kinds of articles are found throughout the peer-reviewed scientific journals. But we don’t want to lose sight of the big picture—the term “global warming” implies that the world is indeed warming, humans are somehow responsible, and we better change our evil ways or we could inadvertently destroy of climate system. So here, we’ll review a couple of “Big Picture” articles from the recent scientific literature to see if things really are as cut and dry as they are implied.

The first “Big Picture” article was written by Fredrik Ljungqvist of the University of Sweden and was published in Geografiska Annaler, which is associated with the Swedish Society from Anthropology and Geography. The author was interested in reconstructing the temperature of the extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere for the past two millennia, and to do so, he search around for sensitive proxy records spread relatively evenly throughout the hemisphere. Ljungqvist reports “The new reconstruction presented in this paper consists of 30 temperature sensitive proxy records from the extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere (90–30°N), all of which reach back to at least AD 1000 and 16 all the way back to AD 1.”

As seen in Figure 1, the author achieved the goal of locating proxy records from many parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Regarding the types of records, he states “A wide range of different kinds of proxies with annual to multi-decadal resolution have been used” including “2 historical documentary records, 3 marine sediment records, 5 lake sediment records, 3 speleothem ?18O records, 2 ice-core ?18O records, 4 varved thickness sediment records, 5 tree-ring width records, 5 tree-ring maximum latewood density records, and 1 ?13C tree-ring record.” We note that these are all commonly used proxies used in climate reconstruction research—in fact, we have covered most of them many times in our essay series. Ljungqvist comments “Virtually all available high-quality palaeotemperature proxies with a reasonably high temporal resolution have been used.”

Figure 1. The geographical locations of the proxy records (from Ljungqvist, 2010).

If you examine Figure 1, you may question why so few records come from the United States, particularly the southwestern US. The author explains “However, all tree-ring width records from arid and semi-arid regions, as southwest USA and Mongolia, have been excluded from the reconstruction. Since they may have been affected by drought stress, they possibly do not show a linear response to warming if higher summer temperatures also reduce the availability of water.” Fair enough.

Figure 2 is the bottom line of this research. The author concludes:

This reconstruction is the first to show a distinct Roman Warm Period c. AD 1–300, reaching up to the 1961–1990 mean temperature level, followed by the Dark Age Cold Period c. AD 300–800. The Medieval Warm Period is seen c. AD 800–1300 and the Little Ice Age is clearly visible c. AD 1300–1900, followed by a rapid temperature increase in the twentieth century. The highest average temperatures in the reconstruction are encountered in the mid to late tenth century and the lowest in the late seventeenth century. Decadal mean temperatures seem to have reached or exceeded the 1961–1990 mean temperature level during substantial parts of the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period. The temperature of the last two decades, however, is possibly higher than during any previous time in the past two millennia, although this is only seen in the instrumental temperature data and not in the multi-proxy reconstruction itself.

Figure 2. Estimations of extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere (90–30°N) decadal mean temperature variations (dark grey line) AD 1–1999 relative to the 1961–1990 mean instrumental temperature from the variance adjusted 90–30°N thermometer record (black dotted line showing decadal mean values AD 1850–1999) with 2 standard deviation error bars (light grey shading) (from Ljungqvist, 2010).

We note that the reconstruction ends with 1999, and while the extratropical Northern Hemisphere has warmed a bit since then according to surface thermometers, still the nature of the temperature variability over the past two millennia as captured by the proxies does not seem to suggest that current times are so beyond anything else to be particularly noteworthy. Yes, times are warm, but clearly the Northern Hemisphere extra-tropical average temperature moves around a lot, and so current conditions should not come as much of a shock to natural systems, which are accustom to high levels of natural variability.

Fredrik Ljungqvist continues to build upon this work, and his latest results have been submitted to Climate of the Past which is an open access journal which invites discussion. To see Ljungqvist’s new results, or the discussion taking place about them, visit

This brings us to the second article entitled “Recent energy balance of Earth” and published in the International Journal of Geosciences. The title certainly suggests a “big picture” look at the global warming debate.

Knox and Douglass explain that since the early 2000s, autonomous Argo floats have been deployed throughout the world providing highly accurate measurements of the heat content of the ocean (Figure 3). There are over 3,000 floats operating at any one time, and each measures heat and salinity to a depth of 2,000 meters.

Figure 3. Distribution of 3,000+ Argo floats.

The measurements are shown in the Figure 4, and incredibly, the Argo floats have detected cooling, not warming. The authors explain “Using only 2003- 2008 data, we find cooling, not warming. This result does not support the existence of a large frequently-cited positive computed radiative imbalance.” Furthermore, they note “In summary, we find that estimates of the recent (2003-2008) OHC rates of change are preponderantly negative.”

Figure 4. Ocean heat content from Argo (left scale: blue, original data; red, filtered) and ocean surface temperatures (right scale, green). Conversion of the OHC slope to W/m2 is made by multiplying by 0.62, yielding –0.161 W/m2 (from Knox and Douglass, 2010)

We fully understand that a period from 2003 to 2008 is far too short to make any grandiose proclamations about the state of warming of the planet. And in fact, several updates to this data set (and other similar data sets), indicate that a very slight warming trend is now present since 2003—although the magnitude of this warming is still a considerable amount less than expected.

Combine a variable natural climate with sluggish warming in the recent years and you find that the anthropogenic part of global warming may not always be the dominant part. For these and the other reasons that we often feature at World Climate Report, the “Big Picture” is not anywhere near as clear as you are often led to believe.

SOURCE (See the original for references)

British police harass climate skeptic

The first blogger to break the Climategate2 story has had a visit from the police and has had his computers seized. Tallbloke’s Talkshop first reported on CG2 due to the timing of the release being overnight in the USA. Today he was raided by six UK police (Norfolk Constabulary and Metropolitan police) and several of his computers were seized as evidence. He writes:
After surveying my ancient stack of Sun Sparcstations and PII 400 pc’s, they ended up settling for two laptops and an adsl broadband router. I’m blogging this post via my mobile.

That means his cellphone. In his blog report are all the details. including actions in the US involving WordPress and the US Department of Justice.

Strange and troubling that they’d seize his computers for comments dropped onto a US service ( from the cloud. There wouldn’t be any record on his PCs of the event from FOIA’s placing comments, that would be in the server logs.

Either there’s more than meets the eye or they have no idea how the blog system works.

UPDATE: I’ve been in contact with Roger (Tallbloke) and he tells me that he is not a suspect, and that they’ll clone his hard drives and return the computers to him. – Anthony


Smart Meter revolt hits North Texas

Even as so-called "Smart Meters" are being removed from California homes due to health, economic and privacy concerns they're being installed without homeowners' permission in the Metroplex.

A key part of Obama's future "green grid," wireless digital Smart Meters are designed to replace that analog "spinning disc" electric meter on the back of your house.

According to the San Diego Gas & Electric website, Smart Meters can help people save money by monitoring their energy usage, control future "smart appliances" like thermostats, and "allow for two-way communication" by sending data remotely to the energy company's computer for billing and customer service.

But no mention is made about what might be sent in the opposite direction of that "two-way communication," suggesting to some that the utility company can remotely shut off the homeowner's power, manipulate usage or gather data on personal habits.

The revolt in California began when people complained about heath problems after Smart Meters had been installed. According to, disparate people including members of consumer rights groups, Green Party, Tea Party and the Occupy Movement have forced Pacific Gas and Electric to remove Smart Meters and put the old analogs back in service.

In the Metroplex people are writing their representatives, participating in the lawsuit against Oncor (formerly TXU) and attending meetings like the one held at the Hurst public library on November 5.

According to one report received by the Dallas Libertarian Examiner, "Many residents of the Kessler Park area of Dallas saw their electric bills go up significantly after Smart Meters were installed."

In Willow Park, one homeowner denied the Oncor installer access to his property and then sent a "letter of no consent" to his Homeowners Association, Willow Park City Council, state Rep and state Senator.

That was a month ago. At this writing no replies have been reported.

Another homeowner reportedly drove off electric company installers who threatened to return with the police, then placed a lock on his analog meter, locked the gate, put up no trespassing signs, and is now using a webcam as a surveillance camera aimed at his meter box.


Know Why You Don't Believe In The Climate Change Hoax?

Wm. Teach

Because you can't see polar bears starving to death right in front of your face. It's the whole frog in a boiling pot thing, according to the alarmists at Grist
The frog and the polar bear: The real reasons Americans aren’t buying climate change

In the fall of 2008, Leiserowitz conducted a poll gauging Americans' thoughts on the matter. Seventy-one percent of respondents said they believed global warming was happening, while 57 percent said humans were causing it. Fast forward two years, and only 57 percent of respondents to Leiserowitz's poll believed global warming was real, while just 47 percent blamed humans.

Why can't Americans seem to get their heads around climate change? While the recession, the Tea Party, a lack of media coverage, and other forces have taken a bite out of public support for the issue recently, the problem has its roots in human nature, researchers say.

Columbia psychology professor Elke Weber was among the early researchers to look at why the seriousness of climate change was not getting through to the American public. She and her fellow scholars have pointed out that climate change is intrinsically challenging to understand: Its main causes are invisible, its impacts are distant and far off for most Americans, and its signals are often hard to detect.

See? It has nothing to do with falsified data, cherry-picked data, fake data, politicized data, politicization of the "science", unhinged and alarmist pronouncements, prognostications of things that might happen 50-100 years down the road, blaming everything on mankind, blaming every weather event on someone driving an SUV, oh, and a failure of Warmists to live their lives in accordance with their beliefs, not to mention living high on the carbon hog. Nope, it's because you can't see the effects of a trace invisible gas that has been at much higher levels for most of the history of the Earth, which will Destroy All Life or something this time, unlike the rest of Time.
In other words, he found that most people think "It's the polar bear's problem, not mine -- and as long as it's not my problem, I frankly have more pressing things to worry about."

And why not? When we watch tens of thousands of True Believers hop on fossil fueled planes to head off for yet another climate vacation in a far off exotic spot at the ends of the Earth, why should we believe? When the temperatures are stagnant for 13 years, despite CO2 going way up, why should we believe?
In fact, two or three degrees would be a huge deal. Experts project sea levels in Florida will rise by three to five feet by 2100. With a two-foot rise, water would cover 28 percent of South Florida and wetlands would be lost as far from the coast as Homestead, about a 125-mile drive from Key West. Miami would become a barrier island.

So what, even if true? Things change. At one point, the central portion of the US was covered by an inland sea. During the last ice age, the Mediterranean was mostly empty of water. The Earth is not static. They grew reportedly excellent grapes for wine in England during the last warm period.
Some (including Grist's own climate hawk, David Roberts) say that in order to startle Americans out of their apathy about climate change, we need to ring the alarm bells even louder. Some scholars, however, warn that approach could backfire. Tomorrow, we'll discuss how they think it could be done differently.

Personally, I take the view that there are two reasons why the warmist religion is dying out. First, is because they are seeing the actual science, and find it lacking in reality. They are seeing through it and realizing that it is simply a manner to push fascistic controls on people and economies. Second, they are tired of the "alarm bells being rung". They are tired of every single thing that happens being blamed on someone driving an SUV and living a modern life. They are tired of people who are CO2 hogs telling them that they need to change their lives, while the CO2 hogs live the high life and enrich themselves.


The wind turbine syndrome has become pandemic

Yesterday, the European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW) and the North American Platform against Windpower (NA-PAW) served notice to the government of Denmark. They warned of the consequences of their health-threatening manipulations of measurements of sounds and infrasounds emitted by wind turbines. The government of Australia was also warned about the health hazards associated with their windfarm policy. More governments will be served notice in the coming weeks, as well as the wind industry. We reproduce below the letter that was sent to the Danish government.
Mrs Ida Auken, Minister for the Environment, Denmark,
Mr Lars Hindkjaer, Director of the Danish Environmental Protection Agency

Dear Minister,
Dear Director,

Between our two organisations, EPAW and NA-PAW, we represent nearly 600 associations or groups of citizens from 26 different countries and two continents. They are in conflict with wind farms for a variety of reasons, of which health is the prominent one. In their names, we are hereby issuing a health warning and serving notice to the wind industry globally, and to all governments world-wide including yours. It is particularly intolerable that in some countries, Denmark for instance, the authorities would manipulate noise measurements and refuse to hear the recommendations of prominent experts such as acoustics professor Henrik Moller, from Aalborg University - not to speak of dozens more from other countries.

Hundreds of families around the world have developed unbearable symptoms of the WTS (wind turbine syndrome) as described by Dr Nina Pierpont in her world-famous book of the same name. Many have been forced to leave their homes. Of those, some have had their properties bought by wind farm owners, generally under the condition that confidentiality agreements be signed - a way of silencing possible witnesses in the predictable court cases that are bound to grow with time. Others haven’t been able to sell their homes, and have had their health ruined as a result. Jutta Reichardt, of Germany, is but one example. An enlightening video from the Waubra Foundation is now available (1), and a Pdf file (2).

Having a wind farm as neighbour can best be described as having a truck with its motor idling somewhere around the house. Anyone who has ever been annoyed by the noise of a bus left with its engine running while waiting for its passengers can understand how unbearable the situation can become if exposure to low frequency vibrations happen to last days and nights. In addition, wind turbines emit infrasounds and seismic vibrations able to affect people up to 10 km away. This led Dr Sarah Laurie & fellow directors of the Waubra Foundation in Australia, including a former Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria, Justice Clive Tadgell, to issue an explicit health warning of relevance to planning authorities around the world, on 29th June, 2011 (3).

Long term exposure to the effects of noise, low frequency sounds, and infrasounds can have seriously detrimental effects on health. Hospitalizations caused by the WTS have occurred, and it won’t be long before some vulnerable persons die because they could not sell their houses or otherwise move out of reach of the disturbing vibrations. As in the case of tobacco and so many other health hazards, long term exposure is key.

Peer-reviewed articles on the ill effects of wind turbines may be consulted on Internet. An ever increasing number of independent physicians and acousticians have been studying the symptoms, and all disagree with the methods used in official studies paid by the wind industry or their supporting governments. The situation is, ominously, reminiscent of the health effects of tobacco, long denied by manufacturers and governments till massive lawsuits cost them billions in damages.


Climate change linked to cat breeding explosion, according to Australia's RSPCA

Since even Warmist scientists admit that there has been no warming for over a decade, the article below exhibits the most inspissated ignorance. To put it in terms even a 4-year-old would understand: If global warming hasn't happened, it can't have influenced anything!

Cat breeding cycles are lengthening and could prove hairy for the RSPCA this summer as they coincide with the already busy festive season. Animal refuge centres have reported a spike in kitten numbers in recent years with centres inundated statewide.

RSPCA Queensland spokesman Michael Beatty told AAP that cat breeding cycles now stretch from October through to May. "Particularly around January we can get up to 300 to 400 kittens a week," Mr Beatty said.

The lengthened breeding cycles have been blamed on the effects of climate change creating ideal breeding conditions for longer. As cats favour a warm spring or summer climate, the shorter winters have seen numbers soar.

A study by the British Ecological Society recently found that cows were also giving birth far earlier than traditional summer periods.

Mr Beatty said that although climate change may be a factor, irresponsible pet owners were also to blame for surplus cats. He urged people not to rush into buying a pet and encouraged desexing animals. "People need to realise a pet is a responsibility not a right," Mr Beatty said.

The RSPCA usually receives thousands of animals abandoned over the summer holidays as their families go on holidays without arranging a carer. Laura Finigan, a worker at the RSPCA's new refuge at Wacol, west of Brisbane, says kittens are regularly dumped at the centre.

"Owners need to understand a pet can live for 12 to 20 years," she told AAP. "You need to think about an animal that will fit in with your lifestyle."



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


14 December, 2011

IPCC Scientist Responsible For Bogus Antarctica Warming Study Suppresses His Critics' Research

IPCC 'lead author' Josefino Comiso suppresses peer-reviewed research that completely discredited his previous "Antarctica is warming" study

Read here and here. The IPCC is continuing its tradition of fraudulent climate science for the 2013 climate report by utilizing Climategate-style scientists that excel in global warming fabrication and suppressing research that challenges the blatant fabrication.

As the recent Climategate 2.0 emails reveal, research conspiracy, science fraud and science process malfeasance is alive and flourishing within the IPCC community. How about this interesting example?

Josefino Comiso is a co-author of the infamous Steig et al. research that attempted to take real warming in the Antarctica Peninsula area and then magically spread it to the rest of Antarctica using rather bizarre techniques. A team of statistical and mathematics experts closely analyzed Comiso's work and found the expanded warming of Antarctica to be entirely bogus based solely on the work's bad math and bad statistical methodology.
"Jeff Id has an excellent post on IPCC AR5 use of the highly flawed Steig et al 2009. Despite Steig’s efforts to block the publication of O’Donnell et al 2010, O2010 shows clearly that whatever is new in Steig et al 2009 is not only incorrect, but an artifact of flawed math and whatever is valid was already known."

The team of math/stats experts, O'Donnell et al., published peer-research that establishes, without any scientific doubt, that Steig et al. was literally garbage science, and that warming for the majority of Antarctica was irrelevant to nil.
"When S09 came out, the Authors tried to discuss the Western continent warming only at Real Climate – the continental plot was entirely red though. Crack cocaine for advocates. A huge media blitz ensued proclaiming the warming of the entire continent. Questions arose in the Real Climate thread about the warming pole right away and were dismissed as not important. Objective people knew the now blindingly obvious truth that the red continent had to be an artifact of flawed math. No scientist can accept that plot without question and our initial skepticism was proven out in a prominent journal. True to climategate form, as the IPCC chapters continue to be leaked out, we can see the widespread attempt to ignore O[Donnell et al.]10 and use the incorrect warming caused by math errors of S09 to claim that the Antarctic is in danger of melting – even though it is not."

In fact, the gold-standard and leading edge technology in temperature measurement, satellites, has Antarctica very slightly cooling since 1978, as the above chart depicts. (click on to enlarge)

Antarctica is not warming, nor is it melting. And note, that atmospheric CO2 emissions (black dots in chart) have had absolutely no impact on the regional temperatures of Antarctica.

Despite the overwhelming empirical evidence and the complete peer-reviewed refutation of Comiso's Antarctica research, the IPCC chose to put him in charge of the chapter dealing with the Antarctica analysis for the next IPCC report. And the result?

Comiso appears to be suppressing the the peer-reviewed research that refutes his god-awful science, the actual satellite empirical evidence, and ignoring 99.9% of all scientists who know that CO2 is not causing warming/melting in Antarctica.

99.9% ??? The vast majority of scientists look at the above chart and instantly know that the Antarctica warming scare pushed by Comiso is a fabrication - like much of the IPCC "science" the public and policymakers are now identifying as a fabrication. Other than a handful of alarmist Climategate related scientists, no reputable scientist rejects the real Antarctica empirical evidence of a 30+ year of slight cooling.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Hurricane reality holds up political action

So much for the "extreme weather" Warmists are always talking about

Florida marked the end of its sixth straight season without a hurricane landfall last month, and the U.S. marked the longest stretch without a major storm since the beginning of reliable records in 1851. Even more remarkably, state politicians and Republican Governor Rick Scott are starting to reform two taxpayer-backed catastrophic insurance funds in advance of the next big wind.

Earlier this month, Boca Raton Representative Bill Hager unveiled HB 833, which would shape up the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, a state-run reinsurer. It's a courageous step given that any reform of the Cat Fund, as it's known, will mean higher premiums. And no one hates higher insurance costs than Floridians, who have the "tendency," as former representative Don Brown quips, to "build in very dangerous places and expect someone else to pay the bill." That "someone else" are other Floridians and national taxpayers....

Mr. Scott and his allies may get little immediate political benefit from backing such forward-thinking reforms. If anything, it's a political negative to promote higher insurance costs without the cover of a big natural disaster to justify them, which is why Representatives like New Port Richey's Mike Fasano have so vociferously blocked past reform efforts. To which the response should be: Political leaders worth the name try to prevent problems before they become crises.


New Study: Sea level rose only 4 inches during 20th century

A paper published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research reconstructs sea level observations over the 129 year period from 1880 to 2009 along the coast of southern Spain and finds the 20th century sea level rise to be only 1 mm per year, equivalent to 4 inches per century.

The long sea level record at Cadiz (southern Spain) from 1880 to 2009

Key Points

Archived historical sea level data were recovered

A composite time series longer than 100 yrs was built using leveling information

Sea level trends are consistent among nearby records in southern Spain

By Marta Marcos et al

Mean sea level observations from an historical tide gauge located in Cadiz (Southern Spain) spanning the period 1880–1924 were recovered from national archives. Daily sea level averages stored in handwritten log books were digitized, quality controlled, and referred to the same benchmark. A careful analysis of all the high precision leveling surveys available in the area of the tide gauge enabled the establishment of a common datum with a modern record starting in 1961 from another tide gauge located only 2.5 km apart, with accuracy better than 5 mm. As a result, a consistent daily mean sea level record from 1880 to 2009 was constructed. The 20th century relative mean sea level rise in Cadiz is 0.7 ± 0.1 mm yr−1, which becomes 1.0 ± 0.2 mm yr−1 once corrected for vertical land movement with high precision GPS data, in agreement with nearby records. The analysis of the seasonal sea level cycle indicated that the amplitude of the annual cycle has increased during the 20th century. This work evidences the significance of sea level data rescue for present-day climate research.


Sir David - another presenter we cannot totally trust

No ONE wants to criticise Sir David Attenborough, given the amazing television he has made and the work he’s done to preserve wildlife and educate us about the way we are destroying the planet.

But in the case of Polar Beargate, he would be better to recognise that what he and the BBC did was duplicitous and simply apologise.

The dodgy footage was the most touching scene in Episode Five of Frozen Planet – watched by some eight million trusting viewers.

The pictures would have been NO LESS remarkable if Sir David had simply mentioned that they were effectively library footage, shot in what we now know was a Dutch animal park.

After all, as he pointed out on This Morning: “If you put a camera in the wild in a polar bear den, she would either have killed the cub or she would have killed the cameraman.” He could have easily explained this at the time. It is disingenuous to claim that this would have spoiled the atmosphere and to argue that the BBC “did not keep it secret”.

Attenborough’s voiceover for the footage sighed in wonder: “On these slopes beneath the snow, new lives are beginning.

“The cubs are born blind and tiny. In two more months polar bear families will emerge on the snowy slopes all around the Arctic... but for now they lie protected within their icy cocoons.”

This is clearly misleading. And viewers will be disappointed to find out that Sir David is yet another TV presenter they cannot totally trust.


Climate Issue No Longer Relevant To Companies

Some of the sheen came off the UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa, yesterday, as a key new business survey found that global warming has fallen to the bottom of the league of European company concerns.

A cocktail of competing "events", ranging from the recession to the Arab Spring, have collectively taken chief executives' eyes off the climate change ball, significantly reducing the time, effort and money they are planning to invest to combat its effects, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) which compiled the report.

As a result, European chief executives say that global warming is now having a smaller impact on strategy and investment decisions than any of the seven other key events the report has identified as most influencing company behaviour.

This puts climate change below issues such as the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, the earthquake and nuclear crisis in Japan, the Arab Spring uprisings, competition to secure affordable natural resources and concerns about rising poverty and inequality.

Last year, climate change came in at second place in the league table.

The failure to agree specific targets for cutting emissions in Durban will do nothing to push global warming back up the business agenda, warned the report.

Jonathan Grant, director of sustainability and climate change at PwC, said: "Business will shrug its shoulders over Durban and wait for direction from national capitals.


Australia: Queensland becoming 'Greensland'

"Saturday’s announcement in the Weekend Australian by the national director of the Wilderness society, Lyndon Schneiders that Coopers Creek, Georgina and Diamantina Rivers would be protected under the Wild Rivers Act was later confirmed by the Queensland Environment Minister, Vicky Darling. Normally the Minister makes the announcement and is supported by various groups. These events leave no doubt that the Greens are dictating environmental policies and the Government is endorsing them," Senator Boswell said.

In previous weeks we have had the American environmental group, PEW telling the Federal Minister to close a million square kilometres of the Coral Sea and this week the declaration of the Lake Eyre catchment. Queensland has become the epicentre of Labor’s capitulation to the Greens in exchange for preferences at the next state and federal elections.

Senator Boswell said, "Wild Rivers laws severely limiting economic activity on Cape York and in the Lake Eyre catchment were dog whistles to Green voters from state Labor about future World Heritage listings."

The decision by federal Labor to close 50% of the Coral Sea to all commercial and amateur fishing and 100% to trawling was another dog whistle for votes as Labor seeks to turn Queensland into 'Greensland'.

“The Wild Rivers decisions provide a holding pattern for World Heritage values on the Cape and in the Georgina and Diamantina catchments that dominate flows into Lake Eyre,” Senator Boswell said.

“The Greens and elements in Labor have been promoting World Heritage listing for both for many years and Labor is now accommodating those aspirations by ensuring that the heritage values are protected - pending bids for listing.”

On the 16th June, 2011, I placed a question on notice (649) to the Minister for the Environment, I asked if the Wild Rivers legislation was declared in the Lake Eyre basin would it not be a precursor for World Heritage listing and asked the Minister to confirm this would not take place without the support of the people that live work, and gain a living from industries within the catchment areas.

Former Environment Minister, Peter Garrett had dog whistled the Greens in 2009 by declaring the 1 million square kilometres of the Coral Sea that falls within Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone a Conservation Zone.

Press release from Sen. Ron Boswell dated 12/12/11


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


13 December, 2011

Enviromental Scientist Caught On Video Faking Data

Dr. Ann Maest is a managing scientist at Straus Consulting, and she's the go to expert on all things groundwater. In the press release announcing her reappointment to the National Academy of Sciences, they mention that she is focused on the environmental effects of mining and petroleum extraction and production, and, more recently, on the effects of climate change on water quality.

Maest is in high demand as an expert for those looking to stop oil and mineral exploration. She's also heavily used by the federal government, even though after new details about her past work are coming to light as a result of a lawsuit. From The New York Times:
An environmental consulting firm named as a defendant in a racketeering suit filed by Chevron Corp. over a landmark pollution lawsuit in Ecuador is continuing to work on another blockbuster case: the Deepwater Horizon oil spill investigation.

Boulder, Colo.-based Stratus Consulting, a long-term contractor with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other federal agencies, is gathering and analyzing data concerning the Gulf of Mexico spill.

Chevron has is suing those behind the Ecuadorian case including: the lead attorney Steven Donziger; Stratus Consulting; and Maest. As part of their lawsuit, Chevron obtained through discovery, outtakes from a documentary called "Crude" that show Donziger and Maest colluding ignore their own findings and make up some new unsubstantiated claims. Watch this:

Maest says that in their study contamination has not spread and is only found at the site of the pit. Donziger says let's just extrapolate and say what we want. Maest readily agrees. Donziger goes on to say that it's Ecuador and if they have 1000 people around the court house they win, the report is just smoke, mirrors, and bullshit.

Of course when you're endeavoring to pull off a multi-billion dollar legal heist in a banana republic you don't stop at just inventing damages; you stack the deck on the judicial side as well, since that just requires a little "donation." What Chevron has been able to show from the outtakes and records obtained is the Maest and her firm drafted substantial portions of the report of the independent expert, Richard Cabrera, who they allege Donziger was instrumental in getting appointed to do the court order study of the alleged environmental damage. Sounds like a criminal enterprise to extort, right? That's what Chevron thinks, and it's why they're suing under RICO.

In addition to being sued, Maest's work (if that's what you want to call it) was thouroughly debunked by another team of scientists.

It is hardly a surprise that Donziger is an old Harvard buddy of, you guessed it, President Obama. What's really surprising is that here we have a National Academy of Science member caught red-handed agreeing to make up data, and our government wants to give her more business.

SOURCE. (See the original for links)

What a laughable "deal". The Durban agreement was an agreement "to launch negotiations"

They've already been negotiating for years! Warmism is definitely a sinking ship

After two weeks of gruelling negotiations that threatened to collapse in the final days, the 194-party climate conference in South Africa agreed to launch negotiations for a new global climate agreement by 2015, to come into effect by 2020. The Kyoto Protocol was also thrown another lifeline, with an agreement to establish a second commitment period under it for the period 2013 to 2017.

For seasoned observers of the negotiations, this was a case of deja vu. The Bali conference in 2007 had launched a road map for a legally binding treaty including all major emitters to be signed at Copenhagen in 2009. However, that mandate was unfulfilled, primarily due to differences between the US and China.

The Durban conference represents a renewed effort to bring about a slow sea change in the climate negotiations away from a rigid divide in the obligations between developed and developing countries (embodied in the Kyoto Protocol) and towards a broader-based treaty that includes all the major emitters. This should not be interpreted as a vindication of the US's position, given the renewed commitment to Kyoto.

China and the Group of 77 developing nations had made it clear that a second round of commitments by developed countries under the Kyoto Protocol was a condition precedent for any future global agreement.

For those concerned about climate justice, Kyoto is not just a protocol but also a symbol of the core burden-sharing principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and capabilities laid down in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. These principles cast a leadership obligation on developed countries in recognition of their greater cumulative and per capita emissions, and their superior capacity to pursue mitigation than developing countries.

The US had insisted it would not commit to any agreement that did not include major emitters, since stemming future growth in emissions in countries such as China and India was essential if the climate regime was to be environmentally effective. These arguments now find strong support among developed country parties. However, the continuing blind spot in the US argument was the assumption that the problem is now largely one of maths, rather than morality.

This became clear in a heated session when a draft text was presented that excluded the hallowed principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and capabilities. In an impassioned speech, Indian Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan drew a rare standing ovation in declaring that developed countries should not point the finger at developing countries while walking away from their leadership obligations ''without even a polite goodbye''. She highlighted the tiny per capita carbon footprint of Indians, and India's high vulnerability to climate change.

She also drew attention to her government's promise that India's per capita emissions would never reach the same levels as developed countries, and that the Copenhagen pledges of developing countries amount to more mitigation than developed countries. She made it clear that there would be no future deal without a clear commitment to the convention's burden-sharing principles.

With the Kyoto Protocol due to expire at the end of 2012, leaving only a set of non-binding Copenhagen pledges by parties to reduce emissions by 2020, failure at Durban would have seriously eroded the legitimacy and effectiveness of the United Nations negotiations.

It was the EU that shaped the Durban compromise with a promise to accept a second round of emission reductions under the Kyoto Protocol only if the so-called BASIC group - China, India, Brazil and South Africa - agreed to a road map for a new legal agreement by 2015.

Yet the so-called Durban platform represents a delicate and artfully worded compromise that papers over divisions that will continue to stalk the negotiations, including the level of ambition of mitigation pledges.


NOAA Confirms Obvious, Embarrassing Climate Science Failure: U.S. Cooled Over Last 15 Years

Predicted warming of continental U.S. by climate "experts" is proven to be robustly wrong

US Temps Nov 2011

Global CO2 emissions 2010

As the Climategate2.0 emails continue to establish, the alarmist climate scientists claiming "unprecedented" and "accelerating" global warming actually can't find either. When examining the global temperature trends, it is clear that global warming has actually been missing for the last 15 years. This has definitely been the case of the continental U.S., as the graph on the left depicts. (click on to enlarge)

And, as the chart on the right depicts, this "global cooling" of the U.S continues in spite of growing CO2 emissions. Human CO2 emissions continue to grow at a business-as-usual pace with a record set in 2010 for the largest emissions ever.

The NOAA/NCDC chart on the left represents the 15 years (180 months), starting December 1, 1996 and ending November 30, 2011. Per these latest U.S. official temperature data records, the 12-month period ending November was the 5th coldest November-ending period for the last 15 years.

In terms of a single month, November 2011 was the 25th warmest since 1895 (November 1999 was the warmest).

The per century cooling trend of this period, a minus 4.6°F, took place despite the huge warmth produced by two large El Niño events during this 15-year span: 1997-1998 and 2009-2010.

For the 10-year period ending November 2011 (December 1, 2001 thru November, 2011 - 120 months), the cooling trend accelerates to a very significant minus 8.9°F per century rate - again, per the updated NOAA/NCDC temperature records.

Please note: The linear temperature trend, as shown in the NOAA chart, is not a prediction.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

China's Global Warming Ploy- Not a Change of Heart, Change of Strategy

Following the failure in Copenhagen and Cancun, no one expected much from the UN’s seventeenth year of climate talks that took place during the past two weeks in South Africa. However, the sluggish conference got a jolt of excitement when China teased that they might agree, after sixteen years of disagreement, to sign a legally binding deal for reducing emissions.

China’s softening position escalated enthusiasm at the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP17) with news coming out stating that negotiators “were steps closer to an agreement on combating climate change” and “Agreement on emissions reduction appears near.”

COP17, according to The Economist, was “more about saving the circus” than “saving the planet.” Regarding the event, the Wall Street Journal declared that it “appeared destined to end as a well-advertised convention of environmental officials and activists swapping strategies on creating new national parks and shuttering old coal-fired plants.” But that was before China’s changing rhetoric—and rhetoric it was.

China’s shift came with a “laundry list” of pre-conditions that meant they never really had to change their position, while appearing to be promoting environmental policies.

Since 2007, China has been the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Because of their status as a “developing country,” they have avoided participating in legally binding emission cuts such as the Kyoto protocol. Their main concern is the ability to grow their economy—believing that it would be unfair to limit their emissions “while rapid development is lifting millions out of poverty.”

After years of appearing more concerned about being exempted from the rules than about global warming itself, why would China suddenly change its tune? Have they had a true change of heart, or just a change of strategy?

Christiana Figueres, the UN’s senior climate official, said, “Clearly, they seem committed to dealing with the issues and making a contribution.”

Yes, they do want to make a contribution, but the contribution is to their rapidly growing economy.

Despite the Wall Street Journal’s comment about COP17 being “well-advertised,” few even knew it was happening. Those who did expected little. Even Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, tamped down expectation by saying that “grave economic troubles” may make a new climate treaty, “beyond our reach.” Even the EU, “doubts China’s credibility” and “will not agree to a new phase of the Kyoto pact unless the conference agrees on a road map to a broader global deal.”

From the public’s perspective, global warming is of little concern.

A public who doesn’t care about global warming and a lack of a global pact to cut CO2 emissions is death to the solar panel industry, as it is “deeply driven by government policies”—and who is the leading manufacturer of solar panels? None other than China!

As news of solar failures like Solyndra and Evergreen have become late-night television fodder, and the high cost of the solar-generated electricity and excessive land use/habitat destruction, have become widely known, China fears losing its market—leaving them stuck with all those solar panels. It, suddenly, after sixteen years of disagreement, becomes in China’s best interest to make a “contribution” to the global climate change debate.

China needs the climate change debate to rage on. The market for solar panels depends on the fear, uncertainty, and doubt generated by the advance of the theory that global warming is caused by humans burning fossil fuels.

Most people, even the few who are concerned about climate change, have no idea that solar panels require rare earths and that China produces 97% of the world’s rare earths—though America has them in abundance.

Since 2007, China’s exports of rare earths have declined 54%. They have clamped down on illegal mining—which reduced production, increased internal consumption, and increased tariffs on sales to other countries. Economics 101: less supply equals increased price. China’s control of rare earths allows them control of the solar-panel—not to mention wind-power—manufacturing market. American producers can access the needed rare earths without tariffs if they move the manufacturing plants to China—thus creating jobs in China.

China needs the fear, uncertainty, and doubt to fester. It sells solar panels. It makes electricity more expensive for its competitors (particularly the US)—electricity that is essential to manufacturing. More jobs go to China. American is less competitive, China is elevated.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, instead of building on our strengths, the EPA is trying to regulate America’s abundant energy sources out of existence. The State Department delays a steady energy supply from a friendly source. The BLM and Forest Service are doing all they can to block natural resource extraction, and the Fish and Wildlife Service is allowing supposed endangered species to thwart or deny domestic energy development. The DOE is pouring taxpayer dollars into renewable energy.

America is suffering “grave economic troubles.” By supporting the man-made climate change theory, we are supporting China—diminishing America, elevating China—instead of building on our strengths.

