Friday, February 29, 2008

Now an old prohecy

There is a 1958 video here which prophesies global warming and flooding due to mankind's emissions. Fifty years later and nothing significant has happened. Odd that! The present prophecies couldn't be equally far out, could they? Background to the video here


Gore said the retreat of snow there was due to global warming. So I guess its present state proves global cooling. In fact, of course, the snow on it varies with precipitation, nothing else

A thick veil of snow had settled on Kilimanjaro the morning after my group arrived in Tanzania. Over breakfast, we gazed at the peak filling the sky above the palm trees of our hotel courtyard in Moshi, the town closest to the mountain. It was as Hemingway described it: "as wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun."

I had wanted to climb to the roof of Africa before climate change erased its ice fields and the romance of its iconic "Snows of Kilimanjaro" image. But as we trudged across the 12,000-foot Shira plateau on Day 2 of our weeklong climb and gazed at the whiteness of the vast, humpbacked summit, I thought maybe I needn't have worried.

An up-and-down-and-up traverse of the south face of Kibo, the tallest of the mountain's three volcanic peaks, showed us a panorama of the summit ice cap and fractured tentacles of glacial ice that dangled down gullies dividing the vertical rock faces. And four days later, when we reached 19,340-foot Uhuru, the highest point on Kibo, we beheld snow and ice fields so enormous as to resemble the Arctic.

It looked nothing like the photographs of Kibo nearly denuded of ice and snow in the Al Gore documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." Nor did it seem to jibe with the film's narrative: "Within the decade, there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro."

This was the last week of January - nearly a year ago - and the middle of the dry season. But several weeks of heavy rain and snow preceded the arrival of our group, 10 mountaineering clients and a professional guide from International Mountain Guides, based near Seattle. That made for a freakishly well-fed snow pack and the classic snowy image portrayed on travel posters, the label of the local Kilimanjaro Premium Lager and the T-shirts hawked in Moshi's tourist bazaars. But to many climate scientists and glaciologists who have probed and measured, the disappearance of the summit's ice fields is inevitable and imminent.

Lonnie Thompson, a glaciologist at Ohio State University who has studied Kilimanjaro's ice fields for years, photographed the summit a year to the week, coincidentally, before we were there. He found only a few, isolated snow patches in shaded areas, a drastic difference from what we encountered. Even on the world's highest free-standing volcano, seasonal snow doesn't remain on a peak so close to the Equator.


The collage below from SDA is informative

More selective silence from the media

Last week, I broke the story of a press release issued by NOAA where they publish an opinion smashing any link between hurricanes and global warming saying that "There is nothing in the U.S. hurricane damage record that indicates global warming has caused a significant increase in destruction along our coasts."

Many readers may recall that Al Gore used hurricanes prominently in An Inconvenient Truth, and mentions hurricane Katrina specifically. Gore claims that increased hurricane activity is caused by global warming.

Last week, when the NOAA press release came out smashing any link between hurricanes and global warming, I wrote to my local newspaper editor, David Little, and said to him "Do you care to bet that AP and Reuters won't run this story?" He responded: "I hope they do, it seems newsworthy to me."

Well here is is, 4 days later, not a peep. A Google search of news stories for "NOAA increased hurricane" (keywords of the press release) reveals a tiny handful of stories about the press release. Could you imagine though if the story said the reverse? What if NOAA claimed they had established a definitive link between global warming and hurricanes. Oh my, the humanity of it all! Gloom, doom, death, destruction, angst, and demands for action on Kyoto. If it bleeds it leads. Compare to all the stories still circulating about hurricane Katrina and global warming.

Here is another story about a point from Gore's AIT hit parade; Mount Kilimanjaro. Mr. Gore asserted that the disappearance of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro in East Africa was expressly attributable to global warming; "Within the decade, there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro." That was in 2005 in his movie An Inconvenient Truth.

Deforestation seems to be causing Mount Kilimanjaro's shrinking glacier. Researchers think deforestation of the mountain's foothills is the most likely culprit. Without the forests' evapotranspiration of humidity into the air, previously moisture-laden winds blowing across those forests now blow drier. The summit, no longer replenished with water from those winds, started shrinking. Studies show the ice is evaporating through a process called sublimation. You can witness this effect at home, have you ever noticed that ice cubes left in your freezer tend to shrink with time?

Last year, a British Court ruled Gore's point about Kilimanjaro not to be true. So when a news story crossed my desk today that said: "Mount Kilimanjaro: On Africa's roof, still crowned with snow" I had to wonder, will we see this one covered in the main stream media? Or maybe those beacons of truth over at Real Climate will make a note of it? Don't hold your breath. But, at least the New York Times travel section covered it. It seems more of a touristy thing to have snow on Kilimanjaro than a scientific issue of truth I suppose.


New Paper Reviews the Evidence for a Cosmic Ray-Climate Connection

A new paper is currently in press in the journal Comptes Rendus Geoscience, which reviews the evidence for a connection between Cosmic Rays and Climate. The invited review authored by Ilya G. Usoskin and Gennady A. Kovaltsov is entitled: 'Cosmic rays and climate of the Earth: possible connection' is available via Ilya Usoskin's personal website for free download (as a corrected proof). The Abstract states:

Despite much evidence relating climatic changes on Earth to solar variability, a physical mechanism responsible for this is still poorly known. A possible link connecting solar activity and climate variations is related to cosmic rays and the physical-chemical changes they produce in the atmosphere. Here we review experimental evidence and theoretical grounds for this rela tion. The cosmic ray - climate link seems to be a plausible climate driver which effectively operates on different time scales, but its exact mechanism and relative importance still remain open questions.

The paper concludes: We have reviewed the experimental evidence and theoretical models relating cosmic ray variations to the terrestrial climate changes.

On short time scale of a few days, there exists much evidence that CR changes may affect the process of cyclogenesis via the changing transparency and pressure, particularly in the North Atlantic during cold seasons. Although each individual piece of evidence is barely significant, in aggregate, they suggest that the relation can be real.

A link between low clouds and CR appears statistically significant on the inter-annual time scale since 1984 in limited geographical regions, the largest being North Atlantic + Europe and South Atlantic. We note that many reconstructions of the past climate are based on European data, where the CR-cloud relation is the most pronounced. Extension of this relation to the global scale may be misleading.

A relation between the geomagnetic field changes and climatic variations provides evidence favoring the possible CR influence on climate. A study of regional climate variations in relation to the geomagnetic dipole axis migration over the last millennium is also promising.

There is an indication of the climate changes synchronously with the CR flux on Mega-yr time scales, but this result is not straightforward to interpret. Large uncertainties make it only indicative.

Essential progress has been recently achieved in theoretical modelling of both ionizing effect of CR and physical mechanisms relating CRII to cloud variations, but the link between micro- and macro-physics is still missing. A new experimental evidence, obtained by the SKYexperiment team, confirm that enhanced ionization notably facilitates the production of small ion clusters in realistic atmospheric conditions.

In conclusion, a CR-climate link seems to be a plausible climate driver, as supported by the bulk of statistical studies and existing theoretical models. However, further studies, in particular a clear case study as well as improved model development, are foreseen to improve our understanding of the link between cosmic rays and the climate on Earth.


Brainwashed kids in Britain

British children, well versed in the effects of climate change, are putting pressure on older generations to act now to halt environmental decline. New research shows 95% of children aged between 4 and 15 were 'concerned' by global warming, with more than half 'very concerned'. And three out of four respondents believed they were more fluent on the subject than their parents.

The eco-conscious youngsters, dubbed 'Greenagers', now want to put more pressure on older generations to take a lead in environmental decision-making. Some 70% of those polled believed climate change is something that will affect them in their lifetime. Another 85% thought people should be more concerned about the issue and 96% believed it is important to encourage other people to be more environmentally friendly.

The research has been conducted by the UK kids' channel Nickelodeon as part of their environmental campaign called 'Nick's Big Green Thing'. The channel has launched a week of programming to encourage children to create a greener environment. One of the week's hosts, acclaimed adventurer and environmentalist David de Rothschild, was delighted to see the youngest generation were paying attention to the subject of global warming.

He said: "Our climates changing quicker than anyone ever expected and we can't afford to ignore the signs. "The good news is we have the solutions and this research proves that kids are taking action helping to create more stable environmental conditions for our future generations."

The survey further showed that more than half (59%) of children were aware of the concept of a 'carbon footprint' and were keen to alter their home life in order to reduce it. Better recycling, switching off lights in empty rooms, avoiding car travel and reducing the use of household appliances all polled highly.

Despite the awarness of home environmental initiatives, the respondents felt that they learned more about the environment from school teachers rather than their parents.


Hydrogen buses cost MUCH more to run than diesel vehicles

The experiment sounded so grand three years ago: The Valley Transportation Authority and SamTrans would test three buses that run on hydrogen fuel cells, emit no smog-inducing pollutants and help keep the valley's air clean. Green, yes. But a new report from the VTA says the $18 million state-mandated pilot project costs too much green - and raises troubling questions about whether the program should continue.

The most glaring figure: Zero-emission buses - or ZEBs - cost $51.66 to fuel, maintain and operate per mile compared with just $1.61 for a 40-foot conventional diesel coach. They break down much more frequently, and replacement parts are next to impossible to order, according to the report.

The VTA experiment could be a blow to hydrogen fuel technology, once heralded as the future of green mass transit options. At the least, the report raises significant questions about whether the state should ease off the accelerator rather than push Bay Area transit agencies to expand the hydrogen project. "When you say that there is a 50-dollar difference between ZEBs and diesel, that's exorbitant," said Dolly Sandoval, the VTA vice chair from Cupertino. She and other VTA board members are questioning whether the state should loosen its insistence on hydrogen-fuel-cell technology and allow the agency to consider using hybrid buses to meet clean-air requirements, which is being done in New York City, where hundreds of diesel-hybrid buses are in use.

But the California Air Resources Board is poised next year to launch a $36 million second phase of the hydrogen program, adding 12 more buses in the Bay Area and expanding it to include Golden Gate Transit. Analifa Bevan with CARB said her agency "is not considering any changes," pointing out that the VTA experiment involves early prototypes and that the next generation of buses will be more reliable and "cheaper to operate than diesel."

AC Transit in the East Bay has operated hydrogen-hybrid buses for two years, ones that also use electrical batteries to help cut hydrogen fuel costs and provide a smoother ride and easier acceleration and braking, much like in hybrid cars. Officials at the agency are sold on the program. "Our experience is pretty positive," said Jaimie Levin, director of alternative fuels policy and marketing with AC Transit. "These vehicles aren't cheap, but the technology is far simpler than the internal combustion engine and it keeps getting cheaper, lighter and more powerful. That's a given."

But the VTA's early results are not encouraging. Although the cost of a new hydrogen-fuel-cell bus has fallen from about $3.5 million to $2.5 million, a diesel coach costs about $400,000. And ZEBs have on average traveled 1,100 miles before needing repairs in the VTA trial, while a typical diesel bus covers about 6,000 miles.

The state approved the fuel-cell experiment in 2000, with VTA and SamTrans each contributing $6 million to the project and federal and state money covering the final $6 million. Hybrid buses running on diesel and electricity weren't included in the choices the VTA could make, since those buses contribute more to smog levels than hydrogen buses. The three zero-emission buses began running in 2005 in Santa Clara County, from express routes to the VTA's most heavily traveled lines. By 2012, 15 percent of buses in California transit agencies with 200 or more diesel buses must be ZEBs, in a program being watched across the country.

These buses don't belch smoke; they run as quietly as a golf cart and are expected to reduce soot emissions by 90 percent. Powered solely by hydrogen fuel cells, the tailpipes emit wisps of water vapor instead of plumes of diesel exhaust, which is linked to numerous respiratory ailments such as asthma and lung cancer. Hydrogen-fuel-cell technology converts hydrogen and oxygen into electricity, water and heat. The hydrogen flows into an electrode that breaks the hydrogen into electrons and protons. The electricity produced runs the bus. If you took a white cloth and held it to the exhaust of a fuel-cell bus, all you would collect would be some water vapor. No soot, no dirt, no lung-clogging grime.

But the issue is whether a $2.5 million bus operated by fuel cells can withstand the daily pounding of stop-and-go traffic, potholes and loading and unloading of thousands of passengers at a cost a transit agency can afford. After about 75,000 miles in the VTA test, red warning flags are flapping. "Five years ago, they said the technology was five years away," said VTA General Manager Michael Burns. "Today, they are still talking five years, maybe 10. "What do we do at this point, given what we know?"



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


Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Preface to the two articles reproduced immediately below:

Given the current low level of solar activity and the shape of the climate record, I am inclined to believe on balance that a move to systematic long-term cooling is indicated by recent cooling events. It is also true, however, that the current cooling could just as well be a random fluctuation -- counterpart to the big 1998 warming event. But what current cooling UNDOUBTEDLY shows is that there are large NATURAL changes in global temperature and that recent warming events do not exceed recent cooling events.

So to say, as James Hansen and other Greenies do, that one change is natural and the other is not is where the dishonesty comes in. It is just ideology speaking -- with no tincture of proper scientific caution or any possibility of proof. It is faith, not science. But such arguments are very typical of the way the Green/Left look only at facts which suit them -- JR

Forget global warming: Welcome to the new Ice Age

Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966. The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January "was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average." China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them.

There have been so many snow and ice storms in Ontario and Quebec in the past two months that the real estate market has felt the pinch as home buyers have stayed home rather than venturing out looking for new houses. In just the first two weeks of February, Toronto received 70 cm of snow, smashing the record of 66.6 cm for the entire month set back in the pre-SUV, pre-Kyoto, pre-carbon footprint days of 1950.

And remember the Arctic Sea ice? The ice we were told so hysterically last fall had melted to its "lowest levels on record? Never mind that those records only date back as far as 1972 and that there is anthropological and geological evidence of much greater melts in the past. The ice is back. Gilles Langis, a senior forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa, says the Arctic winter has been so severe the ice has not only recovered, it is actually 10 to 20 cm thicker in many places than at this time last year. OK, so one winter does not a climate make. It would be premature to claim an Ice Age is looming just because we have had one of our most brutal winters in decades.

But if environmentalists and environment reporters can run around shrieking about the manmade destruction of the natural order every time a robin shows up on Georgian Bay two weeks early, then it is at least fair game to use this winter's weather stories to wonder whether the alarmist are being a tad premature.

And it's not just anecdotal evidence that is piling up against the climate-change dogma. According to Robert Toggweiler of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University and Joellen Russell, assistant professor of biogeochemical dynamics at the University of Arizona -- two prominent climate modellers -- the computer models that show polar ice-melt cooling the oceans, stopping the circulation of warm equatorial water to northern latitudes and triggering another Ice Age (a la the movie The Day After Tomorrow) are all wrong.

"We missed what was right in front of our eyes," says Prof. Russell. It's not ice melt but rather wind circulation that drives ocean currents northward from the tropics. Climate models until now have not properly accounted for the wind's effects on ocean circulation, so researchers have compensated by over-emphasizing the role of manmade warming on polar ice melt.

But when Profs. Toggweiler and Russell rejigged their model to include the 40-year cycle of winds away from the equator (then back towards it again), the role of ocean currents bringing warm southern waters to the north was obvious in the current Arctic warming.

Last month, Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, shrugged off manmade climate change as "a drop in the bucket." Showing that solar activity has entered an inactive phase, Prof. Sorokhtin advised people to "stock up on fur coats."

He is not alone. Kenneth Tapping of our own National Research Council, who oversees a giant radio telescope focused on the sun, is convinced we are in for a long period of severely cold weather if sunspot activity does not pick up soon. The last time the sun was this inactive, Earth suffered the Little Ice Age that lasted about five centuries and ended in 1850. Crops failed through killer frosts and drought. Famine, plague and war were widespread. Harbours froze, so did rivers, and trade ceased. It's way too early to claim the same is about to happen again, but then it's way too early for the hysteria of the global warmers, too.


Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global Cooling

Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile -- the list goes on and on.

No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.

A compiled list of all the sources can be seen here. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C -- a value large enough to wipe out nearly all the warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year's time. For all four sources, it's the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down.

Scientists quoted in a past DailyTech article link the cooling to reduced solar activity which they claim is a much larger driver of climate change than man-made greenhouse gases. The dramatic cooling seen in just 12 months time seems to bear that out. While the data doesn't itself disprove that carbon dioxide is acting to warm the planet, it does demonstrate clearly that more powerful factors are now cooling it.

Let's hope those factors stop fast. Cold is more damaging than heat. The mean temperature of the planet is about 54 degrees. Humans -- and most of the crops and animals we depend on -- prefer a temperature closer to 70. Historically, the warm periods such as the Medieval Climate Optimum were beneficial for civilization. Corresponding cooling events such as the Little Ice Age, though, were uniformly bad news.



Miliband is the son of a noted Marxist theoretician so this obeisance to Communist China is not unexpected

Rich industrialized nations must help the developing world pay for a shift to cleaner technologies to fight climate change, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Tuesday during a visit to China's financial center. Major developing nations such as China and India will face a devastating "boomerang effect" of devastating effects from global warming such as drought and crop disruptions if they do not opt for cleaner, less polluting economic development, Miliband told students at the China-Europe International Business School.

Adapting energy technologies that emit fewer of the greenhouse gases viewed as a main contributor to climate change "does not sacrifice development but ... it is much more expensive than high-carbon development," he said. "The question is, who pays for it?" Miliband said. "The richer countries have got to lead in taking the burden of paying for the shift to a lower-carbon economy." Scientists believe carbon dioxide is one of the leading contributors to global warming.

China, which chiefly relies on heavily polluting coal to fuel its surging economy, now rivals the United States as the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Britain backs calls for industrialized countries to help the developing world cope with the consequences of centuries of pollution by the West. Last month, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged about 50 million pounds (US$98.3 million) to support investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean coal and carbon dioxide capture-and-storage technology during his first state visit to China. China has pledged to improve energy efficiency, while insisting on its right to pursue the economic growth needed to supply jobs to its 1.3 billion people.

For the poorest countries, the focus should be on promoting sustainable development, Miliband said. "Their aid programs have got to be 'greened,'" he said. Miliband was to travel to the southwestern industrial hub of Chongqing before heading to Beijing later in the week. During a stopover in Hong Kong, he said Monday that he would discuss the issue of Sudan with his Chinese counterparts, but added that Beijing alone should not be held responsible for trying to end the conflict there. "We all have our responsibility to use our weight in the country and in the international arena to argue for dialogue, for responsibilities on both sides."



Claims that changes in global climate are the result of man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, are used as a pretext to demand increased taxes on vehicle use and restrictions such as lower speed limits. Yet the level of public debate about this highly complex subject has often been at a simplistic and emotive level, rather than a serious examination of the scientific evidence. Indeed, attempts to question the claimed `scientific consensus' are often met with abusive personal attacks designed to discourage dissenters - a clear sign that the issue has been hijacked for political purposes.

There are two questions that need to be considered: whether man-made emissions of carbon dioxide are actually changing the world's climate; and, even if they are, whether any action taken to reduce the UK's emissions could have a significant remedial impact at a global level.

On the first point, a scientific consensus on the causes of climate change does not exist, despite strenuous efforts to create that impression by those who wish to maintain and exploit public alarm. As explained by Dr Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, in an open letter to the Royal Society, the claimed link between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming does not even merit the scientific title of `theory'; it is merely a hypothesis, since causation has not been demonstrated in any conclusive way. He also points out that the recent warming trend began long before human-caused increase in carbon dioxide was evident.

The main alternative hypothesis to explain climate change is rapidly gaining credibility: variations in the sun's output of charged particles and in its magnetic field, linked to the sun-spot cycle, affect the flow of cosmic rays reaching the Earth's atmosphere, where they help to seed clouds. At times of high solar activity (such as recently), fewer cosmic rays reach the atmosphere so there is less cloud cover; more of the sun's heat radiation reaches the Earth's surface and the planet warms. When solar activity is low, more clouds form and reflect the sun's radiation back into space, so cooling takes place. Evidence is mounting to support this hypothesis and there are some scientists predicting a period of global cooling ahead, as solar activity decreases.

There is also nothing unprecedented about recent global temperatures or rates of change. There have been many fluctuations in temperature since the end of the last ice age, most recently the Medieval Warm Period of around a thousand years ago and the Little Ice Age that followed it. The existence of these natural fluctuations is an embarrassment to the proponents of man-made climate change, and attempts have been made to rewrite climate history to eliminate them. Also, since direct daily observations of temperature only began during the Little Ice Age, claims about recent temperatures being the `hottest ever recorded' are highly misleading.

Even if man-made carbon dioxide emissions were the cause of climate change, any measures that the UK could take to reduce its own emissions would have a negligible impact at a global level. In 2004, the UK emitted 158.09 million tonnes (carbon equivalent) of carbon dioxide, amounting to 2.1 per cent of the world total. Of the UK figure, 21.6 per cent came from road transport in 2004, or 0.46 per cent of the world total.

While road transport in the UK emits 34 million tonnes of carbon per year, China's total output of carbon dioxide in 2004 was 1,284 million tonnes (carbon equivalent), up from 1,063 million tonnes in 2003. Thus a single year's increase in carbon emissions by China, at 221 million tonnes, was six and a half times the output from road transport in Britain, or 40 per cent more than the UK's total emissions.

Any reduction that could be achieved in the UK's road transport emissions would be insignificant by comparison: a 10 per cent reduction would be negated in less than six days, if China's emissions continue to grow at their current rate. There can be no justification, therefore, for taxation increases or other restrictions that would affect mobility, on the grounds of tackling climate change. Suggesting that an example set by the UK would lead countries such as China and India to forgo the benefits of economic growth is risible.

Whether climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions is real and set to continue or not, responses to it need to be based on rational assessments of the costs and benefits of the options, not futile, damaging and expensive political gestures. This was the message delivered by the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs in its 2005 report, in which it also pointed out that there are positive aspects to global warming, such as fewer cold-related winter deaths. There is no justification for singling out the drivers of Britain as responsible for climate change.


Ten myths about nuclear power

`It's dangerous, wasteful and too expensive!' Greens are busily putting the case against nuclear, but there is not a spark of truth in their arguments

The UK government is expected to announce tomorrow that it will give the green light to the building of new nuclear power stations in the UK - the first since the Sizewell `B' station was completed in 1995. These are urgently needed to make up the shortfall in power supply as older nuclear stations are closed over the next few years.

Yet the decision is bound to be controversial - not helped by widespread misinformation about nuclear power. Greens opposing nuclear power muddle every issue from terrorism to uranium supplies, in order to besmirch the only proven safe and cost-effective way to generate large amounts of electricity that won't produce large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. One would think that greens don't want a world with abundant energy and a stable climate!

These are some of the myths we are likely to hear from greens debating nuclear power over the next few weeks:

1) Uranium is running out

According to Greenpeace, uranium reserves are `relatively limited' and last week the Nuclear Consultation Working Group claimed that a significant increase in nuclear generating capacity would reduce reliable supplies from 50 to 12 years

In fact, there is 600 times more uranium in the ground than gold and there is as much uranium as tin. There has been no major new uranium exploration for 20 years, but at current consumption levels, known uranium reserves are predicted to last for 85 years. Geological estimates from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) show that at least six times more uranium is extractable - enough for 500 years' supply at current demand. Modern reactors can use thorium as a fuel and convert it into uranium - and there is three times more thorium in the ground than uranium.

Uranium is the only fuel which, when burnt, generates more fuel. Not only existing nuclear warheads, but also the uranium and plutonium in radioactive waste can be reprocessed into new fuel, which former UK chief scientist Sir David King estimates could supply 60 per cent of Britain's electricity to 2060. In short, there is more than enough uranium, thorium and plutonium to supply the entire world's electricity for several hundred years.

2) Nuclear is not a low-carbon option

Anti-nuclear campaigners claim that nuclear power contains `hidden emissions' of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from uranium mining and reactor construction. But so do wind turbines, built from huge amounts of concrete, steel and plastic. The OECD analysed the total lifetime releases of GHG from energy technologies and concluded that, taking into account mining of building materials, construction and energy production, nuclear is still a `lower carbon' option than wind, solar or hydroelectric generation. For example, during its whole life cycle, nuclear power releases three to six grams of carbon per kiloWatthour (GC kWh) of electricity produced, compared with three to 10 GC/kWh for wind turbines, 105 GC/kWh for natural gas and 228 GC/kWh for lignite (`dirty' coal)

Greens, exemplified by the Sustainable Development Commission, place their trust in `carbon capture and storage' (CCS) to reduce the GHG emissions from coal and gas plants. But carbon capture is, at present, a myth. There is no functioning power station with CCS in the world - not even a demonstration plant - and if it did work, it would still greatly reduce the energy efficiency of any power station where it is installed.

3) Nuclear power is expensive

With all power generation technology, the cost of electricity depends upon the investment in construction (including interest on capital loans), fuel, management and operation. Like wind, solar and hydroelectric dams, the principal costs of nuclear lie in construction. Acquisition of uranium accounts for only about 10 per cent of the price of total costs, so nuclear power is not as vulnerable to fluctuations in the price of fuel as gas and oil generation.

Unlike the UK's existing stations, any new designs will be pre-approved for operational safety, modular to lower construction costs, produce 90 per cent less volume of waste and incorporate decommissioning and waste management costs.

A worst-case analysis conducted for the UK Department of Trade and Industry (now the Department of Business and Enterprise), which was accepted by Greenpeace, shows nuclear-generated electricity to be only marginally more expensive than gas (before the late-2007 hike in gas prices), and 10 to 20 times cheaper than onshore and offshore wind. With expected carbon-pricing penalties for gas and coal, nuclear power will be considerably cheaper than all the alternatives

4) Reactors produce too much waste

Contrary to environmentalists' claims, Britain is not overwhelmed with radioactive waste and has no radioactive waste `problem'. By 2040 there will be a total of 2,000 cubic metres of the most radioactive high-level waste (9), which would fit in a 13 x 13 x 13 metre hole - about the size of the foundations for one small wind turbine. Much of this high-level waste is actually a leftover from Britain's atomic weapons programme. All of the UK's intermediate and high-level radioactive waste for the past 50 years and the next 30 years would fit in just one Royal Albert Hall, an entertainment venue in London that holds 6,000 people (and which seems, for some reason, to have become the standard unit of measurement in debates about any kind of waste in the UK)

The largest volume of waste from the nuclear power programme is low-level waste - concrete from outbuildings, car parks, construction materials, soil from the surroundings and so on. By 2100, there will be 473,000 cubic metres of such waste from decommissioned plants - enough to fill five Albert Halls. Production of all the electricity consumed in a four-bedroom house for 70 years leaves about one teacup of high-level waste, and new nuclear build will not make any significant contribution to existing radioactive waste levels for 20-40 years.

5) Decommissioning is too expensive

Existing UK reactors were built with no regard for future demolition. New reactors will be constructed from modular designs with the need for decommissioning built-in. The costs of decommissioning and waste management will be incorporated into the price of electricity to consumers. New nuclear plants are expected to have a working life of 40 years so the cost of decommissioning is spread over a longer period. Current government subsidy of decommissioning costs is approximately o1 billion annually (for 20 per cent of Britain's electrical supply) - half the subsidy to `sustainable' energy (two per cent of Britain's electrical supply).

6) Building reactors takes too long

This is perhaps the most ironic of the anti-nuclear arguments, since the legal manoeuvrings of Greenpeace delayed the UK government's nuclear decision by a year and it is the very opposition of greens that will cause most of the future delays.

The best construction schedules are achieved by the Canadian company AECL, which has built six new reactors since 1991; from the pouring of concrete to criticality (when the reactors come on-line), the longest build took six-and-a-half years and the shortest just over four years. The UK government expects pre-licensing of standard designs and modular construction to reduce construction times significantly - to about 6 years. New nuclear build could certainly start making significant contributions to UK carbon reduction targets by 2020.

7) Leukaemia rates are higher near reactors

Childhood leukaemia rates are no higher near nuclear power plants than they are near organic farms. `Leukaemia clusters' are geographic areas where the rates of childhood leukaemia appear to be higher than normal, but the definition is controversial because it ignores the fact that leukaemia is actually several very different (and unrelated) diseases with different causes.

The major increase in UK childhood leukaemia rates occurred before the Second World War. The very small (one per cent) annual increase seen now is probably due to better diagnosis, although it is possible that there is a viral contribution to the disease. It is purely by chance that a leukaemia `cluster' will occur near a nuclear installation, a national park or a rollercoaster ride. One such `cluster' occurred in Seascale, the nearest village to the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant, but there are no other examples. Clusters tend to be found in isolated areas where there has been a recent influx of immigration - which hints at a virus.

Men who work on nuclear submarines or in nuclear plants are no more likely to father children with leukaemia (or any other disease) than workers in any other industry

8) Reactors lead to weapons proliferation

More nuclear plants (in Britain and elsewhere) would actually reduce weapons proliferation. Atomic warheads make excellent reactor fuel; decommissioned warheads (containing greatly enriched uranium or plutonium) currently provide about 15 per cent of world nuclear fuel. Increased demand for reactor fuel would divert such warheads away from potential terrorists. Nuclear build is closely monitored by the IAEA, which polices anti-proliferation treaties.

9) Wind and wave power are more sustainable

If, as greens say, new nuclear power cannot come on-line in time to prevent climate change, how much less impact can wind, wave and carbon capture make? Environmentalists claim offshore wind turbines can make a significant contribution to electricity supply. Even if that were true - which it is certainly not - the environmental impact disqualifies wind as `sustainable'. The opening up of the North Sea continental shelf to 7,000 wind turbines is, essentially, the building of a huge industrial infrastructure across a vast swathe of ecologically sensitive seabed - as `unsustainable' in its own way as the opening of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration.

Wave power is still highly experimental and unproven as a method of generating electricity. Even if we allow the Severn Tidal Bore, the tidal surge that runs up and down the River Severn estuary in south-west England (and a great natural wonder of the world), to be destroyed, the cost overruns and time delays would make any problems of the nuclear industry look cheap by comparison.

10) Reactors are a terrorist target

Since 11 September 2001, several studies have examined the possibility of attacks by a large aircraft on reactor containment buildings. The US Department of Energy sponsored an independent computer-modelling study of the effects of a fully fuelled Boeing 767-400 hitting the reactor containment vessel. Under none of the possible scenarios was containment breached.

Only the highly specialised US `bunker busting' ordnance would be capable - after several direct strikes - of penetrating the amount of reinforced concrete that surrounds reactors. And besides, terrorists have already demonstrated that they prefer large, high visibility, soft targets with maximum human casualties (as in the attacks on New York, London, Madrid and Mumbai) rather than well-guarded, isolated, low-population targets. Any new generation of nuclear reactors in the UK will be designed with even greater protection against attack than existing plants, and with `passive' safety measures that work without human intervention or computer control.



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


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Climate orthodoxy perpetrates a hoax

By GORDON FULKS (Gordon J. Fulks [] holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago, Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research)

Gov. Ted Kulongoski's successful purge of George Taylor -- Oregon's former state climatologist and soon-to-be former director of the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University -- has a clear message for scientists: agree with the governor or you too will disappear. Don't hint that man-made global warming is the greatest scientific hoax of our time. It offends the governor.

Many, like Taylor, are unwilling to support political agendas at odds with good science but also too polite to play the role of the little boy in "The Emperor's New Clothes." They will quietly say, "Let's look at the evidence concerning man-made global warming (more properly known as Anthropogenic Global Warming or AGW), because science is based entirely on evidence."

As a meteorologist, Taylor would show that the warm-up we saw peak in the 1990s was very similar to the warm-up in the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s, before there was significant use of fossil fuels. He would also mention the sharp decline in global temperature this January, returning us close to where we were decades ago. Climate change is perfectly normal.

As a physicist, let me point out that our understanding of climate was not "settled more than a decade ago," as global warming alarmists argue. Science is never settled, as Albert Einstein spectacularly demonstrated.

Our knowledge of the interplay between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature has gone through three stages over the past 20 years. Al Gore correctly points out that early ice-core data gathered from glaciers around the world showed a very strong correlation between carbon dioxide and temperature over 650,000 years. Because carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, most of us assumed that it regulated global temperature.

By 1999, improving ice-core techniques produced a stunning reversal, showing that the global temperature changed many centuries before carbon dioxide changed. This proved that natural climate cycles were causing changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide, probably by affecting how much remained dissolved in the oceans. Using new ice-core evidence, Caillon, et al. (Science, March 2003), concluded that "CO2 is not the forcing that initially drives the climatic system."

This should have convinced alarmists that their scare was unwarranted. But too many would have been thrown out of work, and too many politicians would have lost a hot-button issue. So they ramped up the alarm, relying on ever-more-contrived theories to explain the ice-core data.

In 2007, their last theoretical bastion crumbled. Climatologists announced that a fundamental signature of greenhouse gases, predicted by all U.N. climate models, is missing. There is no "hot spot" from CO2 -induced warming at tropical latitudes. Satellites and weather balloons show normal temperature profiles. The climate models are fundamentally flawed. (Douglass, et al., International Journal of Climatology, Royal Meteorological Society, October 2007.)

Of course, with the abysmal state of science education and the near-total support of the media, global warming propagandists saw no reason to alter their strategy. We continue to hear that catastrophe is just around the corner, and we must sign up for ever more expensive and environmentally damaging "solutions."

A very important break in this discussion came from The New York Times on Jan.1: "In 2008, a 100 Percent Chance of Alarm" science writer, John Tierney, describes how we are being victimized by a vast array of opportunists. They point out anecdotal evidence of warming and ignore counter evidence -- such as the fact that the global temperature last year "was actually lower than any year since 2001. "Governor Kulongoski should understand that responsible science is nonpartisan. We follow scientific evidence, not those lacking scientific training. Forcing out a scientist because he won't go along with your favorite hoax hurts Oregon science and ultimately every citizen in this state.



John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton all promise bold action on climate change. All have endorsed a form of cap-and-trade system that would severely limit future carbon emissions. The Democratic Congress is champing at the bit to act. So too is the Climate Action Partnership, a coalition of companies led by General Electric and Duke Energy.

You'd think this would be a rich time for debate on the issue of climate change. But it's precisely as sweeping change on climate policy is becoming likely that many people have decided the time for debate is over. One writer puts climate change skeptics "in a similar moral category to Holocaust denial," another envisions "war crimes trials" for the deniers. And during the tour for his film "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore himself belittled "global warming deniers" as unworthy of any attention.

Take the reaction to Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg's latest book, "Cool It," which calls for a reasoned debate on global warming. Mr. Lomborg himself leans left, and he opens his book by declaring his belief that "humanity has caused a substantial rise in atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels over the past centuries, thereby contributing to global warming." But he has infuriated environmentalists by saying it is necessary to debate "whether hysterical and head-long spending on extravagant CO2-cutting programs at an unprecedented price is the only possible response." To do so, he says, it will be necessary to cool the doomsday rhetoric, allowing a measured discussion about the best ways forward. "Being smart about our future is the reason we have done so well in the past. We should not abandon our smarts now."

Mr. Lomborg's solution is to avoid discredited cap-and-trade programs, in which developing nations limit economic growth while they fruitlessly try to convince booming economies such as India and China to do the same. His alternative: "Let's focus on research and development. Let's focus on noncarbon-emitting technologies like solar, wind, carbon capture, energy efficiency and also, let's realize the solution may come from nuclear fission and fusion." He laments that the climate change issue has been demagogued by ideological groups on both sides, "and the ones who are making panicky or catastrophic claims simply have better press." At the end of the day, he ruefully acknowledges that potential progress and the sorts of solutions he advocates "are just boring things."

Let's hope Mr. Lomborg is wrong in his fear that the media are uninterested in showcasing a real debate on climate change. The proof may be found next week, when hundreds of scientists, economists and policy experts who dissent from the "consensus" that climate change requires radical measures will meet in New York to discuss the latest scientific, economic and political research on climate change. Five tracks of panels will address paleoclimatology, climatology, global warming impacts, the economics of global warming and political factors. It will be keynoted by Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who has argued that economic growth is most likely to create the innovations and know-how to combat any challenges climate change could present in the future. (Information on the conference is here.)

The conference is being organized by the free-market Heartland Institute and 49 other co-sponsors, including a dozen from overseas. Heartland president Joseeph Bast says its politically incorrect purpose is to "explain the often-neglected 'other side' of the climate change debate. This will be their chance to speak out. It will be hard for journalists and policy makers to ignore us."

I wonder. Already, environmental groups have sent out their opinion to their media friends that the conference is simply a platform for corporate apologists and can safely be ignored. One group alleges the conference will have "no real scientists" present despite an impressive array of speakers such as Patrick Michaels, a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists, and Willie Soon, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Critics point out that ExxonMobil gave nearly $800,000 to Heartland between 1998 and 2005 and that the group's board of directors include several people with ties to energy companies. The authors of the blog Real Climate don't engage the issues raised by the conference but instead attack it as stuffed with shills. When Heartland experts tried to respond to those charges, they were blacklisted from the comments section of the Real Climate Web site.

All this has led the Western Standard, a Canadian magazine sympathetic to the global warming skeptics, to predict that "the gathering will be completely ignored, even though it's being held in the news media capital of the world." Let's hope not. Global warming is too important a subject to not to debate, and we in the U.S. may rue the day we rushed pell-mell into expensive and shortsighted solutions when much more rational and cost-effective ones were readily available.


Reporters as Prostitutes

Reporting on the issue of "global warming" demonstrates that often the only difference between reporters and prostitutes is that prostitutes understand what type of business they are in. Many reporters are allowing themselves to be used by politicians and others to con the viewers and readers the reporters are supposed to be serving

30 years ago as a graduate student I took some journalism courses. At that time reporters were encouraged to get more than one opinion on issues and to avoid taking sides by reporting allegations as facts. A phrase like "according to" some source should precede or follow whatever claim the source is making.

Many reporters willingly repeat the allegation that "greenhouse gases are causing global warming" as if it were an accepted fact instead of a subject of controversy. News stories will state that "CO2 causes global warming" without presenting any evidence to support the allegation. Those who support this hypothesis cannot provide evidence because the process doesn't exist.

The situation is occurring in spite of the fact that it is easier for reporters to find alternate opinions than it was 30 years ago. In the 70's reporters had to contact other news sources and ask for other opinions. Today reporters can use internet search engines to find quotes from other sources, including experts who aren't well known, with just a few mouse clicks.

Good reporters should be skeptical of their sources and recognize that people who willingly talk to reporters are usually attempting to gain acceptance for their points of view. Such sources may get away with misrepresenting the facts when reporters don't bother to check the validity of statements. Reporters who don't understand the issues they are reporting on are particularly vulnerable.

Why should reporters who don't understand science be skeptical of the claims about "greenhouse gases causing global warming"? First, those making the claim admit that average temperatures only increased by 1 F (0.5C) during the entire 20th Century. Average temperatures can vary by more than that from one day to the next or from a shady area to a sunny area only a few feet apart.

In an era when even priests and preachers can be crooks, there is no reason to assume scientists will tell the truth. Those scientists who believe in global warming sometimes claim that those who disagree are being paid to do so by oil companies, etc. If these scientists don't believe scientists as a group can be trusted to tell the truth why should reporters? Have reporters checked to see how many of those scientists who support global warming claims are being paid to do so?

The scientist as con artist is an old movie plot that is based on fact. There have been recent cases of scientists being caught presenting false data to support their claims in addition to those who claim they can provide miracle cures for diseases. The claim that a minor atmospheric gas (0.036% of the atmosphere) can determine air temperatures sounds too much like magic to be taken at face value.

Statements by global warming claimants about punishing those who disagree with them should raise a red flag with any real journalist who supports freedom of speech. Such statements made by individuals in authority positions can indicate fear that someone will find out they are wrong. Scientists who believe they are correct welcome challenges.

If the idea of "global warming" is valid why do those who support it feel they have to exaggerate everything? Many of their claims sound too much like the traditional Hollywood disaster movie plot to be believable, particularly the claims of the great exaggerator, Al Gore.

Journalists have criticized the U.S. military for "planting" stories about the Iraq conflict. NASA's Gavin Schmidt has been running an ostensibly private website supporting NASA's claims about global warming for some time. If the claim about global warming is valid, why does the government need to set up a propaganda site to plant information supporting the claim?

S. Fred Singer who was the first director of the National Weather Satellite Service has questioned claims about global warming for years. John Coleman who founded the Weather Channel recently called the global warming claim the greatest scam in history, but reporters ignore him because they have already made up their minds and aren't interested in facts.

How many of those who call themselves journalists have bothered to check with these well known experts? Real journalists report both sides of controversial issues. Propagandists only present one side.Perhaps it is unfair to compare reporters to prostitutes. Prostitutes are professionals who are paid by those who utilize their services. Reporters who present only one side of an issue don't get paid by those who use them.



European consumers shunning imported food supposedly to limit climate change should not make African farmers a scapegoat, a Brussels conference has been told. In Britain, several supermarkets have begun labelling products flown into the country with stickers marked "air-freighted," to reflect concern about the contribution of aviation to global warming.

But Benito Mueller, a director at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, dismissed the concept of food miles as "an extremely oversimplified indicator" of ecological impact. Saying he was "really angry" with the implicit message that agricultural produce from Africa should be avoided, Mueller claimed that less greenhouse gas emissions are often emitted from the cultivation and transport of such goods than they would be if grown in Europe. Strawberries imported from Kenya during the winter, he maintained, have a lower "carbon footprint," a measure to ascertain the effect of a method of production on the environment - than those grown in a heated British greenhouse, even when their transport by air from Africa is taken into account. Mueller argued that African farmers should not suffer because of efforts to cut discharge of carbon dioxide, the main gas triggering climate change. Britain, he added, is responsible for 50 times more greenhouse gas emissions than Kenya.

Efforts to increase the use of biofuels were also called into question at a February 13 conference organised by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation, a body dealing with relations between Europe and some 80 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. The European Union has set itself a target that biofuels should provide 10 per cent of the energy needed to power cars and other modes of transport by 2020, despite growing doubts over whether it is wise to rely so heavily on these fuels.

Two new papers published in Science magazine have calculated that production of the most popular forms of biofuels causes a major increase in greenhouse gas emissions because of land clearance. Palm oil, a key biofuel used in European cars, is produced through the deforestation on lands rich in peat. It would take an estimated 840 years to claw back the amount of carbon dioxide released from that process, according to scientists, through the eventual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions caused by using biofuels rather than conventional petrol or diesel.

Mark Rosegrant from the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute cited worries that land that should be used to grow food for the poor and hungry is instead being used for biofuels. "The continued expansion of biofuels is increasing food prices and increasing malnutrition in a number of developing countries," he said.


Australia: Some climate skepticism that has generally gone unnoticed

The media have noted only the drastic cuts in emissions that the Garnaut report said would be needed. But that pesky Andrew Bolt has looked at the report in detail:

KEVIN Rudd's global warming adviser has had a rude surprise. Professor Ross Garnaut has invigorated a debate on catastrophic man-made global warming that Al Gore, and most journalists and politicians, keep claiming was over years ago. In fact, he's even wondering if some scientists have played funny buggers.

Garnaut, hired to tell Labor how to cut greenhouse gases, yesterday released his interim report, saying most scientists felt we were running out of time: "The world is moving towards high risks of dangerous climate change more rapidly than has generally been understood." This was honey to alarmists, but Garnaut also admits his review of the global warming science "takes the work of the IPCC as its starting point".

That's a problem. This Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change is the United Nations body that persuaded governments we're doomed unless we get less gassy. But Garnaut concedes the IPCC has in fact been accused - not least by an all-party British House of Lords inquiry into climate change - of using dodgy science, excluding dissenters and sexying up findings. Or in Garnaut's more polite words, of lacking "objectivity" and giving in to "political considerations".

As Garnaut says, its critics include top scientists such as hurricane expert Chris Landsea, who quit the IPCC to protest (in Garnaut's words) the "mispresentation of climate science" by colleagues.What's more, despite claims the "science is settled", Garnaut found the science of man-made warming was of a "qualified and contested nature", and he was in "no position to adjudicate on the relative merits of various expert scientific opinions". He just had to go "on the balance of probabilities" - with this controversial IPCC and the majority of scientists whose views it represented.

But he urged that the global debate be made "open to alternative perspectives beyond the IPCC", and said he'd recommend a "strengthening (of) the pluralist character of the Australian research efforts".

Meanwhile, Britain's Hadley Centre reports a global drop in temperature in the past 12 months, backing up predictions that 1998 will still remain the hottest year on record. No one knows if global warming has stopped. But with even Garnaut wanting a more balanced debate, it's best to be wary of the people shouting once more that it's time to panic.



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


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

UFOs behind global warming

Environmental activists might wonder what in the world do UFOs have to do with massive global environmental degradation in general and global warming in particular. Many of us in the UFO/ET community are beginning to make that connection and as that knowledge spreads beyond the UFO community environmental activist leaders will begin to grasp the connection.

The fact is that environmentalists are well behind the learning curve as compared to world peace activists. We in exopolitics now realize that there have been two major national and global entrenched interests that stand out in suppressing extraterrestrial realities. One is the fossil fuels industry and the other is the arms industry. We now realize that in the 1950s if ET reality had become public knowledge both these industries would have been devastated just as had the gas light industry when the electric light bulb came into widespread use.

These industries as well as other special interest came in early to suppress extraterrestrial knowledge out of self interest once the military and the intelligence community understood the situation. This has resulted in a 60 year old cover up and propaganda campaign of denial and ridicule that has brainwashed world populations placing them in denial of extraterrestrial realities.


Comments on the above by Christopher Monckton below:

Ah, I knew it must have been a UFO that's been causing all that "global warming". My own years of earnest, exopolitical research have revealed the following vital information, which I can now bring out from behind the veil of high-level international secrecy and reveal to the public for the first time.

The UFO in question is pretty big, and powerful beyond our imagining. It has the mass of 8 billion Earths. Something like that, anyhow. Even though it's a whole astromonomical unit away from us - yup, a whopping 8 light-minutes - it is causing serious warming throughout our planet, and there's nothing we can do to stop it. It's so massive that, even though it's so far from us, its apparent size (if you dare to look at it) is exactly - and I mean exactly the same as our Moon. I mean, how's that for an astronomical coincidence?

Of course, it's not a coincidence at all. It's a sinister alien plot to dominate the world. People are already getting cancer from it. How do I know it's all a conspiracy? How do I know that the aliens have already joined forces with evil capitalist interests on Planet Earth? Simple. The official body in charge of finding the cause of the "global warming" that started in 1700 and ended in 1998 pretends that the UFO doesn't exist - or that, if it does exist, it can't have much to do with climate change.

And Al Gore, who has a huge financial interest in the "global warming" industry, with his Generation Investment Management corporation, and all that stuff, I mean, like, he never even mentions it, the UFO, I mean, when he talks about "global warming". I mean, who do these people think they're fooling? I know the truth, and just because governments round the world are all covering up the true effect of this huge UFO on the whole world's climate, I'm not just going to stand there and let them get away with this massive cover-up. No way, Jose! It's an outrage, that's what it is. Don't they realize how much it's going to cost us if they don't come out into the open and admit that it's the UFO that's the real cause of "global warming"? I mean, what's the point of all that carbon trading if its the UFO that's to blame.

I've even decoded the CIA's secret transmissions using my Secret Agent's Abacus, and I've worked out what the UFO is called. In English, it has a three-letter name. The first letter sounds like the middle letter of "UFO", and is often confused with it in telephone conversations. The second letter of the English name of the UFO is the same as the first letter of "UFO". And - get this - to find the third letter of the English name of the UFO, all you do is a simple one-place retro alphabet-shift of the third letter of "UFO", and you get The Answer!

No, no, how stupid can you be? It's not called "SUV". Close, baby, but no cigar. SUVs aren't the problem. And don't think the rest of the planetary nexus is getting away without being affected. There's been "global warming" on Mars, too. And on Jupiter, by Jupiter! And on Neptune's largest moon. And even on distant Pluto. Bet you haven't seen any of that in your local newspaper! Or on the BBC! New York Times? Forget it! And it's not all those 4x4s and farting cows that are to blame.

No, it's that UFO. You know, this is the biggest thing in our Solar System. It really, truly is. Honest. I mean it. Really. Cross my heart and hope to drown in a 20ft sea-level rise.

Comment from Hans Schreuder

Lord Monckton!

You are disclosing TOP SECRET information here. Have you had clearance from MI5 and MI6, the CIA and FBI to divulge such sensitive information to the rest of the world?! What are we to make of this revelation? Before reading about your UFO, I was comfortable in knowing that is was my SUV and my neighbour's SUV that were the baddies on the block, but now you are saying that it is the big bad UFO that is messing with us. How are we to disable this UFO? Maybe we should get the United Nations involved? I hear that they have an excellent record in dealing with trouble spots and use proper scientific methods to investigate cause and effect phenomenon. Maybe we should tell the President, does he know or even understand the effect that this UFO has on the world? Maybe he can send some troops to sort it out? I anxiously await further updates on what must surely now be called an IFO - identified flying object.

Antarctic Glaciers Going To Sea At Faster Rate

British explorers in West Antarctica reported glacier movement in the region has picked up by a startling seven percent this season, a development, they said, which could lead to a significant rise in sea level.

David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey said the team found new evidence from group of glaciers in West Antarctica which cover an area the size of Texas. He said the glaciers, particularly the Pine Island Glacier, has surged sharply in speed towards the ocean-- and it's not because of global warming.

Throughout the 1990s, according to satellite measurements, the glacier was accelerating by around one percent a year. The British team said it now seems to have accelerated by seven percent in a single season, sending more and more ice into the ocean. "The measurements from last season seem to show an incredible acceleration, a rate of up to seven percent. That is far greater than the accelerations they were getting excited about in the 1990s," said team member Julian Scott.

The Pine Island Glacier is a couple of kilometers thick, 30 kilometer wide and is moving at 3.5km per year. Team member Julian Scott theorized that global warming is not the cause. He said it could be a deep ocean current channeling into the continental shelf close to the mouth of the glacier; or, geothermal activity.

Scott's research revealed evidence of a volcano that erupted through the ice about 2,000 years ago. The whole region could be volcanically active and could possibly be releasing geothermal heat to melt the base of the ice and help its slide towards the sea.

If the glacier continues to surge and discharge most of its ice into the sea, the Pine Island Glacier alone could raise global sea level by 25 centimeter. If the entire region were to lose its ice, the sea would rise by 1.5 meters worldwide.


Climate clash claims a victim

George Taylor has too much class to complain in public, so he's retiring instead as the state climatologist and head of the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University.

For several years now he has been under fire and sometimes personal attacks because his views on the causes of global warming differ from those that now have become the conventional wisdom. He thinks natural causes such as solar radiation and long-term cycles in the world's climate play a bigger role than the greenhouse gases that are increasingly put in the atmosphere by industrial society.

Instead of being proved wrong by convincing evidence, he's been condemned or even ridiculed. Last year, Governor Kulongoski let it be known that it was embarrassing to have a state climatologist at odds with the warming theories on which he was basing the state's energy policies. The legislature made sure that Taylor would be sidelined. It approved a new climate research center to be based at OSU, and charged it with pretty much the same tasks as the one a previous law had spelled out for the service headed by Taylor.

A man can buck the bureaucracy and the establishment for only so long. Then it makes sense to take a different route. That's what Taylor is now doing. Don't expect him to complain about being pushed out, or about being unfairly treated. He is far too good-natured and smart for that. Taylor has a solid reputation as an expert on Oregon weather whose long-term forecasts are right far more often than they are wrong. And the good news is that he'll still be around.

Getting away from the university and the state government may give Taylor a chance to be more outspoken on climate issues than he has been so far, especially in recent months, when he had been lying kind of low.So we hope that now and then, when a counterpoint to the popular wisdom would be particularly interesting and instructive, he'll not be shy about letting the public in on what he knows.


The Trouble With Government Grants


Flush with success in creating an atom bomb, the U.S. federal government decided it should start funding non-military scientific research. A government report titled "Science, the Endless Frontier" provides the justification for doing this. It makes the case that "science is the responsibility of government because new scientific knowledge vitally affects our health, our jobs, and our national security" (Bush, 1945). Accordingly, the government established a Research Grants Office in January, 1946 to award grants for research in the biomedical and physical sciences. It received 800 grant applications that year. The Research Grants Office is now known as the Center for Scientific Review (CSR), and it processes applications submitted to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other agencies in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In 2005 CSR received 80,000 grant applications.

With a budget of $28 billion, the director of NIH reports that it currently funds 22 percent of all the grant applications it reviews (Zerhouni, 2006). Among these, multi-year R01 grants are the mainstay of research by medical school faculties. And in 2005, the NIH funded only one in eleven (9.1%) of the unsolicited R01 research grant applications it reviewed (Mandel and Vesell, 2006). In 1998 the NIH funded 31 percent of its grant applications, and since 2003 grant appropriations have lagged behind inflation (Zerhouni, 2006). The National Science Foundation awards $6 Billion in grants each year. This independent federal agency funds 28 percent of the 40,000 annual grant proposals it receives.

Twenty-six federal granting agencies now manage 1,000 grant programs. Even clinical trials of drugs, vaccines, and devices, where industry may profit from the outcome, have come under the purview of government. Zarin and colleagues (2005) reviewed records and found that the federal government currently funds 9,796 (51%) of the 19,355 interventional trials being conducted. Industry sponsors 4,734 (24%); and universities, foundations, and other organizations, 4,825 (25%).

Ethics in science and society "describe appropriate behavior according to contemporary standards" (Friedman, 1996). Two standards that scientists follow for writing grant proposals are: 1) Keep it safe and survive, and 2) Don't lie if you don't have to.

Pollack (2005) addresses the first ethic, noting that the paramount motivational factor for scientists today is the competition to survive. A scientist's most pressing need, which supersedes the scientific pursuit of truth, is to get her grant funded - to pay her salary and that of her staff, to pay department bills, and to obtain academic promotion. The safest way to generate grants is to avoid any dissent from orthodoxy. Grant-review Study Sections whose members' expertise and status are tied to the prevailing view do not welcome any challenge to it. A scientist who writes a grant proposal that dissents from the ruling paradigm will be left without a grant. Speaking for his fellow scientists Pollack writes, "We have evolved into a culture of obedient sycophants, bowing politely to the high priests of orthodoxy."

Applicants following the ethic of "keep it safe and survive" propose research that will please the reader-peers and avoid projects that might displease them. An NIH pamphlet on grant applications reinforces such behavior by stating, "The author of a project proposal must learn all he can about those who will read his proposal and keep those readers constantly in mind when he writes." (Ling, 2004a).

With regard to the second ethic, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi said, "I always tried to live up to Leo Szilard's commandment, `don't lie if you don't have to.' I had to. I filled up pages with words and plans I know I would not follow. When I go home from my laboratory in the late afternoon, I often do not know what I am going to do the next day. I expect to think that up during the night. How could I tell them what I would do a year hence?" (Moss, 1988, p.217). This long-time cancer researcher, discoverer of vitamin C, and Nobel laureate was unable, despite multiple attempts, to obtain a government grant.

