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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31 January, 2010

Criminal prosecution against Phil Jones?

Dr Phil Jones – the (suspended) head of the Prince of Wales’s favourite AGW-promotion institution the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia – had a narrow squeak the other day. Though the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found his department in breach of Freedom of Information laws (Jones and his team had deliberately withheld or conspired to destroy data), Jones was able to escape prosecution on a technicality.

Next time, he may not be so lucky. Our friend John O’Sullivan at has been looking closely at the Climategate emails and reckons there is still a very strong case for a criminal prosecution, which could see Dr Jones facing ten years on fraud charges.

O’Sullivan argues: "What is not being intelligently reported is that Jones is still liable as lead conspirator in the UK’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and may face prosecution under the United Kingdom Fraud Act (2006). If convicted of the offense of fraud by either false representation, failing to disclose information or fraud by abuse of his position, he stands liable to a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment."

As to exactly what the Crown Prosecution Service’s case might be, I recommend you read O’Sullivan’s shrewd and thorough analysis.


Dropping Water Vapor Levels are Naturally Negating Carbon's Warming Effects

Another comment on the Solomon findings

The Earth seems to be naturally blocking warming effects of increased carbon levels by dropping water vapor levels. Mother Earth appears to be solving the carbon-based warming "problem" for us

The U.S. is currently considering legislation that would enact steep restrictions on carbon emissions. Already burdened from high insurance costs, high taxes, and a struggling economy, Congress is asking Americans to shoulder another load -- an estimated cost of $1,600 per citizen per year to fight warming. And internationally climate change proponents have suggested other major lifestyle restrictions, such as bans on meat consumption and air travel.

Recently there has been a rash of incidents in which climate alarmists have been embarrassingly caught falsifying data or exaggerating facts and figures. James Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, a leading climatology center, was found to have several curiously increased sets of temperature data in his studies, which he claimed were the result of a pesky Y2K bug. At England's East Anglia University, emails leaked from the prestigious Climate Research Unit that revealed that the university's researchers intentionally falsified data temperature data and suppressed scientists who criticized warming. The incident led to the center's director and prominent warming advocated, Phil Jones, to "temporarily" step down.

And most recently Rajendra Pachauri, an Indian official who was curiously appointed head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) despite not having any formal climate training, was forced to retract statements in a 2007 report which has been used by countries worldwide as a basis for the need to adopting sweeping emissions restrictions. Mr. Pachauri, who won the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Al Gore, for his warming work, is now being pressured to resign.

Despite the apparent bias of many climate researchers, they do have one thing right; carbon levels have risen notably over the twentieth century from about 300 ppm to 375 ppm. While still far from the estimated levels of around 3,000 ppm during the time of the dinosaurs (appr. 150 MYA), the rising levels do mark a legitimate trend. However, there is increasing evidence that the rising carbon, contrary to alarmist reports is actually having remarkably little effect on global temperatures.

A new study authored by Susan Solomon, lead author of the study and a researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colo. could explain why atmospheric carbon is not contributing to warming significantly. According to the study, as carbon levels have risen, the cold air at high altitudes over the tropics has actually grown colder. The lower temperatures at this "coldest point" have caused global water vapor levels to drop, even as carbon levels rise.

Water vapor helps trap heat, and is a far the strongest of the major greenhouse gases, contributing 36–72 percent of the greenhouse effect. However more atmospheric carbon has actually decreased water vapor levels. Thus rather than a "doomsday" cycle of runaway warming, Mother Earth appears surprisingly tolerant of carbon, decreasing atmospheric levels of water vapor -- a more effective greenhouse gas -- to compensate.

Describes Professor Solomon, "There is slow warming that has taken place over the last 100 years. But from one decade to another, there can be fluctuations in the warming trend." The study was published in the prestigious journal Science.

The new research could help explain why despite tremendously higher carbon levels, the planet was not inhospitable hundreds of millions of years ago. By lowering water vapor levels, the planet might have been able to compensate, at least partially, for atmospheric carbon levels nearly 10 times higher than today's.

Admittedly the picture is still not clear about how our planet reacts to changes in atmospheric composition. Other factors may also be at play in helping the Earth balance temperatures, including ocean currents and solar activity. Ironically, no global warming model appears to accurately consider changing water vapor levels, and few offer decent consideration to solar activity. Thus much of the model based research used to predict warming is likely badly flawed.

Despite the fact that current evidence points to a minimum role of carbon in affecting our planet's climate, the expensive movement to ban or restrict carbon globally retains significant momentum. It remains to be seen whether politicians choose to consider the latest unbiased research, or instead forge ahead on a crusade against the rather weak greenhouse gas.



By Joe Bastardi, Expert Senior Meterologist -- who says that the desperate "post hoc" attempts of the modellers to make their models fit reality have left them high and dry now that major influences on the weather have changed

The US-generated CFS for the month of January on its last "nowcast" had most of the US more than 5 above normal for the month on January. Nothing could be farther from the truth in reality. A spot check of 16 selected cities I use for my monthly verifications to my clients had the forecasted temp for January for the combination of all cities at 5.6 above normal (The January run came off on the 21st) Much better was its Jan 10th forecast which they are using in the archives (good thing), but it was still a bit too warm across the north. But the point is it was out of control. The actual Temp of all the cities to approximate the nations temps: -.25! In fact only one major city in the sample, Seattle is as warm as the model says (plus 6.2) Balancing that off is Orlando at -7 This is not as cold as December which was a bit over -3. But I showed that for you on the Long Ranger, how warm the climate model was for January.

Now lest you think I am picking on NOAA, lets go to the UKMET. There is nowhere in Europe it has "Below normal" forecasted for Jan through March on its forecast. It is as bad there, as the CFS was with its nowcast. This is going to be a top 5 cold winter in eastern Europe, giving a different meaning to the cold war... because after this winter people will be at war with anyone shoving global warming down their throats. And one of the things I told Europeans in the prewinter period , and even said in on the Imus show here in the states, when this winter is done, no one is going to want to here about this.

But is this on purpose.. for Instance the UKMET folks made a boast that 2010 would be the hottest on record. I responded by saying not unless someone is cooking the books. But there must be something they are trusting in their modeling to say that. (By the way the earth's temps can be seen in the objective satellite guidance found here, courtesy of Dr. Roy Spencer

So here is my theory 1) All climate models are essentially the same. Why? Well they each have their own way of development based on physics but what happens is that the modelers watch the other models and adapt the strengths they see in the other models. Two models may be different at one time, in their early stages, but upgrades taking from other models essentially start to blend them all together. In the end, they all see about the same thing, because they have evolved through the years. This is Bill Gray's theory and I think he is right.

But point 2) Is where I take over. The models have been developed in a period of warm PDO, then warm AMO with high solar constant. Such things can not be "modeled in". Instead the model is forced to react to something it can not approximate and is forced to play catch up. When the atmosphere was warming in reaction to these un modeled driver, it probably had a cold bias. Modelers may have been forced to adjust to the this to improve the model skill scores. But they adjusted based on RESULTS. not the true CAUSES OF THE ERRORS!

Now what happens when we start taking away the drivers that may have been causing the warming. The PDO turns cold.. low solar constants have taken over, the AMO is going to turn cold in 10-15 years,. and then the wild card is seismic activity which causes increased volcanism and may be a by product of the low solar activity. Where do you think the bias will be? Its intuitive, it WOULD BE OPPOSITE.. A WARM BIAS!

Now, something I have been talking about in the debate, the lack of warming in the tropics and the drop in specific humidity, which is something that limits tropical activity, since drier air over the tropics means a storm has to "work" harder to develop.. as the pumping of moisture into the high levels would cool the air more than usual. It was part and parcel of why this was not a big year in the atlantic, or anywhere, not the el nino, as if it was el nino driven, one would have seen a marked increase in the Pacific. But now we here the global warming crowd saying, well its drying a bit, that is why its not warming. That it is drying in the stratosphere is even better (they haven't even acknowledged their bust in the troposphere over the tropics, the real smoking gun). it means the stratosphere is not cooling as they said it would (Dr. Tiffany Shaw has bravely gone where no one else would go on this, and pointed this out in her research!) And they can't explain it?

Sometimes I think they are blundering, and they dont even know it. Lets assume that was the answer, dont they understand that this means the co2 argument is done?. You are admitting that there is something bigger that is in control, and its not co2. That others have known this before, is of course not mentioned, The think by saying that, they will be able to justify the cooling and then say co2 will still be a problem. But how can it be the problem if you are telling us that water vapor increases or decreases are responsible ( which is much more likely than co 2) You can t have it both ways. So you have killed your own argument. Which is what others have done with the sunspot cycle. If they chuckle with glee if sunspots come roaring back to life because it means the earths temps may go up, then you are admitting that its the sunspots are the drivers.

Now I will again state my position, so we understand. I think we are going to get our answer in the next 20-30 years, that these large scale drivers that models can't handle and can only react to, not forecast, will have their day. If the earth cools by objective Satellite measurements, not NASA or GISS or NOAA or whoever playing around (the temps when we started measuring and the total sea ice when we started measuring in the late 70s) the its obvious I and many like me are right, that it is not a big deal. If it doesn't, then maybe C02 would be a problem but many many decades from now, especially in light of doubling CO2 would have a greater positive effect on food growth to feed people... something I think we are all in favor of. In the meantime, if it's going to get warm, these models can see it. If its going to be cold, they are helpless.

I think I have a good argument as to why, if you simply follow the evidence.


Global warming: The Political And Economic Collapse

By Professor Philip Stott

The collapse has been quicker than any might have predicted. The humiliating exclusion of Britain and the EU at the end of the Copenhagen débâcle was partially to be expected, but it was brutal in its final execution. The swing of power to the BASIC group of countries (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) had likewise been signified for some time, but, again, it came with precipitate ease, leaving even the American President, Barack Obama, with no doubts as to where the political agenda on climate change was now heading, namely to the developing world, but especially to the East, and to the Pacific Rim. The dirigiste tropes of ‘Old Europe’, with its love of meaningless targets and carbon capping, will no longer carry weight, while Obama himself has been straitjacketed by the voters of Massachusetts, by the rust-belt Democrats, by a truculent Congress, by an increasingly-sceptical and disillusioned American public, but, above all, by the financial crisis. Nothing will now be effected that for a single moment curbs economic development, from China to Connecticut, from Africa to Alaska.

And, as ever, capitalism has read the runes, with carbon-trading posts quietly being shed, ‘Green’ jobs sidelined, and even big insurance companies starting to hedge their own bets against the future of the Global Warming Grand Narrative. These rats are leaving the sinking ship far faster than any politician, many of whom are going to be abandoned, left, still clinging to the masts, as the Good Ship ‘Global Warming’ founders on titanic icebergs in the raging oceans of doubt and delusion.

The Scientific Collapse

And what can one say about ‘the science’? ‘The ‘science’ is already paying dearly for its abuse of freedom of information, for unacceptable cronyism, for unwonted arrogance, and for the disgraceful misuse of data at every level, from temperature measurements to glaciers to the Amazon rain forest. What is worse, the usurping of the scientific method, and of justified scientific scepticism, by political policies and political propaganda could well damage science sensu lato - never mind just climate science - in the public eye for decades. The appalling pre-Copenhagen attacks by the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and his climate-change henchman, Ed Miliband, on those who dared to be critical of the science of climate change were some of the most unforgivable I can recall.

It is further salutary that much of the trouble is now emanating from India. Indeed, the nonsense written about the Indian Sub-Continent has been a particular nadir in climate-change science, and it has long been judged so by many experts on the region. My ex-SOAS friend and colleague, Dr. Robert Bradnock, a world authority on the Sub-Continent, has been seething for years over the traducing of data and information relating to this key part of the world. In June, 2008, he wrote:

“However, in my own narrow area of research, I know that many of the claims about the impact of ‘global warming’ in Bangladesh, for example, are completely unfounded. There is no evidence that flooding has increased at all in recent years. Drought and excessive rainfall are the nature of the monsoon system. Agricultural production, far from being decimated by worsening floods over the last twenty years, has nearly doubled. In the early 1990s, Houghton published a map of the purported effects of sea-level rise on Bangladesh. Coming from a Fellow of the Royal Society, former Head of the Met Office and Chair of the IPCC, this was widely accepted, and frequently reproduced. Yet, it shows no understanding of the complex processes that form the Bengal delta, and it is seriously misleading. Moreover, despite the repeated claims of the World Wide Fund, Greenpeace, and, sadly, Christian Aid, the melting of the Himalayan glaciers is of completely marginal significance to the farmers of the plains in China, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. One could go on!”

The Media Collapse

One could indeed! But we may not need to do so for much longer. Why? Because the biggest collapse is in the media, the very ‘mechanism’ through which the greedy Global Warming Grand Narrative has promulgated itself during the last ten to twenty years.

The break in the ‘Media Wall’ began in the tabloids and in the ‘red tops’ [British popular newspapers], like The Daily Express and the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, but it is today spreading rapidly - yet once more as theory predicts - to the so-called ‘heavyweights’ and to the BBC. In the past, uncritical and apocalyptic stories and programmes were given the highest prominence, with any sceptical comment confined to the briefest of quotations from some benighted, and often snidely-mentioned, sceptic squeezed in at the very end of the piece (“For balance, you know”). Today, the reverse is becoming true, with the ‘global warming’ faithful firmly forced on to the back foot. Yet, in our post-modern world, it is the journalistic language being employed that is the true indicator of a new media order. Listening to good old Roger Harrabin this morning, reporting on BBC Radio 4’s flagship ‘Today’ programme, was a revelation in this respect; the language, and even the style, had altered radically.

Potential Losers

The collapse is now so precipitate that there will inevitably be some serious losers caught out by it all. The UK Met Office could well be one, with the BBC rightly reviewing its contract with them. At the moment, Met Office spokespersons sound extraordinary, bizarre even. They bleat out ‘global warming’ phrases like programmed robotic sheep, although they are finding it increasingly difficult to pull the wool over our eyes. It is terribly 1984, and rather chilling, so to speak. It is obvious that the organisation is suffering from another classical academic state, namely that known as ‘cognitive dissonance’ [see here and here]. This is experienced when belief in a Grand Narrative persists blindly, even when the facts in the real world begin to contradict what the narrative is saying. Sadly, many of our public and private organisations have allowed themselves to develop far too great a vested interest in ‘global warming’, as have too many politicians and activists. These are increasingly terrified, many having no idea how to react, or how to adjust, to the collapse. It will be particularly interesting to witness how, in the end, the Royal Society plays its cards, especially if competing scientific paradigms, such as the key role played by water vapour in climate change, start to displace the current paradigm in classic fashion.

Certain newspapers, like my own DNOC, The Times, have also been a tad slow to grasp the magnitude of the collapse (although Ben Webster has tried valiantly to counter this with some good pieces); yet, even such outlets at last appear to be fathoming the remarkable changes taking place. Today, for example, The Times carries a brief, but seminal, critique of the ‘science’ from Lord Leach of Fairford.

What Will It Mean?

I have long predicted, and in public too, that the Copenhagen Conference could prove to be the beginning of the end for the Global Warming Grand Narrative. It appears that I may well have been right, and, indeed, I may have considerably underestimated the speed, and the dramatic nature, of the demise.

Where this all leaves our politicians and political parties in the UK; where it leaves climate science, scientists more generally, and the Royal Society; where it leaves energy policy; where it leaves the ‘Green’ movement; and, where it leaves our media will have to be topics for many later comments and analyses.

For the moment, we must not underestimate the magnitude of the collapse. Academically, it is jaw-dropping to observe. And, the political, economic, and scientific consequences will be profound.


Cold, bitter winter is “proof” of global warming

“Winter offered as proof of warming” declares a headline in the print edition of the Washington Post, although perhaps the irony of that later struck the editors and they softened it a bit in the online edition to “Harsh winter a sign of disruptive climate change, report says.”

Nothing especially outrageous here. The enviros have been doing this for years; indeed, it’s why they adopted the term “global climate change” so that any change in climate or even just weather - which obviously this is - can be portrayed as a result of man’s nefarious activities in putting greenhouse gases into the air. The report, incidentally, is from the National Wildlife Federation that makes money by promoting global warming in the same way that GM makes money selling trucks.

But folks are having trouble buying it. A poll released Mondaypoll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press asked respondents to rank 21 issues in terms of priority. Global warming came in dead last. It’s come in last before, but this time just 28 percent of those surveyed list global warming as a top priority, down from 35 percent in 2008.


Using biofuel in cars 'may accelerate loss of rainforest'

Using biofuel in vehicles may be accelerating the destruction of rainforest and resulting in higher greenhouse gas emissions than burning pure petrol and diesel, a watchdog said yesterday.

The Renewable Fuels Agency also warned that pump prices could rise in April because of the Government’s policy of requiring fuel companies to add biofuel to petrol and diesel. More than 1.3 million hectares of land — twice the area of Devon — was used to grow the 2.7 per cent of Britain’s transport fuel that came from crops last year.

Under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, a growing proportion of biofuel must be added to diesel and petrol. This year fuel must be at least 3.25 per cent biofuel on average. By 2020 the proportion will be 13 per cent.

The agency’s first annual report revealed that fuel companies had exploited a loophole to avoid reporting the origin of almost half the biofuel they supplied to filling stations last year. The origin of fuel from land recently cleared can be described as “unknown”. Last year Esso reported the source of only 6 per cent of its biofuel and BP reported 27 per cent. Shell was the best-performing of the main oil companies but still failed to report the origin of a third of its biofuel.

The agency said: “The large proportion of unknown previous land use is of concern. If even a small proportion of this was carbon-rich grassland or forestland, it could have substantially reduced the carbon savings resulting from the renewable transport fuels obligation as a whole, or even resulted in a net release of carbon.”

Most companies met part of their biofuel obligation by buying palm oil, one of the cheapest fuels but potentially the most damaging to the environment because of the carbon released when forest is burnt down to create plantations.

Expansion of the industry has made Indonesia the third-largest CO2 emitter after China and the US. A litre of palm oil produced on land converted from Indonesian forest produces roughly three times as much CO2 as ordinary diesel.

The agency said oil companies had failed to invest in slightly more expensive certified sustainable palm oil. Only 0.5 per cent of the 127 million litres of palm oil added to petrol and diesel last year came from plantations certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, an international monitoring body.

Chevron, Murco, Topaz and Grangemouth refinery had “failed to demonstrate the sustainability of their biofuels”, the report said. ConocoPhillips was the only big oil company to meet the three voluntary targets the Government set the industry: for 30 per cent of the biofuel to meet a minimum environmental standard, for it to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent compared with fossil fuel and for the source of at least half the biofuel to be reported.

The agency said the end of the 20p a litre fuel duty discount for biofuel from April could cause prices to rise, though probably only by less than 1p per litre.

From March 2011 companies will be required under a European directive to report the previous use of all the land from which they derive their biofuels. However, they will also gain an additional loophole because they will not have to admit using rainforest land if the trees were removed before 2008.



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30 January, 2010

Bin Laden is a Warmist!

This gets better and better!

Al-QAEDA chief Osama bin Laden blamed industrial nations for global warming and urged a boycott of the US dollar to end "slavery."

The message, in an audiotape attributed to the terrorist leader, was aired by Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera today.

"All industrial nations, mainly the big ones, are responsible for the crisis of global warming," the message went on.

"We should stop using the dollar and get rid of it ... I know that there would be huge repercussions for that, but this would be the only way to free humankind from slavery ... to America and its companies."


Revkin is wobbling

Andrew Revkin in the chief Warmist for the NYT. He is trying to cope with the "discovery" (to Warmists) that atmospheric water vapour is a big influence on the earth's temperature. Excerpt from his article of 29th:

A new study led by Susan Solomon, a federal climate scientist and co-leader of the 2007 science review by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is fascinating not only for the revelations, but the underlying lessons, too.

The study, described in an article today in The Times, finds that poorly understood variations in water vapor concentrations in the stratosphere were probably responsible for a substantial wedge of the powerful warming trend in the 1990s and a substantial portion of “the flattening of global average temperatures since 2000?

Here’s the take-home line from the paper: "[S]tratospheric water vapor very likely made substantial contributions to the flattening of the global warming trend since about 2000. Although earlier data are less complete, the observations also suggest that stratospheric water contributed to enhancing the warming observed during 1980–2000."

One lesson, discussed by me for many years, is that short-term variability even on the scale of a decade (in either the hot or not hot direction) is a distraction if one is looking for evidence of human-driven warming or trying to build an argument for or against curbing emissions of greenhouse gases.

Another, of course, is that the science illuminating the extent of the human influence on climate is not “settled” for many specific, and important, points, even though the basic case for rising risks from rising concentrations of greenhouse gases is robust enough to merit a strong response, according to a host of experts (even if you take the intergovernmental panel’s findings with a grain of salt).

More HERE (See the original for links)

Amusing bits: He admits that the science is not "settled"; He admits that people have reason to take the IPCC with a grain of salt; He says that decade-long observations are too short to be used, even though the warming period of the late 20th century that started the whole scare was only about two decades; He then offers an alternative authority to the IPCC as confirming the "threat" of global warming -- an "authority" that was published in 1991! He had to go back to 1991 to prop up his faith!; and that he relies on "authorities" -- rather than any facts -- to prop up his faith is the most pathetic thing of all

The end is nigh

Less than a week after he claimed the IPCC's credibility had increased as a result of its handling of the "Glaciergate" scandal, Pachauri's own personal credibility lies in tatters as The Times accuses him of a direct lie.

This is about when he first became aware of the false claim over the melting glaciers, Pachauri's version on 22 January being that he had only known about it "for a few days" – i.e., after it had appeared in The Sunday Times.

However, Ben Webster writes that a prominent science journalist, Pallava Bagla – who works for the Science journal (and NDTV as its science correspondent) - claims that last November he had informed Pachauri that Graham Cogley, a professor at Ontario Trent University and a leading glaciologist, had dismissed the 2035 date as being wrong by at least 300 years. Pachauri had replied: "I don't have anything to add on glaciers."

Bagla interviewed Dr Pachauri again this week and asked him why he had decided to overlook the error before the Copenhagen summit. In the taped interview, he asked: "I pointed it out [the error] to you in several e-mails, several discussions, yet you decided to overlook it. Was that so that you did not want to destabilise what was happening in Copenhagen?"

Dr Pachauri replied: "Not at all, not at all. As it happens, we were all terribly preoccupied with a lot of events. We were working round the clock with several things that had to be done in Copenhagen. It was only when the story broke, I think in December, we decided to, well, early this month — as a matter of fact, I can give you the exact dates — early in January that we decided to go into it and we moved very fast."

According to Pachauri, "... within three or four days, we were able to come up with a clear and a very honest and objective assessment of what had happened. So I think this presumption on your part or on the part of any others is totally wrong. We are certainly never — and I can say this categorically — ever going to do anything other than what is truthful and what upholds the veracity of science."

Without even Bagla's input, we know this to be lies. Apart from anything else, there was the crisis meeting under the aegis of UNEP - which we reported on Thursday – which concluded that the 2035 claim "does not appear to be based upon any scientific studies and therefore has no foundation".

Separately, we have Syed Hasnain, while stressing that he was not involved in drafting the IPCC report, claiming that he noticed some of the mistakes when he first read the relevant section in 2008.

That was also the year he joined TERI in Delhi, headed by Dr Pachauri and he says he realised that the 2035 prediction was based on an interview he gave to the New Scientist magazine in 1999. But, he claims. he did not tell Dr Pachauri because he was not working for the IPCC and was busy with his own programmes at the time.

"I was keeping quiet as I was working here," he said. "My job is not to point out mistakes. And you know the might of the IPCC. What about all the other glaciologists around the world who did not speak out?"

However, Hasnain's assertions contrast rather sharply with a video interview given by him to NDTV (see clip above) on 9 November 2009 – the day that the Raina report on glaciers was published, challenging the claims made in the IPCC report. Then, he is seen to be defending the 2035 figure, and allowing himself to be styled as "author of the original IPCC report".

According to The Guardian, V K Raina, formerly deputy director general of the Geological Survey of India, has joined calls for Pachauri's resignation.

The Guardian cites India's Economic Times from over a week ago, which criticised the IPCC for damaging its own credibility, noting that "it would now seem that Mr Pachauri's steadfast unwillingness to consider an alternate position could well have given climate sceptics a stronger footing."

But today, the Deccan Herald also weighs in, declaring: "The [glacier] incident reflects poorly on the professionalism and scientific rigour of the IPCC and has done damage to its credibility." The writing is not so much on the wall as obliterating it.

Adding to the graffiti, in yet another development, the popular Indian magazine Open rips apart global warming, labelling it: "The Hottest Hoax in the World." Indian blogger Gurmeet in Liberty News Central thinks this could be the most hard-hitting article in the Indian MSM on AGW fraud ever.

Given what is about to descend upon him on Sunday, by the time the Indian media have absorbed the detail, Pachauri will be history.


Some advice to climate scientists on ethics from a finance professor

by Theo Vermaelen

An accountant sets it all out very clearly below

Climate scientists from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia have come under fire for alleged data manipulation following the release of thousands of emails and documents. As a result of ‘Climategate’, some of the climatologists involved have stepped aside or are under investigation by their university.

Why did the ‘Medieval Warming Period’ disappear?

Most observers agree that the most damaging email is the one sent by Phil Jones, head of the CRU, in 1999, to three of his colleagues: “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

What ‘decline’ are the scientists apparently trying to hide? A detailed discussion can be found in an article written by Marc Sheppard. I will only provide a brief summary of the arguments for those who have not being paying attention. His article may be useful in continental Europe where the whole controversy is barely discussed in the mainstream press in spite (or perhaps because) of the Copenhagen conference.

The leading authority on climate change is the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It provides policy recommendations to government officials. In its first climate change assessment report in 1990, the IPCC published a graph (Figure 1) which showed average global temperature changes during the last millennium. The graph shows a large increase in temperature from 900 to 1300, called the Medieval Warming Period (MWP). This period was followed by the Little Ice Age until 1850, when the current warming period began. Obviously, if temperatures were higher in the MWP than today, global warming is not “man-made”, i.e., it cannot be the result of economic activity but rather a result of external forces we can’t control.

Figure 1: Temperature changes since 900 AD (Source: IPCC 1990 Figure 7c)

In 2001, the IPCC assessment report shows a very different graph (Figure 2) without a MWP but with a gradual decline in temperatures from 1000 to 1850, followed by a strong increase in temperatures, especially in the second half of the 20th century. The graph is based on two papers by Mann et al. (1999), Jones et al. (1999) and Briffa (2000). The graph that fits actual temperatures best from 1900 to 1980 (Mann et al. (1999)) is then shown in Figure 3 (below), which is the figure that is published in the IPCC 2001 Summary for Policy Makers. This graph (also called Mann’s “hockey stick”) has become the poster child of the man-made global warming movement and is regularly published in newspapers (e.g. the International Herald Tribune, December 8, 2009, p6).

Figure 2: Average Northern Hemisphere temperature anomalies: results from individual studies. (Source IPCC, WG1, Figure 2.21)

So why did the MWP disappear? Because actual measurement of temperatures with thermometers only started in 1850, all temperature data for prior years have to be estimated by proxies such as a lake sediments, ice cores, boreholes and tree rings. These proxies are then combined in complex computer programs. Occasionally proxies are based on tree rings only. For example Keith’s Briffa’s proxy is based on tree ring Polar Ural data.

All three graphs in figure 2 show a strong correlation between the proxies used in the papers and the actual temperatures from 1900 until 1960, which is not surprising as it appears from the source files (revealed together with the e-mails) that proxies that did not fit well with actual temperatures were purposely ignored. The problem is that these proxies are not really correlated with temperatures outside this estimation period. For example, while real temperatures rose after 1960, Keith Briffa’s proxy shows a decline in temperature. The same decline must have happened with the Mann and Jones papers after 1980, which now makes it clear what Jones meant in his e-mail. The “trick” consists of “hiding the decline” by replacing the proxy with the real temperatures after 1961 for Briffa’s paper, and after 1980 for the Jones and Mann papers. That explains the puzzling fact that in all figures the reconstructed data stop in 1980 and are replaced by instrumental data. Moreover, although instrumental data are available from 1850 to 1900, these data are not used in figure 3. One possible reason is that, as with the post-1980 data, the pre-1900 data don’t match with the reconstructed data.

Figure 3: Average Northern Hemisphere temperature anomalies: pooled results (Source IPCC, WG1, Figure 2.20)

But this of course means that the proxies in the reconstructed data are wrong, as the quality of a proxy depends on its ability to forecast outside the estimation period. This makes the whole pre-1850 period analysis irrelevant. In other words, the research does not prove that there was no MWP, which is the necessary condition for claiming that warming is driven by human activity. This is why it is not surprising that the scientists are being blamed for having manipulated the data to hide the MWP.

Lessons from finance: I strongly recommend the “best practices” of finance academics to the climate science community:

Data should be made publicly available at a reasonable cost

While climate scientists try to explain temperatures, finance professors try to explain stock prices. In the early sixties, the University of Chicago set up the Centre for Research in Security Prices to collect historical data on stock prices and other financial information. This information is made available to all academic institutions for a fee. Climate researchers should do the same. Moreover, as they use proxies for temperatures in the pre-1850 period, they should disclose how and why these proxies were chosen and how they are combined in computer algorithms. This is an important issue, as the one of the most common sources for estimating pre-1850 temperatures is tree rings. But considering that the number of trees is infinite, it seems to me that you can always find a tree that gets you the desired result. This is, I believe, the basic difference with finance: we don’t try to estimate stock prices if there is no organised stock exchange with verifiable records. This significantly reduces the potential for cherry-picking and data manipulation.

Data should be respected, theories not

The quality of a theory depends on its ability to explain the facts. So when the facts don’t fit the theory, the theory should be changed, not the facts.

For example, one of the leading Nobel Prize-winning financial models is the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM). When it was first tested using data prior to 1970, it was found to be roughly consistent with the facts and became for a while the holy grail of finance. However, as time went by, anomalies were discovered, the model was rejected and alternatives were proposed. Some of these alternatives were proposed by the same researchers who provided the original empirical support for the CAPM. So there is nothing embarrassing about changing your mind after seeing new evidence.

This way of operating is quite different from the climate scientist practices revealed in an e-mail exchange of October 2009. In particular, one of the scientists says: “The fact is we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t”

He was referring to the fact that, since the prediction of increased global warming in 1998, global temperatures have actually declined. The e-mail was a result of the fact that Paul Hudson, the BBC’s reporter on climate change, had pointed this out. Rather than calling this a ‘travesty’ the scientists should have welcomed this as an interesting development and a call for remodelling. Perhaps we are at the beginning of a period of global cooling, as some scientists suggest. So let’s hold on to the SUV for the moment.

Don’t create institutions that decide whether an academic debate is closed

The academic finance area does not have an institution such as the IPCC that assesses periodically whether a specific theory should be accepted as absolute truth. In January 2001 the IPCC stated that “there is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.” All main national and international science academies subsequently endorsed this opinion. For finance academics such unanimity is unusual. Academic debates in finance rarely are declared “closed.” For example, one of the debates in finance that has gone on for as long as I can remember, and will never be settled, is whether the stock market is informationally efficient. It would be unthinkable that, once in a while, there would be an official organisation declaring the state of the Efficient Market Hypothesis, and deciding which papers are relevant and which ones are not. The danger is that such organisations would be dominated by academics who want to push their particular point of view and declare the academic debate closed.

Evidence consistent with such behaviour at the IPCC can be readily inferred from the fact that none of authors of the 2001 report questioned figure 3. Indeed, I find it most disturbing that none of the scientists (or policy makers, or other science academies and scientific societies that have endorsed the IPCC 2001 opinion) insisted on seeing the reconstructed data from 1980-2000, to check whether the proxies were relevant. It is as if I would use stock price data from 1900 to 1980 to design a trading rule, publish it in 2001 and then the referee would not ask me to check whether the rule works from 1981 to 2000! The only explanation for the lack of curiosity of scientists and policy makers must be that they liked the “hockey stick” picture which showed that warming in the 20th century was unprecedented. So, if climate scientists want to regain credibility, I recommend that they close down the IPCC. Alternatively, the IPCC should transform itself in a lobby group for man-made global warming, but should not pretend to be an objective assessor of climate change research.

Don’t become captive to a political movement or an industry

Although many of us are funded by financial institutions, we don’t refrain from criticising those who feed us. For example, there are numerous papers advocating the Efficient Market Hypothesis, which claims that active portfolio managers create no value and that the optimal investment strategy is to invest in an index fund. Others have shown that acquisitions destroy value for bidders, often blaming the success fees of investment bankers as well as the use of earnings multiples in valuation. This critique has not prevented finance professors from being endowed with chairs financed by asset management firms and investment banks. The reason, I believe, is that whatever we say or write does not have a major impact on the real world. Indeed, there are numerous successful active portfolio managers and bankers still use multiples when valuing companies.

Climate scientists, on the other hand, are being taken very seriously by politicians, environmentalists and business people. For example, alternative energy producers can only survive thanks to government subsidies, regulation and taxes on their competitors in the ‘non-alternative’ energy sector. These government policies will only be implemented if the public is convinced that global warming is a man-made serious problem. Hence, climate scientists may be more reluctant to revise their theories if so many people’s fortunes depend on the acceptance of these theories. So this should perhaps be another message: don’t take yourself too seriously so that others won’t take you too seriously either.


Now its Greenpeace being cited as an authority by the IPCC

The pretence that the IPCC is a scientific body is now no longer tenable

Donna Laframboise, who gave us the list of World Wildlife Fund non peer reviewed studies cited in the IPCC AR4 continues to make lists. Here’s her latest list. Those calm, rational, thoughtful folks at Greenpeace seem to have had a significant hand in the IPCC climate bible. She writes:
Considered the climate Bible by governments around the world, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is meant to be a scientific analysis of the most authoritative research.

Instead, it references literature generated by Greenpeace – an organization known more for headline-grabbing publicity stunts than sober-minded analysis. (Eight IPCC-cited Greenpeace publications are listed at the bottom of this post.)

In one section of this Nobel-winning report, climate change is linked to coral reef degradation. The sole source for this claim? A Greenpeace report titled “Pacific in Peril” (see Hoegh-Guldberg below). Here the report relies on a Greenpeace document to establish the lower-end of an estimate involving solar power plants (Aringhoff).
Read more at her blog here. In the meantime, here’s the list:


* Aringhoff, R., C. Aubrey, G. Brakmann, and S. Teske, 2003: Solar thermal power 2020, Greenpeace International/European Solar Thermal Power Industry Association, Netherlands

* ESTIA, 2004: Exploiting the heat from the sun to combat climate change. European Solar Thermal Industry Association and Greenpeace, Solar Thermal Power 2020, UK

* Greenpeace, 2004: accessed 05/06/07

* Greenpeace, 2006: Solar generation. K. McDonald (ed.), Greenpeace International, Amsterdam

* GWEC, 2006: Global wind energy outlook. Global Wind Energy Council, Bruxelles and Greenpeace, Amsterdam, September, 56 pp., accessed 05/06/07

* Hoegh-Guldberg, O., H. Hoegh-Guldberg, H. Cesar and A. Timmerman, 2000: Pacific in peril: biological, economic and social impacts of climate change on Pacific coral reefs. Greenpeace, 72 pp.

* Lazarus, M., L. Greber, J. Hall, C. Bartels, S. Bernow, E. Hansen, P. Raskin, and D. Von Hippel, 1993: Towards a fossil free energy future: the next energy transition. Stockholm Environment Institute, Boston Center, Boston. Greenpeace International, Amsterdam.

* Wind Force 12, 2005: Global Wind Energy Council and Greenpeace,, accessed 03/07/07


(I should perhaps point out that Ove Hoegh-Guldberg is in fact a Professor at the University of Queensland with expertise in coral reef matters. But his academic writings are much more sober than his Greenie pronouncements. See here -- JR)


Three current articles below

Save the planet! Stink out the homes and spread the gastro

The extremists who now infest local government would rather give you the trots if that’s what it takes to turn you green:
Residents in Penrith are furious after their council cut rubbish collections to once a fortnight. And to make matters worse they have cut the size of their bins at the same time.

Mothers with babies have been forced to store 14 days worth of dirty nappies, while residents have found maggots and some have complained to the local health service…

Penrith took action after the NSW Department of Environment began supporting the cut from weekly to fortnightly services two years ago in a bid to force more people to recycle. So far four councils across NSW have reduced collections and others are set to follow.

But a leading public health expert said thousands of residents were at risk of salmonella and gastro.
Why are our green fuhrers so happy to hurt humans to “save” an inanimate planet? Or is it just the power to bully that gives them their kicks? Cutting the sizes of people’s bins is just the kind of vindictiveness that appeals to the inner totalitarian.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Climate sceptic warmly received during debate

LORD Christopher Monckton, imperious and articulate, won yesterday's climate change debate in straight sets. Forget facts and fictions, numbers and statistics, this British high priest of climate change sceptics is a polished performer, even against the most committed of scientists.

Aided by Adelaide's Professor Ian Plimer, Lord Monckton cruised to victory before a partisan crowd of suits and ties, movers and shakers. Hundreds of them were there for the sell-out, $130-a-head Brisbane Institute lunch – and scepticism was applauded.

Climate change scientist Professor Barry Brook and teammate Graham Readfearn, The Courier-Mail's environment blogger, were stoic in argument (even if Mr Readfearn may have foot-faulted once or twice and had to be pulled into line by moderator Ray Weeks).

But Lord Monckton is a seasoned campaigner, if not a scientist, reviled and ridiculed as he is in some quarters for his view that many are too alarmist about global warming. "As every risk manager knows, you can't just evaluate the risk of whatever it is you're frightened of, you also have to evaluate the risks inherent in the precautions you take to prevent whatever you're frightened of," Lord Monckton said.

Professor Brook argued that even if projected rates of climate change were wrong, the issue would force the world to take a big step towards a more sustainable future. "We know that the climate is changing but we don't know how much . . . If the rates are wrong we will foreshorten the period society has to go through from an old, Victorian, model of industrialisation to a more modern model," he said. Mr Readfearn urged caution in buying climate change science from non-scientists.

SOURCE (Video at link)

Australian green scheme 'close to collapse'

ONE of the Rudd Government's key climate change initiatives is close to collapse amid claims of widespread rorting [fraud] and mismanagement. Just six months after its launch, the $70 million Green Loans scheme to get Australians to install energy-efficient products will be lucky to survive past March without millions more in taxpayer funding.

Similarities are already being drawn between Green Loans and the Government's bungled $3.2 billion home insulation subsidy scheme. A Senate inquiry into the insulation rebate scheme is probing accusations of malpractice, rorting and mismanagement.

The much-vaunted Green Loans program was supposed to run for three years but is being bled dry by a flurry of unregistered operators. So far, there have been just 1000 subsidised loans approved for solar power and water-saving and energy-efficient products. Now thousands of people who paid $3000 each to become Green Loans assessors will be thrown on the unemployment scrapheap if the scheme collapses.

Instead of using only registered training organisations, unregistered groups were allowed to conduct audit training courses, with one earning $300,000 in one weekend by packing 200 people in a class at $1500 a head.

The Opposition's environment spokesman, Greg Hunt, yesterday called for a "full-scale investigation", claiming the program had been a fiasco. But the Federal Government yesterday defended the scheme, with a spokesman for Environment Minister Peter Garrett saying it had "stimulated significant growth in the market for household sustainability assessors". He said the scheme's future would be considered "in the context of Budget deliberations".

Brisbane's Gillian Steele said she thought the project had "a lot of merit" when she paid $3000 for herself and her daughter to be trained as Green Loans assessors. "I'm frustrated and disappointed," she said yesterday.



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29 January, 2010

Obama's Greenhouse Effect (in his SOTU speech)

Our favorite moment in the State of the Union was when Obama said this: "I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change."

To be sure, this was a "to be sure" sentence: The president went on to say global warming is worth fighting even if imaginary. But we liked this moment for two reasons: First, because the president felt obliged to acknowledge disagreement. Second, because his laughable assertion about "the overwhelming scientific evidence" was greeted with laughter. The climate-change climate has changed.


Americans cooling on climate change, survey says

And that's from a pro-Warmist organization

Public concern about global warming and trust in climate leaders has dropped sharply in the U.S. according to a survey. Fifty-seven percent of Americans polled at the end of 2009 and early 2010 believe climate change is happening compared with a figure of 71 percent in October 2008. The report, "Climate Change in the American Mind" published jointly by Yale University and the George Mason University Wednesday also reveals a picture of falling trust in scientists, politicians and the media concerning climate change.

Anthony Leiserowitz, principal investigator and director of the Yale Project on Climate Change told CNN: "I'm not surprised by the direction of the results but I am surprised at the magnitude of them. "These are steep drop offs and this is despite the fact that, if anything, the climate science is getting stronger and more concerning over the past year."

Over 1000 American adults were interviewed for the report. Respondents answered questions on a range of climate change issues including rating their trust of public institutions and climate leaders as a source of information. Trust in scientists dropped nine percent from 83 to 74 percent, while faith in the mainstream news media slumped from 47 percent in 2008 to 36 percent.

Along with the media, Al Gore experienced the biggest fall in trust according to the survey. In 2008, 58 percent of respondents said they "strongly trust" or "somewhat trust" the former vice president and climate activist. In 2010 that figure has fallen to 47 percent.

