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

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

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

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28 February, 2011

Shhsshh … don’t talk about the science

by Bob Carter, writing from Australia

Last Wednesday, February 23, Prime Minister Gillard announced, on behalf of her Multi-Party Committee on Climate Change, an in-principle commitment to introduce a carbon dioxide tax in Australia on July 1, 2012.

This despite the irreconcilable breakdown of the Copenhagen and Cancun meetings that were aimed at achieving international agreement on similar action, and despite it now being clear also that cap-and-trade measures are dead for the foreseeable future in the USA.

This representing, first, a broken election promise of some magnitude, and, second, a stupid policy, it is not surprising that the announcement provoked an immediate blizzard of public criticism and resistance. Yet as I write, and after almost 4 days of saturation press coverage, not a single mainstream media commentator appears to have discussed the real issue at hand.

That issue is, of course, supposedly dangerous global warming caused by human carbon dioxide emissions. And note the two adjectives “supposedly” and “dangerous”, for both are critically important to the debate that we are failing to have.

Instead of analysing the global warming issue – about which, more below – press commentary continues to endlessly recycle tired, stale, sanctimonious and entirely misleading clichés about carbon pollution, climate change and energy efficiency. Everyone, it seems, has a strong opinion, yet almost none of these opinions are grounded in the empirical science facts that society used to view as the essential basis for good public policy decisions.

So what about the famous global warming which occurred in the late 20th century, whatever happened to that? Well, not only did the gentle warming terminate in 1998, but in accord with natural climate cycling, that warming has been followed by a gentle cooling since about 2001. That’s ten years of no temperature increase, let along dangerous increase, over the same time period that atmospheric carbon dioxide increased by about 5%.

Run that past me again, Professors Garnaut and Flannery – your advice to government still remains that human carbon dioxide emissions are causing dangerous global warming?

Do you understand the meaning of the phrases “empirical science” and “hypothesis testing”? Do you understand that the correct null hypothesis is that gentle warmings, such as that which occurred between 1979 and 1998, and equivalent coolings, are to be viewed as due to natural causes unless and until evidence indicates otherwise. Gentlemen, where is that evidence, and why is it not presented in the voluminous reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that you and the government so often refer to?

Despite this lack of evidence for dangerous, or potentially dangerous, warming, and despite the lack of efficacy of cutting carbon dioxide emissions as a means of preventing the trivial warming that is likely to occur (cutting all of Australia’s emissions would theoretically prevent, perhaps, around one-thousandth of a degree of warming), the political course in Canberra is now set on carbon tax autopilot, and the plane is flying squarely into the eye of a storm that is labelled “let’s spin a regressive new tax as a virtuous environmental measure”.

For instance, the Prime Minister says:

I also want to be very clear with Australians about what pricing carbon does. It has price impacts. It’s meant to. That’s the whole point.

No, Prime Minister, that is not the point at all. The point is supposed to be attaining a meaningful reduction in future warming, which a carbon dioxide taxation policy will not achieve – even were it to successfully close down the entire industrial economy of Australia

Climate Minister Mr Combet believes that reducing “carbon pollution” to “drive investment in clean energy …. is fundamentally what a carbon price is about”.

No, Greg, the matter has nothing to do with either carbon or pollution, for the alleged dangerous warming is supposed to be produced by the atmospheric trace gas carbon dioxide. To call carbon dioxide a pollutant is an abuse of logic, language and science, given its pivotal role in the photosynthetic processes that underpin most of our planetary ecosystems. In essence, carbon dioxide is the very staff of life, and increasing it in the atmosphere helps most plants to grow better and to use water more efficiently.

And, so far as energy efficiency is concerned, the market itself will drive any needed changes in future energy supply, as hydrocarbon resources run down, without your wasting more billions of dollars of taxpayers funds in picking white elephant “winners”. If you want to encourage alternative energy then by all means subsidize the introduction of clean, green nuclear power in Australia rather than frittering away scarce public resources on uneconomic eco-bling like windmills and solar farms.

Minister Combet is also prone to saying: “We are committed to tackling climate change”. No, Minister, you are not. Instead, you are playing with ghosts in trying to “stop” a chimerical dangerous global warming, and that for entirely political reasons. Meanwhile, you are offering nothing by way of policy initiatives to deal with the actual and very real hazards that are associated with NATURAL climate events and change in Australia.

Relating to the El Nino-La Nina weather cycle, no part of Australia has escaped climatic hazard in the last two years. Events like the Victorian bushfires, the Queensland floods and landfalling tropical cyclones in northern Australia are of concern to every citizen, indeed some have been killed by these events and many others have sustained crippling personal or business costs.

Despite which, Mr Combet and PM Gillard and their expert climate advisers appear to have no interest in dealing with these only-too-real natural climate problems in a commonsense and cost-effective way, which is by preparing better for them in advance, and adapting better to them as and when they occur. Instead they are busy constructing a tornado of political spin about imaginary global warming.

Dragging another skeletal warhorse out of the cupboard, Mr Combet makes the highly original assertion that “Business needs the certainty of a carbon (sic) price”. Yes, it most certainly does, Minister, and as Terry McCrann has endlessly pointed out, that certainty should be a price for carbon dioxide emissions of zero dollars per tonne. Then the power utility companies can get on with planning the mix of new coal, gas and nuclear power stations that are now urgently needed to secure Australia’s future.

Never has an important national policy issue been so surrounded with public dishonesty and deliberate ambiguity of language as is the issue of dangerous, human-caused global warming.

Choreographed over the years by green lobby groups, politicians and commentators alike now participate like puppets-on-strings in an entirely faux public gigue involving words or phrases like “carbon” (when they mean carbon dioxide), “pollution” (when they are referring to an environmentally beneficial trace gas), “settled science” (when the science is hotly contested, and the onus of proof of danger still rests, unattained, with the climate alarmists of a discredited IPCC), “climate change” (when they mean dangerous global warming), “energy efficiency” (in the same breath that they rule out the environmentally friendly baseload energy source represented by nuclear power) and “international good citizen” (at a time when international action on climate policy has never been less certain).

It is therefore entirely unsurprising that there has been a swing in public opinion against alarmism on global warming, though nervous Labor politicians are doubtless already sucking in deep breaths of surprise at the apparent strength of the swing. One recent online poll, in The Age of all places, received an 89% NO in answer to the question “Would you support a climate tax?”; and another, in the Herald-Sun and with more than 30,000 respondents, received an 85% NO to the question “Do you support a price on carbon (sic)?”.

Plans are already being made for a series of public protest rallies in metropolitan centres on March 23rd, and other organized protests and resistance are inevitable. Any reader who wishes to help fight the introduction of Prime Minister Gillard’s new carbon dioxide tax is invited to send an email expressing such interest to An online petition has also been organised and can be viewed here…

As I wrote in Part I of this article last Thursday, the government’s intention to introduce a carbon dioxide tax represents “a ridiculous attempt to compulsorily reduce the living standards of all Australians, with especial impact on the poorer ones”.

In the interest of good governance and sound environmental stewardship, I urge readers to reject this costly, inefficient, ineffectual, inequitable and unnecessary tax.



Three current articles below

Carbon tax a pledge of suicide

Terry McCrann

JULIA Gillard is embarked on introducing two new taxes. he first is the big lie that last week was turned into a big tax: her Julia carbon tax, the tax you have when you promise not to have that tax. The second is the reworked resources tax.

One is designed to force us to cut our emissions of carbon dioxide. To stress, emissions of the life-enhancing gas, not the so-called carbon pollution of bits of grit subconscious image that Gillard and Co deliberately promote.

The other is based on the assumption that China, in particular, but also India will continue to increase exponentially their emissions of that very same carbon dioxide.

Needless to say, except it does apparently need saying repeatedly, the increase in their emissions will dwarf any reduction we achieve. Rendering any reduction by us utterly pointless.

Indeed, China for all its claimed commitment to aggressive world leadership in alternative energy, plans to get most of its electricity from coal-fired power. Not just today, but tomorrow and, indeed, the day after tomorrow.

Over the next 10 years, it plans to install net new capacity of coal-fired power equal to 10 times our entire power generation sector.

To stress, that's net additional generation. Its existing coal-fired power sector is already 14 times our entire power sector. To the extent it does close down any -- really -- grit-emitting old dirty coal-fired generation, that means even more replacement plants. All fired increasingly by coal from . . . you fill in the blank.

Our real "assistance" to increased Chinese CO2 emissions, though, won't be centred on shipping energy coals from Newcastle. But in pouring hundreds of millions of tonnes of iron ore and coking coal every year into Chinese, and increasingly, Indian mills. And not to forget our old customers in Japan and South Korea.

Gillard's proposed resources tax doesn't just assume huge increases in these exports but is designed specifically to encourage their maximum expansion. Along with -- dare I say it, carbon-based -- natural gas.

Does the Prime Minister have the slightest self-awareness of a certain hypocrisy, but even more an incongruity between her two taxes and the underlying hopes and realities they are based on?

That on the one hand, she has to turn every light switch in the country into a tax collection point, to cut emissions to save the Barrier Reef, if not indeed the planet? Yet, on the other hand, she says a silent, secular, prayer that China and India go gangbusters emitting, to utterly swamp any such domestic emissions cuts; to save her budget from deficit? And not just save her -- or her successor's -- budget; that the foundation of the entire Australian economy will rest increasingly on those increasing emissions?

There is a further point of damning intersection with reference to China that has utterly eluded the Prime Minister. To say nothing of the massed brainpower of Treasury and our down under 21st century da Vinci, Ross Garnaut.

There she was at it again on Wednesday, saying that we had to move to a post-carbon economy. That "the global economy is shifting". That "Australia is at risk of falling behind the rest of the world." That "the longer we wait, the greater the cost to the economy, and the greater the cost to Australian jobs".

Somehow this message seems to have escaped the Chinese. And the Indians. They are making every effort to move to a carbon economy. Indeed, that's precisely the reason argued for giving them a pass on their exploding emissions.

If indeed the future, and the jobs of the future, lie in a post-carbon economy, wouldn't the very canny Chinese go straight to "that bountiful future?" What idiots they are for trying to build the carbon economy that our down-under smarties Gillard, Garnaut and (Treasury secretary Ken) Henry want to discard like yesterday's worn-out snakeskin.

So what is Gillard "saying" with her two taxes? That we should feed the Chinese and Indian carbon addiction? We should profit from the destruction of the planet? Literally, in the case of the government's tax revenues?

The truth is that Gillard and Co have taken policy into the realm of the surreal. She and her cabinet have moved beyond incoherence. Guided you have to say by a Treasury that has lost utterly any semblance of rational analysis and advice.

She makes Kevin Rudd, who had firmly established himself as a prime minister worse than Whitlam, look like the very model of prudent thoughtful judgment in comparison.

His rush to lock in an Emissions Trading Scheme before the Copenhagen conference was ridiculous and mad. It would have left Australia right out there like the proverbial shag on the rock when Copenhagen collapsed without even the most basic binding commitments.

To say nothing of the whole bureaucratic imposition of the ETS. More complicated and more onerous than the GST and open to far more rorts [abuses] than the building insulation fiasco.

But at least before Copenhagen, you could argue the hope of some global agreement requiring an Australian commitment.

Not so now after both its failure and even more the gas-emitting farce of Cancun. Gillard doesn't even have that excuse. She embarks on this destructive absurdity knowing that the world -- read: China, India and the US -- are not going to follow.

If we had a Treasury that retained any of its traditional competence, it would be telling the government that an attack on carbon dioxide emissions is an attack on Australia's core and pervasive national comparative advantage.

Why are we among the biggest emitters per head of CO2? The biggest by far, if we include the indirect emissions from the use of our resource exports?

Because we benefit from our bountiful coal and iron ore. Gillard's attack on the so-called carbon economy is not just designed to hurt every Australian. Permanently. It is effectively a national suicide pledge. From the nation's leader. Incredible. Surreal. All-too real.


Conservative leader hints he'd roll back carbon tax if he wins the 2013 election

Tony Abbott has signalled he will scrap Labor's carbon tax if he wins the next election.

And in a blow to the Gillard government, the Greens have suggested they will not support cent-for-cent cuts to the petrol excise to compensate for petrol price rises under the tax.

The Opposition Leader declared this morning: "We are against this in opposition and we will be against this in government."

The next election is not due until August 2013 - a year after Julia Gillard's carbon tax is scheduled to come into effect.

Mr Abbott said voters should be "crystal clear" that he was opposed to the tax, but said he had to consult with shadow cabinet before announcing his formal policy response. "What I am not going to do is totally pre-empt due process, as Julia Gillard did," Mr Abbott told radio station 2UE. "She didn't send this off to her cabinet, she didn't send this off to her party room and I have to do all those things."

The approach flagged by Mr Abbott appears similar to that taken by Kim Beazley with the GST. The former Labor leader went to the 2001 election promising to "roll back" elements of the GST, but the pledge was dropped at subsequent elections.

The government says no decision has been taken on whether petrol will be included in the scheme. But Greens deputy leader Christine Milne suggested this morning that compensation for petrol price rises should not be given across the board. "We need to be sure that we are compensating low income earners, the people who are most vulnerable," she said. "I want to make sure that we do that because our job is to make sure that they are not suffering because of this."

Selectively compensating voters for petrol price rises could prove difficult for the government, because of sensitivities over bowser prices.

Coalition MPs arriving at parliament this morning accused Ms Gillard of "lying" to the Australian people by reneging on a pre-election pledge not to introduce a carbon tax. "She's trying to weasel her way out of the fact she lied," Liberal MP Dennis Jensen said. "The simple point is she went to the election and quite explicitly stated on not just one occasion that there would be no carbon tax under her government."

But Labor MP Andrew Leigh accused Mr Abbott of running a fear campaign. "It's going to be a strong scare campaign and he's going to run hard on it, but it's not what I think the Australian people want," he said. "Direct action is very, very expensive. How do you pay for that? Probably a big new income tax rise."

Labor MP Janelle Saffin said the transition to a clean energy economy would create more jobs. A report to be released later today by the Climate Institute suggests a $45 a tonne carbon price could create almost 8000 permanent jobs in the electricity sector.

Another 26,000 temporary manufacturing and construction jobs would also be created, according to the research, which predicts billions of dollars would be invested in clean energy projects.


Unilateral action on carbon creates costs without benefits

Henry Ergas

"Hawke and Keating floated the dollar; we will price carbon," Julia Gillard said just prior to last week's deal with the Greens.

The comparison is inaccurate, however, for floating the dollar, like cutting tariffs, was desirable even if Australia acted alone; in contrast, a carbon tax can only yield benefits if major emitting countries do the same.

Moreover, the Hawke-Keating reforms, including floating the dollar and reducing protection, enhanced our long-standing comparative advantage, which is based on our resource wealth. So did those of the Howard government. This policy undermines it.

Indeed, in terms of Australia's national interest, it is difficult to think of a policy more harmful than such a unilateral tax.

This is because a high share of Australia's emissions are accounted for by export-oriented activities: some 33 per cent, compared with 8 per cent for the US. These activities include mining, where large fugitive emissions occur as resources are extracted.

Given the ready availability of alternative sources of supply, including Canada, the US and Brazil, a unilateral tax on these exports cannot cut global emissions: it merely alters their location.

But it would reduce Australian incomes, transferring overseas gains we would otherwise obtain from the resources boom. This policy therefore imposes costs without any obvious benefits.

In its defence, supporters of unilateral action make four claims. None of these stands up to scrutiny. The first is to deny our tax would be unilateral, pointing to carbon abatement policies elsewhere, notably Europe.

In reality, those policies are costly and ineffectual: the abatement they secure could be obtained by a carbon price well below that envisaged here. But even putting that aside, our export industries do not compete with the European economies. So whatever their carbon policies may be, they do not make our action any less unilateral in its consequences.

The second claim is that even if unilateral action did cause income losses, the creation of green jobs would offset them. The whole notion of a green job is confused: jobs are no more colour-coded than are people. And it is even more confused to think low-emission jobs are inherently preferable to those that are emissions-intensive: rather, what matters is each activity's contribution to wealth creation, assessed taking proper account of the social cost of emissions.

The extent of that wealth creation does not depend on whether a job is green, blue or purple; it depends on opportunity costs, that is, on what society gives up to generate a dollar of output in that activity. A well-functioning economy specialises in those activities in which its opportunity costs are lowest: that is what specialisation in line with comparative advantage means. Because we are so abundantly endowed with natural resources, Australia's opportunity costs are especially low in mining. That is why our share of world mineral exports is more than 25 times greater than our share of world exports overall.

And it is that specialisation in line with comparative advantage that makes us well off, as it allows us to import the many goods in which we have a comparative disadvantage from wherever their costs of production are lowest.

Given how pronounced our comparative advantage is in mining, shifting resources to other activities must make us substantially poorer. The claim that jobs tending windmills or speculating on emissions permits could offset those losses is implausible.

It is especially implausible as our pattern of comparative advantage is becoming more pronounced: in the nine years from June 2000, the net present value of Australia's mineral assets more than trebled. With the world placing ever higher value on our natural resources, relative to our other factor endowments (such as capital and labour), the income loss from unilaterally taxing mining exports must rise.

That loss is all the greater because the carbon tax acts like a supplementary royalty, as the amount to be paid rises with volumes produced. It therefore compounds the distorting effect of existing royalties and of the new mining tax. How the government can stridently criticise mining royalties because they tax production but want to aggravate their impact is yet to be explained.

The third claim defenders of the tax make is that by acting now, we increase the prospects of global agreement. That claim is also implausible. It accords Australia an influence at odds with the experience of international negotiations, not least at Copenhagen. Additionally and importantly, it ignores the fact that by undermining our own exports we make preventing agreement even more profitable for our rivals.

That the government has no plan for repealing the tax should international agreement not eventuate in a set time frame makes our rivals' incentive to delay even greater. To believe altruism will trump self-interest in determining their negotiating stance involves a considerable leap of faith. Fourth and last, supporters of a unilateral carbon tax claim it will bring certainty.

However, the only certainty for the community as a whole is that incomes will fall. What is left uncertain is just how great that fall will be, as that depends on what happens when the time comes to shift from a fixed carbon tax to a scheme based on emissions permits.

It is, for example, widely rumoured that the carbon tax will be around $20, increasing annually by 4 or 5 per cent more than inflation. Given that starting point, were the government, at the end of the three year period, to set the number of permits so as to cut emissions in 2020 to 15 per cent below 2000 levels, the implied carbon price would treble, causing enormous dislocations.

The government knows that; little wonder it is determined to postpone those decisions to a later date. But far from providing certainty, thus multiplying decision points, with fuzzy decision criteria at each juncture, compounds uncertainties and invites rent-seeking. Finally, would these problems be ameliorated were the tax only on domestic consumption, exempting exports but taxing imports, as Geoff Carmody has proposed?

Of course they would. But that is only because we are acting unilaterally, damaging our exports. Shifting the burden on to domestic consumption reduces the harm. But the harm does not go away: it is just diminished. The question remains, therefore, why we would act unilaterally, creating costs for so few environmental benefits. To that question, the community still awaits a sensible answer.


The Flip Side of Extreme Event Attribution

Any mitigation achieved by carbon reduction would be both minute and detectable only in the distant future

I first noticed an interesting argument related to climate change in President Bill Clinton's 2000 State of the Union Address: "If we fail to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, deadly heat waves and droughts will become more frequent, coastal areas will flood, and economies will be disrupted. That is going to happen, unless we act.

Taken literally, the sentences are not wrong. But they are misleading. Consider that the exact opposite of the sentences is also not wrong: "If we reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, deadly heat waves and droughts will become more frequent, coastal areas will flood, and economies will be disrupted. That is going to happen, if we act".

The reason why both the sentence and its opposite are not wrong is that deadly and economically disruptive disasters will occur and be more frequent independent of action on greenhouse gas emissions. If the sentences are read to imply a causal relationship between action on greenhouse gases and the effects on the impacts of extreme events -- and you believe that such a direct causal relationship exists -- the sentences are still misleading, because they include no sense of time perspective.

Even if you believe in such a tight coupling between emissions and extremes, the effect of emissions reductions on extreme events won't be detectable in your lifetime, and probably for much longer than that.

Why do I bring up President Clinton's 2000 State of the Union in 2011? Because I have seen this slippery and misleading formulation occur repeatedly in recent weeks as the issue of carbon dioxide and extreme events has hotted up. Consider the following examples.

First John Holdren, science advisor to President Obama: "People are seeing the impact of climate change around them in extraordinary patterns of floods and droughts, wildfires, heatwaves and powerful storms."

He also says: "[T]he climate is changing and that humans are responsible for a substantial part of that - and that these changes are doing harm and will continue to do more harm unless we start to reduce our emissions"

It would easy to get the impression from such a sentence that if we "start to reduce our emissions" then climate changes will no longer be "doing harm and continue to do more harm" (or more generously, will be "doing less harm"). Such an argument is at best sloppy -- particularly for a science advisor -- but also pretty misleading

Second, Ross Garnaut, a climate change advisor to the Australian government: "[T]he systematic, intellectual work of people who've spent their lifetimes studying these things shows that a warmer climate does lead to intensification of these sorts of extreme climatic events that we've seen in Queensland, and I think that people are wishing to avoid those awful challenge in Queensland will be amongst the people supporting effective action on climate change."

It would be easy to get the impression that Garnaut is suggesting to current Queensland residents that future Queensland floods and/or tropical cyclones might be avoided by supporting "effective action on climate change." If so, then the argument is highly misleading.

It is just logical that one cannot make the claim that action on climate change will influence future extreme events without first being able to claim that greenhouse gas emissions have a discernible influence on those extremes. This probably helps to explain why there is such a push to classify the attribution issue as settled. But this is just piling on one bad argument on top of another.

Even if you believe that attribution has been achieved, these are bad arguments for the simple fact that detecting the effects on the global climate system of emissions reductions would take many, many (many!) decades.

For instance, for an aggressive climate policy that would stabilize carbon dioxide at 450 ppm, detecting a change in average global temperatures would necessarily occur in the second half of this century. Detection of changes in extreme events would take even longer.

To suggest that action on greenhouse gas emissions is a mechanism for modulating the impacts of extreme events remains a highly misleading argument. There are better justifications for action on carbon dioxide that do not depend on contorting the state of the science.


The missing link in the global warming theory

Announcing a new book, John Quinn [] writes:

I have examined numerous scientific papers in a wide range of scientific journals concerning Global Warming. In fact, I was examining these articles with one question in mind: What are the fundamental links between greenhouse gas increases, particularly CO2, and Global Warming? This is the basic question. If such a connection can be shown to exist, then environmentalists and climatologists would then be well on their way to making the case that human activity is indeed responsible for Global Warming, since there is already ample evidence that human beings have in recent years increased their output of greenhouse gases.

So, the immediate question to be answered is: What evidence has been presented that increases in CO2 levels of either natural or anthropogenic origin have any connection with Global Warming. I found no substantive answer to my question in the literature. What I found in article after article were research providing evidence that the sea levels are rising, that glaciers are melting, that the polar ice caps are melting, and that global temperatures are steadily increasing, among other related facts. All of these articles then ended with the implicit assumption, base only on the Enhanced Greenhouse Theory itself and computer modeling based solely on that theory, that these climate-related effects were all human induced and concluded in many cases by saying just that.

This of course is nonsense, since such evidence only indicates that there is in fact Global Warming, nothing else. This sort of evidence does not point to the underlying cause and the conclusions based on such reasoning are incestuous.

My examination resulted in the recent publication of a book, titled: GLOBAL WARMING: Geophysical Counterpoints to the Enhanced Greenhouse Theory, published by Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc., Pittsburgh, PA. It is available from and from the Dorrance bookstore Web site:

I refer to my view as the Solar-Terrestrial Theory of Global Warming. My book clearly shows, using data rather than hand-waving, heuristic arguments, and unsupported opinion, that CO2 and other greenhouse gases have a negligible effect on Global Warming. Instead, Global Warming is the result of very complex set of actions, reactions, and interactions derived from an assortment of phenomenon stemming from the Sun all the way to Earth's core.

I believe that my book is just the first step in truly understanding Global Warming. It is by no means the last word. The book opens many new questions and points in many new research directions that hitherto should have by now have been thoroughly explored, but, due to scientific bias and functional fixedness (a psychology term), have largely been ignored.

A small EPA backdown

EPA eases pollution rules for industrial boilers

The Obama administration, responding to a changed political climate and a court-ordered deadline, issued significantly revised new air pollution rules yesterday that will make it easier for operators of thousands of industrial boilers and incinerators to meet federal air quality standards.

The new regulations represent a major step back from more demanding and costly rules proposed last spring that provoked an outcry from members of Congress from both parties and from thousands of affected businesses. One industry-financed study said the proposed standard would cost businesses $20 billion to comply and cause the loss of more than 300,000 jobs.

Environmental Protection Agency officials said the new rule was consistent with an executive order issued by President Obama in January calling for a broad review of environmental, health, safety, and financial regulations to ensure that they were not imposing too heavy a cost on the economy.

The softening of the boiler rule could foreshadow a less aggressive approach to air pollution rules due for power plants next month and a series of regulations of greenhouse gases to be rolled out over the next several years.

The rule issued yesterday affects roughly 200,000 boilers, small power plants, and incinerators operated by factories, chemical plants, municipalities, universities, churches, and commercial buildings.

About 187,000 of these are relatively small sources of the target pollutants — lead, mercury, soot, and toxic gases — and their operators will have to do little more than perform routine “tuneups’’ every year or two to meet the new standard.

They will be allowed to achieve the cuts using readily available control technology at what the EPA said was a reasonable cost. The agency said the earlier version, which would have required boiler operators to apply “maximum achievable control technology,’’ set too high a bar.

“The original standards for these have been dramatically refined and updated to ensure maximum flexibility for these sources,’’ the agency said in a press release.

The 13,800 larger facilities, including refineries, chemical plants, and large factories, will have to meet numerical targets for pollution reduction, although the agency said it had narrowed the standards to lower compliance costs.

The government will provide technical assistance in meeting the new standards and grant incentives for switching to cleaner-burning fuels such as natural gas.

The power plant rules are being reviewed by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

EPA officials said the altered rule would cost half as much as the previous proposal while achieving virtually the same health benefits. The agency pegged compliance costs for the new version of the rule at $2.1 billion a year and said it would generate more than 2,000 new jobs.

Gina McCarthy, director of the agency’s air and radiation office, said the pollution reductions would save 2,600 to 6,600 lives a year by 2014 and avert 4,100 heart attacks and 42,000 asthma attacks annually.

“These health protections will save between $23 billion and $56 billion in health-related costs,’’ McCarthy said in a conference call for reporters. “They are realistic, they are achievable and they are reasonable, and they come at roughly half the cost to comply compared to that in the proposed rule in May 2010.’’

The EPA withdrew the earlier rule in December, saying it needed an additional 15 months to rewrite it to respond to complaints and new data. A federal judge rejected the extension, saying the agency had already spent three years developing the regulation, and ordered it to produce a new rule by this week.

The agency grudgingly met the deadline but said it would remain open to comments and proposals for changes from lawmakers, businesses, and citizens.


Britain's £25,000 eco-classroom that can't be used because solar panels don't provide enough heat

Eco-campaigners who built a classroom powered by the sun believed they were paving the way for the future. Instead they have been taught a valuable lesson - there is not enough sun in North London to sufficiently heat their building.

The much feted zero-carbon Living Ark classroom was opened three months ago to great fanfare. It boasts laudable green credentials and is made from sustainable wood, sheep’s wool and soil. The roof is made of mud and grass and it has its own ‘rain pod’ and solar panels.

But there is snag - its solar panels only provide enough energy to power a few lightbulbs. As a result the classroom is bitterly cold and uninhabitable for lessons. Parents have branded it ‘useless’, an ‘expensive piece of wood’ and a ‘great idea for the Caribbean’.

The Living Ark was built at Muswell Hill Primary School, North London, at the cost of £25,000. Local councillors, at Labour run Haringey council, who were behind the initiative, opened it with great fanfare in December as a beacon of their climate change policy.

But today a local parent at the 419-pupil school said teachers weren't allowing pupils into the classroom because it was too cold. ‘What is the point of a classroom that can’t be used when it’s a bit cold outside? My kids have been told it’s too cold for them to use as nobody can figure out how to heat it,’ said the parent, who did not want to be named. ‘This is just an expensive piece of hollowed out wood and no use to anyone. We are living in Britain, not the Caribbean.’

The ‘waste’ of money comes as councils across the country are facing a severe shortage of school places. By 2018 they will need to find an additional 500,000 primary places due to a population surge.

Charlotte Linacre, Campaign Manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, accused the council of wasting money on pet projects which do not benefit pupils. She said: ‘It’s an awful waste that so much money has been ploughed into this eco-mistake. ‘This project fails to meet the needs of staff and pupils by giving them a classroom that is most useful when the kids are on their summer holidays.

‘Lessons have to be learned at the local authority. They must stop spending taxpayers’ hard earned cash on expensive pet projects that do nothing to improve pupils’ education. ‘All this will teach kids is how poorly planned and costly local authorities projects can be.’

Lib Dem Councillor Gail Engerts said: ‘It is such a shame that, considering the fanfare, it emerges that this facility cannot be used by the children all year round.’

Headteacher Jill Hughes defended the project and said she hoped classes would be held in the classroom when the weather gets warmer. She said: ‘We’re delighted to have the Living Ark - its a tremendous resource both for the school and the local community and is an important part of the Muswell Hill low carbon zone initiative.’



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


27 February, 2011

Warmists round on the media

Having a friendly media is not enough for them. They want a Soviet-style media that allows no dissent from the official line. Know the Warmists by the company they keep

As glaciers melt [Some are; some aren't] and island populations retreat from their coastlines to escape rising seas [which aren't rising], many scientists remain baffled as to why the global research consensus on human-induced climate change remains contentious in the U.S.

The frustration revealed itself during a handful of sessions at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., this past weekend, coming to a peak during a Friday session, "Science without Borders and Media Unbounded".

Near the forum’s conclusion, Massachusetts Institute of Technology climate scientist Kerry Emanuel asked a panel of journalists why the media continues to cover anthropogenic climate change as a controversy or debate, when in fact it is a consensus among such organizations as the American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Physics, American Chemical Society, American Meteorological Association and the National Research Council, along with the national academies of more than two dozen countries.

"You haven't persuaded the public," replied Elizabeth Shogren of National Public Radio. Emanuel immediately countered, smiling and pointing at Shogren, "No, you haven't." Scattered applause followed in the audience of mostly scientists, with one heckler saying, "That's right. Kerry said it."

Such a tone of searching bewilderment typified a handful of sessions that dealt with the struggle to motivate Americans on the topic of climate change. Only 35 percent of Americans see climate change as a serious problem, according to a 2009 poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

It's a given that an organized and well-funded campaign has led efforts to confuse the public regarding the consensus around anthropogenic climate change.

And in the absence of such a campaign, as in South Korea, there is no doubt about the findings of climate science, said Sun-Jin Yun of Seoul National University. All three of the nation's major newspapers—representing conservative, progressive and business perspectives—accept climate change with little unjustified skepticism.

Still, it is hard to explain the intransigence of the U.S. public and policy-makers on the issue.

Explanations abound: Is it the media? Under-education? Denialism?
Tom Rosenstiel of the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism pointed at the media, focusing on its overall contraction in the past two decades. Shrinking budgets have led to a proliferation of quick, cheap reporting, as well as discussion and commentary formats that rarely provide informative discussions of actual science results.

"What is shrinking is the reportorial component of our culture in which people go out and find things and verify things," he said. Truth has little chance to make itself known in the new narrow and shallow public square.....

Scientists must engage with the public and be vigilant against projecting stereotypes of their profession—such as the elitist, arrogant scientist, Schmidt said.

Rosenstiel echoed this advice and further urged scientists to bypass the media, who are no longer critical intermediaries for reaching the public given the growth of the blogosphere and the general fragmentation of the industry.


The latest Greenie propaganda from Hollywood

What Hollywood won't tell you follows the excerpt below

Carteret Islanders have been called the world's first climate refugees. Their homeland, a remote chain of six small islands in the South Pacific, is fast losing ground to rising sea levels. The 1,000 or so people whose families have lived there for dozens of generations have made an agonizing decision to relocate their entire community before it disappears beneath the rising waves.

In June of 2008, filmmakers Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger learned of the refugees' plight and headed to the Carteret Islands, video equipment in tow, hoping to share their story with the world. Their documentary, "Sun Come Up," was released last year. Sunday night, it’s up for an Academy Award in the best documentary short category.

Redfearn has a background in environment studies, a journalism degree from Columbia University, and had worked on several television series, but "Sun Come Up" is her debut film. She first heard about the Carteret Islanders from a forwarded humanitarian e-mail alert; after reading about them, she could focus on little else. Three months after receiving the e-mail, Redfearn and filmmaking partner Metzger landed in the South Pacific and started shooting. They weren't sure what to expect, but they had been encouraged to come by Ursula Rakova, the head of the Carteret relocation program.

They were well received, and the islanders were, according to Redfearn, "really generous with their time and sharing their stories." They were well aware of why their islands were shrinking and the global issues behind the local changes. "When they first started to witness changes, they didn't know why," Redfearn explains. "But Ursula was born on the Carteret Islands and has traveled abroad to get her education, so she has become aware of what's happening internationally. She taught the community about the science."

The filmmakers didn't find the islanders to be helpless or angry. "More than anything else," Redfearn says, "there's a great feeling of uncertainty." The island's elders would prefer to stay, despite the risks. They grew up there, spent their whole lives there, and "have no interest in moving and adapting to a new society or culture." But the younger generations are looking at things differently. "They're looking ahead at how to rebuild their community somewhere else."


Now for some facts:

The Carteret Islands are coral atolls that have been damaged by the indigenous fishing industry. Homemade Ammonium Nitrate bomblets, used to stun fish for easy "harvesting" (by lazy fishermen) had the unintended effect of breaking up the surrounding Coral beds, which are the foundation of the "islands."

Once blasted, the Coral is destroyed and can't recover. The underpinning of the remaining land is then impaired and "duh," the islands begin to sink. Some depletion of the fresh water aquifer may also contribute to the sinking. The region is also tectonically active and subsiding land is a real possibility.

Of course, the Sea-Level is being blamed, but a quick look at NASA's Jason satellite data shows that Sea-Level has outright FLATLINED since January 2004 to the present (Flatlined = ZERO rise) within a 20mm ± zone!!!

The whole movie is simply environmental "spin."

Hollywood sign could be covered in snow for first time in over 50 years - just in time for Sunday's Oscars

But will they notice? Given their absorption in fantasy, probably not

The A-list movie stars waltzing up the red carpet at the Oscars this weekend will need to wrap up warm as temperatures plummet in Los Angeles. And there is even a chance the iconic Hollywood sign which towers over Tinseltown could be covered in snow on Sunday.

The last time the southern California metropolis – with average February temperatures of nearly 60F – encountered snow was way back in 1954 when a third of an inch fell. Today temperatures were a mere 44F.

A NOAA weather chart shows snow covering northern Nevada and will push into southern California by Sunday. Midwest and northeast states will be worst hit

But forecasters are predicting up to seven inches could coat the 45-foot tall letters as the blizzard which started in Washington state and Oregon continues its assault on California.

Snow is already predicted for downtown San Francisco – itself a stranger to snow for 25 years – after the surrounding hills received a dusting over the weekend.


OU professor says stormy winter has nothing to do with global warming

Lucky for him, he's a professor of engineering. They might find him hard to replace -- particularly at OU

Nobody can do anything about it, but everybody has an opinion on it — this winter’s weather. Bill Deedler, weather historian at the National Weather Service’s White Lake Township office, said the weather has been impacted by two factors.

One is La Nina, an ocean effect that causes colder than normal temperatures in the Pacific, he said, and it’s acting in conjunction with an Arctic low dropping from Canada’s eastern half. “Between the two, we have a formula for a strong storm track with more snow and ice from the Southwest into the Great Lakes,” said Deedler. “Earlier this winter, it was in the South and up the East Coast. It has nothing to do with global warming.”

Chris Kobus, an Oakland University associate professor of engineering who has made a study of weather, also dismisses the winter as having anything to do with global warming. He noted that we experienced similar severe weather in the late 1970s.

“This is just climate variability,” said Kobus. “We haven’t experienced it in decades.” Kobus recalled how some scientists said warm winters in recent years were caused by global warming. “Now the same people are blaming global warming (for the more severe weather),” he said. “I don’t buy it. (Global warming) is a hoax.” He said studies indicated the planet has only warmed half a degree in centuries.

He recommends people research both sides of the climate question by visiting and for opposing viewpoints. “You have to look at both sides,” Kobus said.

He believes the debate boils down to funding. “(Advocates of global warming) are well-funded and have deep connections with the media,” he said. “So-called skeptics (of global warming) are neither well-funded nor organized via advocacy organizations. It is a one-way debate.”

There are many who disagree, saying the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil and clearing forests has dramatically increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise.


Unscientific hype about the flooding risks from climate change will cost us all dear

The warmists have sound financial grounds for hyping the dangers of flooding posed by climate change, writes Christopher Booker

As the great global warming scare continues to crumble, attention focuses on all those groups that have a huge interest in keeping it alive. Governments look on it as an excuse to raise billions of pounds in taxes. Wind farm developers make fortunes from the hidden subsidies we pay through our electricity bills. A vast academic industry receives more billions for concocting the bogus science that underpins the scare. Carbon traders hope to make billions from corrupt schemes based on buying and selling the right to emit CO2. But no financial interest stands to make more from exaggerating the risks of climate change than the re-insurance industry, which charges retail insurers for “catastrophe cover”, paid for by all of us through our premiums.

An insight into this was given by a paper published by Nature on February 17, which claimed to show for the first time how man-made climate change greatly increases the risk of flood damage. Among the eight authors of the paper are two of the most influential scientists at the heart of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Prof Peter Stott of the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre and Dr Myles Allen, head of Oxford’s Climate Dynamics Group. Two of their co-authors are from Risk Management Solutions (RMS), a California-based firm which is the world leader in advising the insurance industry on climate change.

The study, based entirely on computer models, focused on the exceptional flooding that took place in England and Wales in the autumn of 2000. Its conclusion – that climate change could increase the chance of flooding by up to 90 per cent – was widely publicised, without questioning, by all the usual media cheerleaders for global warming, led by the BBC’s Richard Black (“Climate change increases flood risk, researchers say”).

When less partisan observers examined the paper, however, they were astonished. Although Nature has long been a leading propagandist for man-made climate change, this example seemed truly bizarre. Why had this strangely opaque study been based solely on the results of a series of computer models – mainly provided by the Hadley Centre and RMS – and not on any historical data about rainfall and river flows?

The Met Office’s own records show no upward trend in UK rainfall between 1961 and 2004. Certainly autumn 2000 showed an unusual rainfall maximum, but it was exceeded in 1930. The graph between then and 2010 shows no significant upward trend. While 2000 may have seen a lot of rain, 1768 and 1872 were even wetter. In the real world, the data show no evidence of an increase in UK rainfall at all. Any idea that there is one seemed to be entirely an artefact of the computer models.

On Friday came the fullest and most expert dissection of the Nature paper so far, published on the Watts Up With That website by Willis Eschenbach, a very experienced computer modeller. His findings are devastating. After detailed analysis of the study’s multiple flaws, he sums up by accusing Nature of “trying to pass off the end-result of a long daisy-chain of specifically selected, untested, unverified, un-investigated computer models as valid, falsifiable, peer-reviewed science”.

His conclusion is worth quoting at some length: “When your results represent the output of four computer models, fed into a fifth computer model, whose output goes to a sixth computer model, which is calibrated against a seventh computer model, and then your results are compared to a series of different results from the fifth computer model, but run with different parameters, in order to show that flood risks have increased from greenhouse gases…” you cannot pretend that this is “a valid representation of reality”, let alone “a sufficiently accurate representation of reality to guide our future actions”.

This is precisely why the Nature study is of such significance – because it will undoubtedly be used to guide future actions, which will in one way or another impact on all our lives.

For a start, consider the players in this drama. Prof Stott and Dr Allen have long been among the most influential scientists in the world in stoking up climate alarmism. A famous analysis by John McClean showed that they played a key part in compiling the single most important chapter in the IPCC’s last report, in 2007. The chapter, entitled “Understanding and attributing climate change”, cited many more papers by them than anyone else. They have now been appointed as lead authors of the relevant chapter in the next IPCC report, “Detection and attribution of climate change”, which will guide the actions of governments all over the world.

As for their two colleagues from Risk Management Solutions, this is not the first time that this leading adviser to the world’s re-insurance industry has been involved in a controversial bid to heighten alarm over the consequences of climate change.

In October 2005, in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, RMS held a meeting in Bermuda with four hurricane specialists, all of the alarmist persuasion, to quiz them as to how they thought hurricane activity was likely to be affected between 2006 and 2010, thanks to climate change, and how this would impact on the southern United States, notably Florida. On the basis of this meeting, RMS advised the re-insurers that the risk of hurricane damage over the next four years was hugely increased. The companies found that their reserves were $82 billion short of what they might be expected to pay. Premiums, particularly in Florida, accordingly rocketed upwards.

Under the heading “The $82 billion prediction”, the details of this episode are chronicled on his blog by Dr Roger Pielke Jr, who in 2008 advised RMS that the methodology on which it relied was so biased that “a group of monkeys would have arrived at the exact same results”. Dr Pielke, an expert in environmental impacts, recently published a chart showing how, although the RMS prediction for hurricane damage between 2006 and 2010 was a third higher than the historical average, the actual cost proved to be well under half the average figure. But, thanks to RMS, the insurance industry had made billions from higher premiums.

In 2008, following the disastrous floods of summer 2007, that vociferous climate alarmist Bob Ward, now at the Grantham Institute but then a director of RMS, called for the British government to work more closely with the insurance industry “to devise mutually beneficial strategies for dealing with flood risks”. We understand how working with RMS might be beneficial to the insurance industry. But whether, in light of the Nature study, the Government would find it beneficial is another matter – never mind the rest of us, as we are asked to pay ever higher insurance premiums, based not least on the findings of those RMS computer models.


Britain's eco-towns: A parable of a wet and wimpy state

Eco-towns, we were told, would help to 'save the planet' and provide thousands of new homes. Tim Black investigates why they were never built

Eco-towns – remember them? For a while they was a flagship New Labour project. Then they became a flagging New Labour project. And now? ‘As it stands, it’s up to the local authorities whether they get built’, came the rather non-committal response (1) from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Not that this should have been a surprise. The Lib-Con government, Localism Bill or not, seems very keen to wash its hands of this particular New Labour initiative, as indicated by its July announcement that the £60million funding for the shortlisted sites was to be cut in half. So while it is still possible that three new towns-cum-villages will be built – at Bicester in Oxfordshire, St Austell in Cornwall and Elsenham in Essex – it is fair to say the project that was once to provide around 200,000 new homes, not to mention several new towns, is, to all intents and purposes, defunct.

How things have changed. The willingness with which the eco-towns scheme is being quietly abandoned is in marked contrast to the fanfare with which it was announced in the summer of 2007. Back then, Gordon Brown, all affected smiles in his new position as prime minister, saw fit to make eco-towns his first major policy announcement. It was meant to be big. It had to be green. And it was going to define Brown’s prime-ministerial vision. Speaking to the Labour Party conference that September, Brown declaimed: ‘For the first time in nearly half a century we will show the imagination to build new towns – eco-towns with low and zero carbon homes.’ So it was that in the summer of 2007 a mixture of local authorities, construction firms and developers were invited to come forward with their plans for these new, ecologically sound towns.

And come forward they did. By April 2008, a shortlist of 15 prospective eco-towns had been unveiled. Then housing minister Caroline Flint continued to hype up the importance of the scheme: ‘We have a housing shortage in this country, and that’s why we need to build more homes. But we also need to think about sustainable homes in sustainable communities.’ The following January, the shortlist had been whittled down to 12. Then, in July 2009, four eco-towns were given the go-ahead (Rackheath in Norfolk, Whitehill Bordon in East Hampshire, Bicester in Oxfordshire and the China Clay community scheme in St Austell), with the promise of more to come.

So what happened to the eco-towns project? After all, this was meant to be a massively important scheme. Not only was it to show off the government’s commitment to a low-carbon future, it was to demonstrate how best to address the UK’s chronic housing shortage, something Brown had acknowledged in 2007 with his pledge to build three million homes by 2020. As he stated in July 2009, ‘eco-towns will help to relieve the shortage of affordable homes to rent and buy and to minimise the effects of climate change on a major scale’. The original 2007 eco-towns prospectus even went so far as to draw parallels between the situation today and that faced by the ‘postwar generation 60 years ago’ - that is, when the original 11 ‘new towns’ were built. So why, given the much-trumpeted historic urgency of the task, has so little come to pass?

As James Stevens from the Home Builders Federation told spiked, ‘eco-towns were failing before the financial crisis’. The ostensible problem was that the private sector developers had little to gain from building eco-towns. Given that most of the funding for the eco-towns was meant to come from the private, not the public sector, this was a significant problem. What is more, it was a problem largely of the state’s own making.

When the scheme was first launched, the criteria for its ecological correctness were already quite strict. According to the initial 2007 prospectus, eco-towns were to be zero-carbon communities demonstrating excellence in one ‘particular aspect of environmental sustainability’, from drainage to technology. As for the actual houses, they were to be built to ‘at least’ code level 3 (out of 6) as laid out in the 2006 housing regulations. This meant that their carbon emissions would be 25 per cent lower than what was then the current standard.

All this was restrictive enough for prospective developers – not to mention for those, cycle in hands, who would have to live in these ‘exemplars of sustainability’. But the problem was that having made these new towns ‘eco’, it meant that critics quickly held the plans to account on the basis that they weren’t ‘eco’ enough. In February 2008, for instance, historian and commentator Tristram Hunt (now a Labour MP) called the eco-towns project a ‘smokescreeen’ for unscrupulous developers. ‘All too predictably’, he wrote, ‘Britain’s leading developers are using the eco-towns template to dust off long-rejected proposals and re-submit shoddy housing schemes’. In other words, if a project was being put forward by the private sector, it was automatically suspect on environmental grounds. Hunt’s was not a lone criticism; it was part of a ‘green-washing’ chorus. Eco-towns were not doing what they said on the tin, claimed an unholy trinity of planning experts, disgruntled locals and reluctant local authorities.

The government’s response was to play to the eco-elite gallery and make the eco-town requirements ever stricter. Developers now had to build the houses to code level 4 and, from 2016, to code level 6. As then housing minister Caroline Flint said in July 2008: ‘These would be the toughest standards ever set out for new development, and would demonstrate that there will be no compromise on quality when it comes to eco-towns.’ This may have been music to the ears of green-horned critics of the scheme, but as Stevens explained to me, it is ‘extremely difficult to build to a high code level, especially as regards energy efficiency and water, and still make a sufficiently attractive return on investment – something that is necessary to allow the development to go ahead.’ He added: ‘This is one of the reasons why the three survivors of the eco-towns programme are progressing so slowly.’

More off-putting still was the one thing that initially made eco-towns potentially attractive to the private sector – that is, the extent to which the existing, notoriously bureaucratic planning regulations would be relaxed. And in the 2007 prospectus, there is more than a hint that the government was prepared to circumvent the planning process. Given that even if you own the land you want to build on, planning permission can usually only be obtained after endless, not to mention costly, private and public consultations with local planning authorities, the chance to skip over this would certainly have been appealing to developers. So to hear the DCLG actually talk of ‘minimising delay’, of dealing with the proposals quickly and, more explicitly, of using ‘the powers in the New Towns Act 1981 [where] appropriate’, actually made it sound as if the government was serious about a large-scale development project.

This is certainly what planning consultant David Lock believed. And considering that Lock was not only the former head of the Town and Country Planning Association, but, in its early stages, an official adviser on the eco-towns project, he should know. ‘When the government first launched the scheme’, Lock tells me, ‘their initial documents implied that they were in a hurry and were willing to alter the planning procedures to let people get ahead’.

But once again, just as with the eco-town building regulations, the government caved in, this time under pressure from lobby groups such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England and a few ‘sad middle-aged people holding up a “eco-towns will destroy my life” poster on a village green somewhere in the Midlands’. Very quickly, Lock tells me, the government’s ‘proactive, “we’ll bend the system” approach’ to planning permission was abandoned. Lock is in no doubt that this reversal, following ‘a bit of negative publicity’, put off prospective developers. ‘The government was making [eco-towns] an ordinary initiative that would have to go through existing processes, so why would anyone bother? A promoter can spend five years trying to push through other projects instead.’ And at considerably less cost, too.

In the ease with which the government tried to appease environmentalist critics, in the speed with which it went back on its promise to circumvent planning legislation with the New Towns Act, there is a parable of the contemporary state. ‘Wimpy and wet’, as Lock called the government, the state simply seems incapable of getting anything done. Even a scheme in which it invested so much political capital, such as the eco-towns project, quickly lost momentum. Lacking the popular support that comes through winning an argument, the government lacked the political will to realise its objectives. For new housing, read energy. For energy read transport. Before any large-scale infrastructural projects, the state proves cowardly and ultimately impotent.

But the main point still stands. Faced with a chronic housing shortage, the state, regardless of stripe of government, seems incapable of doing anything about it. As it stands, housebuilding rates are set to dip to their lowest level since the 1920s. Yet, too cowed by adverse publicity, too weak to actually justify a major undertaking such as housebuilding or a new generation of nuclear power stations, the government is content to look as if it is doing something while achieving nothing. While the state is happy to preoccupy itself with our behaviour, nannying then, nudging now, it seems unable to provide its citizens with the things we might actually want.



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


26 February, 2011

An introduction to environmental issues

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD Physics

The story of environmentalism is generally portrayed as one of citizens triumphing over evil corporate polluters, of public awareness, science, and affluence working together to solve pressing problems. There is no problem so huge or so abstract that we cannot solve it if we put our minds to it And solving these problems yields all sorts of positive side-effects and no drawbacks.

While that may be the perception, it is far from the fact. Public awareness is easily swayed by media campaigns that are little more than propaganda and supported by a press that would rather take sides than present balanced reports. Science is largely bought and paid for by politicians who control the agenda and the outcome.

And our affluence, or what is left of it, is viewed as an inexhaustible source of revenue for whatever fantastic ideas the political class can dream up. Negative consequences of such folly are viewed as so impossible as to be unworthy of discussion.

Consider the plight of the Orangutan, a creature in such dire peril that biologists place its chance of survival beyond a few years to be near zero in the wild. Do we hear much about Orangutans? No, we are constantly treated to pictures of a lone polar bear floating away on a shrinking piece of sea ice.

But polar bear populations are rising so much that they are becoming an increasing threat to arctic villages as these huge white grisly bears roam ever further in search of food. When I lived in Fort Churchill, Manitoba on Hudson Bay, we had to be on the lookout for bears that would come into town after raiding the city garbage dump. Their preferred meals in town were sled dogs tied up outside the barracks buildings. We made sure that we did not also become part of their diet.

There was an amusing story a couple of years ago about an Irishman who was determined to be the first to sail across an ice-free arctic ocean. When he got stuck in the supposedly non-existent pack ice, he was last reported pleading with the Russians to come to his rescue with one of their icebreakers. Part of his pleading involved a description of polar bears closing in on him! I do not know how the story turned out, but the Russians were themselves preoccupied ferrying tourists across the Arctic Ocean and having to deal with one of their icebreakers trapped in the pack ice!

Bears as a species are very adaptable, just as we are. That is why they have survived for manythousands of years, with many natural changes of climate and of diet. I remember one black bear just ahead of me in the Olympic National Park eating huckleberries. I remember another in Sequoia National Park trying to get into my backpack. And I remember one in my yard in Corbett contemplating a battle with my bees for some honey. Bears of whatever color are a huge success story.

Orangutans, in contrast, are more like many other animals and plants, heavily dependent on a tropical rainforest habitat. They have not needed to be greatly adaptable to a changing climate because tropical regions change much less dramatically over time than polar regions. That is until man appeared on the scene.

Initially, man lived in the forest as just another creature making a home there. But now he seeks to heavily exploit the forest for valuable hardwoods like teak. Then he goes a step further by completely leveling what remains of the forest and burning the residue. That allows him to plant cash crops like palm trees for palm oil.

Why the interest in palm oil? Although it is considered an inferior cooking oil, it is the #1 choice in the manufacture of bio-diesel because it is relatively cheap compared with other vegetable oils. The former colonial rulers of Indonesia, the Dutch, got the bright idea that they could produce electricity back home from bio-diesel and found it easy to entice poor people to produce more palm oil.

The only way to do that was to clear the last remaining tropical rainforest. Orangutans, “people of the forest” in Malay, are large powerful apes, very closely related to man. Because they are gentle creatures, humans once considered them to be people hiding in the forest to avoid work. But with the destruction of their forest homes, Orangutans will resist. The net result is horrible: the natives shoot the adults and take their children as pets. Since they have no way of caring for the cute baby Orangutans, the babies quickly perish like their parents.

It is an enormously sad story that few hear, because it is politically incorrect to think ill of bio-diesel. We are assured that the large bio-diesel refinery built recently on Puget Sound will not use tropical oils. But then why was it built where it will have easy access to cheap tropical oils delivered by tanker from Indonesia?

Now let's step back for a moment to consider the concept of risk. We are perpetually told that we are poisoning the planet with everything from pesticides to carbon dioxide such that our world is rapidly becoming unlivable. This feeds our enormous egos that tell us we are far more important to this planet than we really are. This is not to say that we have done no damage to our host, mother earth, but that we are more of an irritant than a serious threat. Perhaps we are to the earth what fleas are to a dog, irritating for sure, but not threatening the planet as a whole.

And if anything the overall trend in the affluent developed world is toward greatly reduced environmental risks. Take for instance, the beautiful country between Hood River and Mt. Hood. If you buy a piece of property there, your real estate agent will quietly inform you that the soils are “leaded.” That is a euphemism for the prevalent insecticide used on apples in the early 20th century; acutely toxic lead arsenate.

If you had a liking for strawberries in that same time frame, it was a good idea to wash them thoroughly because they were treated with Paris Green, a popular name for the extremely poisonous copper acetoarsenite. It gained its name from its use in the sewers of Paris to kill rats. For killing pests on cotton, workers used to fill burlap bags with a mixture of arsenic compounds and shake them over their crops. During 1944 and 1945, vast amounts of Paris Green were sprayed by airplane in Italy and Sicily to control malaria.

But then a scientific miracle came along in the form of synthetic pesticides that were far less toxic topeople but highly effective against insects. Among the best were malathion and DDT. Malathion was developed in Nazi Germany as a part of their research into organophosphate nerve gasses that inhibit a particular neurotransmitter. It is probably the most common insecticide used in the United States today.

DDT was developed much earlier, but its value as an insecticide was not discovered until 1939. It proved vastly beneficial against the mosquito that carries malaria.

With the end of World War Two another environmental scare became a topic of endless concern: nuclear radiation. Prior to the dropping of atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, few people were aware of the dangers of such radiation. Madame Currie had been badly burned by the glowing bottle of radium that she kept on her laboratory table and eventually died of cancer likely the result of radiation poisoning.

After the atomic bombs were dropped, people who were nearby started dying of mysterious causes clearly attributable to the radiation. But as time went along, the predicted excess of deaths from leukemia did not materialize. In other words, nuclear radiation in small doses is not to be feared. Because of cosmic radiation and naturally occurring radio-isotopes, we get a certain background dose of radiation anyway, whether we like it or not. As long as the excess dose we receive from man-made sources does not add appreciably to the background dose, it cannot have a significant impact on us.

This is the fundamental logic underlying the concept of acceptable risk for virtually all hazards. We never argue that risks can be reduced to zero, only that they can be greatly minimized to naturally occurring levels.

When I lived in Chicago during the 1950's, 60's and 70's, environmental problems abounded. Cars belched large amounts of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and lead. Steel mills in Gary, Indiana spewed vast clouds of smoke over South Chicago that left metal flecks on everyone's cars overnight. Oil refineries were big polluters Coal-fired power plants spread fly-ash and sulfur dioxide across the city. The city's trash incinerator on the South Side was a large polluter situated next to the SherwinWilliams paint factory that exuded such a foul odor that it was difficult to drive by without gagging. Radioactive fallout from atmospheric nuclear testing was easy to detect on your car in the morning. And cancer rates were clearly a function of where you got your drinking water. The more sewage systems and factories upstream from you, the worse off you were.

Today those problems have largely been addressed in a triumph of sensible environmentalism that utilized best available mitigation technologies.

But as these triumphs were occurring, a new and dangerous form of environmentalism began to take hold, involving theoretical problems, far less rigorous science, and a political component that suppressed dissenting views. It began with Rachael Carson and her famous book 'Silent Spring' published in 1962 that railed against the evils of DDT and caused it to be banned in the United States and much of the rest of the world. This resulted in the recovery of predatory bird species said to be especially sensitive to DDT but badly damaged vector control programs around the world for malaria. Malaria subsequently surged back to epidemic proportions. The number of excess death attributed to this fiasco total today about forty million people. That is comparable to the number of deaths in Russia or in Germany during the Second World War. With malaria substantially confined to Black Africa, the devastating impact is largely ignored in the developed world.

The success of Rachel Carson's brand of environmentalism was not lost on the political class, who saw great possibilities for the techniques she pioneered for stampeding public policy changes past skeptical citizens. Ironically, Carson is said to have never advocated the complete banning of DDT, perhaps realizing that such a ban could cause great harm.

Scaring people into irrational action had dangerous consequences, not only for the resurgence of malaria but for the environmental issues that were to arise later.

Little noticed in the 1960's was the commencement of measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide on a volcano in Hawaii. Twenty years later the steadily increasing levels were to spark concern, not only amongst scientists, but amongst politicians who saw great possibilities for advancing their own agendas.

The first politician to raise the alarm was not Al Gore but someone at the opposite end of the political spectrum: Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. She was in a desperate battle with British coal unions and wanted an excuse to move Great Britain toward nuclear power. Unfortunately, her advisers suggested the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming.