Friedman (1996) describes a variant of this ethic where an investigator applies for a grant to do a study that he has already completed. With this grant awarded and money in hand he publishes the study and uses the funds on a different project. The misrepresentation enables the investigator to remain one project ahead of his funding. Apparently enough seasoned investigators do this that the academic community views the practice as sound "grantsmanship."

When the peer review grant system was established in 1946 people assumed that scientific progress occurs in an evolutionary incremental and cumulative fashion. Having a panel of experts judge the worth of each research proposal seeking funds seemed then to be the best way to allocate federal tax dollars for research. This system assumes that a majority of specialists in a given field will know where truth lies and how best to get there and find it (Ling, 2004b). But as Hall (1954) and Kuhn (1962) later showed, periodic upheavals and revolutions in science disrupt an otherwise steady growth of scientific knowledge. Long-cherished ideas are replaced wholesale by new ones that lead science in a different direction.

The grant system fosters an Apollonian approach to research. The investigator does not question the foundation concepts of biomedical and physical scientific knowledge. He sticks to the widely held belief that the trunks and limbs of the trees of knowledge, in, for example, cell physiology and on AIDS, are solid. The Apollonian researcher focuses on the peripheral branches and twigs and develops established lines of knowledge to perfection. He sees clearly what course his research should take and writes grants that his peers are willing to fund. Forced by the existing grant system to follow such an approach, Pollack (2005) argues that scientists have defaulted into becoming a culture of believers without rethinking the fundamentals.

Intuitive geniuses, like Thomas Edison, Louis Pasteur, Ernest Rutherford, and Albert Einstein, take a Dionysian, transformational approach to science. Their research relies on intuition and "accidental" discoveries. Szent-Gyorgyi describes intuition as "a sort of subconscious reasoning, only the end result of which becomes conscious." The Dionysian scientist knows the direction he wants to follow into the unknown, but "he has no idea what he is going to find there or how he is going to find it. Defining the unknown or writing down the subconscious is a contradiction in absurdum." And, citing Pasteur, who said, "A discovery is an accident finding a prepared mind," Szent-Gyorgyi notes that "accidental" discoveries are rarely true accidents (Moss, 1988, pp. 216-217).

Although it is the Dionysian method of research that produces transformative scientific breakthroughs, peers possessing the power to judge grants do not support this kind of research. They abuse the trust and power of government, which does not know science, to advance their own careers and, in some cases, protect their investments in companies that profit from the reigning paradigm. Knowing this government might be more amenable to supporting potentially transformative, Dionysian research.

To make matters worse, this system is replacing other sources of funding that formerly supported Dionysian scientists. Ling (2004b) observes, "Oversupply of scientists, the rising cost of living and of research, the decline of private foundations and scientific niches which these foundations once sustained [has] completed the dismantling of the socio-economic environment which once protected revolutionary scientists and their young followers."

Unassailable Paradigms

Paradigms in the biomedical and climate sciences that have achieved the status of dogma are:

* Cholesterol and saturated fats cause coronary artery disease.

* Mutations in genes cause cancer.

* Human activity is causing global warming through increased CO2 emissions.

* A virus called HIV (human immunodeficiency) causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).

* The damaging effects of toxins are dose-dependent in a linear fashion down to zero. Even a tiny amount of a toxin, such as radiation or cigarette smoke, will harm some people.

* The membrane-pump theory of cell physiology based on the concept that cells are aqueous solutions enclosed by a cell membrane.

Scientists that question these state-sanctioned paradigms are denied grants and silenced (Moran 1998). But valid questions nevertheless have been raised about each of these established orthodoxies.

* The idea that cholesterol causes coronary heart disease is now close to being dogma, and investigators that question the lipid hypothesis need not apply for funding. But there is growing evidence that the hypothesis is wrong, as Ravnskov (2000) documents in The Cholesterol Myths.

* Aneuploidy (an abnormal number and balance of chromosomes), instead of mutation-produced oncogenes, may well prove to be the true cause of cancer (Bialy, 2004; Duesberg and Rasnick, 2000; Miller, 2006).

* The human-caused global-warming paradigm is most likely false (Soon et al., 2001; Editorial, 2006). Two climate astrophysicists, Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, present evidence that shows the climate of the 20th century fell within the range experienced during the past 1,000 years. Compared with other centuries, it was not unusual (Soon and Baliunas, 2003). Unable to obtain grants from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), Soon (personal communication, August 31, 2006) observes that NASA funds programs mainly on social-political reasoning rather than science.

* Duesberg (1996), Hodgkinson (2003), Lang (1993-2005), Liversidge (2001/2002), Maggiore (2000), and Miller (2006), among others, have questioned the germ theory of AIDS. All 30 diseases (which includes an asymptomatic low T-cell count) in the syndrome called AIDS existed before HIV was discovered and still occur without antibodies to this virus being present. At a press conference in 1984 government officials announced that a newly discovered retrovirus, HIV, is the probable cause of AIDS, which at that time numbered 12 diseases (Duesberg, 1995, p. 5). Soon thereafter "HIV causes AIDS" achieved paradigm status. But, beginning with Peter Duesberg, Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, a growing number of scientists, physicians, investigative journalists, and HIV positive people have concluded that HIV/AIDS is a false paradigm.

The NIH awarded Duesberg a long-term Outstanding Investigator Grant and a Fogarty fellowship to spend a year on the NIH campus studying cancer genes, and he was nominated for a Nobel Prize. When Duesberg publicly rejected the HIV/AIDS paradigm the NIH and other funding agencies ceased awarding him grants. Government-appointed peer reviewers have rejected his last 24 grant applications. Peter Duesberg (personal communication, September 20, 2006) writes: When I was the blue-eyed boy finding oncogenes and "deadly" viruses, I was 100% fundable. Since I questioned the HIV-AIDS hypothesis of the NIH's Dr. Gallo, and then the cancer-oncogene hypothesis of Bishop-Varmus-Weinberg-Vogelstein etc. I became 100% unfundable. I was transformed from a virus- and cancer-chasing Angel to `Lucifer'."

* Rather than being harmful, as predicted by the linear no threshold hypothesis, low doses of radiation are actually beneficial (Calabrese, 2005; Hiserodt, 2005). Its beneficial effect is based on hormesis, where radiation in small doses stimulates immune system defenses, prevents oxidative DNA damages, and suppresses cancer. The dose must exceed a certain threshold to stop having a simulative and start having an inhibitory effect on the body and become toxic - and in high doses, fatal (Miller, 2004).

* Research in cell physiology is based on the concept that the cell, the basic structural unit that makes up all living things, is an aqueous solution of chemicals enclosed within a cell membrane. Drug research adheres to the concept that a drug's action is mediated by fitting into a specific receptor site on the cell membrane. Ling (2001) and Pollack (2001), however, make a strong case that the membrane paradigm of cell physiology is wrong. They show that cell function does not depend on the integrity of the cell membrane, and membrane pumps and channels are not what they seem. These investigators hypothesize that the three main components of a living cell - proteins, water, and potassium ions - are structured together in a gel-like matrix, where the cell's water is organized into layers alongside proteins.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a product of this view of cell physiology, known as the association-induction hypothesis, which was first proposed by Gilbert Ling in 1962. For more than 45 years government granting agencies, guided by their "expert" peer-reviewers' verdicts, have refused to provide funds for this pioneering investigator to pursue research on this hypothesis, even after it brought about the important medical technology of MRI (Ling 2004b). Despite multiple attempts, Gerald Pollack (personal communication, September 13, 2006) also has been unable to obtain government grants to conduct research on this alternative hypothesis of cell physiology.

Peer review enforces state-sanctioned paradigms. Pollack (2005) likens it to a trial where the defendant judges the plaintiff. Grant review panels defending the orthodox view control the grant lifeline and can sentence a challenger to "no grant." Deprived of funds the plaintiff-challenger is forced to shut down her lab and withdraw. Conlan (1976) characterizes the peer-review grant system as an "incestuous `buddy system' that stifles new ideas and scientific breakthroughs."

Science is self-correcting and, in time, errors are eliminated, or so we are taught. But now with a centralized bureaucracy controlling science, perhaps this rhetoric is "just wishful thinking" (Hillman, 1996, p.102). Freedom to dissent is an essential ingredient of societal health. Braben (2004) contends that suppressing challenges to established orthodoxy sets a society on a path to its doom.

More here

Green Hypocrites in Britain

Post below lifted from Blue Crab. See the original for links

On a number of occasions, I have pointed out that the elitists who are pushing the biggest "environmentalist" agendas like global warming have no intention of living with the limits they plan on imposing on the less-than-elite. The phrase I use for that is that they will "wave from the limousine" as they pass the shivering masses. I expect a rousing chorus of "told ya so."
Ministers are using a secret limousine service to ferry them around the country, a Mail on Sunday investigation has discovered. Senior Labour figures are quietly using 60,000 pound ($120,000) gas-guzzlers to whisk them around in comfort - despite claims that politicians have switched to smaller, cheaper models that are less damaging to the environment. Among the prominent politicians using the secret luxury car service is the Speaker Michael Martin and his wife Mary, who travel regularly in top-ofthe- range Mercedes and Jaguars.

This newspaper has established that a fleet of expensive cars operates discreetly from South London, away from the Westminster base of the official Government Car Service. Kelly Executive earns 500,000 pounds a year carrying out up to 50 journeys a day for politicians, including the Speaker, from its fleet of 30 chauffeur-driven limos. The Government also uses a number of similar private companies in other cities. Ministers and Labour MPs such as Mr Martin frequently use the firms to pick them up from the airport and take them home. Significantly, none of the limousines appears on the public list of cars in the official Government car pool, which handles the transport arrangements for Ministers and civil servants.

Last year the Government announced it had spent 900,000 pounds buying 110 hybrid-engined cars for the Government Car and Despatch Agency to cut down on carbon-dioxide emissions, to show voters that it was doing its bit to save the planet. However, it is an open secret that many Ministers do not like the Toyota Prius - of which 98 were bought. It has been nicknamed "the milk float" by Government drivers who say the car is slow and has a "tinny rattle". Ministers privately complain that they miss the comfort of the executive cars that the Prius replaced.

Kelly Executive has 20 S-class Mercedes, which emit up to 355g of CO2 per kilometre - well above the 226g level at which London Mayor Ken Livingstone has levied a new environment-driven congestion charge of 25 pounds a day.

The Speaker uses Kelly Executive in London, but when travelling to his constituency home in Glasgow he favours local company Little's Chauffeur Drive, which boasts of "utmost discretion and an impeccable chauffeuring service" used by "the world's most important people".

Yes, indeed. They will tout their carbon-neutrality while riding in the finest - and least eco-friendly - cars. No worries. They'll wave if you can see them through the blackout windows. Meanwhile, in other "eco-friendly" news, the Telegraph points out that "fair trade" coffee is anything but.
"Fairtrade purports to work within the market economy but its rise has been largely based on marketing subsidies and public-sector procurement," says Tom Clougherty, policy director of the Adam Smith Institute. Despite huge pressures on the public purse, local councils are squandering large sums becoming Fairtrade towns and cities, distributing posters and leaflets to nanny people into only buying Fairtrade. Meanwhile, the Fairtrade Foundation has received over 1.5m pounds from the Department for International Development. It wants more. In December, reminiscent of 1970s-style industrial policy, it called for 50m of development aid to be spent as "strategic investment" on Fairtrade.

Monday sees the start of Fairtrade Fortnight, the time each year when we are hectored into paying more for a cup of coffee. Charities, politicians and primary school teachers will deliver the scheme as an undisputed good. With all this effort, it is a pity Fairtrade does not work.

Fairtrade's supporters blame the plight of coffee farmers on world prices and ruthless multinational companies. But supporters ignore the real causes of poverty among growers. Farmers I interviewed in Kenya told me that the problems they face are not caused by global influences but their own government's interference. They are forced to use milling companies granted regional monopolies, who fleece them. They want to boost productivity by using fertiliser, but they cannot afford the inflated prices demanded by the government fertiliser monopoly. Imported tools and machinery would transform their output but are subject to punitive tariffs. Police roadblocks slow their goods and involve money exchanging hands.

On top of that, the growers selling to fair trade programs are also selling on the free market. The free market pays premium for high quality so the best beans are sent to the free market. The leftovers are sent to the "fair trade" market to garner the guaranteed higher-than-market value prices. It has never been easier - or more lucrative - to rape the planet.


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


Monday, February 25, 2008

New Zealand gets the full story

The Christchurch glossy lifestyle monthly magazine AVENUES has taken the laudable initiative of starting a debate on global warming, which will run over 5 months. Dr Gerrit van der Lingen was invited to write the first article, titled "Global Warming and Cooling", which appeared in the February issue. With an editorial introduction and some photographs added by the magazine, it covered 8 pages. Unfortunately, the magazine does not make its articles available on its website. Dr Gerrit van der Lingen studied geology at Utrecht University in The Netherlands. From 1991 to 2002 he was involved in paleoclimate research, studying ocean sediment cores from the Tasman Sea and Southern Ocean. He has now retired from paid research. Another instance of it being only the oldies who can afford to speak out. A few excerpts from his article below

The miraculous survival power of the polar bear

Polar bears have become the poster animals of the catastrophic MMGW movement, like the panda is for the World Wide Fund for Nature. Many environmental organisations are predicting the imminent extinction of polar bears because of MMGW. The Australian activist Tim Flannery recently predicted that polar bears could be extinct in 25 years.

However, as with so many of the `predictions' by global warming alarmists, a reality check shows this to be highly unlikely. First, some facts from the real world. Yes, the Arctic has been warming. However, it was warmer in the thirties and forties. The North-West Passage was open to shipping in 1945 and Amundsen sailed through it in 1903. Much of the Arctic sea ice had also disappeared in 1817. There seems to be a natural variation between warming and cooling.

Sixty years ago, polar bear numbers had decreased to about 5000, mainly due to hunting. Since then hunting has been more strictly controlled and numbers have increased to about 25,000. According to research by the US Geological Survey, polar bear numbers may be near historic highs. Of the thirteen polar bear populations in Canada (home to two-thirds of the world's polar bears), eleven are stable or increasing in numbers. Notwithstanding this, some environmental organisations want to have polar bears listed as `threatened.' Their arguments are not based on real-world data, but on predictions from non-validated computer models.

But just assuming for a moment that people like Flannery are right about the imminent demise of the polar bear. That would mean that polar bears must have become extinct many times before, during the last interglacial (when it was 4 to 5 degrees warmer than today for thousands of years), during the Holocene Climatic Optimum (4000-7000 years ago), and during the Minoan, Roman and Medieval Warm Periods. Why would it be that the polar bears are still with us? The answer is obvious. Like most bears they are very adaptable. For instance, their food sources range from seals to berry fruits.

Psychic glaciers

We are being told that many glaciers around the world are retreating and that this is caused by MMGW. Yes, most glaciers (and ice caps) have been melting, but they have been doing this for the last 18,000 years (since the so-called Last Glacial Maximum), resulting in a sea level rise of 120 metres(!). But there have also been periods of cooling during the present Interglacial warm epoch, like during the Little Ice Age (1300 to 1850 AD), when glaciers advanced again.

But many glaciers must have anticipated the coming MMGW, as they started to retreat already, well before greenhouse gases started to increase. For instance, the Franz Josef Glacier started to retreat in 1750 and the Himalayan Gangotry Glacier in 1780. I already mentioned the snow cap on Kilimanjaro. I therefore call these glaciers `psychic.'

Triumph of the will.

From the British High Court and Lord Monckton's identification of many (and no doubt deliberate) errors in Al Gore's movie, it's clear that his movie can be classified as a propaganda documentary. During the court case, council for the claimant drew comparisons with Nazi and Leninist/Stalinist propaganda films. Although this seems a bit far-fetched, one cannot help but draw comparisons with that (in)famous Nazi propaganda film, Triumph of the Will (Triumph des Willens), made by the legendary German film-maker Leni Riefenstahl.

Her propaganda documentary of the 1934 Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party was made on the order of Hitler. It was a slick, superbly made film, setting new technical and artistic standards for documentary film-making, notwithstanding the fact that it was blatant Nazi propaganda. It was awarded several international film awards. As such it can be compared with Gore's movie, which is also a very well-made, slick propaganda movie, rewarded with an Oscar.

There are other parallels. Riefenstahl's film was shown in German cities to record audiences and, like in the U.K., school children were obliged to see it. However, there is one major difference. Riefenstahl's film was in German and was mainly shown to the German public, and as such can be considered as having had limited propaganda value in a global sense. Gore's movie, on the other hand, has a huge global propaganda reach.

Several commentators have pointed to more sinister aspects of the present MMGW hysteria. Proposals made to curb greenhouse gas emissions will result in a substantial reduction of democratic and personal freedoms. For instance, the British Government has proposed measures along the lines of what is called "Contraction and Conversion" (see Under this system, each individual on Earth would be allocated a permit to emit an equal amount of greenhouse gas. This means that an Amerindian in the warm Amazon jungle would be allocated the same allowance as a person in cold Helsinki. If the person in Helsinki wants to use more than the person in the Amazon, he would have to buy emission permits from the Amazonian. This system is proposed under the principle of global equity. This would mean a return to war-time ration books. Almost all human activities would be strictly controlled, from air travel (air miles), to food consumption patterns (food miles), to the choice of cars, housing, etc. All this would require an immense, all-pervasive, global, bureaucratic control and administration system. Stalin and Hitler would have been green with envy. All these measures will also put severe breaks on economic developments. The cost of living will go up dramatically and poor people will be hit the hardest.

There are other matters in the MMGW debate that hark back to the Nazi era. People who dare to criticise the catastrophic MMGW dogma have been compared to Holocaust deniers. Even worse, some MMGW promotors are demanding that these `deniers' should be dragged before a Nuremberg-type tribunal. They maintain that "the science has been settled." Apart from the fact that science is never settled, they refuse to debate the science in public. Several prominent academics have challenged Al Gore to a public, televised debate. He always refuses. This is not surprising, as he must know that he cannot win such a debate.

The simple truth is that there is no scientific evidence for catastrophic global warming caused by human carbon dioxide emissions. The only `evidence' is based entirely on computer models. Because climate is a chaotic, non-linear system, it does not lend itself to computer modelling. No wonder these models give wildly different results. They depend on what initial parameters are being used. Such parameters can be tweaked to obtain the desired outcome. I therefore call these modellers `tweakers.' Their virtual world has nothing to do with the real world.

Nature refuses to obey the IPCC and its computer models. Take for instance the temperature record of Christchurch for the last one hundred years. Temperatures have fluctuated, but there has been no overall increase. Global warming is passing us by.

MMGW believers also spread the myth that there is virtual unanimity among scientists that human carbon dioxide emissions are causing catastrophic global warming. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are thousands of scientists who disagree with this dogma and hundreds of them are actively involved in debating the science. In New Zealand they have organised themselves in the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (

Global warming and cooling.

There is no correlation at all between temperature and carbon dioxide. In recent years many peer-reviewed, scientific articles have been published, pointing to good correlations between the present 11-year sunspot cycle and various weather patterns, such as rainfall. Climate is extremely complex. It would take me far too long to discuss other important natural factors, like El Ninos and La Ninas. Climate science is still in its infancy. The IPCC and its accolytes are doing science a big disservice by basically saying that the natural causes of climate change in the past have stopped working, and have now been replaced by a simplistic, singular cause: human carbon dioxide emissions.

As it is very likely (to borrow a favourite term from the IPCC) that the sun is the major driver of climate change -- always has been and always will be -- one wonders what the future holds. Astrophysicists from the UK, Finland, The Netherlands, Germany and Russia have been predicting that we are entering a cooling period, because of an anticipated decrease in solar activity. Their opinion is based on the analysis of sunspot cycles. Such an analysis has a large degree of uncertainty, of course. But world temperatures have not gone up over the last eight years (Figure 1D) while carbon dioxide levels have.

Two months ago, the European Alps received the largest snow dump in forty years. South America just went through its coldest winter in decades. Sea ice around the Antarctic reached its largest extent since satellite measurements began in 1979. On January 11 it snowed in Baghdad, an event not seen in living memory. All this could still be coincidental, of course. The belief that we can control the climate is too absurd for words. All we can do is try to adapt to climate change, be it warming or cooling.


Ethanol policy threatens to starve the world

Drought. War. Poverty. These are leading causes of hunger, according to the United Nations. Soon we may add another. Ethanol. Across the globe, people are discovering it's a new contributor to world hunger. Led by the United States, governments are paying companies billions to make ethanol from corn and other crops. The result: these crops are diverted from the food supply, creating artificial shortages and higher prices.

Even record harvests haven't suppressed food prices. Instead, prices are soaring to all-time highs. Corn that traded around $2 a bushel just two years ago is now well over $5 a bushel. The impact ripples through the food chain of milk, butter, eggs, flour, pasta and everything else, because dairy cattle, beef cattle, poultry and swine depend on the corn for their feed. When chicken feed doesn't cost chicken feed anymore, then neither does anything else. Other grains, like wheat, are also at record highs because farmers are planting less wheat and more corn, thanks to the ethanol incentives. Less supply, plus more world demand, means higher prices for wheat products, too, from flour to bread to pasta.

Full-scale food riots may arise in some parts of the world, as more and more grain is diverted into fuel production. The Earth Policy Institute reports that ethanol-related food protests occurred last year in Mexico, Italy, Pakistan and Indonesia. A price-driven stampede killed three and injured 31 at a supermarket in China. "We are witnessing the beginning of one of the great tragedies of history," the EPI proclaimed in January. "The United States, in a misguided effort to reduce its oil insecurity by converting grain into fuel for cars, is generating global food insecurity on a scale never seen before."


This problem became five times worse in December when the new "energy bill" became law. It dictates that Washington will pay a 51-cent-a-gallon subsidy on 36 billion gallons of ethanol each year, up from the previous 7.5 billion gallon limit. Even before this incentive expanded, official U.S. Department of Agriculture reports showed that ethanol was "eating up" 20 percent of the corn grown in America in 2006 - up from 6 percent in 2000 - a figure expected to rise in 2008 to 25 percent.

A 2007 report from International Food Policy Research Institute, or IFPRI, concludes that "Biofuel production currently adversely affects the poor through price-level and price-volatility effects." IFPRI's report also noted, "Since the beginning of 2000, butter and milk prices have tripled, and poultry prices have almost doubled." EPI's president, Lester R. Brown, says, "We're putting the supermarket in competition with the corner filling station for the output of the farm. The result is that more people will go hungry."

As a Purdue University study noted, "This leap in corn prices is leading to an emerging opposition to ethanol subsidies on the part of animal agriculture, export markets and other corn users." Those groups have created a coalition to spotlight the ever-widening costs of ethanol, including a website at

As oil prices approached $100 per barrel, market incentives for producing more ethanol increased dramatically. But that wasn't enough to satisfy the subsidy lobby. Hence they pressed Washington to decree that we must use five times more ethanol and pay them for the privilege. That will raise the annual taxpayer-paid subsidy to over $18 billion per year, even though they're already profitable thanks to high oil prices. The energy bill converts ethanol manufacturers' simple profits into super-profits, at taxpayer expense. Yet somehow they've escaped headlines - and the outrage - oil profits attract.

Gradually, however, the media are "discovering" that ethanol subsidies are sending the worldwide cost of food through the kitchen ceiling. USA Today reported, "In a bid to reduce oil dependence, many countries are requiring additional use of biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel. That, in turn, competes with food destined for the table - and increases the prices of what consumers eat."

Americans won't starve because we have better supplies than the Third World does. But as the Christian Science Monitor recently reported, "As usual, it is the poorest people in the world who suffer most, because food takes up a bigger share of their daily shopping bill than it does for richer people." That prompted the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization to issue "warnings about the dangers of turning too much food into fuel." Their conclusion? "The era of cheap food is over."

Ethanol advocates are also promoting other biofuels whose cellulose can be used in place of corn. But the "food vs. fuel" problem isn't solved if farmers remove acreage from corn production to plant these instead. The ethanol lobby claims that the higher costs of food are being pushed mostly by the higher costs of energy. Of course, subsidizing ethanol while suppressing domestic oil and gas drilling and halting construction of oil refineries and nuclear power plants is a big reason why energy costs keep climbing!

As usual, free enterprise offers the best solution. As The Heritage Foundation's Ben Lieberman and others have suggested, we should be repealing the ethanol man-date instead of expanding it. Taxpayers would save billions that now flow out of the federal Treasury, plus our food would be more affordable. And the Third World wouldn't face as many food shortages.

Ending the subsidy is easier said than done, of course. As the New York Times has noted, the ethanol lobby is now "an entrenched political force." Years of multi-billion dollar subsidies have turned a small group into a wealthy and effective lobby on Capitol Hill. Washington should give an ear to some common sense instead. But expecting that to happen may be just plain ... corny.


Keeping a cool head about hot weather

Ignore the panicky headlines about a new UK government report on higher temperatures in Britain - it actually contained good news.

`Climate change soon could kill thousands in UK', declared the Guardian in a news item about a new report from two UK health bodies, the Department of Health (DoH) and the Health Protection Agency (HPA). But even a quick glance at the report itself suggests this is a rather misleading summary. In fact, the report suggests that, on balance, a warmer climate will be good news - for the UK, at least.

Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK 2008 is an update on an earlier report published in 2002. It looks at a range of areas that might be affected by rising temperatures: flooding and windstorms; vector-borne diseases like malaria and food-borne diseases like salmonellosis; water quality; the direct effect of temperature on health; air pollution; and sunshine.

The most recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggest that the world will continue getting warmer and that human activity plays a major part in this warming trend. The DoH/HPA report supports this view; by the end of the century, average temperatures in the UK may be two degrees Celsius warmer at night and four degrees Celsius warmer during the day. Cold spells will decrease in length while heatwaves will become longer and more intense. Rainfall may decrease in one or two areas, but isn't likely to change much overall. Flowing from this general outlook, the report notes:

* Floods will become less frequent in spring but more common in late summer, but few people die in such events and the wider health effects are uncertain;

* Outbreaks of insect-borne diseases will remain rare, and will be as much due to changes in land-use and activity - like spending more time in wooded areas - than climate change;

* Warm summers could increase the risk of food poisoning, so further improvements in food hygiene standards are desirable;

* The quality of untreated water might decline as more bacteria will be present, but this is `unlikely to pose a threat to well-managed water treatment plants';

* Air pollution problems caused by small particles, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide will be unaffected or will fall, but periods of high ground-level ozone will increase deaths and hospital admissions.

So, in most of these areas there is little to worry about. Some potential areas for improvement are identified, which is useful for health professionals, but no cause for the rest of us to be concerned.

Even in the area that the Guardian and others picked up on, the direct effect of temperatures, there is plenty of good news. As the Guardian says, the report suggests that the prospect of a serious heatwave in south-east England - possibly leading to 3,000 deaths - at some time in the next 10 years is about 25 per cent. Hence, the horror headlines.

However, actual experience over nearly 40 years suggests good news overall. For example, `mean annual heat-related mortality did not rise as summers warmed from 1971 to 2003'. That means we're able to adapt to warmer temperatures. Indeed, the authors note: `Heat-related mortalities are substantial throughout Europe, but the hot summers in southern Europe cause little more mortality than the milder summers of more northerly regions.' If we're prepared for warm weather and we take simple precautions, then heat shouldn't be a problem. So, for different UK regions, the authors estimate the following decline for hot weather-related fatalities (cases per million of population, 1971-2003):

* South-east England from 258 to 193 in 2003;

* Rest of England and Wales from 188 to 93;

* Scotland from 125 (in 1974) to only eight in 2003.

Meanwhile, deaths due to cold weather fell dramatically - overall, by more than 33 per cent. Far more people are affected by cold snaps than by heatwaves, so the change is more significant than for hot-weather deaths. Here is how cold-weather deaths fell between 1971 and 2003:

* South-east England from 9,174 to 5,903;

* Rest of England and Wales from 9,222 to 6,088;

* Scotland from 9,751 in 1974 to 6,166 in 2003.

We should be shouting this from the rooftops: far fewer people are dying because of the temperature than in the past. Milder winters are far more important than hotter summers in achieving this, along with other changes to how people live. Where there have been calamities, like the heatwave deaths in France in 2003, there have been other factors involved. In the case of France, the higher temperatures arrived just when the working population all went on holiday, leaving city-dwelling old people without anyone to keep an eye on them.

If warm weather is that bad, why does it seem to be the dream of every retiring person in Britain to move to the south coast or, better still, Spain or Australia? Unsurprisingly, in a temperate country accustomed to miserable weather, with cold winters and often poor-quality housing, higher temperatures are almost certain to have a net benefit for the UK. Yet this doesn't fit in with the general atmosphere of climate change alarmism that encloses newspapers like the Guardian. Even the BBC, which is hardly shy about climate alarmism, gave the story a more balanced headline: `Global warming "may cut deaths"'.

This report also brings into relief a side of the climate change debate that is under-discussed: the ability of society to adapt to changing weather patterns. A quick glance at the huge variety of human societies shows a capacity to operate successfully in a range of conditions. Bustling Bangkok rarely dips below 30 degrees Celsius while average temperatures in Moscow and Helsinki are in low single digits. Even in a single, very successful city like New York, temperatures can range from the bitterly cold in winter to the blazingly hot in summer. There is little or nothing that climate change can throw at us that we don't already deal with successfully.

If temperatures do change substantially over the next few decades, there will be some disruption and humanity will need to adapt to new problems, as it has always done. But in spite of all the gloom and doom about global warming, we can chill out about a warmer Britain.


When poor people pollute - the Tata Nano and eco-crime

It's small, it's cheap, it's low emission so... the arrival of the Tata Nano, India's new 'people's car', has been greeted by a wailing and a gnashing of the teeth from the environmental aristocracy. The prospect of millions of the global peasantry driving, emitting and pushing up 'our' gas prices is a nightmare. It promises to be, said Yale environmental law professor Daniel Esty, "an environmental disaster of substantial proportions."

In fact, the size, or even existence, of this environmental disaster is doubtful. A few millions of a car that emits 30 g CO2 per km simply isn't even an influence upon global CO2 emissions, let alone a disaster of even insubstantial portions. At that emission rate, doing 20,000 km a year each car will produce 600 kg of CO2: one hundred million of them on the roads would be less than 1 per cent of current emissions of over 6 Gtonnes. No, not substantial then.

But whether it is a substantial addition or not is dwarfed by the seeming ignorance of other commentators: "In none of our reports did we assume there'd be a car like this," said Judi Greenwald, a researcher with the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Well, OK, cut Judi a little slack, no one did predict a car exactly like this: but everyone has indeed predicted that something similar would happen, that the peons would at some point be able to get off Shank's Pony and move around in the same way us civilised folks do. Indeed, all the concerns we have about global warming are rather based upon predictions that this will happen.

Apologies, but this is where a little economics becomes necessary. Yes, we've all heard of the International Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, those people who issue the reports containing the scientific consensus on the issue (yes, we are assuming they are correct here). Greenland's ice disappears sometime around 2,500, East Antarctica a couple of centuries later and boy, then we all really are in trouble. But all too few people, and unfortunately all too few environmentalists, stop and wonder where those numbers come from. Yes, we've got lovely computer models to tell us what the temperature rises will be if we stick x amount of methane into the atmosphere, y amount of CO2 and so on: but someone, somewhere, has had to work out how much methane, how much CO2 is likely to be so emitted. And that comes from the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios, the SRES.

The SRES is a series of economic models based upon four families (again divided into scenarios but we're not going to worry about that level of detail). The A1 family assumes that in 2100 the world output (GDP) will be $550 trillion for some 7 billion people. That is, that the world will be at least ten times richer in 92 years than it was eight years ago (essentially, growth goes on as it has since 1850). A2 (what the Stern Review uses and, umm, the low globalisation model) has 16 billion people and $250 trillion in GDP. B2 10 billions and $250 trillion, B1 $350 trillion and 7 billion again. These are the economic assumptions upon which everything we are told about climate change rests. Yes, there are different assumptions in them about how technology develops but all of them are entirely without any attempts at all at mitigation. That is, all the numbers we work with assume that we don't have carbon taxes, we don't ban patio heaters, we don't abolish the aeroplane. Anything we do along those lines reduces the damage that might be done.

Just as an aside we might note that these models all assume that the less trade we have, the more regionally based the world economy, the more self-sufficient we all become, buying locally, the worse the outcome. Campaigning to reduce globalisation to counter global warming is like fucking for virginity.

While none of the families specifically predicts the Tata Nano, all of them predict that the great unwashed will indeed have transport: and no, none of them predict that that transport will not be fossil fuel based. So while those folks at the Pew Center might be correct that this specific thing was not predicted, something very like it was. In fact, the existence of growing wealth and thus mobility is rather written into the plans that worry us. Which leads us to the glorious George Monbiot. In a recent column he said:

"So economic growth this century could be 32 times as big an environmental issue as population growth. And if governments, banks and businesses have their way, it never stops. By 2115, the cumulative total rises to 3,200%, by 2138 to 6,400%. As resources are finite, this is of course impossible, but it is not hard to see that rising economic activity - not human numbers - is the immediate and overwhelming threat."

Leave aside his (known) ignorance of economics: growth is not defined by nor is it dependent upon the consumption of resources. It's defined as the addition of value to them: making sandpaper and a computer chip both consume sand, but one is the addition of rather more value than the other. Thus economic growth is not constrained in the way that he thinks by resource availability. Look rather to his "this is of course impossible".

In talking about climate change and the dangers thereof he tells us that a continuation of past economic growth is impossible. But as we can see above, the world's largest report on the subject, indeed the scientific consensus, is that said growth is indeed possible. In fact, the terrors of climate change depend upon it being so, for the whole science is based upon the outcome of economic growth. Thus George has either, by showing the impossibility, told us that climate change isn't a problem or that, perhaps more likely, he doesn't know what he's talking about.

Which brings us back to those worrying about the Tata Nano: it isn't a horror for the climate, it isn't a disaster. It's actually one of the things already built into our models which lead us to our current understanding of what will happen. We've already taken account of it in our calculations, you see? As we have all those other things: more flights, more people, more wealth. We even know the solution, a Pigou Tax, but that's a matter for another day.


China thumbs nose at global warming

A Chinese energy company is poised to open a chemical plant to make liquid fuels for cars and aircraft from coal, a move that has alarmed environmental campaigners who say it will increase carbon emissions and worsen global warming. The plant, in Inner Mongolia, will use technology developed by Germany during the second world war to convert coal directly into synthetic diesel, dubbed "Nazi fuel". China says the process will help break its booming economy's reliance on foreign oil, and that it will build more such plants.

The US and India are also investing heavily in the technology, which is being heavily promoted by coal companies across the world as a cost-effective solution to soaring oil prices and concerns about energy security.

The Chinese facility, operated by Shenhua Corporation, will be the first of its type in the world. Shenhua would not say when it expects the plant to open, but industry experts said it would be within weeks. Last month, company officials said construction work was 99.5% complete. Three similar plants were built in South Africa to beat the apartheid-era oil sanctions, and still produce almost a third of South Africa's energy needs.

Gordon Couch, of the International Energy Agency's clean coal centre in London, said the plant's opening was "imminent". and that it marked a surge of interest across the world. An IEA report on the technology, due to be published this spring, will highlight similar projects planned or under way in Japan, the US, Australia, China, New Zealand, India, Botswana, Indonesia, the Phillippines and South Africa. The US Air Force is very interested, and recently flew a B-52 bomber on fuel made from coal.

Couch said: "There is now considerable interest in these types of fuels, mainly in countries like China and the US that have large reserves of coal and are worried about relying on imported oil." He said the high price of oil could persuade more companies to turn to the coal conversion technology, which has traditionally been too expensive to compete with conventional petroleum-based fuel.

Analysts say the fuel could be economic if oil prices stay consistently above US$25-40 a barrel. Oil currently costs double that, and briefly touched $100 a barrel last month.

Nick Rau, a climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said the move was "in totally the wrong direction". He added: "We have great concerns about the rush to develop new sources of energy-intensive energies such as synthetic fuels from coal. We know they are technically feasible and it looks like they are going to happen, unless more people emphasise the sustainable options available."

Luke Warren of the World Coal Institute, admitted the process was "carbon dioxide intensive", but said the greenhouse gas could be captured and stored underground. But the UN's intergovernmental panel on climate change says that large-scale carbon capture and storage remains unproven, and will not be available for decades.



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


Sunday, February 24, 2008


The enviroloonies seem to have found their way out of the asylum again: this time to tell us that 70 per cent of Britons should die for the sake of Gaia. That's not quite the way they put it, of course. Rather, the Optimum Population Trust (there's a pedantic part of me that wants to tell them it's Optimal) tells us that the maximum sustainable population of the UK is 17 million: given that there are north of 60 million currently, we can only avert the coming End Times if the extra pop their clogs soonest.

It's not bad for a paper on demography, economics, the environment and their interactions written by a physicist, that is, a paper written by someone with no knowledge of any of the three basic disciplines. The argument rests on two fundamental pieces of illogic. The first is the use of the Commoner-Ehrlich equation which is that ecological Impact is equal to Population times Affluence times Technology or:

I = P x A x T

Paul Ehrlich, you might recall, is the man who in the 60s predicted hundreds of millions starving in India in the 70s and the US in the 80s. Then in the 70s predicted the same in the 80s and 90s and, in his latest book, Real Soon Now. The flaw in this equation is that technology is held to multiply the impact instead of, as is obvious to even the casual observer, divide it.

If you haven't spotted why yet, consider this. Are we using higher technology than hunter gatherers? Yes? Good, now, if there were 6 billion hunter gatherers around, would Gaia simply be, as at present, a bit grumpy, or even worse off? Correct, there wouldn't be any biosphere at all as that many humans with flints and spears alone would have eaten every thing on the planet and then each other. As, indeed, hunter gatherers did with the megafauna of every place they got to outside Africa, the Aborigines, the Clovis culture in North America, the Maori in New Zealand and so on. The equation should thus read:

I = (P x A)/T

For higher technology reduces the environmental impact. The effect of this upon the logic used in the paper is this. As the paper says, higher technology and increased affluence increase the pressure on the environment, and as none of us is prepared to give up the levels of both which we already have, the only thing we can do to save the planet is to have fewer people. But getting the equation the right way around removes this constraint: we can reduce the impact by having better technology and there's no need to go round slaughtering the chavs [disrespectful young British lower class people] (well, OK, not this reason then). And most importantly, as we'll see, we can do this by creating technology which has lower carbon emissions.

The second conceptual error is that in their calculation of the permissible population level they use the concept of ecological footprints as calculated by Mathis Wackernagel. Now in one way I've got a lot of time for him: it's not everyone who manages to turn their Ph.D thesis into a thriving international business, so hats off, well done sir. On the other hand, that thesis is what is technically known in serious circles as horse manure. For example, when looking at the carbon emissions of nuclear power, the calculation is:

Nuclear power, about 4 per cent of global energy use, does not generate CO2. Its footprint is calculated as the area required to absorb the CO2 emitted by using the equivalent amount of energy from fossil fuels.

Mat bubba: over the cycle nuclear does have CO2 emissions, roughly the same as hydro or wind, less than half solar and a tiny fraction of coal. But our ecological footprint idea gets much worse than that. The essential idea is that we work out how much land a particular activity requires. Then we work out how many activites and how much of such there are and then look at how many hectares of land we need to be able to do all of them. This is what gives us our regular yearly (when Mathis and his boys release their annual update) cycle of we need "three more earths" if we're all going to carry on living like this.

Again there's a conceptual error about technology: thinking that the amount of land we need to do something is static, which it plainly isn't. We get more food off a hectare now than we did last year, as we have every year for at least a century (yields have been going up one per cent a year for at least that long) and so on. But wait, there's yet more.

Each piece of land is only allowed to count once. The land needed to recycle CO2 emissions is somehow different land from that needed to grow the food: that plants eat CO2 to turn it into my food gets missed.

Even given all of this exaggeration the actual end finding of the ecological footprints calculations is that we've got plenty of land to do everything except recycle our CO2 emissions, something which really isn't all that much of a surprise. We've had thousands of scientists labouring away for more than a decade to tell us that, they even wrote a great big report about it. And guess what the result of that report is? If we can invent a few more bright shiny new technologies that don't emit carbon then everything is just hunky dory.

In the end this report is just another sad set of scribblings from people who would appear to have some deeper personal problems. Perhaps it's the thought of people having sex without a full body condom that does it, or perhaps they've come over all Fran Liebowitz ("Children don't smoke enough and I find that they're sticky, perhaps as a result of not smoking enough") but something is clearly wrong, when we read:

"It follows that if it is not possible to constrain affluence and technology, then the only parameter left to constrain and reduce is population."

Their sad misunderstanding about the effects of technology blinds them to the truth, that by not constraining technology we don't have to constrain either affluence or population. The late great Julian Simon once calculated that we had the resources for a permanently growing economy and population for the next 7 billion years. That might be a little Panglossian, to be honest, but it's more accurate than the insistence that there should be fewer, poorer people.



Three German biodiesel production plants were recently sold to the United States and Canada and more are up for sale after biodiesel sales collapsed, a German renewable fuels industry leader said on Wednesday. "I estimate that 30 percent of Germany's biodiesel plants are now up for sale," said Peter Schrum, president of the German renewable fuels industry association BBK. "Three have recently been sold to the US and Canada and I believe that more will follow," he told Reuters in an interview. Names of the companies involved are not being given. "Germany's biodiesel industry is currently being dismantled and sold abroad," he said.

The country's five million tonnes biodiesel industry is only producing at about 10 percent of capacity largely because a biofuels tax increase on Jan 1 has sharply cut sales, he said.

Although the European Union wants to increase biofuel use to stop global warming, Germany has started taxing biodiesel as the government said it cannot afford to lose the large tax revenue from fossil diesel. "The tax means that biodiesel is now more expensive than fossil diesel," said Schrum. "As biodiesel has eight percent less energy content, this means no-one is buying biodiesel."



The European Commission, bowing to industry concerns, said Thursday it was ready to exempt Europe's steel, chemical and power sectors from having to compensate for the environmental damage they cause - at least for a while.

The EU was keen to see a global deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, until a deal was in place, the EU would hold back on plans to force more companies to pay to pollute from 2013, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told European business leaders.

Last month, the EU executive said it would demand that major polluters buy all the carbon permits they need, which would raise the cost of manufacturing by charging them up to _50 billion (US$74 billion) a year and likely hike electricity prices by 10-15 percent.

Until now, companies get most of their carbon permits for free - and they say extra costs will make it harder for them to compete against rivals in countries that are less active in curbing climate change such as the U.S., China and India.

Barroso's comments aimed to soothe those worries. "Ultimately, the best solution is an international (emissions trading) agreement," he said. "But in the absence of an international agreement, we should be ready to look at interim solutions for energy intensive industries. For example, receiving their (emission trading) allowances free of charge, or requiring importers to obtain allowances alongside European competitors." Barroso added, "This is the most we can do for our energy-intensive industries."

The EU's carbon cap-and-trade program aims to cut overall releases by giving a financial incentive for companies to cut back on carbon because they can sell the permits they do not use. If they need to run plants for longer or fail to turn to cleaner technology, they need to buy more permits.

The EU insists that the costs of climate change are far outweighed by the damage a warmer climate will cause. Reducing energy use and turning to renewable energy sources could also slim down Europe's huge bill for oil and natural gas imports.

Barroso was rewarded for his address with a round of warm applause from hundreds of European business leaders attending a two-day conference devoted to climate change.



THE LONE voice in the midst of the debate argued effectively that climate change is both unavoidable and a `cyclical' phenomenon. Scientist Dr Henry Clemmey, who is the managing director of Preston-based Woodford Global Group, asserted that global warming is part of a pattern that has been happening throughout the earth's history.

The former Leeds University academic admits to having seen the effects of climate change within his own lifetime - but believes that mankind cannot be held responsible. "Climate change is something that we can't stop or prevent - but we do need to be knowledgeable about its potential effects," he said. "I think that so many debates about climate change take place against an ignorance of both time and scale in terms of the earth's evolution. "If you look back through the history of the planet, you will find a whole series of cycles. "You will also see that these cycles have taken place before - and will take place again in the future."

He added that the cycle lasted for 60,000 years and was currently warming up and said: "it's not so long ago - in terms of the earth's evolution over the past four billion years - that the climate was far hotter than this."

Dr Clemmey also maintained that when the carbon particles found in the atmosphere now are compared with other periods in the earth's evolution, they show that mankind's recent behaviour cannot be held responsible for climate change. He believes that it is a gradual progression that has led to this point.

His figures were dismissed by glacier expert Professor David Collins and climate change expert Professor Kevin Anderson.

"I cannot always understand the scientists' current obsession with carbon emissions," said Dr Clemmey. "The current changes we are experiencing go far beyond what we have caused by our lifestyles in our own lifetimes - and ultimately the earth will look after itself."



For more than 100 years, climate scientists have fully understood that if all else were held constant, an increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) would lead to an increase in the near-surface air temperatures. The problem becomes a lot more complicated in the real world when we consider that "all else" cannot be held constant and there are a lot more changes occurring at any one time than just the concentration of CO2. Once the temperature of the Earth starts inching upward, changes immediately occur to atmospheric moisture levels, cloud patterns, surface properties, and on and on. Some of these changes, like the additional moisture, amplify the warming and represent positive feedback mechanisms. Other consequences, like the development of more low clouds, would act to retard or even reverse the warming and represent negative feedbacks. Getting all the feedbacks correct is critical to predicting future conditions, and these feedbacks are simulated numerically in global climate general circulation models (GCMs). Herein lies a central component of the great debate - some GCMs predict relatively little warming for a doubling of CO2, and others predict substantial warming for the same change in atmospheric composition.

If that is not enough, changes in CO2 in the real world would almost certainly be associated with other changes in the atmosphere - sulfur dioxide, mineral aerosols (dust), ozone, black carbon, and who knows what else would vary through time and complicate the "all else held constant" picture. By the way, the Sun varies its output as well. And when discussing climate change over the next century, even more uncertainties come from estimations of economic growth, adoption of various energy alternatives, human population growth, land use changes, and . you get the message.

However, the fundamental question in the greenhouse debate still comes down largely to a question of climate sensitivity defined as the change in global temperature for change in radiative forcing associated with varying levels of atmospheric CO2. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that the sensitivity is between 0.48 and 1.40 degrees Kelvin (K) per one Watt per square meter (Wm-2) which translates into a global warming of 2.0 K to 4.5 K for a doubling of CO2 concentration (1 degree K equals one degree Celsius which equals 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit). Rather than turn this into a review of a physics course, what we have is the IPCC predicting global warming of 3.2øF to 7.2øF for a doubling of CO2 concentration. Others have shown in very credible professional journals that there is a 66% chance of the IPCC being right in their estimate - this provides the fodder for alarmists to suggest that IPCC acknowledges the possibility of a global warm up of 10øF for a doubling of CO2.

To say the least, these numbers are hotly debated in the climate community. A recent article in Geophysical Research Letters presents an interesting approach to pinning down the critical sensitivity value (K/Wm-2) for elevated levels of CO2. The article is by Petr Chylek and Ulrike Lohmann of New Mexico's Los Alamos National Laboratory and Switzerland's Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science; funding was provided by the Los Alamos Laboratory. The team decided to re-examine the temperature, CO2, methane, and dust record from the Vostok ice core extracted from a site in Antarctica. Although the core record goes back nearly a half million years, Chylek and Lohmann elected to restrict their primary analysis to the past 42,000 years....

By combining temperatures, carbon dioxide concentrations, methane concentrations and importantly, dust amounts determined from the ice core during the past 42,000 years, the authors were able to derive the climate sensitivity from the combined variations for these factors. One of their largest uncertainties surrounded the dust amounts, and so Chylek and Lohmann turned to a climate model to see if changes in atmospheric dustiness could have the magnitude of the effect on global temperatures (and thus climate sensitivity) that they had determined empirically. The modeled results were consistent with their other calculations, giving them added confidence in their calculations.

The reason they were looking for independent confirmation was that their findings for climate sensitivity were near the low end of the bounding range given by the IPCC—and that means they are going to be subject to an endless amount of scrutiny from those folks who want potential global warming to seem as bad as possible.

To long-time readers of World Climate Report (and its predecessors), these results should hardly come as much of surprise. For at least a good 7 or 8 years we have repeatedly been telling you that you should be expecting about a 1.5 to 2.0ºC of warming from greenhouse gas increases this century. Chylek and Lohmann’s findings are simply further confirmation of this.

The biggest thing to take home in all of this is that the less the temperature rise, the less the chance for major disruption, such as a large sea level rise, at least anytime soon. That means we have more time to figure out a solution. Assuredly, had Chylek and Lohmann discovered that IPCC was underestimating the climate sensitivity, they would have been a front page news story the world over. Instead, they found that IPCC is likely overestimating the climate sensitivity to CO2, so they were reduced to coverage only at World Climate Report.



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


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Was the recent British airliner crash the result of global cooling?

The plane's engines were OK and it was not short of fuel. But it had just flown through exceptionally cold temperatures right across the Northern hemisphere and part of the fuel may have frozen. Read here and here to decide for yourself. A small excerpt:

Another pilot commented that "the air temp over the UK at the time [of the accident] was some of the coldest I've ever experienced with OAT [outside air temperature] at higher levels down to -70 degrees Celsius."

There is an unconfirmed report that the BA038 pilots did not descend during cruise to lower altitude.

At very low temperatures, wax crystals form in the fuel and "flowability" may be impeded (akin to the way a blood clot or embolus can cause a stroke). The cold fuel approaches a semi rigid state. Jet fuel also contains some amount of water, and at very low temperatures it will freeze. Icing may not have been an immediate issue here, but rather a contributory one, like paraffin waxing, to the clogging of sensor points/connections. This is particularly relevant to the Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC), which metered fuel to the airplane's Rolls Royce Trent engines. FADECs use reference air and fuel pressures to perform their function; loss of those due to ice obstruction or clogging from waxing can lead to the FADEC's logic becoming confused or unresponsive. Indeed, both FADECs could be affected almost simultaneously by dint of exposure to an identical environment.

Add in a second factor: Heathrow has adopted a new air traffic control procedure known as the Continuous Descent Approach (CDA). The procedure is more fuel efficient than the traditional step-down approach, and basically the engines are at idle power. During aircraft operation, fuel is withdrawn from the fuel tanks and passed to a filter at the inlet to the engine fuel system. To prevent blocking of the filter due to formation of wax or ice in the fuel, a heat exchanger warms the fuel upstream of the filter. Such heat exchangers use hot air bleed from the engine compressor or heat from engine or hydraulic oil. Of note, the times when the greatest heating is required are often those times when the engine is not operating at maximum, for example, during a lengthy descent at idle from high altitude.

With ultra-cold en route temperatures inducing clumps of paraffin or ice, and a cool engine during descent at flight idle, perhaps the stage was set. Any blockages occurring at different times during the descent, and the simultaneity of the thrust loss, would have been seen only when (and because) the auto-throttle called for a thrust increment on finals after gear and flap extension. There is an account that the aircraft did not hold during the approach, which would tend to support the low-power, low-temperature scenario.

Solar Cycle 24: Implications for the United States

By Geologist David Archibald. Excerpts:

I will demonstrate that the Sun drives climate, and use that demonstrated relationship to predict the Earth's climate to 2030. It is a prediction that differs from most in the public domain. It is a prediction of imminent cooling....

I will show that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is not even a little bit bad. It is wholly beneficial. The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better the planet will be - for humans, and all other living things....

We have 29 years of satellite temperature data. It shows that the temperature of the Southern Hemisphere has been flat, with a slight increase in the Northern Hemisphere. Note the El Nino peak in 1998. Globally, we have had 10 years of temperature decline since that peak in 1998, with a rate of decline of 0.06 degrees per annum. I am expecting the rate of decline to accelerate to 0.2 degrees per annum from the end of this decade. That satellite record is corroborated by the record of Antarctic and Arctic sea ice extent over the same period. There is no long term trend evident. Most recently, there has been a 1 million square kilometre increase over the long term mean. This is a five per cent increase.....

The peak US temperature was in 1936, at much the same time that Total Solar Irradiance peaked. If you have wondered why US temperatures are still lower than what they were 70 years ago, the fact that Total Solar Irradiance is lower than what it was 70 years ago might provide an explanation.....

The peak of the Medieval Warm Period was 2ø warmer than today and the Little Ice Age 2ø colder at its worst. The total range is 4ø centigrade. The warming over the 20th century was 0.6 degrees by comparison. This recent warming has melted ice on some high passes in the Swiss Alps, uncovering artifacts from the Medieval Warm Period and the prior Roman Warm Period...

2008 is the tenth anniversary of the recent peak on global temperature in 1998. The world has been cooling at 0.06 degrees per annum since then. My prediction is that this rate of cooling will accelerate to 0.2 degrees per annum following the month of solar minimum sometime in 2009. Dr Hansen's statement that the maximum safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 350 ppm begs the question of what the actual ideal level is.

I have taken the 1,000 ppm figure from the level that commercial greenhouse operators prefer to run their greenhouses at. The ability to grow food is going to be the overriding concern next decade. Regarding that 1,000 ppm level, we will never get there. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have been much higher in the geological past. But most of that carbon is now bound up in the Earth's sediments where we can't get to it.

Half of the carbon dioxide we are producing now is being gobbled up by the oceans, in soils and in the Russian tundra. At best, we might get to about 600 ppm. What I have shown in this presentation is that carbon dioxide is largely irrelevant to the Earth's climate.

The carbon dioxide that Mankind will put into the atmosphere over the next few hundred years will offset a couple of millenia of post-Holocene Optimum cooling before we plunge into the next ice age. There are no deleterious consequences of higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are wholly beneficial.


Prof. Stott explains his dissent

I am often challenged as follows: "Philip, I know you are critical of the science and politics of `global warming'. But why don't you just play along with it all, because it will be good for energy policy and for the world in general? And, like Pascal's wager, it means you won't lose out either way."

My reply is identical to that reported by James Boswell in his magisterial Life of Johnson (1791) on asking the great man why he wasn't a Papist [just replace the relevant words with `Global Warming', or `Global Warmers']:

"On the Roman Catholick religion he said, `If you join the Papists externally, they will not interrogate you strictly as to your belief in their tenets. No reasoning Papist believes every article of their faith. There is one side on which a good man might be persuaded to embrace it. A good man, of a timorous disposition, in great doubt of his acceptance with God, and pretty credulous, might be glad to be of a church where there are so many helps to get to Heaven. I would be a Papist if I could. I have fear enough; but an obstinate rationality prevents me.'"

Likewise, whenever I hear politicians and activists talking about "stopping climate change", or "saving the planet"; when I see the rich buying indulgences in the form of carbon credits, or carbon offsets; when I hear politicians talking about "zero-carbon houses", when no such thing exists; when I hear scientists declaring that we can manage the most complex, coupled, non-linear, semi-chaotic system known to humans by fiddling at the margins with one factor - and to a degree Celsius; when I see the blatant hypocrisy of newspapers like The Independent and The Guardian, which lecture us all, while selling foreign holidays, page after page; when I hear academics planning to fly to another world conference on climate change; when I watch one more hyped-up report,with shelving ice and doleful polar bears, on the tele; when I see yet another celebrity flying in to yet another world gig to tell us how to live the `Green' life; when I hear claims that wind turbines will save the world; ..... I could go on and on ..... but,

..... an obstinate rationality prevents me from having anything to do with the carbon claptrap of the Global Warming Religion and the trivial pieties of our shallow Age.