Support for President Barack Obama remained largely unchanged at 51 percent compared to 53 percent in October 2008.

Other prominent climate opinion makers faired poorly. 36 percent of people trust the former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin while only 35 percent rate Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger as a reliable source of information on climate change.

Leiserowitz thinks this widespread decline in support is down to two main factors. "Clearly the economy is dominating all issues right now. People in the U.S. are, frankly, afraid and they're angry at Washington, Wall Street and elected officials who don't seem to be responding. As a result the climate has gone down in public priority," Leiserowitz said. "But I think also in the past few weeks and months some really troubling stories have been reported around climate science," he added.

Leiserowitz points to the damage caused first by the so-called "Climategate" scandal in November 2009 which was seized upon by climate skeptics who argued scientists have been suppressing data. And more recently concerns surrounding parts of the Himalayan glacier data published in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "They [climate skeptics] have taken these as opportunities to drive home their particular message, and I think they've been successful."

What this all underlines, Leiserowitz says, is the need to educate the American people. "There is a real need for improved public education and communication on this critical issue. The science is getting stronger and public opinion is going in the opposite direction."


British scientists in stolen e-mail scandal hid climate data illegally

The university at the centre of the climate change row over stolen e-mails broke the law by refusing to hand over its raw data for public scrutiny. The University of East Anglia breached the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for data concerning claims by its scientists that man-made emissions were causing global warming.

The Information Commissioner’s Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the Act but said that it could not prosecute those involved because the complaint was made too late, The Times has learnt. The ICO is now seeking to change the law to allow prosecutions if a complaint is made more than six months after a breach.

The stolen e-mails , revealed on the eve of the Copenhagen summit, showed how the university’s Climatic Research Unit attempted to thwart requests for scientific data and other information, and suggest that senior figures at the university were involved in decisions to refuse the requests. It is not known who stole the e-mails. Professor Phil Jones, the unit’s director, stood down while an inquiry took place. The ICO’s decision could make it difficult for him to resume his post.

Details of the breach emerged the day after John Beddington, the Chief Scientific Adviser, warned that there was an urgent need for more honesty about the uncertainty of some predictions. His intervention followed admissions from scientists that the rate of glacial melt in the Himalayas had been grossly exaggerated.

In one e-mail, Professor Jones asked a colleague to delete e-mails relating to the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He also told a colleague that he had persuaded the university authorities to ignore information requests under the act from people linked to a website run by climate sceptics.

A spokesman for the ICO said: “The legislation prevents us from taking any action but from looking at the emails it’s clear to us a breach has occurred.” Breaches of the act are punishable by an unlimited fine.

The complaint to the ICO was made by David Holland, a retired engineer from Northampton. He had been seeking information to support his theory that the unit broke the IPCC’s rules to discredit sceptic scientists.

In a statement, Graham Smith, Deputy Commissioner at the ICO, said: “The e-mails which are now public reveal that Mr Holland’s requests under the Freedom of Information Act were not dealt with as they should have been under the legislation. Section 77 of the Act makes it an offence for public authorities to act so as to prevent intentionally the disclosure of requested information.”

He added: “The ICO is gathering evidence from this and other time-barred cases to support the case for a change in the law. We will be advising the university about the importance of effective records management and their legal obligations in respect of future requests for information.”

Mr Holland said: “There is an apparent Catch-22 here. The prosecution has to be initiated within six months but you have to exhaust the university’s complaints procedure before the commission will look at your complaint. That process can take longer than six months.”

The university said: “The way freedom of information requests have been handled is one of the main areas being explored by Sir Muir Russell’s independent review. The findings will be made public and we will act as appropriate on its recommendations.”


The scandal deepens – IPCC AR4 riddled with non peer reviewed WWF papers

All the years I’ve been in TV news, I’ve observed that every story has a tipping point. In news, we know when it has reached that point when we say it “has legs” and the story takes on a life of its own. The story may have been ignored or glossed over for weeks, months, or years until some new piece of information is posted and starts to galvanize people. The IPCC glacier melt scandal was the one that galvanized the collective voice that has been saying that the IPCC report was seriously flawed and represented a political rather than scientific view. Now people are seriously looking at AR4 with a critical eye and finding things everywhere.

Remember our friends at World Wildlife Fund? Those schlockmeisters that produced the video of planes flying into New York with explicit comparisons to 9/11?

Well it turns out that the WWF is cited all over the IPCC AR4 report, and as you know, WWF does not produce peer reviewed science, they produce opinion papers in line with their vision. Yet IPCC’s rules are such that they are supposed to rely on peer reviewed science only. It appears they’ve violated that rule dozens of times, all under Pachauri’s watch.

A new posting authored by Donna Laframboise, the creator of (Toronto, Canada) shows what one can find in just one day of looking. Here’s an extensive list of documents created or co-authored by the WWF and cited by this Nobel-winning IPCC AR4 report:

* Allianz and World Wildlife Fund, 2006: Climate change and the financial sector: an agenda for action, 59 pp. [Accessed 03.05.07: filelibrary/pdf/allianz_rep_0605.pdf]

* Austin, G., A. Williams, G. Morris, R. Spalding-Feche, and R. Worthington, 2003: Employment potential of renewable energy in South Africa. Earthlife Africa, Johannesburg and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Denmark, November, 104 pp.

* Baker, T., 2005: Vulnerability Assessment of the North-East Atlantic Shelf Marine Ecoregion to Climate Change, Workshop Project Report, WWF, Godalming, Surrey, 79 pp.

* Coleman, T., O. Hoegh-Guldberg, D. Karoly, I. Lowe, T. McMichael, C.D. Mitchell, G.I. Pearman, P. Scaife and J. Reynolds, 2004: Climate Change: Solutions for Australia. Australian Climate Group, 35 pp. publications/acg_solutions.pdf

* Dlugolecki, A. and S. Lafeld, 2005: Climate change – agenda for action: the financial sector’s perspective. Allianz Group and WWF, Munich [may be the same document as "Allianz" above, except that one is dated 2006 and the other 2005]

* Fritsche, U.R., K. Hünecke, A. Hermann, F. Schulze, and K. Wiegmann, 2006: Sustainability standards for bioenergy. Öko-Institut e.V., Darmstadt, WWF Germany, Frankfurt am Main, November

* Giannakopoulos, C., M. Bindi, M. Moriondo, P. LeSager and T. Tin, 2005: Climate Change Impacts in the Mediterranean Resulting from a 2oC Global Temperature Rise. WWF report, Gland Switzerland. Accessed 01.10.2006 at

* Hansen, L.J., J.L. Biringer and J.R. Hoffmann, 2003: Buying Time: A User’s Manual for Building Resistance and Resilience to Climate Change in Natural Systems. WWF Climate Change Program, Berlin, 246 pp.

* index.cfm

* Lechtenbohmer, S., V. Grimm, D. Mitze, S. Thomas, M. Wissner, 2005: Target 2020: Policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. WWF European Policy Office, Wuppertal

* Malcolm, J.R., C. Liu, L. Miller, T. Allnut and L. Hansen, Eds., 2002a: Habitats at Risk: Global Warming and Species Loss in Globally Significant Terrestrial Ecosystems. WWF World Wide Fund for Nature, Gland, 40 pp.

* Rowell, A. and P.F. Moore, 2000: Global Review of Forest Fires. WWF/IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, 66 pp. /files/global_review_forest_fires.pdf

* WWF, 2004: Deforestation threatens the cradle of reef diversity. World Wide Fund for Nature, 2 December 2004.

* WWF, 2004: Living Planet Report 2004. WWF- World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly World Wildlife Fund), Gland, Switzerland, 44 pp.

* WWF (World Wildlife Fund), 2005: An overview of glaciers, glacier retreat, and subsequent impacts in Nepal, India and China. World Wildlife Fund, Nepal Programme, 79 pp.

* Zarsky, L. and K. Gallagher, 2003: Searching for the Holy Grail? Making FDI Work for Sustainable Development. Analytical Paper, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Switzerland

Finally, there are these authoritative sources cited by the IPCC – publications with names such as Leisure and Event Management:

* Jones, B. and D. Scott, 2007: Implications of climate change to Ontario’s provincial parks. Leisure, (in press)

* Jones, B., D. Scott and H. Abi Khaled, 2006: Implications of climate change for outdoor event planning: a case study of three special events in Canada’s National Capital region. Event Management, 10, 63-76

Not only should Pachauri resign, the Nobel committee should be deluged by world citizenry demanding they revoke the Nobel prize granted to the body that produced this document.


Climate agency going up in flames

Exit of Canada's expert a sure sign IPCC in trouble

A catastrophic heat wave appears to be closing in on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. How hot is it getting in the scientific kitchen where they've been cooking the books and spicing up the stew pots? So hot, apparently, that Andrew Weaver, probably Canada's leading climate scientist, is calling for replacement of IPCC leadership and institutional reform.

If Andrew Weaver is heading for the exits, it's a pretty sure sign that the United Nations agency is under monumental stress. Mr. Weaver, after all, has been a major IPCC science insider for years. He is Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis at the University of Victoria, mastermind of one of the most sophisticated climate modelling systems on the planet, and lead author on two recent landmark IPCC reports.

For him to say, as he told Canwest News yesterday, that there has been some "dangerous crossing" of the line between climate advocacy and science at the IPCC is stunning in itself.

Not only is Mr. Weaver an IPCC insider. He has also, over the years, generated his own volume of climate advocacy that often seemed to have crossed that dangerous line between hype and science.

It is Mr. Weaver, for example, who said the IPCC's 2007 science report -- the one now subject to some scrutiny -- "isn't a smoking gun; climate is a battalion of intergalactic smoking missiles."

He has also made numerous television appearances linking current weather and temperature events with global warming, painting sensational pictures and dramatic links.

"When you see these [temperature] numbers, it's screaming out at you: 'This is global warming!"

Mr. Weaver is also one of the authors of The Copenhagen Diagnosis, an IPCC-related piece of agit-prop issued just before the recent Copenhagen meeting.

The Copenhagen Diagnosis is as manipulative a piece of policy advocacy as can be found, filled with foreboding and alarming assessments. Described as "an interim evaluation of the evolving science," it was an attempt to jump-start decision-making at Copenhagen. It failed, perhaps in part because one of the authors was U.S. climate scientist Michael Mann, who plays a big role in the Climategate emails.

That Mr. Weaver now thinks it necessary to set himself up as the voice of scientific reason, and as a moderate guardian of appropriate and measured commentary on the state of the world's climate, is firm evidence that the IPCC is in deep trouble. He's getting out while the getting's good, and blaming the IPCC's upper echelon for the looming crisis.

In the language typical of an IPCC report, one might say that the radiative forcing created by Climategate and Glaciergate strongly suggest this is very likely to bring about cataclysmic melting of the organization within the next portion of the current decadal period. The words "very likely" in IPCC risk assessment terms mean a 90% or greater probability that something will happen. As it looks now, the IPCC is burnt toast and unless it is overhauled fast there's a 90% probability the climate-change political machine is going to come crashing down.


The Science (Fiction) of the Greenhouse Effect

I have mentioned this work before but below is a good layperson's explanation of it

Two German physicists have written a paper debunking the "theory" of the greenhouse gas effect by demonstrating how it violates basic laws of physics. Their paper, Falsification of the Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within the Frame of Physics, was published last year in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Modern Physics.

The authors are Gerhard Gerlich, a professor of mathematical physics at the Technical University Carolo-Wilhelmina in Braunschweig, and Ralf Tscheuchner, a retired professor of theoretical physics and freelance lecturer and researcher in physics and applied informatics.

Gerlich and Tscheuschner first define carbon dioxide as a trace gas accounting for less than one percent of air's volume and mass. They say even a doubling of the concentration of atmospheric CO2 would hardly change the thermal conductivity of air. If it did, the change would be well within margins of error currently in place.

From this short tutorial, the scientists go on to show the vast difference in physical laws between real greenhouses and Earth's atmosphere. They expose the fallacies in accepted definitions of greenhouse effect from several popular sources. "It is not 'trapped' infrared radiation which explains the warming phenomenon in a real greenhouse but the suppression of air cooling." Gerlich and Tscheuschner explain Earth's atmosphere does not function in the same way, nor does it function in the way global-warming alarmists describe as "transparent for visible light but opaque for infrared radiation."

Then they make the point that climate models used to predict catastrophic global warming violate the second law of thermodynamics. The law states any closed system left to itself will continually deteriorate toward a more chaotic state. The German scientists illustrate how the idea of heat flow from atmospheric greenhouse gases to the warmer ground violates this principle. There would have to be a heat pump mechanism in perpetual motion in the atmosphere to transfer heat from a low to a high temperature reservoir, and such a machine cannot exist. They call the greenhouse effect a fictitious mechanism. "The claim that CO2 emissions give rise to anthropogenic [man-made] climate changes has no physical basis."

Throughout the paper the authors show that those who advocate the greenhouse gas theory use faulty calculations and guesstimates to arrive at their catastrophic conjectures, and though Gerlich and Tscheuschner make no specific accusation, they point out how many respected scientists have blamed alarmists for intentional fraud rather than mere scientific error. They also reveal that the idea of a greenhouse effect is modern and never mentioned in any fundamental work of thermodynamics, physical kinetics, or radiation theory. According to them, it is impossible to replicate forecasts made by climate modelers' computer simulations with any known scientific formulae.

Though their 115-page paper includes clear explanations, nearly 200 equations, tables and graphs, and 205 references, it should come as no surprise that Gerlich and Tscheuschner have been blacklisted by the climate-change community. "Stupidity," "crackpot," "dross," and "bunkum" are several of the descriptives used in online blogs blasting the paper.

The first edition of the Gerlich/Tscheuschner paper released in 2007 caused enough of a stir to prompt Arthur P. Smith with the American Physical Society to issue a 2008 rebuttal, "Proof of the Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect." Yet in his nine-page article, Smith cited only five sources, one of which was the Gerlich/Tscheuschner work, and failed to address most of the points raised in it. The 2009 update of the original Gerlich/Tscheuschner piece has yet to be disproved, though for the most part alarmists continue to ignore it in their mad rush toward global eco-government and a world-wide carbon trading market worth billions.


Warmists discover water vapour

The slowdown in global warming in the last few years may have been caused by a decline in water vapor in the stratosphere, a new report suggests.

While climate warming is continuing — the decade of 2000 to 2009 was the hottest on record worldwide — the increase in temperatures was not as rapid as in the 1990s.

Balloon and satellite observations show the amount of water vapor in a layer about 10 miles high declined after 2000. The stratosphere extends from about eight to 30 miles above the Earth's surface.

The reason for the decline is unknown [Could it be that a COOLING ocean gives off less water vapour?], according to researchers led by Susan Solomon of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They report their findings in Thursday's online edition of the journal Science.

Water vapor is a potent greenhouse gas, and its decline in the stratosphere would reduce the rate of global warming expected from other gases such as carbon dioxide, the researchers said. According to the researchers, water vapor enters the stratosphere primary from air rising in the tropics.



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28 January, 2010

Temperature and CO2 feedback loop 'weaker than thought'

Warmist scientists know that CO2 has been rising for many years now with no correlated rise in temperatures, and they are scratching to explain it. So they turn to their usual proxies to generate an explanation. But tree-ring proxies for temperature are garbage -- even the CRU would not use them from 1960 on -- because they DON'T correlate with temperature. So this is just a measured retreat. They say that CO2 is a weaker influence than thought but are not yet ready to go the whole hog and say that there is NO effect of CO2 on temperatures

The most alarming forecasts of natural systems amplifying the human-induced greenhouse effect may be too high, according to a new report. The study in Nature confirms that as the planet warms, oceans and forests will absorb proportionally less CO2. It says this will increase the effects of man-made warming - but much less than recent research has suggested.

The authors warn, though, that their research will not reduce projections of future temperature rises. Further, they say their concern about man-made climate change remains high.

The research, from a team of scientists in Switzerland and Germany, attempts to settle one of the great debates in climate science about exactly how the Earth's natural carbon cycle will exacerbate any man-made warming. Some climate sceptics have argued that a warmer world will increase the land available for vegetation, which will in turn absorb CO2 and temper further warming. This is known as a negative feedback loop - the Earth acting to keep itself in balance. But the Nature research concludes that any negative feedback will be swamped by positive feedback in which extra CO2 is released from the oceans and from already-forested areas.

The oceans are the world's great store of CO2, but the warmer they become, the less CO2 they can absorb. And forests dried out by increased temperatures tend to decay and release CO2 from their trees and soils.

Commenting in Nature on the new research, Hugues Goosse from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium said: "In a warmer climate, we should not expect pleasant surprises in the form of more efficient uptake of carbon by oceans and land… that would limit the amplitude of future climate change".

The IPCC's fourth assessment report had a broad range of estimates as to how far natural systems would contribute to a spiral of warming. The Nature paper narrows that range to the lower end of previous estimates.

The report's lead author, David Frank from the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, told BBC News that many of the calculations for the IPCC assessment report did not include an integrated carbon cycle. He said that if the results his paper were widely accepted, the overall effect on climate projections would be neutral. "It might lead to a downward mean revision of those (climate) models which already include the carbon cycle, but an upward revision in those which do not include the carbon cycle. "That'll probably even itself out to signify no real change in the temperature projections overall," he said.

The team's calculations are based on a probabilistic analysis of climate variation between the years 1050 and 1800 - that is, before the Industrial Revolution introduced fossil carbon into the atmosphere. Using 200,000 data points, the study - believed by Nature to be the most comprehensive of its kind so far - compared the Antarctic ice core record of trapped CO2 bubbles with so-called proxy data like tree rings, which are used to estimate temperature changes.

The most likely value among their estimates suggests that for every degree Celsius of warming, natural ecosystems tend to release an extra 7.7 parts per million of CO2 to the atmosphere (the full range of their estimate was between 1.7 and 21.4 parts per million). This stands in sharp contrast to the recent estimates of positive feedback models, which suggest a release of 40 parts per million per degree; the team say with 95% certainty that value is an overestimate.

The paper will surely not be the last word in this difficult area of research, with multiple uncertainties over data sources. "I think that the magnitude of the warming amplification given by the carbon cycle is a live issue that will not suddenly be sorted by another paper trying to fit to palaeo-data," Professor Brian Hoskins, a climate expert from Imperial College London, told BBC News.

Professor Tim Lenton from the University of East Anglia said: "It looks intriguing and comforting if they are right. The immediate problem I can see is that past variations in CO2 and temperature over the last millennium were very small, and this group are assuming that the relationship they derive from these very small variations can be extrapolated to the much larger variations in temperature we expect this century. "We have plenty of reason to believe that the shape of the relationship may change (be nonlinear) when we 'hit the system harder'. So, I don't think they can rule out that the positive feedback from the carbon cycle could become stronger in a significantly warmer climate."


The latest NASA deception

Nasa’s latest press release on climate change says: “Nasa researcher finds last decade was warmest on record, 2009 was one of warmest years.”

The statement is worth looking at in detail not only because of the scientific data it uses but also because of the way it portrays it. It also reveals a major difference of opinion amongst the most prominent climate researchers. The Nasa researcher referred to is Jim Hansen of the Goddard Spaceflight Centre. The press release was based on a report he wrote a little earlier.

It continues: “A new analysis of global surface temperatures by NASA scientists finds the past year was tied for the second warmest since 1880. In the Southern Hemisphere, 2009 was the warmest year on record.”

As is often the case, one has to take claims like this with reservation. It is not a new analysis and everyone knows already that the last decade has been the warmest. The press release then proceeds to dilute its headline message with some more facts by adding, “The past year was a small fraction of a degree cooler than 2005, the warmest on record, putting 2009 in a virtual tie with a cluster of other years –1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2007 — for the second warmest on record.” In reality this makes the claim that 2009 was the second warmest year specious.

“There’s always interest in the annual temperature numbers and a given year’s ranking, but the ranking often misses the point,” Jim Hansen is quoted as saying, “There’s substantial year-to-year variability of global temperature caused by the tropical El Nino-La Nina cycle. When we average temperature over five or ten years to minimize that variability, we find global warming is continuing unabated.”

But it’s not like that. Ranking of years is the very point and when done reveals that there is no upward trend in the temperature data. If anything the GISS global temperature data set, and the HadCRUT3 one as well, shows that there is not a substantial year-to-year variability. A look at the figures shows that when the errors are taken into consideration there is not much variability as the scatter of means lies within well those errors. Also, despite La Nina – El Nino activity, the data since the two cooler years following the very strong 1998 El Nino shows am impeccable straight line

Gavin Schmidt is also quoted in the press release saying, “The difference between the second and sixth warmest years is trivial because the known uncertainty in the temperature measurement is larger than some of the differences between the warmest years.” This is a statement of the obvious.

Nasa adds, “January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record. Looking back to 1880, when modern scientific instrumentation became available to monitor temperatures precisely, a clear warming trend is present, although there was a leveling off between the 1940s and 1970s. In the past three decades, the GISS surface temperature record shows an upward trend of about 0.36 degrees F (0.2 degrees C) per decade. In total, average global temperatures have increased by about 1.5 degrees F (0.8 degrees C) since 1880.”

It is, in my view, misleading to mix the overall warming seen since the Victorian period with the warming seen since 1980 without any qualification. They are highly likely to be due to different causes and one does not support or confirm the other.

Then there is the question about the perceived lack of warming seen in the past ten years.

Jim Hansen writes: Frequently heard fallacies are that “global warming stopped in 1998” or “the world has been getting cooler over the past decade”. These statements appear to be wishful thinking – it would be nice if true, but that is not what the data show. True, the 1998 global temperature jumped far above the previous warmest year in the instrumental record, largely because 1998 was affected by the strongest El Nino of the century. Thus for the following several years the global temperature was lower than in 1998, as expected.

However, the 5-year and 11-year running mean global temperatures have continued to increase at nearly the same rate as in the past three decades. There is a slight downward tick at the end of the record, but even that may disappear if 2010 is a warm year. Indeed, given the continued growth of greenhouse gases and the underlying global warming trend there is a high likelihood, I would say greater than 50 percent, that 2010 will be the warmest year in the period of instrumental data.

This is an example of how simple averaging can obscure something that is obvious in the data. Most scientists see this. Mojib Latif of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Science says, “There can be no argument about that. We have to face the fact.” Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Plank Institute for Meteorology adds, “We really don’t know why this stagnation is taking place at the moment.” “I hardly know a colleague who would deny that it hasn’t got warmer in recent years.”

There are some that agree with Jim Hansen. Phil Jones in the notorious leaked emails from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit says, “those idiots saying global warming has stopped.” Although elsewhere in the leaked emails Kevin Trenberth says, “The fact is, we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it’s a travesty that we can’t.”

In summary, it would be fair to say that we live in a warm decade as a result of warming in the 1980’s and 1990’s but it is now incontrovertible that it hasn’t become any warmer in the past decade. I’m surprised there is still debate about this and about the lack of clarity in the Nasa press release.


And now for Amazongate

The IPCC also made false predictions on the Amazon rain forests, referenced to a non peer-reviewed paper produced by an advocacy group working with the WWF. This time though, the claim made is not even supported by the report and seems to be a complete fabrication

Thus, following on from "Glaciergate", where the IPCC grossly exaggerated the effects of global warming on Himalayan glaciers – backed by a reference to a WWF report - we now have "Amazongate", where the IPCC has grossly exaggerated the effects of global warming on the Amazon rain forest.

This is to be found in Chapter 13 of the Working Group II report, the same part of the IPCC fourth assessment report in which the "Glaciergate" claims are made. There, is the startling claim that:

At first sight, the reference looks kosher enough but, following it through, one sees:

This, then appears to be another WWF report, carried out in conjunction with the IUCN - The International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The link given is no longer active, but the report is on the IUCN website here. Furthermore, the IUCN along with WWF is another advocacy group and the report is not peer-reviewed. According to IPCC rules, it should not have been used as a primary source.

Firming up the WWF link, the second of the two authors, Dr P F Moore, is cited as the coordinator of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and World Conservation Union (IUCN) Project FireFight South-East, Asia, Bogor, Indonesia. He works for both organisations.

His reported comments on the Amazonian rain forests are interesting, as he is by no means an Amazon specialist – or even a climate specialist. His cv tells us: "My background and experience around the world has required and developed high-level policy and analytical skills. I have a strong understanding of government administration, legislative review, analysis and inquiries generated through involvement in or management of the Australian Regional Forest Agreement process, Parliamentary and Government inquiries, Coronial inquiries and public submissions on water pricing, access and use rights and native vegetation legislation in Australia and fire and natural resources laws, regulations and policies in Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, South Africa and Malaysia."

Perhaps, then, the lead author, Rowell A, is a more experience academic, with direct knowledge of the Amazon basin? Sadly, he is not. Andy Rowell, is an investigative freelance journalist and a green activist who writes occasionally for The Guardian and The Independent....

Thus, the IPCC is relying for its assertions that "up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation" on a free-lance journalist/activist and a specialist in policy and analysis relating to forest fires in Australia, Asia and South Africa.

Much more HERE

Axe the tax if you want to go green

Bjorn Lomborg is a Warmist, perhaps as a tactic, but he points out the vast irrationality of conventional political responses to the "problem". The following was written for an Australian audience

POLITICIANS are trying hard to pretend that the Copenhagen climate summit was not a complete failure. After raising expectations that they would broker a significant, binding treaty on carbon emission reductions, they are now telling us we should view Copenhagen's empty, non-binding agreement as a small but important "first step" on the journey towards solving global warming. We have heard this one before. When politicians from wealthy countries met in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and promised to cut emissions by 2000, the French diplomat chairing the negotiations declared, "It's just a first step."

When leaders met again in Kyoto in 1997 and promised stricter reductions, president Bill Clinton told us that the treaty was a "huge first step" that "opened the way" to further action. Neither of these "first steps" actually took us anywhere: wealthy countries failed to meet their promises and global carbon emissions have continued to climb.

So what now? After 17 years of wasted effort, we can ill afford to squander more precious time continuing on this pointless road to nowhere. Climate change needs addressing smartly. We can only hope that December's failure will be the jolt we need to once and for all drop the Rio-Kyoto-Copenhagen approach and start tackling this challenge effectively.

If it wants to, Australia is certainly well positioned to demonstrate global leadership. Kevin Rudd could start the ball rolling by ditching plans to reintroduce the proposed emissions trading scheme legislation. On one level, the problem with this legislation is that emissions trading schemes disguise the true costs of reducing carbon emissions and offer an almost irresistible opportunity to spend the billions of dollars of revenue on ineffective subsidies and sweeteners. But there is a bigger reason for the Prime Minister to change course: carbon cuts are a hugely expensive, extraordinarily impractical response to global warming.

All the major climate economic models show that using carbon cuts to achieve the widely discussed goal of keeping temperature rises under 2C would require a global tax on carbon emissions starting at $110 a ton (or about 26ca litre of petrol) and increasing to $4300 a ton (or $10 a litre of petrol) by the end of the century. In all, this would cost a phenomenal $43 trillion a year. And this is an optimistic estimate based on the unlikely assumption that politicians everywhere across the globe would make the most effective choices possible (such as choosing more efficient carbon taxes over emissions-trading schemes). The ultimate price tag could actually be 10 or 100 times higher. What we know for certain is that, according to most mainstream calculations, the cost of this solution would be many, many times greater than the climate damage it seeks to prevent.

For nearly two decades now, world leaders concerned about global warming have focused single-mindedly on cutting fossil fuel use by promising to cut carbon emissions. At the same time, they have failed to invest anywhere enough money into ensuring that alternative technologies are ready to take up the slack. As a result, green energy technologies are far from competitive, scalable or effective and in many cases still require very basic research and development. In research for the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, Isabel Galiana and Chris Green examined rates of development of alternative energy sources and concluded that by 2050, green energy will be capable of producing less than half of the power needed to stabilise carbon emissions.

By 2100, the situation will be even worse.

Putting a high price on carbon and hoping that alternative technology will catch up is not a sound policy. Quite the contrary. Until the technology is there, carbon taxes will simply bleed the economy, while providing no real benefit to the climate. So if we are serious about reducing fossil fuel use without crippling the world economy, we need to radically ramp up green technologies.

To get the required technological revolution started, we need to act now. Devoting just 0.2 per cent of global gross domestic product - about $100bn a year in global spending - to green energy research and development would produce the kind of game-changing breakthroughs needed to fuel a carbon-free future for the entire planet. Not only would this be a much less expensive and less politically fraught fix than trying to cut carbon emissions, it would also ultimately reduce global warming much more.

In this regard, Australia has an opportunity to lead the world, and to do well by doing good. Creating a policy response to global warming based around the development of a research and development fund would not only be good for the planet, it would also open new avenues for Australian ingenuity and entrepreneurship.

But whatever role Australia decides to play, it is vital that we understand what happened in Copenhagen last month. Pretending that the climate summit was anything other than a failure would deny us the important lesson we should learn from it. The negotiations fell apart because the Rio-Kyoto-Copenhagen road is a dead end. Carbon cut promises have not worked. It is time to stop stumbling around taking one "first step" after another, and to get started on meaningful action against climate change.


Any global warming is unlikely to be a big problem amid technological advance

By Ziggy Switkowski, a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering

IS it possible that global warming might be the first example of irreversible large-scale environmental change caused by humankind? Certainly over the centuries we've been responsible for wars, chemical and nuclear accidents, the spread of disease, depletion of resources, habitat and species destruction as well as experiencing the full range of natural hazards, humanitarian disasters and pandemics that have had shocking and permanent effects.

Yet from a historical and global perspective, a reversion to a positive trend occurs, albeit over generations, wherein new technologies and improved social and political processes combine to produce continuing improvements in average global standards of living, and futures unconstrained by the past.

Climate model forecasts, however, suggest that runaway climate change might defy this history and so demands urgent and costly preventive measures. What is runaway climate change? Fundamentally, a process once started - such as global warming or melting of Greenland ice - continues, perhaps even accelerates, under the influence of positive feedback, with irreversible consequences for the environment and life as we know it.

An example of positive feedback is when large white ice sheets melt, reducing the reflection of incoming sunlight and increasing solar energy absorption by the darker underlying surface, exposed rock or sea, further increasing temperatures, which leads to more melting, and so on. A textbook example of irreversible climate change is the planet Venus, which started its warming journey three to four billion years ago and evolved from a water-bearing environment to a toxic inferno. But is the threat of a billion-year transition what alarms us today?

Self evidently, there has been no consequential runaway event in the 15,000 years of modern man since the last ice age, or even in the million-year span of human existence. Climate and environment appear to have followed patterns understandable to us today. Certainly, strong climate cycles have shaped the earth's history, but concerns about runaway effects arise from complex climate models whose predictions are sometimes disputed.

But the industrial era has produced two forces that seem capable of triggering runaway-like effects on our environment: population growth and associated energy production.

Global population has increased from one billion people after the start of the Industrial Revolution about 1800 to nearly seven billion today, with a four-fold increase in the past 100 years alone. This looks like a runaway trend. But the world's population is now confidently forecast to level out near 10 billion people during the second half of this century.

Energy production and consumption loosely follow population growth but accelerate as the standards of living in the developing nations catch up to the West. As a result, global energy output will increase two or three times by the century's end.

But the combination of slowing population growth, closing the lifestyle gap with the West and the arrival of new clean energy systems supplying more efficient products and processes could stabilise greenhouse effects by century end. Along the way, adapting to climate changes is a matter of resources and resolve - barriers can be built to withstand sea-level rises, emergency services can be improved, property and personnel can be better protected, and so on.

But the legacy of generations of excessive emissions remains: our climate and environment will be highly stressed and may yet be locked into a runaway warming trajectory.

A key headline claim is that the 200-year industrial era has brought the planet to within 100 years of irreversible climate catastrophe and that the responsibility lies with today's generation to prevent such a cataclysmic situation. This conclusion rests on the assumption that the risk of climate catastrophe is growing faster than the rate at which technology can be developed to mitigate this risk. Is this a reasonable assumption?

The US National Academy of Engineering recently produced a list of the most significant technical advances of the 20th century. The top 10 included: electrification, automobiles, airplanes, water supply and distribution, electronics, radio and television, agricultural mechanisation, computers, telephony, air conditioning and refrigeration (the early internet appeared at No. 13).

Might the 21st century of innovation produce an even more influential list that, if appropriately prioritised, includes the tools to address global warming before runaway effects occur? Today even seemingly permanent damage such as species extinction appears addressable with emerging gene technology. Tomorrow, geo-engineering (extracting greenhouse gases from the atmosphere), soil sequestration and non-fossil fuel systems may give us all the answers.

Is it a modern vanity to presume we must solve technological challenges today that will seem trivial to society next century, especially if our history of technical innovation continues? (As Jesse Ausubel writes in New Scientist, "At the start of the 20th century there was widespread concern that horse manure and chimney smoke would bury or choke cities.)

This reasoning does not suggest global inaction but emphasises the key role that public policy, innovation, research and development must play. Climate change should be a global priority that leads to collaborative focused research efforts to find solutions. Australia's leadership in carbon capture and storage technology is one good example of this. Nations have to be wealthy enough to make the required long-term investments in R&D. In any policy choice between economic growth and more conservative, restricted lifestyles, go for growth and wealth creation supporting a culture of innovation every time.



Three articles below

Official Australian climate alarmist retreats a little

Most of the remarks by Britain's John Beddington below are as alluded to yesterday in a post sourced from Andrew Bolt. But at that time Penelope Sackit had only alarmist things to say. In the report below we see that she has moved closer to Beddington's more responsible position. Beddington is a biologist and Sackit is an astronomer. Neither sounds like a plausible expert on climate science but Penny is probably the one who is most aware of that deficiency -- so she sticks to dogma for fear of making a mistake. I am beginning to think that my qualifications in social science make me as good an "expert" on climate matters as many of the so-called experts

THE impact of global warming has been exaggerated by some scientists and there is an urgent need for more honest disclosure of the uncertainty of predictions about the rate of climate change, according to the British government's chief scientific adviser. John Beddington said climate scientists should be less hostile to sceptics who questioned man-made global warming. He condemned scientists who refused to publish the data underpinning their reports.

Australia's chief scientist, Penny Sackett, told The Australian last night she shared Professor Beddington's concerns. Professor Sackett said climate change was a scientific reality but there was a need for absolute openness and rigour in the presentation of evidence, including recognition of which aspects of climate change science were imprecise and required further research.

Professor Beddington said public confidence in climate science would be improved if there were more openness about its uncertainties, even if that meant admitting that sceptics had been right on some hotly disputed issues. He said: "I don't think it's healthy to dismiss proper scepticism. Science grows and improves in the light of criticism. There is a fundamental uncertainty about climate change prediction that can't be changed."

He said the false claim in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 report that the glaciers would disappear by 2035 had exposed a wider problem with the way some evidence was presented. "Certain unqualified statements have been unfortunate. We have a problem in communicating uncertainty. There's definitely an issue there. If there wasn't, there wouldn't be the level of scepticism. "All of these predictions have to be caveated by saying, `There's a level of uncertainty about that'."

Professor Beddington said particular caution was needed when communicating predictions about climate change made with the help of computer models. "It's unchallengeable that CO2 traps heat and warms the Earth and that burning fossil fuels shoves billions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. But where you can get challenges is on the speed of change. "When you get into large-scale climate modelling, there are quite substantial uncertainties. On the rate of change and the local effects, there are uncertainties both in terms of empirical evidence and the climate models themselves."

He said it was wrong for scientists to refuse to disclose their data to their critics: "I think, wherever possible, we should try to ensure there is openness and that source material is available for the whole scientific community." He added: "There is a danger that people can manipulate the data, but the benefits from being open far outweigh that danger."

Professor Sackett said there was no real dispute within the scientific community about the reality of climate change but she wanted non-scientists to have greater access to the evidence to help inform the necessary public debate about crafting policy responses to the problem. "The public must be provided with the best possible advice," Professor Sackett said. "It must have available to it some understanding or the ability to develop an understanding about which issues the science is quite clear on and where there is less precision in our understanding." For example, Professor Sackett said, while the reality of climate change was clearly understood, there was less certainty about its effects on rainfall patterns in Australia. More research was required before conclusions could be drawn with any scientific confidence.

She said the work of Australian climate change scientists had been "quite good" and that people should not assume that because some British research had been questioned there was a doubt over the existence of the phenomenon.

Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt said the scientists were correct, and he accused Kevin Rudd of taking a "McCarthyist" approach to anyone who disagreed with his views on climate change. "While I happen to believe the balance of science is that there is climate change, unlike the Prime Minister I believe it is a breach of democratic responsibility to demonise scientists and the three million Australians who disagree with me," Mr Hunt said.

Phil Jones, the director of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit and a contributor to the IPCC's reports, has been forced to stand down while an investigation takes place into leaked emails allegedly showing that he attempted to conceal data. In response to one request for data, Professor Jones wrote: "We have 25 or so years 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?"

Professor Beddington said that uncertainty about some aspects of climate science should not be used as an excuse for inaction. "Some people ask why we should act when scientists say they are only 90 per cent certain about the problem," he said."But would you get on a plane that had a 10 per cent chance of crashing?"

Mike Hulme, professor of climate change at the University of East Anglia, said: "Climate scientists get kudos from working on an issue in the public eye, but with that kudos comes responsibility. Being open with data is part of that responsibility." He criticised Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, for his dismissive response last November to research suggesting that the UN body had overstated the threat to the glaciers. Mr Pachauri described it as "voodoo science". Professor Hulme said: "Pachauri's choice of words has not been good. The question of whether he is the right person to lead the IPCC is for the 193 countries who make up its governing body. It's a political decision."


Climategate gives lord of the sceptics plenty of ammunition

The visit to Australia this week of Lord Christopher Monckton - the world's most effective global warming sceptic - couldn't have been better timed. Hot on the heels of the "Climategate" email leak, which called into question the "tricks" used to sex up the case for the war against global warming, have come back-to-back revelations tarnishing the reputation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

First domino down last week was the claim in the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 - the one that won it a Nobel Prize - that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035. As one of the most dire climate change outcomes, this claim received enormous publicity and was often cited by politicians. But, it turns out, the evidence was based not on credible peer-review science, but on an unsubstantiated report by the environmental group World Wildlife Fund for Nature. It stemmed from a 1999 beat-up in the popular journal New Scientist that featured an interview with an obscure Indian scientist, Syed Hasnain, who has since admitted his glacier prediction was "speculation". Hasnain now works for the Energy and Resources Institute in Delhi, whose director-general, Rajendra Pachauri, is also head of the IPCC.

Even murkier is the fact the glacier furphy reportedly netted lots of grant money for the institute. "My job is not to point out mistakes," Hasnain told The Times of London. "And you know the might of the IPCC. What about all the other glaciologists around the world who did not speak out?" Yes, what about them indeed. Are scientists just cowardly? The mendacity of the IPCC came to light when the Indian Government fact-checked its glacier claim. Belated scrutiny of the 2007 report has uncovered other bogus claims, and at least 16 WWF references.

The next domino to fall was the IPCC's assertion that global warming was to blame for weather disasters such as hurricane and drought. The Sunday Times in London reported this was based on an unpublished scientific paper that had not been peer reviewed, and that, when it was published in 2008, had found no link.

The latest revelation is that an IPCC claim about the Amazon rainforest was also drawn from a WWF report. The IPCC says it is simply a "human mistake" to parrot WWF press releases, as if they are credible science and not green propaganda, and no one bats an eyelid.

Well, except Monckton, who has been batting his considerable eyelids (large because of a thyroid ailment) for years over bogus claims. He even succeeded in having a table in the 2007 report corrected after he pointed out that it overstated sea-level rises tenfold.

Having been singled out for vilification last year by Kevin Rudd in an extraordinary speech, Monckton finds the times suit him well. Rudd's vehemence attracted the attention of semi-retired engineer John Smeed, who splits his time between Lane Cove and Noosa. He and another engineer, Case Smit invited Monckton to Australia, footing the $100,000 bill for his eight-city tour from their own pockets, offset by donations.

I was invited to a small lunch for Monckton this week, hosted by Smeed and a Newcastle engineer, Jeff McCloy. In person, Monckton is taller and more serious than he appears on screen. Being a mathematician he has a logical mind, as well as irrepressible self-confidence, which makes him a formidable opponent for climate alarmists.

Andy Pitman, a co-director of the University of NSW's Climate Change Research Centre, complained on ABC radio this week that climate sceptics are so "well funded, so well organised [and] have nothing else to do . . . They are doing a superb job at misinforming and miscommunicating the general public, State and Federal Government." Huh? How can climate alarmists pitch themselves as the underdog when they have had on their side the full force of government (and opposition until lately), media (apart from a few individual holdouts) and big business?

Public opinion has changed as the credibility of the IPCC ebbs, the crippling cost of climate change measures becomes apparent and the array of rentseekers and phonies grows. Monckton is a man whose time has come because he owes nothing to anybody and he has the capacity to interpret the science to a public looking for answers.

As an adviser to Margaret Thatcher, he learnt that when you make policy about an issue that is outside your expertise, you must distill it down to one proposition. In this case, how much will a given increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause warming? The answer determines whether or not you spend trillions of taxpayer dollars "and wreck the economies of the West". Monckton pored over scientific papers on climate sensitivity and concluded the IPCC exaggerated climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide at least sixfold, so we have time cautiously to decide whether or not to attempt to change global temperature.