A short while later with the fall of the Soviet Union, the far left was cast adrift and began searching for a new cause. Then Vice-President Gore suggested that they join his environmental crusade to save the world from Global Warming, and they accepted.

In the 1970's, another theoretical environmental scare was attracting attention: ozone depletion. It was to become a dry run for action on Global Warming. Based on the calculations of three chemists who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their efforts, it appeared that we were headed for catastrophic consequences from our use of the chlorofluorocarbons commonly known by their DuPont trade name, Freon.

Following a now familiar pattern, the National Academy of Sciences supported the credibility of the ozone theory, leading to a ban on CFC's in aerosol cans, a “Vienna Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer,” and in 1987 the Montreal Protocol phasing out Freon.

But what was the bottom line that is never discussed in official circles? Other researchers later discovered that those who had done the original work had made a big mistake with one chemical reaction rate such that the problem that had been touted as “critical” was really minor. The ozone hole was likely a natural phenomenon, devoid of human contributions.

What about “Acid Rain” that was allegedly turning lakes in the NE United States to a dangerously acidic state? Power plants burning high sulfur coal were said to be responsible. Indeed some lakes were becoming more acidic, but only those close to and downwind from power plants could be gaining acidity from the power plants. Lakes in other areas far removed from power plants were also substantially acidic. The obvious conclusion: natural causes.

What about “Ocean Acidification,” the latest scare intended to succeed Global Warming hysteria when it becomes less of a research funding vehicle. The 2005 report from the British Royal Society paints a scary scenario and argues that massive new research funding is necessary to head off yet another disaster.

But at the very end of that report, far beyond the Executive Summary intended for politicians, they point out the essential truth. Our oceans are so heavily buffered with calcium carbonate that they can NEVER become acidic. The slight variations in pH about the nominal alkaline value of 8.0 are caused by natural variations such as temperature. Colder water more readily dissolves atmospheric carbon dioxide and is therefore a little less alkaline. Corals said to at imminent risk if we do not take action have survived on earth for hundreds of millions of years, through many natural climate and carbon dioxide variations

Much more HERE

Teleconference will attempt to explain huge snowstorms are due to global warming

The fact that there has in fact been no global warming is a mere bagatelle!

In an apparent bid to counter skepticism of the specious claim that global warming caused the string of heavy snowfalls in the US and Europe this winter, a media teleconference with "two leading climate and weather experts" has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 1, 2011. Mark "death spiral" Serreze and Jeff Masters will "discuss how a rise in the number of snowfalls of 6 inches or more may be related to an increase in moisture in the atmosphere," allegedly due to global warming.

Major problems with this argument include weather balloon and satellite data showing that 1) tropospheric relative and specific humidity has significantly declined since the 'safe CO2 levels' of 1948, 2) atmospheric water vapor has declined since satellite measurements began in 1983, 3) there has been no statistically significant global warming since 1995, and 4) the IPCC predicted milder winters and that the "milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms."

Most climate models assume that as an increasing amount of atmospheric CO2 induces slightly increasing atmospheric temperatures, the overall evaporation will increase from the planet surface, and thereby the specific humidity of the lower part of the atmosphere (the Troposphere) will increase as well. As water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas, additional warming will come about, resulting in a much larger temperature increase than that induced from CO2 alone. Climate models therefore, in general, assume the relative Tropospheric humidity to remain more or less stable, as increasing air temperatures are compensated by increasing specific humidity.

The above diagrams indicate that none of this has been the case since 1948. Only near the planet surface, the relative humidity has remained roughly constant (although with variations), but in the remaining part of the Troposphere below the Tropopause the relative humidity has been decreasing. Even for the specific humidity, this appears to be the case.

SOURCE (See the original for graphics)

Grist: You Don't Care About Globull Warming Because Your Brain Is Wired Wrong

William Teach mocks some evidence-free speculation below

The headline at Grist is an attention grabber: Maybe no one cares about climate change because we’re wired for extinction. Yet, the article doesn't really support that, as George Black goes on a tear that our brains are wired wrong
In my unending (and thus far, I have to confess, largely fruitless) attempts to figure out why Americans aren't more alarmed about climate change, one of the more intriguing ideas I've heard recently was put to me by a psychologist named Andrew Shatté.

Well, it's easy to understand: you're hypothesis is a bunch of mule fritters, ripe with lies, distortions, hysterical crystal ball pronouncements, idiotic talking points, little actual scientific method, scare tactics, and you say everything is called by Mankind's release of greenhouse gases, from drought to flood to hot to cold to snow to no snow name it. Most people aren't that stupid. They catch on to reality. At one point Pet Rocks were the hot thing, then people realized they were paying $3.95 for a ...... rock, which they could find outside for free.

Anyhow, after a discussion of some extinct Irish Elk, we get
So why are we like the Irish elk? The problem is the human brain, Shatté says. Our evolutionary development has not yet caught up with the change in our circumstances. More specifically, the problem is our brain's fear triggers. Our instincts are still paleolithic; our fear reflexes respond to all the wrong things. They lie dormant in the face of climate change, no matter how ominously scientists predict its probable consequences. But we're programmed to pump adrenalin at the sight of spiders, snakes, and other mortal threats slithering into our caves. We still run a mile from snakes, although they only kill about five or six Americans a year. The most recent annual figure for fatalities from lightning strikes is 58, but would you go anywhere near a golf course in a storm?

See? It's because our brains haven't caught up enough to be scared from the climate changing into a warmer one. Or, perhaps, we have a collective remembrance of what it was like during all the cool periods back to the last glaciation period, and the hardships, pestilence, and crop failures that resulted. Nah. Your brain must be stooooopid.

Of course, American brains are even worse, because Americans believe in "climate change" even less than the rest of the world. You should read the whole hilarious thing, way too much to excerpt without creating a massive post, but, hmmmm
I don't really buy that. I spend a fair amount of time in the West, which is experiencing at least three spectacularly visible impacts of global warming: prolonged drought, raging forest fires, and the destruction of forests by the mountain pine beetle. Sit on your front porch in Wyoming or Idaho and you can almost see the trees dying in front of your eyes -- and then hold your breath to see if they will burst into flames come summer. The conundrum, though, is that these states are among the reddest in the country, the most likely to distrust the science on climate change and the most hostile to any government effort to reduce carbon emissions.

The rest is funny, especially the part about trees spontaneously combusting, but, focus on the bold part, and let's see who George is
OnEarth's executive editor has reported from five continents, chronicling civil war in Central America, the democracy movement in China, and climate change in countries from Bangladesh to Peru. His next book, Empire of Shadows, to be published by St. Martin's Press in Fall 2011, on the 19th century exploration of Yellowstone.

So, apparently, George's brain is wired wrong, because he is certainly killing Gaia by using trees to publish his next book, and taking unnecessary fossil fueled flights around the world, which apparently doesn't scare the daylights out of him.


NH: House votes to end participation in cap-and-trade

The New Hampshire House voted yesterday to end the state’s participation in a cap-and-trade program aimed at reducing carbon emissions at the end of the year. The House voted 246-104 for a bill that would repeal the law under which the state joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

New Hampshire is one of 10 Northeastern states participating in a cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide. Under the program, generators must reduce pollution or bid at auction for allowances giving them the right to produce certain amounts of carbon dioxide.

Proceeds from the auction are used for energy-efficiency programs. Critics complain electric users are funding efficiency programs that don’t directly benefit them. But Governor John Lynch, who supports the initiative, says repealing the law would cost ratepayers up to $6 million a year while the state forfeits $12 million a year in funding.

New Hampshire belongs to a regional power pool and that affects the electric rates paid by pool members. If New Hampshire withdraws from RGGI, New Hampshire’s rates would still reflect cap-and-trade costs included in rates by RGGI members that belong to the pool.

Under the bill, Public Service of New Hampshire, which owns three of the five power plants covered by the law, could not recoup from ratepayers costs for buying allowances to cover future emissions.

House Science, Technology and Energy chairman James Garrity said the utility could sell the allowances on the carbon market.

Garrity, Republican of Atkinson, argued lawmakers adopted RGGI based on unproven science about greenhouse gases. “Three years ago when RGGI was approved, the rallying cry was that we must join RGGI or the planet will dry up. Here we are three years later . . . and the rallying cry is we can’t lose RGGI or the money will dry up,’’ he said. Garrity said the current law is a stealth tax on electric users.

Last year, New Hampshire raided its fund to help pay for other state spending — a move Lynch supported and defended by saying the overall goal of reducing energy demand was being met through a mix of state and federally funded programs.

State Representative Beatriz Pastor, Democrat of Lyme, rejected Garrity’s position as unwise. If one accepts the science is uncertain, the risks of doing nothing are too great, she said. By the time the question asis answered, the damage to the environment will be irreversible, she said.

“Noah got intelligence a natural disaster was about to occur. He could have looked out the window and said, ‘It doesn’t look like it is going to rain,’ ’’ she said.

The House Finance Committee next reviews the bill, but the 2-to-1 vote margin reflects November’s Republican takeover of the House since Democrats were in charge and adopted New Hampshire’s RGGI law in 2008.

The bill calls for any money left in the fund when New Hampshire withdraws from RGGI to be used for energy efficiency.


The EPA's Latest Unscientific Power Grab

Why would the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overturn its own scientists and decide to regulate trace levels of perchlorate in drinking water after it recently decided it didn't need to be regulated? Earlier this month, the EPA announced it will develop a standard for how much perchlorate would be allowed in tap water.

When the EPA reviewed the chemical's safety profile in 2008, it found that the low level of perchlorate in water supplies did not present a health concern that could be reduced by regulation. And there haven't been groundbreaking studies to change that. Nor does it cite any major change in our exposure to the chemical.

What has changed is an increasing adherence to the unscientific precautionary principle, which requires that unless we can prove something absolutely safe, we should assume it is not.

In this case, because the chemical presents risks to animals at high doses, advocates argue it must be regulated, reduced, or perhaps banned, without consideration of cost or whether the regulatory action shows any health benefit. As EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson awkwardly put it at a recent Senate hearing on water regulation, "I don't know how you price the ability to forestall a child who may not get autism if they are not exposed to contaminated water." In other words, we don't know, but we have to protect children from industrial chemicals regardless of the cost or our lack of knowledge. (Her example about autism and water is completely out of left-field.)

Perchlorate, which occurs naturally in the environment and is also man made, has even been used as a medication. At appropriate doses, the chemical blocks iodine uptake in the thyroid, which is useful in an overactive thyroid. So activists have been claiming that it has the same effect at very low level environmental levels. But the environmental exposure is many thousands of times smaller than the pharmaceutical dose of 400 milligrams daily and has not been shown to affect the thyroid.

In fact, human studies of workers exposed to perchlorate showed no increased thyroid function.

But you won't hear that from the advocates seeking to regulate perchlorate. Because one major source of exposure to the chemical is from rocket fuel, activists repeatedly argue that citizens shouldn't be forced to have rocket fuel in their drinking water. This rhetoric disregards the fact that there are traces of almost everything everywhere. When you are arguing against rocket fuel in tap water, you don't need the science. Unfortunately, celebrity medical correspondents such as CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta repeat the scary claims without even questioning their validity.

Journalists ought to investigate these activist-driven scares, educate the public about basic science, and explain how science applies to such controversies. Instead, all too often, reporters drink it up and spout it out, lending credibility to the misinformation but shedding no light on the issue. Once the populace is sufficiently scared, regulators become apparent heroes by promulgating draconian, unscientific and self-justifying regulations.

But regulations have costs. We all want safer air, water, food, and products. But so long as we have finite dollars to spend, we must prioritize our regulatory agenda based on scientific evidence rather than fear, hyperbole, rhetoric, and anti-capitalist elements always out to demonize industry.

Will EPA use actual science to regulate perchlorate? Why should they? They are lauded by self-appointed environmental groups each time they come down on the side of precaution. The more they regulate, the more they are rewarded. Over-regulation may invite litigation from self-interested industry, but this only allows the regulators to further assume a mantle of the champion of the people.

In fact, the agency touts the nearly 33,000 comment letters on their earlier decision not to regulate perchlorate, as a reason for reversing course. This will make great fund-raising fodder for the activists who prompted the letters, but it isn't how we ought to go about regulating chemicals.

It is impossible to accurately calculate the cost of each unnecessary regulation, but the cost to all of us is staggering. Perhaps these costs would be worth it if they saved lives, but because the charges against perchlorate in drinking water are so unfounded it makes this particular regulatory plan particularly hard to swallow.


The Skibbereen Eagle warns the Tsar....

The [Australian] Greens have threatened a trade boycott against the world's second-largest economy in an attack on China by one of its high-profile NSW candidates. Marrickville Mayor Fiona Byrne, who is running for the state seat, has revealed her council would consider boycotting China out of sympathy for Tibetans.

Labor labelled the policy as "stupid and dangerous" and warned such a ban could threaten Chinese trade with NSW - worth more than $3.2 billion to the state's economy - and damage cultural and student ties with China. "This is one of the most destructive policies announced by any mayor in Australia's history," Labor's campaign spokesman Luke Foley said. He has called for Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown to step in and rule out suggestions of a boycott of Australia's largest trading partner.

Mr Brown, however, could not be contacted by his office yesterday to seek clarification on whether he would back Ms Byrne's proposal or not.

A spokeswoman for Mr Brown said the Greens did not have a "written" policy on Tibet. But Greens Senator Christine Milne, who this week shocked Labor MPs with her claim that the Greens' "power sharing" deal with the Federal Government had delivered the carbon tax, has previously questioned Australia's free trade agreement with China based on its human rights record in Tibet.

Ms Byrne's backing for a China ban follows her boycott of Israel last month over its treatment of Palestinians. In retaliation, Labor and Liberal councillors have already joined forces on neighbouring Randwick Council to boycott Marrickville Council.

Her latest threats against China were recorded at a candidate forum on Wednesday night in Sydney. Ms Byrne said her council had expressed solidarity with the local Tibetan community. While the Tibetan community had not asked specifically for a boycott, Ms Byrne said council would adopt one if asked.

"If the local Tibetan community came to us and asked us to look at boycotting China, I'm sure council would do that," Ms Byrne said. "So we actually have done things [for] our local community ... provide action, and support our local community around those issues and I'm quite proud of that, quite proud to do that."

Mr Foley said: "It's hard to believe that anyone could come up with such a stupid and dangerous policy. "If she had her way, it would cost hundreds of thousands of Australian jobs. Bob Brown needs to step in, disown the policy and disown the candidate."

The seat of Marrickville is held by Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt by a 3 per cent margin. The Greens have consistently raised the issue of human rights in Tibet and have called for China to recognise Tibet's autonomy. Almost 35 per cent of people living in Marrickville were born overseas, many of them Chinese.



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


25 February, 2011

LOL: The fun stuff that Warmists bury deep down in their reports

CO2 reduction might HEAT the planet!!!!

Get a load of this: "In contrast, even a fairly aggressive strategy to reduce CO2 emissions under the CO2 measures scenario does little to mitigate warming over the next 20–30 years. In fact, sulphate particles, reflecting particles that offset some of the committed warming for the short time they are in the atmosphere, are derived from SO2 that is co-emitted with CO2 in some of the highest-emitting activities, including coal burning in large-scale combustion such as in power plants. Hence, CO2 measures alone may temporarily enhance near-term warming as sulphates are reduced"

And that is from a report (p. 10) sponsored by two United Nations bodies! (UNEP and WMO).

You couldn't make it up! Only colossal fools would believe anything these guys say after that. But, as Barnum said, there is one born every minute.

Australia's iconic coral reefs threatened by climate change, say armchair modellers

Attempting to model something as complex as the earth's climate is a ludicrous enough enterprise but at least there is quite a lot of data against which one can check the model output -- with uniformly dismal results, of course. NO model predicted the temperature stasis of the last 13 years, for instance.

But when it comes to modelling another very complex phenomenon -- such as worldwide coral reef growth -- where there is virtually no worldwide data available for checking purposes, one knows that the results will simply be whatever the modellers want them to be. And when one notes that the report of the modelling has a foreword by Al Gore, laughter is almost inevitable.

That actual scientific findings run directly contrary to Al Gore's little scam should of course surprise no-one. The media (below) have of course swallowed the hokum wholesale.

The Australian public will however be more skeptical than their media. "Coral reefs threatened" has been popping up regularly in the Australian media for many decades -- long predating the global warming scare. There are constant natural changes in coral reefs and there have always been attention-seekers getting a scary headline out of it

Shocking evidence has been released claiming that nearly all of Australia's coral reefs are at risk of being wiped out in less than two decades.

The report by the World Resources Institute claims that by 2030, 90 per cent of Australia's reefs will suffer from the overwhelming effects of climate change like warmer seas and acidification.

It also outlines the threat to the rest of the world's coral reefs, with research suggesting that many could be obliterated by 2050 due to pollution, climate change and over-fishing.

The report encourages Australia not to waste any time in fighting the prediction, particularly becuase of the impact reef degredation will have on tourism and the economy.

Dr Clive Wilkinson, the United Nations sponsored Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network coordinator, urged Australia "to be part of the global solution to climate change, as our reefs will suffer like others around the world and this will threaten the $5 to $6 billion per year that the Great Barrier Reef means to the Australian economy."

"Australians have no right to be complacent as the vast majority of our reefs will be seriously threatened by rising sea temperatures and increasing acidification in less than 20 years," he said.

Today, 40 per cent of Australia's reefs are under pressure from rising sea temperatures and other threats linked to climate change.

However, 75 per cent of the reefs are in marine protected areas, which is a contributing factor to the improvement in fish numbers and reef resilience.


A barefaced lie from NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

NOAA’s news release on the IG report contains the following misrepresentation of NOAA’s repudiation of FOI requests:
The report questions the way NOAA handled a response to four FOIA requests in 2007. The FOIA requests sought documents related to the review and comments of part of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. NOAA scientists were given legal advice that IPCC work done by scientists were records of the IPCC, not NOAA. The requesters were directed to the IPCC, which subsequently made available the review, comments and responses which are online at IPCC and

“The NOAA scientists responded in good faith to the FOIA requests based on their understanding of the request and in accordance with the legal guidance provided in 2007,” Glackin said.

I reviewed the actual statements in the Inspector General report earlier today here. The Inspector General said that there was a divergence between Solomon’s evidence and the evidence of the NOAA attorneys, the latter denied giving “legal advice that IPCC work done by scientists were records of the IPCC, not NOAA”, with Susan Solomon unable to provide any documentation of ever receiving such evidence.

NOAA’s assertion that Solomon had been “given legal advice that IPCC work done by scientists were records of the IPCC, not NOAA” is not a finding of the report. Solomon claimed that she’d been given such advice, but the NOAA lawyers denied giving it to her, with the IG saying that he was unable to reconcile the divergent claims.

NOAA’s assertion in the press release misrepresents the IG report, a misrepresentation that has been picked up by various news outlets, e.g. CBC here.

SOURCE. Warmists are just an incredibly slippery bunch. They need to be, of course.

Greenies beware: Cycling to work is one of the biggest causes of heart attacks

As any city cyclist will know, riding your bike in heavy traffic can be, metaphorically speaking, a heartstopping experience. But now research has found that it is literally one of the biggest triggers of heart attacks.

In a new sliding scale of everyday risks that prove the ‘final straw’ in bringing on a heart attack, spending time in traffic – as a driver, cyclist or commuter – tops the list because of factors including stress and exposure to pollution.

But of these, cyclists are in greatest danger because they are more heavily exposed to pollution and are subjecting themselves to another major heart attack trigger, exercise.

The study, which analysed 36 pieces of research, is the first time the ‘final straw’ risk factors for triggering heart attacks – rather than underlying causes of heart disease – have been quantified. While some factors overlap, they were ranked by scientists in

The Lancet medical journal online, after the proportion of total heart attacks caused by different triggers was calculated.

Traffic exposure was blamed for 7.4 per cent of heart attacks, followed by physical exertion with 6.2 per cent.

Overall air pollution triggered between 5 per cent and 7 per cent of heart attacks, while drinking alcohol or coffee accounted for 5 per cent.

Other risk factors included negative emotions (3.9 per cent), anger (3.1 per cent), eating a heavy meal (2.7 per cent), positive emotions (2.4 per cent) and sexual activity (2.2 per cent). Cocaine was to blame for 0.9 per cent of heart attacks, but this was because of limited exposure to the drug among the population.

On an individual basis, taking cocaine was shown to raise a person’s risk of having a heart attack 23-fold, according to the study, led by Dr Tim Nawrot, from Hasselt University in Belgium.

In comparison, air pollution led to a 5 per cent extra risk, but since far more people are exposed to traffic fumes and factory emissions than cocaine, air quality is a far more important population-wide threat.

Professor David Spiegelhalter, a risk expert from Cambridge University, said it was difficult to ‘disentangle’ the risk factors in the study for certain situations, such as driving or cycling to work in heavy traffic.

‘A lot of other factors are contributing to the overall risk; air pollution, stress, physical exertion, even anger which is another well-known trigger for a heart attack. It’s a complex mix,’ he added.

Judy O’Sullivan, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said the benefits of exercising outdoors outweighed the risks from air pollution for most individuals, and urged people not to be put off running, walking or cycling in towns and cities.

Dr Tim Chico, honorary consultant cardiologist at the University of Sheffield, said: ‘We know a lot about why people suffer heart attacks (for example smoking, high cholesterol, obesity) but not much about why they occur on a particular day and time.’

But he stressed: ‘The foundations of heart disease are laid down over many years.
‘If someone wants to avoid a heart attack they should focus on not smoking, exercising, eating a healthy diet and maintaining their ideal weight.’


British watchdog says electric cars 'are as dirty as diesel'

Electric cars may portray themselves as 'zero emissions' but the overall pollution they generate can be almost as great as a frugal conventional diesel car, consumer watchdogs said today.

Electric cars are a lot more expensive to buy - though they are generally cheaper to run as they plug in for their power from the domestic mains, say experts at Which?

The amount of carbon dioxide - the so-called 'greenhouse gas' blamed by scientists for global warming - created to generate the electricity powering an electric car, can be just as great as that created by the internal combustion engine, they say.

The main difference is that while a conventional car's emissions come out of the vehicle's exhaust pipe, those created by an electric car are generated at the power station which supplies the electricity.

The findings come as the first ever electric car to pass the European crash test was announced - the Mitsubishi i-MiEVsuper-mini - getting four stars out of a maximum five.

Experts at Which? compared the carbon dioxide created by charging electric cars with that emitted by the most efficient diesel models and concluded:'Sometimes there’s not a great deal of difference.' And the gap is narrowing as 'conventional' cars up their game to cut emissions.

The Which? report noted:'The common manufacturer claim that electric cars produce ‘zero emissions’ ignores the fact that most drivers use a conventional electricity supply to charge them, which has a carbon cost from burning fossil fuels. '

To test its theory, Which? looked at three of the first electric cars destined to hit the UK market and put them up against three 'efficient' conventional rivals. Experts found, for example, that the electric Smart Fortwo, expected to cost around £21,000, creates an 'equivalent' of 84 grams of CO2 per kilometre driven, whereas the £9,540 diesel Smart Fortwo emits 103 grams.

It also compared the Nissan Leaf, the £23,990 electric car, with Volkswagen's diesel Golf 1.6 TDi Bluemotion costing £16,830. The electric power generated to drive the Leaf is equivalent to CO2 emissions of 81g/km.By contrast, the diesel Golf has CO2 emissions of 108g/km.

Two 'super-minis' were also compared. Which? found that the power generated to power the £24,045 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car was equivalent to 68g/km. Then similarly sized Suzuki Splash costing £10,410 with a 1.3litre diesel engine has CO2 emissions of 131g/km.

However, electric cars are much 'greener' than diesel cars when it comes to localised emissions, as they don’t emit toxic chemicals that degrade air quality. This is especially significant in cities, where the uptake of electric cars is predicted to be highest, says Which? The consumer report concludes:'While we don't agree with the car makers' 'zero emissions' claims, we can't knock their efforts to create greener cars.'

Richard Headland, editor, Which? Car, said: 'We applaud car makers’ efforts to create greener cars – but we don’t agree with their ‘zero emissions’ claims. Until more electricity is produced from renewable sources in the UK, the carbon footprint of driving an electric car may not be as small as owners think.'

The report adds that electric cars are still costly - often more than double the price - despite a £5,000 taxpayer subsidy: 'Electric cars offer drivers a lower-carbon output and cheaper fuelling costs, but are expensive compared with their traditional counterparts and not as versatile.'

There is also a 'big question' over their second hand value as traders will be 'cautious'. More than seven out of ten (71 per cent) of more than 2,000 Which? members surveyed said there were concerned about the relatively short range of electric cars.

To measure the carbon dioxide created by charging an electric car, Which? followed the advice of the Carbon Trust which states that 544grams of CO2 are emitted per kilowatt hour of electricity used. Which? converted this to an equivalent 'grams per kilometre' CO2 rating, to make it easier to compare electric cars with the diesel cars.


Leftist Australian government set to legislate a carbon tax

This is just an opening shot, of course. What, if anything, gets through the parliament remains to be seen

STRUGGLING families will be compensated with cash for rising energy costs when the Federal Government imposes a carbon tax on Australians from July 1 next year. But most households won't be able to escape Prime Minister Julia Gillard's new emissions trading scheme, with forecasts that it will push power bills higher by between $300 and $500 a year.

Accused yesterday by the Opposition of betraying Australians, Ms Gillard formally broke a key election pledge and announced that the Government would impose a price on pollution from July 1, 2012, with a full emissions trading scheme to be operating as early as 2015.

It will be the most complex and broad-ranging carbon tax of almost any country in the world. The actual carbon price has yet to be set, but industry experts claim that the flow-on costs of a moderate $26 price per tonne of carbon would result in a $300 rise in electricity bills due to the country's reliance on coal-fired power generation. The price could be as high as $40 a tonne by 2020, adding anywhere up to $500 a year to bills. Petrol prices would also be expected to rise by 6.5c a litre.

The fixed carbon price would operate for between three and five years before a full market-based emissions trading scheme would come into operation between 2015 and 2017, with a floating price then to be set by the market.

Welfare groups demanded that low-income families be protected from the inevitable rise in the cost of living, as the Australian Council of Social Service warned that low-income households would be affected by climate change first and worst. "They have little capacity to cope, adapt or move," ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said.

Australia's business lobby attacked the lack of detail in the plan and warned it threatened jobs and would fuel uncertainty with Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Peter Anderson labelling it "a blow for the competitiveness of Australian business, especially small and medium-sized enterprises".

Ms Gillard, flanked by Greens Leader Bob Brown and the NSW rural independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, tried to head off the inevitable backlash, claiming the money raised from the tax would go back into compensation but admitted it would affect households.

"That's the whole point. Every cent raised from pricing carbon will go to assisting households, helping businesses manage the transition and funding climate change programs, and the Government will always support those who are in need of assistance with cost of living pressures," Ms Gillard said.

Before the August election Ms Gillard declared: "There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead." Yesterday she said: "This is the parliament the Australian people voted for."

Ms Gillard said some elements of former prime minister Kevin Rudd's abandoned emissions trading scheme - one of the triggers for his sacking - might be taken up in the new scheme. Under the old ETS, more than eight million households would receive compensation payments of up to $600 a year. Some low-income families would have ended up better off than before an ETS.

But Opposition Leader Tony Abbott accused Ms Gillard of the ultimate act of "betrayal". "The price of this betrayal will be paid every day by every Australian," he said. Mining giant BHP and big energy players welcomed the move but one of Australia's biggest manufacturers, BlueScope Steel, was scathing saying it was "potentially killing manufacturing in Australia". Leading price comparison website chief executive Ben Freund said households would pay higher costs for electricity and locally manufactured goods.



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


24 February, 2011

"Climate modelers have been "cheating" for so long it's almost become respectable"

The above quote from a Warmist modeller writing in "Science" magazine in 1997 gets a run every now and again so I thought I might say a little bit about it.

Warmists are of course very defensive about it, claiming that the quote is taken out of context. And they are right about that, though not perhaps in the way they would want. So let me start with an extended quote from the original:
Climate modelers have been "cheating" for so long it's almost become respectable. The problem has been that no computer model could reliably simulate the present climate. Even the best simulations of the behavior of the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice, and land surface drift off into a climate quite unlike today's as they run for centuries. So climate modelers have gotten in the habit of fiddling with fudge factors, so-called "flux adjustments," until the model gets it right.

No one liked this practice (Science, 9 September 1994, p. 1528). "If you can't simulate the present without arbitrary adjustments, you have to worry," says meteorologist and modeler David Randall of Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins. But now there's a promising alternative. Thirty researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, have developed the first complete model that can simulate the present climate as well as other models do, but without flux adjustments. The new NCAR model, says Randall, "is an important step toward removing some of the uneasiness people have about trusting these models to make predictions of future climate" (see main text).

The NCAR modelers built a host of refinements into their new Climate System Model (CSM). But the key development, says CSM co-chair Byron Boville, was finding a better way to incorporate the effects of ocean eddies, swirling pools of water up to a couple of hundred kilometers across that spin off strong currents. Climate researchers have long known that the eddies, like atmospheric storms, help shape climate by moving heat around the planet. But modelers have had a tough time incorporating them into their simulations because they are too small to show up on the current models' coarse geographic grid. The CSM doesn't have a finer mesh, but it does include a new "parameterization" that passes the effects of these unseen eddies onto larger model scales, using a more realistic means of mixing heat through the ocean than any earlier model did, says Boville.

Even when run for 300 model "years," the CSM doesn't drift away from a reasonably realistic climate, says NCAR's Climate and Global Dynamics director Maurice Blackmon. "Being able to do this without flux corrections gives you more credibility," he says. "For better or worse, we're not biasing the results as was necessary before."

The quote is from: "Climate Change: Model Gets It Right--Without Fudge Factors" by Richard A. Kerr.

So it sounds like a good bit of Warmism at first. It offers an alternative to fudging that works. But let's look closer. The first clue is in the journal abstract itsef. We read there: "The first results from this model imply that future greenhouse warming may be milder than some other models have suggested--and may take decades to reveal itself"

Not so rosy! Removing the fudges also removes the urgency! But it gets worse. In a commentary on the Kerr article we read:
The NCAR model produces a modest warming of about 1.8oC over 100 years. But it has the wrong greenhouse effect! The model effectively increases the CO2 greenhouse change by 1 percent per year, but everyone knows that the actual increase is 0.7 percent. Our figure shows the original result along with an adjustment for reality.

Figure 1. TOP: Temperatures predicted by Mitchell and Johns in a recent paper. The dashed line uses an unrealistic CO2 concentration of 859 ppm by 2050. The solid line estimates warming if the most likely concentration, as given by the United Nations, is used. BOTTOM: Temperatures predicted by the new NCAR model. The dashed line increases effective CO2 at 1 percent per year, but the known increase is 0.7 percent per year. The solid line estimates warming using the right value. The nominal starting time is around 1965.

This exercise is getting familiar. We had to do the same thing to the new model from the United Kingdom Meteorological Office (UKMO), featured in our May 12 edition. When we did, we got a total warming of only 1.5oC out to 2100 and a net change of only 1.2oC from current temperatures. When we do the same to the NCAR model, we get a change of 1.3oC from current temperatures.

So removing the fudges removes most of the warming! Pesky! No wonder the "Climategate" emails reveal that the fudging is back with a vengeance!

Carbon Dioxide and Earth's Future: Pursuing the Prudent Path

The above is the title of a large monograph available online. Below is the Executive Summary

As presently constituted, earth's atmosphere contains just slightly less than 400 ppm of the colorless and odorless gas we call carbon dioxide or CO2. That's only four-hundredths of one percent. Consequently, even if the air's CO2 concentration was tripled, carbon dioxide would still comprise only a little over one tenth of one percent of the air we breathe, which is far less than what wafted through earth's atmosphere eons ago, when the planet was a virtual garden place. Nevertheless, a small increase in this minuscule amount of CO2 is frequently predicted to produce a suite of dire environmental consequences, including dangerous global warming, catastrophic sea level rise, reduced agricultural output, and the destruction of many natural ecosystems, as well as dramatic increases in extreme weather phenomena, such as droughts, floods and hurricanes.

As strange as it may seem, these frightening future scenarios are derived from a single source of information: the ever-evolving computer-driven climate models that presume to reduce the important physical, chemical and biological processes that combine to determine the state of earth's climate into a set of mathematical equations out of which their forecasts are produced. But do we really know what all of those complex and interacting processes are? And even if we did -- which we don't -- could we correctly reduce them into manageable computer code so as to produce reliable forecasts 50 or 100 years into the future?

Some people answer these questions in the affirmative. However, as may be seen in the body of this report, real-world observations fail to confirm essentially all of the alarming predictions of significant increases in the frequency and severity of droughts, floods and hurricanes that climate models suggest should occur in response to a global warming of the magnitude that was experienced by the earth over the past two centuries as it gradually recovered from the much-lower-than-present temperatures characteristic of the depths of the Little Ice Age. And other observations have shown that the rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations associated with the development of the Industrial Revolution have actually been good for the planet, as they have significantly enhanced the plant productivity and vegetative water use efficiency of earth's natural and agro-ecosystems, leading to a significant "greening of the earth."

In the pages that follow, we present this oft-neglected evidence via a review of the pertinent scientific literature. In the case of the biospheric benefits of atmospheric CO2 enrichment, we find that with more CO2 in the air, plants grow bigger and better in almost every conceivable way, and that they do it more efficiently, with respect to their utilization of valuable natural resources, and more effectively, in the face of environmental constraints. And when plants benefit, so do all of the animals and people that depend upon them for their sustenance.

Likewise, in the case of climate model inadequacies, we reveal their many shortcomings via a comparison of their "doom and gloom" predictions with real-world observations. And this exercise reveals that even though the world has warmed substantially over the past century or more -- at a rate that is claimed by many to have been unprecedented over the past one to two millennia -- this report demonstrates that none of the environmental catastrophes that are predicted by climate alarmists to be produced by such a warming has ever come to pass. And this fact -- that there have been no significant increases in either the frequency or severity of droughts, floods or hurricanes over the past two centuries or more of global warming -- poses an important question. What should be easier to predict: the effects of global warming on extreme weather events or the effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations on global temperature? The first part of this question should, in principle, be answerable; for it is well defined in terms of the small number of known factors likely to play a role in linking the independent variable (global warming) with the specified weather phenomena (droughts, floods and hurricanes). The latter part of the question, on the other hand, is ill-defined and possibly even unanswerable; for there are many factors -- physical, chemical and biological -- that could well be involved in linking CO2 (or causing it not to be linked) to global temperature.

If, then, today's climate models cannot correctly predict what should be relatively easy for them to correctly predict (the effect of global warming on extreme weather events), why should we believe what they say about something infinitely more complex (the effect of a rise in the air's CO2 content on mean global air temperature)? Clearly, we should pay the models no heed in the matter of future climate -- especially in terms of predictions based on the behavior of a non-meteorological parameter (CO2) -- until they can reproduce the climate of the past, based on the behavior of one of the most basic of all true meteorological parameters (temperature). And even if the models eventually solve this part of the problem, we should still reserve judgment on their forecasts of global warming; for there will yet be a vast gulf between where they will be at that time and where they will have to go to be able to meet the much greater challenge to which they aspire.


Strange logic

We read:
Small Nuclear War Could Reverse Global Warming for Years

Even a regional nuclear war could spark "unprecedented" global cooling and reduce rainfall for years, according to U.S. government computer models. Widespread famine and disease would likely follow, experts speculate.
Earth is currently in a long-term warming trend. After a regional nuclear war, though, average global temperatures would drop by 2.25 degrees F (1.25 degrees C) for two to three years afterward, the models suggest.

So it is too warm at the moment but a small drop of just over one degree Celsius would make it too cool? Getting that temperature just right sure seems to be tricky! How did we ever manage before Warmists came along?

More of those unprecedented "extreme weather events"

In 1833!


Extreme event reports strip out the uncertainties involved

For many years it seems to have been the desire of some scientists to look at a series of extreme events and say they are directly due to global warming. It would be an important piece of observational evidence as climate theories suggest that as the temperature increases so does the moisture carrying capacity of the atmosphere. This would increase the amount of precipitation.

However, it has always struck me as poor logic to say that while any individual extreme weather event such as a heat wave or severe precipitation cannot be attributed to the effects of global warming, when taken as a whole they demonstrate a trend that is consistent with predictions as theories say their likelihood increases in a warming world.

Stated like this, it is logical nonsense. If no single extreme event in an ensemble is due to a warming world then when taken together they cannot be taken as evidence for the contrary. Perhaps then only some of them are due to global warming and the others are what would have happened anyway? But which ones? What distinguishes the two groups? Such questions bring out the absurdity in this logic.

Weather is complex and variable and so is climate. Weather is influenced by large amplitude short-term events and has lots of `noise.' But then so does climate, long-term trends, noise and so-called decadal fluctuations all influence it as well as the weaker anthropogenic signal. If anyone doubts the natural fluctuations in the climate just consider what the global temperature has been doing in the past decade, and that in a world that is `getting warmer' most global temperature databases give 1998, twelve years ago, as the warmest year on record (due to a natural fluctuation, an El Nino.)

Reporting of extreme events has never been easier. Our electronic world is wired for catastrophe. Events that just a few decades ago would have been poorly reported, if at all, with sketchy information, witnessed by victims but not by scientists, are now scrutinised by flotillas of satellites, ground stations and reporters sending back instant information via the internet. Great care must be taken with such a severe selection effect. We know about the recent floods and heat waves in far more detail than we do of past events.

Two papers in Nature on the relationship between extreme events and man-made global warming have attracted a lot of attention. They have been uncritically described in some quarters as being the first time a clear link between global warming and extreme precipitation.

One of them, by Seung-Ki Min et al links rising CO2 levels to the intensification of rain in the Northern Hemisphere finding a result that has been reported as being worse than the models predicted. The researchers say that nothing can explain their results except the slow steady rise in temperatures caused by greenhouse gasses.

In the other Pall et al looks at the 2000 severe flooding event in the UK and its relationship to global warming. They use a series of simulations of the weather in 2000 with and without an increase in temperature caused by global warming and they conclude that global warming had an effect. One's confidence is a little dented by the fact that the simulations are based on seasonal forecast simulations made by Met Office scientists - the kind that were withdrawn from circulation to the public because their either were not accurate of because the public couldn't understand them, depending upon your point of view.

Not Proof

However, being consistent is far from proof. The idea that something is consistent with a theory is a scientific statement of very limited usefulness that many media commentators and reporters have taken at face value. Is it really a discovery to be reported with no caveats, as many media outlets did, if the majority of a series of computer simulations cannot reproduce real world data without greenhouse gas warming. Remember these are computer models with all the limitations that implies. And remember also this is the climate we are talking about, with all its unknowns an unpredictability.

Looking in detail at this research paper there are uncertainties in the modelling, the observations, their reduction and knowledge of other factors that might influence the climate in the same way.

But reading the abstract of the papers give no hint of the true nature of these uncertainties. This is Seung-Ki Min et al's abstract'
"Extremes of weather and climate can have devastating effects on human society and the environment. Understanding past changes in the characteristics of such events, including recent increases in the intensity of heavy precipitation events over a large part of the Northern Hemisphere land area is critical for reliable projections of future changes.

Given that atmospheric water-holding capacity is expected to increase roughly exponentially with temperature-and that atmospheric water content is increasing in accord with this theoretical expectation - it has been suggested that human-influenced global warming may be partly responsible for increases in heavy precipitation. Because of the limited availability of daily observations, however, most previous studies have examined only the potential detectability of changes in extreme precipitation through model-model comparisons.

Here we show that human-induced increases in greenhouse gases have contributed to the observed intensification of heavy precipitation events found over approximately two-thirds of data-covered parts of Northern Hemisphere land areas. These results are based on a comparison of observed and multi-model simulated changes in extreme precipitation over the latter half of the twentieth century analysed with an optimal fingerprinting technique. Changes in extreme precipitation projected by models, and thus the impacts of future changes in extreme precipitation, may be underestimated because models seem to underestimate the observed increase in heavy precipitation with warming."

The paper by Pall et al is little better;
"Interest in attributing the risk of damaging weather-related events to anthropogenic climate change is increasing. Yet climate models used to study the attribution problem typically do not resolve the weather systems associated with damaging events such as the UK floods of October and November 2000. Occurring during the wettest autumn in England and Wales since records began in 1766, these floods damaged nearly 10,000 properties across that region, disrupted services severely, and caused insured losses estimated at 1.3 billion pounds.

Although the flooding was deemed a `wake-up call' to the impacts of climate change at the time, such claims are typically supported only by general thermodynamic arguments that suggest increased extreme precipitation under global warming, but fail to account fully for the complex hydrometeorology associated with flooding. Here we present a multi-step, physically based `probabilistic event attribution' framework showing that it is very likely that global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions substantially increased the risk of flood occurrence in England and Wales in autumn 2000. Using publicly volunteered distributed computing we generate several thousand seasonal-forecast-resolution climate model simulations of autumn 2000 weather, both under realistic conditions, and under conditions as they might have been had these greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting large-scale warming never occurred. Results are fed into a precipitation-runoff model that is used to simulate severe daily river runoff events in England and Wales (proxy indicators of flood events). The precise magnitude of the anthropogenic contribution remains uncertain, but in nine out of ten cases our model results indicate that twentieth-century anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions increased the risk of floods occurring in England and Wales in autumn 2000 by more than 20%, and in two out of three cases by more than 90%."

The abstract is, of course, a technical shorthand summary of the paper's findings written for a scientific audience who should be well aware of the associated caveats. Some journalists and commentators however are not. Abstracts are almost always restricted in length by the journal concerned so it could be argued that there is no space for equivocation. Besides journals want definite results and don't want them diluted (in the abstract at least) with ifs and buts.

This is a problem because even in scientific circles when reviews of research are conducted positive statements are lifted from abstracts and passed on with none of the accompanying qualifications to be found in the depths of the paper. We have seen this in the way the IPCC gathered data and summarised it. Positive results are selected, uncertainties suppressed and then the results are amplified and simplified to produce a false certainty devoid of uncertainty.

No scientific statement based on observational data, let alone based on a series of computer `simulations,' should be made without a statement of uncertainty, and this includes the abstract of research papers. If the journal in question thinks it makes the abstract to uncertain, too long, or just isn't house style then it should change such things.

Likewise when preparing press releases based on research papers more care should be given to the uncertainties. This is Nature's press release;
"Anthropogenic greenhouse gasses have significantly increased the probability of heavy precipitation and local flood risk, report two papers in Nature this week. The findings are among the first formal identification of human contribution to extreme hydrological events. It has previously been suggested that human-induced global warming may be partly responsible for increases in heavy precipitation. However, because of the limited availability of daily observations, most studies to date have only examined the potential detectability of changes in precipitation through model-model comparisons. Francis Zwiers and colleagues studies rainfall from 1951 - 1999 in Northern Hemisphere land areas, including North America and Eurasia (including India). They show that human-induced increases in greenhouse gasses have contributed to the observed intensification of heavy-precipitation events found in approximately two-thirds of data-covered parts of Northern Hemisphere land areas."

The problem is that the results of scientific research enter the canon of commentators and policy makers without their associated uncertainties. In may cases such uncertainties are forgotten altogether and anyone who subsequently raises them is called a denier, rather than what they are which is being scientific.


It's the Warmists who get the big bucks from big oil and big business

Chris Field, the co-chair of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) working group told a St. Louis paper that American money spent on the IPCC "is a very good deal for the governments and for the world."

Field, echoed the recent warming alarmist party line of communicating better. He said he and the other smart people like him need to explain the science better to those less fortunate. And he said "the scientific community" should be more nurturing and help "people understand" both the importance of the IPCC, and "how science works."

Field may be hiding a bit of information that might help us "understand how his science" is paid for.

Field is burrowed into something at Stanford called the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI). At FSI he is working on an "FSE Project." It's not clear what FSE is, but...the project "is a thorough assessment of the climate consequences of converting landscapes from their previous uses to biofuels."

An initial review of Field's background and snout in the trough seems identical to any number of "climate scientists" (Field's scientific background is Biological Sciences. His PhD research was on Leaf Aging in a California Shrub) sucking off the National Academy of Sciences, NASA, NOAA, and other government teats.

Their use of government grant money allows them to maintain their ideological purity. Their purity allows them to criticize any critics as "shills for Big Oil," the standard warmist put-down.

Well, Dr Field has got some 'splaining to do, Ricky.

The FSE project is funded by the Global Climate Energy Program (or Project, they use both on different websites). And where does GCEP get its money? "About Us" reveals "The Sponsors" are: ExxonMobil, General Electric, Schlumberger, and Toyota!

In fact, "The Project's sponsors will invest a total of $225 million" in this Green boondoggle. Sort of like hush money--pay off the IPCC chairs and they'll leave you alone?

While General Electric is a Global Warming shill, the other three must certainly be in the man-made global warming hall of shame.

The enviro-whackos' constant refrain when criticized is: "You are a paid tool of Big Oil." As Field said in his interview with the St Louis paper, "I don't get any salary from the IPCC."

No, Dr. Field but you do get a salary from Big Oil!



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


23 February, 2011

My new header statement

Regular readers will note that I have deleted the rogues' gallery from the heading of this blog and replaced it with a short statement.

The statement points out that global warming theory defies basic physics. That is still a minority view among skeptics. Most skeptics accept that CO2 could cause warming but say that any effect is trivial.

I have no idea why they do not question the physics but I suspect it is because arguments about physics would go right over the heads of most people. So I support what they do and think that their course is probably the wisest.

For me, however, truth is all and I have never concerned myself with how popular it is. So although I will continue to post articles that question Warmism from any and all perspectives, I like to make it clear where I stand on the matter.

I did take the precution of circulating my new heading among some people wiser in physics than I am and was pleased to get a rapid endorsement of my statement from Nasif Nahle. Nahle is a polymathic Mexican scientist of Jewish origins who knows a LOT about thermodynamics -- including thermodynamics in dynamic systems -- which would seem particularly relevant in this case.

Warmists and homophobes are birds of a feather

Let me elaborate on my heading above. For a start, I am using "homophobe" in the Leftist sense -- meaning anyone who dislikes homosexuality for whatever reason. Such sentiments are of course not in fact true phobias. Secondly, there may be some tolerant Warmists but they are few and far between so my heading applies to most, though not all of them. What follows is by Frank Furedi, who points out that their intolerance of dissent exposes their beliefs as religious rather than scientific

What do John Beddington, Britain’s chief scientific adviser, and Ryszard Legutko, leader of Poland’s right-wing Law and Justice party, have in common? Both believe that intolerance is a virtue, and that it should be celebrated.

Legutko, a vociferous critic of the gay rights movement, has written a book called Why I Am Not Tolerant. And Beddington boasts about his intolerance, too. Earlier this month, at the annual conference of Britain’s scientific civil servants, he called upon his audience to be ‘grossly intolerant’ of the misuse of science by religious and political groups.

Beddington said: ‘We are grossly intolerant, and properly so, of racism. We are grossly intolerant, and properly so, of people who [are] anti-homosexuality… We are not - and I genuinely think we should think about how we do this - grossly intolerant of pseudoscience.’

No doubt Beddington also feels intolerant towards Legutko’s views on homosexuality. Yet what is truly fascinating about these two crusaders against tolerance is that although they have diametrically opposed viewpoints on gay rights, they are at one in their affirmation of the ethos of intolerance. The targets of their intolerance might be different, but they share the worldview of the bigot. Legutko is offended by the sight of gay and lesbian people dressed up as nuns and priests, while Beddington objects to people he disagrees with masquerading as scientists. The casual manner with which European public figures celebrate intolerance is testimony to the censorious and illiberal spirit that now dominates political life across the continent.

In the current era, public figures only praise tolerance when they are giving Sunday school-style speeches. Political mission statements and EU declarations still contain exhortations to be tolerant. But increasingly, such tolerance-rhetoric is little more than a perfunctory gesture, which often serves as a prelude to narrow-minded bigotry. It is bad enough to hear a leading scientist brag about his contempt for tolerance. It is even worse when one scientist after another agrees with him and piles in to demand the silencing of views they disagree with. So following Beddington’s comments, we had Edzard Ernst, professor of the study of complementary medicine at Exeter University, exclaim that ‘for too long we have been tolerant of these postmodern ideas that more than one truth is valid’.

The idea that we should not be tolerant of problematic ideas, or indeed of any beliefs other than our own, dominated the political culture of pre-Enlightenment Europe. It is important to note that until the seventeenth century, it was intolerance rather than tolerance that was upheld as a virtue. So when Beddington declares that ‘we should not tolerate what is potentially something that can seriously undermine our ability to address important problems’, he is adopting the dominant narrative of late medieval Europe. In that medieval outlook, heretical beliefs represented such a danger to society that the only virtuous response was to silence them. Intolerance was seen as a marker of moral virtue. As late as 1691, the French theologian Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet boasted that Catholicism was the least tolerant of all religions, stating: ‘I have the right to persecute you because I am right and you are wrong.’

Today, it is not only the casual manner in which tolerance is once again condemned as a sign of moral weakness that speaks to the re-emergence of the attitude of the Inquisition - it is also the way in which some views are implicitly labelled evil or destructive. Bossuet and his fellow moral crusaders did not simply call for muscular intolerance. They also invented an ideology of evil. They presented their opponents as morally corrupt. In pre-Enlightenment times, such moral condemnation of heretics usually involved linking their behaviour to some kind of Satanic plot. In today’s secular era, a new ideology of evil justifies demands for intolerance by attacking people for their ‘outrageous behaviour’.

So it is not surprising that Beddington did not merely say that pseudoscience is wrong or unscientific or even a source of misfortune. He also characterised it as ‘pernicious’, as the moral equivalent of racism and homophobia. His equation of dissent from his scientific opinions with the stigmatised categories of racism and homophobia was an arbitrary one. He could have achieved the same effect by depicting pseudoscience as something akin to Holocaust denial or support for slavery. The ideology of evil takes many forms. Edzard Ernst justified silencing dissent by arguing that journalists would not finish an article by ‘quoting the Ku Klux Klan’, and so they shouldn’t quote pseudoscientists either. Science columnist Ben Goldacre opted for an old-fashioned conspiracy theory in his expression of support for Beddington’s campaign for gross intolerance. ‘Society has been far too tolerant of politicians, lobbyists and journalists wilfully misusing science, distorting evidence by cherry-picking data that suits their view, giving bogus authority to people who misrepresent the absolute basics of science, and worse’, he stated.

The attempt to legitimise intolerance by constructing an ideology of evil has become a regular feature of the twenty-first-century debate on science. Time and again, dissent from conventional wisdom is dismissed as yet another example of ‘AIDS denialism’ or racism or some other modern evil. One consequence of this pathologisation of dissent is that it trivialises fundamental problems such as racism. The significance of the KKK’s lynching of black people or acts of anti-gay violence are judged to be comparable to the ‘pernicious arguments’ of those who distort science. Instead of racism being treated as a serious problem, it is denuded of its content and used simply as a rhetorical device for embarrassing an opponent. Such cavalier deployment of historically significant symbols is testimony to the morally impoverished state of public debate today.

When disagreement about some scientific claim is held up as the moral equivalent of racism, it seems pretty clear that the sole objective is to shut down dissent.

Tolerance is not for intellectual cowards

Science has always been the subject of bitter disputes. In modern times, scientists have rightly been concerned about the potentially confusing and destructive effects of pseudoscience. In the nineteenth century, numerous British liberal thinkers wrote essays expressing concern about the influence of pseudoscience on public opinion. In 1849, Sir George Cornwall Lewis noted that the popularity of science led to what he described as ‘mock science’, including ‘mesmerism, homeopathy and phrenology’. He feared that through mimicking the ‘phraseology of science’, charlatans might succeed in misleading the public.

John Stuart Mill shared these concerns. In 1836, he wrote about a ‘flowering of quackery and ephemeral literature’, all manipulated by the new ‘arts for attracting public attention’. Mill was no less hostile to the confusions sown by quacks and by ‘mock science’ than genuine scientists are today. But what distinguished Mill from someone like Beddington was his view on how to deal with erroneous ‘science’.

Mill adopted a consistent and courageous orientation towards tolerance, for many reasons. One reason was his sensitivity to the fact that uncertainty had become a condition of life in the modern world. Mill believed that, aside from the need to uphold freedom of speech and belief, uncertainty demanded tolerance. It is precisely because we cannot be certain of truth that we must allow for great openness and give people the right to express their beliefs and opinions. Uncertainty demands that people should be free to pursue their quest for truth. For Mill, the tolerance of all beliefs, even false ones, was not a matter of being soft or polite. Rather, openness towards the expression of any opinion was seen as essential to the flourishing of human creativity and a healthy public life. Mill believed that the ‘evil of silencing the expression of opinion’ is that it robs society, and future generations, of the potential insights that can emerge from a clash of views. He said: ‘If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.’

In his essay On Liberty, Mill argued that in an uncertain world refusal to tolerate what Beddington describes as ‘pernicious’ views means assuming that one possesses the authority of ‘infallibility’: ‘To refuse a hearing to an opinion, because they are sure that it is false, is to assume that their certainty is the same thing as absolute certainty. All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility.’

Mill went even further and insisted that intolerance of a false belief is itself an evil. ‘We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavouring to stifle is a false opinion’, he said, before adding that even ‘if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still’. Mill took the view that society actually learns about itself through confronting ‘false opinion’. That is why On Liberty sometimes reads like a celebration of the heretic. Mill defends heretics because he recognises that, through their questioning of received wisdom, they ensure that society is forced to account for its views, and if necessary rectify them.

There is a chasm separating the outlook of someone like Mill from today’s celebrators of intolerance. If Mill were alive now, he would be horrified by the censorious attitude of men of science. When Beddington argues that since ‘there are enough difficult and important problems out there’ tolerance towards ‘what is politically or morally or religiously motivated nonsense’ becomes a luxury, he communicates a nonsensical idea of tolerance. Mill would not understand why someone’s nonsense should not be tolerated. After all, tolerance only really gains meaning through our refusal to silence views that we strongly disagree with; that is the real test. Beddington’s belief that tolerance means only putting up with sensible views is bizarre.

The great, and tragic, irony in all this is that science was one of the principal beneficiaries of the emergence of the ethos of tolerance. Science by its very nature thrives on open debate, which is why scientists were often in the forefront of advocating tolerance of dissident and despised views. The nineteenth-century biologist Thomas Henry Huxley, who was known as Darwin’s bulldog, said ‘scepticism is the highest of duties’. Many scientists believed that no ideas or views should be beyond discussion. The motto of the Royal Society was: ‘On the word of no one.’ Sadly, science has become politicised and has become prey to dogmatism. There is now a tendency to devalue debate and to replace argument with moral condemnation.

There are many reasons for this defensive moralistic turn in sections of the scientific community. The principal driver of the re-emergence of intolerance as a moral virtue is Western culture’s aversion to engaging with uncertainty. This is best captured by that unattractive term ‘zero tolerance’ - a concept which presents the world in the language of black-and-white and either/or. It spares the intolerant the trouble of having to fight for their views. It is far easier to resolve disagreement and confusion through shutting down discussion than to practise true tolerance. Tolerance demands courage - intolerance, the outlook of the intellectual coward, merely requires a censor’s pen.


What Do Climate Data Really Show? The Berkeley Climate Data Project

S. Fred Singer

The e-mails leaked from the University of East Anglia in November 2009 produced what is popularly called “Climategate.” They exposed the thoroughly unethical behavior of a group of climate scientists, mainly in the UK and US, involved in producing the global surface temperature record used and relied on by governments.

Not only did these climate scientists hide their raw data and their methodology of selection and adjustment of temperature data, but they fought hard against all attempts by independent outside scientists to replicate their results. They also undermined the peer-review system and tried to make it impossible for skeptical scientists to publish their work in scientific journals. There is voluminous evidence in the e-mails to this effect. In the process, they damaged not only the science enterprise—full publication of data and methods, replication of results, open debate, etc—but they also undermined the public credibility of all scientists.

However, the most serious revelation from the e-mails is that they tried to “hide the decline” in temperatures, using various “tricks” in order to keep alive a myth of rising temperatures in support of the dogma of anthropogenic global warming. There have now been a number of investigations of the activities of this group, mainly in the UK. These have all turned out to be complete whitewashes, aimed to exonerate the scientists involved. None of these investigations has even attempted to learn how and in what way the data might have been manipulated.

Much of this is described in the “Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the corruption of science” by A. W. Montford. Meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo and others have made a commendable effort to show how data might have been altered. But an independent effort to reconstruct the global temperature results of the past century really demands a dedicated project with proper resources.

The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) Project aims to do what needs to be done: That is, to develop an independent analysis of the data from land stations, which would include many more stations than had been considered by the Global Historic Climatology Network. The Project is in the hands of a group of recognized scientists, who are not at all “climate skeptics”—which should enhance their credibility. The Project is mainly directed by physicists, chaired by Professor Richard Muller (UC Berkeley), with a steering group that includes Professor Judith Curry (Georgia Tech) and Arthur Rosenfeld (UC Santa Barbara and Georgia Tech).

I applaud and support what is being done by the Project—a very difficult but important undertaking. I personally have little faith in the quality of the surface data, having been exposed to the revealing work by Anthony Watts and others. However, I have an open mind on the issue and look forward to seeing the results of the Project in their forthcoming publications.

As far as I know, no government or industry funds are involved—at least at this stage. According to the Project’s website, support comes mostly from a group of charitable foundations.


Lest we forget: Greenie fanaticism destroyed two space shuttles

Because they seem well intentioned, people seldom hold Greenies to account for the vast damage and loss of life that they inflict through the imposition of their fads on the rest of us. The article below is from 2003 but the tragedy it describes should not be forgotten

When NASA's environmental concerns resulted in the tragic deaths of the Columbia crew, it wasn't the first time a space shuttle crew was lost because of misguided regulations and fads.

In fact, NASA's own investigations strongly suggest something very similar occurred back in 1986 resulting in the destruction of the Challenger and its entire crew.