The Department of Defense knows a rare earths shortage creates a security crisis, as they are used in all computers and guided missile systems, jet engines, radars and stealth technologies —not just an energy emergency (in addition to use in renewables, lanthanum is used in oil refining and gadolinium can be used as an artificial frac sand). America has rare earths in California, Wyoming, New Mexico, Nebraska, and several other states. California’s Mountain Pass mine is coming back on line. Access to the fourth largest rare earths supply, Wyoming, is in the permitting process. If we could accelerate and streamline the permitting process, America could dominate the market and help tip the trade balance.

The tax-payer subsidies for renewable energy (section 1603) are due to expire at the end of this month—subsidies that ultimately help China’s economy and raise our energy prices. Public pressure on Congress can end these subsidies and help our “grave economic troubles.”

The Kyoto protocol, “the world’s only binding agreement to curb emissions has been a colossal failure.” Canada, whose economy has recovered, says, “Kyoto is the past.” Developing nations, such as China and India, have refused to sign on due to the economic necessity of affordable energy (hint: economies grow with abundant, affordable and available energy). Yet, China “continues to insist that industrialised countries must sign up”—as long as China doesn’t have to pay.

When it comes to climate change, China has not had a change of heart. They have had a change of strategy. It’s about “saving the circus.”


"Green" BBC fakery

It was the BBC's landmark wildlife documentary that was four years in the making and took intrepid cameramen to the edge of the Earth to film. But now it's been revealed the method used to capture key scenes might send a chill down the spine of Frozen Planet viewers.

Instead of being filmed in their sub-zero natural habitat, the BBC has admitted a polar bear and her cubs that were the centrepiece of the show were caught on camera in a zoo.

The breathtaking footage was watched by more than eight million viewers left out in the cold when it comes to what the BBC did. It showed a polar bear tending her newborn cubs in fake snow and was mixed with real Arctic shots with zoo scenes.

The scene was filmed last Christmas from the comfort of a German wildlife park enclosure made of plaster and wood. Situated beneath the zoo's polar bear enclosure, the den was fitted with cameras shortly before the cubs' birth.

Documentary makers have been accused of misleading the audience into believing the footage was gathered by daring cameramen in the wilderness.

How the moving scene was filmed is explained by producer Kathryn Jeffs in a hard to find clip on programme's website. She said it would be impractical to film the carnivores in the wild, adding: 'They stay in the pole through the winter and the female polar bears actually give birth at the peak of winter. 'The problem for us is that they do it underneath the snow in these dens of ice and there's absolutely no way we can get our cameras down there.'

But during the show Sir David Attenborough's script failed to explain how the key scene was made.

A BBC spokeswoman said today: 'This particular sequence would be impossible to film in the wild. 'The commentary accompanying the sequence is carefully worded so it doesn't mislead the audience and the way the footage was captured is clearly explained on the programme website.'

Yesterday chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport committee, John Whittingdale, said it was 'hugely disappointing' viewers were misled. He said: 'My view has always been that all broadcasters should not seek to give viewers a false impression and it is much better if they are entirely open.

'If this was not filmed in the wild it would have been much better to have made that clear in the commentary. 'It's questionable how many people would visit the website and find the video clip which explained the circumstances of the filming.'

More than eight million viewers tuned into the fifth episode from the £16million seven-part series on November 23. It began by showing genuine footage of a male polar bear scavenging for food during the harsh Arctic winter.


UK green targets may get tougher... but renewable energy 'still won't keep lights on'

Under a climate deal announced in South Africa after days of negotiations, world leaders agreed a ‘road map’ for all major countries to introduce legally-binding targets to tackle global warming for the first time.

But the world’s biggest polluters – including the U.S., China and India – will only have to start cutting their greenhouse gases ‘from 2020’ and it is unclear how stringent the targets will be.

In return the EU has agreed to negotiate even more ambitious curbs on emissions, which could see green taxes on energy bills rise to fund a new wave of wind farms and solar panels. Currently they cost £90 per household a year in the UK.

The Government will thrash out the details of a second period of the Kyoto Protocol next year, but it is likely the current target of reducing emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 will rise to 30 per cent. Officials said yesterday that if agreed, Britain’s share would be a 42 per cent reduction on 1990 levels in only eight years, to replace the current target of 34 per cent.

It will require ramping up existing green measures which already include plans to build up to 32,000 wind turbines onshore and offshore.

And no sooner was the ink drying on the agreement than a report from the Adam Smith Institute questioned the effectiveness of renewable sources of energy.

The analysis by the right-wing think-tank claims wind turbines and solar panels cannot replace gas, coal and nuclear power because the energy they produce is intermittent and depends on the weather.

‘The UK’s plans for renewables are unrealistic, and these technologies cannot provide the secure energy supply the country needs,’ it says.

‘Present policies will lead to an energy crisis by the middle of this decade.’

To meet current targets for wind power would require five turbines to be installed every working day until 2020, it says. More damningly, the analysis found renewables only achieve ‘modest’ cuts to greenhouse gas emissions as they require so much back-up generation.

Britain currently produces 6.6 per cent of energy from renewables but has a target to increase this to 15 per cent by 2020. The report claims solar and wind energy have ‘no prospect of being economically competitive’ as the market is ‘rigged’ by subsidies.



Three current articles below

British climate retreat unnoticed by Australian journalists

In July, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, wrote to his Australian counterpart, Julia Gillard, supporting Labor's legislation to introduce a carbon tax leading to an emissions trading scheme on July 1 next year.

Ostensibly, Cameron's letter was one of praise for Gillard. However, the subliminal message was one of criticism of the [Australian] Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott. Needless to say, the Cameron missive was much used by Labor to discredit the Coalition. Also the Canberra press gallery, which overwhelmingly supports Gillard and opposes Abbott on the carbon tax issue, made much of the letter.

Little mention was made of the fact that the climate change policy of the Conservative/Liberal Democrat government in Britain entailed a review in 2014. The message was that Britain would scale back its climate change abatement policies if it found itself to be out in front of other European Union nations. This reflected concern about the plight of Britain's chemical, steel and manufacturing industries.

The review scheduled for 2014 has been brought forward in the light of the economic situation. This was made clear in the Autumn Statement delivered in the House of Commons by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, last month.

Osborne expressed considerable concern about the impact of "green policies adopted not just in Britain, but also by the European Union, on some of our heavy, energy-intensive industries". In an emphatic declaration, he added: "We are not going to save the planet by shutting down our steel mills, aluminium smelters and paper manufacturers. All we will be doing is exporting valuable jobs out of Britain." He added that such a policy will not achieve environmental goals and that "businesses will fail, jobs will be lost and our country will be poorer". As the saying goes: hear, hear.

Now, it is understandable that the likes of the Prime Minister, Wayne Swan and Greg Combet do not want to draw attention to the change in direction in Britain. But journalists and commentators using the Cameron letter against Abbott have no such excuse. They are supposed to be reporting news, not barracking for causes.

The reason for Britain's change of direction on climate change is obvious. Osborne warned "much of Europe now appears to be heading into a recession caused by a chronic lack of confidence in the ability of countries to deal with their debts".

I have just returned from a series of meetings in Britain and the US. Without exaggeration, the mood about the world economy is one of deep pessimism. It is difficult to see how the economies of Europe can recover in the immediate to medium future. Moreover, the collapse of the euro remains a real possibility, since the existence of a single currency for a majority of EU nations has come into conflict with the fact that Europe is not a political entity.

A single currency works in such federations as Australia, Canada and the US. It does not - and cannot - work in such an entity as the EU.

Interviewed by Charles Moore in the London Telegraph this month, the former European Commission president Jacques Delors declared that the failure of the single currency turned on the fact that the EU had not created common economic policies "founded on the co-operation of the member states".

Delors is a retired bureaucrat. The fact is that, as Theodore Dalrymple has argued in his polemic The New Vichy Syndrome, the EU was established "against the wishes of most of the populations involved".

The economic disaster that is contemporary Europe will have knock-on effects on the global economy, including on such key players as the US and China. Another recession in Europe could imperil the re-election of the US President, Barack Obama, in November, even if the rival contender is the Republican Newt Gingrich. Advocates of action on climate change in Australia invariably point to California's embrace of an ETS. They rarely state that California is bankrupt and that the Obama administration has effectively junked its own cap-and-trade proposal.

In the US and now Britain, grim economic news has led to a reassessment of climate change policies. Not so in Australia, where, by mid-2012, there will be a carbon tax - something none of our competitors will have in the foreseeable future.

Gillard presides over the first government in Australian history which has consciously decided to disadvantage the nation with respect to its competitors - in the short term, at least. In Britain, Cameron was once committed to such an agenda. This appears to be no longer the case. Perhaps Osborne should write a letter to Gillard or Swan explaining why.


Former Australian Prime Minister supports climate skeptics

FORMER Prime Minister John Howard has launched a controversial book teaching students to be climate change sceptics.

Climate change sceptic Ian Plimer's book "How to Get Expelled from School: A Guide to Climate Change for Pupils, Parents and Punters" arms children with 101 questions to challenge their teachers.
It has been billed as an "anti-warmist manual for the younger reader".

Mr Howard attacked the one-sided teaching of climate change in schools. "People ought to be worried about what their children are being taught at school," he said. "It's a matter of real concern".

Prof Plimer said said he had a lot of parents write to him about this topic. "They were saying that their kids are being fed environmental activism at school, rather than the basics of science, which gives them the ability to analyse activist arguments," he said.

The 250-page book includes a list of questions intended to embarrass poorly prepared teachers. Questions include: "Is climate change normal?" and "In the last 100 years, has there been global warming and global cooling?".

"They're questions that kids should be asking of teachers, because if the teacher can answer it means they might know something about the subject," Prof Plimer said. "If they can't, or start to promote ideology, it shows that our schools have been captured.

"Parents are telling me that schools have been captured by a lot of activists and kids are being fed stuff that is not relevant to the real world."

But climate scientists, including the University of Adelaide's Professor Barry Brook, say Prof Plimer is perpetuating contradictions, inaccuracies and misrepresentations of the science.

University of Melbourne complex system scientist Professor Ian Enting claims there are scientific errors, flawed diagrams and missing references in Prof Plimer's book.

John Cook of Sceptical Science, a website designed to explain what peer-reviewed science has to say about global warming, has branded Prof Plimer "a one man contradiction". [The usual Leftist projection. It is Cook who is the one-man contradiction]


Crackdown over roof-top solar scheme blowouts

THE Gillard government will demand the states curb expensive feed-in tariffs that pay households to generate electricity from roof-top solar panels, and review other green schemes that threaten to make the carbon market less efficient.

The Australian can reveal that today's draft energy white paper will commit the government to working with the states to try to harmonise the feed-in tariffs so that they do not impose an "unjustifiable burden" on electricity consumers.

The government is concerned that the feed-in tariffs are cross-subsidised through increased energy costs for those who cannot afford to install solar PV panels and that they are putting pressure on the federal small-scale renewable energy scheme, estimated to cost consumers $4.7 billion by mid-2020.

The commonwealth will use the white paper - to be released by Resources Minister Martin Ferguson this morning - to push for a new agreement from all Australian governments for a review of more than 200 existing emissions-reductions policies that are often inconsistent and already cost more than Julia Gillard's proposed carbon tax.

On top of this, the white paper will push for an agreement that no new measures will be introduced unless they are "complementary" to the national carbon pricing scheme.

The energy white paper, the first since 2004, is expected to canvass the impact of the rise of China and Asia and the mining boom, as well as the geopolitical turmoil in global energy markets. The white paper was originally commissioned by the Rudd government in 2008, but was shelved early last year because of Kevin Rudd's proposed carbon pollution reduction scheme and the federal election.

Today's release comes amid concern about cost-of-living pressures as Europe's debt woes destabilise the global economy and renewed debate over the cost to households of the Gillard government's carbon tax package after the UN climate change summit in Durban.

Mr Ferguson will vow to reinvigorate the energy market reform agenda, working through ministerial councils that report to the Council of Australian Governments. There were about 400,000 owner-occupied houses with solar PV systems installed in the middle of this year, but this is expected to grow to more than 1.5 million by 2019-20.

Mr Ferguson's plan to push for reforms to the feed-in tariffs is likely to be welcomed by energy retailers, who have warned that the state-based feed-in schemes impose administrative costs that are funded by other customers. The Energy Retailers Association of Australia, whose members include AGL Energy and Origin Energy, have argued one national tariff is better and cheaper than various state schemes.

Several states have moved to rein in their incentive schemes to boost solar, but new research released by the Australian Energy Market Commission on Friday warned that consumers faced a "substantial legacy cost" from the feed-in tariffs because they would continue to pay a premium rate for households to supply electricity to the grid for years.

On top of this, the research found that state-based tariffs were having an impact on the future costs of the federal small-scale renewable energy scheme - part of Labor's renewable energy target requiring power companies to generate 20 per cent of their power from renewable sources by 2020 - as energy retailers were forced to buy more "small-scale technology certificates". This, too, will result in higher costs for all consumers.

Today's white paper proposes the government work with the states to "identify opportunities to harmonise micro-generation feed-in tariffs, so that they do not impose an unjustifiable burden on electricity consumers".

This is likely to prove politically fraught for the states, and could revive criticism that the government's enforceable targets for renewable energy generation are market-distorting and costly.

In NSW, Barry O'Farrell's government faced a massive backlash over proposals to retrospectively cut feed-in tariffs. Queensland has capped the size of the systems eligible for the tariff while Western Australian has cut the tariff from 40c/kWh to 20c/kWh and Victoria has closed its 60c/kWh scheme, creating instead a 25c/kWh transitional feed-in tariff to be paid until the end of 2016.

The AEMC research released on Friday recommended that state and federal energy ministers develop a common system for the feed-in tariff schemes.

The state-based schemes are wildly inconsistent. NSW and the ACT pay households for all electricity generated by the solar panels - not just the power fed back into the grid.Rates vary from 20c/kWh to 60c/kWh while the expiry of the payments to households ranges from 2016 to 2032.

The Productivity Commission has warned solar PV is a very expensive technology, which has cost up to $1043 in subsidies for every tonne of CO2 that is abated and could hold back deeper cuts to emissions. This contrasts with the $23-a-tonne starting price for Labor's carbon tax.

The commission found that the national RET overlapped completely with the state-based feed-in tariffs last year as all power subsidised through the tariffs was also eligible for federal subsidies. The federal government has cut incentives for householders who install solar roof panels in a bid to take heat out of the solar panel market.

The white paper is expected to commit the government to pushing for an agreement by all governments to review all "non-complementary" climate change mitigation measures and to not introduce new measures.

This aims to align the measures with principles agreed by COAG in November 2008 under which greenhouse abatement measures should be targeted at market failures that could not be dealt with by an emissions trading scheme.

A 2008 review of Labor's climate change policies recommended governments rely on an ETS to achieve least-cost abatement and only take extra action in a case of market failure.



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


12 December, 2011

Durban climate change conference: last minute talks produce "meaningless" deal

And it is not I who is calling it meaningless. That is what Samantha Smith, of WWF International says. For once I agree with a Warmist. It defers all action for four years and, as Harold Wilson once sagely said: "A week is a long time in politics"

The United Nations (UN) climate change summit in Durban, South Africa looked certain to fail after India threatened to walk out.

The emerging superpower was protesting against EU plans to force all countries to cut carbon emissions as part of a legally binding treaty.

As the talks overran into the second night it looked like exhausted delegates would have to give up and go home empty-handed.

But in a highly unusual form of on-the-hoof diplomacy, the warring female ministers were forced to go into a public ‘huddle’ to find a resolution.

The so called “10 minutes to save the world” resulted in a form of words both parties could live with and relieved applause from the other 190 countries present.

The new deal means that for the first time every county in the world is committed to cutting carbon – although the legal wording remains vague and the treaty will not come into force until 2020.

Charities point out that the "Durban road map" is still too weak to stop temperatures rising above the "danger point" of 2C because it does not set tough targets for emissions cuts or a quick enough timetable.

However Chris Huhne, the UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, who played a key role in the talks, insisted it was a “huge step forward” – especially after the failure of the last high profile UN attempt at a deal in Copenhagen in 2009.

He pointed out that the world’s three biggest polluters – the US, China and India – who account for almost half the world’s emissions are now committed to cutting carbon.

“What we have done today is a great success for European diplomacy. We have managed to put this on the map and take the major emitters – the US, India and China to a road map that will secure an overarching deal.”

In particular the inclusion of the US, that has resisted any previous attempts to be part of a global deal, is a significant move.

Todd Stern, the US climate envoy, said every country made compromises. "This is a very significant package. None of us likes everything in it. Believe me, there is plenty the United States is not thrilled about," he said.

Mate Nkoana-Mashabane, the president of the conference and South Africa’s foreign minister, said the longest UN climate change meeting in history, was a roller coaster. “We have saved planet earth for the future of our children and our great grand children to come. We have made history,” she said.

‘The Durban Platform for Enhanced Action’ is carefully worded to ensure all countries are comfortable with the legal form.

It commits all parties to “a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force” that will be decided in 2015 and come into force in 2020.

In the interim between now and 2020 just Europe and a handful of other rich countries are legally bound to cutting carbon emissions through a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

The deal also includes plans to set up a Green Climate Fund that will channel around £60bn a year towards helping countries adapt to climate change from 2020. The UK has already committed £3.4bn to fighting climate change and will be expected to donate around £1bn a year to the new fund once it is set up.

There are also plans to pay poor countries not chop down trees in order to stop deforestation and plans to look at taxing aviation and shipping.

The commitment to emission cuts sends a clear signal to business to start investing in green technologies like wind turbines.

It means Europe is likely to increase its targets to cut carbon from 20 to 30 per cent by 2020, putting pressure on the UK to increase our own ambitious targets even further.

But Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, who was thrown out of the conference centre for protesting earlier in the week, said the deal was not enough to stop dangerous climate change.

The UN warns that emissions have to peak before 2020 and start coming down to keep temperature rise below 2C.

"The chance of averting catastrophic climate change is slipping through our hands with every passing year that nations fail to agree on a rescue plan for the planet,” he said.

Samantha Smith, of WWF International, said the compromise had watered down the deal to such an extent it became almost meaningless. "They haven't reached a real deal," she said. "They watered things down so everyone could get on board."

Celine Charveriat, Director of Campaigns and Advocacy for Oxfam, said the world is “sleepwalking towards 4C”, where millions of people will be displaced by floods and drought.

“The failure to seal an ambitious deal will have painful consequences for poor people around the world,” she said. “A 4C temperature rise could be one of utter devastation for poor farmers who will face increasing hunger and poverty.”


Durban climate "deal" isolates Australia

Plus more details of what was agreed

DURBAN'S meek outcome doesn't bode well for international efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions or the sustainability of Australia's domestic scheme. After 13 days of negotiations, governments agreed to the Durban Platform. But they did not agree to a new international treaty to cut emissions.

The key component of the platform includes all countries negotiating "an agreed outcome with legal force" by 2015 to start cutting emissions by 2020. It's a platform to continue debating the details of an agreement where countries disagree on most of the substantive matters.

The negotiations for other countries to sign an agreement to engage in climate-based economic hardship, as Australia has through its carbon tax, are all uphill from here.

Significantly, Kyoto has been taken out of its casket and been put on critical life support. With Kyoto's emission reduction commitments expiring on December 31 next year, its future will be decided at next year's December meeting guaranteeing a gap.

Kyoto's survival is still in doubt. Canada is likely to withdraw in the next year. Japan and Russia aren't likely to sign up to a new Kyoto emissions reduction round.

Keeping Kyoto alive is a strategic move to use it as a 2012 bargaining chip to pressure developing countries to stay in the negotiating tent. It's their cause celebre because it puts emission cutting obligations on rich countries.

The legal architecture of a $100 billion-a-year Green Climate Fund will also be established to finance climate change adaptation for developing countries. Ultimately, financing the GCF will become the negotiating chip for rich countries to buy off support from poorer ones.

Where the GCF's money is coming from remains unclear. If financing is direct, Australia's contribution is expected to be between $2bn and $3bn a year.

The option to finance the GCF from an international shipping and airline tax that disproportionately hits geographically isolated, trade dependent nations (read Australia) remains.

The division and hostility that exists around negotiating a document to progress negotiations doesn't indicate positive outcomes in future talks.

Structurally, negotiations remain difficult because they are required to be progressed on an equity-based approach where developed countries take on more obligations, and developing countries fewer obligations despite being the major source of emissions growth.

The extent of the wrangling about whether the world negotiates a new treaty probably doesn't make much sense from the outside.

But there are good reasons for division. Any agreement is about cutting global greenhouse emissions levels. But it will also be about if, and how, the world agrees to radically restructure the global economy.

Cutting emissions means countries have to take on higher costs bases. All countries will have to rededicate resources from economic development to the high cost of emissions reduction, slowing growth.

Because most of Australia's emissions profile comes from cheap coal-based electricity, the cost gap to alternatives is high. Europe desperately wants other countries to impose equivalent costs that they've shackled their economy with through the introduction of an emissions trading scheme.

But proportionate to the size of the economy it's less burdensome than for developing countries.

In India, the bulk of their population has never turned on a light switch. Before agreeing to the deal Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan argued India wouldn't "write a blank cheque and sign away the livelihoods and sustainability of 1.2 billion Indians".

Any future treaty can make the difference between whether Indians living in electricity-free shanty towns ever enjoy the modern conveniences we take for granted.

The conference isn't a victory for global emissions reduction. It's a victory of intent. It still leaves Australia and its carbon tax plan well ahead of global action.

The entire economic case for the scheme was built on the premise that other countries would impose equivalent carbon prices, which would have reduced the acute economic pain inflicted on the Australian economy. The Durban Platform does not rectify that.

It means Australia's carbon tax, starting on July 1 next year, will be implemented years before we know whether a successful international agreement can be struck and other countries take action.

As a result, the Durban Platform perpetuates the problems with Australia's carbon pricing scheme. It is politically unsustainable to increase a carbon price without a comprehensive international agreement and a price in other countries.

With no certainty about equivalent action in other countries, the "certainty" the government claims will be provided by the Australian price remains elusive.

The Treasury modelling's carbon tax impact scenario is at odds with reality.

That leaves the Durban Platform as a breath of life for the Gillard government and their carbon price. But it's a long way from the outcome Australians need if they're going to shoulder the world's largest carbon tax.


S. African pro-market activist slams UN's 'Green Climate Fund'

'Government to govt aid is a reward for being better than anyone else at causing poverty' -- 'It enriches the people who cause poverty', says Leon Louw. Leon is basically a libertarian

South African development activist Leon Louw declared the UN's “Green Climate Fund” nothing more than an attempt by wealthy nations to keep the poor nations from developing.

In an exclusive interview with Climate Depot at the Durban UN climate summit, Louw declared foreign aid or “government to government aid” is simply a way for rich countries to reward poor countries who are “best at causing poverty.” Louw is the Executive Director of South Africa's Free Market Institute which is considered the “3rd ranked most influential think-tank in Africa.”

“What the government of rich countries are saying to poor countries is: 'Those of you who are best at causing poverty, we will enrich you, we will give you money,'” Louw told Climate Depot while attending the UN climate summit.

“Government to government aid is a reward for being better than anyone else at causing poverty. Countries that get more government to government aide have lower economic growth rates. Countries with less aid, have higher growth rates. If you subsidize failure you get failure and foreign aid does exactly that. It rewards people for being unsuccessful,” Louw stated.

The Associated Press described the UN climate fund as a method to “distribute tens of billions of dollars a year to poor countries to help them adapt to changing climate conditions and to move toward low-carbon economic growth.”

But Louw, says the UN climate fund will wreak havoc on the developing world's poor. Louw explained: “The money goes to government and governments spend it on of course on themselves, meaning various government projects, creating bigger departments -- bigger bureaucracies, it's called big bureaucratic capture. They build empires, they build conference centers, and they buy political support. They go and distribute the money to communities where they want support and votes.”

Louw was at the Durban summit to oppose the UN climate fund to poor nations. According to Louw, the entire UN foreign aid process is aimed at keeping the developing world's poor – poor.

“The money goes to the people who then are better at causing poverty. They can hire more bureaucrats, pass more laws have more regulations. If you are good at causing poverty, we will give you more money to do what you do more of, which is to cause poverty. So they enrich the people who cause poverty, they compliment them on how good they are at causing poverty,” Louw said.

Louw said the entire premise for the UN's climate fund is an admission that their goal is to keep poor nations poor.

The UN is admitting -- this is implicit in the fund -- that combating climate change is very costly, especially for poor people, its devastating for poor countries. What the UN is saying is: 'We want you to indulge our opinion of climate change and if you do so it's going to cause a great deal of poverty and unemployment in poor counties.' You cannot, as a poor country, subscribe to the Kyoto Protocol and grow. The two are mutually exclusive,” Louw explained

Louw continued: “So What the rich counties say is 'don't worry, we will reward you for again causing poverty, if you adopt our climate policies that will cause poverty.' That is why there is a UN fund, in other words, they admit it. So having environmental policies causes poverty and they say 'we will enrich you for doing so, we will reward you for causing poverty.'”

“The UN is saying to poor countries: 'Those of you who adopt more anti-prosperity, anti- jobs, and anti-growth policies, under the pretense of environmentalism, we will enrich you. It doesn't matter -- as long as you cause poverty -- we will enrich you.'”

Louw asserts that the developing world does not need the wealthy Western world to achieve riches.

“Poor countries can become rich very quickly, like China, India, and in Africa, Ghana. Ghana, which has moved more than any other country in the world from being un-free to a free economy, is having 12 percent growth. It's now one of the highest growth counties in the world.

"Africa itself, Sub-Saharan, what used to be called black Africa, is now the highest sustained growth region of the world. The highest growth country in the world over the last 30 years is Batswana. So they don't need the rich countries to help them. All they need is for the rich counties to leave them alone.”

Louw says that if left alone, the developing world can gain wealth and freedom.

“They can actually overtake the rich countries like Hong Kong did. They become richer than the rich countries. China and India are headed that way. So now what the rich counties do is a kind of eco-imperialism. The rich nations say to the poor nations: 'Now you have to stop growth, you have got to stay poor. If you -- the government -- manage to keep your country poor, undeveloped and backward, we will then compensate you.' It is not a compensation for what the rich countries have done, it's a compensation for the ability of the governments of the poor countries to stop them from becoming rich,” Louw concluded.


The Real Story behind Durban/COP 17 through Twitter

By Sophia

The traveling UN circus is over for this time. This was the 17th show on the road so far. Some highlights:
- ‘they are supposed to be saving the planet and they can’t even run a meeting…‘

- Everything here is a study, there is nothing tangible

- Awkward silence as Russian delegate asks what we just decided on

- He still doesn’t understand what’s going on w docs. No one else does either, but they want to go home

- decisions passed more due to exhaustion/lack of clear communication, not active consent

I have written extensible about the blatant hypocrisy from the UN pack and their jet set allies, this traveling circus that fly around the globe in first class, or private jet, stay in hotel rooms at $700-800 per night in spa resorts, and gets wined and dined at expensive restaurants.

All of this of course paid by us, the normal people.

While they at the same time preach austerity, frugality and sacrifice from us, the taxpayers.

This blatant hypocrisy is so mind numbing that it would be laughable if it weren’t for the fact that these people have the power to force us to obey them.

They are a truly parasitic class in the sense that Karl Marx wrote about it. How ironic that today most of this class is leftists and so called “liberals”.

And here are the inner workings of this parasitic class, described live from people in the conference, via twitter feeds.

I think it sums it all up very well. Any one that has been to any of these marathon meetings/conferences in the UN or EU, I have, instantly recognizes the very familiar settings and how “things” proceed.!/BBCRBlack/status/145534592613490688

Heard in corridor #cop17 – ‘they are supposed to be saving the planet and they can’t even run a meeting…‘!/ecotist/status/145558495180226560

Watching the plenary at #COP17 now … totally FUBAR!/ElizabethMay/status/145555729598775296

Plenary at #COP17 resuming amid serious confusion over texts!/iansully/status/145610040299102208

the guy sat next to the Malaysian delegate is falling asleep on the #cop17 tele, while his negotiator speaks – we all know how he feels!/LungelwaKunene/status/145575365518168064

Having a plenery meeting trying to reach consensus and delegates are debating the position of brackets!! Really?!! Bleh!!!/lmdo/status/145604459228172289

”We should rename this … studies. Everything here is a study, there is nothing tangible” -Nicaragua!/BBCRBlack/status/145572635223392256

How to close the gap in new draft #cop17? ‘Launch a work plan’ with no end date

Overheard #cop17 outside closed room; “that is the ‘what the heck do we do now?’ meeting”

#COP17 #climate update: no new developments other than to say there are far fewer people here now + they all keep checking their watches!!/vdblt/status/145700322050981888

Awkward silence as Russian delegate asks what we just decided on.!/NastasyaTay/status/145699913752248321

#Russiaraises flag again. He still doesn’t understand what’s going on w docs. No one else does either, but they want to go home.!/nagidapc/status/145699734621921281

Feeling disillusioned with the UN process- decisions passed more due to exhaustion/lack of clear communication, not active consent!/ChrisWright162/status/145698756489261056

President smashing out the decisions quicker than delegates can rush out the door to catch their flights

And this is the real danger, in all these small prints and haggling over words and commas; the people driving this Global Warming Hysteria successfully advance their agenda one sentence and paragraph at a time.

Fully knowing that the delegates at these conferences, as it gets closer to the end of the meting, they just want to adopt “something” and go home so they can say publicly that they achieved anything (se above on the twitter feeds).

That’s when you can push trough your agenda when most people are just exhausted. Ant they know that most people, especially politicians, don’t read these very lengthy documents with all small print and all the paragraphs and sub paragraphs.

The politicians leave that to their “bureaucrats”. So the “bureaucrats” are very much in control of “the show”. And can push their own agenda.

The report is Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action Under the Convention,November 29 2011

Monckton’s post here and below:

Durban: what the media are not telling you

”DURBAN, South Africa— “No high hopes for Durban.” “Binding treaty unlikely.” “No deal this year.” Thus ran the headlines. The profiteering UN bureaucrats here think otherwise. Their plans to establish a world government paid for by the West on the pretext of dealing with the non-problem of “global warming” are now well in hand. As usual, the mainstream media have simply not reported what is in the draft text which the 194 states parties to the UN framework convention on climate change are being asked to approve.

Behind the scenes, throughout the year since Cancun, the now-permanent bureaucrats who have made highly-profitable careers out of what they lovingly call “the process” have been beavering away at what is now a 138-page document. Its catchy title is “Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action Under the Convention — Update of the amalgamation of draft texts in preparation of [one imagines they mean 'for'] a comprehensive and balanced outcome to be presented to the Conference of the Parties for adoption at its seventeenth session: note by the Chair.” In plain English, these are the conclusions the bureaucracy wants.

The contents of this document, turgidly drafted with all the UN’s skill at what the former head of its documentation center used to call “transparent impenetrability”, are not just off the wall – they are lunatic.”

“Main points:

Ø A new International Climate Court will have the power to compel Western nations to pay ever-larger sums to third-world countries in the name of making reparation for supposed “climate debt”. The Court will have no power over third-world countries. Here and throughout the draft, the West is the sole target. “The process” is now irredeemably anti-Western.

Ø “Rights of Mother Earth”: The draft, which seems to have been written by feeble-minded green activists and environmental extremists, talks of “The recognition and defence of the rights of Mother Earth to ensure harmony between humanity and nature”. Also, “there will be no commodification [whatever that may be: it is not in the dictionary and does not deserve to be] of the functions of nature, therefore no carbon market will be developed with that purpose”.

Ø “Right to survive”: The draft childishly asserts that “The rights of some Parties to survive are threatened by the adverse impacts of climate change, including sea level rise.” At 2 inches per century, according to eight years’ data from the Envisat satellite? Oh, come off it! The Jason 2 satellite, the new kid on the block, shows that sea-level has actually dropped over the past three years.

Ø War and the maintenance of defence forces and equipment are to cease – just like that – because they contribute to climate change. There are other reasons why war ought to cease, but the draft does not mention them.

Ø A new global temperature target will aim, Canute-like, to limit “global warming” to as little as 1 C° above pre-industrial levels. Since temperature is already 3 C° above those levels, what is in effect being proposed is a 2 C° cut in today’s temperatures. This would take us halfway back towards the last Ice Age, and would kill hundreds of millions. Colder is far more dangerous than warmer.

Ø The new CO2 emissions target, for Western countries only, will be a reduction of up to 50% in emissions over the next eight years and of “more than 100%” [these words actually appear in the text] by 2050. So, no motor cars, no coal-fired or gas-fired power stations, no aircraft, no trains. Back to the Stone Age, but without even the right to light a carbon-emitting fire in your caves. Windmills, solar panels and other “renewables” are the only alternatives suggested in the draft. There is no mention of the immediate and rapid expansion of nuclear power worldwide to prevent near-total economic destruction.

Ø The new CO2 concentration target could be as low as 300 ppmv CO2 equivalent (i.e., including all other greenhouse gases as well as CO2 itself). That is a cut of almost half compared with the 560 ppmv CO2 equivalent today. It implies just 210 ppmv of CO2 itself, with 90 ppmv CO2 equivalent from other greenhouse gases. But at 210 ppmv, plants and trees begin to die. CO2 is plant food. They need a lot more of it than 210 ppmv.

Ø The peak-greenhouse-gas target year – for the West only – will be this year. We will be obliged to cut our emissions from now on, regardless of the effect on our economies (and the lack of effect on the climate).

Ø The West will pay for everything, because of its “historical responsibility” for causing “global warming”. Third-world countries will not be obliged to pay anything. But it is the UN, not the third-world countries, that will get the money from the West, taking nearly all of it for itself as usual. There is no provision anywhere in the draft for the UN to publish accounts of how it has spent the $100 billion a year the draft demands that the West should stump up from now on.

The real lunacy comes in the small print – all of it in 8-point type, near-illegibly printed on grubby, recycled paper. Every fashionable leftist idiocy is catered for.”


Hold your breath for what the AGU sees as authoritative

Do kindergarten teacher views on climate science really debunk those of the climate skeptics? That’s what the American Geophysical Union reportedly says.

According to the Environmental News Examiner article “American Geophysical scientists strike back with climate change literacy online“:
American Geophysical Union (AGU) scientists struck back at climate change deniers yesterday at the 44th annual AGU meeting of earth scientists from around the world in step with global leaders’ discussion of solutions to climate change at the 17th U.N. Climate Change Conference in Durban, Africa.

A representative from NASA announced “My guess is that it isn’t that there are a lot of climate change deniers in as so much as the few of them there are – are just loud.”

And how exactly did the AGU strike back a deniers? With a survey of K-12 teachers:
Further supporting the NASA position on global warming, a representative from the National Earth Science Teachers of America (NESTA) reported the results of 555 K-12 teachers in the United States who currently teach about climate change.

And what were the results?
On average, 89% of respondents indicated that they believe global warming is happening with the highest levels of agreement from respondents in Western states, younger teachers, urban teachers, and females.

Only 6% of respondents indicated that they did not believe global warming is happening. On average, only 13% of respondents attribute climate change to mainly natural causes with the highest rates of this response among male and Southern respondents.

Apparently as far as the AGU is concerned, climate skeptics — including top scientists like Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson, hydrogen bomb architect Edward Teller, MIT atmospheric physicist Richard Lindzen, space science pioneer S. Fred Singer, first president of the National Academy of Sciences Frederick Seitz and more than 31,000 other American scientists — are wrong because their views differ with those of 494 K-12 teachers.

Words fail us.


Climate Models Predict Flood And Drought For Africa

If you bet on every horse in the race, you have a pretty good shot of holding a winning ticket.

2007 : "Africa has always been predicted to be the continent that will be worst hit by global warming and climate change. Could those predictions be coming true? Extreme rains and floods have made for a very wet summer in Africa, and there is no end in sight to the downpours that are swallowing towns and forcing over a million to flee their homes in at least 20 countries. This weather is what climatologists predicted, and it is happening even faster than expected,”


2011: "Drought in east Africa the result of climate change"

Being close to the equator, Africa should be least hit by global warming – which predicts the greatest changes at high latitudes.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


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


11 December, 2011

An amusing conversation

I am of course on Marc Morano's mailing list and Marc's mailouts are exuberant. He sends out anything that MIGHT be of interest to us climate atheists. In a recent mailout he sent a copy of an email conversation he had with a Warmist. I reproduce the conversation below and then add a few comments of my own after it -- JR:

From: Anna Haynes []
Sent: Sat Dec 10 20:19:58 GMT+01:00 2011
Subject: Mr. Morano, your climate science expertise?