And, though I have many faults, I cannot cant. The witch hunters, and the McCarthyists, will thus always find me unrepentant. Above all, we must hold on to our reason, and to our honest understanding of things.

Moreover, I fear that it will be `global warming' hysteria which will ultimately prove to be the witchcraft and the devil of the Age. I refuse to acknowledge its familiar spirits, and I trust, like John Proctor in Arthur Miller's 1953 masterpiece, The Crucible, I shall, to the last, stand firm.


Barefaced Greenie lies about GM crops

Last week, the ideological environmentalist group Friends of the Earth (FOE) launched another attack in its misinformation campaign against biotech crops. FOE's latest salvo is its report "Who Benefits from GM Crops?," issued explicitly to counter the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications' (ISAAA) annual global assessment of biotech crops. FOE claims biotech crops yield less than conventional crops, harm the environment, are technologically stagnant, have done nothing to help poor farmers, and are monopolized by a few giant corporations.

The ISAAA 2007 report on the global status paints a far different picture. The ISAAA notes that farmers around the world continue their rapid adoption of biotech crop varieties. In 2007 the global planting of biotech crops rose to an all time high of 282 million acres, a 12 percent increase over 2006. In addition, the number of farmers choosing to grow biotech crops rose from 10.3 million in 2006 to over 12 million in 2007. The ISAAA report notes that 11 million of the biotech growers are resource poor farmers in developing countries, the majority of whom cultivate insect-resistant cotton. Biotech crops are now planted in 23 countries, and 29 others have approved the import of biotech food and feed.

Let's look at FOE's claims about the alleged faults of biotech crops.

Do biotech crops yield less than conventional crops? FOE is artful in its use of data. Some biotech varieties did initially impose slight yield penalties when compared to conventional varieties. This occurred because breeders improved conventional varieties during the years it took biotech crops to be approved by regulatory agencies. Even so, farmers adopted slightly lower yielding biotech crops because they were cheaper to grow. Biotech crops need fewer pesticide applications and require less plowing. A 2006 study by the British agricutural and food economics consultancy, PG Economics, found no impact from biotech on soy yields while cotton and corn enjoyed higher yields. Even though biotech seeds cost more, overall lower production costs more than make up for the initial expense. The PG Economics report estimates that biotech crops have increased farm incomes by $27 billion since 1996.

Do biotech crops harm the environment? FOE claims that biotech crops use more pesticides than conventional varieties and it identifies crops resistant to the herbicide glyphosate (aka Roundup) as the chief offenders. Farmers kill weeds without harming their biotech crops by spraying with glyphosate. The PG Economics study found that the adoption of biotech crops reduced the use of pesticides since 1996 by 224 million kilograms (493 million pounds), or just about 7 percent.

In addition, herbicide resistant crops enable farmers to switch to no-till farming which dramatically reduces soil erosion. In fact, an August 2007 study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that "no-till farming can build soil fertility even with intensive farming methods." However, some regions experienced an increased use of glyphosate as farmers shifted to no-till agriculture. So if glyphosate applications are going up, is it harmful to the environment or human health? Not even the hyper-cautious Pesticide Action Network puts glyphosate on its list of "bad actors." Nor does glyphosate linger in the environment-it is rapidly degraded by soil microbes with a half-life of a week to several months, which is shorter than many of the herbicides that it replaces.

FOE also claims that spraying biotech crops with herbicides is forcing the faster evolution of herbicide resistant superweeds. Just as bacteria eventually evolve to resist antibiotics, so too do weeds evolve to resist herbicides. This process started with the introduction of modern herbicides after World War II, well before the advent of modern biotech varieties. Fortunately, biotechnology is a fine tool for developing new ways to control weeds.

FOE argues that crop biotechnology has stagnated and correctly points out that the vast majority of biotech crop varieties incorporate just two traits: insect resistance and herbicide tolerance. These traits are valuable to farmers though they don't not offer obvious benefits to consumers. If few new biotech crops have yet to make it to the tables of consumers, FOE can take a good bit of the credit. FOE and other ideological environmentalists have campaigned tirelessly to block the development and spread of new beneficial biotech crop traits. FOE does its best to stop biotech in its tracks and then turns around to assert that researchers have developed nothing new.

However, FOE will soon not be able to make that hypocritical claim. Biotech researchers are now incorporating traits for drought resistance, salt tolerance, and one which enables plants to thrive on half a dose of nitrogen fertilizer. Crops with these traits will be particularly valuable for poor farmers in developing countries. Despite FOE's opposition, "Golden Rice," which has been genetically improved to help prevent vitamin A deficiency, which blinds 300,000 to 500,000 poor children each year, should become available by 2011. In addition, researchers are creating crops that provide enhanced nutrition such as tomatoes with increased folate.

Anti-biotech campaigns by activist groups like FOE have succeeded in frightening the governments of many developing countries into banning biotech crops. Nevertheless, biotech crops have been embraced by poor farmers around the world-whenever their governments will let them. The World Banks's World Development Report 2008 (WDR) notes that second-generation biotech crops are now making their way to the market. The WDR reports, "Transgenic rice, eggplant, mustard, cassava, banana, potato, sweet potato, lentil, and lupin have been approved for field testing in one or more countries. Many of those technologies promise substantial benefits to poor producers and consumers."

And finally, FOE complains that biotech seeds are monopolized by a few large companies. Again, FOE activists should look in the mirror to find the culprits behind this industry consolidation. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the number of startup and well-established seed companies that aimed to develop agricultural biotech exploded. But, as we've seen, crop biotech ran into a buzz saw of environmentalist opposition, especially in Europe. Consequently, since biotech seeds are relatively low in value compared to biomedical treatments, small crop biotech companies withered and the industry consolidated into fairly large companies, chiefly Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta and Bayer. St. Louis, Missouri-based Monsanto dominates the market for biotech seed. Some 60 percent of all biotech improved seeds contain traits developed by Monsanto. FOE is certainly responsible, in part, for Monsanto's exploding profits.

Finally, let's revisit the title of FOE's new report: "Who Benefits from GM Crops?" As the ISAAA report clearly shows, millions of farmers around the world think that they benefit from biotech crops. Since this is so, FOE can only conclude that these farmers are either stupid or deluded or both. If biotech crops did not deliver their promised benefits, farmers around the world would not be adopting them at exponential rates. Not even FOE's most determined efforts to spread anti-biotech misinformation can obscure this plain fact.


Australia's new center-Left government cool on extremist climate report

The Federal Government has tried to play down its chief climate change adviser's call for even deeper cuts to dangerous greenhouse gases. Economist Ross Garnaut, in his interim report on climate change policy released yesterday, said the Government should set a 2020 greenhouse target this year and consider setting a tougher 2050 target. "Australia should be ready to go beyond its stated 60 per cent reduction target by 2050 in an effective global agreement that includes developing nations," Professor Garnaut said. The report said such an approach would mean Australia played a positive role in global talks for a post-Kyoto regime. [Sounds like a very political economist -- which he is. He has been a Labor party adviser for many years]

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said Professor Garnaut's report would be an "important input" to Government policy. "We welcome Professor Garnaut's input . . . of course we will also be looking at other inputs, such as modelling from the Australian Treasury," she said. "We are conscious of the impact on the Australian economy and we will ensure the scheme addresses the impacts on households and also on industry."

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has championed the issue of climate change and one of his first acts was to ratify the Kyoto agreement. He also pledged to put an emissions trading scheme in place by 2010. Senator Wong called yesterday's report - the final document is due in September - "early thinking" on the policy response to climate change.

But Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said the Government was trying to minimise the importance of Professor Garnaut because he had followed the science. "Penny Wong has reduced Ross Garnaut to input," Senator Brown said. "There are huge vested interests at play here; the coal industry, the aluminium industry, the forest logging industry and it's up to the Rudd Government to put this country ahead of those vested interests."

Professor Garnaut also cast doubt on the Government's renewable energy target, saying it might not be needed once the emissions trading scheme (ETS) was established. He said it was inevitable there would be extra costs on households but income from selling ETS permits could help ease the burden on low-income earners. "This is a hard reform but get it right and the transition to a low-emissions economy will be manageable . . . get it wrong and this is going to be a painful adjustment," he said. "We're only going to solve this problem if we find a way of keeping economic growth going and prosperity going but breaking the link between economic growth and emissions."

The Garnaut Review was commissioned last year by federal Labor while in opposition, in co-operation with state governments. State premiers, including Queensland's Anna Bligh, yesterday vowed to act quickly on the report's recommendations.

Speaking from Adelaide, where the report was released, Ms Bligh said the report was "very sobering". "There's no doubt it's one of the biggest issues to face Australia and the planet," she said. Leading environmental groups admitted they were surprised by the strength of the report.



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


Friday, February 22, 2008

Global Cooling: Amazing pictures of countries joining Britain in the big freeze

Even the mainstream media are now talking about global cooling. Heading above and story below from Britain's "Daily Mail". There is a similar article on Newsmax

Yesterday's picture in the Mail of a cascade of icicles in the Yorkshire Dales was a reminder of how cold Britain can be - something many of us have forgotten in this unusually mild winter.

But it really is remarkable how little attention has been paid to the extraordinary weather events which in recent weeks have been affecting other parts of the world. Across much of the northern hemisphere, from Greece and Iran to China and Japan, they have been suffering their worst snowfalls for decades.

Similarly freakish amounts of snow have been falling over much of the northern United States, from Ohio to the Pacific coast, where in parts of the state of Washington up to 200in of snow have fallen in the past fortnight.

In country after country, these abnormal snowfalls have provoked a crisis. In China - the only example to have attracted major coverage in Britain - the worst snow for 50years triggered an unprecedented state of emergency. Large parts of the country have been paralysed, as rail and road transport ground to a standstill. More than 25,000 miles of power lines collapsed under a weight of snow and ice they were never designed to cope with. Snow has devastated thousands of square miles of farmland, threatening severe food shortages. The total cost of the disaster to the Chinese economy may be more than £10billion.

In Afghanistan, freezing weather and the worst snow for 30 years have killed more than 900 people. In neighbouring Tajikistan, according to aid agencies, the coldest winter for 50 years, along with soaring food prices and a massive energy crisis, threatens a "humanitarian catastrophe".

In Greece and Turkey, where temperatures dropped as low as minus 31 degrees Celsius, hundreds of villages have been cut off by blizzards and drifting snow. In Iran, following heavy snowfalls last month, its eastern desert regions - normally still hot at this time of year - have seen their first snow in living memory. In Saudi Arabia last month, people were amazed by the first snow most had ever seen. On the Pacific coast of Japan last week, heavy falls of snow injured more than 50.

Meanwhile in the U.S., similarly abnormal snowfalls have hit more than a dozen states. One Massachusetts town reported 12ft drifts after its heaviest snows in 30 years. In Wisconsin, the state governor declared a state of emergency as schools and airports were forced to close by up to 20in of snow - and even this was dwarfed by the blizzards which dropped as much as 16ft of the white stuff on parts of Washington state.

In light of such similar news from so many places round the world, it may not seem surprising that U.S. satellite data for January shows the extent of snow cover in the northern hemisphere as reaching its highest level since 1966, 42 years ago - and that temperatures were lower than their average for the whole of the 20th century.

Furthermore, it is not only in the northern hemisphere that records are being broken. Following last year's freak snowfalls in such southern cities as Buenos Aires and Sydney, satellite observations from the other end of the world have this winter shown ice cover round the Antarctic at easily its greatest extent for this time of year since data began in 1979, 30per cent above average.

Yet so far in our corner of the world, we have been remarkably slow to notice what was going on elsewhere, and to put the different elements of the story together. Doubtless much of the reason for this has been that, in Western Europe, we have (until the recent cold spell) enjoyed yet another comparatively warm winter - probably thanks to changes in warming sea currents which scientists find hard to explain. (Although Alpine ski resorts have seen their best snow conditions for many years.)

This is why we saw reports of balmy, prematurely spring-like weather, with primroses and blossom coming out earlier than usual and the curator of Kew Gardens suggesting "there is no winter any more" - just when much of the rest of the world was shivering through the coldest January and February since The Beatles were still together.

But one of the oddest features of this great freeze is how little it was predicted. We are so used to hearing that the world is inexorably warming up thanks to rising CO2 emissions, and that recent years have been the hottest since records were kept, that no one prepared us for the possibility that there might suddenly be such a dramatic exception to the accepted trend.

So far, the leading advocates of the global warming thesis have remained fairly quiet about the 2008 freeze, although some may explain that "freak weather events" such as we are now witnessing are just what we should expect to see as Planet Earth hots up - even if this produces the paradox that warming may sometimes lead to cooling.

Global warming "sceptics", on the other hand, are inevitably pointing to these record snowfalls as evidence that global temperatures are no longer rising as the CO2 theory predicts. We may, they suggest, be seeing the start of a period when temperatures reverse their generally upward trend over the past 30 years, as we did in those decades before 1978 known to climate scientists as "the Little Cooling".

The truth is that it is still much too early to draw any long-term conclusions from 2008's great freeze. But it is one of the most startling developments to have emerged in the world's weather patterns for a long time - not least in that it was so unexpected. At least it raises important questions over how our global climate is evolving which the scientists will have to try to explain. To the millions of people whose lives have been seriously disrupted by this year's freeze, the concept of global warming must seem awfully remote.



Beware a touch of sarcasm

Which 88 per cent of the economy would my reader most like to kiss goodbye? I ask this question only as a practical matter, after reading the summary of a Japanese study on the economic implications of the "global warming" fraud. Noting the goal, "seriously" stated by the Group of Eight, to cut world CO2 emissions in half by the year 2050, a couple of techies in Japan (Norichika Kanie of the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Yasuaki Hijioka at the National Institute for Environmental Studies) sat down with their calculators, and coolly worked out what emissions reductions will be required to meet this goal, on an equal per capita basis, around the planet.

The 88 per cent is the figure for North America. The Europeans get off relatively easily: they only have to shut down 83 per cent of their economy; the Japanese 85 per cent. Only 35 per cent of the Chinese economy will have to go. And good news for India, much of which is still living in the Arcadian low-carbon past. The Indians get to gun their carbon emissions by 137 per cent over the next four decades.

With the insouciance of a charming zombie, Mr. Kanie added that he did not think the goal out of reach. "I think it is a matter of changing lifestyle and not necessarily in an austere way," he said. "For example, I often ride my bike instead of driving a car." He thought the government should provide more bicycle infrastructure.

Thank you for that suggestion, Mr. Kanie. After an incident I witnessed on the street the other day, I myself wish to be rid of cars. And after another incident on the street the day after, I would also like to be rid of bicycles: so I can go Mr Kanie one better.

And let me add a brilliant suggestion, all of my own. I have often thought that the world's food consumption -- and all the extravagantly CO2-emitting factory and transport infrastructure that supports it -- could be reduced by more than half, if we would just stop eating on odd-numbered days. I say "more than half" because, as I recall in Lent, people's appetites decline with reduced food consumption, so they'll tend to eat less on the even-numbered days, too. The scheme would also eliminate over a billion people now living at subsistence levels.

There could be problems with enforcement. But there were problems with the gun-control registry, and only rightwing people opposed that.

There could be ethical problems, too, but these will hardly phase the professional ethicists in our universities and med schools today, who can justify abortion, euthanasia, and human cloning without even waking up in the morning. All they have to do is create a (quantified) "quality of life" test that everyone below a certain calorie-intake level will be sure to flunk. Think of it like an employee buy-out, from the company's point of view. At first there is a net increase in CO2 "costs" as people die and their corpses decay. But later, after they have finished decaying, there are substantial and permanent net savings on the CO2 account. "Short term pain for long term gain."

Um, perhaps in light of recent letters to the editor I should mention that I am being facetious. I am personally opposed to killing people as a way to solve problems; or at least, I'm opposed to killing them wantonly. It's a Catholic thing. On the other hand, I don't have an advanced degree in ethics, so what is my opinion worth?

And the global warming hysteria is one area of public policy entirely in the hands of experts. Only fully-qualified eco-scientists, and then, only those in the employ of the United Nations and the various national environmental bureaucracies, are consulted on the issue. ("The science is settled.") These are the sages of today, and fools of tomorrow.

There is a vast and growing literature of extremely well-qualified skeptics, who doubt the very premise behind the international hysteria -- that fluctuations in human-caused CO2 emissions have anything much to do with either global or regional temperature trends. Most have noticed that the trends coincide much better with solar cycles, beyond human control. But, by definition, these skeptics are not in the pay of the environmental bureaucracies, or at least, do not remain in their pay for long.

"Hoy-day, what a sweep of vanity comes this way!" quoth the sage, Apemantus. "We make ourselves fools to disport ourselves; and spend our flatteries to toast those men, upon whose age we void it up again, with poisonous spite and envy."


Another example of Warmism as a honeypot for the Green/Left

In his quest to make San Francisco the greenest city in the nation, Mayor Gavin Newsom recently created a $160,000-a-year job for a senior aide and gave him the ambitious-sounding title of director of climate protection initiatives. One might expect someone with such an exalted handle to solve global warming and save the rain forest all in a day's work. But the new climate protection initiatives director is just the latest person to join the city payroll in the name of tackling global climate woes, raising questions about whether environmentalism is becoming the latest excuse for a bloating government payroll. San Francisco has at least two dozen other city employees already working directly on climate issues at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"Although it sounds very well intentioned, and perhaps even necessary, I'm concerned this is a case where eco-chic has gone out of control," said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, the only Green Party member on the Board of Supervisors.

Newsom's critics in City Hall have pounced on the amorphous "climate protection" title and have blasted the mayor for creating the new role - as well as for creating new jobs for other members of his senior circle and doling out hefty pay raises - while the city braces for a projected $233 million deficit next fiscal year and lawmakers contemplate reducing hospital operating room hours and delaying playground improvement projects to balance the budget.

But officials in the Newsom administration say that even 25 people working on climate issues is not enough and that having a director in the mayor's inner circle is necessary to coordinate all the city's climate initiatives. "If there are 25 people working on climate protection issues for the city, that's a good start," Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard said. "Ten years ago, there probably weren't any. It's smart policy to have one point person at the highest level of city government to coordinate all 25 of them."

The city has a climate action plan, issued by Newsom after he took office in 2004, that aims to cut the city's greenhouse emissions by 2012 to 20 percent below 1990's level.

In addition to the director of climate protection initiatives in Newsom's office, San Francisco has an Energy and Climate Program team of eight people in the Department of the Environment, who combined earn more than $800,000 a year in salary and benefits, including a "climate action coordinator." At least 12 San Francisco Public Utilities Commission staff members work on climate issues related to water and energy, including a $146,000-a-year "projects manager for the climate action plan."

Also in the name of climate control, the Municipal Transportation Agency has a "manager of emissions reductions and sustainability programs" who works on making Muni's bus fleet greener, and the San Francisco International Airport has a "manager of environmental services" who oversees such projects as the installation of energy-efficient lighting and solar panels.

The list doesn't include the scores of staff members who work on broader environmental policies, like the recently hired $130,700-a-year "greening director" in Newsom's office, or Jared Blumenfeld, who earns $207,500 a year in salary and benefits as the head of the city's Environment Department, which has a staff of 65 and annual budget of about $14 million.

"I'm not entirely sure what the director of climate protection initiatives' job is, specifically, but I'm also not clear on what the global plan is for the city that justifies that many jobs on climate change," said Mirkarimi, who recently introduced his own climate control legislation that would require the city to take on a more unified effort in dealing with climate change initiatives rather than having each department work independently as many currently do.

In recent weeks, the wordy title of director of climate protection initiatives has become the butt of City Hall jokes about inflated bureaucratic jobs and Newsom's obsession with all things green. It also has sparked a debate over the mayor's spending and hiring practices after it was revealed that Newsom has been dipping into the budgets of cash-strapped city agencies to pay for the salary of his new climate control aide, and many others, while calling on other departments to implement hiring freezes and make drastic cuts.


An excuse I hadn't thought of

A few weeks ago I speculated what would happen if human-caused significant global warming (AGW) turned out to be false. There might be a number of people who will refuse to give up on the idea, even though it is false, because their desire that AGW be true would be overwhelming. I guessed that these people would slip into pseudoscience, and so would need to generate excuses why we have not yet seen the effects of AGW. One possibility was human-created dust (aerosols) blocking incoming solar radiation. Another was "bad data": AGW is true, the earth really is warmer, but the data somehow are corrupted. And so on.

I failed to anticipate the most preposterous excuse of all. I came across it while browsing the excellent site Climate Debate Daily, which today linked to Coby Beck's article "How to Talk to a Global Warming Sceptic". Beck gives a list of arguments typically offered by "skeptics" and then attempts to refute them. Some of these refutations are good, and worth reading. His attempt at rebutting the skeptical criticism "The Modelers Won't Tell Us How Confident the Models Are" furnishes us with our pseudoscientific excuse. The skeptical objection is

There is no indication of how much confidence we should have in the models. How are we supposed to know if it is a serious prediction or just a wild guess?

and Beck's retort is

There is indeed a lot of uncertainty in what the future will be, but this is not all because of an imperfect understanding of how the climate works. A large part of it is simply not knowing how the human race will react to this danger and/or how the world economy will develop. Since these factors control what emissions of CO2 will accumulate in the atmosphere, which in turn influences the temperature, there is really no way for a climate model to predict what the future will be.

This is as lovely a non sequitur as you're ever likely to find. I can't help but wonder if he blushed when he wrote it; I know I did when I read it. This excuse is absolutely bullet proof. I am in awe of it. There is no possible observation that can negate it. Whatever happens is a win for its believer. If the temperature goes up, the believer can say, "Our theories predicted this." If the temperature goes down, the believer can say, "There was no way to know the future."

What the believer in this statement is asking us to do, if it is not already apparent, is this: he wants you to believe that his prognostications are true because AGW is true, but he also wants you to believe that he should not be held accountable for his predictions should they fail because AGW is true. Thus, AGW is just true.

Beck knows he is on thin ice, because he quickly tries to get his readers to forget about climate forecasts and focus on "climate sensitivity", which is some measure showing how the atmosphere reacts to CO2. Of course, whatever this number is estimated to be means absolutely nothing about, has no bearing on, is meaningless to, is completely different than, is irrelevant to the context of, the performance of actual forecasts.

It is also absurd to claim that we cannot know "how the human race will react" to climate change while (tacitly or openly) simultaneously calling for legislation whose purpose is to knowingly direct human reactions.

So, if AGW does turn out to be false, those who still wish to believe in it will have to work very hard to come up with an excuse better than Beck's (whose work "has been endorsed by top climate scientists"). I am willing to bet that it cannot be done.



If two scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are correct, people will still be driving gasoline-powered cars 50 years from now, churning out heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - and yet that carbon dioxide will not contribute to global warming.

In a proposal by two scientists, vehicle emissions would no longer contribute to global warming. The scientists, F. Jeffrey Martin and William L. Kubic Jr., are proposing a concept, which they have patriotically named Green Freedom, for removing carbon dioxide from the air and turning it back into gasoline. The idea is simple. Air would be blown over a liquid solution of potassium carbonate, which would absorb the carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide would then be extracted and subjected to chemical reactions that would turn it into fuel: methanol, gasoline or jet fuel.

This process could transform carbon dioxide from an unwanted, climate-changing pollutant into a vast resource for renewable fuels. The closed cycle - equal amounts of carbon dioxide emitted and removed - would mean that cars, trucks and airplanes using the synthetic fuels would no longer be contributing to global warming.

Although they have not yet built a synthetic fuel factory, or even a small prototype, the scientists say it is all based on existing technology. "Everything in the concept has been built, is operating or has a close cousin that is operating," Dr. Martin said.

The Los Alamos proposal does not violate any laws of physics, and other scientists, like George A. Olah, a Nobel Prize-winning chemist at the University of Southern California, and Klaus Lackner, a professor of geophysics at Columbia University, have independently suggested similar ideas. Dr. Martin said he and Dr. Kubic had worked out their concept in more detail than previous proposals.

There is, however, a major caveat that explains why no one has built a carbon-dioxide-to-gasoline factory: it requires a great deal of energy. To deal with that problem, the Los Alamos scientists say they have developed a number of innovations, including a new electrochemical process for detaching the carbon dioxide after it has been absorbed into the potassium carbonate solution. The process has been tested in Dr. Kubic's garage, in a simple apparatus that looks like mutant Tupperware.

Even with those improvements, providing the energy to produce gasoline on a commercial scale - say, 750,000 gallons a day - would require a dedicated power plant, preferably a nuclear one, the scientists say.



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


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Review of the DVD Apocalypse? No! The Scientific Reasons Why 'Global Warming' is NOT a Global Crisis

Christopher Monckton's 2007 presentation to the Cambridge (University) Union

Monckton begins by saying that he is going to present a perspective on climate change science that the audience will have not seen in the media, from politicians or in reports on the science. Like Al Gore, Monckton is not a scientist and he has as much right as Al Gore to talk about climate change. His scientific approach is one of enquiry rather than advocacy. He talks about correct scientific method and quotes T. H. Huxley on scepticism being the improver of knowledge: "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."

He then explains that the debate is not about whether we can freely pollute the planet without care for our fellow creatures, or their or our future, or whether we are adding greenhouse gases to atmosphere, because we are, or that adding greenhouse gases doesn't enhance temperature - because it does.

Monckton turns his attention to climate alarmism about what might happen if the planet becomes a little warmer, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. Monckton points out that Sir John Houghton, the first IPCC chairman, said, "unless we announce disasters no one will listen." Al Gore is quoted as saying "I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is." The science is being exaggerated to make people listen and there is political bias regardless of scientific truth. Hurricane expert Chris Landsea, resigned from the IPCC in 2005, saying, "I have come to view the part of the IPCC to which my expertise is relevant as having become politicized."

Monckton shows the error that he found in the supposedly highly scrutinised 2007 IPCC report on the melting of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, where there are four wrong decimal points causing the figures to be in error by a factor of 10. See more here on page 14.

The IPCC is a `corporation' that puts itself first. It therefore has an interest in maintaining its existence and status. In order to demonstrate IPCC political bias, Monckton showa 3 statements that were in the 1995 IPCC draft report:

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 gasses.

2. No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of observed of observed climate change] to anthropogenic causes.

3. Any claims of positive detection of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate system are reduced.

Politicians 'got at it' and took out the above from the final report which stated: "The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate."

The Consensus is questioned. Monckton suggests that the BBC has abandoned objectivity and then quotes a literature study of 539 papers published between 2004 and 2007, using the search term' global climate change,' where only one paper claimed catastrophe, but offered no evidence.

Hansen's 1988 temperature predictions are examined. Scenario `C' was based on CO2 in the atmosphere being stabilised, but the actual temperature trend has tracked this despite the non-stabilisation of CO2.

So are today's temperatures unprecedented? Monckton talks about the Medieval Warm Period. The UN IPCC report of 1990 showed a clear Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and a Little Ice Age (LIA), but the IPCC 2001 report showed the `Hockey Stick' graph 6 times in colour with no MWP. So how was this achieved? Data showing a hockey stick shape from Sheep Mountain in California was given 390 times the weighting of the data Mayberry Slough in Arizona, which had a MWP.

The tree ring data set that included MWP was left out, despite the researchers saying that it was included in the publications of 1998 and 1999. It was actually in a computer file marked `censored data.' Monckton asserted that researchers should make both data and methods available to be checked by other scientists. The US National Academy of Sciences panel described the hockey stick as plausible at best, and the `validation skill' not significantly different from zero.

Monckton then provides some of the evidence for a warm MWP: Data from 6000 bore holes give a rough idea that there was a warm MWP, Stalagmites from the Austria Alps and Southern Africa, Sediments from Sombre lake, Signy Island in Maritime Antarctica, and Lake Huguangyan, Leechow, South China. Formanifera from the NorthWestern Arabian Sea, Oman. The Sargasso sea, North Island NZ, sediment core from Spanish Pyrenees, pollen profile from Northern Fennoscandia, 3 examples of glacial variations from Swiss Alps. Canada, British Columbia, Azores, two from coastal Peru, the summit of Greenland ice sheet. He then shows a graphic of a timescale sensitive reconstructed Northern Hemisphere temperature showing the MWP and the LIA. Next he shows a Sediment-based treeline for the species `Zelkova Carpinifolia' demonstrating the Holocene Climate Optimum, the Roman Warm Period, and the MWP. He presents a slide of a 1340AD tree stump in California, well above today's tree-line.

Monckton points out that warmer is better - most species live in the tropics and hardly any at the poles. He concludes that, because there was a MWP up to 3C warmer than today:

1. Today's temperatures are not exceptional

2. Nature caused medieval climate warming

3. There was no medieval climate cataclysm

4. Nature may be causing most warming today

5. Climate catastrophe is not looming or likely

He then moves on to talk about natural causes of climate change where his attention inevitably turns to the sun. First he mentions William Herschel who in 1801 noticed an inverse correlation between the number of sunspots in the 11-year cycle and the price of grain. He then quotes Solanki (2004) who claimed that the past 70 years of solar activity exceptional and similar to 8000 years ago. During the past 11400 years the sun has spent only 10% of the time at a similarly high level of magnetic activity and almost all earlier higher periods of activity were shorter than the current episode. The Sun has been more active than at any time since the last ice age

Monckton then shows a graph for 1880 - 1990 of CO2 and temperature mismatch, pointing out that there is not a good correlation. A graph of solar cycle length plotted against temperature is a better match - Solanki/Fligg (1999), as is the Central England Temperature (CET) series plotted against sunspot number, for1750 to 2000.

The next slide is from Neff et al (2001), showing Monsoon activity tracking solar activity, followed by a graph of solar activity versus temperature for the Arctic (Soon, 2004).

So, how much influence can the sun have? A slide of the CET, the world's longest instrumental temperature series, shows a 2.2C rise in just 35 years, 1700 to 1735, suggesting that the sun was the cause of the recovery from the Maunder Minimum. Monckton concedes that this is evidence from one place and one temperature series, but it is evidence nevertheless. He then shows a slide of the rising trend in solar activity from 1715 attributed to NASA's David Hathaway, followed by conclusions from the International Astronomical Union Symposium in 2004:

1. Solar changes cause most climate change

2. Solar cycles are 11, 80, and 200 years long

3. The Sun caused today's global warming

4. Today's warming is normal, not unusual

5. Today's global warming will end soon

So how do we distinguish natural from anthropogenic warming? CO2 and temperature is not a good match as we have already seen.

A good match is temperature anomalies for 1979 to 2001 and tropical outgoing long wave radiation. Why? The sun is incident on the tropics - the azimuth angle is 90 degrees - so most heating is in the tropics - the atmospheric transport engine takes heat away from tropics to northern latitudes and to a lesser extent southern latitudes. So, the tropics are the place to look for a `hot spot' of anthropogenic warming. Monckton shows the IPCC 2007 modelled climate forcings for anthropogenic greenhouse gasses, aerosols, ozone, plus solar and volcanic. If they are combined into a single graph, there should be an anthropogenic fingerprint or hot spot in the tropics. However, the fingerprint is absent from the actual troposphere data, or shows only a small signal at best, suggesting a small effect of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Monckton then discusses some of reasons why computer models are wrong and can't provide proof of anthropogenic global warming, whereas a mathematical model of the pythagorous theorem can provide absolute proof. Physical sciences with inadequate data cannot provide proof. He quotes Syun-Ichi Akasofu as saying, "No supercomputer, no matter how powerful, is able to prove definitively a simplistic hypothesis that says the greenhouse effect is responsible for warming."

Next, Monckton discusses the Stefan-Boltzmann equation and the huge range of temperature changes published in the literature for a doubling of CO2. Monckton's own calculation, based on IPCC 2007, is 1.6C for a doubling of CO2, but the IPCC says 3C. He points out that Svante Arrhenius calculated a 4C to 8C temperature change for a doubling of CO2 in 1896, but in 1906, he had the Stefan-Boltzmann equation available to him and re-calculated everything to give 1.6C.

With the wide range of temperature predictions in mind, Monckton looks at the constraints on CO2, which mean that it is not a major factor in climate: In 1750, CO2 was 0.03% by volume in the atmosphere; in 2007 it is about 0.04%, a change of +0.01%. The IPCC has reduced CO2 forcing by one-fifth in 12 years (1995 to 2007), yet it has kept climate sensitivity at 3C.

Monckton shows a graph of CO2 v temperature over 600,000 years where CO2 and temperature often go in opposite directions, suggesting CO2 is not the main driver of global temperature. The IPCC admits that CO2 went up to about 6000 ppmv in the Cambrian period and the global average temperature was 22C. He claims CO2 residency time is about 5 to 10 years from various publications. The IPCC claim 50 to 200 years based on "the time required for the atmosphere to adjust to a future equilibrium state if emissions change abruptly," (IPCC 1990). Monckton considers that the IPCC definition has nothing to do with a genuine residency time.

Monckton's conclusions on the constraints on CO2 as a cause of global temperature change are:

1. There is very little additional CO2 in the air

2. CO2 has few principal absorption bands

3. At the surface, water vapour dominates CO2

4. CO2's effect diminishes logarithmically

5. CO2 is not potent, only 1/23 the effect of CH4

6. There's no tropical mid-troposphere hot spot

7. CO2's atmospheric residency time is short

8. CO2 correlates very poorly with temperature

He then moves on to some of the '35 errors' in Al Gore's `An Inconvenient Truth,' which I won't dwell on as they are explained in detail here. Monckton then discusses CO2 emissions saying that China is the one to watch; if the UK reduced emissions to zero, then they would be made up by just the increase in Chinese emissions in less than 2 years. Apply that to Europe, US and Canada, and then China plus India would make up the difference in their own emissions growth in 10 to 15 years. Shutting down the western economy will therefore not make any difference.

He presents a graphic of child mortality up to the age of 5 per thousand born, against CO2 emissions demonstrates that the higher the CO2 emissions per capita, the lower the child mortality. Population increase is faster in developing countries - denying developing CO2 emissions will likely increase their populations.

Monckton then attacks what he calls the murderous `Precautionary Principle' as an expedience used by environmentalist lobby to push policies that would otherwise be unacceptable. He looks at two previous global scares: one real, and one bogus where the policies were wrong because of the effect of pressure groups.

The first is HIV, where he says the correct policy would have been to isolate cases in order to prevent spread of the disease, but this was regarded as totally unacceptable. The result: 25 million died, with 40 million infected worldwide. 0.7% infected in the US, 1% is the epidemic threshold. 7.5% infected south of the Sahara. The second is Malaria, where the 3 letters `DDT' are absent from IPCC ramblings in its latest report. Before DDT was `banned,' there were 50,000 deaths per year from Malaria. After the ban, there were 1,000,000 deaths per year. As a result, excess deaths are put at between 30 and 50 million. On 15th September 2006, the DDT ban was lifted by WHO. Dr Arata Kochi or WHO said, "Quite often in this field politics comes first and science second. We must take a position based on the science and the data."

Monckton then addresses the claim by Gore and others that there are `moral issues' in the climate change debate. He agrees that there are - exaggeration, alarmism, false claims, false claims of consensus, to allow insertion of false claims or data into reports by politicians, to exalt computer models over data, lack of objectivity, inflicting energy starvation, false denial of past temperatures higher than today's, claiming extreme weather events are caused by humans, and so on, are all moral issues. He concludes with reference to the human race, "We must get the science right, or we shall get the policy wrong. We have failed them and failed them before. We must not fail again."

After the applause dies down, there is time for a number of good questions, which Monckton handles well. In my view the presentation was well prepared, well referenced and eloquently delivered, with emotional pleas over the genuine moral issues. Christopher Monckton comes across as a sincere man who is persuaded by objective science. The cause of climate realists has been enhanced by his involvement in the climate change debate, and this DVD is recommended viewing for those seeking an antidote to the daily dose of climate alarmism in the media, or an alternative scientific perspective.

The DVD is available here.


IPCC Avoids Scientific Method And Should Be Disbanded

Dr Vincent Gray, a member of the UN IPCC Expert Reviewers Panel since its inception, has written to Professor David Henderson, to support the latter's call for a review of the IPCC and its procedures. Dr Gray wrote:

Thank you for your latest article containing your analysis of the limitations of the IPCC and your belief that it is possible for it to be reformed. I have been an "Expert Reviewer" for the IPCC right from the start and I have submitted a very large number of comments on their drafts. It has recently been revealed that I submitted 1,898 comments on the Final Draft of the current Report.

Over the period I have made an intensive study of the data and procedures used by IPCC contributors throughout their whole study range. I have a large library of reprints, books and comments and have published many comments of my own in published papers, a book, and in my occasional newsletter, the current number being 157.

I began with a belief in scientific ethics, that scientists would answer queries honestly, that scientific argument would take place purely on the basis of facts, logic and established scientific and mathematical principles. Right from the beginning I have had difficulty with this procedure. Penetrating questions often ended without any answer. Comments on the IPCC drafts were rejected without explanation, and attempts to pursue the matter were frustrated indefinitely.

Over the years, as I have learned more about the data and procedures of the IPCC I have found increasing opposition by them to providing explanations, until I have been forced to the conclusion that for significant parts of the work of the IPCC, the data collection and scientific methods employed are unsound. Resistance to all efforts to try and discuss or rectify these problems has convinced me that normal scientific procedures are not only rejected by the IPCC, but that this practice is endemic, and was part of the organisation from the very beginning. I therefore consider that the IPCC is fundamentally corrupt. The only "reform" I could envisage, would be its abolition.

I wonder whether I could summarize briefly some of the reasons why the scientific procedures followed by the IPCC are fundamentally unsound. Some of you may have received more detail if you received my recent NZClimate Truth Newsletters (see under "Links" on this website).

The two main "scientific" claims of the IPCC are the claim that "the globe is warming" and "Increases in carbon dioxide emissions are responsible". Evidence for both of these claims is fatally flawed. To start with the "global warming" claim. It is based on a graph showing that "mean annual global temperature" has been increasing. This claim fails from two fundamental facts

1. No average temperature of any part of the earth's surface, over any period, has ever been made. How can you derive a "global average" when you do not even have a single "local" average? What they actually use is the procedure used from 1850, which is to make one measurement a day at the weather station from a maximum/minimum thermometer. The mean of these two is taken to be the average. No statistician could agree that a plausible average can be obtained this way. The potential bias is more than the claimed "global warming.

2. The sample is grossly unrepresentative of the earth's surface, mostly near to towns. No statistician could accept an "average" based on such a poor sample. It cannot possibly be "corrected" It is of interest that frantic efforts to "correct" for these uncorrectable errors have produced mean temperature records for the USA and China which show no overall "warming" at all. If they were able to "correct" the rest, the same result is likely

And, then after all, there has been no "global warming", however measured, for eight years, and this year is all set to be cooling. As a result it is now politically incorrect to speak of "global warming". The buzzword is "Climate Change" which is still blamed on the non-existent "warming"

The other flagship set of data promoted by the IPCC are the figures showing the increase in atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. They have manipulated the data in such a way to persuade us (including most scientists) that this concentration is constant throughout the atmosphere. In order to do this, they refrain from publishing any results which they do not like, and they have suppressed no less than 90,000 measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide made in the last 150 years. Some of these were made by Nobel Prizewinners and all were published in the best scientific journals. Ernst Beck has published on the net all the actual papers.

My main complaint with the IPCC is in the methods used to "evaluate" computer models. Proper "validation" of models should involve proved evidence that they are capable of future prediction within the range required, and to a satisfactory level of accuracy. Without this procedure, no self-respecting computer engineer would dare to make use of a model for prediction. No computer climate model has ever been tested in this way, so none should be used for prediction.

They sort of accept this by never permitting the use of the term "prediction", only "projection". But they then go ahead predicting anyway. There is a basic logical principle that a correlation, however convincing, is not proof of causation. Most scientists pay at least lip service to this principle, but its widespread lack of acceptance by the general public have led to IPCC to explore it as one of their methods of "evaluating" models.

The models are so full of inaccurately known parameters and equations that it is comparatively easy to "fudge" an approximate fit to the few climate sequences that might respond. This sort of evidence is the main feature of most of the current promotional lectures.

The most elaborate of all their "evaluation" techniques is far more dubious. Since they have failed to show that any models are actually capable of prediction, they have decided to "evaluate" them by asking the opinions of those who originate them, people with a financial interest in their success. This has become so complex that many have failed to notice that it has no scientific basis, but is just an assembly of the "gut feelings" of self-styled "experts". It has been developed to a complex web of "likelihoods", all of which are assigned fake "probability" levels.

By drawing attention to these obvious facts I have now found myself persona non grata with most of my local professional associations, Surely, I am questioning the integrity of these award-winning scientific leaders of the local science establishment. When you get down to it, that is what is involved.

I somehow understood that the threshold had been passed when I viewed "The Great Global Warming Swindle". Yes, we have to face it. The whole process is a swindle, The IPCC from the beginning was given the licence to use whatever methods would be necessary to provide "evidence" that carbon dioxide increases are harming the climate, even if this involves manipulation of dubious data and using peoples' opinions instead of science to "prove" their case.

The disappearance of the IPCC in disgrace is not only desirable but inevitable. The reason is, that the world will slowly realise that the "predictions" emanating from the IPCC will not happen. The absence of any "global warming" for the past eight years is just the beginning. Sooner or later all of us will come to realise that this organisation, and the thinking behind it, is phony. Unfortunately severe economic damage is likely to be done by its influence before that happens. --


Another Global Temp Index Dives in Jan08

The global surface temperature anomaly data from the UK Hadley Climate Research Unit has just been released, and it shows a significant drop in the global temperature anomaly in January 2008, to just 0.034øC, just slightly above zero. This caps a full year of temperature drop from HadCRUT's January 2007 value of 0.632øC

The deltaT for the year then is 0.595øC which is in line with other respected global temperature metrics that I have reported on in the past two weeks. RSS, UAH, and GISS global temperature sets all show sharp drops in the last year.

We are in an extended solar minimum, we have a shift in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation to a cold state, and we are seeing arctic ice extents setting new records and rebounding from the summer melt.While weather is defined as such variability, the fact that so many things are in agreement on a global scale in such a short time span of one year should give us pause.


Stay poor

It's bad enough when European and American politicians desperate to "do something" about global warming appear willing to sacrifice economic growth in their own countries. Now they are ready forsake the world's poorest citizens, too.

For 15 years, developing countries like China and India have refused to join the crusade against climate change because the solution to global warming -- reducing greenhouse gas emissions -- hurts their number one priority, economic growth. That is, poor countries chose the fight against poverty over the fight against climate change.

Until a few months ago, developed countries formally respected developing nations' "right to develop," as it's known in diplomat-speak. The first major international treaty to address global warming, the Kyoto Protocol, exempted developing countries altogether from binding emissions reductions.

This arrangement worked as long as rich countries ignored their promises to fix the climate. Developed countries first agreed to undertake emissions reductions at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. They haven't, and global emissions have continued to rise. The Kyoto Protocol has been another failure, which is why Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says that it "divided the world into two groups, those that would have no targets, and those that would meet no targets."

RECENTLY, HOWEVER, politicians in Europe and America have indicated that they intend to get serious about climate change. Now that costly emissions reductions are at hand, leaders in developed countries have decided that they want to orchestrate a global response to global warming, irrespective of the human consequences -- whether developing nations like it or not.

To force developing countries to reduce their carbon footprint, politicians in developed countries have embraced a novel, if sinister, solution: global warming tariffs. By taxing the carbon footprint of imports, the United States and the European Union's member states would export emissions regulations to developing countries.

Support for a carbon tariff is said to be strong among EU bureaucrats in Brussels. And French President Nicolas Sarkozy has promised to "defend the principle of a carbon compensation mechanism (i.e., a carbon tariff) at the EU's borders with regard to countries that don't put in place rules for reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

In the U.S., import duties are a part of the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill now making its way through the Senate. The Bush administration has given mixed signals. A month ago, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab told reporters that the administration had "been dismayed at a variety of suggestions where we see climate or the environment being used as an excuse to close markets."

A week later, however, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, C. Boyden Gray, gave European journalists a different perspective. According to the Bureau of National Affairs, Ambassador Gray said that the EU and America would "have no choice" but to enact carbon tariffs if developing countries did not voluntarily commit to emissions reductions.

Clearly, carbon tariff policies are gaining political traction in rich countries. That should worry advocates for the world's poorest citizens, because free trade is the surest ticket out of poverty.

By facilitating the unfettered flow of finance, goods and services across national boundaries, trade liberalization allows developing countries to use their comparative advantage -- abundant, inexpensive labor -- to produce goods and services for the global marketplace at competitive prices. According to the World Bank, free trade policies enacted in the 1980s caused a shift in manufacturing and service activities from rich to poor countries that delivered more than 100 million people out of poverty during the 1990s.

Carbon tariffs are designed to mitigate climate change, but they would also mitigate wealth creation. Rich-country politicians need to acknowledge the profound human toll of global warming protectionism before they try to force developing countries into an international scheme to fight climate change.


Taking the ash out of Ash Wednesday

An Australian writer flagellates the green-leaning C of E bishops who want to turn Lent into 40 days and 40 nights of conserving energy.

Ash Wednesday was something special when I was a child. You exited church with a huge carbon smut on your forehead. Woe betide the coward who furtively wiped it off. Our nun teacher, who bore a remarkable resemblance to the Penguin of The Blues Brothers fame, told us that those ashes were a poke in the eye of a godless world.

So when I read that the Church of England (CofE) bishops of London and Liverpool, Dr Richard Chartres and James Jones, have declared a carbon-free Lent, I could just imagine the Penguin unsheathing her wooden yardstick to xylophone their knuckles. `How dare those brazen things take the ash out of Ash Wednesday?' she would be muttering.

Amen to that. Just how will a carbon-free Lent make Britain more Christian? Even to an unbeliever, the bishops' initiative seems just a bit daft. As the non plus ultra of Lenten self-denial, participants in the Carbon Fast are to remove one prominent light bulb and live without it for 40 excruciating days. On Easter, they will screw in a low-energy bulb, thus saving 60kg of carbon (1).

The symbolism of this is perfect, if inadvertent. Why the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead should be symbolised by Easter Bunnies and chocolate Easter eggs has never been clear to me. But replacing high-energy light bulbs with dimmer low-energy ones seems a perfect image of the slow extinction of Christianity in England.

Instead of fasting for Lent, the bishops are urging their faithful to reduce their carbon footprint a fraction each day. Instead of giving up snacking on chocolates, they are told to avoid using plastic bags. Instead of giving up lolly-gobbling, they are told to unplug their mobile phone charger. Instead of giving up alcohol, they are told to check the house for draughts (2).

Along with God, the bishops seem to have lost their common sense. Obesity has been linked to global warming (3). Chocoholic lolly-gobblers walk less, consume more McDonald's and use more electric appliances. Have they calculated how much the carbon footprint of their flock would shrink if they gave up sweets for Lent? And the idea that reusing old envelopes is superior to teetotalling as a way of reducing carbon emissions is risible. The conversion of the legions of Britain's alleged binge drinkers would be a great environmental, as well as spiritual, achievement.

As the bishops rightly point out, however, Lent is not only about penitential practices like fasting, going temporarily vegan and taking cold showers. It is also about concern for one's neighbour. The sample sermon in the promotions kit for their Carbon Fast includes the touching story of Andrew Maglasey's young family. Their life has apparently been ruined by climate change.

But bishops in Britain should be concerned about the global impact of a warmer world - and the fact that it might potentially be a good thing. Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg claims that deaths attributable to excessively hot weather are typically an order of magnitude lower than that for excessively cold weather. In Europe, the figures are 1.5million cold deaths versus 200,000 heat deaths. Overall, claims Lomborg, by 2050 a warmer planet might actually save 1.4million lives a year.

I realise that in the eyes of environmentally aware bishops, Lomborg is a heretic - not just a scientific heretic, but a stack-the-faggots-dry-and-high sort of heretic. The theologian du jour is Al Gore, whose documentary An Inconvenient Truth is a recommended resource for the Carbon Fast campaign. Perhaps they are thinking of adding it to the Bible as a multimedia appendix to the Book of the Apocalypse.

Nonetheless, their eco-friendly Lenten resolutions would benefit from Lomborg's rigorous scrutiny of the impact on developing countries. If less petrol is consumed, won't that put Nigerians out of work? If you use low-energy lightbulbs made in Holland, will that put out of work Indonesians who make the high-energy ones? Are Bishop Chartres and Bishop Jones willing to take responsibility for the deaths that a cooler world may cause?

Chesterton is reported to have said that those who stop believing in Christianity don't believe in nothing, they believe in anything. This is not an epigram which the readers of spiked, a generally godless publication, are likely to assent to. But it does seem to apply to certain clerics. Having abandoned traditional practices of Christian piety in a desperate search for relevance and fuller pews, the bishops have resorted to touting an activities list which treats the environment with the respect they once paid to God.

The problem with sprinkling holy water over 40 sensible ways of being thrifty is that they don't express an interior conversion to anything, much less God. You don't need to be a Christian to want to save money by using less electricity. The old ways of living Lent were senseless, in a way. But they symbolised a sturdy desire to amend one's life, which was hopefully reflected in more upright behaviour and greater devotion to religious practice. The new Carbon-free Lent is nothing of the sort: it lacks any sense of transcendence whatsoever.

Above all, the privations of Lent were supposed to be an imitation of the 40 days Christ spent in the desert fasting before beginning his ministry. Fasting and penance are essential to Christianity because its founder commanded them: `If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.' It is a strange sales pitch in the Penguin's godless world, but at least it is a distinctive one - unlike the bishops' commonsense message of thrift, which appears to have been cribbed from a list of handy household hints by Tesco's public relations department.

However, one of the bishops' suggestions is more demanding than anything the Penguin would ever have recommended to us. On the thirty-ninth day of Lent, Good Friday, the day when Christendom contemplates the betrayal, the scourging, the crucifixion and agonising death of Christ, they want their flock to talk to church leaders about making their churches greener. Only a saint could possibly do that. Give me a hairshirt any day.



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


Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Note that the "Express" story below is about winter ice while the Greenies have been gloating about summer ice. Nonetheless, if all the summer loss is replaced in winter the Greenies have only got theory to hang their hats on.

Also note that -- according to paleoclimate research -- the earth never loses its polar ice, not even during eras of extreme global warming. So the whole Greenie gloat is sensationalism, not science.

Note thirdly that the article below is from the mass media but the truth behind it can be seen from the scientific graphs below -- the first of which shows the extent of the antarctic sea ice right now -- which is SUMMER in the Antarctic. Instead of being minimal, the area of ice is greater now than it has ever been in the period graphed.

(Bigger version of the graph here)

The same thing is even clearer in the Anomaly graph ("anomaly" means "deviation from average"):

(Bigger version of the graph here)

And it's not only the Antarctic. The graph below is of the Arctic anomaly. Look at the tail end of it and you will see that after the big melt of 2007, the ice area has popped back up to normal

(Bigger version of the graph here)

The "Express" article:
New evidence has cast doubt on claims that the world's ice-caps are melting, it emerged last night. Satellite data shows that concerns over the levels of sea ice may have been premature. It was feared that the polar caps were vanishing because of the effects of global warming. But figures from the respected US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that almost all the "lost" ice has come back. Ice levels which had shrunk from 13million sq km in January 2007 to just four million in October, are almost back to their original levels. Figures show that there is nearly a third more ice in Antarctica than is usual for the time of year.

The data flies in the face of many current thinkers and will be seized on by climate change sceptics who deny that the world is undergoing global warming.

A photograph of polar bears clinging on to a melting iceberg has become one of the most enduring images in the campaign against climate change. It was used by former US Vice President Al Gore during his Inconvenient Truth lectures about mankind's impact on the world. But scientists say the northern hemisphere has endured its coldest winter in decades. They add that snow cover across the area is at its greatest since 1966.

The one exception is Western Europe, which has - until the weekend when temperatures plunged to as low as -10C in some places - been basking in unseasonably warm weather. The UK has reported one of its warmest winters on record. However, vast swathes of the world have suffered chaos because of some of the heaviest snowfalls in decades. Central and southern China, the USA and Canada were hit hard by snowstorms.

Even the Middle East saw snow, with Jerusalem, Damascus, Amman and northern Saudi Arabia reporting the heaviest falls in years and below-zero temperatures. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan snow and freezing weather killed 120 people.

In Britain the balmy February weather came to an abrupt halt at the weekend as temperatures plunged to -10C in central England. Experts believe that this month could end up as one of the coldest Februaries in Britain in the past 10 years.

The freezing night-time conditions look set to stay around -8C until at least the middle of the week. A Met Office spokesman explained: "There has been little or no cloud cover across England and Wales. So there is a capacity for a fair bit of heat to be able to escape at night. "It has been warmer in Scotland but that's because it has been cloudy there. "Until the weekend the temperatures were in the 14s and 15s, and we will see a return to that later this week, though it will look grey and overcast when the clouds return." But he added that there was little chance of snow. He said: "When the rain comes it will get warmer."



By economist George Reisman

Here's the essential common core of hatred and destruction in the doctrines of Communism, Nazism, and Environmentalism. Only the concretes differ, not the fundamental principle of hatred for human life and happiness.

Communism: The pursuit of individual self-interest causes monopolies, depressions, and exploitation of workers by capitalists. It must be replaced by self-sacrifice for the benefit of the working class and the Socialist State. Capitalists and landowners must be exterminated for the benefit of the proletariat.

Nazism: The pursuit of individual self-interest causes racial impurity, national decline, and exploitation of German workers by Jewish capitalists. It must be replaced by self-sacrifice for the good of the Aryan master race and the National Socialist State. Jews, Gypsies, and Slavs must be exterminated for the benefit of the German Nation.

Environmentalism: The pursuit of individual self-interest causes global warming, acid rain, and ozone depletion. It must be replaced by self-sacrifice for the good of other species-our "fellow biota"-and for the good of the planet, under the auspices of international treaties and a nascent Global Socialist State: the UN.

Most of the human race must be exterminated for the benefit of exploited species and the planet. (This is what the environmentalist "extremists" already openly say. The "moderates" merely want to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 90 percent and thereby reduce the American standard of living to that of a third world country, with a third world country's infant mortality and life expectancy


Some comments from others on the above:

I think the Fascist argument has taken a unique angle in this case, which has led to its success. This time, the proposition isn't that industrial civilization is a pox upon the poor but that its very instruments will bring ruin to the rich themselves, their freewheeling practices destroying the very earth that sustains them. Those who don't buy into the notion that capitalism is an evil exploiter of the weak can buy into this, that self-interest demands a revolution in how modern society does business.

I have found even the most unabashed advocates to be momentarily at a loss, however, when reminded in debate that, given how no one claims that even the biggest baddest proposal ever tabled -- Kyoto -- would according to anyone, under any set of assumptions or scenarios, have a detectable impact on climate, the reasonable conclusion is that these proposals aren't actually about a climate emergency, or even the climate. And that another reasonable conclusion is that the only thing that inarguably *would* result -- the attainment of a long-held policy wish-list and assertion of authority -- is what they are about.