In any case, he says, what if every nation agreed to cut emissions by 30 per cent in the next 10 years? The "warming forestalled would be 0.02 celsius degrees, at a cost of trillions. There's no point doing it."

The last refuge of alarmists is the precautionary principle, in which we "give the planet the benefit of the doubt". But Monckton says bad policy guided by the precautionary principle has already led to the death of millions of people as the transfer of farmland to grow biofuels meant less food, higher prices, food riots and starvation. He cites the United Nations special rapporteur Jean Ziegler, who said growing biofuels instead of food when the poor were starving was a "crime against humanity".

Monckton says public opinion is "galloping" in his direction, which bodes ill for Rudd as he prepares to push through his emissions trading scheme next month.


Perils of population growth

Australia has a problem of immigration quality -- large numbers of unskilled, welfare dependant and crime-prone "refugees" are being let in -- but it has no problem with population quantity. Australia is roughly the size of the continental USA yet has only 14% of America's population. The map below should be instructive too. But accomodating more people would mean clearing more trees; building on more grasslands; building more dams and building more roads -- all of which are of course a horror to any Greenie

DO you get the feeling your back yard is getting smaller? Or that the patch of turf you laid last year has disappeared to be replaced by a slab of concrete? It’s one of Australia’s most pressing issues, yet political leaders refuse to do anything to stop it. I am referring to Australia’s surging population growth. Recent projections that Australia will have to accommodate 35 million people by 2050 - up from 22 million at present - is a worrying prospect.

In the post-World War II years, the rallying call in this country was to populate or perish - a response to the fear of military invasion from a powerful northern neighbour. This gave us the Baby Boomer generation, which is now nearing retirement and creating imminent pressures of an aging population.

The greying of the nation has prompted Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to espouse a new call for a “big Australia”, propelled by a higher birth rate and increased immigration. It’s a short-term solution to a long-term problem. What will happen in another 50 years? Will another prime minister call for an even bigger population boom to replace the generation reaching retirement then?

The population debate has been hijacked until now by economic greed and rationalism. The argument has been that the higher the population growth, the greater consumption will be and therefore economic prosperity and profit - at least for the wealthy few in society. Little or no attention has been paid to the limited availability of natural resources, the dire effect on the environment and loss of quality of life as more people compete for living space in our cities.

It is good to see that questions are finally being raised about Australia’s sustainable population. This week enterpreneur-adventurer Dick Smith became the latest in a string of forward thinkers who criticised Government plans to encourage population growth, saying Australia did not have enough water or food to support millions more people. He also urged slashing immigration and discouraging women from having more than two babies, thereby allowing population growth to be contained.

Just because people in many other countries have to live in cramped high-rises in concrete urban jungles does not make it a lifestyle model Australians should aspire to.

In 1798, the Rev Robert Thomas Malthus published his Principles of Population in which he stated: “The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man”. He predicted that endless population growth would block progress towards a utopian society. As an Anglican minister, Malthus, believed that God had created an inexorable tendency to human population growth for a moral purpose, with the threat of poverty and starvation designed to teach the virtues of hard work and virtuous behaviour.

We carry a responsiblity to make the world a better place for the generations that will follow. Australia is well placed to embark on a journey to a more sustainable future. The future of the country may depend on it.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

Stupid Himalayan glacier claim was DELIBERATELY fraudulent

The IPCC bosses knew from the beginning where the "information" originated but deliberately covered it up

I can report a further dramatic twist to what has inevitably been dubbed "Glaciergate" – the international row surrounding the revelation that the latest report on global warming by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) contained a wildly alarmist, unfounded claim about the melting of Himalayan glaciers. Last week, the IPCC, led by its increasingly controversial chairman, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, was forced to issue an unprecedented admission: the statement in its 2007 report that Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035 had no scientific basis, and its inclusion in the report reflected a "poor application" of IPCC procedures.

What has now come to light, however, is that the scientist from whom this claim originated, Dr Syed Hasnain, has for the past two years been working as a senior employee of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Delhi-based company of which Dr Pachauri is director-general. Furthermore, the claim – now disowned by Dr Pachauri as chairman of the IPCC – has helped TERI to win a substantial share of a $500,000 grant from one of America's leading charities, along with a share in a three million euro research study funded by the EU.

At the same time, Dr Pachauri has personally been drawn into a major row with the Indian government, previously among his leading supporters, after he described as "voodoo science" an official report by the country's leading glaciologist, Dr Vijay Raina, which dismissed Dr Hasnain's claims as baseless. Now that the IPCC has disowned the prediction made by his employee, Dr Pachauri has been castigated by India's environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, and called on by Dr Raina to apologise for his "voodoo science" charge. At a stormy Delhi press conference on Thursday, Dr Pachauri was asked whether he intended to resign as chairman of the IPCC – on whose behalf he collected a Nobel Peace Prize two years ago, alongside Al Gore – but he refused to answer questions on this fast-escalating row.

To understand why the future of Himalayan glaciers should arouse such peculiar passion, one must recall why they have long been a central icon in global warming campaigners' propaganda. Everything that polar bears have been to the West, the ice of the Himalayas has been – and more – to the East. This is because, as Mr Gore emphasised in his Oscar-winning film An Inconvenient Truth, the vast Himalayan ice sheet feeds seven of the world's major river systems, thus helping to provide water to 40 per cent of the world's population.

The IPCC's shock prediction in its 2007 report that the likelihood of the glaciers "disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high" thus had huge impact in India and other Asian countries, and it is precisely this statement that the IPCC has now been forced to disown.

Since this first came to light, many journalists have tried to track down how such an embarrassing error came to be included in the IPCC report, which is still widely touted as the most authoritative single document on global warming. The only researcher who has dug out the full story, however, is my colleague Dr Richard North, who on successive days last week featured prominently on India's leading English-language TV news channel discussing the issue with the two scientists at the heart of the row, Dr Hasnain and Dr Raina.

Until now it has been generally reported that the IPCC based its offending paragraph on an interview Dr Hasnain gave to the New Scientist in June 1999. This was a time when global warming researchers were busy making ever more extravagant claims in the run-up to the IPCC's 2001 report. It was in that year that Dr Michael Mann in America launched on the world his famous "hockey stick" graph, purporting to show that temperatures had risen faster in the late 20th century than ever before in the Earth's history. The graph was made the centrepiece of the IPCC's 2001 report, though it has since been comprehensively discredited.

In fact Dr Hasnain had first made his own controversial claim two months earlier, in a much longer interview with an Indian environmental magazine, Down to Earth, in April 1999. It was the wording of this interview which the IPCC was to quote almost exactly in its 2007 report.

Clearly the IPCC was aware that to cite a little Indian magazine as the reference for such a startling prediction would hardly seem sound scientific practice. But it discovered that Dr Hasnain's slightly later interview with New Scientist had been quoted in a 2005 report by the environmental campaigning group WWF. So it was this, rather oddly, which the IPCC cited as its authority – even though the words it quoted were taken directly from the earlier interview.

But even before the 2007 report was published, it now emerges, the offending claim was challenged, not least by a leading Austrian glaciologist, Dr Georg Kaser, a lead author on the 2007 report. He described Dr Hasnain's prediction of glaciers disappearing by 2035 as "so wrong that it is not even worth dismissing".

The year after the IPCC report was published, however, Dr Hasnain was recruited by Dr Pachauri to head a new glaciology unit at TERI. In a matter of months, TERI was given a share in a $500,000 dollar study of melting Himalayan glaciers funded by a US charity, the Carnegie Corporation. It is clear from Carnegie's database that a key part in winning this contract was played by Dr Hasnain's claim that most glaciers in the region "will vanish within 40 years as a result of global warming".

In May 2009 TERI was also given a share in a three million euro project funded by the EU. Citing the WWF's 2005 report, the EU set up its "High Noon" project to study the impact of melting Himalayan glaciers. It was particularly keen to foster alarm over the Himalayas as a means to win Indian support for action on climate change at last year's Copenhagen conference.

Last November, however, Dr Raina, the country's most senior glaciologist, published a report for the Indian government showing that the rate of retreat of Himalayan glaciers had not increased in the past 50 years and that the IPCC's predictions were recklessly alarmist. This provoked the furious reaction from Dr Pachauri that tarred Dr Raina's report as "arrogant" and "voodoo science". Only weeks later came the devastating revelation that the IPCC's own prediction had no scientific foundation.

Dr Pachauri's first response to these revelations was to claim that he had "absolutely no responsibility" for the blunder, that it was "the work of independent authors – they're responsible". But the IPCC's error was so blatant that last week Pachauri and other senior officials had to put out their remarkable statement, admitting that it had been due to a serious system failure.

Even more damaging now, however, will be the revelation that the source of that offending prediction was the man whom Dr Pachauri himself has been employing for two years as the head of his glaciology unit at TERI – and that TERI has won a share in two major research contracts based on a scare over the melting of Himalayan glaciers prominently promoted by the IPCC, using words drawn directly from Dr Hasnain.

This is by no means the first time that the procedures used by the IPCC to compile its 2007 report – the most alarmist so far – have been subjected to trenchant questioning. But no one, it seems, is more embarrassed by "Glaciergate" than Dr Pachauri himself, whose expanding worldwide business connections since he became chairman of the IPCC have recently been the subject of articles in these pages by Dr North and myself.

In view of the IPCC's statement last week, the very evident anger of the Indian government at his dismissal of its expert's report and now the revelation of the part played in this fiasco by a senior member of his own TERI staff, it appears that what we may soon be looking at here is not just "Glaciergate" but "Pachaurigate".


Canadian scientist says UN's global warming panel needs a major overhaul

Says it has become political and needs to revert to being scientific

A senior Canadian climate scientist says the United Nations' panel on global warming has become tainted by political advocacy, that its chairman should resign, and that its approach to science should be overhauled. Andrew Weaver, a climatologist at the University of Victoria, says the leadership of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has allowed it to advocate for action on global warming, rather than serve simply as a neutral science advisory body.

"There's been some dangerous crossing of that line," said Weaver on Tuesday, echoing the published sentiments of other top climate scientists in the U.S. and Europe this week. "Some might argue we need a change in some of the upper leadership of the IPCC, who are perceived as becoming advocates," he told Canwest News Service. "I think that is a very legitimate question."

Weaver also says the IPCC has become too large and unwieldy. He says its periodic reports, such as the 3,000 page, 2007 report that won the Nobel Prize, are eating up valuable academic resources and driving scientists to produce work on tight, artificial deadlines, at the expense of other, longer-term inquiries that are equally important to understanding climate change.

"The problem we have is that the IPCC process has taken on a life of its own," says Weaver, a climate-modelling physicist who co-authored chapters in the past three IPCC reports. "I think the IPCC needs a fundamental shift."

Weaver's comments follow a series of recent revelations about the scientific credibility of the IPCC's work. The panel admitted last week that its 2007 report wrongly asserted that Himalayan glaciers likely would melt by 2035. That alarming claim created concern across southern and eastern Asia, whose major rivers are fed by the glaciers.

While the content of IPCC reports is supposed to be rigorously checked by a scientific, peer-review system, those rules weren't followed in this case. The glacier-melting claim was kept in the report even though some glacier experts considered it preposterous. The claim originated with an Indian glaciologist, Syed Hasnain, who works for a research company in India headed by Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC's chairman. British newspaper reports say Pachauri's company used the false glacier claim to win multi-million-dollar research grants from the U.S. and Europe.

The scientist responsible for the Asia chapter in the IPCC report also told a British newspaper that he included Hasnain's glacier claim for political purposes. "We thought," said IPCC author Murari Lal, according to The Mail on Sunday, "that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action." The damage to the IPCC's credibility caused by the "glaciergate" affair, and by last December's "climategate" scandal, have provided months of fodder for critics who have long been skeptical of the IPCC's warnings.

Weaver says Pachauri, the panel's chairman, should resign, not only for his recent failings but because he was a poor choice to lead the IPCC to begin with.

Ross McKitrick, an economist at the University of Guelph, Ont., and a well-known IPCC critic, says the panel's scientific failings, and its willingness to cross the line into advocacy, will eventually percolate into the policy arena. "The halo has come off the IPCC," he says. "At the time of the 2007 report, there were very few politicians willing to question statements from the IPCC. Now, as this plays out, people will start to be embarrassed to cite the IPCC."

Weaver says the vast majority of the science in the IPCC reports is valid, and that the glacier revelations —"one small thing," in a 3,000 word document, as he calls it — shouldn't be used to discredit other parts of the report. "There is not a global conspiracy to drum up false evidence of global warming," he says.

But Weaver admits the IPCC needs to change, for the sake of climate science, and for its own credibility. He also says the IPCC must stop producing huge, all-encompassing reports on every aspect of climate science and instead re-organize itself into a series of small, highly-focused groups, each tasked with examining a single specific scientific question and none required to publish their conclusions on quick deadlines.

And he says IPCC officials must cease being "over enthusiastic" in pushing for policy changes. "Nobody should be using particular pieces of information to advance an agenda," says Weaver. "The IPCC cannot be an advocate, because it's not tasked to do that."

On this point, Weaver and McKitrick agree. "The IPCC is not going to be able to recover from this unless there's an honest attempt to reform their procedures," says McKitrick. "They need to start doing what they've always claimed to do — to be balanced, and open, and scientifically rigorous."


Earth’s Uncertain Response to CO2

The Earth has warmed substantially less than would have been expected during the industrial era based on current best estimates of Earth's "climate sensitivity" - the amount of global temperature rise predicted in response to a given rise in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2).

A study just published in the Journal of Climate, Stephen Schwartz, of Brookhaven National Laboratory, and colleagues examines the reasons for this discrepancy.

According to frequently used estimates of climate sensitivity there should be a global temperature rise of 2 deg C which is greater than the 0.8 deg C increase observed (which prior to 1950 also contains a solar warming component.) Schwartz's analysis attributes the reasons for the discrepancy to a possible mix of two major factors: 1) Earth's climate may be less sensitive to rising greenhouse gases than currently assumed and/or 2) reflection of sunlight by haze particles – aerosols - in the atmosphere may be offsetting some of the expected warming.

"Because of present uncertainties in climate sensitivity and the enhanced reflectivity of haze particles," said Schwartz, "it is impossible to accurately assign weights to the relative contributions of these two factors. This has major implications for understanding of Earth's climate and how the world will meet its future energy needs."

A key question facing policymakers is how much additional CO2 and other heat-trapping gases can be introduced into the atmosphere, beyond what is already present, without dangerous warming. Many consider the threshold for dangerous climatic effects to be 2 deg C above the preindustrial level, although there are considerable uncertainties.

The paper in the Journal of Climate suggests that if the Earth's climate sensitivity is at the low end of current estimates as given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, then the total maximum future emissions of heat-trapping gases so as not to exceed the 2 deg C would correspond to about 35 years of present annual emissions of CO2. A climate sensitivity at the present best estimate would mean that no more heat-trapping gases can be added.

This paper is another example that IPCC estimates of future temperature trends have limited scientific value and need re-evaluating.

Schwartz observes that formulating energy policy with the present uncertainty in climate sensitivity is like navigating a large ship in perilous waters without charts. "We know we have to change the course of this ship, and we know the direction of the change, but we don't know how much we need to change the course or how soon we have to do it."



With lots from the redoubtable Andrew Bolt. Six current articles below

Conservative Federal politicians still looking for a non-destructive climate change policy

FEDERAL Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has hinted his climate action plan will centre on storing carbon in soil and planting more trees. But the Government is preparing to release modelling which will rubbish Mr Abbott's plan. Highly placed Government sources said an analysis of an Opposition carbon sequestration plan found it would cost taxpayers $10 billion but fall short of targets to cut greenhouse emissions.

Mr Abbott, who again pledged his climate action plan would not be a "big tax" like Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's scheme, has cited research showing a 50 per cent cut in carbon dioxide emissions could come from improved land management techniques. His plan yesterday received some reserved support from Ross Garnaut, the man who was appointed to head Mr Rudd's climate change review. "Let me say that there's something in the idea of focusing on biosequestration (locking up carbon through tree planting or better agricultural practices)," he said.

Mr Abbott, who yesterday toured a NSW farm said to be a world leader in carbon capture, will release his climate change strategy within a week. The strong focus on agriculture he is believed to be planning was also agreed to by the Government after the ill-fated negotiations with former leader Malcolm Turnbull. "What our policy will involve is encouraging things that will actually help the environment and reduce emissions," Mr Abbott said.

But the Government modelling is believed to show that 30 million hectares of land would need to be involved by 2020 if the Opposition aimed to achieve 150 million tonnes of carbon savings by then. The modelling estimated that each year for a decade, an average of 3 million hectares of land – about half the size of Tasmania – would need to be involved.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said Mr Abbott had only days to come clean on his policy. "If Mr Abbott cannot release a fully costed policy that outlines a clear pathway to reach the bipartisan emissions cuts he has committed to, it will confirm he cannot be trusted on climate change," Senator Wong said.


Be alert but wary on climate claims

Doubts over modelling and emissions trading schemes are justified, says the following skeptical article from "the Age", Australia's most Leftist major newspaper

PRE-COPENHAGEN, the global warming debate had been captured by prophets of doom and the language of apocalypse. This was particularly off-putting in a discussion that depends on high-quality science, cool logic, and careful argument. It raises old suspicions. The West has already experienced theories of impending environmental disaster-with the Club of Rome launching a successful scare campaign in the 1970s about the world running out of food. Its book, Limits to Growth, sold 30 million copies. Hardly a decade had passed before its predictions were proved wrong.

Of course, the objective case for global warming is separate from the manner in which some of its proponents have publicised it. And, it should be judged on its own merits. Nevertheless, I must confess to being wary of causes that attract pseudo-religious enthusiasm and intellectual fanaticism.

Current predictions of global warming and its long-term effects depend on computer-generated mathematical models. There are two major problems with such models. First, their relationship to reality is compromised by the simplifying assumptions they have to make in order to reduce the number of variables they can take into account to a workable number.

In economics this means they are next to useless for long-term prophecy. We are confronted every day with how poor economic commentators are at prediction. If this is true in the domain of economics, how much more the case is it for climate, where the potential variables are vastly greater?

The second problem with mathematical models is that they assume current factors will continue as they are-major ones will stay major, minor ones minor, and no significant new ones will emerge.

History is a story of the rise of the unexpected. Having said this, some predictions are better than others. For instance, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 report projects greenhouse gas emissions. In the limited case of carbon dioxide over the next two decades, there is some plausibility to the predictions - given current dependence on coal-fired power stations and the long development times needed to switch modes of electricity generation. However, when it comes to linking emissions to rising world temperatures, the models become fanciful.

The New York Times, hardly an enclave of climate scepticism, featured an article on September 23, 2009, which admitted that global temperatures have been stable for the past decade, and may even drop in the next few years. Surely, this trend may be an anomaly, but its existence does raise a serious question mark, for all but true believers.

Some disciplines in both the arts and the sciences are highly speculative, and that makes their theories and predictions unstable. Does climate science belong here? I have my suspicions. For instance, climatologists told us for a decade or more that climate in south-eastern Australia - and in particular, rainfall - was determined by weather patterns and sea currents across the Pacific Ocean. Now, suddenly we are being told that it is rather the Indian Ocean that is critical.

The claims made about the science have been rash, asserting dogmatic certainty about human-induced warming when the reality is that the overall picture is quite unclear. This has now backfired, with the IPCC admitting mistakes in its 2007 report, and the East Anglia Climatic Research Unit, which the IPCC has drawn heavily upon, shown to have been, at the least, devious in the results it has made public.

There may be some link between the rashness of the global warming campaign and the haplessness of the politics that has followed. The best current bet is that, after Copenhagen, emission controls is dead as a serious international issue. And further, only some environmental disaster that can be convincingly linked to climate change will rekindle it. The "sceptics" have won the politics.

The clumsy politics is international and local. An emissions trading scheme, as proposed by the Australian Government, is very bad policy. It is a form of taxation on carbon under another name. To tax carbon will lead to thousands of pages of regulation - a godsend to bureaucracy, but paralysing for initiative and industry.

To give one example: taxing carbon, especially in Australia, would make little sense unless agriculture is included within the scheme. Farmers tell me that the amount of carbon dioxide released from the soil during ploughing depends on the depth of the furrows. There will need to be different regulations for different types of ploughing. Multiply this small particular across the range and complexity of Australian agriculture and our farmers will be looking at a code of regulations that will make the Taxation Act look like a kindergarten primer. One of the benefits of Copenhagen is that an ETS may now be politically dead in Australia.

Leaving aside the reservations I have expressed here, what if the gloomy predictions about global warming and its consequences turn out to be justified? It is not prudent for us humans to throw too much muck up into the sky.

So where does that leave us? We do need emission controls, but they should be kept as simple as possible. Why not just target major polluters, and notably coal-fired electricity generation? But Copenhagen has rendered even that futile for a trivial world polluter such as Australia, given that China and India have made it clear they will not be cutting back on their use of coal.


It’s over. Even "The Age" is crumbling

By Andrew Bolt

The ultimate sign that the tide is turning agains the great global warming scare: "The Age" publishes an opinion piece by a sceptic [see above]

UPDATE: For Victorians wanting to hear just why the global warming scare is collapsing, I pass on this email:
You are invited to attend the Melbourne public lecture by Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

Renowned world-wide for his knowledge of global warming and the eloquence to convey his message.

In: the Ballroom of the Sofitel Hotel (25 Collins St.) At: 5:30 pm. On: Monday February 1st.

Lord Monckton will be introduced by Prof. Ian Plimer (author of best seller “Heaven + Earth") who will also participate in the Question and Answer period after Christopher Monckton’s main address… Admission will be by “donation” of $20 at the door…

Enquiries should be directed to Case SMIT ....
UPDATE 2: Another sign that the global warmists’ crusade to cut emissions is going nowhere - and that the weather isn’t matching their predictions, either:
The queue of ships at the world’s biggest coal port, Newcastle, is near its longest level since before the financial crisis and waiting times are at a one-year record.

In a sign of the booming demand for coal, figures published this week show 58 ships were waiting on Monday, just shy of the pre-Christmas peak of 60, which was the longest queue since mid-2007. Average waiting times for vessels at the port have also blown out to a fresh one-year high of 17.86 days, the Newcastle Port Corporation figures show.

The trend, mirrored at key ports around the country, points to the soaring demand from coal buyers in China and Europe, after severe winters caused a surge in demand for electricity.
UPDATE 3: Speaking of which:
Towns such as Thredbo, and Cooma in the NSW Southern Tablelands, reported a brief flurry of snow this morning, Bureau of Meteorology Duty forecaster Jane Golding said… Ms Golding said summer snow was a rare occurrence in towns such as Cooma. “In Cooma, records began there in 1973 and we’ve never had any observations of snow there in December, January and February,’’ she said.
UPDATE 4: And in further chilling news, more evidence that a colder world is much more dangerous than a warmer one:
The United Nations is raising concerns over the worsening humanitarian situation in Mongolia, brought on by drought and temperatures hitting minus 40 degrees Celsius in most provinces. The extreme weather conditions, known locally as the Dzud, have already caused the deaths of more than one million livestock, as supplies of fodder dwindles.

Ten signs that the warming scare is collapsing

By Andrew Bolt

ONCE global warming was “the great moral challenge of our generation”. Or so claimed the Prime Minister.

But suddenly it’s the great con that’s falling to bits around Kevin Rudd’s ears.

In fact, so fast is global warming theory collapsing that in his flurry of recent speeches to outline his policies for the new decade, Rudd has barely mentioned his “moral challenge” at all.

Take his long Australia Day reception speech on Sunday. Rudd talked of our ageing population and of building stuff, of taxes, hospitals and schools - but dared not say one word about the booga booga he used to claim could destroy our economy, Kakadu, the Great Barrier Reef and 750,000 coastal homes.

What’s happened?

Answer: in just the past few months has come a cascade of evidence that the global warming scare is based on often dodgy science and even outright fraud.

Here are just the top 10 new signs that catastrophic man-made warming may be just another beat-up, like swine flu, SARS, and the Y2K bug.

1. Climategate

THE rot for Rudd started last November with the leaking of emails from the Climatic Research Unit of Britain’s University of East Anglia.

Those emails from many of the world’s top climate scientists showed them conspiring to sack sceptical scientists from magazines, hide data from sceptics, and cover up errors.

One of the scientists, CRU boss Phil Jones, even boasted of having found a “trick” to “hide the decline” in recent temperature reconstructions.

Jones was also on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, so influential in convincing us our gasses are heating the planet that it won the Nobel Prize.

But he showed how political the IPCC actually is by promising in yet another email that he and another colleague would do almost anything to keep sceptical studies out of IPCC reports.

Just as damning was the admission by IPCC lead author Kevin Trenberth that the world isn’t warming as the IPCC said it must: “We cannot account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

2. The Copenhagen farce

MORE than 40,000 politicians, scientists and activists flew to Copenhagen last month - in clouds of greenhouse gasses - to get all nations to agree to make the rest of us cut our own emissions to “stop” global warming.

This circus ended in total failure. China, the world’s biggest emitter, refused to choke its growth. So did India. Now the United States is unlikely to make cuts, either, with Barack Obama’s presidency badly wounded and the economy so sick.

Not only did this show that Rudd’s planned tax on our emissions will now be even more suicidally useless. It also suggested world leaders can’t really think global warming is so bad.

3. The Himalayan scare


Which country’s chief scientist defends science?

By Andrew Bolt

Draw your own conclusions about which chief scientist is best defending science against dogma and politics.

THE impact of global warming has been exaggerated by some scientists and there is an urgent need for more honest disclosure of the uncertainty of predictions about the rate of climate change, according to the British Government’s chief scientific adviser.

John Beddington was speaking after an admission by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that it grossly over-stated the rate at which Himalayan glaciers were receding. Professor Beddington said that climate scientists should be less hostile to sceptics who questioned man-made global warming. He condemned scientists who refused to publish the data underpinning their reports…

“I don’t think it’s healthy to dismiss proper scepticism. Science grows and improves in the light of criticism. There is a fundamental uncertainty about climate change prediction that can’t be changed,” he said.
THE planet has just five years to avoid disastrous global warming, says the Federal Government’s chief scientist. Prof Penny Sackett yesterday urged all Australians to reduce their carbon footprint… “Australians can make an enormous contribution, so why would we not rise to this challenge and this opportunity,” she told a business conference in Melbourne.

Prof Sackett refused to comment on the failure of the emissions trading scheme to be passed by the Senate this week. She said her role was as an adviser to the Government and not a commentator on public policy, but she did not deny her appointment a year ago was a political one.
At some stage there will have to be an accounting among scientists who failed to defend the tenets of their discipline in an age of politically-motivated unreason, and who failed to defend the few sceptics who dared to speak up and were punished for it.


"Stacking" the IPCC

"Stacking" is an old custom on the Australian Left. It means to ensure that some deliberative body (e.g. a Labor Party branch) is mostly composed of people whom you favour and who will therefore decide what you want them to decide -- JR

By Andrew Bolt

How to stack the IPCC. First, let the Rudd Government have sole power to nominate Australia’s IPCC authors:
The IPCC has started work on the preparation of the Fifth Assessment Report that will detail the state of climate change knowledge, and has issued an official call for authors…

The Department of Climate Change (DCC) operates as the National Focal Point for IPCC activities and is inviting Australian experts to nominate for Coordinating Lead Author, Lead Author and Review Editor roles. Interested parties are requested to read the background information and email for an Australian Government nomination form. This form will require interested parties to detail their qualifications, areas of expertise, recent publications and contact information.

The Australian Government will select nominees to put forward to the IPCC based on selection criteria that will be provided to interested parties. The IPCC Bureau will then select these positions.
What chance this side of Armageddon that Kevin Rudd or Climate Change Minister Penny Wong will nominate a sceptical scientist to the IPCC? Ditto for Britain and other nations where alarmist governments rule.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010


An email from Norm Kalmanovitch [] below:

The GCM Climate Models provide a marvellous tool for studying climate, but they have no application in predicting global temperature changes. This is because climate models balance off complex "forcing" expressed in watts/m2 (Watts per square metre); but temperature needs a 'time value' for this forcing to express energy changes in kWh (kilowatt hours). This is the product of watts/m2 times the number of square metres, times the number of hours that this forcing is operating.

The climate models do not incorporate terms for either the number of square metres or the number of hours for the given energy flux, so there is no direct temperature result possible. The only way that temperature is related to forcing is through a contrived empirical relationship derived to give the predetermined result.

This relationship ranges between 0.5°C and 0.75°C of warming for each watt/m2 of additional forcing. There is no possible physical basis for this relationship because neither 'time' nor 'area' are included in the determination, so it is just one more manipulation designed to give the predetermined catastrophic global warming result.

When put to a simple "reality check" this relationship fails miserably. Global temperature is a hypothetical average air temperature 1.5m above the surface of the Earth. At a density of 0.0125kg/l the mass of the air from the surface to 1.5m for the entire Earth is 6,371,0002 x 1.5 x 4p x 0.0125 x 1000 = 9.56 x 1015kg. The area of forcing is 6,371,0002 x 4p = 5.59 x 1014 m2. The specific heat of air is 1kcal/kg. The conversion is 1 kWh = 860kcal. The forcing parameter for a doubling of CO2 is 5.35ln(2) = 3.71watts/m2

Since the Earth is radiating 24 hours per day this is an energy transfer of 0.089kWh per m2 each day. This is total energy transfer of 0.50 x 1014watts which is equal to 0.43 x 1014kcal. With a specific heat of 1kcal/kg this is enough heat energy to warm the bottom 1.5m of the atmosphere by 0.50 x 1014/95.6 x 1014 = 0.0052°C each day.

Since there is no time value given for forcing, this energy transfer will continue to occur day after day year after year as long as the CO2 remains at the doubled level. In one year this will equate to 1.90°C of temperature increase. In 100 years this will equate to 190°C increase which would fry everything on the Earth.

Since the geological record shows that in the 79million years of the Cretaceous Period when dinosaurs flourished, this did not happen even though CO2 was at levels between two and five times our current level throughout the entire Cretaceous.

This is not "rocket science" just simple high school physics and math, and it is curious how NASA with its actual 'Rocket Scientists" allowed one of its own members to publish such a ridiculous concept as a "peer reviewed" paper and start the whole fraudulent climate change issue.

China has 'open mind' about the cause of climate change

China's most senior climate change official surprised a summit in India when he questioned whether global warming is caused by carbon gas emissions and said Beijing is keeping an "open mind". Xie Zhenhua was speaking at a summit between the developing world's most powerful countries, India, Brazil, South Africa and China, which is now the largest emitter of carbon dioxide, the gas believed to be responsible for climate change.

The four countries have joined forces to intensify pressure on the United States and Europe to fulfil promises to cut their emissions and give more than $10 billion (£6.2 billion) to those countries worst affected by climate change by the end of this year.

Environment ministers from the four countries voiced their frustration at the US for failing to lead the way with carbon emission reductions despite being responsible for much of the emissions most scientists believe to be the cause of global warming.

But Mr Xie, China's vice-chairman of national development and reforms commission, later said although mainstream scientific opinion blames emissions from industrial development for climate change, China is not convinced. "There are disputes in the scientific community. We have to have an open attitude to the scientific research. There's an alternative view that climate change is caused by cyclical trends in nature itself. We have to keep an open attitude," he said. "It is already a solid fact that climate is warming. The major reasons for this climate change is the unconstrained emissions produced by the developed countries in the process of industrialisation. That's the mainstream view [but] there are other views. Our attitude is an open attitude".

India and South Africa's environment ministers appeared to be baffled by his comments.The Indian delegrate, Jairam Ramesh, said he did not believe his Chinese counterpart had meant what he said, while South Africa's minister Buyelwa Sonjica said she could not "second guess" what Mr Xie had meant by his comments. They appeared to undermine the new group's main argument, that Western developed countries should pay for poor countries to switch to low carbon models because its emissions had caused climate change.

Earlier, the ministers had pledged to give Western countries a "slap in the face" by announcing their plans to cut emissions by the end of this month and by offering their own aid to the poorer countries suffering most from climate change.


Stern review also undermined by the flawed IPCC version of science

More proof that Stern is just a political hack who does what he thinks his government will reward

There is another important story in involving the Muir-Wood et al. 2006 paper that was misrepresented by the IPCC (See here) as showing a linkage between increasing temperatures and rising damages from extreme weather events. The Stern Review Report of the UK government also relied on that paper as the sole basis for its projections of increasing damage from extreme events. In fact as much as 40% of the Stern Review projections for the global costs of unmitigated climate change derive from its misuse of the Muir-Wood et al. paper.

I documented this in a peer reviewed paper published in 2007, which you can see here in PDF. In that paper I wrote:
Furthermore, the Stern Review uses the Muir-Wood et al. (2006) as the sole basis for projecting future global losses from extreme events (see Table 5.2, p. 138). This means that the Stern Review's conclusions on the costs of future extreme events under conditions of climate change are based almost entirely on projections of future hurricane losses, which Stern projects somewhat mysteriously will increase to 1.3% of global GDP or higher. Its reliance on estimate of tropical cyclones losses is both direct and indirect. Its summary Table 5.2 on p. 138 indicates that increasing losses from hurricanes are one or two orders of magnitude larger than other losses that it has examined. . . inexplicably, the Stern Review concludes that US tropical cyclone losses will increase from 0.6% of GDP today to 1.3% of GDP under 2[degrees] of warming (Table 5.2). Yet, on page 130 the Stern Review cites Nordhaus (2007) to suggest that 2-3[degrees] of warming could double tropical cyclone losses from 0.06% of GDP (2005 losses) to 0.13% (future losses). There is no justification provided for increasing the Nordhaus (2007) values by a factor of 10. This apparent error (simply a typo?) is consistent with the Stern Review's overstatement of future economic losses from extreme weather events more generally.
As I was preparing this post, I accessed the Stern Review Report on the archive site of the UK government to capture an image of Table 5.2. Much to my surprise I learned that since the publication of my paper, Table 5.2 has mysteriously changed!


There is no note, no acknowledgment, nothing indicating that the estimated damage for hurricanes was modified after publication by an order of magnitude. The report was quietly changed to make the error go away. Of course, even with the Table corrected, now the Stern Review math does not add up, as the total GDP impact from USA, UK and Europe does not come anywhere close to the 1% global total for developed country impacts (based on Muir-Wood), much less the higher values suggested as possible in the report's text, underscoring a key point of my 2007 paper.

Consequently, anyone wanting to understand or replicate my analysis from the original source would no doubt be confused because evidence of the error in Table 5.2 was quietly changed after the publication of my paper. Had they noted the error it would have obviously led to questions about the implications, and ultimately the bottom line estimates of the costs of unmitigated climate change. Rather than rewrite the report, apparently, it was decided instead to rewrite history. Fixing facts to fit a policy conclusion is not a good idea for any government, but to do so with the quiet participation of leading academic advisors is doubly bad.

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

What the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) should Do in the Wake of Unfolding Scandals

Statement of National Center for Public Policy Research president Amy Ridenour

In the wake of admissions the IPCC knew all along it was putting bogus science in its 2007 Assessment Report, that the false prediction was included specifically for its "impact on policymakers and politicians," and that this allegedly was covered up as long as it was because the IPCC chairman was raising money for his personal pursuits based on the prediction, the IPCC must immediately take three steps to restore its credibility. If it does not, the Obama Administration should use its influence to have it shut down.

To restore its credibility, the IPCC should:

1) Return its half of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize and replace its current leadership;

2) Adopt and enforce a strict conflict-of-interest policy;

3) Adopt an uncompromising transparency policy, which includes the release of all data, all emails, all meeting minutes, all drafts and all other documentation related to the development of assessment reports and all other policy pronouncements, in the past and from this date forward.

Step one would signal to the world that the IPCC is serious about reform.

Step two would reduce, though not eliminate, the temptation faced by IPCC personnel to tailor conclusions to moneymaking, career or fundraising opportunities for themselves or affiliated businesses or institutions.

Step three would be a constant reminder to IPCC personnel that their work genuinely will be peer-reviewed, in a universal sense, which is as it should be given the gravity of the IPCC's work.

Politicians relying upon IPCC recommendations are considering policies that would limit the access of billions of people to low-cost energy in an effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This is a grave step that should be undertaken only if the alternative is worse. As many have considered the IPCC to be the institution that can answer that question, given the gravity of these circumstances, no level of transparency and ethics can be too high.

Global warming believers and "skeptics" do not often agree, but this is a subject upon which we should be able to reach a true consensus. No one benefits when the IPCC knowingly publishes bogus science.


Last on Americans’ Priority List: Global Warming

As President Barack Obama begins his second year in office, the public’s priorities for the president and Congress remain much as they were one year ago, according to the folks at the Pew Research Center. Global warming, however, rates at the bottom of 21 items receiving votes.

In Public’s Priorities for 2010: Economy, Jobs, Terrorism, new poll results released today show strengthening the nation’s economy and improving the job situation top the list. In the wake of the failed Christmas Day terrorist attack on a Detroit-bound airliner, defending the country from future terrorist attacks also remains a top priority.

Interestingly, President Obama’s top issue, health care, barely cracked the Top 10, coming in 8th place.


Official Greenie vandalism coming to Britain

Huge expanses of British town and city centres built in the Sixties and Seventies may have to be torn down to meet carbon emission standards for buildings.

In an interview with The Times, the Government’s new chief construction adviser said that there may be no choice but to demolish buildings put up in those decades because it is impossible to refurbish them to a sufficiently high standard.

Paul Morrell, who took up his new post at the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills at the end of November last year, said: “In the Sixties, everything was built cheaper, faster and nastier. If you are going to try to fix buildings, then really you won’t have too many problems with anything built earlier than the Fifties or after the Eighties. Although you can do some things to buildings from the Sixties and Seventies, like replacing the roofs, there are probably some places that need to come down entirely.”

Mr Morrell has been charged with ridding the construction industry of carbon to meet a government target to cut UK carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, compared with levels in the Nineties. He said that problem areas were likely to be places such as Newcastle city centre, where a lot of buildings went up in the Sixties and Seventies. Other towns that could undergo an eco-makeover could include Slough and Aylesbury, visited by Janet Street-Porter for Channel 4’s Demolition programme, broadcast in 2005.

Mr Morrell said: “The buildings that pose the most difficulties are semi-industrialised, highly inefficient, badly insulated and so ugly that they are not worth refurbishing.”

Property is responsible for 50 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions, according to the British Property Federation. The Government has a target for all new commercial buildings built from 2018 to be zero-carbon, but a strategy for how to deal with existing stock has yet to be established.

The Policy Exchange, the public policy think-tank, has estimated that Britain would need to spend about £400 billion on new and refurbished infrastructure by 2020 to address historic underinvestment and to kick-start transition to a low-carbon economy.

Mr Morrell’s comments will be a blow to fans of retro architecture. The brutalist style that characterised the Sixties and Seventies has gained a following in recent years, as more such buildings have been torn down.

Its devotees may be reassured to learn that listed buildings from any era are likely to remain exempt from carbon targets, according to English Heritage. The listing authority said that many modern refurbishment measures, such as plastic windows and wall insulation, were not suitable for historic buildings because the measures do not allow the buildings to breathe, increasing the risk of mould and rot. However, many adaptations — such as better boilers and loft insulation — are equally applicable to new and most historic houses.

Property landlords are starting to deal with incoming requirements that will force them to spend millions of pounds to improve energy efficiency in their buildings, or to redevelop them. Increasingly owners favour refurbishing stock rather than starting from scratch, according to GVA Grimley, the property consultancy, partly because it is usually cheaper. Mr Morrell, who cited the refurbishment of Hampshire County Council’s Elizabeth II Court building in Winchester as a successful example of how a property can be improved, said: “The problem is weighing up whether it is more energy-efficient to knock something down and start from scratch, or refurbish it. We don’t have the methodologies for weighing that up in all cases.”

Francis Salway, the chief executive of Land Securities, Britain’s biggest commercial landlord, said that the company was using a combination of both approaches. He said: “We have refurbished some smaller buildings, but it is quite high-risk to refurbish larger stock. It is generally cheaper to refurbish, rather than redevelop, but sometimes the numbers come out surprisingly close. Refurbishing is sometimes more complex and less effective than starting from scratch.”

The Government committed itself last week to a consultation on the introduction of display energy certificates (DECs), which show offices’ and shops’ energy use. Responding to the Committee on Climate Change’s first progress report, ministers said that DECs should be rolled out to give everybody a better understanding of carbon emissions. The British Property Federation said that DECs were necessary because they were based on actual energy use.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

Is the IPCC con falling apart at last?

Glacier scientist: I knew data hadn't been verified

The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders. Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.

In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action. ‘It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in.’

Dr Lal’s admission will only add to the mounting furore over the melting glaciers assertion, which the IPCC was last week forced to withdraw because it has no scientific foundation. According to the IPCC’s statement of principles, its role is ‘to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis, scientific, technical and socio-economic information – IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy’.

The claim that Himalayan glaciers are set to disappear by 2035 rests on two 1999 magazine interviews with glaciologist Syed Hasnain, which were then recycled without any further investigation in a 2005 report by the environmental campaign group WWF. It was this report that Dr Lal and his team cited as their source.

The WWF article also contained a basic error in its arithmetic. A claim that one glacier was retreating at the alarming rate of 134 metres a year should in fact have said 23 metres – the authors had divided the total loss measured over 121 years by 21, not 121. Last Friday, the WWF website posted a humiliating statement recognising the claim as ‘unsound’, and saying it ‘regrets any confusion caused’.