Greetings Mr. Morano -

I'm just now editing your SourceWatch page, adding that you have no evident climate science expertise, because I recall searching (&asking) several years ago & finding & hearing nothing. If I'm mistaken, and you do have a climate science background, please do let me know what courses you've taken or papers you've published, so I can add this information to your SourceWatch page.

Anna Haynes

Disclosure: I have no background in climate science that would equip me to second-guess the findings of the field. See: Gutting's On experts and global warming ( ) and Peter Watts ("science is alchemy..." - )

Hi Anna,

I remember you from Dot Earth comment section a few years back. We had some entertaining back and forth. You always signed you name noting you had a phd. You must be so proud.

My background is in political science, which is highly suited to analyzing man-made global warming claims. The 'science' you bitterly cling to is, after all, political at its core.

My bio is published at Climate Depot for all to see under the about page.

Thanks and enjoy the the sub-prime science you seem to believe in a religious fashion. My bio at Source Watch is not at all that different from my bio at Climate Depot. I look forward to your updating my entry at Source Watch.


Marc's reply is a good one but he could have had a laugh by looking up the authorities on climate science that she gives. One is a soi disant "philosopher" who makes the ludicrous claim that what "authorities" say should always be accepted. And the second reference is to what could reasonably be described as a hate-filled Leftist rave! If those are her idea of climate authorities she is much to be pitied and is certainly undeserving of her Ph.D.

As Marc says, Warmism truly is a religion -- a particularly mind-warping religion in fact. Perhaps "sect" would be a better word for it. Festinger's classic work of social psychology "When Prophecy Fails" seems more applicable to them every day.

The second link she gives did not work when I first tried it so the full URL is here -- JR

U.N. Floats Global 'Climate Court' to Enforce Emissions Rules

United Nations climate envoys have proposed the creation of a global "climate court" that would be responsible for enforcing a sprawling set of rules requiring developed countries to cut emissions while compensating poorer countries in order to pay off a "historical climate debt."

The proposals are contained in a draft document pieced together for the climate conference in Durban, South Africa. Representatives at the conference are struggling to come up with a compromise that negotiators from 194 nations can agree on.

But the draft document, one of many floating around the conference, gives a glimpse into the long-term vision some nations hold for the creation of an international legal framework on climate change.

In the bowels of the document is a provision calling for "an international climate court of justice."

The proposal is meant to "guarantee the compliance of Annex I Parties with all the provisions of this decision."

Annex I countries are mostly developed countries, covering the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and much of Europe -- including countries that are struggling financially such as Greece and Portugal.

The rules of the road the court would presumably enforce are based on the view that these developed countries owe developing countries a "debt" over climate change, and must provide financial aid in addition to taking major steps toward cutting emissions.

In one section, the document calls for developed countries to help poorer countries with "finance, technology and capacity building" so they can "adapt to and mitigate climate change" while helping eliminate poverty. Another section provides that developing countries should receive an amount of money equal to the amount "developed countries spend on defense, security and warfare."

Yet the document also calls for a guaranteed end to warfare altogether -- for the sake of curbing climate change.

One section, noting that "conflict-related activities emit significant greenhouse gas emissions," calls on all parties to "cease destructive activities" like warfare -- and then channel the money that would have been spent on war and other defense projects toward "a common enemy: climate change."

The document also asserts the "rights of mother earth," a concept that environmental activists have been pushing for.

The draft report, which strings together proposals from various working groups, quickly raised alarm among climate change skeptics.

Marc Morano, a former aide to U.N. agitator and Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe, told the document shows the climate talks are intended to create more "taxing and regulatory authority."

"This is the true U.N. agenda unmasked in this draft report," he said. Morano now runs the ClimateDepot blog, which also reported on the draft document.

However, the idea of a climate court anytime soon -- particularly one that the United States and other big carbon emitters would agree to -- may be far-fetched. One environmental law expert, professor Jonathan Verschuuren at The Netherlands' Tilburg University, wrote in an online column that the court "will certainly not materialize."

Instead, representatives at the Durban conference reportedly are still trying to figure out how and whether to extend the Kyoto protocol, whose emission requirements expire next year. Some industrial nations want a new agreement that would ask more of developing countries.

According to The Associated Press, the U.S. and India have backed down a bit on their objections, while China continues to put up resistance.


Debate denied


Dissent on global warming has been shut down from the start

The odd thing about the great debate on global warming is that there never really was a debate. As soon as the global warming scare exploded on the world in 1988, to its promoters there could be no argument about it. The scientists who that year set up the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were already convinced beyond doubt that ‘human-induced climate change’ was a reality. Al Gore was soon already pronouncing ‘the science is settled’. In 1992 Dr Richard Lindzen of MIT, the eminent atmospheric physicist who has been a prominent ‘sceptic’ ever since, wrote a paper discussing the peculiar need of the ‘climate establishment’ to insist that their new orthodoxy was supported by a ‘consensus’ of the world’s scientists, despite abundant evidence to the contrary.

A corollary of this, as Lindzen showed, was the extraordinary intolerance they displayed towards anyone questioning the orthodoxy. When one respected professor of economics told a US Senate Committee that the issue was still ‘controversial’, Senator Gore expostulated that anyone who said such a thing clearly didn’t know what he was talking about, and the professor was asked to leave the room.

Thus, right from the start, this remarkable hostility towards anyone daring to question the orthodoxy became established as a central feature of the story, Those who dissented, such as Professor Fred Singer, who wrote a sceptical paper with Dr Roger Revelle, the eminent oceanographer who had first alerted Gore to the possibility that rising CO2 levels might lead to rising temperatures, were publicly vilified, with claims that they could only hold such views because they were being paid by Big Oil.

For more than a decade, as CO2 levels rose and temperatures seemed to be following suit, the orthodoxy carried all before it, In 2001, Michael Mann’s famous ‘hockey stick’ graph, completely rewriting climate history by purporting to eliminate the Medieval Warm Period and showing that temperatures had soared in the late 20th century to their highest level in 1,000 years, was the centrepiece of the IPCC’s third report. But in 2003, serious questions began to be asked about the ‘hockey stick’, first by two Harvard astrophysicists, Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, then, quite devastatingly, by two Canadians, Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, who expertly demonstrated that the graph was no more than a product of computer trickery.

Instead of attempting to engage with these criticisms, the response of the ‘climate establishment’ — as we see confirmed by the recent ‘Climategate 2.0’ emails — was just to dismiss them as ‘tosh’, heaping the critics with abuse, even trying to get the editor of the journal which published Soon and Baliunas removed from his post, So, in essence, the ‘non-debate’ between the two sides has remained ever since. In recent years, the orthodoxy has increasingly come under every kind of fire, from the failure of its computer models to predict what has actually been happening to global temperatures to revelations that nearly a third of the citations on which the IPCC’s latest 2007 report were based were not to proper scientific papers but simply to claims made by environmental activists. The response of the orthodoxy’s defenders has too often been simply to step up their intolerance even further, dismissing the critics as ‘deniers’, ‘flat-earthers’, ‘idiots’ and of course ‘shills for the fossil-fuel industry’.

Not the least interesting revelation of the latest Climategate emails, exchanged between the small group of scientists at the heart of the IPCC establishment, has been to see how uncertain some of them have privately been about the strength of their own case. Perhaps the Medieval Warm Period did exist? Why have temperatures not continued to rise as their models predicted? But, publicly, what they tellingly called ‘the cause’ had to be defended at all costs. Similarly at all costs, the ‘deniers’ had to be rubbished, painted as ‘cranks’ and ‘loonies’ talking ‘drivel’. No one has reflected this attitude better than the BBC which in 2006, as I describe in a report just published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, held a ‘high-level seminar’ at which Lord May, as ex-President of the Royal Society, persuaded the BBC’s top policymakers that ‘the debate on climate change was over’ and that they must ‘stop reporting the views of climate sceptics’.

In 2007 considerable attention was drawn to a Channel 4 documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle precisely because it featured many of those eminent scientists who dissented from the orthodoxy. Typically, the establishment’s response was to shower Ofcom with complaints, furious that such a programme could have been allowed (scarcely any were upheld). Among the organisers of those complaints was Bob Ward, a tireless advocate for the orthodoxy, who inevitably was at the forefront of those leading a howl of outrage against last week’s Spectator for its cover story by Nils-Axel Mörner, the admittedly slightly eccentric expert who, on the basis of studying the physical evidence, has long questioned the computer models the IPCC uses to promote alarm over rising sea levels.

In 2009, an article of my own about Mörner provoked Ward to take me to the Press Complaints Commission (he has more than once called on the Sunday Telegraph to fire me). I cited a peer-reviewed 2001 paper based on satellite data, which quite independently confirmed Mörner’s finding that sea levels were not rising around Tuvalu. Ward sent the PCC a black-and-white version of the paper’s colour chart, claiming that this disproved my case. I replied with the original colour version, which clearly showed by its colour coding that sea levels around Tuvalu had actually fallen. Quite unabashed, Ward told the PCC that the authors of the 2001 paper had in 2006 published another withdrawing their earlier finding. The 2006 paper made no mention of Tuvalu. As I say, so little are the orthodoxy’s defenders interested in serious debate that they will stop at nothing to discredit any dissent — even as their ‘cause’ continues to crumble around them.


How the IPCC Reports Mislead the Public, Exaggerate the Negative Impacts of Climate Change and Ignore the Benefits of Economic Growth

Study finds climate change panel ignores its own findings and pushes plans that will prolong poverty for developing nations

It is frequently asserted that climate change could have devastating consequences for poor countries. Indeed, this assertion is used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other organizations as one of the primary justifications for imposing restrictions on human emissions of greenhouse gases.

But there is an internal contradiction in the IPCC’s own claims. Indeed, the same highly influential report from the IPCC claims both that poor countries will fare terribly and that they will be much better off than they are today. So, which is it? The apparent contradiction arises because of inconsistencies in the way the IPCC assesses impacts. The process begins with various scenarios of future emissions.

These scenarios are themselves predicated on certain assumptions about the rate of economic growth and related technological change. Under the IPCC’s highest growth scenario, by 2100 GDP per capita in poor countries will be double the U.S.’s 2006 level, even taking into account any negative impact of climate change. (By 2200, it will be triple.) Yet that very same scenario is also the one that leads to the greatest rise in temperature—and is the one that has been used to justify all sorts of scare stories about the impact of climate change on the poor. Under this highest growth scenario (known as A1FI), the poor will logically have adopted, adapted and innovated all manner of new technololgies, making them far better able to adapt to the future climate. But these improvements in adaptive capacity are virtually ignored by most global warming impact assessments. Consequently, the IPCC’s “impacts” assessments systematically overestimate the negative impact of global warming, while underestimating the positive impact. Moreover, in these “impacts” assessments, global warming is not expected for the most part to create new problems; rather, it is expected to exacerbate some existing problems of poverty (in particular, hunger, disease, extreme events), while relieving others (such as habitat loss and water shortages in some places).

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which would reduce every warming impact regardless of whether it is good or bad, is but one approach to dealing with the consequences of warming. And it would likely be very costly. In fact, reducing emissions is unlikely to help poorer countries deal with most of the problems they face either today or in the future. With respect to mortality from hunger, malaria and extreme events, for example, global warming is estimated to contribute to only 13% of the problem in 2085.

Another approach to reducing the impact of global warming would be to reduce the climatesensitive problems of poverty through “focused adaptation.” This might involve, for example, major investments in early warning systems, the development of new crop varieties, and public health interventions. Focused adaptation would allow society to capture the benefits of global warming while allowing it to reduce climate-sensitive problems that global warming might worsen. For instance, emission reductions would at most reduce mortality from hunger, malaria and extreme events by only 13%, whereas focused adaptation could essentially eliminate these causes of mortality.

A third approach would be to fix the root cause of why developing countries are deemed to be most at-risk, namely, poverty. Sustained economic growth would, as is evident from the experience of developed countries, address virtually all problems of poverty, not just that portion exacerbated by global warming. It is far more certain that sustainable economic growth will provide greater benefits than emission reductions: while there is no doubt that poverty leads to disease and death, there is substantial doubt regarding the reality and magnitude of the negative impact of global warming. This is especially true as assessments often ignore improvements in adaptive capacity. Of these three approaches, human well-being in poorer countries is likely to be advanced most effectively by sustained economic development and least by emission reductions. In addition, because of the inertia of the climate system, economic development is likely to bear fruit faster than any emission reductions.

For richer countries, too, net GDP per capita in the future is expected to be much higher than it is today despite any climate change. Thus, all countries should focus on generating sustained economic development. This approach would not only address all of the current problems that might get worse in the future but would also enable humanity to address more effectively any other future problems it encounters, whether climate-related or otherwise.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deems poor countries to be at greater risk from global warming (GW) than rich countries because they are less able to mobilize the resources required to use technologies needed to cope with the impact of GW. That is, their “adaptive capacity” is low.

The IPCC also claims that GW will exacerbate many problems—such as malaria and other vector-borne diseases, hunger, water shortages, vulnerability to extreme weather events and flooding—that the poor currently face and with which they have difficulty coping. Yet aren’t these both basically the same thing and both caused by an underlying lack of economic development?

Building on the notion that the current adaptive capacity of poor countries is low, the IPCC, among others, claims that global warming could also hinder their sustainable development. Others argue that the impact of global warming could overwhelm weak or poor governments, leading to economic and political instability, which, in turn, could breed terrorism and conflict, and precipitate mass migration to richer countries.

This paper seeks to assess whether these assertions are justified. It begins with a discussion that sheds light on the main factors that affect the trends in climate-sensitive indicators of human wellbeing. The discussion recognizes the role of fossil fuels in powering economic and technological development.

Next, it examines the notion—implicit in the view that poor countries will be swamped by the future impact of GW—that their adaptive capacity will remain low in the future. It specifically examines whether this view is justified in light of the economic assumptions built into the IPCC scenarios.

These economic assumptions are among the primary drivers of the IPCC’s climate change projections, which are then used to estimate the likely future impact (including specific damages) from GW. They are, thus, fundamental to estimates of the magnitude and direction of the future impact of GW. The paper then considers the proposition that while higher rates of economic development would lead to greater climate-related impact from GW, it would also result in higher adaptive capacity. This raises the question as to whether or not the economic development and associated technological change assumed by the IPCC scenarios will increase the damage from GW faster than the increases in adaptive capacity and, consequently, hinder sustainable development. Likewise, it raises the question as to whether insufficient economic and technological development would hinder the ability to cope with future GW.

The answers to these questions are crucial in determining which policy is best suited to addressing GW resulting from human activity. Finally, based on the foregoing analysis, the paper outlines policies to help advance human wellbeing in poor countries while enhancing their ability to cope with GW.


It's Time To Drastically Slim Down Bias-Ridden BBC

Sir Antony Jay

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has a duty of impartiality, as we all know. But what exactly does ‘impartiality’ mean? If it simply means giving equal time to Labour and Conservative politicians on matters of party contention, the BBC fulfils its duty fairly well. But if it means not having, or at least never revealing, any views of its own on any subject of public debate, well, that is quite another matter.

Anyone familiar with large organisations knows that over the years they develop and perpetuate their own ethos, their own value system, their own corporate beliefs and standards. The police, the Army, the National Health Service, the Civil Service – they all subscribe to their own central orthodoxy, even if not every member accepts every item of it. Connoisseurs of Whitehall are aware that different Ministries have different and even conflicting attitudes – the conservatism of the Home Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Trade and Industry contrasts with the liberalism of the Departments of Education, Health and Social Services and the Department of Environment, though they are united in their belief in a large and well remunerated Civil Service. Those at the top of the tree are the custodians of corporate orthodoxy; they recruit applicants in their own image, and the applicants are steadily indoctrinated with the organisation’s principles and practices. Heretics tend to leave fairly early in their careers.

It would be astonishing if the BBC did not have its own orthodoxy. It has been around for 85 years, recruiting bright graduates, mostly with arts degrees, and deeply involved in current affairs issues and news reporting. And of course for all that time it has been supported by public money. One result of this has been an implicit belief in government funding and government regulation. Another is a remarkable lack of interest in industry and a deep hostility to business and commerce.

At this point I have to declare an interest, or at least admit to previous. I joined BBC television, my first job after university and National Service, in 1955, six months before the start of commercial television, and stayed for nine years as trainee, producer, editor and finally head of a production department. I absorbed and expressed all the accepted BBC attitudes: hostility to, or at least suspicion of, America, monarchy, government, capitalism, empire, banking and the defence establishment, and in favour of the Health Service, state welfare, the social sciences, the environment and state education. But perhaps our most powerful antagonism was directed at advertising. This is not surprising; commercial television was the biggest threat the BBC had ever had to face. The idea that television should be financed by businessmen promoting their products for profit created in us an almost spiritual revulsion.

And when our colleagues, who we had thought were good BBC men, left to join commercial broadcasters, they became pariahs. We could hardly bring ourselves to speak to them again. They had not just gone to join a rival company; they had sinned against the true faith, they were traitors, deserters, heretics.

This deep hostility to people and organisations who made and sold things was not of course exclusive to the BBC. It permeated a lot of upper middle class English society (and has not vanished yet). But it was wider and deeper in the BBC than anywhere else, and it is still very much a part of the BBC ethos. Very few of the BBC producers and executives have any real experience of the business world, and as so often happens, this ignorance, far from giving rise to doubt, increases their certainty.

We were masters of the techniques of promoting our point of view under the cloak of impartiality. The simplest was to hold a discussion between a fluent and persuasive proponent of the view you favoured, and a humourless bigot representing the other side. With a big story, like shale gas for example, you would choose the aspect where your case was strongest: the dangers of subsidence and water pollution, say, rather than the transformation of Britain’s energy supplies and the abandonment of wind farms and nuclear power stations. And you could have a ‘balanced’ summary with the view you favoured coming last: not “the opposition claim that this will just make the rich richer, but the government point out that it will create 10,000 new jobs” but “the government claim it will create 10,000 new jobs, but the opposition point out that it will just make the rich richer.” It is the last thought that stays in the mind. It is curiously satisfying to find all these techniques still being regularly used forty seven years after I left the BBC.

The issue of man-made global warming could have been designed for the BBC. On the one side are the industrialists, the businessmen, the giant corporations and the bankers (or at least those who are not receiving generous grants, subsidies and contracts from their government for climate-related projects such as wind farms or electric cars), on the other the environmentalists, the opponents of commercial expansion and industrial growth. Guessing which side the BBC will be on is a no-brainer, but no one has documented it in such meticulous detail as Christopher Booker. His case is unanswerable. The costs to Britain of trying to combat global warming are horrifying, and the BBC’s role in promoting the alarmist cause is, quite simply, shameful.

So what do we do about the BBC? One course of action that would be doomed from the start is to try and change its ethos, its social attitudes and its political slant. They have been unchanged for over half a century and just about all the influential and creative people involved in political programme commissioning and production are thoroughly indoctrinated. So do we abolish the BBC? After all, we do not have any newspapers or magazines that are subsidised with nearly four billion pounds of taxpayers’ money; why should broadcasting be different? If broadcasting were to start now, with all the benefits of cable and satellite technology, I cannot see anyone suggesting a system devised for the era of restricted wavelengths in which the BBC was born in the 1920s.

Of course no government would actually face up to the problem of privatising the BBC. And there are strong arguments for keeping it: some of its production units are among the best in the world. There is also a case for leaving its news and current affairs operation alone; it may have a built-in liberal/statist bias, but there are lots of other news channels which are commercially funded, so there is no great damage done if one of them is run by the middle class liberal elite.

No, what really needs changing is the size of the BBC. All we need from it is one television channel and one speech radio station – Radio 4, in effect. All its other mass of activities – publishing, websites, orchestras, digital channels, music and local radio stations – could be disposed of without any noticeable loss to the cultural life of the country, and the licence fee could probably be cut by two-thirds.

Could it happen? As the economic squeeze tightens, the case for a drastic slimming down of the BBC gets stronger every day. Cash-strapped households might be glad of the extra £100 a year, even at the expense of repeats, movies, imported programmes, quiz show and panel games – not to mention the sporting events we would see on other channels if the BBC hadn’t outbid them - that the BBC currently uses to fill out its schedules. But in some ways, the strongest case of all is made by Christopher Booker: if the BBC is to be paid to propagate the opinions of a liberal elite minority, it should not be allowed to dominate the national airwaves as it does today. Its voice should be heard, but it should not be allowed to drown out the others.


CO2 . . . The World's Savior?

Well this is interesting. It turns out that pushing CO2 into our atmosphere could well be the key to feeding our growing population.

A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Botany by Fereres, Orgaz, and Gonzalez-Dugo looks at the effect of CO2 on food production in a world increasing in population even as water is becoming increasingly scarce. So what major efficiencies need to be introduced to allow food production to match population growth in this scenario?

The authors posit that our world has become much more efficient in food production in large measure because of the release of carbon dioxide - i.e., plant food - into the air since the start of the Industrial Revolution.
It has significantly increased the leaf photosynthetic rates of our crops, while it has significantly reduced their transpiration rates, which has led to significant increases in leaf water use efficiency, or the amount of biomass produced per unit of water transpired in the process.

The experiments conducted by Fereres, Orgaz and Dugo ultimately verified that CO2 has a significant positive effect on crop production, while showing that theories of negative effects on world crop production from CO2 did not manifest in "real world" tests. So what does this mean?
Mankind's CO2 emissions may ultimately prove a godsend to humanity, as they just might make the difference between our being able to adequately [feed] . . . our expanding population in the very near future or our failing to do so in a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions.

Apparently, we need more coal plants for the good of the environment. Al Gore's head set to explode in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

Actually, I have been waiting for years for some scientists to confirm this hypothesis, as there had been some limited research a few years ago that showed higher agricultural yields in the presence of increased CO2 concentrations. In a world without the politicized science of Anthropogenic Global Warming, this study would be the impetus for a great deal more research to disprove or prove and extend the findings of the above study. But what I suspect will happen is that this study will be at best ignored, or at worst suppressed, and that we will learn of a conspiracy to delegitimize this study in a decade when the Climategate 7.0 e-mails are released.



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


10 December, 2011

New Report: The BBC and Climate Change: A Triple Betrayal

A new report, published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, reveals that the BBC has failed in its professional duty to report accurately and objectively on the issue of climate change, one of the biggest scientific and political stories of our time.

Written by Christopher Booker, one of the UK's most seasoned journalists, the report critically reviews the BBC’s coverage of climate change issues against its statutory obligation to report ‘with due accuracy and impartiality’.

His report, The BBC and Climate Change: A Triple Betrayal, shows that the BBC has not only failed in its professional duty to report fully and accurately: it has betrayed its own principles, in three respects:

First, it has betrayed its statutory obligation to be impartial, using the excuse that any dissent from the official orthodoxy was so insignificant that it should just be ignored or made to look ridiculous.

Second, it has betrayed the principles of responsible journalism, by allowing its coverage to become so one-sided that it has too often amounted to no more than propaganda.

Third, it has betrayed the fundamental principles of science, which relies on unrelenting scepticism towards any theory until it can be shown to provide a comprehensive explanation for the observed evidence.

"Above all, the BBC has been guilty of abusing the trust of its audience, and of all those compelled to pay for it. On one of the most important and far-reaching issues of our time, its coverage has been so tendentious that it has given its viewers a picture not just misleading but at times even fraudulent," Christopher Booker said.

In the foreword to the GWPF report, Sir Antony Jay writes:

"The costs to Britain of trying to combat global warming are horrifying, and the BBC’s role in promoting the alarmist cause is, quite simply, shameful."

The full report is available here


The BBC and an inconvenient truth about climate change


From its breathtaking footage of killer whales hunting in packs to the scenes of penguins swimming with balletic grace under the sea ice, Sir David Attenborough’s BBC series Frozen Planet has been acclaimed as perhaps the most riveting sequence of natural history programmes ever produced.

The sophistication of the photography, the extraordinary endeavour of the film crews to get the best shots and Sir David’s breathily authoritative commentary have had viewers entranced in their millions.

Last night’s was the final part of this landmark series, and it set a very different tone from his usual celebration of the natural world. This was because Sir David and the BBC decided to use the last programme to put over a particular message that has become all too familiar from the Corporation in recent years.

The BBC's Frozen Planet has been a massive hit, with its presenter Sir David Attenborough capturing the nation's imagination

Sir David used the awesome shots of the frozen polar wastes to hammer home his belief that the world is facing disaster from man-made global warming.

No one can doubt the passion of his belief. But in putting across his apocalyptic message so forcefully, too many important questions on this hugely important subject were last night neither asked nor answered.


In short, it was a deeply disappointing end to the series — for it was the latest one of countless examples of how, in recent years, the BBC has chosen to make its coverage of one of the most crucial issues of our time quite deliberately, even defiantly one-sided.

The BBC is committed by its charter to report with ‘accuracy and impartiality’. Yet on climate change, it has adopted a clear ‘party line’, which has run through almost every aspect of its broadcasting.

Earlier this year, when the Mail serialised the memoirs of the respected former BBC news reporter and anchorman Peter Sissons, his insider’s view explained how the BBC had become ‘a propaganda machine for climate-change zealots’.

So distorted has the BBC’s coverage become that I produced a detailed report on the subject for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the ‘sceptical’ think-tank run by former Chancellor Lord (Nigel) Lawson, which is published today.

My disturbing findings show that the problem began a few years ago when the alarm over global warming was at its height. Al Gore’s Oscar-winning film An Inconvenient Truth — a sensationalist documentary warning of the imminent destruction of our planet because of climate change — was packing in vast audiences and being circulated to our schools to show to children.

Tony Blair was putting global warming at the top of his government’s agenda. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC) was producing its scariest report to date.

By making its coverage so flagrantly one-sided on the environment issue, it has betrayed its statutory duty to report on world events impartially

At a secret ‘high-level seminar’ in January 2006, 30 of the BBC’s most senior staff listened as a former president of the Royal Society, Lord May, told them that ‘the scientific debate over climate change’ was over, and that the BBC must ‘stop reporting the sceptics’.

As a result, the BBC adopted a new editorial policy line, throwing any obligation to impartiality to the winds.

The BBC’s journalists and producers were let off the leash — to line up with the more extreme environmental pressure groups, such as Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and Friends of the Earth, in pushing their global warming agenda for all it was worth.

This bias was soon evident across the whole of the BBC’s output. Not just in the news and current affairs coverage, but from children’s programmes such as Blue Peter —which titled one show Green Peter, with top tips to save the planet — to story-lines in The Archers, one of which involved a farmer planting trees to combat climate change.

Even producers of the BBC Proms got in on the act. In 2007 they commissioned a ‘music drama’ centred on a group of children who had lost their homes through floods caused by climate change.

Programme after programme promoted the climate change gospel, including a two-part documentary series by David Attenborough in 2006, which featured practically every scare story ever dreamed up.

These included predictions that hurricane disasters, such as the previous year’s Katrina, would soon be commonplace, as well as familiar claims that the polar ice caps were melting, threatening the world with a catastrophic rise in sea levels.

The only trouble was that, even then, almost every claim Attenborough made was not supported by serious scientific evidence. The truth is that since the New Orleans flood of 2005, hurricane activity has, in fact, dropped to a historic low.

Despite all the scary claims about the vanishing Arctic ice, its modest retreat has been counter-balanced by a striking increase in ice around Antarctica (a fact not exactly highlighted on Frozen Planet last night).


Bias: When it comes to climate change, from 2006 the BBC adopted a new editorial policy line, throwing any obligation to impartiality to the wind

The irony is that just when the BBC was going into overdrive with its propaganda, the real ‘global warming’ story was beginning to take a very different turn: none of the predictions made by the doom-mongers were coming true.

Temperatures were not continuing to rise as the IPCC’s computer models had predicted they should. The ice caps were not seriously melting; polar bears were not vanishing; sea levels were not dangerously rising; heatwaves, hurricanes and droughts were not becoming more frequent, as those Nobel Prize-winners Gore and the IPCC panel had insisted they must.

And ever more scientists questioned publicly the theory that the world was dangerously heating up as a result of greater amounts of man-made CO2.

Blithely oblivious to all this, the BBC carried on preaching the same old message, assuring us things were ‘even worse than predicted’, and that the only way to save the planet was to pile ever higher taxes on all emissions of CO2 and to build thousands more wind turbines (without, of course, telling us how ludicrously inefficient and expensive they are).

In 2009, the BBC’s journalists could scarcely hide their dismay at the collapse of the UN’s great Copenhagen climate conference, which planned to cut the world’s ‘carbon emissions’ to such an extent it would have landed mankind with the biggest bill in history, at an estimated cost of hundreds of trillions of pounds.

They tried to brush aside the huge embarrassment of the so-called ‘Climategate’ row in 2009 when hundreds of emails from the Climate Research Unit in Norwich were posted online and which revealed how some of the top scientists had been fiddling their data.

They downplayed scandals erupting round the IPCC when it was revealed that many of its more alarming predictions had not been based on proper science at all, but only on scare stories dreamed up by environmental lobby groups.


Then, last summer, in a bid to justify its conduct, the BBC Trust commissioned one of the Corporation’s regular contributors, the geneticist Professor Steve Jones, to review its science coverage, notably on climate change.

Professor Jones made the astonishing claim that the only problem with the coverage of climate change was not that it was too biased, but that it wasn’t biased enough.

All this is why I am far from alone in concluding that the BBC’s coverage has, on this key issue of our time, gone hopelessly off the rails. The Corporation has been guilty of three separate betrayals.

By making its coverage so flagrantly one-sided on the environment issue, it has betrayed its statutory duty to report on world events impartially.

Second, it has betrayed the basic principles of science by giving such unquestioning support to a theory which the evidence has increasingly called into doubt.

Above all, however, the BBC has betrayed the trust of its audience, by failing to give a fair and balanced picture.

This has become a national scandal. It is time we called this pampered, self-important organisation to account for having misinformed us for too long.


A new Noah?

Warmist David Attenborough: If we continue committing CO2 sins, we will be punished by A Great Flood

10 minutes with David Attenborough | ES Magazine:

[Q] What do you say to those who deny climate change?

[A] You simply can't deny it. What you can do, although it is misguided, is to deny how much we have been responsible for it. But the climate is changing, and if it goes on changing, we are going to be in trouble. Everything we can do to reduce the danger must be done, otherwise great cities are going to be submerged. It's absurd to pretend otherwise.


Scandal and Insanity at Penn State

In a repeat of Copenhagen, on the eve of the Durban climate change gabfest, someone released another horde of emails from alarmist climate researchers, including Dr. Michael Mann, whose infamous “hockey stick” was headlined in the 2001 IPCC report to justify the Kyoto agreement and demands that nations slash fossil fuel use and economic growth.

Meanwhile, back on Dr. Mann’s campus, Pennsylvania State University was confronting the sordid Jerry Sandusky affair. Sports Illustrated summarized the Augean Stables task in an article titled “Missteps at every turn: Efforts to clean up Penn State reveal how deep the institutional problems lie.”

As SI noted, a key judge in the case, Pennsylvania’s governor, Penn State’s new athletic director and even the attorney appointed to head up a “full and complete” internal investigation all have deep and longstanding ties to the university and/or its big-money football team. Noting these and other “blatant conflicts of interest,” the magazine quoted new PSU president Rodney Erickson as saying, “Penn State is committed to transparency to the fullest extent possible” [emphasis added] – in view of relevant financial, personal and other considerations, and special exemptions that Penn State enjoys from disclosure laws.

SI ended the article by asking, “Is Penn State cleaning house? Or simply rearranging the furniture?”

The same question applies to Dr. Mann. In the wake of Climategate 2009, Penn State hurriedly exonerated him and his department of any wrongdoing, as did NOAA and the National Science Foundation. The blatant whitewashes reflect the desperation of organizations intent on preserving their money train and perpetuating the Hollywood façade of manmade catastrophic climate change.

All three organizations are at the forefront of climate alarmism and its agenda of “radically transforming” the energy and economic foundations of modern nations. As IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri has said, climate change is “just a part of” the effort “to bring about major structural changes” in “unsustainable” economic growth, development and lifestyles.

The agenda involves slashing carbon dioxide levels to 80% below 1990 levels. That would carry the United States back to emission levels last seen during the American Civil War – devastating the economy.

Together these institutions receive billions of dollars in annual government grants that foster one line of thinking on “global climate disruption” – another term concocted to spin weather and climate events as unprecedented disasters resulting from hydrocarbon energy use. Delegates from all three institutions get to attend annual climate confabs at exotic 5-star resorts, to promote “the cause” of ending mankind’s “addiction” to fossil fuels and establishing “global governance” under UN auspices.

For all these institutions, full-blown independent investigations – with adverse witnesses, cross-examination, and access to data and records denied to previous investigators – could result in lost income, prestige, and power over public policy decisions. Honest, replicable, truly peer-reviewed, robustly debated science into the causes, effects and extent of climate change would do likewise.

For Penn State, the global warming treasure chest may well exceed the Nittany Lions football cash cow. As meteorologist Art Horn has noted, the university received a whopping $470,000,000 in federal grants and contracts between 2010 and 2011. Neither Mann nor Penn State is saying how much went to climate research. But since the US government spent over $106 billion on climate research money between 2003 and 2010, PSU undoubtedly received a hefty portion for promoting the official alarmist viewpoint.

No wonder they refused to turn over raw data and computer codes to other scientists, IPCC reviewers and even investigators – claiming these were private property, even though taxpayers paid for them and the results generated are being used to justify endless energy, job and economy-killing public policies.

At the tip of the policy iceberg are EPA’s (postponed) CO2 “endangerment” regulations, its boiler and refinery rules, its reams of restrictions on coal-fired power plants, the agency’s opposition to hydraulic shale fracturing and the Keystone XL pipeline, and its new automobile mileage rules, which will raise the cost of cars, reduce crash-worthiness and result in thousands of additional deaths in accidents. Mann’s deceptive models and hockey sticks are also being used to justify a $100-billion-a-year “climate change reparation and mitigation” fund for poor nations, to be financed directly by FRCs (formerly rich countries) or via “climate taxes” imposed on international air travel and imported and exported products.

Also benefitting from the corrupt Climate Armageddon research machine are crony capitalists and climate profiteers too numerous to count: the renewable energy and carbon trading firms that depend on climate scares to maintain renewable energy, “green job,” carbon trading, and similar mandates and schemes.

As Competitive Enterprise Institute analyst Bill Frezza has observed, the US Department of Energy invested $529 million in taxpayer-subsidized loan guarantees to build North America’s largest lithium ion automotive battery plant … to supply a Finnish electric car manufacturer backed by Al Gore’s venture capital fund … to ship 40 (!) cars to the USA to date … so that they can be purchased by “environment-motivated” millionaires like Leonardo DeCaprio, who receive $7,500 tax credits for buying the cars.

Add in billions for wind turbines and solar panels … billions to persuade the poorest nations on Planet Earth to endure “sustainable” lifestyles, rather than modernize through reliable, affordable and, yes, hydrocarbon energy … and billions for IPCC and other UN bureaucrats, who insist that drought and flood, cold and heat, storm and sea level events are no longer due to natural forces, but to mankind’s use of fossil fuels – and we’re talking serious money.

Global warming alarmism could ultimately cause the global economy trillions of dollars.

Meanwhile, what about average workers and families? They get none of these perks, sinecures, subsidies and handouts. Instead, they get to pay taxes to support the bureaucrats, pseudo scientists and activists. They get to pay soaring energy bills that subsidize wind, solar and climate schemes, while driving families into fuel poverty. They get to lose their jobs, as companies faced with skyrocketing energy bills lay people off, close their doors or ship jobs off to overseas factories that have cheap energy and cheap labor, because China, India, et cetera do not and will not operate under Kyoto-style restrictions.