Long before the space agency officially blamed the Feb. 1 disintegration of the Columbia upon re-entry – on foam insulation breaking free from the external tank and slamming into the leading edge of the left wing – I reported NASA knew of a continuing problem with foam insulation dating back six years. The new foam had been chosen for shuttle missions, I reported – the day after the Columbia tragedy – because it was "environmentally friendly."

More than six years ago, NASA investigated extensive thermal tile damage on the space shuttle Columbia as a direct result of the shedding of external tank insulation on launch. The problems began when the space agency switched to materials and parts that were considered more "environmentally friendly," according to a NASA report obtained by WorldNetDaily.

In 1997, during the 87th space shuttle mission, similar tile damage was experienced during launch when the external tank foam crashed into some tiles during the stress of takeoff. Fortunately, the damage was not catastrophic. But investigators then noted the damage followed changes in the methods of "foaming" the external tank – changes mandated by concerns about being "environmentally friendly."

Here's what that report said: "During the ... mission, there was a change made on the external tank. Because of NASA's goal to use environmentally friendly products, a new method of 'foaming' the external tank had been used for this mission and the (previous) mission. It is suspected that large amounts of foam separated from the external tank and impacted the orbiter. This caused significant damage to the protective tiles of the orbiter."

While the NASA report on that earlier Columbia mission ended on a positive note, suggesting changes would be made in procedures to avoid such problems in the future, obviously the problems were never corrected.

The original report is still there on NASA's website for any other enterprising journalist to go see for himself or herself.

Worse, this is apparently not the first shuttle mission and crew destroyed because of concerns about the environmental friendliness of certain products used by NASA.

Anyone alive in 1986 likely remembers where he or she was when the Challenger exploded shortly after launch. And everyone who followed the story of the investigation of the Challenger disaster knows the official findings – a problem with O-rings.

But what exactly was the problem with the O-rings?

In 1977, the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the use of asbestos in a wide range of paint products. NASA, through the mid-1980s, had used a commercially available, "off-the-shelf" putty manufactured by the Fuller O'Brien Paint Company in San Francisco to help seal the shuttle field joints. But the paint company, fearful of legal action as a result of the asbestos ban, stopped manufacturing the putty. NASA had to look for another solution.

Six months before the Challenger disaster, a July 23, 1985, memo by budget analyst Richard Cook warned about new burn-through problems with O-rings.

"Engineers have not yet determined the cause of the problem," he wrote. "Candidates include the use of a new type of putty (the putty formerly used was removed from the market by NASA because it contained asbestos)."

Indeed, NASA began buying putty from a New Jersey company. The experts working with it noted that it did not seem to seal the joints as well as the old putty, but they continued to use it anyway.

As long as I am the only one reporting that NASA has for 20 years put petty "environmental correctness" ahead of the lives of astronauts, I do not expect future missions to be any safer.

Problems are seldom corrected when they are not recognized.


Paul Ehrlich, Genius?

Below is a letter to the Los Angeles Times from economist Donald J. Boudreaux

Three different readers write today in praise of Paul Ehrlich and his predictions of eco-mageddon (Letters, Feb. 18). Such praise is odd, given that not one of the many catastrophes that Mr. Ehrlich has predicted over the past 43 years has occurred.

The drying of the Aral Sea, alas, is not – contrary to reader David McClave’s insinuation – evidence in support of Mr. Ehrlich’s proposition that one of the greatest threats to the environment is capitalism. Here’s what the BBC reported in 1998:

“correspondent Louise Hidalgo in Kazakhstan says that the most amazing thing about the disaster is that it is no accident. ‘The Soviet planners who fatally tapped the rivers, which fed the seas to irrigate central Asia’s vast cotton fields, expected it [to?] dry up. They either did not realise the consequences the Aral’s disappearance would bring or they simply did not care.’”

How interesting that the one genuine eco-disaster mentioned as confirmation of Mr. Ehrlich’s wisdom was caused by the same institution – the powerful, centralized state – that Mr. Ehrlich advises we must submit to if we are to be saved from genuine eco-disasters.


Another meteorologist denies global warming reality

Is global warming caused by man, is it real, or is it a scam. Meteorologist Kevin Martin thinks it is not a reality.

Martin challenges Al Gore on his global warming theory. Martin suggests that global warming is a scam for Gore and others to bank off of, and there is no hard evidence that it really exists in the first place. He brings some interesting thoughts to the table on the already very touchy subject.

Rumors are going around that because Joe Bastardi of Accuweather did not believe in global warming that he was forced to resign. Those rumors are just rumors at the current time. However due to these rumors Martin has agreed to allow publishing of his belief in the hoax.

"A volcanic eruption similar to the one we saw in Russia during June 2009 lets out more carbon dioxide than we humans let out in five years", Martin explained. "We just do not have the power to change the planet like Gore suggests. Gore's theory is flawed all the way around. We have lived a fraction of the amount of time this planet has been around and you honestly believe we know the natural cycles of this planet since it was made? Not to mention the warmer readings are likely population growth and urban development called heat islands, which have no direct effect on long range weather".

Martin urges the public to take a step back and look to how long they've lived on the planet. Not one person on the planet can say what the 2000s B.C. were like can they? Of course not, and this is the argument Martin is talking about. The planet has gone through cold and warm episodes and it will continue to do so even after man.

"Global warming is just another scam for the government to think they can control you", concluded Martin. "I will bet you ten to one that Al Gore's house uses more electricity than a block in the suburbs yet he is trying to tell you how to use energy. The fact is we do not have the power to change the planet. We have cold and warm periods. Los Angeles Basin has seen snow in the past, 110 degree temperatures, and it will again in the future. Global warming is a cycle and man have nothing to do with it".



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


22 February, 2011

NASA has been wacky for a long time. They were "Coolists" in 1976

In recent times, there was a push to redefine NASA's mission as being to make Muslims feel good. But get a load of what they were up to way back in 1976:


NOAA says recent climate extremes are natural, not man-made

Contrary to Al Gore and most other Warmists


Shortly after the third of three major snowstorms brought record-setting snowfall to the U.S. mid-Atlantic region, NOAA’s Climate Scene Investigators (CSI) assembled to analyze why the snowstorms happened. The CSI is a team of “attribution” experts in NOAA whose job is to determine the causes for climate conditions. By distinguishing natural variability from human-induced climate change, they aim to improve decision-making and inform adaptation strategies.

The CSI team was formed in 2007, following chaotic media coverage of the record U.S. warmth in 2006 (see CSI: NOAA Climate Scene Investigators). Here they have been called to the scene again, but now to explain cold, snowy conditions, and to reconcile those with a warming planet.

After a series of record-setting snowstorms hit the mid-Atlantic region this winter, some people asked NOAA if humans could somehow be to blame. Specifically, they wanted to know if human-induced global warming could have caused the snowstorms due to the fact that a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor.

The CSI Team’s analysis indicates that’s not likely. They found no evidence — no human “fingerprints” — to implicate our involvement in the snowstorms. If global warming was the culprit, the team would have expected to find a gradual increase in heavy snowstorms in the mid-Atlantic region as temperatures rose during the past century. But historical analysis revealed no such increase in snowfall. Nor did the CSI team find any indication of an upward trend in winter precipitation along the eastern seaboard.

The CSI team turned its attention to natural factors that control the ordinary ups and downs of weather. Many extreme weather events are due to cyclical, large-scale anomalies in air pressure and sea surface temperature across large tracts of ocean. Such fluctuations spawn weather systems that can cause droughts, floods, and massive snowstorms. While El Niño is the most famous, scientists have identified other climate anomalies throughout Earth’s climate system as well. Their names may seem unimpressive — the Arctic Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, to name a few — but they can pack quite a punch!


Even the Warmists are seeing the decay of their religion

And they've run out of abuse to fire back with

Meanwhile, throughout the Bush administration political appointees massaged the science, controlled the message—but they were never so bold as to pronounce that all of climate science was wrong and corrupt, and not even worthy of our consideration any longer.

But that’s not really what you see out there anymore. A decision to defund the IPCC, rather than attack or criticize it, doesn’t bespeak a strategy of doubt-mongering. It signals extreme certainty that one is right, that we don’t even need to consider (skeptically or otherwise) any more new results from climate scientists.

So, for that matter, does the recent elevation and anointment of James Inhofe as the de facto GOP expert on climate science--implying that somehow his early, pioneering skepticism has been decisively vindicated by events.

The logic now appears to be: "There was this thing called the IPCC whose findings were dubious and repeatedly called into question. Then came “Climategate,” which validated our suspicions, proving that the IPCC (and all the science it produced) was utterly corrupt. Thus, there is nothing to global warming but a cesspool of politicized science, and it can all be dismissed. No need even to spend taxpayer dollars studying it any longer." (Interestingly, it appears that Rep. Luetkemeyer, who sponsored the anti-IPCC amendment, has exaggerated how much money the U.N. body receives from the U.S. government by a factor of 5 or more.)

Don’t get me wrong: I know those attacking climate science never really believed it, and were probably always as sure of themselves as they appear now. Nevertheless, they’ve now been dramatically emboldened—they’re willing to go much farther. They don’t feel the need to behave as the Bush II administration did, at least leaving the door open in a rhetorical sense. Now, they’re slamming it shut.

Where we once had climate “skeptics”—always preserving the scare quotes--now we really do have deniers.


Moscow Shivering In “Coldest Winter In 100 Years”

Minus 30°C for days…13°C below normal…homeless people dying…hands and feet are freezing…

That’s what we are hearing from a few media outlets in Europe, those who have dared to mention the “cold-snap” word and to write about reality. It’s been cold in Scandinavia, much of Europe, North America and Russia too. Where’s all the warming? Heck, even the oceans are below normal.

The European part of Russia is stuck deep in the freezer, reports the Austrian online The extreme cold is due to a huge high pressure system in the Arctic which has kept Moscow in temperatures down as low as -30°C for days. writes:

The Russian media have been talking about ‘the hardest winter in the last 100 years’, causing 10 million people to shiver.

”This abnormal frost has been an enormous challenge,’ says Moscow mayor Sergei Sobjanin. Meteorologists don’t see any let up in the days ahead, and even expect temperatures to drop further. In the European part of Russia, unusually deep cold has dominated the area over the last 14 days. The average temperature for February so far alone for Moscow is 11 to 13°C below normal.”

There are reports that homeless people are getting hit hard. Pleas for blankets and clothing are being made. Famous Moscow doctor Elisabeth Glinki says: "Many people on the street are dying, or their hands and feet are freezing.”

Looking at the temperature forecast chart, things are going to get even worse in the days ahead. But we all know what the explanation for this is, right!


Why you need to use your ‘environmentally friendly’ cotton carrier bag 131 times to be green

Cotton bags offered by many supermarkets may be less 'green' than plastic carriers - and may cause more global warming, according to scientists.

As a greater amount of energy goes into making a cloth carrier than a polythene one, a cotton bag has to be used 131 times before it has the same environmental impact than its plastic counterpart

And if a plastic bag is re-used as a bin liner, a cotton bag has to be used 173 times - nearly every day of the year - before its ecological impact is as low as a plastic bag on a host of factors including greenhouse gas emissions over its lifetime.

But most of us only use the bags around 51 times before they are thrown away, researchers found.

Paper bags - used by some clothes chains such as Primark - need to be used three times to fall below the environmental impact of the thin plastic carrier, while bags for life - made of stronger plastic - have to be used four times to start having less ecological impact.

The government sponsored research, 'Life Cycle Assessment of Supermarket Carrier Bags' by Dr Chris Edwards and Jonna Meyhoff Fry looked at the environmental impact of six different types of bags.

Although completed in 2008, it has not yet been published, with plastic bag makers claiming the findings have been suppressed - although the Environment Agency said it is awaiting 'peer review' - checks by other scientists.

Using a thin plastic bag - made from a plastic called high-density polyethylene (HDPE) - equates to generating 1.57kg of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that scientist believe leads to global warming according to the report. A cotton bag would have to be re-used 171 times to emit the same level of CO2.

Cotton bags typically made in China have a greater environmental impact because of the water and fertiliser required in their production, as well as their transportation and greater weight.

The researchers concluded: 'The HDPE bag had the lowest environmental impacts of the single use options in nine of the 10 impact categories. The bag performed well because it was the lightest single use bag considered.'

Plastic bags have also come under fire for using up oil and for littering the countryside and fouling the marine environment for wildlife. However, the research found that biodegradable bags made of starch were not a greener option than HDPE bags as they are less environmentally friendly to make and heavier.

The authors write: 'In practical terms of global warming potential, eutrophication [a form of river pollution] ozone layer depletion, toxicity and ecotoxicity the current starch polyester blend bag is significantly worse than conventional single-use options due to the high impact of raw material production on those categories.'

The Daily Mail, through its 'Banish the Bags' campaign has spearheaded efforts to avoid using plastic bags wherever possible to save the environment and the public are reducing their use of plastic bags.

Figures from WRAP, the government's Waste and Resources Action Program, show a total decline in all types of carrier bags issued to 4.5 billion (41%) over the years 2006-2010 – effectively saving 39,700 tonnes of material from entering the waste stream

Peter Woodall, speaking on behalf of the Packaging and Films Association, which represents plastic bag makers, said: 'This analysis shows what we have been saying for years. Plastic bags are a more environmentally friendly option than cotton bags. 'It comes down to reducing, reusing and recycling.' He also cited Canadian research that cotton bags can harbour can harbour germs and mould which can be harmful to health - unless they are washed.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: 'The report focuses on the greenhouse gas emissions of manufacturing different types of carrier bags. 'Much of the environmental impact of these bags is associated with the primary resource use and production. 'The final report due to be published in the next two weeks, will show that all multi-use bags - plastic, cotton or paper - need to be reused on multiple occasions to justify the additional carbon footprint of their production.

'If they are, then their overall carbon footprint can be less than single use plastic bags.'


Australia: Hard Leftists in Green clothing

It is true that there has been a move to the Greens in inner-city areas of the capital cities. But this has not spread to the suburbs, regional centres or rural areas. The latest Herald/Nielsen poll indicated that NSW voters who are proposing to junk Labor are moving straight across to Barry O'Farrell and the Coalition, by-passing the Greens. .

Interviewed this month on Meet the Press, O'Farrell was asked whether the NSW Liberals would give their preferences to Labor ahead of the Greens, as the Victorian Liberal Party did successfully in last November's state election. The Opposition Leader made the point that, unlike Victoria, NSW has an optional preference voting system and that it is not necessary for political parties to advise supporters about how to allocate preferences.

O'Farrell added that the Liberals in NSW "haven't preferenced the Greens in the past" and he could not "imagine us doing it in the future". He also advised that the Liberal Party's state director, Mark Neeham, "will make the decision [on preferences] in due course".

In the four years he has been Opposition Leader, O'Farrell has been very successful in unifying the Liberal Party and in cementing a viable coalition with the National Party. Both are real achievements. Also, during this time O'Farrell has obtained a significant grasp of detail over all areas of administration. However, he has yet to establish his standing as a conviction politician. This may occur if, as seems very likely, O'Farrell is elected premier on March 26. .

In the meantime, O'Farrell and his colleagues would be well advised to take a stance on the Greens. For starters, there would be some political benefit in acknowledging that some of Labor's candidates are preferable to the Greens. Then there is the fact that O'Farrell is closer to the Premier, Kristina Keneally, on a range of economic, foreign and social policy issues than he is to the Greens.

It is widely recognised that the Greens' best chances of winning seats in the Legislative Assembly turn on the electorates of Marrickville and Balmain - now held by high-profile Keneally government ministers Carmel Tebbutt and Verity Firth respectively. The mayor of Marrickville, Fiona Byrne, is standing against Tebbutt and the mayor of Leichhardt, Jamie Parker, is contesting Balmain for the Greens.

Any Liberal voter would be crazy not to preference Labor ahead of the Greens in Marrickville and Balmain. There are Greens who are primarily environmentalists - like Senator Bob Brown and Senator Christine Milne. And then there are hard-left Greens - like Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon, who graduated from the Communist Party to the Greens. Byrne and Parker are close to the hard-left Greens camp.

As mayor of Marrickville, Byrne has led the charge to sign up ratepayers to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. This global movement, driven by the left, aims to boycott all goods made in Israel and prohibit all sporting, academic, government or cultural exchanges. The campaign does not distinguish between Israel's pre- and post-1967 borders and is aimed at Jewish and Arab Israelis alike.

Byrne and her Greens comrades seem unaware that Israel and increasingly Iraq are the only two democracies in the Middle East and that Arabs who are citizens of Israel have more democratic rights than Arabs domiciled in Arab nations. They also seem unaware that, historically, the left in Australia has supported Israel - as documented in Daniel Mandel's H V. Evatt and the Establishment of Israel and Philip Mendes's article in the November 2009 issue of Labour History.

The Liberal Party, like Labor, has always supported the right of Israel to exist within secure borders. It is the Greens, not Labor, who challenge Israel, question the Australian-American alliance and are soft on counterterrorism legislation. Moreover, the Greens are well to the left of Labor on economic and social issues.

It makes sense for Liberals in inner-city Sydney to give their preferences to Tebbutt ahead of Byrne and to Firth ahead of Parker.



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


21 February, 2011

"Green" America burns food for fuel while poor people go hungry

Throwing the huge U.S. corn crop onto the open market would slash food prices worldwide. And importing ethanol from the much more efficient Brazilian producers would slash the price of ethanol as well.

Brazil makes ethanol from sugarcane, which has much more sugar (and hence ethanol) in it than corn does. And there are many sources of sugarcane worldwide. Australia alone could easily match Brazil's production

In a perverse sort of way, the failure of the G20 finance ministers meeting over the weekend could be seen as an indicator of increasing confidence in global economic recovery. Without the blow torch of crisis to concentrate minds, the world's supposed economic leaders fell back into self-serving politics and platitudes.

So there was plenty of talk about food prices, with G20 types from the French to the Indians wanting to do something about evil speculators who must be behind the jump in soft commodities. Nice to have a convenient and simple scapegoat for a very complex problem.

The American scapegoat of choice though is China's foreign exchange policy. While the United States' dipsy and inefficient biofuels policy means it is literally burning somewhere between a third and 40 per cent of its massive corn crop as a gift to its farm lobby, Washington wants everyone to focus on the renminbi.

The supposed big achievement of the Paris meeting was an agreement, vaguely worded, on the sort of indicators that might be used as yet-to-be-established “indicative guidelines” for the health of the global economy. The idea is to highlight economic imbalances before they turn into crises and a nice idea it is – but then politics intervenes.

What it mainly seems to be about is the United States' ongoing attempt to blame someone else, anyone else, for its own gross policy failures. Specifically, the US would have the world believe it's all the fault of those inscrutable Chinese manipulating their currency, keeping it artificially low and therefore making Chinese exports artificially attractive. The US wanted the G20 meeting to sharpen the spotlight on the renminbi and partially succeeded – everyone needs a scapegoat.

Never mind Washington's own currency manipulation in the form of “quantitative easing” and a decade of lousy policy that destroyed faith in the economic management of the world's biggest economy. That'll knock a currency around no end. The suspicion that the US will only be able to deal with its massive debt by inflating it away will keep knocking it. The Americans are just annoyed that they haven't been able to knock it down enough against China's stubborn peg.

The US Treasury Secretary, little Timmy Geithner, used the Paris meeting to demonstrate again that he's as bad as his predecessors. He would have us believe that the cheap RMB means China is growing too fast and that's what's causing food inflation.

Economic growth, a nation of more than 1.3 billion people forging a way out of poverty, does result in increased food consumption, among other things. Effectively, if only more people ate less, were happy to starve for the greater good, food would be cheaper. And this sort of suggestion from the Treasury Secretary of the world's most obese nation.

The US trashing its own dollar has had a much bigger impact on prices as the greenback happens to be the world's currency of trade. And then there's the ethanol policy.

The big driver for US grain farmers has been biofuels policy that effectively links the price of corn to the price of oil while absorbing $US7.7 billion a year in government subsidies.

And the bad news is that it's early days yet. As told in a Goldman Sachs report the current US production of more than 10 billion gallons a year (nearly 9 per cent of America's gasoline supply) is slated to increase to 36 billion gallons by 2022 under the Renewable Fuels Standard of the Energy Independence and Security Act introduced in 2007. And it could get worse:

“Lately there has been a push for raising the ethanol-gasoline blending requirements from 10 per cent all the way to 15 per cent and we would not be surprised if the EPA agrees to something closer to 11-12 per cent. Each percentage increase in ethanol blending is equal to 550 million bushels of corn or approximately the equivalent of 4.5 per cent of total US production.”

There's a lot more to higher global grain prices than just the US preoccupation with gas-guzzling cars and subsidising farmers. Drought in China, floods in Australia, fires in Russia, more people wanting more food, they all play a role. But while natural disasters and human hunger happen, willfully burning food is a particular form of obscenity.

What's more, American corn isn't even an efficient source of ethanol. The scale and productivity of Brazilian sugar cane plantations perhaps makes a case for turning that sweet giant grass into fuel – but tariffs and tax subsidies for the locals keep it out of the US. American corn farmers can't begin to compete with it.

With oil prices back up around $US100 a barrel, there's increased incentive to grow more corn and thus more is being planted at the expense of other crops. Such is the totally interrelated nature of the world economy that dumb US agricultural policy plays a roll in changing third-world governments and improving the lot of Australian wheat farmers as they face less competition from the US.


An ignorant EPA administrator

By geologist H. Leighton Steward

The statement is being made in response to statements submitted to the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, Committee on Energy and Commerce, United States House of Representatives, February 9, 2011 by EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and American Public Health Association representative Lynn Goldman, M.D.

Administrator Jackson begins by stating that all Americans rely on the Clean Air Act to protect them from harmful air pollution. I agree. Next, Administrator Jackson says she is relying on the 2007 Supreme Court decision that EPA could consider greenhouse gases an air pollutant.

Administrator Jackson neglected to include that the Supreme Court also said the Administrator could exclude a greenhouse gas if she could present evidence that the gas was not a pollutant or endangerment to mankind.

This gets to the heart of the issue since Administrator Jackson has singled out carbon dioxide as the key substance to regulate on the grounds that, as Administrator Jackson so frequently comments, "CO2 is a pollutant and an endangerment to mankind."

That anyone would say that CO2 is a pollutant is incredible, but particularly when said by Administrator Jackson who is a degreed chemical engineer. There is not a single case, short of multi-thousands of parts per million (ppm) of this trace gas, that indicates CO2 to be a pollutant. CO2 is the staff of life. Earth's food chain begins with plants and as we all learned in elementary school, CO2 is what plants eat. In fact, as thousands of peer reviewed laboratory and field studies show, the more CO2 plants "eat", the more robustly they grow.

This is not speculation based upon man-made models; this is from real, empirical observations. I present three examples demonstrating that CO2 is not a pollutant; first, many commercial greenhouse operators grow the fruits and vegetables we buy in the grocery and where they and their staffs work, in an atmosphere of 1,000 ppm CO2. The workers suffer no ill effects and the plants grow profusely. Earth's current atmosphere contains only 390 ppm.

Secondly, as testified to the Unites States Senate, Princeton distinguished Professor William Happer has pointed that our very own government allows CO2 levels to build up to 8,000 ppm in our nuclear submarines where our sailors reside for weeks at a time.

Thirdly, we breathe in the current 390 ppm of CO2 and breathe out 40,000 ppm (!) with our lungs incurring no toxic or detrimental effects. For this Administration and especially Administrator Jackson to continue to refer to CO2 as a pollutant is far worse that a slip of the tongue or exaggeration; it is grossly misleading to our country's citizens.

That man-made CO2 is a primary cause of climate change is just a hypothesis. The hypothesis has not been proven and even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) admits that when they do not say that they are 100% certain it is true. While proving that the hypothesis is true for such a complex subject is probably impossible, it is only prudent to examine whether it can be shown to be false. Webster's dictionary defines hypothesis as a provisional theory accepted for the sake of argument and testing. Scientists are taught that a hypothesis must withstand its claims being verified or falsified by observing available empirical evidence.

When Albert Einstein, in 1905, proposed the theory of relativity, he encouraged other scientists to try and refute it as demanded by the scientific method. Therefore, as a geologist and accustomed to looking back at what has happened in the past to understand why the Earth is physically like it is, I decided to use the same forensic approach to review Earth's old climates, her paleoclimates.

Sir Winston Churchill is credited with saying, "The farther backward you look, the farther forward you are likely to see;" certainly applicable here. Five years ago I began this forensic endeavor thinking I could look back at old temperatures and the often thousands of ppm of atmospheric CO2 and show the tremendous impact such elevated CO2 levels had on Earth's paleoclimates. I could not find such impacts. I did find however, after reviewing "all" the scientific studies of others, determine that the hypotheses of significant CO2 induced climate change to be false and here is why:

1. Per Dr. Phil Jones, director of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at East Anglia University, which is the prime source of climate data for the IPCC, despite the steep rise in CO2, there has been no statistically significant warming of the Earth for the last 15 years. Dr. Jones also has publicly admitted that, regarding anthropogenic global warming, the science is not settled.

2. When climate proxies, such as ice cores, tree rings, isotopic analysis of ocean, lake and soil samples, stalagmites, corals, and leaf shapes and stomata densities are cross correlated, they give us a good relative measurement of Earth's old temperatures vs. those of the last 150 years. These studies indicate that, even at much lower levels of CO2 in the past, the USA's temperatures today are not the warmest of the last 100 years (1934 was warmer) the last 1,000 years (the Medieval Warm Period was warmer), the last 10,000 years (the Roman Warm Period, Minoan Warm Period and Holocene Optimum were as warm or warmer according to proxy studies), the last 400,000 years (where of the last five interglacials our current interglacial has had the highest CO2 level yet is the coolest of the five) and to go way back, 430 million years ago, when there was glaciations down to 60 latitude while CO2 levels were about 4,000 ppm; over 10 times as high as today.

3. Ice core analysis from Antarctica and Greenland show many intervals where CO2 levels lag or follow temperature changes, not vice versa. A cause does not follow an effect.

4. The physical heat trapping ability of CO2 declines logarithmically or very rapidly and at today's level cannot "trap" a significant amount of additional heat, consistent with the observations wherein paleotemperatures did not become catastrophically high even at CO2 levels of several thousand ppm.

The above is empirical evidence. Administrator Jackson said the EPA reviewed thousands of public comments. Those comments included much of the same data I reference, yet she has refused to even mention this very most basic of scientific tests, the empirical test. The answer appears obvious; EPA cannot prevail in a discussion of real evidence so must rely on the output of climate modelers whose grants and very futures depend on generating the potential man-made catastrophes that satisfy the position articulated by the funding source.

What about the public position papers of the leading scientific societies that declares a belief in man-made global warming? None, to my knowledge, have agreed to take a vote of their membership. Most societies are run by a small group of leaders, mostly academics, whose universities depend, in part, on government grants. Why didn't Administrator Jackson mention the recent poll by "Scientific American", a very popular publication with scientists, which found that 77% of the thousands of respondents said they believed that climate was driven by natural causes, 83% said the IPCC was a corrupt organization, and 91% said the doubts about what is causing climate change should be publicly discussed.


British Weather Guru Labels Met Office as Evil Dictator of Science

John O'Sullivan

As more evidence shows the sun drives our climate a leading forecaster labels the cult of man-made global warming “the Mubarak regime of Science.”

Britain’s best independent weatherman, Piers Corbyn of WeatherAction launches a blistering attack on the UK’s Met Office for repeatedly trumpeting claims that floods can be attributed to human impacts on climate. The Met Office has long been a key supporter of climatologists claiming carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by humans will bring about catastrophic climate change.

Corbyn counters: “If there were any truth in their claims we would have seen a continuous increase in floods (and other extremes according to their catechism) during the last century and also in the last ten years because CO2 has been rising continuously.”

With his usual flamboyant cut and thrust the maverick marvel from WeatherAction puts the doomsaying cult to the sword with a visual presentation created specifically for a new series of talks and seminars. Corbyn claims his set of damning slides are based on indisputable facts and are geared towards better explaining the basics to non-scientists.

In his easy to follow step-by-step analysis Corbyn expertly debunks the claims of a clique of self-serving “carbon crazy” climatologists. He asks us to compare their forecasts to his own sensational results. This, he says, is the best evidence to show who is more credible on the science. Corbyn is adamant that climate varies strictly according to changes in our enormous and powerful sun and not in any way determined by a tiny amount of CO2 (under 0.04 percent) in our atmosphere.

More Extreme Weather Events Coming Says Corbyn

After years of being shunned by a mainstream media that are still sold on the doomsaying spin, Piers has nonetheless become a notable figure always pressured to speak at meetings and conference events across Britain whenever he can. Attentive listeners are most impressed with his masterful display in what is such a contentious field of applied science.

Dismissive of the billion dollar propaganda machine that has been touting the global warming scare for two decades, Corbyn insists changes in solar activity are, and always will be, the key and humans have no measurable effect whatsover on our climate.

Speaking recently in front of a packed audience the guru from WeatherAction spelled out the facts: "It’s time for a reality check. What works works and what doesn’t doesn’t. We can now show the events on the sun which precede our predicted extreme events which we can usually get right 85% of the time to a day or so from months ahead.”

Corbyn is a tough cookie to eschew. With his uncanny knack of foreseeing a long list of extreme weather events - including the Russian heatwave and Pakistan floods; the coldest December for 100 years in Britain; the series of giant blizzards in America and supercyclone Yasi that thrashed Queensland - no one can doubt his success rate.

In acknowledgement of his astonishing achievements 2010 ended as an award-winning year for Corbyn as he scooped the Stairways Press Ernst-Georg Beck Award plus a check for $10,000.


Greenies going organic

Why not? It's just as hokey

Courtesy of Time Magazine, with a hat tip to HockeySchtick, we see how the " Greens move on from 'climate change' to organic food movement".

Whoa! But, yep. The 'greatest threat facing mankind!(!!!)' flopped, in the end, so it's time to go back to small ball. Remember that. Greatest. Threat. Evah! Then...not so much.

Basic salesmanship says to get them nodding. And the greens did that, peddling easy issues demanding "action!" (if usually by the federal government) even if on that which often had been addressed by concerned citizen groups before lawmakers intervened with legislation now inaccurately romanticized as having stopped the cause célèbre (e.g., Cuyahoga River fires, plural, as in ten over a century thanks to government being government).

Move on to local initiatives, poisoning the school curricula, and then POW!, Kyoto, energy rationing, Gore-, Wallstrom- and Chirac-extolled 'leveling [of] the playing field', 'global governance' and the whole shootin' match of riding the excuse, the vehicle they created to finally enacting the long-held policy agenda.

But now, as Time writes, "These are dark days for the environmental movement. A year after being on the cusp of passing landmark legislation to cap greenhouse gases, greens are coming to accept the fact that the chance of national and international action on climate change has become more remote than ever."

Hardly a coincidence. What the scribbler here misses is the connection between the overreach and the consequential setback, reflecting something I have touted for years: when Americans are presented the check, they'll stop the agreeable, cocktail-party level 'well, sure, we should do 'something'" nodding and ask to see the science. And fortunately by the time cap-and-trade rolled around the science had already exposed itself.

So while they've got a few backdoor 'other ways to skin that cat' cooking, it's back to square one for the greens. Soon enough they'll rehabilitate themselves with soothing overtures and checkout-line magazine teases -- 'simple ways to live green!' -- then leap back in with the hype, demonization and power grabs.

It's their move, how they roll, and what they're all about.

P.S. With its next sentence, and all that follows, Time's little item also affirms the asininity of the establishment media: "The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is under attack by newly empowered Republicans in Congress who argue that the very idea of environmental protection is unaffordable for our debt-ridden country."

Quick: name one who argues that. Sorry, two, it says "Republicans". Unless 'environmental protection' only means an ever-expanding EPA, and restricting domestic energy production, permissible energy sources and individual freedoms, that is.

Which, to Time, it clearly does. Pretty well reaffirming the rest of the above.

SOURCE. See also here.

Green/Left bias at Australia's national broadcaster

Accompanied by a sweeping disregard for the facts, unsurprisingly

THE ABC's charter calls for balance and professionalism but it seems these values are no longer held by some of its staff. Don't believe me? Here's just one example.

In late November last year Sara Phillips, ABC's environment editor, posted an opinion piece about climate negotiations at Cancun to her taxpayer-funded blog. I left a comment suggesting she might be better off covering a recent paper published in the Journal of Climate co-authored by Steve McIntyre. This work refuted an earlier study published in Nature in the summer of 2009 and widely covered by the ABC which claimed there was unusual warming in west Antarctica due to man-made global warming. McIntyre and co-authors O'Donnell, Lewis and Condon proved the statistical methodology of the Nature study was flawed and the results erroneous. I directed Phillips to a post on the subject by McIntyre, at his Climate Audit website.

The following anonymous comment was posted to Phillips's blog shortly afterwards:
Annie : 03 Dec 2010 7:07:53pm

The denialist clowns return again . . . . . . run by Stephen McIntyre a known climate denialist and extremist right-wing provocateur . . . you are a joke as are your answers . . . laughing hysterically.

On seeing the comment I alerted Phillips, suggesting the comment should be removed as it contravened ABC posting rules, namely, 4.4.1 defamatory, or otherwise unlawful or that it violates laws regarding harassment, discrimination, racial vilification, privacy or contempt; 4.4.2 intentionally false or misleading; 4.4.4 abusive, offensive or obscene; 4.4.5 inappropriate, off topic, repetitive or vexatious; 4.4.9 deliberate provocation of other community members.

After a day or so it was clear my request had been ignored, so I submitted a formal complaint to the ABC. This was turned down by the ABC's audience and consumer affairs. The reply I received on December 16 included the following rationale from Phillips:
"The moderator has explained this decision as follows: "Mr McIntyre is described by Annie as being an 'extremist right wing provocateur'. Mr McIntyre's views are seen by some as extreme. Annie clearly believes they are. He could reasonably be described as 'right wing' as a speaking member of the George C Marshall Institute, which is known for its right-leaning politically conservative views. 'Provocateur' is a name given to describe those whose thinking goes against that of the status quo, another label that could reasonably be given to Mr McIntyre. As such, the comments from Annie are not unfounded and therefore not defamatory."

I thought McIntyre might be interested in our national broadcaster's view of him so I passed on ABC's official response. These views perhaps account for the lack of coverage of McIntyre's ground-breaking work on climate change by the ABC. McIntyre responded to the ABC, in an email sent on December 17:
I am not a "member of the George Marshall Institute". This allegation on your part is untrue. I once spoke at a briefing session sponsored by George Marshall Institute, but that does not make me a "member" or imply any endorsement on my part of their views. I would have been delighted to make the same presentation at a session sponsored by the Pew Centre.

Nor is there any basis for characterising my political views as "extremist right wing". I have seldom expressed political opinions, though I once said that, in American terms, I would have been a Bill Clinton supporter. My only recent political contributions have been to a left-wing municipal politician in Toronto, Pam McConnell. I challenge you to provide any evidence that I hold "extremist right wing" political views. The comments by Annie are totally unfounded and defamatory.

Yours truly, Stephen McIntyre

On December 23 ABC advised that the offensive comments had been removed.

The level of bias and base ignorance inherent in the views of a senior ABC journalist, in supporting the defamatory comments, are truly astonishing.

The affair leaves one questioning the credibility and objectivity of ABC's environmental reporting, along with the independence and efficacy of ABC's system of self-regulation.

Why did it take so much effort to remove the offensive comment? How did Phillips obtain permission to run such a biased and unbalanced opinion page at the taxpayers' expense?

In an era where there are a multitude of opportunities for ABC staff to express their opinions by setting up their own blogs or personal web pages, how does Mark Scott justify the use of taxpayer funds to foot this bill?

As the government is looking for budget savings to fund flood and cyclone reconstruction I can't help but think that a few dollars could be saved by forcing ABC staff to fend for themselves in the blogosphere, rather than continue to sucker on our old Auntie's sagging teat.

It's not about shutting down the debate, it's about moving it to an appropriate venue. One where the taxpayer does not have to wear the cost, or bear the risks of paying out on defamation cases brought about by poor moderation.

With environmental activists posing as journalists at the ABC it's no wonder Maurice Newman's plea to end the Climate Groupthink has been ignored. And the ABC is yet to apologise to McIntyre, or provide any coverage of his important work.


India builds "Green" bridge

Yikes! "We used minimum cement to reduce greenhouse effect". A bridge built on sand????

The scenic Kerala backwaters can now boast of an engineering marvel — the longest rail bridge in the country at 4.62km. The bridge is part of a 8.6-km railway link connecting Idapalli to Vallarpadam in Kochi, where the shipping ministry has constructed the International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT).

Built by the Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd at Rs 200 crore, the bridge came up in a record 28 months.

The rail link between Idapalli railway station and ICTT can also boast green technology to address environmental concerns. The alignment cuts through densely populated habitations and backwaters. "We used minimum cement to reduce greenhouse effect," said a rail official. Land acquisition being a sensitive issue in Kerala, RVNL took an elevated route — a 40m-long girder erected at a curve of 2.5 degrees — to cut down on land use in densely populated areas and also go across the backwaters.

"This led to the conceptualization of a 4.62km-long elevated structure," RVNL managing director Satish Agnihotri told TOI.

The project, which will serve as the first SEZ port in the country, will eliminate transhipment of goods from Colombo port to Indian ports. Mega mother ships and Panamax vessels can directly reach Vallarpadam. It will also save the cost of transportation by $300 per container, making export and import cheaper.

"The work had to be completed fast as the rail connectivity to the container terminal was a time-bound exercise being monitored by the Prime Minister`s Office," an official said.

The new bridge eclipses Dehri-on-Sone's record as the longest rail bridge in the country. The three-km-long bridge on the Sone River was constructed by the East India Railway in 1900.



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


20 February, 2011

Environmentalist Fraud and Manslaughter

Many chemotherapy drugs for treating cancer have highly unpleasant side effects – hair loss, vomiting, intense joint pain, liver damage and fetal defects, to name just a few. But anyone trying to ban the drugs would be tarred, feathered and run out of town. And rightly so.

The drugs’ benefits vastly outweigh their risks. They save lives. We need to use chemo drugs carefully, but we need to use them.

The same commonsense reasoning should apply to the Third World equivalent of chemotherapy drugs: DDT and other insecticides to combat malaria. Up to half a billion people are infected annually by this vicious disease, nearly a million die, countless survivors are left with permanent brain damage, and 90% of this carnage is in sub-Saharan Africa, the most impoverished region on Earth.

These chemicals don’t cure malaria – they prevent it. Used properly, they are effective, and safe. DDT is particularly important. Sprayed once or twice a year on the inside walls of homes, DDT keeps 80% of mosquitoes from entering, irritates those that do enter, so they leave without biting, and kills any that land. No other chemical, at any price, can do this.

Even better, DDT has few adverse side effects – except minor, speculative and imaginary “risks” that are trumpeted on anti-pesticide websites. In the interest of saving lives, one would think eco activists would tone down their “ban DDT” disinformation. However, that is unlikely.

Anti-DDT fanaticism built the environmental movement, and gave it funding, power and stature it never had before. No matter how many people get sick and die because health agencies are pressured not to use DDT, or it is totally banned, Environmental Defense, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Pesticide Action Network, US Environmental Protection Agency and allied activist groups are unlikely to reform or recant.

Worse, they have now been joined by the United Nations Environment Program, Global Environment Facility and even World Health Organization Environmental Division – all of whom share the avowed goal of ending all DDT production by 2017, and banning all use of DDT in disease control by 2020.

A recent GEF “study” demonstrates how far they are willing to go, to achieve this goal, no matter how deadly it might be. The study purported to prove DDT is no longer needed and can be replaced by “integrated and environment-friendly” alternatives: eg, mosquito-repelling trees, and non-chemical control of breeding sites and areas around homes that shelter insects.

The $14-million study claimed that these interventions resulted in an unprecedented “63% reduction in the number of people with [malaria], without using DDT or any other type of pesticide.” However, as analyses by malaria and insecticide experts Richard Tren and Dr. Donald Roberts clearly demonstrate (see Research and Reports in Tropical Medicine and AEI Outlooks), the study, conclusions and policy recommendations are not merely wrong. They are deliberately misleading and fraudulent.

GEF did its 2003-2008 study in Mexico and seven Central American countries – all of which had largely ceased using DDT and other pesticides years before the GEF project. Instead of chemical sprays, these countries now employ huge numbers of chloroquine and primaquine (CQ and PQ) pills to prevent and treat malaria: 2,566 pills per diagnosed case in Mexico; 22,802 pills (!) in El Salvador; 50 to 1,319 pills per case in the other countries, according to 2004 health records.

It was these powerful drugs, not the “environment-friendly” GEF interventions, that slashed malaria rates. Indeed, they had begun to do so before GEF even arrived. This terribly inconvenient reality was further underscored by the fact that malaria rates were the same in “study” areas and “control” areas, where GEF did nothing – and that the number of malaria cases increased when the number of pills per case decreased. In other words, GEF could have gotten its same results using one bed net or one larvae-eating fish.

GEF’s fraudulent claims were then compounded by its insistence that the results and conclusions are relevant to other malaria-endemic regions. They are not. Malaria parasites in Latin American countries are Plasmodium vivax; in Africa and Southeast Asia, they are the far more virulent P. falciparum.

CQ and PQ are effective in preventing and treating vivax; they rarely prevent or cure falciparum malaria. Moreover, the eight Latin American countries have 140 million people. Sub-Saharan Africa has 800 million and a woeful medical and transportation infrastructure; Southeast Asia has 600 million people. Both have infinitely more malaria. Getting adequate medicines that work (far more expensive Artemisia-based ACT drugs) to 1.4 billion people would be a budgetary, logistical and medical impossibility.

But apparently none of these facts occurred to the bureaucrats who did this study. That’s hardly surprising, since the project was designed and directed, not by disease control experts, but by the UNEP and radical environmental groups – which also spent millions distributing and promoting the study and other anti-DDT propaganda all over the world, ensuring that it received substantial media attention.

The anti-pesticide fanatics know this “study” is fraudulent. They just have a very high tolerance for how many malaria cases, brain-damaged people and dead babies are deemed “acceptable” or “sustainable.” They just don’t care enough to bother learning the basic facts about malaria, CQ versus ACT, vivax versus falciparum. They need to get out of the malaria control policy business and let medical professionals do their jobs.

(To learn more facts about malaria, see Tren and Roberts’ book The Excellent Powder, Dr. Rutledge Taylor’s documentary film “3 Billion and Counting,” and the website for Africa Fighting Malaria.)

The final report claims its authors submitted manuscripts to prominent peer-reviewed medical journals. However, nothing was ever published. That suggests that they lied, and never submitted any manuscripts; or they did submit papers, but they were rejected as being shoddy, unscientific, unprofessional, or even on par with Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent vaccine-and-autism work.

To cap it all off, the bogus GEF project appears to have been conducted using funds diverted from already insufficient malaria control budgets. The GEF, UNEP, Stockholm Convention Secretariat and radical environmental groups are using money intended for malaria control to launch anti-pesticide programs in countries plagued by malaria, and gain control over public health insecticides, policies and programs.

Overall, the GEF has spent over $800 million on efforts to eliminate DDT and other “persistent organic pollutants” (POPs). It budgeted nearly $150 million in 2007 alone on its campaign to ban DDT production and use – but spent a lousy $22 million researching alternatives to DDT for vector control.

Until an equally effective and long-lasting substitute for DDT is developed – one that repels, irritates and kills mosquitoes – this vital weapon needs to remain in the disease control arsenal.

The GEF, UNEP, POPs Secretariat and WHO need to withdraw the study; discipline the people who perpetrated this fraud; retract World Health Assembly Resolution 50.13, calling for malaria-infested countries to slash their use of public health insecticides; and issue a statement making it absolutely clear that this “study” was erroneous and deceptive, and should not be considered in setting malaria policies.

Donors to the GEF and radical groups should be exposed. For any activists to continue promoting this study or demand that malaria-endemic countries stop using DDT and insecticides, and adopt the bogus “eco-friendly” GEF “solutions,” is gross medical malpractice – and deliberate manslaughter.

Malaria can be controlled, and even eradicated in many areas. We simply need to use every available weapon – including DDT, pesticides, nets, window screens, drugs and other interventions – in an orderly, coordinated and systematic manner; and ensure that mosquito infestations, disease outbreaks, malaria control successes and problems are monitored and evaluated accurately and honestly.

If we do that – and end the anti-pesticide hysteria – we can get the job done.


U.S. Has Cut Emissions ... Without Cap and Tax

While the federal Environmental Protection Administration is about to impose regulations and taxes on carbon emissions by executive fiat -- in the name of stopping global climate change -- the United States has already dramatically cut its emissions and probably has already complied with the Kyoto/Copenhagen goals for reduced emissions. And this has been done without taxes, without regulations and without government intervention.

In 2007, the U.S. emitted 6.12 billion metric tons of carbon. In 2008, emissions fell to 5.92. In 2009, while President Obama was promising that the U.S. would cut its emissions to 5.0 by 2015, the American economy and public -- on their own -- cut the emissions to 5.5 billion. Most likely, by the time the 2010 measurements are in, we will have reached the Obama goal.

While many attribute the cut to the recession, which presumably will end sometime, the fact is that emissions dropped before the recession hit and have continued to fall. A big part of the reason is the reduction in the use of coal to generate electricity.

As we explain in our new book, "Revolt!" (to be released on March 1), coal accounted for 52 percent of electric generation in 1996 but only for 45 percent today. In the past 12 months, coal's share has dropped form 49 percent to 45 percent. Natural gas has almost doubled its share from 13 percent in 1996 to 23 percent in 2009, while renewables have risen from 2 percent to 4 percent.

Source ------- 1996 ----------- 2009

Coal ------- 52 percent ---- 45 percent

Natural gas 13 percent ---- 23 percent

Nuclear ---- 20 percent ---- 20 percent

Renewable --- 2 percent ---- 4 percent

Source: US Energy Information Administration

The free market, free enterprise system has responded to persuasion and incentives like it does in free societies without the heavy hand of taxation, government regulation and coercion.

These data expose the basic truth: Cap-and-trade or carbon regulation is not necessary to lower U.S. emissions. The government bureaucratic/environmentalist alliance wants these measures to increase public control over our economy, not to fight global warming. Just as the Obama stimulus package was designed to increase public spending, not to stimulate anything, so the environmental regulations are exploiting public concern over climate change to ratify a growth in government power and oversight.

And that's the inconvenient truth!


Credulous people fall victim to con-men

One could see a certain justice in that

CO2 Tech Ltd, a publicly traded company that lured investors with claims about products and services to fight global warming, was full of nothing but hot air, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Friday.

It said the U.S. Justice Department had filed criminal fraud charges against six men, including stock promoters and traders, involved in a so-called "pump-and-dump scheme" built around shares of the company, which was purportedly based in London but had no significant assets or operations.

Pump-and-dump is a form of stock fraud in which promoters "pump up" or artificially inflate a company's share price, usually through false or misleading press releases or other public statements, and then "dump" the stock at a profit.

According to an SEC civil complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the CO2 Tech scheme generated more than $7 million in illicit profits from sales of CO2 Tech stock, traded in the Pink Sheets, between late 2006 and April 2007.

The scheme was perpetrated through Red Sea Management Ltd, a Costa Rican asset protection and offshore investments company founded and led by Jonathan Curshen, the SEC said.

It said Curshen, a dual U.S.-UK citizen who lives in Sarasota, Florida, was free on conditional release pending his sentencing in another, unrelated, securities fraud case.

Curshen was instrumental in establishing the business plan that allowed him and his co-defendants to sell CO Tech stock at artificially inflated prices and bilk unsuspecting public investors out of millions, the SEC said.

An attorney for Curshen, 46, could not be reached for immediate comment. But the SEC said entities affiliated with Red Sea, which was founded in 1998, included Sentry Global Securities, a broker-dealer licensed by St, Kitts and Nevis, and Sentry Global Trust, Ltd, a St. Kitts-incorporated trust.

Red Sea had true global reach, as it used a web of nominee brokerage accounts to sell massive quantities of stock in a firm supposedly set up to save the world from greenhouse gas emissions, the SEC said.

It said the company had opened bank accounts for shell corporations in countries including the Republic of Seychelles, Cyprus, Panama and Tanzania as part of its fraudulent stock scheme.


Congress to NASA: Study Space! (Not Climate)

Members of Congress are asking something novel of NASA: to actually study space, not global warming. Representatives Bill Posey (R-FL), Sandy Adams (R-FL), Rob Bishop (R-UT) and others have sent a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) and Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) asking for NASA to launch their efforts in a new direction — the old one.

For many years, NASA has been spending vast sums of money to study global warming, despite the efforts already undertaken at other federal agencies where such research is more appropriate. The letter asks that NASA refocus on what it was created to do, which is to maintain and develop our space program.

The amount of money being spent to study global warming, as a percentage of NASA’s budget, is startling — especially when one considers this is not part of NASA’s original mission. In budget year 2010, NASA spent 7.5% of its funding — over $1B — to study global warming. On top of that — the vast majority of federal stimulus money given to NASA in 2010 was spent on studying global warming.

As a whole, the U.S. federal government has spent $8.7 billion dollars on global warming studies — just in the past year! Many of the sixteen separate agencies doing this work were performing redundant research. In a time of federal spending cuts that are sure to come, much of this redundancy certainly can and must be eliminated, saving taxpayers billions. Certainly NASA should be one of the first to see funding drastically cut, or eliminated entirely, in this area.

The principal arm of global warming research for NASA is the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). That’s “Space” Studies, not climate. The Institute is located in New York City on the campus of Columbia University. The homepage of GISS states:

Research at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) emphasizes a broad study of global change.

No mention of anything to do with space exploration. How odd. The overview continues:

… which is an interdisciplinary initiative addressing natural and man-made changes in our environment that occur on various time scales — from one-time forcings such as volcanic explosions, to seasonal and annual effects such as El Niño, and on up to the millennia of ice ages — and that affect the habitability of our planet.

Under the section titled “More Research News & Features,” there are seven different news items, all dealing with global warming. Nothing about space or manned space missions or anything at all up there. It’s as if GISS has launched itself into an entirely different orbit, unrelated to its founding documents. The Goddard Institute for Climate Studies would be a much more accurate representation, though I think Dr. Robert Goddard would be surprised to learn how much influence he must have had in the field of climate research, rather than in developing liquid fueled rockets.

The shift of the GISS research effort is mysterious, but so is the trend of their long-term temperature records. In the late 1990s, GISS published a graph of the United States yearly average temperature from 1880 to 1998. From the graph it is clear that 1934 is nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit warmer than 1998, a very substantial amount. In fact, the graph ranked the four warmest years in order as: 1934, 1921, 1931, and 1998. But by 2009, an updated version of the graph shows some dramatic and remarkable changes: 1934, 1921, and 1931 are all now cooler than 1998!

Somehow in the past decade, these three years that concluded seven or eight decades ago managed to cool themselves, and 1998 found a way to warm itself, despite this all requiring time travel and maybe a volcano and a second sun.

How could “climate change” of this nature and magnitude take place when the readings were already determined? Apparently GISS found a way to “adjust” the temperatures of the past and present, by “changing” them. The obvious result of the change is twofold. The warmest decade of the last 130 years in the United States, the 1930s, has been “cooled” to make the current time period appear warmer. Another result of the change is that the years after 1970 have been adjusted warmer, to make the slope of temperature rise since then appear steeper and more significant.

Not only is GISS studying global warming, they are actually creating it! I guess all those billions of dollars were enough to buy a few degrees here and there.

This interesting interpretation of temperature by GISS is not limited to the United States data. The differences between the GISS global average temperature and the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) satellite-derived average global temperature is revealing. Since 1998, the difference in the global temperature anomaly between GISS and UAH has increased to .72 degrees Fahrenheit, with GISS being the warmer. This difference is 70% of all the global warming anomaly since 1850! Some of this difference is due to the fact that GISS uses the period from 1951 to 1980 as its base period to calculate its anomalies. The period from 1945 to 1976 was a period of global cooling. By using this colder period as its base for calculating anomalies GISS gets larger warm temperature anomalies in its current evaluation of global temperature. The UAH uses the last 30 years as its base period.

As a consequence of these differences we get conflicting trends. The UAH data shows a decline of average global temperature of .34 degrees Fahrenheit during January 2011. On the other hand GISS found an increase of .27 degrees Fahrenheit during the same month. From March of 2010 to January 2011, UAH data shows a substantial global temperature drop of 1.01 degrees Fahrenheit. GISS was showing a downward trend in global temperature of 1.03 degrees Fahrenheit from March 2010 to December 2010, but then reversed the trend in January. It was almost as if GISS had enough of this temperature drop, and called a halt to it.

It appears that the climate in Washington is changing. We may see a significant drop in funding and a refocusing of NASA’s mission back to where it belongs, in space. The Goddard Institute for Data Adjustment may find that climate change does indeed have significant implications for the future, but those changes could be in a direction that GISS did not anticipate, and this time their attempts to change that direction may be out of their control.


John Holdren might be in for an unpleasant surprise

If he IS interrogated by a House committee he might discover that weather isn't climate

The US president's chief science adviser says the nation's current efforts to tackle climate change are insufficient in the long-term. Speaking to BBC News at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Washington DC, Professor John Holdren said the current US Congress was unlikely to pass new legislation to put a price on CO2 emissions.

President Obama's administration's efforts, he said, would instead have to focus on developing cleaner technologies, expanding the use of nuclear power and improving energy efficiency.

But he admits that in the long term, these initiatives on their own will not be enough. Professor John Holdren: "We didn't get as much done as the President had hoped for" "Ultimately, we will have to look to a future Congress for the more comprehensive approach that climate change will require," he said.

For the time being, Professor Holdren faces a more sceptical Congress than he would like, and one that proposes a series of congressional hearings to assess the science of climate change.

Professor Holdren says he is relishing the opportunity. "Any objective look at what science has to say about climate change ought to be sufficient to persuade reasonable people that the climate is changing and that humans are responsible for a substantial part of that - and that these changes are doing harm and will continue to do more harm unless we start to reduce our emissions. "If Congress wants to have a series of hearings to illuminate these issues, they are going to get illuminated."

Professor Holdren accepts that confidence in climate science has been dented by recent scandals. But he believes public reaction was temporary and short-lived. "I'm not so sure there's a lot of new scepticism in the climate change debate," he said.

"People are seeing the impact of climate change around them in extraordinary patterns of floods and droughts, wildfires, heatwaves and powerful storms. "I think it is going to be very hard to persuade people that climate change is somehow a fraud."


The latest time-wasting from Europe

Many aspects of gender inequality are well known and well documented. But there seems to be little awareness that male behaviour leads to greater emissions of climate-changing gases.

That is the conclusion of two independent studies by separate teams of European scientists, both based on statistical data on consumption and daily activities of men and women in industrialised countries.

Frédéric Chomé, a French consultant on environmental and sustainable development issues, stated that a typical French woman causes emissions of 32.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2) per day, on average, while a man causes 39.3 kg of CO2 emissions.

"The estimates are based on a study of human activities separated by gender, conducted by France's National Institute of Statistics and Economics (INSEE)," Chomé told Tierramérica. "Although our calculation method is very approximate, I believe the results are a good indicator of the differences in environmental contamination resulting from the different behaviours of men and women," added the author of the study titled "24 Hours Exactly: Your Personal Carbon Account."

Similar conclusions resulted from a study by Annika Carlsson-Kanyama, of Sweden, and Riita Räty, of Finland, about the behaviours of men and women in 10 daily activities in Germany, Greece, Norway and Sweden.

According to their study, "Comparing Energy Use by Gender, Age and Income in Some European Countries," men consume more meat and processed beverages than women do, use automobiles more frequently and driving longer distances, resulting in greater CO2 emissions.

Commenting on the two studies, Corinna Altenburg and Fritz Reusswig, of Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, noted that some of the more polluting habits attributed to the male population are the result of the social roles they usually play in society.

In transportation, for example, men make more trips in airplane and automobile, raising considerably their ecological footprint, according to the two experts.

That difference could be balanced out in the future, "to the extent that equal opportunity allows women to climb the labour ladder, while men take on more household duties."

Meanwhile, eating habits follow the gender line: men tend to eat more meat, and women eat more fruits and vegetables -- habits that are difficult to change, according to Altenburg and Reusswig.

They suggest that a policy aimed at reducing the male portion of CO2 emissions should focus as much on environmental objectives as issues of urban development, traditionally male jobs, and deeply rooted social customs.

"The goal in eating should be to trade quantity for quality. Reducing the consumption of meat reduces mass production of meat, and that helps fight CO2 emissions from livestock, for example," said the experts.

Chomé found that in France, in eating habits alone, one man is responsible for 7.98 kg of CO2 emissions per day, while one woman is responsible for 6.79 kg per day. The scientists found similar gender differences in nearly all 11 activities analysed.

The only case in which women cause greater greenhouse gas emissions is in carrying out household tasks like cooking and cleaning and washing clothes, according to the study released Nov. 24.

Carlsson-Kanyama, meanwhile, explained to Tierramérica that their research found that, apart from the substantial gender differences in transportation and eating habits, it is the consumption of alcohol and tobacco products that drive up the portion of emissions for which men are responsible. "For the study, we looked at the total use of energy per household in the four countries, and then we divided the individual consumption of men and women by activity," she said.

But the activity with greatest environmental consequences is transportation, stressed Carlsson-Kanyama. "In that rubric alone, men consume between 70 and 80 percent more energy than women in Germany and Norway, 100 percent more in Sweden, and up to 350 percent more in Greece."

Blah, blah, blah....



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


19 February, 2011

Coral Reefs EXPAND as the Oceans Warm

Is Hoagy ready to recant yet?

Hold onto your hats, this will come as quite a shock. Well, not really—unless you count yourself among that pessimistic bunch who sport blinders that only allow you to see bad things from global warming. And if you are one of those poor souls, you better stop reading now, because we wouldn’t want reality to impinge on your guarded (and distorted) view of the world.

But for the rest of us, the following news will fit nicely into the world view that the earth’s ecosystems are robust, adaptable and opportunistic, as opposed to being fragile, readily broken, and soon to face extinction at the hand of anthropogenic climate change.