Even the wooliest among my counterparts have seemed to shy away from responding "but it's just the first of 30 treaties!" to support their thesis that the sky has been collapsing all around us and it is imperative that we impose a 100-yr plan of billions-of-dollars

Global warming and liberal Fascism?

Fascism, rather than being a right-wing phenomenon as liberals are so fond of claiming, is what underlies today’s liberal agenda. And it is borrowed lock, stock, and barrel from Benito Mussolini’s fascist state and Hitler’s National Socialism, says Jonah Goldberg author of “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.”

As the publishers note, the Nazis were socialists who, unlike conservatives, believed in free healthcare and guaranteed jobs. They confiscated inherited wealth, spent vast sums on education, drove religion from the public square replacing it with a new form of paganism, and inserted the power of government into every nook and cranny of daily life.

Goldberg feels that liberals are aligned against the tragic "wrong turn" that society allegedly took when it rejected the beliefs that social and gender roles are not fixed; that tradition, religion and natural law have no binding power or authority over the individual's will to power.

He writes that "nowhere is the idea of the Wrong Turn more starkly expressed in both National Socialist and temporary thought than in environmentalism . Man, liberals insist, has lost his harmony with nature, his way of life is inauthentic, corrupting, unnatural." Liberals demand the world's belief in manmade global warming, despite many learned scientists' contrary opinions.

Environmentalism's most fascist ingredient, Goldberg writes, is that "it is an invaluable `crisis mechanism.' Al Gore constantly insists that global warming is the defining crisis of our time. Skeptics [of bandwagon liberal theories] are labeled traitors, Holocaust deniers, tools of `carbon interests.'"

He recalls how Gore appeared before Congress last year and told them, "the world has a fever" and explained that when your baby has a fever, you "take action. You do what the doctor says." No time to debate, no room for argument. We must go beyond politics.

In practical terms, this means we must surrender to the global nanny state and create the sort of "economic dictatorship" progressives yearn for. Gore's catastrophic global warming alarmism provides the perfect platform for the creation of a global authority that regulates just about every human activity, a prescription for an absolute global dictatorship.

In Nazi Germany, crises were dealt with militantly. Soft measures were not the way to deal with immediate problems, such as what the Nazis defined as the "Jewish question." According to Goldberg "The old critique of the Hebrew disease metastasized into an indictment of what could be called the human disease" - one of environmentalism's chief bugaboos - overpopulation.

One of the defining characteristics of both Italian Fascism and Nazism was their need to use coercion to impose their political and philosophical agendas. It is no accident that the progressive programs advanced by today's liberals all employ coercion of one form or another to implement them.


And here is an example of the Fascism beginning its work

Elections Canada to investigate anti-Kyoto group

Canada's chief electoral officer has been asked to investigate a series of radio ads, funded by an Alberta-based global warming skeptics group, which targeted key markets in vote-rich Ontario during the 2006 federal election.

The ads, which questioned the previous Liberal government's climate change spending and initiatives, aired in five major Ontario markets and were financed through an elaborate system which allowed $200,000 to flow from a 53-year-old charity into a trust account at the University of Calgary.

The account was then used by an anti-Kyoto Protocol group called the Friends of Science.The group was formed a few years ago in Alberta by academics and former oil industry insiders, among others, to challenge Canada's participation in the international Kyoto Protocol, a climate change agreement, and to cast doubt on peer-reviewed research that suggests human activity is causing dangerous changes to the climate and irreversible damage to the earth's ecosystems.


Prominent economist suspicious of Ecofascism too

Jeff Jacoby courageously denounces the hysterical groupthink so prominent in the crusade against global warming ("Hot tempers on global warming," August 15).

I am a global-warming skeptic - not of the science of climate change (for I have no expertise to judge it), but a skeptic of combating climate change with increased government power. Al Gore, Robert Kennedy, Jr., and too many others dismiss the downside of curtailing capitalism in order to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. They write and speak as if the material prosperity that capitalism brings is either not threatened by increased government power, or is of only small importance when compared to the threat of global warming. Truly reasonable people are, and ought to be, skeptical of each of these dogmas.

Donald J. Boudreaux, Chairman, Department of Economics, George Mason University



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


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Global cooling hits Greece

Flights to Athens international airport were grounded on Sunday and more than 25 Greek villages were cut off after heavy snowfalls, which disrupted traffic as far south as the island of Crete. The snowstorm, the result of two cold fronts moving south from Russia and Scandinavia, struck Athens on Sunday, covering the Parthenon and the temple of Zeus in white. Some train and bus routes were cancelled, with snow ploughs struggling to keep main highways open. Flights to and from Athens international airport were grounded at least until 0100 GMT on Monday because of poor visibility, which was at less than 100 metres.

Temperatures in Athens remained at zero degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) while around the country temperatures ranging between minus 5C and minus 15C were reported. In the northern town of Trikala fire brigade officials rescued stranded passengers after their car stalled in an isolated part of town.

"We expect the storm to start weakening from the early hours of Monday," said meteorologist Panagiotis Yannopoulos at national weather service EMY. "By tomorrow afternoon it will be over."

More than 25 villages were reported to be cut off around Greece, many on the island of Evia. Several villages were also snowed in on the Peloponnese peninsula and as far south as the island of Crete.

Traffic piled up on some highways after cars slid off the road. Roads in various parts of the country remained closed. Heavy trucks were banned for the next 24 hours and authorities said they would close schools on Monday in various regions.


Heavy snow forces record closing of Kansas City airport

Heavy snow and slush closed the Kansas City International Airport for almost six hours, the longest in its 35-year history.

The closing Sunday led to the canceling of dozens of flights.Airport spokesman Joe McBride said the airport's runways were closed around 6:30 a.m. when friction testing showed conditions were too slick to safely operate aircraft. "A 150 mph aircraft hydroplaning is not a good thing," McBride said.

As of 10 a.m., the airport had registered 4 inches of snow. McBride said that the airport has closed only a few times in its history and never for more than four hours. Kansas City International sees about 440 flights a day.


Harsh and snowy winter prompts Colorado to feed starving deer for only 3rd time in 25 years

Because of a harsh and snowy winter, wildlife managers will start feeding starving deer near Eagle and Wolcott for just the third time in almost 25 years.

The consistent, heavy snowfall that's been so good for the ski slopes has covered up the small plants and shrubs, like sage brush, that deer eat in the winter. Deer don't store as much fat as elk, so those plants that poke up through the snow are vital to their survival.

Now, the deer are hungry enough to start stripping juniper trees, which have almost no nutrition. It's a sure sign of desperation, says Randy Hampton, spokesman for the Division of Wildlife.The Division of Wildlife will only consider feeding animals if there's a chance more than 30 percent of adult female deer will die in a winter. This has only happened in the winters of 1983-1984 and 1996-1997, and it looks like that could happen.

So, deer will be feed at 20 locations around Eagle and Wolcott, and the Division of Wildlife will need volunteers and money to do it, Hampton said. The feed alone will cost around $120,000.TrappedNo matter how mild a winter may be, cold weather is always tough for animals. "Some animals will always die during winter, typically the very young, the very old, and the ones that may be sick," Hampton said.

But for the past 12 years, many of these deer haven't experienced a truly tough Colorado winter, Hampton said. So, when deer seek out those mountain valleys where they've found winter food in the past, they've found almost nothing this year and are often trapped in these valleys by towering snow drifts.

When the deer aren't trapped, they'll be venturing past their comfort zones looking for food, which means they'll be coming closer to roads, homes and humans. Seeing a starving, bony deer can be an unsettling sight to many people, Hampton said. "Some people are upset by it, and others understand it, but at that point, there's not much we can do about it," Hampton said.


Comment on the above by Prof. Tim Ball below:

In the late 18th century Vienna closed the city gates for the first time to keep out marauding packs of wolves attacking citizens on the streets because there was a paucity of game in the forests.

This idea of interfering with nature is problematic and shows lack of understanding of the extreme degree to which animal populations fluctuate naturally. The fallacy is that animal populations are relatively stable. I ran into this problem when doing an extensive study on the impact of hydrolelectric dams on nature and the aboriginal communities of the area.

Arctic ice regrowing

There's an upside to the extreme cold temperatures northern Canadians have endured in the last few weeks: scientists say it's been helping winter sea ice grow across the Arctic, where the ice shrank to record-low levels last year. Temperatures have stayed well in the -30s C and -40s C range since late January throughout the North, with the mercury dipping past -50 C in some areas.

Satellite images are showing that the cold spell is helping the sea ice expand in coverage by about 2 million square kilometres, compared to the average winter coverage in the previous three years. "It's nice to know that the ice is recovering," Josefino Comiso, a senior research scientist with the Cryospheric Sciences Branch of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland, told CBC News on Thursday. "That means that maybe the perennial ice would not go down as low as last year."

Canadian scientists are also noticing growing ice coverage in most areas of the Arctic, including the southern Davis Strait and the Beaufort Sea. "Clearly, we're seeing the ice coverage rebound back to more near normal coverage for this time of year," said Gilles Langis, a senior ice forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa.

The cold is also making the ice thicker in some areas, compared to recorded thicknesses last year, Lagnis added. "The ice is about 10 to 20 centimetres thicker than last year, so that's a significant increase," he said. If temperatures remain cold this winter, Langis said winter sea ice coverage will continue to expand. But he added that it's too soon to say what impact this winter will have on the Arctic summer sea ice, which reached its lowest coverage ever recorded in the summer of 2007.

That was because the thick multi-year ice pack that survives a summer melt has been decreasing in recent years, as well as moving further south. Langis said the ice pack is currently located about 130 kilometres from the Mackenzie Delta, about half the distance from where it was last year.


Decimation of the polar bear: bearfaced lies?

A leading expert in forecasting says research into the impact of climate change on polar bears has been shockingly shoddy

Despite the steady growth of the polar bear population over the past 40 years - it now stands between 20,000 and 25,000 - there is no shortage of doom-laden reports about the bears' imminent demise on our warming planet. Some refer to polar bears as the `canaries of climate change'. Indeed, so strong is the misery-mongering about polar bears that the US is currently trying to list them as an endangered species; and its campaign has been aided and abetted by several pieces of US government-sponsored research into polar bear numbers. Yet according to experts in the field of forecasting methods, official rumours of the polar bear's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

The forecasters' claims cast a very different light on the prevailing consensus on the inevitable decimation of the polar bear population. Towards the end of 2006, Senator Kempthorne, secretary for the United States Department of the Interior, announced America's plans to list `this Great Icon of the Arctic' as an endangered species (1). This assumed that rising temperatures were causing the polar bears' Arctic habitat to `literally melt away'. However, assumptions do not - well, not yet anyway - provide sufficient grounds for public policy. So, in order to support its case, the Department of the Interior commissioned the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to research the effect climate change would have on the Arctic region. And with this, they surmised, they could predict the future of the polar bear, too.

The conclusions were unequivocal. Steven Amstrup of the USGS Alaska Science Centre, co-author of one of the commissioned reports, stated: `As the sea ice goes, so goes the polar bear.' (2) Since then, matters have continued apace, and this January the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works convened to examine `Threats and Protection for the Polar Bear'. However, despite the best efforts of the pro-listing lobby, there is just one problem: the methods used to divine the fate of the polar bear due to climate change are not very scientific.

So argues Scott Armstrong, professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania, Kesten Green, senior research fellow at Monash University, and Willie Soon, an astrophysicist at Harvard, in a report commissioned by the State of Alaska: Polar Bear Population Forecasts: A Public-Policy Forecasting Audit. As international experts in forecasting methods, they examined the two main reports commissioned by the US Department of the Interior and failed to find `a single climate modelling procedure which was consistent with scientific methods' (3). On 30 January 2008, they presented their findings to the US Senate Committee (see their presentation here).

Armstrong and his colleagues are no strangers to controversy. Last summer, they launched the `Global Warming Challenge', betting Al Gore $10,000 that over the next 10 years global temperatures would remain about the same (see Put your money where your myth is, by Brendan O'Neill ). But while they are not averse to taking a contrarian line, this is not what drives them. As their audit makes clear, the forecasting principles contravened by the Department of the Interior reports are not esoteric points only of interest to mathematical pedants; rather, the Department contravened principles that are the scientific equivalent of common sense. For instance, according to Armstrong, the government-sponsored reports failed to `conduct experiments to evaluate forecasts,' `be conservative in situations of high uncertainty or instability', or `ensure that information is reliable and that measurement error is low'. These are just some of the 41 principles of scientific forecasting contravened.

If climate itself is difficult enough to predict, then attempting to predict the effect it will have on the polar bears' habitat is doubly so. Moreover, the interactions between the polar bear and their environment add another set of variables to an already confusing whirl of possible scenarios. It is unsurprising, then, that a chain of assumptions compensate for the want of unambiguous evidence. This chain runs something like this: global warming will occur; summer sea ice will reduce and thin; polar bears will obtain less food by hunting from the sea ice than they do now; there will be no supplementary food; the polar bear population will decline; the endangered species act will help; and no other policies would prove as effective.

Such a causal whitewash occludes factors that should temper the wilder assertions of forecasting. For instance, the pro-listing Amstrup report fails to consider the species' sheer adaptability. Having evolved from brown bears some 250,000 years ago, in that time, polar bears have experienced arctic conditions much warmer than they are now. As Amstrong told spiked: `Polar bears are adaptable - they've been around 250,000 years. They'll keep figuring things out.'

Or take the forecasting imperative to `be conservative in situations of high uncertainty or instability', an imperative that the government-sponsored researchers also ignored. Assuming that higher temperatures will lead to a decline in the polar bear population ignores the fact that lower temperatures have also had the same effect: for example, an abnormally high ice coverage during 1973-74 led to a fall in the polar bear population. Regional variability also sheds light on the difficulty of distinguishing correlation from causation. The Antarctic ice mass, for example, has actually been growing while the sea and air temperature has been increasing. At the same time, the depth-averaged oceanic temperature around the Southeastern Bering Sea has been cooling in 2006. And despite warming of local air temperatures by approximately 1.6 degrees the continental shelf of Canadian Beaufort Sea has seen no sharp decline in area. Such variability, indeed, uncertainty as to the precise environmental outcome of climatic changes has simply been eschewed in the reports Armstrong et al audited.

This gloomy prognosis for the polar bear is not surprising, however, when one considers that the secretary of the Interior employed the USGS to generate models to support the US Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to list the polar bear. In short, the science was always driven by political imperatives. Results that failed to lend unambiguous support to the desired outcome were always to be avoided. This indicates the role that science can play in political debate today. It becomes that which cannot be doubted, an instruction handed down from on high. In this context, the science always says `Thou shalt.'

But what of the object of all this research? Why has the polar bear itself become so politically significant? According to Armstrong `it's such an emotional issue - people just think what nice beautiful animals they are'. Indeed, as Armstrong told spiked, during the Senate Committee meeting, Senator Barbara Boxer, a key sponsor of the legislation, backed up her constant citation of the Amstrup report with one main ploy: pictures of polar bears. When invocation of the `science' fails to compel agreement, try emotional blackmail. Polar bears, the poster boys for man-made climate change, have come to symbolise man's degradation of the environment. Their plight acts as a contemporary morality play: that something so majestic, so beautiful can be brought so low shows the extent of man's unthinking folly.

Armstrong demands a slightly more robust attitude to fluctuations in the polar bear population. `The Eskimos regard it as "things change", that it's just the way things are', he says. From those who are used to hunting polar bears, such a lack of sentimentality is perhaps to be expected. We should also call for less sentimentality in the broader debate about climate change and the future of the planet.


New York Times warns fluorescent bulb 'dangers are real and growing'

Forgive me while I laugh. Did I ever say before that there's no such thing as a happy Greenie?

Across the world, consumers are being urged to stop buying outdated incandescent light bulbs and switch to new spiral fluorescent bulbs, which use about 25 percent of the energy and last 10 times longer. In Britain, there is a Ban the Bulb movement. China is encouraging the change. And the United States Congress has set new energy efficiency standards that will make Edison's magical invention obsolete by the year 2014.

Now, the question is how to dispose of these compact fluorescent bulbs once they break or quit working. Unlike traditional light bulbs, each of these spiral bulbs has a tiny bit of a dangerous toxin - around five milligrams of mercury. And although one dot of mercury might not seem so bad, almost 300 million compact fluorescents were sold in the United States last year. That is already a lot of mercury to throw in the trash, and the amounts will grow ever larger in coming years.

Businesses and government recyclers need to start working on more efficient ways to deal with that added mercury. Ellen Silbergeld, a professor of environmental health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, is raising the cry about the moment when millions of these light bulbs start landing in landfills or incinerators all at once. The pig in the waste pipeline, she calls it.

Even when warned, public officials are never great at planning. [Rare wisdom from the NYT] The Environmental Protection Agency now focuses mostly on the disposal of one bulb at a time. If you break a fluorescent bulb, there is no need to call in the hazmat team, the agency says. Just clean it up quickly with paper (no vacuuming or brooms), keep the kids away and open the window for a 15-minute douse of fresh air. Tuck the debris into a plastic sack and, if there is no special recycling nearby, discard it in the regular trash.

Interestingly, one of the main reasons to use these bulbs is that when they cut down on energy use, they also cut down on mercury emissions from power plants. And even with their mercury innards, these bulbs are still better for the environment than the old ones.

For all that good, the dangers are real and growing. It is time to find more efficient ways of recycling these fluorescents or, better yet, to invent light bulbs that don't leave a toxic hangover.



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


Monday, February 18, 2008

Not a conspiracy but ....

An email from Prof. Lindzen [rlindzen@MIT.EDU]

I would suppose that you are sometimes accused of thinking that the global warming issue is a conspiracy. Whenever such an accusation is made to me, I respond that no conspiracy is needed. However, increasingly it is evident that conspiracy has played a role.

For example, Tony Socci, who played a significant role in the Singer affair, is now the spokesman of the American Meteorological Society in Washington. John Firor, who was for many years the administrative director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, was also the chairman of the board of the Environmental Defense Fund. R. Napier, president of the World Wildlife Federation - UK, is also chairman of the board of the UK Meteorological Office (which includes the Hadley Center).

Jim Hansen is closely associated with Michael Oppenheimer who was long the Barbara Streisand Scientist at Environmental Defense, and, apparently Michael was on the EPA review panel that recommended the funding of Hansen to get into climate modeling (after NASA had cut funds for the New York lab). Oppenheimer, despite only being a minor author of 3-4 peer reviewed scientific papers on climate, is now a professor at Princeton University. It would be interesting to know who endowed his professorship.

There are many other examples of such interlocking relations between environmental activism (in political or organizational form) and seemingly authoritative academic bodies. I doubt that these relations are accidental.

Moreover, intentional slander seems to be a standard tactic. One matter which involved me was the accusation by Gelbspan that I had lied about a debate in the UK with Bert Bolin. I informed Gelbspan that I had a tape of the debate. Gelbspan said that he wasn't interested. Much of this happened quite long ago, but the situation only seems to be getting worse. My hope is that this is simply a fever before the disease breaks.

New doco coming

Called: "Carbon Dioxide and the "Climate Crisis" - Reality or Illusion?"

Al Gore, former U.S. Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, calls the host of negative consequences that he predicts will accompany the on-going rise in the air's CO2 concentration "a planetary emergency -- a crisis that threatens the survival of our civilization and the habitability of the earth." James Hansen, Director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, similarly claims that the earth "is close to dangerous climate change, to tipping points of the system with the potential for irreversible deleterious effects," and he contends that "ignoring the climate problem at this time, for even another decade, would serve to lock in future catastrophic climatic change."

Do these dire contentions reflect reality? Or do they portray but a marvelously-crafted and hugely-effective illusion?

A new feature-length DVD -- Carbon Dioxide and the "Climate Crisis" - Reality or Illusion? (copyright c 2008 CO2Science) -- explores this perplexing problem through an insightful review of numerous scientific studies that have been largely ignored by the world's climate alarmists, and by illuminating commentary provided by a number of researchers who have spent the better parts of their careers studying the many facets of this complex subject.

The approximately 87-minute DVD is introduced by its creator-director, Dr. Craig Idso, after which the following topics are discussed: Climate Models, Earth's Climatic History, Extreme Weather Events, Ice Sheet Disintegration, Sea Level Trends, Atmospheric Methane, Land and Ocean Extinctions, and Feeding Humanity. In addition, the entire text of the film will be posted online, along with an extensive list of complete citations to the peer-reviewed scientific papers that support the many footnoted statements of fact that are presented in the text.

See what science really has to say about the issue. Acquire and view the DVD, study its text, and examine the scientific literature that is cited therein. Then, decide for yourself. Is the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content truly "a planetary emergency -- a crisis that threatens the survival of our civilization and the habitability of the earth"? Or is it something far, far different from what the world's climate alarmists incessantly claim it is? These are high-priority questions that all of us are going to have to confront in the not-too-distant future. We owe it to ourselves, and to all who will follow us, to be thoroughly prepared for the choice we will have to make when the day of decision arrives.


Al Gore collects prize from Israeli believer

Al Gore, famous for educating the world about the dangers of global warming and climate change, will be arriving in Israel this May after winning one of Israel's most prestigious prizes, the Dan David Prize, valued at $1 million. The prize is part of $3 million in award money offered annually by the Dan David Foundation, a philanthropic organization housed at Tel Aviv University and endowed by Israeli businessman Dan David. The foundation's mission is to award cash prizes that will impact the fields of human knowledge and foster the next generation of scholars. "The 2008 Dan David Prize honors Al Gore for establishing climate crisis as a moral and spiritual imperative, thereby helping to galvanize international action against global warming," said the prize jury.....

Founded in 2001, the Dan David Prize regularly acknowledges US achievements in science and the arts. Past American prizewinners include cellist Yo-Yo Ma and scientist James Hanson.


Reward the rare skeptics

Bob Lutz, Chairman of General Motors is a rare man. He actually says what he thinks and this time what he thinks is absolutely right.Lutz told a group of reporters that "global warming is a crock of sh*t." Lutz then went on to hit Toyota, saying the Prius "makes no economic sense."

Lutz is reacting to a tsunami of propaganda now pouring out of the corporate world telling us all to "Go Green." These corporations are reacting to massive lobbying and black mail from radical environmental groups which threaten the corporations unless they toe the "green" line. But the science is beginning to show that it's all unnecessary and, as Lutz says, is a "crock of sh*t."

The fact is Lutz is not alone. As the politics of Global Warming invades more of our personal lives and affects the economy, skeptics are growing by leaps and bounds.In late December of 2007 a U.S. Senate report noted that over 400 prominent scientists for more than two dozen countries recently voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called "consensus" on man-made global warming.

Earlier, in November, 2007, the founder of the Weather Channel, John Coleman, wrote an article attacking the global warming hype.Coleman wrote, "It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is SCAM. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create an illusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the "research" to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed consensus."

But oh, you say, this is all a right wing conspiracy to discredit true science. Consider this from the New York Times as it quoted Alex Gourevitch, a doctoral candidate in political theory at Columbia University, who said global warming is "the politics of fear."Gourevitch added, "Environmentalism is not just some politics. It's a political project, a full-bodied ideology, and one that presents itself in terms of progress and aspiration. But when you look at what this ideology is built on, it's built in the idea that a collective threat that makes security the basic principle of politics and makes the struggle for survival the basic and central aim of our social and political life." He then compared the environmental movement with the war on terror.

The Green Con is being dumped on us through the massive advertising budgets of multi-national corporations like Toyota British Petroleum and General Electric as they fight to be politically and environmentally correct. They also are using the climate change panic to encourage government to pass legislation that coincidentally helps them sell a product. Case in point is General Electric which helped write the new energy bill that bans the incandescent bulb in favor of GE's new "green" lights. It just happens that the new bulbs cost 6 times more than the incandescents. Welcome to the new planned economy run by partnerships between business and government. But don't call it free enterprise.

The science is there for all to see. While proponents of Global Warming consensus like Al Gore are trying to hush and even punish skeptics for speaking out on our supposedly free society, more and more skeptics are starting to be heard. Man-made Global Warming is not a proven fact and more debate needs to be heard before draconian laws in its name are allowed to destroy our very society. So the Chairman of General Motors, through all of this bad science, hype and political correctness has actually managed to utter some truth. Of course he's being drawn and quartered for it. But to quote General Patton, "A man that eloquent must be saved." Buy a car from GM and take a stand for truth.


Britain: Ban on bottled water coming?

Drinking fizzy water is a perfectly reasonable choice. People tend to like bubbles in ALL their drinks. But drinking still bottled water is just posing in most localities. And posing is mostly a bad thing. But if we outlawed all posing that would be the death of Leftist politics! So principles are taking as back-seat here

Drinking bottled water is almost morally indefensible, a government minister has suggested in a scathing attack on the industry. Phil Woolas, the Environment Minister, said it was daft that six million litres of bottled water were drunk every day in Britain when safe tap water was universally and cheaply available. His comments echoed concerns among environmentalists, who believe that the packaging, transportation and disposal of bottled water products creates unnecessarily high carbon-dioxide emissions.

But they provoked a furious response from the industry, which is worth œ2 billion annually. Representatives demanded an immediate retraction of his remarks. Mr Woolas has further riled the industry by giving his backing to a campaign to persuade the public to use the tap as their primary source of drinking water.

Next week Thames Water, supported by Friends of the Earth and Mr Woolas, will start a campaign to persuade restaurants, pubs and hotels to make tap water more easily available to customers. By persuading people to switch back to tap water the organisers of the initiative hope to reduce the impact on the environment by cutting out the carbon-dioxide emissions from transportation and manufacture of the bottles.

Bottled water has been calculated to have a carbon footprint more than several hundred times bigger than tap water for some brands. Many bottles are transported thousands of miles to get to Britain from countries including the United States and Fiji.

The minister was particularly concerned about water being imported to Britain because of the potential damage to supplies in other countries. "It borders on morally being unacceptable to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on bottled water when we have pure drinking water, when at the same time one of the crises that is facing the world is the supply of water," he told the BBC Panorama programme. "There are many countries in the world who unfortunately haven't got pure tap water. We should be concentrating our efforts on putting that right in my opinion."

He received unexpected backing from Peter Ainsworth, the Shadow Environment Secretary, who agreed that the industry and consumers had big moral questions to answer. "I don't think Phil Woolas is wrong," he said. "Huge amounts are imported from other countries - some now ludicrously from the Far East. This is an ecological nightmare and it doesn't make economic sense either. It certainly raises questions about the basis on which we have constructed our economic lives. By any rational standard it's crazy to be importing water from countries far away when there's perfectly good water in our taps. "It looks like the epiphany of any unsustainable human activity. I think as consumers we should consider the impact we have on the environment. If they think about it they might change their behaviour."

Steve Webb, the Liberal Democrat environment spokesman, said that the environmental impacts caused by the bottled-water industry were sufficiently worrying that the Government should introduce taxes to pay for damage to be put right. Taxes, either directly on the sales of each bottle or through mechanisms such as landfill tax, would put pressure on consumers to change their behaviour. A Swedish study calculated that the environmental impact of bottled water was 90 to 1,000 times greater than tap water, and could be higher.

Jill Ardagh, director-general of the Bottled Water Information Office, led the industry's angry response to the minister's remarks. "Mr Woolas is clearly ill-informed about bottled water and the role it has to play in society, either in this country or other parts of the world," she said. She said that an estimated 20,000 jobs depended on the bottled water trade and demanded that he retract his comments.


Sunny side down: Going solar is a luxury few can afford

IT'S not easy being green-nor is it cheap. With the best will (and some of the most generous handouts) in the world, solar power still makes little sense for the average homeowner, even in sunny southern California. Under pressure from his environmentally conscious ten-year-old daughter, your correspondent has spent the past week talking to experts around the state and running the numbers to see if he could reduce Mayhem Manor's carbon footprint.

Solar power ought to be the answer. The house faces south-east, lacks trees or other shadow-casting obstructions, and its flat roof offers ample space for a sizable solar array. At 720 feet up the hillside, it is well above the "marine layer" (the locals' fancy name for morning fog) and gets about 300 sunny days a year. So what's the problem?

It's not even as though the place gobbles electricity. When the house was being rebuilt five years ago, the new roof came with over a foot of thermal insulation. The floor-to-ceiling windows along two sides of the structure were replaced with double-glazed "low-E" glass (the sort that blocks infra-red radiation), and thermal linings were included in all the exterior walls. Even during the summer, the air conditioner usually stays off. Admittedly, the architect went overboard on lighting. Fully illuminated, the house demanded seven kilowatts of raw lighting-power before fluorescent lights replaced thirsty tungsten filaments. Overall electricity consumption is now a reasonable 8,300 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a year.

Given the local utility's rate of 10.8 cents per kWh, that adds up to a modest $900 for the year-or just $2.50 a day. At those prices, solar energy simply cannot compete with juice from the local power-station, even with California-level subsidies. The problem is that solar-energy technology has been improving incrementally, but its costs have been falling slowly. If solar cells had abided by Moore's Law, they too would have halved in price every 18 months or so-and we would all be running our homes on sunshine. But getting photons from sunlight to dislodge more and more electrons in semi-conducting materials like silicon, and so generate electricity, is harder than building a better microchip.

The first solar cells-built more than a century ago-had conversion efficiencies of around 1%. Since then, their efficiency has doubled once only every 30 years-a veritable snail's pace compared with the speed of microchip development. It was not until the 1950s, for instance, that America's famed Bell Labs stumbled on a way of boosting a solar cell's conversion efficiency by "doping" its silicon with certain impurities. It then took another 50 years to raise the efficiency to nearly 20%. The performance of solar cells has picked up recently. But that's only for the most exotic cells used in space. Today's satellites have solar panels based on thin films of gallium arsenide that boast efficiencies of over 35%. Meanwhile, in the laboratory, exotic "quantum wells" promise photovoltaic conversion efficiencies of 45% or more. But the solar panels used in space cost millions to make and last for a decade at most. Back on earth, the only ones affordable enough to be used commercially are early models based on crystalline and amorphous silicon with efficiencies of around 15%.

And even these aren't exactly cheap. Sanyo's 200-watt module, one of the better panels used by the industry, offers 17% efficiency and costs $1,500 retail. As a rule of thumb, the industry reckons that a solar panel capable of generating one kilowatt of power at peak times will average roughly 20% of that over the whole day. In other words, every kilowatt of installed capacity should be good for 4.8 kWh of daily consumption-or around 1,750 kWh per year. By that reckoning, Mayhem Manor would need 4.8 kilowatts of solar capacity to be able to generate the amount of electricity normally consumed from the grid.

Unfortunately, that ignores all the losses that occur between the sun's rays striking the solar array and that direct current being converted into alternating current to run the house. Such losses can easily mop up 25% of the solar panel's output. So, better install at least 6.4 kilowatts worth of solar panels on the roof.

Here's where going green gets tough. At today's prices, your correspondent would have to stump up $48,000 for the solar panels alone. Add the cost of the switching modules, the power controller, the fault protector, the DC-to-AC inverter and the service panel-not to mention the installation charges and the contractor's profit-and the final bill could easily come to $65,000.

What about incentives and tax credits? That depends on where precisely you live and how effective an installation you have. To get anything like a full grant in your correspondent's neck of the woods, the array would have to be facing due south and tilted at an angle of 34 degrees to the sun. The first might be possible; the second would definitely not. At best, Mayhem Manor would qualify for about $12,000 worth of local assistance plus a $2,000 federal grant.

Borrowing the balance at today's interest rates would mean repayments of roughly $600 a month for ten years, even after setting the interest charges against tax. And all that just to feel good about saving $75 of electricity a month. Better to buy a couple of tons worth of carbon offsets each year for $70 and have done with it.



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


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Report from Greenland: Too Much Ice Causing Polar Bears to go hungry so they are seeking food in the towns

Up to six bears were seen in the vicinity of Sisimiut - some quite close to the city. How many bears which are actually approaching Sisimiut has not been confirmed. But Maria Aarup has no doubt that on Tuesday she saw several bears near Amerloq Fjord. Fishermen have also seen a number of bears on the small islands from their trawlers as they battled ice in the harbour. Thursday morning bears were also seen at the airport and several people have seen bear tracks near the town dump.

Citizens are asked to report any bears they see to the police. If they stand in close proximity of a bear, are seriously threatened or seen a bear attack a person, they have the right to shoot. Petersen encouraged people to be careful though. Bears which are hungry lose their natural shyness. They usually stay in the water and hunt seals, but if they are hungry they come ashore and consume anything they can find.


More information in the Danish-language version here. In an email, Svend Erik Hendriksen, a certified weather observer in the Kangerlussuaq Greenland MET office, summarizes it as follows:

"Several polar bears (at least 6) located close to Sisimiut town on the West coast...To much sea ice, so they are very hungry..... Al Gore says the polar bear need more ice to survive....Now we have a lot of ice, but the polar bears are starving and find their food at the garbage dumps in towns. It's also influenced the local community, polar bear alerts keep kids away from the schools and so on.... The first one was shot at February 1st.

And here's more on what's happening in Greenland weatherwise

The ice between Canada and southwestern Greenland has reached its highest level in 15 years. Minus 30 degrees Celsius. That's how cold it's been in large parts of western Greenland where the population has been bundling up in hats and scarves. At the same time, Denmark's Meteorological Institute states that the ice between Canada and southwest Greenland right now has reached its greatest extent in 15 years.

'Satellite pictures show that the ice expansion has extended farther south this year. In fact, it's a bit past the Nuuk area. We have to go back 15 years to find ice expansion so far south. On the eastern coast it hasn't been colder than normal, but there has been a good amount of snow.'

But how do these new reports fit in with continual reports that ice in the Arctic Ocean has been melting at a record rate due to increasing temperatures? And isn't global warming at the top of the political agenda these years? If it's up to meteorologists from Denmark's Meteorological Institute, there is not anything inherently contradictory that extreme cold is replaced by higher temperatures than average. Or that melting sea ice occasionally is replaced by expanding ice sheets.


Polar Bears Are The Wrong Target Say Inuit

Canadian Inuit are opposing vigorous lobbying efforts to get the polar bear listed as "threatened" under the American Endangered Species Act. The US government has been considering the action since 2006. Now three conservation groups, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace are threatening to sue the US government to get it to proceed with the listing.

Two organizations that represent Inuit in Canada are disagreeing with the tactic of using the polar bear to try to force the American government to take action on climate change. Duane Smith, the president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (Canada) says, "I don't see how listing it as threatened will complement the sustainability of the population. It is climate change that is the problem, not the sustainable hunting of polar bears."

Some polar bears in Canada are currently hunted by American hunters, who pay well for the experience. The hunt brings more than one and half million dollars a year into small Inuit communities in the territory of Nunavut. The listing of polar bears would likely threaten that hunt, and the money it brings into the communities.

"Even with the sport hunts we use dog teams, a portion of tags also go toward subsistence harvesting, and we ensure that all the meat and other parts of the Polar Bear are fully utilized," says Smith. "Our hunters and guides benefit economically and we are able to continue with our culture, enjoy the benefits of what we use, and ensure that this is done in a responsible and sustainable manner."

At the moment, Inuit are convinced that polar bears are being hunted at sustainable levels. Whether or not that level of hunting will still be sustainable in the future, after the effects of climate change become more severe, remains to be seen.

The bottom line is that stopping people from hunting polar bears now will not protect populations of polar bears in the future. Taking action on climate change now, on the other hand, will protect populations of polar bears in the future.


NYT deception again

An NYT reporter recently had some long conversations with climate scientist Dr. Albert Arking and in the resultant article presented the scientist as a Warmist. Below is how the scientist himself describes his views -- views that are nowhere mentioned in the NYT article:

My own views at the time (expressed in an Op-Ed piece in the NY Times in 1991 and in a Senate Committee hearing chaired by Al Gore) was that increasing greenhouse gases (GHG) would contribute to climate warming, but other factors (e.g., solar variability) are also at play. Furthermore, our understanding of feedbacks was too limited to let us predict changes in response to external forcing by anything better than a factor of 3.

Since then, of course, global temperatures have continued to go up, and research has provided some insight into the relative roles of solar and GHG forcing. I had given Jastrow copies of recent papers that tried to estimate how much of past temperature change can be attributed to solar variations and how much to GHG. I tried to convince him that if the earth can respond to solar variations, then basic physics requires that it also respond to GHG variations---one controls input energy, the other output. Dr. Jastrow never considered GHG to be a predominant factor, past or present, but he did agree that GHG would contribute to warming, pointing to it as possibly beneficial if solar luminosity should decrease, as it most likely did at times in the past.

I do have strong views about our use of fossil fuels, but not because of the scary scenarios that people like Al Gore publicize. (Most of that stuff---e.g., half of Florida disappearing, etc.---is plain nonsense, and he never mentions that more people die from cold than heat, that we could save more polar bears by restricting hunting than by stopping global warming, etc.) We should cut down on fossil fuels because it makes us and the rest of the world dependent on hostile countries, and it is a likely a source of funding for terrorism. Furthermore, fossil fuels, especially crude oil, will continue to rise in price because reserves are finite and demand for energy is increasing. However, the best way to lessen dependence on fossil fuels in the long run---and it is the long run that counts, because global warming is a gradual process---is to develop new technology, not by forcing the American public to pay other countries to burn the fuel for them. The Kyoto plan would take away dollars from devloped [sic] countries that could otherwise be used to fund new technology. Some policy decisions that are made in haste---e.g., subsidizing and mandating use of ethanol---can have bad consequences for the economy, and could actually add to GHG emissions, the opposite of the intended effect.

To summarize, I believe the global warming we have experienced in the last few decades is real, and most likely due to increasing GHG, but I am skeptical about outlandish claims that have little or no scientific basis. (Ocean levels rose about 8 inches in the last century, and are likely to rise about 12 inches in the present century, but that is small commpared [sic] to the 5-10 feet rise and fall of tides that occurs daily; adding 12 inches to dikes over a century is not difficult.) But I believe it important for our economy and security to develop new technology---both new sources of energy and new techniques for distributing and using energy more efficiently.

Much more here

General Motors executive Lutz calls global warming concerns 'total crock of sh**'

For putting up the quote below I will no doubt be henceforth described by Greenies as "in the pay" of General Motors

Bob Lutz, General Motors' vice chairman and chief car guru, says what really turns him on is "doing the unexpected" --acting "contrary to the conventional wisdom, forcing people to re-think their beliefs." Maybe that's why Lutz, who made his name developing behemoths like the V-10 Dodge Viper, is so sold on the fuel-efficient new Chevrolet Volt, which will run on a lithium-ion battery and could go on sale by 2010. "The Volt thrills me because it's the last thing anybody expected from GM," the ex-Marine said at a private lunch in Arlington today.

If you're into cars or the car business, jump to read more of Lutz's contrarian beliefs. During a closed-door session with several journalists at the Cacharel restaurant, Lutz declared that:

-Hybrid cars like those made by Toyota "make no economic sense," because their price will never come down, and diesel autos like those touted by Chrysler are also uneconomic. The only place in Europe that diesel-driven cars are big, he said, is where diesel fuel is half the cost of regular gasoline; in most places there, the costs are comparable and diesel has little market penetration.

- Global warming is a "total crock of ****." Then he added: "I'm a skeptic, not a denier. Having said that, my opinion doesn't matter. (With the battery-driven Volt), "I'm motivated more by the desire to replace imported oil than by the CO2 (argument)."

- With more and more good-quality cars on the market these days, "you've got to look at the business artistically, too. Part of our business is creating blockbusters-just like the movie business-yet we never think of ourselves that way. A car is an exciting mobile sculpture that you want to own, drive and be seen in. That's why (auto-industry) comeback stories are always design-driven." One GM car that fills that bill, he said, is Cadillac's CTS.

- The best car dealers will thrive even in a sluggish economy. "They've got to isolate themselves from the economic forecasts," Lutz said, "and say, `I make my own prosperity.' "

Tonight, Lutz will jawbone privately with area GM dealers about these and other matters at a local restaurant where steak will be served.


Britain: Expensive new home for four newts

Cheshire County Council is calling for a review of EU legislation after being forced to spend o60,000 to move four newts from a school development site. Great crested newts are an endangered species and are protected by EU law. When four were found on land at Fallibroome High School, Macclesfield, they had to be trapped, moved and have a new pond built to house them.

Councillor Barrie Hardern called the 60,000 pounds cost of the scheme before the school could build "ludicrous".

When the amphibians were found on the site where the school wanted to build new sports facilities and an extension a costly mitigation exercise had to be undertaken which meant a new habitat had to be built.

Natural England, the government body charged with protecting the newts said it is important to look after every colony no matter how small. But Mr Harden said: "I find it extraordinary that the law requires public money to be spent at such a ludicrous level."



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


Saturday, February 16, 2008


From Lee C. Gerhard [], Senior Scientist Emeritus, Kansas Geological Survey, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

Can anyone out there provide me with any empirical data in support of the theory that humans control climate warming? No, don't tell me that climate is changing - we geologists absolutely know that climate changes all the time, in both directions, and at many scales of time and intensity.

Don't give me results of computer modeling - those are not empirical data, they are the results of very serious attempts to place numbers on natural phenomena, but they are still based on assumptions and estimates, and have not been able to replicate past climate changes, particularly over the last 1500 years. Computer models are currently nothing more than scientific theories set to mathematical music.

Bring us some data, some values that support the concept. Right now the data show correlative changes in temperature and solar activity, modified by ocean current movement and orbital variations, many of which are predictable and which have operated to change climate for billions of years.

Yes, there is an increase in carbon dioxide, but its effects drop logarithmically with its increase. Thus, it doesn't pose a threat. All told the full greenhouse effect, mostly water vapor, does make Earth a habitable planet.

Please don't argue that climate is changing at rates and intensities not ever seen before. That is just not true. Read the data already out there from the geologists and those who study past climate change.

Tell me why otherwise competent scientists argue for their theory but fail to provide any support for their theory other than constant repetition of untrue statements and alarmist exaggerations. Upton Sinclair, author of The Jungle said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." Is that what is happening?


I'm writing this after doing an exhaustive search to see what sort of solar activity has occurred lately, and I find there is little to report. With the exception of the briefly increased solar wind from a coronal hole, there is almost no significant solar activity. The sun has gone quiet. Really quiet.

It is normal for our sun to have quiet periods between solar cycles, but we've seen months and months of next to nothing, and the start of Solar cycle 24 seems to have materialized (as first reported here) then abruptly disappeared. The reverse polarity sunspot that signaled the start of cycle 24 on January 4th, dissolved within two days after that.

Of course we've known that the sunspot cycle has gone low, which is also to be expected for this period of the cycle. Note that NOAA still has two undecided scenarios for cycle 24 Lower that normal, or higher than normal, as indicated on the graph below:

But the real news is just how quiet the suns magnetic field has been in the past couple of years. From the data provided by NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) you can see just how little magnetic field activity there has been. I've graphed it below:

What is most interesting about the Geomagnetic Average Planetary Index graph above is what happened around October 2005. Notice the sharp drop in the magnetic index and the continuance at low levels.

This looks much like a "step function" that I see on GISS surface temperature graphs when a station has been relocated to a cooler measurement environment. In the case of the sun, it appears this indicates that something abruptly "switched off" in the inner workings of the solar dynamo. Note that in the prior months, the magnetic index was ramping up a bit with more activity, then it simply dropped and stayed mostly flat.

We saw a single reversed polarity high latitude sunspot on January 4th, 2008, which would signal the start of a new cycle 24, which was originally predicted to have started last March and expected to peak in 2012. So far the sun doesn't seem to have restarted its normal upwards climb.

If you have ever studied how the magnetic dynamo of the sun is so incredibly full of entropy, yet has cycles, you'll understand how it can change states. The sun's magnetic field is a like a series of twisted and looped rubber bands, mostly because the sun is a fluid gas, which rotates at different rates between the poles and the equator. Since the suns magnetic field is pulled along with the gas, all these twists, bumps, and burps occur in the process as the magnetic field lines get twisted like taffy. You can see more about it in the Babcock model.

The Babcock model says that the differential rotation of the Sun winds up the magnetic fields of it's layers during a solar cycle. The magnetic fields will then eventually tangle up to such a degree that they will eventually cause a magnetic break down and the fields will have to struggle to reorganize themselves by bursting up from the surface layers of the Sun. This will cause magnetic North-South pair boundaries (spots) in the photosphere trapping gaseous material that will cool slightly. Thus, when we see sunspots, we are seeing these areas of magnetic field breakdown.

Sunspots are cross connected eruptions of the magnetic field lines, shown in red above. Sometimes they break, spewing tremendous amounts of gas and particles into space. Solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CME's) are some examples of this process. Sometimes they snap back like rubber bands. The number of sunspots at solar max is a direct indicator of the activity level of the solar dynamo.

Given the current quietness of the sun and it's magnetic field, combined with the late start to cycle 24 with even possibly a false start, it appears that the sun has slowed it's internal dynamo to a similar level such as was seen during the Dalton Minimum. One of the things about the Dalton Minimum was that it started with a skipped solar cycle, which also coincided with a very long solar cycle 4 from 1784-1799. The longer our current cycle 23 lasts before we see a true ramp up of cycle 24, the greater chance it seems then that cycle 24 will be a low one.

No wonder there is so much talk recently about global cooling. I certainly hope that's wrong, because a Dalton type solar minimum would be very bad for our world economy and agriculture. NASA GISS published a release back in 2003 that agrees with the commonly accepted idea that long period trends in solar activity do affect our climate by changing the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI).

Some say it is no coincidence that 2008 has seen a drop in global temperature as indicated by several respected temperature indexes compared to 2007, and that our sun is also quiet and still not kick starting its internal magentic dynamo.



I had to chuckle to myself reading a letter here at The Register, recently. "David Whitehouse - although a respected scientist - is still only one voice and his speciality is astrophysics not climate," wrote a reader. This is one of my greatest concerns about so called climate science. Climate science is a very, very new field. So new, in fact, that it has had little chance for its assertions to be tested.

For example, climate models are being developed with very little ability to test out of sample. Furthermore, the climate science bandwagon has come about solely because of supposed anthropogenic climate change, which means that their funding is intrinsically tied to climate change happening and being man-made. A more self-interested group I could not find anywhere, even looking at the researchers who were paid by big tobacco companies to tell us cigarettes are safe.

The scientists who interest me in this field are those who can draw on the experience of a lot of people who have come before them. And uniformly in these areas I find scepticism. People who write mathematical models of complex systems for a living tend to find the climate models very unconvincing. Geologists find the arguments very unconvincing. Engineers find the arguments unconvincing. And astrophysicists find the arguments unconvincing.

Why? Well the answers are clear. Climate groupthink The climate models seem to be largely driven by over-fitting to a small sample set and positive feedback. The small sample set - at most 30 years of accurate data - might be enough to try and predict one or two years, but 50 year predictions? Ignoring the biggest effect on global warming - water vapour - is surely going to cause problems.

Positive feedback in engineering invariably results in unstable systems - so we have to ask why do most if not all of the climate models rely on it to get doomsday predictions? For the Earth to have survived as long as it has with a stable climate, through major events like ice-ages or volcanic eruptions, there is little doubt that a degree of negative climate feedback is essential.

Geologists will quite happily explain how major climate changes in the Earth are a result of geological changes. Remember that more carbon is trapped in limestone than in either plant life or fossil fuels (or both put together for that matter). Ice ages and volcanic eruptions are all things that will unarguably change the climate. Yet, with the notable exception of the extinction of the dinosaurs, it seems life has happily trundled along through it all. We're the living proof.

Of course, it's also interesting to see changes over shorter time periods. If you go to see the Roman ruins at Ephesus in Turkey, the guide will point out that the harbour is miles from where the nearest sea is today. Sea levels go up and down for many reasons - carbon dioxide not being one of them. Somehow, we survive.

Of course, astrophysicists and astronomers will happily tell us about global warming on other planets in the solar system, a period of extensive solar activity and the like. But they get poo-pooed just like all the other "real scientists" who have a view. Climate scientists have to disagree with real scientists or they would lose their funding.

Finally, why can't we trust human ingenuity? At the moment, I don't see that the evidence for anthropogenic climate change is strong enough to wreck our economies to try to change it. But if, over the next 10 or 20 years, the evidence really does come out in favour of these theories, then I have faith in our ability to solve the problem. Just like we have successfully dealt with smog in London, rivers flooding, or acid rain. We always have.



1. Uber-alarmist James Hansen is head of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

2. Hansen is said to be the boss of RealClimate alarmist Gavin Schmidt at NASA GISS.

3. Gristmill alarmist Andrew Dessler says he did his post-doctoral work at NASA Goddard (at about the 40 second mark here).

4. RealClimate alarmist Eli Rabbet is said to be Josh Halpern: Prof. Halpern is also the Co-Director of the NASA Faculty Fellowship Program at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD in odd numbered years. This program supports about 30 faculty each year to do summer research at Goddard.

When this worldwide global warming hysteria inevitably dies, it will probably become clear that a core cause was groupthink among a surprisingly small set of people.



Netizens get the real story. The general public get led up a dry gulch

Yesterday provided one of the starkest contrasts I have ever witnessed between the standards of news broadcasting on BBC TV News and BBC News Online. Putting it in the crudest of terms, the so-called flagship, BBC Ten O'Clock News (BBC 1), provided little more than tabloid hysteria, while the BBC Online coverage was thoughtful, and genuinely worthy both of plaudits and of the BBC's long tradition of public service.

The story in question somehow inevitably related to 'global warming', and it was about the report from a panel of scientific experts commissioned by the Department of Health, and the Health Protection Agency (HPA), to examine the way in which the UK has responded to rising temperatures since the 1970s, and to assess how the risks are likely to change. The moment you glimpsed the BBC Health News Online headline, you knew that you were in for some balanced and nuanced reporting, well-worth the read: 'Global warming "may cut deaths"' [BBC Health News Online, February 12]:

"The risk of a fatal heatwave in the UK within ten years is high, but overall global warming may mean fewer deaths due to temperature, a report says. A seriously hot summer between now and 2017 could claim more than 6,000 lives, the Department of Health report warns. But it also stresses that milder winters mean deaths during this time of year - which far outstrip heat-related mortality - will continue to decline."

The coverage went on to point out: "While summers in the UK became warmer in the period 1971 - 2003, there was no change in heat-related deaths, but annual cold-related mortality fell by 3% as winters became milder - so overall fewer people died as a result of extreme temperatures.

Rather than physiological changes explaining our ability to adapt to rising temperatures, the report puts this down primarily to lifestyle alterations - our readiness to wear more informal clothes, for instance, and the shift away from manual labour."

All very interesting. The account then, quite fairly, discussed the impacts of potential heatwaves, but, even in this context, it entered sensible caveats: "However, even 6,000 deaths pales in comparison with the number of cold-related deaths, which in the UK currently average about 20,000 per year."

Throughout, the Online reportage read, and felt, like real science, well-presented and cautious. I congratulate the Online Editor and the reporters concerned.

In stark contrast - you will have to take my word for this - the report on the BBC Ten O'Clock News was a travesty, focusing entirely on the mayhem of heatwaves, with lurid graphics and the use of over-dramatic language. By the end, any careful science had been brutally violated (I nearly said 'raped') - there is no other word for it - in the worst traditions of tabloid journalism. The role of milder winters cutting deaths, of course, was just ignored.

What can one say? No wonder TV audiences are falling. That is the last occasion on which I shall bother to waste my time watching the BBC Ten O'Clock News. BBC Online and Radio will do fine for me, thanks. But what must the excellent reporters of the Online site think?

And, what would the doughty John Charles Walsham Reith, 1st Baron Reith, the BBC's first Director-General, think? We could well recall his weighty words: "Need we be ashamed of moral values, or of intellectual and ethical objectives? It is these that are here and now at stake."



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


Friday, February 15, 2008

Global warming kills off Loch Ness monster!!

LEGENDARY Nessie hunter Robert Rines is giving up his search for the monster after 37 years. The 85-year-old American will make one last trip in a bid to find the elusive beast. After almost four decades of fruitless expeditions, he admitted: "Unfortunately, I'm running out of age." World War II veteran Robert has devoted almost half his life to scouring Loch Ness. He started in 1971. The following year, he watched a 25ft-long hump with the texture of elephant skin gliding through the water. His original trip was to help another monster hunter with sonar equipment and quickly identified large moving targets. He was smitten and returned the next year, which is when, he says: "I had the misfortune of seeing one of these things with my own eyes."

Since then, he has been obsessed with tracking down the creature with a staggering array of hi-tech equipment. It was this gear that took the famous "flipper" picture that year which created a stir around the world. Despite having hundreds of sonar contacts over the years, the trail has since gone cold and Rines believes that Nessie may be dead, a victim of global warming. He still wants to check almost 100 contacts on the floor of the loch, believing one may be the monster's remains.

Robert bought a cottage on the banks of the loch to live in during his annual summer trips. He has also set up a "Nessie" room in his Boston home crammed with information gathered over the years. As he prepared for his last hunt, Robert said: "What am I to do - forget what I saw? There are a lot of eyewitness accounts. Are they all liars? All drunks? I don't believe human nature is like that. "What disturbs me as a lawyer is that we prove cases by eyewitness testimony. The human brain is not 100 per cent accurate but it's not zero either."

In 1975, the trained physicist and inventor managed to get a photograph in the murky waters of the loch which apparently showed the body, flipper, neck and head of an animal. Since Nessie hunting began in the 1930s, a host of people have tried to find the monster.



The unfalsifiable hypothesis again

The recent cold wave sweeping across Mumbai and other parts of India could be attributed to global warming, experts said on Tuesday here at an environmental conference.

Addressing the `Combat Global Warming' conference at the Indian Merchants Chamber (IMC) here, former Union minister for power and environment Suresh Prabhu said global warming was primarily a problem created and induced by human beings.

He said the increase in emission of green house gases like carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and methane had resulted in the situation, which could prove catastrophic if unchecked. Prabhu said the cold wave that swept Maharashtra and other parts of India recently could be attributed to the phenomenon of global warming.


Biofuels emissions may be worse than petroleum-based fuel

Biofuels, once seen as a useful way of combating climate change, could actually increase greenhouse gas emissions, say two major new studies. And it may take tens or hundreds of years to pay back the "carbon debt" accrued by growing biofuels in the first place, say researchers. The calculations join a growing list of studies questioning whether switching to biofuels really will help combat climate change.

Biofuel production has accelerated over the last 5 years, spurred in part by a US drive to produce corn-derived ethanol as an alternative to petrol. The idea makes intuitive environmental sense - plants take up carbon dioxide as they grow, so biofuels should help reduce greenhouse gas emissions - but the full environmental cost of biofuels is only now becoming clear.

Extra emissions are created from the production of fertiliser needed to grow corn, for example, leading some researchers to predict that the energy released by burning ethanol is only 25% greater than that used to grow and process the fuel.

The new studies examine a different part of biofuel equation, and both suggest that the emissions associated with the crops may be even worse than that. One analysis looks at land that is switched to biofuel crop production. Carbon will be released when forests are felled or bush cleared, and longer-term emissions created by dead roots decaying.