What about families in destitute African countries, where 90% of the people still don’t have electricity – because radical environmentalists, World Bank operatives and Obama Administration bureaucrats collude to delay or prevent the construction of coal and even gas-fired power plants?

It’s maybe possible that we face a genuine manmade climate crisis. It’s highly likely that mankind will continue to confront natural climate changes that compel adaptation through ingenuity and technology.

However, Climategate 1 and 2, The Delinquent Teenager and other exposés make it clear that the climate crisis cabal deliberately altered data, misrepresented and withheld crucial information, squelched inquiry and debate, and presented a one-sided narrative, so as to protect their revenues and reputations, and drive an anti-hydrocarbon agenda. Until truly convincing evidence is presented, vetted and fully debated – that fossil fuels are causing significant warming and climate disruption – Kyoto and its proposed successors should be terminated, and the frenzied rush to renewable energy should be ended.

Penn State needs to conduct a real investigation, by honest independent analysts who have no ties to the university or the climate crisis consortium. Its trustees took bold, decisive action on the Sandusky scandal. They need to do the same thing with Professor Mann, his department and colleagues.

Far too much is at stake – for the university, United States and world at large – to permit Penn State (or the IPCC or White House) to merely rearrange the furniture.


Solar to add billions to Australian power bills

THE federal scheme to promote the installation of rooftop solar panels and hot-water systems will have a cumulative cost to consumers of $4.7 billion by mid-2020, adding to pressure on household power bills.

The prediction is contained in advice to the nation's energy ministers, which also forecasts rises in residential electricity prices of about 37 per cent in the three years to 2013-14, with an average annual hike of 11 per cent.

The predicted rise shows prices may increase faster than previously expected, with predictions in July suggesting the three-year rise was expected to be in the order of 30 per cent.

The advice also shows that the carbon tax is likely to hit electricity prices hardest in Queensland and NSW, where power prices are tipped to rise by 42 per cent over the next three years - compared with a 32 per cent rise without a carbon price.

This is broadly in line with Treasury modelling, which suggests that the carbon tax will add about 10 per cent to power prices from 2013-17.

Queensland, NSW and the ACT faced the highest predicted price rises over the next three years, at 42 per cent.

They are followed by South Australia, with a predicted rise of 36 per cent; Victoria (33 per cent), Western Australia (30 per cent), Tasmania (25 per cent); and the Northern Territory (16 per cent).

The reports, by the Australian Energy Market Commission, were released by the Ministerial Standing Council on Energy and Resources.

After the meeting, federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson announced a Productivity Commission inquiry into aspects of electricity network regulation.

Mr Ferguson said that significant investment was required in electricity networks to replace and upgrade ageing assets, to meet growing levels of demand and facilitate a transition towards clean-energy technologies.

"Critical to delivering our energy needs is ensuring that our network regulatory frameworks are delivering efficient and reliable outcomes for consumers," Mr Ferguson said.

But the energy network businesses hit back, saying network prices had to rise to ensure safe electricity supplies to consumers and because the costs of raising funds offshore was increasing.

The AEMC reports found that on top of the $4.7 billion from small-scale renewable projects, energy consumers would also pay for the costs of state-based feed-in tariffs for households for injecting power back into the grid over the life of systems that have already been installed.

The AEMC found if the states adhered to caps on feed-in tariffs - which several states are imposing in an attempt to rein in generous rebates - then the take-up of the small-scale renewable energy scheme should fall from existing levels.

"But forecasts of higher retail electricity prices and reductions in the technology costs for solar PV will still provide incentives for some consumers to take up the SRES," the AEMC found.

As the SRES is a national scheme, decisions by state governments on their feed-in tariffs hit all consumers, as retailers are required to buy certificates that are then "passed through to all consumers in Australia".

By the middle of this year, about 400,000 households had PV solar systems installed.

The number of solar rooftop panel installations could reach more than 1.5 million by 2019-20 - accounting for more than one in every four owner-occupied households - if a carbon price starts next year.

The main beneficiaries of the green policy have been people living in houses and semi-detached homes in suburbs with low population densities, young children and often have three cars to a dwelling. By contrast, young people, those renting, the very affluent and people in higher population density areas were unlikely to tap the scheme.

The majority of the new solar installations were expected in NSW and Queensland, with a significant number in Victoria and Western Australia.


Are We Standing on the Edge of the Climate Change "Abyss"?

Reason's science correspondent sends a third dispatch from the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Durban

Ronald Bailey

Durban, South Africa-Yesterday, before an audience of more than 100 environmental ministers gathered at the opening "high level segment" plenary of the Durban Climate Change Conference, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon flatly declared, "We are nearing the `point of no return,' and we must pull back from the abyss." The "abyss" against which the Secretary-General warned is a future average global temperature higher than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

What's so terrible about exceeding those two degrees, and where did that figure come from? The 2øC baseline is based on climate models that project increases in greenhouse gases produced chiefly by burning fossil fuels will soon commit humanity to this much extra warming.

In political terms, the 2øC figure derives from the 2010 Cancun Agreements in which member countries to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change officially recognized "that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are required according to science." How deep? They should be deep enough "to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2øC above preindustrial levels." In addition, the Cancun Agreements resolved that this target should reviewed by 2015 with the idea that it could be lowered to cutting greenhouse gas emissions even further with goal of holding the increase in global average temperature below 1.5øC. Keep in mind that it is generally thought that average global temperatures have already increased by 0.8øC in the last 100 years.

"The world has an ever narrowing window of time to stay within the 2 degrees scenario," asserted Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program. "If we allow the United States to set the framework for negotiations from here to 2020, we can wave goodbye to 2 degrees," warned Tim Gore of Oxfam. Nicholas Stern, lead author of the notorious Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, said "The numbers for climate change are very clear-if we want to remain below 2 degrees the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions have to be radical."

A new report issued this week by Climate Interactive (a collaboration between MIT's Sloan School of Management and the Ventana Systems consultancy) also found that to achieve the 2øC goal, the world economy must decarbonizes at a 5.8 percent rate, more than quadrupling the historical rate of 1.3 percent. But it gets worse, according to the Climate Interactive analysis, if countries wait to impose stringent emissions reductions until after 2020; decarbonization would have to rise to 8 percent per year. Interestingly, the latest reports note that in 2010 global carbon intensity actually increased by 0.6 percent rather than falling.

Obviously, a lot of brain and computer power have been devoted to calculating the suite of "ambitious" industrial policies needed to meet these emissions trajectories. In their models, the analysts and most of the folks here at the conference clearly see the climate "abyss" yawning before the world. But how much should we rely on prominent well-meaning energy experts to accurately discern the future?

In 2009, I looked back at the projections made by a much-ballyhooed 1980 National Academy of Science (NAS) report, Energy in Transition, 1985 to 2010. That report took four years to assemble and involved 350 of America's smartest energy researchers, engineers, and economists. How did they do? Not too well. In the NAS economic growth scenario that most closely matched what actually happened, the experts projected that the U.S. energy consumption would rise from 80 quads to more than 130 quads of primary energy by 2010, a 60 percent increase. (A quad is a quadrillion British Thermal Units (BTUs) which is equal to the amount of energy in 45 million tons of coal, or 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, or 170 million barrels of crude oil.) Instead U.S. energy consumption rose to 98 quads, an increase of 22 percent.

Did government energy efficiency policies lead to the steep reduction in projected energy use? Again, not really. A 2004 study by the Washington, D.C., think tank Resources for the Future found that energy efficiency programs reduced annual primary energy consumption by 4 quads below what it would otherwise have been.

Of course, it is possible that our ambitious 21st century energy policy experts armed with faster computers and more complicated models are right this time in their energy production and consumption projections. At least, that's the economic bet that the climate activists and negotiators here in Durban want the rest of us to make.



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


9 December, 2011

Windmill bursts into flame

Severe winds in Scotland have blown trucks off the road, toppled cement walls, brought down trees and forced a wind turbine to spin so quickly it burst into flames, with extreme weather also causing flooding and cutting power.

A 100-metre tall wind turbine at Ardrossan wind farm caught fire in the hurricane-force winds, with photographs showing bright orange embers flying through the air and thick black smoke.

The wind made operations "extremely challenging", Edinburgh Airport said on its website.

Scottish Hydro said "thousands" of customers were without power, mostly in the west of Scotland. It said it expected the situation to "develop throughout the day" as the storm moved east.

The severe weather also hit parts of northern England, with Cumbria experiencing heavy rain and widespread localised flooding.


Early Signs of CRU/IPCC Corruption and Cover-up

by Dr. Tim Ball

Now, over 5000 more leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), labeled Climategate 2, provide clarity. They add flesh to the skeleton of corrupted climate science identified in 1000 leaked emails of Climategate 1. They show why and how it was achieved and intelligent people became so blinded by what Michael Mann called "the cause." Early signs of what was going on were quickly covered up with a masterful PR strategy.

Many, can't believe a small group of scientists achieved such a massive deception. Edward Wegman in his report to the Chair of the Committee on Energy and Commerce Committee identified, through social network analysis: "43 individuals all of whom have close ties to Dr. Mann."

He also anticipates the problems with peer-review: "One of the interesting questions associated with the `hockey stick controversy' are the relationships among the authors and consequently how confident one can be in the peer review process."(page 38.)

Wegman's primary recommendation identified another way it was achieved: "It is especially the case that authors of policy-related documents like the IPCC report, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis, should not be the same people as those that constructed the academic papers"

Maurice Strong chose the UN specifically the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to control bureaucracies within every national government and away from legislative oversight. Those bureaucracies directed research funding to one side of the debate and appointed people to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Research was limited by defining climate change as only human caused changes, which predetermined the outcome. The political objective was enshrined through the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), particularly Agenda 21, introduced at the 1992 Rio Conference organized and chaired by Strong.

Basing Agenda 21 on climate and the environment gave them the moral high ground, which they used to control and centralize power. Vaclav Klaus identified this in his book "Blue planet in green shackles" when he wrote: "Today's debate about global warming is essentially a debate about freedom. The environmentalists would like to mastermind each and every possible (and impossible) aspect of our lives."

It is likely that Agenda 21 is "the cause" discussed in the leaked emails: "I can't overstate the HUGE amount of political interest in the project as a message that the Government can give on climate change to help them tell their story. They want the story to be a very strong one and don't want to be made to look foolish."

Peter Thorne sensed what was happening and issued a warming: "I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run."

Overall attitude given by the comments and actions suggest the end justifies the means. They were likely emboldened by the demonstrated ability to protect scientists who acted rashly for the cause.

The first action that exposed the modus operandi occurred with the 1995 second Report. Benjamin Santer is a CRU graduate. Tom Wigley supervised his PhD titled, "Regional Validation of General Circulation Models" that used three top computer models to recreate North Atlantic conditions where data was best. They created massive pressure systems that don't exist in reality - so he knew the model limitations. Appointed lead-author of Chapter 8 of the 1995 IPCC Report titled "Detection of Climate Change and Attribution of Causes" Santer determined to prove humans were a factor by altering the meaning of what was agreed by the others at the draft meeting in Madrid.

Agreed comments were:

1. "None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed [climate] changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases."

2. "While some of the pattern-base discussed here have claimed detection of a significant climate change, no study to date has positively attributed all or part of climate change observed to man-made causes."

3. "Any claims of positive detection and attribution of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate system are reduced."

4. "While none of these studies has specifically considered the attribution issue, they often draw some attribution conclusions, for which there is little justification."

Santer's replacements were:

1. "There is evidence of an emerging pattern of climate response to forcing by greenhouse gases and sulfate aerosols . from the geographical, seasonal and vertical patterns of temperature change . These results point toward a human influence on global climate."

2. "The body of statistical evidence in chapter 8, when examined in the context of our physical understanding of the climate system, now points to a discernible human influence on the global climate."

As Avery and Singer noted in 2006: "Santer single-handedly reversed the `climate science' of the whole IPCC report and with it the global warming political process! The `discernible human influence' supposedly revealed by the IPCC has been cited thousands of times since in media around the world, and has been the `stopper' in millions of debates among nonscientists."

At the time a quick cover up was necessary. On July 4, 1996, the apparently compliant journal Nature published, "A Search for Human Influences On the Thermal Structure of the Atmosphere" with a familiar list of authors - Santer, Wigley, Jones, Mitchell, Oort and Stouffer. It provided observational evidence that proved the models were accurate. A graph is worth a thousand words as Mann's "hockey stick' showed and so it was with Santer's "discernible human influence". John Daly recreated Santer et al's graph (Figure 1) of the upward temperature trend in the Upper Atmosphere.

Figure 1 Upper Atmosphere Temperature

Then Daly produced a graph of the wider data set in Figure 2 and explains: "we see that the warming indicated in Santer's version is just a product of the dates chosen" (Daly's bold).

Figure 2 Upper Atmosphere Data - Radio Sonde Data

Errors were spotted quickly but Nature didn't publish the rebuttals until 5 months later (12 Dec, 1996), one identified the cherry-picking, the other a natural explanation for the pattern. However, by that time the PR cover up was under way. On July 25, 1996 the American Meteorological Society (AMS) sent a letter of defense to Santer. The letter appears to be evidence of CRU influence and a PR masterpiece. It said there were two questions, the science, and what society must do about scientific findings and the debate they engendered. Science should only be debated in: "peer-reviewed scientific publications - not the media."

This was the strategy confirmed in a leaked email from Michael Mann: "This was the danger of always criticizing (sic) the skeptics for not publishing in the "peer-reviewed literature".

Then AMS wrote: "What is important scientific information and how it is interpreted in the policy debates is an important part of our jobs." "That is, after all, the very reasons for the mix of science and policy in the IPCC."

Daly correctly called this "Scientism".

Santer reportedly later admitted: "he deleted sections of the IPCC chapter which stated that humans were not responsible for climate change."

He did not admit the changes at the time and achieved the objective of getting the discernible human influence message on the world stage. He was protected by the group that demonstrated its control over peer review, journals, professional societies, and the media, until the emails leaked in November 2009 and were reinforced in 2011.


What I learned from Climategate

I am still struck by how many intelligent people, some of whom I respect, say that the Climategate emails are a ho-hum matter. They apparently know a lot more about how "mainstream" climatologists work than I do. I actually learned four things that I did not know before. Apparently, they did know these things. At the risk of boring someone, and in the spirit of getting on the same page, let me list these things:

1. I had thought the the famous hockey stick graph and other global temperature information represented in some direct way readings of actual thermometers in the real world. In fact, these results do not directly report such raw data. Rather, climatologists nudge and tweak the raw data in various ways. This is understandable, in and of itself. After all, there are a great many of these thermometers around the world, and they record their data in a variety of situations. Some sit near air conditioners that spew hot air, others sit on pavement, or on rooftops, or on green grass. Not all have equal value. Adjustments or allowances must be made. This wouldn't be so bad, of course, if these tweaks follow fixed formulas, which are published.

2. In fact, these adjustments in the data do not follow fixed formulas. Well, that is not good, but it wouldn't be so bad if these adjustments in the data are not being made by people who think they know what the results of the data ought to be. However,

3. These adjustments are being made by people who have very strong, even passionate views on what the results are supposed to be. Hm. Well, this doesn't look good. But it's not really, really bad, as far as the science involved is concerned, if the raw data are publicly available and can be checked by others, to see if they get the same results from the same thermometer readings. Science is all about reproducible results, after all! But, no...

4. The raw data are not publicly available. In fact, that is what precipitated Climategate in the first place. Somebody actually had put in a Freedom of Information Act (England has a FOIA, just as the US does) request to see the damn data. Many of the emails involve these climatologists conspiring to continue to conceal this information. Indeed one of the things I learned from Climategate (but didn't seem to surprise certain other people) was that a significant portion of these data had been deliberately destroyed and cannot ever be checked by anyone.

The people who say "this is what academics are like" and "this is how science works" evidently knew all this. I have to confess my ignorance here: I did not. I learned it from the Climategate emails.

I should add the it is also clear that the academics and scientists that these people know are very different from the ones that I have known.


Jerry Sandusky and Michael Mann - Much In Common?

So what have these two men got in common? Well both have worked or work for Penn State and both have been the subject of recent "controversy".

JERRY Sandusky, a Penn State football coach, is accused of child sex abuse. Michael Mann is a famous Penn State climate scientist and he was accused of tampering with data to push an alarmist Global Warming agenda.

Oh and they have one other thing in common - after they were accused of wrongdoing both were "exonerated" by an internal Penn State inquiry.

Well a Grand Jury has just announced what it thinks of one Penn State internal inquiries. Jerry Sandusky has been indicted on multiple counts of child abuse and rape. Perhaps more importantly the officials who conducted the "internal inquiry" into his activities have been charged with perjury and covering up child abuse.

Now everyone is innocent until proven guilty but these officials admit they were told by a member of staff that Sandusky was sexually touching a young boy whilst both were naked in a shower. (It is actually claimed they were told the member of staff `witnessed a rape' but that is disputed).

Given what is admitted it is sickening that Sandusky was exonerated by their internal inquiry. And so to Michael Mann - when emails surfaced that revealed he "used a trick to hide the decline" whilst claiming that temperatures had in fact increased - Penn State set up an internal inquiry and Mr Mann was exonerated.

Now - a new batch of emails has been released "Climategate 2.0" and they reveal his scientific colleagues believe Mann's work contained "probable flaws" was "clearly deficient" and that he was unwilling to evaluate his own work objectively.

Then there were two other colleagues in two unconnected emails who thought his work was "crap". And there are 200,000 emails that have not been released.

Now I don't want to compare Michael Mann to an alleged child abuser such as Jerry Sandusky. What is worth pointing out however is that Penn State apparently covered up child rape to protect their reputation. If they did that for Sandusky - it seems clear and Climategate 2.0 confirms that their internal inquiry into Michael Mann was worthless. And it is worth asking what further climate shenanigans they are covering up.


This is "the science" that Warmists keep talking about

In the year 2000, Hansen and his buddies decided to give underachieving global warming a boost – by adding 0.6 degrees on to the disappointing US data set.

Call it Enron’s nature trick. Now let’s overlay that adjustment (green line below) on GISS US temperatures, and shazaaam …. All of the US warming since 1960 is made inside USHCN computers. If the data was reported as read from the thermometers, there would be zero increase in temperature. No wonder DOE doesn’t want the raw temperature data available.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Greenpeace destroys an Australian business

A PAPER company is reviewing the future of its $20 million plant in western Sydney after "intimidation" from environmental group Greenpeace cost it major supermarket orders.

The appraisal could see a job-starved section of Sydney lose a facility with a capacity to employ up to 30 workers.

Solaris Paper has been accused by Greenpeace of using an Indonesian supplier, related company Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), which harvests rainforests and puts the disappearing Sumatran tiger at further risk.

Solaris says the Greenpeace claims and support from unions have cost it business with Woolworths and the third-biggest supermarket chain IGA.

"We are not moving away from the fact that there is intimidation and harassment - allbeit on a moral high ground," the director of corporate affairs for Solaris, Steve Nicholson told

Mr Nicholson said Solaris supplies came from "legal non-controversial areas. In other words degraded forest that's good for nothing else".

And he said: "We do more for the preservation and protection of Sumatran tigers than Greenpeace will ever do."

Greenpeace rejects the claim by Solaris that its imported supplies are from appropriate sources.

"It's ridiculous for Solaris, a company controlled by the notorious rainforest destroyer Asia Pulp and Paper to be blaming Greenpeace for its woes," spokesman Reece Turner said.

"This is a company that literally makes money from selling loo roll made from Indonesian rainforests and endangered tiger habitat.

"Once retailers and consumers found out the truth about Solaris and APP it's no wonder they've chosen to reject their products."

Solaris has built a $20 million facility in Greystanes with a capacity to employ 25-30 workers, but at present it is almost idle. It might soon be shut down entirely.

The facility receives rolls of paper from Indonesia and re-packages the sheets into toilet and facial tissues and kitchen paper for sale in Australia.

The Solaris showdown has highlighted increasingly aggressive campaigns by Greenpeace and other groups to marshall consumer comments to force companies into agreements on what ingredients they use.

Retail giant Harvey Norman has been the successful target of one campaign focused on its timber furniture, while this month, Bakers Delight agreed not to use genetically modified wheat - which isn't available anyway.

Mr Turner from Greenpeace told potential job losses had to be looked at from "a total employment kind of position".

"Jobs are sensitive and we all want to make sure we have as many jobs as we can in Australia," he said. Mr Turner said more jobs could be created if a tissue-maker produced items in Australia and didn't import materials.

He said APP was "our No.1 public enemy for us in Indonesia".

A statement from Solaris said it was being "forced to review manufacturing operations in Australia".

Mr Nicholson said: "The decision to review and restructure its operations follows a series of unwarranted and unsubstantiated attacks left by NGOs (non-government organisations) led by Greenpeace, unions and those threatened by the introduction of quality, competitive products



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


8 December, 2011

Is global warming slowing? A new study says no (?)

An amusing Warmist article below. Just a few points: "surface temperatures have risen dramatically". A rise of less that one degree Celsius is "dramatic". "Trivial" would be a more honest description. And note that their own graphs confirm the narrow range of the change. They are calibrated in tenths of a degree.

Rahmstorff is Germany's equivalent of Phil Jones so you know how far to trust him and his "adjustments". And perhaps most amusing of all his post-adjustment graph show temperature rises within an even SMALLER range than the original data does.

And, finally, they have been forced to acknowledge a solar influence, something they long denied. There's no limit to how slippery Warmists can be

The global temperature series is one of the clearest pieces of evidence that the planet is heating up. Over the past century, it’s easy to see from, say, NASA’s data that surface temperatures have risen dramatically. But there’s also a fair bit of short-term natural fluctuation from year to year, which can sometimes obscure what, exactly, is going on.

For instance, according to the World Meterological Association, 2011 looks to be the 10th-warmest year on record. But this year was also a La Niña year, part of a natural weather cycle in which oceans run a little cold and temperatures tend to drop (as it happens, 2011 will likely prove to be the warmest La Niña year on record). So how do we tease out the human influence on climate from these short-term natural variations? A number of climate researchers have tried to do just that, but a new paper from statistician Grant Foster and climatologist Stefan Rahmstorf provides two graphs that show rather clearly how we’re warming the planet.

First, Foster and Rahmstorf took the raw data from five different global temperature series since 1978, including surface data and lower-atmosphere data from satellites:

Notice that temperatures have been rising since 1978, but there’s a fair bit of fluctuation due to natural events that affect different data series differently (El Niño events, for instance, affect satellite data more strongly than surface data). That allows skeptics to say things like, “Hey, global warming has stopped since 1998!”

So, in their paper, Foster and Rahmstorf tried to separate the signal from the noise. Using statistical techniques (detailed further by Foster here), they factored out the influence of the three biggest known natural mechanisms that can influence global temperatures in the short term — the El Niño oscillation, solar variability and volcanic eruptions. When those are removed, here’s what the graph looks like:

What’s left over is the global warming signal — the bulk of which is caused by humans emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. (There are other smaller factors at play here, too, but previous “attribution” research has found that human activity, El Nino oscillations, solar activities and volcanoes can explain more than three-fourths of temperature variation since 1899.) Moreover, there’s no indication that global warming has slowed at any point. The temperature trend in the raw data gets muted in some years by reduced solar intensity or by a La Niña event, but not every year will be a La Niña year. Greenhouse gases appear to be pushing temperatures inexorably upward.

Stuart Saniford tries to take this analysis a step further and extrapolate how much warming we could expect by the end of the century, based on the linear trend over the past 30 years. This isn’t necessarily a good way to predict the future — after all, the climate can change in non-linear ways, which is why climate models that take into account the physics of the system are so important for predictions — but it gives a rough sense of what to expect if we keep emitting carbon pollution at our current rate. All told, though, Foster and Rahmstorf’s work suggests that there’s no basis for claiming that global warming is slowing or stopping.


Huntsman retreats on climate

Not a moment too soon. In many ways he is a better conservative than either Romney or Perry but his credulous stance on climate has alienated him from the GOP base

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman appeared to take a notably more skeptical view towards current climate change science Tuesday, saying that the "scientific community owes us more" on the issue and that not enough solid research exists to "formulate policies" based on global warming.

"I'm not a scientist, I'm not a physicist, but I would defer to science in that discussion, and I would say that the scientific community owes us more in terms of a better description or explanation about what might lie beneath all of this," Huntsman told an audience of bloggers at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington.

"But there's not enough information right now to be able to formulate policies in terms of addressing it overall, primarily because it's a global issue," he went on. "We can enact policies here. But I wouldn't want to unilaterally disarm as a country, I wouldn't want to hinder job creators during a time when our economy is flat."

Huntsman made waves earlier this summer when he took aim at his GOP rivals for expressing skepticism about evolution and climate change science, sending out a much-retweeted message in August that read, "To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”

Asked by a reporter Tuesday whether he has reversed that position, Huntsman said that he still "defers" to scientists who study the issue but said that there remain conflicts among the research community.

"Because ... there are questions about the validity of the science, evidence by one university over in Scotland recently, I think the onus is on the scientific community to provide more in the way of information, to help clarify the situation, that's all."

Huntsman also compared the issue of climate change to cancer research.

"If there's some interruption or disconnect in terms of what other scientists have to say, then let the debate play out within the scientific community," he said. "I think that's where we are. There's probably more debate yet to play out."

Huntsman also took questions from attendees about trade policy, education, and the United Nations. He echoed criticisms of one federal agency often derided by his fellow Republicans, telling the audience "I'm still trying to find the value added of the Department of Education."

Spokesman Tim Miller described the former Utah governor's position as consistent, saying that Huntsman has consistently said that if 90 percent of climate scientists agree on the effects of man-made warming, "he trusts their position."

"That was his position then and it's his position now," Miller said, adding that Huntsman's statement today related more specifically to the global nature of the problem -- that United States policy should not be shaped around the threat of global warming until the science is indisputably settled and "until the Chinese are on board."


No recent warming signal found in study of frozen ground

A paper published today in Environmental Research Letters examines a 71 year history of seasonally frozen ground changes in Eurasia.

The paper finds freeze depths decreased (indicative of warming) between the late 1960's to early 1990's, but that "from that point forward, likely through at least 2008, no change is evident."

The paper finds the observed changes linked to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), a natural climate cycle, rather than the uncorrelated steady rise in 'greenhouse gases.'
Environmental Research Letters Volume 6 Number 4

An observational 71-year history of seasonally frozen ground changes in the Eurasian high latitudes

Oliver W Frauenfeld and Tingjun Zhang


In recent decades, significant changes have occurred in high-latitude areas, particularly to the cryosphere. Sea ice extent and thickness have declined. In land areas, glaciers and ice sheets are experiencing negative mass balance changes, and there is substantial regional snow cover variability. Subsurface changes are also occurring in northern soils. This study focuses on these changes in the soil thermal regime, specifically the seasonally frozen ground region of Eurasia.

We use a database of soil temperatures at 423 stations and estimate the maximum annual soil freezing depth at the 387 sites located on seasonally frozen ground. Evaluating seasonal freeze depth at these sites for 1930–2000 reveals a statistically significant trend of −4.5 cm/decade and a net change of −31.9 cm. Interdecadal variability is also evident such that there was no trend until the late 1960s, after which seasonal freeze depths decreased significantly until the early 1990s.

From that point forward, likely through at least 2008, no change is evident. These changes in the soil thermal regime are most closely linked with the freezing index, but also mean annual air temperatures and snow depth. Antecedent conditions from the previous warm season do not appear to play a large role in affecting the subsequent cold season's seasonal freeze depths.

The strong decrease in seasonal freeze depths during the 1970s to 1990s was likely the result of strong atmospheric forcing from the North Atlantic Oscillation during that time period.


Michael Mann projects his own tactics onto others

The ongoing Climategate scandal, including 5,000-plus Climategate 2 emails released two weeks ago, reveals prominent global warming advocates acknowledging flaws in the theory that humans are causing dramatic climate change, coordinating efforts to hide such flaws, coordinating efforts to misrepresent scientific data, coordinating efforts to destroy evidence of these inconvenient truths, and coordinating efforts to blackball or induce the firing of scientists and editors of peer-reviewed science journals who publish evidence contradicting the alarmist storyline. The most important revelation from the Climategate scandals is that global warming scientist-activists are misrepresenting the scientific data regarding global warming. The second most important revelation is that scientist-activists are waging a brutal and dirty war of personal and professional destruction against skeptical scientists who disagree with them.

Make no mistake, the scientific misconduct revealed in the Climategate emails is severe and undeniable. The Climategate scientist-activists openly acknowledge substantial scientific evidence that contradicts their theories, then work to together to hide that evidence from the public.

For example, in Climategate 1, “hide the decline” became a scandalous punch line for a reason. Scientists had long been in general agreement that the Medieval Warm Period, when the Vikings established long-term settlements in Greenland and when productive vineyards thrived in more polar latitudes than is possible today, produced a few hundred years of temperatures warmer than today. This was very inconvenient for global warming activists claiming humans are causing dangerous and unprecedented global warming.

Michael Mann, a scientist-activist who is currently a researcher at Penn State University, then produced a controversial historical temperature assessment claiming the Medieval Warm Period wasn’t so warm after all. One of the problems with Mann’s temperature assessment was that it indicated today’s temperatures should be much lower than they actually are.

To get around the inconvenient flaw of his temperature assessment empirically underestimating real-world temperatures, Mann “hid the decline” in his assessment’s recent results and surreptitiously substituted actual surface temperature readings for the past few decades. As a result, Mann used cold-biased model data for prior centuries and a different set of warm-biased data during the last century to misleadingly assert today’s temperatures are much warmer than the Medieval Warm Period.

In the Climategate 2 emails, scientists openly acknowledge other contradictions between alarming theories and real-world conditions. These include temperatures in the lower troposphere behaving in stark contrast to how they should behave if greenhouse gas emissions were responsible for recent warming, hurricanes not behaving as scientist-activists said they should behave, ocean temperatures not complying with alarming computer models, etc. Again, as in the first batch of Climategate emails, the scientist-activists are concerned about the scientific evidence not matching their models, but work together to paint an alarming picture of global warming anyway.

The Climategate emails reveal that when the scientist-activists saw skeptical scientists successfully calling public attention to such evidence, they went on a vicious attack, pulling strings to pressure universities and science journals to fire or blackball the skeptical scientists for presenting their competing theories and evidence. The Climategate emails also show Mann as one of the most aggressive warriors in the battle to publicly disparage and ruin the careers of scientists who disagree with his views on global warming.

For example, upset that Harvard University researchers were successfully arguing that solar variance rather than carbon dioxide emissions are the most likely primary cause of recent global temperature fluctuations, Mann sent out an email seeking to coordinate action to pressure Harvard to rebuke or discipline the researchers. “If someone has close ties w/ any individuals there [at Harvard] who might be in a position to actually get some action taken on this, I’d highly encourage pursuing this,” writes Mann to fellow scientist-activists.

The Climategate emails also reveal Mann recruiting investigative journalists to dig up dirt on scientist Steve McIntyre, who had called into questions Mann’s scientific theories.

Two days ago Mann delivered his best impersonation, playing the persecuted victim after being caught red-handed. “[A]ttacks on climate science all seem the same. I should know. I’ve been one of the climate contrarians’ preferred targets for years,” complains Mann in a letter to the Wall Street Journal.

“In recent years, attacks on climate science have become personal,” Mann asserts. Mann certainly should know about that – he wrote the book on it.

Mann paints any scientific criticisms of his theories or methods as an attack on climate science itself. As quoted above, and throughout his Wall Street Journal letter, Mann repeatedly refers to skeptical objections to his theories as “attacks on climate science.” Mann’s assertions are preposterous.

Hiding and misrepresenting scientific evidence is an attack on climate science. Exposing those who do so is advancing the cause of science.

Seeking the personal and professional punishment of scientists for disagreeing with your personal theories is an attack on climate science. Exposing those who do is advancing the cause of science.

By Mann’s logic, those who criticized Richard Nixon over Watergate were attacking the presidency, those who criticize Vladimir Putin’s election-rigging practices in Russia are attacking democracy, those who criticized New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick for breaking NFL rules in the Spygate scandal were attacking professional football, and those who criticized Tonya Harding and Jeff Gillooly for kneecapping Nancy Kerrigan were attacking Olympic figure skating.


I Just Bet My House on the Outcome of Science Trial of the Century

John O'Sullivan

No truer headline will you read. Yesterday this author literally wagered his home, life savings, and all his possessions on the outcome of a crucial global warming lawsuit currently ongoing in Canada.

So what is it that drove me to such apparent recklessness endangering not only my own well-being but that of my family?

Well, to me this pivotal lawsuit encapsulates the archetypal 'good versus evil' battle no conscientious parent can ignore. Facing each other is Plaintiff, Dr. Michael Mann (he of ‘hockey stick’ graph infamy) representing so-called UN ‘consensus’ climate science. Mann claims his work proves humans are dangerously warming the planet. Defendant, retired Canadian climatologist, Dr. Timothy Ball believes Mann was a key player in the Climategate scandal and has hidden his dodgy tree-ring data for over 13 years to cover up fakery in the numbers. Mann and his ilk are not only responsible for scaring the bejesus out of our kids but are being used as part of a bigger plot involving population control and wealth re-distribution; none of which is good for your family or mine.

Dr. Mann, Director of Earth System Science at Penn. State, the university currently embroiled in the Jerry Sandusky child sex cover up scandal, has enjoyed a lucrative career on the back of his fantastic claims. Dr. Ball famously declared that his adversary belongs “in the state pen, not Penn State.” For that Ball was summarily hit with a libel suit and Ball's legal fees could exceed $300,000. But defiantly, the septuagenarian says, “if you think education is expensive – try ignorance.”

I recently drew attention to the remarkable similarities in the cover-up processes performed for the benefit of Mann and Sandusky at Penn. State. At their root, both cases share the same stench of self-serving financial sleaze.

So persuasive is the evidence to me that last night I signed a contract in favor of Dr. Ball to forsake my worldly goods in the event the B.C. court ruled in favor of his adversary, Dr. Michael Mann .

An honest jury will see from Ball's evidence that Mann perpetrated a cynical and heinous crime by secretly doctoring proxy climate data from a handful of tree rings he took from a corner of California that was then claimed to represent a 1,000-year temperature record for the globe. The Mann graph typifies all that is wrong with post-normal science now practiced in our />
As the two bitterly opposed climatologists battle it out toe-to-toe the stakes aren’t just high for me they are high for you, too. But with your support, I'm more than quietly confident of success.

With billions of dollars of climate taxes resting on the outcome, it’s no flannel to label the Mann-v-Ball trial in the British Columbia Supreme Court as the ‘science trial of the century,’ the most profound of its kind since the Scopes ‘Monkey Trial’ of 1925.

Ball, a 72-year-old retiree has already used up his meager life savings but has made some headway with his escalating legal costs thanks to a fighting fund that is now past the $100,000 mark. But there’s a lot of lawyerly manouvering to go yet before Ball can be assured of victory.

The sickening level of corruption that is now pervading our universities is making many honest folk realize they need to stand shoulder to shoulder with principled scientists like Dr. Ball. In recent months I’ve worked hard to help promote Tim Ball’s Legal Defense Fund. But my efforts also made me a target for Michael Mann’s attorney, Roger McConchie, who didn’t hesitate in naming me as an accessory in his lawsuit. So as a yardstick of commitment to the case, yesterday I signed a binding legal agreement providing my full financial indemnity to Tim in case Mann wins his claim.

I had little reason to hesitate. My conscience was reassured after reading more of the fresh crop of Climategate 2.0 emails that are so damning of Mann’s ‘science.’ I urge readers to examine for themselves Steve Milloy's selection of those emails and see how caustic Mann’s colleagues were privately about his “crap” tree ring graph. The striking difference between those scientists and Dr. Ball is that only Ball had the courage to speak out publicly.

Without experts as principled as Dr. Ball it is very unlikely the general public would be any the wiser about the grotesque billion-dollar fraud called man-made global warming. So please donate what money you can and become part of this force for good.


Public support for tackling climate change declines dramatically in Britain

There has been dramatic decline over the past decade in the public's support for tackling climate change in Britain. Backing for higher green taxes and charges has waned and scepticism about the seriousness of the threat to the environment has increased.