Dr Lal said: ‘We knew the WWF report with the 2035 date was “grey literature” [material not published in a peer-reviewed journal]. But it was never picked up by any of the authors in our working group, nor by any of the more than 500 external reviewers, by the governments to which it was sent, or by the final IPCC review editors.’

In fact, the 2035 melting date seems to have been plucked from thin air. Professor Graham Cogley, a glacier expert at Trent University in Canada, who began to raise doubts in scientific circles last year, said the claim multiplies the rate at which glaciers have been seen to melt by a factor of about 25. ‘My educated guess is that there will be somewhat less ice in 2035 than there is now,’ he said. ‘But there is no way the glaciers will be close to disappearing. It doesn’t seem to me that exaggerating the problem’s seriousness is going to help solve it.’

One of the problems bedevilling Himalayan glacier research is a lack of reliable data. But an authoritative report published last November by the Indian government said: ‘Himalayan glaciers have not in any way exhibited, especially in recent years, an abnormal annual retreat.’

When this report was issued, Raj Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, denounced it as ‘voodoo science’. Having been forced to apologise over the 2035 claim, Dr Pachauri blamed Dr Lal, saying his team had failed to apply IPCC procedures. It was an accusation rebutted angrily by Dr Lal. ‘We as authors followed them to the letter,’ he said. ‘Had we received information that undermined the claim, we would have included it.’

However, an analysis of those 500-plus formal review comments, to be published tomorrow by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), the new body founded by former Chancellor Nigel Lawson, suggests that when reviewers did raise issues that called the claim into question, Dr Lal and his colleagues simply ignored them. For example, Hayley Fowler of Newcastle University, suggested that their draft did not mention that Himalayan glaciers in the Karakoram range are growing rapidly, citing a paper published in the influential journal Nature.

In their response, the IPCC authors said, bizarrely, that they were ‘unable to get hold of the suggested references’, but would ‘consider’ this in their final version. They failed to do so.

The Japanese government commented that the draft did not clarify what it meant by stating that the likelihood of the glaciers disappearing by 2035 was ‘very high’. ‘What is the confidence level?’ it asked. The authors’ response said ‘appropriate revisions and editing made’. But the final version was identical to their draft.

Last week, Professor Georg Kaser, a glacier expert from Austria, who was lead author of a different chapter in the IPCC report, said when he became aware of the 2035 claim a few months before the report was published, he wrote to Dr Lal, urging him to withdraw it as patently untrue. Dr Lal claimed he never received this letter. ‘He didn’t contact me or any of the other authors of the chapter,’ he said.

The damage to the IPCC’s reputation, already tarnished by last year’s ‘Warmergate’ leaked email scandal, is likely to be considerable. Benny Peiser, the GWPF’s director, said the affair suggested the IPCC review process was ‘skewed by a bias towards alarmist assessments’.

Environmentalist Alton Byers said the panel’s credibility had been damaged. ‘They’ve done sloppy work,’ he said. ‘We need better research on the ground, not unreliable predictions derived from computer models.’

Last night, Dr Pachauri defended the IPCC, saying it was wrong to generalise based on a single mistake. ‘Our procedure is robust,’ he added.


Bogus glacier claims were very profitable for U.N. climate boss

THE chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has used bogus claims that Himalayan glaciers were melting to win grants worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Rajendra Pachauri's Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), based in New Delhi, was awarded up to $US500,000 ($555,000) by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the lion's share of a $US4 million EU grant funded by European taxpayers.

The revelation comes just a week after London newspaper The Sunday Times highlighted serious scientific flaws in the IPCC's 2007 benchmark report on the likely impacts of global warming.

The IPCC had warned that climate change was likely to melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 -- an idea considered ludicrous by most glaciologists. Last week, a humbled IPCC retracted that claim and corrected its report.

However, the same bogus claim has been cited in grant applications for TERI. One of them, announced earlier this month, resulted in the $US500,000 grant from Carnegie. An extract from the grant application published on Carnegie's website said: "The Himalaya glaciers, vital to more than a dozen major rivers that sustain hundreds of millions of people in South Asia, are melting and receding at a dangerous rate.

"One authoritative study reported that most of the glaciers in the region `will vanish within 40 years as a result of global warming, resulting in widespread water shortages'."

The Carnegie money was specifically given to aid research into "the potential security and humanitarian impact on the region" as the glaciers began to disappear. Dr Pachauri has since acknowledged that this threat, if it exists, will take centuries to have any serious effect.

The money was initially given to the Global Centre, an Icelandic foundation that then channelled it to TERI.

The cash was acknowledged by TERI in a news release, issued on January 15, just before the glacier scandal became public, in which Dr Pachauri repeated the claims of imminent glacial melt. It said: "According to predictions of scientific merit they may indeed melt away in several decades."

The same release also quoted Syed Hasnain, the glaciologist who, in 1999, made the now discredited claim that Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035.

Professor Hasnain now heads Dr Pachauri's glaciology unit at TERI, which sought the grants and which is carrying out the glacial research.

Critics point out that Professor Hasnain, of all people, should have known the claim that the Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035 was bogus because he was meant to be a leading glaciologist specialising in the Himalayas. Any suggestion that TERI has repeated an unchecked scientific claim without checking it, to win grants, could prove hugely embarrassing for Dr Pachauri and the IPCC.

The $US4m grant, from the EU, was designed to "to assess the impact of Himalayan glaciers' retreat". It was part of the EU's HighNoon project, launched last May, to fund research into how India might adapt to loss of glaciers.

In one presentation at last May's launch, Anastasios Kentarchos, of the European Commission's Climate Change and Environmental Risks Unit, specifically cited the bogus IPCC claims about glacier melt as a reason for pouring taxpayers' money into the project.

Dr Pachauri spoke at the same presentation and Professor Hasnain is understood to have been present.

The EU grant was split between leading European research institutions, including Britain's Met Office, with TERI getting a major but unspecified share because it represented the host country.

The glacier affair has seen Dr Pachauri come under increasing pressure in India, prompting him to call a news conference on Saturday, at which he dismissed calls for his resignation and said no action would be taken against the authors of the erroneous section of the IPCC report.


Wobbly prophecies about the impact of global warming

The excerpt below is from Revkin of the NYT, a Warmist. But even he can see some very poor "science" in the most recent IPCC report:

The report on impacts of climate change – one of three main sections of each of the panel’s periodic assessments — has long been seen by some climate scientists, including some participants in the I.P.C.C. process, as a relatively weak element in the overall effort, in part because it has less scientific literature to draw on.

The passage on the Asian glaciers is not alone in including internal inconsistencies or imprecision. The sections on the risks of extinction from warming in the report and the panel’s summaries are, at the very least, confusing.

In the Summary for Policy Makers of the report on climate impacts, there are different summations of extinction risk within a few pages. On page 6, the summary states:
Approximately 20 to 30 percent of plant and animal species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average temperature exceed 1.5 to 2.5°C. * N [4.4, T4.1]
In a chart on page 16, at a point marking a 2°C warming from the global average temperature through the 1980s and 1990s, a label reads:
Up to 30 percent of species at increasing risk of extinction.
In the Summary for Policy Makers of the final Synthesis Report drawing on the entire 2007 assessment, the extinction risk is summarized in yet another way (the italics are from the report):
There is medium confidence that approximately 20 to 30 percent of species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average warming exceed 1.5 to 2.5°C (relative to 1980 to 1999).
I asked a half dozen I.P.C.C. scientists about this during a side session at the Copenhagen climate talks and, in particular, asked them to decipher for me the meaning of the nested qualifiers in that final statement. Among other things, how much would extinction risk rise? Basically, they acknowledged there was inconsistency and flawed writing.

How would you translate that last passage into a clear statement on global biological unraveling from that amount of warming?

While it’s clear, from the Arctic to the tropics, that human-driven warming and other human activities can, and will, have substantial ecological impacts, projecting outright extinction remains one of the trickier enterprises in biology.


The mystery of the missing thermometers

Scientists using selective temperature data, skeptics say

Call it the mystery of the missing thermometers. Two months after "climategate" cast doubt on some of the science behind global warming, new questions are being raised about the reliability of a key temperature database, used by the United Nations and climate change scientists as proof of recent planetary warming. Two American researchers allege that U.S. government scientists have skewed global temperature trends by ignoring readings from thousands of local weather stations around the world, particularly those in colder altitudes and more northerly latitudes, such as Canada.

In the 1970s, nearly 600 Canadian weather stations fed surface temperature readings into a global database assembled by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Today, NOAA only collects data from 35 stations across Canada. Worse, only one station -- at Eureka on Ellesmere Island -- is now used by NOAA as a temperature gauge for all Canadian territory above the Arctic Circle.

The Canadian government, meanwhile, operates 1,400 surface weather stations across the country, and more than 100 above the Arctic Circle, according to Environment Canada. Yet as American researchers Joseph D'Aleo, a meteorologist, and E. Michael Smith, a computer programmer, point out in a study published on the website of the Science and Public Policy Institute, NOAA uses "just one thermometer [for measuring] everything north of latitude 65 degrees." Both the authors, and the institute, are well-known in climate-change circles for their skepticism about the threat of global warming.

Mr. D'Aleo and Mr. Smith say NOAA and another U.S. agency, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) have not only reduced the total number of Canadian weather stations in the database, but have "cherry picked" the ones that remain by choosing sites in relatively warmer places, including more southerly locations, or sites closer to airports, cities or the sea -- which has a warming effect on winter weather.

Over the past two decades, they say, "the percentage of [Canadian] stations in the lower elevations tripled and those at higher elevations, above 300 feet, were reduced in half." Using the agency's own figures, Smith shows that in 1991, almost a quarter of NOAA's Canadian temperature data came from stations in the high Arctic. The same region contributes only 3% of the Canadian data today.

Mr. D'Aleo and Mr. Smith say NOAA and GISS also ignore data from numerous weather stations in other parts of the world, including Russia, the U.S. and China. They say NOAA collects no temperature data at all from Bolivia -- a high-altitude, landlocked country -- but instead "interpolates" or assigns temperature values for that country based on data from "nearby" temperature stations located at lower elevations in Peru, or in the Amazon basin.

The result, they say, is a warmer-than-truthful global temperature record. "NOAA . . . systematically eliminated 75% of the world's stations with a clear bias towards removing higher latitude, high altitude and rural locations, all of which had a tendency to be cooler," the authors say. "The thermometers in a sense, marched towards the tropics, the sea, and to airport tarmacs."

The NOAA database forms the basis of the influential climate modelling work, and the dire, periodic warnings on climate change, issued by James Hanson, the director of the GISS in New York. Neither agency responded to a request for comment Wednesday from Canwest News Service. However Hanson did issue a public statement on the matter earlier this week: "NASA has not been involved in any manipulation of climate data used in the annual GISS global temperature analysis," he said. "The agency is confident of the quality of this data and stands by previous scientifically-based conclusions regarding global temperatures."

In addition to the allegations against NOAA and GISS, climate scientists are also dealing with the embarrassment this week of the false glacier-melt warning contained in the 2007 report of the UN Panel on Climate Change. That report said Himalayan glaciers are likely to disappear within three decades if current rates of melting continue. This week, however, the panel admitted there is no scientific evidence to support such a claim.

The revelations come only two months after the "climategate" scandal, in which the leak or theft of thousands of e-mails -- private discussions between scientists in the U.S. and Britain -- showed that a group of influential climatologists tried for years to manipulate global warming data, rig the scientific peer-review process and keep their methods secret from other, contrary-minded researchers.


Junkscience: Climategate Distortion of Temperature Data

By S. Fred Singer

We discuss here in some detail the way in which warming trends were introduced into the IPCC Report --when in fact they did not exist or were extremely small. We focus on the period 1979 to 1997. There was cooling up to 1976; in 1998 there was a super-El-Nino and no subsequent warming. Our discussion is in three parts: (1) a ‘bottoms-up’ approach; (2) the ‘top-down’ approach; and next week I shall discuss (3) the treatment of sea surface temperatures (SST).

(1) Bottoms-Up Distortion of Temperature Data

The Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia (CRU-UEA), under the direction of Dr. Philip Jones, collected data from weather stations from around the world. These are almost all land-based stations, showing a high concentration in the United States and Western Europe and a lower concentration elsewhere -- with many parts of the globe hardly covered by reliable stations.

There are a variety of problems with such data, and the investigators were aware of most of them. Many stations produce useless data, either because of inadequate maintenance, or because of their location. Anthony Watts (in his WUWT blog) has shown that even stations in the USA were badly placed and subject to local warming influences that were not adequately corrected.

The surface of the earth is then divided into grid boxes, usually five degrees by five degrees. When there are several stations in a grid box, the investigators would choose those they considered most reliable – which in many cases meant urban stations, or stations at airports, that are well maintained. However, because of their location, they generally are subject to ‘urban heat-island’ (UHI) effects, a local warming that increases with population and urban growth over time and suggests a temperature trend of a global nature. The investigators tried various ways to eliminate such local UHI trends, but were not very successful.

The problem was greatly exacerbated by the closing of over half the world’s weather stations between 1970 and 2000 (see NIPCC Summary, Fig 12 – which in most cases removed rural stations but also stations from higher latitudes and altitudes that tended to show a lower warming trend or no warming trend at all. It should be obvious therefore that this drastic change in the sampling population would introduce a fictitious warming trend which is an artifact of the change. E. Michael Smith and Joseph D’Aleo have documented in some detail how such artificial temperature trends could be produced even when there was no global trend. [See ]

(2) The Top-Down (TD) Approach

In many ways, the ‘Top-Down’ (TD) approach to derive the Global Mean Surface Temperature (GMST) is to be preferred over ‘bottom-up’ (deriving GMST by collecting data from weather stations and sea surface readings). The TD approach relies primarily on the data from weather satellites, the only truly global measuring system, using a single microwave sounding (MSU) instrument and therefore independent of the vagaries of individual weather stations and their thermometers.

There are of course certain disadvantages: The MSU cannot measure temperatures at different levels of the atmosphere but derives instead a ‘weighted mean ‘ of the vertical temperature profile; the times of observation are fixed by the orbit of the satellite; a change of satellite, and MSU instrument, requires an overlap in operating time to permit a recalibration. Nevertheless, by comparing different view angles, one can change the weight factors and obtain a temperature value for ‘Lower Troposphere.’ The University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) group has shown good agreement of UAH results with those of radiosondes from weather balloons.

As early as 1997, I noticed a disparity between temperature trends of satellites and surface trends, esp. in the tropics. (See Fig 9 in Hot Talk, Cold Science, 1997) The troposphere trends (between 1979 and 1995) were close to zero or even slightly negative, while surface trends showed a warming of about 0.05 deg per decade. This disparity is just the reverse of what one would expect from GH models [see IPCC-SAR] – namely a positive (warming) troposphere trend up to twice as large as the surface trend.

In addition, I noticed that the proxy data to which I had access showed no surface warming (tree-ring data of Jacoby et al (Fig 16 in HTCS) and ice core data of Dahl-Jensen et al]. I tried very hard to obtain more proxy data but was not successful. For example, I noticed that Michael Mann’s infamous hockeystick graph did not extend beyond 1979 and suspected that his proxy temperatures diverged from the instrumented surface results. Yet when I wrote to Mann about post-1980 proxy data, I received only a brusque negative reply. Thanks to ‘Climategate’ we now know, what I had then suspected, i.e., that Mann and Jones were engaged in a scheme to “hide the decline [in post-1979 proxy temperatures]”

To sum up: Both the satellite results and the proxy data tell us that the claimed rise of surface temperature between 1979 and 1997, shown by IPCC, is probably much smaller or even non-existent.

SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #4-2010( Jan 23, 2010)

The New York Times: Desperate, Blatant Lies

By Alan Caruba

Once, very long ago, I used to be “a stringer” for The New York Times. My articles would appear in the New Jersey section and an occasional short book review would make it into the legendary newspaper.

My Father read the The Times more faithfully than an ayatollah reads the Koran or a Hasidim reads the Torah. Little did he know that, during the early years of Stalin’s regime, a Times reporter named Walter Duranty deliberately failed to report the deaths of millions of people in the Ukraine because Soviet communism demanded they obey or die.

Starting in the 1980s, The Times has led the greatest fraud of the modern era, the global warming hoax. It went through a succession of reporters who turned out articles that all asserted various claims attributed to a dramatic increase in the Earth’s temperature that was not happening. At one point, it published a story that the North Pole was melting.

The leading advocate of the global warming fraud has been Al Gore, a former Vice President who has enriched himself selling bogus “carbon credits” and investing in “renewable energy” businesses. His so-called documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth”, was filled with so many inaccuracies that a British court ruled it could not be shown in its schools without informing students of them in advance.

We know now, thanks to the “Climategate” revelations, that a handful of scientists, working at the behest of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change deliberately distorted or invented climate data to further the fraudulent claims.

They were associated with the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in Great Britain, the Pennsylvania State Earth System Science Center, as well as U.S. government agencies such as NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Most are currently being investigated for alleged abuses of the positions they held and questionable actions in which they engaged.

The release of emails detailing their conspiratorial efforts to advance their false data and suppress any that represented a contrary point of view destroyed what little credibility there was for the recent UN Conference on Climate Change held in Copenhagen. It collapsed like a circus tent.

So why, on Sunday, January 24, did The New York Times publish an editorial titled “The Case for a Climate Bill” in an effort to support the insupportable, the Senate’s Cap-and-Trade legislation?

The bill is superficially intended to put limits on greenhouse gas emissions, primarily carbon dioxide, that are alleged to be “causing” global warming. It is, in reality, a massive tax on the use of energy, harmful in countless ways to the nation’s economy and a burden on all producers and consumers.

Cap-and-Trade has no basis in science because carbon dioxide plays no role whatever in climate change and because the Earth has been in a cooling cycle since 1998; a cycle that legitimate climate scientists predict will last another decade or two.

It takes an enormous amount of gall to support this legislation claiming “The long-term trend in greenhouse gas emissions is up (the decade ending in 2009 was the warmest on record.)” No, a decade in the 1930s was the warmest. The last decade saw a constant decrease in temperature, leading to the record-breaking blizzards, expanding glaciers, and other indications that the Earth is cooling.

“Finally there’s the question of credibility: Mr. Obama said in Copenhagen that the United States would meet at least the House’s 17 percent target” of reduced CO2 emissions said The Times.

President Obama has virtually no credibility left and had to flee the Copenhagen conference in order to avoid being snowed in there and unable to land in Washington, D.C. which was also expecting a snowstorm!

This blind and desperate refusal to face the facts, let alone to report them, will ultimately destroy the famed “newspaper of record” and, if that happens, I will not mourn its passing.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

The usual Warmist love of partial data

A recent Warmist paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research purports to disprove claims that U.S. temperature-measuring sites are poorly located and thus lead to a "warm bias" in their measurements:
On the reliability of the U.S. Surface Temperature Record

By Matthew J. Menne, Claude N. Williams, Jr., and Michael A. Palecki


Recent photographic documentation of poor siting conditions at stations in the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) has led to questions regarding the reliability of surface temperature trends over the conterminous U.S. (CONUS). To evaluate the potential impact of poor siting/instrument exposure on CONUS temperatures, trends derived from poor and well-sited USHCN stations were compared.

Results indicate that there is a mean bias associated with poor exposure sites relative to good exposure sites; however, this bias is consistent with previously documented changes associated with the widespread conversion to electronic sensors in the USHCN during the last 25 years. Moreover, the sign of the bias is counterintuitive to photographic documentation of poor exposure because associated instrument changes have led to an artificial negative ("cool") bias in maximum temperatures and only a slight positive ("warm") bias in minimum temperatures.

These results underscore the need to consider all changes in observation practice when determining the impacts of siting irregularities. Further, the influence of non-standard siting on temperature trends can only be quantified through an analysis of the data. Adjustments applied to USHCN Version 2 data largely account for the impact of instrument and siting changes, although a small overall residual negative ("cool") bias appears to remain in the adjusted maximum temperature series.

Nevertheless, the adjusted USHCN temperatures are extremely well aligned with recent measurements from instruments whose exposure characteristics meet the highest standards for climate monitoring. In summary, we find no evidence that the CONUS temperature trends are inflated due to poor station siting.
So how do they arrive at that conclusion? Anybody who has seen pictures of the temperature-measuring sites located right beside artificial heat sources would have to be amazed.

Easy, Peasy! The old warmist trick of using only part of the data. They took their data from a preliminary list of sites published by the skeptical blog But that list included less than 50% of the actual temperature-measuring sites. The list is presently up to 82% but the authors of the blog are waiting for it to reach 100% so that they can publish a full analysis. Some temperature stations are easier to get at than others so there is no reason to believe that the preliminary list is representative of the whole. Another problem with the preliminary list is that the categorization of stations as "good" or "bad" was also preliminary and hence wrong in some instances. The number of temperature-measuring sites that conform to official guidelines about where they should be located is actually quite small so the preliminary list was too optimistic about that. I hear informally that the nearly-complete data is showing a very different picture from that described above.

Amusing, though, that scientific journals are now accepting skeptical blogs as a source of data. The worm certainly is turning. I might also mention something that only academics would know: The publication of the above paper gives the skeptical scientists an excellent "hook" to hang their own paper on and more or less ensures that their paper will be accepted for publication in the same journal. Given the general resistance to publishing skeptical papers, that is very handy. It is a rare case of the crooks making it easier for honest men.

And when I say "crooks" I mean it quite literally. It is generally regarded in scientific circles as highly unethical to "jump the gun" -- i.e. to publish analyses of someone else's data before they have had a chance to publish it themselves. But who expects ethics of Warmists?

UN climate change "expert": there could be more errors in report

The Indian head of the UN climate change panel defended his position yesterday even as further errors were identified in the panel's assessment of Himalayan glaciers. Dr Rajendra Pachauri dismissed calls for him to resign over the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change’s retraction of a prediction that Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035.

But he admitted that there may have been other errors in the same section of the report, and said that he was considering whether to take action against those responsible. “I know a lot of climate sceptics are after my blood, but I’m in no mood to oblige them,” he told The Times in an interview. “It was a collective failure by a number of people,” he said. “I need to consider what action to take, but that will take several weeks. It’s best to think with a cool head, rather than shoot from the hip.”

The IPCC’s 2007 report, which won it the Nobel Peace Prize, said that the probability of Himalayan glaciers “disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high”.

But it emerged last week that the forecast was based not on a consensus among climate change experts, but on a media interview with a single Indian glaciologist in 1999. The IPCC admitted on Thursday that the prediction was “poorly substantiated” in the latest of a series of blows to the panel’s credibility.

Dr Pachauri said that the IPCC’s report was the responsibility of the panel’s Co-Chairs at the time, both of whom have since moved on.

They were Dr Martin Parry, a British scientist now at Imperial College London, and Dr Osvaldo Canziani , an Argentine meteorologist. Neither was immediately available for comment.

“I don’t want to blame them, but typically the working group reports are managed by the Co-Chairs,” Dr Pachauri said. “Of course the Chair is there to facilitate things, but we have substantial amounts of delegation.”

He declined to blame the 25 authors and editors of the erroneous part of the report , who included a Filipino, a Mongolian, a Malaysian, an Indonesian, an Iranian, an Australian and two Vietnamese.


UN wrongly linked global warming to natural disasters

An article from Leaky Jonathan below. Another worm that is slowly turning?

THE United Nations climate science panel faces new controversy for wrongly linking global warming to an increase in the number and severity of natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods. It based the claims on an unpublished report that had not been subjected to routine scientific scrutiny - and ignored warnings from scientific advisers that the evidence supporting the link too weak. The report's own authors later withdrew the claim because they felt the evidence was not strong enough.

The claim by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that global warming is already affecting the severity and frequency of global disasters, has since become embedded in political and public debate. It was central to discussions at last month's Copenhagen climate summit, including a demand by developing countries for compensation of $100 billion (£62 billion) from the rich nations blamed for creating the most emissions. Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change minister, has suggested British and overseas floods - such as those in Bangladesh in 2007 - could be linked to global warming. Barack Obama, the US president, said last autumn: "More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent." Last month Gordon Brown, the prime minister, told the Commons that the financial agreement at Copenhagen "must address the great injustice that . . . those hit first and hardest by climate change are those that have done least harm".

The latest criticism of the IPCC comes a week after reports in The Sunday Times forced it to retract claims in its benchmark 2007 report that the Himalayan glaciers would be largely melted by 2035. It turned out that the bogus claim had been lifted from a news report published in 1999 by New Scientist magazine.

The new controversy also goes back to the IPCC's 2007 report in which a separate section warned that the world had "suffered rapidly rising costs due to extreme weather-related events since the 1970s". It suggested a part of this increase was due to global warming and cited the unpublished report, saying: "One study has found that while the dominant signal remains that of the significant increases in the values of exposure at risk, once losses are normalised for exposure, there still remains an underlying rising trend." The Sunday Times has since found that the scientific paper on which the IPCC based its claim had not been peer reviewed, nor published, at the time the climate body issued its report.

When the paper was eventually published, in 2008, it had a new caveat. It said: "We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and catastrophe losses." [i.e. it reversed its conclusions]

Despite this change the IPCC did not issue a clarification ahead of the Copenhagen climate summit last month. It has also emerged that at least two scientific reviewers who checked drafts of the IPCC report urged greater caution in proposing a link between climate change and disaster impacts - but were ignored.

The claim will now be re-examined and could be withdrawn. Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, a climatologist at the Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, who is vice-chair of the IPCC, said: "We are reassessing the evidence and will publish a report on natural disasters and extreme weather with the latest findings. Despite recent events the IPCC process is still very rigorous and scientific."

The academic paper at the centre of the latest questions was written in 2006 by Robert Muir-Wood, head of research at Risk Management Solutions, a London consultancy, who later became a contributing author to the section of the IPCC's 2007 report dealing with climate change impacts. He is widely respected as an expert on disaster impacts. Muir-Wood wanted to find out if the 8% year-on-year increase in global losses caused by weather-related disasters since the 1960s was larger than could be explained by the impact of social changes like growth in population and infrastructure. Such an increase, coinciding with rising temperatures, might suggest that global warming was to blame. If proven this would be highly significant, both politically and scientifically, because it would confirm the many predictions that global warming will increase the frequency and severity of natural hazards.

In the research Muir-Wood looked at a wide range of hazards, including tropical cyclones, thunder and hail storms, and wildfires as well as floods and hurricanes. He found from 1950 to 2005 there was no increase in the impact of disasters once growth was accounted for. For 1970-2005, however, he found a 2% annual increase which "corresponded with a period of rising global temperatures,"

Muir-Wood was, however, careful to point out that almost all this increase could be accounted for by the exceptionally strong hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005. There were also other more technical factors that could cause bias, such as exchange rates which meant that disasters hitting the US would appear to cost proportionately more in insurance payouts. Despite such caveats, the IPCC report used the study in its section on disasters and hazards, but cited only the 1970-2005 results. The IPCC report said: "Once the data were normalised, a small statistically significant trend was found for an increase in annual catastrophe loss since 1970 of 2% a year." It added: "Once losses are normalised for exposure, there still remains an underlying rising trend."

Muir-Wood's paper was originally commissioned by Roger Pielke, professor of environmental studies at Colorado University, also an expert on disaster impacts, for a workshop on disaster losses in 2006. The researchers who attended that workshop published a statement agreeing that so far there was no evidence to link global warming with any increase in the severity or frequency of disasters. Pielke has also told the IPCC that citing one section of Muir-Wood's paper in preference to the rest of his work, and all the other peer-reviewed literature, was wrong.

He said: "All the literature published before and since the IPCC report shows that rising disaster losses can be explained entirely by social change. People have looked hard for evidence that global warming plays a part but can't find it. Muir-Wood's study actually confirmed that."

Mike Hulme, professor of climate change at the Tyndall Centre, which advises the UK government on global warming, said there was no real evidence that natural disasters were already being made worse by climate change. He said: "A proper analysis shows that these claims are usually superficial"

Such warnings may prove uncomfortable for Miliband whose recent speeches have often linked climate change with disasters such as the floods that recently hit Bangladesh and Cumbria. Last month he said: "We must not let the sceptics pass off political opinion as scientific fact. Events in Cumbria give a foretaste of the kind of weather runaway climate change could bring. Abroad, the melting of the Himalayan glaciers that feed the great rivers of South Asia could put hundreds of millions of people at risk of drought. Our security is at stake."

Muir-Wood himself is more cautious. He said: "The idea that catastrophes are rising in cost partly because of climate change is completely misleading. "We could not tell if it was just an association or cause and effect. Also, our study included 2004 and 2005 which was when there were some major hurricanes. If you took those years away then the significance of climate change vanished."

Some researchers have argued that it is unfair to attack the IPCC too strongly, pointing out that some errors are inevitable in a report as long and technical as the IPCC's round-up of climate science. "Part of the problem could simply be that expectations are too high," said one researcher. "We have been seen as a scientific gold standard and that's hard to live up to."

Professor Christopher Field,director of the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution in California, who is the new co-chairman of the IPCC working group overseeing the climate impacts report, said the 2007 report had been broadly accurate at the time it was written. He said: "The 2007 study should be seen as "a snapshot of what was known then. Science is progressive. If something turns out to be wrong we can fix it next time around." However he confirmed he would be introducing rigorous new review procedures for future reports to ensure errors were kept to a minimum.


Glaciergate threatens confidence in climate change

GRAHAM Cogley, the Canadian scientist who trekked a decade-old paper trail to expose the Glaciergate error in a crucial UN-backed document on climate change, says there is one certainty about what will happen next. An expert on glaciers at Trent University in Ontario, Cogley is an instinctively cautious scientist who opposes any leaps to unproven conclusions but he is prepared to bet that climate change sceptics and deniers will pore over the report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change more closely than ever to try to find more errors. "Sceptics have already started using this incident for their own purposes by saying that somehow the whole IPCC document is now in doubt," he tells Focus in a telephone interview from Canada.

It was Cogley's meticulous attention to detail and his resistance to "sexing up" research that exposed the wildly exaggerated claim in the IPCC's most recent assessment of climate change that Himalayan glaciers were likely to melt away as soon as 2035. "I'm confident that the document as a whole is authoritative and the reliance placed on it by policy makers is not misplaced but I suppose you always had to expect that people would try to use this to shoot down the overall evidence on climate change."

Fred Pearce, a British environmental journalist who has found himself at the centre of the Glaciergate row, agrees with Cogley's prediction and says the stakes are now dangerously high for Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the Nobel Prize-winning IPCC. "People who want to undermine the science on climate change will be crawling over the report looking for another mistake like this and if they do find another one it will be curtains for Pachauri," Pearce says. "The way he has handled this glacier issue means he's now a sitting duck if anything else turns up."

Having accused the Indian government of peddling "voodoo science" when it criticised the IPCCs glacier claims, Pachauri this week was forced into a humiliating apology and admission that instead of being solid, peer-reviewed science the 2035 claim had actually been "cut and pasted" from a WWF (formerly world wildlife fund) campaign document that, in turn, was based on a single-source news article written by Pearce in 1999. The offending paragraph in the IPCCs 2007 assessment declared that "glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate".

Experts say the paragraph is unproven and it could take 300 years for those glaciers to melt.

An IPCC statement conceded this week the paragraph "refers to poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession and date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers. In drafting the paragraph in question, the clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedures, were not applied properly. "The IPCC regrets the poor application of well-established IPCC procedures in this instance."

The IPCC, which is charged with bringing together thousands of scientific viewpoints into one credible, shared assessment of climate science, stressed the error did not change its general understanding that the world's glaciers are rapidly melting. It was just one paragraph in a 3000-page report, they argue, and it was not even reproduced in the more widely read summary for policy makers given to governments before Copenhagen.

In that way the Glaciergate affair resembled the leaking of emails from the University of East Anglia's climate-change unit last year, as the leaked emails contained no evidence that climate-change data had been falsified but they did raise questions about the professional conduct and impartiality of the scientists involved. Yvo de Boer, the head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, conceded the glacier affair was especially damaging because it raised questions about how the voluminous IPCC assessments were put together. "The credibility of the IPCC depends on the thoroughness with which its procedures are adhered to," he said. "The procedures have been violated in this case. That must not be allowed to happen again because the credibility of climate-change policy can only be based on credible science."

Despite their promises of transparency and stricter standards, IPCC officials have refused to name the author of the flawed paragraph and the lead author of the relevant section, Murari Lal, has not accepted any responsibility for the bungle.

Pearce, a freelance reporter for New Scientist and The Guardian, says the incident began in April 1999 when he noticed a report in the Indian magazine Down to Earth quoting an Indian glaciologist, Syed Hasnain, saying the Himalayan glaciers, which help to provide water to two billion people, could be gone by 2035. The Indian magazine quoted Hasnain, who was then vice-chancellor of New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, as saying the grim prediction came from an academic paper he was about to present to a July 1999 academic conference in Birmingham. "I decided to follow it up so I contacted Hasnain and he told me the same thing, which I reported a couple of months later in the New Scientist," Pearce says.

In 2005 the environmental group WWF used the 2035 warning from the New Scientist article in one of its campaign documents, which somehow became the source of the IPCC paragraph.

Last November, the Indian government released a discussion paper written by retired geologist Vijay Kumar Raina, which said while some Himalayan glaciers were retreating, there was "nothing to suggest as some have said that they will disappear". Instead of re-examining the IPCC's position on the glaciers, Pachauri brushed off the Indian report as "voodoo science", saying that "this guy retired years ago and I find it totally baffling that he comes out and throws out everything that has been established years ago".

The journal Science published a news report on Raina's paper in November and academic Jeffrey S. Kargel of the University of Arizona brought it to the attention of Cogley and some other glacier experts. "That's when I started trying to work out the paper trail to find out where this 2035 date had come from," Cogley tells Focus. "Those glaciers are quite likely losing mass faster now than they were a few decades ago and that is consistent with the acceleration of global warming, but a date as early as 2035 was . . . unsustainable. "There seemed to be some internal political dispute going on among Indian scientists so I wanted to see exactly what it was that Hasnain had said in his original paper back in 1999."

The sponsors of the Birmingham conference, the International Commission on Snow and Ice, had never published Hasnain's paper but Cogley knew Georg Kaser, an Austrian glaciologist who had chaired the conference. "Georg had kept a copy of the paper so I started bugging him to dig it out . . . It turned out that Hasnain had not included any dates at all about the glaciers disappearing, it was all a red herring."

Hasnain told reporters this week that he never put any dates on the melting, claiming he was misquoted by Pearce. Pearce is adamant he reported the scientist's comments accurately, noting the Indian magazine had carried similar quotes. "But the issue is not what Hasnain said and did," Pearce says. "It is about the IPCC screwing up its report. It is scandalous for them to be just cutting and pasting stuff into their reports. "I always thought the 2035 date was dodgy but I even used it again in another story last year because it had been in the IPCC report so I assumed they had verified it. I couldn't believe it when Cogley found I was the original source."

Pearce reported on the tale of the 2035 prediction in New Scientist last week and it was picked up by British newspaper the The Sunday Times and The Australian.

Patrick Michaels, a global warming sceptic from US libertarian think tank the Cato Institute, is now calling for Pachauri to resign as IPCC chief. "I'd like to know how such an absurd statement made it through the review process," Michaels says.

Bob Ward, a geologist and former journalist who has published academic papers on the misrepresentation of climate-change evidence by environmentalists and climate-change sceptics, says the Cato Institute's response is predictable. "People who have an axe to grind are trying to use this incident to undermine the credibility of the whole IPCC," he says. "But in order to do that you have to enormously exaggerate the significance of the paragraph about the Himalayas," says Ward, who is now policy director at the London School of Economics' Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change. "We are talking about one error in a three-year-old 3000-page report that was clearly a rather glaring mistake. Groups who don't want to see any action on climate change are using anything like this they can get their hands on to try to undermine the science. It is happening particularly in Australia and the US where there are political debates going on about domestic legislation related to climate change.

"Cogley exposed this 2035 date as inaccurate not because he disputes the fact that glaciers are receding -- he doesn't -- but because he genuinely wants all the science to be as accurate as possible. But a lot of the people who are leaping on to it just want to raise as many doubts as possible to try to slow the whole process down."

According to Ward, the most concerted opposition to climate-change action "is coming from ideologically driven right-wing groups like the American think tanks that oppose any sort of restrictions on the market" and fossil fuel companies "that are trying to delay any new restrictions on their business for as long as possible". "It is very similar to the way the tobacco industry managed to delay health regulations for years by playing up any element of doubt at all about the medical research on smoking. That is why it's so dangerous and so stupid for the IPCC to let mistakes like this happen."


Congressional Black Caucus, EPA Start "Race Card Tour" to Promote Climate Regulation

An "environmental justice" public relations tour of economically-disadvantaged communities being led by EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and members of the Congressional Black Caucus is being criticized by Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli as a desperate attempt to play the "race card" to bolster the Obama Administration's "cap-and-trade" emissions proposal.

Borelli contends energy limits, such as those in the Waxman/Markey bill approved by the U.S. House last year, would devastate the communities the EPA-CBC tour is highlighting as in need of help.

The tour begins today in Greenville, Mississippi and will stop in Maryland, South Carolina and Georgia.

CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) played the race card in an EPA press release, saying: "The consequences of global climate change, disastrous trends of environmental degradation, and our nation's perilous dependence on fossil fuels are being felt in communities here in the United States and around the world, especially in communities of color."

Project 21's Borelli counters that there is little to back up Lee's claims, and that more regulation would actually exacerbate problems in communities said to need environmental justice.

"Having lost the climate change argument on popular, economic and scientific grounds, those who want to regulate fossil fuels have stooped to playing the race card," noted Borelli.

Borelli continued: "Environmental justice is supposed to be about jobs and a better quality of life for disadvantaged minority communities. If the Obama EPA had its way, 'cap-and-trade' policy related to energy and emissions would instead likely destroy jobs and lower the quality of life in the very communities they allegedly want to help. It is shocking that the Congressional Black Caucus would willingly promote something that would likely do more harm than good among their constituents."

Borelli continued, "A study of cap-and-trade for the National Black Chamber of Commerce suggests new emissions regulations would destroy 2.5 million American jobs a year and lower the wages of those still working by almost $400 annually. The Congressional Budget Office separately concluded 'most of the cost of meeting a cap on [carbon dioxide] emissions would be borne by consumers,... [and] poorer households would bear a larger burden relative to their income than wealthier households would.'"

Borelli added, "A recent survey of black Americans commissioned by the National Center for Public Policy Research found that 76 percent of blacks surveyed preferred Congress concentrate on economic recovery rather than climate regulation and that 38 percent thought such regulation would hurt black communities most. And 52 percent of those surveyed also did not want to have to pay anything more for electricity or gasoline in order to reduce alleged man-made greenhouse emissions.

"Finally, all of this man-made climate change speculation could be based on irresponsible science. Recently revealed e-mails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit showed prominent climate scientists expressing uncertainty about their claims, questionable research practices and an unwillingness to consider alternative theories."

Borelli concluded, "For the Congressional Black Caucus to inject race as a means of promoting new emissions regulation is simply wrong. Environmental justice can best be served by looking into reforming regulations that hold communities back and kill jobs."


Britain's windfarm subsidies top £1 billion a year

Britain's energy policy faces new controversy as it can be revealed that electricity customers are paying more than £1 billion a year to subsidise windfarms and other forms of renewable energy. The hidden levy is part of a Government scheme to force energy companies to fund green energy. The companies bear the cost but pass it on to consumers in the form of higher bills. The amount raised has climbed steeply since the introduction of the levy in 2002.

Next month's annual report from Ofgem, the energy regulator, will show that it has risen above £1 billion for the first time, according to analysts at the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), a green energy think-tank. It means that renewable energy added an an estimated £13.50 to the average household electricity bill last year. An additional burden fell on industrial users of electricity, who in turn passed on costs to their customers.

Critics claimed that the subsidy scheme unfairly penalised consumers and was being used to fund "unrealistic" plans to increase the use of wind power.

Countryside campaigners have expressed concerns at the number of wind farms being built around the country, as the Government tries to meet its target that 30 per cent of the UK's energy should be generated from renewable sources by 2020.

The Ofgem report will show that over the past three years the subsidies have added a total of £32.50 to the average household's electricity bills. The annual cost has steadily risen from £7 in 2007 to £13.50 in 2009. The proceeds of the levy, known as the Renewables Obligation (RO), are divided between the main renewable energy sources, with wind receiving 40 per cent, landfill gas 25 per cent, biomass 20 per cent, hydroelectric 12 per cent and sewage gas 3 per cent.

Dr John Constable, director of policy and research at the REF, said: "The fundamental problem with the RO is that the cost to the consumer is extremely high. "Since the cost of the scheme is passed onto businesses as well as households, there will also be a significant impact on the economy. "The Government's plans for wind are wildly unrealistic. Wind power is going to be very expensive, very difficult and ultimately very costly." The cost to consumers of the RO scheme has risen from £278 million in 2002/3 to £1.04 billion last year, the Ofgem report is expected to say - a total of £4.4 billion over seven years.

The scheme works by requiring energy suppliers to obtain a set percentage of the electricity they provide to consumers from renewable sources. In 2008/9 this figure was 9.1 per cent, compared to 7.9 per cent in 2007/8. For each megawatt hour of renewable energy bought by a supplier from a generator, suppliers must also buy a certificate as proof. If suppliers fail to meet their obligation by presenting enough certificates, they must pay a fine known as a "buy-out". The cost to energy suppliers is passed on to consumers through their bills.