This creates what Joseph Fargione of The Nature Conservancy and colleagues call a "carbon debt". Emissions savings generated by the biofuels will help pay back this debt, but in some cases this can take centuries, suggests their analysis. If 10,000 square metres of Brazilian rainforest is cleared to make way for soya beans - which are used to make biodiesel - over 700,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide is released.

The saving generated by the resulting biodiesel will not cancel that out for around 300 years, says Fargione. In the case of peat land rainforest in Indonesia, which is being cleared to grow palm oil, the debt will take over 400 years to repay, he says.

The carbon debts associated with US corn are measured in tens rather than hundreds of years. But the second study suggests that producing corn for fuel rather than food could have dramatic knock-on effects elsewhere. Corn is used to feed cattle and demand for meat is high, so switching land to biofuel production is likely to prompt farmers in Brazil and elsewhere to clear forests and other lands to create new cropland to grow the missing corn. When the carbon released by those clearances is taken into account, corn ethanol produces nearly twice as much carbon as petrol.

"The implications of these changes in land use have not been appreciated up until now," says Alex Farrell, at the University of California, Berkeley, US. Farrell adds that biofuels could still prove useful in the fight against climate change, but using different approaches - such as focusing on crops for both food and fuel, or new technology for generating biofuels from food waste.


Greenie frustration about Arctic trends

Arctic summer sea ice is unlikely to shrink drastically in 2008 beyond a record low set last year even though the long-term trend is a thaw tied to global warming, a leading scientist said on Wednesday. Arctic sea ice, an indicator of climate change as it expands in winter and thaws in summer, shrank last September to a low of 4.1 million sq km (1.6 million sq miles), more than 1.2 million sq km less than the previous recorded low in 2005. "My feeling is that the situation will probably be the same as last year, or maybe a slight recovery," Jean-Claude Gascard, head of the European Arctic research project Damocles, told Reuters. "I would be very surprised if there would be another large drop this year. It would be really dramatic," said Gascard, of France's Universite Pierre et Marie Curie.

Some experts project that the ice could vanish in summer by mid-century, threatening the hunting livelihoods of Arctic indigenous peoples and species such as seals and polar bears while opening the region to oil and gas exploration or shipping.

Gascard said informal surveys by Damocles of scores of leading researchers, at meetings in San Francisco and in Oslo in recent months, showed that a large majority also expected the ice in 2008 to be unchanged from 2007 or slightly bigger. "Very few said that there will be another drop as large as it was last summer," he said. The melt can accelerate climate change because tracts of darker water soak up far more of the sun's heat than reflective snow and ice. "Rarely is there a drop of such magnitude in two consecutive years," he said of historical data, adding that the extreme 2007 thaw may be partly explained by natural variability rather than global warming alone.

Any surprise new fall to a record low would be a worrying sign that the ice had crossed a point of no return, a "tipping point" that could herald an accelerated disappearance of the ice. "If we have two years in a row with a drastic drop in the ice extent at the end of the summer ... it would be a strong argument for having crossed a tipping point," he said.


How one Australian government gets people out of their cars and into public transport (NOT)

MELBOURNE'S unfriendliest and safest train stations are revealed in a police snapshot of our rail system. Dandenong station is the hotbed for transit crime, with more offences than on several entire rail lines combined. The Pakenham line is the most dangerous, recording a fifth of all rail crime, police data compiled for the Sunday Herald Sun reveal. Commuters can expect unruly behaviour, assaults, fights and vandalism on Sydenham, Frankston, Epping and Werribee lines.

But Alamein and Melton lines are among the safest. Individual stations, including Merlynston, Moonee Ponds, Murrumbeena, Upfield, Oak Park, Spotswood, Williamstown Beach and West Richmond had the least trouble.

Between October last year and this month, police recorded 1327 crimes on trains and at stations. Victoria Police data show violent thefts and assaults have soared across the network. Robberies between July and this month totalled 197 -- a 41.7 per cent jump. And assaults rose by almost a quarter to a total of 745 offences across all 209 metropolitan stations. The alarming figures come amid revelations of dwindling transit police numbers. Leaked information reveals the Transit Safety Division is down 27 staff. Another eight officers are expected to leave within weeks, assigned to other duties, leaving about 200 officers to patrol the train system.

The division's Acting Superintendent, Shayne Pannell, said staff losses were temporary and would not affect passenger safety. He said reported crime on the train network had dropped considerably. Total offences were down 1.8 per cent on the previous year. The recent surge in the volume of commuters meant the rate of crime per traveller had almost halved. There were seven crimes per 100,000 passengers in 2002-03 and three and a half crimes per 100,000 in 2006-07. Only five crimes had been recorded at Noble Park station since an incident in October last year when a bashed man died.

The drop in crime at Noble Park proved a show of unity between police and Connex could have marked effects. Boronia, Sunshine and Frankston stations were high on the list of stations under observation, he said. There was a reduction in car theft by a quarter and also a small drop in the number of thefts from cars. And there was a 15 per cent reduction in the number of assaults on moving trains -- with violence instead shifting to platforms or around stations. Supt Pannell said in the last three months, police had started to reduce the soaring figures.



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


Thursday, February 14, 2008


For some time, people have been saying that greenhouse theory makes various assumptions incompatible with the basic laws of physics. That was recently set out at length by two German physicists in an academic paper. Abstract below (semi-popular summary here).

Needless to say, the Warmists on the NYT blog and elsewhere have tried to discredit the German work. Following the abstract below is the disgusted reply to the Warmists from the German physicists:
Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics

By Gerhard Gerlich, Ralf D. Tscheuschner

The atmospheric greenhouse effect, an idea that authors trace back to the traditional works of Fourier 1824, Tyndall 1861, and Arrhenius 1896, and which is still supported in global climatology, essentially describes a fictitious mechanism, in which a planetary atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is radiatively interacting with but radiatively equilibrated to the atmospheric system. According to the second law of thermodynamics such a planetary machine can never exist. Nevertheless, in almost all texts of global climatology and in a widespread secondary literature it is taken for granted that such mechanism is real and stands on a firm scientific foundation. In this paper the popular conjecture is analyzed and the underlying physical principles are clarified. By showing that (a) there are no common physical laws between the warming phenomenon in glass houses and the fictitious atmospheric greenhouse effects, (b) there are no calculations to determine an average surface temperature of a planet, (c) the frequently mentioned difference of 33 degrees Celsius is a meaningless number calculated wrongly, (d) the formulas of cavity radiation are used inappropriately, (e) the assumption of a radiative balance is unphysical, (f) thermal conductivity and friction must not be set to zero, the atmospheric greenhouse conjecture is falsified.

Source. Full paper here

We (Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner) are very sorry that we cannot reply to all statements published in Internet blogs since our "times on-line" are rather limited. Especially, we do not reply to semi-anonymous virtual climate pets like Eli Rabett and other Internet geniuses such as Gavin Schmidt, Stefan Rahmstorf and others at the "Real Climate" or "Atmoz Blog" anti-scientific smear sites. Most of them know so little about physics that they quote the second law of thermodynamics incorrectly in order to falsify our work. Even the difference between energy, work and heat seems to be unknown to these experts. This cannot be the basis of a scientific discussion.

First, let us start with discussing the identity of Eli Rabett. We have been informed that Eli Rabett is the pseudonym of Josh Halpern, a chemistry professor at Howard University. He is a laser spectroscopist with no formal training in climatology and theoretical physics. On 2007-11-14 one of us (RDT) sent Josh Halpern the following E-Mail:
Josh Halpern alias Eli Rabbett - [If you are not Josh Halpern, then forgive me and delete this message immediately.]

Apparently, believing to be protected by anonymity you (and others) want to establish a quality of a scientific discussion that is based on offenses and arrogance rather than on critical rationalism and exchange of arguments. Scientists cannot tolerate and endorse what is becoming a quality in weblogs and what is pioneered by IPCC-conformal virtual climate bloggers. I must urge you to reconsider. My questions to you:

1. What is the most general formulation of the second law of thermodynamics?

2. What is your favorite exact definition of the atmospheric greenhouse effect within the frame of physics?

3. Could you provide me a literature reference of a rigorous derivation of this effect?

4. How do you compute the supposed atmospheric greenhouse effect (the supposed warming effect, not simply the absorption) from given reflection, absorption, emission spectra of a gas mixture, well-formulated magnetohydrodynamics, and unknown dynamical interface and other boundary conditions?

5. Do you really believe, that you can transform an unphysical myth into a physical truth on such a low level of argumentation?

We did not get any response. We would like to encourage the readers of this blog to read our paper, at least the conclusions. It can be found here:

The following is a delayed reply to the very offending posting #111 of Raymond T. Pierrehumbert who wrote to Marc Morano
You can obfuscate all you want, but you can't hide from the fact that we have been going at this for nearly two weeks now and none of the skeptics we have discussed so far have established a credible publication record for the ideas that qualify them as skeptics in your eyes. Whatever these ideas are, they evidently can't stand up to the same kind of scrutiny that the ideas in the IPCC report have been subjected to.

Neither the validity of a scientific result depends on the publication record of its authors, nor the number of publications is an indicator of the quality of research. To put it bluntly, virtual climate research (Pierrhumbert and his buddies may call it "real climate" research) is nonsense (non-science). The thousands of publications reviewing the results of these computer games are not worth the papers they are printed on, not to mention the hardware, CPU times and memory.
Today I'm in a good mood, so I'll give you a twofer: Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner. Neither of these physicists has produced a single peer-reviewed paper bearing on any aspect of climate science, or even on the radiative physics underpinning climate science.

Indeed, this is a great advantange for the whole discussion, both scientifically and politically. It is a presupposition for to have a fresh look at the topic. We (Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner) are unbiased totally independent theoretical physicists, familar with stochastic description of nature and quantum field theory, respectively, and last but not least familar with the physics lab and software engineering. Of course, we have published our papers in peer-reviewed journals, and on topics that belong to science, not to science fiction as the computer games of global climatology do. We are physicists, not climatologists. The main results of our paper are:

- the CO2 greenhouse effect is not an effect in the sense of a physical effect and, hence, simply does not exist;

- computer aided global climatology will not be science, if science is defined as a method to verify or falsify conjectures, according to the usual definition of science. (We do not get into the ideas of e.g. Feyerabend "anything goes" here in that they do not apply to physics, in particular to applied physics, e.g. aeroplanes).

Due to research grants, a huge amount of financial support, virtual global climatologists suffer from a kind of omnipotence delusion comparable to the state of highness of the early super string community. However, physics is different: "Physics is where the action is", i.e., finally, reproducible results in the lab. We cannot overemphasize that science is a method to prove conjectures, and not to go on-stage like the pop star Al Gore performing what-if-when-scenarios beyond any reality and scaring kids.
The two links you provide in fact point to the same paper. What you seem to be unaware of is that this paper has not been published in any journal. It appears only in the unreviewed ArXIV repository of manuscripts. This repository has no screening whatsoever as to the the content of the papers posted. Indeed, a look at the paper by anybody who has even a nodding acquaintance with radiation physics shows why they wouldn't dare subject it to peer review. About 40 pages of this 90 page opus is in fact devoted to discussing the well-known flaws in the glass-greenhouse analogy sometimes used in simplified explanations of the phenomenon. These flaws have no bearing whatever on the manner in which the greenhouse effect is actually computed in climate models.

We are not sure, whether you, Dr. Pierrehumbert, really know what you are talking about. The full theory of the atmospheric system must be a fusion of magnetohydrodynamics and radiation theory including earth's gravity and rotation. The full theory should be a multi component theory and should include phase separation (interesting!), plasma physics, and highly involved boundary conditions which, in general, even cannot be written down. You, Dr. Pierrehumbert, first solve the turbulence problem, and then we can discuss the existence of a local thermodynamic equilibrium for the photon bath in which the atmosphere is embedded. Point us to only one source in the literature, where the CO2 term enters the fundamental equations (not the useless phenomenological toy model equations).

Mathematically, even within the most simplified models you cannot predict anything, because all these ones crudely approximate non-linear partial differential equations with unknown boundary conditions. There is simply no physical foundation of the computer models with and without CO2.
The rest of the paper is simply bad physics; in fact, if they were right, not only would there be no anthropogenic greenhouse effect, there would be no greenhouse effect at all!

Boy, you got it.
They've proved too much!

We did not prove anything. We did not show anything. We only demonstrated that you and your virtual global climatology buddies and Al Gore and the peace Nobel prize committee do not know anything about fundamental university physics. We conclusively showed that you guy and your buddies never will prove or disprove anything in the context of your unproven computer models. Moreover, we are sure that you are fully aware of this fact.
The Earth would be a solid ball of ice, and Venus would be 400 degrees colder than it is.

In our paper, we clearly show that the standard calculation giving the 33 Celsius degrees for the greenhouse effect is wrong. Moreover, the Venus problem has nothing to do with the greenhouse effect, since in this case even the core presupposition is not fulfilled, namely that the sunlight reaches the ground.
And, as an aside, infrared weather satellites wouldn't work either.

Apparently, you do not know the subtle difference between absorption and warming. Read Chandrasekhar, read Unsoeld, read Schack.
Since the work was never published, it of course has never been discussed in the peer reviewed literature. The obvious flaws in the paper cannot be discussed easily in a comment box, but for a good general guide to the junk physics in this paper I refer the reader to Eli Rabett's discussion at .

Our paper is a brand new preprint submitted for publication. You are allowed to cite it in your future work according to the arXiv conventions. Apparently, you rank a peer reviewed published paper higher than a preprint, no matter of its content. Even so, really surprising in this context is that you attribute to the statements of a semi-anonymous virtual climate pet, namely Eli Rabett, the highest value.


Experts challenge ice shelf claim

Two scientists have claimed that climate change was not the only cause of the collapse of a 500bn tonne ice shelf in Antarctica six years ago. The 656ft (200m) thick, 1,255 sq mile (3,250 sq km) Larsen B shelf broke apart in March 2002. But Neil Glasser of Aberystwyth University and Ted Scambos of Colorado University claim in a new study that it had been on the brink for decades. They argue that glaciological and atmospheric factors were also invoved.

In a paper published in the Journal of Glaciology, the pair say that when Larsen B collapsed it appeared to be the latest in a long line of victims of Antarctic summer heatwaves linked to global warming. Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey predicted in 1998 that several ice shelves around the peninsula were doomed because of rising temperatures in the region, but the speed with which Larsen B went shocked them in 2002.

But Prof Glasser said the dramatic event was "not as simple as we first thought". He acknowledged that global warming had a major part to play in the collapse [He has to say that. This is a BBC report, after all], but emphasised that it was only one of a number of contributory factors. "Because large amounts of meltwater appeared on the ice shelf just before it collapsed, we had always assumed that air temperature increases were to blame," he added. "But our new study shows that ice-shelf break up is not controlled simply by climate. "A number of other atmospheric, oceanic and glaciological factors are involved. "For example, the location and spacing of fractures on the ice shelf such as crevasses and rifts are very important too because they determine how strong or weak the ice shelf is."

Dr Scambos, of the University of Colorado's national snow and ice data centre, said the ice shelf had probably been in distress for decades before its demise. "It's likely that melting from higher ocean temperatures, or even a gradual decline in the ice mass of the peninsula over the centuries, was pushing the Larsen to the brink," he added.


Afghanistan has worst winter in living memory

The snow is finally melting and the roads reopening in western and central Afghanistan, and the thaw is revealing the true impact of the worst winter in living memory. Officially 800 people have died, but many more will no doubt have frozen to death when the snow fell heavier and the temperatures dropped lower than anybody expected.

Ahmad is 18 and he is lying in one of eight beds in a ward at Herat hospital. Everyone there is suffering from frostbite, and some are groaning in agony. You can see the pain on Ahmad's face as he tries to move himself onto one side - learning to move himself now without his legs, as both have been amputated below the knee and are bandaged. "I thought I was going to die in the snow," he says. He is a shepherd and was out in the fields with the animals when the blizzard caught him. "The cold has taken away my legs, and look at my hands - I have lost my fingers."

He was trapped for six days and six nights without any shelter. His brother Abrahim, who's 20, was sent to look for him, but now he lies in the next bed, his legs also claimed by frostbite. Watching over them is their father, Said Mohammad Sultanzai. He is more than 40 years old and has never seen anything like it. His uncle, who is much older, says winter has never been as bad. Said Mohammad explained that in his area, 85 people had been caught out in the open - 18 died and most of the survivors remain in their district, where healthcare is poor, as it is so difficult to get transport to the hospital for treatment.

At the weather centre in Kabul comes an explanation of why this winter has been so bad. "There have been three problems in the last three weeks," said Abdul Qadir Qadir, president of Afghanistan's meteorological service. "The first was a low pressure area from Iran, and in this front we had 180cm [71in] of snow. "Then another front came in from the Gulf, dropping 80cm more, and then a high pressure area from the North Pole - which passed through Siberia - took the temperature down to -30C. "Our records only go back 10 years, but I have been here more than 30 and have never seen anything like this."

The extreme temperatures and heavy snow struck parts of the country that are not usually hit. About 800 people died, many around Herat and Herat province," says Dr Abdul Matin Adrak, director of the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority. "All the people were out of their houses with animals, they were busy with them on the land, but the snow struck and they died."

Central and western Afghanistan are very remote and mountainous. Many roads are still blocked and it could be some time before the true extent of the crisis is uncovered. "We don't have the transport to get to them, or the machinery to clear the roads," Dr Adrak adds, appealing for the international community inside and outside Afghanistan to help.

All that can be seen from the air is a vast and mountainous blanket of snow. Tens of thousands of animals have perished, and that will have a long-term impact on communities. Then there is the fear of flooding as temperatures increase and metres of snow begin to melt. The winter may have kept the fighting down to a minimum across much of Afghanistan, but it has still left millions of people in misery.


Record cold in the USA too

The temperature in International Falls, Minnesota, fell to a record 40 below zero Monday, just a few days after the town won a federal trademark officially making it the "Icebox of the Nation." It was so cold that resident Nick McDougall couldn't even get his car trunk lid to close after he got out his charger to kick-start his dead battery. By late morning, the temperature had risen all the way to 18 below zero. "This is about as cold as it gets. This is bad. There's no wind -- it's just cold," said McDougall, 48, a worker at The Fisherman, a convenience store and gas station in the northern Minnesota town on the Canadian border. "People just don't go out, unless you have to go to work."

Residents of the area use electric engine block heaters to keep their cars from freezing. "You plug in your car, for sure, and you put the car in the garage if you can," McDougall said. His garage is full of other things, so he had to park outside, which he admitted was a "big mistake."

The previous record low in International Falls was 37 below zero set in 1967. Mike Stewart, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Duluth, said the cold was expected. "When the winds finally died off and the skies cleared off, it just dropped," he said.

The temperature also fell to 40 below zero in Embarrass, 80 miles southeast of International Falls. That's just one degree above the all-time record in Minneapolis, 250 miles to the south, that was set in January 1888, the weather service said. Chilly air also spread into the Northeast on Monday and many schools in New York state between Buffalo and Syracuse closed or opened late. Single-digit temperatures plus high wind drove the wind chill factor to nearly 20 below zero across much of upstate New York. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had a "Code Blue" alert in effect, sending outreach crews to coax homeless people into shelters. Monday's low was 10 above zero.

Farther south, freezing rain hit southwest Missouri early Monday, making roads hazardous and closing schools. A coating of ice up to an inch thick was expected across much of southern and central Missouri, the weather service said. "It's treacherous. If you can stay home this morning, do it," Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Dan Bracker said in Springfield.

Thousands of West Virginia homes and businesses had no electricity Monday after the state was hit by weekend wind gusts of up to 55 mph. At least nine counties closed schools because of power outages and the cold. The mountain city of Elkins had a low of 6 degrees. Classes also were canceled Monday for a number of schools in Michigan, which remained in a deep freeze after a weekend of single-digit temperatures and gusty wind. One death was blamed on the weather.



Tajikistan is facing a growing humanitarian crisis. United Nations agencies warn that the health of large parts of the population is already affected, as the country struggles with a cold and energy emergency. The central Asian republic, home to about 7 million people, is currently experiencing its harshest winter for three decades. The average temperature is around minus 15 degrees Celsius, dropping to as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius at night. Roads between several districts are blocked by heavy snowfall, affecting supplies of food and other basic products. The cold wave has also led to severe problems with the water supply system, as supply lines either break or freeze.

The energy problems are seriously affecting the health sector: 50% of all health facilities in the four major districts of Tajikistan - Kulyab, Rasht valley, Kurgan-Tube and Sogd oblast - report severe power shortages and complete blackouts. According to a WHO assessment, all hospitals in the Kulyab district are without water supply. Hospitals and heath facilities in other districts are facing serious water shortages. Maternal morbidity and cold-related diseases are reported to be on the increase.

More here


A nail-biting cold wave is making the country's financial capital - Mumbai - shiver. The minimum temperature in the city dipped to a season's low of 8.5 degrees Celsius Friday. "This is the lowest-ever temperature recorded in the city for the month of February," said K. Sathi Devi, director of weather bureau here.

The minimum temperature recorded Friday at Colaba, in south Mumbai, was 13.4 degrees Celsius, while at Santacruz in north Mumbai it was 8.5 degrees Celsius. This is the coldest ever in the city of stars in the past 40 years. But the record low is 7.4 on Jan 22, 1962. "The cold wave is expected to continue for at least another two-three days (till Sunday)," Sathi Devi told IANS.

More here


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


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A 2,000-Year Global Temperature Record

A plain language account of the Loehle research from World Climate. See the original for links and graphics. Note: "Bimillennial" below means "over the last 2,000 years"

Over the past decade, considerable debate existed regarding the temperature history of the Earth on the time scale of millennia. If you followed our discussion on the subject, you know that one camp would like you believe that the highly-publicized warming of the planet over the past century is absolutely unprecedented over the past few thousand years. This group seems to fixate on the "hockey stick" representation of the temperature history of the past 1,000 years, and they hold on to the stick in spite of evidence to the contrary. Many others have argued based on proxy evidence throughout the world that the past few thousand years include a very warm period 1,000 years ago and a cold period 500 years ago; in their eyes, the warming of the past century is not at all unusual. These folks even go on to suggest that the Earth today may not be yet as warm as conditions 1,000 years ago, despite the 100 ppm increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the past century.

Several articles have appeared in Energy and Environment recently with results of considerable interest to us at World Climate Report. The first piece is by Dr. Craig Loehle who received his Ph.D. in mathematical ecology in 1982 from Colorado State University. He has published over one hundred papers in applied mathematics and ecology on topics that include statistical models, optimization, simulation, artificial intelligence, fractals, and wavelets. Among other accomplishments, he is the developer of "Global Optimization" which is a Mathematica application package that has been on the market since 1998. Dr. Loehle's affiliation listed in the two articles is the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc. In the second paper, Loehle is joined by J. Huston McCulloch of the economics department at Ohio State University. There is no evidence that their work is funded by anyone with any stake in the greenhouse - global warming debate.

In the first article, Loehle notes that many long-term reconstructions of climate are based on tree rings, but "There are reasons to believe that tree ring data may not capture long-term climate changes (100+ years) because tree size, root/shoot ratio, genetic adaptation to climate, and forest density can all shift in response to prolonged climate changes, among other reasons." Furthermore, Loehle notes "Most seriously, typical reconstructions assume that tree ring width responds linearly to temperature, but trees can respond in an inverse parabolic manner to temperature, with ring width rising with temperature to some optimal level, and then decreasing with further temperature increases." Other problems include tree responses to precipitation changes, variations in atmospheric pollution levels, diseases, pest outbreaks, and the obvious problem of enrichment that comes along with ever higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Trees are not simple thermometers!

Loehle gathered as many non-tree ring reconstructions as possible for places throughout the world (Figure 1). There are dozens of very interesting ways to peer into the climatic past of a location, and Loehle included borehore temperature measurements, pollen remains, Mg/Ca ratios, oxygen isotope data from deep cores or from stalagmites, diatoms deposited on lake bottoms, reconstructed sea surface temperatures, and so on. Basically, he grabbed everything available, so long as it did not rely on trees.

Loehle averaged the data for the 18 sites and produced the plot below, with each point representing 30-year centered average temperature (Figure 2). Loehle notes "The data show the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA) quite clearly." The plot also shows that 20th century warming is apparently dwarfed by events in the past. If you are curious about the apparent cooling near present, Loehle explains "The series ends with a downtick because the last set of points are averages that include the cool decades of the 1960s and 1970s." Finally, we learn "It is clear that the 1995-year reconstruction shown here does not match the famous hockey stick shape." Believe us-we noticed that fact immediately!

Following publication of the first article, several errors came to light regarding how temperatures were reported from the various locations. At times, they were reported relative to mean global temperature in 1950, at other times, the base year was 2000. Errors regarding smoothing came to light, other issues were raised, and Loehle and co-author J. Huston McCulloch decided to re-do all the calculations, including improvements in terms of confidence intervals.

The improved plot below shows little change from the graph above, although for data reasons, the last point now represents the 29-year average temperature centered on 1935. (Figure 3). The two statistical wizards note "The corrected data continue to show the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA) quite clearly. The confidence intervals" "indicate that the MWP was significantly warmer than the bimillennial average during most of approximately 820 - 1040 AD, at the 5% level (2-tailed). Likewise, the LIA was significantly cooler than the bimillennial average during most of approximately 1440-1740 AD."

We suspect you have been living your life unaware of the articles by Loehle and McCulloch. The reason is obvious - they found evidence that temperature variations over the past 2,000 years indicate that the earth's average temperature bounces around naturally to a larger degree than other paleo-reconstructions indicate, and further, that temperatures about 1,000 years ago were not that dissimilar to today's temperatures. This suggests that the earth's ecosystems are more resilient (and adaptive) than some pessimists give them credit for-not a favorite topic in the mainstream press.

Unscientific Polar Bear predictions

Have you ever wondered how polar bears survived the ice ages? Yes, ice ages! The question arises because scientists have found that when spring conditions are more than usually icy, fewer ringed seal pups-the bears' favorite food-are born. With less food available for the mother bears, fewer bear cubs are born and survive.

You might also ask: How did the ice-loving polar bears survive periods much warmer than we are currently experiencing-times when there was little or no ice around the Arctic basin and Hudson Bay area? The most recent such period occurred between 6,000 and 9,000 years ago and it was even warmer between 110,000 and 130,000 years ago.

The bears not only survived these periods of dramatically different climate and environment, but provided an invaluable source of food, clothing, and raw materials for tools and trade goods for peoples living in the Arctic regions. In more recent times, during the 1950s and 1960s in particular, hunting with the help of modern technology and in excess of subsistence requirements reduced the population to perhaps as few as 5,000 bears. As their survival as a distinct species for as long as 250,000 years suggests, however, polar bears are robust. Once hunting restrictions were enforced the population grew quickly and there are now estimated to be as many as 27,000 bears; enough of them to pose a danger to Alaskan townsfolk.

Given the historical facts about polar bears, then, we were surprised when we learned that a team of experts commissioned by the U.S. Geological Survey had predicted that the population of bears would fall by two-thirds by the year 2050. These predictions were made " Support U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Polar Bear Listing Decision," under the federal Endangered Species Act. We wondered whether the bear experts' forecasting methods could be trusted.

Fortunately, the trustworthiness of the bear experts' forecasting methods is not just a question of opinion. Scientific research on forecasting has been conducted since the 1930s and has led to a set of evidence-based principles (rules or guidelines) that dictate which procedures are appropriate for the conditions. The forecasting principles have been published, and are easily available at

Using an Internet search, we found roughly a thousand published papers that addressed the problem of forecasting polar bear numbers. None of them made reference to the scientific literature on forecasting. Most importantly, neither did the nine government reports prepared in support of the listing decision.

We judged two of the reports (Steven Amstrup was the lead author of one and Christine Hunter was the lead author of the other) to be the most relevant forecasting documents. Both Amstrup's and Hunter's forecasting procedures started with the assumption that the sea ice predictions from the General Circulation Models (GCM) that are favored by some climate researchers are valid. They are not. The Models do not constitute scientific forecasting methods and do not deal correctly with what is known about the physics of ice. Since the underlying assumption that the GCM sea ice forecasts are valid is false, the polar bear forecasts are of no value.

We nevertheless used forecasting principles to audit the forecasting procedures used by Amstrup and by Hunter in order to determine whether their procedures would be useful for making conditional forecasts of bear numbers. That is, what would be the bear population in 2050 if low ice conditions prevailed over the intervening decades?

Amstrup's forecasts were the product of a complex set of assumptions. We could not rate his procedures against 26 relevant forecasting principles because his report did not contain sufficient information. Of the 90 relevant principles against which we were able to rate Amstrup's procedures, 73 were violated. Some of the violations were sufficient by themselves to render the forecasts invalid.

One polar bear expert specified variables, relationships, and inputs. The same expert then made adjustments until the forecasts conformed to his expectations. In effect, then, Amstrup's forecasts were the opinions of a single expert (himself) unaided by forecasting principles. Much research has shown that unaided expert opinions are not valid for forecasting in situations with high complexity and much uncertainty, as is the case with the polar bear population.

Hunter's forecasts were also the product of a complex set of assumptions. Complexity makes errors hard to detect, and when knowledge of the situation is weak, erroneous assumptions multiply and lead to large errors. Hunter's procedures violated 80 out of the 105 principles against which we were able to rate them. Amazingly, Hunter and her colleagues extrapolated the polar bear population nearly 100 years into the future on the basis of five years of data. Even the five years of data were of doubtful validity.

As far as predicting the future of the polar bear population is concerned, the opinions of polar bear experts have no value without the aid of scientific forecasting procedures.

A decision to list polar bears as endangered would be expensive for the government authorities to police. It would also lead to new burdens for businesses and for people living in Alaska. Recently, villagers from the town of Noorvik, Alaska killed a polar bear that was threatening residents. Would they have been allowed to do this if polar bears were an Endangered Species? Would it be fair to ask people to abandon their homes if a polar bear decided to include them in its range?

Polar bears are magnificent creatures and the cubs look cute. But decisions about listing a species as threatened or endangered should not be based on emotional responses. Without scientific forecasts of a substantial decline in the polar bear population and of net benefits from feasible policies arising from listing them, a decision to list would be irresponsible.


Analyzing Global-warming Science with Chemist Dr. Arthur Robinson

Interview of Dr. Arthur Robinson by William F. Jasper

Dr. Arthur Robinson is a professor of chemistry and is cofounder of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which was created in 1980 to conduct basic and applied research in subjects applicable to increasing the quality, quantity, and length of human life. As part of his work, he edits the newsletter Access to Energy.

Dr. Robinson, in collaboration with other scientists, was one of the early critics of doomsday global-warming theories. He has authored articles and created video presentations demonstrating that the hypothesis of human-caused global warming is wrong, showing that the hypothesis is not supported by the observable evidence. To come to this conclusion, Professor Robinson and his colleagues brought together the findings of hundreds of peer-reviewed studies about all aspects of the global-warming hypothesis.

THE NEW AMERICAN: Flip on any channel, open any newspaper or magazine, and it's clear we are being bombarded with the message that the Earth is warming. Is there any merit to this claim?

Dr. Arthur Robinson: Yes, but the temperature is only going up 0.5ø C per century. Moreover, this increase is not being caused by human activity.

TNA: Those who blame mankind for causing global warming would respond to that point by saying that the Earth is the warmest it's been in 400 years, and that's significant.

Dr. Robinson: They're right, but they only show you the data from the last 400 years. If the data for a longer time interval is considered, temperatures today are seen to be not especially warm. The current temperature is about average for the past 3,000 years. It was much warmer during the Medieval Climate Optimum 1,000 years ago (see Figure 1). The climate, as we know from historical records, was just fine during that warm period. In fact, it was a little better. So, yes, it is the warmest in 400 years.

Moreover, the temperature, which is going up very slowly, is correlated with the sun's activity, not hydrocarbon use (see Figure 3).

TNA: Those same people would say that science has spoken, that CO2 is the cause. What do you say?

Dr. Robinson: Gore, et al., tell us that CO2 is a pollutant, and that humans have caused this terrible problem. But actually the atmosphere contains lots of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide, water, and oxygen are required for life. Without these substances in the atmosphere, life would not be possible. All of the carbon in our bodies originates as atmospheric carbon dioxide. Plus, we're only adding moderately and temporarily to CO2 levels. Carbon dioxide moves through the atmosphere on its way to the oceans and biosphere. Human use has caused a transient increase during the past century - from about 0.03 percent to 0.04 percent of atmospheric molecules. Man is producing about 8 gigatons per year, and yet there are 40,000 gigatons in the biosphere and oceans.

TNA: Which come from?

Dr. Robinson: Which are just there - created as part of nature. Between 1880 and 1890, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere was about 295 ppm [parts per million]. For comparison, this office right now is rising toward 1,000 ppm because we're all exhaling carbon dioxide.

The human-caused increase in the atmosphere is not permanent, but temporary. This increase is only being maintained by our production and, as soon as we stop producing at some later time when our technology advances, it will go back to its naturally controlled level.

When we use hydrocarbons, the resulting carbon dioxide goes through the atmosphere on its way to the oceans and biosphere, so there is a rise in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide has a very short half-time of about seven years in the atmosphere. However, while it is in higher concentration, it is wonderful for us because it makes our plants grow faster, which markedly increases the amounts and diversity of plant and animal life.

TNA: Al Gore also says that the UN's IPCC has spoken, and the debate is over, because there is a consensus. What do you say to that?

Dr. Robinson: Right now the UN claims that they have about 2,500 people involved in this and about 600 scientists seriously involved. This is what Al Gore would point to today.

We have more than 22,000 scientist signers of our global-warming petition who've looked at the issue and concluded essentially the opposite of these United Nations people. This says nothing about the science. Science does not depend on polling. Just because we have 22,000, and the UN may have 600, does not matter. The only thing our petition demonstrates is that there is no consensus among scientists in support of the UN claims.

Scientific questions are never settled in this way. Science is about natural truth. The truth doesn't require any advocate. It stands by itself.

In science, a scientist may discover the truth about something. Then he develops a hypothesis, and the hypothesis is tested by various means. So long as the hypothesis passes experimental tests, it becomes stronger and is further relied upon - unless it fails an experimental test. If it is a very fine hypothesis with wide utility, it may spread throughout the entire scientific community and become part of the basis of scientific knowledge. The process by which this is done is not what is important. The truth is important. Scientific truth is not determined by polling or by convening meetings.

TNA: But when looking at the pronouncements of the United Nations - IPCC and the media, the average viewer would be led to believe that they've figured global warming out.

Dr. Robinson: Climate science is a very primitive science. The atmosphere is a complicated system, somewhat similar to human biochemistry. We know some things, but we don't know most of the needed facts. As you know, climatologists have trouble predicting the weather a week or two in advance. They surely cannot predict climate many years in the future.

There are some very fine scientists, like Richard Lindzen at MIT, who work on the details of climate theory and attempt to understand the atmosphere in detail. They are inching forward toward the eventual solution of this very complex system. Today, this system can only be evaluated empirically because it is not yet understood.

We can show that the hypothesis of human-caused global warming is false, however, because we have enough empirical data to falsify this hypothesis. Human-caused global warming is a hypothesis that has failed so many experimental tests that it is clearly without merit.

TNA: To the average person, those IPCC reports look very authoritative, very intimidating. It looks to us like a battle between two sides of experts. How do we know whom to believe?

Dr. Robinson: First, just because the UN has spent an enormous amount of money to convene meetings of 600 mostly self-interested people - many of whom are receiving research grants and other perks for participating - to try to determine something that isn't knowable with current data and techniques, and produce a report, proves nothing.

Moreover, many of these 600 disagree with the conclusions that the UN-IPCC advertises. The scientists are never allowed to approve or disapprove the final report, and many of the comments that they submit for publication in the report are rejected by UN bureaucrats.

First, the report that is initially released to the public by the UN-IPCC is an executive summary put together by a handful of people including bureaucrats, politicians, UN operatives, and a few scientists. They issue a summary report with UN propaganda in it. They then go back to the reports of the 600 scientists and insert sentences into those reports so that they will conform to the summary.

At no time in this process do the 600 ever vote approval or disapproval of their own report or of the summary report. So this report is not even approved by the people who are claimed to have authored it. This is a fraudulent process.

TNA: Don't they use the same set of data as you do?

Dr. Robinson: Yes, for the most part. Except that they often unethically omit that part of the data that does not agree with their hypothesis. They pick the parts of the data that favor their conclusion and discard the rest. If you play with the data, you can falsify with it. So the UN is picking parts of the data. We are considering it all.

TNA: Scientists who are not intimidated to speak out about this are typically charged by the enviros as being paid by the oil companies.

Dr. Robinson: Well, we've never been fortunate enough to receive any money from them, and I mean in any way, personally, professionally in our laboratory, or anything. We have never received a dime from anybody who has a specific economic interest in this issue. However, UN power to control and ration world energy - the real goal of their activities - would have a terrible, negative impact on the lives of all Americans. In that sense, all of our supporters have an economic interest.

TNA: Al Gore also makes a big deal about glacier recession.

Dr. Robinson: But he only shows the data for the limited time intervals that seem to support his claims. Here is the world glacier curve (see Figure 2) based on an average of all the world's glaciers for which there are good records. Some glaciers are actually increasing, but on average the glaciers are decreasing - toward the more normal lengths that are typical of long-term average world temperatures. This curve is offset by 20 years because there is about a 20-year lag between the temperature increase and the shortening of the glaciers.

So the temperature increase reflected in the glacier lengths begins in about 1800. The glaciers have been shortening for 200 years. They started shortening a century before significant amounts of CO2 were produced by human activity. Notice also that the shortening is linear. Hydrocarbon use increased six-fold and the glacier melting rate did not change at all.

The glaciers started shortening long before we were using significant amounts of hydrocarbons, and, when we increased our use by six-fold, the shortening rate did not change. Therefore, human hydrocarbon use is evidently not the cause of glacier shortening or the mild natural temperature increase that is causing that shortening.

TNA: So what is causing the Earth to warm?

Dr. Robinson: A good clue is contained in data showing arctic air temperature vs. solar activity (see Figure 3). There is a good correlation. Surface temperature vs. solar activity data also correlates well (see Figure 4).

TNA: What about Gore's demonstration in his movie, with those very large graphs, that CO2 tracks right along with temperature and is, therefore, the cause of that warming?

Dr. Robinson: In those curves, the temperature goes up before the CO2 and goes down before the CO2. The CO2! lags the temperature. And the reason it does is that the CO2 rise is caused by the temperature rise rather than vice versa. As temperatures rise, carbon dioxide is released from the oceans, just as the carbon dioxide is released from soft drinks when their temperature rises. Gore shows the curves with poor resolution, so that this cannot be seen by the viewer. His film is filled with dozens of other deliberate errors and misrepresentations.

My favorite is the part where Gore says that "the scientists who specialize in global warming have computer models that long ago predicted this range of temperature increase." He then displays a graph of their alleged "predictions" and the claimed actual temperatures.

This graph is bogus in several ways, but the most striking is that the computer-predicted curve begins in 1938 - before either Al Gore or the computer had been invented. Unless Al Gore invented the computer before he was born, and didn't show it to anybody but climate modelers until after WWII, this is impossible, because there were no computers in 1938!

TNA: Speaking of computers, allowing the UN to take over the world's energy would have a big effect on our higher standard of living, would it not?

Dr. Robinson: An estimated nine percent of the energy of the United States is now used to power computers and the Internet. This technology cannot exist without energy. Automobiles require energy. You cannot warm your home without energy.

If the UN controls, rations, and taxes energy, they will have the power to determine whether you can run a wood stove, whether you can run an automobile, or can use any of the technology that makes our modern life possible. When you say this to people, their eyes glaze over. They don't believe it's going to happen.

The power to tax and ration energy is the power to control the world - to have life and death control over every human being on the planet. No government should ever have this power. The United Nations-IPCC process is not about the climate or saving the environment. It is about power and money - lots of it.

Should Gore and the UN succeed, the effect will not only be diminished prosperity in the United States. In underdeveloped countries, billions of people are lifting themselves from poverty by means of hydrocarbon energy. If their energy supplies are rationed and taxed, they will slip backwards into poverty, misery, and death. This fits the population control agenda of the United Nations. If the misuse and falsification of the scientific method that drives the human-caused global-warming mania succeeds, it will cause the greatest acts of human genocide the world has ever known. It must be stopped.



Natural processes may prevent oceans from warming beyond a certain point, helping protect some coral reefs from the impacts of climate change, new research finds. The study, by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), finds evidence that an ocean "thermostat" appears to be helping to regulate sea-surface temperatures in a biologically diverse region of the western Pacific.

The research team, led by NCAR scientist Joan Kleypas, looked at the Western Pacific Warm Pool, a region northeast of Australia where naturally warm sea-surface temperatures have risen little in recent decades. As a result, the reefs in that region appear to have suffered relatively few episodes of coral bleaching, a phenomenon that has damaged reefs in other areas where temperature increases have been more pronounced.

The study lends support to a much-debated theory that a natural ocean thermostat prevents sea-surface temperatures from exceeding about 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius) in open oceans. If so, this thermostat would protect reefs that have evolved in naturally warm waters that will not warm much further, as opposed to reefs that live in slightly cooler waters that face more significant warming.


Australia: Federal fiscal restraint to destroy Greenie dreams

LINDSAY Tanner and Penny Wong are two of the most talented members of Kevin Rudd's new front bench. Both have had sure-footed starts to their executive careers. And both were on their feet last week.

The best compliment you can pay Tanner, the Finance Minister, is an oxymoron: he's a genuinely committed economic rationalist from the Left. Tanner in factional terms is a transgender politician: a fiscal conservative trapped inside the social policy body of an inner-city Melbourne latte sipper. This is a product of history. Tanner joined the Left on grounds of environmental politics but outgrew his base on economics. Preselection pressures have kept him from having the final reassignment operation he's crying out for. He's an inspired choice as Finance Minister and has been waiting for his moment in the sun - overseeing the fiscal structure of Labor's first budget - for his entire political life. Ultimately Tanner wants to be treasurer. He may get there: the first from the Left since Jim Cairns, though Tanner would cringe at the comparison. [Any treasurer would!]

Wong, as Minister for Climate Change, is also from the Left and another person who's been in training for this calling all her political life, from the campus tussles at Adelaide University on. Her moment came at the UN climate change summit in Bali, just before Christmas, where with 20 years of negotiated factional outcomes behind her, she shifted seamlessly on to the world stage to parlay the final deal on a post-Kyoto framework. Given her talents, she will inevitably have more such moments. And last week Tanner and Wong, rising stars of the shiny new Rudd Government, were at odds. Not that either of them knew it.

Let me explain. Tanner, for his part, was at the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday, delivering a finely calibrated speech in which he outlined the commitment of Rudd's budget razor gang to do its part in bearing down on inflation by cutting outlays by 1.5 per cent of gross domestic product when Labor's first spending document is brought down in May by Treasurer Wayne Swan. Wong, on the same day, was in Melbourne at the Park Hyatt Hotel, delivering a speech to the Australian Industry Group entitled Climate Change: A Responsibility Agenda.

Wong's rhetoric and sense of mission were uplifting: "I want to begin by taking stock of where we are," she said. "Over many years, scientists have gathered a body of evidence which makes the case that climate change is real and is being caused by human activity. "For some time now, that evidence has been irrefutable. [If it is irrefutable, it's not evidence] For some time now, people in Australia and around the world have been calling for action and, in their everyday lives, taking action themselves. "Businesses have been looking at the looming threat of climate change and at the new opportunities it presents, and also taking action for themselves. I acknowledge and encourage these existing industry efforts at climate change mitigation.

"So over the past decade, business and the community have been leading while our national elected leaders abdicated their responsibility. Now it's up to us. "Future generations will look back on us all and ask what we did. "With the prospect of sea levels encroaching upon our mostly coastal population, they will ask why it took so long to act. "Seeing our river systems die before our very eyes, they will ask how this was allowed to happen. "With our knowledge that climate change puts our food and water supplies at risk, they will hold us accountable.

"Two months ago, Australians delivered a clear message. They said we need a new sense of responsibility in this country: a responsibility to protect not only today's economy but also prepare for the economy of the future; responsibility for protecting our country, our values and lifestyles beyond the next electoral cycle."

Through these obvious adversities, Wong remained upbeat: "So it is no embellishment to say that climate change is the challenge of our generation. But it is also the opportunity of our generation," she said. "It's fair to say that most of the talk about the economic impact of climate change has been of the potential threat. Yet we should also look to the opportunity for new growth, for innovation, for a modern economy. "Australia is blessed with resources to exploit developments in clean energy, and we have the scientists, engineers, and capacity to deliver."

Trouble was, back at the National Press Club, Tanner was mounting the inflation case for cutting precisely the programs Wong was promoting in Melbourne. Immediately after his speech, the Finance Minister issued a statement detailing an immediate $643 million in spending cuts as a down payment on the promised rigours of the May budget.

The line items appeared obscure. But closer examination revealed that at least three measures - the defunding of the Asia Pacific Network for Energy Technology and the Low Emissions Technology and Abatement program, and the reduction in money for the Renewable Remote Power Generation Program - were going to contribute $49.2 million to Tanner's budget bottom line. And then there was the $3 million knife taken to the funding for the CSIRO research vessel Southern Surveyor.

A look at the vessel's website is instructive. Its lead item says: "On January 11, Australia's marine national facility RV Southern Surveyor embarks on a three-week voyage to survey deep-sea coral beds in the Tasman Sea and Southern Ocean. "The composition of deep-sea corals is used to determine previous deep ocean conditions, such as temperature, salinity and the mixing of surface and deep water layers over a time scale of tens to hundreds of thousands of years. Using specialised remotely operated underwater vehicles, sampling will occur down to depths of 4000m, deeper than ever before in Australian waters. "The findings will contribute to models of regional and global climate change based on deep-sea circulation patterns in the Southern Ocean as well as documenting the biodiversity of life at extreme depths."

In other words, the Southern Surveyor is an example of just the sort of "scientists, engineers and (research) capacity" Wong lauded in her Melbourne speech as being essential to the frontline battle against the effects of climate change.

This column brought these anomalies to the attention of Wong's office. In mitigation they say the Low Emissions Technology and Abatement money had not yet been committed and the Asia Pacific Network for Energy Technology constitutes an overlap with existing research and development programs. These details aside, the fact remains that the Tanner-Wong episode is an important symbol of an inevitable transitional phase for the new Labor Government. And the transition is from the high-minded rhetoric of election promises and goals on issues such as climate change to the realities of government, dirtied by the hard stuff of inflation and interest rates.

Cabinet ministers such as Wong, shut out from the budget razor gang process - which at this stage includes only Rudd, Swan, Tanner and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard - are about to learn the speed limits that the responsibility of office will impose on their ambitions for their portfolios as well as their ideas about their station in public life. From Tanner's National Press Club speech henceforth the full stop of inflation will put paid to all ambit claims in both cases.

While Labor will not resort to the crudity of Howard's default position in 1996 of core (to be kept) and non-core (to be junked) promises, the effect in many more obscure areas, such as the fate of the Southern Surveyor, will be just the same. Welcome to the era of budget pain. It's a rite of passage that ministers as well as ordinary voters will have to share. Just ask Penny Wong.



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


Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Australia recently had one of its recurrent doughts, though it was only really bad for about a year. The Australian public were told at the time by all sorts of wise-sounding people that it was all because of global warming -- quite ignoring the fact that Australia's worst recorded drought was around 1901, long before most of the industrial activities that Greenies identify as "causing" global warming.

For about a year now, however, Australia has been affected by more and more flooding. Dam levels have approximately doubled in many places. It rains just about every day where I am. I was moved to write this by one of our many sudden downpours, in fact. The rain has finally been enough to stop the talk of drought (which went on for some time after the floods began) but there has not been a PEEP of a suggestion in the media to say that the floods might indicate global cooling -- DESPITE the fact that the world HAS cooled recently and despite the fact that the cooling has coincided with a period of reduced activity on the sun, which could explain the cooling. So we have a new form of "logic": Drought is caused by warming but floods are not caused by cooling.

Background: I have noted here some of the many stories about disastrously cold Northern Hemisphere winters that have been appearing recently and they are very regularly noted on Astute Bloggers. One episode that I have not seen mentioned came to me in an email recently. A reader told me that earlier this month Baku (Azerbaijan) had it's coldest night for 75 years (-8.6C). There is also a report just in from China saying that China has had one-tenth of its forest resources wrecked by snow damage. And last Southern Hemisphere winter was exceptionally cold too -- particularly in Argentina.

The supposed connection between warming and drought always was a huge stretch. Warming should cause the seas to evaporate more and thus cause more rain to fall. So in a way the Greenies should be rejoicing at the current flooding. The flooding really COULD be a sign of warming. But it seems that even the Greenies are too embarrassed to turn around and march in the opposite direction straight away. No doubt they fear the ridicule that would attract. It's rather a delightful form of justice, actually. It shows how their own dishonesty ultimately defeats them

In truth, of course, Australia's cycles of drought and flood will go on as they always have. As one of Australia's best-loved poems (first published in 1908) reads:

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.

Leaky Jonathan is dribbling again

Below is an old and hilarious claim about James Hansen -- that the world's most vocal and visible scientific panic-merchant was ever "silenced". But it is the sort of reporting we expect from Jonathan Leake. There is an earlier example of Leake's deliberate deception on climate matters here. Hansen is a NASA employee and the truth of the "censorship" matter is as follows:

In 2006, Hansen accused the Bush Administration of attempting to censor him. The issue stemmed from an email sent by a 23-year old NASA public affairs intern. It warned Hansen over repeated violations of NASA's official press policy, which requires the agency be notified prior to interviews. Hansen claimed he was being "silenced," despite delivering over 1,400 interviews in recent years, including 15 the very month he made the claim. While he admits to violating the NASA press policy, Hansen states he had a "constitutional right" to grant interviews.

Now for Leake's dribble:
Jim Hansen has long been a thorn in the side of the White House. Now he has a stark warning for Britain. The trap was sprung in February 2006. The White House ordered that Dr Jim Hansen was to be denied the oxygen of publicity forthwith. He was to be banned from appearing in newspapers and on TV and radio. He was effectively to disappear. It was the kind of treatment that might be reserved for terrorists, criminals or, in a totalitarian regime, for political dissidents.

Hansen, however, was none of these things. The director of Nasa's renowned Goddard space science laboratories was a dry, rather self-effacing climate change scientist with a worldwide reputation for accurate and high-quality research. What had happened? "All I had done was to give a talk to the American Geophysical Union, setting out how 2005 had been the warmest year on record," recalled Hansen, in a visit to London last week. "But someone at Nasa got a call right from the top, from the White House. They were very annoyed."

It was not quite all he had done. Hansen had also e-mailed a transcript of the talk to a raft of reporters before he spoke. "I did make sure it hit the headlines," he recalls modestly. In his talk he declared that humanity, especially Americans and Europeans, were burning fossil fuels so fast that they risked transforming Earth into "a different planet".

Government scientists were not supposed to say things like that. Shortly afterwards the head of Nasa's public affairs office, one of George Bush's political appointees, banned Hansen from speaking to the media. "Then they also forced us to remove all our data about the latest temperature rises from the website," says Hansen. "I realised they really were going to stop me communicating." It looked like a classic case of a naive scientist being ruthlessly crushed by a government machine.

In reality, however, it was Hansen who laid the trap - and the Bush administration that got caught. A few more calls to the media and soon the story of the lone scientist gagged by the mighty Bush administration hit the front pages all over the world, carrying Hansen's warning about climate change with it once again.

More here

The once fact-oriented National Geographic now treats theories as facts

Remember when tornadoes used to be something that just happened along about April and we waited for that first 70-degree day in May? Now we have terrible twisters in January and February and 70-degree days to boot. Is it global warming? Who knows at this stage, but something weird is happening. Those huge swings in temperatures are dramatic, but just a little change in the average readings for the planet could cause havoc, as a National Geographic Channel documentary shows tomorrow night.

Tired of hearing about global warming? Just consider the facts laid out in "Six Degrees Could Change the World" at 8 tomorrow night. It's narrated by Alec Baldwin and is based on a book of the same name by National Geographic author Mark Lynas. Here's a summary of what it says.

Think about moving to Northern Canada. Severe droughts are going to increase in the Western United States with just a one-degree rise in temperature. We may not be able to raise grain and meat in places that are going to become deserts from Texas to the Canadian border. At a two-degree rise, most of the world's coral reefs would vanish. That's an early warning of worse things to come.

A three-degree hike would cause the Amazon rain forest, which the whole planet depends upon, to erupt into drought-and-fire cycles. Summers would be close to unbearable. The weather service would have to develop a new classification for hurricanes, moving up to a Category 6 level.

At a four-degree increase, the frozen reaches of Northern Canada would enjoy weather like what we have now in this area. We don't want to think about what it would be like here. Melting glaciers would cause rising sea levels. Add another degree and U.S. coastal cities such as New York would be mostly underwater.

With just a six-degree rise, the oceans would die. Deserts would reclaim much of the planet, and Earth would revert to the dinosaur era, when the globe was a big steam bath.

If you have a 10-year-old child, some of this could happen about the time that he or she is 50. So can it be stopped or at least slowed down? There is a lot that people can do, but the experts agree it will take a global governmental commitment to seriously change much, not to mention politicians with enough backbone to pass laws to make it happen. Either that or start thinking up some good answers for when your grandchildren ask why we let this happen.



Climate change may be a top issue in the minds of California voters, but so far it's played only a cameo role in this year's presidential race. The League of Conservation Voters has been tracking the number of questions asked of the presidential candidates on the Sunday news shows and the debates televised by the major networks. Of the more than 2,900 questions asked, only four have mentioned the words "global warming." "It's stunning," said David Sandretti, the League of Conservation Voters' chief spokesman.

But it's not the candidates' fault. Many of the top contenders have been promoting their plans to battle climate change on the campaign trail. It's the leading TV journalists - like NBC's Tim Russert or ABC's George Stephanopoulos or CNN's Wolf Blitzer - who have relegated it to a second-tier issue. "The candidates are talking about it. They're getting questions in town hall meetings about it," Sandretti said. "The only people who aren't asking about it, it seems, are the mainstream media."


Greenie priorities bad for health

All one seems to hear about climate change are essentially useless debates between deniers and skeptics, along with unrealistic and grotesquely draconian proposals that would force us back into the Stone Age in an effort to mitigate carbon dioxide production. Assertions by zealots and politicians, who should really know better, that climate change is the "most important environmental problem facing the world," ought to be subjected to the, uh, cold light of reason. Before untold resources are spent, shouldn't we at least compare climate change to other problems facing mankind?

Fortunately, someone has finally done just that. Noted scholar, Dr. Indur M. Goklany, whose resume includes stints with federal and state governments, think tanks, and the private sector for over 30 years, has released a detailed analysis-prepared for the Cato Institute- entitled What to Do about Climate Change. Goklany examined certain risks to humanity, and compared the contributory effects of climate change to non-climate change factors.