The British Social Attitudes survey shows that in 2000 43% of the population would pay "much higher prices" for "the sake of the environment". Last summer support fell to just 26%, with the poorest sections of society most reluctant to save the planet with their cash.

Over the same period the public has become much more sceptical about the science behind climate change. In 2010 37% said many claims about environmental threats were "exaggerated", up from 24% in 2000.

Alison Park, research director of the survey, said that the two factors that loomed large in the public's mind appeared to be the financial crisis which made people much less likely to be able to sacrifice cash or taxes. She also said that "climategate" claims about the veracity of scientific claims in 2009 had also damaged the case of proponents of global warming theories.

On some questions the public is much less bothered because it thinks the issue has been dealt with. Only 28% regard air pollution from cars as "very" or "extremely" dangerous to the environment, down from 54% in 2000.



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


7 December, 2011

Controversial action by Anthony Watts

Watts has been assisting prominent Warmists to avoid any further releases of their emails. He is trying to disable any Climategate III.

Why on earth would be do that when the Climategate releases have been so helpful to skeptics? It appears to be out of some misguided sense of honour but I suspect that the real motive is that he is tired of being reviled by the climate establishment and is hungry for some praise from them: Deeply regrettable on many levels.

A Swedish blogger who herself finds great holes in the reporting of climate statistics is particilarly upset because she knows how unprincipled and dishonest the climate establishment is. She sees what Watts has done as akin to aiding and abetting criminals in their crime.

Read her comments HERE

A short recap of some of the devastating evidence against climate alarmism

If you read this column completely and carefully today, you will learn about the true state of the scientific debate over global warming. You will not get the truth about that from the Washington Post, the New York Times, or the rest of the self-regarded "establishment" media. They are devoted to the fun and games of play acting as if there is no legitimate scientific debate over whether mankind's use of low cost, reliable energy from oil, coal and natural gas portends catastrophic global warming that threatens life on the planet as we know it.

Recently, the media Knights Templar of the religious orthodoxy of man-caused global warming made a contrived pass at reviving flagging public respect for their fading catechism. The occasion was massively overhyped and misrepresented reporting of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project. But all that was new from that project was the departures from the official catechism.

The project reported only on the recorded temperature history since 1950 from temperature stations on land, which covers less than 30% of the earth's surface. As the project leader Berkeley Professor Richard Muller reported in a Wall Street Journal commentary on October 21, after obtaining and reviewing "more than 1.6 billion measurements from 39,000 [land based] temperature stations around the world... the result showed [drum roll please] a temperature increase similar to that found by other groups." Those are most prominently NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S., and the Met Office and Climatic Research Unit in the United Kingdom.

In other words, that is nothing new. But this review and confirmation of the established land based temperature records that everyone working on the issue is familiar with was widely celebrated in the liberal/left Democrat Party controlled media as definitive new proof of the truth of the man-caused global warming religion.

Muller, however, was more intellectually honest than any of them in confessing in the Journal article that the BEST project involves no independent assessment of the question of "how much of the warming is due to humans and what will be the likely effects." But that is the whole issue in the global warming debate.

Muller also honestly admits that "The [land based] temperature station quality is largely awful," noting that "A careful survey of these stations by a team led by meteorologist Anthony Watts showed that 70% of these stations have such poor siting that, by the U.S. government's own measure, they result in temperature uncertainties of between two and five degrees Celsius or more. We do not know how much worse are the stations in the developing world." He adds that, "The margin of error for the stations is at least three times larger than the estimated warming."

He also admits that the land based temperature records are corrupted by urban heat island distortions which are constantly growing over time, building in a warming bias. He recognizes that the established temperature authorities mentioned above today use data from only about 2,000 weather stations, down from 6,000 in 1970, which raises questions about their selections among available sites.

Moreover, Muller admits the recognized temperature authorities try to homogenize the temperature records from the thousands of temperature stations around the globe to come up with a summary statistic of the degree of global warming, and serious questions can be raised as to how to do that, disputing a large portion of the warming attributed to humans. Muller also confesses that one-third of land based temperature stations worldwide show cooling rather than warming.

These concessions are important to recount because of more basic problems with the established land based temperature record that Muller doesn't confess. Weather satellites measuring atmospheric temperatures worldwide, over land and water, which are not subject to the above troubles of land based weather stations, show no warming since their record began in 1979, and before that there was actually global cooling dating back to 1940. The satellite record regarding atmospheric temperatures is independently confirmed by weather balloons. Moreover, the computer based climate models utilized by the UN's own Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the atmospheric theory they rely upon, all insist that if man's use of carbon based fuels was warming the planet, the atmosphere must be warming faster than the surface.

In addition, the scientifically recognized temperature proxy data from tree rings, ice cores, lake and ocean sediments, and stalagmites also show no warming since 1940. Note that the warming before 1940 is attributable to the global recovery of temperatures from the Little Ice Age, and even the land based records show no warming over the last 13 years.

Fred Singer concludes as a result "It is very likely that the reported warming during 1978-97 [from land based weather stations] is simply an artifact -- the result of the measurement scheme rather than an actual warming." When Singer sent a letter to the editor to the global warming cheerleading Washington Post, pointing out the above anomalies and his conclusion, he reports the peculiar response that "they were willing to publish my letter, but not my credentials as emeritus professor at the University of Virginia and former director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service. Apparently, they were concerned that readers might gain the impression that I knew something about climate."

But there is more. Even the land based temperature record is not consistent with the theory of man-caused global warming. That record does not show persistent warming following persistent growth of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Rather, it shows an up and down pattern of temperatures more consistent with natural causes. Those include solar flare and sun spot cycles, and the periodic cycling of warm and cold water in the oceans from top to bottom, particularly the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).

The truth is a vigorous global scientific debate persists over whether man's use of carbon-based fuels threatens to cause catastrophic global warming, and the media not reporting that is not performing journalism. The most authoritative presentation of this debate can be found in the 856 page Climate Change Reconsidered, published by the Heartland Institute in 2009. This careful, thoroughly scientific volume co- authored by dozens of fully credentialed scientists comprehensively addresses every aspect of global warming, and indicates that natural causes are primarily responsible for climate patterns of the last century. Heartland has just published a follow up 416 page Interim Report updating the debate.

When you run across a Knight Templar threatening you with a lance and a sword unless you confess the truth of catastrophic man caused global warming, ask him for his rebuttal to Climate Change Reconsidered. You will find the effect is like showing a cross to a vampire.

Indeed, the latest and best work actually provides scientific proof that the man-caused global warming catechism is false. Fully documented work by Roy Spencer, U.S. Science Team Leader for the AMSR-E instrument flying on NASA's Aqua satellite, and Principal Research Scientist for the Earth Systems Science Center at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, shows using atmospheric temperature data from NASA's Terra satellite that much more heat escapes back out to space than is assumed captured in the atmosphere by greenhouse effects under the UN's theoretical climate models. This explains why the warming temperature changes predicted by the UN's global warming models over the past 20 years have been so much greater than the actual measured temperature changes.

In August, 2011 came the results of a major experiment by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), involving 63 scientists from 17 European and U.S. institutes. The results show that the sun's cosmic rays resulting from sunspots have a much greater effect on Earth's temperatures through their effect on cloud cover than the UN's global warming models have been assuming. This helps to explain why the historical pattern of temperature changes seems to follow the rise and fall of sunspots, rather than the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. This further confirms what Heartland's Climate Change Reconsidered argues -- that natural causes have the dominant effect on Earth's temperatures, not greenhouse gases.

Finally, the UN's own climate models project that if man's greenhouse gas emissions were causing global warming, there would be a particular pattern of temperature distribution in the atmosphere, which scientists call "the fingerprint." Temperatures in the troposphere portion of the atmosphere above the tropics would increase with altitude producing a "hotspot" near the top of the troposphere, about 6 miles above the earth's surface. Above that, in the stratosphere, there would be cooling. But higher quality temperature data from weather balloons and satellites now show just the opposite: no increasing warming with altitude in the tropical troposphere, but rather a slight cooling, with no hotspot, no fingerprint.

So the scientific foundation for shutting down our modern, 21st century, industrial economy has been obliterated. But that is not stopping religious crusaders, due to the extremist ideology and special interests driving the global warming charade.

Commenters, you can pass on the ad hominem attacks. No one is the least bit interested.


Where, oh where have the hurricanes gone?

Remember hurricane Katrina? The moment that big one hit the U.S. the doomsayers in the global warming movement said it was all about global warming. Well known alarmist Kevin Trenberth warned: "Computer models also suggest a shift in hurricane intensities toward extreme hurricanes." Trenberth, who was the main editor on hurricanes for the IPCC, wanted opponents of his theory left unpublished. He knew in his heart that hurricanes were increasing in frequency and intensity. Now, he did admit that this was true "even if this increase cannot yet be proven with a formal statistical test."

Trenberth wrote in Science, that during 2004 "an unprecedented four hurricanes hit Florida... Some scientists say that this increase is related to global warming; others say it is not." "Thus, although variability is large, trends associated with human influences are evident in the environment in which hurricanes form, and our physical understanding suggests that the intensity of and rainfalls from hurricanes are probably increasing, even if this increase cannot yet be proven with a formal statistical test. Model results suggest a shift in hurricane intensities toward extreme hurricanes."

Time Magazine ran a story headlined "Is Global Warming Fueling Katrina?" Ross Belbspan, in the Boston Globe wrote that while the hurricane "was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming."

Hurricane Katrina was born August 23, 2005. It has been six years since the media was assuring us that global warming was driving hurricanes to greater intensities and frequency. According to the BBC, "The IPCC 2007 report claimed that global warming was leading to an increase in extreme weather, such as hurricanes and floods." They also noted that the IPCC reported was "based on an unpublished reprot which had not been subject to scientific scrutiny—indeed several experts warned the IPCC not to rely on it." The IPCC used the report because it substantiated the entire theory on which their very existence relies.

And, a new hurricane record is about to be set—but not the kind of record you would expect from the dire warnings. The last major hurricane to hit the United States was Wilma which was formed on October 15, 2005. Since then there have no large hurricanes (categories 3, 4, 5) to hit the United States. This record will be 2,232 days from the last major U.S. hurricane. The previous record was a period between September 8, 1900 and October 19, 1906. So this record means we have just gone through a period of the least amount of severe hurricanes since a century ago.

Roger Pielke, Jr. notes that the chances of an intense hurricane before next summer is practically zero, since hurricane season won't start until then. And he says it appears "the days between intense hurricane landfalls [are] likely to exceed 2,500 days." Of course, there is a decent chance that no severe hurricane will hit in 2012 either. But, we can't know until the winter of 2012. What we do know is that we have just gone through a period of the least intense hurricane activity in the memory of anyone alive on the planet today.


Battling the forces of darkness in Durban

CFACT is there – challenging climate chaos claims, and protecting our economy and liberty

By Craig Rucker

CFACT – the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow – is at COP17 in Durban, South Africa, as the main negotiating team that is representing those like you who challenge the UN’s claims of man-made global warming cataclysms … and the ruinously expensive (and wholly ineffective) solutions being forced upon the free world’s economies at this conference.

I want to share with you a first-hand account of what Barack Obama and other heads of state are doing in your name at this moment in Africa. America’s and the world’s fragile economic recovery, and our future economic and civil freedoms, are on the table – and being negotiated away.

This shocking threat is real. The new Climategate emails show clearly any unbiased observer that climate science has been ruinously corrupted by Al Gore, the UN and the massive global warming industry that they have created to enrich themselves. CFACT is leading the way in bringing these emails to the world’s attention.

We’re here now with what the UK Guardian described today as “the formidable team” of Lord Christopher Monckton, Climate Depot’s Marc Morano, Kelvin Kemm (a leading South African nuclear scientist, whom many will remember from his work on pebble bed reactors), Nobel Prize nominee Leon Louw of South Africa’s Free Market Foundation, and CFACT’s expert staff.

Earlier today, CFACT’s skydiving team parachuted past COP17 onto Amanzimtoti beach. The skydivers trailed smoke and banners proclaiming “Climategate 2.0, Science Not Settled” and “No New Treaty.” Multiple media outlets showed up to record the event, including the AP, BBC and South Africa’s national news network. It was a huge success!

We are face-to-face in Durban with the negotiators. We have learned that, while many have discounted this conference, knowing that a full climate treaty is difficult to achieve, especially with a U.S. Senate that will not vote to ratify – Obama and his fellow climate travelers are trying to do an end run around the Senate … and planning to stick America with the bill.

They are creating side agreements that give them much of what they want from a treaty. These side agreements will not come home for a vote in the Senate, or other national legislatures. Democracy is being blind-sided.

How about a new tax on every foreign currency transaction in the world? This is only one small example of what the radical greens are planning, in collusion with world governments in Durban. This is how they plan to fund a $100 billion “Green Climate Fund” – and then expand it to $400 billion.

That’s right. Every time you travel abroad, you’ll have to pay a climate tax. More importantly, every time we import goods, every time we export America’s superb products (thereby creating jobs), we will do so under a climate tax that skims revenues and profits off the top. Europeans seem particularly open this to this monstrosity. Reckless spending has badly tarnished the Euro. But transactions within the Eurozone won’t have to pay this new tax. Guess who will have to pay?

CFACT is here. In South Africa. Keeping you briefed on these developments. We are speaking truth to power. To put it mildly, they don’t love us here. For us, that is a badge of honor … and proof of our effectiveness. Today CFACT is setting up a “climate classroom” in our official UN display space. We will use this display to call attention to Marc Morano’s comprehensive new report, which details the failures of climate science from A-Z.

We’ll keep you posted. More importantly, we won’t permit the UN climatecrats, the climate research grant seekers, the radical climate campaigners and those eager to redistribute what you have worked for— to the whole UN menagerie of third world despots and corporations who want to keep cashing in on climate pseudo-science, propaganda and fraud.

Barack Obama, Al Gore, their UN pals and the climate kleptocracy cannot be permitted to operate unobserved. They must be confronted and forced to listen.

The entire global warming industry is in Durban, South Africa. They are smug. They expect to leave here with money for themselves … and less freedom for you. Stopping them is a Herculean task. We are making headway here. We will challenge them again and again. With your help. In the end. We will win.

You can donate to CFACT here


The Pathetic State Of Science Journalism

Dr David Whitehouse

Science journalism is not about taking sides, or about being a cheerleader. It's about shaking the tree, about asking awkward questions, about standing in the place of those who can't ask such questions, and being persistent, unpopular and dogged. It's about moral authority, something science in BBC News has lost.

There is no faster moving, more important, and vital area of human initiative than science. It's what feeds our bodies and our minds, clothes us and keeps us warm, prolongs our lives and extends our capabilities. No one who uses a credit card, a cell phone, takes a pill or just gazes at the stars can ignore science. It tells us our beginnings, and informs us of the promise and the pitfalls of the future. It can turn humanity into gods, and sometimes devils.

If scientists take public money for their research they, individually and collectively, have an obligation to make some effort to communicate their work to their paymasters. But science, and communicating science, is too important to be left to the scientists. An essential component of the scientific enterprise is the science journalist, and there as the saying goes, we have a problem.

There has never been a golden age of science journalism, but certainly there were more characters, better writers, more newsgathering zeal, and more originality in the recent past. I remember doing science journalism before the internet when we used fax, phone, crude email and ingenuity. Each science journalist on each outlet, be it broadcast or print, was working by the dead reckoning of their judgment. There was a lot of common ground in stories covered, and a lot of disparity making the competition more intense than it is today.

The internet has seen coverage of science issues in the news media becoming more homogenous. Information is more readily available to all, not just a privileged journalist. It can travel faster, and it is easier to see what stories competitors are doing. The result has been that news outlets have become bland clones of one another, hardly adding much value over the equally accessible scientists own blogs or non-professional journalists, and real scoops are far less common than they were. The spectrum of stories being covered has narrowed to a worrying degree. Many survive as a science journalist just by paying attention to press releases and reproducing them, as long as others do the same. A recent BBC analysis of its science coverage in its own news reports revealed that 75% came from press releases, and only a tiny fraction contained views not expressed in those press releases.

This lip service is not good enough, and editors should wise up that science journalism has lost its edge and demand reform. It has also become uncritical and therefore not journalism. Too many who profess to practice journalism are the product of fashionable science communication courses that have sprung up in the past fifteen years. It's my view that this has resulted in many journalists being supporters of, and not reporters of, science. There is a big difference.

Many have become advocates for science that are too close to the scientists they report on. Anyone who has downed an orange juice at a scientists and journalists bash will not have to look far to see them compete to see who can be the most sycophantic. At one such gathering I remarked, tactlessly, that I was surprised, and disappointed, that half of the scientists there didn't hate half of the journalists! Scientists even run prizes for science journalists! Jonathan Leake, science and environment editor at the Sunday Times said recently, "Science in the daily media is too often reported in the same deferential way as political journalists used to report politics in the 1950s." Because of this back slapping closeness, many journalists lack detachment and by implication judgment about the stories they cover.

Journalism is about not taking sides, or about being a cheerleader. It's about shaking the tree, about asking awkward questions, about standing in the place of those who can't ask such questions, and being persistent, unpopular and dogged. It's about moral authority, something science in BBC News has lost, and it's about old-fashioned scoops. It's not about being part of the spectrum of communicating science - which is something that scientists and non-journalistic broadcasters should do - it is a vital aspect of democracy. It is neither an extension of the scientific establishment, nor even its friend or on its side, and it is fundamentally different from science communication.

That some active and contentious scientific topics, like climate science with all its unknowns, complexities and implications, are placed beyond debate because they are deemed "settled" is wrong. Good journalism is the antithesis of a crude expression like "we've gone beyond that" allied to an over simplistic view of science. Climate science in particular is reported far too narrowly with much important peer-reviewed research ignored, and with environmental reporters far too concerned with doing down those they define as sceptics. Forget the sceptics, just report the science properly. It will all come out in the wash.

Science and science journalism are needed. Journalists should portray where the weight of evidence lies, but that is the least they should do, and they should not look to scientists for guidance anymore than an artist asks a bowl of cherries for advice about how to draw them! They should criticise, highlight errors, make a counterbalancing case if it will stand up, but don't censor, even by elimination, don't be complacent and say the science is settled in areas that are still contentious. The history of science and of journalism is full of those reduced to footnotes because they followed that doctrine.



Three articles below

Global cooling hits my home State

Queensland's summer cold snap breaks records. I've been wearing a flannelette shirt for a couple of days now -- when temperatures would normally be around 90 degrees F -- JR

QUEENSLAND'S summer cold snap has turned into a record-breaking streak, with a string of southern and western towns recording their coldest December days in years - some up to 15C below average.

It came as forecasters predicted almost a month of wet weather, running through Christmas to at least January 3. And it's already started with rain falling over the southeast this morning.

Brisbane is predicted to reach a maximum of 23C today – well below the December average of 29.4C. Coolangatta yesterday dipped to 20.7C, its coldest December day in 46 years.

Applethorpe, on the Granite Belt, dropped to a record 13C, breaking its previous coldest December day in 1986. Nearby Stanthorpe had a top of 13C. Its previous record was 13.1C, also set in 1986. Balonne's previous all-time low of 18.4C, recorded in 1975, was surpassed at 3pm yesterday when the southern town registered 17.5C.

Weather bureau climate scientist Jeff Sabburg said days of cloudy, windy and rainy conditions had produced the low temperatures.

"It's quite amazing," Dr Sabburg said. "We are close to, or have records broken at, quite a number of places. A lot of it is down to this cold air coming in from the south."

In Brisbane it also was doona weather, with temperatures dropping to 17.9C overnight. With a wind chill and low humidity factored in, the city made a low of 16.4C.

Other places at record or near-record lows were Toowoomba, Thargomindah, Texas and Goondiwindi. Forecaster Peter Otto said Brisbane was about 2C below average overnight.

Although the south was hit hardest, the cold patch affected much of the state, with Mount Isa 4C below average, Cloncurry 5C below and the Maryborough region 6C to 8C below.


Global cooling hits Sydney

Sydney's coldest start to summer in 50 years

It's shaping up to be the coldest start to summer in more than 50 years.

If forecasts prove accurate - and Sydney stays below 23 degrees until Wednesday - it will be the coldest first week of summer since 1960. It's already the coldest in 44 years, Josh Fisher, a senior meteorologist at Weatherzone, said. In the summer of 1960, each of the first 10 days was cooler than 22 degrees.

Meteorologists blame cold winds, sweeping up from near Tasmania, for the unseasonable weather.

Today's forecast temperature of 18 degrees is seven below the average for this time of year. The additional chill brought by projected 30-40km/h winds will make the city feel like 11 degrees, Mr Fisher said.

Sydney should warm to the mid-20s on Friday and next weekend, the eight, ninth and 10th days of the month, Weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said.

But it won't be a sunny reprieve. The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting rain and cloud.

The city's long-term average maximum for this time of year is 25 degrees, Mr Dutschke said.

Mr Fisher also said summer would be cooler than average because of the influence of the La Nina weather cycle, which brings with it greater chance of clouds, rain and humidity.

"Looking further ahead, the summer as a whole is likely to be close to or cooler than average, regarding maximum temperatures. We will still get our hot days but La Nina will increase the chances of extra cloud, humidity and rainfall, hence cooler daytime temperatures," Mr Dutschke said.

Thunderstorms rolled across the city late yesterday morning and early afternoon, cooling most suburbs below 17 degrees, well below average for this time of year. The storms also brought brief rain and hail to some western and northern suburbs. Picnickers and beachgoers were sent scurrying.


Green party abandons official support for Israel boycott

The NSW Greens have abandoned their official support for an international boycott of the state of Israel, a policy that drew unprecedented ire towards Marrickville Council this year and exposed broader rifts within the party.

At a State Council meeting yesterday, which was not open to the media, every local Greens group voted to support a revised motion which recognises the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign as a legitimate political tactic, but to abandon it as an official party position.

The policy provoked a huge backlash from Jewish groups and some sections of the media when it was adopted in-principle by Marrickville Council last December, with support from Greens, Labor and an independent.

Some Green party members, including Bob Brown and MLC Cate Faehrmann, blamed the policy for contributing to former mayor Fiona Byrne's unsuccessful tilt at the seat of Marrickville in the March state election. Immediately after the election, the council abandoned the policy when two of the Greens on the council split and voted with others to overturn it at a dramatic meeting.

Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham more recently criticised the targeting of Israeli-owned Max Brenner chocolate shops by BDS protestors.

In May, the party convened a working group of about 25 people to reconsider the divisive policy. Their report provided the basis for the revised position.

Ms Rhiannon, a strong proponent of the policy over the last year, denied the policy had exposed a rift within the party, and said a consensus view had now been reached.

“The resolution recognises the legitimacy of the BDS as a political tactic and also recognises that there is a diversity of views in the community and the Greens,” she said.

“While there have been a variety of views among Greens members on BDS there was strong and united commitment to continue our work for Palestinian human rights.

“The Review rejected and condemned false accusations of anti-Semitism.”

The BDS policy had drawn high profile support to the party and Marrickville Council too, with Bishop Desmond Tutu and human rights advocate Julian Burnside QC sending messages of support.

The motion adopted at yesterday's conference reaffirmed their position that the Australian government should halt military cooperation and military trade with Israel and resolved that the party would also work to develop a broader ethical procurement policy.

It also recognised the right of individual Greens members to participate in BDS campaigns.



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


6 December, 2011

One false prophecy after another

Remember four years ago, when the Arctic was going to be ice-free by summer 2012? Now it's allegedly going to be "nearly ice-free" by summer 2035. See the two excerpts below

Arctic Sea Ice Gone in Summer Within Five Years?

Seth Borenstein in Washington, Associated Press

December 12, 2007

An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer—a sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point.

One scientist even speculated that summer sea ice could be gone in five years.

Greenland's ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer's end was half what it was just four years ago, according to new NASA satellite data obtained by the Associated Press (AP).

"The Arctic is screaming," said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the government's snow and ice data center in Boulder, Colorado.


Unusual winter weather may be connected to rapid Arctic climate change

By Andrew Freedman, Washington Post


It’s often said that the Arctic is the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” of global warming, an overused expression that applies in this instance, since the profound changes occurring there as a result of the warming climate are a warning sign for the rest of the world. What is not said enough, however, is that the rapid Arctic climate change, with its associated loss of sea ice and other impacts, may already be influencing weather and climate patterns in the Northern Hemisphere....

Scientists are just beginning to understand some of the ramifications of a rapidly changing Arctic. Given computer model projections showing a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean by 2035, it’s possible there will be more instances of this weather pattern, and other unexpected connections emerging between Arctic climate change and areas well outside the Far North.


Amazing scientific discovery - the Arctic did not exist until discovered by satellite!

Andrew Freedman of the Washington Post tells us that the last 5 years have seen the lowest summer ice areas in the SATELLITE ERA ie the last few decades. This ignores completely the retreat of arctic ice in the 1920's and documented accounts of similar melts in the 1800's. He does not explain how the current era differs from previous times. However he does have some really good news in that computer models predict an ice-free arctic by 2035 and given the accuracy of the models so far you can bet the Arctic is perfectly safe! Programmers refer to this as garbage in-garbage out programming and this especially seems to apply to climate models.

Of course in line with the "everything bad is caused by CO2" theory he details the latest kooky theory to explain how global warming is causing all the winter snow in the last years which has become a major embarrassment to the true believers.
The last five years have been the warmest recorded period in the Arctic and climate conditions over the Arctic cannot be ruled out as influencing weather in some sub-Arctic regions, making it relative colder for part of the winter.

More combined observational and modeling studies to understand causes and latitudinal extent of this recent Warm Arctic - Cold Continent pattern are a high priority in Arctic research. In summary, the most we can now say is that loss of sea ice pushes in the right direction to weaken the Polar Vortex and increase the chance for sub-Arctic impacts


Delingpole replies to Mann

At last, I've arrived. Michael Mann, inventor of the Hockey Stick, has written to the Wall Street Journal branding me a "denier" and a "contrarian" and "silly." These are badges of honour I shall wear with pride.

The letter is interesting for lots of reasons, not least its grotesque hypocrisy. "In recent years", he writes, "attacks on climate science have become personal" – as if somehow the real victims of all this are not the innocent taxpayers being screwed to pay for the great green boondoggle, but ordinary decent climate scientists like Mann and his Hockey Team just trying to get on and do their job.
Every snowflake is unique, but attacks on climate science all seem the same. I should know. I've been one of the climate contrarians' preferred targets for years.

Has Mann actually read any of the Climategate and Climategate 2.0 emails, I wonder? A lot of them have his name on them, so he must have done at one time or another. But perhaps with all that data-fudging and decline-hiding his brain has been overtaxed of late. So let us gently jog his memory with some examples.

Here's one from New Zealand. (H/T WUWT) It's 2003 and a Kiwi scientist called Chris de Freitas has published in a journal called Climate Research a meta-analysis by some Harvard astronomers Soon & Baliunas of all the papers that have been written on the Medieval Warming Period (MWP). The conclusion of Soon & Baliunas? That the vast majority of published, peer-reviewed papers on the MWP conclude that it was both geographically widespread (not, as Warmists and their amen corner in Wikipedia like to pretend, a little local anomaly confined to Northern Europe) and significantly warmer than now.

This irritates Michael Mann and his Hockey Team no end, for it contradicts their view that late 20th century warming is both unprecedented and catastrophic. So how do they respond? Do they counter it with new, learned papers demonstrating in closely illustrated detail just where Soon & Baliunas have got it wrong?

Of course they don't! Instead, what they do is gang up to shoot the messenger. They conspire to have Climate Research closed down; to have Chris de Freitas sacked; then, they write to the head of his university in Auckland to see if they can't get de Freitas deprived of his living too. Nice!

Dr Pat Michaels has another good example of this delightful behaviour by members of Mann's "Team."

In Forbes magazine, he writes an open letter to the director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, describing how one of his "most prestigious employees" Dr Tom Wigley sought to have Michaels deprived of his PhD.

Dr Wigley's evidence for this potentially libellous claim, widely circulated to a large number of his fellow climate "scientists"? None whatsoever.

But hey, as Mann has taught us many times over the years, who needs evidence or facts when you can go straight in for good old character assassination instead.

This, though, is wearisomely familiar stuff to anyone who has been following the Climategate story. What's perhaps more interesting about Mann's WSJ letter is his citation of the lead-in-petrol example from a few years back to try to bolster the credibility of his own brand of climate junk science. As we'll see, he may have cause to regret this.

Here's what he says in the letter:
Climate scientists can also find kinship with Dr. Herbert Needleman, who identified a link between lead contamination and impaired childhood brain development in the 1970s. The lead industry accused him of misconduct. Later, the National Institutes of Health exonerated him.

Hmm. The Needleman affair is covered very thoroughly in Christopher Booker's and Richard North's Scared To Death (Continuum). It does not reflect at all well on the junk science scare industry.

Dr Herbert Needleman was a US child psychologist who generated headlines in 1979 with his research paper showing that lead poisoning was dramatically affecting children's IQs. This "evidence" became a vital plank in the case of the Environmental Protection Agency's regulations from 1986 onwards to have almost all lead removed from petrol. Just one problem: Needleman's study was about as reliable as Michael Mann's Hockey Stick.

In the Needleman affair, the McIntyre/McKitrick role was played by another academic child psychologist Dr Claire Ernhart, who worked in the same field as Needleman. She noted that Needleman's research was based on serious methodological flaws. In particular, she claimed that he had not sufficiently allowed for "confounding variables" that might have explained the difference in IQ scores such as poor schools or parental neglect.

When an expert panel from the EPA tried looking into this, however, Needleman proved as reluctant to reveal the basis of his research as Mann did with raw data underpinning his Hockey Stick.

According to Booker/North:
"When in 1983 the panel visited Needleman's laboratory to look at his data, he handed over six books of computer printouts, but said that only two panel members could examine them, and only for two hours."

"Even during this cursory study, the panel found enough evidence to arouse profound doubts about Needleman's research. Although starting with 3,329 children, he had winnowed out so many, often for apparently arbitrary reasons, that he had ended up basing his conclusions first on 270 subjects, then on just 158. 'Exclusion of large numbers of eligible participants' the panel concluded, 'could have resulted in systematic bias'. In other words, it looked to the panel as though he might have selected his evidence to give the results he wanted."

Lone bristlecone pines, anyone?

The expert panel concluded that Needleman's studies "neither support nor refute the hypothesis that low or moderate levels of Pb (lead) exposure lead to cognitive or other behavioural impairments in children." In other words, that his researches were valueless.

But hey, guess what happened then. Pressure was applied. The expert panel – for reasons which were never satisfactorily explained – completely reversed its decision. And the head of the EPA William Ruckelshaus (the same man responsible for the DDT ban which effectively condemned millions in the third world to die of malaria) was able to use Needleman's study as the basis for doing what the EPA and environmental campaigners had been wanting to do anyway: ban lead from petrol.

Unsurprisingly, the EU soon eagerly followed suit. As even the Eu Commission admitted, the new rules would cost consumers an additional £4.8 billion a year, raise the average cost of a car by up to £600 a year and force oil companies into £70 billion-worth of new investment. Oh, and also, EU studies estimated, the switch to unleaded (it being less efficient than leaded) would also result in the creation of 15-17 million tonnes a year more greenhouse gas emissions.

But hey, as Michael Mann and his Team could surely tell us, when you're trying to save the world from non-existent threat no price is too great to pay.

SOURCE (See the original for more links)

Another comment on the Mann article received by email:

He’s a compulsive liar and professional conman. For example, the NRC report did not confirm their conclusions. I was there for all the public meetings of the committee and the final press conference releasing the report. The press release was carefully worded to make reporters think that the report kind of confirmed the hockey stick. But the report itself did not, nor did the chairman, the slippery Gerry North. When asked at the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing whether his report had any major disagreements with the Wegman report, he said no, it did not, only differences of emphasis.

Post-normal Science, its Culture and how it Retards Learning in our Universities

by John OSullivan

A post mortem examination of the collapse of the man-made global warming scare points to the cancer of post-normal science that infected two generations of academia and led to the criminal waste of $100 billion in public grants for junk science.

Climatology has held an iron grip on science funding since the late 1980’s. But this infant field of research suffered two hammer blows to its credibility last week.

First, a new paper in Science proves that the planet won’t suffer catastrophic ill health from a global warming ‘fever’ due to human carbon dioxide emissions. [1.]

Secondly, Climategate 2.0 hit the fan: an avalanche of 5,000 freshly leaked emails to prove once again that government grants will sway government scientists to manipulate statistics to say whatever they want.

The Science story shows that when a bandwagon climate scientist like Andreas Schmittner is telling you that the dangers from rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are expected to be less than predicted you can be sure the game is up for global warming alarmism.

But hot on Schmittner’s heels came new revelations about disgraced British climate scientist, Professor Phil Jones (you know, he who escaped jail time on a technicality for letting his dog eat all his data). Jones has been caught admitting privately that he and his climate cronies have no idea from where the official 2° Celsius safe ceiling on global temperature increase trumpeted by President Obama and G8 leaders came. Phil confesses, “I know you don’t know the answer, but I don’t either! I think it is plucked out of thin air.” [2.]

Indeed, right now we see a grotesque illustration of the utter disconnect between what climatologists know to be true, what (dishonest) politicians are saying and what the media is (ineptly) reporting. To coincide with the Durban Climate Conference the International Energy Agency and a compliant mainstream media are this week still screaming pandemonium about this farcical 'official 2° C safe temperature ceiling' that Jones (privately) mocks. Yet not a word from the press about those devasting 5,000 new Climategate emails [3.]

Post-normal Science: Your Ticket to Higher Taxes, Bigger Government

The above perfectly illustrates what ‘post-normal’ science is all about; governments colluding with tax-payer funded universities to cynically invent catastrophic narratives to scare voters into believing new taxes will avert doomsday. It's the only genuinely 'man-made' thing about it – concocting a strong message - all perpetuated with media connivance. The ultimate goal, admitted the President of France: “global governance.”

These post-normal government-funded universities obligingly provide their paymasters with a gamut of scenarios to scare the populace into permitting tax dollars to be channeled towards (government) solutions to (government-created) problems. Thereby the virtuous circle generates new taxes to fund more scientists to address more 'problems' that governments will 'fix' with inexorably higher taxes.

But in addition, the muted media response to Climategate 2.0 further exposes the utter capitulation of mainstream investigative journalism and why a new generation of bloggers must fill that void.

Pointedly, President Dwight D. Eisenhower first warned us of the coming dystopia of post-normal, or bureaucratic science (BS) way back in the 1960's:

“Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields... ,” Eisenhower warned. “Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity." –President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address (1961)

Traditional scientists (i.e. untainted by government agenda) have no truck with post-normal science. Ethical researchers test their hypothesis, share data and discuss their findings with colleagues; they openly weigh the pros and cons of their ideas. It’s the old-fashioned skeptical way of doing things.

More HERE. (See the original for links)

Frack, Baby, Frack

I have a slam-dunk plan for creating jobs: Frack baby, frack. Move like Shaq. Let’s beat the buzzer, Shaq-style, and score points for the U.S. economy. Frack Attack!

Like basketball referees, ratings agencies Moody’s and Fitch Ratings are signaling they may join Standard and Poor’s in calling a foul on the U.S. economy. The good news is that we can move toward recovery by fracking shale for gas and oil—producing energy and creating jobs simultaneously.

Fracking only recently became a profitable extraction technology. In 2003, a Texas speculator named George Mitchell bucked conventional wisdom. He discovered that he could force impenetrable shale rock thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface to give up its methane (natural gas is primarily methane) by combining horizontal drilling with hydrofracturing. In 2007, natural gas company Range Resources perfected Mitchell’s discovery and developed a cost-effective technique to commercialize fracking.

America’s shale-gas cache is the Marcellus Shale Deposit, a 575-mile formation extending through four states, primarily Pennsylvania and New York. Marcellus is arguably the second largest shale-gas field in the world.