Ofgem predicts that the total cost of the RO to consumers between 2002 and 2027, when the scheme is set to end, will amount to £32 billion. By 2020 it is estimated that the annual cost will be running at over £5 billion.

Prof Ian Fells, emeritus professor of energy conversion at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, said money that was being invested into wind farms through the RO scheme needed to be diverted elsewhere. He said: "Consumers simply don't realise the cost to them of supporting the renewable energy industry. Not only is there a cost to consumers but there is a cost to businesses as well. "So people will not only see the huge cost of the RO scheme in their household bills but also on the High Street, as they see shops put up prices to meet the rising cost of electricity. "Subsidising wind farms is far too expensive, and the money could be better spent by investing in other forms of power."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "To ensure we meet our climate change goals we need a massive increase in low carbon energy and that includes renewables. "The RO is helping that expansion happen with the amount of electricity generated from renewables trebling since 2002. "We also need to make sure we have continued secure energy supplies in the future and renewables are part of that too. There's no high-carbon low-price alternative – we must move to low-carbon sources."

There are currently 270 wind farms with 2,775 turbines in operation, with plans for a further 10,000 on and around Britain's shores. It has raised concerns in communities that hundreds of acres of rural landscapes will have wind farms built on them. Last week The Sunday Telegraph revealed how 14 of the UK's officially-designated beauty spots could soon be blighted by turbines, which can reach more than 400ft in height.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

The madness of James Hansen

Judge for yourself

Before we get too worried about NASA’s latest stamping-its-little-feet claims that the world is getting hotter it is it is it IS, let us first remind ourselves why we should trust their temperature records slightly less far than we can spit.

Then let’s have a closer look at the character and motives of the man in charge of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), Dr James Hansen. Last year, he was described by his former course supervisor at NASA, Dr John Theon, as an “activist” and an embarrassment.

Or as the Great Booker puts it:
If there is one scientist more responsible than any other for the alarm over global warming it is Dr Hansen, who set the whole scare in train back in 1988 with his testimony to a US Senate committee chaired by Al Gore. Again and again, Dr Hansen has been to the fore in making extreme claims over the dangers of climate change. (He was recently in the news here for supporting the Greenpeace activists acquitted of criminally damaging a coal-fired power station in Kent, on the grounds that the harm done to the planet by a new power station would far outweigh any damage they had done themselves.)
Now reader Michael Potts has drawn my attention to yet further evidence of Dr Hansen’s radical, virulently anti-democratic instincts. He has lent his support to an eco-fascist book advising on ways to destroy western industrialisation through propaganda, guile and outright sabotage.

In a scary new book called Time’s Up – whose free online version titled A Matter Of Scale you can read here – author Keith Farnish claims:
The only way to prevent global ecological collapse and thus ensure the survival of humanity is to rid the world of Industrial Civilization.
Like so many deep greens, Farnish looks forward to the End Times with pornographic relish (masquerading as mild reasonableness):
I’m rarely afraid of stating the truth, but some truths are far harder to give than others; one of them is that people will die in huge numbers when civilization collapses. Step outside of civilization and you stand a pretty good chance of surviving the inevitable; stay inside and when the crash happens there may be nothing at all you can do to save yourself. The speed and intensity of the crash will depend an awful lot on the number of people who are caught up in it: greater numbers of people have more structural needs – such as food production, power generation and healthcare – which need to be provided by the collapsing civilization; greater numbers of people create more social tension and more opportunity for extremism and violence; greater numbers of people create more sewage, more waste, more bodies – all of which cause further illness and death.
He believes – as the Hon Sir Jonathon Porritt does – that mankind is a blot on the landscape and that breeding (or for that matter, existence) should be discouraged:
In short, the greatest immediate risk to the population living in the conditions created by Industrial Civilization is the population itself. Civilization has created the perfect conditions for a terrible tragedy on the kind of scale never seen before in the history of humanity. That is one reason for there to be fewer people, providing you are planning on staying within civilization – I really wouldn’t recommend it, though.
Among his proposed solutions to this problem are wanton destruction:
Unloading essentially means the removal of an existing burden: for instance, removing grazing domesticated animals, razing cities to the ground, blowing up dams and switching off the greenhouse gas emissions machine. The process of ecological unloading is an accumulation of many of the things I have already explained in this chapter, along with an (almost certainly necessary) element of sabotage.
Needless to say, our friend Dr James Hansen thinks this book is the bees knees. Here is his puff on the Amazon website:
Keith Farnish has it right: time has practically run out, and the ’system’ is the problem. Governments are under the thumb of fossil fuel special interests – they will not look after our and the planet’s well-being until we force them to do so, and that is going to require enormous effort.
Puzzled by this advocation of so extreme a book by a supposedly neutral and authoritative public figure, Michael Potts posted a question on Yahoo. And who should pop up but Keith Farnish himself. He revealed that Hansen had not even been approached for the puff quote. He had volunteered it.
“”Hello.. It’s very interesting to be the subject of a question, and I don’t want to intrude on the discussion because there seems to be some interesting debate going on here – but just to put the quote into context, it was indeed spontaneous from James and surprised me a little at first. I now suspect, though, that he is only tolerated by the US government because he is such a good scientist; and believe me, some really good scientists have been ousted before – think of Bob Watson, who was thrown out of the IPCC by George Bush, under pressure from the oil industry, for being stark in his warnings..

James Hansen is certainly a radical in the climate science community, but stays within the system because that’s where he is most effective. Just like me using a computer – it’s the best way of getting information across in a globalised society; I genuinely wish it was just a local problem that could be dealt with by word of mouth and community action :-(

Feel free to take on, and challenge my ideas in as forceful a way as you wish; change can happen in the most surprising ways…”"
It’s an important thing to remember when we talk about AGW: many of the activist-scientists pushing it passionately want the earth to be getting hotter and it for it to be largely man’s fault. These watermelons certainly don’t want the opposite to be true, because then they wouldn’t have the excuse they so desperately need to destroy the capitalist system and take us all back to the agrarian age.


More crooked "science" uncovered

For much of the Northern Hemisphere, the cold is abating. As climate scientists long realized, a short period does not create a trend. Even global warming advocates, who insisted that the 1998 El Nino warming was a trend, are now claiming that the cold does not contradict their warming trend. Their time spans are evidently extremely adjustable.

The week ended with real heat: Climategate hit the United States. On Thursday night January 14, 2010, in an hour-long special broadcast on KUSI-TV San Diego, John Coleman revealed new research by computer expert E. Michael Smith and Certified Consulting Meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo.

This new research demonstrates that the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) has been as intensely involved in manipulating global surface data as has the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, which is now under investigation in Great Britain. NCDC is a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The manipulated data is also used by the third organization reporting global surface temperatures – the Goddard Institute of Space Studies, a division of the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA GISS). Thus, all three organizations reporting global surface temperatures may be using similar manipulated data.

D’Aleo and Smith report that in the period of the 1960’s to the 1980’s the number of stations used for calculating global surface temperatures was about 6,000. But it dropped rapidly to about 1,500 by 1990. Further, large gaps began appearing in some of the reported data.

This loss of stations and its possible consequences have been well established. For example, it is discussed in the 2008 NIPCC report Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate. The stations lost appeared to be mostly in colder climates – which, if the data set is not adjusted, would lead to a false indication of warming. (D’Aleo was a contributor to the NIPCC report.)

In December, as Climategate was developing, TWTW referred to a Russian report stating the CRU was ignoring data from colder regions of Russia, even though these stations were still reporting data. Thus, the data loss was not due to just the closing of stations as earlier thought, but due to decisions by the CRU to ignore them.

Now D’Aleo and Smith report similar activities by the NCDC. Stations have been dropped, particularly in colder climates (higher elevations or closer to the Polar Regions), and now temperatures are projected for these colder stations from other stations, usually in warmer climates.

The reports of the IPCC and governmental agencies such as the EPA are based, in a large part, on these data. If the data are wrong, then the reports are wrong. It is now clear that the global surface temperature data are unreliable and must be thoroughly investigated. If not, any government policies based upon these reports should be rigorously challenged.

Thanks to the diligent work of John Coleman, Joe D’Aleo, Michael Smith, as well as many others, the US mainstream media has no excuse for ignoring Climategate as merely a problem in Britain or a problem of no significance.

For John Coleman’s complete broadcast (five segments) please see here. For Joe D’Aleo’s preliminary report please see here

A brief comment: It is an impossible task to arrive at one precise number for a global surface temperature. But, one is often reported. Whatever is reported can only be approximate. However, if standard procedures are rigorously followed and stations are rigorously monitored, then trends can be established. Based on the new reports, such standard procedures were deliberately altered..

By removing stations in colder climates from the data set in recent years without doing so in past years, the CRU and NCDC exaggerate warming trends and, perhaps, even created one where there was none. A similar effect can be produced by underreporting high temperatures in early years. According to researchers such as Pat Michaels, this is apparently what NASA GISS is doing.


More history of the scare

By S. Fred Singer

IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report [IPCC-AR4, 2007]

In line with its policy of ‘ramping up’ its case for Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) and escalating climate fears, IPCC-AR4 concludes: "Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations" [my emphasis]. They helpfully explain that “very likely” means “90 to 99% certain.” One wonders just how IPCC arrived at this rather precise estimate – since there is nothing in the report to back it up.

By now, the IPCC has mercifully abandoned some of the ‘evidence’ given in their earlier reports: They no longer feature the discredited ‘Hockeystick’ graph (that had done away with the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age). They recognize that melting glaciers cannot illuminate the cause of warming and that shifting and often reversing CO2-temperature correlation does not support AGW. Instead, the ‘evidence’ now advanced is essentially circumstantial. The logic which gets the IPCC to this conclusion (as pointed out in Scientific Alliance Newsletter 160) is as follows:

1. There has been a general rise in averaged measured surface temperatures over the past century.

2. At the same time, atmospheric concentrations of so-called 'greenhouse' gases, particularly carbon dioxide, have been rising. All the evidence points to the net increase being caused largely by burning fossil fuels.

3. Computer models of the climate (General Circulation Models) cannot account for the temperature changes on the basis of known natural variability in climate.

4. Therefore, the additional 'anthropogenic' carbon dioxide must be the primary driver of this change.

Yet as Scientific Alliance states: “On this unproven argument, a whole climate change industry has been built; academic researchers, civil servants, carbon traders, environmental and development NGOs, taxpayer-subsidised renewable energy companies and, of course, UN agencies beaver away in the shared assumption that this logic is compelling and demands concerted action.”

Can you spot the ‘hole’ in the IPCC ‘logic’? The key word is “known.” But they totally ignore the most important natural forcing: changing solar activity that modulates the intensity of galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) incident on the Earth. This fact seems known to everyone except the IPCC group dealing with the most important issue: the cause of climate change in the 20th century. See evidence in Fig 14 of NIPCC.

It gets worse: IPCC-AR4 claims they can simulate past century’s Global Mean Surface Temp (GMST) with ‘known’ natural and anthropogenic forcings (as displayed in Fig 5 of NIPCC). But the uncertainties shown there are huge, especially for the indirect effects of aerosols. Of course, the major forcings from solar activity-GCR are not even considered; nor the effects of clouds that likely produce negative feedbacks rather than reinforcing the warming of GH gases.

The upshot is that the IPCC’s claim of matching the GMST is nothing else but an exercise in curve-fitting, with several suitably chosen parameters. I would be impressed if IPCC could match mean zonal temp, not just GMST– or the atmospheric temp obtained from radiosondes and satellites – using the same chosen parameters.

SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #3-2010 (Jan 16, 2010)

Why the BBC will always be wrong on Climate Change

Today I had another go at the BBC for its biased coverage of ‘Climate Change’, this time venturing into the belly of the beast itself for an interview on Radio 4’s Media Show. (God I hate doing programmes on the BBC. If you want to hear me on form, listen to me on US radio where my dangerously conservative views get so much more sympathetic a reception – here, say, from my old mate Greg Garrison).

Anyway, the BBC is clearly very het up about the notion that it’s in breach of its code of impartiality – as it most definitely is in its science coverage. But trying to explain to the BBC why its coverage is skewed in a painfully left-liberal, eco-fascist direction is bit like trying to tell Attila the Hun that he errs on the side of pillage and rape: for both Attila and the BBC it’s all just instinctively right and normal.

The BBC’s current policy (thanks Yaoxx) on its climate change coverage was discussed in a recent report (June 2007) by the BBC Trust – Safeguarding Impartiality in the 21st Century:
“The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus. But these dissenters (or even sceptics) will still be heard, as they should, because it is not the BBC’s role to close down this debate. They cannot be simply dismissed as ‘flat-earthers’ or ‘deniers’, who ‘should not be given a platform’ by the BBC. Impartiality always requires a breadth of view: for as long as minority opinions are coherently and honestly expressed, the BBC must give them appropriate space. ‘Bias by elimination’ is even more offensive today than it was in 1926. The BBC has many public purposes of both ambition and merit – but joining campaigns to save the planet is not one of them. The BBC’s best contribution is to increase public awareness of the issues and possible solutions through impartial and accurate programming. Acceptance of a basic scientific consensus only sharpens the need for hawk-eyed scrutiny of the arguments surrounding both causation and solution. It remains important that programme-makers relish the full range of debate that such a central and absorbing subject offers, scientifically, politically and ethically, and avoid being misrepresented as standard-bearers. The wagon wheel remains a model shape. But the trundle of the bandwagon is not a model sound.”
How, though, did it reach these conclusions? Tony Newberry at the Harmless Sky blog has been doing some digging and come up with some useful stuff about this “high-level” BBC Seminar. Despite Freedom of Information requests, the BBC refused to divulge which experts attended. But Newberry did find out this:
It was attended by ‘30 key BBC staff and 30 invited guests who are specialists in the area of climate change’. The event was called ‘Climate Change - the Challenge to Broadcasting’ and it was hosted by Jana Bennett (then Director of Television, now Director of Vision) and Helen Boaden (Director of News BBC). The ‘key speaker’ was Lord May of Oxford. Among the aims of the seminar were ‘to offer a summary of the state of knowledge on the issue’ and ‘to consider the BBC’s role in the public debate’. The chairman was Fergal Keane.
He goes on:
Further research on the internet revealed that the seminar was one of a number of similar events organised jointly by the BBC, The International Broadcasting Trust (the IBT, an environmental lobby group), and the Cambridge Media and Environment Programme (CMEP), a rather shadowy organisation of which the BBC’s Environment Analyst, Roger Harrabin, is a co-director. The other director is an academic and ‘environmental consultant’ called Dr Joe Smith.

Stranger still, the IBT’s website describes the invited guests at the 2006 climate seminar as ‘Policy Experts[1]’. It is difficult to know how policy experts could authoritatively (in the words of the BBC’s letter) ‘offer a summary of the state of knowledge on the issue’ of climate science to senior BBC staff who were present, or how they could also be described as ‘the best scientific experts’ in the BBC Trust’s report. In the context of the climate change debate, ‘policy experts’ usually means environmental activists, politicians or policy wonks from think tanks and the eNGOs.

The IBT describes its mission as ‘lobbying Government, regulators and broadcasters’[2] as well as ‘dialogue with the main public service broadcasters’. It has represented Friends of the Earth, Christian Aid, Oxfam and Tearfund,[3] all of which have played a high profile role in climate change activism.

It has been far more difficult to obtain information about CMEP. However this organisation has received funding from:

* Defra, the ministry responsible for promoting government policy on global warming.

* WWF, a leading environmental pressure group.

* The Tyndall Centre, a climate research institute based at the University of East Anglia.[4]
But the most damning observations were provided on a guest post at Harmless Sky by the (mildly sceptical) writer Richard D North (not to be confused with the Eureferendum blogspot Dr Richard North, who is much more strongly sceptical of AGW):
I did attend the BBC climate change seminar and my impression is that it was part of the ongoing efforts by Roger Harrabin (environment analyst at the BBC) to help the corporation wrestle with the problem of balance and impartiality and robust reporting of the climate change debate.

I think Roger Harrabin has not been a good reporter or analyst of climate change. He is not the worst by any means, but he has in my view missed many tricks. However, he has been serious if not very effective (actually often rather poor) in tackling the nature of the debate itself.

By the way, my own view is that the biggest media failure has been in discussing the policy response to the science of climate change. I mean that though the discussion of the science has been bad the discussion of the policy response has been mostly abysmal. The BBC is only the worst of the offenders on this score because (a) they are paid to be the best and (b) their efforts have fallen so far short of their stated ambitions in this area.

I found the seminar frankly shocking. The BBC crew (senior executives from every branch of the corporation) were matched by an equal number of specialists, almost all (and maybe all) of whom could be said to have come from the “we must support Kyoto” school of climate change activists.

So far as I can recall I was alone in being a climate change sceptic (nothing like a denier, by the way) on both the science and policy response.

I was frankly appalled by the level of ignorance of the issue which the BBC people showed. I mean that I heard nothing that made me think any of them read any broadsheet newspaper coverage of the topic (except maybe the Guardian and that lazily). Though they purported to be aware that this was an immensely important topic, it seemed to me that none of them had shown even a modicum of professional journalistic curiosity on the subject. I am not saying that I knew what they all knew or thought, but I can say that I spent the day discussing the issue and don’t recall anyone showing any sign of having read anything serious at all.


Climate change camp experiencing a cooling-off period

Excerpt from the L.A. Times

Climate change just isn't what it used to be. Case in point: The number of otherwise intelligent people who are saying that all the cold weather (in the East) and rain (here at home) are causing them to lose faith in the gospel of global warming.

To their way of thinking, it's fine and good to be bellyaching about rising sea levels when it's 100 degrees outside. It's easy to remember to carry around your reusable tote bag when drought begets parched hillsides, which beget wildfires, which beget air that smells like rotisserie chicken minus the chicken.

But guess what? It's been pouring all week. In Florida, the oranges are perishing under frost. The temperature bottomed out at minus 52 in North Dakota earlier this month, and Beijing recently had its biggest snowfall since 1951.

Remember back in 2006 and 2007? Everyone was talking about "An Inconvenient Truth," parading those eco-bags around and coveting hybrid cars. Laurie David, who'd previously been known chiefly as the wife of Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, was suddenly a quasi-famous person, palling around with Sheryl Crow and ranting about CO2 emissions on the Huffington Post. In fact, back then, it seemed like the entire world was buddies with Sheryl Crow and blogging on the HuffPo.

We spent 2006 suspicious that Hurricane Katrina was a manifestation of global warming. In 2007, it was California wildfires. Then Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize and the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report concluded that humans were almost certainly responsible for rising temperatures. To top it off, Laurie David filed for divorce and made the pages of People. Those were the days!

Maybe the financial crisis has diverted our attention from the melting Arctic ice cap. Maybe Sarah Palin effectively redirected all liberal indignation straight in her direction. Maybe there were just too many eco-related marital conflicts. (A trend story in the New York Times recently reported that therapists are seeing an increase in couples who clash in their approaches to recycling and organic gardening. Did we learn nothing from the calamitous breakup of the Davids?)

Or maybe the conditions now are just too conducive to climate change skepticism. Not that anyone who's ever gazed out at a blizzard and thought, "This is global warming?" deserves to be labeled a denier. We all know (we do, don't we?) that weather is not the same as climate. It's not that we don't want to save the planet anymore; it's just that it somehow doesn't seem quite as urgent.


Australians to pay the price of Greenie dam-hatred

Water charges are set to spiral in desalination squeeze

HOUSEHOLDS will pay hundreds of dollars extra for water as state governments splash $9 billion of taxpayer funds on energy-guzzling desalination plants that will produce nearly a third of capital-city supplies within two years. The seawater purification "factories" - which can pump out enough drinking water each year to fill Sydney Harbour - will operate around the clock at taxpayer expense, even when high rainfall means their expensive output is not required.

Water utilities yesterday warned urban water prices would spiral in line with the rising cost of electricity needed to operate the massive plants in Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.

The Water Services Association of Australia, representing most of the urban water utilities nationally, estimated water providers would use up to four times as much electricity as they moved from dams to desalination. "The cost of building desalination plants will be reflected in water prices across Australia," executive director Ross Young told The Weekend Australian. "Electricity prices are only going to go upwards, so operational costs are probably going to climb steadily. "In places like Melbourne in the next four years (water) prices are going to double."

By 2012, water bills for Sydneysiders will rise $103 a year purely to pay for the cost of running the city's first desalination plant, costing $2.4bn, due to open at Kurnell within weeks. Household water bills will soar nearly a third - from $663 to $904 - in the Melbourne metropolis over the next three years, once a $3.5bn plant - the nation's biggest - comes online at the end of next year. In southeast Queensland, where a $1.2bn desalination plant opened on the Gold Coast last year, water bills are forecast to rise about $60 annually until 2013. In Adelaide, where a $1.83bn plant will open at the end of next year, water bills will increase $84 this year for an average household. In Perth, which will open its second plant next year, the average household water bill will rise 10 per cent over the next three years, costing high-use households as much as $164 a year more.

Mr Young said higher bills would give consumers an incentive to save water. "Any resource given away free is always exploited," he said. "If water is priced too low there's no incentive for conservation or to upgrade infrastructure. "We shouldn't underestimate the power of a price signal."

CSIRO urban water research division leader Alan Gregory said electricity made up a quarter of the total cost of building and running a desalination plant. "Just the energy component alone will drive up the cost of water," he said. "You haven't got to be Einstein to work out that prices will go up. It's unavoidable."

A CSIRO analysis for the Water Services Association has found that desalination plants use seven times more electricity than conventional water treatment plants. The research reveals that energy consumption by water utilities would rise 400 per cent if they switched entirely to desalination for city water supplies within 20 years. Energy use would soar by 260 per cent if utilities sourced 40 per cent of their water from the ocean.

The National Water Commission has calculated that the running costs of a typical desalination plant would jump 16 per cent if an emissions trading scheme is introduced that prices carbon at $50 a tonne.

Critics of the states' massive investment in desalination yesterday dismissed the technology as "financially risky". Stuart White, the director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures, at the University of Technology, Sydney, said the desalination plants roped taxpayers and consumers into paying for water that might not always be necessary. "Once you build them, there's the imperative to operate them," Mr White said yesterday. "Sometimes (it's) a contractual imperative . . . flat-out." In Sydney, where dams are now half-empty, the new Kurnell plant will run at full capacity for at least two years, regardless of rainfall levels.

Operators of the desalination plants are trying to douse the debate over greenhouse gas emissions by buying "green power" from sources such as wind farms. But in Western Australia, the government pricing watchdog has vetoed the Water Corporation's plan to charge its consumers the extra cost of buying more expensive experimental green electricity to power Perth's desalination plants.

The West Australian Economic Regulation Authority's chairman, Lyndon Rowe, said yesterday the role of the Water Corporation was to "provide water to consumers at the least possible cost". "If a government itself wants to sponsor the research (into renewable energy) it's fine, but it shouldn't be a cost borne by water users," he said. Mr Rowe likened desalination plants to "water factories". "We can produce all the water you like but it can't be free," Mr Rowe said. "It should be paid for by the users, to encourage people to use water wisely."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

CO2 good for Amazon rainforests

They're gobbling up all that increasing CO2

Discussing: Gloor, M. et al. 2009. "Does the disturbance hypothesis explain the biomass increase in basin-wide Amazon forest plot data?" Global Change Biology 15: 2418-2430.


The authors write that "analysis of earlier tropical plot data has suggested that large-scale changes in forest dynamics are currently occurring in Amazonia (Phillips and Gentry, 1994; Phillips et al., 2004), and that an increase in aboveground biomass has occurred, with increases in mortality tending to lag increases in growth (Phillips et al., 1998; Baker et al., 2004a,b; Lewis et al., 2004)." However, they state that this conclusion has recently been challenged by an overzealous application of the "Slow in, Rapid out" dictum, which relates to the fact that forest growth is a slow process, whereas mortality can be dramatic and singular in time, such that sampling over relatively short observation periods may miss these more severe events, leading to positively-biased estimates of aboveground biomass trends, when either no trend or negative trends actually exist.

What was done

Gloor et al. statistically characterize "the disturbance process in Amazon old-growth forests as recorded in 135 forest plots of the RAINFOR network up to 2006, and other independent research programs, and explore the consequences of sampling artifacts using a data-based stochastic simulator."

What was learned

The researchers report that "over the observed range of annual aboveground biomass losses, standard statistical tests show that the distribution of biomass losses through mortality follow an exponential or near-identical Weibull probability distribution and not a power law as assumed by others." In addition, they say that "the simulator was parameterized using both an exponential disturbance probability distribution as well as a mixed exponential-power law distribution to account for potential large-scale blow-down events," and that "in both cases, sampling biases turn out to be too small to explain the gains detected by the extended RAINFOR plot network."

What it means

Gloor et al. conclude that their results lend "further support to the notion that currently observed biomass gains for intact forests across the Amazon are actually occurring over large scales at the current time, presumably as a response to climate change," which in many of their earlier papers is explicitly stated to include the aerial fertilization effect of the historical increase in the air's CO2 content.

More HERE (See the original for links, references etc.)

Global warming opens up Arctic for undersea cable (?)

When these guys actually go to lay their cable they might get a shock. Boardroom wisdom might not translate too well to on-site realities. The ice is bouncing back fast. It would be fun if they tried and had to give up

Global warming has melted so much Arctic ice that a telecommunication group is moving forward with a project that was unthinkable just a few years ago: laying underwater fiber optic cable between Tokyo and London by way of the Northwest Passage. The proposed system would nearly cut in half the time it takes to send messages from the United Kingdom to Asia, said Walt Ebell, CEO of Kodiak-Kenai Cable Co. The route is the shortest underwater path between Tokyo and London.

The quicker transmission time is important in the financial world where milliseconds can count in executing profitable trades and transactions. "Speed is the crux," Ebell said. "You're cutting the delay from 140 milliseconds to 88 milliseconds."

The project, while still facing many significant obstacles, also serves as an example of how warming has altered the Arctic landscape in profound ways. The loss of summer sea ice prompted the U.S. to list polar bears as a threatened species in May 2008. Walrus in two of the last three years gathered by the thousands on Alaska's northwest shore rather than ride pack ice to unproductive waters beyond the outer continental shelf.

Summer sea ice melted to its lowest recorded level ever in late 2007, and most climate modelers predict a continued downward spiral. The result is a path through the Northwest Passage, the Arctic route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific that has fascinated explorers for centuries. "That opens up the construction window to actually do something like this without the need of heavy icebreakers," Ebell said. "On the other side, you've got the market part of it and the increasing demand we're seeing for lower and lower latencies, or transmission times."


As Global Warming Movement Collapses, Activists Already 'Test-Marketing' the Next Eco-Fear! 'Laughing Gas' Crisis? Oxygen Crisis? Plastics?

As man-made global warming fears enter the ashbin of history, what will environmentalists, UN activists and politicians do to fill the void of a failed eco-scare?

Well, wonder no more.... Some forward thinking green activists and even the UN climate Chief have already taken up the task of test-marketing the next eco-scares to replace man-made global warming.

One of the most prominent eco-scares now being quietly promoted behind man-made climate fears is the allegedly "growing" nitrous oxide (a.k.a. "laughing gas") threat to the planet. See: Time for next eco-scare already?! 'Earth's growing nitrogen threat': 'It helps feed a hungry world, but it's worse than CO2'The Christian Science Monitor - January 12, 2010 - Excerpt: Nitrous oxide is nearly 300 times as potent as carbon dioxide – considered the leading cause of climate change – and the third most threatening greenhouse gas overall.

As man-made climate fears subside and the scientific, economic, cultural and political case evaporates for climate change "action," expect more and more green activists to take up the mantle for "laughing gas" as a possible replacement eco-scare.

See also: Laughing Gas Knocks Out CO2 - By Doug Hoffman - Oct. 30, 2009 - Excerpt: "In the face of ever mounting evidence that CO2 is incapable of causing the level of global devastation prophesied by climate change catastrophists a new villain is being sought. The leading candidate is nitrous oxide (N2O), better known as laughing gas. A report in Science claims that N2O emissions are currently the single most important cause of ozone depletion and are expected to remain so throughout the 21st century. The IPCC rates N2O as 310 times as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2 on a 100 year time scale. Is this a greenhouse gas bait and switch, or are the global warming alarmists trying to up the ante."

Still can't picture former Vice President Al Gore touting the "laughing gas" crisis as the "moral" challenge of our time in a Oscar-winning documentary? Not to worry, there are many more eco-scares currently being test-marketed.

Plastics: Gore's own producer of "An Inconvenient Truth" -- Hollywood eco-activist Laurie David -- is already test-marketing another eco-scare with potential promise. "One Word: Plastics." Yes, just 43 years after the 1967 film "The Graduate", "plastics" just may be the future!

See: AGW RIP? Is It Time for Next Eco-Scare Already? Gore's producer Laure David touts plastic crisis: 'Plastic waste is in some ways more alarming for us humans than global warming' - July 31, 2009

"The rapid rise in global plastic production is leading to a rise in plastic pollution and its devastating effects on our oceans and our lives.," Laurie David wrote on July 31, 2009. Selected Excerpts From David's blog post: "This insidious invasion of the biosphere by our plastic waste is in some ways more alarming for us humans than global warming. Our bodies have evolved to handle carbon dioxide, the nemesis of global warming, indeed, we exhale it with every breath. Plastic, though present in the biosphere from the nano scale on up, is too stable a molecule for any organism to fully assimilate or biodegrade. So we have a situation in which a vector for a suite of devastating chemicals, chemicals implicated in many modern diseases, is now invading the ocean, our bodies and indeed, the entire biosphere. The prognosis for improvement in this situation is grim."

Still not convinced of either "laughing gas" or "plastics" as the next dominant eco-scare? Don't worry, we are just getting started. Just how widespread is the test marketing of a new eco-scare to replace the flailing global warming movement? It now has the attention of the beleaguered head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Rajendra Pachauri.

UN Throws Global Warming Under the Bus?! In a remarkable posting on his personal blog, Pachauri openly admitted that man-made global warming was not even the biggest eco-issue! See: Et tu? Head of UN IPCC Pachauri Now throwing global warming under the bus?! There is a 'larger problem' than climate fears?! - November 23, 2009

Pachauri wrote on November 23, 2009: "The question is whether the additional time that the world would now have to arrive at an agreement at the next Conference of the Parties in Mexico will give us time and space to look at the larger problem of unsustainable development, of which climate change is at best a symptom. Human society cannot continue to ignore the vital dependence that exists between human welfare and the health of our natural resources."

'Oxygen Crisis': The UK Green Party and a UN advisor are already concocting yet another potential new eco-scare that may be an easy transition from failed global warming fears. See: UK Green Party: 'There exists a more serious crisis than the 'CO2 crisis': the oxygen levels are dropping and the human activity has decreased them by 1/3 or ½ - By Peter Tatchell of the UK Green party - UK Guardian - August 13, 2008

Excerpt: "In the view of Professor Ervin Laszlo, the drop in atmospheric oxygen has potentially serious consequences. A UN advisor who has been a professor of philosophy and systems sciences, Laszlo writes: Evidence from prehistoric times indicates that the oxygen content of pristine nature was above the 21% of total volume that it is today. It has decreased in recent times due mainly to the burning of coal in the middle of the last century. Currently the oxygen content of the Earth's atmosphere dips to 19% over impacted areas, and it is down to 12 to 17% over the major cities. At these levels it is difficult for people to get sufficient oxygen to maintain bodily health: it takes a proper intake of oxygen to keep body cells and organs, and the entire immune system, functioning at full efficiency. At the levels we have reached today cancers and other degenerative diseases are likely to develop. And at 6 to 7% life can no longer be sustained."

Wow. Imagine scaring school children with suffocation due to our modern way of life! Documentaries, text books and Hollywood could really instill fear in the kids and adults with scary predictions of Mom and Dad choking to death due to a lack of oxygen created by evil modern society. Mom and Dad turning blue and suffering fatal convulsions sure beats the emotional imagery of a Polar Bear drowning or a building be flooded to due to rising seas. Keep your eye on this one, it just may get some traction.

Ok. Let's assume now that one of the above or yet another not ready for prime time eco-fear catches on, how would the environmental activists go about selling this eco-scare to the public? For an answer, let's review a few of the failed eco-alarms of the past 40 years.

The Global Cooling Scare of 1970's offers vital clues about how the "search-and-replace" tactics are utilized by eco-fear promoters. See: 1974 CIA report on Global Cooling: 'Embarrassing reading': 'All AGW scares are a search-and-replace job from 'cooling' to 'warming' - Dec. 3, 2009 & Climate Depot's Factsheet on 1970s Coming 'Ice Age' Claims - Oct. 6, 2009

Ever wonder how Gore and the UN would hype a "tipping point" for various new eco-scares? Newsweek Magazine first used the climate “tipping point” argument in 1975 to urge action to prevent man-made global cooling. Newsweek wrote April 28, 1975 article: "The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality."

Yes, quite literally "a search-and-replace job from cooling to warming." Also See: Not again! Another 10-year climate 'tipping point' warning issued -- Despite fact that UN began 10-Year 'Climate Tipping Point' in 1989! Climate Depot Factsheet on Inconvenient History of Global Warming 'Tipping Points' -- Earth 'Serially Doomed' - Nov. 15, 2009

Overpopulation Fears: Overpopulation fears have jumped all over the place in recent years. See: Grist Mag. Going Down: Is too few people the new 'population problem?' – December 14, 2005 and Could Overpopulation Save The Earth From Global Warming? June 15, 2009. Overpopulation fears can be played any which way advocates would like. Even the guru of overpopulation fears eventually admitted his silliness.

See: An Admission finally! 'The Population Bomb's' Paul Ehrlich: 'I wish I'd taken more math in high school and college. That would have been useful' - 'If he were writing 'The Population Bomb' now, he'd be more careful about predictions' - Oct. 8, 2009 - Also see: Climate Depot's Overpopulation factsheet - August 21, 2009

Amazon Rainforest Scare: The allegedly disappearing rainforest scare was the environmental issue du jour in the 1980's and 1990's, long before climate fears took center stage. In fact, In 2000, Climate Depot's Executive Editor Marc Morano was producer and correspondent for a documentary debunking the myths about the rainforests. Morano's "Amazon Rainforest: Clear-Cutting the Myths" was greeted with massive controversy. But, just nine years later, the rainforest scare was kaput.

See: Jan. 30, 2009: New York Times: 'Galloping jungle': Farmlands revert back to nature as saving the rainforests becomes 'less urgent' - 'For every acre of rainforest cut down each year, more than 50 acres of new forest are growing'

NYT Excerpt: "Here, and in other tropical countries around the world, small holdings like Ms. Ortega de Wing's - and much larger swaths of farmland - are reverting back to nature, as people abandon their land and move to the cities in search of better livings. These new "secondary" forests are emerging in Latin America, Asia and other tropical regions at such a fast pace that the trend has set off a serious debate about whether saving primeval rain forest - an iconic environmental cause - may be less urgent than once thought. By one estimate, for every acre of rain forest cut down each year, more than 50 acres of new forest are growing in the tropics on land that was once farmed, logged or ravaged by natural disaster. "There is far more forest here than there was 30 years ago," said Ms. Ortega de Wing, 64, who remembers fields of mango trees and banana plants."

Also see: 'Save the trees' more political myth than environmental truth - Jan. 2009. Old eco-scares don't die, they just fade away....

More HERE (See the original for links)

The Hippy Dippy Doomsday Clock

By Alan Caruba

Largely unnoticed was the January 14 announcement by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists that they had moved the hands of their imaginary Doomsday Clock back to six minutes from five minutes before the end of the world. Whoopee.

Created in 1945, the clock has been adjusted only eighteen times prior to the latest change. The Bulletin was created in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project. The Clock was introduced in 1947 “to convey both the imagery of apocalypse” at midnight “and “the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion” in a countdown to zero.”

The decisions about the Clock are made by the Bulletin’s Board of Directors in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, eighteen of whom are Nobel Prize Laureates. Considering the way elements of the Nobel Prize, particular its Peace Prize, have been totally politicized and degraded with awards to Al Gore, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and most recently to Barack Obama, this latter citation is not encouraging.

Even less encouraging is the utter blindness of the decision in the face of Iran’s long quest to create nuclear weapons with which to threaten the entire Middle East, Israel in particular, Europe via long-range missiles, and America with a nuclear device.

The Bulletin further disgraces itself by combining the threat of nuclear weapons with the thoroughly discredited fraud of “global warming”, now called climate change. The Bulletin made it clear that the geniuses behind it believe that they are encouraged by the pledges of “industrialized and developing countries alike…to limit climate-changing gas emissions that could render our planet nearly uninhabitable.”

It just doesn’t get more stupid than that, given the recent UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen that thankfully achieved a big fat nothing and occurred during a blizzard that forced the President and other American delegates to flee before being snowed in or unable to land in the U.S., far across the Atlantic where yet another blizzard was in progress.

Coinciding with the Climate Conference was the revelation that the IPCC’s data was largely falsified by the handful of scientists in control of its reports of global warming doom and gloom. It was and is a Big Fat Lie.

So, the nuclear threat, a real one, and the global warming/climate change threat, an invented one, were addressed with the unalloyed optimism of the Bulletin scientists. They literally managed to ignore all the actual facts regarding both.

Perhaps most astonishing about the January 14 announcement was the “man crush” the Bulletin’s directors have on Barack Obama.

“A key to the new era of cooperation is a change in the U.S. government’s orientation toward international affairs brought about in part by the election of Obama.” The elections of Republican governors in Virginia and New Jersey, in addition to Tuesday’s election of a new, Republican Senator to represent Massachusetts suggests that even the voters of that most liberal State are not nearly as impressed with Obama. The plunging national approval ratings of the President’s performance further confirm this.

Among the comments included in the Bulletin’s announcement were those like Stephen Schneider who said “We can no longer prevent global warming…it is upon us.” No, it’s not. The planet is in a natural cooling cycle that began in 1998. Where Schneider has been since then is anyone’s guess. Perhaps on some other planet!

Others like Pervez Hoodboy of the physics department at a Pakistan university said, “We may be at a turning point, where major powers realize that nuclear weapons are useless for war-fighting or even for deterrence.” Tell that the Supreme Ayatollah of Iran.

What the Bulletin reveals is the way a PhD in a specific and narrow field of endeavor does not qualify a scientist to comment on anything other than his own sliver of expertise and, even then, you better get a second opinion.

Wishful thinking, sloppy indifference to obvious facts and events, and the conviction that their advanced degrees allow them to pontificate on the end of the world is the hallmark of the Bulletin’s Doomsday Clock.

It is time to unplug it and pay attention to what is really happening in the world.



Call for action

The Greens have indicated that they may do a deal with the Labor Party on the Emissions Trading Scheme. If they vote with the Government in the Senate, Labor needs another two votes to pass the legislation.

There is a rumour about that Senator Boyce (Liberal QLD) intends to support the Rudd Government's ETS legislation when it is re-submitted to the Senate. If you are a Queenslander (or even if you're not?), you may consider contacting the Senator to express your opinion.

Keep the pressure up .... politicians only respond when they think the may lose a few votes. Boyce's email address:

There is a Victorian Senator, Judith Troeth, who is also wavering ... her email address:

Green rise in power, fuel costs

VICTORIANS could face higher electricity and petrol prices from July 1 if the Rudd Government adopts a carbon tax proposal by the Greens to break the climate change policy deadlock. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said he would examine the idea and was open to discussions with all parties.

The Greens called for a $23-a-tonne carbon tax to be introduced for two years. The temporary tax would raise $10 billion a year, of which $5 billion would be paid as compensation to low and middle-income households to shelter them from higher electricity and energy prices.

Industry and small business would get about $2 billion in assistance with $1.2 billion given to help poor countries deal with climate change.

Unlike the Government's plan, petrol would be hit by the tax and it could add about 5c a litre at the pump. Electricity generators would also miss out on compensation, but farming will be excluded.

The plan aims to put the Greens back into the national debate about climate change, after they were effectively sidelined by the Rudd Government last year as it sought to strike a deal with the Coalition's former leader Malcolm Turnbull.

Greens leader Bob Brown said it was urgent and essential that a deal be struck in the short term, to begin the quest to reduce climate change, while a proper plan was worked out for the longer term. "Our job is to help get the climate change bus going again," Senator Brown said.

Mr Rudd's carbon pollution reduction scheme was blocked by the Senate last year. It faces defeat again when Parliament resumes.


Heeding the political lessons of Glaciergate

Governments must constantly question the science, says the editorial below from "The Australian". Pleasing to welcome the editors of Australia's national daily to the ranks of the climate skeptics

THE UN's admissions on Glaciergate are welcome, but the international body has sustained damage from its sloppiness in reporting climate change data. Its claim to speak as the authority on climate science is reduced now that its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been forced to back down over a claim that some Himalayan glaciers would probably disappear by 2035.

The IPCC's statement yesterday that the "clear and well-established standards of evidence" had not been properly applied to the claim, is an attempt to put the best possible spin on a blunder that has reverberated around the world since it was revealed last weekend. In fact Glaciergate, in large part, is about an extraordinary reliance on a third-hand source - a news story published in New Scientist almost a decade before it was included in the IPCC's fourth assessment report of 2007.

It doesn't get much more humiliating than that for a body that has positioned itself as the global scientific authority on climate change.