His data and projections came from two independently published reports:The "fast-track assessment" of the global impacts of climate change, sponsored by the U.K. Department of Environment, Forests and Rural Affairs and The Stern Review on the economics of climate change.Goklany's most significant conclusion is that...[T]hrough the foreseeable future, climate change exacerbates existing environmental and human health problems, but only to a modest degree relative to contributions from other factors not related to climate change. Hence, the threats posed by climate change are more robustly and cost-effectively addressed, at least in the short- to medium-term, by policies that address the underlying causes of the environmental and human health problems that are exacerbated by climate change.

Consider malaria. In the period from 1990-2085, the population at risk is projected to double-from 4.41 billion to 8.82 billion, in the absence of climate change. And, by 2085, climate change will cause an additional 256 to 323 million people to be at risk for malaria. Sounds scary, yet this number represents no more than 3.5 percent of the population at risk. 96.5% of this cohort exists because of other factors. Thus, if climate change were somehow reversed to achieve 1990 levels, only a tiny fraction of this problem is addressed.

Full adoption of the Kyoto protocol has been projected to reduce climate change by only 7 percent, at a cost estimate of $165 billion per year, for so-called Annex I countries. But, this extrapolates to 7% of 3.5%, or a reduction in the at-risk malaria population of a scant two-tenths of one percent! Yet, according the UN Millennium project, a 75% reduction in malaria deaths can be achieved for $3 billion/year, with a program focused directly on malaria prevention (not triangulated through climate change initiatives). Talk about a better bang for your buck.

Some may argue that the case of malaria is too simplistic, and we should also look at more generic ecological issues. How about terrestrial biodiversity? There is little argument that expansion of croplands represents the single greatest threat to terrestrial biodiversity and the expanse of coastal wetlands. Ironically, models with the coolest future seem to predict the highest habitat losses. Reason suggests that efforts to improve agricultural productivity and techniques for more efficient use of water in agriculture would be of extreme benefit here.

Goklany cites a paper published in Nature, that attributed 170,000 deaths to global warming in 2000, even as its authors acknowledged serious flaws in their own analysis. Taking this number at face value, compare it to the top ten global health risk factors related to food, nutrition, and environmental and occupational exposure, according to the World Health Organization (data for 2001):

* Malnutrition 3.24 million deaths

* Unsafe water, inadequate sanitation, and hygiene 1.73 million deaths

* Indoor air pollution from indoor heating and cooking with wood, coal, and dung 1.62 million deaths

* Malaria 1.12 million deaths

* Urban air pollution 800,000 deaths

* Lead exposure 230,000 deaths

At present, then, climate change is nowhere near the most important environmental (or public health) problem facing the world. Furthermore, as Goklany demonstrates, solving specific problems that would be exacerbated by climate change is a far more rational policy than attacking carbon dioxide production. A bonus is that these problems would be solved or diminished regardless of whether climate change occurs or not.


Plastic bag hatred

Hosking was filming a wildlife documentary in Hawaii in 2006, on how plastic pollution is killing whales, sea birds and turtles; apparently these animals are choking on our discarded plastic fragments. She then returned to her hometown of Modbury in Devon, south-west England, determined to convince the town's traders and residents to replace plastic bags with other, biodegradable and re-useable varieties. She was successful, and Modbury is now hailed as Britain's first carrier bag-free zone....

Hosking may well be a wonderful human being (though her comment about people who have second homes in Devon - `Oh, you're one of the ones I need to put a pipe bomb through your letterbox, quite frankly' - does not suggest an entirely generous spirit). But she doesn't seem to think very much of the rest of us. In an interview last year, she expressed a cynical and fashionable disdain for modern British society: `We are 60million people eating up vast amounts of valuable natural resources. this can only lead to us drowning in our own waste and cooking in our own gases. Plastic bags clogging our waterways and climate change are two symptoms of the same problem - unsustainability.'

Whatever Hosking's personal merits and flaws, there is clearly something in the issue of bags that gets people agitated. Politicians have picked up on this mood, too, and are falling over themselves to suggest bans or compulsory charging for plastic bags. Indeed, Hosking was by no means a pioneer. First off the mark was Ireland, which introduced a `plastax' in 2002. Shoppers must now pay for each bag they receive. Currently the price of a plastic bag in Ireland is 22 Euro cents (about 15 pence or 30 US cents); the introduction of this charge initially cut the number of bags handed out by 90 per cent, though bag usage has crept up again since. According to the Irish government, the proportion of litter made up of plastic bags fell from five per cent to 0.22 per cent after the tax was introduced. Other administrations - in France and San Francisco - have banned plastic bags altogether; London may soon follow suit. This month, China announced a ban on free plastic bags.

Yet contrary to the assertions of campaigners, plastic bags are a mere footnote in Britain's use of resources and production of waste. They do not contribute very much to overall waste levels. The bags handed out for free by supermarkets weigh about eight grams. We use absolutely loads of them each year: about 10billion in the UK, which amounts to 80,000 tonnes of waste. It sounds like a lot, but in fact it represents only 0.27 per cent of all municipal waste produced annually in the UK. Moreover, the bags are produced using a part of crude oil - naphtha - that generally can't be used for anything else. If naphtha wasn't used to produce bags, it would mostly be burned off.

If anything, the plastic bag is a victim of its own success. These wafer-thin carriers are durable, ridiculously cheap to mass produce and have all sorts of wonderful ancillary uses, from bin liners to bicycle seat covers. This capacity for imaginative re-use - and the irrationality of obsessing about such trivial consumption - was neatly illustrated by Louise Carpenter in her Observer Food Monthly interview with Hosking. Her Hosking-inspired aversion to plastic bags left her, almost literally, in the shit: `In the middle of our conversation, I feel a rumble in my daughter's nappy [diaper] that quickly turns into an explosion. When I get to the loo to change her, I realise with dismay that I only have a plastic Sainsbury's bag in which to contain the dirty nappy. To my shame, it is my usual method of dealing with such a business. Not only is this clearly unacceptable in Modbury but I realise that Hosking has already converted me. "I'll take that from you!" says the Modbury cafe lady when I emerge holding the un-bagged nappy.' Welcome to Brave New Modbury, where even sticking a stinking nappy in a plastic bag, and tying a very tight knot, is frowned upon.

The cost-benefit ratio of the modern plastic bag is extremely high - they cost little financially or environmentally, and they are extremely useful. That doesn't mean plastic bags are perfect, of course. If a small charge for bags reduces bag litter, it might not be a bad idea. If alternative, cost-effective materials can be found to make carrier bags, materials which do not linger in the environment, then that's all to the good. But the crusading tone of today's anti-plastic bag hysteria suggests there is something more profound going on here than the problem of litter or plastic waste on the sea shore; this has become a deeply moralistic campaign, with some worrying undertones.

UK prime minister Gordon Brown put his finger on it last November when he suggested that plastic bags are `one of the most visible symbols of environmental waste'. It is the very visibility of plastic bags, the fact that they are used to carry all that nice food and various other consumer products, that makes certain people uncomfortable. At root, the mostly middle-class activists who get excited by the detritus of everyday life, like plastic bags, are really guilt-ridden about consumption in general - which is ironic, given that the middle classes consume more than the majority of the population. While most expenditure continues to be on the necessities of life - housing, food, heating and transport - the relatively small proportion of income devoted to the non-essentials has in recent years taken on an overwhelming importance for middle-class campaigners and commentators.

The anti-bag campaign is a product of society's current impasse. In the absence of any new political vision for transforming society, greens argue that we have reached our `natural limits' and must stop, rein things in, live more humbly. Therefore, overconsumption is looked upon as downright foolhardy, even sinful; we must reduce, reuse, recycle, they say. In this narrow-minded climate, the plastic bag, and more importantly he who carries it, has become a symbol of reckless greed and waste. What's more, many people see society as lacking any moral purpose today; thus they seek out activities and campaigns that can provide them with a sense of purpose and moral bluster. Fretting about something as historically and environmentally insignificant as the plastic bag might seem mad to many of us, but it allows Moralistic of Modbury to feel as if they are doing something Important.

Above all, this new `ethical' outlook represents a psychological, sometimes even physical, retreat from modern life. Hosking's description of her return to Modbury captured many people's view of modern life these days: `I'd been running away from Modbury for about 15 years, going as far away as I could. But right now I think it's probably quite important to localise yourself, batten down the hatches and have a life where you can sustain yourself a bit.' (6) `Sustain yourself a bit' - that could be the motto of environmentalism and of contemporary society in general. What about the millions of people who expect more from life than basic sustenance and degraded debates about non-degradable bags?



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


Monday, February 11, 2008

Many unvalidated assumptions in Warmist theory

The science of "junk science" is to propagate a hypothesis that appears plausible but lacks substantiation and validation. The media and those with an agenda often promote the perception of plausibility but overlook the absence of validation.

The discipline of science evolved during the 13th and 14th centuries. It began with the merger of inductive analysis based on experimentation and deductive reasoning based on observation and debate. Experiments test a hypothesis. Criticism and debate establish the significance of the results.

The claim that debate has ended and "everyone agrees," or "there is consensus" that uncontrolled emissions of carbon dioxide by man will be catastrophic is the propagation of a falsity for the former and a fallacy for the latter. Not all scientists agree with the conclusion and whatever substantiation presented for the hypothesis has not been validated. Scientific validation is not about consensus.

Scientific validation for man-made global warming requires analysis of many interlocking and interdependent factors. Many of the factors are incapable of validation with computer modeling. This is evident from the information buried in the footnotes of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change relied on by the proponents of man-made global warming. Computer modeling is the basis for the panel's report.

Science has not developed the capability to distinguish and measure with any degree of certainty the quantity of carbon dioxide emitted solely by nature and that emitted by man. There are no scientific methods to determine what percent of carbon dioxide emissions are absorbed by vegetation or by the oceans and whether the unabsorbed remainder released to the atmosphere is in fact capable of causing catastrophic results.

Carbon dioxide is the "elixir of life" for vegetation. Studies have shown that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide improve crop utilization of fertilizers and water resulting in improved crops and crop yields.

A glaring omission from the IPCC study is data evaluating the Milankovitch Effect. The Milankovitch Effect measures the sun's energy and its effect on the earth as determined by the earth's orbit and its axial tilt. Other variables include unpredictable climate factors such as cloud cover, ocean circulation patterns, changes in precipitation, storms and other weather patterns.

Should significant economic policies be based on unsubstantiated projections obtained from inadequate computer climate models? Models that attempt to reduce all of the physical, chemical and biologic processes of Mother Nature to a set of mathematical equations. Arrogant? Presumptuous? Fallacious?

The fallacy of man-made global warming facilitates the ideal scare campaign for those seeking government intervention, global governance and an increase in global authority and control over energy. Control of energy is control of the economy, capital investment, the free market and wealth creation. Government intervention results in increased government dependence, taxation, income redistribution and socialism.

In the words of Benjamin Franklin, "When we are directed from Washington when and where to sow, and when and where to reap, we should soon want bread."


Hurricane Hysteria Revisited

Will global warming increase hurricane activity? Two studies published in the last week arrived at opposite conclusions. A link between warmer sea surface temperatures and increased North Atlantic hurricane activity "has been quantified for the first time," according to a study by University College London researchers that was published in Nature (Jan. 30). They claim to have associated a 0.5 degree Celsius increase in sea surface warming with a 40 percent increase in Atlantic hurricane activity during 1996-2005 as compared to the average activity during 1950-2000. "The scientists who have linked global warming to stronger storms said the study makes sense, and is, if anything, just repeating and refining what they have already said," the Associated Press reported (Jan. 30).

But the study result isn't surprising considering it was derived from a computer model that included only two variables -- sea surface temperature and atmospheric wind field -- which the researchers claim explain about 75 percent of the variance in Atlantic hurricane activity between 1965-2005. They claim to have teased out the association between sea surface temperature and hurricane activity by statistically removing the influence of wind from the model.

Sea surface temperatures and wind, however, aren't the only factors affecting hurricane activity. The model omitted at least two other known factors -- atmospheric humidity and sea level pressure -- and other more mysterious factors such as the tendency of hurricane activity to occur in cycles that are decades long.

Even though sea surface temperatures seem to have warmed, it's not at all clear that Atlantic hurricane activity has truly increased. As recently described in World Climate Report, the average hurricane activity during 1995-2005 was greater than that during 1971-1994, but the 1970s and 1980s witnessed unusually low hurricane activity. So the increased hurricane activity of 1995-2005 "thus appears to represent a recovery to normal hurricane activity, rather than a direct response to increasing sea surface temperature," according to World Climate Report.

Finally, regardless of whether warmer sea surface temperatures are associated with increased hurricane activity, the University College London researchers admitted that, "Our analysis does not identify whether greenhouse gas-induced warming contributed to the increase in water temperature and thus to the increase in hurricane activity."

Since the entire global warming debate depends on whether manmade greenhouse gas emissions drive climate change, without a link between such emissions and sea surface temperature changes, the claimed sea surface temperature-hurricane activity link is, at best, an academic point.

The other hurricane study, published in Geophysical Research Letters (Jan. 23) and not widely reported by the media, comes from climate scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The NOAA researchers compared sea surface temperatures with hurricanes that made U.S. landfall -- the most reliable hurricane measurement over the long-term, according to the researchers. They found a slight decrease in the trend of landfalling hurricanes with warmer sea surface temperatures.

"This paper uses observational data to demonstrate that the attribution of the recent increase in Atlantic hurricane activity to global warming is premature and that global warming may decrease the likelihood of hurricanes making landfall in the United States," the researchers concluded.

As leading hurricane forecaster William Gray of Colorado State University put it, "Meteorologists who study tropical cyclones have no valid physical theory as to why hurricane frequency or intensity would necessarily be altered by small amounts (plus/minus 0.5 degrees Centigrade) of global mean temperature change."

Dr. Gray continued, "In a global warming or global cooling world, the atmosphere's upper air temperatures will warm or cool in unison with the sea surface temperatures. Vertical-lapse rates [differences between the atmospheric and sea temperatures that, when increased, tend to favor storm formation] will not be significantly altered."

In observing that there were 80 major hurricanes during 1945-1969 when the global temperature was cooling, but only 38 major hurricanes during 1970-1994 when global temperature was warming, Dr. Gray note that "Atlantic sea-surface temperatures do not necessarily follow global mean temperature trends."

Even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) acknowledged in its most recent assessment that although average Northern Hemisphere temperatures in the last half of the 20 century were very likely higher than at any other time during the last 500 years, "There is no clear trend in the annual number of tropical cyclones [hurricanes].

And, of course, Al Gore learned this lesson the hard way. His attempt in "An Inconvenient Truth" to link manmade greenhouse gas emissions with the Hurricane Katrina tragedy was sound rejected by a British High Court judge who succinctly ruled that, "In scene 12 Hurricane Katrina and the consequent devastation in New Orleans is ascribed to global warming. It is common ground that there is insufficient evidence to show that."

As Sen. John McCain emerged from the Florida Republican primary as the Republican front runner, observed that "After hitting it in most every appearance he made in New Hampshire and Michigan, John McCain now rarely brings up the topic of global warming." In talking to reporters after a campaign event in West Palm Beach, McCain said, "I try to bring it up in areas that I think that it is of great import to people."

Given the scientific evidence, it's quite easy to understand why Floridians might not think that alleged global warming-hurricane link is of great import.


Environmentalism as Religion, Religion as Environmentalism

I give you the subject header of an email that just came across our faculty/staff listserv, courtesy of the Chaplain's Office: "Christian Ash Wednesday: Why not give up carbon for Lent?" Now the idea was not literally to "give up carbon" altogether, although that would make Rand's characterization of environmentalism as "death worship" much less hyperbolic than I've always believed it to be. Rather, it was an exhortation to reduce energy usage on the margin. Still, it does serve as a reminder of what many have seen as the disturbing parallels between much of organized religion and popular forms of environmentalism. Seeing them explicitly combined in such a "logical" way makes these points even more telling:

Both are highly moralistic and use the language and strategies of "sinfulness." This also involves an implied and often explicit claim to have monopolized the moral high ground.

Both involve the idea that one must sacrifice now for some undetermined future reward. This makes the Lent connection very logical.

Both have historically been very quick to label and condemn as "heretics" those who disagree with them.

Both have a tendency toward irrationalism and mysticism, e.g. the Gaia strand of environmentalism.

I really do believe that for many young people and for older folks on the left, environmentalism is a way of creating meaning in their very secular lives that in an earlier era would have been fulfilled by religious practice. It brings the notion of living for something larger than oneself, of sacrificing in the name of a better future, and of having a set of certain moral categories by which one can orient one's own behavior and criticize that of others. In these ways it is also a response to the relativism with which many are inculcated growing up and being educated. It also explains, I think, the increasing attractiveness to young people of neo-paganism and other forms of spirituality that are linked to nature. Seeing Lent as a time to reduce carbon usage could be seen as a very clever way of speaking to young lapsed or non-practicing Catholics in the same sort of language.

And to head off a certain line of criticism, my point is not to condemn every form of concern about the environment, nor to suggest that such concerns are incompatible with reason or libertarianism. I think there are interesting and important parallels and interactions between the spontaneous order of nature and that of society that need to be taken seriously by libertarians. However, that perspective is not the one taken in the general public's environmentalism.

It is a challenge for those of us who are skeptical of both organized religion's and environmentalism's claims to being universal moralities that should inform public policy (as opposed to something one practices as a private morality) to find a way to offer people a set of meaningful and universalizable values that are more consistently congenial to classical liberalism. If we cannot offer our own way of filling that gap, it will continue to be filled for us by movements that are not so friendly to liberty and progress.


The Sun Also Sets

Back in 1991, before Al Gore first shouted that the Earth was in the balance, the Danish Meteorological Institute released a study using data that went back centuries that showed that global temperatures closely tracked solar cycles. To many, those data were convincing. Now, Canadian scientists are seeking additional funding for more and better "eyes" with which to observe our sun, which has a bigger impact on Earth's climate than all the tailpipes and smokestacks on our planet combined. And they're worried about global cooling, not warming.

Kenneth Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada's National Research Council, is among those looking at the sun for evidence of an increase in sunspot activity. Solar activity fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. But so far in this cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet. The lack of increased activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event which occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century. Such an event occurred in the 17th century. The observation of sunspots showed extraordinarily low levels of magnetism on the sun, with little or no 11-year cycle.

This solar hibernation corresponded with a period of bitter cold that began around 1650 and lasted, with intermittent spikes of warming, until 1715. Frigid winters and cold summers during that period led to massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe.

Tapping reports no change in the sun's magnetic field so far this cycle and warns that if the sun remains quiet for another year or two, it may indicate a repeat of that period of drastic cooling of the Earth, bringing massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern Hemisphere. Tapping oversees the operation of a 60-year-old radio telescope that he calls a "stethoscope for the sun." But he and his colleagues need better equipment. In Canada, where radio-telescopic monitoring of the sun has been conducted since the end of World War II, a new instrument, the next-generation solar flux monitor, could measure the sun's emissions more rapidly and accurately.

As we have noted many times, perhaps the biggest impact on the Earth's climate over time has been the sun. For instance, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Solar Research in Germany report the sun has been burning more brightly over the last 60 years, accounting for the 1 degree Celsius increase in Earth's temperature over the last 100 years.

R. Timothy Patterson, professor of geology and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Center of Canada's Carleton University, says that "CO2 variations show little correlation with our planet's climate on long, medium and even short time scales." Rather, he says, "I and the first-class scientists I work with are consistently finding excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations of the sun and earthly climate. This is not surprising. The sun and the stars are the ultimate source of energy on this planet."

Patterson, sharing Tapping's concern, says: "Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth." "Solar activity has overpowered any effect that CO2 has had before, and it most likely will again," Patterson says. "If we were to have even a medium-sized solar minimum, we could be looking at a lot more bad effects than 'global warming' would have had."

In 2005, Russian astronomer Khabibullo Abdusamatov made some waves - and not a few enemies in the global warming "community" - by predicting that the sun would reach a peak of activity about three years from now, to be accompanied by "dramatic changes" in temperatures.

A Hoover Institution Study a few years back examined historical data and came to a similar conclusion. "The effects of solar activity and volcanoes are impossible to miss. Temperatures fluctuated exactly as expected, and the pattern was so clear that, statistically, the odds of the correlation existing by chance were one in 100," according to Hoover fellow Bruce Berkowitz. The study says that "try as we might, we simply could not find any relationship between industrial activity, energy consumption and changes in global temperatures."

The study concludes that if you shut down all the world's power plants and factories, "there would not be much effect on temperatures." But if the sun shuts down, we've got a problem. It is the sun, not the Earth, that's hanging in the balance.


Study: Ethanol May Add to Global Warming

The widespread use of ethanol from corn could result in nearly twice the greenhouse gas emissions as the gasoline it would replace because of expected land-use changes, researchers concluded Thursday. The study challenges the rush to biofuels as a response to global warming. The researchers said that past studies showing the benefits of ethanol in combating climate change have not taken into account almost certain changes in land use worldwide if ethanol from corn - and in the future from other feedstocks such as switchgrass - become a prized commodity. "Using good cropland to expand biofuels will probably exacerbate global warming," concludes the study published in Science magazine.

The researchers said that farmers under economic pressure to produce biofuels will increasingly "plow up more forest or grasslands," releasing much of the carbon formerly stored in plants and soils through decomposition or fires. Globally, more grasslands and forests will be converted to growing the crops to replace the loss of grains when U.S. farmers convert land to biofuels, the study said.

The Renewable Fuels Association, which represents ethanol producers, called the researchers' view of land-use changes "simplistic" and said the study "fails to put the issue in context." "Assigning the blame for rainforest deforestation and grassland conversion to agriculture solely on the renewable fuels industry ignores key factors that play a greater role," said Bob Dinneen, the association's president.

There has been a rush to developing biofuels, especially ethanol from corn and cellulosic feedstock such as switchgrass and wood chips, as a substitute for gasoline. President Bush signed energy legislation in December that mandates a six-fold increase in ethanol use as a fuel to 36 billion gallons a year by 2022, calling the requirement key to weaning the nation from imported oil.

The new "green" fuel, whether made from corn or other feedstocks, has been widely promoted - both in Congress and by the White House - as a key to combating global warming. Burning it produces less carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, than the fossil fuels it will replace. During the recent congressional debate over energy legislation, lawmakers frequently cited estimates that corn-based ethanol produces 20 percent less greenhouse gases in production, transportation and use than gasoline, and that cellulosic ethanol has an even greater benefit of 70 percent less emissions.

The study released Thursday by researchers affiliated with Princeton University and a number of other institutions maintains that these analyses "were one-sided" and counted the carbon benefits of using land for biofuels but not the carbon costs of diverting land from its existing uses. "The other studies missed a key factor that everyone agrees should have been included, the land use changes that actually are going to increase greenhouse gas emissions," said Tim Searchinger, a research scholar at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and lead author of the study.

The study said that after taking into account expected worldwide land-use changes, corn-based ethanol, instead of reducing greenhouse gases by 20 percent, will increases it by 93 percent compared to using gasoline over a 30-year period. Biofuels from switchgrass, if they replace croplands and other carbon-absorbing lands, would result in 50 percent more greenhouse gas emissions, the researchers concluded.

Not all ethanol would be affected by the land-use changes, the study said. "We should be focusing on our use of biofuels from waste products" such as garbage, which would not result in changes in agricultural land use, Searchinger said in an interview. "And you have to be careful how much you require. Use the right biofuels, but don't require too much too fast. Right now we're making almost exclusively the wrong biofuels."



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


Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Greenie editor rejects the Warmist panic

Our charter to report on clean technology and the status of species and ecosystems seems to always bring us back to one overriding distraction - global warming alarm - and small wonder. We are in the midst of one of the most dramatic transformations of political economy in the history of the world - and nobody is watching. "The debate is over on global warming," goes the consensus, and even if that were a healthy or accurate notion, why has this consensus translated into hardly any vigorous debate over what would be a rational response?

Despite ongoing rhetoric to the contrary from virtually every environmental nonprofit in existance, the United States has been an extraordinarily responsible nation. We listened to our environmental movement; we institutionalized it. On every front there has been huge progress over the past 30-40 years. Our air and water are orders of magnitude cleaner even though our population has doubled. Our landfills our ultra-safe. We have set aside vast tracts of wilderness, rescued countless endangered species. Our food supply is scrupulously monitored. And every year our technology and our prosperity delivers new options to eliminate more pollution and live healthier lives. So what happened?

In the rest of the world there is also reason for great optimism, despite some discouraging challenges that continue to grip humanity. But human population is voluntarily leveling off, so that within 25-30 years the number of people on planet earth will peak at around 8.5 billion - and every time the projection is revisited, that estimate drops. At an even faster pace, humanity is urbanizing - and this voluntary movement is taking people out of the vast and potentially endangered forests and other biomes faster than population increase replaces them. Land is becoming abundant again. So what's wrong?

Technology promises abundant energy within a few decades, using clean fossil fuel as we systematically replace it with solar, nuclear, run-of-river hydroelectric, enhanced geothermal, wind, possibly biofuel. Technology promises abundant water within a few decades, as we learn how to recycle every drop of water used in the urban environment, convert many crops to drip irrigation, and develop massive desalination capacity. So why don't we get to work?

The reason is because of global warming alarm. The bells of warning are ringing so loud that CO2 is all that matters anymore. Want to stop using petroleum? Then burn the rainforests for biofuel. Want to stop using coal? Then forget about installing affordable scrubbers to remove the soot that billows from coal fired power plants across burgeoning Asia - why clean up something that needs to be shut down? Want to save allegedly scarce open space? Then cram everyone into ultra-high density "infill" and destroy every semi rural neighborhood in the western world. Make housing unaffordable, then mandate taxpayer-subsidized affordable housing. And do it all in the name of reducing CO2 emissions.

Today, after reading two documents from the website of the Attorney General of California, "Mitigation Measures," and "Global Warming Contrarians and the Falsehoods they Promote," I became so alarmed at what we are willingly, blindly bringing upon ourselves because of all this CO2 alarm that I contacted Dr. Richard Lindzen, who has already contributed two lengthy articles to EcoWorld, "Current Behavior of Global Mean Surface Temperature," and "Is There a Basis for Global Warming Alarm?" I asked Dr. Lindzen if he still held the views he does. He replied emphatically in the affirmative, and sent me the article that follows. Dr. Lindzen, along with Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., with whom EcoWorld recently published the exclusive "Interview with Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr.," are both internationally respected atmospheric scientists. And both of them, in somewhat different ways, are quite concerned about the overemphasis on CO2.

Anyone who is championing extreme measures to reduce anthropogenic CO2 should attempt for themselves to understand the science. As Dr. Lindzen wrote me earlier today, policymakers such as Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger "can be excused given the degree to which the environmental movement has taken over the professional societies."

"Science" has become the trump card that drowns out reason - what great irony. And the scientific establishment itself has become politicized. And if you read the mitigation measures being proposed, just imagine if there was nothing we could do to affect global warming - which even some of the lead authors of the IPCC studies themselves acknowlege - and see if you want to live in the brave new world we are leading ourselves into by our own gullible noses.

Dramatic and positive global economic and technological developments, along with voluntary and irreversible global demographic trends, are about to deliver us a future where we enjoy unprecedented environmental health, abundance and prosperity. But to do this we need to preserve our economic and personal freedoms. Will the measures being proposed - especially in trendsetting California - fruitlessly combat a problem that doesn't exist, crush economic growth and trample on individual freedom, and rob humanity of this hopeful destiny?

Source. Below is the article that Ed "Redwood" Ring refers to above:


By Richard Lindzen (Richard S. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations.

Such hysteria simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the Goebbelian substitution of repetition for truth, and the exploitation of these weaknesses by politicians, environmental promoters, and, after 20 years of media drum beating, many others as well.

Climate is always changing. We have had ice ages and warmer periods when alligators were found in Spitzbergen. Ice ages have occurred in a hundred thousand year cycle for the last 700 thousand years, and previous warm periods appear to have been warmer than the present despite CO2 levels being lower than they are now. More recently, we have had the medieval warm period and the little ice age. During the latter, alpine glaciers advanced to the chagrin of overrun villages.

Since the beginning of the 19th Century these glaciers have been retreating. Frankly, we don't fully understand either the advance or the retreat. For small changes in climate associated with tenths of a degree, there is no need for any external cause. The earth is never exactly in equilibrium. The motions of the massive oceans where heat is moved between deep layers and the surface provides variability on time scales from years to centuries. Recent work (Tsonis et al, 2007), suggests that this variability is enough to account for all climate change since the 19th Century. Supporting the notion that man has not been the cause of this unexceptional change in temperature is the fact that there is a distinct signature to greenhouse warming: surface warming should be accompanied by warming in the tropics around an altitude of about 9km that is about 2.5 times greater than at the surface.

Measurements show that warming at these levels is only about 3/4 of what is seen at the surface, implying that only about a third of the surface warming is associated with the greenhouse effect, and, quite possibly, not all of even this really small warming is due to man. This further implies that all models predicting significant warming are greatly overestimating warming. This should not be surprising. According to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the greenhouse forcing from man made greenhouse gases is already about 86 % of what one expects from a doubling of CO2 (with about half coming from methane, nitrous oxide, freons and ozone), and alarming predictions depend on models for which the sensitivity to a doubling for CO2 is greater than 2C which implies that we should already have seen much more warming than we have seen thus far, even if all the warming we have seen so far were due to man.

This contradiction is rendered more acute by the fact that there has been no significant global warming for the last ten years. Modelers defend this situation by arguing that aerosols have cancelled much of the warming, and that models adequately account for natural unforced internal variability. However, a recent paper (Ramanathan, 2007) points out that aerosols can warm as well as cool, while scientists at the UK's Hadley Centre for Climate Research recently noted that their model did not appropriately deal with natural internal variability thus demolishing the basis for the IPCC's iconic attribution. Interestingly (though not unexpectedly), the British paper did not stress this. Rather, they speculated that natural internal variability might step aside in 2009, allowing warming to resume. Resume? Thus, the fact that warming has ceased for the past decade is acknowledged.

Given that the evidence (and I have noted only a few of many pieces of evidence) strongly suggests that anthropogenic warming has been greatly exaggerated, the basis for alarm due to such warming is similarly diminished.

However, the really important point is that the case for alarm would still be weak even if anthropogenic global warming were significant. Polar bears, arctic summer sea ice, regional droughts and floods, coral bleaching, hurricanes, alpine glaciers, malaria, etc. etc. all depend not on some global average of surface temperature, but on a huge number of regional variables including temperature, humidity, cloud cover, precipitation, and direction and magnitude of wind.

The state of the ocean is also often crucial. Our ability to forecast any of these over periods beyond a few days is minimal. Yet, each catastrophic forecast depends on each of these being in a specific range. The odds of any specific catastrophe actually occurring is almost zero. This was equally true for earlier forecasts: famine for the 1980's, global cooling in the 1970's, Y2K and many others. Regionally, year to year fluctuations in temperature are over four times larger than fluctuations in the global mean. Much of this variation has to be independent of the global mean; otherwise the global mean would vary much more.

This is simply to note that factors other than global warming are more important to any specific situation. This is not to say that disasters will not occur; they always have occurred and this will not change in the future. Fighting global warming with symbolic gestures will certainly not change this. However, history tells us that greater wealth and development can profoundly increase our resilience.

Given the above, one may reasonably ask why there is the current alarm, and, in particular, why the astounding upsurge in alarmism of the past 2 years. When an issue like global warming is around for over twenty years, numerous agendas are developed to exploit the issue.

The interests of the environmental movement in acquiring more power and influence are reasonably clear. So too are the interests of bureaucrats for whom control of CO2 is a dream-come-true.

After all, CO2 is a product of breathing itself. Politicians can see the possibility of taxation that will be cheerfully accepted because it is necessary for saving the world. Nations have seen how to exploit this issue in order to gain competitive advantages. But, by now, things have gone much further.

The case of ENRON is illustrative in this respect. Before disintegrating in a pyrotechnic display of unscrupulous manipulation, ENRON had been one of the most intense lobbyists for Kyoto. It had hoped to become a trading firm dealing in carbon emission rights. This was no small hope. These rights are likely to amount to over a trillion dollars, and the commissions will run into many billions. Hedge funds are actively examining the possibilities. It is probably no accident that Gore, himself, is associated with such activities . The sale of indulgences is already in full swing with organizations selling offsets to one's carbon footprint while sometimes acknowledging that the offsets are irrelevant.

The possibilities for corruption are immense. Archer Daniels Midland (America's largest agribusiness) has successfully lobbied for ethanol requirements for gasoline, and the resulting demand for ethanol is already leading to large increases in corn prices and associated hardship in the developing world (not to mention poorer car performance).

And finally, there are the numerous well meaning individuals who have allowed propagandists to convince them that in accepting the alarmist view of anthropogenic climate change, they are displaying intelligence and virtue For them, their psychic welfare is at stake.

With all this at stake, one can readily suspect that there might be a sense of urgency provoked by the possibility that warming may have ceased. For those committed to the more venal agendas, the need to act soon, before the public appreciates the situation, is real indeed.


An underhand attempt to muzzle dissent

Because of politics in Salem, Oregon State University has been put in an embarrassing position. It has to create a new climate research center wanted by the legislature and hire someone to run it without appearing to muzzle George Taylor, the longtime state climatologist whose views on climate change are not exactly politically correct.

The university tried to wiggle out of the dilemma by praising Taylor's work for Oregon farmers, ranchers and others but then declaring that he and the new director will "share the duties usually assumed by the state climatologist, although neither will formally hold that title ... . The institute director will lead the research function of a state climatologist and represent Oregon at relevant conferences; Taylor will provide the supporting mapping and data services.

"This might have been the best that OSU could do in the face of House Bill 3543, which establishes the climate research center. But it still sounds like an unkind and undeserved way to treat a man who has done outstanding and reliable work for Oregon for nearly two decades.

As it turns out, the "title" of state climatologist may not be for the state to bestow or remove unilaterally. It was created in a memorandum of understanding between Oregon and the National Weather Service, and it devolves on whoever heads the Oregon Climate Service, which Taylor manages.

You can blame the legislature for this muddle. The governor and other Democrats wanted to sideline Taylor for not wholeheartedly going along with the prevailing theory of man-caused global warming, but evidently they didn't want to be seen doing so.

Their bill created a new research center on climate change, but it did not repeal or amend the 1991 law that put the Oregon Climate Center at OSU in state law and tasked it with essentially the same functions now also assigned to the new center. So our elected leaders stuck OSU with the job of hiring someone's replacement without getting rid of the incumbent, an awkward job indeed.


Collapsing ice shelf not a victim of global warming

Global warming may not be entirely to blame for the collapse of an Antarctic ice shelf in 2002, according to research published today. The 10,000-year-old Larsen B ice shelf was initially believed to be a victim of climate change. But a paper published in the Journal of Glaciology claims the shelf had been teetering on collapse for decades.

Professor Neil Glasser, of Aberystwyth University, the paper's lead author, said cracks and fault lines in the ice had significantly weakened the structure. "Ice shelf collapse is not as simple as we first thought," he said. "Because large amounts of meltwater appeared on the ice shelf just before it collapsed, we had always assumed that air temperature increases were to blame. "But our new study shows that ice shelf break-up is not controlled simply by climate.

"A number of other atmospheric, oceanic and glaciological factors are involved. For example, the location and spacing of fractures on the ice shelf such as crevasses and rifts are very important too because they determine how strong or weak the ice shelf is."

The study is important because ice shelf collapse indirectly contributes to global sea level rise.

Prof Glasser said: "Ice shelves themselves do not contribute directly to sea level rise because they are floating on the ocean and they already displace the same volume of water. "But when the ice shelves collapse the glaciers that feed them speed up and get thinner, so they supply more ice to the oceans."

Prof Glasser, working as a Fulbright Scholar in the US, acknowledged that global warming had a major part to play in the collapse, but stressed that it was only one in a number of contributory factors. He said that despite the dramatic nature of the break-up in 2002, both observations by glaciologists and research by Nasa scientists had pointed to an ice shelf in distress for decades previously. "It's likely that melting from higher ocean temperatures, or even a gradual decline in the ice mass of the Peninsula over the centuries, was pushing the Larsen to the brink," said co-author Ted Scambos, of the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Centre.

Source. Journal article here

Greenies undermine their own alleged objectives -- again

Without sufficient platinum, it is not possible to produce automobiles, trucks, and diesel engines that can be sold in North America, Europe, Japan, and much of the rest of the world. The catalytic converters required by environmental laws do not work without it. And right now, we are on a clear track to running short of the platinum needed to maintain, let alone increase, the production of gasoline and diesel engines.

The problem is the chronic electricity shortages in South Africa. All of the greenhouse gases produced last month by the conferees in Davos did not result in this problem being "addressed", as their organisers would put it. Now the only way to maintain existing clean air standards in the developed world is to build and operate, as rapidly as possible, a series of new coal-fired power stations to supply the country's mines and refineries.

That won't happen until 2012 at the earliest. In the meantime, the already absurdly high platinum price (up more than 40 per cent from a year ago), probably has to rise even higher to squeeze demand out of less critical applications such as jewellery. You can expect some fallback in the current price as you read headlines about South African mines and refineries restarting, reassurances from government ministers and electricity supremos, and so on. That correction won't last, at least in the absence of a collapse of auto and diesel production. For one thing, the very speculators who will help with this price-rationing process will set aside more stocks with which to trade, which will also reduce usable supply.

Substitutions? More efficient use? Already thought of that. Platinum has been very expensive for a long time, which is why they name credit cards after it. Engineers have been making incremental reductions in platinum content for years, and they will continue to do so. Slowly. The stuff is just too useful as a catalyst, which means it helps promote a chemical reaction, such as breaking down pollutants, without itself being consumed in the process.

South Africa's mines and refineries supply nearly 80 per cent of world production. In the rest of the world, for the most part, platinum is supplied as a by-product of mines principally supplying nickel, palladium, and other metals. That makes it hard to increase alternative supplies, even if the mining engineers and skilled workers were available, which they aren't.

How did South Africa, and the platinum industry, wind up in this mess? Apart from what could be easily mistaken for pure ineptitude on the part of the responsible ministries and the management of Eskom (the electricity utility), the country made a huge bet on the rapid development of hydroelectric resources in neighbouring countries. The state was strongly encouraged to do so by its political supporters among international organisations and foreign governments, since the alternative, coal-fired power, was not environmentally acceptable. The hydroelectric developments, principally around Inga Falls on the Congo River, would have been ambitious even if the political stability and engineering skills existed.

So it's back to the drawing board, and on the drawing boards are going to be a series of coal stations. Power rationing plans have been devised, which now call for a reduction of 10 per cent in electricity use by key industrial customers.

That's worse than it sounds, by the way. You don't make up for cutbacks on that scale in a metals operation by using compact fluorescent bulbs. In the short term, at least, power cutbacks will lead to disproportionate cutbacks in metals production. The very deep mines need to be constantly pumped, cooled, and maintained, lest they flood or collapse. So it is likely that ore will be piled up next to the refineries. The ore can only be used as doorstops or paperweights; to get platinum products you need the refineries.

Michael Jones, the president of Platinum Group Metals, which is building two new platinum projects in South Africa, says: "We can use diesel generation for mining our relatively shallow ounces [of reserves]. As a practical matter you cannot do that with smelting. This [power crisis] will obviously have an enormous impact both in gold and platinum. There is a new engineering factor which has to be taken into account, which is megawatts [of power] per ounce."



An email from Charles Warren Hunt []

Our Canadian newspapers a day or two ago featured a photo of the central ice cap on Baffin Island, showing that it had shrunk significantly in the last few years. Carbon dating of plant and fungal material collected from newly exposed rock showed that the previous vegetation had lived some hundreds of years ago.

The news deduced from this was that the melting ice cap showed that huge warming is in progress. Automatically that was interpreted as a menace to polar bears, Inuit people, and civilization itself. Unmentioned was the obvious conclusion to be drawn: that the former warm climate had not eliminated either the polar bears or humanity. Same evidence: opposite conclusions!


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


Saturday, February 09, 2008

That "melting" Arctic -- not so much

Alaska: Interior deep-freeze approaches minus 70. Yes. I do know that Alaska is only partly within the arctic circle

Even for Alaska's Interior, this is cold.The National Weather Service reports the coldest spot in the state Wednesday morning was minus 67 at O'Brien Creek, a spot on the Taylor Highway nearly 200 miles east of Fairbanks. There was also an unofficial reading of minus 70 in Tok, but residents were treating it as just another winter day. "We're generally close to this temperature at this time of the year," said Sgt. Freddie Wells of the Alaska State Troopers post in Tok.

But troopers are placing a priority on responding to calls from stranded motorists, and there is heightened concern for the community's older residents. Otherwise, Wells says, it seems people are staying inside more.

Readings of minus 50 to minus 60 were common throughout the Interior overnight, including minus 65 at Chicken, a tiny community on the Taylor Highway east of Fairbanks. Chicken also holds the distinction of having the last official temperature in the state of minus 70 or colder - 72 below on Jan. 1, 2000. The state's second-largest city also wasn't immune from the cold. The noontime high Wednesday in Fairbanks was minus 45.

There doesn't appear to be any warming in immediate sight; the Weather Service says the extreme cold should stick around until early next week.

Source Note also that Kashmir is now another of the many places in Asia that have recently received record snowfalls.


Every day, scientists hoping to see an increase in solar activity train their instruments at the sun as it crosses the sky. This is no idle academic pursuit: A lull in solar action could potentially drive the planet's temperature down, or even prompt a mini Ice Age.

For millennia, thermonuclear forces inside the star have followed a regular rhythm, causing its magnetic field to peak and ebb, on average, every 11 years. Space weathermen are watching for telltale increases in sunspots, which would signal the start of a new cycle, predicted to have started last March and expected to peak in 2012. "When the sun's active, it's a little bit brighter," explains Ken Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada's National Research Council.

So far, Tapping reports no change in the magnetic field strength, as measured by radio telescopes. On the more positive side, last month NASA reported a small, earth-sized sunspot with a magnetic field pointing in the opposite direction from those in the previous cycle; qualities that designate the spot as a signal of a new upturn in activity. At the solar maximum, scientists expect to see between 75 and 150 such sunspots per day.

Tapping oversees the operation of a 60-year-old radio telescope that he calls a "stethoscope for the sun." Recent magnetic field readings are as low as he's ever seen, he says, and he's worked with the instrument for more than 25 years. If the sun remains this quiet for another a year or two, it may indicate the star has entered a downturn that, if history is any precedent, could trigger a planetary cold spell that could bring massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern Hemisphere.

The last such solar funk corresponded with a period of bitter cold that began around 1650 and lasted, with intermittent spikes of warming, until 1715. While there were competing causes for the climatic shift-including the Black Death's depopulation of tree-cutting Europeans and, more substantially, increased volcanic activity spewing ash into the atmosphere-the sun's lethargy likely had something to do with it.

Just how much influence the sun has on global temperatures has been the subject of sometimes acrimonious debate. While an upswing in solar activity may cause a warming trend, it was discounted in the mid-1990s as the sole driver of current climate change. And for anyone hoping that a solar downswing might bail us out of our current dilemma: Solar influence on climate is slight compared to the impact of man-made greenhouse gases, a National Academy of Sciences report concluded in 1995.

The planet's climate is a messy picture, with all sorts of influences and feedback cycles that need to be taken into account. In order to build more accurate computer models, scientists need to understand both anthropogenic factors and the link between the sun and our planet, Tapping says. To help get at the sun's influence, he and other researchers connect Earth's temperature with historic sunspot records of sky watchers from Europe and China, as well as with carbon-14 isotopes--residue from cosmic rays delivered by the sun's magnetic field-found in tree rings. To understand our role in climate change," he says, "we need to understand the natural process."


British Airways blasts EU emissions plan

The European Union is aiming too high with proposals to make all airlines flying into and out of the bloc buy pollution permits and risks a backlash from other countries, the chief executive of British Airways said. Under plans being drawn up in Brussels to fight climate change, airlines using EU airports would be included in the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme from 2012, with a cap on their emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. Airlines would gradually have to buy emissions certificates at auction, starting with 20 per cent of permits in 2013 and rising to 100 per cent in 2020.

From three per cent of mankind's total contribution to global warming in 2005, aviation's emissions are set to rise by a factor of two to five by 2050, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a report last year. "What we're saying is by all means be ambitious but don't put the whole system at risk by trying to impose it on other nations at a completely different point in their whole thinking on climate change," BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh said. Walsh said emissions trading within the EU is the best way for the bloc's aviation industry to respond to climate change but extending it further risks undermining the scheme.

The United States and many other countries are deeply opposed to the plan by Brussels, arguing that the move would illegally extend EU jurisdiction outside European territory. "I think to go in and say here's the solution, we're applying it everywhere, you must do what we tell you... You're going to get a backlash," he told Reuters in an interview. "The warning signals are loud and clear."

European airlines could be at risk of retaliation in the form of restricted access to third countries or punitive taxes and non-European airlines might shun the region as a hub for long-haul flights, Walsh said. "We need to be careful that we don't encourage air transport to move away from Europe and move into other hub airports like the Middle East where Dubai is perfect example," he said.

The European Parliament and the council of member states approved a plan late last year for all airlines flying in and out of the EU to join the ETS early in the next decade. The plan has yet to be put to a second vote in the European Parliament, giving airlines such as British Airways a chance to lobby for changes to the final text. Walsh was in Brussels for a series of meeting with EU officials.



Europe is facing an energy crisis because of green-influenced legislation and regulation, and difficulty in obtaining planning approval for key projects, energy companies warned yesterday. Europe needs to spend 2 trillion euros on upgrading power networks in the next 25 years but leading energy companies have cancelled investments in new power plants worth billions of euros because of increased regulatory uncertainty, a senior executive claimed yesterday. Johannes Teyssen, chief operating officer at E.ON, Germany's biggest energy group, blamed the European commission's plans to make companies pay for all their pollution permits from 2013, huge delays in approving planning applications and confusion among national regulators for the cancellations.

Teyssen, vice-chairman of the World Energy Council (WEC) Europe, said: "We see now every week a new investment project being cancelled across the EU." He cited at least four multibillion-euro projects to build power plants in Germany and said thousands of kilometres of new power lines were "lying on the table" because of planning delays.

The pan-European industry lobby, Eurelectric, says the EU will need about 520 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity by 2030. But the WEC, in a report handed to the commission yesterday, said investments had slowed in recent years and Europe was now twice as vulnerable to external shocks as it was in the 1960s. It would be 70% dependent on imports by 2030 without a change in policy.

Teyssen said the commission's plans to scrap free emission permits and move to a full auction system would further blight investment decisions. He also said it took longer to approve planning applications than to build a nuclear power station. "I hardly know of any EU nation where it's easy to build a high-voltage transmission line or new gas pipeline."

Centrica, owners of British Gas, said delays in planning applications were holding up projects for onshore wind farms and new gas-storage facilities. But, officials said, the group backed commission plans to auction pollution permits, creating greater regulatory clarity and offering incentives to invest in new low-carbon or carbon-free plants.

Teyssen urged the EU to avoid putting all its eggs into the renewables basket, arguing that they could cause more harm than good if national and cross-border grids were incapable of meeting the growth in their use. "You need a broader picture; you can't just say green is good," he said.

However, the British government rejected the suggestion and said its energy market was the most competitive and liberalised in the EU and G7, encouraging investment from firms such as E.ON. John Hutton, the business secretary, said: "We are legislating to speed up the planning system and to put in place incentives for energy companies to bring forward the investment we need. This will mean a dramatic expansion in renewables, new investment in nuclear power and technologies to clean up how we use fossil fuels."

Companies are also resisting the commission's drive to open the EU energy market to more competition, saying that uncertainty put them off investing in new projects. Eight countries, led by France and Germany, have attacked the central pillar of the commission's liberalisation package. This involves forcing the big continental players to "unbundle", or sell their gas and electricity transmission networks/pipelines to independent operators and allow new players to enter a more competitive market.

The eight, backed by big groups such as E.ON, France's EDF and GDF, and Italy's Eni, have formed a "blocking minority" within the council of ministers. They are proposing instead, in a letter to the EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs and MEPs, that national regulators draw up 10-year investment plans that the companies would be obliged to follow.

In the letter, seen by the Guardian, they say the "unbundling" plans are unconstitutional and inappropriate to "guarantee an adequate level of investment in the networks and foster the integration of our national networks". The Piebalgs plan faces growing internal opposition within the commission itself, with one senior official saying that it would break up big companies capable of competing in global markets and force the EU to be more dependent on huge foreign players.


BRITISH GOVERNMENT (formerly known as "world leaders" in climate change policy) REVIVES COAL INDUSTRY

Coal power generation is crucial for the growth of the British economy, Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said on Wednesday. But he said the government could not yet release a specific policy document on coal-fired electricity. "We can't afford to forget coal which contributes about 35 percent of UK power and has an important part to play in UK power policy," Wicks said.

The fuel source is controversial because it produces more of the planet-warming gas carbon dioxide than any other power source. Protesters from environmental group Greenpeace interrupted Wicks as he addressed a coal conference at the Lord's cricket ground in London. "Coal power stations are out-of-date climate-wreckers," the group said in a statement.



The state-of-the-art British-sponsored fasttrack assessment of the global impacts of climate change, a major input to the much-heralded Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, indicates that through the year 2100, the contribution of climate change to human health and environmental threats will generally be overshadowed by factors not related to climate change. Hence, climate change is unlikely to be the world's most important environmental problem of the 21st century.

Analysis using both the Stern Review and the fast-track assessment reveals that notwithstanding climate change, for the foreseeable future, human and environmental well-being will be highest under the "richest-but-warmest" scenario and lower for the poorer (lower-carbon) scenarios. The developing world's future wellbeing should exceed present levels by several-fold under each scenario, even exceeding present wellbeing in today's developed world under all but the poorest scenario. Accordingly, equity-based arguments, which hold that present generations should divert scarce resources from today's urgent problems to solve potential problems of tomorrow's wealthier generations, are unpersuasive.

Halting climate change would reduce cumulative mortality from various climate-sensitive threats, namely, hunger, malaria, and coastal flooding, by 4-10 percent in 2085, while increasing populations at risk from water stress and possibly worsening matters for biodiversity. But according to cost information from the UN Millennium Program and the IPCC, measures focused specifically on reducing vulnerability to these threats would reduce cumulative mortality from these risks by 50-75 percent at a fraction of the cost of reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs). Simultaneously, such measures would reduce major hurdles to the developing world's sustainable economic development, the lack of which is why it is most vulnerable to climate change.

The world can best combat climate change and advance well-being, particularly of the world's most vulnerable populations, by reducing present-day vulnerabilities to climate-sensitive problems that could be exacerbated by climate change rather than through overly aggressive GHG reductions.



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


Friday, February 08, 2008

RSS Satellite data for Jan08: 2nd coldest January for the planet in 15 years

See new graph of global deltaT for the past year below. There has been a global drop in temperature of 0.63 degrees Centigrade in the past 12 months. Of course we already have had a heads up from all the wire reports around the world talking about the significant winter weather events that have occurred worldwide in the last month, but until now, there hasn’t been a measure of how the planet was doing for the winter of 2007/2008.

Remote Sensing Systems of Santa Rosa just posted the latest MSU (Microwave Sounder Unit) data. January posted a -.08øC near global anomaly between -70S and 82.5N latitude (the viewshed of the satellite sounder). That makes it the coldest month since January 2000, and the 2nd coldest January for the planet in 15 years. Both northern and southern hemispheres posted negative anomalies of -.120øC and -.038øC respectively, happening for the first time since January 2000. The United States posted a -.557øC anomaly for January 2008 and a -0.196øC anomaly for December 2007.

Here is my plot of the raw, unedited Global anomaly data (-70S to 82.5N) supplied by RSS per month. Note that the anomaly trend between late 2007 and early 2008 is quite steep and that the period leading up to 2008 is relatively flat.


click for a larger image Note: RSS Data Version 3.1


I decided to plot a magnified graph to show the global change in temperature over the last year from January 2007 to January 2008, the deltaT of -0.629øC is quite significant for a 12 month period, rivaled in the last 10 years only by the 1998 El Nino warming peak.


Click for a larger image Note: RSS Data Version 3.1

Probable cause- [Una] Nina muy grande. It looks like we may have a PDO shift as well. But as some say, trying to correlate such things is a “fools errand”. But, judge for yourself.


click for a larger image

We live in interesting times

More here

The Recovery from the Little Ice Age and Global Warming

By Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu (Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu was the founding director of the International Arctic Research Center of the University of Alaska Fairbanks from its establishment in 1998 until January of 2007. He has been professor of geophysics since 1964 and has published more than 550 professional journal articles. In 2002, he was named one of the "1000 Most Cited Scientists.")

A roughly linear global temperature increase of about 0.5øC per 100 years seems to have occurred from about 1800, or even much earlier, to the present. This value may be compared with what the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientists consider to be the manmade greenhouse effect of 0.6øC per 100 years. This long-lasting linear warming trend is likely to be a natural change.

One possible cause of the linear increase may be Earth's continuing recovery from the Little Ice Age. This trend (0.5øC/100 years) should be subtracted from the temperature data during the last 100 years when estimating the manmade contribution to the present global warming trend. Thus, there is a possibility that only a fraction of the present warming trend is attributable to the greenhouse effect resulting from human activities. This conclusion is contrary to the 2007 IPCC Report (p.10), which states that "most" of the present warming is due to the manmade greenhouse effect.

There is an urgent need to correctly identify natural changes and remove them from the present global warming trend in order to accurately identify the contribution of the manmade greenhouse effect. One certain way to learn about natural changes is to examine climate change before the greenhouse effect of human-produced carbon dioxide (CO2) became significant.

Unfortunately, I have found that the recent great interest by the public in climatology is largely the result of a proliferating number of confusing stories in the media that are based on misinterpreted information about the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide. Many people bring up the misunderstood issues when I discuss the present warming trend. The confused people even include some policy-makers and government officials.

For example, the mass media use scenes of large blocks of ice falling off the terminus of a glacier and of the spring break-up in the Arctic as supposedly due to the manmade greenhouse effect. Glaciers are "rivers of ice," so that calving is natural, and spring break-up is a normal, annual event; both have been going on from the geological time. A number of glaciers in Alaska, Greenland, Himalaya, and the European Alps, which have accurate historic records, began to recede well before 1900 or even 1800. The recession is something that has not begun abruptly in recent years.

Another example is that the mass media report that collapsing houses built on permafrost (frozen ground) are the result of the manmade greenhouse effect. Their collapse is due to improper construction that allows the house heat to melt the permafrost underneath the structure. Reporters who are not familiar with arctic phenomena tend to report such normal occurences as anomalous.

The so-called "hockey stick" figure in the 2001 "Summary Report for Policy Makers" is still a matter of scientific debate and it was not appropriate to use it. (It shows a sudden increase of temperature around 1900 after a slow decrease for 900 years, giving the impression of "abrupt climate change.") The public is greatly alarmed and thus concerned about climate change largely because of such misinformation and misunderstanding.

I am concerned about the inevitable backlash against science and scientists, when the public eventually learns the correct information about climate change. Even if the IPCC is not directly responsible for the present confusion, they should take the necessary responsible action to help rectify the confusion. I request that the IPCC make an appropriate statement in this regard before the next G8 meeting in May 2008.