Fracking is an economic boon: Pennsylvania landowners who once struggled to make ends meet have signed six-figure leases with shale drilling companies. In addition, landowners earn 12-to-15 percent of the royalties from the gas extracted from their property. Marcellus brought Pennsylvania 18,000 new jobs in the first half of this year alone. Pennsylvania leaseholder Rick Baker told the New York Times: “We need this natural gas to keep functioning. There are still people sitting in bars waiting for the steel mills to reopen.”

States like North Dakota have experienced historic economic growth now that fracking technology has also made it possible to recover oil from shale. North Dakota’s Bakken formation holds over 24 billion barrels of shale oil. The Institute for Energy Research reports that North Dakota’s GDP is now nine percent above the national average while its unemployment rate is far below average.

Fracking is safe. Nevertheless, the EPA and the media claim that shale companies keep the fracking chemicals they use “top secret” and that these chemicals could contaminate groundwater.

Fracking fluid is roughly 99.5 percent water and sand; the remaining 0.5 percent is a combination of three-to-12 chemicals at low concentrations. The New American cites Department of Energy evidence showing that: “the fluids are well known and rigorously regulated.” Furthermore, there is zero scientific evidence confirming that fracking contaminates groundwater. Syracuse University hydrogeologist Don Siegel told TIME Magazine: “I don’t think it’s scientifically plausible to suggest that could happen.”

Certainly, since commercial fracking technology is still new and revolutionary, there are kinks to work out. In particular, Pennsylvania’s unique geography and dense population present challenges for disposing of the fracking wastewater or “flowback” that travels up each Marcellus shale well along with the methane; even the shale-gas industry desires to perfect the disposal phase of the fracking process.

Yet even the flowback disposal “challenge” offers another lucrative opportunity for the U.S. economy because global capitalists are increasingly finding ways to safely and profitably extract minerals, oils, fats, chemicals and nutrients from wastewater. Basically, groundbreaking technology exists to render wastewater both profitable and sustainable.

Water technology venture capitalist David Henderson told the New York Times: “Wastewater is a very bad name because there’s a lot of value in wastewater. [In Singapore, for example] the word ‘wastewater’ doesn’t exist. They call it ‘new water.’ They call their wastewater plants ‘water reclamation plants.’ And I think that’s an interesting shift in mentality.”

Fracking technology was developed by private sector entrepreneurs; I think we should offer the private sector a chance to solve its challenges. Radical EPA regulations will merely repress America’s ability to benefit from fracking, kill job growth and hike energy prices.

An extra-Congressional agency like the EPA is far too capricious to be trusted with regulating fracking technology. In fact, the New York Times has reported that the EPA has repeatedly suppressed and altered its scientific findings on fracking for political reasons.

The EPA is now working on a study to determine the safety of fracking, however the results will not be complete until the end of 2012 and the EPA’s report based on the study will not be finished until 2014. If the EPA is seriously concerned that fracking causes water contamination, why is it taking over two years to release its report? This is a long time to wait and it delays potential controversy until after the 2012 election so that President Obama does not have to fight environmentalists to regain his office.

Let’s frack our way toward creating the jobs and affordable fuel that the economy needs to recover. If we move fast like Shaq—fracking for natural gas and oil—we can beat S&P’s downgrade buzzer.


British Government attacked over green policies

Government plans to increase airline passenger tax are “damaging” and will not benefit the environment in any way, the former boss of British Airways warned yesterday.

Willie Walsh, who runs the International Airlines Group, said the proposals, outlined by Chancellor George Osborne, would make the UK “uncompetitive” and deter business travellers and tourists.

The attack came as leading environmental campaigners accused the coalition of wrongly casting planning regulations and the environment as “enemies to growth”.

In a damning public letter, an alliance of wildlife groups and activists, led by the RSPB, said the Government was showing “stunning disregard” for the value of the natural environment and expressed incredulity at the policies outlined in Mr Osborne's autumn statement.

Mr Walsh said the decision to increase Air Passenger Duty (APD) from next April would put an unfair burden on airlines and that emerging markets such as India and China felt the UK was becoming too expensive.

“The first thing to remember is that it is not a green tax,” he said. “The Government has made that clear. This has nothing to do with the environment. Not a penny of this tax goes to environmental issues.

"Why I believe this is damaging is that it is making the UK uncompetitive. It's making it expensive to do business here, it is deterring tourists from coming to the UK, it is deterring business people from coming to the UK.”

Mr Walsh, speaking to Sky News, also warned that the planned new airport in the Thames estuary could cost £60 billion and suggested that to find such private investment in the current economic climate was “just not a credible proposition."

The criticism followed publication of two letters furiously attacking the policies outlined last week by Mr Osborne in his autumn statement.

Activists including the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Wildlife Trusts and Greenpeace joined forces with the RSPB to pour scorn on the Tories’ failure to live up to their own promises, accusing ministers of putting “short term profit ahead of our countryside”.

“It is increasingly clear that society needs a new economic model that accounts properly for our natural capital,” they said.

“Yet with this statement, its ‘red-tape challenge’, sudden cuts to subsidies and its ill-conceived planning reforms, the government is continuing an out-of-date approach that casts regulation and the environment as enemies to growth.”

Mr Osborne’s statement, in which he outlined cuts in solar energy subsidies and tax breaks for energy-intensive industries, “not only flies in the face of popular opinion but goes against everything the Government said in June when it launched two major pieces of environmental policy – the Natural Environment White Paper and the England Biodiversity Strategy”, they added.

A second, equally scathing letter signed by green activists including Tony Juniper, Jonathan Porritt and Caroline Lucas, the leader of the Green Party, warned that Osborne’s statement had set the coalition “on a path to become the most environmentally destructive government to hold power in this country since the modern environmental movement was born.”

It said that policies including the “aggressive implementation” of planning reforms favouring development, were “all the more extraordinary” when pitched against David Cameron’s election promises on sustainable growth.

“The Chancellor has proclaimed that protecting the environment is against the public interest – something no senior politician in this country has done in recent history,” the letter said.

Mr Osborne told MPs last week that he was "worried" about the combined impact of green targets on Britain and the EU.

"We are not going to save the planet by shutting down our steel mills, aluminium smelters and paper manufacturers. All we will be doing is exporting valuable jobs out of Britain," he said.

Several Liberal Democrat ministers were said to be “furious” about the policies outlined in the statement amid claims that Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem energy secretary was not consulted about the comments made on green issues.

The Government’s controversial plans to reduce 1,300 pages of planning guidance to 52 have invoked widespread fury. Campaigners have warned that the presumption in favour of "sustainable development" was so vague it would allow developers to “ride roughshod” over the countryside and have backed the Daily Telegraph’s demands for a review of the proposals.

Labour accused the Tories of undergoing a “retoxification” after abandoning key election pledges.

But the government insisted it was still pursuing its green agenda. Tim Yeo, chairman of the energy and climate committee, told the Observer: "We are getting a change of rhetoric, with more emphasis on the burdens that green projects could put on the economy. But it is out of step with what the government is doing, much of which is radical and forward-looking."

My Yeo has also urged Mr Osborne not to bow to the demands of the airlines by scrapping APD.



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


5 December, 2011

10 of the 54,000 Himalayan glaciers are melting, says IPCC research

How will I sleep at night knowing that? Warmists sure have a talent for making buffoons of themselves

The Himalayan glaciers are melting after all, according to new research released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The research was released in an effort to draw a line under the embarrassing mistakes made about the effects of global warming on the region in the past.

The IPCC were forced to apologise for claiming that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035.

The 2009 scandal, known as ‘Himalayagate’ led to criticism of the IPCC, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to warn governments around the world about the effects of climate change.

In an effort to move on from the embarrassing episode, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC, has now announced that the latest statistics show the glaciers are melting, according to the limited amount of science available.

The reports, presented at the UN climate change talks in Durban were brought together by the the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

One three year study, funded by Sweden, found that of 10 glaciers measured in the region all are shrinking, with a marked acceleration in loss of ice between 2002 and 2005. Another study found a reduction in snow cover over the region in the last decade.

However the studies also say more research needs to be done as only 10 of the 54,000 glaciers in the region have been studied regularly.

The melting of the glaciers in the Himalayas could have a devastating effect on both animals and people. Some 1.3 billion rely on water flowing from the mountains, which could dry up if the glaciers melt.

Dr Pachauri, who weathered much of the criticism over ‘Himalayagate’, said the reports show the impact climate change could have on mountainous regions.

“These reports provide a new baseline and location-specific information for understanding climate change in one of the most vulnerable ecosytems in the world,” he said. “They substantially deepen our understanding of this region – and of all mountain systems – while also pointing to the knowledge gaps yet to be filled and actions that must be taken to deal with the challenge of climate change globally and to minimise the risks from impacts locally.”


Alfred Wegener Institute Deputy Director, Veteran Polar Scientist: “We Have A Light Cooling Trend”

I really hate doing this, because I know that the poor scientist will probably be summoned to some office somewhere for an earful, or just suddenly disappear in some big ice crevice. We all know that in Germany terrible things happen to climate scientists (and journalists) who don’t say the right things.

Our friends at here at Science Skeptical bring us this clip, which is a snippet from a report that appeared on NDR German public TV last Friday evening.

In the clip Prof. Heinrich Miller is working down at the Antarctic Neumayer III station and is interviewed by NDR. Miller is deputy director of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Bremerhaven and has been researching the Arctic and Antarctic for decades. He’s a true old hat of polar research who really knows what he’s talking about. Science Skeptical writes: "There’s hardly any other climate scientist that knows the polar regions as well and as long as Miller does.”

In the above clip, NDR asks Miller about the trend in Antarctica and what climate-related changes have been noticed? Miller says (emphasis added):

"Here almost nothing has changed. At least not near the surface. The average annual temperatures have remained the same. There are of course large fluctuations from year to year. If anything over the last 30 years we have a slight cooling trend. And this flies in the face of what is always immediately claimed: ‘The climate is warming and the Antarctic is melting’.”

There it is, right from the horse’s mouth, from someone who really knows: Antarctica is cooling.


Where Windbags Dare To Outlaw Plastic Bags

On his official website, San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi starts his list of accomplishments with this item: "Plastic Bag Ban: First-in-the-Nation ban on plastic bags in chain grocery stores and drug stores, which sparked similar legislation around the world from Oakland to Canada to Paris to Beijing." In his final month as supervisor before he becomes sheriff, Mirkarimi wants to expand the ban so that it applies to all stores and requires retailers to charge customers for bags at the checkout counter.

"First in the nation" is rarely a good thing for a law. First, it means the measure is liberal. (Conservatives don't brag that their proposed laws are an experiment.) Second, its target is virgin territory probably because there's been no need for a law. Third, the measure may cost someone else his job and surely will be paid out of your pocket.

Exhibit A: San Francisco's groundbreaking Happy Meal law. McDonald's got around the ordinance that banned free toys with meals that don't meet City Hall's nutritional standards by announcing it will charge customers an extra 10 cents if they want a toy with the food.

Exhibit B: The Mirkarimi plan. Supervisors will vote on Plastic Bag 2.0 this month. It would come with a mandatory charge of at least 10 cents per bag starting July 1, possibly rising to 25 cents in 2014. Retailers would get to keep your dimes.

Mirkarimi told me that San Francisco no longer is in the lead when it comes to bag laws. Other governments -- Ireland, Beijing, Marin County -- that followed Ess Eff's lead are "now blowing by us. Their laws are much more vigorous."

Single-use bags don't just end up in landfills and wetlands; they litter streets and become a "nuisance" and "blight." Science is on his side, Mirkarimi told me; it takes 500 years for plastic bags to disintegrate. (How does anyone know it takes 500 years for a bag to disintegrate?)

Mayor Ed Lee told KCBS' Barbara Taylor that he supports the measure because it probably would "modify behavior." Spokeswoman Christine Falvey walked that position back with an email that said Lee supports "the goal of the legislation and incentivizing consumers to bring their own bags." He will weigh in later.

Mirkarimi argued, "You've got to deal with the hidden costs of pollution that were never factored in (to) the retail point of purchase."

This is how City Hall sees the bag bill playing out: Thanks to enlightened San Francisco politicians, shoppers begin to take reusable bags wherever they go. Bad consumers pay for their own bags. Good consumers no longer have to subsidize bad consumers.

Even the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is on board. "You're outlawing the plastic bags but also encouraging reusable," said Vice President Jim Lazarus.

"The chamber reflects the community we live in," Lazarus added. I ask how big department stores, which send off their merchandise in brightly colored bags, feel about the bill. "A number of retailers must prefer not to have this regulation," he answered, "but are resigned to the changing demands of communities of how bags are used."

That's the story of San Francisco. The left squawks when, say, the mayor suggests that Occupy SF activists decamp from their illegal digs in Justin Herman Plaza. The mayor backed off for weeks. But when City Hall tells law-abiding businesses and customers to change their behavior, it gets results.

But not always the desired result. A Safeway spokeswoman explained that Mirkarimi's 2007 plastic bag ban prompted customers not to bring their own reusable bags, but to ask for free paper bags. Given a choice, San Franciscans chose free bags. Bingo, a new law.

Of course Safeway supports the new Mirkarimi measure. It makes Safeway charge for bags it has been giving away.

The lonely job of opposing the measure falls to Stephen Joseph, who represents plastic bag manufacturers. Because most reusable bags are made overseas whereas most plastic bags are made in America, he claims, the new measure essentially would kill American jobs and replace them with Chinese jobs.

Joseph doesn't believe consumers will use reusable bags as often as expected. They get dirty, so you don't want to put food in them.

Also, San Francisco is a tourist mecca. Where's the hospitality in charging visitors to buy a bag to take their purchases home?

My objection: City documents report that single-use plastic bags represent 0.13 percent of California's total waste stream. If the supervisors want to address a "nuisance," as Mirkarimi calls plastic bags, they should work with the mayor to go after bigger nuisances that dramatically alter the quality of life in San Francisco. Read: aggressive panhandlers, hostile street people who use the city as a public toilet and substance abusers who drive up crime rates. But that would require city pols to moderate their politics.

So they go after people who have the cheek to buy things in San Francisco stores and expect a free new bag. They're the only group in San Francisco that won't protest.


The Lizard or Your Livelihood

For years the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been used to block development and economic growth. But on December 1, 2011, people and jobs were given a small victory.

Midday, Thursday, December 1, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced a 6-month extension for the final determination for the proposed listing of the dunes sagebrush lizard (also known as the sand dune lizard). This may sound insignificant to those not impacted by previous ESA listing decisions or those not engaged in this fight, but it is surely something to cheer about in an era of bad economic news. (In this case, the proposed ESA listing of the dunes sagebrush lizard has the potential to “decimate” a large percentage of America’s oil and gas production.) Additionally, it represents a rare instance of bipartisan action and Congress doing the right thing.

One year ago, the FWS published its intention to consider the proposed listing of the dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species under the ESA. This set into place a year-long process of public hearings, data gathering, and citizen rallies.

The ESA only allows three options in response to a proposed listing. One of these actions must be taken within one year of the proposed listing date—which would have been December 14, 2011:

(1) Finalize the proposed listing;

(2) Withdraw the proposed listing; or

(3) Extend the final determination by not more than 6 months, if there is substantial disagreement regarding the sufficiency or accuracy of the available data relevant to the determination, for the purposes of soliciting additional data.

The citizens who would be directly impacted if the lizard is listed have written comments and made phone calls, stepped out of their comfort zones to speak up at hearings, and waved signs at rallies—all in hopes of saving their communities’ economies. Though history told them it was unlikely, the desired outcome was option #2, the withdrawal of the proposed listing.

On December 1, they didn’t get an early Christmas present, but they did get a gift: option #3, as there is “substantial disagreement” about the “science” in the actual proposed listing. This gift buys time to draw more attention to the issue—and it puts the lizard and the listings’ job-killing potential smack dab in the middle of the campaign season in a swing state.

With the history of ESA listings, such as the spotted owl and delta smelt, which ultimately destroyed jobs, communities, and industries, the people of Southeastern New Mexico and West Texas were unwilling to simply let the listing proceed. In a scientific roundtable held August 15, 2011, and organized by New Mexico State Representative Dennis Kintigh, a panel of scientists from a variety of disciplines carefully reviewed the science behind the listing and found numerous contradictions and inconsistencies (which should have been found by the FWS) chronicled in the resulting report. Their work is referenced in the FWS release: “The Service has received new survey information for the lizard in New Mexico and Texas and an unsolicited peer-reviewed study on our proposed rule.”

In justifying its decision, the FWS said: “Public comments received since the publication of the proposed rule have expressed concerns regarding the sufficiency and accuracy of the data related to the dune sagebrush lizard’s status and trends in New Mexico and Texas. Therefore, in consideration of the disagreements surrounding the lizard’s status, the Service is extending the final determination for 6 months in order to solicit scientific information that will help to clarify these issues.”

Perhaps the scrutiny of the proposed listing made the FWS realize that the listing would not hold up under the inevitable court battle that would come with a finalization of the proposed listing and that the agency would end up looking foolish.

The FWS has reopened the public comment period for an additional 45 days—from December 5-January 18. Concerned citizens who have not previously commented, those with survey information, and/or population estimates are invited to submit the information. All of the accumulated data will become the official record that will be part of a likely legal appeal.

On November 22, a letter, signed by 18 Congressmen from both parties, was sent to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar asking him to direct the FWS not to list the dunes sagebrush lizard—or at least delay the decision because “considerable new scientific research has been collected about this species, since the initial listing proposal, supporting the view that the lizard is not, in fact, endangered.”

New Mexico’s two Democratic Senators, Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman, sent a similar letter to the FWS Director, Daniel Ashe, on November 10. They asked him to exercise his authority to delay the decision “if there is a dispute between the scientific data relating to the merits of a listing.”

Without the Congressmen’s action, the public involvement, and the scientists donating their time to go over the science with a fine-toothed comb, this listing would have likely sailed through as many before it have done. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), the organization that first petitioned for the lizard’s listing in 2002, blames “mounting pressure” for the delay.

While the CBD accuses Congressman Steve Pearce of grossly overblowing the claims that the lizard’s protections will “decimate jobs,” CBD’s own press release regarding the FWS delay announcement states: “The lizard declines or disappears in the face of oil and gas development or herbicide spraying, both of which are rampant in the species’ habitat.” Clearly their intent in petitioning for the lizards’ protection involves stopping or blocking oil and gas development—which is the economic driver of the region. They call talk of lost jobs “hysterics.”

If the people of the Permian Basin (Southeastern New Mexico and West Texas) lose their jobs and their communities crumble because of the listing, is that hysterics? They don’t think so.

If the lizard is not listed, we know the outcome: people have jobs, certainty is restored to communities, inviting investment and growth. If the lizard is listed, we do not know the outcome—uncertainty prevails. Maybe it will not be as bad as Congressman Peace claims, but any jobs lost, any growth curtailed is not a good thing—especially when it is rushed through and based on bad science; especially when, for example, the spotted owl has continued to decline despite its ESA protection.

Upon hearing about the sand dune lizard delay decision, Dan Keppen, Executive Director of the Family Farm Alliance said, ““Back in the late 1980’s, when two species of sucker fish were originally proposed for Endangered Species Act protection, the people of the Upper Klamath Basin were told, like the people of the Permian Basin are being told, ‘this will not impact your farms, your livelihood, or your communities.’ If people understood then, what they know now, they would have fought doubly hard against the listing. As the good citizens of Southeastern New Mexico and West Texas have done, all of the communities facing an endangered species listing need to fight them with truth as their very existence is what is really endangered. Congratulations on this little victory. May it embolden you and others who are watching.”

So, we have a small gift in this “delay” decision. But the battle continues. Not just over the dunes sagebrush lizard, but over the “spring-run” Upper Klamath Chinook salmon in Oregon, and the Santa Ana Sucker in Southern California. There are hundreds of critters, most you’ve never heard of, for which groups like CBD are petitioning FWS for protection. They can be listed without any consideration regarding the economic impact it may have on the people of the region or America. Good people will have to keep showing up, standing up, and speaking up to fight this misuse of the ESA—unless the ESA is repealed or amended.

The battle continues. Hopefully, the troops are emboldened by this small victory. America is in a war—an economic war. We need a government that is fighting for us, not against us. In a tough election year, can President Obama afford to tick off the people in a swing state by once again appeasing the environmentalists instead of encouraging jobs? Remember, public pressure works.


Greenie attack on asthmatics

This past week, I endured a very personal and distressing episode of government imposition by way of environmentalism. Let me explain...

Since about the age of twelve (44 years ago), I have experienced occasional bouts of asthma. The best description I can give to those who are fortunate enough to not have to deal with this malady is that it feels like your lungs are being stuffed with cotton.

After a day of helping to clear fallen trees on a friend’s property last Wednesday, my allergies decided to go respiratory on me. The allergic reaction was coming on strong and my epinephrine inhaler was empty. For the first time in probably 40 years, I found myself really in trouble with asthma.

My concerned wife drove hurriedly to the local Safeway while I sat in the passenger seat and focused on breathing. She was in and out of the store quickly, but returned incredulous and empty-handed. The Safeway pharmacist had explained to my wife that they were no longer carrying over-the-counter epinephrine inhalers in response to a new federal mandate and that she should get me to an emergency room.

Uncomfortable, but not quite in a panic, I opted to try the closest drug store, fifteen minutes away, rather than endure a an emergency room ordeal at the nearest hospital, 25 minutes away. Fortunately, the Walgreen’s had a supply of over-the-counter Primatene Mist, still legal for sale through the end of December.

Two days later, in the leisure of fully operating lung capacity, I investigated the matter, including a phone call to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Armstrong Pharmaceuticals explains in a statement on their website, “On December 31, 2011, the FDA ban on the sale of Primatene® Mist containing CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) as a propellant will become effective. ... The ban on the sale of Primatene® Mist is a result of the Montreal Protocol treaty, which prohibits the sale of certain products containing CFCs.”

The FDA’s website includes the explanation, “Primatene® Mist inhalers use CFCs, which decrease the earth's ozone layer.” The representative whom I reached by phone was not willing to argue the validity of the environmental claims. But she did give me her best shot at reasoning the FDA’s website statement that, “You can only buy albuterol HFA inhalers—or any inhaler after Dec. 31—with a prescription from your doctor.”

The Armstrong Pharmaceuticals website says that they are “actively finalizing its internal development of a new, CFC-Free Primatene® Mist that ... will use a more environmentally friendly propellant.” So, did the FDA first ensure approval of the replacement product before banning the current product? Nope. According to Armstrong, “There will likely be a period of time between December 31, 2011 and the date of FDA approval of the new HFA Primatene® Mist product.” The FDA representative confirmed this to me on the phone, criticizing Armstrong for having profit motivations.

Environmental activism, fortified by a willing and corrupt court system, is the liberals’ Rx of choice in controlling the people.


Climategate II

A sequel as ugly as the original

The conventional wisdom about blockbuster movie sequels is that the second acts are seldom as good as the originals. The exceptions, like The Godfather: Part II or The Empire Strikes Back, succeed because they build a bigger backstory and add dimensions to the original characters. The sudden release last week of another 5,000 emails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of East Anglia University​—​ground zero of “Climategate I” in 2009​—​immediately raised the question of whether this would be one of those rare exceptions or Revenge of the Nerds II.

Before anyone had time to get very far into this vast archive, the climate campaigners were ready with their critical review: Nothing worth seeing here. Out of context! Cherry picking! “This is just trivia, it’s a diversion,” climate researcher Joel Smith told Politico. On the other side, Anthony Watts, proprietor of the invaluable skeptic website, had the kind of memorable line fit for a movie poster. With a hat tip to the famous Seinfeld episode, Watts wrote: “They’re real, and they’re spectacular!” An extended review of this massive new cache will take months and could easily require a book-length treatment. But reading even a few dozen of the newly leaked emails makes clear that Watts and other longtime critics of the climate cabal are going to be vindicated.

Climategate I, the release of a few thousand emails and documents from the CRU in November 2009, revealed that the united-front clubbiness of the leading climate scientists was just a display for public consumption. The science of climate change was not “settled.” There was no consensus about the extent and causes of global warming; in their private emails, the scientists expressed serious doubts and disagreements on some major issues. In particular, the email exchanges showed that they were far from agreement about a key part of the global warming narrative​—​the famous “hockey stick” graph that purported to demonstrate that the last 30 years were the warmest of the last millennium and which made the “medieval warm period,” an especially problematic phenomenon for the climate campaign, simply go away. (See my “Scientists Behaving Badly,” The Weekly Standard, December 14, 2009.) Leading scientists in the inner circle expressed significant doubts and uncertainty about the hockey stick and several other global warming claims about which we are repeatedly told there exists an ironclad consensus among scientists. (Many of the new emails make this point even more powerfully.) On the merits, the 2009 emails showed that the case for certainty about climate change was grossly overstated.

More damning than the substantive disagreement was the attitude the CRU circle displayed toward dissenters, skeptics, and science journals that did not strictly adhere to the party line. Dissenting articles were blocked from publication or review by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), requests for raw data were rebuffed, and Freedom of Information Act requests were stonewalled. National science panels were stacked, and qualified dissenters such as NASA prize-winner John Christy were tolerated as “token skeptics.” The CRU circle was in high dudgeon over the small handful of skeptics who insisted on looking over their shoulder, revealing the climate science community to be thin-skinned and in-secure about its enterprise​—​a sign that something is likely amiss. Even if there was no unequivocal “smoking gun” of fraud or wrongdoing, the glimpse deep inside the climate science community was devastating. As I wrote at the time (“In Denial,” March 15, 2010), Climategate did for the global warming controversy what the Pentagon Papers did for the Vietnam war 40 years ago: It changed the narrative decisively.

The new batch of emails, over 5,300 in all (compared with about 1,000 in the 2009 release), contains a number of fresh embarrassments and huge red flags for the same lovable bunch of insider scientists. It stars the same cast, starting with the Godfather of the CRU, Phil “hide the decline” Jones, and featuring Michael “hockey stick” Mann once again in his supporting role as the Fredo of climate science, blustering along despite the misgivings and doubts of many of his peers. Beyond the purely human element, the new cache offers ample confirmation of the rank politicization of climate science and rampant cronyism that ought to trouble even firm believers in catastrophic climate change.

In fact, the emails display candid glimpses of concern inside the CRU circle. Peter Thorne of NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration), who earned his Ph.D. in climate science at East Anglia in 2001, wrote Phil Jones in a 2005 message, “I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.” An appeal to “context,” which the climate campaigners say is crucial to understanding why excerpts such as this one are unimportant, does quite the opposite, and only points to the problems the climate change campaigners have brought upon themselves by their tribalism.

This exchange between Thorne and Jones, along with numerous similar threads in the new cache, is concerned with what should and shouldn’t be included in a chapter of the IPCC’s 2007 fourth assessment report​—​a chapter for which Jones was the coordinating lead author along with another key Climategate figure, Kevin Trenberth. The complete chapter (if you’re keeping score at home, it’s Chapter 3 of Working Group I, “Observations: Surface and Atmospheric Climate Change”) lists 10 “lead authors” and 66 “contributing authors” in addition to Jones and Trenberth. One of Jones’s emails from 2004 displays how explicitly political the process of assembling the IPCC report is: “We have a very mixed bag of LAs [lead authors] in our chapter. Being the basic atmos obs. one, we’ve picked up number of people from developing countries so IPCC can claim good geographic representation. This has made our task harder as CLAs [contributing lead authors] as we are working with about 50% good people who can write reasonable assessments and 50% who probably can’t.”

The final chapter was amended along lines Thorne recommended, but several other objections and contrary observations (one in particular from Roger Pielke Jr. about extreme weather events that has been subsequently vindicated) were scornfully dismissed. And appeals to context avoid the question: Is this “science-by-committee” a sensible way to sort out contentious scientific issues that hold immense public policy implications? Perhaps a politicized, semi-chaotic process like the IPCC is unavoidable in a subject as wide-ranging and complex as climate change; future historians of science can debate the issue. But the high stakes involved ought to compel a maximum of open debate and transparency. Instead, the IPCC process places a premium on gatekeepers and arbiters who control what goes in and what doesn’t, and it is exactly in its exercise of the gatekeeping function that the CRU circle has shredded its credibility and trustworthiness.

One thing that emerges from the new emails is that, while a large number of scientists are working on separate, detailed nodes of climate-related issues (the reason for dozens of authors for every IPCC report chapter), the circle of scientists who control the syntheses that go into IPCC reports and the national climate reports that the U.S. and other governments occasionally produce is quite small and partial to particular outcomes of these periodic assessments. The way the process works in practice casts a shadow over one of the favorite claims of the climate campaign​—​namely, that there exists a firm “consensus” about catastrophic future warming among thousands of scientists. This so-called consensus reflects only the views of a much smaller subset of gatekeepers.

Beyond additional bad news for the hockey stick graph, is there anything new in these emails about scientific aspects of the issue? This will take time to sort out, but I suspect anyone with the patience to go through the weeds of all 5,300 messages and cross check them against published results may well discover troubling new aspects of how climate modeling is done, and how weak the models still are on crucial points (such as cloud behavior). Some of the new emails frankly acknowledge such problems. There are arcane discussions about how to interpolate gaps in the data, how to harmonize different data sets, and how to resolve the frequent and often inconvenient (because contradictory) anomalies in modeling results. Definite examples of political influence have emerged already from a first pass over a sample of the massive cache.

In the editing process before the IPCC’s 2001 third assessment report, Timothy Carter of the Finnish Environmental Institute wrote in 2000 to three chapter authors with the observation, “It seems that a few people have a very strong say, and no matter how much talking goes on beforehand, the big decisions are made at the eleventh hour by a select core group.” In this case, decisions at the highest levels of what specific figures and conclusions were to appear in the short “summary for policy makers”​—​usually the only part of the IPCC’s multivolume reports that the media and politicians read​—​required changing what appeared in individual chapters, a case of the conclusions driving the findings in the detailed chapters instead of the other way around. This has been a frequent complaint of scientists participating in the IPCC process since the beginning, and the new emails show that even scientists within the “consensus” recognize the problem. Comments such as one from Jonathan Overpeck, writing in 2004 about how to summarize some ocean data in a half-page, reinforce the impression that politics drives the process: “The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what’s included and what is left out.”

No amount of context can possibly exonerate the CRU gang from some of the damning expressions and contrivances that appear repeatedly in the new emails. More so than the 2009 batch, these emails make clear the close collaboration between the leading IPCC scientists and environmental advocacy groups, government agencies, and partisan journalists. There are repeated instances of scientists tipping their hand that they’ve thrown in their lot with the climate ideologues. If there were only a handful of such dubious messages, they might be explained away through “context,” or as conciliatory habits of expression. But they are so numerous that it doesn’t require an advanced degree in pattern recognition to make out that these emails constitute not just a “smoking gun” of scientific bias, but a belching howitzer. Throughout the emails numerous participants refer to “the cause,” “our cause,” and other nonscientific, value-laden terms to describe the implications of one dispute or another, while demonizing scientists who express even partial dissent about the subject, such as Judith Curry of Georgia Tech.

Since the beginning of the climate change story more than 20 years ago, it has been hard to sort out whether the IPCC represents the “best” science, or merely the findings most compatible with the politically driven climate policy agenda. Both sets of emails have lifted the lid on the insides of the process, and it isn’t pretty.

A good example of how the political-scientific complex works hand-in-glove to tightly control the results comes from May 2009, when the IPCC authors were working on a “weather generator,” which they hoped would produce climate change scenarios tailored to localities, so as to promote favored adaptive measures (sea walls, flood control, drought readiness, etc.). This is a small but hugely controversial aspect of climate modeling, and one where politicians and advocacy groups (the World Wildlife Fund was especially keen to have this kind of work done) may well be asking scientists to do the impossible. But there’s research money in it, so scientists are only too happy to oblige.

Kathryn Humphrey, a science adviser in Britain’s DEFRA (Department of Environment, Forestry, and Rural Affairs​—​Britain’s EPA) wrote a worried note to Phil Jones and several other scientists involved in the project about criticisms of the cloistered working group behind the weather generator scheme, noting, “Ministers have also raised questions about this so we will need to go back to them with some further advice.” Jones tries to reassure Humphrey that he’s got the working group under control: “As I’ve said on numerous occasions, if the WG [working group] isn’t there, all the people that need [the weather generator] will go off and do their own thing. This will mean that individual sectors and single studies will do a whole range of different things. This will make the uncertainties even larger!” What Jones is referring to are numerous independent scientific efforts to “downscale” climate models to predict local impacts, and the fact that the results of these separate efforts have been chaotic, rather than demonstrating consensus. Hence the need for someone in authority to marginalize uncertainties and contradictory results. But this is properly called politics, not science.

Humphrey wrote back: “I know this is extremely frustrating for you and completely understand where you are coming from. This is a political reaction, not one based on any scientific analysis of the weather generator. We did the peer review to take care of that. I can’t overstate the HUGE amount of political interest in the project as a message that the Government can give on climate change to help them tell their story. They want the story to be a very strong one and don’t want to be made to look foolish.” (Emphasis added.) Even putting the most charitable possible construction on this exchange​—​namely that Humphrey really thought the criticisms of the weather generator lacked solid scientific foundation​—​other messages in the emails make clear that many scientists understand that their models really aren’t up to it, despite Jones’s attempts at reassurance.

In a 2008 email from Jagadish Shukla of George Mason University and the Institute of Global Environment and Society to a large circle of IPCC scientists, Shukla put his finger squarely on the problem: “I would like to submit that the current climate models have such large errors in simulating the statistics of regional [climate] that we are not ready to provide policymakers a robust scientific basis for ‘action’ at a regional scale. .  .  . It is inconceivable that policy-makers will be willing to make billion- and trillion-dollar decisions for adaptation to the projected regional climate change based on models that do not even describe and simulate the processes that are the building blocks of climate variability.” Despite this and other cautionary messages from scientists, Jones, DEFRA, and the IPCC charged ahead with the weather generator anyway.

Other problems with climate modeling are more -subtle and less easily discerned from the emails. In particular, there is much discussion about the political pressure to tune the climate models to isolate and emphasize the effect of carbon dioxide only, even though there are other important greenhouse gases and related factors highly relevant to a complete understanding of climate change. Carbon dioxide was emphasized because it is the variable that the policymakers made central to their monomaniacal mission to suppress fossil fuels to the exclusion of other policy strategies, such as “geoengineering,” that might be considered in the event of drastic climate change. Here and there Jones and his compatriots complain about this constraint, but go along with it anyway. But it’s another case of policy-driven science, and not science-driven policy, which we are constantly reassured is the mission of the IPCC.

These are only a few of the many problems with the climate models on which all of the predictions of doom decades hence depend. It will take months of careful review to sort the wheat from the chaff, but there is enough evidence already to support the conclusion that the climate science establishment has greatly exaggerated what it knows. One of the stranger aspects of all of these emails is how much they are concerned with statistical refinement of climate models, and how little work there seems to be on basic atmospheric physics. There are curious exchanges over the impact of changes in solar activity on global warming. The effect of fluctuations in the sun have been consistently downplayed in the climate models and IPCC reports, despite a steady stream of science journal articles​—​most of them peer reviewed​—​that argue for a more substantial weighting of solar factors. As with so many parts of climate science, the empirical basis of solar factors is controversial and incomplete.

For example, a 2003 email from Michael Mann of Penn State summarily dismisses one variation of the solar story: “I’m now more convinced than ever that there is not one single scientifically defensible element at all [in this]​—​the statistics, supposed climate reconstruction, and supposed ‘Cosmic Ray Flux’ estimates are all almost certainly w/out any legitimate underpinning.” And yet the basis for the idea he dismisses was largely vindicated a few months ago in a major study from CERN, the European lab that is behind the Large Hadron Collider, which found a significant role for cosmic ray flux in cloud formation. The imperatives of climate orthodoxy came immediately into view when Rolf-Dieter Heuer, the director of the CERN lab, told a German news-paper, “I have asked the colleagues to present the results clearly, but not to interpret them. That would go immediately into the highly political arena of the climate change debate. One has to make clear that cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters.”

As all the new emails are dissected and analyzed, no doubt Jones and the CRU circle will be able to claim to have been misinterpreted or wrongly besmirched in many instances. But between their boorish behavior, attempts to conceal data and block FOIA requests, and dismissal of dissent, the climate science community has abdicated its credibility and done great damage to large-scale scientific inquiry.