Until now, that authority has been acknowledged, with the 2007 report accepted as the underlying framework for discussions at the recent Copenhagen summit. While the limits of the report and the IPCC's processes have been noted, developing and developed countries alike recognise the need for some sort of consensus document if there are to be any workable solutions negotiated at a global level.

That willingness to accept the IPCC's data on climate change - albeit with reservations at times - will be tested now that its reporting methods have been revealed. This is not good news for the planet, given the need for reliable and credible assessments of scientific data on global warming. Also unhelpful is the defensive stance adopted by the IPCC when it argues that the error does not undermine the report's claims of major glacier loss in the Himalayas.

Chairman Rajendra Pachauri would have us believe this is a case of "slipping up on one number", thus ignoring what the error reveals about the culture of the IPCC, a culture that allowed it to rely on a statement from a WWF environmental campaigning document, which in turn relied on the New Scientist interview with a single scientist. The problem was apparently compounded by the inversion of a date in an earlier paper.

Part of the problem is the IPCC's diffuse and complex system of working groups and review processes. While this may be the only practical way of synthesising thousands of research findings from around the globe into an accessible document for world leaders, the modus operandi builds in significant room for error.

As we have noted before, that is fair enough so long as the shortcomings are recognised by policy-makers. But politicians prefer certainties - not caveats - when they make the case for action on climate change to voters.

The real lesson is that our political leaders must continue to question, probe and analyse the evidence before committing to policies with profound consequences. This is not about letting the IPCC off the hook. Nor is is about denying the science. It is about applying a healthy degree of scepticism to scientific claims that drive policy.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

Have the voters of a small and rather gullible American State just knocked global warming on the head?

The most far-reaching effect of Scott Brown’s upset victory in the Massachusetts senatorial election is likely to be on the world’s attempts to combat global warming. It will make it very much harder for a climate and energy bill – primarly promoted, as it happens, by the other senator from the hitherto famously liberal state, John Kerry – to pass the Senate, and that, in turn, would bedevil attempts to revive the prospects for a new international treaty after the fiasco in Copenhagen.

In truth the prospects for the Senate bill have been looking rocky for weeks, despite Kerry’s determined attempts to talk it up. Just two months ago it looked as if it might have a reasonable chance, despite the fact that several Democratic senators from coal and oil states were expected to vote against it, depriving the party of its filibuster-proof 60-strong supermajority. One Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham, had joined Kerry in putting forward the bill and some ten others – who had expressed support for climate legislation in the past – were thought to be persuadable, especially if it made provision for massive support for nuclear power.

But the Republican leadership then made the issue one of party loyalty identifying it as a key issue for this autumn’s mid-term elections. Nasty attack ads were launched against Graham in his state, and it was made clear to other potential supporters of the bill that they could not expect any backing at the polls. Today’s result will add one more Republican vote against the bill, and make some Democrats more nervous about supporting it.

Obama does have a fallback strategy if the bill goes down – if he chooses to take it. As the Copenhagen conference opened, his administration took powers to regulate to cut carbon dioxide emissions through its Environment Protection Agency, and some environmentalists believe this would be more effective than relying on the “cap and trade” measures in the bill. Moreover, if the Administration did take this course, it might even revive support for the legislation, since industry would far prefer its proposals to the regulations.

It would take courage from Obama, and aggression, but that might be his political salvation. He has, in fairness, not been short of courage: taking up such contentious issues as healthcare and climate change during a recession shows that. But he has lacked political aggression. His disastrous rebuff in Massachusetts came partly because he had not taken the battle to his opposition over healthcare, stressing the benefits of reform, and so allowing his opponents to define it as an issue of cost and taxation.The Republicans have benefited by fighting for their convictions. If Obama fails to do the same, on today’s showing, he is likely to be done for anyway.


Global warming? Don’t blame the car

Senior General Motors executive Bob Lutz has slammed scientists and environmentalists, saying global warming has little to do with humans and more to do with solar flares and sunspots. The self-confessed petrolhead and man who proudly claims to be a progenitor of the Chevrolet Volt electric car still scoffs at global warming.

Lutz, who in 2008 memorably described global warming as a “crock of shit”, once again aired his views while meeting with a group of Australian journalists at the Detroit motor show last week. "I am not going to give a speech on this because everytime I do I get in trouble,” Lutz said, then immediately began explaining his views. "All I ever say is look at the data, look at the empirical evidence. Look at what they said 10 years ago what would happen with rising ocean levels, it hasn’t happened.

"Those of you who have watched the Al Gore ‘Inconvenient Truth’ movie saw his hands over the Gulf of Mexico and all this boiling hot water. ‘You think Hurricane Katrina is bad you haven’t seen anything yet, we are going to have all these horrible hurricanes every year’. We haven’t had one, Katrina was six years ago and we have yet to have the next hurricane.”

Instead of CO2-driven global warming, Lutz embraces the theory that the planet is actually cooling because of lower solar flare and sun-spot activity. "It has got nothing to do with CO2, it’s got everything to do with solar activity, and when the solar flares stopped and the sun has been unusually quiet almost to the point of worrying people, then global temperatures go down.”

So why is Lutz such a strong proponent of the Volt and the electrification of the automobile? Peak oil is the answer. Lutz argues that continued dependence on oil as demand inevitably increases will simply exacerbate boom and bust economic cycles. That’s especially the case as Chinese car sales grow. In 20 years he estimates the China market will equal the rest of the world combined. "At that point we have to have alternative drive systems, which to me have to be electric,” Lutz said.


Wind turbines on homes are just ‘eco-bling’

Home turbines and solar panels have little effect

Roof-mounted wind turbines and solar panels are “eco-bling” that allow their owners to flaunt their green credentials but contribute very little towards meeting Britain’s carbon reduction targets, according to the Royal Academy of Engineering. Developers will waste millions of pounds installing such micro-generation devices unless the Government revises its building regulations on carbon-neutral homes and offices.

Doug King, Professor of Building Engineering at the University of Bath and the author of a report on low carbon buildings published today, said that far greater savings could be made by installing better insulation and methods of trapping the Sun’s rays. He proposed that the government target for all new homes to be carbon-neutral by 2016 should be relaxed in return for developers making equivalent contributions to wind farms and other large-scale renewable energy projects. “Wind turbines and solar cells on the roof achieve little or nothing and are what I describe as eco-bling. It’s just about trying to say to the general public, ‘I’m being good, I’m helping the environment’. “The things that save the money are not done, because they are not sexy.”

Dr King said that wind turbines on urban homes often consumed more energy than they generated. Field trials carried out last year by the government-funded Energy Saving Trust found that the most productive building-mounted wind turbines in urban or suburban areas generated only £26 of electricity a year. Many of these turbines, which cost about £1,500, were net consumers of electricity because their controls drew power from the grid when the wind was low.

David Cameron installed a wind turbine on the roof of his home in West London but was forced to remove it because he had not obtained planning permission. His spokeswoman said yesterday that the turbine had been returned to the architect. “The technology has moved on so there was no point in putting it back up,” she said.

Professor King said that for wind turbines on urban homes to be effective, they would have to be so big that their vibration would damage the building. He said that installing microgeneration devices could cost £10,000 to £12,000 per home and reduce its emissions by only a few per cent. He proposed an alternative policy under which developers would offset the entire emissions of new homes by contributing £3,000 per dwelling towards a wind farm on a hilltop.

Professor King said that offices would need to be redesigned to reduce energy use and cope with regular power cuts caused by the failure to replace ageing power stations. He accused the Government of failing to practise what it preached on emissions. A recent National Audit Office report found that 80 per cent of government buildings opened since 2002 fell below minimum environmental performance standards.



God, how embarrassing. The Met Office is on the verge of being dumped by the BBC, because it keeps getting forecasts – especially long-term ones – wrong. Worse, its place as the supplier of TV forecasts to the nation may be usurped by Metra, a New Zealand operation.

For a quasi-governmental organisation (it's part of the Ministry of Defence) that was founded 150 years as a service to seamen and which has supplied BBC with forecasts since 1920, this is a matter of head-hanging shame. If the UK's national weather service is disowned by the UK's national public broadcaster, where on earth can it go? Who's going to trust it, after its own family has rejected it? And does this mean that the BBC may dispense with all Met Office productions and dump the – gulp – Shipping Forecast as well?

I can't say I'm surprised by this turn of events, though. Last year the Met Office forecast a "barbecue summer", and we spent July and August huddling in the rain, trying to coax some fire out of the sodden charcoal. In autumn, there wasn't nearly enough shouting from the Met Office about the Arctic ice and biblical snowfalls that were heading our way, so we wound up sleeping in freezing cars, stranded on the A3, and cursing the birdbrains who predicted a 66 per cent likelihood that winter would be warmer than average (cheers, guys). Then you take a closer look and find that the Met failed to predict wet summers for the past three years; and that its annual global forecast predictions were wrong for nine of the last 10 years. It's been running a "warm bias" for a decade.

You could forgive it some errors of computation in what is, of course, an imperfect science, where words like "probability" and "projections" sometimes seem to mean "guesswork". But medicine is an imperfect science too (my father, a GP, used to refer to his stethoscope as "the guessing tubes") and you suspect that, if the Met Office was a doctor, his surgery would be littered with dead bodies. Its actual head office is in Exeter, Devon, a purpose-built £80m glass-and-steel beauty (opened in 2004) that dazzles in the sunlight but fails to shine when it comes to supplying useful medium-term information. Fifty years ago last summer, the success of the D-Day landings and the lives of millions depended crucially on weather forecasters accurately predicting the weather on the day of the invasion. If they could get it right weeks in advance, why can't the Met, half a century later?

Some climatologists hint that the Office's problem is political – its computer model of future weather behaviour habitually feeds in government-backed assumptions about climate change that aren't borne out by the facts. To the Met Office, the weather's always warmer than it really is, because it's expecting it to be, because it expects climate change to wreak its stealthy havoc. If it really has had its thumb on the scales for the last decade, I'm afraid it deserves to be shown the door.


The latest Greenie wail: We must eat oddly-shaped and damaged-looking fruit!

This wail comes from Australia but the "problem" is greater in other countries, notably Japan. I personally am rather glad that the Japanese are so fussy. It means that I get to eat delicious but slightly misshapen Japanese-bred Nashi pears for only a fraction of what the Japanese pay

When it comes to the critical problems facing humanity, there is one issue that does not command our attention the way it should, but in its own quiet way is every bit as compelling and troublesome as climate change or the global financial crisis. It's our flagrant abuse of fruit and vegetables. Sounds like a bit of a parody, doesn't it? But the fate of the banana, the tomato and the carrot have a lot more to do with our environmental and economic woes than many would at first suspect. How we grow, depict and treat produce in the West is a stark representation of the pernickety, self-destructive consumer society we have become.

For some years, the major supermarkets have behaved like a phalanx of door-bitches fronting exclusive nightclubs. They have decreed that the fruit and vegetables they sell must meet stringent standards of appearance, or no entry. Although this quest for perfect-looking produce is driven by what customers want, it raises some serious agricultural, not to mention ethical, problems.

The issue has been festering for some time at the Victorian Farmers Federation, which in December doled out some home truths about consumer expectations. A frustrated Andrew Broad, the federation's president, said the expectations were unrealistic and growers were going broke. The problem is simply stated: people only want to buy produce that looks attractive. Any fruit and veg with a few blemishes or a slightly unorthodox shape are shunned. In some cases, growers have had whole crops rejected by supermarket buyers.

The banana provides an instructive example. In Queensland, Australian Banana Growers Council chief executive Tony Heidrich recently admitted to a high level of wastage that he described as "disappointing". A more apposite d-word would be disgraceful. At least 100,000 tonnes of bananas are deemed not attractive enough for public consumption and are sent to the shredder and buried. Unattractive fruit won't sell. Customers will only take home the perfect specimens.

This objectification of fruit satirically echoes many debates feminists have had about society's objectification of women. In the quest for some totally artificial construct of an ideal, many people are overlooking the single most important fact - that it's what's on the inside that matters.

Where is it written that wonky looking fruit isn't good for you? It is frequently remarked upon that the flavour of those perfect-looking tomatoes in the supermarket is perfectly bland. Any home gardener will tell you that a rough-looking home-grown tomato, blemished though it may be, is utterly delicious next to an insipid, store-bought example. This is mildly amusing until you think about the implications. Fruit that fails the appearance test is rejected; thrown away or ploughed back into the ground. This happens to up to 25 per cent of all produce.

When you consider how many people on earth are starving, and that industries are looking to minimise carbon footprints, it is totally unforgivable to throw away carefully grown and tended food just because it isn't pretty enough.

But human behaviour is often perverse. It's frequently said that what the West spends on dieting could, if re-directed, end starvation in the world. Our inexorable quest for perfection - for beautiful bodies, fabulous homes, shiny cars, breathtaking holidays, perfect meals - is largely responsible for the pollution and damage we have wreaked on earth. You don't have to be Al Gore to apprehend that our lifestyle is screwing up the planet.

It's enough to make one pessimistic. What hope is there to solve complex human problems when half the planet is so hung up on appearances that it refuses to eat food that doesn't have the right look?

It's not just the fault of supermarket managers. Until last July, the European Union had set specific cosmetic standards for most produce and oddly shaped fruit and veg were effectively banned from sale. The prohibition has been lifted largely because of the global recession, which has partially recalibrated some of our commercial decisions.

But supermarkets worldwide still insist on crazy notions of perfection and, of course, they blame us, the customer. We've asked for it. No one really knows just how much food around the world is rejected and wasted in this way. It could be billions of dollars worth each year. Is Western culture even more decadent than anyone imagined?

Under the pretext of preserving the planet's finite resources, the media and government often try to whip us into a frenzy of guilt and accountability. We're implored to get roof insulation, to invest in solar power, to recycle our rubbish, to ride a bike to work, to buy drought-resistant plants and let the lawn die. Tell it to the turnips. Until society learns to value and manage food responsibly, what's the point?


Does Monckton go too far?

Writing from Australia, Janet Albrechtsen says that Lord Monckton should not call Warmists Nazis and Communists even though Warmists frequently abuse skeptics that way. She may be right

IS it too much to ask for a measured climate change debate in 2010? Looking back at 2009, it's hard to think of a more frustrating debate than the one about anthropogenic global warming.

One side says the science is settled and will not countenance dissent. Within that group sit the alarmists who preach death and destruction, those who define humanity as the problem and those who have long harboured an ideological grudge against Western progress. Those on the other side of the debate say man-made global warming is all bunkum. Though they describe themselves as sceptics, for many of them the science is equally settled: in their favour.

And in between is a far larger group of people, those who are open-minded and genuinely sceptical, who are trying to understand the debate as best they can. Yet frustration only grows at the extremism on both sides.

So what will Christopher Monckton bring to this exasperating state of affairs? The former adviser to Margaret Thatcher is in Australia next week, speaking about the flaws of the push for a global solution to global warming. Last year, Monckton blew the whistle on a draft Copenhagen treaty that political leaders seemed keen to keep away from the prying eyes of taxpayers, who will fund the grand promises.

While nothing concrete came out of Copenhagen, the push for global commitments and a foreign aid bonanza continues. And in this respect, Monckton has plenty more to say. He has written to the Prime Minister outlining legitimate concerns that billions of dollars will be wasted on a problem that does not exist.

When Monckton talks about the science he is powerful. Watch on YouTube his kerb-side interview of a well-meaning Greenpeace follower on the streets of Copenhagen last month. With detailed data behind him, he asks whether she is aware that there has been no statistically significant change in temperatures for 15 years. No, she is not. Whether she is aware that there has in fact been global cooling in the past nine years? No, she is not. Whether she is aware that there has been virtually no change to the amount of sea ice? No, she does not. Whether, given her lack of knowledge about these facts, she is driven by faith, not facts. Yes, she is driven by faith, she says.

To those with an open mind, Monckton's fact-based questions demand answers from our political leaders. To this end, he will impress his Australian audience over the next few days. Unfortunately, while Monckton has mastered the best arts of persuasion, he also succumbs to the worst of them when he engages in his made-for-the-stage histrionics. In Copenhagen, when a group of young activists interrupted a meeting, he berated them as Nazis and Hitler Youth. Elsewhere he has called on people to rise up and fight off a "bureaucratic communistic world government monster". This extremist language damages his credibility. More important, it damages the debate. You start to look like a crank when you describe your opponents as Nazis and communists. You can see how it happens. Talking to a roomful of cheering fellow travellers, the temptation is to hit the high gear of hyperbole. But if your aim is to persuade those with an open mind, this kind of talk will only turn people away. Warning people about the genuine threat to national sovereignty from a centralised global-warming bureaucracy is one thing. Talking about a new front of communists marching your way is another. It sounds like an overzealous warrior fighting an old battle.

The debate about global warming is as much a political debate as it is about the science. Writing in Macleans earlier this month, Andrew Coyne highlighted the errors made by the global warmists who deride their opponents. "If your desire is to persuade the unpersuaded among the general public, the very worst way to go about it is to advertise your bottomless contempt for your adversaries. That the IPCC scientists reacted in this way shows how unprepared they were, for all their activist enthusiasm, to enter the political arena."

The great shame is that those on the other side of the debate are making precisely the same error. And that is why Monckton's fact-based concerns are left unaddressed by our political leaders. They have sidelined him from debate. Kevin Rudd has not responded to his letter. Tony Abbott will not meet him. Neither should he. There is no political gain for the Opposition Leader in doing so.

And the reason is clear enough. Inflationary language deflates an argument. Moreover, Monckton is making the worst political error at the worst possible time, right when this debate is slipping from the control of those determined to punish countries for their carbon emissions. Even The Guardian's resident alarmist George Monbiot admitted last November, "There is no point in denying it: we're losing. Climate change denial is spreading like a contagious disease."

It's neither denial nor a disease, of course. Just healthy scepticism. And it's growing in all the right directions for all the right reasons. Scepticism about the science: the revelation that scientists massaged data to suit their case has damaged the public's trust in the scientific community. Scepticism about the costs: after Copenhagen, we now know more about the grab for a new gravy train of foreign aid from developed nations set to flow to developing countries under the cloak of climate change. Scepticism about the government: the Rudd government will come under increased pressure to explain its rush to implement an emissions trading system ahead of the rest of the world. And scepticism about the role of a campaigning media: even the BBC Trust has called for a review of the BBC's cheerleading coverage of climate change. What took it so long? Large sections of the Australian media are no less complicit in the same kind of climate change advocacy.

In 2010, healthy scepticism will continue to rise against the global warming alarmists. But only if those such as Monckton treat the public with respect by sticking to the facts and using measured language, not fanciful claims and name-calling.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

British Conservatives wavering

Australia's conservatives are now firmly opposed to new Greenie taxes and charges -- and are benefiting in the polls. Can Britain be far behind? Australian political advisers are influential in London

DAVID Cameron was given a stark warning yesterday that his enthusiasm for green policies is unlikely to be shared by the coming influx of Tory MPs. A poll of the 240 Conservativecandidates best placed to win seats at the election found most ranked tackling climate change as their lowest priority. Reducing Britain’s soaring deficit was rated the most important issue facing the country.

The poll, published by the conservativehome website for Tory supporters, will come as a blow to the party leader. Mr Cameron has repeatedly campaigned on the slogan “vote blue, go green” and was famously pictured with huskies in the Arctic to highlight the threat of global warming. He is under increasing pressure from within party ranks to scrap plans for swingeing green taxes.

The poll found that 144 Tory candidates in marginal seats ranked “reducing Britain’s carbon footprint” as the least important from a list of 19 priorities for the next government. Only eight candidates thought climate change was top priority for an incoming Tory candidate, compared with 112 most worried about the borrowing crisis.

Tim Montgomerie, of conservativehome, said: “This is a hugely controversial issue for the Conservative Party.” He said there was little support among the centre-right think tanks that influence Tory policy for action to tackle climate change. He said: “I’m confident the sceptics are going to win. It’s for Cameron to decide how he’s going to get out of this. He’s lost the battle already.”

Many Tory activists fear campaigning on climate will antagonise voters who fear the issue is simply an excuse from politicians for more tax and meddling. A recent poll suggested about half the public do not believe that climate change is caused by human activity. For the conservativehome poll, Tory Parliamentary candidates were asked to rate 19 political issues on a scale of one to five in importance.

Candidates gave climate change an average rating of 2.8, significantly below “more help for marriage” with a 3.6 rating and “protecting the English countryside” with a 3.5 rating. Top of the list were “cutting the budget deficit” with an average rating of 4.7 and “cutting red tape and regulation, particularly for small business” with an average rating of 4.3. It follows another recent poll that found 76 per cent of Tory supporters thought the cost of energy bills was a more important issue than climate change.



It's all beginning to unravel now. The information is not new but the attention to it is

A top scientist said Monday he had warned in 2006 that a prediction of catastrophic loss of Himalayan glaciers, published months later by the UN's Nobel-winning climate panel, was badly wrong. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report said in 2007 it was "very likely" that the glaciers, which supply water to more than a billion people across Asia, would vanish by 2035 if global warming trends continued.

"This number is not just a little bit wrong, but far out of any order of magnitude," said Georg Kaser, an expert in tropical glaciology at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. "It is so wrong that it is not even worth discussing," he told AFP in an interview.

The triple-volume Fourth Assessment Report is the scientific touchstone for political action on climate change.

Destruction of Himalayan glaciers by 2035 was questioned in a report by Britain's Sunday Times, which said the reference derived from a news article published in 1999 and had failed to be scrutinized by the IPCC.

Kaser suggested the initial error originated from a misreading of a 1996 Russian study or from findings on a handful of glaciers that were mistakenly extended to apply to the whole region. In either case, he suggested, the fact that it found its way into the report underpinning global climate negotiations signalled the need for a reform of the way the IPCC collects and reviews data. "The review community has entirely failed" in this instance, he said.

Kaser was a lead author in Working Group I of the IPCC report, which dealt with the physical science of climate change. Its conclusions -- that climate change is "unequivocal" and poses a major threat -- remain beyond reproach, he said.

The prediction for the Himalayan glaciers was contained in the separately published Working Group II report, which assessed likely impacts of climate change. More specifically, the chapter focussed on an assessment of Asia, authored by scientists from the region. "This is a source of a lot of misunderstandings, misconceptions or failures," Kaser said, noting that some regions lacked a broad spectrum of expertise. "It is a kind of amateurism from the regional chapter lead authors. They may have been good hydrologists or botanists, but they were without any knowledge in glaciology."

Kaser said some of the scientists from other regional groups took heed of suggestions, and made corrections ahead of final publication in April 2007. But the Asia group did not. "I pointed it out," he said of the implausible prediction on the glaciers. "For a reason I do not know, they did not react."

But blame did not rest with the regional scientists alone, Kaser added. "I went back through the comments afterward, and not a single glaciologist had any interest in looking into Working Group II," he said.

The head of the UN climate panel, Rajendra Pachauri, told AFP his organization would look into the matter. He has already vowed to probe the so-called Climategate affair involving hacked email exchanges among IPCC scientists that skeptics say points to bias.

The IPCC's Fifth Assessment, scheduled for release in 2013, will probably be adjusted to avoid such problems, said Kaser. "All the responsible people are aware of this weakness in the Fourth Assessment. All are aware of the mistakes made," he said. "If it had not been the focus of so much public opinion, we would have said 'we will do better next time.' It is clear now that Working Group II has to be restructured," he said. There will still be regional chapters, but the review process will be modified, he added.



The furore over the validity of data used by UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has taken some of the sheen off the Nobel prize-winning institution's reputation. A day after it emerged that IPCC's dire prediction that climate change would melt most Himalyan glaciers by 2035 was based on mere "speculation", environment minister Jairam Ramesh slammed the processes of the celebrated body saying "due diligence had not been followed by the Nobel peace prize winning body". "The health of glaciers is a cause of grave concern but the IPCC's alarmist position that they would melt by 2035 was not based on an iota of scientific evidence," the environment minister said.

Ramesh recalled how IPCC chief R K Pachauri had scornfully dismissed doubts raised by a government agency about the veracity of the UN body's sensational projection about melting of glaciers. "In fact, we had issued a report by scientist V K Raina that the glaciers have not retreated abnormally. At the time, we were dismissed, saying it was based on voodoo science. But the new report has clearly vindicated our position," he said.

This may not be the first time that climate science relating to India has been found to be fallacious or incorrect. However, revelation that the data on glacial melt in Himalayas was unverified has dented the image of the IPCC -- which has set the agenda for climate change talks. It has given a handle to climate sceptics who have long accused the IPCC of being biased.

The report by Raina and other glaciologists had found support from some well-known glaciologists from across the world at that time. Pachauri, the high profile head of IPCC, acknowledged to TOI that the controversy had caused loss of face for the institution. "Of course, it goes without saying (that the IPCC's reputation has suffered). We have to see that its gold-plated standard is maintained," he said.

The embarrassment comes close on the heels of the disclosure of emails among scientists aligned with the IPCC who argued that data undercutting their conclusions should be withheld from public. When asked what steps the IPCC would take to correct the erroneous information in its report, Pachauri said the group would move swiftly to verify facts at its own level, work to figure how the `deviation from due process occurred' and act on the situation.

Other sources, not willing to come on record, suggested that IPCC was looking at the possibility of a `corrigendum or errata' to be published within the week. While this is not unprecedented in IPCC history, corrections carried out so far related to typographical errors. This time, however, the body will be correcting an unverified report that not only got included in its findings that framed the climate change negotitations but remained undetected for more than two years.

The IPCC is only meant to include peer-reviewed information that has passed the litmus test of being published in reputed journals. But this is not the first time that data on India, often used by industrialised countries to put pressure on Delhi to take actions, has been found to be incorrect. "In 1990, US raised a scare that methane emissions (an intense greenhouse gas) from wet paddy fields in India were as high as 38 million tonnes. It was later found by Indian scientists and globally accepted that it was as low as 2-6 million tonnes," Ramesh said.

Again in 2000, just before crucial negotiations, US and other industrialised countries flogged an unverified report of UNEP that claimed soot from chullahs (earthen cookstoves) was adding greatly to climate change, calling it the Asian Brown Haze.



Syed Hasnain, the scientist at the centre of the growing controversy over melting Himalayan glaciers (not), is now working for Dr R K Pachauri's TERI as head of the institute glaciology team, funded by a generous grant from a US charity, researching the effects of the retreat. Highlighted in The Sunday Times yesterday, Dr Hasnain was the scientist responsible for claiming that the world's glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035. This was picked up by the New Scientist and then by a 2005 WWF report, and subsequently published as a definitive claim in the IPCC's 2007 fourth assessment report, masterminded by Dr R K Pachauri.

But, while Dr Hasnain, who was then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, has admitted that the New Scientist report was based on "speculation" and was not supported by any formal research, he is now a direct beneficiary of that speculation.

Using Dr Hasnain's claim that the Himalaya glaciers "will vanish within forty years as a result of global warming…resulting in widespread water shortages," Pachauri's "alarmism" was bolstered by the WWF report which stated: “As apocalyptic as it may sound, it needs to be underlined that glaciers need to be studied for a variety of purposes including hazard assessment, effects on hydrology, sea level rise and to track climatic variations. There are several problems associated with retreating glaciers that need to be understood in order to proceed to the next stage of quantifying research and mitigating disaster.”

With the case for more research thus established, Pachauri's institute, TERI, approached the wealthy Carnegie Corporation of New York through a consortium led by the Global Centre for funding to carry out precisely the work to which his own "independent" report had drawn attention. In November 2008, they were successful, being awarded a $500,000 grant for "research, analysis and training on water-related security and humanitarian challenges to South Asia posed by melting Himalaya glaciers." This helped Dr Pachauri set up the TERI Glaciology team, putting at its head now professor Syed Iqbal Hasnain.

The Global Center is an Icelandic-based private institute with links to the office of the president of Iceland, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson. Its aim is to establish "a major research and training program involving scientists from South Asia, Europe and the Americas," of which Dr Pauchari's TERI India is a central part. Thus, this month, on 15 January, Iceland president Grímsson and Dr Pachauri, together with a team from Ohio State University, launched their collaborative programme, declaring that TERI and the Carnegie Corporation of New York had "joined hands" to work in the fields of glaciology and soil science. The purpose of the joint effort, they said, was "to improve understanding of the effects of climate change on the Himalaya and the manifold consequences that follow for the possibilities of water management and food production on the plains below."

The research fund is also to be topped up from the $108,000 proceeds of the Nehru Prize awarded to Grímsson this month.

Nevertheless, Dr Hasnain does not seem always to be upholding his earlier "speculation". He was "on message" in November 2009 but, on the first day of the two-day conclave on "Indian Himalayan glaciers, change and livelihoods" in October 2009, he told his audience that scientists projected "a 43 percent decrease in glacial area on average by the year 2070 and 75 percent decrease by the end of 21st century at the current warming rate" – a very far cry from disappearance in 2035.

However, with the addition of EU funding, Dr Hasnain can afford to be more candid. He has been able to set up a major research facility at Latey Bunga, Mukteshwar, with several outstations in what is now a well-resourced operation.

Meanwhile, Dr Pachauri, head of the parent research institute, TERI, and a "full-time salaried employee", is seeking to disown his own 2007 report. Despite having dismissed criticism of it by the Indian government as "voodoo science", he told an Indian news agency today that he washed his hands of the controversy saying he has "absolutely no responsibility".

Still, with $500,000 in the bank, and EU money flowing into the coffers, the report has served its purpose and he can afford now to walk away from it.


More Greenie-inspired harassment of ordinary people in Britain

Householders will soon have to keep food waste in the modern equivalent of a slop bucket, the Government said yesterday. Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, said that instead of being thrown away on landfill sites, food waste would be used for composting or turned into energy. Britain throws away 8.3 million tonnes of food each year, costing families with children £680 a year, according to government figures. Food waste at landfill sites is also estimated to generate about 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, the equivalent of emissions from four million cars.

The ban, which could be introduced in two years, will apply to businesses and the public sector as well as homes. The bulk of commercial food waste comes from retailers and wholesalers — about 12.7 million tonnes a year, nearly half of which is sent to landfill. The plan will be published next month but details were disclosed before a demand by MPs that such a ban be introduced as quickly as possible.

Michael Jack, Conservative chairman of the Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said that he hoped it could be achieved within two to five years and that it should be a priority for the next government. Although the proposals are for England, it is expected they will be adopted by the devolved administrations.

Mr Benn has written to supermarkets, urging them to hand over out-of-date food that is still safe to eat to feed the homeless, the elderly and those on low incomes.

He has decided to press ahead with the food-waste ban after Defra found that 78 per cent of people supported the separate collection of food waste. In a survey of 4,000 households two thirds said that they were already sorting food leftovers and peelings from other rubbish. However, only 137 out of about 400 councils in the UK have weekly food waste collections. The Government has not yet decided on a timetable for the ban.

In their report on waste strategy MPs demand a tougher approach to recycling. The select committee wants half of household waste to be recycled or composted within five years and 60 per cent by 2020. The current proportion is just over a third.

As well as calling for a ban on food waste, MPs are demanding urgent action to tackle the “Primark effect” of people discarding cheap clothes. High street fashion chains are urged to provide more bins to recycle old clothes and new labels on clothes to identify recyclable fabric, while consumers are encouraged to give away their old clothes to charity shops.

The inquiry also calls for a “clean-up” levy on manufacturers of cigarettes, chewing gum, drinks, chocolate bars and crisps, which make up the bulk of litter on Britain’s streets. The idea is for manufacturers to pay a tiny fraction of a penny on every item produced into a fund that could be allocated to local authorities and help to bring down council taxes, Mr Jack said.

Julian Kirby, of Friends of the Earth, said that recycling rates should be even more ambitious: “The Government should ban the landfill and incineration of recyclable material, stop funding wasteful incineration schemes and provide support to expanding recycling and food waste collections.”


New official caution in Australia: "Jury still out" on climate change

Australia's peak science agency, the CSIRO, has backed away from attributing a decade of drought in Tasmania to climate change, claiming "the jury is still out" on the science.

The comments follow the issuing of a CSIRO report yesterday, revealing drought has cut water availability in northern Tasmania's premier wine growing region by 24 per cent, with riverflows reaching record lows. One of the report's co-authors, hydrologist David Post, told The Canberra Times there was "no evidence" linking drought to climate change in eastern Australia, including the Murray-Darling Basin. "At this stage, we'd prefer to say we're talking about natural variability. The science is not sufficiently advanced to say it's climate change, one way or the other. The jury is still out on that," Dr Post said.

Australian Greens leader, Bob Brown has accused CSIRO of "caving in to political pressure" to soften its stance on climate change in the lead-up to this year's federal election. "We should ask why CSIRO is prepared to turn an unaccountable blind eye to recent climate trends in Tasmania. This undercurrent of scepticism would seem to suggest the report has been politicised," Senator Brown said.

According to the report, rainfall in northern Tasmania's Pipers River region famed for its award-winning rieslings and pinot noir has dropped by 12 per cent in the past decade, with recent climate conditions "drier than those of the last 84 years."

More than 80 per cent of Tasmania's river catchments have been affected by drought, with the South Esk the island's longest river and source of water for beer production most at risk.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

Greenie-inspired nuisances never stop

EU regulations are now disabling iconic British stoves -- in pusuit of some will-o-the-wisp. Why is producing more soot a good thing? An Aga is more than a stove, of course. It is also a domestic heating system

It’s a story of traditional British pluck in the face of an assault from across the Channel: the nation’s Aga owners are uniting in the face of a Brussels directive that they believe is playing havoc with their pilot lights. Thanks to European Union insistence on lower sulphur levels in domestic kerosine, oil-fired Agas are said to be caking up with soot, and in some cases conking out. It’s been a particular problem in the recent cold weather, when many people rely on these iconic ranges to heat their homes.

“We have to literally drill out the carbon build-up from the burner every six to eight weeks, and relight the Aga,” complains Catherine Lewis, who runs a thatching business in Hertfordshire.

“Our oven either just tails off, or else fails to respond,” complains fellow sufferer Richard Sowerbutts, of London. “When you look inside, it’s completely clogged up with gunge.”

Nor are these just teething problems with new ovens. “For 20 years, our Aga worked perfectly, then it started to splutter and cut out completely,” laments long-time Aga owner Janet Strode, of Halton, in Lancashire. “Eventually, our engineer resorted to putting in a complete new burner and controller, which has at least stopped it from cutting out, but the temperature still veers wildly, and we still get the smell of oil. This after spending £800 trying to solve the issue.”

And with engineers charging £80 a time to fix the ovens, many other afflicted Aga folk are clocking up similarly sized bills. The full extent of the problem only became clear when Peter Anslow, director of the 19,000-strong Listed Property Owners Club, recently sent an email to members, asking if they were having the same oven problems as him. “The response has been instant and sizeable,” he reports. “Agas are going out all over the country, causing disputes between our members and their heating engineers and oil suppliers.”

In which latter category comes John Weedon, director of Cornish-based oil distributors Mitchell and Webber: “Every week, at least one of our customers’ Agas goes wrong. I hate to think of the number of hours I’ve spent trying to sort it out.” His company has now conducted a chemical analysis of the oil it is supplying. “Because of the new EU requirement for lower sulphur levels, the oil is being subjected to a treatment which increases what’s known as its 'char value’,” he says. This is a figure that refers to the level of sooting up that occurs, once the oil has been vaporised and burned.

“The oil still meets the relevant British Standard,” says Bob Hall, whose firm Fuel Additive Science Technologies did the analysis. “The trouble is, the increased char value seems to cause problems for Agas.”

The extent of those problems is, however, questioned by Aga. “There has been a new oil recipe that has caused difficulties, although my own Aga engineer in Norfolk says he hasn’t come across any,” says Laura James, Aga “ambassador” and spokeswoman for the company. “Sometimes, problems can be down to people having their oven serviced by someone who’s not an accredited Aga engineer. Sometimes, too, the Agas can be a little old. After all, a car from the Thirties wouldn’t run on today’s fuel.”

Celebrated chef Mary Berry, author of many an Aga cookbook, says she’s only heard of one case of oven-malfunction: “A friend rang the other day to say she was having problems. There again, in my experience, the temperature can suddenly drop on an oil-fired Aga. Mine runs on gas.”

And fellow celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson’s runs on electricity. According to the Aga website, his cat Nigel loves to lie in front of it, and there’s a long list of other A-list Aga-users quoted on the same site who are equally passionate about their cooking ranges.

“We had an Aga when I was growing up,” says food writer Tom Parker Bowles. “My mother won’t cook on anything else.”

“There’s something about an Aga that makes it like a best friend,” purrs actress Susan Hampshire, and her feelings are echoed by many fellow Aga lovers who feel their oven is the heart of their home.

“An Aga is so much more than an oven,” says Mary Berry. “That’s what people should bear in mind when they’re moaning about the cost.”

Indeed, many owners do seem prepared to dig deep, rather than abandon their oven: “My Aga has dried out sodden rugs, shivering ducks and damp dogs on numerous occasions,” says architectural salvage dealer Amanda Garrett, from Oxfordshire. “I’m having to get it serviced at least four times a year now, but I’m still prepared to persevere. A true Aga owner never gives up.”

It remains to be seen, though, if this latest test of Aga owners’ loyalty – and their bank balances – will prove too much for others in this cold spell of weather.


Climategate III: The Search for Peer Review

Peer Review. Ha.
Two years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a benchmark report that was claimed to incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming. A central claim was the world’s glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.

….Hasnain has since admitted that the claim was “speculation” and was not supported by any formal research. If confirmed it would be one of the most serious failures yet seen in climate research. The IPCC was set up precisely to ensure that world leaders had the best possible scientific advice on climate change.
Peer Review. Heh heh.
The New Scientist report was apparently forgotten until 2005 when WWF cited it in a report called An Overview of Glaciers, Glacier Retreat, and Subsequent Impacts in Nepal, India and China. The report credited Hasnain’s 1999 interview with the New Scientist. But it was a campaigning report rather than an academic paper so it was not subjected to any formal scientific review. Despite this it rapidly became a key source for the IPCC when Lal and his colleagues came to write the section on the Himalayas.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Some scientists have questioned how the IPCC could have allowed such a mistake into print. Perhaps the most likely reason was lack of expertise. Lal himself admits he knows little about glaciers. “I am not an expert on glaciers.and I have not visited the region so I have to rely on credible published research. The comments in the WWF report were made by a respected Indian scientist and it was reasonable to assume he knew what he was talking about,” he said.
I’m sorry, I’m laughing so hard I can’t see the screen. I keep thinking of all the times I’ve been assured that the IPCC and related organizations use only the finest peer-reviewed research, and that we should trust its major publications because its work is by experts in the field. So forgive the lack of in-depth analysis here.

Peer Review: The new punchline.


'AGW? I refute it THUS!': Central England Temperatures 1659 to 2009

James Delingpole (below) has discovered the Central England temperature dataset and rightly sees it as a huge poke in the eye to the Warmists. Warmists generally rely on tree rings for their highly dubious conclusions about climate history but with this dataset we have actual thermometer readings. The raw dataset concerned is graphed immediately below. It is clearly a random walk and any trend up or down is statistical jiggery pokery rather than anything real -- JR

If there’s anyone left you know who STILL believes in Anthropogenic Global Warming, you might want to show them this chart.

The Central England Temperature dataset is the oldest in the world – with 351 years of temperature records drawn from “multiple weather stations located both in urban and rural areas of England, which is considered a decent proxy for Northern Hemisphere temperatures – not perfect, but decent.” Climate Cycles Change provides the analysis.
The first characteristic of the graph to note is the green trend line. That line indicates an overall warming of 0.26°C per century rate since 1659. So, for some 350 years central England, and the world, have been warming. No big surprise there since Earth has been continuously warming since the end of the Little Ice Age; and, at the end of that 350 year trend line of warming is the first decade of the 21st century.

The second characteristic of the graph is that temperatures just seem to have this habit of going up and down, for extended periods. What’s really amazing is that they did this consistently before the large increase of human CO2 emissions, pre-1946. Okay, maybe that’s not so amazing since this is called temperature variability and represents the natural, dynamic nature of our climate….That variability, as displayed by the CET data in the graph, has experienced temperature changes as much as 2.5°C from one year to the next. A change of 2.5°C in a single year! Keep that figure in mind as we further analyze the dataset. Please note, the graph also reveals very similar temperature variability post-1946, after the huge atmospheric input of human CO2 emissions.
The Climate Cycles Change post was inspired by an analysis of CET done earlier this month by Czech physicist Lubos Motl, which is well worth reading. Because Climate Fear Promoters make such a big deal of warming trends in the last 30 years, Motl applied the same technique to the full dataset. Was the recent warming trend, as we’re so often told, dramatic and unprecedented?