A hot-off-the-presses paper in the peer-reviewed journal Geophysical Research Letters by a team of Japanese scientists finds that warming oceans expand the range of tropical corals northward along the coast of Japan. At the same time, the corals are remaining stable at the southern end of their ranges.

That’s right. Corals are adapting to climate change and expanding, not contracting.

But, you don’t have to take our word for it. Here is the news, straight from the authors:
We show the first large-scale evidence of the poleward range expansion of modern corals, based on 80 years of national records from the temperate areas of Japan, where century-long measurements of in situ sea-surface temperatures have shown statistically significant rises. Four major coral species categories, including two key species for reef formation in tropical areas, showed poleward range expansions since the 1930s, whereas no species demonstrated southward range shrinkage or local extinction. The speed of these expansions reached up to 14 km/year, which is far greater than that for other species. Our results, in combination with recent findings suggesting range expansions of tropical coral-reef associated organisms, strongly suggest that rapid, fundamental modifications of temperate coastal ecosystems could be in progress.

This certainly throws buckets of cold water on all the overly heated talk about how the decline in coral reefs as a result of anthropogenic global warming is going to decimate fisheries and tourism the world over. Perhaps it actually will have a negative impact in some locales, but in others, it seems that it could have quite the opposite effect.

And it is this opposite effect—a positive impact of coral reef communities and their dependents—that is routinely left out of climate change impact assessments.

For instance, when the infamous first draft of the still infamous Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States report from the U.S. Global Change Research Program was released for public comments, it included this bit of text from the “Society” chapter (page 47 of the report):
“A changing climate will mean reduced opportunities for many of the activities that Americans hold dear. For example, coldwater fish species such as salmon and trout that are popular with fishermen will have reduced habitat in a warmer world, and coral reefs are already severely compromised. Hunting opportunities will change as animals’ habitats shift and as relationships among species in natural communities are disrupted by their different responses to rapid climate change.”

We submitted the following two comments (from among our 75+ pages of comments that we submitted) in regards to that rather bit of gloomy text:
Specific comment 78. Chapter Society, page 47, Second paragraph, first sentence

Comment: Enough with the pessimism.

Recommendation: Change the sentence to read “A changing climate may mean reduced opportunities for some activities and increased opportunities for many other of the activities that Americans hold dear.”

Specific comment 79. Chapter Society, page 47, Second paragraph, second sentence, “…coral reefs are already severely compromised.”

Comment: Warming SSTs along the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic shores should encourage coral reefs to expand northward. In fact, evidence of northerly range expansion of elkhorn and staghorn has recently been reported (Precht, W.F., and R.B. Aronson, 2004. "Climate flickers and range shifts of reef corals". Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2, 307-314). Currently, the southern portions of Florida define climatologically the northernmost portion of the coral habitat in the western Atlantic, a warming climate presents the opportunity for a habitat expansion that could bring corals further northward and closer to the U.S. mainland. Since coral reefs represent a major tourist destination, not only would a northward range expansion be a benefit to the corals themselves, but may well also represent enhanced economic opportunities along the southeastern U.S. coast.

Recommendation: Update the paragraph on the changing patterns of recreational activities to include the likelihood that coral reefs will expand northward into U.S. coastal waters and increase recreational opportunities associated with them. As it now stands, the statement fails to meet the authors’ claim of providing the “best available science” and of conveying “the most relevant and up-to-date information possible” and otherwise violates applicable objectivity requirements.

Apparently our comments had some impact, but not to the full extent that we intended.

Indeed, in the final version of the USGCRP report, the first sentence of the quoted passage above was changed to “A changing climate will mean reduced opportunities for some activities and locations and expanded opportunities for others.” So far so good.

The next sentence in the final report is “Hunting and fishing will change as animals’ habitats shift and as relationships among species in natural communities are disrupted by their different responses to rapid climate change.”

In other words, the powers that be at the USGCRP decided to drop the whole part about coral reefs, rather than having to include a discussion about the potential benefits of climate change (but don’t be so naive to think that they dropped the potential negative impacts on coral reefs from the entire report—oh no, they have a section dedicated to those in the “Coral reefs” portion of the “Ecosystems” chapter—with nary a mention of possible (probable) range expansion and concomitant expanded economic possibilities).

Such is the nature of the vast majority of climate change assessment reports —emphasize the negatives and downplay or completely ignore the positives. But this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to the dedicated readers of World Climate Report.

Nor should the realization that the expansion of coral reefs in Japan is but a single example of organisms responding positively to the benefits and opportunities presented by a changing climate. We have covered many other examples in the past, and we promise even more examples in the days, months, years to come.


Leading Warmist rejects the current "extreme events" mantra

There has been a lot of havoc in the media world about two recent papers in Nature whose authors argued that bad rainstorms are caused by humans (Min et al.) and that the British 2000 floods were caused by humans (Pall et al.). The idea that climate extremes are supposed to get larger is one of the most omni-present manifestations of the climate doomsday religion.

This thesis contradicts pretty much all empirical data as well as theoretical analyses of the climate. The global temperature has probably increased in the last 100 years but the extremes have not. However, many AGW believers, including many of those you could otherwise count as doubters (e.g. the former Czech representative in the IPCC) love to parrot this complete pseudoscientific nonsense.

If you graph the intensity or number of hurricanes; the temperature fluctuations; the total number of extreme temperature events; or many other things that depend on "non-uniformity" and "non-constancy" of the quantities describing the atmosphere, you will see that there's been no significant global trend in either of them during the last 100 years or so.

All those graphs are noisy - unlike the temperature (following a pink noise curve), all these graphs resemble white noise (because there's no reason to think that e.g. the annual or monthly amount of precipitation should be a continuous function). But the "signal" never exceeds the "noise" in a statistically significant way.

I have created many such graphs using the WeatherData function in Mathematica. I wonder - if those people really believe that the measures of extremeness are going up, why do they do so? Haven't they managed to draw a single graph of this type which is almost enough to see that this whole thesis is just plain rubbish?

It seems to me that the honest believers build their opinions on the climate models that suffer from some kind of numerical instability - and they're not capable to distinguish the climate models from the reality or to see that these effects obviously can't be happening in the real world. And by the way, they have probably never played with the same model without the CO2 increase to see that the instability is still there.

The idea that all extremes are getting stronger - a basic pillar of the climate doomsday beliefs - is actually so silly that even one of the most famous climate cranks, Gavin Schmidt, has been able to figure our and admit that it's wrong. In his Real Climate text "Going to extremes":

Schmidt tries to clarify some misconceptions believed by some of his even more hopeless fellow climate cranks. He starts with some "very basic but oft-confused points":

* Not all extremes are the same.

* There is no theory or result that indicates that climate change increases extremes in general.

* Some extremes will become more common in future (and some less so).

* Attribution of extremes is hard.

I claim that many - if not a majority of - climate worriers deny some or most of these "basic points" by Schmidt. Concerning the last point, one that the "attribution is hard", it's not hard to see why it's true. It's because the systemic, trend-like changes have obviously been so tiny that they can't be identified as statistically significant changes by any method.

The idea that a rising CO2 changes the extremeness of some events by a nonzero amount is almost certainly true, pretty much tautologically true, but the effect is so small that this insight has no empirical consequences.

Even if you were able to see the effect of the rising CO2 on the extremeness of some weather events, it would be damn clear that for some of them, the effect would be larger than for others; and for some of them, it would be negative, as Schmidt correctly says.


Put Beddington to bed

Sir John Beddington is the British government’s chief scientific adviser. A recent pearl of wisdom below:
We are grossly intolerant, and properly so, of racism. We are grossly intolerant, and properly so, of people who [are] anti-homosexuality... We are not—and I genuinely think we should think about how we do this—grossly intolerant of pseudo-science, the building up of what purports to be science by the cherry-picking of the facts and the failure to use scientific evidence and the failure to use scientific method."

"One way is to be completely intolerant of this nonsense," he said. "That we don't kind of shrug it off. We don't say: ‘oh, it's the media’ or ‘oh they would say that wouldn’t they?’ I think we really need, as a scientific community—and this is a very important scientific community—to think about how we do it."

Even one of his Leftist allies is critical. See the excerpt below

This is what is offered by John Beddington's recent animated call to a conference of UK government scientists, for "gross intolerance" of what he holds to be "pernicious", "fatuous", "pseudoscience".

What is this 'pseudoscience'? For Beddington, this seems to include any kind of criticism from non-scientists of new technologies like genetically modified organisms, much advocacy of the 'precautionary principle' in environmental protection, or suggestions that science itself might also legitimately be subjected to moral considerations.

Who does Beddington hold to blame for this "politically or morally or religiously motivated nonsense"? For anyone who really values the central principles of science itself, the answer is quite shocking. He is targeting effectively anyone expressing "scepticism" over what he holds to be 'scientific' pronouncements—whether on GM, climate change or any other issue. Note, it is not irrational "denial" on which Beddington is calling for 'gross intolerance', but the eminently reasonable quality of "scepticism"!

The alarming contradiction here is that organised, reasoned, scepticism—accepting rational argument from any quarter without favour for social status, cultural affiliations or institutional prestige—is arguably the most precious and fundamental quality that science itself has (imperfectly) to offer. Without this enlightening aspiration, history shows how society is otherwise all-too-easily shackled by the doctrinal intolerance, intellectual blinkers and authoritarian suppression of criticism so familiar in religious, political, cultural and media institutions.

The point is not that science or scientists —themselves (thankfully!) human— are mystically immune to these tendencies. When the single largest area of global research expenditure is military and the principal driving forces behind science lie in narrow disciplinary agendas, rich world markets and intellectual property—there can be no denying that science is itself as political and power-laden as other social institutions.

The fact that science is, as Beddington concedes, also always uncertain, profoundly compounds the legitimate scope that typically remains for openly subjective value judgement and interpretation. These are precisely the realities that Beddington's unmeasured language is in danger of suppressing.

The point is that the basic aspirational principles of science offer the best means to challenge the ubiquitously human distorting pressures of self-serving privilege, hubris, prejudice and power. Among these principles are exactly the scepticism and tolerance against which Beddington is railing (ironically) so emotionally!

Of course, scientific practices like peer review, open publication and acknowledgement of uncertainty all help reinforce the positive impacts of these underlying qualities. But, in the real world, any rational observer has to note that these practices are themselves imperfect. Although rarely achieved, it is inspirational ideals of universal, communitarian scepticism—guided by progressive principles of reasoned argument, integrity, pluralism, openness and, of course, empirical experiment—that best embody the great civilising potential of science itself.

As the motto of none other than the Royal Society loosely enjoins (also sometimes somewhat ironically) "take nothing on authority". In this colourful instance of straight talking then, John Beddington is himself coming uncomfortably close to a particularly unsettling form of unscientific—even (in a deep sense) anti-scientific—'double speak'.

Anyone who really values the progressive civilising potential of science should argue (in a qualified way as here) against Beddington's intemperate call for "complete intolerance" of scepticism. It is the social and human realities shared by politicians, non-government organisations, journalists and scientists themselves, that make tolerance of scepticism so important.

The priorities pursued in scientific research and the directions taken by technology are all as fundamentally political as other areas of policy. No matter how uncomfortable and messy the resulting debates may sometimes become, we should never be cowed by any special interest—including that of scientific institutions—away from debating these issues in open, rational, democratic ways. To allow this to happen would be to undermine science itself in the most profound sense.

It is the upholding of an often imperfect pursuit of scepticism and tolerance that offer the best way to respect and promote science. Such a position is, indeed, much more in keeping with the otherwise-exemplary work of John Beddington himself.


Beddington is not alone: Australian Warmist "scientist" has a tanty

Warmism is speculation, not science. Science has no way of predicting the future of the world. And the tantrum shows that it is emotion, not dispassionate enquiry, that is driving her

The government's leading scientific adviser said she was standing down for personal and professional reasons, but declined to comment further. "This is not a decision that I have taken lightly or quickly," said Professor Sackett, in a statement released on her website yesterday afternoon. "Institutions, as well as individuals, grow and evolve and the time is now right for me to seek other ways to contribute," said the world-renowned astronomer.

Many in Australia's scientific community were surprised by Professor Sackett's sudden resignation. In the past she has been critical of the government's lack of action on climate change.

The Minister for Innovation, Kim Carr, thanked her for her contribution to the promotion of science and scientific research during her tenure as Australia's first full-time chief scientist.

Sources said she had a tense working relationship with Senator Carr, who came to regret appointing her to the role and over time increasingly looked to the CSIRO chief executive, Megan Clark, for science advice.

Sources said Senator Carr found Professor Sackett too outspoken and opinionated, and felt she did not give sufficient regard to Labor's agenda and the processes of government. A spokeswoman for Senator Carr denied those suggestions yesterday.

Professor Sackett was also understood to be frustrated about a lack of progress in government efforts to address climate change. She told the Herald last May she was concerned by the government's decision to delay its emissions trading legislation. "Any action that is delayed puts us at higher risk of dangerous climate change," she said.

The government has begun searching for a replacement. Professor Sackett finishes her appointment on March 4.


Climate zealots made my life hell for being a sceptic says British TV presenter

As a climate change sceptic, Johnny Ball doesn’t mince his words. He once declared spider flatulence to be more damaging to the environment than fossil fuels.

But the veteran children’s TV presenter is paying the price for his outspoken remarks. Yesterday he revealed he has become the victim of a vicious hate campaign by environmentalist ‘zealots’.

Mr Ball – father of Radio Two DJ Zoe Ball – popularised maths and science for millions of youngsters in the 1970s and 1980s with his eccentric TV shows. More recently he has carved out a career giving talks in schools and at science festivals and teachers’ conferences.

But he says zealots are trying to sabotage his career because he has described climate change as ‘alarmist nonsense’. He claims the internet has been used to try to discredit his opinions. Bloggers have run campaigns stating Mr Ball ‘should not be allowed near children’. And an imposter has even tried to cancel his booking at a training day for maths teachers in Northampton.

In a sinister twist, websites have also been set up in his name which contain pornographic images.

Mr Ball, a 72-year-old grandfather, believes his career has been destroyed and says his bookings have fallen by 90 per cent since the smear campaign began four years ago. Police are investigating his claims.

The former presenter of Think of a Number and Think Again first spoke out against ‘alarmist’ climate change scientists at the Manchester Science Festival in 2007. He criticised those who terrify children by telling them that they ‘are all going to hell in a handcart in 39 years’ because of climate change. And in 2009 he was booed off stage for making his spider remark.

Yesterday he said the campaign against him amounted to a ‘witch-hunt’. He said: ‘This was clearly a criminal act to damage me and my career business. People have every right to make up their own minds on my stance. But to deliberately smear my name in ways that are clearly criminal is so very disappointing. ‘I would hope it is not the way fair and sensible debate is going in this far more open, modern society.’

Mr Ball is a prolific author of maths books who has also produced five educational stage musicals. He said he has been sceptical of climate change arguments since the 1960s when scientists warned of an impending ice age.

And he said that anyone who seeks to make a common sense, measured comment about climate change is branded a ‘heretic’.

Yesterday, he called for the views from both sides of the climate change camp to be heard. He highlighted a recent Independent Panel on Climate Change ruling that stated that there must be no more exaggeration about the issue.

Explaining his views on climate change, he told the Times Education Supplement: ‘The reason I take this stance is because several films have been introduced into schools which imply that the earth may not be able to sustain human life as we know it, in around 39 years’ time, which is unscientific, alarmist nonsense.

‘Of course mankind is a great burden on the earth, but at every turn we are learning to manage and better control our impact and the damage we do.

‘However, my main concern is that the alarmism is actually frightening schoolchildren to an alarming degree. ‘It is suggesting to them that the previous generation have all but ruined the planet, and unless they switch stand-by lights off, for instance, we could all be going to hell in a handcart. ‘This does nothing to promote confidence in our young. It sends the message that all technology is harmful. Yet, in truth, great strides are being made.

'Gas-fired power stations now produce twice as much power for the same fossil fuel as they did 15 years ago. Cars have far cleaner exhausts and have doubled their mileage and tyre wear, and they are all recyclable or reclaimable. 'These are success stories.’


The hysterical Hertsgaard: A lying Warmist

Not that there's anything new about lying Warmists or anything new about Hertsgaard misrepresentations. He is just a publicity hound and will do and say whatever it takes

The best way to get the attention of a lawmaker: Say you’re from a legitimate news outlet and proceed with your questioning. A great way to discredit yourself: Lie about your affiliation with a news outlet and proceed with your questioning.

Climate activist Mark Hertsgaard, it appears, failed to get a memo containing the second piece of wisdom. In recently released footage of Hertsgaard’s ambush of Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe this week, the activist gets Inhofe’s attention by claiming to be with Politico.

The problem? Hertsgaard is not with the D.C. insider publication at all. Dan Berman, energy editor at Politico, told The Daily Caller that while Hertsgaard has written one opinion article for them, he was not and is not affiliated with Politico. “Mr. Hertsgaard is not a POLITICO reporter or employee and we have asked him not to portray himself as one,” Berman wrote in an email to TheDC.

Hertsgaard’s own website describes him as an independent journalist and author. “For 20 years, Mark Hertsgaard has investigated global warming for outlets including the New Yorker, NPR, Time, Vanity Fair and the Nation,” the “about” section of his website reads. No mention of Politico.



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


18 February, 2011

The debunking of the Antarctic warming scare

In the science blogs there is currently a serious bust up between Eric Steig, author of a paper claiming that the Antarctic was warming (and therefore, in his view, putting the final nail in the sceptics' coffin) and Ryan O'Donnell, who, with Steve McIntyre, has published a challenging rebuttal. The story is taken up in the UK Spectator this week. The main story is subscription only, but the editorial makes very interesting reading:

In January 2009, Nature magazine ran the a cover story conveying dramatic news about Antarctica: that most of it had warmed significantly over the last half-century. For years, the data from this frozen continent - with 90 percent of the world’s ice mass - had stubbornly refused to corroborate the global warming narrative. So the study, led by Eric Steig of the University of Washington, was treated as a bit of a scoop. It reverberated around the world. Gavin Schmidt, from the RealClimate blog, declared that Antarctica had silenced the sceptics. Mission, it seemed, was accomplished: Antarctica was no longer an embarrassment to the global warming narrative.

He spoke too soon. The indefatigable Steve McIntyre started to scrutinise his followings along with Nicholas Lewis. They found several flaws: Steig et al had used too few data sequences to speak for an entire continent, and had processed the data in a very questionable way. But when they wanted to correct him, in another journal, they quickly ran into an inconvenient truth about global warming: the high priests do not like refutation. To have their critique (initial submission here, final version here) of Steig’s work published, they needed to assuage the many demands of an anonymous ‘Reviewer A’ - whom they later found out to be Steig himself.

Lewis and Matt Ridley have joined forces to tell the story in the cover issue of this week’s Spectator. It’s another powerful, and depressing tale of the woeful state of climate science. Real science welcomes refutation: with global warming, it is treated as a religion. As they say in their cover story:
“Nature’s original peer-review process had let through an obviously flawed paper, and no professional climate scientist then disputed it - perhaps because of fear that doing so might harm their careers. As the title of Richard Bean’s new play - The Heretic - at the Royal Court hints, young scientists going into climate studies these days are a bit like young theologians in Elizabethan England. They quickly learn that funding and promotion dries up if you express heterodox views, or doubt the scripture. The scripture, in this case, being the assembled reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

They went through 88 pages of correspondence in their battle to have their critique published.
“So has Antarctica been warming? Mostly not - at least not measurably. Retreat of the floating Antarctic ice shelves is a favourite story for the media. But, except in a very few peripheral parts, Antarctica is far too cold to lose ice by surface melting.”

As Lewis & Ridley say in their closing paragraphs:
“Papers that come to lukewarm or sceptical conclusions are published, if at all, only after the insertion of catechistic sentences to assert their adherence to orthodoxy. Last year, a paper in Nature Geosciences concluded heretically that `it is at present impossible to accurately determine climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide’ (high sensitivity underpins the entire IPCC argument), yet presaged this with the (absurd) remark: `Earth's climate can only be stabilized by bringing carbon dioxide emissions under control in the twenty-first century.’

Likewise, a paper In Science last month linking periods of migration in European history with cooler weather stated: `Such historical data may provide a basis for counteracting the recent political and fiscal reluctance to mitigate projected climate change.’

Sceptical climatologist Pat Michaels pointed out that the sentence would make more sense with `counteracting’ removed.

Science as a philosophy is a powerful, but fragile thing. In the case of climate, it is now in conflict with science as an institution.”


Obama's Closed-Door Dinner with Clean Energy Allies Could Escalate his War on Fossil Fuels

President Obama traveled to the West Coast today to tout his 2012 budget and possibly rally support from Silicon Valley business leaders who support his clean energy agenda.

News reports indicate the President will be meeting behind closed doors with tech giant executives from Google, Apple, Oracle and Facebook, among others, at the home of venture capitalist John Doerr the evening of February 17.

"It seems Obama, who once promised transparency in governing, is meeting behind closed doors with 'The Usual Suspects' CEOs to rally support for his political agenda. Since some of these executives, including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and John Doerr, have actively supported legislative efforts to restrict the use of fossil fuels, it's likely the real purpose of this trip is a recruitment effort to rally support for Obama's war on fossil fuels," said Deneen Borelli, full-time fellow with the African-American leadership group Project 21.

Deneen Borelli notes that Silicon Valley business leaders and environmental activist groups contributed about $30 million to defeat California Proposition 23 - a voter initiative that would have delayed implementation of the state's onerous global warming law. Eric Schmidt's wife contributed $500,000 to defeat the measure while Google board member John Doerr and his wife added over $ 1.2 million.

Renewable energy is an example of a policy issue that merges the confluence of political and business interests. West Coast business leaders have invested huge sums of money betting on a renewable energy future and the failure of laws such as cap-and-trade to pass Congress has put the viability of renewable energy in jeopardy. The price of traditional forms of energy must be increased through government action to make renewable energy cost-competitive.

"Obama's clean energy goal essentially transfers wealth from working class citizens to the pockets of billionaires such as John Doerr. It's outrageous that Obama is choosing to enrich the political and business elite at great cost to working Americans," added Deneen Borelli.

"President Obama's clean energy goals are in direct alignment with the business interests of the social and political elite. It's a marriage of political and financial convenience. For example, John Doerr, Al Gore's venture capital business partner, has bet heavily on renewable energy and he needs Obama to come through with laws to bailout those investments," said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project.

"I hope Obama's networking with the left-wing elite wakes up the executives from the coal, oil and natural gas industries. Obama's "California Dream Team," is waging war on their industry and, not surprisingly, they are not invited to dinner. The executives from the fossil fuel industry were outspent by about 3 to 1 over the CA proposition 23. Unless they initiate an massive effort to defend their business these companies will be on the endangered list," added Tom Borelli.

The National Center For Public Policy Research is a conservative, free-market non-profit think-tank established in 1982. It is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters, and receives less than one percent of its revenue from corporate sources.


House GOP to Eliminate Climate Change Science Budget

Three members of the new House GOP have proposed eliminating NASA’s climate change research capability entirely. The targeted budget cuts would do more to accomplish the conservative goals of the party than actually cut the budget. The cost of climate change research is a subset of all earth science research which itself gets only 7.5% of NASA’s entire funding, which totals 0.6% of the US Federal budget.

Representatives Bill Posey (R-FL) and Sandy Adams (R-FL) and Rob Bishop (R-UT) are the three that have proposed entirely axing the funding for climate change research.

NASA is one of the three top climate change research organizations worldwide, and the ability of the world to gather data will be impacted.

But with no funding, future taxpayers will no longer have to hear from scientists like James Hansen, lead author in 2007 of a study which concluded: “If global emissions of carbon dioxide continue to rise at the rate of the past decade, this research shows that there will be disastrous effects, including increasingly rapid sea level rise, increased frequency of droughts and floods, and increased stress on wildlife and plants due to rapidly shifting climate zones.”

The total savings by eliminating any research on climate change? A subset of a measly $1.4 billion for all earth sciences that goes to study climate.


Even Revkin of the NYT is getting critical

See below. He is still a Warmist, of course, but he doesn't like claims of certainty where there is none

I posted a quick riff overnight on new research, published in Nature, that links human-driven global warming and rising instances of extreme precipitation in observed parts of the Northern Hemisphere over the last half of the 20th century. (There’s a second related paper, focused on heavy flooding in England in 2000, but I’m confining this discussion to the broader analysis.)

The research is important because, as Gavin Schmidt noted this morning on Realclimate, it digs in on one of the most daunting tasks in climate science — attributing a specific change in climate conditions to the long-term global heat-trapping influence of accumulating greenhouse gases. It adds to vast volumes of work devoted to this question.

But is it big news? From the burst of coverage (including in the news pages of The Times), sure. And that’s no surprise given the core conclusion, with nary a caveat, in the opening summary of the paper:
Here we show that human-induced increases in greenhouse gases have contributed to the observed intensification of heavy precipitation events found over approximately two-thirds of data-covered parts of Northern Hemisphere land areas.

In scientific literature you rarely see statements so streamlined and definitive. For climate science, this is the equivalent of a smoking gun. News indeed. Add in the extreme floods last year (a period not included in the study) and you have more relevance, although Roger Pielke Jr. this morning notes the importance of distinguishing between analysis of certain kinds of extreme precipitation events and disastrous flooding.

The problem is that the Nature paper is not definitive at all, as you’ll see below.

None of this detracts from the importance of this work, or the overall picture of an increasingly human-influenced climate, with impacts on the frequency of gullywashers.

But this does raise big questions about the standards scientists and journals use in summarizing complex work and the justifiable need for journalists — and readers — to explore such work as if it has a “handle with care” sign attached. This is not about “ false balance.” This is about responsible reporting.

A previous instance occurred in 2006, when a paper in Science on frog die-offs in Costa Rica included this firm and sobering statement: "Here we show that a recent mass extinction associated with pathogen outbreaks is tied to global warming".

Things were far more complicated, of course, as you can read in my 2008 piece on Vanishing Frogs, Climate and the Front Page.

In the policy arena, the eagerness to trim away caveats is even more pronounced, as was the case when climate treaty negotiators in Cancún erroneously oversimplified the core finding of the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In that instance, the error was fixed.

So what’s the issue with the new study of bad storms and warming? It opens with an extraordinary summation, which is echoed in the news release disseminated by the journal:
Here we show that human-induced increases in greenhouse gases have contributed to the observed intensification of heavy precipitation events found over approximately two-thirds of data-covered parts of Northern Hemisphere land areas.

Just in case there’s any doubt in the scientific community, this is the news element in this otherwise creditable, but unremarkable[*], work.

At the tail end of the full paper, capping a paragraph about a weak spot in the analysis — that the observed trend in extreme precipitation events exceeds what is produced by various climate models — comes a sentence about uncertainties: "There are, however, uncertainties related to observational limitations, missing or uncertain external forcing and model performance".

There’s no indication that those caveats (which included links to 9 cited papers) apply to the grand conclusion. Did the authors stress the uncertainties in discussions with journalists? It sure doesn’t look that way. Should the journalists have pushed harder when confronted with definitive language? To my mind, yes.

As I wrote recently, there seems to be an inverse relationship between the definitiveness of an assertion and its credibility. This doesn’t mean that everything definitive is wrong (only Joe Romm could find a way to interpret it thus). It means that a reporter, or citizen, confronted with a flat statement on a tough issue would do well to dig a bit deeper.


Correlation is a NECESSARY condition for causation

Yet: Atmospheric CO2 was up in January and temperatures down

The latest, January 2011, temperature date is displayed in our updated Climate Bet graph at right. Neither our graph representing the period of the bet, nor the full satellite temperature series graph compiled by Roy Spencer provide evidence of alarming warming.

Does that mean that atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are falling, as would be consistent with the Al Gore’s and the IPCC modelers’ previously expressed beliefs? Well, no.

(They did tell us that people need to reduce their CO2 emissions in order to stop the global average temperature from increasing dangerously, didn’t they?)

NOAA’s data shows that atmospheric CO2 increased in January, as it has been for the duration of the NOAA record.

We suggest that disinterested and unbiased observers will wonder whether CO2 changes are really such an important influence on climate as Mr Gore would like to have us believe. They might further wonder how costly policies to reduce CO2 emissions can possibly be justified.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Don't overreact to so-called global warming

There's a new book out, something called "Hot." The author worries how his little girl will suffer if something isn't done about global warming, says a New York Times reviewer confiding that the concern broke his heart.

Here's something that should also break his heart. If we do the wrong thing about the climate, we might do far more harm than global warming ever could, maybe killing children.

It's utterly amazing that so many journalists and others inundate us regularly with scare stories demanding that the United States take fierce anti-warming action while scarcely ever pausing to mention the possible futility of it all -- or the costs.

Those costs will get us if we don't fight back, and those saying so aren't just radio hosts of the kind that make leftists urge censorship. They are people like William Nordhaus, a Yale economist who thinks man-made warming is real and dangerous. He has calculated what would happen in the long haul if the world were to implement an anti-warming plan like Al Gore's and has some numbers to share: Costs would outweigh benefits by $21 trillion.

One possible meaning of that figure for undeveloped countries would be that they remain impoverished, sticking with old-fashioned energy sources such as human brawn and maybe a windmill tossed in occasionally. Think of famine. Think of widespread disease. That would be the story unless developed countries gave them hundreds of billions despite recessions, high unemployment and their own Third World trajectories, all induced by the senselessness of cap-and-trade overreach.

Nordhaus does think some strategies could be effective, but there are reasons any effort might be of little avail. If India and China do not join the parade, nothing is accomplished by any American program, and the Chinese have not been spotted signing up. If the warming trends aren't bad, it's all a lot of hollering about very little, and some climatologists say the trends are mild.

One of them is Patrick Michaels who was at the University of Virginia for 30 years. His study convinces him nothing disastrous lies around yonder bend. Another is Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He believes gloomy computer simulations are bogus, that the climate changes we are seeing could be more natural than man-made and, like Michaels, that no intolerable warming lies ahead.

While some fanatically vile environmental activists try to make it sound as if anyone disagreeing with their conjectures is on the take, uncertainties abound about human-caused, calamitous climate change. And that's true despite what you may be reading about the accumulating evidence from such commentators as a New Yorker writer upset about reduced presidential alarmism even though he does notice the EPA is preparing an assault. My promise is it will be nasty, destructive and pointless.

A better answer is to adopt one sane course of action that Mark Hertsgaard, the author of "Hot," recommends: adaptation. Another answer if climate does veer in ruinous directions could be along the lines of something the famed physicist Freeman Dyson has suggested. In not too many more years, he suspects, we will have bioengineered plants capable of absorbing huge amounts of the atmospheric carbon dioxide believed by some to be the devil behind a coming hellfire.

The main thing is to avoid what happened with DDT. Because of a ban to protect wildlife from the pesticide in this country, it became more scarce, various kinds of pressures helped restrict its use anywhere, and a consequence was its being employed sparingly if at all in wildlife-safe, indoor spraying to combat malaria in Africa. Though not always, DDT can be enormously effective in stopping the disease while posing minimal if any threats to humans. The estimate is that millions of African children died because of misplaced values and overreactions.

That's worse than heart-breaking.



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


17 February, 2011

Georgy Porgy is shameless

The original moonbat has learned SOME caution. He starts out with a big caveat about the relationship between climate and weather. But he then goes on to say exactly what I and other skeptics said when drought was the Warmist scare du jour. He has discovered that warming should produce MORE rain and snow. How odd that he ignored that for so long! Laws of physics do backflips according to how convenient their conclusions are, apparently:

One paper, by Seung-Ki Min and others, shows that rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have caused an intensification of heavy rainfall events over some two-thirds of the weather stations on land in the northern hemisphere. The climate models appear to have underestimated the contribution of global warming on extreme rainfall: it's worse than we thought it would be.

None of this should be surprising. As Richard Allan points out, also in Nature, the warmer the atmosphere is, the more water vapour it can carry. There's even a formula which quantifies this: 6-7% more moisture in the air for every degree of warming near the Earth's surface. But both models and observations also show changes in the distribution of rainfall, with moisture concentrating in some parts of the world and fleeing from others: climate change is likely to produce both more floods and more droughts.


Permafrost: Models trump reality again

The melting Siberian permafrost scare is an old one. Trouble is that Russian scientists say it is NOT melting. See HERE, for instance. And there is no evidence that "greenhouse" gases warm us up anyhow: Rather the reverse on recent trends. Steve Goddard also has a laugh at this bit of speculation

Up to two-thirds of Earth's permafrost likely will disappear by 2200 as a result of warming temperatures, unleashing vast quantities of carbon into the atmosphere, says a new study by the University of Colorado Boulder's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

The carbon resides in permanently frozen ground that is beginning to thaw in high latitudes from warming temperatures, which will impact not only the climate but also international strategies to reduce fossil fuel emissions, said CU-Boulder's Kevin Schaefer, lead study author. "If we want to hit a target carbon dioxide concentration, then we have to reduce fossil fuel emissions that much lower than previously thought to account for this additional carbon from the permafrost," he said. "Otherwise we will end up with a warmer Earth than we want."

The escaping carbon comes from plant material, primarily roots trapped and frozen in soil during the last glacial period that ended roughly 12,000 years ago, he said. Schaefer, a research associate at CU-Boulder's National Snow and Ice Data Center, an arm of CIRES, likened the mechanism to storing broccoli in a home freezer. "As long as it stays frozen, it stays stable for many years," he said. "But if you take it out of the freezer it will thaw out and decay."

While other studies have shown carbon has begun to leak out of permafrost in Alaska and Siberia, the study by Schaefer and his colleagues is the first to make actual estimates of future carbon release from permafrost. "This gives us a starting point, and something more solid to work from in future studies," he said. "We now have some estimated numbers and dates to work with."

Schaefer and his team ran multiple Arctic simulations assuming different rates of temperature increases to forecast how much carbon may be released globally from permafrost in the next two centuries. They estimate a release of roughly 190 billion tons of carbon, most of it in the next 100 years. The team used Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


Deep-Sea Volcanic Vents Discovered in Chilly Waters of Southern Ocean

This could be the explanation for the occasional odd bits of warming at the margins of the Antarctic -- similar to the Gakkel ridge in the Arctic

Scientists aboard the Royal Research Ship James Cook have discovered a new set of deep-sea volcanic vents in the chilly waters of the Southern Ocean. The discovery is the fourth made by the research team in three years, which suggests that deep-sea vents may be more common in our oceans than previously thought.

Using an underwater camera system, the researchers saw slender mineral spires three metres tall, with shimmering hot water gushing from their peaks, and gossamer-like white mats of bacteria coating their sides. The vents are at a depth of 520 metres in a newly-discovered seafloor crater close to the South Sandwich Islands, a remote group of islands around 500 kilometres south-east of South Georgia.

"When we caught the first glimpse of the vents, the excitement was almost overwhelming," says Leigh Marsh, a University of Southampton PhD student who was on scientific watch at the time of the discovery.

Deep-sea vents are hot springs on the seafloor, where mineral-rich water nourishes lush colonies of microbes and deep-sea animals. In the three decades since scientists first encountered vents in the Pacific, around 250 have been discovered worldwide. Most have been found on a chain of undersea volcanoes called the mid-ocean ridge, however, and very few are known in the Antarctic.

"We're finding deep-sea vents more rapidly than ever before," says expedition leader Professor Paul Tyler of the University of Southampton's School of Ocean and Earth Science, which is based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. "And we're finding some in places other than at mid-ocean ridges, where most have been seen before."

By studying the new vents, the team hope to understand more about the distribution and evolution of life in the deep ocean, the role that deep-sea vents play in controlling the chemistry of the oceans, and the diversity of microbes that thrive in different conditions beneath the waves.

The researchers were exploring 'Adventure Caldera', a crater-like hole in the seafloor three kilometres across and 750 metres deep at its deepest point. Despite its size, Adventure Caldera was only discovered last year by geophysicists from the British Antarctic Survey.

The new vents are the fourth set to be discovered around Antarctica in three expeditions since 2009. Their discovery is part of a project funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), which involves researchers from the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, the Universities of Southampton, Newcastle, Oxford, Bristol and Leeds, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the US


Anti-ethanol legislation begins popping up

Two bills have recently been introduced that intend to block efforts made to increase U.S. consumption of ethanol.

The first, from Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK), intends to cut funding for EPA’s E15 program. My understanding of the legislation is that “cutting funding” for the program is the equivalent of ending it, as the EPA needs funds to carry out the remainder of the regulatory process (permits, guidelines for fueling stations, E15 warning stickers, etc.).

The second is from Jeff Flake (R-AZ), would end the VEETC and corresponding tariff on foreign ethanol.

Both bills would slightly limit the excessive production of corn ethanol (a good thing), but the bigger problem is the ever-increasing mandate known as the Renewable Fuel Standard. An ideal bill would end the mandate, tax credit, tariff, end the law that allows E-85 vehicles to qualify for mileage standards, and end EPA’s ability to regulate the amount of ethanol in our fuel. Then the ethanol industry couldn’t fairly argue that they’re being denied access to the market. Some energy analysts even believe E85 could exist profitably as a niche industry in the mid-west.

Realistically, in the short run, petroleum would still dominate. However, freeing capital away from politically motivated ends makes it more likely that capital will flow into areas that will actually generate benefits for consumers. It is unclear if that will ever happen with corn ethanol and/or its variants (cellulosic, biodiesel, etc.).

Here is a good piece (and a challenge) by Tim Carney on the ethanol’s industry claim that they’re being unfairly denied access to the fuel market by the EPA. Of course, the ethanol industry is being incredibly disingenuous in its calls for fair competition. They have done this before.


California nightmare

"Clean" energy pollutes! Go figure!

In the San Joaquin Valley, our air-quality challenges are more difficult than those in any other region in the nation. Two biomass plants, intended to help the San Joaquin Valley clean up the air, have been tagged with one of the state's largest air-pollution fines in recent history.

Global Ampersand of Boston was fined more than $800,000 for excess ozone-related emissions and other violations from biomass plants in Madera and Merced counties, federal authorities announced Tuesday.

The fine is among the largest in the San Joaquin Valley and California over the past several years, say officials at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Though they didn't have specific numbers, officials said fines of nearly $1 million are unusual in California.

Ampersand agreed to the fines for violations that began in 2008 at the Ampersand Chowchilla Biomass in Madera County and Merced Power near El Nido, the EPA said. The biomass plants burn woody waste from farms and cities to create electricity. Ampersand agreed to reduce ozone-forming oxides of nitrogen and carbon monoxide. Company officials could not be reached for comment.

The large fine reflects the amount of pollution and duration of the violations. The violations took place during 2008, 2009 and 2010. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District discovered the problems.

Biomass plants are considered a cleaner option than open-field agricultural burning, which has been mostly banned in the Valley. But modern biomass plants must meet strict standards to prevent adding to the air-quality problems, especially in the Valley.

"Today's enforcement actions are a victory for human health," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's regional administrator.

Ampersand bought and refurbished the two biomass plants in 2007 and 2008, federal air officials said. The operations had been shut down during the 1990s, according to the Valley air district.

Aside from nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide, the two plants violated limits for sulfur dioxide. The two plants also failed to perform timely testing to measure emissions, EPA said.


Old Nazis prominent in the rise of the postwar German Green movement

For them, the global warming scare began very early -- in 1958

One of the primary pioneering theorists on apocalyptic global warming is Guenther Schwab (1902-2006), an Austrian Nazi. In 1958, Schwab wrote a fictional novel built off of Goethe's (1749-1832) Faustian religious play entitled "Dance with the Devil."

While a few scientists since the late 1800's had contemplated the possibility of minor global warming coming from industrial pollution, Schwab used Goethe's dramatic approach to convert the theory into an apocalyptic crisis. The book outlines many looming environmental emergencies, including anthropogenic global warming. Guenther Schwab's very popular novel was an apocalyptic game changer. By the early 1970's, it had been translated into several languages and had sold over a million copies.

At one point in his novel, Schwab opines on the fragile relationship between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Assuming the planet has only about 100 years remaining, Schwab frets over the continuing rise of carbon dioxide that "will absorb and hold fast the warmth given out by the earth. This will cause the climate to become milder and the Polar ice will begin to thaw. As a result, there will be a rise in the level of the ocean and whole continents will be flooded."

Schwab had been a strong nature lover since boyhood, and by the 1920's he became very active in the emerging environmental movement in Austria. Later, he joined the Nazi Party. While this may sound odd to many who have bought into the Marxian propaganda over the years that the Nazis were right wing capitalistic extremists, greens who signed up for the Nazi Party were actually very typical of the day. The most widely represented group of people in the Nazi Party was the greens, and Guenther Schwab was just one of among many. The greens' interest in lonely places found a solitary niche in the singleness of Adolf Hitler, who ruled the Third Reich from his spectacular mountain compound, high in the Bavarian Alps called the Berghof. In English, this could easily be translated as Mountain Home, Bavaria.

After the war in the 1950's, Guenther Schwab's brand of environmentalism also played a fundamental role in the development of the green anti-nuclear movement in West Germany. The dropping of the atom bomb and the nuclear fallout of the Cold War helped to globalize the greens into an apocalyptic 'peace' movement with Guenther Schwab being one of its original spokesmen. The unprecedented destruction in Germany brought on by industrialized warfare never before seen in the history of the world only served to radicalize the German greens into an apocalyptic movement. Their hatred toward global capitalism became even more vitriolic precisely because the capitalists were now in charge of a dangerous nuclear arsenal that threatened the entire planet.

Later, Guenther Schwab joined the advisory panel of "The Society of Biological Anthropology, Eugenics and Behavior Research." Schwab was especially concerned with the burgeoning population explosion of the Third World that he was sure would eventually overrun Europe. By advocating modern racial science based on genetics, Schwab believed that the population bomb, together with its associated environmental degradation, could be averted. Here, Schwab shows his basic commitment to the Nazi SS doctrine of 'blood and soil' -- an explosive concoction of eugenics and environmentalism loaded with eco-imperialistic ambitions that had devastating consequences on the Eastern Front in World War II.

The success of Schwab's book helped him to establish an international environmental organization called "The World League for the Defense of Life." Not surprisingly, Werner Haverbeck, former Hitler Youth member and Nazi environmental leader of the Reich's League for Folk National Character and Landscape, later became the chairman of Schwab's organization. In 1973, Haverbeck blamed the environmental crisis in Germany on American capitalism. It was an unnatural colonial import that had infected Germany like a deadly foreign body.

Both Schwab's organization and Haverbeck were also instrumental in establishing the German Green Party in 1980. Such embarrassing facts were later managed with a little housecleaning and lots of cosmetics, which was further buoyed by characterizing such greens as extreme 'right wing' ecologists -- a counterintuitive label that continues to misdirect and plague all environmental studies of the Third Reich. Worst of all is that Haverbeck's wife is also a Holocaust denier.

Long before Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth," green Nazi Guenther Schwab played a large role in catalyzing the frightening theory of global warming. With no small thanks to Schwab, the Great Tribulation of Global Warming was ushered into the modern consciousness behind the collapse of the Millennial 1,000 year Third Reich. There is therefore a swastika in the German woods that needs to be closely watched here.



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


16 February, 2011

The data does not agree with the theory of greenhouse gas induced global warming

Dr. Noor van Andel has updated his paper "CO2 and Climate Change" and explains in greater detail how climate scientists have adjusted radiosonde (weather balloon) data to try to bring it into agreement with their computer models and concept of greenhouse gas induced global warming. This is the opposite of the normal scientific procedure of adjusting the models to fit the data. The unadjusted data does not show the elusive "hot spot" predicted by climate models and conventional 'greenhouse' theory. Dr. van Andel's latest version also expands on the descriptions of Miskolczi's 'saturated greenhouse' theory and the cosmic ray theory of Svensmark et al. Excerpt:
"...This behavior has been a problem for many, as it falsifies a main point of the global-warming-by- greenhouse-gases- hypothesis. The warming by increased CO2 can only result from "increased back radiation" from the atmosphere to the surface, and for this the warming of the troposphere due to increased CO2 must be more than the surface warming. all models predict much more warming at 300 - 400 hPa compared to the surface warming trend. This is not observed.

There has been a large activity to bring models and observations in line, strangely only by adjusting the measurements instead of adjusting the models. The radiosonde measurements are adjusted so that they show the larger warming trend around 300 hPa that the models must assume to exist to get antropogenic CO2 induced warming, or to attribute the surface warming to increased CO2. Scores of publications and discussions try to prove this "atmospheric hot spot" must exist in the real world because the models say so. One example I show below:

From: Toward Elimination of the Warm Bias in Historic Radiosonde Temperature Records-Some New Results from a Comprehensive Intercomparison of Upper-Air Data, HAIMBERGER et al, JOURNAL OF CLIMATE, VOLUME 21, 4587) we take the following figure:

Fig. 14 shows that the unadjusted 1979-2006 tropical temperature profile trends in the tropics, left graph, dotted line, shows a constant 0.1 K/decade warming with height until 200 Pa [11 km in the tropics], and above this height a substantial cooling trend, with a minimum of -1.2 K/decade [minus twelve times the surface warming trend!] at 70 Pa. Exactly like the fig.12 observations from Hadoffice show. This behavior is does not agree with the accepted theory of Greenhouse-gas induced global warming, that assumes a decrease of the convection activity with rising SST, because the temperature and moisture at 500-100 hPa in theory both rise, and this rising ?e prevents convection. This is known as the "hot spot". It is the main "positive feedback" assumed by the models to get the high climate sensitivity to be able to attribute the warming 1976-2010 to the CO2 increase. It is also called the "super Greenhouse Effect'. It exists only in climate models. This is the reason that so many corrections or adjustments have been proposed to the radiosonde measurements; the maximum adjustment [see left graph] reaching 0.9 K/10y, or 10§C/decade from 1979 to 2009, that makes an adjustment of 2.7 §C between the HadAT temperature measurement. and the unadjusted radiosonde measurement. Radiosonde sensors have a precision of 0.1 §C! Physically it is impossible that convection decreases as the driving force for convection increases. Riehl & Malkus measured and quantified this deep convection in 1958 for the first time by flying into thunderstorms and derived the ?e mathematics, which are soundly and simply founded in atmospheric thermodynamics. Thunderstorms are very local phenomena, they cannot and are not well parameterized in climate models. Clearly frequency and intensity of these storms is increasing fast with SST. Any CO2 in the atmosphere, if it would increase SST, is regulated back by this deep convective cooling mechanism.

The main error in the climate models is that they suppose heating and moistening, and thus higher ?e [temperature], of the upper troposphere by CO2, in contradiction with radiosonde and satellite measurements. This assumed heating & moistening leads the model to assume an increase of ?e [temperature] at this height, which makes deep convection decrease as a result of increasing SST, very unphysical as we have seen here above.

In the real world however, the upper troposphere will dry out as a result of stronger deep convection, because cloud top temperature goes down and condensation efficiency increases with deep convection intensity. In the region that the air spreads from the ITCZ and subsides, radiation into space is therefore enhanced. The lowest temperatures in the troposphere are to be found in the deep convection cumulonimbus tops, sometimes -80 §C. All water is then in solid form, which coalesces easier and snows [rains] out more efficiently. This drying out has been documented well in the ERA and in the NCEP reanalysis historical time series. But it is hotly contested by IPCC- quoted authors, again because it is incompatible with climate models. "


The shame of Green Britain: Families go without food to pay winter fuel bills

ONE of the coldest winters in a century saw Welsh people risking their health by switching off heating in the face of rising energy bills, a report has found.

The Bevan Foundation report said some families also plunged themselves into debt or went without food in an effort to afford to heat their homes. It warns the Assembly Government will not meet its target of eliminating fuel poverty by 2018 with its current approach.

The shocking report comes just a week after Children in Wales and Consumer Focus Wales warned children's health and education is being put at risk by fuel poverty.

James Radcliffe, author of the Bevan Foundation report, Coping with Cold, said: "The combination of rising energy prices and the return of colder winters means more people are affected by fuel poverty.

"It is clear that the target of eliminating fuel poverty by 2018 will not be met through the current strategy. "We need to start thinking about alternative ways of tackling fuel poverty and helping people stay warm during the winter. It is unacceptable that the UK has such a high rate of excess deaths over the winter compared to countries like Sweden which have even colder weather."

The Bevan Foundation asked 120 people in South Wales how they responded to cold weather in last year's winter. The winter of 2009-10 was the coldest in 30 years with the mean UK temperature falling to 1.5C, the lowest since 1978-79.

Provisional figures for this winter (2010-11) reveal it was the coldest for 100 years, with the mean temperature in the UK plummeting to -1C, compared to the long-term average of 4.2C.

The Bevan Foundation research found people were cutting back on food to pay for energy or even going without warmth to keep bills low. Just under a third never increased their heating in the cold.


Is Britain's Met Office becoming irrelevant?

A strange question perhaps, considering the considerable political influence the Met Office has within political circles when it comes to energy and climate policy. But certainly one worth asking following a comment by Northern Ireland's Regional Development Minister last month.

On the topic of burst water pipes and the severe supply problems affecting thousands of people in Northern Ireland over the Christmas period, the Belfast Telegraph reported on 19th January:

Forecasts of another seven years of the extreme winter that triggered the burst pipes crisis in Northern Ireland may force changes to how water is plumbed into homes, the regional development minister has warned.

Conor Murphy, facing questions from his Stormont scrutiny committee on the Christmas emergency, said some meteorologists believed the region had entered a weather cycle that would see successive deep freezes.

In the face of that, Mr Murphy said the Executive may have to look at changing building regulations to ensure that water pipes are buried deeper and insulated better.

What makes the comment interesting is this response to a Freedom of Information request submitted by Autonomous Mind (using an alias), enquiring which Meterologists provided this advice and requesting a copy of the advice that was provided to the Minister enabling him to make his assertion.

The response from the NI Department for Regional Development is telling:

This shows that for all his multitude of failings, Conor Murphy is listening to what meteorologists other than the Met Office are saying about changes to our weather that contradict the Met Office line of ever increasing warming. Not only that, they are using what they have listened to in official evidence to government committees.

A very small example maybe, but marginalising the Met Office in this way - intentionally or otherwise - represents a visible crack in the climate consensus that has consistently told us mankind is changing the climate, making the world warmer and the result will be warmer and wetter winters. The structures are weakening.


Sanity slowly returning to global warming policy

Somebody should check the water Gunter Oettinger is drinking because it must contain something that restores common sense in critically important public policy discussions. Oettinger is the European Union's energy commissioner and, according to Britain's Guardian newspaper, he has dashed hopes of Big Green environmentalists worldwide with these words: "If we go alone to 30 percent, you will only have a faster process of deindustrialisation in Europe. I think we need industry in Europe, we need industry in the U.K., and industry means CO2 emissions."

He was referring to proposals that the EU increase its current carbon monoxide emissions reduction goal from 20 percent to 30 percent. Oettinger predicted that what is left of European industry would flee the continent and move to Asia if that happens. The net result would be loss of jobs and economic vitality in Europe and quite possibly even more emissions because Asian countries will not impose such draconian reductions on industry.

Meanwhile, here in America, the Department of Agriculture reported this week that corn reserves are at their lowest level in nearly two decades. Federal officials, according to the New York Times, say the reserves are down because ethanol producers are buying corn as fast as possible in anticipation of a federal policy allowing the amount of corn-based fuel mixed with gasoline to increase from 10 percent to 15 percent.

The price of a bushel of corn has doubled in the face of that demand, going from $3.50 a bushel to more than $7 a bushel, which drives up food prices more generally. "The price of corn affects most food products in supermarkets. It is used to feed the cattle, hogs and chickens that fill the meat case, and is the main ingredient in Cap'n Crunch in the cereal aisle and Doritos in the snack aisle. Turned into corn sweetener, it sweetens most soft drinks," the Times reported. There was no indication in the Times story that those same federal officials will do anything about this situation, but at least they recognize the connection between rising food prices and increasing ethanol production.

Rising corn prices in the United States are mirrored worldwide, thanks to growing demand for biofuels in response to mandates from government officials concerned about "being green." The same thing happened in 2008, but the experts dismissed it as a product of an extremely rare convergence of factors that won't likely be repeated any time soon.

But, as Princeton University's Tim Searchinger wrote in The Washington Post, "this 'perfect storm' has re-formed not three years later. We should recognize the ways in which biofuels are driving it." Thus, we are reminded of the Law of Unintended Consequences. American policymakers would do well to stop listening to environmental ideologues and start drinking from the same fountain of common sense that clarified Oettinger's thinking.


Obama Energy Secretary Promises "Massive" Coal Plant Closures

White House agenda to bankrupt coal industry via EPA regulations accelerates despite rolling blackouts

Obama Energy Secretary Steven Chu has launched the next phase of the White House's publicly stated agenda to bankrupt the coal industry via EPA regulations after announcing the prospect of "massive" coal plant closures even as Texas and other states suffer rolling blackouts as a result of maxed-out power plants that cannot cope with demand.

The Obama administration's strict enforcement of draconian EPA regulations has led to new clean-burning coal-fired plants being mothballed and other existing ones being shut down, which has in turn led to Texas and other states becoming energy-dependent, leading to shortages and blackouts exacerbated by freezing temperatures.

Despite White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer's brazen lie in claiming that the blackouts are solely a result of "mechanical failures," the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the agency that oversees the state's power, confirmed this morning that the threat of blackouts was ongoing as a result of a "maxed out grid".

This "maxed out grid" is a consequence of federally enforced EPA restrictions that have led to the delay, mothballing and closing down of coal-fired plants. In Texas, approval for the much-needed Las Brisas Energy Center has been delayed for 3 years as a result of EPA meddling in Texas' energy policy.

A federal court ruling last month gave the EPA permission to proceed with greenhouse gas regulation in Texas, temporarily superseding Texas' non-compliance with the new regulations which came into force on January 2. The White House's claim that EPA regulations are not currently affecting Texas is a complete fabrication.

Now White House Energy Secretary Steven Chu has made it clear that "massive" amounts of coal-fired plants in the United States will be closed down over the next five to eight years.... "We're going to see massive retirements within the next five, eight years," Chu said at a renewable-energy conference in Washington yesterday.


The Warmists' abuse tells me they're losing

As an example of the writers Andrew Bolt is referring to below see a rave from the hysterical Mark Hertsgaard here. Hertsgaard thinks he is Galileo but has got it exactly backwards. It is Hertsgaard who relies on conventional authority and who quotes not one single scientific fact

One of the Guardian's five "environment bloggers" - five! - notes a new sign of desperation in the warmist movement:
According to environmental activists planning a day of protests across the US tomorrow, "climate crank" is set to be the latest name added to the growing list - self-appointed, or otherwise - which already includes sceptic, denier, contrarian, realist, dissenter, flat-earther, misinformer, and confusionist.

If they put as much effort into reasoning as they do into abusing they might get further.

The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer recognised abuse as the very last trick of person whose arguments have collapsed. In his essay on rhetoric, catchily rebadged by a publisher recently as The Art of Always Being Right: Thirty Eight Ways to Win When You Are Defeated, he lists such sliming as tactic 38:
A last trick is to become personal, insulting, rude, as soon as you perceive that your opponent has the upper hand, and that you are going to come off worst. It consists in passing from the subject of dispute, as from a lost game, to the disputant himself, and in some way attacking his person....

But in becoming personal you leave the subject altogether, and turn your attack to his person, by remarks of an offensive and spiteful character. It is an appeal from the virtues of the intellect to the virtues of the body, or to mere animalism. This is a very popular trick, because every one is able to carry it into effect; and so it is of frequent application. Now the question is, What counter-trick avails for the other party? for if he has recourse to the same rule, there will be blows, or a duel, or an action for slander.

A cool demeanour may, however, help you here, if, as soon as your opponent becomes personal, you quietly reply, "That has no bearing on the point in dispute," and immediately bring the conversation back to it, and continue to show him that he is wrong, without taking any notice of his insults. Say, as Themistocles said to Eurybiades - Strike, but hear me . But such demeanour is not given to every one.



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


15 February, 2011

More "extreme" weather

From the year 1901:

In the "Morning Post", of Cairns, Queensland, Australia, we read (p. 2, issue of Tuesday, Dec. 24) a report of recent high temperatures at other Queensland centres. The paper records:
Cunnamulla 120; Charleville 115; Winton 112; Roma 114; St. George 114; Emerald 115; Charters Towers 108. On Thursday the recorded temperature at the Charters Towers Post Office was 112, probably a record for that town.

The readings are of course in degrees Fahrenheit.


Expanding a formal disproof of global warming theory

I led off yesterday's postings with an article that was a bit cryptic. Alan Siddons has sent me an expanded explanation of the matter -- below -- JR

I'll try to explain what Anders is getting at. The way gravity acts on a gas is pretty simple: Close to a planet's surface the atmosphere will be more dense, and further away more diffuse. Consider, then, if each molecule in that atmosphere, from diffuse top to dense bottom, were moving around at about the same speed. Would that atmosphere therefore have the same temperature throughout? No, the bottom portion will have a higher temperature if only because there will naturally be more collisions among those denser molecules -- and collisions mean more heat.

An air pump gives you some idea of this. Pump air into a tire real hard and you'll notice that the hose gets hot. You aren't holding a FLAME near the hose, of course, but the hose heats up anyway. This is known as adiabatic heating: an increase of temperature that's unrelated to any heat being gained from the surroundings. The heating is caused by increased pressure alone. Similarly, when you put out a fire with a CO2 canister, you'll see frost form on the nozzle. This is adiabatic cooling: a temperature drop that isn't related to heat being lost to colder surroundings. The cooling is due to pressure loss alone. It's the same with the atmosphere, then: air is warmer below and cooler above for the same reason. This transition from warm to cold is called the lapse rate.

But here's the thing. Although it's seldom-mentioned, greenhouse theory has it that the lapse rate is NOT due to gravity's influence on an atmosphere, rather to trace gases creating a greenhouse effect. Roy Spencer tries to explain this idea here. In a nutshell, however, the theory says that the air temperature near the ground and 10 miles up would all be the SAME (isothermal) if it weren't for those "heat-trapping greenhouse gases."

What Anders did, then, was look at my paper and simply observe: "Aha! All planets show a lapse rate between 0.1 and 1 bar of pressure, irrespective of what those atmospheres are made of. That refutes Spencer's greenhouse nonsense in one whack."