It is worth revisiting one of the most infamous statements in the climate change saga, which came in 1989 from the late Stanford environmental scientist Stephen Schneider (who turns up in many of the emails in both Climategate features):
On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but​—​which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This “double ethical bind” we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.

Schneider used to complain correctly that his critics omitted the last line in his statement​—​“I hope that means being both”​—​but the lesson of the Climategate saga is that scientists who become advocates, or allow themselves to become adjuncts to an advocacy campaign, damage science and policy-making alike. They end up being neither effective nor honest. One of the poignant revelations of the new emails is that some of the scientists seem to grasp this. Tommy Wils, a British climate researcher at the University of Swansea, wrote in a 2007 note to a large list of recipients: “Politicians like Al Gore are abusing the fear of global warming to get into power (while having a huge carbon footprint himself).” About Michael Grubb, a prominent climate campaigner in Britain, Tom Wigley (a prominent figure in U.S. climate research circles) wrote in 2000: “Grubb is good at impressing ignorant people. .  .  . Eileen Claussen [then-head of the Pew Climate Center] thinks he is a jerk. .  .  . Basically he is a ‘greenie’; and he bends his ‘science’ to suit his ideological agenda.” Did any of the leading climate scientists ever say this publicly, or call out environmental activist organizations for their reckless distortions of climate change? Had the climate scientists been more honest about their doubts, and more willing to discipline their allies, they might not be going through the present agony of having their dirty laundry exposed.

If Climategate II does poor box office, it won’t be because the various internal reviews exonerated the CRU from the narrow allegations of fraud in Climategate I, but because the whole show has become a crashing bore. The latest U.N. climate summit that opened last week in Durban, South Africa, is struggling to keep the diplomatic circus on life support. Yet there is one more tantalizing detail that has been largely overlooked in the commentary so far. According to “FOIA,” the online name of the hacker/leaker behind the release of these emails, there are another 220,000 emails still out there, blocked by a heavily encrypted password that “FOIA” vaguely threatens or promises to release at some future date. Stay tuned for -Climategate III.



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


4 December, 2011

Should someone who writes on the ethics of science know some science?

Prof Donald Brown appears not to. He is an ethics "expert" who writes below in the most scathing terms about climate skeptics -- but he is a very poor moral philosopher as well as demonstrating no knowledge of science.

Moral philosophers discuss at great length what the basis of their ethical position is. They ask, for instance how notions of right and wrong originate and what they are based on. Comrade Brown does nothing like that. His very first sentence is a mere assertion and a highly dubious one at that. He assumes what he has to prove. He says: "Because climate change is an ethical problem....".

Had I been writing on the topic, I would have said "Because climate change is a non-existent problem..." -- and the evidence for my statement is pretty obvious, as even Warmist scientists admit that the tiny amount of warming seen in the late 20th century has ceased, and ceased around 12 years ago.

So does Comrade Brown take any account of that scientific fact? Not in the least. He mentions a few scientific claims in his article but gives references for none of them, let alone looking at the factual basis for them. The essential basis he gives for his position is that various science bodies have pronounced in favour of global warming. But that is neither a scientific nor a philosophical approach to truth. It is a bureaucratic approach to knowledge and before Galileo that approach would have yielded the "truth" that the sun revolved around the earth. Anybody who knows about intellectual fashions would regard a bureaucratic warrant of truth as worthless. The best face one can put on his assertions is that he is a dupe. I reproduce an excerpt from his hate-speech below

Climate change must be understood at its core as an ethical problem because; (a) it is a problem caused by some people in one part of the world that are hurting poor people who are often far away and poor, (b) the harms to these victims are potentially catastrophic, and (c) the victims can't protect themselves by petitioning their governments- they must hope that those causing the problem will see that their ethical duties to the victims requires them to drastically lower their greenhouse gas emissions.

However, I will in a minute review the tactics of the climate change disinformation campaign. We think you will agree that these are not acceptable ways of acting skeptically but malicious, morally unacceptable disinformation

To understand the full moral depravity of the climate change disinformation campaign, one must know something about the state of climate science. There is a "consensus" view on climate science that has been articulated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC. This consensus is not a consensus on all scientific issues entalied by climate change; it is a consensus about the fact that the planet is warming, that this warming is largely human caused, and that under business-as-usual we are headed to potentially catastrophic impacts for humans and the natural resources on which life depends. Furthermore, these harms are likely to be most harshly experienced by many of the Earth's poorest people.

Every Academy of Science has issued reports supporting the consensus view including four reports by the US Academy of Science. Well over 100 scientific organizations with expertise in climate science have also issued reports or statements in support of the consensus view. At least 97% of all scientists that actually do research in climate science support the consensus view according to two recent surveys in respectable scientific journals.

There are six recent books that have investigated the disinformation campaign on climate change science. (See references below) What follows is an ethical analysis of the disinformation campaign based upon the findings in these books.

The disinformation campaign began in the 1980s when some of the same scientists and organizations that fought government regulation of tobacco began to apply the tactics honed in their war on the regulation of tobacco to climate change. For almost 25 years this campaign has been waged to undermine public support for regulation of greenhouse gases.

The organizations trying to undermine public support on climate policies by exaggerating scientific uncertainty have expanded over the last few decades to include think tanks, front groups, astroturf groups (that is groups pretending to be bottom-up citizen responses), PR firm led campaigns financed by fossil fuel interests and free-market fundamentalists philanthropic funding organizations. Much of the funding support for these efforts has come from some fossil fuel interests.

The tactics deployed by this campaign are now all well documented including in the six books mentioned above. These tactics have included:

A. Lying. Some of the claims made by some of those engaged in the disinformation campaign have been outright lies about such things as the claim that the entire scientific basis for human-induced climate change is a hoax or that there is no evidence of human causation of climate change Given that every Academy of Science in the world has issued reports in support of the consensus view, it is a clear lie that the basis for human-induced warming is a hoax and that such claim is preposterous. This is far from reasonable skepticism but a lie.


Another "adjustment" to the data

Sea-level expert Nils Axel Morner writes:

The IPCC’s Fourth Assessment claimed that “there is strong evidence” of sea level rising over the last few decades. It goes as far as to claim: “Satellite observations available since the early 1990s provide more accurate sea level data... This decade-long satellite altimetry data set shows that since 1993, sea level has been rising at a rate of around 3mm yr–1, significantly higher than the average during the previous half century.”

Almost every word of this is untrue. Satellite altimetry is a wonderful and vital new technique that offers the reconstruction of sea level changes all over the ocean surface. But it has been hijacked and distorted by the IPCC for political ends.

In 2003 the satellite altimetry record was mysteriously tilted upwards to imply a sudden sea level rise rate of 2.3mm per year. When I criticised this dishonest adjustment at a global warming conference in Moscow, a British member of the IPCC delegation admitted in public the reason for this new calibration: “We had to do so, otherwise there would be no trend.”

This is a scandal that should be called Sealevelgate.


A referee's report on a paper by Hulme of the UEA

Mike Hulme is a professor of Climate Change in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia (UEA). In October 2000 he founded the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. So he is a big star among Warmist scientists. The review (apparently by Keith Briffa) of one of his papers is therefore revealing. The review could scarcely be more scathing, ripping apart Hulme's analytical methods and accusing him of "massaging" the data. That is the character of a man upon whom Warmist place much reliance.

The review has come to light courtesy of email 977 in the Claimategate II release

Review of "1000 years of rainfall variability in the Sahel: an evaluation of a long-term climate model simulation against observational data", by N. Brooks and M. Hulme.

This paper deals with a clearly defined topic, but has several shortcomings that make it unacceptable for publication. These are

1) inadequacy of the model for studying the Sahel,

2) poor validation of the model, and

3) arbitrary and unjustified statistical analyses. I am also uncomfortable with their interpretation of results. Finally, and this is a minor issue, I think better literature could be cited. When several papers were available for citation about a certain point, the choice was generally a minor paper, with the most important papers being omitted. There is a tendency to cite "soft science" literature in places where more technical literature is appropriate.

1. Model and Model Validation: A validation attempt was made via comparison of statistics such as the mean, season cycle, and time spectra. However, in doing so the authors compared statistics for this century with those for a 1000-year model run. There is no reason to assume that these periods are statistically comparable. Indeed, the results suggest they are not.

However, some aspects of the climate can be considered fairly stable, such as the summer rainy season. The model produces less than 50% of its rainfall in July, July, August, compared to about 80% in the "real world".

It also shows many years in which rainfall approaches zero in the rainy season. The proper validation approach would have been to compare a 20th century simulation with the observed statistics. Further, it is important to show that the model can capture the mean spatial pattern and the real temporal variability of the observed data. This was not done.

2. The model results are extensively "massaged", using what appear to be arbitrarily chosen filters of 9 years, 25 years, 45 years, 96 years and 101 years. This is compared with unfiltered observational data. What is the justification of these particular filters, how do they affect the results. Is it appropriate to do statistical analyses, such as spectra, on the filtered series?

3. As a result of all of this statistical manipulation, it is difficult to follow what the authors do. It is even more difficult to judge their results and its statistical significance. This is particular problematic when a major results is correlations for thousands of grid points (Fig. 8.).

If this work were to be revised, much more attention would have to be paid to the statistical approach and to validating the results. At the moment I have no confidence in any of the conclusions draw from this simulation.


A very shaky hockeystick

The "hockeystick" picture of past temperatures was based on "reconstructions" of temperature from proxy data such as tree-rings. But tree rings are a very poor index of temperature and the excerpt from a Cimategate II email shows that the Warmist scientists knew that. Tom Wigley is writing to Michael Mann:

"A word of warning. I would be careful about using other, independent paleo reconstruction work as supporting the MBH reconstructions. I am attaching my version of a comparison of the bulk of these other reconstructions. Although these all show the hockey stick shape, the differences between them prior to 1850 make me very nervous. If I were on the greenhouse deniers' side, I would be inclined to focus on the wide range of paleo results and the differences between them as an argument for dismissing them all."


The Age Of Superstition And Ignorance

If you pave over rural lands, you get floods. When rain falls on impermeable ground, it runs off into rivers. One hundred twenty-one experts in New Jersey were too dense to figure this out, and instead blame their recent floods on CO2.
Some New Jersey communities are already suffering from the changes. While no single storm can be attributed to the changing climate, the two largest recorded floods on the Raritan River are Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and Hurricane Irene this year, said Anthony Broccoli, a director of Rutgers’ Climate and Environmental Change Initiative.

“From 1902 to 2001, there were 18 recorded flood events of the Delaware River at Trenton,” Broccoli said. “From 2002 through this year so far, there have been nine.”

There has been no increase in heavy rain events near Trenton. Irene barely made the top twenty. Hightstown is the closest USHCN station to Trenton.

We truly live in an age of superstition and scientific ignorance.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Absolute Certainty Is Not Scientific

Global warming alarmists betray their cause when they declare that it is irresponsible to question them.

By DANIEL B. BOTKIN (Botkin is president of the Center for the Study of the Environment and professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara)

One of the changes among scientists in this century is the increasing number who believe that one can have complete and certain knowledge. For example, Michael J. Mumma, a NASA senior scientist who has led teams searching for evidence of life on Mars, was quoted in the New York Times as saying, "Based on evidence, what we do have is, unequivocally, the conditions for the emergence of life were present on Mars—period, end of story."

This belief in absolute certainty is fundamentally what has bothered me about the scientific debate over global warming in the 21st century, and I am hoping it will not characterize the discussions at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, currently under way.

Reading Mr. Mumma's statement, I thought immediately of physicist Niels Bohr, a Nobel laureate, who said, "Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it." To which Richard Feynman, another famous physicist and Nobel laureate, quipped, "Nobody understands quantum mechanics."

I felt nostalgic for those times when even the greatest scientific minds admitted limits to what they knew. And when they recognized well that the key to the scientific method is that it is a way of knowing in which you can never completely prove that something is absolutely true. Instead, the important idea about the method is that any statement, to be scientific, must be open to disproof, and a way of knowing how to disprove it exists.

Therefore, "Period, end of story" is something a scientist can say—but it isn't science.

I was one of many scientists on several panels in the 1970s who reviewed the results from the Viking Landers on Mars, the ones that were supposed to conduct experiments that would help determine whether there was or wasn't life on that planet. I don't remember anybody on those panels talking in terms of absolute certainty. Instead, the discussions were about what the evidence did and did not suggest, and what might be disprovable from them and from future landers.

I was also one of a small number of scientists—mainly ecologists, climatologists and meteorologists—who in the 1970s became concerned about the possibility of a human-induced global warming, based on then-new measurements. It seemed to be an important scientific problem, both as part of the beginning of a new science of global ecology and as a potentially major practical problem that nations would have to deal with. It did not seem to be something that should or would rise above standard science and become something that one had to choose sides in. But that's what has happened.

Some scientists make "period, end of story" claims that human-induced global warming definitely, absolutely either is or isn't happening. For me, the extreme limit of this attitude was expressed by economist Paul Krugman, also a Nobel laureate, who wrote in his New York Times column in June, "Betraying the Planet" that "as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn't help thinking that I was watching a form of treason—treason against the planet." What had begun as a true scientific question with possibly major practical implications had become accepted as an infallible belief (or if you're on the other side, an infallible disbelief), and any further questions were met, Joe-McCarthy style, "with me or agin me."

Not only is it poor science to claim absolute truth, but it also leads to the kind of destructive and distrustful debate we've had in last decade about global warming. The history of science and technology suggests that such absolutism on both sides of a scientific debate doesn't often lead to practical solutions.

It is helpful to go back to the work of the Wright brothers, whose invention of a true heavier-than-air flying machine was one kind of precursor to the Mars Landers. They basically invented aeronautical science and engineering, developed methods to test their hypotheses, and carefully worked their way through a combination of theory and experimentation. The plane that flew at Kill Devil Hill, a North Carolina dune, did not come out of true believers or absolute assertions, but out of good science and technological development.

Let us hope that discussions about global warming can be more like the debates between those two brothers than between those who absolutely, completely agree with Paul Krugman and those who absolutely, completely disagree with him. How about a little agnosticism in our scientific assertions—and even, as with Richard Feynman, a little sense of humor so that we can laugh at our errors and move on? We should all remember that Feynman also said, "If you think that science is certain—well that's just an error on your part."



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


3 December, 2011

Durban Due Diligence

Kelvin Kemm

From my vantage point here in South Africa, I could hardly miss the major build-up to the COP-17 United Nations world environment and climate conference, which is being held November 28 to December 9 in Durban, where I went to school and university.

For weeks international news broadcasts spoke of “the road to Durban,” and people of all ranks made daily comments concerning issues to be addressed at COP-17. Conference organisers announced that bottled water would be limited, or even prohibited, because making, shipping and disposing of plastic bottles was not environmentally sound – and in any event Durban tap water is so good that anyone can safely drink water out of any tap, whether in a hotel room, restaurant or back yard garden hose. I agree with both points; Durban municipal water is excellent everywhere.

Other images also drifted through my mind, such as those of legendary scientist and philosopher Galileo, who dared to announce that it was not the sun that orbited the earth, but the planets, including the earth, which orbited the sun. The ruling establishment of the day jumped on Galileo, threatening him with dire consequences if he did not toe the politically correct line and recant his claims. He did so to avoid burning at the stake but was placed under house arrest anyway, to ensure that he did not spread his views, and his book was banned.

Many years later, during the French Revolution, baying mobs in Paris streets were ready to chop the heads off anyone perceived not to be part of the New World Order. Even scientist Antoine Lavoisier, the discoverer of oxygen and hydrogen, was one of many unfortunate people who lost their heads to French guillotines.

Today, I fear we are experiencing similar, though less lethal, sentiments on topics of so-called global warming, global climate change, global climate disruption and weather “weirding.” In far too many instances, any person who dares to challenge official dogma is branded a “denier” and treated as an enemy of society. This is not merely sad; it is dangerous to all mankind.

Chanting climate change advocacy groups want non-compliant businesses and industries found guilty of crimes against the planet, so that condemned industrialists can be hunted down and punished. This is destructive of reasoned scientific debate, affordable energy and modern civilization.

The asserted evidence that anthropogenic carbon dioxide is totally to blame for any observed climate changes is at best scientifically very shaky. There are far too many holes in the theory for it to pass the conventional rigour that should be applied to any scientific debate.

The evidence shows serious deviations between CO2 claims, computer models and computer-generated forecasts and scenarios, on the one hand – and actual observations and measurements of temperature and weather, on the other hand. Historical and archaeological evidence (of major climate and weather changes and extremes) likewise do not support claims that allegedly stable climate conditions have suddenly been thrown into disarray by human greenhouse gas emissions.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and observed temperature changes over the past century simply do not correlate nearly as well as necessary for proper scientific analysis. Similarly, historical evidence clearly demonstrates that there was a Medieval Warm Period (MWP) of great health, wealth and prosperity, during which temperatures were warmer than today’s, but with no anthropogenic carbon dioxide in the equation.

Archaeology and history also show that successful Viking settlements died out in Greenland after the MWP, as a significant 500-year-long period of global cooling set in. The coldest point of this Little Ice Age was the well-documented Maunder Minimum, when ice fairs were held on London’s frozen Thames River. Contemporary paintings of these frozen festivals still exist today.

Similar long-term periods, such as the Roman Warming, have likewise been documented, as have lengthy periods of droughts and floods in various ancient societies – to say nothing of major ice ages and interglacial periods that affected much of Europe and North and South America. Previous significant climatic changes are hardly rare events. However, for obvious reasons, the global warming advocacy faction does not want to discuss these historical periods.

Moreover, over the past decade, significant new scientific evidence has suggested that observed global warming can probably be explained largely or entirely by changes in solar activity and thus cosmic ray incidence on earth, consequent changes in cloud cover and atmospheric water vapour levels, periodic shifts in oceanic temperatures and currents, and other natural phenomena.

Why, then, do we witness repeated attempts to demonize and bury any hint that solar activity is a principal cause of observed global warming? Why do climate change alarmists seek to suppress evidence that the Earth has not warmed and may even have cooled slightly since 1998? Why do so many Climategate 1.0 and 2.0 emails reflect much more private uncertainty among alarmist climate scientists than they have been willing to admit publicly?

These actions are much too close to the Galileo and French Revolution affairs for comfort.

Even worse, misguided government and corporate policies and actions worldwide – in response to the false science and high pressure tactics – will be highly detrimental to mankind, especially poor families that will be trapped in perpetual poverty, disease, malnutrition and premature death.

We can only hope that future generations will not group the Galileo, French Revolution and climate change eras as similar Dark Ages, when “establishment” zealots and easily inflamed crowds suppressed science and analytical truth.

Let us hope, instead, that at least some world leaders will have the courage to stand up at COP-17 and demand the kind of scientific rigour that brought so much enlightenment and progress over the centuries. Proper due diligence in Durban requires nothing less.

Only then will poverty be eradicated, and health and environmental conditions improve, for billions of people all over our planet.


Quarter of British homes 'face fuel poverty': Green taxes add to burden for struggling families

One in four households will struggle to keep warm this winter because of costlier gas and electricity and the impact of green taxes, figures out today show. More than five million households in England alone are living in fuel poverty as incomes stagnate and energy bills soar.

Fuel poverty is where a family spends more than 10 per cent of its income on energy.

Ministers are under increasing pressure to abandon green energy targets amid warnings that fuel surcharges will put the lives of the most vulnerable at risk as they struggle to pay bills.

The Government faces calls to tear up or delay plans to force through a £200billion shift to wind turbines, wave power and new nuclear power stations.

Previous official projections had forecast that 4.1million households would be in fuel poverty this year, but calculations following rises in energy prices over the summer have shown that a million more will be hit.

The figures provided to Consumer Focus are based on actual bills after the rises.

William Baker, of the statutory consumer body, said: ‘With over five million households currently in fuel poverty, it is difficult to see how the Government is going to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016, as required by the Warm Homes and Conservation Act 2000.

‘We therefore urge the Government to use the proceeds from new carbon taxes to provide vital funds to support a national energy efficiency programme.’

All six of the big energy suppliers pushed up their prices with the biggest, British Gas, putting up its gas and electricity prices by 18 per cent and 16 per cent.

The government-appointed Fuel Poverty Advisory Group last night urged ministers to act. Chairman Derek Lickorish said that the average family’s dual fuel bill has doubled since 2003 and is now more than £1,300.

‘The Government needs to reflect on what’s happening to ordinary people. It has not been taking this seriously enough,’ he said.

The figures show the severity of the problems in parts of the country with more than 40 per cent of households in Wales in fuel poverty. The North East and West Midlands have fuel poverty levels of more than 30 per cent. Around 2.5million people are now in debt to their energy supplier, with the average gas bill arrears now £320.

A Government-commissioned study earlier this year warned that more than 2,700 people are dying each year in England and Wales because they cannot afford to keep their homes warm.

The study by social policy expert Professor John Hills, of the London School of Economics, concluded that green taxes on household power bills have a disproportionate impact on poorer homes.

Energy companies meanwhile are under pressure to cut prices following significant falls in the wholesale cost of fuel.

Unusually warm weather and the lack of demand from industrial customers as the economy falters have created a glut of cheap power. The fall in wholesale prices kicked in at the end of August – exactly the time that price rises began.

Experts at independent industry analysts ICIS Heren said: ‘UK energy markets are in freefall as the eurozone teeters on the brink of recession.

‘UK wholesale energy prices plummeted to 12-month lows this week, finally cancelling out increases earlier in the year that caused energy companies to raise household prices.’


Global warming alarmism cooling

Another frantic effort to redistribute wealth from developed nations to developing nations is under way, this time in Durban, South Africa. The excuse is the same old, tiresome claim that socialism writ large is necessary to save the planet from global warming.

Fewer people are fooled every year the United Nations brings together representatives of about 190 nations hoping to profit from the shakedown. Just as claims of climate doom are wearing thin, so are arguments for separating you from your money.
Article Tab: In this image made available by Greenpeace, activists dressed as trees protest the deforestation of the Amazon jungle in Brazil in Durban, South Africa, Nov. 29, the second day of the two-week U.N. climate conference attended by 192 parties seeking agreement on future action to curb climate change.

We like the way contrarian climate scientist S. Fred Singer describes the confab: "10,000 or so Durban attendees – official delegates, U.N. and government officials, journalists, NGO types and other hangers-on – will have a grand old time: two weeks of feasting, partying, living it up in luxury hotels, and greeting old friends at this 17th reunion – all at someone else's expense."

"At someone else's expense" could be the theme of the global warming movement.

Americans should be pleased that the conference no sooner began than the U.S. was blamed for not taxing and regulating greenhouse gases enough, and for not writing enough compensatory checks to countries less fortunate. In the view of those overseas who want your money, America still hasn't sacrificed enough, despite onerous regulations and punitive taxes imposed domestically, including the horrific California Global Warming Solutions Act.

The United States and other developed nations are realizing that reducing their own productivity – a byproduct of reducing greenhouse gas emissions – isn't smart in hard times. It's good to see common sense prevail.

On the eve of this conference to extend the Draconian Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas-limiting treaty, someone leaked thousands of emails revealing the duplicity, flawed science and conspiratorial inclination of the clique of climate scientists, who have claimed global warming threatens the planet.

A similar leak occurred on the eve of the 2009 global warming conference in Copenhagen, which ended in frustration for climate alarmists and nothing binding for the rest of us. The emails' peek behind the scenes called into question the motives of climate alarmists, the reliability of the science behind their scary stories and pointed up the conspiratorial nature of the clique.

It also hasn't hurt that the public increasingly is aware climate alarmists' catastrophic claims aren't panning out. Sea levels declined in 2010, rather than drowning island nations as claimed. The melting of Mount Kilimanjaro's snow cap was proven unrelated to global warming, contrary to claims. There are fewer, not more, devastating hurricanes. Temperatures at best have remained level for nearly 15 years, despite historic increases in CO2 emissions, which warming theorists insist should drive them higher.

And now, as nations ride out a rough economy, they are becoming more reluctant to cut their own economic throats and throw money at unproductive uses.


EPA fuel efficiency standards are an unnecessary cost to taxpayers, automakers and drivers

Once again the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is stepping on the toes of, well, everyone who owns, manufacturers or sells a vehicle.

The EPA’s most recent announcement is all vehicles must meet an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025—a doubling of today’s average of about 27 mpg, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The ironic part of this mandate is if you asked anyone who drives they will likely confirm that they would love to see an increase of fuel economy in their vehicle. Better fuel economy means fewer trips to the gas station and more money in your pocket, who doesn’t want that?

But, alas, the free enterprise system is once again interrupted by the edict of a rogue government agency.

The problem with this EPA decree is it jumps ahead of the free market economy. Instead of letting consumer demand be the driving force behind better gas mileage in vehicles automakers will now be forced to pay an EPA-estimated $157 billion to comply with the rule. But automakers aren’t the only ones who will suffer, this mandate will likely raise the price of vehicles by an average of $3,100—not something Americans want.


Don't let Big Green stymie boom in energy jobs

Imagine that you never went to college and you have virtually no experience punching the time clock, thanks to the ongoing depression in blue-collar jobs in American manufacturing. Not to worry, though, because there are places in America where men who are willing to put in long hours doing hard work can earn $100,000 or more. There are downsides, like being out in the middle of nowhere and coping with shortages of housing and other amenities such as sleep, but the rewards can be immense for the hardy. And, since this is the oil and gas industry, true stories of ambitious men going from rough-necking to millionaires are anything but unprecedented.

We refer, of course, to the booming Bakken oil fields in America's high plains, where little towns like Williston, Dickinson and Minot have seen populations and economic growth explode in recent years. There are billions of barrels of oil in the Bakken formation that underlies North Dakota, Montana and Canada's Saskatchewan region. Bakken oil was previously inaccessible, but, thanks to new technologies like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, it has become eminently reachable.

Here's how CNN Money describes the boom: "Many of the highest-paying jobs are at oil companies, where workers make an average salary of about $100,000, often with little-to-no experience or need for a college degree ... But it's not just the oil companies that are hiring. The oil boom has brought such a big influx of people that every single industry -- from hospitality to retail -- has been hit with overwhelming demand as a result." Unemployment is all but nonexistent in these boom towns.

Similar, if somewhat less spectacular, success stories are playing out in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia where those same new technologies have produced an explosion of natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale formation. As the New York Times' David Brooks wrote earlier this month: "Already shale gas has produced more than half a million new jobs, not only in traditional areas like Texas but also in economically wounded places like western Pennsylvania and, soon, Ohio. If current trends continue, there are hundreds of thousands of new jobs to come." Even old-line industries like steel are benefitting, with the Cleveland Plain-Dealer recently reporting that Republic Steel is investing $85 million to create 450 new jobs at a plant it was shutting down just three years ago. The plant will make steel pipe needed for the Marcellus gas wells.

Thanks to the new technologies, additional vast untapped energy resources in Texas, Alaska and off-shore could make America energy independent in the 21st century, allowing U.S. policymakers to tell Orgazniation for Petroleum Exporting Countries nations to go pound sand. But Big Green environmentalists - and their political allies in the White House and Congress -- are determined to keep the country from enjoying this boom. As Brooks noted in the Times, "not-in-my-backyard activists are organizing to prevent exploration. Environmentalists and their publicists wax apocalyptic." So a key issue in 2012 will be whether Americans want continued high unemployment and economic stagnation, or new jobs and growth. We're betting on the Bakken boom.


Suppression of climate debate is a disaster for science

Margaret Wente, in Canada

Environment Minister Peter Kent has done us all a favour by stating the obvious: Canada has no intention of signing on to a new Kyoto deal. So long as, the world’s biggest emitters want nothing to do with it, we’d be crazy if we did. Mr. Kent also refuses to be guilted out by climate reparations, a loony and unworkable scheme to extort hundreds of billions of dollars from rich countries and send it all to countries such as China. Such candour from Ottawa is a refreshing change from the usual hypocrisy, which began the moment Jean Chrétien committed Canada to the first Kyoto Protocol back in 1998.

Yet even though a global climate deal is now a fantasy, the rhetoric remains as overheated as ever. Without a deal, we’re told, the seas will rise, the glaciers will melt, the hurricanes will blow, the forest fires will rage and the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will do their awful work.

Or maybe not. As Roger Pielke Jr., one of the saner voices on the climate scene, points out, the hurricanes have failed to blow since Hurricane Wilma hit the Gulf Coast back in 2005. Despite the dire predictions of the experts, the U.S. has now experienced its longest period free of major hurricanes since 1906.

It’s possible to accept the underlying science of global warming, as Mr. Pielke does, while also maintaining that substantial uncertainties still exist. Why wouldn’t they? Climate science is relatively new, and it’s also insanely complicated. No one knows with any certainty the exact impact of carbon dioxide emissions, what long-term climate trends will be or the effect of other factors, such as the sun.

But don’t take it from me. Take it from the climate scientists themselves.

By no coincidence, a new cache of hacked e-mails from leading climate scientists hit the Internet last week, just in time for the lead-up to the United Nations climate conference in Durban, South Africa. The e-mails are not recent – they are a new instalment in the so-called Climategate affair, which broke two years ago. They deal with a small area of global-warming studies that addresses the question: How do we know the Earth is warmer now than it was 1,000 years ago? The evidence is not straightforward, because it relies on proxy data such as tree rings.

Although Climategate has been widely dismissed as nothing more than the usual academic sniping, it is much more than that. In some of the e-mails, scientists propose ways to massage the data to make it look better. They try to figure out how to get dissident scientists fired. Others are unhappy because they believe important information has been simplified, suppressed or misrepresented for public consumption.

“There have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC [the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change],” one scientist complained, also arguing that calculating the climate’s sensitivity to increased levels of carbon dioxide “cannot even be done using present-day data.” Another wrote, “I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.” Or, as another doubter put it, “What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multi-decadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably…”

There’s nothing wrong with uncertainty in science. What’s wrong is denying it exists. “They were attacking skeptics for questioning the science, but in private, they were questioning it themselves,” Ross McKitrick, an economics professor at the University of Guelph who is a leading climate-science critic, told me. He thinks the entire IPCC process needs to be rebuilt from scratch.

Governments around the world have spent billions on policies to counteract the impact of global warming. They have done so because policy-makers, politicians and the public have been told that the science is built on bedrock. But some of that bedrock turns out to be sand.

Instead of distancing themselves from the shenanigans, the broader climate-science community has treated the central figures in Climategate like persecuted heroes. That is a terrible mistake, because it erodes the credibility of the entire field. The suppression of legitimate debate is a catastrophe for climate science. It’s also a catastrophe for science, period.



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2 December, 2011

Wind power truly in the realm of mysticism

Wind power paranoia has bypassed science logic and is well and truly in the realm of mysticism

Let me state categorically that, as a physicist, I am in favour of wind power that is genuinely economically viable. The problem is that large-scale wind power fed into a national grid is just not viable – either economically or practically – from an engineering stand point.

The dream of some enthusiasts that there is some major technological leap just waiting in the wings that will make wind power viable is extremely unlikely to take place. The total energy in any wind stream is measurable, and there is no known quantum leap waiting for a solution that could produce considerably more wind energy than at present.

The extreme language and wild claims concerning the potential glories of wind power are becoming more and more exotic and are rapidly being blown further away from reality by the wind of reason. We really need a wind of change to blow now to bring debate back to sound logical discourse on the real strengths and weaknesses of wind power.

I have been reading documents on wind energy from a variety of sources and one sees a spectrum of highly optimistic statements, such as the one here in South Africa from the wind lobby, which says it is striving for 20% of national demand to be met by wind power by 2025. Okay, there is nothing wrong in an optimistic dream.

However, in referring to the intro- duction of more wind power, the statement goes on to say: “It will involve close interaction between the private and public sectors to ensure technical parameters and electricity grid designs are appropriate to facilitate it.”

What this statement actually says is: there are severe technical problems in integrating a highly variable energy source into the grid and somebody will have to overcome these problems that we know exist, but we do not want to mention them.

A spokesperson of the South African Wind Energy Association was quoted in the media as saying: “Contrary to what most believe, a 30 000 MW wind energy plant would have an average daily minimum power output of 7 000 MW and would displace 6 000 MW of conventional coal or nuclear power baseload.”

This statement is significant for a few reasons. Firstly, it is irresponsible fantasy. Secondly, it does admit that a ‘plant’ of 30 000 MW does not produce 30 000 MW but only an ‘average’ of 7 000 MW. Take careful note of the word ‘average’. This word means that, in practice, the ‘plant’ could produce any output from zero to 30 000 MW, depending on if and when the wind blows. On ‘average’, they say, one should get 7 000 MW ‘daily’.

But what does that mean? How can one use the terms ‘average’ and ‘daily’ together. Think about it. The most common error committed unknowingly by the media, and knowingly by the wind proponents, is that a quoted figure for installed capacity for wind power is not the amount you get. Wind power systems are fundamentally designed to produce about 25% of their installed capacity, so one designs to get about 7 000 MW out of 30 000 MW of installed capacity. Frequently, the operating wind systems do not even deliver the designed 25% – at times half of this or less. In contrast, with nuclear power, one would get more than 25 000 MW out of an installed capacity of 30 000 MW and one would get it all the time, not only ‘on average’ when the wind blows.

Further, to refer to ‘a plant’ of 30 000 MW as if such a huge capacity would be built in one ‘plant’ is just crazy. Actually, it is irresponsible to use such language.

A capacity figure of 30 000 MW would be arrived at by adding together many wind farms which would be placed very far apart. So, the wind patterns would be very different. The so-called ‘average’ wind output of 7 000 MW could actually appear anywhere over a very wide area, hundreds or, perhaps, thousands of kilometres apart. This is the type of situation that gives rise to technical problems in the grid. You cannot just push significant pulses of electricity into the grid at widely divergent places at widely differing times – depending on when and where the wind blows. Something will blow (pun intended).

To say that this claimed 7 000 MW would replace 6 000 MW of nuclear or coal power is just foolish.
I recently received a comprehensive wind power report from the UK. This report contains the real results of UK wind power facilities. It is very revealing. For example, it quotes, in detail, the significant number of days during the past year when the entire system produced essentially no output at all. What this tells one is that the entire installed wind capacity needs a backup consisting of some really reliable source like coal or nuclear.

What then is the point of large-scale wind power if one needs a second source in reserve? I am not aware of any place in the world where the installation of large-scale wind energy has actually resulted in the decommissioning of other significant power sources.

It is time that the fantasy of producing large-scale economic wind energy reliably was put aside and a sensible realism emerged. Such a realism would examine deploying existing wind technology in isolated standalone systems, which are genuinely economic and which use the intermittent nature of the wind as a strength, and do not hide this inherent weakness with smoke and mirrors. There are thousands of places on the planet that really need such standalone energy systems.


British Met Office Climate Forecasts: Always Wrong But Never In Doubt

When it comes to testing a climate model, the future is more important than the past. You can take your model and adjust its various parameters to fit observations already made, but the crucial test is how well that model matches the future. This involves making a prediction, but, as they say, prediction is difficult, especially about the future.

The important thing about a prediction is that once made you don’t modify it or start making excuses. It is prediction though that sets a model apart from mere curve fitting and tells you if your model is in touch with reality and is not just matching wriggles on graphs. The problem with computer models of the climate is that ideally several decades are needed to see if they are any good. This is tricky to fit into an academic life and frustrating for all concerned, but there are other ways.

Shorter-term predictions will contain more noise but if the model captures accurately the putatively increasing man-made warming signal in the data it should be possible to say something statistically about its presence. In the past few years the Met Office has been doing exactly that. What they have also been displaying is a public lack of self-evaluation, and hoping we have short memories.

In 2007 it became obvious that annual global temperatures were not increasing in the past few year, and a few people said so in public what scientists were talking about in private hoping it wouldn’t get out.

With A Vengeance

In August of 2007 the UK Met Office released a study that predicted that global warming will set in with a vengeance after 2009, after they implicitly acknowledged the temporary warming standstill, with at least half of the five following years expected to be hotter than 1998, which was then, and is still the warmest year on record.