Not at all. Here’s what Motl found:
In the late 17th and early 18th century, there was clearly a much longer period when the 30-year trends were higher than the recent ones. There is nothing exceptional about the recent era. Because I don’t want to waste time with the creation of confusing descriptions of the x-axis, let me list the ten 30-year intervals with the fastest warming trends:

1691 – 1720, 5.039 °C/century
1978 – 2007, 5.038 °C/century
1977 – 2006, 4.95 °C/century
1690 – 1719, 4.754 °C/century
1979 – 2008, 4.705 °C/century
1688 – 1717, 4.7 °C/century
1692 – 1721, 4.642 °C/century
1694 – 1723, 4.524 °C/century
1689 – 1718, 4.446 °C/century
1687 – 1716, 4.333 °C/century

You see, the early 18th century actually wins: even when you calculate the trends over the “sufficient” 30 years, the trend was faster than it is in the most recent 30 years.
Climate Cycles Change confirms this with some charts of its own. They all show that, far from being dramatic, dangerous and unprecedented, Central England Temperature changes in the late 20th and 21st Century have in fact been quite tediously uneventful.
What about all the 40 and 50-year temperature change periods, which have been influenced by all those human-made CO2 emissions since 1946? Glad you asked. The ten largest 40-year period temperature changes did include year 2002 in 8th place. But alas, the largest 50-year temperature changes did not include any years from the ‘oughts’ decade. (See below the years with the largest 40-year and 50-year changes.)

Climate Cycles Change’s conclusion:
Summary: Unprecedented warming did not occur in central England during the first decade of the 21st century, nor during the last decade of the 20th century. As the CET dataset is considered a decent proxy for Northern Hemisphere temperatures, and since global temperature trends follow a similar pattern to Northern Hemisphere temps, then the same conclusion about recent warming can potentially be inferred globally. Based on the CET dataset, the global warming scare has been totally blown out of proportion by those who can benefit from the fear.
Amen to that.


Greenies think Haiti is a great place to live

Excerpt from a 2008 article below

As global financial markets learn difficult lessons on the consequences of unregulated spending, a new report issued by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) warns of the danger to future prosperity if the reckless over-consumption of the Earth’s natural capital is left unchecked.

WWF’s Living Planet Report 2008, produced with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Global Footprint Network (GFN), shows more than three quarters of the world’s people now living in nations that are ecological debtors, where national consumption has outstripped their country’s biological capacity. Presently, human demands on the world's natural capital measure nearly a third more than earth can sustain. In addition, global natural wealth and diversity continue to decline, and more and more countries are slipping into a state of permanent or seasonal water stress.

The findings of the Living Planet Report 2008 reinforce WWF-US’s “Greenprint” agenda, a policy road map for the next U.S. administration, which was provided in mid-October to Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill) and their U.S. presidential campaign staffs. Commenting on the “Greenprint” at its release, Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF-US noted “Global consumption of natural resources far exceeds the Earth’s regenerative capacity. We are borrowing from our natural capital at an entirely unsustainable rate. And, as is evidenced from the current economic crisis, unsustainable borrowing is not without profound consequences. To raise the stakes even further, there can be no bailout if the Earth’s systems collapse.”

“The world is currently struggling with the consequences of over-valuing its financial assets, but a more fundamental crisis looms ahead – an ecological credit crunch caused by under-valuing the environmental assets that are the basis of all life and prosperity,” said WWF International Director-General James Leape, in the foreword to the new report. “Most of us are propping up our current lifestyles, and our economic growth, by drawing - and increasingly overdrawing - on the ecological capital of other parts of the world,” Leape said.

According to the Living Planet Report 2008, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and Kuwait have the largest national ecological footprints per person. On the other end of the scale are countries such as Haiti and the Congo, with a low ecological footprint per person, but facing a future of degrading biocapacity from deforestation and increased demands from a rising population and export pressures.


Another desperate attempt to blame cooling on warming

The old Gulf stream scare revived. Pesky fact: The research shows that the Gulf Stream's not slowing

THIS winter's prolonged cold spell could be a taste of things to come for Wales - with glaciers a possibility within 40 years. That's the chilly message from a leading Welsh climate expert who has warned that global warming could paradoxically trigger a collapse in temperatures in western Europe. According to the expert, future Welsh winters could be similar to those in Iceland and southern Greenland now.

Environmentalists pounced on the warning as a sign of how vital it is that we reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The weather's icy grip on Wales since before Christmas is unrelated to global warming or other climate trends - but it shows what life will be like in Wales every winter if the Gulf Stream weakens or moves south.

The Gulf Stream transports warm water from the tropics to the north Atlantic, where the water cools and flows back to the tropics. As global warming melts more of the polar ice cap, more freshwater is entering the north Atlantic. This could impair the Gulf Stream because of the different densities of brine and freshwater. If the northern end of the Gulf Stream moves further south, it will no longer bring the mild temperatures which residents of western Europe take for granted.

Dr Alun Hubbard, a reader at Aberystwyth University's Centre for Glaciology, said it was impossible to predict when this would happen during the next 10,000 years, but there were signs that the system could be changing. "It could start happening next year," he warned. "There are signs that the Gulf Stream is slowing down, but the measurements don't go far enough back. If you've been measuring for 10 years, you can't really extrapolate." Once started, the cooling process could be rapid. In the last glaciation 10,000 years ago - possibly caused by the Gulf Stream responding to melting of North America's ice sheet - took just 30 or 40 years to create glaciers on Ben Nevis and Snowdon.

Dr Hubbard, 40, said: "Within my lifetime we could have glaciers on Snowdon. If I live for another 40 years, it's conceivable." Such a change could lead to temperatures at least 10°C colder than now, with snow and ice all winter, every winter.



From Britain's House of Lords, 14 January 2010. Bernard Donoughue (Labour) was Senior Policy Adviser to the Prime Ministers Harold Wilson and James Callaghan (1974-79)

My Lords, I also thank the noble Lord, Lord Stone, for the opportunity to discuss the Copenhagen conference. Personally, I am not sure whether its failure was a disaster for the future of the planet or a fortunate rescue from dangerous commitments. Time will tell. I want to focus today on global warming, which is allegedly occurring on an unprecedented scale and is allegedly caused by man-made carbon emissions - the majority view is certainly that way.

First, I should declare that I have no training in physical science, although I have in social science from I was when an academic at the LSE, and I am aware of the use and misuse of statistics. I should also emphasise that I believe it is of prime importance to protect our planet from pollution of its earth, skies and oceans. I am also convinced that climate change is, indeed, taking place; it always has. There is nothing new there, although the volatility may now be much greater. However, climate change may not be the same as unprecedented global warming, although there is of course a link.

I am not yet convinced that such warming is, in fact, occurring on an unprecedented and catastrophic scale-although I am aware of the weight of scientific opinion being that way-nor has it, to me, been convincingly forecast to continue in a devastatingly upward curve as the global warming alarmists claim. I am neither a "flat earther" nor a so-called denier-a nasty word, being linked with Nazis denying the Holocaust. The facts of the Holocaust are tragically well established. However, the facts of onward global warming seem less secure. I am not a neo-Nazi but a questioner. It is about those facts of global warming that I wish to ask a few brief questions.

First, on the state of global warming science, would the Government and the preachers of global warming orthodoxy please stop asserting that the scientific evidence is decisively settled and that virtually all scientists support the warming orthodoxy? The science is not yet settled, and some questions are unsettled; nor are all scientists unanimous in support of the orthodoxy or its theology. Five hundred scientists, for instance, gathered recently at a conference in Washington to express their dissent. Their views can be found massively on the internet, although no British media and especially not the BBC reported the conference. Their dissenting views should be addressed, not suppressed.

Secondly, concerning the conclusions of the scientific evidence, specifically, is the global warming of the late 20th century demonstrably different and more threatening than the natural cycles of earlier times? The 300-year long medieval warming period was as hot, or hotter, than our recent experience. Grapes grew on Hadrian's Wall and the Vikings cultivated the green fields of the then green Greenland. Is the recent warming significantly different and sure to rise continuously and catastrophically? Related to this question, what has actually happened in the first decade of the 21st century, when the Met Office constantly forecast mild winters and barbecue summers, which did not materialise, and we currently have the worst winter in at least 30 years? That may be a blip-and I suspect that it is-but it raises questions.

Even more worrying questions have been raised about the integrity of some statistical sources for future global warming forecasts. The University of East Anglia's climatic unit, a major source of the world's global warming forecasts, has been exposed in practices which may not display the best values of objective science. Why did it perform a trick -its description- to "hide the decline in recent temperature"?

It admits using "adjustments" to data, but one man's adjustments can be another's manipulation. It is particularly worrying that it strove to resist freedom of information requests and so have prevented scrutiny of its data.

In relation to the media coverage of this important issue, the BBC should follow its charter and cover global warming impartially, not as a cheerleader for the alarmist side. It is counterproductive and provokes, like manipulation of statistics, the kind of public scepticism which the noble Lord, Lord Giddens, fears. As for the Met Office, it should go back to objective science and try to get its forecasts right and cease blatant campaigning for one side. I note that it has just inevitably forecast that 2010 will be a very hot year-noble Lords should stock up on their long-johns and fur boots.

Why should we be wary of forecasts? One reason is that meteorology is clearly a very difficult science and the data are inevitably imperfect, but there are two other reasons. First, for too many this issue has become more a question of faith than of science. I am wary of zealots. Secondly, the forecasting black boxes are unreliable. We should remember the banks forecasting that their toxic debt had no risk. As a former Minister of Agriculture I recall that the black boxes forecasted thousands of human dead from CJD.

In conclusion, this debate should not be between those who allegedly nobly wish to save the planet by radical decarbonisation and the selfish deniers who do not care for the future of the world. We must continue seeking practical ways to cleanse our environment. Above all, we must seek for objective science to establish what is happening to our ever-changing climate. I hope that we will not rush into panic measures that fatally damage our western economy. We must make sure that we get the scientific facts right and that our policy responses are ones of proportionate adaptation.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

Even the BBC is getting dubious about Britain's incompetent official weather forecasters

BUFFETED by complaints about its inaccurate weather forecasts, the Met Office now faces being dumped by the BBC after almost 90 years. The Met Office contract with the BBC expires in April and the broadcaster has begun talks with Metra, the national forecaster for New Zealand, as a possible alternative.

The BBC put the contract out to tender to ensure “best value for money”, but its timing coincides with a storm over the Met Office’s accuracy. Last July the state-owned forecaster’s predictions for a “barbecue summer” turned into a washout. And its forecast for a mild winter attracted derision when temperatures recently plunged as low as -22C.

Last week the Met Office failed to predict heavy snowfall in the southeast that brought traffic to a standstill. This weekend a YouGov poll for The Sunday Times reveals that 74% of people believe its forecasts are generally inaccurate. By contrast, many commercial rivals got their predictions for winter right. They benefit from weather forecasts produced by a panel of six different data providers, including the Met Office.

Despite criticism, staff at the Met Office are still in line to share a bonus pot of more than £1m. Seasonal forecasts, such as the one made in September, are not included in its performance targets. John Hirst, the chief executive of the Met Office, insisted last week that recent forecasts had been “very good” and blamed the public for not heeding snow warnings. He received a bonus of almost £40,000 in 2008-09.

Metra already produces graphics for the BBC, including the 3-D weather map that made some viewers feel sick when it was introduced in 2005. Weather Commerce, Metra’s UK subsidiary, has already usurped the Met Office in supplying forecasts to Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose. Metra has been negotiating with the BBC since September, when a new tender document, seen by The Sunday Times, was sent to forecasters. It stated that the corporation was seeking a single forecaster to provide meteorological data and presenters for five years. Only companies with a turnover of more than £10m have been invited to apply. The Met Office is still likely to be a strong contender.

A source close to Metra said: “The BBC is not happy with the service it has been getting from the Met Office; it thinks it’s too expensive. We have the ability to provide a bespoke service that will undercut it. Because we already produce the graphics we’ve got a foot in the door, so we’re optimistic.”

During its time on the BBC the Met Office has produced a series of unlikely stars, including John Kettley and Michael Fish, as established meteorologists were thrust before cameras. Many commercial rivals have been put off bidding by the requirement to provide presenters. A source at one rival said: “Where are we going to find 20 weather presenters? It’s a huge burden. The Met Office has an unfair advantage.”

A BBC spokesman said: “It is common practice to look at the options available when a contract is about to expire to ensure we get the best value for money for our licence fee payers.”

The Met Office was bullish, though, saying: “We have always been in the strongest position to provide the BBC with accurate and detailed weather forecasts and warnings for the UK.”


Met Office computer models accused of 'warm bias' by BBC weatherman

Perish the thought!

A BBC weather forecaster has suggested that the Met Office's super-computer has a 'warm bias' which has stopped it predicting bitterly cold spells like the one we have just endured. Paul Hudson said the error may have crept into the computer's climate model as a result of successive years of milder weather.

His claim was rejected by the Met Office but other experts said there could be flaws in the system, which was first developed 50 years ago.

In a blog, the BBC Look North presenter writes: 'Clearly there is the rest of January and February to go, but such has been the intensity of the cold would take something remarkable for the Met Office's forecast (of a mild winter) to be right. 'It is also worth remembering that this comes off the back of the now infamous barbecue summer forecast. 'Could the model, seemingly with an inability to predict colder seasons, have developed a warm bias, after such a long period of milder than average years?'

The Met Office produces its forecasts by feeding information from sources, including satellites and weather stations, into a 'climate model'. A set of complex equations then predict weather changes.

Mr Hudson appears to be suggesting that data recorded over the past decade of warmer winters could be unduly influencing the computer's calculations. However, the Met Office denies this, saying 'any small biases' are automatically corrected before it issues seasonal forecasts.


World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown

A WARNING that climate change will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 is likely to be retracted after a series of scientific blunders by the United Nations body that issued it. Two years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a benchmark report that was claimed to incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming. A central claim was the world's glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.

In the past few days the scientists behind the warning have admitted that it was based on a news story in the New Scientist, a popular science journal, published eight years before the IPCC's 2007 report. It has also emerged that the New Scientist report was itself based on a short telephone interview with Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

Hasnain has since admitted that the claim was "speculation" and was not supported by any formal research. If confirmed it would be one of the most serious failures yet seen in climate research. The IPCC was set up precisely to ensure that world leaders had the best possible scientific advice on climate change.

Professor Murari Lal, who oversaw the chapter on glaciers in the IPCC report, said he would recommend that the claim about glaciers be dropped: "If Hasnain says officially that he never asserted this, or that it is a wrong presumption, than I will recommend that the assertion about Himalayan glaciers be removed from future IPCC assessments."

The IPCC's reliance on Hasnain's 1999 interview has been highlighted by Fred Pearce, the journalist who carried out the original interview for the New Scientist. Pearce said he rang Hasnain in India in 1999 after spotting his claims in an Indian magazine. Pearce said: "Hasnain told me then that he was bringing a report containing those numbers to Britain. The report had not been peer reviewed or formally published in a scientific journal and it had no formal status so I reported his work on that basis.

"Since then I have obtained a copy and it does not say what Hasnain said. In other words it does not mention 2035 as a date by which any Himalayan glaciers will melt. However, he did make clear that his comments related only to part of the Himalayan glaciers, not the whole massif."

The New Scientist report was apparently forgotten until 2005 when WWF cited it in a report called An Overview of Glaciers, Glacier Retreat, and Subsequent Impacts in Nepal, India and China. The report credited Hasnain's 1999 interview with the New Scientist. But it was a campaigning report rather than an academic paper so it was not subjected to any formal scientific review. Despite this it rapidly became a key source for the IPCC when Lal and his colleagues came to write the section on the Himalayas.

When finally published, the IPCC report did give its source as the WWF study but went further, suggesting the likelihood of the glaciers melting was "very high". The IPCC defines this as having a probability of greater than 90%. The report read: "Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate."

However, glaciologists find such figures inherently ludicrous, pointing out that most Himalayan glaciers are hundreds of feet thick and could not melt fast enough to vanish by 2035 unless there was a huge global temperature rise. The maximum rate of decline in thickness seen in glaciers at the moment is 2-3 feet a year and most are far lower.


British taxpayers' millions paid to Indian institute run by UN climate chief

Millions of pounds of British taxpayers' money is being paid to an organisation in India run by Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the controversial chairman of the UN climate change panel, despite growing concern over its accounts. A research institute headed by Dr Pachauri will receive up to £10 million funding over the next five years from the Department for International Development (DfID).

The grant comes amid question marks over the finances of The Energy and Resources Institute's (TERI) London operation. Last week its UK head called in independent accountants after admitting 'anomalies' – described as 'unintentional' – in its accounts that have prompted demands for the Charity Commission to investigate. The decision to resubmit accounts follows a Sunday Telegraph investigation into the finances of TERI Europe, which has benefited from funding from other branches of the British Government including the Foreign Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Dr Pachauri, TERI's director-general, has built up a worldwide network of business interests since his appointment as chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2002. The post, argue critics, has given him huge prestige and influence as the world's most powerful climate official.

The decision by DfID to fund Dr Pachauri's institute, based in Delhi, will add to growing concern over allegations of conflict of interest with critics accusing Dr Pachauri and TERI of gaining financially from policies which are formulated as a result of the work he carries out as IPCC chairman – a suggestion he strongly denies. But Lord Lawson, the former Chancellor who now chairs the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a think tank which challenges the prevailing scientific view on climate change, said: "It is now a wholly legitimate concern to ask questions about possible conflicts of interests. The IPCC is a very influential body and he is obviously very involved in its leadership."

Ann Widdecombe, one of only a handful of MPs who have openly declared themselves climate sceptics, said: "I would have thought that in the interests of transparency and for the avoidance of doubt he probably should not perform both roles. It makes me uneasy."

Because Dr Pachauri's role at the IPCC is unpaid – although he does receive tens of thousands of pounds in travel expenses – he is exempt along with other panel members from declaring outside interests with the UN. But he is paid an undisclosed salary by TERI while the institute has also received payments from a number of organisations and businesses he has advised in recent years including 100,000 euros (£88,400) from Deutcshe bank, $80,000 (£49,000) from Toyota Motors and $580,000 (£357,000) from Yale University, where he serves as head of its new Climate and Energy Institute.

The deal with DfID was announced in September at the British Council in Delhi with Dr Pachauri and Development Secretary Douglas Alexander in attendance. According to a press release issued by the British High Commission at the time, the "partnership will enable TERI to improve knowledge, policy analysis and development practice across a broad range of issues critical to growth, poverty reduction and environmental sustainability in India".

Dr Pachauri, who lives in a mansion in Delhi on the most valuable stretch of residential real estate in India, declared at the time: "This partnership will assist in creating capacity within TERI to undertake efforts by which poverty can be addressed through resource efficient solutions." Asked last week what the money was actually for, a DfID spokesman said it would help "bring electricity and clean energy to millions of the world's poorest people". The spokesman added: "TERI is a globally respected institution. Their accounts are externally audited and annually submitted to the Government of India. As is routine, DFID is undertaking a full Institutional Assessment of TERI as part of our due diligence process."

Mystery surrounds the financial affairs of TERI, which now has five overseas branches in North America, Japan, South East Asia, Dubai and Europe, since it does not make its accounts public even though it is a not for profit organisation. Its annual report only shows two pie charts representing its main areas of income and expenditure although these include no figures. After two weeks of requests by the Sunday Telegraph, TERI revealed income for 2008 to 2009 of £10.7m, up from £6.8 million the year before. DfID said the first year funding of £2 million amounted to about 15 per cent of TERI's annual turnover.

TERI Europe has also attracted British Government and private funding and although no overall figures have been made available for the value of the contracts, they are reckoned to be worth substantial sums over several years. But latest available Charity Commission accounts show income of £8,000 and expenditure of £3,000 in 2008 while separate accounts lodged at Companies House show a little over £60,000 in cash at the bank in June 2008.

Ritu Kumar, who runs TERI Europe, said in response to inquiries by this newspaper she had called in independent accountants Mazars. Dr Kumar wrote: "As a result of this, Mazars has advised us that there are anomalies in the accounts filed with the Charity Commission. As soon as we learned of these anomalies, which were unintentional on our part, we informed the Charity Commission and immediately asked the accountant to prepare revised accounts, which will apply the correct accounting treatment."

In a letter published in today's Sunday Telegraph, Dr Pachauri denies any conflict of interest. He writes: "I am proud of my association with various organisations, of which I am happy to provide a complete list, but such associations are limited to me providing them with advice essentially on clean technologies and sustainable practices. There is no question of them influencing the functioning of TERI, the IPCC or myself. "There is no conflict between these roles and my position as chairman of the IPCC. I advise several organisations on sustainable energy and related subjects, and any remuneration that is due to me from these organisations is paid to TERI, not to me. "This is not for reasons of tax evasion or money laundering, but, to keep within the practices of TERI, of which I am a full-time, salaried employee. No part of these payments is received by me from TERI either directly or indirectly."


Green Jobs, Red Ink, Pink Slips

The "New Socialism" – as columnist Charles Krauthammer adroitly calls the global governmental power grab and wealth redistribution schemes lurking beneath the "green economy" – has kicked into high gear in Washington, D.C. already this year. Struggling to respond to a surprisingly bad December jobs report – and struggling to explain the clear failure of President Barack Obama's massive bureaucratic bailout to stimulate the economy – U.S. government officials are turning to a familiar refrain, "green jobs."

Of course, this familiar song and dance ignores the fact that a huge chunk of the failed "stimulus" went to fund these jobs in the first place. Undeterred by this lack of stimulation – as well as the ongoing unraveling of the climate change myth – Obama's "solution" to this crisis is apparently to continue doing what hasn't worked.

In fact, the red ink had yet to dry on the Department of Labor's latest disappointing employment data before Obama was in front of a Teleprompter announcing that the U.S. government was going to spend another $2.3 billion on tax credits for "green jobs." He also challenged the U.S. Congress to approve $5 billion worth of additional "green manufacturing" tax credits.

Obama is clearly seeking to move beyond picking winners and losers in the marketplace (another proven non-starter), as these sorts of policies represent government manipulation of the marketplace at a very macroeconomic level. In the case of "green jobs," government is mandating (and subsidizing) the creation of inefficient, unreliable and in some cases totally nonexistent sources of energy – all of which in turn creates a net cost to the economy that isn't being recouped.

Exacerbating the problem would be the Obama administration's proposed "cap and trade" energy tax hike and a series of sweeping new EPA carbon regulations. Not surprisingly, these new EPA mandates are likely to become even more sweeping in the event Congress doesn't give Obama the carbon tax revenue he desperately needs to continue funding his unprecedented government expansionism.

In spite of all this, Obama maintains that "cap and trade" is all about creating jobs, even as it would dramatically increase energy costs on families and small businesses across the country while putting dozens – if not hundreds – of larger companies out of business.

Take the example of Spain, which Obama has repeatedly cited as a blueprint for America's "green jobs" effort. According to a recent study from Juan Carlos University in Madrid, the only "green jobs" in the Spanish economy are vanishing ones – specifically the 2.2 jobs that the country has lost for each "green job" that has been created. "Spain's experience (cited by President Obama as a model) reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created, to which we have to add those jobs that non-subsidized investments with the same resources would have created," the study's author Dr. Gabriel Calzada concluded. In other words, "green jobs" are adding to the pile of pink slips in more ways than one.

Not surprisingly, Obama is pushing these positions as another form of payback to the union bosses who supported his 2008 presidential campaign. For example in Maryland this month, a $4.6 million "stimulus" grant was presented to a Service Employees International Union (SEIU) partnership to fund "new and emerging green jobs in the healthcare industry." That same week, the Department of Labor doled out $100 million in grants to "support green job training programs to help dislocated workers and others, including veterans, women, African Americans and Latinos, find jobs in expanding green industries and related occupations." Among the recipients of this money? Unions like SEIU, UAW, United Steelworkers and Communications Workers of America, just to name a few.

So while "green jobs" may be replenishing union bank accounts, they're only drowning this country deeper in red ink while showering pink slips on workers who simply want government to get out of the way so they can get back to doing their jobs. Only in Washington, D.C. is that called that a "stimulus."


Reconsider carbon plan, says Australian government adviser

ONE of the Government's key business advisers on the emissions trading scheme has called for a fresh look at whether the plan should go ahead. Dick Warburton, chairman of the panel set up last year to advise on emissions-intensive trade-exposed activities, said that after Copenhagen's failure, the matter should be debated afresh. He is organising a round-table of company executives, bureaucrats and experts - including supporters and critics - to consider the pros and cons and alternatives of a trading scheme.

His move comes as Opposition Leader Tony Abbott tonight gives his first speech as leader on the environment, arguing that while the environment is important, it is not just about climate. He will seek to redirect focus to areas where Australia can make a difference on its own, including water. Mr Warburton told The Age that despite intense political debate about the emissions scheme, important aspects had not been dealt with adequately. "Chairmen and CEOs and the public have very poor knowledge of what the ETS involves." The round-table should be held by the end of this month, he said.

The Government plans to bring in legislation incorporating last year's deal with the Opposition - which prompted the change of leadership - as soon as Parliament resumes next month. "I think there should be a delay in whatever we do until we have a clear picture of the best course," Mr Warburton said. There was no rush - "We need to get it right."

Mr Warburton is chairman of Tandou and the Magellan Flagship Fund, chairman of the Board of Taxation and a former member of the Reserve Bank board. He personally believes the climate change science is not settled and would favour a carbon tax or other alternative to a trading scheme. A round-table would give some indication of how opinion in big companies is moving after Copenhagen.

Other business sources expect a weakening of support from business for quickly passing the legislation. An important pointer will be the attitude of the Business Council of Australia, but it is yet to consider its position after Copenhagen.

The Government has constantly repeated the argument that business wants legislation passed as soon as possible to provide certainty



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

Greenies are now critical of trees

Should we now call them "Brownies"? No. Brownies are better than that

Contrary to scientists' predictions that, as the Earth warms, the movement of trees into the Arctic will have only a local warming effect, University of California, Berkeley, scientists modeling this scenario have found that replacing tundra with trees will melt sea ice and greatly enhance warming over the entire Arctic region.

Because trees are darker than the bare tundra, scientists previously have suggested that the northward expansion of trees might result in more absorption of sunlight and a consequent local warming. But UC Berkeley graduate student Abigail L. Swann, along with Inez Fung, professor of earth and planetary science and of environmental science, policy and management, doubted this local scenario because, while broad-leaved trees are dark, they also transpire a lot of water, and water vapor is a greenhouse gas that is well-mixed throughout the Arctic.

Taking account of this in a standard model of global warming, the researchers discovered that, while broad-leaved trees do absorb some additional sunlight, the water vapor they pump into the atmosphere causes a more widespread warming. "Broad-leaved deciduous trees are not as dark as evergreen trees and so are generally assumed to be less important. But broad-leaved trees transpire a lot more water through their leaves and are actually able to change the water vapor content and increase the greenhouse effect. As the air warms, it can hold more water vapor, and the greenhouse effect increases further," Swann said. "So, broad-leaved trees end up warming the entire Arctic."

More importantly, the researchers' model predicts that the increased water vapor would melt more sea ice, resulting in more absorption of sunlight by the open ocean and dumping more water vapor into the atmosphere. This positive feedback will warm the land even more and encourage faster, more efficient tree growth and perhaps a faster expansion of trees into the Arctic.

All told, the model predicts an additional 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature over the Arctic as a result of this effect. Global warming already is predicted to increase temperatures in the Arctic between 5 and 7 degrees Celsius within the next 100 years.

The analysis was reported Jan. 7 in the online Early Edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In judging the impact of vegetation on global warming, most scientists have focused on the albedo, or reflectivity, of vegetation, Swann said. The new study shows that water transpiration can have a large effect as well, especially in "closed" environments like the Arctic, where there is greater confinement of atmospheric gases. Swann suggests that the greenhouse consequences of transpiration will be much less in the mid-latitudes and tropics, or at least harder to pin down. "We are trying to identify the physical processes that are going to be important with these changes, and this is an interaction that wasn't really looked at before," Swann said. "Counter to assumptions, it's not just a change in the color of the surface vegetation that affects warming."

Previous studies have shown that needle-leaved trees, because they are much darker than bare tundra, will absorb more light and increase warming. But needle-leaved trees transpire much less water than broad-leaved deciduous trees, so the UC Berkeley researchers expect transpiration to only slightly increase this warming effect. If past episodes of warming are any indication, however, broad-leaved deciduous trees will expand their range more quickly into northern regions than will needle-leaved trees. “Alaska is already getting shrubbier," Fung said. "We hypothesize that there are 'pioneers,' like shrubs and deciduous trees, that modify the climate until it is comfortable, and then the whole clan moves in."


Climategate: You're better off with

More Google censorship

This week, Google announced an end to its long-standing collaboration with the Chinese Communists — it will no longer censor users inside China. That’s good of it. Maybe Google will now also stop using its search engine to censor the rest of us, in the Western countries.

Search for “Googlegate” on Google and you’ll get a paltry result (my result yesterday was 29,300). Search for “Googlegate” on Bing, Microsoft’s search engine competitor, and the result numbers an eye-popping 72.4 million. If you’re a regular Google user, as opposed to a Bing user, you might not even know that “Googlegate” has been a hot topic for years in the blogosphere — that’s the power that comes of being able to control information.

Despite Google’s motto of “Do No Evil,” it has long been controversial and suspected of evil-doing — and not just in its cooperation with China, or in protecting itself by hiding criticism of itself from unsuspecting Google users. In recent months, most of the evil-doing has focused on the Climategate scandal, the startling emails from the Climate Research Unit in the UK that show climate change scientists to be cooking the books.

For many weeks now, readers have been sending me emails describing how Google has been doing its best to hide information relating to Climategate, which has been the single biggest story on the Internet since the Climategate emails came to light on November 19. By Nov. 26, the term had gone viral and Google returned more results for “climategate” (10.4 million) than for “global warming” (10.1 million). As the Climate Scandal exploded, and increasing numbers of blog sites covered it, the number of web pages with Climategate continued to climb. On Dec. 7, Google’s search engine found 31.6 million hits for people who searched for “Climategate.”

Sometime around then, in early December, Google began to minimize the Climategate scandal by hiding Climategate pages from its users. By Dec. 17, the number of climategate pages that a Google search found dropped by almost 10 million, to 22.2 million. One day later Google dropped its find by another 8 million pages, to 14.1 million. By Dec. 23, Google could find only 7.5 million hits and on Dec. 24 just 6 million. And yesterday, when I checked, Google reported a mere 1.8 million climategate pages.

Bing, in contrast, didn’t make climategate pages disappear. As you’d expect from a search engine that wasn’t manipulating data, search results on Bing climbed steadily until they peaked at around 51 million, where they have remained since.

Starting in late November, Google has been keeping the public in the dark about Climategate in other ways, too. Ordinarily, when people begin keying in their search terms, Google helpfully suggests the balance of their text, through an automatic feature it calls Google Suggests.

At the very beginning of the Climategate scandal, before it became huge, Google Suggests worked as advertised. If someone typed in c-l-i-, Google would have shown them “climategate” on a list of options. Many people, in fact, learned about Climategate this very way, because most major media outlets had not yet picked up on the scandal. As Climategate rose in intensity, the term also rose in prominence on the Google Suggest list — anyone keying in c-l-i would see “climategate” at the top of the list.

But suddenly in late November, for reasons known only to Google, Google often would not suggest “climategate” to those who keyed in c-l-i. Even c-l-i-m-a or c-l-i-m-a-t-e-g-a-t weren’t enough to solicit a suggestion. Bing, in contrast, did not and does not steer users away from climategate — it has consistently suggested “climategate” to those who keyed in c-l-i or even c-l.

For those whom Google can’t steer away from “climategate,” and who key in all 11 letters to learn about the eye-opening emails, Google goes the extra yard in keeping people in the dark — it dishes up a page that trivializes the scientific significance of climategate. Those who click on Google’s “I’m feeling lucky” after asking for “climategate” find themselves on a Wikipedia page entitled “Climatic Research Unit hacking incident” that downplays the content of the emails and focuses on the “unauthorised release of thousands of emails and other documents obtained through the hacking of a server,” the “illegal taking of data,” the “Law enforcement agencies [that] are investigating the matter as a crime,” and “the death threats that were subsequently made against climate scientists named in the emails.”

For those who don’t use Google’s “I’m feeling lucky” feature, Google presents them with this one-sided Wikipedia page as the first item in its search results. Wikipedia actually has a page called “Climategate” that contains damning information about the scientists caught up in the scandal but its own censors won’t let the public see it — anyone who tries to key in “Climategate” on the Wikipedia site will be instantly redirected to the Wikipedia-approved version of climategate, where the scandal is described as nothing more than “a smear campaign.”

Why would Google want to tamp down interest in climategate? Money and power could have something to do with it. Search for Google and its founders and you’ll see that they have made big financial bets on global warming through investments in renewable and other green technologies; that they have a close relationship with Al Gore, that Google CEO Eric Schmidt is close to Barack Obama.

But search for Googlegate and you’ll also see that more than money is at stake. The accusations against Google of censorship are wide-spread, involving schemes to elect Barack Obama, attacks on Christianity (key in “Christianity is” and Google will suggest unflattering completions to the phrase), and political correctness (key in “Islam is” and nothing negative is suggested).

The bottom line? Google is as inscrutable as the Chinese, and perhaps no less corrupt. For safe searches, you’re best off with Bing.


Haiti and Climate Change: What’s the Real Problem?

While some people are trying to determine if Pat Robertson or Danny Glover made the more egregious comment on the cause of the earthquake in Haiti (was it a deal with the Devil or failures in Copenhagen), others are getting to the root of the problem: Haiti is very poor and does not have the resources or infrastructure to prevent damage, react properly to a natural disaster or rebuild after the damage has been done. And proposed environmental solutions, both here and internationally, will do much more to hurt the world’s poor than to help them.

New York Times columnist David Brooks writes, “This is not a natural disaster story. This is a poverty story. It’s a story about poorly constructed buildings, bad infrastructure and terrible public services.” Phelim McAleer makes similar points here. And there’s evidence to support it says George Mason economist Don Boudreaux:
Empirical research reveals that Mr. Brooks is correct. For example, in a 2005 paper, economist Matthew Kahn (now teaching at UCLA) found that, while rich countries experience just as many natural disasters as do poor countries, persons in rich countries are less likely than are persons in poor countries to die from such disasters. Specifically, a country of 100 million people with a per-capita income of $8,000 will experience about 530 fewer deaths from natural disasters each year than will a country with the same population but where per-capita income is only $2,000. Raise the per-capita income from $8,000 to $14,000 and the annual expected death toll from natural disasters falls by another 233 persons.”
This isn’t a new phenomenon. In 2001, Jonah Goldberg provided several examples of how natural disasters affected wealthy areas versus how they affected poor ones: “For example, on December 7, 1988, there was an earthquake in Armenia that killed 28,854 people. It recorded 6.9 on the Richter scale. Less than a year later there was an earthquake in San Francisco and Oakland. It was a 7.1 on the Richter scale, but it claimed 63 casualties. About seven months later there was a quake near Rasht, Iran, scoring six tenths of a point higher, at 7.7. But that earthquake killed 50,000 people. You can do the same thing for almost any disaster — hurricanes, cyclones, etc. — the same trend will hold up. Natural disasters hurt poor people because poor people live in terrible conditions.”

The bigger problem is environmental policies designed to prevent natural disasters from occurring simply cannot do so. These costly regulations would, in actuality, have very little effect on the temperature whatsoever. Programs like a cap and trade system or an international treaty to reduce CO2 not only destroys wealth but also allocates resources away from more efficient uses.

Natural disasters will occur with or without global warming and their frequency or intensity cannot be linked to global warming. The answer to natural disasters is not to try to change the temperature but rather focus on increasing economic growth. Markets and economic growth will lead to stronger houses with solid floors and roofs, and paved roads with more accessibility. Countries and cities can devote resources to building better levees, rebuilding sand dunes and upgrading buildings to withstand damage.

It’s no wonder a global pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Copenhagen failed miserably. Bjorn Lomborg writes in the Washington Post: “First, developing nations have no intention of letting the developed world force them to stop using carbon-emitting fuels. They are understandably wary of any policy that might curtail the domestic economic growth that is allowing their populations to clamber out of poverty. And that is precisely what drastically reducing their carbon emissions would do.”

To prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future, we should allow countries to develop rather than implementing policies that would prohibit them to do so.


Britain's Met Office to review forecasts after failing to warn public of fresh snow

They keep getting it wrong because their Warmist-influenced models are wrong and their faked climate history is wrong

The Met Office has admitted that it failed to warn the public of the heavy snow that brought swaths of Britain to a standstill on Wednesday. Forecasters conceded that they did not spot the widespread snow storms that caused transport disruption and a surge of weather-related accidents until it was too late. Up to six inches fell in parts of the South West, with drifts of 7ft in Wales.

Even when the full extent of the threat was realised, flaws in the Met Office's bad weather warning system meant that the public were not adequately informed, officials said. The system will now be reviewed.

Thousands of Britons endured nightmare journeys to work after waking up to several inches of snow despite reassurances that their regions would escape the worst of the latest flurries. Hundreds of flights were cancelled at Heathrow, Gatwick and regional airports, while schools that had only just reopened were again forced to shut their doors. Accident and emergency departments reported "unprecedented" numbers of patients, many suffering suspected fractures after slipping on ice.

An 18-year-old college student who died after locking himself out was last night feared to be the latest casualty of the weather. Police believe Nathan Jobe froze to death after falling from a window while trying to gain access to his home in Mountnessing in Essex.

In the Peak District, pregnant 40-year-old gave birth to a healthy baby boy after a mountain rescue team transported a midwife to her snowbound home. Melanie Pollitt had sought advice on the Mumsnet website about her labour pains before calling for help.

Gordon Brown yesterday promised a full review of how the country had coped with the coldest winter for 30 years, after councils were forced to cut their gritting by a half to conserve dwindling stocks.

Last night the Environment Agency warned that rising temperatures brought a risk of flash flooding in many areas this weekend as the snow and ice melts.

While the Met Office had been warning for days of overnight snow in the South West, Wales and parts of the Midlands, its forecasters were taken by surprise by how much of the country was affected on Tuesday night. Severe weather warnings were not issued for London & South East, the West Midlands and the North West until the early hours of Wednesday morning, leaving train operators with little time to ensure lines were cleared.

Barry Grommet, a Met Office forecaster, said: "We put our hands up and concede that we did not expect the snow to spread so far east, and with the intensity that it did." The office had issued snow advisories – which are one step down from warnings – for Surrey and Berkshire around 11am on Tuesday but did not release a higher alert because the amount of snow forecast fell just below the required threshold. "We are in a situation where some of the advisories did not get picked up and were not presented strongly enough," Mr Grommet said. "In these circumstances we need to sit around a table and look at the thresholds to see if they should be made more flexible."

The Met Office's latest mea culpa follows widespread criticism of the accuracy of its seasonal forecasts. Predictions of a "barbecue summer" last year were hastily revised after heavy downpours, and early forecasts that we were in for a mild winter this year proved similarly wide of the mark.

After two days of thaw, the snow on Tuesday night and Wednesday appeared to catch much of the country off guard, with passenger groups warning that the patience of commuters was being pushed to the limit. Problems were particularly bad in the South West where dumps of six inches stranded thousands of motorists on impassable roads.

Police and gritting authorities were forced to apologise to drivers who abandoned their cars on Haldon Hill near Exeter in Devon – the scene of problems during last February's cold snap – after becoming stuck for up to six hours.

Rail passengers also endured fresh cancellations and delays, with 12 major train operators including Virgin, Southeastern, First Great Western, Southern and Southeastern reporting severe disruption. Overall 34 per cent of trains across the country were delayed or cancelled, according to the Association of Train Operating Companies.

Airports were also severely affected with Gatwick cancelling at least 114 flights after its runway was closed until mid-afternoon. Heathrow remained opened but 300 flights were cancelled, while Birmingham, Southampton, Cardiff and London City airports were all closed for part of the day.

More than two thousand schools were closed in Wales, the South West, Hampshire in the Home Counties, although most secondary schools made special arrangements to accommodate pupils who were due to sit GCSE and A Level exams.

As the snow spread north yesterday afternoon ambulance services said their resources were being stretched to the limit. Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust saw a fourfold increase in call-outs with 600 calls in an hour, principally due to falls on icy surfaces and road traffic collisions. A spokesperson said the service had to call in extra staff to cope with the backlog of calls, but said "all the staff in all the world could not prepare for an increase of this nature." The East Midlands Ambulance Service said there was an "unprecedented" 50 per cent rise in 999 calls on Wednesday, while emergency calls also spiked in the West Midlands and south.

Accident and emergency department were also affected, with the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham said it was under "extreme pressure".

The Federation of Small Businesses yesterday issued a report warning that the country must be better prepared for bad weather in future, estimating that cold spell is costing the economy £600 million a day.

Experts have also warned that there will be more gas rationing in future because Britain lacks sufficient storage facilities. Last week the National Grid had to cut off 100 companies because of increased demand in the cold weather.

Meanwhile, Westminster City Council has sought legal advice to establish that people have "nothing to fear" by clearing snow themselves, after health and safety organisations told homeowners could be sued for attempting to clear paths around their properties.

Despite their recent problems, Met Office forecasters are confident that most of the country will see no more snow this week. Temperatures are expected to creep up today and Friday, reaching 10C (50F) in the South West, although motorists have been warned to expect early morning fog. Councils have warned that organised grit thieves who plan their raids on salt bins using online maps were making conditions even more perilous. [Now just why would people be stealing something as cheap as salt? Because bad bureaucratic planning has created a shortage of it]


Insurance Group Says Stolen E-Mails Show Risk in Accepting Climate Science

A major trade group for the insurance industry is warning that it is "exceedingly risky" for companies to blindly accept scientific conclusions around climate change, given the "serious questions" around the extent to which humans cause atmospheric warming. The assertion was made in a letter (pdf) to insurance regulators, who will administer the nation's first mandatory climate requirements on corporations in May. Large insurers will have to answer about a dozen questions related to the preparations they are taking to safeguard themselves from climatic hazards.