And, of course, Anders is correct!

A near-perfect prediction of temperatures from knowing solar and oceanic variations only

Eat your hearts out, Warmists!

Expanding upon the last post, the "sunspot integral" (accumulated departure in sunspots v. the monthly mean of 41.2 for the observational period of sunspots 1610-2009) shows good correlation with the temperature record. Excellent correlation (R2=.96!) with temperature is obtained by adding to the sunspot integral the most significant ocean oscillations (the PDO-Pacific Decadal Oscillation + AMO- Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation*3). Various other combinations and permutations of these factors compared to the temperature record have been posted at: 1 2 3 4 5 6, although I have not located others with a correlation coefficient of this magnitude.

Contrast the R2 of .96 from this simple model (near a perfect correlation coefficient (R2) of 1) vs. the poor correlation (R2=.44) of CO2 levels vs. temperature.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Another hole in the Warmist "models"

New Paper: Solar irradiance at Earth surface varies up to 24 times more than expected

A new peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics finds that measurements of solar irradiance at ground level at the South Pole show variations of up to 24 times more than would be expected over the course of a solar cycle. While satellite measurements find that total solar irradiance only varies 0.1% from a solar minimum to solar maximum, the ground-level measurements analyzed by the authors show a change of 1.8 ñ 1.0% in the UV-A (320-400 nm) spectrum and 2.4 ñ 1.9% in the visible (400-600 nm) spectrum over the course of a solar cycle.
Regressions based on all 17 solstice periods indicate approximate 1.8% and 2.4% decreases in ground-level irradiance for the wavelength regions 320-400 nm and 400-600 nm, respectively, from solar maximum to solar minimum. The associated uncertainty ranges are approximately 0.8-2.7% for the UV-A and 0.5%-4.3% for the visible.

Changes in extraterrestrial irradiance over the solar cycle surely contribute a portion of the variability deduced at the polar surface for the 320-400 nm region, although the magnitude of this contribution is uncertain. However, the inferred solar cycle dependence in the 400-600 nm visible band is too large to be of extraterrestrial origin unless one adopts values at the lowest end of the error range.

The UV-A and visible portions are the most energetic and significant portions of the solar spectrum heating the Earth. While the authors are uncertain of the origin of this variability at the surface, they note that it is "too large to be of extraterrestrial origin." Climate models assume that the solar irradiance reaching the Earth's surface only varies 0.1% over solar cycles in accordance with satellite measurements, but as shown by this paper, that may be an incorrect assumption.

Another recent study has shown that solar UV activity has increased almost 50% over the past 400 years. The antiquated assumption in climate science that the effect of the Sun upon the Earth's climate is a constant (they even call it "the solar constant") is in dire need of reassessment. The IPCC, however, is only mandated to assess anthropogenic climate change and only pays lip service to the role of the Sun.

More HERE (See the original for links)

Data Corruption by corrupt people at NASA/GISS

I’ve reported on this before, but here is a more in depth explanation: In 1999, Hansen wrote a report which was largely inconsistent with his current claims. Twelve years ago he understood that the US climate was hotter and more extreme in the 1930s. He also knew that 1934 was the hottest year in the US.

Note the US temperature graph above, and compare that with the current US temperature graph below.

In the original version, 1934 was much warmer than 1998. Sometime in the year 2000, the data was “adjusted” to make 1998 warmer. The blink comparator shows the radical change which occurred.

This corruption of the data is bad enough, but it gets worse. On Tuesday, January 18 2011 at 6:33:14 PM, the original graph was corrupted and is no longer visible – as seen below. I do image processing professionally, and I compared the underlying byte data of the image with the original version. I don’t see how this could have happened without someone having touched the file. Files don’t normally change unless someone writes to them.

In industry, people would be prosecuted for this sort of blatant shenanigans.


Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Green the Capitol initiative is over at the House's Longworth cafeteria

After about a month in control of the House of Representatives, Republicans haven't managed to undo as many deeds of their Democratic predecessors as they'd like. They couldn't get rid of "Obamacare," and they haven't made much headway in slashing the president's $4-trillion budget. But the GOP has succeeded in short order in one critically important venture: getting rid of the "compostable" cornstarch-based knives, forks and spoons that were a universally - and bipartisanly - hated feature of the House cafeteria operation.

The tableware, the color of mucus and as bendable as a pocket watch in a Salvador Dali painting (and thus unable to pierce any foodstuff firmer than the innards of Brie cheese), was the most visible manifestation of recently deposed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Green the Capitol initiative. That was her carbon-cutting effort to use the food-service and other House operations to fight global warming and a host of other perceived environmental, health and social ills. During the lunchtime rush, you could observe dozens of staffers struggling to stab lettuce leaves and poultry pieces with fork tines that appeared to be double-jointed as well as dull.

But on Jan. 25, Dan Lungren, the GOP congressman from the Sacramento area who now heads the House Administration Committee, directed the House chief administrative officer to trash - so to speak - the composting program, which converts the dining service's cornstarch tableware, along with its biodegradable plates, trays, cups and drinking straws, into garden mulch.

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It turns out that the composting program not only cost the House an estimated $475,000 a year (according to the House inspector general) but actually increased energy consumption in the form of "additional energy for the pulping process and the increased hauling distance to the composting facility," according to a news release from Lungren.

As far as carbon emissions were concerned, Lungren concluded that the reduction was the "nominal ... equivalent to removing one car from the road each year." He plans to switch the House to an alternate waste-management system recommended by the Architect of the Capitol, in which dining-service trash would be incinerated and the heat energy captured.

"Composting releases methane," said Lungren's spokesman, Brian Kaveney, and methane gas, as even the most warming-conscious among us have to admit, traps atmospheric heat far more efficiently than carbon dioxide, the usual bugaboo of the climate-change crowd.

Lungren's stick-a-biodegradable-fork-in-it (if you can) stance toward a linchpin of Pelosi's grand green plan marks the latest skirmish in a lifestyle war that may on its surface seem purely partisan: GOP global-warming skeptics versus a Gaia-worshipping Democratic Party. But I'd say the battle lines are really between an elite determined to impose upon a captive populace its notions of what is good for it - cost be damned - and the populace itself, which would rather not be coerced.

In Pelosi's home territory, the city of San Francisco, composting is mandatory for householders, who face a fine if they throw orange peels into the trash rather than into their city-provided composting bins. Plastic bags are against the law in large-chain stores, and plastic water bottles are against the law in City Hall. In the name of health you can't buy a soft drink on public property in San Francisco, and soon you won't be able to buy a Happy Meal with a toy at McDonald's for your kid. The uber-bohemians of San Francisco love this sort of thing; others, maybe not so much.

Green the Capitol was launched in 2007, soon after Pelosi became speaker. The Longworth cafeteria, catering to House employees but also serving the public, was to be the carbon-neutral jewel in Pelosi's green crown. Out went the familiar mystery meatloaf and high-fat coconut cake and in came food that was organic, sustainable, locally grown and fair-traded.

I visited the Longworth cafeteria in early 2008, soon after it reopened under Pelosi's rule. Not only had food been replaced with "cuisine" (roasted corn and poblano chili, anyone?), but there was also a sea of didactic signage. One sign reminded you that the beef in the hamburgers was "humanely raised" and "antibiotic-free." Other placards touted "cage-free eggs" and "rBGH-free milk." A poster trumpeted the "pulper," a costly machine that made compostable cubes out of food waste. And then there were the recycling stations, where a lengthy set of rules instructed diners on how to separate trash items and dump them into four different slots (coffee cups in the "compostable" slot, coffee lids in the "landfill" slot).

No sooner did the cafeteria reopen than the grousing began, from both sides of the political aisle. Some diners tried to puzzle out what turkey escabeche might be and wondered what happened to the fried chicken. Others complained about the new high prices that accompanied the new haute offerings.

"I just wished my pay improved" along with the food quality, a Democratic aide complained to a reporter for Politico.

But the bitterest carping was over that compostable flatware. A Hill urban legend circulated that the spoons would melt in a cup of hot coffee. They don't, but they do bend readily enough to make you think you're Uri Geller.

When I revisited the Longworth cafeteria last week, three years later, I could not help noticing that although the flimsy cornstarch tableware was still in use - it will be retired as soon as the stock on hand is used up - a sea change had otherwise occurred. The sermony signage was gone, as was much of the art-food: the purple Peruvian potatoes and the "panzanella station," where you could build a salad out of arugula, figs and large wedges of stale bread. The salad bar these days is, well, a salad bar, with trays of chopped olives, shredded carrots and garbanzo beans to top the lettuce. Serious efforts have been made to cater to the needs of House employees who can't afford Armani suits. Among the stations with the longest lunchtime lines was one labeled simply "BBQ." Its special was a $5.50 pulled-pork platter with two sides (including classic mac and cheese) and cornbread.

The years from 2006 through 2010, starting with the Democratic takeover of the House and ending with the party's rout after two years of Barack Obama's presidency, were four years of an effort by a know-it-all liberal elite to impose sweeping and extreme social and fiscal measures on a centrist-to-right public: four years of turkey escabeche, so to speak.

Now, with a GOP House and divided government, there seems to be a return to normalcy, and it's beginning with the promise of knives and forks that work.



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


14 February, 2011

A formal disproof of the Greenhouse Effect, with the help of Jupiter

My grasp of physics is not up to a critical evaluation of the post below but it sounds right -- JR

Some of the readers of this blog might wonder if it is necessary to provide any more disproof of the GE. In any case, by now there are at least 367 proofs of Pythagora's theorem, so I thought I could contribute with disproof nr 368 of the Greenhouse Effect. It is not entirely my own, I think it has been suggested before. For this purpose we will take a closer look at Jupiter.

In the article "Rethinking the Greenhouse Effect" by Alan Siddons, it is shown among other things that at 1 bar of pressure, all planets have temperatures much larger than a blackbody temperature estimate would yield. Facts of this kind are important in the search for the correct explanation for the heating impact of the atmosphere. The question I now ask is whether there is information contained in this data with which we can immediately rule out the old theory, that is the existence of any radiative greenhouse effect at all.

The gas giant Jupiter has a multifaceted "atmosphere", but below 1 bar of pressure it is almost entirely composed of hydrogen and helium (Alan may correct me if I'm wrong). And the amazing thing is that below this pressure the temperature decreases. Ok, so what? In previous posts I have argued and demonstrated that

1. The canonical greenhouse hypothesis says that in the absence of radiative forcing from greenhouse gases the temperature of the atmosphere will (on average) be the same at all altitudes (pressures).

2. Any attempt to mathematically reformulate the greenhouse hypothesis such that it implies a heating of the entire atmosphere is bound to lead to a runaway effect (unless there are other factors incorporated that can not be expressed in mathematical terms, such as divine intervention).

If we now add the observation

3. Jupiter has a temperature gradient below 1 bar of pressure, which is not maintained by greenhouse gases.

Ergo, the greenhouse hypothesis is falsified. This disproof has the character of a mathematical proof in the sense that each step is simple, but in the end you reach a conclusion that was maybe not obvious from the beginning. But it is not lengthy nor complicated, it could be understood by any scientist who is willing to listen.


"Extremes" are normal

Steven Goddard has up a series of news reports indicating how egotistical it is to see weather events in our lifetime as being particularly noteworthy or unusual. I reproduce some of them below






The Weather Isn't Getting Weirder

The latest research belies the idea that storms are getting more extreme

Last week a severe storm froze Dallas under a sheet of ice, just in time to disrupt the plans of the tens of thousands of (American) football fans descending on the city for the Super Bowl. On the other side of the globe, Cyclone Yasi slammed northeastern Australia, destroying homes and crops and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.

Some climate alarmists would have us believe that these storms are yet another baleful consequence of man-made CO2 emissions. In addition to the latest weather events, they also point to recent cyclones in Burma, last winter's fatal chills in Nepal and Bangladesh, December's blizzards in Britain, and every other drought, typhoon and unseasonable heat wave around the world.

But is it true? To answer that question, you need to understand whether recent weather trends are extreme by historical standards. The Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project is the latest attempt to find out, using super-computers to generate a dataset of global atmospheric circulation from 1871 to the present.

As it happens, the project's initial findings, published last month, show no evidence of an intensifying weather trend. "In the climate models, the extremes get more extreme as we move into a doubled CO2 world in 100 years," atmospheric scientist Gilbert Compo, one of the researchers on the project, tells me from his office at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "So we were surprised that none of the three major indices of climate variability that we used show a trend of increased circulation going back to 1871."

In other words, researchers have yet to find evidence of more-extreme weather patterns over the period, contrary to what the models predict. "There's no data-driven answer yet to the question of how human activity has affected extreme weather," adds Roger Pielke Jr., another University of Colorado climate researcher.

We do know that carbon dioxide and other gases trap and re-radiate heat. We also know that humans have emitted ever-more of these gases since the Industrial Revolution. What we don't know is exactly how sensitive the climate is to increases in these gases versus other possible factors-solar variability, oceanic currents, Pacific heating and cooling cycles, planets' gravitational and magnetic oscillations, and so on.

Given the unknowns, it's possible that even if we spend trillions of dollars, and forgo trillions more in future economic growth, to cut carbon emissions to pre-industrial levels, the climate will continue to change-as it always has.

That's not to say we're helpless. There is at least one climate lesson that we can draw from the recent weather: Whatever happens, prosperity and preparedness help. North Texas's ice storm wreaked havoc and left hundreds of football fans stranded, cold, and angry. But thanks to modern infrastructure, 21st century health care, and stockpiles of magnesium chloride and snow plows, the storm caused no reported deaths and Dallas managed to host the big game on Sunday.

Compare that outcome to the 55 people who reportedly died of pneumonia, respiratory problems and other cold-related illnesses in Bangladesh and Nepal when temperatures dropped to just above freezing last winter. Even rich countries can be caught off guard: Witness the thousands stranded when Heathrow skimped on de-icing supplies and let five inches of snow ground flights for two days before Christmas. Britain's GDP shrank by 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2010, for which the Office of National Statistics mostly blames "the bad weather."

Arguably, global warming was a factor in that case. Or at least the idea of global warming was. The London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation charges that British authorities are so committed to the notion that Britain's future will be warmer that they have failed to plan for winter storms that have hit the country three years running.

A sliver of the billions that British taxpayers spend on trying to control their climes could have bought them more of the supplies that helped Dallas recover more quickly. And, with a fraction of that sliver of prosperity, more Bangladeshis and Nepalis could have acquired the antibiotics and respirators to survive their cold spell.

A comparison of cyclones Yasi and Nargis tells a similar story: As devastating as Yasi has been, Australia's infrastructure, medicine, and emergency protocols meant the Category 5 storm has killed only one person so far. Australians are now mulling all the ways they could have better protected their property and economy.

But if they feel like counting their blessings, they need only look to the similar cyclone that hit the Irrawaddy Delta in 2008. Burma's military regime hadn't allowed for much of an economy before the cyclone, but Nargis destroyed nearly all the Delta had. Afterwards, the junta blocked foreign aid workers from delivering needed water purification and medical supplies. In the end, the government let Nargis kill more than 130,000 people.

Global-warming alarmists insist that economic activity is the problem, when the available evidence show it to be part of the solution. We may not be able to do anything about the weather, extreme or otherwise. But we can make sure we have the resources to deal with it when it comes.


Economist: Green energy cannot be defended as a source of jobs

Although there was not a single mention of "climate change" in the 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama touted 'green' energy as "an investment that will... create countless new jobs for our people." However, a recent study by Senior Energy Economist Gurcan Gulen of the Center for Energy Economics, University of Texas, concludes "that adding 'net jobs' cannot be defended as a benefit of investing in green energy" and that aggressive promotion of these technologies will negatively impact purchasing power, employment and GDP.

The study finds that the "realities of the global energy scene are:

* Most green technologies are far away from the scale that is needed to replace conventional fuels in a significant way. Although it is reasonable to expect improvements in technology and cost structure in the future, it is difficult to predict the development path that can be included in modeling exercises.

* These technologies are more expensive than conventional technologies and hence need subsidies, tax incentives and mandates to gain market share (some more than others). A carbon tax could level the playing field for wind at about $20-$30 per ton but needs to be much higher for solar and other technologies. [n.b. carbon credits were selling for $0.05 per ton on the Chicago Climate Exchange prior to its closure]

* They face integration problems due to their intermittency, immaturity of technology, scalability limits, inability to communicate with existing infrastructure, and other technical or power market economics constraints.

* Consumers, especially at the residential level, are often reluctant to adopt new technologies if they are not certain they will get the same benefits as those from current technologies and even more reluctant when it comes to changing their energy consumption behavior, which is often based on habit rather than conscious decision making.

* Pushing aggressively to increase the share of these technologies, though clearly possible, will cost large sums of money and will increase cost of energy to society, negatively impacting purchasing power, employment and GDP.

One cannot simply wish these realities away."


Gingrich Tells CPAC That He Would Elimate the EPA

Good for America but not good to a public brainwashed by the Leftist media. "Reform" would go down a lot better

The Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual event where conservative politicians and activists get together in something akin to a pep rally, has come to an end. The event can be seen as a sort of a bellwether for the pet causes of the movement, and this year conservatives placed a target squarely on the back of the EPA. In fact, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is rumored to be a presidential candidate, doubled down on his call for shutting down and replacing the EPA altogether.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, another likely candidate, told the audience that the White House is "trying to achieve through regulation what it can't pass through legislation," meaning that the EPA's authority should be curbed when it comes to regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

At last year's CPAC, climate change denier Marc Morano attracted a large audience whom he told that climate change represented "a political movement. It is not a scientific movement." He received wild applause.

Gingrich's comments were coupled with his other ideas that will affect the health of the planet. He wants to increase offshore drilling ("Drill, Baby, Drill" was Newt's creation) and remove any regulation on fracking.


British Council gets in on the climate act

Why is the British Council spending taxpayers' money on the recruiting of 100,000 "international climate champions", asks Christopher Booker

Last December, our television screens were filled with scenes of young demonstrators from all over the world parading through the streets of Copenhagen to call for action to halt global warming. Few people will have been aware, though, that they were being funded with the aid of millions of pounds from British taxpayers. What makes this even more curious is that the money was provided by a body set up to promote British culture internationally.

Last Sunday, when I reported on some of the ways in which an array of British ministries have poured hundreds of millions of pounds into projects related to climate change, I overlooked one branch of government which has been as active in the cause of saving the planet as any - the British Council, created more than 70 years ago to stage lectures on Shakespeare and Jane Austen, and to spread the use of the English language.

In recent years, however, on the initiative of Lord Kinnock when he was its chairman, the British Council has been hijacked to promote the need for action on climate change. In answer to a Freedom of Information request, we can now see some of the curious ways in which the British Council has been spending our money.

More than £3.5 million has gone on recruiting a worldwide network of young "climate activists" in over 70 countries to engage in climate change propaganda - what Marxists used to call agitprop - and to pressure their politicians to join the worldwide struggle.

Under a programme called Challenge Europe, £1.1 million has been paid out to fund young "climate advocates" in 17 countries across Europe, including Britain itself. But £2.5 million has been spent on a more ambitious project to recruit a global network of 100,000 activists in 60 countries across the world, led by 1,300 young "International Climate Champions", to participate in "international peer networks, both in person and online, to share ideas, projects and experiences".

Of this sum, £303,093.24 went to China; £71,262.91 to Brazil; £53,006.25 to Japan; £70,132.88 to India (including £11,000 to Dr Pachauri's Teri institute); £77,507.89 to oil-rich Qatar; and £50,000 to the US. There was £120,000 for a dozen different countries in Africa, including £14,000 to fund climate champions in starving Zimbabwe.

All this, it is comforting to know, is being led by the climate-change activist Dr David Viner, formerly employed by East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (the focus of the "Climategate" emails scandal), who is most famous for the prediction he made in 2001, that within a few years winter snow would become "a very rare and exciting event". No doubt the climate champions we are funding in the eastern US will have been grateful for our support last week as they tried to explain the several feet of snow across the region which broke records established in the 1880s. What it all has to do with Macbeth or Pride and Prejudice is something of a mystery.



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


13 February, 2011

Alaska out of step?

We read:
“Since the mid-1970s, Alaska has warmed at three times the rate of the Lower 48 states, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And with nearly two-thirds of U.S. national parkland located in Alaska, the issue of climate change is especially pressing there, officials say.

In some far northern parks such as Gates of the Arctic, average temperatures are expected to shift in coming years from below freezing to above freezing, crossing a crucial threshold, said Bob Winfree, Alaska science adviser for the Park Service.

“The effects of melting ice and thawing permafrost, I think, will be major,” Winfree said.

In the business world, this would be known as “fraud.” At the EPA, it is known as business as usual. All of the warming occurred in 1977, with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation shift.

Source of graph

Considering just a linear trend can mask some important variability characteristics in the time series. The figure at right shows clearly that this trend is non-linear: a linear trend might have been expected from the fairly steady observed increase of CO2 during this time period. The figure shows the temperature departure from the long-term mean (1949-2009) for all stations. It can be seen that there are large variations from year to year and the 5-year moving average demonstrates large increase in 1976. The period 1949 to 1975 was substantially colder than the period from 1977 to 2009, however since 1977 little additional warming has occurred in Alaska with the exception of Barrow and a few other locations


Cold Winter Explained

The world’s leading climate scientists explain that the cold winter in 2011 is due to missing ice in the Arctic. The image above shows the difference between the warm winter of 2006 and the cold winter of 2011. Areas marked in green have more ice than 2006, and areas marked in red have less ice than 2006.

Apparently a thin sliver of missing ice west of Greenland is causing record cold across much of the planet, and making all the Polar Bears starve to death.


GISS (USA) Diverging From HadCRUT (UK) At A Rate Of 1C Per Century

Hansen claimed last year was the “hottest year ever” by one hundredth of a degree. Over the last decade he has diverged from HadCRUT by an order of magnitude more than his claimed record.

A good scientist would acknowledge that his error bar was much greater than his claim. In fact, he wouldn’t even make the claim.


The BBC compares climate skeptics to pedophiles

They are a little Kremlin of fanatics posing as reasonable men. And one moderate blogger (below) is upset. I have fixed some spelling and grammar in his upset post

I am both angered and saddened. It was no doubt just a throwaway comment, with little thought behind it.

When Michael Buerk the presenter of the BBC radio program the ‘Moral Maze’ said in his intro to a debate about Multiculturalism in the UK: BBC iPlayer link (20 seconds in) “not long ago to question multiculturalism…. ….risked being branded racists and pushed into the loathesome corner with paedophiles and climate change deniers“

Am I being too sensitive? I presume that they mean ‘man made climate change deniers’, as I know of no-one that denies natural climate change, yet the words are used interchangeably.

To many people this would be a ‘climate change denier’ blog, what ever that may mean, should I be concerned for my personal safety?

I’m just sceptical of the catastrophic, End of the World’ cult like, gloom and doom version of Anthroprogenic Global Warming. (10:10, Greenpeace, Gore, WWF, Transition Towns, etc)

In fact I might be considered part of the IPCC AGW consensus. Although, someone that thinks the lower or lowest end of the IPCC projections for temperatures are the most likely in the next 100 years based on observable evidence. But of the opinion that natural climate variability may swamp any AGW signal in the earth’s climate.

I don’t think I am being too sensitive… …this casual use of a phrase, in the context of a manstream program, associating ideas with paedophiles, is guaranteed to make people think at least twice about being called a ‘climate change deniar’.

The fact that it is in a program not about climate change just makes it worse, it was just a comment in the introduction of a program about another taboo subject in the UK, criticising multiculturalism.

The irony is apparently lost on the presenter of the MORAL MAZE, when in the very next 30 seconds, Michael Buerke goes on to say when describing David Camerons criticism of government handling of multiculturism: “his was not an argument against the basic idea of tolerance towards those amongst us with different cultures, IDEAS and lifestyles.”

Why single out people that have the idea that ‘climate science’ is uncertain and politicised. Recently many scientists have said that over-hyping of doom and gloom and unrealistic scenarios by lobby groups has not helped.

People can believe in any religion they like in this country, with some very strange ideas (to my mind) yet they are respected. Even a creationist (of the Earth was created 6,000 years ago kind). Whilst many might think them ‘anti-science’, they would never be associated or labelled as in the same loathsome corner as paedophiles, and racists.

Not even Gordon Brown’s ‘flat earther’ ‘anti-science’ description of the denial of climate sceptics, or Ed Milliband’s ‘climate saboteurs’ went as far as putting people into the same category as paedophiles and racists.

Even IF anyone could find a TRUE climate Change deniar, – ie ‘the climate does not change for any reason it is static’, would they be that loathsome?

What is a ‘climate change deniar’ anyway?

* Someone who denys that the planet has a climate that changes in the Earth’s history?

* Someone who denies that the world has wammed since the last ice age?

* Someone who denies that the world has warmed since the end of the little ice age?

* Someone who denies that in the last 2 hundred years that there has been a rising trend in temperature, with 20-30 year periods of high rates of warming and cooling?

* Someone who questions that the late 20th century warming is definetly due to humans producing CO2? (the IPCC only say likely due)

* Someone who questions catstrophic predictions of 20 foot sea level rises, tipping points, global climate disruption, etc,etc

Or is it just a phrase, that can be used to mean whatever the person saying it chooses it to mean, to shut down any debate at any particular moment in time?

I am very upset by this but there is absolutely nothing that I can do about it. The BBC has one huge galloping cultural blindspot and would not even comprehend my sadness.

The fact that it was just a casual throwaway comment, just a few seconds worth, just makes it worse. No one in the program seemed to notice this and they were talking about tolerance.

At what point will someone point me out to my children as a ‘climate change denier’. Should I fear that label?

Apparently many people think that Michael Buerk was being ironic, and in the nature of the program that is possible, yet it is far too ambiguous. As they do not touch on the matter again, it is not commented on and just accepted?

Yet, even if intended as irony, it may be lost on many people that would be nodding along in agreement. Thus, this is a dangerous word game for the BBC to be playing.

I would like to know exactly what was intended by the BBC in this introduction.

What might be more enlightening of the BBC culture, is to ask the BBC, what is the definition of a ‘climate change denier’.

I have questioned the use of wind farms as a big problem for this country, that may result in an energy gap in the future, fuel poverty and potentially blackouts. And, have publically been called a climate denier, by activists in my town for just questioning energy policy/solutions, let alone AGW theory..

This statement, only a few seconds, even IF ironic, does not exactly help, as many will just accept it and the casual use of the phrase become common parlance.


Even Mexico is freezing

Mexico loses 80-100% of crops to freeze, US prices to skyrocket

The cold weather experienced across much of the US in early February made its way deep into Mexico and early reports estimate 80-100 percent crop losses which are having an immediate impact on prices at US grocery stores with more volatility to come.

Wholesale food suppliers have already sent notices to supermarket retailers describing the produce losses in Mexico and the impact shoppers can expect. Sysco sent out a release(pdf) this week stating the early February freeze reached as far south as Los Mochis and south of Culiacan, both located in the state of Sinaloa, along the Gulf of California. The freezing temperatures were the worst the region has seen since 1957.

According to Sysco’s notice sent out this week: “The early reports are still coming in but most are showing losses of crops in the range of 80 to 100%. Even shade house product was hit by the extremely cold temps. It will take 7-10 days to have a clearer picture from growers and field supervisors, but these growing regions haven’t had cold like this in over half a century.”

At this time of year, Mexico is a major supplier to the US and Canada for green beans, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, asparagus, peppers and round and Roma tomatoes. Compounding the problem is the freezing cold that hit Florida in December and January.

Sysco continued with its dire report: “Florida normally is a major supplier for these items as well but they have already been struck with severe freeze damage in December and January and up until now have had to purchase product out of Mexico to fill their commitments, that is no longer an option.”

Validating that statement, The Packer released a statement at the end of December stating: “Freeze damage to Florida crops could increase demand for Mexican vegetables for the rest of winter, grower-shippers say.”

That December report noted Florida’s cold temperatures and crop loss but was optimistic over Mexico’s produce, even if prices were climbing. “My gut feeling tells me the Mexican deal is going to be very active,” said Ken Maples, sales manager for Plantation Produce in Mission, Texas, according to The Packer.

“Green beans in Florida were seriously hurt. Romas that are $10 or $10.95 today in 25-pound bulk, I look for it to be in the mid-teens,” Maples added.

But that was December. On Wednesday, The Packer reported that: “Supplies of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and other vegetables from Mexico will be severely limited until at least March following an early February freeze.”

Wholesale prices for many crops have already begun climbing, doubling and almost tripling what they were at the beginning of February....

Sysco called the Mexico freeze an “unprecedented disaster” and noted the volatility of the matter in its release: “With the series of weather disasters that has occurred in both of these major growing areas we will experience immediate volatile prices, expected limited availability, and mediocre quality at best.”


Doubts growing in New Hampshire

A legislative bid for New Hampshire to pull out of a 10-state, regional greenhouse gas initiative turned into an ideological war Thursday over the credibility of the science of climate change.
But Gov. John Lynch tried to steer the debate to one of dollars and cents, warning that repeal of the 3-year-old law would hit businesses and consumers in the wallet.

“Withdrawing from RGGI would be a blow to our economy and to our state’s efforts to become more energy efficient and energy independent,” Lynch wrote to the House Science Technology and Energy Committee, which hosted an all-day hearing on the repeal bill (HB 519) in Representatives Hall.

New Hampshire became the last of the states in the region to sign onto RGGI, which makes polluters buy allowances for carbon dioxide emissions that studies show contribute to greenhouse gases.

Jessica O’Hare, program associated at Environment New Hampshire, said this form of cap-and-trade encourages businesses to change New Hampshire’s status as one of the top five states in consumption of oil per capita. “It helps New Hampshire reduce our reliance on oil and other fossil fuels,” O’Heare said. “This will make the state more economically secure and reduce pollution.”

Joseph D’Aleo, a Hudson meterologist and climatologist said CO2 is not a pollutant but a beneficial gas and these programs have no measurable effect on climate. “RGGI represents the epitome of all-pain-and-no-gain scenario,” D’Aleo said.

Eric Wurme, a Boscawen software engineer and climate enthusiast, agreed and said ocean currents have had much more to do with affecting climate and warming of the planet than any man-made program to encourage reduction of emissions. “I consider it premature for government to try and influence any restriction on CO2 emissions at this point,” Wurme said.

But Kenneth Colburn of Stonyfield Farm Yogurt in Londonderry, said the program has already led to $21 million worth of energy efficiencies and 1,130 jobs. Repeal of the program would hurt the state economically, he warned. “This will increase costs on New Hampshire businesses and citizens and provide them with no accompanying benefit whatsoever,” said Colburn, a former state director of air resources. “This is hardly the New Hampshire way, and would detract from rather than contribute to the New Hampshire advantage.”

Lynch maintained since RGGI began, it has cost consumers $11 million and delivered $28 million in benefits.

Current Air Resources Director David Scott said RGGI is a modest program that encourages and does not punish businesses regarding their emissions. “RGGI was never meant to solve the climate change issue; it was meant to be a modest, unique program and it has been,” Scott added.



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


12 February, 2011

Another boot in the butt for the fraudulent "97%"

The claim cannot be seen as anything other than deliberate deception. But truth is always a casualty to the needs of the Green/Left

Study claiming ’97% of climate scientists agree’ is flawed
Perhaps the most common argument used when urging action on climate change is the appeal to scientific authority. Previously this was accomplished by pointing at the IPCC, but since they have lost a significant portion of their credibility recently it has become more frequent to point out the scientists themselves. The most common claim that I encounter is a variation on this claim:
97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming.

I recently heard this claim on my own threads. I looked at the source (the study Doran and Zimmerman 2009), found some problems, and then wrote back on my threads. However, I have seen this claim so many times that I believe it would be good to make a post about it. I also e-mailed several prominent climate scientists who would be considered 'skeptics' to get their opinions on the study. Their responses are displayed at the end of the post.

In this post I briefly comment on past responses to the study, then break my post into three sections. The first will focus on the flaw in the study (the second question), the second will look at the motives of the researcher, and the third will be posting responses from prominent 'skeptical' climate scientists.

First I'm going to address a common response to this study. In this post at The Hockey Schtick, it is pointed out that the 97% statistic is based on only 79 climatologists, and that those participating were self-selected. There are two concerns here. The first is sample size. While climate science isn't a massive field, 79 participants is fairly small. To claim definitely that 97% believe this or that you would need to poll significantly more people. The second concern is the fact that the scientists were self-selected by an online survey. This may not have led to a representative sample.

Other concerns with the study deal with numbers behind it, or other reasons to consider it a poor study. However, these aren't my primary concern. My concern is the actual questions asked in the study, which I will show in a moment.

The study on which these claims are based is available here. It is an paper by Peter Doran and Maggie Kendall Zimmerman written in 2009, entitled "Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change". Here is the citation:
Doran, P. T., and M. Kendall Zimmerman (2009), Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change, Eos Trans. AGU, 90(3)

The questions

The study is fairly simple. It has a large database of earth scientists, and sends them an invitation to participate in their study. If they accept, then they take an online survey. The survey asks two primary questions:

1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?

2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

The first question is largely irrelevant. I'm unaware of any scientists who don't believe the planet has gotten warmer when compared with pre-1800s levels. Not surprisingly, 76 of 79 climate scientists answered 'risen' to this question. I'm guessing that the other three didn't consider the increase significant enough to warrant 'risen' and picked 'constant'.

The major problem with this study is the second question. It is not phrased properly. In fact, the phrasing is so poor that I consider the entire study flawed because of it. There are multiple problems with the phrasing, so let me break them down.

1. The phrase "human activity"

Human activity comprises numerous actions which can affect the climate other than greenhouse gases. Agricultural changes and deforestation are two influences that come to mind. Now, any respondent who believes that ANY human activity can change the climate must answer yes to this question.

A better phrasing would be:

Do you think anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

2. The phrase "significant contributing factor"

The problem with this is obvious. What makes something significant? If 5% of recent temperature change is caused by mankind, is that significant? How about 10%? There is no context for answering the question. There is no way of knowing whether or not the respondents consider human activity the primary factor in temperature change.

A better phrasing would be:

Do you think that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are the primary factor (50% or more) in changing mean global temperatures?

3. The phrase "changing mean global temperature"

This is the most problematic part of the question, because there is no indication of how much temperature change is considered worth answering 'yes'. For example, if a respondent believed that human activities had increased the temperature of the planet by 1/10th of a degree, the answer would still be yes. Even so for 1/100th. There is no useful context here. Many climate skeptics believe that human activities have increased the temperature of the planet, but not by any significant amount. The survey should specifically ask if the warming is a statistically significant amount. Also, the word "changing" should be changed to "increasing", because otherwise a respondent could consider human activities as cooling the planet and still answer yes.

Much more HERE (See the original for links)

Global Panic as Green Sector Collapses financially and Investors Face Ruin

John O'Sullivan

Governments, investors and even the World Bank are rushing for the exits in the Great Escape from the green energy bubble.

Solar energy appears to be the worst affected sector so far. Dow Jones reports on a startling U-turn by Britain’s ultra-green government has caught investors off guard and shock waves across the markets will likely precipitate the further rush from green energy projects to shale gas.

The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change made the shock announcement as it revealed a comprehensive review of its Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program. Indications from data provider, Prequin are that over $1bn in earmarked funds may be lost as Britain now promises it will only hold tariffs until April 2012.

Green Investors Feeling Betrayed by European Governments

Britain’s decision is another nail in the coffin for Europe’s tottering green energy market. Last year the first of several crushing body blows was dealt to environmentalist dreams when the Spanish government retrospectively cut the value of its tariffs in its own U-turning energy review.

The devastated Spanish Solar Photovoltaic Industry Association, with mass bankruptcies on the cards, is accusing their government of utter betrayal is yet to carry out a threat to sue over the ruling....

World Bank Joins Rush Away from the Green White Elephant

Top line international bankers also appear to be abandoning 'big green' according to a report by climate scientist Roger Pielke Jr. who highlights two recent research papers published by influential thinkers inside the World Bank.

Economics papers by Robert Mendelsohn and Gokay Saher (here in PDF) and Medelsohn, Kerry Emanuel and Shun Chonabayashi (here in PDF) chop the legs from under the pro-green Stern Review (2007) and affirm that no human impact may be inferred on global climate.


Holland slashes carbon targets, shuns wind for nuclear

In a radical change of policy, the Netherlands is reducing its targets for renewable energy and slashing the subsidies for wind and solar power. It's also given the green light for the country's first new nuclear power plants for almost 40 years.

Why the change? Wind and solar subsidies are too expensive, the Financial Times Deutschland , reports.

Holland thus becomes the first country to abandon the EU-wide target of producing 20 per cent of its domestic power from renewables. This is a remarkable turnaround from a state that took the Kyoto Agreement seriously and chivvied other EU members into adopting renewable energy strategies. The FT reports that instead of the €4bn annual subsidy, it will be slashed to €1.5bn.

Holland's only nuclear reactor, the Borssele plant, opened in 1973, and was earmarked for closure by 2003. In 2006 the plant was allowed to operate until 2034, and the following year the government abandoned its opposition to new nuclear plants.

Critics of wind turbine expansion have found it difficult to get figures to judge whether the turbines are value for money. In January, Ofgem refused to disclose the output of each Feed-In Tariff (FiT) location.

The UK is expected to urge the installation of 10,000 new onshore turbines, even though some cost more in subsidies than than they produce, even at the generous Feed-In rates. Holland's policy U-turn means the EU renewable targets aren't set in stone - and there are more cost-effective ways of hitting the targets.


In good Warmist fashion, the BBC assumes what they have to prove

From the latest Radio Times, concerning a Radio 4 programme entitled "In Denial: Climate on the Couch", to be aired at 9pm this evening. I will listen, and I will set my radio recorder.

Radio Times blurb:
Jolyon Jenkins investigates the psychology of climate change efforts, asking why some people seem unconcerned even though scientists are forecasting terrible changes to the planet. He questions whether environmentalists and the Government have been putting out messages that are counterproductive, and whether trying to scare people into action might actually be causing them to consume more.

My suspicion is that what I and all others who listen to this programme will hear will be an explanation of the failure of the Greenists to convince that omits the crucial matter of the mere truth, and what is now sincerely believed to be the truth by more and more of the mere people. The phrase "In Denial" does strongly suggest this. And "On the Couch" suggests that they think that some people, presumably all who deny, are mad.

You know the kind of thing: People don't think there's anything they can do! - No wonder they're being crazy! - We have not communicated successfully! - We have not got our message across properly!

It probably was rather a bad idea to make it look like they want to blow up children who disagree with them. But what if, despite such communicational ineptness, they have got their message across, but people just think it's a pack of lies? If that is what people now think, then no amount of improved communicational expertise that doesn't deal with the mere truth of things will make much difference.

But, my suspicions may prove to be unjustified. As of now, I live in hope that the truth, both what it is and what it is now believed to be, will at least get a semi-respectful mention, in among all the psychologising.


This programme isn't about climate science so it's going to assume that the scientific consensus is true. And a moment later, someone described (it may have been Jolyon Jenkins) this consensus as "undeniable". Which was an odd word to use, given the title.

Well, at least it has just been admitted that people sometimes say that it's all being exaggerated, even if it is assumed that this is mistaken and evasive. That it might be an honest opinion is not up for discussion, because that would mean discussing climate science.

So, the early and pessimistic commenters here are right. It looks like being a long discussion of what a bunch of true-believers can do to save the world, given that a huge tranche of people has decided that the world doesn't need saving, but will have to be convinced in the true-believer stuff is to even make sense let alone accomplish anything.

The elephant in their room is that they have lost this argument, in the sense that they need unanimity in this, but are drifting further and further away from unanimity. They are ignoring this elephant. They are behaving like that economist, stuck on a desert island with various other sorts of experts, who is wondering how to contrive a tin-opener. "Let's assume we have a tin-opener." This won't work.

LATER: Thinking about this some more, I should perhaps stress that the people who sincerely disagree that CAGW is happening were not called mad, as I feared they might be. They were simply ignored. All were assumed to really believe in CAGW, but to be using some kind of psychological doublethink to evade what they knew they ought to be doing really. Like I say: let's assume we've won.


The unseen consequences of "green jobs"

Will investing in clean energy harm the economy?

In his State of the Union speech a couple of weeks ago, President Barack Obama planned to "win the future" by, among many other things, having the federal government "invest" in "clean energy technology-an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people." But will investing in clean energy actually produce countless new jobs?

A couple of weeks ago, the California think tank Next 10 asserted in its 2011 Many Shades of Green report that employment in the state's green core economy grew at 3 percent between 2008 and 2009. Employment in the rest of the economy, meanwhile, grew at just 1 percent. The report defines the "green core economy" as businesses that generate clean energy, conserve energy, or reduce and recycle wastes.

Specifically, the Next 10 report finds that the number of jobs in California's green core economy rose between 2008 and 2009 from 169,000 to 174,000-an additional 5,000 jobs. Green jobs account for just 0.9 percent of California's overall 18.8 million jobs. Note that California's unemployment rate is 12.5 percent, which means that 2,270,000 Californians are without work.

Unfortunately, when it comes to green jobs both the president and the Next 10 report are focusing on the seen while ignoring the unseen. In his brilliant essay, "What is Seen and What is Unseen," 19th century French economist Frederic Bastiat pointed out that the favorable "seen" effects of any policy often produce many disastrous "unseen" later consequences. Bastiat urges us "not to judge things solely by what is seen, but rather by what is not seen."

So let's take a look. Many of the green core economy jobs created in California are the result of policies that restrict the production and use of conventional sources of energy. For example, electricity generators in California are required to produce 20 percent of their supplies using renewable sources by 2010, a requirement that will rise to 33 percent by 2020. In addition, California's Global Warming Solutions Act will impose steep reductions in carbon dioxide emissions produced by burning fossil fuels. Other green jobs are the result of regulations requiring energy conservation [PDF] in residential and commercial construction. Certainly, these activities provide some benefits, including pollution reduction and energy savings. But let's focus on the claim that on balance they provide more jobs than they kill.

A new report, "Defining, Measuring, and Predicting Green Jobs," by University of Texas economist Gurcan Gulen, issued by the Copenhagen Consensus Center, takes apart many studies predicting that policies mandating alternative energy production, energy efficiency, and conservation will create a boom in employment.

First, Gulen notes that many such studies fail to define clearly what they mean by green jobs. He points out that many pro-green jobs studies do not distinguish temporary construction jobs from more permanent operation jobs. Many studies also assume that green jobs will pay more than jobs in conventional energy production. But why would a construction job at a wind farm pay more than one at a conventional power plant?

Even more disturbingly, many green job studies have no analyses of job losses. Clean energy costs more than conventional energy, which means consumers and businesses will have less income with which to buy and invest. This reduces their consumption of other goods and services, resulting in job losses in those sectors-one of Bastiat's "unseen" effects. In addition, many studies simultaneously count on protectionist policies to exclude clean energy imports while assuming that domestic companies will be freely exporting to other countries.

As an example of how these pro-green jobs studies go wrong, Gulen analyzes the 2008 green jobs study [PDF] by the consultancy IHS Global Insight. That report found that the U.S. currently has 750,000 green jobs, of which 420,000 are in the engineering, legal, research, and consulting fields. Gulen observes, "Given that there are also categories for renewable generation, manufacturing, construction, and installation, it is likely that the majority of the jobs in the largest category are not directly associated with the generation of a single kWh (kilowatt-hour) of `green' power or a single Btu (British thermal unit) of `green' fuel." The Global Insight study also reports that government administration generates 72,000 of the current green jobs. Green policies often don't produce power, but do produce more regulators.

The Global lnsight study further asserts that pursuing green energy will increase economic productivity. "When compared to conventional technologies on unit of energy output, due to intermittency and low capacity factors, wind and solar are likely to be more labor intensive (hence less productive)," notes Gulen. In fact, Gulen adds that other studies are counting on the fact that green energy technologies are more labor intensive as a way to generate more jobs.

This strategy is reminiscent of the no doubt apocryphal story of the American economist visiting Mao's China taken on a tour of a construction site where 100 workers were using shovels to build an earthen dam. "Why don't you just use one man and a bulldozer to build the dam?" asked the economist. The guide responded, "If we did that, then we'd have 99 men out of work." To which the economist replied, "Oh, I thought you were building a dam. If your goal is to make jobs, why don't you take their shovels away and replace them with spoons?"

Gulen is not alone in his concerns about overblown claims for green jobs. A 2009 report [PDF], by Hillard Huntington, executive director of the Energy Modeling Forum at Stanford University, also found that promoting green energy is not a jobs generator. Huntington calculated the number of jobs per million dollars invested in various types of electricity generation. A million dollars invested in solar power produces three to five jobs; wind 1.6 to 6.5 jobs; biomass 1.8 to 6.5 jobs; coal 3.7 jobs; and natural gas two jobs. It looks like renewables are often winners at job creation until Huntington points out that on average an investment of a million dollars produces about 10 jobs.

"Electricity generation across all sources creates far fewer jobs than other activities in the economy; the estimates in the figure suggest that they range between 17-67 percent of the average job-creation in the economy," reports Huntington. "These net job losses mean that subsidies to either green or conventional sources will detract rather than expand the economy's job base, because they will shift investments from other sectors that will create more employment."

Another way to look at it is that in the worst cases, investing in solar power destroys seven jobs, wind eight jobs, biomass eight jobs, coal six jobs, and natural gas eight jobs, each compared to the 10 jobs generally created per million dollars of investment. All subsidies to the electric power sector divert money that would otherwise be invested in higher value wealth and job-creating activities.

Huntington concludes, "Policymakers and government agencies should look askance at the claimed additional job benefits from green energy." Gulen agrees, "Adding `net' jobs cannot be defended as another benefit of investing in these [green] technologies." In other words, President Obama and other proponents of green energy like Next 10 are seeing only what their policies produce, and ignoring what their policies destroy.


Compact Fluorescents Are Fire Hazard

There's yet another reason to resent the overpriced, flickering, dim, and toxic curlicue light bulbs our moonbat rulers are imposing on us as of next year on behalf of their crony capitalist bankrollers:
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below … announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Units: 124,000

Importer: Eastern America Trio Products Inc. of Flushing, N.Y.

Hazard: Light bulb can overheat and catch fire.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received four reports of incidents, including two fires that resulted in minor property damage.

It is a known if underpublicized fact that using compact fluorescents in outdoor or enclosed fixtures can lead to fire, and that breaking one of them can lead to your home being declared a toxic waste site due to the mercury they contain. But as of next year, you'll have to use them anyway. It may not help the polar bears, but it will certainly help big corporations like GE, which won't have to worry about competition from small firms that can produce the simpler and cheaper incandescent light bulbs most people prefer.



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


11 February, 2011

519 Manhattans Of Glacier Ice Broke Away From Greenland In The Year 1816

Warmists always seem to get a horn when a glacier calves, apparently imagining that no such thing has ever happened before. In Aug, 2010 we read, for instance: "A giant iceberg that snapped away from Greenland last week is a signal that global warming is causing the island's continent-sized ice cap to melt faster than expected, scientists say. The 250-square-kilometre (100-square-mile) chunk, four times the size of Manhattan, broke away from the Petermann ice shelf on Greenland's northwestern tip"


That is the equivalent of 130 Petermann icebergs, which our looney left friends got hysterical about last year.


Unfalsifiable Science - Proof Of Climate Change

Reader Jimbo provides us with data sources of why global warming is undeniable. No sense in denying it any longer. AGW warming and its impacts are real. Things caused by global warming:

Warmer Northern Hemisphere winters due to global warming
Colder Northern Hemisphere winters due to global warming

Global warming to slow down the Earth's rotation
Global warming to speed up the Earth's rotation

North Atlantic Ocean has become less salty
North Atlantic Ocean has become more salty

Avalanches may increase
Avalanches may decrease

Plants move uphill due to global warming
Plants move downhill due to global warming

Monsoons to become drier in India
Monsoons to become wetter in India

Plankton blooms
Plankton decline

Reindeer thrive
Reindeer decline

Less snow in Great Lakes
More snow in Great Lakes

Gulf stream slows down
Gulf stream shows "small increase in flow"

San Francisco more foggy
San Francisco less foggy

Less winter snow for Britain
More winter snow for Britain

Africa to get less rain
Africa to get more rain

Winds speed up [USA]
Winds slow down [USA]

Monsoons to become drier in India
Monsoons to become wetter in India

Bird migrations longer
Bird migrations shorter

SOURCE (See the original for links to all of the above assertions)

The children of Wales are paying the price of Greenie fuel fanaticism

Instead of building relatively cheap coal-fired power stations, expensive gas-fired stations are being operated. The people's money has also been squandered on useless windmills -- and power bills have been pumped up to pay for the windmills

THE health and education of children in Wales' poorest areas is suffering because their families can not afford to heat their homes. Posters will be distributed to schools across the nation to help children cope with the challenge of staying warm in 21st century Wales.

But campaigners claim that the necessity of holding such a campaign exposes a huge wealth divide causing "profound" problems for children in Wales' most deprived areas. A major report and short film will be launched today which details the impact of fuel poverty on the lives of young people.

There are deep concerns that children in Wales' poorest families are being kept awake at night because of the cold and their health and grades are suffering.

The poster gives schoolchildren 10 tips for staying warm which include pulling "a blanket over your knees or shoulders when you are sitting still or watching TV". It also recommends electric blankets because "you pay to heat your bed rather than an entire room".

The film and report has been produced by Children in Wales and funded by Consumer Focus Wales.

Sean O'Neill, policy director for Children in Wales, said: "Far too many young people in Wales are living in fuel poverty and cold homes. The impact on them can be profound. "It damages their school grades, their health and wellbeing. And it damages their life chances. "By talking to children in schools across Wales, we have gathered real evidence of how cold homes are affecting children's lives."

Maria Battle, senior director of Consumer Focus Wales, said: "Everyone should be able to live in a warm home, and that is a minimum requirement if we want our children to achieve their full potential."


A Prince of mediocre intelligence but considerable folly and insensitivity

It's unlikely that Prince Charles shivers in his bed at night -- and taking sides in scientific controversies is incredibly foolish. The Queen has always been wise enough to stay above all public controversies

PRINCE Charles was accused of endangering his reputation yesterday after claiming climate change sceptics were "playing a reckless game of roulette" with the world's future. In a speech to Euro MPs and business leaders in Brussels, he lashed out at those urging caution in response to apocalyptic warnings about the effects of global warming.

The Prince suggested climate change sceptics were having a "corrosive effect" on public opinion by saying that hundreds of scientists around the world were somehow conspiring to present a false image of man-made global warming in an attempt to destroy the world economy.

But Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a think-tank concerned about the costs of fashionable green policies, said: "He shouldn't really take such a strong political position on such a contentious issue that divides public opinion, as polls show. "I think he's really risking his reputation. He's not really helping the situation," he said.

In his speech to the Low Carbon Prosperity Summit, Charles said of the sceptics: "I would ask how these people are going to face their grandchildren and admit to them that they actually failed their future; that they ignored all the clear warning signs by passing them off as merely part of a `cyclical process' that had happened many times before and was beyond our control." "I wonder, will such people be held accountable at the end of the day for the absolute refusal to countenance a precautionary approach? For this plays, I would suggest, a most reckless game of roulette with the future inheritance of those who come after us."

The Prince travelled to Brussels by Eurostar after facing accusations of hypocrisy when he flew in a private jet to address the Copenhagen climate change summit in December 2009. He met European dignitaries, including European Council president, Herman Van Rompuy.

In front of a packed European Parliament, he warned against the pursuit of economic growth at the expense of the environment and challenged politicians to break the link between growth and high carbon emissions.

He said a "business as usual" approach to increasing national wealth was just a short-term remedy. "I cannot see how we can possibly maintain the growth of GDP in the long term if we continue to consume our planet as voraciously as we are doing," he added.

But his speech provoked a furious response from critics more concerned with encouraging growth to bring the global economy out of a downturn. Dr Peiser said the Prince was wrong on the key issue that the West's economic model was flawed. "More advanced societies in Europe and North America have a much better track record on environmental policies than other parts of the world," he said. "But also the prescriptons he is promoting, such as biofuels, are part of the problem and have been the cause of food riots around the world."

Charles uses biofuels in his official cars and on the Royal Train, but the race to turn crops into green fuel has caused rainforests to be chopped down, and land formerly used to grow food in the Third World to be switched to its production.

Andrew Montford, author of The Hockey Stick Illusion, which seeks to debunk climate change science, said: "It isn't sceptics who have eroded public opinion - climate scientists have destroyed their own credibility by hyping global warming and cheating the scientific process. More hype from Prince Charles will merely turn people off further."


War on coal? EPA warming plan under fire in House

In the first salvo of a new congressional battle over global warming, House Republicans charged Wednesday that emissions rules sought by the Obama administration would mean "higher prices and fewer jobs." "Let's face it, these regulations and others from EPA amount to a war on domestic coal," Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., said of the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to use the Clean Air Act to curb greenhouse gases tied to warming temperatures.

"Coal is the energy source America possesses in the greatest abundance," Whitfield, chair of the Energy and Power Subcommittee that called Wednesday's hearing, added in his opening statement.
"It provides half the nation's electricity, and 92 percent in my home state of Kentucky," he said of coal, which emits more carbon dioxide than other fuels. "And it does so because it is affordable."

EPA chief Lisa Jackson followed up accusing Republicans of trying to undermine the Clean Air Act with a bill being drafted by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., to prevent the EPA from using the act to curb greenhouse gases. "The bill appears to be part of a broader effort in this Congress to delay, weaken, or eliminate Clean Air Act protections of the American public," she said in her opening statement.

It was Jackson's first trip to Capitol Hill since Republicans took over the House and gained more seats in the Senate - but not her last. Upton, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, recently joked she should line up a permanent parking spot at the Capitol.

At the same time, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., proposed a sweeping $1.9 billion cut - about 18 percent - to the amount requested for EPA this year by President Barack Obama. Rogers' proposal would also shave millions from EPA programs to boost energy efficiency in household appliances and to collect data on greenhouse gas emissions.

At the core of the battle is this fact: Having failed last year to enact legislation to reduce greenhouse gases, the Obama administration is trying to now use the existing Clean Air Act to achieve its goals.

Jackson contends the law and compelling scientific evidence on global warming leave her no choice. Moreover, the Supreme Court said in 2007 that the law could be used to fight global warming.

Republicans counter that regulations like those sought by the EPA would penalize industries that otherwise could be creating new jobs, and they've made the agency a central target of their anti-regulatory agenda.

Some longtime observers say the atmosphere for the agency has never been more toxic than it is now. "It's really been quite extreme," said William Ruckelshaus, who was the first EPA administrator under Nixon and later ran the agency under President Ronald Reagan, of the rhetoric. "What are they supposed to do? Sit there and do nothing?"

The latest and perhaps most draconian attack came from former House speaker and possible 2012 GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who called for abolishing the EPA and replacing it with an organization more friendly to business. That followed Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin's use of a rifle to blast a hole through legislation limiting the gases blamed for global warming in a campaign commercial. The stunt helped him win West Virginia's open Senate seat.

Lawmakers of both parties have already introduced a dozen bills aimed at weakening, delaying or blocking pollution regulations. Business groups invited by congressional Republicans to describe their biggest regulatory burdens singled out EPA rules more than any others.

In 2009, the EPA under Obama put the Clean Air Act in motion when it concluded climate changes being caused by pollution from industries, automobiles and other sources burning fossil fuels are a threat to public health and welfare.

There's also growing resistance to a host of other regulations expected from the agency. Some were initiated by Obama, but others are the result of courts throwing out Bush-era regulations. Still others stem from reviews required by law to update standards to reflect the latest science.

They cover everything from ground-level ozone, the main ingredient in smog, to coal ash disposal, to a rule aimed at reducing pollution blowing into downwind states. "There has been an onslaught of job-crushing regulations emerging from the EPA over the last few years," said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., at a recent hearing of the Senate Environment Committee.


Australia: Climate adviser Garnaut misses the point

Henry Ergas points out the incompetent economic reasoning behind the claim that a carbon tax would be beneficial

IN his recent report on Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Climate Change Action, Ross Garnaut argues that urgent action to reduce emissions by setting a carbon price would be in Australia's national interests.

To reach this conclusion, the report considers the costs and benefits to Australia of emissions reduction. It should be commended for doing so, as that brings vital discipline to the debate. Yet even accepting the report's account of the science, its assessment overstates the benefits of immediate action and understates its costs and risks.

The difficulties arise even if one assumes that effective international agreement on mitigation is reached, allowing Australia to reap long-term benefits from mitigation efforts. As the report recognises, it would still need to be established that those benefits outweighed costs.

Whether that test is met is affected by how costs, incurred now, and benefits, decades away, are converted into a comparable measure in the present. There are no easy answers as to how this should be done. It is obvious, however, that no one would accept an offer to invest $1 today in a project that would return only $1 in 70 years from now.

The compelling reason for rejecting that offer is its opportunity cost: were that $1 invested in government bonds, its value in 70 years (assuming, as per Australian experience, inflation-adjusted annual returns of 3.5 per cent) would exceed $11.

As a result, $1 in 70 years is only worth some 9c today: because a sacrifice of merely 9c can secure a riskless claim on $1 in the distant future. And if the relevant alternative yields higher risk-adjusted returns than government bonds, the offer is worth even less.

Future benefits must therefore be discounted in line with returns on alternative investments. Doing so need not involve placing less weight on future generations' welfare than on our own. Even if equal weight were placed on the welfare of all generations, opportunity costs would still be crucial.

Consider mitigation action costing $1 billion today but yielding an environmental benefit valued in 2111 at $50bn. Assume also the $1bn could instead be invested at an expected annual return of 6 per cent. Future generations would not want us to undertake that mitigation, as the alternative would yield over $300bn, compensating them six-fold for the foregone environmental gain. Choosing the mitigation investment would therefore be unethical and irrational.

This is not to deny it can be appropriate to discount long-term net benefits at a lower rate than net benefits next year. For example, future returns may be uncertain: the alternative might yield not 6 per cent but only 2 per cent. If the 6 and 2 per cent outcomes are equally probable, the correct discount rate gets closer to the lower value the further in the future one goes.