The Guardian said:

British scientists are predicting a succession of record-breaking high temperatures in the most detailed forecast of global warming's impact on weather around the world.
Powerful computer simulations used to create the world's first global warming forecast suggests temperature rises will stall in the next two years, before rising sharply at the end of the decade.
From 2010, they warn, every year has at least a 50% chance of exceeding the record year of 1998 when average global temperatures reached 14.54C.

Reporters were told that in order to make such a prediction, researchers at the Met Office had made a computer model that takes into account such natural phenomena as the El Nino pattern in the Pacific Ocean, and other fluctuations in ocean circulation and heat content.

The Telegraph said:

This is the prediction of the first computer model of the global climate designed to make forecasts over a timescale of around a decade, developed by scientists at the Met Office.
"This is a very valuable step forward," Science magazine was told by meteorologist Rowan Sutton of the University of Reading. "It's precisely on the decadal time scale and on regional scales that natural variability and anthropogenic (man made) effects have comparable magnitudes."

The climate model was described in Science. It states, “…at least half of the years after 2009 predicted to exceed the warmest year currently on record.”

How well did this computer model do by its own test?

We are now two years into their five year prediction, and as yet none of them has been anywhere near the temperature of 1998. This means that, if the prediction is correct, then all three of the subsequent years, including 2014, must be hotter than 1998. Looking at the data I don’t think this is likely to happen.

In the event of the prediction’s failure it would be disingenuous to say: oh well, there were more La Nina cooling events than we thought, but that the model is sound. Such events were incorporated into the model. Strictly speaking if it fails its self-appointed test then the model is unsound, it has failed its crucial test at the least with its specific input parameters.

The problem is however that the Met Office keeps moving the goalposts.

After the 2007 prediction, and with the addition of only one annual more temperature datapoint (that for 2008 which was statistically identical to the previous years since 2001), in 2009 Prof Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia wrote in an email:

Tim, Chris, I hope you’re not right about the lack of warming lasting till about 2020. I'd rather hoped to see the earlier Met Office press release with Doug's paper that said something like - half the years to 2014 would exceed the warmest year currently on record, 1998!

Then at the end of 2009 the Met Office admitted that 2009 was not a record breaker and was in fact near the “lower end of expectations.”

The problem was, of course, the cooling effect of a La Nina, which even though incorporated into the models, had compensated for the underlying warming. As Phil Jones put it, the presence of La Nina during the last year partially masked this underlying rate.

Phenomena such as El Nino and La Nina have a significant influence on global surface temperature, said Dr. Chris Folland of the Met Office Hadley Centre. Further warming to record levels is likely once a moderate El Nino develops. The transition from a La Nina effect to an El Nino one is expected late next year.

Of course, even in the presence of no warming seen in the past decade a strong El Nino might boost temperatures to a record level, even though that would say more about the El Nino’s starting point and not the underlying decadal temperature increase. Such crucial scientific specifics were however lost, at least in public. So the hopes were high that 2010 would be a record year.

Climate could warm to record levels in 2010, the Met Office said:

The latest forecast from our climate scientists, shows the global temperature is forecast to be almost 0.6 °C above the 1961-90 long-term average. This means that it is more likely than not that 2010 will be the warmest year in the instrumental record, beating the previous record year which was 1998.

It wasn’t. The forecast was a spectacular failure.

Despite a strong El Nino it had a temperature anomaly of 0.470 (with respect to 1961 – 90 average) making it the third warmest year though when the errors are looked at it is in undistinguished member of the post-2001 standstill.

In another rewriting of history Prof Phil Jones said that due to natural variability we do not expect to see each year warmer than the last, but the long-term trend is clear.

The problem is that no year has been warmer than the last!

So, forever hopeful, onto 2011. If the model is correct it must surely be the warmest, after all if the model is right a new warmest year ever must be along any year soon.

The Met Office said that for 2011 they were expecting another very warm year, with a global anomaly forecast of +0.44C above the 1961-1990 average. That would make 2011 the equal 6th warmest year on record.

It isn’t. Whilst we wait for the November and December data 2011 has a temperature anomaly of 0.356 and is the 11th warmest year. Again the Met Office forecast was way off.

Remember the 2007 prediction (half of the post 2009 years would be warmer than 1998). Curiously, at the beginning of 2011 the Met Office revised their prediction and said they expect that 'half the years between 2010 and 2015 to be hotter than the hottest year on record'.

The goalposts have moved! 2009 – 2014 has become 2010 – 2015. The cardinal rule in making predictions is not to fudge them, and be honest about the results before making a new prediction with a revised timescale.

If the Met Office climate model is correct then there should be more than 50% of the years 2010 – 2015 exceeding the 1998 record. In the Times of 29 Nov 2011 Peter Stott of the Met Office changed the goalposts again, saying that they stood by their previous prediction that half the years in this decade would be warmer globally than 1998, the warmest year to date.

None of the Met Office forecasts have been correct. The global annual average temperature has to increase soon or else the goalposts will have to be moved again. At what stage does one admit the predictions were wrong?

The latest news is that a second cooling La Nina is brewing in the later part of 2011 and may extend into 2012. Given that, I wonder what the predictions for 2012 will be?


Era of energy subsidies is over

American consumers, not Congress, should choose best power sources

Bill Clinton famously said, “The era of big government is over.” Well, it didn’t work out that way. But something truly remarkable is happening in our national conversation about energy subsidies: outrage, mounting opposition and, we hope, a swift end. This would be great news for taxpayers and consumers.

Subsidy folly has been bipartisan and commonplace. For the past three decades, both parties have intervened in the energy industry. In 1978, a Democrat-controlled Congress and President Carter created an investment tax credit for solar, wind and other renewable energy sources. In 1992, a Democrat-controlled Congress and Republican President George H.W. Bush passed the production tax credit for electricity produced from wind and biomass. Then in 2005, a Republican-controlled Congress and President George W. Bush passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which included massive tax subsidies for seemingly every energy source under the sun, including alternative vehicles, advanced nuclear power and, of course, solar power. The latter legislation created the infamous Department of Energy loan-guarantee programs that produced the ongoing Solyndra scandal.

After three decades, what have we learned?

* Energy subsidies distort the free market by funneling billions in taxpayer dollars to politically favored energy sources and technologies, preventing market prices from signaling the optimal source for particular energy uses.

* Subsidizing energy sectors drains the federal treasury and forces the consumption of higher-cost energy sources.

* Politically allocated capital typically flows to politically connected companies or to large companies that could develop innovative technologies on their own dime. The $535 million Solyndra scandal has reinforced all of these lessons and helped shine a light on the energy-subsidy debate, exposing those who maintain government is the solution to our energy needs.

The good news is that with the support of the American people, politicians now are speaking the truth. At a recent Republican presidential forum, the candidates were in near-unanimous agreement that it is time to end the federal government’s role and allow the free market to bring our nation the next great energy source. Texas Gov. Rick Perry said, “I do not think it is the federal government’s business to be picking winners and losers, frankly, in any of our energy sources.” Rep. Michele Bachmann had similar remarks: “I want to see a [level] federal playing field. We’ve seen what a disaster it is when the federal government picks winners and losers.” In his economic plan, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said government “should not be in the business of steering investment toward particular politically favored approaches.” This is progress. Just four years ago, almost every candidate in Iowa was afraid to say that subsidizing politically favored energy technologies had been an enormous policy failure.

Given the shift in the debate, the time to end subsidies is now. This month we introduced the Energy Freedom and Economic Prosperity Act, H.R. 3308, which has garnered support from such conservative organizations as Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, Club for Growth, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Freedom Action, Heritage Action for America, National Taxpayers Union and Taxpayers for Common Sense. H.R. 3308 would eliminate all energy tax credits, each of which is nothing more than a taxpayer handout to politically favored industries or companies. From solar to wind, from geothermal to biomass and from ethanol to hydrogen, they all must go. It is equal opportunity - not one single solitary tax credit would survive this bill. The proposal then would use the savings realized from the repeal of these tax credits to lower the corporate tax rate. This is a perfect model for tax reform - close out politically allocated tax favors and loopholes and lower taxes on every business that competes in America.

While we are gaining broad public support to end these energy tax credits, the takers of government largesse seldom go quietly. The pro-subsidy lobby pushes to extend its giveaway from Uncle Sam, seeking to extend the production-tax-credit subsidies for wind, biomass and geothermal energy every four years. This is the umpteenth-and-never-final request for “just four more years.” But a few more years will just lead to a few more years after that. Even before we introduced the legislation that for the first time would provide zero tax credits to any energy source, the American Wind Energy Association howled that Rep. Mike Pompeo “seems to misunderstand how a key federal tax incentive has built a thriving American wind manufacturing sector and tens of thousands of American jobs.” Well, we both understand perfectly - handouts are hard to give up.

After three decades, the tide on energy subsidies has turned. Our nation has squandered hundreds of billions of dollars with these tax credits and has little to show for it. We hold no ill will to any of these energy sources that receive tax credits - some or all of them may well become the next great American energy technologies. But having dozens of energy handouts leads companies to spend resources lobbying Washington rather than tinkering in their garages and labs. Indeed, we are counting on one of these alternatives to succeed. We just know that we have no idea, nor do any of our peers in Congress, which one consumers ultimately will demand. The winner must be determined the old-fashioned way: through hard work, innovation, American moxie and superior skills engaged in competition.

Let’s put a different twist on the old saying “not invented here” by acknowledging that energy technology never has been invented here - on the Potomac - and do away with energy subsidies once and for all.


Long-term sea-level rise negligible

This week's Spectator cover star Nils-Axel Mörner brings some good news to a world otherwise mired in misery: sea levels are not rising dangerously – and haven't been for at least 300 years. To many readers this may come as a surprise. After all, are not rising sea levels – caused, we are given to understand, by melting glaciers and shrinking polar ice – one of the main planks of the IPCC's argument that we need to act now to 'combat climate change'?

But where the IPCC's sea level figures are based on computer 'projections', questionable measurements and arbitrary adjustments, Mörner's are based on extensive field observations. His most recent trip to Goa in India last month – just like his previous expeditions to Bangladesh and the Maldives – has only served to confirm his long-held view that reports of the world's imminent inundation have been greatly exaggerated for ends that have more to do with political activism than science.

Mörner's views have not endeared him to environmental campaigners or the IPCC establishment. A few years ago, when I mentioned his name in a public debate with George Monbiot, I vividly remember an audible hissing from sections of the audience as if I'd invoked the equivalent of Lord Voldemort.

The problem for Mörner's detractors is that, eccentric and outspoken Danish count though he no doubt is, he also happens to be the world's pre-eminent expert on sea levels. Besides being responsible for dozens of peer-reviewed papers on the subject, he was also chairman of INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution. This means that his findings can not easily be dismissed as those of a raving 'climate change denier'.

I have heard Mörner speak many times and his position is not nearly as controversial as it is sometimes made out to be by his detractors. His view is simple: 'If sea levels really are rising and islands like Tuvalu and the Maldives are in imminent danger of drowning, where is the physical evidence to support it?' So far there is none. It is those who claim otherwise who are the true 'deniers'.


Reports of Australian long-term sea-level data being suppressed by Left-appointed bureaucrats

The constant Warmist attempts to block public access to basic data tells its own story. What have they got to hide? Below is one answer

SENIOR bureaucrats in the state government's environment department have routinely stopped publishing scientific papers which challenge the federal government's claims of sea level rises threatening Australia's coastline, a former senior public servant said yesterday.

Doug Lord helped prepare six scientific papers which examined 120 years of tidal data from a gauge at Fort Denison in Sydney Harbour. The tide data revealed sea levels were rising at a rate of about 1mm a year or less - and the rise was not accelerating but was constant.

"The tidal data we found would mean sea levels would rise by about 100mm by the end of the century," Mr Lord said yesterday. "However the (federal) government benchmark which drives their climate change policy is that sea levels are expected to rise by 900mm by the end of the century and the rate of rise is accelerating."

Mr Lord, who has 35 years experience in coastal engineering, said senior bureaucrats within the then Department of Environment Climate Change and Water had rejected or stopped publication of five papers between late 2009 and September this year.

"This was very thorough research, peer reviewed and getting the highest ranking from various people, and one of the papers got a nine out of 10 for the quality of the work," he said.

"You have to ask yourself why they were rejected, considering they had been peer reviewed, and the Fort Denison tide data is among the longest continuous data of its type available in the world. "There's never been a sensible explanation of why they have stopped these papers."

Mr Lord left government work in 2010 but continued to co-author the tidal data papers with experts still working for the state government.

The latest incident came in September when organisers of the Coasts and Ports 2011 Conference in Perth accepted one of the studies, only to have senior OEH bureaucrats tell them it had to be withdrawn. "They were able to do this because my co-author of this study, and the co-authors of the other rejected studies done after I left government work, still work for the government," Mr Lord said.

"As far as I am aware the minister has not been made aware by her department that this has been happening."


Federally Funded Arctic Stupidity

Federal report: Arctic much worse since 2006

By SETH BORENSTEIN | AP – 5 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal officials say the Arctic region has changed dramatically in the past five years — for the worse.
It’s melting at a near record pace, and it’s darkening and absorbing too much of the sun’s heat.

Right. NSIDC reported in their last Arctic Sea Ice News that autumn freeze up was 40% faster than normal. It is pitch black in the Arctic, and ice extent is essentially identical to 1996.

The Arctic acts as Earth’s refrigerator, cooling the planet. What’s happening, scientists said, is like someone pushing the fridge’s thermostat much too high.

DMI reports that temperatures near the pole have been close to the long term mean for the past seven months.

“It’s not cooling as well as it used to,” Richter-Menge said.
The dramatic changes are from both man-made global warming and recent localized weather shifts, which were on top of the longer term warming trend, scientists said.

Right. Walt Meier at NSIDC says that it was warmer in Greenland 70 years ago.

The report, written by 121 scientists from around the world, said statistics point to a shift in the Arctic health in 2006. That was right before 2007, when a mix of weather conditions and changing climate led to a record loss of sea ice, from which the region has never recovered. This summer’s sea ice melt was the second worst on record, a tad behind 2007.

In other words, the trend since 2007 is upwards.

“We’ve got a new normal,” said co-author Don Perovich, a geophysicist at the Army Corps of Engineers Cold Research and Engineering Lab. “Whether it’s a tipping point and we’ll never recover, who’s to say?”

We do have a new normal. Climate scientists constantly making completely unsupportable claims while climate conferences are happening in exotic resorts. These people are hoping to keep the money flowing in and will say anything to maintain their lifestyle.

The report highlighted statistics to show an Arctic undergoing change:
—A NASA satellite found that 430 billion metric tons of ice melted in Greenland from 2010 to 2011, and the melting is accelerating. Since 2000, Greenland’s 39 widest glaciers shrunk by nearly 530 square miles, about the equivalent of 22 Manhattans.

Satellites are pieces of metal. They don’t find anything. People on the other hand often misinterpret data collected from equipment on satellites. Sea level has dropped dramatically since the start of 2010. This tells us that the net balance of ice is probably positive, not negative. It also tells us that the people making these claims are probably incompetent.

Multi-year ice [particularly 2-year ice] has increased by almost 50% over the last three years. The ice is recovering, but they choose to ignore it.

Federally Funded Arctic Stupidity


Disagreement with Warmism merits firing

Climategate II -- Email 3946:

I responded to [Chris Landsea's] earlier message in a fairly low key fashion. I think he has behaved irresponsibly and ought to be fired by NOAA for not have an open enough mind to even consider that climate change might be affecting hurricanes. I am quickly becoming outraged by this and I hope it backfires on him!!!!

Kevin [Trenberth]



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


1 December, 2011

David Attenborough is accused of climate change sensationalism by Lord Lawson

Lord Lawson has accused David Attenborough of sensationalism and alarmism over the environment. The former Tory chancellor, who is a climate change sceptic, said the broadcaster’s claims about global warming were sheer speculation.

In the final episode of his natural history series Frozen Planet, which is broadcast next Wednesday, Sir David is expected to suggest the Arctic could be free of ice by 2020.

In a piece written for Radio Times, Lord Lawson said: ‘Sir David Attenborough is one of our finest journalists and a great expert on animal life. Unfortunately, however, when it comes to global warming, he seems to prefer sensation to objectivity.

‘Had he wished to be objective, he would have pointed out that, while satellite observations confirm that the extent of Arctic sea ice has been declining over the past 30 years, those satellite observations show that overall, Antarctic sea ice has been expanding over the same period.’

Sir David – in the same edition of Radio Times – said that ‘data from satellites collected over the last 40 years show a drop of 30 per cent in the area of the Arctic sea ice at the end of each summer’. He added that the ice was ‘almost half as thick as it was in the 1980s’ and that animals such as polar bears were in jeopardy.

Sir David wrote that the loss of sea ice in the north affected the whole planet because it acted as ‘a huge reflector, bouncing 85 per cent of the sun’s heat back into space’. He warned of devastating effects in coastal areas as sea levels rose.

Lord Lawson has claimed that the polar bear population was rising and that while there had been a ‘modest increase’ in the mean world temperature in the final quarter of the 20th century, the Met Office had confirmed there had been no further global warming.

The former Conservative minister said: ‘Two things are clear. First, that Sir David’s alarmism is sheer speculation. Second, that if there is a resumption of warming, the only rational course is to adapt to it, rather than to try (happily a lost cause) to persuade the world to impoverish itself by moving from relatively cheap carbon-based energy to much more expensive non-carbon energy.’

It has already been revealed that the BBC is offering Frozen Planet to broadcasters in other countries without the controversial climate change episode.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, most populations of polar bears are declining.

Sir David has been vocal about his concerns over climate change for many years and in 2006 he warned that the issue was the biggest challenge facing the world. He has said: ‘If we do care about our grandchildren then we have to do something.’


An Alternative Agenda For The Durban Environmental summit

Global leaders are set to meet in Durban, South Africa, from Nov. 28 to Dec. 9, in an attempt to figure out how to continue their fight against "climate change" when the first Kyoto Protocol commitment period ends in 2012. Since I'm currently sitting here in the dark with the heat off, perhaps they'd grant me the temporary moral authority to offer a few suggestions for their agenda.

-- Don't waste any time fiddling with the planet's thermostat. So the big achievement of the previous summit in Cancun was agreeing that the Earth's temperature must not be permitted to increase by 2 degrees Celsius? Look, I've been in European gyms with air conditioning that can't even be controlled within the space of a few thousand square feet, despite regular intervention by head-scratching specialists. Usually the excuse is that the "ceiling is too high." Well, guess what? The Earth's ceiling is really, really high. Give it up already and move on to something you can realistically control.

-- Nuclear energy is the future. Nuclear energy: good. Nuclear bomb: bad. It's that simple. Now can we move on to a less silly debate? Oh, you say you're worried about a nuclear energy facility going all Chernobyl on you? While you're at it, why don't you also avoid getting your hair cut for fear the hairdresser will stab you in the eye with the scissors while trimming your bangs? The odds are about the same for both. Great Britain has already found out what happens when nuclear is replaced by much dirtier coal: The prices go up and no one is any happier. Speaking of which ...

-- Imposing green alternatives almost always results in dirtier ones. When I go to the supermarket and am told the plastic bags cost money, it isn't ever going to force me to carry around loose groceries. I'll always pay the extra money and tolerate the cashier's dirty looks in exchange for the Earth-murdering plastic bags, which I will then recycle as garbage bags at home before throwing them in the trash, where they will hopefully be recycled by a seagull who will recoup them from the landfill and use them in a nest or maybe even as a stylish necklace that would make Charles Darwin proud. When enviro-fascists succeed in removing those bags from stores and I'm expected to carry loose groceries, I will then rely on grocery delivery -- meaning a gas-guzzling truck will deliver my groceries and someone will carry them to my door in bags or boxes.

Likewise, what do people do when heating their home gets too expensive? They throw wood on the fire. And that's pollution we can actually see --- not just "faith-based" pollution.

-- Oil is the future. At least it's your future and that of your kids. Beyond that, come on -- do you really care anyway? It won't be running out anytime soon, so how about embracing it so we don't lose an economic advantage to those who already accept this fact?

-- Excessive tree-hugging is suffocating the foliage. Plants need carbon dioxide to live and produce oxygen. Humans need oxygen and need to eat plants. One of the biggest issues facing humanity now and increasingly in the future is food security, particularly in Africa and the Arab world, where we're already seeing uprisings. Why would anyone want to risk further stoking food shortages and political instability in the interest of stopping an abstraction like "climate change"? Let's get our priorities straight.

-- Innovation can't be forced; it needs to emerge organically. Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein weren't successful as inventors because some world governing body held a gun to their heads -- or to their wallets. Encourage "green" invention by promoting scientific education and critical thinking rather than indulging the ongoing epidemic of ensconcing kids in liberal arts programs to educate them far beyond their intelligence. A focus on technological education will lead to the emergence of "green alternatives" that don't need tons of government cash to get an inch off the ground.


China decries Canada's "bad example" in climate talks

China profits greatly from Greenie nonsense -- providing the toys that Greenies think they need -- like solar panels

Canada's failure to deny reports that it is about to ditch the Kyoto Protocol is "setting a bad example" to other developed nations as global climate change talks enter their third day, China's official news agency said on Wednesday.

Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent said on Monday that Kyoto was "the past," but he would not confirm media reports that Ottawa was planning to formally withdraw from the treaty, one of the main topics of global climate talks now under way in Durban, South Africa.

Canada says it backs a new global deal to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, but insists it has to cover all nations, including China and India, which are not bound by Kyoto's current targets.

The commentary published by Xinhua news agency accused Canada of undermining global efforts against climate change and damaging its own reputation in pursuit of short-term interests.

"While delegations from every country attend the Durban climate conference to discuss a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, one can imagine the damage done by this 'rumor'," Xinhua said.

"Some are angry and some are depressed, but whatever the expression made by each delegation, they are united in their criticism of Canada."

The commentary said Canada's failure to meet its Kyoto Protocol targets had encouraged it to write off the protocol and thereby "smash a pot to pieces just because it is cracked."

The Kyoto Protocol obliged signatory countries from the developed world to make mandatory cuts in their total greenhouse gas emissions by 2012, when the first commitment period ends.

Canada was obliged to slash CO2 by 6 percent compared to 1990, but by 2009, the total was still 17 percent higher.

Canada was also likely to be using the rumors to try to secure a favorable breakthrough during the Durban talks, Xinhua said, and "as soon as the negotiations do not meet its expectations, it will allow the rumors to become reality."

If Canada pulls out of Kyoto, it will join the United States on the sidelines of a treaty originally designed to force rich nations with far higher historical levels of greenhouse gas emissions to take on most of the burden when it comes to handling climate change.

Developing nations like China and India were not under any obligation to make binding CO2 cuts under the treaty, and also received funding for clean projects through Kyoto's Clean Development Mechanism.

Russia and Japan have refused to support an extension of Kyoto beyond 2012, saying that the treaty is meaningless if the biggest emitters -- China and the United States -- do not sign up for binding cuts.


Energy Innovations in Louisiana Could Guide Policy Changes in the Northeast

Manufacturing jobs are coming back to Louisiana thanks to innovations in the energy industry that pressure groups in the northeast are attempting to block. The substantial deposits of natural gas that are now available could create about 35,000 jobs in the state as key industries mobilize to exploit these resources, according to the American Chemical Council (ACC).

Shale gas “provides the opportunity for what will be a renaissance in chemical manufacturing in the United States, and Louisiana is uniquely positioned to capitalize on that,” ACC President and CEO Cal Dooley, has been quoted as saying. “The $5.4 billion investment in expanded ethylene production capacity in Louisiana will generate a total of $10.9 billion in additional chemical industry output, bringing the state’s industry revenues to $56.9 billion and maintaining it as the country’s second-largest chemical-producing state.”

Natural gas supplies that were previously beyond human reach can now be extracted from layers of shale rock located deep below earth’s surface. This has industry officials excited, but environmental pressure groups are in a state of panic. Additional natural gas production works against their policy schemes built around the idea of forcing the federal government to restrict fossil production. The idea here is to force the public onto alternative or renewable energy sources.

In the more industrialized areas of the country that are reliant on cheap, affordable energy, the “fracking” revolution has meet up with little resistance. The story is much different in the liberal northeast where the political class is succumbing to pressure groups.

In June, the New Jersey state legislature voted 32-1 in the Senate and 56-11 in the Assembly to impose a ban on hydraulic fracturing. In response, Gov. Chris Christie agreed to a one-year moratorium on the process. Meanwhile, New York’s department of environmental conservation appears poised to implement a regulatory scheme that will ban, restrict and manage various forms of fracking in that state. Anti-drilling activists are also stepping up efforts in Pennsylvania, according to a report from the Commonwealth Foundation.

The green movement is upset because a geological formation known as the Marcellus Shale, which cuts across New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, is open to new development, thanks to “fracking.” Even worse, from their point of view, a group of Penn State economists have concluded that development of the Marcellus Shale has helped to alleviate the current recession.

The Center for Healthy Environments and Communities (CHEC) at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) has launched a projected called that was made possible with an endowment from the Heinz Foundation. The site includes an anti-drilling blog.

The future is there for new manufacturing, and new job creation in the northeast. But it’s clear that business groups and average citizens have a much tougher fight on their hands given how potent and well-funded the environmental groups are in their part of the country.


The Great Global Warming Fizzle

The climate religion fades in spasms of anger and twitches of boredom

How do religions die? Generally they don't, which probably explains why there's so little literature on the subject. Zoroastrianism, for instance, lost many of its sacred texts when Alexander sacked Persepolis in 330 B.C., and most Zoroastrians converted to Islam over 1,000 years ago. Yet today old Zoroaster still counts as many as 210,000 followers, including 11,000 in the U.S. Christopher Hitchens might say you can't kill what wasn't there to begin with.

Still, Zeus and Apollo are no longer with us, and neither are Odin and Thor. Among the secular gods, Marx is mostly dead and Freud is totally so. Something did away with them, and it's worth asking what.

Consider the case of global warming, another system of doomsaying prophecy and faith in things unseen.

As with religion, it is presided over by a caste of spectacularly unattractive people pretending to an obscure form of knowledge that promises to make the seas retreat and the winds abate. As with religion, it comes with an elaborate list of virtues, vices and indulgences. As with religion, its claims are often non-falsifiable, hence the convenience of the term "climate change" when thermometers don't oblige the expected trend lines. As with religion, it is harsh toward skeptics, heretics and other "deniers." And as with religion, it is susceptible to the earthly temptations of money, power, politics, arrogance and deceit.

This week, the conclave of global warming's cardinals are meeting in Durban, South Africa, for their 17th conference in as many years. The idea is to come up with a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which is set to expire next year, and to require rich countries to pony up $100 billion a year to help poor countries cope with the alleged effects of climate change. This is said to be essential because in 2017 global warming becomes "catastrophic and irreversible," according to a recent report by the International Energy Agency.

Yet a funny thing happened on the way to the climate apocalypse. Namely, the financial apocalypse.

The U.S., Russia, Japan, Canada and the EU have all but confirmed they won't be signing on to a new Kyoto. The Chinese and Indians won't make a move unless the West does. The notion that rich (or formerly rich) countries are going to ship $100 billion every year to the Micronesias of the world is risible, especially after they've spent it all on Greece.

Cap and trade is a dead letter in the U.S. Even Europe is having second thoughts about carbon-reduction targets that are decimating the continent's heavy industries and cost an estimated $67 billion a year. "Green" technologies have all proved expensive, environmentally hazardous and wildly unpopular duds.

All this has been enough to put the Durban political agenda on hold for the time being. But religions don't die, and often thrive, when put to the political sidelines. A religion, when not physically extinguished, only dies when it loses faith in itself.

That's where the Climategate emails come in. First released on the eve of the Copenhagen climate summit two years ago and recently updated by a fresh batch, the "hide the decline" emails were an endless source of fun and lurid fascination for those of us who had never been convinced by the global-warming thesis in the first place.

But the real reason they mattered is that they introduced a note of caution into an enterprise whose motivating appeal resided in its increasingly frantic forecasts of catastrophe. Papers were withdrawn; source material re-examined. The Himalayan glaciers, it turned out, weren't going to melt in 30 years. Nobody can say for sure how high the seas are likely to rise—if much at all. Greenland isn't turning green. Florida isn't going anywhere.

The reply global warming alarmists have made to these dislosures is that they did nothing to change the underlying science, and only improved it in particulars. So what to make of the U.N.'s latest supposedly authoritative report on extreme weather events, which is tinged with admissions of doubt and uncertainty? Oddly, the report has left climate activists stuttering with rage at what they call its "watered down" predictions. If nothing else, they understand that any belief system, particularly ones as young as global warming, cannot easily survive more than a few ounces of self-doubt.

Meanwhile, the world marches on. On Sunday, 2,232 days will have elapsed since a category 3 hurricane made landfall in the U.S., the longest period in more than a century that the U.S. has been spared a devastating storm. Great religions are wise enough to avoid marking down the exact date when the world comes to an end. Not so for the foolish religions. Expect Mayan cosmology to take a hit to its reputation when the world doesn't end on Dec. 21, 2012. Expect likewise when global warming turns out to be neither catastrophic nor irreversible come 2017.

And there is this: Religions are sustained in the long run by the consolations of their teachings and the charisma of their leaders. With global warming, we have a religion whose leaders are prone to spasms of anger and whose followers are beginning to twitch with boredom. Perhaps that's another way religions die.


Malcolm Gladwell, tipping points and Climategate

How a marketing buzzword changed the world

By Andrew Orlowski

Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell had a powerful impact on the way climate change was marketed to the public, without even knowing it. Gladwell's marketing book, published in 2000, embedded the phrase "tipping point" into the public's imagination, and this in turn was used to raise the urgency of climate change.

It seems ridiculous today, with climate sensitivity models being tuned downwards, natural variability recognised as increasingly important, and climate institutions talking about a period of long-term cooling. Much of the urgency went out of the window after countries failed to agree on a successor to the Kyoto agreement at Copenhagen in 2009, and the costs and taxes of "low carbon" strategies are political poison.

But back in the mid-noughties, it was very different. The idea that the climate was reaching a "tipping point", and that global temperature would runaway uncontrollably, was rife. It created a sense of urgency that helped pass legislation such as the UK's Climate Change Act in 2008.

This story emerges from the FOIA2011 archive – the so-called Climategate 2.0 emails released last week. Although it hasn't had the immediate and dramatic impact of the first leak two years ago, the breadth of social networks uncovered in these emails will keep historians busy for years – and whets the appetite for the 95 per cent of UEA emails still under wraps.

The idea of climatic tipping points is fascinating for several reasons.

The question of whether ecosystems are inherently stable – or unstable – preoccupied biologists for much of the last century – and was the subject of Adam Curtis's film The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts, in a BBC series for which I was assistant producer, and which Curtis summarised here. Fashions change, and so do myths. Arthur Tansley, who invented the word "ecosystem", believed in "the great universal law of equilibrium", and this was pursued for decades. Today, the idea that ecosystems are delicate and unstable instead dominates.

The idea also divides scientists. Geologists, for example, point to evidence of long-term cycles, and stress continuity and predictability. For example, we roughly know how long interglacial periods last – we're in one now, which is due to end fairly soon. And the idea also divides us. If you are of the view that mankind is a disturbance to a natural order, you're much more likely to believe in runaway effects. If you're of the view that nature is here to be tamed for our benefit – an idea born out of the Enlightenment – you're more likely not to panic.

In 2000, New Yorker journalist Malcolm Gladwell published a mish-mash of ideas that nevertheless spawned a buzzword. Gladwell found a common metaphor that could describe – but importantly, not quite convincingly explain – things as different as the spread of diseases, social behaviour (crime waves) and best-selling products. The phrase "tipping point" was everywhere.

Both Gladwell and Tansley were really making grand, metaphorical generalisations. Gladwell borrowed his idea from epidemiology, Tansley from the idea of the human brain as an electrical circuit. Both became universal "theories of everything".

Into our story comes the magnificent Hans Joachim "John" Schellnhuber CBE, a German physicist and social networker, whose stratospherically high opinion of himself is not, it seems, shared by the climate scientists at the University of East Anglia. Today Schellnhuber is climate change advisor to the president of the EU Commission, and boasts of regular chats with Chancellor Merkel. He was a climate advisor to Tony Blair.

By the late 1990s Schellnhuber was a powerful and influential figure. Having founded the Potsdam climate research institute he was able to influence the establishment of a UK equivalent, the Tyndall Centre, and UEA was bidding to host it.

On his blog, Andrew Montford relates the tale of how Schellnhuber helped hand the Tyndall award to UEA, then took a post as its research director. This was a full-time job, but Schellnhuber concurrently held a full-time job at Potsdam – leading to incredulity from his new colleagues at UEA. "Even a very competent person could not possibly hold down two responsible, full-time jobs like this," writes former CRU director Tom Wigley, in amazement.

Schellnhuber had become fascinated by complex systems and non-linearity, particularly the work coming out of the New Age-y Santa Fe Institute. (He formally joined the Institute last year.) This was deeply influential. What he saw terrified him: a world out of control. Let this hagiographic profile of Schellnhuber pick up the tale.

"After many successful, and some failed, attempts to explain climate change to political leaders and CEOs, Schellnhuber has a good sense of what works and what does not. As the lead author of the chapter on 'large-scale discontinuities' in the third report produced by the IPCC, he used the phrase 'tipping point', which has wide currency in the business world," we learn.

“In a conversation with a BBC journalist, I said ‘these are, more or less, tipping points’ [in climate change]. He immediately understood," Schellnhuber told his profiler.

Schellnhuber capitalised on this with a paper, Tipping Elements in the Earth's Climate System co-authored with several others. Despite its speculative nature – "subsystems indicated could exhibit threshold-type behavior in response to anthropogenic climate forcing", we learn. It has been cited over 500 times.

The death of the planet has been greatly exaggerated

Amongst the subsystems discussed are the Arctic sea ice, which could take 10 years to disappear, the collapse of the Gulf Stream (10 years), and the greening of the Sahara Desert (10 years). None look likely today, with global temperatures fairly static (or falling slightly – depending on how you fit the curve) for 15 years.

It was a deeply pessimistic point of view. But Schellnhuber welcomed the climate apocalypse, because he saw human beings as the planet's enemy – and the planet must come before human life.

“In a very cynical way, it’s a triumph for science because at last we have stabilised something – namely the estimates for the carrying capacity of the planet, namely below 1 billion people,” Schellnhuber told a conference in March 2009. Such a neo-Malthusian vision could only be turned into reality with unprecedented coercion and repression.

Earlier I referred to two competing views of the relationship between man and nature: the enlightenment view of optimism, of taming nature (and looking after it responsibly), and man as a destroyer. Schellnhuber's pessimism belong firmly in the latter school, and that's the view that's dominated policy-making for 40 years. There's a problem, in that it isn't one shared that's by the public; few parents or grandparents pray for their offspring to be worse off, or more less free.

There is little doubting Schellnhuber's success both as a social networker and an influencer. At the height of the climate panic a few years ago, the sense of urgency became all encompassing, and convinced politicians and the media that these were extraordinary times, requiring extraordinary measures.

He was able to do so because of the media's familiarity with a book aimed at the marketing business – and some sweeping generalisations. The irony of the story is that by over-dramatising the climate change debate, Schellnhuber may have had the exact opposite that he intended.



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


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

Climate is the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds pass overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2


After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

There is an "ascetic instinct" (or perhaps a "survivalist instinct") in many people that causes them to delight in going without material comforts. Monasteries and nunneries were once full of such people -- with the Byzantine stylites perhaps the most striking example. Many Greenies (other than Al Gore and his Hollywood pals) have that instinct too but in the absence of strong orthodox religious committments they have to convince themselves that the world NEEDS them to live in an ascetic way. So their personal emotional needs lead them to press on us all a delusional belief that the planet needs "saving".

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"


"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

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)

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

'The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

Against the long history of huge temperature variation in the earth's climate (ice ages etc.), the .6 of one degree average rise reported by the U.N. "experts" for the entire 20th century (a rise so small that you would not be able to detect such a difference personally without instruments) shows, if anything, that the 20th century was a time of exceptional temperature stability.

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)