Global-Warming Jujitsu

From the NYT!

Suppose that the pessimistic forecasts of global warming are accurate. Suppose that the planet's temperature rises according to the high-end scenario of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and that we experience the economic and social impacts (like hunger, malaria and coastal flooding) projected by the much-publicized Stern Review sponsored by the British government. Does that mean our best course of action is to quickly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases?

That's the question addressed in a new report by Indur Goklany for the Cato Institute, the libertarian think tank that has taken issue with many of the dire predictions about global warming. What's interesting about this report is that it works from the assumption that the dire forecasts are accurate, even the Stern Review, which has been severely criticized for exaggerating the economic costs of global warming. (See, for instance, the critiques by the Yale economist William Nordhaus in the journal Science and in this article article from the Journal of Economic Literature.) Dr. Goklany accepts the Stern Review's grim numbers and looks at the I.P.C.C.'s various scenarios, which project different levels of warming and sea-level rise depending on the the rate of economic growth, energy use and other factors.

"The surprising conclusion using the Stern Review's own estimates," Dr. Goklany writes, "is that future generations will be better off in the richest but warmest" of the I.P.C.C.'s scenarios. He concludes that cutting emissions will do much less good than encouraging sustainable development in poor countries and policies of "focused adaptation" to deal with disease and environmental problems like coastal flooding. For a fifth the cost of the Kyoto Protocol, he calculates, these adaptation policies could yield more immediate and also long-term benefits than would a policy that entirely halted global warming (which would cost far, far more than Kyoto). He argues that this path isn't merely an economic but also a moral imperative:

For the foreseeable future, people will be wealthier-and their well-being higher-than is the case for present generations both in the developed and developing worlds and with or without climate change. The well-being of future inhabitants in today's developing world would exceed that of the inhabitants of today's developed world under all but the poorest scenario. Future generations should, moreover, have greater access to human capital and technology to address whatever problems they might face, including climate change. Hence the argument that we should shift resources from dealing with the real and urgent problems confronting present generations to solving potential problems of tomorrow's wealthier and better positioned generations is unpersuasive at best and verging on immoral at worst.

Other people, of course, may have different moral views. Dr. Goklany focuses on measures of the physical well-being of humans; others may attach more importance to the spiritual value and esthetic benefits of preserving ecosystems. But I think he points to a real risk in making large sacrifices today to address problems that will be easier to address when people are richer and more technologically advanced. If anything, Dr. Goklany writes, his calculations underestimate the capacity of future generations to deal with these problems because they'll have technologies we can't imagine today (just as the advocates of draconian population-control policies during the 1960s didn't envision that future famines would be averted thanks to improvements in agriculture).

It can be argued that we're rich enough to afford both the focused-adaptation policies and other steps to cut emissions (like the carbon tax that I keep advocating). But resources are limited, particularly when you're trying persuade voters in rich countries to send their money to poor countries. Dr. Goklany, who works at the office of policy analysis at the Department of Interior and was part of the U.S. delegation at the recent Bali climate conference, raises good questions about what our priorities should be. Here's his summary of what different policies can accomplish:

Halting climate change would reduce cumulative mortality from various climate-sensitive threats, namely, hunger, malaria, and coastal flooding, by 4-10 percent in 2085, while increasing populations at risk from water stress and possibly worsening matters for biodiversity. But according to cost information from the U.N. Millennium Program and the I.P.C.C., measures focused specifically on reducing vulnerability to these threats would reduce cumulative mortality from these risks by 50-75 percent at a fraction of the cost of reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs). Simultaneously, such measures would reduce major hurdles to the developing world's sustainable economic development, the lack of which is why it is most vulnerable to climate change. Can we afford to do both? If so, how? If not, what should be our priority?


British wind farms: Blowing money on a fantasy

My electricity company has just sent me a handwringing letter, explaining why, despite its best efforts to keep costs down, my bill is set to soar again this year. The reason - apart from the usual rapacious profits enjoyed by our power suppliers - is a hidden subsidy paid towards the development of wind farms. In the last financial year, electricity consumers were forced to pay a total of 600million pounds in subsidy to the owners of wind turbines. This figure is due to rise to 3billion a year by 2020 as vast areas of the most beautiful parts of the country will be pockmarked with 500fthigh windmills.

The sudden growth in this area of energy supply is because the green lobby has convinced many that this renewable power source is the answer to our looming energy crisis. But the truth is that not only do renewables provide a mere 1.3 per cent of the country's energy needs but also that this money is being wasted. The subsidy system works on the principle of encouraging the development of new wind farms by forcing traditional energy companies to pay producers of renewable energy. The firms then recoup the money by charging consumers higher bills.

After an initial surge in the number of new wind farms, few are currently being built. The most obvious sites, far from human habitation, have already been filled and energy firms are now facing delays in obtaining planning permission to build in more environmentally sensitive locations. As a result, the huge subsidy is concentrated in a small number of hands. There is a rising amount of money for renewable energy and if less is produced each turbine gets more of the pot. At current subsidy rates, anyone who constructs a wind farm, which is expected to last for a minimum of 20 years, will have paid off their investment in only five years. From then on, its profit all the way to the bank.

John Constable, director of policy at the Renewable Energy Foundation, says that the system "has encouraged underperforming onshore wind turbines in low wind areas. Though of little engineering value, such plants attract speculators because they require little capital investment". As a result, consumers will soon be paying billions in unnecessary subsidy to a bunch of sharp-suited businessmen who have spotted an opportunity for easy money.

But the wind farm disaster story does not, by any means, end here. Even in the unlikely event that ministers managed to get the subsidy system right, there would still remain fundamental problems with wind power. First, the fact that the turbines stand idle when the wind doesn't blow. This leaves gas or coal power stations to be switched on and off at a moment's notice to fill the gap - something that is very environmentally inefficient.

Second, even if you accept that it's worth desecrating some of the most beautiful parts of Britain in pursuit of a renewable energy policy, you then must transport the energy to a population centre. That means building an expensive infrastructure of new power lines.

The third problem is the potential threat wildlife (including rare birds colliding with the blades) and the damage to quality of life of those people who live near the wind farms. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors estimates that the price of house located close to a new turbine falls by 20 per cent, if the owners are able to sell it at all.

Of course, none of this much matters while the turbines are out of sight, but that could be about to change. Although Britain currently has nearly 2,000 onshore turbines; ministers have signed up to European targets on renewables that will mean 7,000 more. The Government claims that most of these will be built offshore, but that's not true because the costs of building in deep water are still too high.

Finally, there is the revelation that wind farms stop the Ministry of Defence's radar working, so we can forget about early warning of an airborne attack.

Behind all this is one certainty: Britain is facing a looming energy crisis. Our ageing nuclear power plants, which currently provide 20 per cent of our energy, are nearing the end of their useful life. The Government, having dithered for years, wants to build new ones but says that, unlike renewables, there will be no subsidies or price guarantees for the nuclear industry. If they really mean this, then the energy companies won't build any reactors, because the commercial risks will be too great. That will mean Britain becomes even more dependent on gas power stations, at a time when our supplies of North Sea gas are running out.

We will have to import our supplies from unstable Middle Eastern nations, or from Russia, whose leaders have already shown they are happy to turn off the gas tap to make a political point. Britain could be held to energy ransom; even plunged into darkness.

Meanwhile we waste time fiddling with wind power. The solution in the medium term is a proper commitment to nuclear energy which, like wind power, doesn't generate greenhouse gases. Also, we should be funding for research into wave and tidal power - surely the long-term answer for an island nation like Britain. As for wind, ministers should cut off the funding tap, and use the money to help reduce our obscenely high electricity bills.


Academic Travel Causes Global Warming

OK, the headline is a stretch. However, it is true that air travel puts large amounts of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, soot, and even water vapor directly into the atmosphere, all of which makes an inordinate and unsustainable contribution to global warming.

And academics do fly - a lot. As the environmental writer and activist Mark Lynas argued in the New Statesman: "Probably the single most polluting thing you or I will ever do is step on a plane."

Ian Roberts and Fiona Godlee published an editorial in the British Medical Journal on the "carbon footprint of medical conferences." They determined that flights destined for the annual conferences of the European Respiratory Society and the American Thoracic Society put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than do 110,000 Chadians or 11,000 Indians in an entire year. The problem does not end with medical researchers. Scholars of all stripes travel to meet, greet, and, in one of our more ironic roles, preach the gospel of sustainability.

How do we reduce our contradictions or, better yet, our carbon emissions? The solutions are obvious, which is why no one wants to talk about them. They would require sacrifice, or at least a new way of thinking about and conducting our professional lives. Bring up the issue among a gathering of scholars and you will get something like the following responses:

* "I know that flying is an environmental problem, but travel is essential to my work (and I really like San Francisco in the fall)."

* "My research is a collaborative enterprise. I need to discuss it with colleagues face-to-face (over wine and cheese)."

* "The importance of my research outweighs the environmental costs of air travel."

All of those points are reasonable (despite my parenthetical interjections). However, only the third argument directly engages the issue. And in some cases it might be accurate. The environmental costs of flights by scientists whose research, teaching, and outreach deal with environmental problems might be offset by their contributions to the development of sustainable policies, practices, and technologies.

But what about the rest of us? Take a conference I attended last year in Amsterdam. I flew 6,687 kilometers from Minneapolis to Holland to attend a virtual-ethnography workshop. We discussed such problems as research ethics, the transference of traditional ethnographic methods to the Internet, and differences between computer-mediated communication and face-to-face interactions. It was a fascinating set of discussions and a great opportunity to interact with leaders in that new field.

However, there is more than a little irony in flying thousands of miles to discuss virtual modes of communication. As several colleagues and friends back home asked, "Couldn't you do that from here?"

Unfortunately, the environmental potential of virtual technologies remained outside the discussion in Amsterdam. As is true throughout the academic world - perhaps with the exception of British thoracic specialists - no one seems interested in discussing the matter.

Perhaps that is because our most sacred privilege is at stake. We love to travel. To borrow a line from the Book of Luke, "What then must we do?" Although cash-strapped administrators would love to see us travel less, most professors would be unwilling to give up the big trips. Conferences are viewed as equal parts opportunity, obligation, and perk. Probationary faculty members, in particular, feel an obligation to present at the relevant disciplinary conferences.

Maybe instead of thinking about the issue in terms of limitations, it is better to think about new opportunities. Good alternatives exist. Among the most promising is videoconferencing.

Last year a group of students, a colleague, and I hosted a videoconference session with Nicole Constable of the University of Pittsburgh, the author of Romance on a Global Stage: Pen Pals, Virtual Ethnography, and "Mail Order" Marriages (University of California Press, 2003). Rather than fly Nicole to our campus, we asked her to take an hour to interact with us via video link. While we encountered some technological and logistical difficulties, the event demonstrated how rich and useful videoconferencing could be if conducted on a larger scale. Distance educators have discovered the potential of videoconferencing, and so should the rest of academe.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota, where I teach, has invested in user-friendly videoconferencing technology, and we are starting to experiment with ways to replace carbon-based forms of collaboration, at least in cases where live conferencing is difficult or unwarranted.

Of course, we are not alone. The University of Texas system has taken a strong lead in academic videoconferencing, and many institutions have discovered the economic, logistical, and ecological benefits of working in electronically mediated environments. Several scholars and organizations have even started to hold meetings in Second Life and other virtual environments.

As for offline travel, a renaissance in regional conferencing would go a long way toward reducing our greenhouse-gas emissions. Currently, many scholars overlook regional conferences and prefer to attend high-profile national and international meetings.

Granted, Miami is more appealing than Minneapolis in the winter, and our grad-school buddies probably won't attend the regional meeting. Nevertheless, some substitution of regional meetings for national and global ones would help us replace the plane with train, bus, or car, all of which are less destructive than air travel.

Oil is a tough drug to quit. It takes us on the most amazing trips. Sometimes we really do need to go, but in other cases it is an unnecessary anodyne. How many times have you found yourself thinking, "Did I really need to fly to New York to hear that?" Let's face it, academic research is usually better read than recited.

Those whose field sites are situated in other parts of the world find it difficult to avoid flying. However, when we can reduce air travel yet still maintain meaningful research and teaching practices, why wouldn't we? Put in social terms, why should the rest of society take our research conclusions seriously if we don't take the most significant scientific consensus of our time to heart?

I would write more, but it is time to go. The gate agent has called for rows 31 and higher to board the plane.



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


Thursday, February 07, 2008


The Washington Post recently ran a shocking above-the-fold article warning us of "Escalating Ice Loss Found in Antarctica." A new paper by Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows a net loss of ice where most scientists thought the opposite would occur. The Post went full-bore with this one, spreading the article on to an entire interior page. The piece ends by noting that Rajenda Pachauri, head of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is so concerned that he's is personally going down to inspect the situation.

He should. Before he even gets to Antarctica, Pachauri is going to see something even more surprising than Rignot's finding. Despite a warming Southern Ocean, the amount of ice surrounding Antarctica is now at the highest level ever measured for this time of the year, since satellites first began to monitor it almost thirty years ago. This represents a continuation of the record set last winter (our summer).

Thanks to the miracles of modern technology, we can also look at the departure from the average for ice mass in a given month. At present, the coverage of ice surrounding Antarctica is almost exactly two million square miles above where it is historically supposed to be at this time of year. It's farther above normal than it has ever been for any month in climatologic records. Around now, because it's summer down there and the ice is headed towards its annual low point, there should be about seven million square miles of it. That means, as data in University of Illinois' web publication Cryosphere Today shows, that there is nearly 30% more ice down in Antarctica than usual for this time of the year.

All of the IPCC's models of Antarctica in the 21st century forecast a gain in ice, as a warmer surrounding ocean evaporates more water, which subsequently falls in the form of snow when it hits the continent. It's simply too cold for rain in Antarctica, and it'll stay that way for a very long time.

Concerning Antarctica as a whole, the IPCC's new climate compendium notes "the lack of warming reflected in atmospheric temperatures averaged across the region." Other studies, such as Peter Doran's in Nature in 2003, show actual cooling in recent decades. (There is a small area of significant warming in the peninsula that points towards South America, but this is less than 2% of Antarctica's total land mass.)

There's brand new evidence, just published in mid-January in Geophysical Research Letters, of a striking increase in snowfall over that peninsula. The few snowfall records that are available elsewhere in Antarctica show considerable variation from decade to decade, so discriminating the "signal" of increased snowfall caused by global warming from all the rest of the "noise" may be very difficult indeed.

We see the same problem with hurricanes and global warming. Their strength and numbers vary considerably from year to year. 2005 was the most active year ever measured in the Atlantic Basin, while 2007 was one of the weakest in history. How do you find the fingerprint of global warming amidst such variation?

So it's not warming up, and the snowfall data are equivocal, yet the continent is experiencing a net loss of ice. How can this be, and is it even important? The current hypothesis is that warmer waters beneath the surface are somehow loosening the ice. That's plausible, but again, there's precious little proof of it.

And further, the bottom line is that there is more ice than ever surrounding Antarctica.

One of the tired tropes that reverberate throughout global warming reporting is that inconvenient facts get left out. In this case, it's blatant. Midway through the Post's page-long article comes a statement that "these new findings come as the Arctic is losing ice at a dramatic rate." Wouldn't that have been an appropriate place to note that, despite a small recent loss of ice from the Antarctic landmass, the ice field surrounding Antarctica is now larger than ever measured?


1,500 Years of Cooling in the Arctic

The Arctic is melting, right? There is simply no questioning this pillar of the greenhouse scare, and images of ice melting, polar bears struggling, and indigenous people crying the blues are all part of any self-respecting presentation of global warming. Imagine a study published in a major journal showing that a location in the Arctic has "a trend of -0.3øC over the last 1,500 years." Of course, you would never have learned of such a result had you not discovered World Climate Report.

The article is forthcoming in Climate Dynamics, and the work was conducted by Hakan Grudd of Stockholm University's Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, and despite the results, the research was not funded by industry. The focus here is the Tornetrask area in northern Sweden near 68.5øN (within the Arctic Circle) where Scots pines have been growing for millennia. Grudd not only sampled living trees, but he also collected subfossil samples found as dead wood on dry ground and from submerged logs retrieved from small mountain lakes. Many other studies have shown that the pines are sensitive to summer temperatures, so in theory, the tree samples should allow a very long term and relatively accurate reconstruction of past thermal conditions.

Grudd not only measured the width of each tree ring, he also measured the density of the wood in each ring using an Itrax WoodScanner from Cox Analytical Systems (the perfect gift for the man who thinks he has everything). The obvious trick here is to link the width and density time series to the climate in the growth area. Fortunately, Grudd was able to assemble records from:

(1) "Abisko, a local record (AD 1913-2004) provided by Abisko Scientific Research Station, which is located within the Tornetrask area;

(2) Tornedalen, a long composite record (AD 1802-2002) based on a combination of historical data and synoptic station data from Haparanda approx. 350 km south-east of Tornetr„sk; and

(3) Bottenviken, a regional record (AD 1860-2004) provided by the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute and based on data from six synoptic stations in northern Sweden."

He used fairly standard multivariate statistical methods to link the climate records to the width and density measurements, and just like magic, response functions are developed to estimate summer temperatures from the tree ring data that extend back 1,500 years.

As seen in Figure 1, the region has definitely been warming over the past century, and a case could be made for a warming of nearly 2øC over the past 100 years. Come to think of it, that could be a great headline "Arctic Warming Confirmed!" However, Grudd explains:

"The late-twentieth century is not exceptionally warm in the new Tornetrask record: On decadal-to-century timescales, periods around AD 750, 1000, 1400, and 1750 were all equally warm, or warmer. The warmest summers in this new reconstruction occur in a 200-year period centred on AD 1000. A `Medieval Warm Period' is supported by other paleoclimate evidence from northern Fennoscandia, although the new tree-ring evidence from Tornetrask suggests that this period was much warmer than previously recognised." (emphasis added)

We will leave you with this very interesting conclusion from Grudd's research: "The new Tornetrask summer temperature reconstruction shows a trend of -0.3øC over the last 1,500 years." [i.e. a trend of minus three tenths of one degree Celsius -- i.e. no significant trend at all but a trend that is in the direction of COOLING, not warming]


Journal abstract follows:

Tornetrask tree-ring width and density AD 500-2004: a test of climatic sensitivity and a new 1500-year reconstruction of north Fennoscandian summers

By Grudd, H.


This paper presents updated tree-ring width (TRW) and maximum density (MXD) from Tornetrask in northern Sweden, now covering the period ad 500-2004. By including data from relatively young trees for the most recent period, a previously noted decline in recent MXD is eliminated. Non-climatological growth trends in the data are removed using Regional Curve Standardization (RCS), thus producing TRW and MXD chronologies with preserved low-frequency variability. The chronologies are calibrated using local and regional instrumental climate records. A bootstrapped response function analysis using regional climate data shows that tree growth is forced by April-August temperatures and that the regression weights for MXD are much stronger than for TRW.

The robustness of the reconstruction equation is verified by independent temperature data and shows that 63-64% of the instrumental inter-annual variation is captured by the tree-ring data. This is a significant improvement compared to previously published reconstructions based on tree-ring data from Tornetrask. A divergence phenomenon around ad 1800, expressed as an increase in TRW that is not paralleled by temperature and MXD, is most likely an effect of major changes in the density of the pine population at this northern tree-line site. The bias introduced by this TRW phenomenon is assessed by producing a summer temperature reconstruction based on MXD exclusively.

The new data show generally higher temperature estimates than previous reconstructions based on Tornetrask tree-ring data. The late-twentieth century, however, is not exceptionally warm in the new record: On decadal-to-centennial timescales, periods around ad 750, 1000, 1400, and 1750 were equally warm, or warmer. The 200-year long warm period centered on ad 1000 was significantly warmer than the late-twentieth century (p < 0.05) and is supported by other local and regional paleoclimate data. The new tree-ring evidence from Tornetrask suggests that this "Medieval Warm Period" in northern Fennoscandia was much warmer than previously recognized.

Climate Dynamics, 2008. See also here for full paper.

Challenging the American Geophysical Union's Official Position on Global Warming

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) document entitled Human Impacts on Climate begins with the statement that "the earth's climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming." It sounds ominous, doesn't it? But if mere warming or cooling is a sign of being out of balance, one could truthfully say that earth's climate is almost always "out of balance," which suggests that its current condition is actually normal.

The second declaration of the document says that many components of the climate system "are now changing at rates and in patterns that are not natural." And unnatural climate change sounds even more ominous. But is this really the case?

Enlarging upon the claim that earth's current climate is unnatural, the recently revised position statement -- which was adopted by the AGU Council on 14 December 2007 -- says that "evidence from most oceans and all continents except Antarctica shows warming attributable to human activities."

Now if one is talking about localized human activities, such as urbanization, this contention is clearly correct. But when one is talking about regions as large as oceans and continents -- which, by definition, is what is involved in global warming -- the situation is much more murky. And, again, there is still the problem of how to determine what is natural warming and what may be of anthropogenic origin.

One way of approaching this dilemma is to compare climatic conditions over the past century with those of the thousands of years that preceded it, when the use of fossil fuels was non-existent. The AGU Council does this in their second paragraph, where they speak of "recent millennia of relatively stable climate." They use this characterization in order to make it appear that the planet has subsequently experienced unnatural warmth, which climate alarmists typically characterize as being unprecedented.

In employing this characterization, however, the AGU Council refuses to recognize reality, for it was much warmer than it is nowadays over thousands of years during the Climatic Optimum of the mid-Holocene; and it was also warmer than it is currently during the centuries-long Medieval Warm Period of only one millennium ago, as demonstrated by the voluminous and continually-accumulating evidence for this warmer-than-current period of earth's climatic history in our Medieval Warm Period Project, where we report how medieval warmth has been detected on all continents during a period of time when the atmosphere's CO2 concentration was fully 100 ppm less than it is today.

These palaeoclimate findings clearly indicate that earth's current temperature is not in any way unnatural; and they demonstrate that today's much-less-dramatic warmth (compared to that of "recent millennia of relative stable climate") need not have been caused by its current elevated level of CO2.

The AGU Council next describes some of the climatic projections that are used to scare people into believing we must act decisively and soon if we are to prevent the mother-of-all-catastrophes. To their credit, however, they note that "with such projections, there are many sources of scientific uncertainty." But to their discredit, they add that "none are known that could make the impact of climate change inconsequential," implying there is nothing that can significantly change the model-based projections.

In reality, however, there could well be several factors -- all largely unknown to them -- that may in fact be able to do what the Council essentially infers is impossible. When faced with the amazing complexity of nature, therefore, humility is much to be preferred over hubris.

In much the same vein, the AGU document states "there can be surprises that may cause more dramatic disruptions than anticipated from the most probable model projections." Again, this is true; but it is equally true that there can be surprises that may cause less dramatic disruptions than anticipated from the most probable model projections. In fact, there can be surprises that may actually change the projections from something hurtful to something helpful. Indeed, that is the essence of surprises: they are things that are totally unexpected. And as everyone knows, surprises happen!

In light of these several observations, the leadership of the American Geophysical Union would do well to restrict themselves to purely scientific matters and not delve into policy prescriptions, as they do in the final paragraph of their official statement.

If the science of the subject ever becomes clear, the people of the world will know what to do about it; they are not dumb. Therefore, to try to tell them how to act now, when the science is not clear, is actually an admission of that fact, i.e., the fact that the science is not clear, just as it is also an indication of the possibility that something other than science alone may have prompted the Council's recent reaffirmation of their "position" on this scientific matter.



David Suzuki delivered a scathing and powerful speech to a packed house at McGill Thursday night, calling on young people and business leaders to reverse the demise of ecology at the hand of shortsighted economic theory. Suzuki, an award-winning Canadian scientist, environmentalist, and broadcaster, kicked off the McGill Business Conference on Sustainability by addressing the conference's theme of "looking backward and moving forward." "The only guide for our future is our past, and we don't look back," he said.

Suzuki underlined the importance of looking backward by explaining that, because the past 50 years have seen a boom in technology and population expansion, ideas of economic growth have been skewed. "That means you have lived your entire lives in a completely unsustainable period," Suzuki said to the young audience. "You all think [economic] growth and change is normal. It's not."

He said we need to do more to look forward, as well. He cited a brochure from 1992 entitled "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity", signed by over 600 of the world's top scientists, that expressed the seriousness of modern threats to the environment. "No more than one or a few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished," he read from the brochure.

He noted that no major news outlets deemed the story newsworthy at the time. "If that brochure was frightening, the response of the media was terrifying," Suzuki said, adding that the media was instead preoccupied with celebrity figures.

He urged today's youth to speak out against politicians complicit in climate change, even suggesting they look for a legal way to throw our current political leaders in jail for ignoring science - drawing rounds of cheering and applause. Suzuki said that politicians, who never see beyond the next election, are committing a criminal act by ignoring science.


British villagers fight plans for huge 'eco towns'

Grand plans to build a host of eco-friendly, carbon neutral towns hit another snag yesterday as hundreds of locals turned out in Warwickshire to protest against a development in their area. Dozens of proposed sites have been put forward across the country for what the Government hopes will be a new generation of environmentally friendly developments, and ministers want building to start on 10 projects by 2020. But protesters nationwide say the schemes will put too much pressure on local services.

Yesterday it was the turn of 300 people living near a proposed development of former Ministry of Defence land at Long Marston, near Stratford, to air their grievance in a march. "It would be devastating for the villages of south Warwickshire. It would be putting a new town smack bang in the middle of nowhere where there's no infrastructure at all," said the group's spokesman, Myles Pollock, who lives in the nearby village of Clifford Chambers. "We all need houses. In this district we have already built the number of houses required by the Government by 2011. You can't say we are not against building houses. It's just a matter of where."

Developers want to construct 6,000 homes on the site, exploiting what officials describe as "the potential to create a complete new settlement to achieve zero carbon development and more sustainable living using the best new design and architecture". Villagers fear this will lead to congestion in the area and say tens of millions of pounds would be needed for new roads, schools and doctors' surgeries to make the scheme viable.

Izzi Seccombe, a Warwickshire county councillor, said: "Eco may be eco within its community, but they all have to travel outside, and there is a very large rural area they will have to travel through to get to any employment or major leisure centres or towns. This area is a thread of very many rural villages. We have a lot of cohesion within those communities. Planning 6,000-plus houses on a piece of paper does not build community cohesion in an instant like that."

This is the latest in a string of protests. Opposition has been voiced in places such as Grovewood in Derbyshire and Stoughton in Leicestershire.

The Government has set out a range of criteria for the towns, which will have up to 20,000 new homes. They should be carbon-neutral, using the latest environmental design and technology to create more sustainable homes. They should set a standard in at least one area of environment technology, and provide affordable housing within 30 to 50 per cent of the site. The new towns should have "a separate and distinct identity" but good links to surrounding towns and cities in terms of jobs, transport and services, as well as a range of facilities including a secondary school, shopping, offices and leisure centres.

Responding to Conservative criticism of the plans, Harriet Harman, Leader of the Commons, told MPs: "We believe that it is a priority that we have more affordable housing. There are too many people who can't afford to rent the housing they need, can't afford to buy the home they aspire too. We are going to back people's aspirations that they can have the housing they need, and it would be very disappointing if the official Opposition try and stand in the way of people's aspirations for decent housing."

John Deegan, from one of the developers involved in the Long Marston plans, said: "The proposal is for a completely new settlement involving 6,000 new houses, new secondary and primary schools, lots of new employment. There will also be investment of well over œ100m in infrastructure to support the town and to relieve Stratford."



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


Wednesday, February 06, 2008


The latest US-led climate talks in Honolulu, Hawaii, have been described by delegates as the most frank and engaging climate negotiations so far. It was the second in a series of Major Economies Meetings called by US President George W Bush. He called the first in Washington last year after expressing a desire to find a solution to the climate issue. That first meeting was described by angry EU delegates as a waste of time, a PR stunt for the American elections. But this time the tone was very different.

One EU delegate said: "I came expecting nothing and was very pleasantly surprised. Normally, we get sterile pre-prepared statements of policy, but this time there was a very frank discussion exploring the very difficult and different conditions facing each of the countries. It was very constructive." Brice Lalonde, the French climate ambassador, added: "It was very low-key but people just got on with it. The talks were very positive... until the final statement was discussed."

At that point, he said, Russia and India refused to include a statement that they had been discussing mandatory, internationally binding commitments, even though that is exactly what had been discussed. A number of delegates offered a degree of optimism that the big economies might this year agree a global target for cutting emissions by 2050.

The US is said to be moving slowly towards a figure, but India is holding out because a long-term global target implies emissions cuts for them. They feel that with per capita emissions a twentieth of the Americans, it is unfair to expect them to reduce emissions overall. Part of the idea of the meetings is to air issues like this.

EU delegates said that for the world to achieve any serious long-term target on CO2, new technologies would be needed that would benefit India as much as America. The US offered at the talks to commit its national energy policies to a UN-shared agreement if all major economies agreed to do the same.

The Europeans said any American commitment that did not include a firm pledge to actually cut greenhouse gases (rather than increase energy efficiency) was inadequate.

Boyden Gray, the US envoy to the EU who was present in Honolulu, said he believed that the progress made in the recent UN climate talks in Bali and now in Honolulu, meant the world looked to be on track for a comprehensive global agreement on climate by the end of 2009.



Ambitious plans to meet up to a third of Britain's energy needs from offshore wind farms are in jeopardy because the Ministry of Defence objects that the turbines interfere with its radar.

The MoD has lodged last-minute objections to at least four onshore wind farms in the line of sight of its stations on the east coast because they make it impossible to spot aircraft, The Times has learnt. The same objections are likely to apply to wind turbines in the North Sea, part of the massive renewable energy project announced by John Hutton, the Energy Secretary, barely two months ago. They would be directly in line with the three principal radar defence stations, Brizlee Wood, Saxton Wold and Trimingham on the Northumberland, Yorkshire and Norfolk coasts.

Giving evidence to a planning inquiry last October, a senior MoD expert said that the turbines create a hole in radar coverage so that aircraft flying overhead are not detectable. In written evidence, Squadron Leader Chris Breedon said: "This obscuration occurs regardless of the height of the aircraft, of the radar and of the turbine." He described the discovery as alarming.

The findings were the result of trials carried out in 2004 and 2005 but the MoD appears to have toughened its stance more recently. It now objects to almost all wind farms in the line of sight of its radar stations.

The change of policy has prompted fury among developers, who had previously been told that there were no defence implications. They have now written a letter of protest to Mr Hutton and Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, pointing out that millions of pounds of investment are at risk.



An email from James Marusek []:

I have recently posted the following article "The Nature of the Sun's Influence on Climate Change" here

Summary - The sun is a major influence on climate change on Earth in that it provides solar irradiance that warms the planet and a far reaching magnetic field that shields Earth from the effects of galactic cosmic rays, which cools the planet. The magnetic field wrapped in the solar winds modulates the flux rate of cosmic rays which affects cloud formation and thereby the planet's global albedo. Past studies have shown a relationship between the flux rate of galactic cosmic rays and low-level ocean cloud formation. Recent experimental studies have confirmed the causal mechanism behind this process. This paper looks at the relationship between the solar magnetic field (as expressed in "AA Index") and ocean surface temperature over the period from 1880 A.D. to present and finds this relationship is best expressed by a natural logarithmic function.

Abolish Texas? More global frauding

Lord Christopher Monckton has the most trenchant short critique of the global warming fraud I've ever read. Monckton is a former Margaret Thatcher advisor, and is fighting the good fight as vigorously and honestly as anyone in the world. Lord Monckton writes that the whole global warming campaign is "a foofaraw of pseudo-science, exaggerations, and errors." A "foofaraw" indeed.

Here's the newest fraud: A Science magazine article claims that IF you believe the grossly alarmist assumptions of the UN "consensus" panel on human-caused global warming, all of the American Southwest has to come to a screeching halt! America is running dry! Stop all human development in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. You're burning up the planet!

But of course the premise itself is dubious and completely politicized, a gross abuse of climate modeling driven by socialist ideology. From false premises you can arrive at any false conclusion you want.

It'll be interesting to see whether Senator McCain will now demand that we halt all new building and agriculture in Arizona. Phoenix has to freeze in place. Next door, Las Vegas has to shrink. No more folks must be allowed to come to Arizona from Mexico --- or New York. What about it, Senator? It's global warming!

But will Texas go along? Will Dallas become a ghost town? How about northern Mexico, right next door? No more building, no additional farming, let the people starve? Stop having children?

This is shameful. Pathological pseudo-science is now metastasizing. The editor of Science is himself a climate modeler, who seems to have no conscience about abusing climate models without a shred of real-world evidence. This cancerous abuse of science will continue to discredit the science establishment in the United States and around the world. And it should. It is utterly mendacious and abusive of real science.

The political motivations behind the global warming fraud have never been more obvious. Abolish Texas! This is very nasty anti-Americanism with a pseudo-scientific gloss. For shame.



Dr. E. L. Charmagny of the Indiana Institute for Science positively identified cooler temperatures as part of global warming. "The recent cold snap in America's midwest area proves that global warming is real," said Dr. Charmagny while enjoying a hamburger sandwich at a local McDonald's restaurant. He explained, "People don't understand that global warming takes many forms, including global cooling, an important part of global warming."

He cited as an example that when he was young winters were "a lot harsher", remarking, "It was very cold for days on end, and there was lots of snow. That's a scientific fact, I remember it! Now it's clearly warmer."

"Young punks nowadays take time off from school if there's two inches of snow on the ground. They need to have those iPods taken away from them, that'll teach them something."

Dr. Charmagny went on to explain that the cool weather in the Midwest is the Earth's 'sympathetic' reaction to global warming. "It gets so warm, that when it gets cold, it gets really cold. It's like when it's quiet after a lot of noise, it seems especially quiet. Again, that's a scientific phenomenon you can read about in any school kid's science book. If these little brats even read their schoolbooks. Brats."

Source. The above is a spoof but sometimes it is hard to tell.


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


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

So it appears that Arctic ice isn't vanishing after all

See also here for a grudging Greenie admission of the same

There was some coverage of the chaos caused in central and southern China by their heaviest snowfalls for decades - but little attention was paid to the snow that last week carpeted Jerusalem, Damascus and Amman, none of them exactly used to Dickensian Christmas card weather. Similarly, Saudis last month expressed amazement at their heaviest snow for many years, in Afghanistan snow and freezing weather killed 120 people and large parts of the United States and Canada have been swept by unusually fierce blizzards.

Last autumn the BBC and others could scarcely contain their excitement in reporting that the Arctic ice was melting so fast there would soon be none left. Sea ice cover had shrunk to the lowest level ever recorded. But for some reason the warmists are less keen on the latest satellite findings, reported by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on the website Cryosphere Today by the University of Illinois.

This body is committed to warmist orthodoxy and contributes to the work of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Yet its graph of northern hemisphere sea ice area, which shows the ice shrinking from 13,000 million sq km to just 4 million from the start of 2007 to October, also shows it now almost back to 13 million sq km. A second graph, "Global Ice Area", shows a similar pattern repeated every year since satellite records began in 1979; while a third, "Southern Hemisphere Ice", shows that sea ice has actually expanded in recent years, well above its 30-year mean.

Still more inconvenient was the truth about an image that has been relentlessly exploited to promote this panic over the "vanishing" Arctic ice. It is the photograph of two polar bears standing forlornly on the fast-melting remains of an iceberg which has been reproduced thousands of times to show that there will soon be no bears left (ignoring evidence that their numbers have risen recently). Now, thanks to a Canadian journalist, Carole Williams (on, we can read the story behind this picture, which was taken in 2004 just off Alaska by a marine biologist, Amanda Byrd. As Ms Byrd is happy to point out, the bears were in no danger so close to the coast (they can swim 100 miles). She wanted a photograph more of the "wind-sculpted ice" than of the bears.

The image was copied by another member of the crew and passed on to Environment Canada. Then it was eagerly adopted by the warmist propaganda machine - above all by Al Gore, who used it to powerful effect as an emotive backdrop to his highly lucrative lectures." Their habitat is melting," he likes to declaim, "beautiful animals, literally being forced off the planet."As the old joke has it, it seems those famous bears were not drowning after all, they were just waving. But the BBC is no more likely to tell us that than it was to lead the news with last week's snow in Jerusalem.


Ooops! Has Global Warming Stopped?

Post below lifted from Prof. Stott. See the original for links and the graph he refers to

I think you may find the little graph I have just produced of interest. It illustrates an intriguing mini-phenomenon: since 1998, `global warming' appears to have - wait for it - stopped. The data is taken from the UK Met Office's `HadCRUT3' dataset, a globally-gridded product of near-surface temperatures, consisting of annual differences from 1961-90 normals. The full data set is available here, covering the period from 1850 to the present. The coloured ribbon shows the best estimate data from this set. But, what does it mean?

Of course, little can be gleaned from such a short data run of only 10-years ["`Global warmers' also please note, thank you"], but the temperature anomaly has clearly dipped, and then flat-lined below its 1998 anomaly peak - and for nine years now. In other words, since 1998 there has been no global warming [not even any `global warming']. Yet, atmospheric CO2 has continued to rise, from c. 368 ppmv in 1998 to c. 384 ppmv in November, 2007 [see: `CO2 Signals From The Past', February 1]. Moreover, politicians persist in claiming that temperature is rising faster than at any other time in the history of the whole Earth..... but then, we always believe our politicians, don't we?

So, does this mean to say that other factors may actually be driving climate and temperature? Oh me, Oh my! What a shock! Perhaps with all those shredders in our offices and homes, there are just too many tiny bits and bobs of credit cards floating up into the air and cooling the atmosphere? Or, weddings may have increased in number, and particulate confetti is having an unknown effect? Or, then again, the rise out of the `Little Ice Age', which ended c. 1880, might just be stuttering a tad? Who knows?

Time to get my skates on. But, whatever it is - for the moment, at least - Global Warming Has Stopped! Shout it from the rooftops, from your PCs, and from your Apple Macs.

Skeptics await Greenie outrage at this

The major objection that Greenies such as Dessler raised to the "400+ climate skeptics" report released by Inhofe was that some of the academic skeptics included were "not qualified" to comment on climate issues. So their outrage at DiCaprio's lack of climatological qualifications is to be expected -- or is it?
Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio has been invited to the Scottish Parliament to speak about climate change.The Oscar nominated actor - whose films include Titanic, Blood Diamond and The Departed - is also a passionate environmental campaigner. Green Party MSP Patrick Harvie has written to DiCaprio, inviting him to come to the Holyrood and speak to MSPs about the threat of global warming.

In his letter the Glasgow MSP told the actor that the Scottish Government had recently began discussions on a proposed Climate Change Bill. Mr Harvie explained that while these included "ambitious long-term targets" for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions the Greens wanted further action.And he said: "It would be a great help were you able to speak to other members of the Parliament about the urgency of the threat we face."

A Green Party spokesman said they were currently waiting on a response from DiCaprio.The actor produced, co-wrote and narrated the documentary film The 11th Hour, which looks at how human actions have affected the environment.


Today people worship actors, but former times saw them as lowlifes, as unstable people driven to pretense and false dealings. In other words, as hypocrites. It's heresy to say so but former times might have had a point.

Said one polar bear to another ...

By Bill Steigerwald

Who's our congressman?" asked mama polar bear during a light lunch on an ice floe somewhere off Alaska. "Beats me," said papa polar bear. "Pass the walrus calf."

"I want to send a letter complaining about Joey being attacked again by those government wildlife scientists," said mama polar bear.

"Let it go," said papa polar bear. "Your brother still stinks of humans. But at least the sedation's taking longer to wear off this time, so he hasn't been his usual testy, cranky self."

"You'd be stressed too if you were chased by a helicopter, shot with a tranquilizer dart and had 'X19788' tattooed on the inside of your mouth when you were only 5 years old," said mama polar bear. "At least now he can no longer claim that first encounter was an alien abduction," said papa polar bear. "Cool it, kids," said grandpa polar bear. "Those scientists are just doing their job -- like the ones we saw on '60 Minutes' two weeks ago. "If it weren't for their longitudinal studies, we wouldn't know how many of us live up here or that anthropomorphic global warming is a threat to our iconic existence."

"Well, I'm sick of being harassed," said mama polar bear. "For my entire life they've been drugging us, weighing us, checking our fat content -- poking into our sex lives. Now they've got Scott Pelley of CBS flying around with them." "At least they're not putting radio collars on us or painting numbers on our backs," said papa polar bear. "Or shooting us anymore," reminded grandpa polar bear. "In my day, we had a lot more than mad scientists, biased TV reporters and melting pack ice to worry about. We were daily target practice for sports hunters or bored sailors.

"I bet there weren't 8,000 of us left in the whole Arctic in 1970. Now that we're protected, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimates we're up to 25,000 -- though 60 percent of us live in Canada, those hosers."

"I'd rather take my chances with hunters than put up with this darn population explosion," said papa polar bear. "You can't go 20 miles without bumping into a mother and her spoiled cubs. Go into town for a little Dumpster diving, and it's so crowded you gotta take a number."

"Quit griping, son," said grandpa polar bear. "Our species has finally hit the jackpot. Humans were our only enemy. Now we're the official mascots of the climate-change industrial complex. We're as charismatic as whales. We've got lobbyists all over Washington."

"It won't last," said papa polar bear. "Wait till everyone finds out the ice cap naturally gets thinner or thicker all the time. Wait till they all realize we can swim 30 miles before breakfast. Wait till they see two-thirds of us haven't died by 2050 because of a little global warming.

"But what if '60 Minutes' turns on us and catches us eating baby seals?" asked mama polar bear. "Don't be such alarmists," said grandpa polar bear. "Al Gore will never let it happen. "The mainstream media, politicians and school kids have been completely suckered. We're apex victims of modern mankind. Senators from New Jersey are working to put us on the Endangered Species list. Congress is talking about doing a study to make sure we won't be hurt before they allow those new oil and gas leases to be auctioned in the Chuckchi Sea. It's only a matter of time before we get Pell Grants for polar bears.

"So stop worrying, kids," said grandpa polar bear, slipping off the ice floe for a little five mile swim. "We've never had it so good."


College green propaganda

Yesterday's green propaganda teach in demonstrated campuses are as much about indoctrination as discovering truth from the interplay of diverse viewpoints. Global warming issues took over lecture halls in colleges across the country Thursday, with more than 1,500 universities participating in what was billed as the nation's largest-ever "teach-in."
Organizers said the goal of the event, dubbed "Focus the Nation," was to move past preaching to the green choir, to reach a captive audience of students in many fields who might not otherwise tune in to climate change issues

The reporter got it right when she mentioned that students are a captive audience, forced to listen to and accept the perceived wisdom, similar to but without the harshest consequences of any Communist re education campaign. According to a student organizer
"It's about infusing sustainability into the curriculum of higher education, so students can graduate prepared to deal with the world they have been handed,"

By infusing the one thought propaganda within the curriculum captive students not only have no opportunity to learn other points of view they won't even realize there are other opinions. Perfect mind control.

Therefore, the 23 year old student organizer is totally wrong--once the students graduate and are out in the real world they will be very unprepared to deal with the world the university has handed them. For this they and their parents sacrificed?



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


Monday, February 04, 2008


AIM have done a very thorough job of demolishing the Warmists. The introduction to their big article is below:

Will Media Expose Global Warming Con Job?

In the past several months, a new "crisis" has heated up the controversy over man-made global warming. A few major-media writers and TV personalities are actually reporting statements by credible scientists who are challenging the assumption that carbon dioxide is the primary force causing global warming.

There's a real possibility that big-name journalists will break ranks and pursue their next Pulitzer Prize by exposing the lack of scientific consensus on CO2 as a planet-heating pollutant. That would create a crisis of confidence among the activists, researchers and global-governance apparatchiks who want a global carbon tax to build their political and financial power base.

As an agricultural journalist, I find this a fascinating new development in the climate controversy. I've studied weather and climate for more than 50 years. In the early 1970s, I wrote a short book, Tomorrow's Wild Weather, which warned what could happen if there was a long-term continuation of the cooling trends in the mid-latitudes since the 1930s.

As climatologist Reid Bryson advised me at the time, a cooler climate in temperate zones would have been serious for world agriculture: Westerly winds would intensify, making U.S. weather more extreme. Africa's Sahel desert would expand much farther southward, spreading famine across northern Africa. The data looked ominous: Average temperature in the 48 U.S. states had fallen by more than six-tenths of a degree Celsius since 1930.

This cooling attracted widespread press coverage and even some political pressure-to reduce "aerosols" or fine particles of pollutants which must be making our atmosphere more opaque. But the "New Ice Age" scare faded as more refined data emerged and the longer-term, slow recovery from the Little Ice Age resumed.

I've continued to follow the climate controversy, especially since the 1997 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Since that conference, billions of dollars in government funding have generated floods of research data, a myriad of computer models, political posturing and the Kyoto Protocol.

The New Data

Most of that data is freely available to scientists and others on the Internet. Using it, hundreds of highly qualified climatologists and other scientists outside the fraternal network of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have challenged climate prediction models and other assumptions of the IPCC's reports. While there's consensus that climates change over time, climatologists are sharply divided over the interactions of the many potential causes. As research emerges, CO2 as a primary warming force becomes harder to defend with hard data.

These challenges are starting to fracture the UN's pretext for global governance over carbon emissions-including imposition of carbon taxes and "carbon credit" trading supervised by UN agencies. Giving the UN a legal right to impose a carbon tax- "cap and trade" in UNspeak-would provide an income stream to UN agencies which would greatly increase political power of UN bureaucracies. And their track record with large amounts of money, such as the Iraqi Oil for Food program, is not encouraging. However, if the scientific case for CO2 as a primary climate pollutant crumbles, so could a global carbon tax.

Individual climatologists have disputed conclusions of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change even before the first IPCC Assessment Report in 1990. The IPCC has issued a series of reports, each focusing on CO2 as the primary "greenhouse gas" causing the continuing warming recovery since the Little Ice Age.

One of the first organized scientific counterattacks sounded on April 6, 2006. Sixty accredited experts in climate and related scientific disciplines signed a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, urging that billions of Canadian tax dollars appropriated to implement the Kyoto Protocol on climate change "will be squandered without a proper assessment of recent developments in climate science." They wrote that if today's extensive climate knowledge and measuring capabilities had existed in the mid-1990s, the Kyoto treaty "would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary."

That scientific challenge received little prime-time media attention. The Canadian government's administration and legislature mostly ignored it.

Film Exposes Gore's Deceptions

Then, in March 2007, the UK's Channel 4 broadcast a biting documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle. It debunked most of the major arguments of Al Gore's Oscar-winning video, An Inconvenient Truth. For example, the Antarctic ice core data dramatized in Gore's show actually reveal that increases in CO2 have generally followed increases in temperature. The lag is typically on the order of 800 years.

The Swindle documentary roused furor and scorn among carbon-as-cause believers, who attacked Channel 4 as offering a "great propaganda gift" to "climate-change deniers." But the credibility and rationale of scientific sources on the documentary endured the attacks. No factual challenges were forthcoming against the scientists' arguments.

The controversy over this TV show, the first journalistic challenge against CO2 as primary world thermostat, may have encouraged others in the scientific community to point out that despite roughly $50 billion for climate-change research over several decades, the case against carbon dioxide faces more uncertainty as the evidence grows, not less.

One such challenge comes from Dr. Bob Carter, Research Professor at James Cook University and paleoclimate analyst with more than 30 years' experience, including 95 research papers.

In an Accuracy in Media guest column in April 2007, Carter emphasized: "The evidence for dangerous global warming forced by human carbon dioxide emissions is extremely weak. That the satellite temperature record shows no substantial warming since 1978, and that even the ground-based thermometer statistic records no warming since 1998, indicates that a key line of circumstantial evidence for human-caused change-the parallel rise in the late 20th century of both atmospheric carbon dioxide and surface temperatures-is now negated."

This challenge and others from eminent scientists roused the carbon theorists to their ramparts. On the website, Gavin Scmidt and Stefan Rahmstorf presented a 1980-2006 chart of global temperature showing that the trend of deviation from "normal" in that 26-year period remains up. But they made no attempt to explain why shorter-term deviations vary more widely than the longer-term anomaly, which puts the globe at about 0.4 degrees Celsius above its long-term "normal" using the GISTEMP Land-Ocean Index computed by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Throughout 2007, hundreds of highly qualified climate scientists individually challenged the presumption that global regulators can, and must, manage the world's thermostat by curbing 50% - and possible eventually 100%-of man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

Continuing Debate

The most lively media arena for the CO2 emissions controversy the past two years has been, by far, among Internet websites and blogs. The Science and Public Policy Institute ( offers a wide-ranging forum on the science of climate change. Websites like the SPPI bypass major-media gatekeepers and the UN organizers, who carefully monitor any non-governmental organization wishing to attend an IPCC climate conference. Example: At the November 2000 Conference of the Parties (COP6) climate parley in the Hague, Netherlands, the only non-governmental organization to oppose the Kyoto Protocol was Sovereignty International (

The websites provide newspaper, radio and TV reporters a rich diversity of data and analysis on the issue. Usually, any posted article contains an opportunity for immediate rebuttal. These websites may embolden scientists to speak out more frequently in a forum unconstrained by peer review.

The volume of new climate data is accelerating, which means that media-amplified claims like the linkage between climate warming and hurricanes can be challenged more quickly. For instance, the SPPI site points out 35 factual errors in Al Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth."

On Dec. 20 2007, the biggest-yet assembly of scientists challenging the Kyoto pretext of CO2-as-villain was posted by Marc Morano on the minority page of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. This extensive digging by Sen. James Inhofe's staff summarized comments from over 400 prominent scientists who disputed some aspect of man-made global warming in 2007. These scientists' observations fill some 120 pages when printed out from the website. But they hardly made a ripple on prime-time TV news.

This Senate site says, in part: "Over 400 prominent scientists from more than two dozen countries recently voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called "consensus" on man-made global warming. These scientists, many of whom are current and former participants in the UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), criticized the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore."

Sen. Inhofe's staff observes, "Even some in the establishment media now appear to be taking notice of the growing number of skeptical scientists. In October, Washington Post Staff Writer Juliet Eilperin conceded the obvious, writing that climate skeptics "appear to be expanding rather than shrinking."

Much more here


From Prof. Stott

In all the political brouhaha over `global warming', and despite the 35 per cent rise in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide over pre-industrial conditions [from 1832 ice-core records of c. 284 ppmv to c. 384 ppmv in November, 2007), we too often forget that atmospheric CO2 levels remain at their lowest for 500 million years.

The above graph has been taken from `Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels for the last 500 million years' by Daniel H. Rothman (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99 (7), April 2, 2002, pp. 4167-4171. The graph shows the fluctuations in the partial pressure of atmospheric CO2 (pCO2) over the last 500 My (million years), employing certain methodological improvements introduced by Rothman in his paper.

The grey bars at the top of the graph represent cooler periods in the Earth's history; the white spaces between are warmer periods. The time scale embraces minus 500 million years from the present, and includes the following geological periods: Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Tertiary.

The grey area over the main curve illustrates the probable lower and upper limits employing wider parameters. The `Abstract' summarizes this fascinating study as follows:
"The last 500 million years of the strontium-isotope record are shown to correlate significantly with the concurrent record of isotopic fractionation between inorganic and organic carbon after the effects of recycled sediment are removed from the strontium signal. The correlation is shown to result from the common dependence of both signals on weathering and magmatic processes. Because the long-term evolution of carbon dioxide levels depends similarly on weathering and magmatism, the relative fluctuations of CO2 levels are inferred from the shared fluctuations of the isotopic records. The resulting CO2 signal exhibits no systematic correspondence with the geologic record of climatic variations at tectonic time scales."

The author then draws some wisely cautious conclusions:
"Using a variety of sedimentological criteria, Frakes et al. have concluded that Earth's climate has cycled several times between warm and cool modes for roughly the last 600 My. Recent work by Veizer et al., based on measurements of oxygen isotopes in calcite and aragonite shells, appears to confirm the existence of these long-period (~135 My) climatic fluctuations. Changes in CO2 levels are usually assumed to be among the dominant mechanisms driving such long-term climate change. It is therefore interesting to ask what, if any, correspondence exists between ancient climate and the estimate of pCO2 in Fig. 4 [the Figure shown above]. The gray [sic] bars at the top of Fig. 4 correspond to the periods when the global climate was cool; the intervening white space corresponds to the warm modes. The most recent cool period corresponds to relatively low CO2 levels, as is widely expected.

However, no correspondence between pCO2 and climate is evident in the remainder of the record, in part because the apparent 100 My cycle of the pCO2 record does not match the longer climatic cycle. The lack of correlation remains if one calculates the change in average global surface temperature resulting from changes in pCO2 and the solar constant using energy-balance arguments. Superficially, this observation would seem to imply that pCO2 does not exert dominant control on Earth's climate at time scales greater than about 10 My. A wealth of evidence, however, suggests that pCO2 exerts at least some control [see Crowley and Berner for a recent review]. Fig. 4 cannot by itself refute this assumption. Instead, it simply shows that the `null hypothesis' that pCO2 and climate are unrelated cannot be rejected on the basis of this evidence alone."

Of course, this study also rightly stresses its focus on long-term geological cycles. Nevertheless, it demonstrates well our current position with respect to geological time. Where carbon dioxide is concerned, we remain at a low ebb. Moreover, if for long geological periods the `null hypothesis' that pCO2 and climate are unrelated cannot be rejected on the basis of such evidence, how certain are we that comparable constraints might not apply at much shorter time scales too? I only ask?

You see, I just have a hunch that water vapour and the hydrological cycle are more significant drivers at all time scales, with temperature and carbon dioxide `piggy-backing' on these rather than presenting a merely simplistic, if beguiling, correlation.


How Not to Address Climate Change

Common sense should tell us that good policies produce more in benefits than they cost us. Unfortunately, common sense has left the building when it comes to climate policy. Asserting (somewhat absurdly) that America's economic and geopolitical competitors, such as China and India, are just waiting for "U.S. moral leadership," several voices are renewing their call for domestic cap-and-trade legislation to control greenhouse gases.

But cap-and-trade schemes are fundamentally flawed, and particularly ill-suited to greenhouse gas control. The current poster child for cap and trade is the Warner-Lieberman Climate Security Act of 2007 (S. 2191). If enacted, Warner-Lieberman will cause economic harm without producing any environmental or climate-protective benefits. This is the hallmark of irrational policy.

First, let's look at the likelihood that the legislation's goals can be met. Economist Margo Thorning observed in Congressional testimony, "In order to meet the emission reduction targets in S. 2191, U.S. per capita emissions would have to fall by a total of 13.8 percent over the 2000-2012 period, an additional 20.2 percent from 2012 to 2020 and a further 27.6 from 2020 to 2030. In other words, the required reductions in per capita emissions are about 25 to 35 times greater than what occurred from 1990 to 2000. The technologies simply do not exist to reduce total (and per capita emissions) over the next 17 years by the amounts mandated in S. 2191..." Thorning is not alone in this belief: in a 2004 Science article, a team of 18 prestigious scientists observed that meeting projected growth in energy demand while sharply curbing greenhouse gas emissions requires carbon-free technologies that "do not exist operationally or as pilot plants."