But even taking that into account, the report's discount rates are far below opportunity costs, especially if mitigation diverts resources from other investments. The effect is to greatly overstate the value today of mitigation's future benefits.

The report tries to justify this by reference to what it calls a normative approach to the discount rate. But there is nothing particularly normative about ignoring opportunity costs; nor does the report address the many distortions ignoring opportunity costs creates.

Rather, the report suggests that even if higher discount rates were used, mitigation could still be worthwhile if it reduced the likelihood of catastrophic outcomes. True, the possibility of catastrophic outcomes creates a case for insurance. But the question remains whether unilateral mitigation in fact provides that insurance.

This question is especially acute if two points are accepted: first, that it is uncertain whether effective international agreement will be reached; and second, that whether Australia imposes a carbon price may have some impact on prospects for international agreement but that impact is hardly decisive.

A scenario must therefore be considered in which we engage in unilateral mitigation, as the report recommends, but international agreement is not reached, and the catastrophic outcome it fears eventuates.

In that scenario, unilateral mitigation would certainly make us poorer. That is undesirable in itself. Additionally, by impoverishing us, it would diminish the resource pool on which we could draw in responding to the catastrophic outcome and increase the welfare cost of adjustment.

Unilateral mitigation would, in other words, be anti-insurance: it would increase the cost of the very risks the report paints. Faced with that possibility, the report's own logic, of maximising net benefits to Australia taking account of uncertainties, would command a prudent decision-maker not to undertake unilateral mitigation.

This is all the more the case as postponing mitigation allows costs to be avoided, but will have little effect on benefits.

That is obviously true in the scenario in which mitigation is and would remain unilateral, as in that scenario, mitigation cannot yield benefits. However, even in the alternative scenario, in which there is eventual agreement, delay will be worthwhile so long as the costs of mitigation do not increase more rapidly than the return on alternative investments.

Historically, annual returns on capital in Australia have been around 8 per cent real. Given continued rapid progress in low emissions technologies, delay is unlikely to cause Australia's mitigation costs to rise more quickly than that, particularly if the delay is relatively short.

Taking into account these benefits of postponement both in the scenario in which agreement is reached and in that in which it is not, the report's logic would again tell against unilateral action.

The report avoids this conclusion by not modelling costs and benefits in the scenario in which we abate but the world as a whole does not. It ignores that scenario altogether.

This is inconsistent with the risk assessment framework it rightly recommends.

The report's conclusions are therefore not properly made out. Until they are, its calls for immediate unilateral action, with all its costs, remain unconvincing.



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


10 February, 2011

Climate disasters all blamed on global warming, as usual

You would think that there had never been any such problems in the past. If there were any kind of science behind this, they would have totted up the losses in recent years and subtracted from that (in constant dollars) the losses in some pre-warming period. Doing that, they could well have come up with zero dollars as the effect of warming. The dishonesty is profound

AboutT $350 billion has been lost to climate change, also known as global warming in the last five years, it was learnt yesterday. An expert on Sustainable Environmental Finance, Dr. Kenny Tang, said the world lost $240 billion in 2005.

Tang spoke at the third International Summit tagged: “Charting A Road Map For Combating Climate Change in Nigeria,” organised by the Lagos State Government. He said $110 billion was also lost last year to global warming.

Tang said 373 people were killed and about 250 million affected. He said 220,000 died in Haiti.

According to him, a fraction of the losses was insured but the largest proportion remained uninsured. He said the losses that were non-insured have adverse effect on global economy, urging Nigeria’s leaders to mitigate its effects.

Tang added that the calamities, in form of mudslide, flooding, desertification and other harsh weather conditions the world witnessed in recent times were caused by man’s activities, saying, ”Climate is what you expect , while weather is what you get “.

The Deputy British High Commissioner in Lagos, Mr. Robin Gwynn stressed the need to mitigate the impact on climate change. He said the government of the United Kingdom would back any effort to address the scourge globally....

Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Muiz Banire noted that though the theme for the year is ‘charting a new course for combating climate change in Nigeria’, he stressed that there was a dearth of blueprint for combating climate disasters ravaging the world, noting however that there is the need to continually reinvent strategies for better results.


The latest Catholic compromise with "The world"

Christ said "My kingdom is not of this world" but the Catholic church certainly is. From earliest times, their compromises with "the world" have been huge. It is their legacy that causes us still to celebrate pagan holy days such as Sunday, Easter and Christmas. We even still feature the original pagan fertility symbols that go with Easter: eggs and rabbits. The one commemoration that Christ commanded of his followers -- the Passover -- they ignore.

Now among some Catholics, the adoption of the green religion is going on apace. See below

When I was a kid in Catholic school I memorized a list of virtues out of the Baltimore Catechism. The three theological virtues roll right off the tip of my tongue still -- faith, hope and charity. These three were followed by the cardinal virtues -- prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude -- that when cultivated led to a moral stalwartness fortified by the gifts of the Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, courage, knowledge, and fear of God.
These virtues were the goal and focus of our spirituality. They were resources to not only get us through life, but to enable us to flourish as citizens, as workers, as parents. Above all, they planted in our hearts dispositions to resist temptations and to do good.

Those afternoons memorizing the catechism took place, for me, in the late 1950s, while the Cold War was raging. Now it’s early in the 21st century.

Though these older virtues still abide, perhaps we need resources, vision and strength for completely new challenges, for the world is a very different place now.

Then the Cold War loomed and the battleground for the future of all that was good seemed located in remote lands, far off from me and my catechism. Now the struggle for the future seems as near as my own backyard. It will be fought in the ways we shop and travel and recreate, in adjusting our wants and needs to fit within Earth’s limits, even in the ways we imagine God and God’s connections with us.

Our task in the years ahead will be healing a world that is badly out of balance. What will help us to live and flourish as citizens, workers, parents, seekers after God in this new context? Recently I ran across a list of nine ecological virtues, suggested by Christian ecologist James Nash. One by one, I will describe each virtue.

Adaptability: My stepson when he was a teenager wanted a car. His request for help put me in a bind. Though convinced excessive driving is environmentally destructive, I knew that he needed some breaks in a life filled with mishaps and trials. I decided to give him a loan. Though I’d like to report that this deliberation proceeded with great-souled equanimity and grace on my part, alas, that was not the case.

“Life is the great balancing act,” said the late Dr. Seuss. Sorting through these difficult dilemmas, working out the necessary compromises and finding practical solutions to knotty problems is true prayer, encounters with God working in our lives. It is unheroic, not glamorous, and very holy.

Sustainability: A TV comedienne talks of visiting the mall to buy a wastebasket for her new apartment. The clerk put her wastebasket into a sack. She carried the sack home, then threw it into the wastebasket she’d just bought. “What am I doing?” she yelped. Convenient, yes, but is it not an unnecessary waste of resources and an insult to the Creator to behave in such a way? Her story is an apt parable for the wastefulness that characterizes so much of our living today.

Much more boring old crap HERE

EPA under fire — if only the 'E' stood for jobs

Republicans, and some Democrats, push back hard on clean-air regulations

In the new political order of Washington, D.C. — with Republicans running the House — the Environmental Protection Agency has become a punching bag. Newt Gingrich wants it renamed the Environmental Solution Agency, while businesses surveyed recently by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said the agency is the No. 1 obstacle in their path.

And come Wednesday, EPA chief Lisa Jackson likely will face tough questioning when she testifies before the Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Committee on why the EPA thinks it has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases via the Clean Air Act.

The chair of that committee, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., last week drafted legislation — called the Energy Tax Prevention Act — to tie the EPA's hands, saying regulation of greenhouse gases would cost jobs and raise prices on consumer goods. The committee is overwhelmingly Republican, and Upton has called 10 others to testify — all against the EPA strategy.

No one is expecting the EPA to go away — or be renamed for that matter. "But pinning the agency's ears back with legislation that prevents them from regulating greenhouse gases is a real possibility," says Congress watcher Frank Maisano, an energy specialist at Bracewell & Giuliani, an international law and lobbying firm.

Such action would also require the support of the Senate, which is still majority Democrat, but Maisano doesn't see that as an obstacle — noting plenty of Democrats "of like minds" with Republicans on this.

Case in point: Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from coal-rich West Virginia, last week reintroduced legislation that would delay the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases for two years. Several Senate Democrats from states that rely heavily on fossil fuels — such as Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, all three up for re-election in 2012 — are cosponsoring Rockefeller's bill.

To be sure, the EPA still has supporters: the more liberal Democrats in Congress and folks like David Donniger, climate policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "The House Republicans pushing this legislation are overreaching, just as they did in the Gingrich Congress in 1995, when they drastically misgauged the depth of public support for protecting health and curbing dangerous pollution," says Doniger, who was the EPA's climate director during the Clinton administration.

But a key difference this time around, and a key weapon for Republicans, is the jobs card. The GOP has made it clear that job creation is its top policy goal and that legislation will be measured by its potential to boost growth.

President Barack Obama knows this, and any environmental rhetoric these days from the White House is dressed up as the opportunity to create new jobs in green industries.

Moreover, while White House officials have insisted over recent months that Obama will veto any legislation limiting the EPA, two recent events have led some to question that.

First, in his State of the Union address last month, Obama stressed a vision for a clean energy economy that includes nuclear energy and the still unproven idea of "clean coal" — two types that appeal to Republicans and those Democrats in coal-reliant states.

"If the Obama administration wants to get legislation done this year on energy that would support his clean-energy goals, one of the things he is going to have to consider compromising on is the EPA and greenhouse gas emissions," Whitney Stanco, an energy policy analyst at the brokerage MF Global, recently told Reuters.

Then, last week the EPA gave notice that it was changing course in a court case involving a long-delayed California power plant. The applicant should not have to comply with tougher pollution standards since the application came in before those new rules, the EPA said. The move could affect up to 20 similar facilities, the EPA noted, although it insisted the decision had no bearing on EPA's stance to regulate pollution blamed for global warming.


Scientists Set the Alarmists Straight

On January 28, eighteen climate alarmists sent an open letter to the U.S. Congress. It contained the usual hysterical and unscientific predictions of doom--doom which ostensibly can be averted only by a government takeover of the economy, accompanied by shoveling billions, if not trillions, of dollars in the direction of politically connected groups--including, of course, them. How convenient! Today, thirty-six more sober scientists sent this letter to Congress, responding to the alarmists:
On 28 January 2011, eighteen scientists sent a letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate urging them to "take a fresh look at climate change." Their intent, apparently, was to disparage the views of scientists who disagree with their contention that continued business-as-usual increases in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced from the burning of coal, gas, and oil will lead to a host of cataclysmic climate-related problems.

We, the undersigned, totally disagree with them and would like to take this opportunity to briefly state our side of the story.

The eighteen climate alarmists (as we refer to them, not derogatorily, but simply because they view themselves as "sounding the alarm" about so many things climatic) state that the people of the world "need to prepare for massive flooding from the extreme storms of the sort being experienced with increasing frequency," as well as the "direct health impacts from heat waves" and "climate-sensitive infectious diseases," among a number of other devastating phenomena. And they say that "no research results have produced any evidence that challenges the overall scientific understanding of what is happening to our planet's climate," which is understood to mean their view of what is happening to Earth's climate.

To these statements, however, we take great exception. It is the eighteen climate alarmists who appear to be unaware of "what is happening to our planet's climate," as well as the vast amount of research that has produced that knowledge.

For example, a lengthy review of their claims and others that climate alarmists frequently make can be found on the Web site of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (see here). That report offers a point-by-point rebuttal of all of the claims of the "group of eighteen," citing in every case peer-reviewed scientific research on the actual effects of climate change during the past several decades.

If the "group of eighteen" pleads ignorance of this information due to its very recent posting, then we call their attention to an even larger and more comprehensive report published in 2009, "Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)". That document has been posted for more than a year in its entirety at

These are just two recent compilations of scientific research among many we could cite. Do the 678 scientific studies referenced in the CO2 Science document, or the thousands of studies cited in the NIPCC report, provide real-world evidence (as opposed to theoretical climate model predictions) for global warming-induced increases in the worldwide number and severity of floods? No. In the global number and severity of droughts? No. In the number and severity of hurricanes and other storms? No.

Do they provide any real-world evidence of Earth's seas inundating coastal lowlands around the globe? No. Increased human mortality? No. Plant and animal extinctions? No. Declining vegetative productivity? No. More frequent and deadly coral bleaching? No. Marine life dissolving away in acidified oceans? No.

Quite to the contrary, in fact, these reports provide extensive empirical evidence that these things are not happening. And in many of these areas, the referenced papers report finding just the opposite response to global warming, i.e., biosphere-friendly effects of rising temperatures and rising CO2 levels.

In light of the profusion of actual observations of the workings of the real world showing little or no negative effects of the modest warming of the second half of the twentieth century, and indeed growing evidence of positive effects, we find it incomprehensible that the eighteen climate alarmists could suggest something so far removed from the truth as their claim that no research results have produced any evidence that challenges their view of what is happening to Earth's climate and weather.

But don't take our word for it. Read the two reports yourselves. And then make up your own minds about the matter. Don't be intimidated by false claims of "scientific consensus" or "overwhelming proof." These are not scientific arguments and they are simply not true.

Like the eighteen climate alarmists, we urge you to take a fresh look at climate change. We believe you will find that it is not the horrendous environmental threat they and others have made it out to be, and that they have consistently exaggerated the negative effects of global warming on the U.S. economy, national security, and public health, when such effects may well be small to negligible.

I would second the recommendation that you, as well as members of Congress, read the linked reports. The global warming hoax survives only because most people do not take the trouble to learn the facts for themselves.


Deepwater Spill Was Just an Excuse

We have to get our priorities straight. When even Cuba, which minus Chinese assistance lacks the technological capability to do so, is looking to drill for oil in the deep waters just 50 miles off the coast of the U.S., but we refuse to do so, clearly the nation is falling behind in the global energy race.

Writing for Politico, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) raises the alarm bells: “We cannot allow this project to move forward.” Buchanan has introduced legislation that would deny oil permits to any company that does business with Cuba.

That’s a start, and if Republicans can force votes in both houses of Congress, the American people may gain some insight into the Obama Administration’s intentions. Is the White House going to block U.S. domestic energy production and then allow the communist thugs in Cuba to do it?

This could be one of the most telling decisions Barack Obama will make. It will show clearly what side he is on.

The problem the U.S. faces, of course, is not too much overseas competition per se from adversaries like Cuba or China. It is domestic restrictions and regulations that restrict the nation’s ability to drill for its own oil and natural gas. This has been a long time coming.

According to data collected by the Energy Information Agency (EIA), in 1970 the U.S. produced 9.6 million barrels of oil every day. Now only 5.5 million barrels are produced a day, a 42 percent decrease. So precipitous has this decline been that the U.S., which was once energy independent, now imports more than half of its energy.

Making matters worse, since the deepwater Gulf oil spill of 2010, government’s iron grip around drilling has only tightened.

“[N]ot a single deepwater permit has been issued in nine months,” said Offshore Marine Service Association President Jim Adams in a report by Bloomberg News. The association is calling it an informal moratorium, even though Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar supposedly lifted a second government moratorium on deepwater drilling.

In fact, so rampant has the Obama Administration’s obstruction of U.S. drilling been that federal Judge Martin Feldman blocked Salazar’s first moratorium from being implemented, and then found the government in contempt of court because it refused to follow the order.

But it’s even worse than that. As noted by the editorial board of Investor’s Business Daily, “The moratorium is driven by ideology and not safety. Its purpose was to further the administration's war on domestic energy production, including a seven-year ban on offshore drilling off both coasts and the eastern Gulf.”

In other words, the Obama Administration is exploiting the oil spill as an excuse to shut down domestic oil production, something the Hard Left has sought for decades.

These restrictions will mean thousands of lost jobs and billions of dollars in lost revenue for American companies, and have the unfortunate added effect of increasing the nation’s dependence on foreign sources of energy. The effects are already being seen in EIA’s data, which projects that domestic crude oil production “declines by 20,000 bbl/d in 2011 and by a further 130,000 bbl/d in 2012 (U.S. Crude Oil Production Chart)”.

How does this advance American interests?

As the nation is learning by the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, the U.S. cannot afford to be dependent on foreign sources of fuel. Today, we are at the mercy of hostile regimes in Venezuela and the Middle East, and unstable nations like Nigeria, Mexico and in others in Central and South America.

The shame is that we have enough energy and other resources in America to provide for our own needs as a nation, but we choose not to. Federal restrictions are in the way. Those restrictions should be lifted to open 650 million acres of federal lands and to dramatically expand oil, mineral, rare earth metals, and nuclear leasing and permitting.

The Obama Administration could do this immediately, for example by reopening the Gulf to drilling, expanding drilling leases in Alaska, rescinding the EPA’s endangerment finding, and allowing Texas refining to go forward unhindered. Additionally, we must begin exploiting our oil shale, coal, and nuclear capabilities.

A rapid expansion of the nation’s natural resources production would create tens of thousands of jobs and investment opportunities, increase revenues through economic growth, and reduce our dependency on foreign natural resources.

Instead, Cuba and China are drilling for those resources right in our backyard, and Obama is busy making sure that we can’t. It compels one to question just why it is this Administration and the leftists that support it are so opposed to America being energy independent and able to produce its own resources. Whose side are they really on?


Big retreat from Green schemes by the Australian Labor Party

THE Gillard government's $1.5 billion slashing of green schemes is a turning point in Labor's political maturity; it signals a re-think about green programs, a scepticism about "feel good" environmental gestures and a tougher line on industry protection disguised as clean energy.

The spending cuts send several messages: Labor is serious about bringing a new realism to its green programs; Gillard is betting the house on the main game of getting a carbon price and beating Tony Abbott on this front; as PM Gillard has less interest than Kevin Rudd in industry intervention policy; and the savings signal a leadership team ready to make more cuts to underwrite the 2012-13 budget surplus goal. Gillard was blunt: "Some of these [green] policies are less efficient than a carbon price and will no longer be necessary." Yes, that means a new direction.

The biggest saving is $429 million across the forward estimates from killing the Cleaner Car Rebate Scheme, known as cash for clunkers. To call this scheme a shocker is too polite. Announced last July, Gillard pledged a $2000 rebate for owners of pre-1995 cars who purchased a new, low-emission, fuel-efficient vehicle, hoping to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by one million tonnes.

In short, spending more than $400m to reduce emissions by one million tonnes would cost taxpayers more than $400 a tonne, about 40 times the initially proposed carbon price a tonne under Labor's emission trading scheme. It was an idea so bad it could not survive, yet testimony to what politicians will do under green mania. Gillard is sensible to put it behind her.

The next main green saving is $234m across the forward estimates and $401m over the program life from winding up the Green Car Innovation Fund. This was Rudd's baby and his dream. It was part of his new car plan with Rudd telling parliament on World Environment Day, 2008: "We do not just want a green car; we want a green car industry."

For Rudd, it began as a $500m fusion to retain automotive industry jobs and meet the climate change challenge. The industry was to match the government's contribution on a three-to-one dollar basis. Climate change action would become a core task for manufacturing industry. In the end it was a huge $1.3bn fund bid up by Rudd and administered by Industry Minister Kim Carr.

The industry entered into commitments but would have preferred more of the funds as direct support rather than under the "green car" banner.

Gillard's winding up of the fund defies both the car industry and the trade unions. It will be cheered in the Treasury and Productivity Commission. In August 2008 Productivity Commission chairman, Gary Banks, attacked Rudd's initiative, in effect, as a fraud. He said the fund "would be unlikely to yield significant innovation or greenhouse benefits if it were all allocated on a similar basis to the first $35 million instalment."

This was a reference to Rudd's Tokyo announcement to subsidise Toyota on the hybrid Camry out of Altona in Melbourne. Critically, Banks said an effective ETS should render "many pre-existing emission-reduction schemes redundant." Guess what? Gillard has started to accept this argument.

The car industry chiefs from Toyota, Holden and Ford wrote to Gillard on Monday evening accusing Labor of broken commitments. But Labor's power centre has moved from Rudd to Gillard. Have no doubt, this reflects a sharp Gillard-Rudd difference on both industry and climate change that could become more significant down the track. Head of the Chamber of Automotive Industries, Andrew McKellar, says abolition of the fund is an "unwelcome surprise" and accuses public servants of misleading their ministers on the issue. But the mood within cabinet at this decision was for a discipline not apparent during the Rudd era.

The Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, another ambitious Rudd idea, loses $55m over the forward estimates but stays alive with strong ongoing funds. Another theme behind the savings is practicality, witness $500m saved across the forward estimates (though much of this is available later) by cutting back on support for large solar projects and carbon capture and storage projects.

The conclusion is manifest: the value here is not yet available. One cabinet minister said: "What's more important: helping rebuild after the floods or backing a solar hot water rebate?" Such decisions reflect the "cleaning up" strategy already being implemented by Climate Change Minister Greg Combet and his parliamentary secretary, Mark Dreyfus.

Last April Combet announced the termination of the $2.4bn home insulation scheme debacle. Under Combet and Dreyfus both the green loans and green start schemes (offering energy assessments to households) are terminated at a saving of $129m. This followed the Auditor-General's September 2010 report that the green start program could not be implemented without acceptable control of risks.

In short, the failure of multiple green schemes since Labor came to power in 2007 constitutes a stunning story of public administration and policy failure.

Senior ministers say the principles guiding future green policy must be the allocative efficiency of markets, attention to equity and proper service delivery. But the big play is pricing carbon. No final decisions are taken but Combet's December 17 speech gave the critical clues. Labor is looking at a fixed carbon price in the short-term evolving into an ETS with a market price down the track with more ambitious targets decided not at the start but only at this transition point.



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


9 February, 2011

Why Peter Sissons is wrong about BBC climate coverage (?)

A defence of the BBC from a confused Fiona Fox below -- quite openly admitting that she (and the BBC generally) accepts Warmism -- but claiming that it is unfair to brand the BBC as "unbalanced".

Fifi is such a bad journalist however that she cites not a single fact or statistic to show how "fair" the BBC is. Just a list of all the Warmists interviewed on TV in any particular year plus a list of all the skeptics interviewed in the same year would have been informative. She would not even need know how to count in order to provide that! No need to guess why she provided nothing of the sort, of course.

Peter Sissons spent many years reporting for the BBC and Fifi is the funnel through which science gets into the BBC, apparently. Some of the comments already up at the foot of her article are good too

Peter Sissons' attack on political correctness at the BBC will probably resonate with some of my friends who work there. Sissons was not the only seasoned reporter insulted by the compulsory Safeguarding Trust course - though interestingly all the journalists I spoke to, like Sissons, had a more positive experience on the course than they expected.

And I share his discomfort at the use of vox pops as any kind of valid representation of public opinion.

But his attack on the failure of the BBC to report both sides of the climate change debate is barely recognisable.

Sissons' argument that some BBC bosses at times got close to abandoning some of their beloved impartiality on climate change partly rings true. One long-serving BBC journalist told me that Mark Thomson's supportive introduction to Al Gore on his visit to Television Centre to promote his climate change film An Inconvenient Truth was unprecedented in BBC history.

Another reported that a senior BBC boss assured a room of scientists that a particular climate sceptic would never appear on the airwaves on his watch. Never? Really?

I also remember an email exchange with a leading scientist after the Live Earth concert was screened by the BBC together with a running commentary from a string of A list celebs. The scientist was demanding to know what the Science Media Centre (SMC, of which I am the Director) planned to do about the appearance of David Baddiel, who threw a spanner in the carefully choreographed works by coming out as a dyed-in-the-wool climate sceptic. My immediate reply was that I would do absolutely nothing about Baddiel unless I could also challenge the banal, and in many cases much more stupid, scientific claims peddled by the 'supportive' celebs. In this debate sceptics do not have a monopoly on bad science.

But the rest of Sissons' insights are selective and misleading. For every BBC boss who got over-excited about Al Gore or over-censorious about sceptics, I can point to another who fought with science reporters on a daily basis, often demanding that every news report on a complex new piece of climate science be reported through a 'disco' (discussion) between the researchers and 'A Sceptic' - irrespective of their expertise.

His claims that the time given to minority views was 'practically zero' and that the phones of the sceptics never rang are just not true. At the SMC, I have been dealing with BBC journalists reporting climate change for eight years now - covering much of the period that Sissons complains about. Yet, despite the fact that we reflect the mainstream view of climate change, our phones rang many times with BBC journalists searching for sceptics to 'balance' their news item.

Sceptics like Benny Peiser and Bjorn Lomburg have become household names to BBC audiences and off the top of his head, the BBC science and environment reporter David Shukman reels off a list of sceptics he alone has interviewed - Nigel Lawson, Penny Peiser, Viscount Monckton, Richard Linzden and David Holland to name but a few.

Where Sissons sees 'zero' sceptics, the scientists I know see a plague of them.

Indeed if I am asked what is the single greatest complaint about journalism from the scientific community in the past eight years it would have to be the anger amongst climate researchers at the BBC's devotion to balancing every climate science story with a sceptical view.

I have written about the dangers of journalistic balance applied to science before, but like so many aspects of the climate change debate, the discussion has become unhelpfully polarized and overly simplistic - with journalists like Sissons seeing any report that does not include both sides as 'propaganda' and some in science arguing for something close to a blanket ban.

Neither is right. What is needed is a more intelligent journalism - an attempt to select interviewees who can enlighten us on a complex subject and guide us somewhere closer to the truth. It seems to me that Sissons' demand for more sceptics - any old sceptics! - is just as crude.

Discussions about the wider impact of climate change and how we tackle it should include many voices. But the advice - lambasted by Sissons - that the weight of evidence on the basic science no longer justifies equal space being given to the tiny minority of scientific sceptics is absolutely right, and a bold move from the BBC.

For me, the biggest failure of science journalism in the past decade was demonstrated by an opinion poll which showed that more than 60% of the public understood from the media that medical science was divided about the safety of the MMR vaccine - when it isn't.

Conversely, that similar polls now show most people in the UK accept that climate scientists are agreed on the basics is something that the BBC should be proud of.

But I have also long argued that a more intelligent choice of guests would shed light on the real debates within mainstream science on the remaining uncertainties, especially around the future projections. Scientists facing Lord Lawson in a BBC studio are unlikely to focus on the gaps in knowledge when he is attacking the whole of climate science.

My views on climate change are rooted in eight years of running climate science press briefings at the SMC - privileged access that has left my confidence in the integrity of the UK's climate research unshaken.

Climate science does not need special favours from journalism: it can withstand all the scrutiny, scepticism and curiosity the BBC wants to throw at it. And where it falls short, the role of journalism is to expose that. Few would argue that any section of the media has got climate change right. But as we await the BBC Trust review on science we need an honest and intelligent analysis of its climate change coverage.


Arctic Ice Volume Has Increased 26% Over The Last Three Years

Have you ever wondered why the Warmists are always talking about the Arctic when 91% of the earth's glacial mass is in the Antarctic? It's because the Antarctic is MUCH more pesky for them. But even the Arctic seems to be letting them down now -- JR

According to US Navy PIPS2 maps, the area of thick Arctic ice has more than doubled, and the volume of Arctic ice has increased by 26% – since 2008. You can see from the graph below that ice thickness distribution has shifted dramatically to the right since the same date in 2008.

You can also see why NSIDC only likes to talk about 4+ year old ice. The reason being that it will take another two years to recover from the 2007 low.

The blink comparator below shows growth of ice greater than 2.5 metres thick.

SOURCE (See the original for links and more graphics)

EPA guilty of environmental hyperbole (To use a polite word)

On January 13, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) vetoed the issuance of a Clean Water Act permit by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the Mingo Logan Coal Company for the Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, West Virginia. This is the first time the EPA has used this authority since the Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972.

We are in the midst of a difficult economy, and EPA’s unprecedented action will result in the loss of 250 jobs, paying on average $62,000, so one would think that the EPA has compelling case against the Spruce No. 1 Mine. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

An audit of the EPA’s veto, “Final Determination of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Pursuant to 404(c) of the Clean Water Act Concerning the Spruce No. 1 Mine, Logan County, West Virginia (‘Final Determination’),” reveals some troubling findings.

The document is pure environmental hyperbole. It is riddled with mistakes, incorrect citations, and false certainty. Indeed, virtually all of the EPA’s definitive claims about the “unacceptable adverse impacts” to non-insect wildlife are unsupported by the literature it cites. Among the lowlights:

* The EPA’s claim that “6.6 miles of high quality stream” will be buried conveniently omits the fact that 99.6 percent of the streams are intermittent or ephemeral, that they scored “below average” on a habitat assessment, and that they fall well short of meeting West Virginia’s definition of “high quality” streams.

* The EPA asserts that five species of fish would be buried, despite the fact that no fish were found at the site.

* The EPA commits numerous referencing mistakes, including two direct misquotes. Throughout the document, the EPA draws incorrect conclusions from the literature it cites.

* The EPA has a serious language problem. Science writing is performed in the conditional. EPA, however, almost uniformly uses the declarative case. As its veto is based on a literature review, the EPA repeatedly infers certainty where there is none.

The EPA has evidence that certain genera of pollution-sensitive insects would be harmed downstream of the Spruce No. 1 Mine, due to increases in salinity discharge from the project. Everything else—including all of the EPA’s claims about amphibians, fish, and birds—is either scientifically unfounded or legally irrelevant. The Appendix addresses these issues in detail.


The Ethanol Idiocy that Will Not Die

Bipartisan common sense is no match for the inertia of a government subsidy

When Al Gore drops an environmental fad, it has truly reached its expiration date. In his wisdom, the Goracle recently acknowledged what almost all disinterested observers concluded long ago: Ethanol is a fraud. It has no environmental benefits, and harmful side effects. The subsidies that support its use are an object lesson in the incorrigibility of Washington’s gross special-interest politics. It is the monster that ate America’s corn crop.

“It is not good policy to have these massive subsidies for first-generation ethanol,” the former vice president and Nobel Peace Prize recipient said, referring to corn-based ethanol. He called the fuel “a mistake,” and confessed one reason he fell so hard for it is that he “had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa.” These farmers vote in the First in the Nation caucuses and practically insist that their favored presidential candidates drink ethanol at breakfast and hail it as the nectar of the gods.

Al Gore’s ethanol apostasy is a symptom of a left-right coalition that has arisen to expose the former wonder fuel. (The Gore of old insisted that “the more we can make this home-grown fuel a successful, widely used product, the better off our farmers and our environment will be.”) But common sense, even cross-ideological, bipartisan common sense with all the evidence on its side, is no match for Congress’s boundless appetite for expensive favors for powerful lobbies and constituent groups.

Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley, the Democratic and Republican senators from Iowa respectively, stand at the doors of Congress declaring: Ethanol now, ethanol forever. They have graced the Obama-McConnell tax bargain with an extension of a tax credit for ethanol that costs about $6 billion a year, and with an extension of a tariff on ethanol imports. Ethanol is so uneconomical that Congress supports it three different ways — with a mandate for its use, a tax credit to subsidize it, and a tariff to keep out competitors. Rarely are so many levers of government used to prop up one woeful product.

During the past decade, ethanol enjoyed a good run as a notional part of the solution to global warming. Then, environmentalists began to realize it may actually increase greenhouse emissions. Ethanol releases less carbon dioxide per gallon than gasoline. Once the emissions necessary to convert land to corn production and then grow and process it are taken into account, though, ethanol doesn’t look so green anymore.

So much corn — about 40 percent of the U.S. crop — is feeding into the maw of government-created demand for the fuel, that it could be increasing worldwide food prices. In short, in exchange for not reducing greenhouse emissions, ethanol reduces the availability of food to the poor.

The multiple layers of subsidization have their own perversity. Since there’s already a mandate to blend ethanol into gasoline, the tax credit is giving away money for something that would happen anyway. Environmental groups say this pads the bottom line of Big Oil. Harry de Gorter of the free-market Cato Institute has a more complicated take — the subsidy decreases the cost and therefore the price of gasoline, effectively subsidizing its consumption. Your Congress at work.

But who cares about the facts? Once we have fired up a vast machine that from cornfield to distilleries produces 38 million gallons of ethanol a day, it will be nearly impossible to turn it off. Too many people will have a vested interest in continuing the scam, and its supporters — like Harkin and Grassley now — will always argue that any change is too disruptive. We’ll still be mandating ethanol long after the internal-combustion engine is obsolete.

The ethanol experience should counsel against blithely creating new government-supported industries on the basis of dubious promises of cost-free environmental benefits. Judging by the tax bargain, festooned with all manner of other green subsidies and credits, it’s a lesson ignored. In Washington, the boondoggles may lose their luster, but they never die.


Another Environmental Disaster

Hollywood often makes heroes out of undeserving people in order to further their unenlightened agenda. Ten years ago, it was “Erin Brockovich” that received Tinseltown’s royal treatment. Directed by Steven Soderbergh (who would later deify Che Guevera in “Che”), the film starred another leftist, Julia Roberts, who won the Academy Award for this propaganda. We now find out that the entire story was a hoax and that Brockovich has gone on to destroy even bigger targets on her fictitious crusade.

For those of you who missed this sterling piece of modern cinema, Brockovich (with virtually no qualifications) single-handedly discovers that the town of Hinkley, California, has been exposed to dangerous chemicals that cause cancer. She hooks up with a heroic personal injury attorney, Ed Masry, and they manage to get PG & E, a major utility company, to settle for $333 million and thereby line their own pockets quite nicely, thank you.

It turns out, however, that a recent state survey found that the frequency of cancer cases in the Hinkley area for the period of 1996-2008 was actually 12.5% below the state average. Brockovich neither called PG & E to return the falsely-extorted money nor did she return to Hinkley to calm the residents who still have irrational fears stirred up by her antics. She has been too busy destroying other communities.

Brockovich next took aim at Beverly Hills (yes, that one), which for ages has famously had oil wells on its high school campus. She snuck onto the campus at night to gin up accusations that caused years of legal battles. The lawsuit was eventually thrown out in a summary judgment, forcing Erin and her merry band of town wreckers to pony up $450,000 to cover Beverly Hills’ legal fees.

All these shenanigans are chronicled in the new book by Norma Zager, Erin Brockovich and the Beverly Hills Greenscam. Ms. Zager happened to be a witness to this entire sordid affair as editor of the local newspaper, the Beverly Hills Courier.

Zager presents a thorough history and analysis of the events that disrupted an entire community. Residents’ lives were upended as they confronted fears similar to those churned up in Hinkley. Parents were misled into thinking that sending their children to one of the most respected public high schools in the United States represented a health risk, and many of them decided to relocate or send their kids to private school. The all-consuming lawsuit caused the resignation of both the Superintendent of Schools and the City Manager, neither of whom wanted to spend their career focused on a lawsuit that motivated residents to hysterical fits. They felt that it was better to move on than let their careers be trampled by the Brockovich/Masry machine.

Even after the panic subsided and Brockovich and her cronies had their case thrown out of court, the parasites did not stop. Most people would just slink way, but they had already lined their pockets and were still seeking more. The perpetrators of this fraud, having successfully shaken down Frontier Oil for over $10 million, attempted to extort funds from other oil companies as well. Even though they lost the lawsuit and pointlessly disrupted hundreds of lives, they were still able to walk away with their ill-gotten gains.

The best part of the story is the transformation of the book’s author, Ms. Zager. She grew up with a Republican father but lived a life outside of commerce, comfortably nestled in the womb of the left. As an author and then a stand-up comedienne, she had never experienced the wrath of the trial lawyers. After seeing them “up close and personal,” she likened them to a swarm of locusts in the magnitude of their destruction. Ms. Zager had an epiphany and now fully realizes what damage these con-artists can do and how harmful the left can be. She told me that her new political guiding light is Charles Krauthammer, and that she listens to Dennis Prager almost every day.

Erin Brockovich and the Beverly Hills Greenscam clearly describes how the legal community and the environmental movement have conspired to destroy lives for the blind purpose of their cause. Much like Alar, DDT, and Global Warming, another eco-hoax has been perpetrated on the American people. The only way they can be stopped is when more good people like Norma Zager realize how dangerous these people are and lead the fight to stop them.


Both plastic bags AND paper bags are in the gun in Oregon

Get out your "organic" cane basket!

Oregon’s state Senate will be conducting a hearing on Tuesday to determine whether the state should be the first in the union to ban non-reusable shopping bags in all retail outlets. The proposed ban would include both paper and plastic bags, with the exception of paper bags containing at least 40 percent recyclable materials. For those bags, shoppers would have to pay 5 cents per sack.

Critics of the proposal say it’s a “purely symbolic” piece of legislation and won’t solve any problems. In fact, some critics say it will create problems by trying to solve non-issues.

In a recent “bag tax” study, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University found that a year-old tax on “single-use” grocery bags in Washington, D.C., was ineffective and actually eliminated approximately 100 jobs at retailers throughout the nation’s capitol. By extension, they found that all retail workers will make $18 less on average per year, which doesn’t seem like much at first glance, but adds up over time, affecting the local economy measurably over the period of a decade or more.

The proposal has at least a fighting shot of making it into law, according to Patrick Gleason, the director of state affairs for ATR. The Oregon House of Representatives is split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, and the state Senate has a slight Democratic majority. Gleason told The Daily Caller that ATR is taking this legislation seriously enough to send a representative to Oregon to testify before the state Senate hearing.

“People buy less goods when there’s a tax on the bags, and they’ll avoid the tax,” Gleason said in a phone interview. “They force people to use reusable bags and force people to purchase reusable bags.”

Gleason said consumers in D.C., as predicted, adjusted their behavior to either avoid the tax or budget for it, and that leads to less consumer spending, which, by extension, hurts the economy.

Todd Wynn of Oregon-based Cascade Policy Institute, a free market public policy organization that’s fighting this legislation, told TheDC it’s a “feel good” proposal for “greenies” and won’t solve any real problems.

“It’s interesting because they don’t want plastic in the environment, and none of us do,” Wynn said in a phone interview. “But, it’s really a symbol for the environmental movement as anti-consumerism. It’s an attack on the consumerism ideology.”

Wynn said there are two Republicans in Oregon’s state legislature who are supporting this legislation, state Sen. Jason Atkinson and state Rep. Vic Gilliam. Neither returned TheDC’s requests for comment, but Wynn and Jason Williams of the Oregon Taxpayers Association said they think Gilliam and Atkinson are on board with this proposal for the positive press and publicity – without considering the fact that they’re effectively issuing a tax.



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


8 February, 2011

New PBS series

See here. It is called "Journey To Planet Earth" and is just the usual Greenie hysteria, despite the veneer of factual reporting. But who expects anything else from PBS anyway? They are promoting DVDs of it as an educational aid, sadly.

New Climate Alarmist Movies About To Hit As Animals Freeze To Death And Barry Eats Well

Remember around 15 years ago, when the alarmists were still somewhat rational, and they came up with the brilliant plan to "spread awareness", rather than actually taking action in their own lives? And, if Something Wasn't Done, winters would be a thing of the past and we would all burn? Flash forward to today, and, nothing has changed
Two new documentary movies are due for broader release this month in the United States. Two movies that want to save the world, but, if their trailers are anything go by, their proffered solutions are radically different to one another. Carbon Nation is about technofix, "We already have the technology to combat most of the worst-case scenarios of climate change, and it is very good business as well." Whereas I Am is about community; "contrary to conventional thinking, cooperation and not competition, may be nature's most fundamental operating principle." To grossly generalise, one movie explores product, whilst the other people. Of course, the real solution will. no doubt, be an intimate blend of the two.

Both movies discuss ways that Someone Else can take action, preferably at the hands of Big Daddy Government. But, excuse me for being rather skeptical, but, doesn't showing movies use quite a bit of power, generating vast amounts of CO2? All the people heading to the theaters in their fossil fueled vehicles, electricity for the movie house, and so on? Perhaps instead of doing this, they could all live their lives like it is 1299, like they want everyone else to do. Meanwhile
As record-breaking cold weather strikes throughout North America, dropping snow and bringing cities to a standstill, humans certainly aren't the only ones feeling the chill. In Northern Mexico, the lowest temperatures in 60 years have claimed the lives of thirty-five animals housed at the Serengeti Zoo, located in the state of Chihuahua. The incident raises concerns not only of the impacts severe weather on vulnerable species, but of the quality of protection received by animals confined to zoos throughout the world.

You do know what caused this, right?
Regardless of whether negligence is ultimate deemed to have contributed to the animals' deaths or not, such an incidence raises concerns as the the quality of protection being offer to zoo animals throughout the world, particularly as weather extremes become an all too frequent occurrence.

And the phrase "weather extremes" is part of the Warmists' anthropogenic global warming lexicon these days, because someone, say, Kevin Aylward, drove a car, and those greenhouse gases, made it so hot it became cold. Or, it could be President Obama's fault
The rest of the menu for the 100 or so guests at the White House bash is tailgate-friendly even if served inside the Executive Mansion: bratwurst, kielbasa, cheeseburgers, deep-dish pizza and Buffalo wings with sides of German potato salad, twice-baked potatoes and assorted chips and dips.

Besides the fact that this totally goes against Michelle Obama's eat better nanny-stateism, eating meat is bad for globull warming. Remember, though, in Liberal World, it is all about someone else changing their behavior, not the person who is pushing the meme.


Warmist hysteric going to the Tabloids to be heard

The fact that his 2011 pronouncements are the opposite of what he said in 2004 doesn't seem to bother him

It used to be that scientists communicated their knowledge through reliable professional journals, which then communicated to the media.

Apparently climate scientists are getting increasingly desperate, and so they are now going directly to the very bottom of the media chain and giving interviews to the mass-market, most sensationalist of the tabloids. Such is the latest with James E. Overland and Germany’s no. 1 tabloid Bild in a story titled:

Who would have ever thought it? Scientists from (once) one of the the world’s most prestigious scientific organisations, now have to go to the yellowist of tabloids to be heard.

Bild, the flagship publication owned by Axel Springer, has a circulation of over 4 million, more than the Wall Street Journal and USA Today combined. It is the paper of choice among the lesser educated in Germany.

In the Bild interview James Overland warned: “Things are going to get a lot worse.”

In the past, warm events were cited as mounting evidence of man-made global warming. But as these events diminish and cold events start piling up, desperate global warming scientists like Overland have been forced to concoct dubious science theories, and now claim the cold events are suddenly sure signs of warming. This is what Overland tells Bild over and over. Bild starts with: Now a US climate scientist warns: ‘This turbulent weather is only the beginning!’ “

Overland claims that all the cold weather can be explained by a newly found theory: The melting of the Arctic sea has led to a complete collapse of Arctic and Northern Hemisphere air patterns – “the biggest collapse since the start of weather records 145 years ago.”

Overland warns: "The disappearance of the currents paired with the extreme winters are signs of something bigger and organised. It is almost frightening.”

It obvious by now that Overland’s “climate science” and tabloids were made for each other.

Bild asked if there is any data to support this. Overland says: "We still don’t have any absolute evidence, but we have clearly measured that there is 30% less ice cover in the Arctic.”

Therein lies the beauty of tabloid science. Proof? Evidence? Data? That’s for scientific journals. Tabloids don’t need that sort of stuff. Bild then asks Overland about what to expect in the future:

"In 30 years 80% of the Arctic ice may be gone. The extreme weather will intensify further. And the dramatic changes of the atmospheric system are obvious.”

And adds:

"All our climate models show that the unpredictability of the weather is increasing dramatically as our planet heats up.”

He claims the models show it. They all but confirm the science. But then he adds the models are not able to detect surprises. For example, he was surprised by the 2007 Arctic ice shrinkage. And now they have just found the latest surprise – unforeseen by their models: "And now we are experiencing the next surprise, the collapse of the Arctic current and the flow of cold air to the south. It is alarming. We are entering new meteorological territory: The extreme weather is going to get a lot worse.“

Everyone in Germany knows who is behind this Bild snowjob – Stefan Rahmstorf of the alarmist, science front-group Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research (PIK).

That’s the institute that came out with a similar bogus theory to explain the cold winters, read here. But later even Rahmstorf backpedalled on this dubious Arctic sea ice – cold winter connection, read here. Yet Overland thinks even science rejected by Rahmstorf is good enough.

If you can’t make the case in the professional journals, then you take it to the tabloids and the masses and hope that mass popularity will win the day for your alarmist views.

It really is sad to see a scientist fall to that level of scientific destitution. Postulating is one thing, but calling postulates fact without evidence is quackery. Period.

In case there are any remaining questions as to the seriousness of Bild, here’s what they wrote in 2007: "But the heating of the earth is accelerating! If it gets 2 degrees warmer than today, then hundreds of millions of people will thirst and starve to death. Or they’ll drown in flood waves from swelling oceans.”

Like I say, made for each other.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Topical Storm Alert: 'Climate Week' has formed, and may be intensifying ahead of its expected UK landfall in March

Climate Week, 21 - 27 March 2011 in Britain

The National Association of Head Teachers is said to be supporting it, and so is Tesco, Kellogs, Aviva, EDF, and the Royal Bank of Scotland. And a great many others - a veritable roll call of the establishment.

This cyclone's energy is being raised and organised by a committee of a few seasoned organisers and a lot of fresh young ones. They remind me just a bit of my own good self way back in the 70s, when Ehrlich and the Club of Rome were persuading us that we were doomed, would be lucky to see the year 2000, and even if we did, we'd not be having much fun, what with the starving, fighting, freezing, and choking and all. Except, I don't think I looked nearly as good nor as cheerful as they do. But then I was an angry young man attacking the establishment's views, while they are supporting them.

The CEO is Kevin, who obviously is quick and light on his feet to complete this sort of manoeuvre - the leap across a change of government:
"From 2007 to 2009 Kevin sat on the Council on Social Action chaired by the Prime Minister, and on the government’s Talent and Enterprise Task Force. He chaired the Enterprise Campaign Coalition and was on the selection committee of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion. He currently sits on the steering group of the Big Society Network launched by the Prime Minister, David Cameron in July 2010."

Phil is Head of Communications, and is clearly into green and good causes:
"Phil has worked on numerous award-winning campaigns for social and environmental causes, including Friends of the Earth’s Big Ask , WWF’s Earth Hour, and Orange RockCorps, an initiative uniting young people with their community through music. He helped launch eco blockbuster Age of Stupid with the greenest ever world premiere and organised the UK’s first prison gig at HM Pentonville to highlight the problem of young male suicide. He is a trustee of Dramatic Need, a groundbreaking arts charity supported by Oscar-winning director (and fellow trustee) Danny Boyle, which works with severely underprivileged children in South Africa and Rwanda."

There are 16 more, several of whom seem to have held down more ordinary jobs, and several are just setting out on their journeys to help us all out, and get paid for it at the same time. Not that money is important when you have a planet to save.

Actually, let me rephrase that: 'the hundreds of billions of dollars, pounds, and euros diverted into climate change good works of one kind or another, are as nothing compared to the losses they tell us we would see if we hadn't spent all that money on them'.

In particular, we might not have learned how to adjust the thermostat on our global warming system, to return climate to the idyllic past of, say the 19th century? Or perhaps we'd choose the Little Ice Age which spanned the 18th century, or the Medieval Warm Period that preceded it. Or perhaps even a return to the golden days of the Climatic Optimum, a few thousand years earlier in our beloved Holocene, when mean temperatures were several degrees higher than in industrial times and humanity thrived like never before.

Anyway, this is to daydream...let's get back to the Topical Storm now heading our way:
"Climate Week is a supercharged national occasion that offers an annual renewal of our ambition and confidence to combat climate change. It is for everyone wanting to do their bit to protect our planet and create a secure future.

Climate Week will shine a spotlight on the many positive steps already being taken in workplaces and communities across Britain. The power of these real, practical examples – the small improvements and the big innovations – will then inspire millions more people.

Thousands of businesses, charities, schools, councils and others will run events during Climate Week on 21-27 March 2011. They will show what can be achieved, share ideas and encourage thousands more to act during the rest of the year.

You can help create a massive movement for change by making Climate Week happen where you are. Ask an organisation or group you know, such as your workplace or local school, to run an event."

Well, I wonder how many will? Climategate was a bit of a bummer in late 2009, and the ice and snow and sundry political farces in and around Copenhagen that December can't have helped much. The Met Office has given climate prediction for just a few weeks ahead a bit of a bad name in 2010, issuing secret forecasts of impressive vagueness at huge expense to poor old HMG, which ran out of cash in the cold weather funds before January 2011 got underway. The public has been up to its ears in global warming of late, and hasn't liked it one little bit.

There may even be some who have been convinced that CO2 controls climate, and that we'd all be a nice bit warmer if only we could only get more of the stuff to stay up in the air. Somehow I foresee that their projects and events and suggestions will not see the light of day as 'Climate Week' strikes, and we are deluged with the establishment's perspective instead. But wait! Have the Met Office predicted such a deluge for late March? If they have, perhaps there is yet still hope ...


Fury builds over blackouts caused by de-industrialization of America

That's the headline at News-Worthy Information, which leads to the same headline from the original article at Prison Planet. I'm not particularly enthused about citing PP as a source, considering all their conspiracy theories and Trutherism, yet, they happen to have a point
Fury is building over rolling nationwide blackouts triggered by the Obama administration’s deliberate agenda to block the construction of new coal-fired plants, as local energy companies struggle to meet Americans’ power demands amidst some of the coldest weather seen in decades.

- As we reported yesterday, four hospitals in Texas reacted furiously after they were hit with planned outages despite being promised they would be spared even as power to Super Bowl venues remains uninterrupted.

And they provide many more examples, leading to
Cold weather is not the primary culprit behind the power outages that have hit many areas of the country this week. The real blame lies with the Obama administration’s deliberate war against the efforts of local power companies to meet America’s energy needs by building new plants, the vast majority of which have been blocked by judges, governors and the EPA over the last four years at the behest of the Obama administration in the name of preventing global warming.

Remember when Obama said this?
"Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket," Obama told the Chronicle . "Coal-powered plants, you know, natural gas, you name it, whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers."

Well, his administration, along with Democrats in Congress and in State governments, have worked hard to destroy our energy infrastructure. In fact, a major source of energy, coal fired plants, have been abandoned in large numbers since 2001. No new plants have been started in the last two years. Good thing we have solar, wind, and hydrothermal, with the panels covered with snow, turbines frozen solid, and waterways frozen. On the bright side, more people will freeze to death, meaning less people on the planet, something the extreme envirowackos/climate alarmists should be pleased over.


Fish Wrap: Damned You Evil Republicans Who Want Dirty Air!

And by dirty air, they mean carbon dioxide, a trace gas that is necessary for life on Earth: Clean Air Under Siege
Shortly after he entered the Senate in 2007, John Barrasso told his Wyoming constituents that the country’s biggest need was an energy policy to deal with carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.

That was then. In lockstep with other Senate Republicans, he helped kill last year’s energy and climate bill. Now he has introduced a bill that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency and any other part of the federal government from regulating carbon pollution.

Oooh, scary! "Pollution." You know, the type that plant life loves. The stuff most other life on Earth expels during respiration.
Congress’s failure to enact a climate bill means that the E.P.A.’s authority to regulate these gases — an authority conferred by a landmark Supreme Court decision in 2007 — is, for now, the only tool available to the federal government to combat global warming.

An authority not conferred by the Legislative branch.
The modest regulations the agency has already proposed, plus stronger ones it will issue later this year, should lead to the retirement of many of the nation’s older, dirtier coal-fired power plants and a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions.

Which would do what, exactly? Other than cause rolling brownouts and blackouts, since it is difficult to get power from solar panels covered with snow and wind turbines whose hydraulic fluids are frozen. I guess the Fish Wrap editorial board missed that globull warming has made it so cold that manholes are exploding in NY City. But, they are worried about all sorts of bills in Congress that would weaken the EPA's non-existent authority to regulate greenhouse gases, which have caused 92 roofs to collapse in Mass., snow in West Palm Beach, and farmers worried about crop survival. Oh, and Warmists spinning like tops, with their "AGW causes cold and snow" meme, which, oops, is bat guano.
That is just obstruction by another name. It would delay modernization and ensure that more carbon is dumped into the atmosphere. History shows that regulatory delays have a way of becoming permanent.

Modernization, eh? To.....what? Enviro-weenies block the building of alternative energy plants or their transmission lines. You liberals won't actually allow the building of new nuclear plants. France beats us on the use of nuclear. France! I'm not a big fan of coal, but, America needs power, not stupid pronouncements from climate hypocrites sitting comfortably in their Manhattan offices. Say, what happened to all that Stimulus money that was supposed to be used to modernize the energy infrastructure? Perhaps the Times should investigate that.


At last: Unrest in Egypt due to global warming!

We knew it was coming

Paul Krugman joins the crowd who think that they can see the signal of greenhouse emissions in noisy, short-term data on food prices, and then construct a chain of causality to the ongoing unrest in the Middle East. Such tenuous claims of attribution have about as much scientific standing as Pat Robertson saying that Hurricane Katrina was the result of the vengeful wrath of God.

Here is what Krugman writes today: "The evidence does, in fact, suggest that what we’re getting now is a first taste of the disruption, economic and political, that we’ll face in a warming world. And given our failure to act on greenhouse gases, there will be much more, and much worse, to come."

The figure at the top of this post is from a paper by Daniel Sumner, of the University of California-Davis (here in PDF), in which he seeks to place the 2006-2008 increase in grain prices into historical context. Current grain prices are at a similar level to the peak in 2007. Sumner's paper also has a figure going back to the mid-1800s. Good luck disentangling a long-term climate signal in the long-term data, which shows a significant decline in grain prices, much less attributing such a signal to a particular cause. Efforts to link short-term wiggles to the effects of greenhouse gas emissions go well beyond the canons of empirical science, to use a polite euphemism from The Climate Fix.

Sumner concludes: "The percentage price increases for grains from 2006 through 2008 were among the largest in the 140-year history for which U.S. data are readily available (figure 2). That said, at the end of 2008, real prices of grain remained near those of just two decades earlier (figure 3). Government policymakers often fail to appreciate the strength of forces driving commodity prices, and policies often exacerbate market imbalances or use commodity market flux as a rationalization for income transfers to favored groups. Looking forward, relatively minor demand-side adjustments to biofuels policy may allow grain prices to moderate significantly. However, assured renewal of longterm productivity growth requires renewed commitments to investments in agriculture science."

Like Pat Roberson's attribution of Katrina to the wrath of God in punishment for our sins, Krugman's attribution of unrest in the Middle East to the wrath of Climate in punishment for our sins is in one sense just emotive commentary from an uninformed pundit. On the other hand, to the extent that Krugman's views shape policy, they are simply misguided and misleading.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


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


7 February, 2011

Al Gore Explains 'Snowmageddon'

And gets rebutted

If the planet is warming, why is a third of America locked in a deep freeze, with record-low temperatures as far south as the Mexican border, where the thermometer in Ciudad Juarez plummeted Wednesday night to a bone-chilling 9-below zero?

Self-proclaimed planetary climate czar Al Gore thinks he has answer. "As it turns out, the scientific community has been addressing this particular question for some time now, and they say increased heavy snowfalls are completely consistent with what they have been predicting as a consequence of man-made global warming," Gore wrote in a blog post.

The Nobel Prize-winning former vice president was responding to a question posed by Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, who wondered on air why global warming was such an urgent science policy priority when the New York City area had become a “tundra” this winter.

Gore also indicated that he believes a rise in global temperatures is creating “all sorts of havoc,” from hotter dry spells to colder winters and ever more violent storms. This is even endangering certain species of animals and leading to forest fires and floods.
But not surprisingly, some climate-change skeptics are a bit hot under the collar over Gore’s “scientific” explanation.

“Gore’s statement actually indicates a deeper problem -- lack of precise predictions,” said Dr. William M. Briggs, a statistician and climate scientist. His research shows that there are no increased weather problems because of global warming, Briggs told

“He’s saying that anything bad that happens must be because global warming caused it. Activists like Gore are great at identifying events after the fact as being caused by global warming, but terrible at predicting them beforehand,” Briggs said.

Meteorologist Art Horn agreed, noting the extensive history of devastating weather over the millennia -- none of which he connects with global warming. “If one actually studies the history of weather over the last 2,000 years, you see massive storms, amazing heat, brutal cold waves, devastating droughts, terrible floods and disastrous hurricanes -- none caused by global warming,” he told “Gore has no appreciation for large natural variability in weather,” Horn said.

Other scientists were quick to leap to Gore's support, arguing that the extreme cold weather is a logical, expected outcome for our warming planet. “It’s not hard at all to get temperatures cold enough for snow in a world experiencing global warming,” meteorologist Jeffrey Masters told “There will still be colder than average winters in a world that is experiencing warming with plenty of opportunities for snow.”

The contretemps over global warming and winter weather -- and the bickering among scientists about man's effect on the climate -- has had a profound impact on public opinion around the globe. A January poll by Rasmussen Reports indicates that Americans are still more inclined to believe global warming is primarily caused by long-term planetary trends, although the gap narrowed a bit this month. But Americans don't blame global warming for this winter’s weather.

Skepticism is very clearly increasing overseas; a poll released this week by the Office for National Statistics in the U.K. indicated that the number of climate skeptics there had nearly doubled during the last four years. The proportion of people who said they were “not very concerned” about global warming now numbers more than one in five, the U.K. government said.

But many still argue that global warming is real, and the ultimate cause of the wretched weather. One environmental consultant pointed to an article that detailed a polar bear's nine-day swim to find an ice raft for refuge -- due to global warming’s impact on the environment of Alaska.

Others take a less anecdotal approach, and say that pure science supports Gore's global-warming argument. “It’s basic atmospheric physics,” said Meg Wilcox, a spokeswoman for Ceres, a national network of investors and environmental organizations. “Warmer air holds more moisture. This fact is apparent when you see water vapor hanging in the air after turning off a hot shower. When warm air holding moisture meets cooler air, the moisture condenses into tiny droplets that will fall as precipitation, rain or snow, depending upon atmospheric conditions.”

Warm air meets cold air seems simple enough. So why can't scientists agree? If it all seems confusing and contradictory, other experts say, the real blame lies not with the climate, or with science, or even scientists or former politicians, but with the incompetent media for failing to provide critical context for readers.

“The last 2,000 years is full of incredible weather events that dwarf what we see today,” said Horn. “Nature isn't cooperating with the global warming camp and theory.”

He points to a New York Times story from the 1970s, which said the planet was getting so cold that humanity was in danger of starving to death. The article argued that the world’s weather would soon be so frigid that it could no longer permit the cultivation of crops for food. The Times’ headline on August 8, 1974, was simple enough: “Climate changes Endanger World’s Food Output.”

“First we were told the world was cooling. Then it was getting hotter,” Dan Gainor, a spokesman for the Media Research Center, tells “Then cooling again. Then hotter. Now it’s just climate change -- so they can’t be wrong no matter what change occurs.”


The inverted reality of Warmism

The best you can say of it is that they assume what they have to prove

We keep seeing statements like the one above (by the learned Meg Wilcox) in the press – explaining the snow.
“It’s basic atmospheric physics,” said Meg Wilcox, a spokeswoman for Ceres, a national network of investors and environmental organizations. “Warmer air holds more moisture. This fact is apparent when you see water vapor hanging in the air after turning off a hot shower. When warm air holding moisture meets cooler air, the moisture condenses into tiny droplets that will fall as precipitation, rain or snow, depending upon atmospheric conditions.”

This is a nice theory, but the air is unusually cold, not unusually warm. Temperatures are far below normal. Are warmists actually as ignorant (and clueless) as they pretend to be? Extensive snow cover comes during cold winters, not warm ones. It doesn’t snow in Texas during warm winters.


Green Jobs Are Not Evergreen Jobs

After receiving at least $43 million in aid from the state of Massachusetts, Evergreen Solar announced last month that it would be closing its manufacturing plant in Devens, Mass., laying off its 800 workers and moving its manufacturing operations to China.

Warning: These are the "green jobs" that President Obama has touted as part of his "winning the future" agenda.

The problem isn't that Obama wants to direct federal dollars toward research for alternative energy. It is in the national interest to have affordable options when oil sources are depleted. The problem is that Obama thinks that green jobs are the answer to the anemic economy recovery. And he clings to that belief in the face of contrary evidence.

Last May, the president came to solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra in Fremont, Calif., to celebrate a new plant -- creating 3,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent workers. President Obama exclaimed, "The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra." Within months, Solyndra, which has yet to turn a profit, announced that it was canceling the expansion.

At best, you can describe Obamaland's choice of venue as bad advance work. Michael El-Hillow, Evergreen Solar's chief executive, explained in a statement the reason for his company's move: "While the United States and other western industrial economies are beneficiaries of rapidly declining installation costs of solar energy, we expect the United States will continue to be at a disadvantage from a manufacturing standpoint."

Evergreen is -- this month anyway -- the third-largest solar panel manufacturer in the United States. The Massachusetts plant opened in 2008 with much fanfare and generous taxpayer assistance. But just one year later, The New York Times reported, company suits were talking to Chinese officials, who could offer cheaper labor -- average monthly wages below $300 as opposed to $5,400 in the Bay State -- sweetheart loans and other incentives.

Harvard economist Edward L. Glaeser saw Evergreen leave Massachusetts and opined in The New York Times that while he believed investing in green technology, "(I)t always was a mistake to think that clean energy was going to be a jobs bonanza." And: "We shouldn't pretend that cheaper solar energy will end up employing millions of our less-skilled citizens."

This leaves American solons with two choices: Keep feeding the meter -- or cut your losses. The high cost of subsidizing wind and solar power should seal the deal. According to the California Energy Commission, the cost of photovoltaic solar electricity is about 26 cents per kilowatt hour, as opposed to 13 cents for electricity powered by natural gas.

With the unemployment rate at 9 percent, Washington should be looking to create jobs that aren't going to run to China. Or, as Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, told The New York Times, "If the president really were serious about job creation, he would be working with us to develop American oil and gas by American workers for American consumers."

American Enterprise Institute senior fellow Steven F. Hayward likes to ask people which state has the lowest unemployment rate. The answer is North Dakota, with an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent. "The reason is they've had a huge oil and gas boom," Hayward explained. They've tripled their oil output.

As the price of oil spills over the $100-per-barrel mark, Washington ought to reconsider the "green jobs" approach. As Hayward noted, "Brown energy creates jobs and prosperity."


GE Gets Exemption From Backdoor Cap & Trade

You won't find a more naked example of the corruption inherent in crony capitalism than Comrade Obama's symbiotic relationship with GE, which used its control of MSNBC to create a pro-Obama megaphone conspicuous even among the liberal media for the servility of its partisan propaganda. The devotion of GE/MSNBC talking heads and executives has been reminiscent of groveling toadies in fascist and communist regimes.

In return, Obama has pushed green energy boondoggles from which GE stands to make massive fortunes at the cost of affordable energy for the public. He has appointed CEO Jeffrey Immelt head of his economic advisory board. Now this:

Last month, the Obama EPA began enforcing new rules regulating the greenhouse gas emissions from any new or expanded power plants.
Nasty Pelousy managed to ram these new rules through the House as Cap & Trade. But they are so onerous, pointless, and economically destructive that they couldn't get through the Senate, despite Democrat control. So Obama is imposing them through the unaccountable EPA bureaucracy instead.

However, as the unions granted exemptions from ObamaCare can tell you, rules don't apply to Obama's friends. The Washington Examiner quotes subscription only Environment & Energy News:

The Obama administration will spare a stalled power plant project in California from the newest federal limits on greenhouse gases and conventional air pollution, U.S. EPA says in a new court filing that marks a policy shift in the face of industry groups and Republicans accusing the agency of holding up construction of large industrial facilities.

According to a declaration by air chief Gina McCarthy, officials reviewed EPA policies and decided it was appropriate to "grandfather" projects such as the Avenal Power Center, a proposed 600-megawatt power plant in the San Joaquin Valley, so they are exempted from rules such as new air quality standards for smog-forming nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

Why the sudden reasonableness toward Avenal Power Center, despite Obama's promise to make energy prices skyrocket by choking off supply? Probably because it plans to use turbines purchased from GE.

The bigger Big Government gets, the more essential it is to have the right friends if you expect to be allowed to do anything constructive.


Climate education in British schools: a mess of pottage, a porridge of propaganda?

The politicization of Geography teaching seems to be killing off the subject

Indoctrination in schools is illegal in the UK (e.g. section 406 of the Education Act of 1996). Education ought to teach children about their world. But there are those who see the young as so many potential footsoldiers for their cause, little Trojan horses to fill with propaganda to carry back into their homes and into their futures. All to save the planet of course, so who can object to that?

Of course, they are not 'saving the planet'. First of all, 'the planet' is not in danger, and secondly, crippling our economies physically, and our children mentally, are not pathways to robust societies ready to tackle whatever challenges the future may bring them, environmental and otherwise. They are pathways to poverty and dependency.

Geography is an obvious target for proselytising on 'climate change'. It does not seem to be thriving as a subject in schools in the UK.

'In a speech at Charterhouse School, Surrey, Prof Woodhead cited the example of geography, where the curriculum has been focused on turning children into "global citizens" at the expense of an objective study of the earth.

"I think there is a difference between education on the one hand and propaganda on the other - and I think this is one of the main reasons why schools are starting to abandon GCSEs in such numbers," he said.

"Politicians seem to have this belief that schools and teachers can solve the evils of the world. Simply dump all the deeply intractable social problems on to the curriculum and let the schools sort it out. Schools should be teaching children what they don't know, not attempting to create citizens of the future who are active and responsible." '


'Geography lessons 'not good enough in half of schools'

Children’s knowledge of capital cities, continents, world affairs and the environment is in sharp decline because of poor geography lessons, inspectors warned today.

In a damning report, Ofsted said teaching in the subject was not good enough in more than half of English state schools. Geography – traditionally a cornerstone of the curriculum – is often undermined by a lack of space in school timetables after being edged out by exam practice and other subjects such as citizenship.

Many primary teachers lacked specialist geographical knowledge, the watchdog said, meaning classes often descended into a focus on superficial stereotypes. The subject had practically “disappeared” in one-in-10 primaries.

In secondary schools, classes were often merged with history to form generic “humanities” lessons that focused on vague skills instead of geographical understanding.

Ofsted said the decline severely reduced children’s ability at all ages to grasp key geographical issues, identify countries or capital cities and even read maps properly.'

['Ofsted' is a government agency in the UK: 'Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. We regulate and inspect to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages.']

How come so many teachers have apparently stopped teaching in order to become facilitators for producing ill-informed agitators? The same malaise has also affected the BBC, an organisation turning into an international laughing stock because of its blinkered, biased approach on climate and its wish to campaign for 'the cause' rather than 'merely' broadcast news, information, and honest investigative journalism.

The scientific case for alarm over CO2 is fragile and has been widely dismantled, not least by Nature herself refusing to follow the purposeful computer models equipped with magical powers for CO2. The political case is also faltering, not least due to the absurdities of the IPCC leadership and publications, and to simple-minded bandwagoning by politicians in many countries running out of steam (see for example, the absence of 'climate change' in the recent State of the Union address in the USA, and several opinion polls showing the declining credibility of eco-alarmism). So will the educational system be the final redoubt for this whole sorry business?

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Australia: Green tape makes the poor poorer

An extreme illustration of what a shortage of building land leads to can be seen in the house pictured below. It is a former workman's cottage in an inner Western suburb of Sydney, is infested by termites, has no floor and is uninhabitable. It has just sold for $800,000

According to English humourist Auberon Waugh, the urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women.

Perhaps Julia Gillard recognised this in abandoning the cash-for-clunkers scheme. Designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this was to give new car buyers a $2000 rebate to scrap pre-1995 cars.

Premature scrapping of serviceable older cars creates a used-car shortage, and this raises the prices of used cars that are mainly bought by younger and poorer people. Giving cash for clunkers would have allowed politically powerful people to parade a phony environmental sensitivity while getting others to pay the cost.

It is not the only example of such hypocrisy. Self-selected political elites also use environmental concerns to prevent housing developments. Even though urban land comprises only 0.5 per cent of Victoria, and even less for Australia as a whole, regulations restrict city growth.

This creates housing land shortages, increases the cost of land for housing and inflates new house costs.

People without their own homes lose out. But existing homeowners benefit from increased house prices and can therefore have much to gain from supporting planning restraints in the name of environmentalism.

Last week, the think-tank Demographia released price data for detached housing in 325 housing markets in seven countries. Prices in Melbourne and the rest of Australia were, except for land-starved Hong Kong, the highest among the countries examined.

The analysis showed that to buy the average Australian house in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth required 7.1 years of the average household's income (nine years for Melbourne). For comparable US cities, it is 3.3 years, and in Britain, where houses are smaller, 5.1 years. For the sample of 82 world cities with populations over one million, Melbourne's house prices are the 79th highest (Sydney's are 81st).

Demographia demonstrated that government planning restraints creating a scarcity of housing land were the overwhelming cause of Australia's high prices.

Self-proclaimed housing experts have denied that high housing prices in Australia result from our planning and regulatory system. Some have said high prices in Australian capital cities are seen in all seaside cities. Yet house prices in US coastal cities like Houston and Tampa are a third of Melbourne's. Inland Bendigo's house prices are actually double those of Houston, the world's space research centre.

Some said high Australian house prices stem from low interest rates making them more affordable. Yet interest rates are far lower in Britain, the US and Canada, but houses are cheaper.

Others blamed high house prices on demand pressures from immigration. But low house prices in cities like Houston, Dallas and Atlanta are accompanied by far higher immigration levels than in Australian cities.

The Demographia analysis shows the high Australian house costs are overwhelmingly caused by the high costs of land. For a block on the Melbourne outskirts planning regulations, on my reckoning, add $80,000 to the cost of a new house.

Government intrusion in our lives reduces overall prosperity and often the poor face particularly adverse impacts.



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


6 February, 2011

Seattle: A Warmist scientist who mentions no science -- funnily enough

All he can manage is personal abuse below: No attempt at a rational argument. Just like the comments that we conservative bloggers get from the Green/Left in the comments on our blogs.

Such a low intellectual standard tells its own story, I think: If even the top rung of Warmists have nothing but rage to offer, it shows how little there is behind their theories.

The author below complains of scientific illiteracy but himself encourages it. He seems to think that appeals to authority are science

OK. We're agreed that the majority of the US population is Scientifically Illiterate in the last postings to this column. So too, is the Federal House, Senate and the Supreme Court. Obama seems to have had some science and speaks literately, but his predecessor was even anti-science in general. I've suggested that our inability to generate a very long term society that is sustainable is a consequence of this illiteracy.

I see that two of these leading proponents of illiteracy, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the champion climate denier in Congress, are circulating a draft of their "Climate Science Denial" bill that would gut the Clean Air Act to exclude climate emissions and repeal the EPA scientific finding that climate emissions pose a threat to human health.

I have mentioned that a cautious scientist, a foremost expert on the properties of radiation, NASA's Jim Hansen, is quite courageous sticking his neck out by warning the law-makers that serious effects of Global Warming would likely ensue if we ignore the observational warnings and continue to pollute the atmosphere.

In the case of Upton and Inhofe, I am cynically amazed by their willingness to put their heads on the chopping block --- as a cautious but literate scientist I suspect that they have a good chance of going into the history books as the most short-sighted and thoughtless legislators in our history as the data comes in in the next FIVE to twenty years. They do have the courage of their convictions. These convictions apparently come from thin air. And probably polluted air. Or likely from their fossil fuel burning donors.

If you're still on the fence, read Hansen's "Storms of my Grandchildren" for a cautious prediction.


Halfway to doomsday!

Below-freezing temperatures, icy streets, and blinding blizzards have plagued the country for two weeks now. Buried in all that snow is the five year anniversary of the Sundance premiere of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.”

It was at Sundance in 2006 that we first heard Gore’s most profitable hypothesis: The world had ten years or less to avert imminent destruction. That same year, Rush Limbaugh began his “Algore (sic) Doomsday Countdown.”

“Now, the last time I heard some liberal talk about ‘ten years’ it was 1988, Ted Danson,” said Limbaugh. “We had ten years to save the oceans; we were all going to pay the consequences, which would result in our death. Now Al Gore says we’ve got ten years. Ten years left to save the planet from a scorching. Okay, we’re going to start counting. This is January 27th, 2006. We will begin the count, ladies and gentlemen.”

To be fair, Gore did say that that the world would not be over in ten years, just that a line will have been crossed, making salvation impossible. “The world won’t ‘end’ overnight in 10 years,” said Gore. “But a point will have been passed, and there will be an irreversible slide into destruction.”

Nevertheless, according to the clock, we are now half way to the point of no return. Limbaugh acknowledged the five year anniversary on his program Wednesday.


Do carbon emissions pose a health risk?

A new ploy from the Warmists. But since cold weather is much more likely to kill you than warm (NOBODY was killed by Australia's recent great midsummer cyclone) the argument is an absurdity. Cold is life-threatening. Warmth is simply uncomfortable.

It is true that there is a lot of disease in the tropics but I come one of the few areas of white settlement in the tropics and we have long had appropriate public health measures in place -- so mortality from tropical diseases is rare, unlike mortality from winter ailments and accidents in colder climes

When Republican lawmakers introduced legislation this week to block efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate carbon, environmental groups pushed back hard. And this time, the groups stepped up their efforts by attempting to shift the argument from being about climate change science and green jobs to public health safety.

In a press release sent out Thursday, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) attacked the proposal as a “serious health setback.”

“This is unprecedented political interference with sound science and enforcement of clean air safeguards, which have improved our water and air for the past four decades,” said NRDC climate and air legislative director Franz Matzner.

“Politicians should not block EPA scientists from continuing to reduce carbon dioxide, mercury and other life-threatening pollution. Big polluters cannot be allowed to continue spewing unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our air.”

When contacted by The Daily Caller, an NRDC spokesperson referred to a 2008 NRDC fact sheet that lists health risks from carbon dioxide that include a more intense “allergenic pollen season” and an increase in droughts and floods.

Even Democrats on the Hill have taken up the argument shift to public health. “These attacks on the Clean Air Act will only take us backwards to a time when big polluters dirtied our air with impunity and hurt the health of our children,” said Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland Thursday. “If Republicans want to tear down the progress we have made to make air cleaner in America, they’re going to get a fight from those of us who are committed to the public health of our communities.”

A spokesperson for the American Public Health Administration (APHA) also told TheDC that the organization supported “reducing carbon emissions to protect public health. In a response to the proposed legislation, the APHA called on Congress to defend the Clean Air Act and the EPA’s attempts to regulate carbon as a matter of public health.

But for some, the threat of carbon dioxide on public health is exaggerated. One scientist even described CO2 to TheDC as a “beneficial gas.” In an interview with TheDC, Joe D’Aleo, a meteorologist and executive director of the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project (ICECAP), called the public health argument “nonsense” and “absolutely ludicrous... Since we emit 2.7 pounds of CO2 per person per day from respiration, it is clearly not harmful,” said D’Aleo.

He also pointed out that in classrooms, auditoriums, and especially submarines, carbon dioxide levels are always higher than they are in the open air. “And they don’t die in submarines from carbon dioxide,” said D’Aleo.

“The EPA has admitted that its cap-and-trade agenda won’t have any meaningful impact on climate,” said Matt Dempsey, spokesperson for Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, one of the co-sponsors of the legislation. “One wonders, then: how could stopping something with no impact have any impact on public health?”


Magnetic Polar Shifts may be behind Massive Global Superstorms

But I am sure Al Gore will tell us that global warming affects the earth's magnetic field too. You can invent theories to explain anything. Being wise after the event is easy. It's inventing theories that have predictive power that is hard -- a challenge Warmists routinely fail.

The article below contains a considerable element of speculation but does pinpoint a neglected "forcing" on climate

NASA has been warning about it…scientific papers have been written about it…geologists have seen its traces in rock strata and ice core samples… Now "it" is here: an unstoppable magnetic pole shift that has sped up and is causing life-threatening havoc with the world's weather.

Forget about global warming—man-made or natural—what drives planetary weather patterns is the climate and what drives the climate is the sun's magnetosphere and its electromagnetic interaction with a planet's own magnetic field.

When the field shifts, when it fluctuates, when it goes into flux and begins to become unstable anything can happen. And what normally happens is that all hell breaks loose.

Magnetic polar shifts have occurred many times in Earth's history. It's happening again now to every planet in the solar system including Earth.

The magnetic field drives weather to a significant degree and when that field starts migrating superstorms start erupting.

The superstorms have arrived

The first evidence we have that the dangerous superstorm cycle has started is the devastating series of storms that pounded the UK during late 2010.

On the heels of the lashing the British Isles sustained, monster storms began to lash North America. The latest superstorm—as of this writing—is a monster over the U.S. that stretched across 2,000 miles affecting more than 150 million people.

Yet even as that storm wreaked havoc across the Western, Southern, Midwestern and Northeastern states, another superstorm broke out in the Pacific and closed in on Australia.

The southern continent had already dealt with the disaster of historic superstorm flooding from rains that dropped as much as several feet in a matter of hours. Tens of thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed. After the deluge tiger sharks were spotted swimming between houses in what was once a quiet suburban neighborhood.

Shocked authorities now numbly concede that much of the water may never dissipate and have wearily resigned themselves to the possibility that region will now contain a new inland sea.

But then only a handful of weeks later another superstorm—the megamonster cyclone Yasi—struck northeastern Australia. The damage it left in its wake is being called by rescue workers a war zone.

The incredible superstorm packed winds near 190mph. Although labeled as a category-5 cyclone, it was theoretically a category-6. The reason for that is storms with winds of 155mph are considered category-5, yet Yasi was almost 22 percent stronger than that.

A cat's cradle

Yet Yasi may only be a foretaste of future superstorms. Some climate researchers, monitoring the rapidly shifting magnetic field, are predicting superstorms in the future with winds as high as 300 to 400mph.

Such storms would totally destroy anything they came into contact with on land.

The possibility more storms like Yasi or worse will wreak havoc on our civilization and resources is found in the complicated electromagnetic relationship between the sun and Earth. The synergistic tug-of-war has been compared by some to an intricately constructed cat's cradle. And it's in a constant state of flux.

The sun's dynamic, ever-changing electric magnetosphere interfaces with the Earth's own magnetic field affecting, to a degree, the Earth's rotation, precessional wobble, dynamics of the planet's core, its ocean currents and—above all else—the weather.

Cracks in Earth's Magnetic Shield

The Earth's northern magnetic pole was moving towards Russia at a rate of about five miles annually. That progression to the East had been happening for decades.

Suddenly, in the past decade the rate sped up. Now the magnetic pole is shifting East at a rate of 40 miles annually, an increase of 800 percent. And it continues to accelerate.

Recently, as the magnetic field fluctuates, NASA has discovered "cracks" in it. This is worrisome as it significantly affects the ionosphere, troposphere wind patterns, and atmospheric moisture. All three things have an effect on the weather.

Worse, what shields the planet from cancer-causing radiation is the magnetic field. It acts as a shield deflecting harmful ultra-violet, X-rays and other life-threatening radiation from bathing the surface of the Earth. With the field weakening and cracks emerging, the death rate from cancer could skyrocket and mutations of DNA can become rampant.

Another federal agency, NOAA, issued a report caused a flurry of panic when they predicted that mammoth superstorms in the future could wipe out most of California. The NOAA scientists said it's a plausible scenario and would be driven by an "atmospheric river" moving water at the same rate as 50 Mississippi rivers flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Magnetic field may dip, flip and disappear

The Economist wrote a detailed article about the magnetic field and what's happening to it. In the article they noted:

"There is, however, a growing body of evidence that the Earth's magnetic field is about to disappear, at least for a while. The geological record shows that it flips from time to time, with the south pole becoming the north, and vice versa. On average, such reversals take place every 500,000 years, but there is no discernible pattern. Flips have happened as close together as 50,000 years, though the last one was 780,000 years ago. But, as discussed at the Greenland Space Science Symposium, held in Kangerlussuaq this week, the signs are that another flip is coming soon."

Discussing the magnetic polar shift and the impact on weather, the scholarly paper "Weather and the Earth's magnetic field" was published in the journal Nature. Scientists too are very concerned about the increasing danger of superstorms and the impact on humanity.

Superstorms will not only damage agriculture across the planet leading to famines and mass starvation, they will also change coastlines, destroy cities and create tens of millions of homeless.

Superstorms can also cause certain societies, cultures or whole countries to collapse. Others may go to war with each other.

A Danish study published in the scientific journal Geology, found strong correlation between climate change, weather patterns and the magnetic field.

"The earth's climate has been significantly affected by the planet's magnetic field, according to a Danish study published Monday that could challenge the notion that human emissions are responsible for global warming.

"'Our results show a strong correlation between the strength of the earth's magnetic field and the amount of precipitation in the tropics,' one of the two Danish geophysicists behind the study, Mads Faurschou Knudsen of the geology department at Aarhus University in western Denmark, told the Videnskab journal.

"He and his colleague Peter Riisager, of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), compared a reconstruction of the prehistoric magnetic field 5,000 years ago based on data drawn from stalagmites and stalactites found in China and Oman."

In the scientific paper "Midday magnetopause shifts earthward of geosynchronous orbit during geomagnetic superstorms with Dst = -300 nT" the magnetic intensity of solar storms impacting Earth can intensify the effects of the polar shift and also speed up the frequency of the emerging superstorms.

Pole reversal may also be initiating new Ice Age

According to some geologists and scientists, we have left the last interglacial period behind us. Those periods are lengths of time—about 11,500 years—between major Ice Ages.

One of the most stunning signs of the approaching Ice Age is what's happened to the world's precessional wobble.

The Earth's wobble has stopped

As explained in the geology and space science website, "The Chandler wobble was first discovered back in 1891 by Seth Carlo Chandler an American astronomer.

The effect causes the Earth's poles to move in an irregular circle of 3 to 15 meters in diameter in an oscillation. The Earth's Wobble has a 7-year cycle which produces two extremes, a small spiraling wobble circle and a large spiraling wobble circle, about 3.5 years apart.


Even the Northern sea ice will not disappear

The sea ice in the North will not melt down. Several factors will make it come back, latest modelling shows. Rough translation from Norwegian below

Is the melting of sea ice in the Arctic unstoppable? Will the ice disappear? "Our research suggests that the ice will not melt for good. Amount of ice in the summer season looks instead to be relatively stable", said Dirk Notz, Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg.

During the great northern Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø this week, he showed a clear pattern of ice melt: "We see that a year with a lot of melting ice is always followed by a year of less melting. Our climate models show that the ice will come back to the same level within one to three years, which surprised us", he said. He points to several explanations for this development:

* The usual scenario is the Arctic ice reflects sunlight. With less ice or no ice the ocean gets warmer, as the ice melts. But while losing sea ice without any more heat than the ocean that is covered by ice. Such a "feedback" keeps the water temperature low, so that the ice comes back, says Notz.

* The thickness of the ice is also a factor: A thin layer of ice is sea ice. Thin ice grows back faster than thick ice.

* Another factor is that sea ice grows without falling snow, which lowers the temperature. From this it means that we can manage to keep the sea ice in the Arctic, but it requires that we reduce emissions of CO2, says Notz.

Support: Lars Henrik Smedsrud, a researcher at the Bjerknes Centre at the University of Bergen, supports the findings.

* "I have done similar things with a slightly different climate model and get very consistent results to Notz. The fact that two different models agree provides tremendous similar results, strengthens the credibility of results", the researcher says.

He said the results demonstrate a positive factor:

* If we reduce emissions of greenhouse gases significantly, the ice will respond and will grow back relatively quickly, "he said.

The main theme of the conference Arctic Frontiers, was the term "tipping point", which describes a significant change that is not reversible - that is a kind of "point of no return" where it is not possible to return to its previous normal state.

* This shows that there is no "tipping point" for sea ice. To say that that is what is crazy, "says Smedsrud.


Australia: Greenie ideology hurts kids

Air conditioning causes global warming so must be stopped, you see

PARENTS from hundreds of schools have resorted to paying for basic resources such as airconditioning, even while the federal government's Building the Education Revolution has spent millions on new "green" classrooms with only natural ventilation.

As temperatures reached 42.2 degrees in Sydney yesterday – and after a record run of extremely hot days – the NSW Parents and Citizens' Associations said families were commonly being asked to fund cooling that should be publicly funded.

"It is a serious health and safety issue," said NSW Primary Principals Association president Jim Cooper. He said more buses and trains had airconditioning than classrooms, but children and teachers had to endure six hours in the heat, not half an hour. "The bottom line is it's very difficult to concentrate and focus when you're in a room with a temperature of 35 degrees-plus."

But parents were asked not only to buy the airconditioners but to fund their maintenance and contribute to the power bills, said Sharryn Brownlee of the Central Coast P&C.

Only 30 per cent of public schools have air-conditioning provided by the Department of Education. Just 20 per cent of new classrooms built under the BER have air-conditioning systems. The Department of Education only provides airconditioning in heat zones with a mean January average temperature of above 30 degrees.

But the NSW Teachers Federation president, Bob Lipscombe, said airconditioners should be installed in all classrooms. "It’s extraordinary in this day and age, when just about every public building and every private building requires airconditioning, that classrooms do not get it as a matter of course," Mr Lipscombe said. "The Department is being unreasonable to expect teachers to work in temperatures in the high 30s."

The NSW P&C president Helen Walton said: "It’s not just heaters and airconditioners. We are talking about raising money for everything from providing boxes of tissues in classrooms to paying for extra staff. That’s completely unacceptable." Her association estimates several hundred schools have self-funded airconditioning over the past few years across NSW.

Mr Cooper, from the Principals Association, said funds raised by parents contributed to the purchase of six new airconditioners at his school in Albion Park, near Wollongong. "It was a lot of money for us but it was regarded as a high priority for the children," he said.

Berowra Public School, in Sydney’s north, and Havenlee Public School, near Nowra, have both raised thousands of dollars to put towards airconditioning. A survey by the Australian Education Union found 92 per cent of NSW schools had engaged in fundraising in the past year. "The [schools] which are most affected are the ones which sit just outside the designated heat areas and aren’t eligible for air conditioning despite having very high temperatures throughout summer," Mr Cooper said.

Mosquitoes in the state’s north meant "teachers can’t leave the doors and windows open for ventilation so conditions just become stifling".

Classrooms designed under the BER use passive temperature control techniques such as insulation and natural ventilation.



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


5 February, 2011

Krauthammer mocks global warming

Dallas, the site of this Sunday’s Super Bowl, is experiencing unusual winter weather with record snowfall this year. That brings to mind a question: whatever happened to global warming?

Earlier this week, former Vice President Al Gore insisted all this erratic winter weather was a result of anthropogenic global warming, a point columnist Charles Krauthammer refuted on the Friday broadcast of “Inside Washington.”

“Look, if Godzilla were on the Mall this afternoon, Al Gore would say it’s global warming because the spores in the south Atlantic Ocean were – you know, look everything is, it’s a religion,” Krauthammer said. “In a religion everything is explicable. In science, you can actually deny or falsify a proposition with evidence. You find me a single piece of evidence that Al Gore would ever admit that would contradict global warming and I’ll be surprised.”

Evan Thomas, a former editor for Newsweek magazine, said Gore wasn’t relevant and that it is plausible global warming is contributing to the winter weather.

“Al Gore is a red herring here,” Thomas said. “There are some scientists that are looking at this interesting question about the jet stream, which had gone at sort of this tight cone over the North Pole. That wall that kept it up there has broken down with global warming as the sea has been heating up there. So, there is a body of scientific – it’s theory still that the jet stream is wobbling around and causing this crazy weather and it is related to global warming.”


Europe's Industry May Be Left Behind By Shale Revolution

The impact of shale has the potential, if we are smart enough to grab it, to ripple through the entire European economy. Energy is a key economic marker, and if Europe turns it back on shale it also concedes a significant economic advantage to the rest of the world.

A story I've been following the last few months is where shale is starting to go beyond energy and out to other industries. A classic example of this is the US chemical industry.

Chemicals play nearly as important a role in the macro economy as energy. Petro-chemicals and natural gas are the feedstock for plastic and fertiliser. Eighty per cent of the cost of nitrogen based fertiliser is natural gas. Similarly, natural gas liquids like ethane are a major cost component of ethylene for plastic, which impacts everything made from, or wrapped in, plastic.

The US shale revolution provides low cost natural gas and ethane and impact other markets like hydrochloric acid. So low cost US shale means much more than cheap energy:
The head of Dow Chemical Co. said Thursday that the U.S. can become a low-cost leader for the global industry as shale gas production increases and cheap natural gas from the Middle East is diverted to produce power.

Demand for commodity and specialty chemicals is returning to pre-recession levels and U.S. exports to Asia have soared, with prices rising amid tight supplies for the building blocks of everything from diapers and packaging to autos and consumer electronics.

I've already highlighted how companies like BASF are building plants in places where there was no production like West Virginia to take advantage of Marcellus produced ethane at give away prices. The conventional wisdom in chemicals was based on the other conventional wisdom: US energy would be expensive and declining. As a result the world chemical industry started to move from the Gulf of Mexico to the Persian Gulf, costing jobs and pushing up prices. But that was then and this is now:
Cheap U.S. natural gas prices already give its chemical companies an advantage over many overseas rivals, though this is eroded by the cost of shipping to fast-growing Asian markets. Mr. Liveris said the development of domestic shale-based deposits could narrow the cost gap with the Middle East.

He said Dow would accelerate efforts to move away from low-value commodity business, though the outperformance of its basic chemicals and plastics operations drove results that surpassed analysts' expectations as the company absorbed higher raw material costs and secured a 10% rise in prices.

Which means Dow Chemical is doing just fine thanks: "The company reported a profit of $511 million for the quarter ending in December compared with $172 million a year earlier".

This underlines even more how slowing down Europe shale production by looking the gift horse of shale in the mouth will end up shooting the chemical industry and many others in the foot.


The Interior Department's Culture of Contempt

Oops, they did it again. President Obama's grabby-handed environmental bureaucrats have earned yet another spanking from the federal judiciary over their "determined disregard" of the rule of law. Isn't it time to give these misbehaving government hooligans a permanent timeout?

Federal judge Martin Feldman in Louisiana excoriated the Obama Interior Department Wednesday for defying his May 2010 order to lift its groundless ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf. Nine months later, not a single permit has been issued. Several deepwater platforms have moved out of the area to take their businesses -- and an estimated 5,000 jobs -- overseas. Billions of dollars in potential oil revenue and Gulf lease sales-related rent have also dried up.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar -- a.k.a. The Loathsome Cowboy -- thumbed his nose at the judge's preliminary injunction last June and dragged his feet into July, when his bureaucracy lost its bid for a stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals. Salazar then concocted a second "revised" moratorium to replace the one Feldman had nullified as "arbitrary and capricious, and therefore, unlawful." The second deepwater drilling ban (which oil spill czar Michael Bromwich admitted was "roughly congruent with the original moratorium") was "lifted" in October, but still no permits were issued.

This is because Team Obama's eco-radicals never intend to approve them.

Every step of the way, the White House team has displayed unbridled defiance -- by continually broadcasting its intent and determination to impose the blanket moratorium in spite of the judicial order, and by ramming through a second sweeping ban that did nothing to address the court's concerns after the injunction was issued.

The Interior Department's contempt for the law is outweighed only by its contempt for sound science.

Remember: Salazar is the data doctor who falsely claimed that the administration's blanket moratorium report was endorsed and peer-reviewed by seven scientific experts -- when, in fact, eight of the scientists studying the issue for the government explicitly said they "do not agree with the six-month blanket moratorium" on floating drilling.

Remember: The Interior Department inspector general publicized e-mails in November showing that Salazar's office and former environmental czar Carol Browner's office collaborated on the false rewrite of the White House offshore drilling ban report. While the inspector general found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing and the White House denied any attempt to mislead the public, Feldman pointed out that "at the hearing on the first moratorium, in response to a question by the Court, the government's answer then was wholly at odds with the story of the misleading text change by a White House official, a story the government does not now dispute."

As GOP Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina would have put it more bluntly: "You lie."

In addition to the lost jobs and lost revenue already sacrificed at the altar of "safety," the Interior Department will now siphon tax dollars to pay for the "substantial" legal fees of the plaintiffs as a result of the contempt ruling. Another affected business, Century Exploration New Orleans, Inc., filed a drilling ban-related complaint against the department last week claiming breach of contract -- which could add yet more millions or billions to publicly subsidized legal costs.

Jim Adams, president and CEO of the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA), noted the massive gap between Obama's words and actions this week: "[T]housands of workers are out of jobs, Americans are paying more for gasoline and heating oil, and our nation is becoming even more dependent on unstable nations for our energy needs. President Obama talks a lot about jobs and energy independence. Now it's time for him to back up his words with action and call off his de facto moratorium. Americans want an end to this manmade disaster."

But instead of reining Salazar in, the White House is happy to let him wage the administration's continuing war on the West with impunity. Despite pleas from both Democratic and Republican officials at all levels of government to retreat from an administrative usurpation of wild lands that he slipped through during the Christmas season lame duck session, Salazar is moving full speed ahead. Adding audacious insult to economic injury, Salazar this week unveiled new "scientific integrity rules" to "end political manipulation of science" and "encourage an environment of rigorous open discussion."

The Obama culture of corruption meets the culture of contempt. It's a toxic slick that will ultimately be left to voters to clean up.


The blind man's carbon tax

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Alan Blinder listed numerous alleged benefits of a phased-in carbon tax. Out of his entire column, he devoted a single sentence to the possible downside of his plan when he wrote, "No one likes to pay higher taxes." A more balanced assessment shows that a carbon tax presents very real dangers, even if we rely on the same economic analysis that so enthralled Blinder.

Spurring Innovation through Higher Taxes?

Here's Blinder explaining the economic benefits of a carbon tax that starts out low, but will eventually become quite steep:

Once America's entrepreneurs and corporate executives see lucrative opportunities from carbon-saving devices and technologies, they will start investing right away — and in ways that make the most economic sense. I don't know whether all this innovation will lead to 80% of our electricity being generated by clean energy sources in 2035, which is the president's goal. But I can hardly wait to witness the outpouring of ideas it would unleash. The next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are waiting in the wings to make themselves rich by helping the environment.

We should also be clear that Blinder's argument for job creation does not rely on the "negative externalities" of carbon emissions. Earlier in the piece, he made a list of the "few nice side effects" that would result from a carbon tax: "reducing our trade deficit, making our economy more efficient, ameliorating global warming …" Because he puts global warming at third in the list, we see that there is nothing peculiar to greenhouse gases behind his main argument for job creation.

No, Blinder is making the simple observation that if the government imposes artificial costs on the current way businesses operate, then the market will respond to the new handicap and end up generating new products and techniques along the way.

This analysis is true, as far it goes. But the same could be said for any new government policy that made it illegal for businesses to continue operating in the ways that they currently find the most efficient. For example, if the government promised to impose stiff taxes on nails and screws over the next few decades, that would certainly cause entrepreneurs to see "lucrative opportunities" in developing do-it-yourself furniture that used only wooden pegs and glue. But obviously consumers would be worse off because of the less convenient and/or more expensive products.

This is basic economics: you don't make the country richer by taxing it, or by taking options away from industry. If investors pour money into carbon-reducing technologies under the threat of a future carbon tax, there is correspondingly less investment available for other technologies.

Dealing with Negative Externalities

Of course, advocates of a carbon tax claim that there is a special reason to penalize carbon emissions, as opposed to nails and screws. They argue that because emissions of carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) may eventually lead to significant damages from climate change, entrepreneurs currently are not taking all of the costs of their actions into account.

Even if we concede this framing of the issue, it still does not follow that economists should favor a new carbon tax. Ironically, we can use the same researcher — William Nordhaus — upon whom Blinder based his own case.

It is true that Nordhaus himself favors a carbon tax. In the 2007 calibration of his "DICE" model of the global economy and climate system, Nordhaus estimated that the theoretically optimal carbon-tax regime would reduce (the present value of) climate damages by about $5 trillion, at the cost of about $2 trillion in lost economic output. This is why Nordhaus favors such a policy — its theoretical benefits exceed the costs by up to $3 trillion.

However, this figure assumes all governments around the world implement the tax. If some governments cheat, then the alleged benefits shrink, as some of the emissions simply migrate from the high-tax to the low-tax areas.

Nordhaus's calculation also assumes that governments implement the economically optimal carbon tax. If the tax is set too high, however, Nordhaus's results demonstrate that the cure can be much worse than the disease. For example, when Nordhaus simulated the impact of limiting atmospheric concentrations of CO2 to 1.5 times their preindustrial level, he found that it would make the world more than $14 trillion poorer than if governments did absolutely nothing to regulate emissions. This is because the simulated $13 trillion in benefits from avoided climate damage were swamped by $27 trillion in reduced economic output.[1]

A Carbon Tax Involves Economics, Not Just Natural Science

The proponents of a carbon tax (or "cap and trade") continuously point out that there is a "consensus" on the natural science linking human activity to rising global temperatures. But the economic arguments, needed to show that the benefits of a carbon tax outweigh its costs, are far less conclusive.

For example, in the spring of 2009, Richard Tol published a survey of comprehensive studies of the global "welfare impacts" of climate change.[2] His list of these impacts included, not just appraisals of direct economic harms, but also attempts to value (in dollar terms) intangibles such as human health and mortality. Of the 13 studies Tol surveyed, the best-guess estimate of global GDP impacts ranged from a loss of 4.8 percent to a gain of 2.5 percent. Most of these impacts were calibrated for temperature increases of 2.5 to 3.0 degrees Celsius, which are not expected to occur until the second half of the 21st century. (Currently the globe is about 0.8 degrees Celsius warmer than the preindustrial benchmark.)

Tol found that, of the 11 studies that had been published since the year 1995, the most grim estimate was a global GDP loss of 1.9 percent. To put that number in context, in a 2009 report the Congressional Budget Office estimated that an 83 percent cut in emissions — the long-run cap proposed under the Kerry-Boxer bill — would reduce US GDP in 2050 from 1.1 to 3.4 percent.[3]

To repeat, the damages in Tol's survey were calibrated for a particular range of temperature increases, and in reality it's always possible that global warming could be worse by, say, 2085.

But using reasonable projections of what is likely to occur, the economic case for a carbon tax is not nearly the slam dunk that Blinder implied in his article. To reiterate my argument, I am conceding the basic framework of "negative externalities" and peer-reviewed models of the harms from climate change. And still, once we factor in the obvious possibility that governments will not uniformly implement the "optimal" tax, the case for intervention falls apart.


Alan Blinder is right that this country could use a burst of entrepreneurship and investment. But there are much more productive policies to stimulate investment than threatening future tax hikes.


British recycling fanaticism achieves nothing

They were supposed to bring about a green revolution, forcing families to recycle more and send less to landfill. But fortnightly rubbish collections and strict ‘bin police’ have barely had an effect, according to official figures.

Despite the pressure of fewer bin rounds and tough rules imposed by councils, the recycling revolution has ground to a halt. The amount of rubbish sent for recycling has increased by a tiny margin and the town hall campaign to compel people to throw out less waste is also in trouble, with only a minuscule reduction in the amount left for binmen to collect.

Over the past two years, dozens of councils have switched to fortnightly collections, complicated kitchen slopbucket systems or straightforward rubbish rationing. At least 13 have cut back on refuse collections in the time since last year’s general election, and more are set to follow.

One Tory-led council, Wokingham in Berkshire, plans to restrict rubbish collections to 80 small sacks a year for everyone but large families. The stated aim is to push up recycling figures and reduce refuse. This, councils say, will cut the amounts sent to landfill, so avoiding Treasury landfill tax and EU fines due to come in next year, as well as reducing the ‘greenhouse gases’ linked to climate change.

But figures released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs yesterday suggest that householders have fallen out of love with recycling. In the year to June 2010, the total amount of waste destined for landfill sites fell just 0.3 per cent to 26.5million tonnes – seven times less than the average annual drop of 2.2 per cent over the previous five years.

And figures for the second quarter of 2010 show that the amount sent for recycling rose by just 0.4 per cent over three months, reaching 40.1 per cent of all household refuse. The quarterly increase is tiny compared with the 330 per cent rise in household recycling over the previous nine years.

The weak results suggest that coercive methods are no longer yielding results for town halls trying to cut the amount of waste they collect and send to landfill. It leaves reductions in spending as the only remaining reason for the introduction of fortnightly collections and rubbish rationing.

The fall-off follows a warning from Communities Secretary Eric Pickles that council methods are fostering resentment among voters. He said: ‘There is genuine anger that in the last decade their council tax bills have doubled but their bin collections have halved. ‘In their experience, the iron fist of the municipal state has come down on everyday people for the most minor of bin breaches.’

Doretta Cocks, of the Campaign for Weekly Waste Collections, said yesterday: ‘These are poor figures. Over the past two years we have had large numbers of councils moving to food waste collections with incredibly complicated recycling rules. ‘This is now entirely out of hand. They are not contributing any service for their money and they are losing people’s goodwill. ‘There is now a stalemate – ­people want to recycle but they are fed up with the stupid rules, the bin police and the fines.’

The Local Government Association, which represents town halls, insisted the initiatives are a success. Environment chief Gary Porter said: ‘The figures are another sign that councils and residents are working well to increase recycling rates and, more importantly, reduce landfill. ‘It is very encouraging to see recycling rates continue to rise.’

But Environment Minister Lord Henley warned councils not to force the issue. He said: ‘The best way to encourage people to recycle is not to punish families with bin taxes and bin fines as the previous administration did, but to encourage and reward them for going green.

‘This is good news that we have got this far, and as part of the waste review we’re looking at how to make it even easier for us all to do the right thing.’


"Green Jobs" Cronyism and Cannibalism

To rephrase President Obama's State of the Union theme: "This is our generation's apparatchik moment."

Yes, he said "Sputnik" instead, but his actual agenda is about the apparatchik -- government by party leaders, bureaucrats and the well-connected.

His agenda is symbolized by his push for "green jobs" as the path to a better future. Simply put, the green jobs agenda spends billions of taxpayer dollars to destroy existing jobs and replace them with jobs in politically-favored businesses, raising the costs of energy along the way.

The politically-connected win. Existing job-holders and companies lose. Home electric bills go up. Power also costs more for companies, making it more expensive to go into business or to stay in business.

It's cronyism that is building a political power structure based on false claims about clean green jobs. It's cannibalism because creating the green jobs requires killing off existing jobs.

As Bloomberg News reported, "Subsidizing renewable energy in the U.S. may destroy two jobs for every one created if Spain's experience with windmills and solar farms is any guide."

One Heritage Foundation study showed that proposed mandates for using "renewable energy" to generate electricity would cost 1-million jobs. Had last year's cap-and-trade bill been passed, we might have lost almost 2-million jobs. That compares to claims by the renewal energy industry that 274,000 jobs would be created by their products. We would lose 3 to 7 jobs or more for every one that we gain.

This is Obamamath. Obama wants us to pay for the privilege of destroying jobs. His State of the Union called for "incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America."

Guess what? If it requires incentives, it isn't profitable!

"When the President and Congress talk about green jobs, they are talking about ones created via federal tax breaks, subsidies, or outright mandates," noted The Heritage Foundation's Ben Liebermann.

The green jobs agenda is all about making a large group dependent on the politicians who provide them money and who in exchange receive campaign donations and other political support. It is the ultimate in Tammany Hall-style political bossism -- the political earmark that dwarfs all others. The green jobs agenda is a political spoils and cronyism system operating in the open, justifying itself through political correctness and overblown claims that it is dictated by global warming.

POLITICO reported that the alternative energy sector only spent $2.4-million on lobbying in 1998, but that grew to $30-million a year by 2009. The story noted, "The speed of expansion is eye-popping," and added, "Wind, solar, ethanol up and other alternative energy groups are also stepping up their political contributions to candidates -- almost all of them Democrats. Yes, the fossil fuel lobby spends about five times more than the alternative energy lobby, but fossil fuel produces over 20 times as much power -- about 70% of our national electricity compared to about 3%.

How about claims that existing federal policies already advantage fossil fuels? A report from the federal Department of Energy shows that each megawatt of power produced by wind or solar power receives subsidies almost 100 times higher than for oil and natural gas, and about 50 times higher than for coal.

Even The New York Times reported that wind-generated power costs 50% more than power generated from fossil fuel, and power from solar energy costs 2-3 times more than wind power.

Perhaps someday those who profit from subsidizing alternative energy will admit what they've done, just as Al Gore now admits his push for billions in ethanol subsidies was a mistake based on political gain--not even counting his monetary gain since leaving office. As The Wall Street Journal said, "ethanol has become a purely political machine: It serves no purpose other than re-electing incumbents and transferring wealth to farm states and ethanol producers."

But don't some business interests support the green agenda? Sadly, yes. They tend to be those who profit from these subsidies. Writing in Forbes, Jerry Bowyer noted, "What is the difference between crony capitalism and socialism? Not much."

We did not win the space race by putting extra costs and burdens on ourselves to benefit a team of politicians and businesses that scratch each others' backs. Obama's call to action isn't based on Sputnik; it's based on apparatchik. We don't need that cronyism. Or to cannibalize existing jobs so cronies can build more power for themselves.



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


4 February, 2011

Keeping the BBC honest: An uphill battle

An email from Viscount Monckton below regarding the BBC propaganda film "Meet The Skeptics":

Many people have been kind enough to get in touch with me about the BBC propaganda film "Meet The Skeptics", in which I was one of a tiny handful of "climate skeptics" featured. The film, a boorish hatchet job tediously typical of today's shoddily unprofessional BBC, was cut by 30 minutes as a result of a successful High Court action in which I drew attention to a couple of dozen factual errors and far-out unfairnesses in the film, most of which were removed or corrected.

I shall have to bear much of the cost of the action, because not all of the errors were corrected and the High Court did not consider I had a right of reply, even though the film-makers had told me I should be given one on any points that stood against me in the film, and that proviso was also written into the contract between us.

The BBC and the film-makers will also have to bear some of the cost, because the judge accepted that the BBC had failed to respond to my letter of complaint to the Director-General in a timely fashion and it was only after I had issued court proceedings that the BBC carried out the drastic shortening and correction of the film.

If anyone is approached by Fresh One Productions, the film company, or by Rupert Murray, the film-maker, and invited to participate in a documentary, however seemingly innocent, my strong advice is not to agree to take part. They are untrustworthy. They dishonoured their word to me. Their breaches of contract and undertaking in making promises they did not keep, acting in conspiracy with the unspeakable BBC, will now go to court for trial.

Another misleading emission from the BBC

After the Paul Nurse programme the other day, eyebrows were raised over one of the claims in the show, namely that emissions from fossil fuel burning dwarfed natural emissions. Here's an excerpt from the transcript:
Bob Bindschadler: We know how much fossil fuel we take out of the ground. We know how much we sell. We know how much we burn. And that is a huge amount of carbon dioxide. It's about seven gigatons per year right now.

Paul Nurse: And is that enough to explain...?

Bob Bindschadler: Natural causes only can produce - yes, there are volcanoes popping off and things like that, and coming out of the ocean, only about one gigaton per year. So there's just no question that human activity is producing a massively large proportion of the carbon dioxide.

Paul Nurse: So seven times more.

Bob Bindschadler: That's right.

Aynsley Kellow, writing in the comments said that this was wrong, and so I thought I would try to clarify things by writing to Dr Bindschadler and finding out his source. This is it.

The source is the Arctic Impact Climate Assessment apparently, although I haven't actually looked for the graph in its original location yet. You can see the 7:1 ratio in the front graph, and you will also see that the graph is comparing two anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide, namely fossil fuels and land-use changes. Dr Bindschadler has agreed that this the graph therefore doesn't support the claim he made in the Horizon programme.

Dr Bindschadler suggests that the 7:1 figure is actually not that far out from the correct figure for net anthropogenic:natural carbon dioxide emissions, so the effect of the mistake is limited. We should note, however, that he was originally speaking about emissions rather than net emissions. But even if you look at the net figures I still don't think the numbers are correct. Prof Kellow has pointed me to this page at Skeptical Science, which puts the net figures at 29 GtCO2 emissions for anthropogenic and a net 17 GtCO2 (450-439+338-332) absorbtion from natural sources. For what Prof Nurse and Dr Bindschadler were actually talking about in the Horizon show, gross emissions, the 7:1 ratio for anthropogenic to natural becomes, by my reckoning 1:27 (i.e. with natural emissions completely dwarfing anthropogenic).*

So in terms of what is interesting us here, the figures in the Horizon show were clearly completely wrong, which I guess we knew. It's good to have confirmation of this though. The question is, what does this mean for Prof Nurse and the reputation of the BBC?

*Note that the Skeptical Science page is talking in terms of GtCO2 while Dr Bindshadler was talking Gt carbon, but it's the ratios we are interested in.


Comment by Professor Aynsley Kellow

I did remark to His Grace [Bishop Hill, above] on the irony of Dr Bindschadler quoting the Hockey Stick at him!

For those interested in the detail of the various fluxes, according to the Koran (AR4 IPCC WG1), I refer you to Fig 7.3, which states the fluxes in GT C pa. Here you will find the following figures for anthropogenic fluxes:

Fossil Fuel: 6.4 GT out

Oceans: 20 Gt pa out; 22.2 in (A net anthropogenic sink of 2.2 GT pa)

Land use change: 1.6 GT pa out; Land sink: 2.6 GT pa in (A net anthropogenic sink of 1 GT pa).

The annual non-anthropogenic flux out is adds up to 190.2 GT pa.

The nonanthropogenic flux in is given as 190.2 GT pa

(This seems strange! The best estimate - it's in the IPCC, it must be true - is that nature is in perfect balance! Wouldn't you know it!)

The IPCC did not see fit to include Dr Bindschadler's volconoes as a separate item.

According to this figure, anthropogenic sink activity offsets half of fossil fuel emissions of 6.4 GT pa, so the net anthropogenic figure is a mere 1.7% of natural fluxes (3.2 of 190.2), if we want to talk nets rather than grosses. This is not something we should ignore, but let's at least state it accurately.

Of course, put in those terms, it doesn't frighten the children and horses. Either Bindschadler and Nurse knew this and wanted to frighten same children and horses, or were talking through their hats.

Either way, it rather destroys the point of the program, since climate science seems most under attack from Sir Paul Nurse.

Scepticism is not an “attack on science”

Scientific institutions undermine their own authority when they say we should ‘take sides’ over climate change

Sir Paul Nurse, the new president of the Royal Society, has followed his predecessors, Martin Rees and Bob May, by making a loud public statement about the climate debate. Nurse claimed in a recent edition of BBC2’s science programme, Horizon, that science is under attack, and that public trust in scientific theories has been eroded. Like his predecessors, however, Nurse fails to understand why partial statements from the president of the Royal Society do more to impede the progress of debate than move it on.

Although it was advertised as a discussion about an ‘attack on science’, the Horizon film was dominated by the climate change debate. In Nurse’s view, the public are less convinced by climate change than they ought to be. This has followed an ‘attack on science’, which Nurse explained in a somewhat one-sided account of the ‘Climategate’ affair, the leaking of thousands of emails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in November 2009. But as ugly, pointless and unpleasant as that affair was for those involved, if there is something to be said about the character of the debate about climate change, it is that raised passions and low tactics are not unique to either putative ‘side’.

The mistake Nurse made in his treatment of the climate debate is to imagine that it is divided over a simple claim that ‘climate change is happening’. It is this polarisation of the debate into simple categories - scientists verses deniers - that obscures the real substance of debate, its context and its nuances. The reality is that disagreements about climate change are matters of degree, not true-or-false. In turn, disagreements about the consequences of climate change and the proper policy response are also matters of degree.

Thus, the debate is multi-dimensional, and controversy exists throughout. But for Nurse, identifying the areas of disagreement and offering up an analysis isn’t the point. Instead, he takes for granted that ‘the science is in’, and wonders why trust in scientific authority seems to have been eroded. One reason for this loss of trust just might be that controversies and other inconveniences are swept aside by the polarisation of the debate, leaving a perception that authoritarian impulses are hiding behind scientific consensus. But to point this out would not fill an episode of Horizon. Instead, after a rather feeble retelling of the consensus, the film showed Nurse going after the deniers, who, he suspects, are responsible for undermining public trust in science.

This crusade took Nurse to the home of outspoken climate sceptic and Telegraph journalist James Delingpole, who disputes the existence of the consensus and its value to science. The film was clearly constructed around this moment, at which Nurse seemingly delivers a coup de grace to the deniers: ‘Say you had cancer, and you went to be treated, there would be a consensual position on your treatment.’ This ‘doctor analogy’ appears to leave Delingpole uncomfortable, and stuck for words: ‘Can we talk about Climategate… I don’t accept your analogy’, he responds.

Whatever the reason for Delingpole’s hesitance, there are many good reasons for not accepting Nurse’s analogy. The most obvious being that the climate is not like the human body; climate change is not like cancer; climate scientists are not like oncologists; and climate-science research institutions are not like hospitals. But worse is the fact that Nurse’s thought experiment defeats its purpose. He’s asking us to believe that there has been an attack on science and that trust in science is being eroded. But if we presume that Delingpole is forced by the analogy to accept that he should trust the consensus formed by scientists, we must conclude that science is not under attack. An ‘attack on science’ would reject both climate change and medicine.

Nurse’s reasoning is that if we’re not scientists, we are not able to follow the complexities of climate science, and so take arguments about the climate on trust. But newspapers, he observed, are full of contradictory messages. ‘Political opinions’ are expressed through ‘lurid headlines’, causing ‘an unholy mix of the media and politics… distorting the proper reporting of science, and that’s a real danger for us if science is to have its proper impact on society’. Perhaps worse, the internet allows ‘conspiracy theories to compete with peer-reviewed science’. The concern here is that trust in the wrong source prevents the feckless public from responding to the correct messages about climate change, sending us all to our doom. Instead, people should trust in science, because unlike the politically driven newspapers, and internet lunatics, its authority ‘comes from evidence and experiment’.

But there is no attack on science. Even climate-change deniers will still take the advice of oncologists, and will still express criticism of climate-change policies in scientific terms. What Nurse fails to recognise is the difference between science as a process and science as an institution. The reputation of the former is intact; but, as I’ve argued before here on spiked, scientific institutions undermine their own credibility when they interfere in a one-sided way in such debates, regardless of any effort by ‘deniers’. Then, the members of these institutions resort to making BBC documentaries to wonder out loud why no one trusts them anymore.

Aside from the technical complexity that Nurse describes, and the multiple dimensions to the climate debate that he ignores, there is the context of the climate debate to be considered. The background to the climate debate is a collapse of trust in public institutions of many kinds. Echoing this collapse in public reason, Nurse urges, ‘trust no one, trust only what the experiments and the data tell you’. But isn’t this also the message from climate sceptics, who accuse institutional, official science of corruption and political motivation?

It would seem that the sceptics have a good point here. Climate change has come to the rescue of the forgotten old academic department, the tired political establishment, and the disoriented journalist. The possibility of ecological catastrophe injects moral purpose back into public life, in spite of a collapse in trust. Accordingly, local authorities and national governments have, in recent years, transformed their purpose; now their goal is to monitor your bins rather than provide public services. Powerful supranational political and financial institutions have been created to ‘meet the challenge’ of climate change. And these political changes have for the most part occurred without any semblance of democracy; it is presupposed that these organisational changes to public life are legitimate because they are seemingly intended to do good.

Nurse might argue that this reorganisation of public life around environmental issues comes with the blessing of scientific authority, and that it is science which identified the need to adjust our lifestyles and economy. But the greening of domestic and international politics preceded any science. The concept of ‘sustainability’ was an established part of the international agenda long before the IPCC produced an ‘unequivocal’ consensus on climate change; indeed, the IPCC was established to create a consensus for political ends. Nurse, nearly recognising science’s role in the legitimisation of such political ecology, worries about loss of trust. As he noted in the Horizon film, if scientists are not ‘open about everything they do then the conversation will be dominated by people driven by politics and ideology’.

But the conversation is already driven by politics and ideology; it’s simply that Nurse does not recognise environmentalism as political or ideological, and he does not notice himself reproducing environmental politics and ideology. The loss of trust he now observes is not the consequence of politics and ideology, but the all-too-visible attempt to hide politics behind science and highly emotive images of catastrophe. If the presidents of science academies want their trust back, they will first have to admit to the politicisation of their function in an atmosphere of distrust. Nullius in verba, indeed.