Now, let's look at the costs. Economist Anne Smith testified to Congress that her state-of-the-art economic modeling estimates that Warner-Lieberman would cause net reduction in 2015 GDP of 1.0% to 1.6% relative to the GDP that would otherwise occur. That loss rises to the range of 2% to 2.5% after 2015. Smith found that the annual loss in GDP would increase to the range of $800 billion to $1 trillion, which is serious money. By 2020, Smith estimates losses of 1.5 to 3.4 million jobs -- and that is net jobs, after adjusting for the new "green" jobs that might be created by the bill.

None of this is surprising as experience has shown cap-and-trade schemes are fundamentally flawed. Here are four reasons. First, capping carbon essentially puts a regulatory drag on economic growth. When the economy grows, energy demand rises, which means the demand for the limited number of carbon permits would rise, strangling growth in its cradle.

Second, everyone involved in a cap-and-trade system has incentives to cheat. Companies have incentives both to overstate historical emissions, and to exaggerate the benefits of new technologies to generate bogus emissions that become ready cash. Experience in both the US and Europe shows that firms usually get away with it: validating historic emissions is nearly impossible. And governments won't look very hard - wanting to appear green, they have strong incentives to turn their eyes away from carbon credit malfeasance.

Third, cap-and-trade creates a perpetual group of rent-seekers - those raking in profits in new carbon trading - who will call for ever-tighter caps, and who will staunchly oppose any other approach to dealing with greenhouse gas emissions. Once a company holds millions of dollars in carbon credits, they can be expected to spend large sums of money lobbying against anything that would devalue their new currency.

Finally, carbon cap-and-trade will raise the costs of energy, goods, and services. If that does not happen, there is no incentive for anyone to cut back on energy use, and the attendant emissions it produces. This could be offset, in theory, if the carbon permits were all auctioned off, and the revenues used to lower other taxes. But no emission trading system has ever auctioned off a majority of permits, and Warner-Lieberman is no exception: at first, it auctions only a trivial share of emission permits, and even when that ramps up decades hence, the revenues are used as a wealth-redistribution tool focused mainly on funding dubious energy research schemes rather than protecting the overall economy from the impact of higher energy prices.

The post-Bali refrain is that the US should "lead" by enacting carbon cap-and-trade. Apart from the silliness of assuming that our economic and political competitors are waiting on the US for "moral leadership," carbon cap-and-trade is simply bad policy: its costs are high, and benefits non-existent. Rational climate policy would consist of a short-term focus on adaptation, and a longer-term effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions via a modest revenue-neutral carbon tax.


Global warming solution hurts people more than warming

Yeatman Op-Ed in the Detroit News

Participants in President Bush's international climate conference this week in Hawaii should know that the "solution" to global warming -- expensive energy -- slows economic growth, at enormous human cost. In fact, evidence suggests that policies to fight global warming are worse for human welfare than rising temperatures.

By now it is common knowledge that climate change is caused by the combustion of fossil fuels, which releases heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. But fossil fuels generate 85 percent of the world's energy because they are the cheapest sources of energy on earth. So a move towards green energy is a move away from cheap energy.

Not everyone admits the stark economic realities of fighting climate change. Representative from the European Union, for example, seem oblivious to the costs of the policies they propose. During negotiations last December in Bali, Indonesia, EU officials demanded that the world commit to steep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

According to the International Energy Agency, the costs of meeting the EU's proposal are staggering. The IEA says that it would require the construction of 30 new nuclear power plants, 17,000 wind turbines, 400 biomass plants, two hydroelectric dams the size of China's Three Gorges Dam, and 42 coal fired power plants equipped with still-experimental systems to sequester their carbon-dioxide emissions undergroundeach year from 2013 to 2030.

Of course, alternative energy sources cost more than conventional generation from fossil fuels -- that's why a green energy future is an expensive energy future. Expensive energy, however, is inimical to economic well-being. Consider America's economic malaise during the Carter administration, which was caused in large part by the precipitous increase in the price of oil resulting from the 1973 OPEC oil embargo

Don't be fooled by politicians like California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who claim that curbing global emissions will boost economic growth by creating a thriving "green sector." For each solar panel technician gained, a coal miner -- and much more--are lost, because higher energy prices means less of everything made from energy, which is...everything.

Economists agree that an abrupt transition to a clean energy future would cost the global economy scores, even hundreds, of trillions of dollars. Numbers, no matter how eye-popping, are only an abstraction of the human consequences of a low growth/expensive energy future. Greater wealth yields more medical care, less exposure to the elements and better nutrition-all of which save or prolong human life. By extension, slow growth kills, because it deprives the poorest of the means to ward off cold, sickness and disease.

So what's worse: the warming, or the policy? Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg applied a cost/benefit analysis to climate change mitigation measures like the Kyoto Protocol, and found they were a tragic waste of money. According to his research, we could spend a fraction of the cost of climate policies on immediate problems, like HIV or malaria, and save millions more lives than global warming would take.

In a 2007 study, Yale economist William Nordhaus demonstrated that the package of policies advocated by Al Gore would leave the world $44 trillion worse off at the end of the 21st century, or about double the cost of doing nothing about climate change. That's a killer deal, literally.

To be sure, global warming is real, and the climate will slowly change. But that doesn't mean that international officials in Hawaii should ignore the costs of controlling the planet's thermostat; otherwise, they risk prioritizing atmospheric chemistry over global poverty.


Come over here, you global-warming chicken-little

By libertarian writer Bob Smith

As I arose this morning to go work out, the temp was again -14. That's inside a major city, and it was much colder out in the boonies. I've seen worse and survived, but I really could get along quite nicely with less frigid temps. So, certainly, could my 18-year-old car. Where in hell is that dreaded, inevitable global warming the politically-correct sheep keep harping about?

Allow me to tell you where that global warming is. It's in the planet's nature, and we don't know squat about that. We do know that planet temps vary in cycles, but how and why is complex. It will be warmer sometime, and it will be generally colder sometime, but we puny humans can't predict it with any certainty. One thing I am sure of, though, is that we humans, short of balls-out nuclear war, cannot affect global temperatures to any significant degree. Everything we do together, worst-case, good or bad, is nothing compared to one volcanic eruption or a big forest fire, and those happen with or without our permission or intent.

Meanwhile, we're screwing up a lot by forcing nonsensical false-solutions on the world's population. By forcing, and subsidizing, ethanol on ourselves, we're driving up the cost of grains around the world, costing all of us even more money for food, and actually causing starvation. Ethanol is a solution to nothing, but we could kill ourselves trying to make it so. Cropland is being switched to corn, to feed the subsidized ethanol factories. That drives up the cost of corn, which drives up the cost of everything else produced from corn. Land that once was used for other crops is now planted in lucrative corn, creating shortages of other crops and driving their price up as well.

Can we not see when we are being bamboozled? Can we not even get suspicious when we see a TV ad of little kids mouthing global-warming fears for an organization lusting for your contributions? How gullible can we be? Global warming is being pushed by groups who get rich off your contributions, by scaring the crap out of you. They make you feel responsible for the weather, and some of them were doing it with global COOLING scares in the past.

I don't know what will replace gasoline as fuel in the future, but from what I do know, there is plenty of oil around the globe. I suspect someone will come up with a better, cheaper fuel in time, but ethanol sure as hell isn't it, and by forcing ethanol down our carburettor throats, we're reducing the incentive and ability to find good solutions. In short, we're in the process of killing ourselves.



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


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Greenies attack a scientific conference

There are all sorts of conferences with all sorts of purposes and the Heartland Institute is arranging a conference called "The 2008 International Conference on Climate Change" in New York. The purpose of the conference is to highlight the fact that there is a variety of views on climate change among scientists -- and to debate and discuss those views. And the Greenies seem to be afraid to participate -- knowing of course how many holes and frail assumptions there are in their arguments.

So The Greenie "Real Climate" site has slammed the conference by saying that it is not a routine general meeting for members of a scientific discipline but rather a more publicly available talking shop. It appears that according to them there is only one sort of conference! They also quite plainly imply that scientists who do not agree with them are not real scientists! A nice little circular argument implied there, I think. Below is the response (Comment 47) by James M. Taylor of the Heartland Institute to the Greenie article:
The anonymously authored Real Climate article above is a disappointing smear job - i.e., you have nothing to say substantively, so you attempt to smear your intellectual opponents. Many of the world's leading climate scientists from some of the world's most prestigious universities will be giving presentations. Rather than behaving like children and throwing mud at them, perhaps you might behave like adults and discuss the science. Of course, that will never happen because open and honest debate is what you fear most.

I never thought I would see the day when scientific debate and inquiry, conducted by some of the most credentialed scientists in the world, would be considered a bad thing. But that is what happens when people are afraid of the truth.

Al Gore in one day rakes in more honorarium money than all of our speakers combined. Nevertheless, we have offered to pay his usual honorarium to speak at our conference, but have not heard back from Mr. Gore. We have invited Real Climate's Michael Mann to come and speak at our conference, but Mr. Mann also has failed to respond to our invitation.

Unlike Real Climate, we do not attempt to stifle scientific inquiry. Instead, we encourage it. We are equal opportunity investigators of science. As the Real Climate article above notes, we have invited many members of Real Climate to come and give presentations. It is odd that Real Climate is invited to discuss the science in a professional, scholarly environment, yet throws stones from afar, where they do not have to subject their claims to scientific scrutiny.

Perhaps Real Climate will abandon their fear of public discourse, and will reconsider their decision to decline our invitation to speak at the conference. After all, isn't honest and open scientific discussion a good thing? Please send me an email at and, as my prior emails indicate, I would be happy to add you to our conference lineup.

Real Climate's Gavin Schmidt replied:
The level of chutzpah in your comment is breathtaking. Our 'substantive' additions to the scientific knowledge is well attested to by our publications in the peer reviewed literature and is subject to scientific scrutiny every day. I will even venture to make a prediction that the number of peer-reviewed papers on climate science we have collectively authored in the last 5 years will be substantially more than all of your speakers put together. Honest and open scientific discussion is greatly to be wished for, and in fact, happens all the time. I don't recall ever bumping into you at a real conference (AGU/AMS/EGU), but should you ever go, you'll see it how it works first hand. Your institute plays no role in that because your approach is the anti-thesis of scientific inquiry - your conclusions have been decided before you look at the evidence. When you decide to stop abusing the scientific process for political gain, then perhaps we can talk.

In saying: "Your conclusions have been decided before you look at the evidence" Schmidt is in fact of course describing the Greenie procedure. Good ol' Green/Left "projection" again. And getting papers published in journals where the editors and referees agree with you is both a doddle and no proof of anything. It is exposure to people who DISAGREE with you that is the real test and the Greenie scientists will not be in that. James Taylor further emailed Marc Morano as follows:
I would really prefer to keep the conversation with them constructive and professional, but the nasty, unprovoked, ad hominem attack they posted on their website against scientists who disagree with them was simply uncalled for.

By the way, I attempted to post a follow-up comment on their blog, but they have cut me off and refuse to post my comments. How typical of their tactics! If they are going to have a "closed" blog that does not allow dissent, they should at least be intellectually honest enough to identify it as such. Seeing as Gavin and company refuse to post comments from people who disagree with them, I will share my attempted post with you:
Gavin, I am disappointed, though not surprised, that you and your Real Climate fellow activists have refused our invitation to speak at the climate change conference (see 47, above). I can make a pretty good guess as to why. Less than a year ago, on March 14, 2007, Real Climate's Gavin Schmidt and two other global warming alarmists debated global warming against three skeptical scientists in front of the prestigious Intelligence Squared debating society in New York City. A poll of audience members prior to the debate found that the audience believed by a 2-to-1 margin (57 percent to 29 percent) that global warming is a crisis. After a lengthy debate in which all panelists had a chance to present their evidence and answer follow-up questions, the audience voted by a 46 to 42 percent margin that global warming is NOT a crisis.

Better for Real Climate activists to remain in your self-contained blogosphere and classlessly sling mud than to run the risk of another public embarrassment in a fair and honest scientific debate, right Gavin?

Another correspondent writes:
In my opinion, intelligence is a necessary part of a scientist's innate equipment, but intelligence alone is insufficient. Insight and character count too, for without them a scientist lacks judgment, the absence of which will eventuate in self-deception. Bad character leads to worse, until it undermines and defeats intelligence. I offer Gavin Schmidt as evidence for the validity of my opinion.

I might finally note that the Leftist "Think Progress" site has also weighed in with typical intellectual depth. They seem to feel that they have uttered a damning indictment by trotting out their usual boilerplate that the conference is funded by "Big oil". Getting the Green/Left to rise above ad hominem smears and actually debate the issues really is a Herculean task!

I also reproduce below theoretical physicist Lubos Motl's scathing comment on the matter:

Heartland Institute vs RealClimate

(Comment by Lubos Motl)

The Heartland Institute organizes a climate conference in March that is, unlike the conferences that you usually hear about in the media, open to climate skeptics and experts regardless of their political opinions or overall sentiments about the relationship between Nature and the human civilization. The organizers have sent invitations to many kinds of climate experts, including some of the well-known champions of the climate alarm. These invitations have provoked a hysterical reaction at RealClimate.ORG.

The profoundly concerned scientists describe all the scientists who will attend - before they actually know who they are - as being corrupt by the "evil" oil industry, not being scientists at all, as people being paid concrete amounts of money to fabricate papers and talks, and so on. Their talks are described as "tobacco science". RealClimate.ORG even recommends their readers conspiracy theories from two hardcore smear ecoNazi websites, ExxonSecrets.ORG and SourceWatch.ORG, that pre-emptively throw mud at very concrete people who might (or might not) attend.

What about the remaining 450 scientists at the updated Inhofe's list? Are the environmentalist whackos fast enough to create a similar Goebbelsian web page about every scientist who says the obvious, namely that the dangerous global warming orthodoxy is a hoax? Do they actually believe that they can eliminate the opposition as completely and effectively as NSDAP did without actually having police and other arms under its control?

The RealClimate "group" explains that the participants are not scientists at all - before they actually know who is attending - and they encourage the participants to skip the talks and enjoy a nice hotel in New York instead. They wouldn't hear any science at all, so it is important that the participants can't hear the talks...

Their smear job is so blatant, hateful, and inconsistent with any kind of a reasonable, balanced, open-minded, or scientific analysis of a question that I can't really believe that there exist people who are intelligent enough to learn how to read but moronic enough to be influenced by this incredibly cheap propagandistic porn.

The Heartland Institute conference is clearly not designed as a cutting edge conference that is expected to lead to some revolutionary scientific results. No truly groundbreaking discoveries have been made in climate science for many decades and it is unlikely that some of them will occur in a foreseeable future. Climate is just too messy and there are too many moderately important small insights about it. On the other hand, there are scientists - such as Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer, Henrik Svensmark, and numerous others - who understand the climate much better than most people, including many active participants of the "climate debate", and who have a lot of things to teach others.

The real problem here is a political one - there exist powerful forces that don't want other people to learn what is actually known about the climate, not even some of the basic results and numbers. There exist organizations and their ad hoc unions that prefer constant lies to be promoted by the media and myths to thrive among ordinary people.

They have certain reasons to make people believe that the temperature of the second millenium looked like a hockey stick - even five years after the papers were shown to be bunk and their main author a crackpot in statistics. They want everyone to believe that the carbon dioxide was driving temperature during the ice ages and interglacials - many years after it became absolutely clear that the causal relation behind the correlation goes in the opposite direction.

They want everyone to believe that small changes of the temperature can exterminate polar bears and other species even though the actual scientific evidence shows that it can't, that the Solar activity doesn't have any impact on the terrestrial climate even though there is extensive evidence that it does, that small warming creates catastrophic hurricanes even though all links of this type have been shown erroneous. They want everyone to believe that there is a scientific consensus about this scientific discipline and this consensus can settle the debate and justify arbitrarily oversimplified conclusions - even though there is clearly no consensus and even if there existed one, it wouldn't mean anything and it would certainly not justify any oversimplification.

Indeed, the official goal of the organizers of the conference is a political one - to inform the world about the real state of affairs, namely that many qualified experts who have carefully thought about these questions simply disagree with the global warming orthodoxy. Individual participants may have purer (or, on the contrary, more material) reasons to attend. At all conferences, it is always like that, to one extent or another, and the "group" is simply not saying the truth if they pretend that pure scientific curiosity is behind all of their conferences. But I think that it is good that the Heartland organizers honestly state what is their goal because the goal of analogous alarmist conferences is also political (while many of their attendees have material reasons to attend) but this fact is being routinely obscured.

There is another difference that RealClimate.ORG points out: that the preferred speakers are recommended by the organizers or sponsors while it is usually a scientific committee that does it at "ordinary" conferences. Unlike RealClimate.ORG, I am not so sure which of these two arrangements is superior.

I have learnt a great deal about the work in committees - most of them were impotent, constantly stuck bodies composed of people driven by their extremely narrow-minded personal interests and desire to look politically correct and coincide with whatever opinion is felt to be dominant according to the wind that is just blowing right now. Whenever the question was whether an adjacent discipline would be allowed an extra funding or job, the dominant argument was always the pockets of the participants. 90% of the arguments offered at certain committees' meetings were driven either by material interests of participants or the creation of their fake "nice" image.

Yes, with these memories in mind, I would probably prefer a semi-informed CEO of ExxonMobil to make the choice but I am not sure whether he or she is actually the person who will do it. ;-) In fact, I doubt it.

At any rate, I recommend all big shots and medium shots ;-) regardless of their position within the environmentally political spectrum to attend, learn a lot, and teach others - climate realists and climate alarmists alike - a lot.


Sun's low magnetic activity may portend an ice age

The Canadian Space Agency's radio telescope has been reporting Flux Density Values so low they will mean a mini ice age if they continue.

Like the number of sunspots, the Flux Density Values reflect the Sun's magnetic activity, which affects the rate at which the Sun radiates energy and warmth. CSA project director Ken Tapping calls the radio telescope that supplies NASA and the rest of the world with daily values of the Sun's magnetic activity a "stethoscope on the Sun". In this case, however, it is the "doctor" whose health is directly affected by the readings.

This is because when the magnetic activity is low, the Sun is dimmer, and puts out less radiant warmth. If the Sun goes into dim mode, as it has in the past, the Earth gets much colder.

Tapping, who was originally from Kent, says that "Typically as you go through the ten or eleven year solar activity cycle you see the numbers go up or down. The lowest number is 64 or 68. The numbers 71 or 72 are very low, but they usually start to go up. We are at the end of a cycle, but the numbers still haven't gone up. We have been joking around coffee that we may be seeing the Sun about to shut down." (To date Tapping has been far more concerned about global warming.)

According to NASA, "early, well-documented records indicate that the Sun went through a period of inactivity in the late 17th century" from about 1645 to 1715, during the Maunder Minimum.

"This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the Little Ice Age when rivers that are normally ice-free froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes." It was called the Maunder Minimum, after Edward Maunder, a British accountant who saw a sunspot "like a tack in the Sun" while he was walking home, and subsequently made counting and analyzing sunspots, rather than money, his life's work. There have been other Minimums. The Dalton Minimum of 1800 to 1810 was that period when Napoleon had his unfortunate encounter with the Russian winter.

If the Sun's magnetic activity does not increase, and it goes dim for an extended period, it will get quite chilly. In the meantime the Canada Space Agency, the Royal Observatory Greenwich and the US Air Force Solar Optical Observing Network are all keeping an eye on the Sun.


Republicans critical of carbon offset purchases by Congress -- calling them "snake oil"

Top Republicans have called for an investigation into the recent purchase of carbon offsets, which were part of the Democratic leadership's "Green the Capitol" initiative. In a letter sent Thursday, Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and John Shimkus (R-Ill.) asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to look into "questionable purchases of carbon offsets" reported this week in The Washington Post.

Republicans are criticizing the venture, which paid farms in the Midwest $89,000 to take steps to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and was intended to compensate for the possible pollution that members of Congress contribute to the environment. Thursday's letter was the second request sent this month to GAO Comptroller General David Walker regarding the carbon offsets purchases from Barton, the ranking member on the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Shimkus, ranking member on the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. "The investigation should look at relevant spending authorities, financial controls, and related due-diligence behind the purchases, and whether this taxpayer outlay will actually reduce greenhouse emissions," they said in the letter....

The congressmen's first letter this month, sent on Jan. 14, called the relatively new field of purchasing carbon offsets "good faith transactions," saying there are "no proven safeguard(s)" to make sure offset companies, like the Chicago Climate Exchange that the House used, fulfill their promises. "We don't want carbon offsets to become the 21st century version of snake oil and patent medicine," Barton and Shimkus wrote.


Pachauri on Recent Climate Trends

Pielke could have added to his comment below that if the 8 years of recent global temperature stability is too small a slice of time to justify reliable generalizations, the roughly two decades of warming in the late 20th century is also too short a time-period to tell us anything. Yet it is that period which the Greenies have repeatedly hung their hat on.

Last week scientists at the Real Climate blog gave their confirmation bias synapses a workout by explaining that eight years of climate data is meaningless, and people who pay any attention to recent climate trends are "misguided." I certainly agree that we should exhibit cautiousness in interpreting short-duration observations, nonetheless we should always be trying to explain (rather than simply discount) observational evidence to avoid the trap of confirmation bias.

So it was interesting to see IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri exhibit "misguided" behavior when he expressed some surprise about recent climate trends in The Guardian:
Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the U.N. Panel that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, said he would look into the apparent temperature plateau so far this century. "One would really have to see on the basis of some analysis what this really represents," he told Reuters, adding "are there natural factors compensating?" for increases in greenhouse gases from human activities.

He added that sceptics about a human role in climate change delighted in hints that temperatures might not be rising. "There are some people who would want to find every single excuse to say that this is all hogwash," he said.

Ironically, by suggesting that their might be some significance to recent climate trends, Dr. Pachauri has provided ammunition to those very same skeptics that he disparages. Perhaps Real Climate will explain how misguided he is, but somehow I doubt it.

For the record, I accept the conclusions of IPCC Working Group I. I don't know how to interpret climate observations of the early 21st century, but believe that there are currently multiple valid hypotheses. I also think that we can best avoid confirmation bias, and other cognitive traps, by making explicit predictions of the future and testing them against experience. The climate community, or at least its activist wing, studiously avoids forecast verification. It just goes to show, confirmation bias is more a more comfortable state than dissonance -- and that goes for people on all sides of the climate debate.



Civil wars to a significant extent

It is ironic that Europe, which likes to think of itself as the center of environmental correctness and the green revolution, should now be the scene of a sharp political struggle over its ambitious emissions targets. Indeed, few EU proposals have aroused quite such a chorus of complaint and derision. "This is a historic plan to make Europe the first economy on the post-carbon age," EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told the European Parliament.

The EU is to require its 27 member states to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by the year 2020, to ensure that 20 percent of its energy comes from renewable resources like wind and solar. The EU also aims to have biofuels power at least 10 percent of its transport. There will also be a bolstered Emissions Trading Scheme, in which the right to pollute will be auctioned. And if the world's big polluters like the United States and China do not join in, then the EU may either give these emissions trading rights free to European firms, or even apply special "green" tariffs to "dirty" imports.

The predictable results included a strike among Belgian steelworkers, protests from politicians in almost every EU country, storms in the media, angry threats from Washington and other countries, and -- less predictably -- anger from environmental groups.

Europe's Greens pointed out that biofuels may not be the blessing the EU thought it would be. Biofuels can raise food prices by taking up arable land and encourage deforestation. It also seems that when the carbon emissions of the fertilizers and tractors and soil-turning are all included, biofuels can be just as polluting as gasoline. "Most biofuels now appear to be worse for the climate than oil," said Friends of the Earth Europe's Sonja Meister. "The European Commission's failure to act on the many warnings is shockingly irresponsible," said Corporate Europe Observatory spokeswoman Nina Holland.

The Belgian steel workers were equally blunt. "You could call this the first carbon dioxide industrial action," said Fabrice Jacquemart, a spokesman for the FGTB union. "There is something utterly absurd about a policy that creates more unemployment in Europe."

The EU announcement came as Jeroen van der Veer, chief executive officer of Shell Oil, released the startling warning that "the world's current predicament limits our room to maneuver. We are experiencing a step-change in the growth rate of energy demand due to rising population and economic development. After 2015, easily accessible supplies of oil and gas probably will no longer keep up with demand."

These are the opening shots in what will be a long war, as the world fails or succeeds over the course of this century in surmounting the threat of global warming. Barroso claimed these measures would cost less than $100 billion a year, or about 0.5 percent of the EU's gross domestic product. As insurance, he claimed, this was cheap at the price, and the cost of inaction would be many times higher.

That is not the way the media saw it. In Britain, the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph, the Sun, the Daily Express and the Evening Standard all gave prominence to a report by the Open Europe think tank that the EU's drive for renewable energy would cost the average family about $1,500 a year. Others noted the warning from the Greens that the biofuels policy would make things even worse for the world's poorest people in the developing world.

Usually sympathetic to the EU and to environmental causes, the Guardian sniffed that "bits of the plan are disappointing. Why does the EU insist on wasteful biofuels being used for road transport? It is hard to see it as anything other than yet another sop to European farmers."

In Germany, the news magazine Der Spiegel put the headline "A Total Disaster" on its assessment of the EU's biofuels policy. It reported: "Paul J. Crutzen, who won the 1995 Nobel Prize for chemistry, estimates that biodiesel produced from rapeseed can result in up to 70 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels. Corn, the preferred biofuels crop in the U.S., results in 50 percent more emissions, Crutzen estimates."

The United States has already warned of the dangers inherent in a proposal to impose "green tariffs." At last month's meeting in Bali, Indonesia, that agreed a road map to negotiate the next phase of the Kyoto protocol against global warming, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab warned the Europeans that this cold "backfire." "Restricting imports easily leads to covert protectionism, undermining both environment and economic standards," she said. "Trade restrictions that seek to force actions can backfire and lead to tit-for-tat."

The Americans were not the only ones alarmed. Ujal Singh Bhatia, India's ambassador to the World Trade Organization, said: "If the countries imposing such measures invoke GATT provisions to justify them, the dispute settlement mechanism in (the) WTO would face serious challenges and create divisions along North-South lines."

While the EU's intentions were evidently high-minded, the result has been an object lesson in the difficulties the world will face in agreeing on mechanisms to reduce the threat of global warming.

The EU is not the only body that is mulling this kind of "green tariff" to force other countries to abide by tough targets to cut carbon emissions. The U.S. Senate is considering two bills with similar effect. The bills have strong backing from both the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and from the giant American Electric power group. The bills are likely to face similar objections from India and China in the WTO, just as U.S. farm subsidies for the production of ethanol from corn have aroused growing opposition from the Green lobbies.

The award of last year's Nobel Peace Prize to former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and the scientists of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change symbolized the degree to which there is now a broad consensus that climate change is a realty, that human activity is a major cause and that its implications are so dangerous that dramatic measures will be needed to alleviate its effects. But the reaction to the EU's proposals showed just how hard and contentious that will be.



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


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Europe climate threat is hot air

Comment from Australia

JOSE Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Council and former prime minister of Portugal, dropped a policy bomb last week. He threatened climate trade war. Europe plans to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by a further 20 per cent by 2020. It would restrict imports from countries that did not do the same thing, specifically the US and China. He called the trade problem the nuclear bomb of the climate change debate.

Australia, no longer a Kyoto recalcitrant and the contributor of a mere 1.5per cent of global emissions, was not mentioned. Furthermore, the Rudd Government has looked approvingly on, but has not yet adopted, the EU target. That is under review. Expect trouble. There are two lessons for Australia from Barroso's bomb blast and bombast.

The first is that the 20 per cent target spells trouble, and the Europeans know it. Participants at an international conference in Sydney last November, hosted by the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia, heard why.

A German business leader teamed with a researcher from a leading economic institute to explain that the reductions in emissions (about 5 per cent) under the Kyoto Protocol had already led to increases in costs of between 2 per cent and 8 per cent in Germany's cement, steel and aluminium industries. They also reported that German business did not see how it could meet its Government's target to reduce emissions by 30 per cent by 2020 (Germany's contribution to the EU target) and be competitive in global markets.

The EU is anxious. At the UN summit in Bali, it tried to win support not only for the target of 20 per cent cuts in emissions by 2020 but also for the bigger ambition of 60 per cent cuts by 2050. The EU was opposed in all quarters and was not even allowed a passing reference to these targets in the mandate for the new convention to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

Sure, the negotiations have yet to start and the formal position is that everything is on the table. The reality is that the EU is on its own. And with only 25 per cent of the world's emissions (the US, China, India and Japan generate more than half of the world's emissions between them), the EU cannot act as an Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries-style climate change bully.

So, what is Barroso up to? He has brandished trade bans to signal to European industry that it would be protected under cuts in emissions of 20 per cent. It is a fig leaf. World Trade Organisation rules are already antagonistic to environmental trade barriers. The US, China and India would cream the EU in the WTO if it imposed such carbon trade barriers. The European Commission's external trade commissioner, Peter Mandelson, understands this and ruled out carbon tariffs in December.

Others in Europe want them. This includes the environment directorate in the European Commission and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who threatened China with carbon tariffs after a visit late last year.

Does Europe have a plan B? Yes, according to the British Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, as reported by The Independent: "The issue of carbon requirement on importers only arises if we were not successful in securing a new (post-Kyoto) agreement." This means it hopes the new agreement will either establish a global system of caps and a trade in carbon permits, like Kyoto, or authorise members to override WTO rules and impose carbon tariffs.

Nobody is quite sure how a system of caps and trade in permits will operate alongside the WTO rules for an open trading system. There is probably a basic philosophical difference. A global cap on emissions is a centrally planned target. Such targets require regulatory controls to secure compliance. WTO rules are specifically designed to prevent the use of such regulation when it controls goods crossing national boundaries.

That's a fundamental point. There is a simpler practicality. Bali demonstrated there is no taste for a global agreement to set global caps. China and India know the caps are a poison pill to their strategies to use growth to eliminate poverty. And you can be certain they would block measures authorising overrides of WTO rules.

The Europeans hope a Hillary Clinton or John McCain administration will see it their way. That is unlikely. Congress will choke on proposals that reduce the competitiveness of US industry. Even if it did not, China, India and other developing countries will not accept global caps in the foreseeable future.

Herein lies the second lesson for Australia. Don't miscalculate along the EU lines. It designed a system to reduce emissions on the assumption the rest of the world would follow suit. Bali showed it won't.


University President rebuffs Greenies

LSU President John Lombardi has blocked plans by the outgoing chancellor of the Baton Rouge campus to join the college "Presidents Climate Commitment" - an agreement to take various steps to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

Chancellor Sean O'Keefe, whose last day is Friday, had planned Wednesday to commit the campus to efforts to become a more eco-friendly campus before stepping down. He said he was disappointed Lombardi chose to block the efforts of the LSU Environmental Conservation Organization that put a lot of hard work into the effort.

Lombardi said he wanted to take a look at how the commitment affects the flagship campus and if it could involve LSU's other academic campuses. "The document commits the institution to take actions that, while desirable, have significant costs associated with them," Lombardi said in an e-mail response. "Until we can assess these costs and include them within the budget, it would not be appropriate to sign such a pledge. "Also, our commitment to energy efficiency is systemwide, and thus we want to approach these critical issues in a coordinated way," he said.

The climate commitment calls on schools to form task forces to find ways to become more eco-friendly, such as more energy-efficient appliances, less university air travel and greenhouse gas emissions, more public transportation, more recycling and less overall energy consumption. O'Keefe said he does not believe signing on now would have cost LSU any more because the university already is working on ways to be more energy efficient.

O'Keefe resigned recently, not giving specific reasons, but suggesting in his resignation letter that he no longer had the support of Lombardi or the university governing board. O'Keefe said Wednesday that the change in plans is another sign of the philosophical differences with Lombardi that led to his resignation on Jan. 16. He said he had worked with the ECO student members and the university's facilities planning office to see how the climate commitment could seamlessly fit into LSU's master plan.

Hundreds of schools have signed on including Southeastern Conference members such as the University of Tennessee, University of Florida, University of Arkansas and the University of South Carolina. Lombardi's last school, the University of Massachusetts, and former LSU Chancellor Mark Emmert's current school, the University of Washington have also signed on.



Discussing: Loehle, C. 2007. "A 2000-year global temperature reconstruction based on non-treering proxies". Energy and Environment 18: 1049-1058.

What was done

Using data from eighteen 2000-year-long proxy temperature series from all around the world that were not developed from tree-ring data (which provide significant interpretive challenges), the author (1) smoothed the data in each series with a 30-year running mean, (2) converted the results thereby obtained to anomalies by subtracting the mean of each series from each member of that series, and then (3) derived the final mean temperature anomaly history defined by the eighteen data sets by a simple averaging of the individual anomaly series, a procedure that he rightfully emphasizes is "transparent and simple."

What was learned

The results obtained by this procedure are depicted in the figure below, where it can be seen, in the words of its creator, that "the mean series shows the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA) quite clearly, with the MWP being approximately 0.3øC warmer than 20th century values."

What it means

Loehle notes that "the 1995-year reconstruction shown here does not match the famous hockey stick shape," which clearly suggests that one of them is a poorer, and the other a better, representation of the truth. Because of its simplicity and transparency, as well as a host of other reasons described in detail by Loehle -- plus what we have learned since initiating our Medieval Warm Period Record-of-the Week feature -- it is our belief that Loehle's curve is by far the superior of the two in terms of the degree to which it likely approximates the truth.

Note: Minutes after posting this Climate Review, we received an email from Craig Loehle with an attached paper entitled:

Loehle, C. and McCulloch, J.H. 2008. Correction to: A 2000-year global temperature reconstruction based on non-tree ring proxies. Energy & Environment 19: 93-100.

The new paper describes corrections "for various errors and data issues" associated with the Loehle (2007) paper, which leads to the adjusted results depicted in the figure below.

In reference to the new results, Loehle and McCulloch report that the peak value of the MWP (which represents a 29-year-mean) is 0.526øC above the mean of the entire period, which places it 0.412øC above the last reported 29-year-mean value of 0.114øC at 1935 (which includes data through 1949). They then state that "while instrumental data are not strictly comparable, the rise in 29-year-smoothed global data from NASA GISS from 1935-1992 (with data from 1978 to 2006) is 0.34øC," and that "adding this rise to the 1935 reconstructed value, the MWP peak remains 0.07øC above the end of the 20th-century values, though the difference is not significant."


Greenie attack dogs discredit science

Anyone interested in the intersection of science and politics has to be watching with some amusement and more than a little dismay at the spectacle of professional immolation that the climate science community has engaged in following the release of Senator James Inhofe's list of 400+ climate skeptics. The amusement comes from the fact that everyone involved in this tempest in a teapot seems to be working as hard as possible in ways contrary to their political interests.

From the perspective of Senator Inhofe, by producing such a list he has raised the stakes associated with any scientist going public with any concerns about the scientific consensus on climate change. Not only would announcement of such concerns lead one to risk being associated with one of the most despised politicians in the climate science community, but several climate scientists have taken on as their personal responsibility the chore of personally attacking people who happen to find themselves on the Senator's list. What young scholar would want to face the climate science attack dogs? Of course, those sharing the Senator's political views may not mind being on such a list, but this does nothing more than further politicize climate science.

And this leads to the repugnant behavior of the attack dog climate scientists who otherwise would like to be taken seriously. By engaging in the character assassination of people who happen to find themselves on Senator Inhofe's list they reinforce the absurd notion that scientific claims can be adjudicated solely by head counts and a narrow view of professional qualifications. They can't. (See this enlightening and amusing discussion by Dan Sarewitz of leading experts arguing over who is qualified to comment on climate issues.) But by suggesting that knowledge claims can be judged by credentials the attack dog scientists reinforce an anti-democratic authoritarian streak found in the activist wing of the climate science community. Of course, from the perspective of the activist scientists such attacks may be effective if they dissuade other challenges to orthodoxy, but surely climate scientists deserving of the designation should be encouraging challenges to knowledge claims, rather than excoriating anyone who dares to challenge their beliefs.

I recently chatted with Steve Rayner and Gwyn Prins, authors of the brilliant and provocative essay The Wrong Trousers (PDF), who found themselves , somewhat bizarrely, on Senator Inhofe's list. Neither has expressed anything resembling views challenging claims of human-caused climate change, however they are (rightly) critical of the political approach to climate change embodied by Kyoto. I asked them what they thought about being on the Senator's list. Steve Rayner asked if there was some way to sue the Senator for defamation, tongue only partly in cheek. Gwyn Prins offered the following gem:
I think that pointing out that the mere fact of this funny headcounting is worthy of note: In the Anglo-Saxon witanagemot justice was achieved by oath-swearing so the number and the status of your oath-swearers mattered more than the facts of the matter; and this issue is being adjudicated on both sides - denialists and climate puritans - in just such a manner.

He is right of course, and this brings us to the dismay. The climate science community - or at least its most publicly visible activist wing - seems to be working as hard as possible to undercut the legitimacy and the precarious trust than society provides in support of activities of the broader scientific community. Senator Inhofe is a politician, and plays politics. If activist climate scientists wish to play the Senator's game, then don't be surprised to see common wisdom viewing these activists more as political players than trustworthy experts. If this is correct then maybe the Senator is a bit more astute than given credit for. Ultimately, the mainstream climate science community might share with their activist colleagues the same sort of advice Representative Jim Clyburn (D-SC) offered to former President Bill Clinton - "chill."


Bill Gray, MIA at the "Teach-In"

Prof. Gray above. The usual Greenie bigotry reported below

On January 31, a two-day barrage of panels dealing with global warming issues concludes at Colorado State University. The sessions are part of an "unprecedented teach-in" taking place around the country coordinated by the Green House Network under the rubric Focus the Nation. But of the fifty CSU profs involved in the discussion, one is conspicuous by his absence.

No, it's not philosophy professor Holmes Rolston, who's hosting a thumbsucker on "The Ethics of Climate Change." No, not Tom Dean, who teaches in something called the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise Program, and weighs in today on "Economics and Climate Change," nor chem prof Anthony Rappe, who addresses alternative energies, nor writer Laura Pritchett, who tackles the subject of dumpster diving. They're all joining in, but as usual, professor emeritus Bill Gray finds himself, by choice or design, unincluded.

Gray, a forty-year veteran of CSU's atmospheric sciences department and a leading hurricane researcher, is an outspoken skeptic of the manmade global-warming claims advanced by leading climatologists around the world - some of whom happen to be his former students. Gray acknowledges that the climate is changing but suggests that natural processes, including shifts in ocean circulation, are responsible. To review how much heat he's taken over that position, see our 2006 feature "The Skeptic."

The teach-in presentations take manmade climate change, and particularly the insidious role of carbon dioxide in amplifying the greenhouse effect, as established science. Gray demurs, which is probably why you won't find him on the premises. It's too bad; he would have been an ideal panelist for a little give-and-take discussion scheduled for this afternoon, entitled "Doubting Thomases, Friends, Parents: Talking with the Unconvinced."



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


Friday, February 01, 2008


An email from Jens Kieffer-Olsen, M.Sc.(Elec.Eng.) []

As you may have heard a Swedish windmill lost its rotor blade last Friday. My translation:

A rotor blade weighing several tonnes separated from a wind turbine. "This just shouldn't happen. People are walking their dogs in this area!" Those are the words of Hardy Pettersson in N„s [near the southern tip of Sweden's Baltic island of Gotland]. He lives less than one kilometre from the field where a rotor blade separated from a wind turbine last Friday morning. The rotor blade weighing several tonnes created a crater one meter deep on impact.

Last Friday a strong wind was blowing in Gotland. And just before eight o'clock in the morning several people in N„s heard a strange noise. But it took a while, before they realized what had caused it. "It's too fiendish". I could see from the distance that a wing was missing from the turbine. I thought at first it had been taken down. But then we arrived and saw what had really happened, says Hardy Pettersson, who lives less than one kilometer from the wreck site. "It's too fiendish that this can happen. There are after all 300 wings in the area, and people move about everywhere. And it is strange that it takes several days to come out in the news, says Hardy Pettersson.

The wind turbine belongs to a group of nine which was erected in 2002. They are of the type Vestas V52 and generate 850 kilowatt. Each rotor blade is 25 meters long and weighs several tonnes. The rotor blade that separated landed 40 meters from the tower and created a crater one meter deep, before it moved onwards another five meters. The tip of the rotor blade ended up 70 meters from the tower. [Danish manufacturer] Vestas who built the turbine despatched people to the site on Friday in order to check up on whether the remainder of the installation was safe and to gather pieces for their investigation.

"To us it is serious. But to the windmill industry in general it is very serious, says Hans Ljungstrom from Vestasvind Svenska AB. A group of technicians from Denmark are on their way in order to make a report. In the meantime it is hard for me to make comments on what has happened. But I can say that I have never heard of anything like it in Sweden, says Hans Ljungstrom.


An email from Paul Saunders []

In the United States, radical environmentalist and socialist academics have organized a massive, two-day-long (January 30 and 31, 2008), man-made global warming indoctrination effort called "Focus The Nation." See -

This two-day event will take place on 1,500 U.S. campuses and indoctrinate hundreds of thousands of students with one-sided climate alarmist propaganda. This propaganda will include the demand to implement an 80% reduction in energy usage by 2050 which they call the annual "2% Solution" to minimize its devastating impact on human existence. There are several university announcements of the planned activities. See here and here and here

No scientists skeptical of the claims of the alarmists or of man-made global warming theory are being allowed to present their views or to debate the propagandists during this event. To illustrate the deceptive language being used for this event, here is a sentence from the Moravian College announcement in Bethlehem, PA,

"The Mayor of Bethlehem and regional experts will talk about what can be done locally to make a difference."

The "regional experts" have been already been identified as, "representatives of Clean Water Action and the Sierra Club." These are radical environmentalist groups.

The purpose of this massive Orwellian effort by the academic "Thought Police" is to produce a generation of indoctrinated "skulls full of mush" who will be willing fight for the abolition of the world's liberal democracies and constitutional republics to make way for authoritarian dictatorships run by climate experts. These dictatorships are viewed as necessary by Dr. David Shearman and Dr. Joseph Wayne Smith in order to save the planet from climate change. The despicable, anti-Enlightenment proposals of Shearman and Smith were discussed by Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. in his 1/23/08 essay "The Authoritarianism of Experts"

In 1940, American President John F. Kennedy wrote a book titled "Why England Slept" on the menace of rising totalitarianism. We need a new book today titled "Why America Slept" on the rising totalitarianism of the climate alarmists.


An email from Will Alexander [], Professor Emeritus, Department of Civil and Biosystems Engineering, University of Pretoria

South Africa is experiencing an energy crisis that has all the dimensions of a national disaster. Last Friday all South Africa's gold, platinum, diamond and some coal mines closed. This was because of the dangers to miners during unexpected power failures. Energy-demanding ventilation and dewatering are critical requirements for our mines. Large energy-consuming aluminium and other smelters have closed down. Tens of thousands of workers are out on the streets. Gold and platinum account for about 25% of South Africa's exports. Losses are estimated to exceed R200 million per day from these sources alone.

Our only energy supplier is the semi-state body Eskom. The mining industry uses 12% of Eskom's capacity, accounts for 7% of the economy, 30% of exports and 25% of foreign exchange earnings.

This is only one of the consequences of the energy crisis. There are many examples of how the crisis is affecting all aspects of life in this country. Our national economy has already been adversely affected. On two occasions I visited local shopping centres. The lights were out, doors were closed, and the staff were waiting in the corridors for the power to come on again.

In order to overcome the problem, the authorities intend imposing severe reductions in electricity use. These will be in place for the next five years at least. The reductions include industries (10%), commercial use (15%), shopping centres and hotels (20%), large office complexes (15%), agriculture (5%) and household use (10%). The target is the reduction of national energy demand by 10% to 15%. No mention is made of the mining sector or of the natural growth in demand.

The relative use of electricity of the various sectors is as follows: households (35%), industry (35%), mining (12%), commercial use (9%), export to neighbouring states (4%), agriculture (3%) and transport (2%). The economies of our neighbouring states will also suffer.

I was directly involved in the imposition of water restrictions during the severe drought of the 1980s. These were very difficult to implement. The control of electricity use will be even more difficult. Voluntary reductions on the required scale will not be achieved. It will take at least a year to implement enforceable measures.

Other long-term measures are proposed. They include the compulsory use of energy-saving light bulbs and the installation of solar water heaters. It is not a coincidence that these restriction measures have long been proposed by climate change activists. They are also the basis for South Africa's support for internationally enforceable and economically damaging greenhouse gas control measures.

Now the South African public will directly experience the consequence of these measures long proposed by climate alarmists. There is little prospect of South Africa meeting its goals of halving unemployment and poverty by 2014. Economists are also predicting that we will not achieve the targeted 6% annual economic growth within the foreseeable future.

The South African authorities have acknowledged that the crisis is the result of not taking heed of warnings issued in 1998 that this would happen if our power generation network was not expanded to meet the growing demand. There is some suspicion that the delay was also the result of pressures from environmental activists.

This is a very good example of what will happen to the fragile economies of other developing countries with large disadvantaged populations. It also demonstrates the consequences when developing countries are forced to comply with compulsory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions imposed by developed counties such as the EU for example.

The UK sent Nicholas Stern and David King to South Africa in order to persuade the South African authorities to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and to persuade other developing counties to follow suite. Now we see the result.


New information is leading to a controversial shift in thinking on the impact of global warming on ocean circulation, partly due to the work of a UA researcher. The scientific community has long believed that as global warming continues and large amounts of freshwater ice melt into the ocean, the ocean's circulation will slow. This would have a catastrophic impact on the environment as vividly, if somewhat overdramatically, portrayed in the film "The Day After Tomorrow." But a paper published last week in Nature magazine, the result of several studies of past and possible future weather, says that in fact the very opposite is true and ocean circulation will become stronger as the icecaps melt.

"We missed what was right in front of our eyes," said Joellen Russell, assistant professor of biogeochemical dynamics at the University of Arizona and co-author of the paper. She was at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University before coming to the UA two years ago, and spent several years studying and creating models for what weather will be like as global warming continues.

For this study, she and co-author J.R. Toggweiler "pulled all that research together" to conclude that wind pushes the ocean currents and that warming temperatures will increase the speed of these currents. The westerlies, also known as the trade winds, are the main wind in the middle latitudes of both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Observing that the winds have been migrating toward their respective poles for 40 years, Russell and Toggweiler realized this could be the explanation of how the last ice age ended 18,000 years ago. "The question of how atmospheric CO2 and the carbon cycle varied during the ice ages is the big mystery in the field," Toggweiler said.

As the westerlies move, the ocean's circulation increases, releasing more carbon dioxide from the deep ocean, leading to more warming and even stronger circulation in a feedback loop strong enough to push Earth out of an ice age. It also has a local effect. The westerlies "are how we get water in the winter," said Russell, and with their movement, the weather will go from "occasional winter storms to not very many at all. Our rain will end up in Oregon." This will become more noticeable during the next few decades. Previous models had placed the path of the westerlies in the wrong spot to begin with, making any predictions erroneous from the start. "The new model gets it just about right," Russell said.

Early weather models were based on the idea that ocean circulation was based on wind only for the surface and on buoyancy for deeper circulation. So adding freshwater to the ocean as the Earth warms would lead to less movement of ocean. Now, however, oceanographers mostly agree that it is only wind that has a major effect on ocean circulation.

Evidence from the most recent ice age, which reached its coldest 21,000 years ago, shows that the ocean had very little movement and exchange of deep water and surface water until the warming of the Earth about 18,000 years ago. "The evidence is piling up," that those models predicting a weakened ocean circulation in the coming decades are wrong, Russell said.

The increasing speed of the westerlies and their movement toward the poles "should stir the ocean's salty and fresh waters around and minimize the effect of the polar freshening," Toggweiler said.

Still, the idea that the ocean's circulation will increase as the Earth warms is not fully accepted by scientists. "It's controversial, but it explains what happened in the past and what is happening now," Toggweiler said. The mounting evidence has won the new theory a lot of converts, Toggweiler said. "We were lucky to publish first," Russell said. "This is what science is all about," Toggweiler said. "Looking for where the common wisdom is wrong."


Journal excerpt follows:

Ocean circulation in a warming climate

By J. R. Toggweiler & Joellen Russell

Climate models predict that the ocean's circulation will weaken in response to global warming, but the warming at the end of the last ice age suggests a different outcome.

There is an old truism in climate circles that the cold climate at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), which occurred 21,000 years ago, had stronger winds. This idea fits with the common observation that it is windier in the winter than in the summer because there is greater thermal contrast within the atmosphere in the winter hemisphere. Temperature reconstructions from the LGM show that Equator-to-pole gradients in sea surface temperature were indeed larger - that is, the polar oceans were colder than the tropical ocean at the LGM in comparison with the temperature differences today.

It is now becoming clear that the winds in the atmosphere drive most of the circulation in the ocean. If the LGM climate really did have stronger winds, it would thus be expected that the circulation in the ocean was more vigorous. The oceans seem to tell a different story, however. The deep water in the ocean's interior is continuously being replaced ('overturned') by surface waters from the poles. This overturning circulation in the Atlantic Ocean seems to have been weaker at the LGM1. The water in the deep ocean was also very 'old' in relation to the atmosphere - in terms of having a low radiocarbon content - indicating that the ocean's interior was poorly mixed and poorly ventilated2. The overturning circulation then seems to have strengthened as Earth began to warm about 18,000 years ago. The increased overturning vented the radiocarbon-depleted carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere, as seen in a pair of big dips in the radiocarbon activity of the atmosphere and upper ocean3. This addition of CO2 to the atmosphere helped to warm the climate and bring the last ice age to an end.

These findings present a conundrum. If the winds were stronger in the cold glacial state and became weaker going into the warm interglacial state, then why was the ocean's circulation weaker during the cold glacial period? And how did it increase in strength during the transition to the warm interglacial period, causing the ocean's interior to become better mixed and better ventilated? Are researchers missing something about the factors that affect ocean circulation, or is it the old truism about the strength of the winds during the cold glacial period that is flawed?

During the 1990s, the first generation of coupled climate models predicted that the ocean's overturning circulation would weaken markedly over the next 100-200 years in response to global warming4. The predicted weakening is a response to the warming itself and to a stronger hydrological cycle, both of which make the ocean surface waters in the models less dense and less able to sink in relation to the water below. Thus, the models suggested that circulation would be less vigorous in a warming climate, somewhat like the weakening expected from diminished winds in a warmer climate outlined above. But again, the real ocean became better mixed and better ventilated when Earth began to warm about 18,000 years ago. So what will happen to the ocean's circulation in a warming climate? Are the models getting it wrong?

Winds and the ocean's overturning circulation

Until recently, the circulation of the ocean was thought to comprise two fairly independent parts. The wind-driven circulation drove the surface currents in the ocean gyres, whereas the overturning circulation ventilated the interior with cold and relatively saline water from the poles. The latter was called the 'thermohaline' circulation to emphasize that it was driven by buoyancy forces - warming, cooling, freshening and salinification - rather than the stress on the surface coming from the winds.

The inconsistencies mentioned earlier could be overlooked if this dichotomy holds, because the winds and the wind-driven circulation in the upper ocean could still have been stronger during the LGM while the thermohaline circulation was less vigorous. However, the dichotomy and the use of the term 'thermohaline' have almost disappeared from the oceanographic literature, because the circulation in the interior is now increasingly seen as being driven by turbulent mixing from the winds and tides5, 6 and directly by the winds themselves7.

The westerly winds over the Southern Ocean seem to be crucial in this regard7. The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is a wind-driven current that goes around Antarctica through an east-west channel between South America, Australia and Antarctica that is not blocked by land. Because the winds over the channel and the flow of the ACC are aligned for the length of the channel, the ACC is easily the world's strongest current (by volume of water transported). According to Carl Wunsch8, about 70% of the wind energy going into ocean currents globally goes directly into the ACC.

The same dense water found in the interior north of the ACC is also found just below the surface around Antarctica, and the westerly winds driving the ACC draw this dense water directly up to the surface (Fig. 1). In this way, the winds driving the ACC continually remove dense water from the interior. Dense water must sink elsewhere to replace the water drawn up by the winds around Antarctica. [...]

Lessons from the past

Anthropogenic additions of CO2 to the atmosphere have resulted in a stronger hydrological cycle and a warming of the upper ocean that are currently threatening to weaken the ocean's overturning circulation. However, larger differences in temperature in the middle of the atmosphere have given rise to stronger winds that are acting to strengthen the circulation, as we argue they did at the end of the last ice age. What is uncertain is whether stronger winds and a stronger circulation will counter the freshening and distribute the extra heat through the interior over the next 200 years.

Current climate-system models say that the ocean's overturning circulation will weaken over the next century19, but these predictions might not rest on a solid foundation. The early climate models were deficient because they understated the effects of the winds in general and failed to anticipate the poleward shift and the intensification of the westerlies over the past 40 years. The latest models are much improved but might still not fully represent the wind effect.

A key test for the models is to reproduce the changes that took place at the end of the last ice age. Does the oceanic circulation in the models get weak enough in a cold LGM-like state to bottle up so much CO2? More importantly, can the weaker circulation make the CO2 in the deep ocean very old with respect to the radiocarbon activity in the atmosphere2? Can the circulation then get strong enough to let all the radiocarbon-depleted CO2 back out? From the observations, it is clear that large circulation changes took place, and it seems unlikely that circulation changes of this magnitude could have happened without substantial changes in the wind forcing. It seems that the information from the past is telling us to expect a stronger oceanic circulation in the warmer climate to come.



Paper companies have warned that the rising cost of raw materials and the introduction of an EU CO2 carbon emission trading scheme will raise prices and kill off profits.

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) said the trading scheme will take œ750m out of the European paper industry, effectively wiping out its annual profits.

It described it as the "first direct EU tax in history", as it even stipulates how the monies raised should be spent by member states.

"[The draft legislation] will generate up to œ55bn per year in 2020, as the impact assessment shows. This will see the largest amount of money being taken out of the EU economy ever, unprecedented in scale and impact," it said in a statement.

According to Finland's Pellervo Economic Research Institute, the European Commission's draft CO2 emission quota trading legislation will cause price hikes of between 6% and 12% when it comes into effect in 2013. It said the trading scheme would drive energy costs up by as much as 45%.


Britain's stupid Green/Left: "Only three "sustainable" homes built in UK so far. Gordon Brown's dream of "eco-towns" with tens of thousands of homes powered by wind and solar power has failed to grip the public's imagination. Officials have confirmed that only three low-carbon homes are being built in the UK. The Prime Minister made the plan for 100,000 sustainable homes a key element of his pitch for the Labour Party leadership last summer. But individuals have failed to match the Government's enthusiasm for cutting household emissions. Only three households have taken advantage of a tax-break for all new zero-carbon homes, the Treasury revealed last week. The Treasury minister, Jane Kennedy, said the Government expects the number of applications to increase "as more properties eligible to claim the relief go on the market".


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


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?