No deal at reconciliation conference

Climate sceptics offer a peace deal. Well, no it wasn't quite like that. But in Lisbon, Portugal, last week, I joined a group of 28 climate scientists, bloggers and professional contrarians who spent three days discussing how to encourage reconciliation in the increasing fractious debate about the science of climate change.

The meeting was the brainchild of University of Oxford science philosopher Jerry Ravetz, an 81-year-old Greenpeace member who fears Al Gore may have done as much damage to environmentalism as Joseph Stalin did to socialism. Post-Climategate, he found climate science characterised by "a poisoned atmosphere" in which "each side accuses the other of being corrupt". Mainstream researchers were labelled "ideologues on the gravy train", while sceptics were denigrated as "prostitutes and cranks".

His dream of an instant rapprochement in Lisbon didn't come off. The eventual make-up of the workshop, paid for by the European Commission, was too lopsided in favour of the sceptical camp.

Those making the trip included heroes of the sceptics such as statistician Steve McIntyre and economist Ross McKitrick, plus writers and bloggers such as Steve Mosher, the man who broke the Climategate story, and "heretical" scientists such as Georgia Tech's Judy Curry and Peter Webster.

Avowed non-sceptics included Hans von Storch, a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and James Risbey of CSIRO. But the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA's Gavin Schmidt, who said the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss.

Across the spectrum, participants were mostly united in disagreeing with Schmidt. Climate science, they said, is much less certain than the IPCC mainstreamers say, and peace can be found only if all accept what they dubbed "the uncertainty monster".

Leaving out the cranks, what's to be resolved? Few at the meeting doubted that climate change was a real issue that the world had to address, but they said the science had been corrupted. They agreed with von Storch, who told a public meeting after the workshop that "too much climate science is done not out of curiosity but to support a preconceived agenda".

The biggest, most totemic, issue remains the IPCC's adoption of the "hockey stick" narrative, which holds that 20th-century warming is unique over the past millennium. Most in Lisbon saw this as a scandalous example of IPCC editors taking sides in an unresolved debate, and of how "scientific findings were judged according to their political utility".

Equally contentious is the charge - the pet subject of several in Lisbon - that the IPCC is "in denial" about whether ocean oscillations, which can absorb and release heat from the atmosphere but are not well represented in climate models, could explain the global warming of the past 40 years.

Third, most agreed that there was no scientific basis for the world adopting a target to prevent global warming going above 2 °C. It was "arbitrary", they said, and cooked up by climate scientists with a political agenda.

Much time at the meeting was taken up bitching rather than conciliating. Several complained about how hard it was to get papers published if they ran counter to climate-change orthodoxy. They agreed with von Storch that peer review was riven with conflicts of interest.

And they felt this was most pronounced in the IPCC itself, where reports assessing climate science were routinely written by people sitting in judgement on their own research and that of their critics.

Public trust in climate science had collapsed and had to be rebuilt through reconciliation, they said. Of course, mainstreamers would claim it is hypocrisy for "sceptics" to lash out at mainstream climate science and then invoke the resulting public confusion to demand a seat at the table. But have they a better idea?


Pesky! Malaria transmission to DECLINE in Burundi because of global warming

Malaria experts routinely pooh-pooh Warmist claims that warming will increase malaria incidence but this goes one step further

Malaria transmission will not increase because of global warming in the African nation of Burundi according to a statistical analysis by researchers in Austria and Burundi. Writing in the International Journal of Global Warming, the team explains that rising temperatures will lead to lower humidity and rainfall which will shorten the lifespan of mosquitoes carrying malaria.

Statistician and epidemiologist Hermenegilde Nkurunziza of the University of Burundi and statistician Juergen Pilz of the University of Klagenfurt, Austria, analysed data on monthly rainfall, temperature and humidity data as well as monthly malaria morbidity data from Burundi for 1996-2007.

Data on monthly malaria morbidity for each province of Burundi were collected from Epidemiology and Statistics (EPISTAT), a department of the Burundi Ministry of Health collecting and storing data on epidemiology all over the country.

The researchers used Bayesian Generalised Additive Model (GAM) to process the data and found that although malaria transmission is positively associated with minimum temperature and maximum humidity, increasing temperature in Burundi will not result in increasing malaria transmission.

Malaria is the main public health problem in Burundi with transmission of the disease being strongly influenced by several climatic factors. There are around 2 million clinical cases and more than 15,000 deaths each year. It is responsible for half of hospital deaths among children under 5 years and 40% of consultations in health centres.

Temperature is a significant factor, with higher temperatures reducing the incubation period for the disease. Rainfall influences mosquito populations by increasing the vegetation density and the capacity of larva production and maturation. Higher humidity extends adult mosquito life span to lengths commensurate with increased infection rates.


The sadness of a climate fraud

Phil Jones is speaking tomorrow to the Spalding Gentlemen's Society. There is a brief story in the local paper here. One interesting snippet from the article is this quote by Jones:
I received a lot of nasty emails from November to March/April last year from people threatening to kill me among other things. I passed them on to Norfolk police who said they didn’t fulfil the criteria for death threats.

I'm slightly bemused by this - a death threat that doesn't meet the police's criteria for death threats. I can't help but be reminded of the poor chap who sent a joke tweet about blowing up an airport and received the full penalty of the law.


Solar power fail in South Australia

Difficult to maintain

A SOLAR power station in the state's Far North has been idle for more than a year. The station has been out of action for four of the past seven years.

The Government-owned $3.7 million power plant at Umuwa, in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, was upgraded in 2008, but was switched off just over a year later because of safety concerns.

Originally built in 2003, it also was shut down in 2005, for three years, before receiving a $1.2 million taxpayer-funded upgrade.

The 715MW hour station was built to cut the community's dependence on diesel and was supposed to save 140,000 litres of diesel and 400 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

Opposition MP Steven Marshall, who is a member of the Aboriginal Lands Committee, said the Government needed to fix the problem before "moving on to the next photo opportunity".

"This is an example of complete ineptitude, wrong priorities and tokenism ... combining to leave Aboriginal people at a disadvantage," he said.

Uniting Care Wesley indigenous policy officer Jonathan Nicholls said he had been "frustrated" a request for information on the project's status last year from Aboriginal Affairs Minister Grace Portolesi had been unanswered. "We accept it is difficult to repair and maintain certain things in remote communities, but we are not comfortable with this sweeping things under the carpet," he said.

Ms Portolesi said the plant had been out of action because of "complex issues relating to meteorological conditions," including electrical storms and wind-blown dust. She said maintenance of the plant had been the responsibility of a private company which went into administration about a year ago.



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


3 February, 2011

Fifty-year storm dumps snow from Texas to Maine

As I read the report below, I had a number of thoughts. Where I live in sub-tropical Australia, just stepping outside my front door feels like diving into a large bowl of warm soup. The air is steamy: very hot and very humid. Such a contrast with the USA at present! But not too different from NYC in midsummer.

Yet such a HUGE variation in climate is COMPLETELY NATURAL and normal. The huge temperature range concerned is one that people have coped with from time immemorial. Yet the Warmists try to tell us that a temperature difference of just a few degrees is going to send us all to perdition. I am sure that both Americans and Australians wish that their temperatures at the moment differed by such a small amount. As it is, the temperatures differ by as much as 100 degrees Fahrenheit and at least 30 degrees Celsius!

Australia also has a big storm raging at the moment, though big is not the word. Cyclone Yasi covers an area nearly as big as the continental United States. And the winds are blowing at around 200 miles an hour. It makes Hurricane Katrina look like a breeze. Fortunately, the place where I live these days is hundreds of miles South of the directly affected area.

Yet, amid such a huge weather event, no-one in the directly affected area has died as a result of it. Luck? In part, but not mainly. Australians are overwhelmingly of British and European descent and Australia has been an advanced Western society since not long after the first white settlement. So Australians prepare for foreseeable disasters. In North Queensland (where I come from and where the cyclones hit) houses have been constructed to cyclone resistant standards for a hundred years or more. So the buildings get damaged but the people survive. They have made their own luck. I am pleased and proud to be one of them

A paralysing, 3200-kilometre-wide storm has dumped snow and ice over most of the US, closing schools, roads and airports in more than 30 states.

Airlines cancelled thousands of flights. Governors called out the National Guard. Schools closed early, if they opened at all. Interstate highways became treacherous ribbons of black ice.

Emergency officials briefed President Barack Obama of their plans to battle the foul weather. By Tuesday evening, the storm had brought Tulsa, Oklahoma, to a virtual halt with more than 30 centimetres of snow. It had layered the roadways of St Louis with an icy sheen and draped Chicago with a swirling snowfall that merged the white-grey sky with the grey-white terrain.

As the storm moved inexorably from the Rockies to the north-east, many people watched the television weather reports of blinding snow and stranded cars and imagined what their Wednesday would bring.

Throughout the day the National Weather Service issuing warnings that read like snippets from a disaster-movie screenplay: "Dangerous multifaceted and life-threatening winter storm, before making decision to travel, consider if getting to your destination is worth putting your life at risk, do not travel! If you absolutely must travel, have a winter survival kit with you."

An interactive map on the service's website showed a pink-and-red band (denoting blizzard and winter-storm warnings) stretched from Dallas, Texas - where plans for Sunday's Super Bowl continued - to northern Maine.

"It's having a gigantic geographical impact," said Bob Oravec, a meteorologist for the service, explaining a cold air mass from Canada had become entrenched over the north-central part of the US while storms in the Mississippi Valley to the south were drawing moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. Cold air plus moisture equals snow and ice.

In Chicago, the city's emergency workers braced for a storm that might rival the blizzard of 1967, when nearly 60 centimetres of snow paralysed the city for days. Chicago and St Louis, Kansas City and Detroit and hundreds of other communities prepared for what they knew was coming, based on reports from Tulsa, where City Hall shut down, part of the roof of the Hard Rock Casino collapsed and firemen had to rescue people from stranded public buses. The fast-falling snow and the strong winds transformed parts of the city into a municipal parking lot.

By mid-afternoon the storm had made it to Chicago, a city that tends to regard snow storms as inadequate tests of its stoicism. In this case, at least, the city benefited from the timing and all the warnings.

Cab driver Mahrous El Gamal, whose windscreen wipers could not keep up with the falling, slushy snow, said the anxious chatter of passengers desperate to get home had convinced him to call it a day. "They're saying it's going to be remembered for the rest of our lives?" he said. "They scare the hell out of me with that. That's it. I'm done."


Leading German Warmist says Greenland Could Melt away soon

Not explained: How a few degrees of temperature rise could bring the average Greenland temperature of around minus 30 degrees Celsius down to the melting point of ice -- which is of course zero degreees. Even if the maximum 6 degrees of warming predicted by the IPCC were to occur, taking six degrees away from minus 30 degrees gives minus 24 degrees, not zero degrees. The Greenland temperature is of course not uniform and some melting could occur at the margins but the margins are mostly sea ice, and Archimedes showed long ago what happens when floating ice melts: The water level is unaltered. That "still unpublished research" must be a doozy!

The 5th Arctic Frontiers Conference in Tromso, Norway recently took place with about 1000 scientists attending from all over the world (another big footprint). But except for a few fringe media outlets, no one listened. So I thought I'd lend these poor desperate alarmist scientists a favour and help them get their message out:

Scientists warn that the tipping point is rapidly approaching because a number of "tipping components" are already in action, namely the melting of sea ice, which reduces albedo and leads to warming of the ocean. There's also the thawing of the permafrost, which leads to the release of methane gas, which... and so on. And TAZ reminds us of the Greenland ice pack:

"If the ice on Greenland disappeared, oceans would rise seven meters globally - but that would take thousands of years, because the ice in the middle is 2 km thick."

I thought Greenland's ice was three km thick. Has 1 km already melted away? Oceanographer Carlos M. Duarte of the Spanish research centre Imedia says:

With a melting of Arctic sea ice, the `tipping point' would already be exceeded. Beginning in the year 2020, an Arctic in the summer months that is practically without ice most likely cannot be averted.

Perhaps Mr Duarte is not aware, but the Arctic core has gained 2000 CUBIC KILOMETERS of ice since 2007. That would be 4 million sq km of equivalent additional ice half a meter thick. Add that to the current sea ice area!

Wherever alarmism and end of the world scenarios are fantasised, one can expect to find Stefan Rahmstorf of Germany's alarmist Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research. TAZ quotes Rahmstorf:

"New research could yield that the targeted limitation of global warming to 2øC will not be enough, says oceanographer Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research: It's possible that Greenland's ice already could melt irrevocably with a rise of 1.3 to 2.3øC, which is what still unpublished research indicates. In its 2007 report, the IPCC spoke of 1.9 to 4.6øC. Already now the global temperatures have risen on average 0.8 to 0.9øC .

More HERE (See the original for links)

Recent Snow Storms Are Caused by 'Global Warming'?

Al Gore now tells us that these winter storms are caused by 'global warming.' Two words: Not true.

While the proof that assertion is incorrect can be ascertained by scrolling down, I'll summarize it here.

Graph of lower atmospheric temperatures. Red is 2011 values and
orange is the long term average 1979-2010. Note it is more than one degree colder than at the same time last year

World temperatures over virtually the entire month of January were below average! The graph is above. If you wish to look at the data for yourself, it is here.

World temperatures have been cooling the last six months. Sea surface temperatures are also cooler than average and ocean heat content (the most important metric of the earth's 'temperature') is trending down.

Air molecules and molecules of water vapor do not have "memories" of past warmer temperatures, they react to current atmospheric conditions. So, it is impossible that these recent storms were caused by "global warming."

There has been a media blitz the past two weeks from both non-scientists and scientists with no background in atmospheric science to try to connect these storms to global warming. I have more about those recent interviews here.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

That characteristic Greenie wriggle again

EPA Administrator Won't Say If She Agrees With Climate Scientist Who Says There's Been No Statistically Significant Global Warming Since 1995

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson has again evaded answering a question about whether she agrees with one of the world's most prominent climate scientists that there has been no statistically significant global warming since 1995.
On Capitol Hill today, asked Jackson, "Do you agree with Phil Jones of East Anglia University that there has been no statistically significant global warming since 1995?"

Jackson said, "I agree with the scientists who have reviewed and re-reviewed the e-mails and data and made a determination--several well-respected bodies, including the national academies, including independent groups--[and] put together that the information that came to be known as Climate Gate has not changed the fact that man-made emissions are changing and degrading our atmosphere, piling up carbon in our atmosphere, and if left unaddressed leaves us--endangers public health and welfare--and puts us, once again, behind the ball in trying to deal with, in trying to move into the clean energy economy."

When tried to tell Jackson that Jones was one of those scientists she claimed to support, her press attach‚ interjected, announcing that the impromptu appearance was over and asking if any other reporters had questions. "Last question, someone who hasn't asked a question," she said.

Phil Jones, who heads the East Anglia University Climate Research Unit and was one of the scientists at the center of the Climate Gate controversy, told the BBC in February 2010 that there had been no statistically significant warming since 1995. "Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming?" the BBC asked Jones on Feb. 13, 2010.

"Yes, but only just," said Jones. "I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods."

This was not the first time Jackson has dodged the question. correspondent Karen Schuberg asked Jackson about Jones's statement to the BBC on Feb. 23, 2010. "Do you agree with Dr. Phil Jones, the former head of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that there has been no statistically significant global warming since 1995?" asked Jackson.

"I believe all the new information we have doesn't lead to any different conclusion than what we reached in the Endangerment Finding," said Jackson. "And that is that climate is changing and that mankind is responsible in part for that change, and that we need to move aggressively." "We need to move clean energy legislation," Jackson added at the time. "We need to move to addressing carbon and putting a price on carbon emissions."

Statistical significance is the measurement scientists use to determine the likelihood that their findings could not have occurred at random. If a measurement, such as the change in global temperature, is found to be statistically significant, then scientists can say that it is unlikely to have been a random occurrence.

Administrator Jackson's office did not respond to requests to clarify her response at press time.


Orwellism of the Day: Bulb Ban Is Freedom

In a leap of Orwellian logic, USA Today - America's second-largest newspaper - argued in its lead editorial Tuesday that banning the incandescent light bulb is a victory for free markets.

"The best way for government to boost energy efficiency isn't to micromanage by picking winners and losers, a job better suited to free-market innovation. It is to set a reasonable standard - miles per gallon or light per watt, for example - and let the market sort it out," spins the editorial in support of picking winners and losers." That's what Congress did in 2007" in banning the bulb.

War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. Banning is choice. Regulation is freedom.

One wonders if USA Today's editors would tolerate this doublethink if applied to their own industry. Were Congress to ban newspapers in order to force them onto the more "planet-friendly" Internet, would USA Today swallow this as free-market economics?

Michigan View contributor Ted Nugent quipped that "Obama slept through the election" after a State of the Union address that stubbornly plowed ahead with the hyper-regulation of carbon and Big Government spending. Obama's MSM allies were apparently snoozing on the couch next to him.

Or perhaps Obamedia is very awake. And they realize that - given the unpopularity of their radical green agenda - the only way to move if forward is with Newspeak that would make Big Brother blush.


Canadian Greenies tyrannize kindergarteners

Everything else aside, should a kindergarten be deliberately upsetting little children? Again it shows what misanthropes Greenies are

A couple in Laval, Que. has sparked a fierce debate over how far schools should go to teach children about environmental responsibility after their six-year-old son was shut out of a kindergarten draw to win a stuffed animal because he had an environmentally unfriendly sandwich bag in his lunchbox.

Marc-Andr‚ Lanciault said he hadn't heard of the school's draw or any environmental policy until his wife, Isabel Th‚orˆt, was making their son F‚lix a sandwich and he begged them not to put it in a plastic bag.

"He said, `No mommy, you can't do that. Not a Ziploc,' " Mr. Lanciault said.

Through tears, the boy told his parents that the school had held a draw to win a stuffed teddy bear and only children who didn't have any plastic sandwich bags could enter. The family normally uses Tupperware, but it was all in the dishwasher, and so they had packed their son's ham sandwich in a plastic bag.

When Mr. Lanciault questioned his son's teacher, she confirmed the school had staged the draw at a lunchtime daycare and that any student with a plastic sandwich bag was excluded. "You know Mr. Lanciault, it's not very good for the environment," the teacher told him. "We have to take care of the our planet and the bags do not decompose well."

Mr. Lanciault said he objects to the fact that a school would penalize a kindergartner for his parents' choice to use non-recyclable lunch containers and that his son hadn't learned any valuable environmental lessons, except to fear plastic bags.

"If we want to teach people about the environment, I can understand that," he said. "But surely there's a better way than to penalize kids. The goal wasn't achieved anyway. At the end of the day my son doesn't know why he shouldn't use a Ziploc bag. It's not only the bag, it's the whole idea that we're being brainwashed from everywhere. They told us Ziploc bags are bad, so we've stopped thinking about it and just started applying the rule."

The Laval school board didn't respond to repeated interview requests from the National Post.

The family detailed its experience on its private blog and was inundated with nearly 2,000 hits and a flood of comments, many from people who felt the school was right to exclude their son from the draw.

"Many people seem to share our vision that it was not acceptable," he said.

"But there's a lot of really pro-green people who don't see the problem behind this."

Programs like "litterless" and "boomerang" lunches -- where children have to bring home any garbage in the lunchbox instead of throwing it out at school -- are gaining in popularity, said Eve Duchesne, manager of EcoKids, a program run by Earth Day Canada to encourage kids to learn about the environment.

But while such contests can get kids engaged, they need to be part of a larger curriculum that teaches children about the environment in a positive way, she said. "It's not a good way to teach them to do something about the environment," Ms. Duchesne said. "Any draw, any contest, I think that's too radical."

Schools tread into dangerous territory when they start enforcing environmental messages without understanding the complex scientific arguments behind them, said Jane Shaw, president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in North Carolina, and co-author of Facts, Not Fear: Teaching Children about the Environment, which was adapted for Canadian audiences. For instance, she said, the debate still rages over whether reusable dishes are really more environmentally friendly than disposable ones, taking into account the water and energy used to wash them.

"In the background to this is the idea that somehow we -- meaning teachers and textbook writers -- know what the environmental impact of something really is," she said. "Studies have shown it's very difficult to know whether it's better to use a china cup or a disposable plastic cup."

Instead, she said, schools should focus on teaching kids the fundamentals of science so that they can explore environmental issues themselves and draw their own informed conclusions as they get older.

"They're getting a lot of pabulum about recycling and what is green and that kind of thing," she said. "They're not learning the basics of science, which in the long run is much more important."



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


2 February, 2011

Hansen 99% Certain That Weather Is Climate

Contrary to what Warmists are saying at the moment

We read:


That pesky history again

We read:
A North Atlantic current flowing into the Arctic Ocean is warmer than for at least 2,000 years in a sign that global warming is likely to bring ice-free seas around the North Pole in summers, a study showed.

Scientists said that waters at the northern end of the Gulf Stream, between Greenland and the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, averaged 6 degrees Celsius (42.80F) in recent summers, warmer than at natural peaks during Roman or Medieval times.

“The temperature is unprecedented in the past 2,000 years,” lead author Robert Spielhagen of the Academy of Sciences, Humanities and Literature in Mainz, Germany, told Reuters of the study in Friday’s edition of the journal Science.

Major fail. Temperatures there were much warmer 80 years ago.


Death, grit and climate: Met Office drama unfolds

Mandarins and meteorologists form circular firing squad

If a hit West End play can be made out of Bohr meeting Heisenberg, there must be some promising dramatic material in the blame-game now unravelling in Whitehall.

Airports, energy providers, local authorities and health trusts were caught short by record cold weather extremes this year, for the third winter running - raising questions about the preparedness of the national infrastructure, and the quality of the meteorological advice these agencies receive. And it's not an academic dispute: cold weather kills thousands of people each year, with UK citizens suffering one of the worst winter "excess" mortality rates in Europe. According to figures published by Office for National Statistics, there were 25,400 additional deaths in 2009/10 than in a comparable non-winter period.

The state largely relies on forecasts by the Met Office, a œ170m branch of the Ministry of Defence. Until the Met Office stopped providing long-range weather forecasts - because they damaged the "brand", according to internal documents - nine of the last 10 winters had turned out to be warmer colder than the agency forecast.

Is the Met Office being used as a scapegoat for cash-strapped councils, as an excuse for cut-backs in essential infrastructure? That seems not to be the case, as the authorities cite Met Office advice, and climate change, as a primary factor in their planning.

Based on Met Office advice, an independent audit of national preparedness PDF 1.1MB advised local authorities to reduce gritting levels.

In the report commissioned for the Department of Transport, titled The Resilience of England's Transport Systems, transport economist David Quarmby, wrote:

"The Met Office advice to our main Review earlier this year was that severe winters have only a 1 in 20 chance, that the weather in any one winter is virtually independent (statistically speaking) of weather in preceding winters, and that this incidence is slowly declining due to global warming; however, one important effect of global warming is that more snow is possible when severe weather events do occur."

In terms of practical advice, the Guardian newspaper reported in October:

"A study of England's preparedness for winter travel disruption has recommended that councils share salt stocks and reduce gritting levels. Under the new guidelines, authorities would have enough capacity to grit their most important roads 48 times over a 12-day period rather than the current recommendation of 24 gritter runs over six days."

In other words, money spent on preparing for cold weathers, by taking measures such as stockpiling salt, may be a waste of money - or in Quarmby's words, may have "limited or no value when winters are average or mild".

What is the Mystic Met really saying?

Now documents disclosed by the Cabinet Office under the Freedom of Information Act dispel the idea of a "secret" weather forecast for Government officials that contradicted public statements, by warning of an extremely cold winter. The notion of an advance warning that was shared with mandarins but not disclosed to the public, was planted by BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin earlier this month, in his Radio Times column.

Harrabin wrote: "The truth is it [The Met Office] did suspect we were in for an exceptionally cold early winter, and told the Cabinet Office so in October. But we weren't let in on the secret." (Our emphasis).

Is this true? Readers can judge for themselves.

Most definitely not a forecast

The public forecast made in a probablity map in October is vaguely warm. It gave a 60 to 80 per cent chance of warmer-than-average conditions for much of England and Wales, and an 80 per cent chance of warmer-than-average conditions for Scotland.

The Met's non-committal "Initial Assessment of Risk" for November-January, delivered privately in October, is even vaguer, and looks like this.

It gave a 70 per cent change of "near average or colder" but a 60 per cent chance of "near average or milder" conditions, too. The numbers were confirmed in a Parliamentary answer to Lord Lawson, the former Chancellor, last week.

Something or other may happen: The Met's advice to Government

The two forecasts diverge - but there's no smoking pistol - and not much evidence for an "exceptionally cold" winter, which Harrabin claimed the Met privately predicted, and which the Met apparently confirmed. If such a forecast exists, this isn't it.

"It boggles the mind that aside from the tiny amount of actual prediction in the report that this is the output of their energy-guzzling, multi-million pound supercomputer," the Katabasis blog, which was the first to lay its hands on the documents, notes.

The blogger points out another consequence of poor forecasting. The National Grid was also caught short by the prolonged cold snap, with energy demand far higher than it forecast. The Grid had relied on the Met Office probability map which suggested "a 0 - 20 per cent probability of below normal temperatures".

The Met told us: "The Met Office has never suggested that we warned cabinet office of an 'exceptionally cold early winter'. The forecasts said that there was 'an increased risk for a cold and wintry start to the winter season'. The Met Office provided a forecast to the cabinet office that showed that there was an increased risk of an average or cold start to winter over an average or mild winter. This along with a verbal briefing and the text that highlighted a 'increased risk of a cold start to the winter season' all provided useful guidance to the cabinet office."

Private met agency Weather Service International, which began life as a US military contractor, but now has a wide range of private sector clients, doesn't seem to have the warm bias of the UK's national agency

In October, WSI predicted a colder-than-average December for the UK, but a warmer-than-average January, a forecast that seems to have been confirmed by events. It now predicts a big freeze for continental Europe, and for the UK, a mild February but colder-than-average March and April.

Harrabin isn't the first journalist to be left out to dry by a dodgy source, but for state agencies dependent on accurate medium-term forecasts, the issue is far more serious than a bruised reputation.

The Commons Transport Select Committee will this month examine whether the climate has changed - in the opposite direction to what climate change activists have been predicting.

"This is now the third bad winter in a row. We need to establish whether we think there may be a change of weather patterns and if so respond accordingly," committee chair Louise Ellman said last month. The Committee is welcoming evidence until 2 February, and will examine "the provision of accurate weather forecasts to transport providers in advance of the bad weather".


MORE CO2 is needed to feed the earth's population

If one were to pick the most significant problem currently facing the biosphere, this would probably be it: a single species of life, Homo sapiens, is on course to completely annihilate fully two-thirds of the ten million or so other species with which we share the planet within a mere ninety years, simply by taking their land. Global warming, by comparison, pales in significance, as its impact is nowhere near as severe, likely being nil or even positive. In addition, its root cause is highly debated; and actions to thwart it are much more difficult, if not impossible, to both define and implement. Furthermore, what many people believe to be the cause of global warming, i.e., anthropogenic CO2 emissions, may actually be a powerful force for preserving land for nature.

So what parts of the world are likely to be hardest hit by this human land-eating machine? Tilman et al. (2001) stated that developed countries are expected to actually withdraw large areas of land from farming by the mid-point of this century, leaving developing countries to shoulder essentially all of the increasingly-heavy burden of feeding the still-expanding human population. In addition, they calculate that the loss of these countries' natural ecosystems to cropland and pasture will amount to about half of all potentially suitable remaining land, which "could lead to the loss of about a third of remaining tropical and temperate forests, savannas, and grasslands," along with the many unique species they support.

What can be done to alleviate this bleak situation? In another analysis of the problem, Tilman et al. (2002) introduced a few more facts before suggesting some solutions. They noted, for example, that by 2050 the human population of the globe was projected to be 50% larger than it was in 2000, and that global grain demand could well double, due to expected increases in per capita real income and dietary shifts toward a higher proportion of meat. Hence, they but stated the obvious when they concluded that "raising yields on existing farmland is essential for 'saving land for nature'."

So how is it to be done? Tilman et al. (2002) suggested a strategy that was built around three essential tasks: (1) increasing crop yield per unit of land area, (2) increasing crop yield per unit of nutrients applied, and (3) increasing crop yield per unit of water used.

With respect to the first of these requirements, Tilman et al. noted that in many parts of the world the historical rate of increase in crop yields was declining, as the genetic ceiling for maximal yield potential was being approached. This observation, as they put it, "highlights the need for efforts to steadily increase the yield potential ceiling." With respect to the second requirement, they noted that "without the use of synthetic fertilizers, world food production could not have increased at the rate it did [in the past], and more natural ecosystems would have been converted to agriculture." Hence, they said that the ultimate solution "will require significant increases in nutrient use efficiency, that is, in cereal production per unit of added nitrogen, phosphorus," and so forth. Finally, with respect to the third requirement, Tilman et al. noted that "water is regionally scarce," and that "many countries in a band from China through India and Pakistan, and the Middle East to North Africa either currently or will soon fail to have adequate water to maintain per capita food production from irrigated land." Increasing crop water use efficiency, therefore, is also a must.

Although the impending biological crisis and several important elements of its potential solution are thus well defined, Tilman et al. (2001) reported that "even the best available technologies, fully deployed, cannot prevent many of the forecasted problems." This was also the conclusion of Idso and Idso (2000), who -- although acknowledging that "expected advances in agricultural technology and expertise will significantly increase the food production potential of many countries and regions" -- noted that these advances "will not increase production fast enough to meet the demands of the even faster-growing human population of the planet."

Fortunately, we have a powerful ally in the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content that can provide what we can't. Since atmospheric CO2 is the basic "food" of essentially all plants, the more of it there is in the air, the bigger and better they grow. For a nominal doubling of the air's CO2 concentration, for example, the productivity of earth's herbaceous plants rises by 30 to 50% (Kimball, 1983; Idso and Idso, 1994), while the productivity of its woody plants rises by 50 to 75% or more (Saxe et al. 1998; Idso and Kimball, 2001). Hence, as the air's CO2 content continues to rise, so too will the land use efficiency of the planet rise right along with it. In addition, atmospheric CO2 enrichment typically increases plant nutrient use efficiency and plant water use efficiency. Thus, with respect to all three of the major needs noted by Tilman et al. (2002), increases in the air's CO2 content pay huge dividends, helping to increase agricultural output without the taking of new lands from nature.

We humans, as stewards of the earth, have got to get our priorities straight. We must do all that we possibly can, in order to preserve nature by helping to feed humanity and raise living standards the world over; and to do so successfully, we have got to let the air's CO2 content maintain its natural upward course for many decades to come. This is the prudent path we must pursue.


The University of Virginia has a religion -- Warmism -- that it is hell-bent on protecting

Separation of church and State?

For months, the University of Virginia has been involved in a legal battle with state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli over an investigation into government grants given to a university professor who allegedly used the money to falsify research supporting climate change. Now, some are also accusing the university of treating a professor whose views do not exactly accept the mainstream view of man-made global warming unfavorably.

At issue are the documents and research materials of two former university professors: Pat Michaels and Michael Mann. The university received Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for research materials from both professors, but its response to the respective requests has left some accusing the school of bias.

When Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall submitted a request for the research materials of Mann, he was told by university officials that the documents had been destroyed because the professor was no longer an employee.

When Greenpeace, a national environmental advocacy organization, requested the same materials for Michaels, university officials promptly began the process of complying with the FOIA and told the organization how much the fee would be.

But in an interview with The Daily Caller, Michaels said that when he found out about the disparate treatment, he called the school but it “became pretty obvious they did not want to talk to me.”

Michaels and Mann were both employed by the environmental sciences department, both did extensive research in the climatology field, and both left the university within just a couple years of each other.

Mann’s research focused on analyzing global temperature trends. His work ultimately resulted in what became known worldwide as the “hockey stick” – a graph that showed a sharp uptick in global temperatures in the 20th century. The graph became an important article of evidence buttressing the global warming theory.

Its validity, however, was called into question during the “Climategate” scandal of 2009 when some of Mann’s e-mails were leaked to the press. The most damaging showed him conspiring with Phil Jones, director of the Climate Research Unit at Britain’s University of East Anglia, to delete files that had been requested under a Freedom of Information Act request concerning a U.N. climate change report.

Other e-mails showed Mann planning to blacklist scientific journals that challenged the idea of man-made global warming and keep similar reviews and papers from being published altogether.

Michaels, conversely, is a global warming skeptic and one of the most notable scientists challenging the global warming theory. It’s not something he hides either. His latest books is titled, “Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media.”

The Climategate scandal opened Mann up to numerous investigations, which is why it was no surprise that Marshall became concerned about the use of taxpayer money to support Mann’s work and requested the relevant research materials from the university in December 2009.

“They said they had no documents at all,” Marshall told TheDC about his FOIA request. “But they did have Michael Mann’s, they just didn’t want to tell me.”


Climate change: A new religion complete with evangelists, tithes, indulgences and superstitions

Last night BBC Four aired a documentary which took a look at climate change sceptics and in particular one of the movement's most prominent poster boys, Lord Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount of Brenchley.

The programme, like climate science itself, attracted controversy before it even came on air. James Delingpole, a vocal climate change sceptic who appears in the documentary, yesterday called the programme "another hatchet job" on his Telegraph blog.

The presenter of the programme, Rupert Murray, concluded by saying that despite the arguments of the sceptics he did not want to take the risk that they were wrong. He was, he said, willing to give up some of his freedom if it helped to stop climate change.

This was a rather startling thing to say, especially as his own programme did not conclude that the warmists are right and the sceptics wrong. In fact he appeared to be saying he would give up his freedom just in case the warmists are right.

There was worse still in the programme, with one scientist effectively saying that democracy might need to be suspended in order for governments to successfully prevent a climate catastrophe.

Such statements are of course why sceptics such as James Delingpole and Lord Monckton have become all the fiercer in their criticism of climate change activists in recent years, seeing in climate change activism a threat not just to prosperity but to liberty.

The great problem with climate change is that it no longer seems like a scientific theory, but more like a 21st century version of the pre-Reformation Catholic Church, complete with evangelists, tithes, indulgences and bizarre superstitions.

Just as in medieval times when the people were expected to (and often did) believe everything they were told by the priest, now we see that it is the scientist whose word is gospel. Even today panellists on programmes such as BBC Question Time who question climate change can be booed and jeered at by people who read scientific papers on the issue even less than illiterate medieval peasants read the Bible, at the time still un-translated from the Latin.

This new religion does not yet have any martyrs (although maybe Professor Phil Jones at the University of East Anglia comes close), but it has plenty of evangelists foremost amongst them being former Vice-President of the U.S.A. Al Gore and His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Great Britain.

Many of these evangelists attempt, not to explain the science, but to scare the population into believing, through dire warnings that we face some kind climatic Judgement Day. Indeed if they are to be believed then we are already seeing signs of judgement because of the sin of burning fossil fuels.

Floods, hurricanes, droughts and famine are all blamed on man-made climate change and more is to come if we don't clean up our act we are told. One would have thought, listening to the doom mongers, that such disasters had never happened in the history of mankind until some Pandora-like figure had the idea of burning the energy out of coal and oil.

What is worse is that these doom mongers are so often found to be wrong and yet keep on going with their apocalyptic forecasts, rather like crazed American televangelists who predict that the Antichrist will come next Tuesday or that God will purge the land of homosexuals and then keep on making their bizarre pronouncements long after the date they said the world would end.

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, said before the Copenhagen summit in 2009 that we have "50 days to save the world". Copenhagen was of course a complete flop and yet we are all still here, although his government is no longer with us. Similar predictions of impending doom have come and gone.

Then we have the language used by the warmists themselves. For years the public was warned of the dangers of "global warming" and indeed such warnings were easy to believe as year after year the weather kept getting warmer. However since 1998 temperatures have been falling and the seasons have been getting noticeably colder in the Northern hemisphere.

However rather than admit that there might be a flaw in the theory, warmists simply rebranded "global warming" into "climate change", so that cold weather as well as hot can be taken as evidence of our upcoming destruction. Given this one wonders what kind of weather it would take to indicate that global warming is not a problem.

This might all be harmless fun if it just stayed in people's minds. But governments are already taking steps to deal with this alleged threat to civilisation, steps which already damage the least well off more than any other.

Last year energy companies in Britain announced that they would be raising household energy bills, partly so that they could fund the government's climate change and social policies. In addition to paying this compulsory tithe to the church of climate change through their energy bills, sincere believers can also purchase an indulgence for every time they take a flight by paying extra to offset their carbon emissions.

I do not know if climate change is a real problem. I've heard many convincing arguments from both sides of the debate, however I cannot help but feel weary about a movement which claims we will face the apocalypse if we don't abandon our prosperity and liberty, especially when we have seen that the people making these predictions can and do make mistakes like the rest of us. Of course we should listen to the scientists on both sides, but we should also remember that they are no more infallible than the Pope is.


Climate looters in Australia

Climate alarmists join looters in exploiting flood tragedy

Disasters bring out the best and worst in humanity. For most, it's a time to set aside petty differences and unite in a common cause. Altruism becomes the norm and genuine heroism common. For a rancid few, however, the temptation to take advantage of tragedy and chaos cannot be resisted. As always, the recent floods have been accompanied by a smattering of looting and price gouging amidst overwhelming acts of selflessness.

Nor has the looting been restricted to property and purse. Some have seized the chance to blame climate change and push the alarmist agenda. They are what might aptly be described as climate looters. To their credit, the majority of proponents of global warming have not attempted to claim the floods as due to human induced climate change. However, for a few it seems the temptation was too great to resist and, as might now be expected, the media have afforded them prominent coverage. Also not unexpectedly, the ABC has been prominent in propagating this blatant alarmist opportunism.

Interestingly, both here and overseas the alarmists who have attempted to promote the idea that these floods are due to human induced climate change have taken such a noticeably similar line of presentation one might be forgiven the impression they were following an agreed upon approach. They first cite a brief disclaimer stating that the cause of individual weather events such as this cannot be known with certainty. This is immediately followed with the suggestion that, of course, increasing incidence of extreme weather events is exactly what we should expect from climate change. The remainder of the discussion then accords with the assumption that this is the cause.

The ABC was a first responder along this line in a news story dated Friday, December 31, 2010 and titled, "Climate expert says more extreme weather likely". To assure the viewer received the desired message it was helpfully sub-titled, "Nobel prize-winning scientist David Karoly says Australia's current extreme weather is evidence of climate change."

This was followed up by a similar item on the Midday Report of 20 January 2010. This one featured Prof. Matthew England of the UNSW Climate Change Centre speculating on the role of CO2 in the floods.

Not to be outdone by the similarly named Oz network, the American ABC ran a similar story on 13 January. In this one Derek Arndt of the NOAA National Climatic Data Center and Richard Somerville from Scripps, UCSD were interviewed. This report went for a Hat Trick in which the floods here, in Sri Lanka and in Brazil were all attributed to GW with the recent blizzards in the U.S. tagged on for added impact.

Another example in the same vein appeared in The Australian of 11 January. It featured an interview with Professor Will Steffen, the executive director of the ANU Climate Change Institute. In it he said, "... there was no direct link between global warming and the tragic flash flooding in Toowoomba.." ; but, then went on to say that climate change would lead to heavier, more frequent rain. However, the headline was, "Global warming will cause further extreme weather patterns, climate change chief says" and the subtitle, "One of Julia Gillard's top climate change advisers has warned that global warming may cause more extreme rain events."

As to any possible merit to these claims, let's briefly consider but a few important facts. The Bureau of Meteorology has posted on its website a most interesting document entitled, "Known Floods in the Brisbane & Bremer River Basin, including the Cities of Brisbane and Ipswich". For Brisbane it shows 10 previous major floods since 1840. Eight of these were in the 60 years from 1840 to 1900. Six of these were higher than the current flood. The record for Ipswich shows 21 major floods with 9 between 1840 to 1900 and the longest period free of major floods being the past two decades. If an increasing greenhouse effect is having any influence on the frequency and height of floods in this region it would seem we might benefit from more of it.

Another most important consideration with regard to the frequency and intensity of floods in this area is the major and now well documented influence of natural climatic cycles, specifically El Nino/La Nina and the Inter-decadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO). In particular Dr. Stewart Franks and colleagues from the Newcastle University School of Engineering have published a series of studies on this. They have clearly demonstrated a strong correlation between the frequency of severe flooding and La Nina events occurring in the negative (cooler) phase of the IPO. As the phase length of the IPO is about 3 decades and the positive (warmer) phase has just recently ended, it should be expected that over the next few decades increased flooding is likely. (For more on these studies click here, here, and here.) For a recent (24 January) ABC radio interview with Dr. Franks click here.

Despite multiple publications in peer reviewed journals, the climate alarmists must be either unaware of this whole body of highly relevant work or have chosen to not mention it. It would seem that if their expertise is not lacking, their honesty must be. The only apparent reason for ignoring key evidence offering significant capacity to predict the broad pattern of frequency in flooding events is that it is founded on natural cycles and thus does not support the claims of the climate alarmists.

The attempt to attribute these floods to global warming is only a rerun of a similar attempt with tropical cyclones after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Since then several years of below average storm activity plus statistical studies showing no recent trend of increase have left the warmists looking for a new alarm. The floods have provided it, if they can just insert GW as the suggested cause and keep ENSO/IPO unmentioned....

Regardless of all this, for GW to remain credible temperature must keep increasing. It's pretty hard to sell catastrophic warming when millions of people all over the world are suffering from bitterly cold weather. At this point all we have is a purported 0.7 degree C increase in average global surface temperature over the past century. This is about the same increase as may be encountered in moving a hundred miles closer to the equator or while eating breakfast on many mornings. It is, however, not nearly so certain.

The global temperature record is fraught with multiple uncertainties. These include poorly maintained and badly sited stations, an increasing sampling bias in favour of urban over rural weather stations and unexplained "adjustments" to data. All of these have contributed to warmer readings over time irrespective of any change in the actual climate. Not only is the margin of uncertainty larger than the purported warming, but there is also no means to determine what portion of any warming trend might be due to natural variability and what, if any, is due to human influence. Worse yet, there is good reason to suspect that much, if not all, of the claimed warming trend is an artefact of deliberate selection and manipulation of data such as has been found to have occurred in the fabrication of the infamous hockey stick graph and just recently in the New Zealand national temperature records.

Although the claimed warming is highly uncertain, the unadjusted raw data from numerous rural stations demonstrate no clear warming trend and those from urban areas show a distinct warming with increasing urban growth. Whatever contribution increased atmospheric CO2 might be having on a global scale, it must surely be very small.

The expenditure on and level of concern about climate change has been out of all proportion to the barely detectable and highly uncertain warming trend of the past century. Attention and resources have been diverted from the very real and dangerous natural variables and events of climate. It has also distracted from the far more urgent political and economic problems now threatening most developed nations. It is time we take a deep breath, get a grip on ourselves and start to reconsider what should be our most urgent priorities. It is also time to begin exercising some healthy disregard for unverified computer models, priggish academics claiming to be experts, ill-informed concerns of urban greens over things they know nothing about and the self-righteous bleatings of sundry activists who presume to know better than we do about how we should conduct our own lives.

The entire developed world is now suffering from a systemic economic malaise. This is already critical and promises only to become worse. The fantasy of clean green renewable energy is a delusion we cannot afford. In actual practice it has proven to be not nearly so friendly as imagined. It has also proved to be too costly, meagre and inconsistent to be a viable solution to our energy needs. The ongoing push to squander billions of dollars and sacrifice our economies on the altar of climate change is dangerous nonsense. Like sundry other isms, Climatism is a triumph of belief over evidence, of righteousness over reason. Whether the prophets of this one are destined to be rendered into harmless fools or dangerous fanatics ultimately depends upon the power we accord them.

More here. (See the original for links)


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


1 February, 2011

The Carbon Tax Miracle Cure

It's hard to know whether the theory below is satire or not. Either way, Mr Blinder is well named. He seems blind to the fact that increasing the cost of energy must hike costs of almost everyone and thus make most people poorer


What is this miraculous policy? It's called a carbon tax—really, a carbon dioxide tax—but one that starts at zero and ramps up gradually over time.

The timing is critical. With the recovery just starting—we hope—to gather steam, this is a terrible time to hit it with some big new tax. Hence, while the CO2 tax should be enacted now, it should be set at zero for 2011 and 2012. After that, it would ramp up gradually. Adapting some calculations from a recent paper by Prof. William Nordhaus of Yale, the tax might start at something like $8 per ton of CO2 in 2013 (that's roughly eight cents per gallon of gasoline), reach $25 a ton by 2015 (still just 26 cents per gallon), $40 by 2020, and keep on rising. I'd like to see it top out at more than $200 a ton in, say, 2040—which is higher than in Mr. Nordhaus's example.

But the time pattern is more important than the exact dates and numbers. What's critical is that we lock in higher future costs of carbon today. The key thing, as the president said, is that "businesses know there will be a market for what they're selling."

Think about what would happen. Once America's entrepreneurs and corporate executives see lucrative opportunities from carbon-saving devices and technologies, they will start investing right away—and in ways that make the most economic sense. I don't know whether all this innovation will lead to 80% of our electricity being generated by clean energy sources in 2035, which is the president's goal. But I can hardly wait to witness the outpouring of ideas it would unleash. The next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are waiting in the wings to make themselves rich by helping the environment.

Jobs follow investment, and we need jobs now. Even if our economy manages 4% growth for several years in a row, unemployment is destined to remain high for years. We have become accustomed to grading stimulus programs on their "bang for the buck." The 2009 Recovery Act, for example, was expected to cost $90,000-$100,000 for each job created. The "bang for the buck" from a phased-in carbon tax would be infinite at first: lots of jobs at zero cost to the federal budget.


No increase in extreme weather

Philip Angell of the World Resources Institute had a letter published in the New York Times this week blaming recent floods and droughts on global warming. He talks about a “new normal” of extreme weather events. Yet floods and droughts have occurred throughout the earth’s history, and likely always will. So what evidence do we have to support the frequently made assertion that global warming is causing alarming precipitation extremes?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tracks the frequency of floods and droughts. According to NOAA there has been no upward trend in extreme precipitation events (floods plus droughts) during the 20th century. Indeed, if there is any trend at all, it is a trend of less frequent floods and droughts. Not a single year in the past decade cracked NOAA’s Top 15 list for extreme precipitation events, and each of the top six years occurred prior to 1985.

Today’s media can certainly bring any drought, flood, or other noteworthy weather event directly into our homes, but that doesn’t mean that more such events are occurring lately or that global warming is to blame.


Missing Arctic Ice Causes Warm Dry Cold Wet Winters

There is more Arctic ice now than in 2006, which had a very warm December and January. We are told by leading climate experts that less ice means more cold, so we can logically infer that less ice brings warmcold, and more ice brings coldwarm.

Source of graph


Senators vow to strip Obama climate power

Conservative senators vowed Monday to strip President Barack Obama of his power to regulate greenhouse gases, in a move that would cripple US efforts on climate change if successful.
Eleven Republican senators introduced a bill that would stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases, which scientists blame for global warming, without explicit approval by Congress.

Under Obama, the federal agency has steadily increased standards on gas emissions. The Republicans accused Obama of circumventing Congress, where a so-called "cap-and-trade" bill to mandate emission curbs died last year.

"My bill will shrink Washington's job-crushing agenda and grow America's economy," said Senator John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming and skeptic of climate change who is leading the effort. "I will do whatever it takes to ensure that Washington doesn't impose cap-and-trade policies in any form."

The Obama administration counters that a shift to green energy would help both the planet and the economy by creating a new source of high-paying jobs. Senator John Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts who led last year's climate bill, hit back that Barrasso's proposal "puts the public health at risk and encourages the outsourcing of American jobs."

Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey accused the Republicans of doing the bidding of industrial emitters, saying: "The health of our children must come before the interests of polluters."

The Republicans swept November elections but the Democratic Party still controls the Senate and the White House, meaning that Obama can veto any effort to roll back powers on emissions. But the proposal is another sign that it will be virtually impossible for the Democrats to pass legislation on climate change, which failed to pass even when the party controlled the House of Representatives and held a wider majority in the Senate.

The battle in Congress leaves the Obama administration with a delicate task as it tries to persuade China and other growing polluters to agree to a global plan on greenhouse gases. Obama has pledged that the United States, the second largest emitter, will take action alongside other nations to fight climate change.


Does the IPCC Follow the Rules? Insiders Say ‘No’

We’ve been told many things about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that aren’t true. For example, IPCC reports are not based entirely on peer-reviewed literature (see here and here). Nor are they necessarily written by the world’s top experts (see here and here). Nor has the IPCC sought the input of thousands of scientists regarding the crucial question of whether or not humans are responsible for global warming. Rather, that determination was made by the authors of a single chapter of the 2007 IPCC report (out of a total off 44).

So it isn’t surprising that doubt is being cast on yet another IPCC claim. According to the catechism, one of the reasons we can be assured the IPCC is a neutral and objective body is because it isn’t in the business of producing original research. In the words of an explanatory page on its website, the IPCC “does not conduct any research” of its own. It merely assesses whatever material happens to be available.

Many IPCC insiders believe this to be the case. But others allege that the IPCC isn’t as arms-length as it claims to be. Last year 232 people answered a questionnaire distributed by an external committee investigating the IPCC. All their answers were released in a 678-page PDF here after their names were removed. The remarks below are those of IPCC insiders only – authors, review editors, and bureau members.

The person speaking on page two expresses the IPCC party line: "The IPCC does not (and should not) do any research…" Similar comments may be found on pages 58, 98, 206, 210 and 211.

Yet, according to a lead author whose remarks appear on page 188:
"…on a number of occasions the IPCC has been connected to [climate] model intercomparisons/harmonization and scenario development which border on research".

This person’s concern isn’t so much that the IPCC’s no-research rule is being violated, but that when this occurs, the research the IPCC has commissioned is given more weight than alternative findings: "Such research should not be given preferential treatment compared to other sources of research – there should be a level playing field and not favored models or groups…" (p. 188)

A second lead author volunteers that the IPCC: "…has at times, in my opinion, strayed into creating literature rather than assessing literature. I am thinking particularly of past special reports on emissions scenarios that generated “IPCC scenarios” rather than assessing scenarios [already available] in the literature" (p. 69)

This theme is confirmed by someone else who observes on page 322 that while the tables and graphs appearing in IPCC reports used to be copied from already-published studies (which had presumably received quality-assurance checks via the peer-review process), these exhibits are now more likely to be prepared “specifically for the IPCC reports.”

This means that some of the material the IPCC authors want to include has not, in fact, been published previously. Again, this person’s concern isn’t that the rules are being flouted. Rather, s/he tells us that the IPCC authors find it onerous to construct these exhibits themselves.

Apparently it doesn’t stop with graphs and charts. When information that IPCC authors wish to include in their chapter does not already exist in the peer-reviewed literature, some of them aren’t above arranging for it to be inserted there. Says one person: "Governments want the chapter to cover questions of current relevance for which there [is] often “grey literature” but little peer reviewed literature… An approach that has been used in such cases is that lead authors try to have material published in peer reviewed journals while they are drafting the IPCC chapter so that the published or in press article can be cited in the final draft of the IPCC chapter". (p. 68)

This is surely a no-no. If the public is being told the IPCC surveys only the currently-available literature, it’s surely cheating for IPCC authors to deliberately plant select information in journals.

This does, however, shed light on a curious discovery I made last year. The 2007 IPCC report references no less than 16 articles from a single issue of the journal Climatic Change. All told, there are 39 citations spread across four IPCC chapters. The difficulty is that this issue wasn’t published until May 2007. Which means it didn’t exist during the time period in which the IPCC report was being written and reviewed. (The last cut-off date for IPCC expert reviewer comments for the working groups involved was July 21, 2006. But 15 of these 16 papers weren’t even accepted for publication by the journal until two months later.)

As I wrote last May, this means there are at least 39 citations in the 2007 IPCC report that: "…don’t reference research papers the wider scientific community had already digested. They don’t even reference papers that were hot off the press. Instead, in 15 of 16 cases, no expert reviewer could possibly have evaluated these papers since they hadn’t yet been accepted for publication by the journal itself".

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that some IPCC authors have been playing fast-and-loose with the rules – and that they may have been assisted in this regard by supposedly neutral academic journals. When one considers that many IPCC authors also fill senior positions at academic journals, a theoretical loophole starts to look like a potentially serious problem. Yet to my knowledge, the IPCC has never acknowledged that this sort of bad behaviour might be a concern.

The answers insiders provided to the questionnaire also highlight the fact that 22 years of ongoing IPCC reports (including 4 large assessments, with a fifth underway) have – inadvertently or not – begun to exert an influence on the kind of climate research that is judged to be necessary, relevant, and worthy of funding by governments and research institutes. For example, one coordinating lead author observes:

"I am greatly concerned that the current model is unsustainable. It produces serious burnout in the research community and consumes valuable resources for tasks such as running the SRES scenarios with high-resolution global climate models (GCMs). It is doubtful whether this rather routine task of running the scenarios, which is undertaken only because IPCC asks for it, is an optimal use of skilled GCM scientists and massive supercomputer power. In short, the current IPCC model places a severe burden on the research community". (p. 87)

More HERE (See the original for links)

Alarmists ignore basic physics

Both climate alarmists and so-called sceptics seem to agree that the recent devastating floods [in Australia] can be attributable, at least in part, to the La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean. Where the two groups differ is that alarmists are claiming or implying that human activity has also had a significant influence.

First we had Neville Nicholls, of Monash University and a former IPCC author, reported in various News Corporation outlets saying that while the link between the current “extreme La Nina event” and global warming was not clear, the record sea surface temperatures could not be disputed: "The only issue we do have with global warming is that the changes we see around Australia are partly to do with the oceans around Australia warming - it’s a pattern of La Nina - and this year they’re hotter than they’ve ever been."

Then on January 12, in a report titled “Scientists see climate change link to Australian floods”, Reuters quoted Matthew England, of the University of New South Wales: "I think people will end up concluding that at least some of the intensity of the monsoon in Queensland can be attributed to climate change … The waters off Australia are the warmest ever measured and those waters provide moisture to the atmosphere for the Queensland and northern Australia monsoon".

The same report paraphrases Kevin Trenberth, another IPCC Lead Author: "He said a portion, about 0.5C, of the ocean temperatures around northern Australia, which are more than 1.5C above pre-1970 levels, could be attributed to global warming".

You could be forgiven for getting the impression that a warmer atmosphere has caused the oceans to warm. Although only Trenberth is paraphrased as explicitly saying as much, the others seem to want to imply this.

Maybe their caveats and clarifications didn’t make it into print, or maybe there were none to begin with. Maybe they have forgotten their high school physics.

The simple fact is that according to the laws of physics, it is impossible for the atmosphere to warm any more than the top millimetre or two of the oceans. If the sea surface is made turbulent by winds then maybe a little more water will be heated, but when the ocean calms this heat will be quickly lost.

Warm air, like warm water rises. Think hot-air balloons. Cool air and cool water fall; just ask anyone who lives near the bottom of a large hill or mountain about winter nights.

If warm air touches the cold ocean then the top layer of water will warm. The air touching the water loses its heat and won’t rise because it’s now cooler than the air above. Likewise the top layer of water would be warmer than water beneath it, so it won’t fall. The warming process basically ceases before it has properly begun.

Nor can carbon dioxide warm the atmosphere directly. The radiation that it bounces back towards the Earth is absorbed in the first few thousandths of a millimetre of the ocean surface and almost immediately disappears in evaporation.

Maybe some volcanoes beneath the oceans cause a little warming but sunlight is the principal source of heat and it penetrates to around 100 metres in clear water. Clear skies and calm conditions could cause the warm oceans, just as they previously have done on the Great Barrier Reef.

It’s a very different story when the heat goes from the oceans to the air.

When warm ocean water comes in contact with cooler air, the water loses heat and the air gains heat. The water in contact with the air is now colder than the water beneath it, so it falls away and is replaced by warmer water. The air in contact with the water is now warmer than the air above it, so it rises and is replaced by cooler air. The process continues because warm water keeps being exposed to cooler air.

On top of that the heat content of water is 3300 times that of air. This means that the heat stored in one metre depth of water is equivalent to the amount of heat that could be stored in air to a height of 3300 metres above the same area as the water. In practice it doesn’t work that way because temperatures won’t be constant in those volumes of water or air, but the principle is correct and shows why a little warm water can heat a lot of air.

The same principles can even account for the warming since the middle of the last century. The IPCC, CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology all agree that El Nino conditions have dominated since 1976-7. La Nina events, such as the recent one, have become rare.

El Nino conditions occur when there’s little or no easterly wind in the Pacific and top 100 metres of the ocean warm, especially in the centre and western half of the ocean, and then this water in turn warms the air above. That air rises and is carried away from the tropics and ultimately warms much of the world.

La Nina conditions occur when the easterly winds push the warm surface water right across the Pacific, allowing cooler water to rise in its place. The heat is concentrated in the western Pacific, around the islands in south-east Asia. While the sea there still warms the air and it rises, the circulation takes it back above the equator to the eastern Pacific where it sinks. Because this air doesn’t spread from the equator and doesn’t act against intrusions of cold Polar air, the average global temperature is lower than with an El Nino.

The whole El Nino and La Nina system has operated for at least 125,000 years, so there’s nothing new here. Scientists haven’t found a cause of the abrupt shift in 1976 but there’s no reason to believe that it was anything other than natural. The rise in average global temperatures started shortly after that shift, driven both by warmer air and by the reduction in rainfall meaning that more energy from the sun could contribute to temperature and less to the evaporation of surface water.

Simple physics shows us that human activity is not to blame for the recent warming of the oceans around northern Australia and the same physics can account for the rise in average global temperatures that have been blamed on human activity.

The question that now bothers me is whether some of our luminaries of climate science have forgotten their basic physics or whether the media organisations distorted what they were told. Both alternatives are unhelpful and quite alarming.



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


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career


After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

My academic background is in the social sciences so it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me both from what you see above and from what you see elsewhere on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics. So the explanation for such beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. Logical? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"


"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

'The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)