The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies believes that the new regulation leaves little room for companies to cast doubt on widely accepted assumptions about global warming. Insurers are hamstrung to provide answers that dovetail with the perception of key regulators who believe climate change threatens the industry's financial strength, said Robert Detlefsen, the group's vice president of policy. "It's fairly obvious that certain regulators have made up their minds about what the answers to those questions are, and are just proceeding on the assumption that their answers, or the ones that they subscribe to, are correct and unimpeachable," Detlefsen said in an interview. "There really is no room, as I see it, for any sort of legitimate, in their minds at least, for legitimate dissent."

The group consists of 1,400 insurance companies that underwrite about 40 percent of the nation's property and casualty premiums, according to its Web site. Only a fraction of its membership, however, would be required to answer the climate survey when the new regulation goes into effect this spring. The rule covers large companies that collect at least $500 million in annual premiums.

State insurance regulators adopted a white paper in 2008 that states "global warming is occurring." That preceded the new regulated survey, which flustered many insurance officials during its drafting. But most of the opposition was rooted in concerns around revealing secrets to competitors and making companies vulnerable to lawsuits, not around doubts about climate science.

Now, four months before insurers have to submit their climate answers, Detlefsen is raising perhaps his strongest concerns around the state of scientific integrity, regulators' belief in those findings, and the way that the companies' answers could be exploited by environmentalists. "We fear ... that the wording of the survey questions, together with the public pronouncements of some regulators, will inhibit the expression of what might be viewed as unwelcome 'contrarian' responses," Detlefsen wrote in the letter earlier this week.

E-mails said to show some climate scientists 'at war' with others

His concern was based primarily on the release of stolen e-mails late last year from scientists working at the premier Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. Supportive scientists and politicians have largely dismissed the controversy, saying it does not undercut years of research on rising temperatures, expanding seas and precipitation changes.

But Detlefsen's letter says the "e-mails show that a close-knit group of the world's most influential climate scientists actively colluded to subvert the peer-review process ... manufactured pre-determined conclusions through the use of contrived analytic techniques; and discussed destroying data to avoid government freedom-of-information requests."

"Viewed collectively, the CRU e-mails reveal a scientific community in which a group of scientists promoting what has become, through their efforts, the dominant climate-change paradigm are at war with other scientists derisively labeled as 'skeptics,' 'deniers,' and 'contrarians,'" he added.

The upcoming survey regulation has also caused jitters among some regulators. Indiana Insurance Commissioner Carol Cutter, who was appointed by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, an opponent of cap-and-trade legislation, is still considering whether to administer the survey at the state level.

Overall, the insurance industry is addressing climate change, which might increase damage claims, affect insurers' investments, and provide opportunities to offer "green" policies, Joel Ario, Pennsylvania's insurance commissioner and chairman of the national climate change task force that adopted the new survey, said in an interview last week. "The insurers are perhaps the one group that is more concerned about climate change than the environmentalists," Ario said. "If climate change does pose the risk that environmentalists say it does, then guess who's going to bear that risk on their business? It will be the insurers."


Unethical Greenpeace actions threaten the livelihoods and lives of millions

Should corporate ethics principles apply only to profit-making companies? Or should they also cover nonprofit corporations, especially those that badger for-profits to be more “socially responsible”?

Should corporations be judged partly on creating jobs, supporting communities, or improving and saving lives? And should nonprofit corporations be penalized for impeding the enhancement of human life? The answers should be self-evident. But they’re not, as US nonprofits and politicians have repeatedly demonstrated.

Consider Greenpeace. This self-proclaimed paragon of virtue constantly harasses companies that it deems insufficiently virtuous in advertising their products, protecting the environment and promoting their public image. But the Rainbow Warriors’ own actions would frequently merit fines or even jail time if committed by profit-making businesses.

Greenpeace publicity stunts, anti-corporate campaigns and fund-raising appeals are often laden with false and misleading claims about companies and their operations. The Warriors justify their actions as necessary to advancing their legal, legislative and regulatory agenda – and getting people and foundations to write a check or click their website’s “donate now” button. Almost anything goes, because Greenpeace and its comrades in eco-warfare are apparently beyond the reach of the Lanham Act and mail fraud or tax laws that apply to ordinary corporations and citizens.

In the olden days, it made sense to carve out exceptions, to protect legitimate public interest organizations from persecutions and prosecutions based on inadvertent falsehoods or political motivations. But that was before the roster of tax-exempt nonprofits included so many unsavory elements, like unscrupulous eco campaigners and pressure groups for whom truth, ethics and real social responsibility mean little.

In 1995, Greenpeace attacked Shell Oil, claiming the company was going to dump tons of oil and toxic wastes in the ocean, by sinking an obsolete North Sea oil production platform as an artificial reef. A year later, after raking in millions in contributions and free publicity, the Warriors admitted they’d known all along there had been no oil or chemicals on the platform.

Their shiny armor got tarnished, but there were no legal repercussions. A few years later, the Rainbow Warriors were caught diverting funds raised for tax-exempt educational purposes into non-exempt, and sometimes illegal, lobbyist and activist programs. Donors got charitable deductions, and Greenpeace got more millions to stage protests against drilling, manufacturing and free trade; lobby Congress and EPA; and vandalize crops and corporate facilities.

The IRS sent Greenpeace a strong reprimand, demanding that it cease its money laundering, but again no real penalties. Canada, by contrast, refused to recognize the Greenpeace Environmental Foundation as a charity, saying its activities provided no discernable benefits to the public and, in fact, could send families “into poverty.”

But back in the USA, former EPA Administrator-turned-Climate-Czar Carol Browner and other federal agency heads continue to fork over large sums of taxpayer money to Greenpeace and similar eco-activists, to subsidize their anti-corporate, global warming, “sustainable” energy and regulatory thumbscrew campaigns. Meanwhile, the taxpayers are precluded from writing off contributions to congressional candidates who might support long overdue investigations, reforms and penalties. The truly odious ethical violations, however, involve activities that directly damage the livelihoods and lives of innocent people, particularly in impoverished countries.

In Britain, France and elsewhere, Greenpeace vandals have destroyed bio-engineered crops, wiping out millions of dollars in research to develop food plants that require fewer pesticides, are more nutritious, reduce dangerous mold toxins, withstand floods and droughts, and increase crop yields. The people who would benefit most from this research are the poorest, most malnourished on Earth. They could improve their lives, simply by planting different, better corn, cotton or soybean seeds.

“With the old maize,” says South African Richard Sithole, “I got 100 bags from my 15 hectares [38 acres].” “With Bt maize I get 1,000 bags. And now I don’t have to buy any chemicals.” In fact, Bt corn has enabled farmers like Sithole to cut pesticide use and expenses by 75%, triple their profits, save 35-49 days per season working in fields, and save enough to buy a refrigerator or even new house. And yet rich-country Greenpeace activists oppose the technology.

Greenpeace campaigns against insecticides and insect-repelling DDT are even more lethal. These chemicals could prevent malaria, which kills a million people annually and leaves millions more brain- damaged. Today, DDT is sprayed just on the inside walls of thatch and cinderblock homes, to keep mosquitoes out and serve as a long-lasting bed net over entire families.

But Greenpeace claims “some researchers think” DDT “could be inhibiting lactation because of its estrogen-like effects and may be contributing to lactation failure throughout the world.” No peer-reviewed medical studies back up these claims, and lactation problems are definitely associated with the malaria and malnutrition that would be reduced by technologies the Warriors oppose.

Worldwide, 1.5 billion people still don’t have electricity for lights, refrigerators, stoves, schools, shops, hospitals and factories that would bring health, opportunity and prosperity. Yet Greenpeace continues to battle hydrocarbon, hydroelectric and nuclear power, telling people they should be content with solar panels or wind turbines that provide intermittent, insufficient energy – and guarantee sustained poverty.

Greenpeace justifies its anti-energy ideologies by claiming they are preserving rivers, avoiding dangerous radiation and preventing “runaway” global warming. It has vilified me and two of my Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow colleagues as “climate criminals” and applauded a recent Rolling Stone magazine article that branded CFACT’s director Marc Morano as a “climate killer.”

Our “crime”? Saying climate change is natural and cyclical. Noting that thousands of scientists agree there is no convincing evidence that human CO2 emissions are causing a global warming disaster. And pointing out that, even in the midst of a global cooling period and widening Climategate scandal, Greenpeace is still clinging to its tired fabrications and storylines.

Why the Rockefeller Brothers, Packard, Winslow, Schaffner Family and other foundations continue to support Greenpeace remains a mystery. That other donors are now using Fidelity, Vanguard and Schwab to hide their donations suggests that they don’t want their friends and neighbors knew they give money to this shady outfit.

Last month’s climate gab fest offered an opportunity for CFACT activists to highlight these ethical lapses and give Greenpeace a dose of its own medicine. They unfurled a "Propaganda Warrior" banner from the rails of the Rainbow Warrior ship, and a “Ship of Lies” banner from Greenpeace’s other vessel, the Arctic Sunrise, as they lay anchored in Copenhagen harbor.

“Greenpeace’s callous disregard for the truth and people’s well-being has become intolerable,” CFACT executive director Craig Rucker stated. “They need to start behaving honestly and ethically. We don’t expect them to be Mother Teresa, but it would be nice if they’d start helping people to improve their health and living standards, and began supporting real environmental stewardship.” The world would be a much better place.


Australia: Carbon plan may break us, says government-owned power generator

This will put the NSW Labor government at odds with the Federal Labor government -- as it reduces the value of the NSW government-owned power stations to zero -- which will make it a tad hard for NSW to raise money by selling off the power stations concerned. NSW Laborites are very influential at the Federal level however so an exemption for the power stations will almost certainly ensue -- which will mean that just about everybody is exempt! In a sane world, Prime Minister Rudd would give up on the whole thing in that case. I certainly don't think that a toothless law would impress the Greenies, which is whom it aims to please. The Green party has in fact already voted against the initial version of the scheme

The country's largest single power generator, Macquarie Generation, has warned that its viability is threatened by the Federal Government's proposed emissions trading scheme. Its concerns throw into doubt the State Government's plans to privatise the power industry by selling electricity retailers and output from power generators.

Under an electricity sales contract written with its main customer, the Tomago aluminium smelter in the Hunter Valley, Macquarie Generation carries the full liability for complying with the emissions scheme. Yet under that scheme, Tomago will receive free permits that ensure it is fully insulated. As a result, it will benefit from "double dipping" under the scheme, since its direct liability is offset thanks to free permits it will receive, while its power supplier, Macquarie Generation, has to bear the financial burden of the emissions scheme.

In its most recent annual report, tabled in State Parliament late last year, Macquarie Generation said its "profitability, value and remaining life could be negatively impacted" by the emissions trading scheme. Macquarie Generation "has a long-term, non-reviewable electricity supply contract resulting in [it] carrying the liability for compliance with the carbon pollution reduction scheme and provision of carbon permits in relation to the electricity supply contract", it said in the report. "If the contract counter-party and Macquarie Generation cannot agree on an equitable arrangement with regard to compliance with the … scheme, the corporation will likely face significantly reduced earnings and value."

In its so-called Statement of Corporate Intent for 2008-09, tabled earlier last year, Macquarie Generation said that "without a pass-through mechanism to customers, the emissions trading system will be almost equal to Macquarie Generation's current planned total revenues". Passage of the scheme would result in the two NSW aluminium smelters - Tomago and Kurri Kurri - being compensated in full for any exposure, by receiving free permits to offset the impact of the scheme.

The Greens MP John Kaye said the State Government had been "less than open" about the impact of the contracts on its electricity privatisation plans. "The costs of these fixed-price contracts have been hidden from public view for 2½ decades," Dr Kaye said. "Now the people of NSW will begin to see how much they have been paying and how much they will have to pay off into the future."

It was recently disclosed that the power contracts are linked to aluminium metal markets, and that recent volatility there had cost state taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

A spokesman for the acting Treasurer, John Hatzistergos, said the Government was working with the Federal Government to ensure NSW received its fair share of compensation under the emissions scheme, but he could not comment on individual contracts, which were commercial-in-confidence.

Macquarie Generation has never confirmed the identity of its main contract partner, Tomago Aluminium, nor the size of the contract, which is believed to account for about a quarter of its annual revenues of $1.2 billion. Delta Electricity is contracted to supply the smaller Kurri Kurri smelter, which has capacity of 175,000 tonnes a year of aluminium, less than half the 530,000 tonnes of Tomago.

Both contracts were drawn up in the 1970s and 1980s when the Government was looking for buyers for large amounts of electricity output when it upgraded electricity generation capacity.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

China will benefit from warming, at least this century

By Bjorn Lomborg

SINCE the Copenhagen climate summit's failure in December, many politicians and pundits have pointed the finger at China's leaders for blocking a binding, global carbon-mitigation treaty. But the Chinese government's resistance was both understandable and inevitable. Rather than mustering indignation, decision-makers would do well to use this as a wake-up call: it is time to consider a smarter climate policy.

China is unwilling to do anything that might curtail the economic growth that has enabled millions of Chinese to clamber out of poverty. This development can be seen in the ever-expanding Chinese domestic market. In the next six months, one-quarter of young Chinese consumers intend to buy new cars - the main source of urban air pollution - up an astonishing 65 per cent from a year ago.

A poll by China Youth Daily revealed that eight of 10 young Chinese are aware of climate change, but are prepared to support environmental policies only if they can continue to improve their living standards, including acquiring new cars.

The cost of drastic, short-term carbon cuts is too high. The results of all major economic models reveal that the much-discussed goal of keeping temperature increases below 2C would require a global tax of about E71 ($110) per tonne to start (or about E12c per litre of petrol), increasing to about E2800 per tonne (or E6.62 per litre of petrol) by the end of the century. In all, the actual cost to the economy would be a phenomenal E28 trillion a year. According to most mainstream calculations, that is 50 times more expensive than the climate damage it would be likely to prevent.

Trying to cut carbon emissions drastically in the short term would be particularly damaging, because it would not be possible for industry and consumers to replace carbon-burning fossil fuels with cheap, green energy. Renewable energy alternatives are simply far from ready to take over.

Consider the fact that 97 per cent of China's energy comes from fossil fuels and burning waste and biomass. Renewable sources like wind and solar meet just 0.2 per cent of the China's energy needs, according to the most recent International Energy Agency figures. The IEA estimates that on its current path, China will get a mere 1.2 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.

As if these reasons were not enough to explain the Chinese government's opposition to an expensive global carbon deal, economic-impact models show that for at least the rest of this century, China will actually benefit from global warming. Warmer temperatures will boost agricultural production and improve health. While heat-related deaths in summer will increase, this will be more than offset by a significant reduction in cold-related deaths in winter.

In short, China is aggressively protecting the economic growth that is transforming the lives of its citizens, instead of spending a fortune battling a problem that is unlikely to affect it negatively until next century. Little wonder, then, that Ed Miliband, Britain's Secretary for Energy and Climate Change, found "impossible resistance" from China to a global carbon mitigation deal.

Trying to force China into line would be impractical and foolhardy. The inescapable but inconvenient truth is that the response to global warming we have pursued for nearly 20 years - ever since the leaders of rich countries first vowed to cut carbon - is simply not going to work.

It is time to recognise the impracticality of trying to force developing countries to agree to make fossil fuel ever more expensive. Instead, we need to make a greater effort to produce cheaper, more widely used green energy. To do this, we must dramatically increase the amount we spend on research and development.

A global deal in which countries committed to spending 0.2 per cent of gross domestic product to develop non-carbon-emitting energy technologies would increase current spending 50-fold, and it would still be many times cheaper than a global carbon deal. It would also ensure that richer nations pay more, taking much of the political heat out of the debate. Most importantly, such an approach would bring about the technological breakthroughs that are required to make green energy sources cheap and effective enough to fuel a carbon-free future.

We cannot browbeat China and other developing nations into embracing hugely expensive, ineffective global carbon cuts. Rather than hoping that we can overcome their "impossible resistance" with political maneuvering, the leaders of developed countries need to shift their focus to a strategy that is feasible and effective.


Putin worries about 'global cooling'

The Russian energy sector needs to take "global cooling" effects into consideration when addressing national challenges, the Russian prime minister said.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said his country faces a variety of challenges as the world moves toward a greener energy policy in the midst of a brutal European cold snap, Russia's ITAR-Tass reports.

"In addition to the global-warming challenges, we need to address 'global cooling' effects and to do so promptly," the prime minister said.

Putin lauded the work of national energy suppliers during the harsh winter gripping Europe, noting they "have been working practically without failures."

He cautioned, however, that there were many problems left unresolved, including breakdowns in national distribution pipelines.

"We need to oversee the process, to promptly react in case of any failure and provide support for municipalities and regions," he said.

Europe is watching developments in the Russian energy sector as it struggles with soaring winter demand. Russia is among the primary suppliers of natural resources to Europe. Moscow, however, is in a deadlock with Minsk over oil export duties, sending jitters through a European community already anxious from 2009 gas disruptions.


Four Decades of Deceit

The publication of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring launched the modern environmental movement. However, it also marked the beginning of a movement that not just tolerated, but encouraged scientists to misrepresent the facts if it helped to create media attention to promote its agenda.

Rachel Carson was very selective in the facts included in Silent Spring, only those supporting her premise that pesticides were harmful were included. Even her references were tainted, many were not scientific publications at all and many of her scientific references did not actually support her statements. Despite widespread criticism of Silent Spring from true scientists, in 1972 the EPA began hearings to ban the use of DDT based upon her fraudulent science.

One of the misrepresentations that Silent Spring helped to create is that DDT caused the thinning of bird eggs, threatening the entire bird population with extinction. Rachel Carson used an obscure study by Dr. James Dewitt of the US Fish and Wildlife Service to shown that DDT was reducing the number of bird eggs that were hatching. However the actual study showed that despite feeding quail 3000 times the daily human intake of DDT, their eggs did not hatch significantly less than the control group. The same study done with pheasants showed that the survival rate of hatchlings of DDT feed pheasants actually increased. This is exactly the opposite of what Rachel Carson wrote.

Researchers that produced thin shelled quail eggs did so by reducing the calcium intake of the birds. After the study was published in Science magazine, it was exposed as a fraud. The study was then conducted with normal calcium intake. The quail fed DDT treated food did not produce thin shells. However, Science magazine refused to print that study. Its editor later related that they would never print an article supporting the use of DDT.

In the 1972 DDT Hearings, the EPA appointed Edward Sweeney as the Hearing Examiner. After seven months and 9000 pages of testimony, Sweeney concluded that DDT should not be banned. He concluded it did not have a harmful effect on birds, fish, wildlife or man. Several months later the EPA administrator, William Ruckelshaus, overruled Sweeney’s decision by his own admission, for political reasons. When his decision was appealed, Ruckelshaus appointed himself as the appeals judge.

The result of banning DDT was an immediate increase in the number of cases of malaria worldwide. Without DDT spraying, more than 300 million cases of malaria are reported annually worldwide and approximately 2 million children die each year from the deadly disease. Since the 1972 banning of DDT, 60 million people have died needlessly from malaria and other insect borne diseases. This is more than Stalin or Hitler exterminated in their reigns of terror. Even more incredulous is the fact that these people died as the result of decisions made by environmentalists.

The attitude toward scientific fact reporting by environmental scientists may be best summarized by Stanford biology professor, Stephen Schneider’s statement, “We need to get loads of media coverage, so we have to offer up scary scenarios and make dramatic statements. Each of us has to decide on the right balance between effectiveness and honesty”.

In the 45 years since the publication of Silent Spring, it is very obvious that many environmental scientists choose effectiveness in generating media attention over honesty. Today the ability to obtain government funding for environmental studies clouds their judgment even more.

Given the fraudulent origins of the environmental movement is it surprising that climatologists would omit or modify data to support their alarmist views of global warming? Is it surprising that they would conspire to suppress the publication of studies that did not support their assumptions? Is it surprising the Obama science czar, John Holdren would send them emails relating his own attempts to discredit and damage the careers of those that did not support global warming theories while he was at Harvard? When there is vast wealth at stake in determining who gets carbon credits and government subsides, is it surprising that Al Gore can declare that the science is settled, when really only the fraud has not yet been exposed.

The combination of scientists that value media exposure over scientific fact and the opportunity to profit from that exposure is a dangerous combination not only to Americans but to citizens of every country. When administrations become enamored with the fraudulent theories that environmental scientists propose, the results are even more damaging. While Cap and Trade may not kill millions of people the way that the DDT fraud has, the global warming hoax will kill the American industrial economy and thousands of jobs along with it.


Global warming is a falling doctrine

By: Cal Thomas

A familiar philosophical question goes like this: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Here's another: If a doctrine falls, will enough believers admit they were wrong and withdraw support for policies associated with it?

The "doctrine" of global warming, now euphemistically called "climate change," suffered a severe blow last week as much of Europe was buried in record amounts of snow and subfreezing temperatures. "Experts" who believe in global warming, uh climate change, went on television where they bravely tried to make a distinction between weather, which they said was about what happens today, and climate, which is long term. Most of it fell on deaf -- and cold -- ears as growing numbers disbelieve the "experts," relying more on their own "lying eyes."

Writing Sunday in London's Daily Mail, columnist David Rose analyzed recent scientific data amassed by eminent climate scientists. Rose says that far from a warming planet, "the bitter weather afflicting much of the Northern Hemisphere is only the start of a global trend towards cooler weather that is likely to last for 20 or 30 years."

Rose cites data from the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado, which found that, "Arctic summer sea ice has increased by 409,000 square miles, or 26 percent, since 2007." This, he says, challenges "some of the global warming orthodoxy's most deeply cherished beliefs, such as their claim that the North Pole will be free of ice by the summer of 2013."

During last month's climate summit in Copenhagen, more than 150 scientists with backgrounds in climate science wrote an open letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a global warming believer. The letter begins, "climate change science is in a period of 'negative discovery' - the more we learn about this exceptionally complex and rapidly evolving field the more we realize how little we know. Truly the science is not settled."

The scientists challenge 10 of the main claims of the global warming-climate change true believers and write, "... there is no sound reason to impose expensive and restrictive public policy decisions on the peoples of the Earth without first providing convincing evidence that human activities are causing dangerous climate change beyond that resulting from natural causes.

"Before any precipitate action is taken, we must have solid observational data that recent changes in climate differ substantially from changes observed in the past and are well in excess of normal variations caused by solar cycles, ocean currents, changes in the Earth's orbital parameters and other natural phenomena."

That seems more than reasonable, but politicians in Europe and America want to rush through additional restrictions on how we live in order to seize more power. This is the major reason for their panic attack.

As new scientific evidence adds to the body of information, history and common sense, the power grab by the politicians is in peril. The hurry-up offense, to employ a football term, is being used to rush through legislation before the defense can devise an effective response. But the defense is now on the offense, and the offense is being forced to poorly play defense.

Should we do nothing about our consumption of petroleum? No, we should use this window of opportunity to decrease our reliance on petroleum; not because of "climate change," but to deprive the oil-producing nations of money too many of them use to underwrite terrorism.

This should satisfy both the global warming disciples and deniers and make America and Europe less dependent on nations that wish to destroy our liberty. But threats to liberty are not limited to some oil-producing nations; they can also be found in the British Parliament and in the American Congress.

The falling doctrines now make so much noise that only those without hearing fail to notice.



Three current articles below:

Green/Left rips off blacks: Leftist "concern" for blacks and black rights is empty talk

Article below by moderate black activist Noel Pearson.

NEXT time you bump into a koala conservationist begging for money in the street, ask what it thinks of Noel Pearson and his opposition to the Queensland government's wild rivers laws. The koala will tell you that I am a rapacious developer who wants to mine, clear-fell, pollute and pillage the unique environment of Cape York Peninsula. The koala will tell you that I do not speak for Aboriginal people from the region, and that the laws are strongly supported by them.

The Wilderness Society has an army of teenagers out on the streets saying that about those of us resisting its attack on the land rights of Aboriginal people in the cape. As in all propaganda campaigns, its main currency is to push its side of the story.

It spent years laying down the groundwork before Premier Anna Bligh announced three wild river declarations after the state election last March. The first step was to cause great alarm about the threats facing Cape York. From Indooroopilly to Surry Hills it distributed pamphlets and held public meetings in the suburbs talking up the threats to Cape York. Threats can be the lifeblood of campaigns such as those routinely run by the Wilderness Society.

It helps when citizens on the southeastern seaboard of the country - not the least those in the marginal seats of Brisbane - are saturated with images of the Gunns Paper Mill in Tasmania and the disaster of the Murray-Darling. Not to mention global warming.

For an environmentally anxious public, the Wilderness Society conflated Cape York Peninsula with clear-felling of old-growth forests in southern Australia and the Murray-Darling, and it had a winner.

Add a good brand name - Wild River - and there you have it: the perfect product to sell to an environmentally troubled public. The name corners the market on motherhood and apple pie, and whatever protests affected landowners in remote regions may make, they have no chance in the propaganda war because they are by the very definition of speaking against Wild Rivers, environmental vandals.

The Wilderness Society spent years campaigning about the threats facing Cape York. But when you examine what possible source of threat it is talking about, you find very little.

Take clear-felling of forests for paper mills and the like. None. Never has been. Never will be.

Take timber. There is only one small sawmill in the entire region the size of Victoria that cuts a single species, Darwin Stringybark, a dry forest timber abundant across northern Australia.

Take mining. There are only two operating mines in the entire region, both of which have been in existence for 50 years, the Mitsubishi silica mine at Cape Flattery and the Comalco bauxite mine at Weipa.

There are two new bauxite mines proposed. One is to be developed by Chinese company Chalco, which was awarded the opportunity by the Queensland government. The Chalco mining area, on the northern side of the Archer River, was excluded from the Wild River declarations announced by Bligh, but on the southern side the Aurukun community lands were included.

The Chalco mining area is an example of hypocrisy for two reasons. First, the Queensland government says mining can be consistent with the use of Wild River areas. Therefore why exclude the Chalco mining area from the Wild River declaration?

Second, the Wilderness Society has never expressed its position on the Chalco mine. Why has it not insisted the Chalco mining area be included in the Wild River areas?

The second bauxite mine is proposed by a start-up company called Cape Alumina on a pastoral property purchased by the federal government for the owners of Australia Zoo. Terry Irwin has been campaigning against this mine. This area has not been excluded from a proposed Wild River declaration of the Wenlock River, and, therefore, Irwin and the Wilderness Society have been arguing that this mine is a grave threat to the environment of what Australia Zoo promotes as Steve's Place.

The Wilderness Society is campaigning vigorously against "strip mining" by the Cape Alumina mob, but seem silent on the Chinese proposal. Why?

It is because this was the terms of the deal the Wilderness Society cut with former Queensland premier Peter Beattie. Beattie insisted the Wilderness Society could get blanket Wild Rivers over the blackfellas' land - without providing anything to the blackfellas other than a few make-work ranger jobs - provided the Chalco mining area was excluded.

This is why the Wilderness Society is silent on Chalco and screaming loud on the other mine.

Like moving pieces in a massive game of chess, the leaders of the Wilderness Society sit down with Labor Party principals in front of a map of Queensland and they make deals about what they want and what they're prepared to give away. You give us the Traveston dam, we give you Cape York. You can fight Cape Alumina, but don't fight the Chinese.

This is how you get the Greens party in Queensland not opposing the Traveston dam at state election time. The charade of participatory democracy can be seen in every region of the state where there are networks of "catchment management groups" and "natural resource management groups". Farmers, local communities, indigenous representatives and shire councils sit down with state government bureaucrats and representatives of green groups and supposedly work out consensus solutions to land use and environmental management. But what the mug stakeholders from these communities do not realise is these processes are tokenism.

The real decisions are made in Brisbane. The people who actually live in these regions and who strive to make a livelihood out of the land, are reduced to being bit-part "stakeholders", while the real players are those cutting the deals in Brisbane.

Griffith University academics James Whelan and Kristen Lyons, in a 2004 paper examining the methods successfully employed by environment groups in getting tree-clearing bans in Queensland, report that one of the principals of the Wilderness Society, Lyndon Schneiders, called community consultation processes under legislation for land-clearing management "an exercise in futility" and "a long suicide note".

The organisations funded by the state and commonwealth to facilitate these stakeholder processes are controlled by the purse-strings of government. Their employees end up compromised because jobs and funding programs are dependent on everybody toeing the line that the governments and environment groups insist on.

From the far north to western Queensland you can see what is happening. The poor buggers who live in these places are no match for the corporatist power of organisations such as the Wilderness Society and the wealthy US outfit, the Pew Foundation, who bankroll these campaigns.

If you accept that Cape York Peninsula is not threatened by wholesale commercial or industrial development, and that the best prospect will be small-scale sustainable developments that preserve the region's environment, you are then left with the tragic conclusion that the entire argument about Wild Rivers is misconstrued.

Bligh has consistently rejected that Wild Rivers was all about election deals. But that wasn't always the community perception. Whelan and Lyons reported on the land-management campaign: "Interviewees considered TWS [the Wilderness Society] had demonstrably influenced the outcome of recent Queensland elections. The Labor Party's environmental commitments had been rewarded by TWS campaigns in marginal electorates, which boosted Labor candidates, notably [in 2004] by reducing the vote of a popular Green candidate who might otherwise have won the party's first parliamentary position."

This should be the last thing consuming the attention of Aboriginal people in Cape York. We should be devoting our political and organisational energies into the abject problems of health, education, housing, child protection and criminal justice afflicting our communities. Instead we have to fight a rearguard action to preserve our rights to sustainable development against a bunch of people from the Wilderness Society who desperately want their names listed on the pantheon of environmental heroes who saved Cape York Peninsula. But saved it from what?

IN the week before Christmas, The Weekend Australian featured a story on Eddie Woibo, from Hopevale in Cape York. Eddie is a hard-working indigenous man who set up a small-scale passionfruit farm on his native land. Woibo and his family developed the land for 25 years, building a home and putting in miles of fencing, planted pasture and irrigation infrastructure, waiting for formal land title from successive Queensland governments. His land and home is a dead asset. Because he does not have title to his lands, he has never been able to leverage any further capital investment into his property through loans from banks. More than 80 other indigenous families are in the same position.

Eddie was struck by a heart condition and was hospitalised in December. While he was in recovery a bushfire gutted his property, wiping out his enterprise and ruining most of his infrastructure. Normally, Woibo would have had insurance for his passionfruit business. But he could not insure his property because he did not have title. Woibo has been waiting 25 years for title to his land, and he's still waiting.


Rudd's taxing climate policy is a liability

IN the lead-up to the December climate change conference in Copenhagen the Rudd government was full of bravado as it threatened to reintroduce, next month, its legislation for an emissions trading scheme which the Liberals had just defeated in the Senate. This was clearly designed to unsettle the opposition, and its new leader, Tony Abbott, by holding out the prospect of a double dissolution election if the legislation was again rejected. The Prime Minister may have believed he was on solid ground because Malcolm Turnbull, who Abbott displaced, was clearly spooked at the consequences for the Liberal party if such an election was fought over this legislation.

But the political sands have shifted significantly since then, and far from being intimidated by the reintroduction of this legislation the opposition should be daring Rudd to bring it on.

For a start the Copenhagen conference, where Rudd the climate change warrior took centre stage, proved an embarrassing waste of time and taxpayers' money. Rudd and his caravan of advisers and hangers-on were left desperately trying to squeeze some policy credibility out of this gabfest. If anything, Copenhagen undermined Rudd's fundamental premise that the cap and trade system, which forms the basis of his government's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, is the only satisfactory way to address global warming through reducing green house gas emissions.

While the conference failed to reach any constructive agreement for a global response to the effects of climate change it did throw the spotlight on the complexities and uncertainties that surround the cap and trade system. In the wake of the Senate's defeat of the CPRS legislation in early December, Rudd rejected a challenge by Abbott to debate the issue of climate change. He advised the new Opposition Leader to calm down and develop a policy on this.

Reintroducing the legislation not only provides the opportunity for the opposition to debate the government's policy but for it to drive a wedge between the flawed, tax-based, ETS and the broader issue of climate change.

Political polling has been in hibernation over the holiday season but will be back in full swing in coming weeks, particularly as this is a federal election year. The Liberals believe that while there is community support for action to ameliorate the effects of climate change, this is overshadowed by concerns the ETS is nothing more than a tax that will drive up the cost of living.

They expect this to be reflected in opinion polling before the CPRS legislation is reintroduced, if in fact it is.

This will significantly influence Abbott's "direct action" alternative to the government's climate change policy which he will develop in a series of public speeches which began with an address to the Sydney Institute last night.

In attacking government rhetoric supporting its climate change policy, Abbott claims that this, in fact, is a smokescreen for its general environmental neglect particularly in the areas of land and water management.

The Nationals, Abbott's Coalition partners, argue that by placing all these programs under one agency - Caring for Our Country - the government has drastically reduced access to funding for farmers who have maintained a sustainable balance in land use.

Meanwhile, the government has tried to justify passage of its CPRS legislation on the basis that it is essential in the fight against global warming, which is primarily the fault of mankind. But the reality is that this legislation will create a highly intrusive, big brother organisation within the Climate Change department which will have powers of intervention and enforcement rivaling those of the Australian Taxation Office.

And it is here that the opposition should be focusing its attack on the government because this is the area of greatest community concern and uncertainty about the consequences of Labor's policy lies.

Householders have been told to brace themselves for higher prices ranging from energy to food in the ETS-based battle against carbon pollution. Not surprisingly, few can understand how this comes about through a system of trading emissions permits. And the Climate Change department's enviro-babble explanation of how this system works in terms of provisional, make good, excess surrender emissions numbers and credits doesn't help. But what is clear is that businesses and power plants are free to emit whatever level of carbon dioxide they choose as long as they surrender an "eligible emissions unit" for each tonne of pollution.

As with the tax office, the Climate Change Regulatory Authority will have powers to monitor, audit and impose penalties where necessary to enforce compliance with this system, all of which will require a growing taxpayer-funded bureaucracy.

Australians do care about the environment. What they don't care for are more taxes.


Ban protest vessels from using Australia's ports

The Australian Government has been far too even-handed in its statements about the reckless actions of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in attempting to prevent Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean.

By not condemning the harassment of Japanese ships by the anti-whaling activists, Australia is in effect acquiescing in militant tactics that come very close to piracy on the high seas.

Harassment will not change Japan's position on whaling. And not condemning these actions directed against a vessel going about its lawful business is counterproductive for Australia trying to broker a diplomatic compromise with Japan through the International Whaling Commission.

Japan could legitimately demand that Australia condemn the actions of the Sea Shepherd group before it even considers discussing any shift in its whaling policy at the next meeting of the commission in Morocco in June.

Given the public interest in these matters, the Australian Government has sensibly asked the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to examine the recent events in the Southern Ocean. But it is hard to see how, on any reading of the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, the Sea Shepherd captain, Paul Watson, could argue his actions were in compliance with it.

Given the relatively small size of the Sea Shepherd's protest boat Ady Gil, and the Japanese ship's restricted ability to manoeuvre, the speedboat was clearly placed in harm's way of the whaling vessel. It neglected the most basic precautions required by the ordinary practice of seamen to avoid a close-quarters situation from developing. Watson can't use the basic rules of the maritime road as his shield.

The Sea Shepherd group's other vessels, the Bob Barker and the Steve Irwin, visit Hobart for refuelling,

as it is the closest port to where confrontations with the Japanese take place. Sea Shepherd's ships dock in Melbourne each year to prepare for the Japanese whaling season over summer. Last year the Steve Irwin also docked in Brisbane, Sydney and Fremantle as part of a tour of Australian ports.

To demonstrate that Australia does not support the activities of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society against Japanese whalers, the Australian Government should ban the entry of its vessels into Australian ports.

In deciding whether to grant consent to vessels to enter its ports, a state is free to impose conditions as it wishes - access to a port of a state is a privilege, not a right. Australia banned port access to Japanese fishing vessels in 1998 when Japan would not agree on a total allowable catch for southern bluefin tuna in the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna. The port access ban was lifted in mid-2001. It is an offence under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act for a whaling vessel to call at an Australian port unless the master has written permission from the environment minister to bring it into the port.

If the Federal Government is serious about ending whaling and shifting the Japanese Government's position - one that has hardened in response

to harassment by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society - it should completely distance itself from this group's dangerous tactics in the Southern Ocean by banning its protest vessels from Australian ports.


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15 January, 2010

NASA caught in Climate Data Manipulation

It's not just the British

Climate researchers have discovered that NASA researchers improperly manipulated data in order to claim 2005 as "THE WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD." KUSI-TV meteorologist, Weather Channel founder, and iconic weatherman John Coleman will present these findings in a one-hour special airing on KUSI-TV on Jan.14 at 9 p.m. A related report will be made available on the Internet at 6 p.m. EST on January 14th at

In a new report, computer expert E. Michael Smith and Certified Consulting Meteorologist Joseph D'Aleo discovered extensive manipulation of the temperature data by the U.S. Government's two primary climate centers: the National Climate Data Center (NCDC) in Ashville, North Carolina and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) at Columbia University in New York City. Smith and D'Aleo accuse these centers of manipulating temperature data to give the appearance of warmer temperatures than actually occurred by trimming the number and location of weather observation stations. The report is available online here

The report reveals that there were no actual temperatures left in the computer database when NASA/NCDC proclaimed 2005 as "THE WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD." The NCDC deleted actual temperatures at thousands of locations throughout the world as it changed to a system of global grid points, each of which is determined by averaging the temperatures of two or more adjacent weather observation stations. So the NCDC grid map contains only averaged, not real temperatures, giving rise to significant doubt that the result is a valid representation of Earth temperatures.

The number of actual weather observation points used as a starting point for world average temperatures was reduced from about 6,000 in the 1970s to about 1,000 now. "That leaves much of the world unaccounted for," says D'Aleo.

The NCDC data are regularly used by the National Weather Service to declare a given month or year as setting a record for warmth. Such pronouncements are typically made in support of the global warming alarmism agenda. Researchers who support the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also regularly use the NASA/NCDC data, including researchers associated with the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia that is now at the center of the "Climategate" controversy.

This problem is only the tip of the iceberg with NCDC data. "For one thing, it is clear that comparing data from previous years, when the final figure was produced by averaging a large number of temperatures, with those of later years, produced from a small temperature base and the grid method, is like comparing apples and oranges," says Smith. "When the differences between the warmest year in history and the tenth warmest year is less than three quarters of a degree, it becomes silly to rely on such comparisons," added D'Aleo who asserts that the data manipulation is "scientific travesty" that was committed by activist scientists to advance the global warming agenda.

Smith and D'Aleo are both interviewed as part of a report on this study on the television special, "Global Warming: The Other Side" seen at 9 PM on January 14th on KUSI-TV, channel 9/51, San Diego, California. That program can now be viewed via computer at the website here. The detailed report is available here.


Hungarian Physicist Dr. Ferenc Miskolczi proves CO2 emissions irrelevant in Earth’s Climate

For years now, we have been told that science is dedicatedly attempting to find out how the Earth’s Climate works. With all possible seriousness, the most publically vocal of these scientists, those working for the UN’s IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), have for the last several years blamed the warming they “found” on Carbon Dioxide. With the release of the CRU (Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia) email database, it is very clearly apparent that the scientists involved with the IPCC were doctoring data to give a specific result. That result was designed to look as if CO2was causing climate change, warming the earth due to Human activities. It can be reported now that this theory has been solidly disproven by Dr. Ferenc Miskolczi and Dr. Miskolczi’s work will make history.


To give context to this discovery, a short lesson in science is needed. The term “Constant” is very well known in science. Simply put it is a part of an equation (An equation is merely a mathematical sentence, the Variables are the words) that does not change; they are specific and represent solid concepts. You may have heard of Bohr’s Constant, Hubble ’s Constant, Avogadro’s Constant, there are many of them. There is a new Constant; one that has not been named, but if history is any guide it will be called the Miskolczi Constant, named for the physicist who discovered it.

A Constant we are all familiar with is the speed of light. Before Einstein and his famous theory of Relativity E=MC2, it was widely believed there was no limit on speed, just throw a rock from a speeding train and the speed will continue to add up. Einstein and his theory of Special Relativity put a specific limit on speed - the speed of light, beyond which nothing could go. There is a strict energetic limit, and we have recognized that for decades now. Before Miskolczi, it was generally thought that the greenhouse effect could be increased infinitely by adding more and more CO2 molecules into the air. Under the conditions prevailing on Earth, Miskolczi has proved that there is a limit to the greenhouse temperature that cannot be raised. Why is that? The IPCC has been telling us the exact opposite for years. Simple, because just as with Einstein’s E=MC2, there is a strict energetic limit as the Miskolczi Law proves.

Dr. Miskolczi’s Constant was discovered with a program that is the result of a project started 25 years ago in Hungary. It was then he began the process of writing a high-resolution radiative transfer program which would describe the Earth’s climate using the TIGR Global radiosonde archive of the Laboratoire de Meteorologie Dynamique, Paris database. With this information he was able to accurately describe mathematically how the atmosphere absorbs and releases heat using a long standing Equation called the Schwarzschild-Milne transfer equation to accurately calculate the Earths infrared optical depth. That is what Global climate is; the process by which Earth either holds onto or releases heat. The IPCC and the CRU scientists would have us believe that CO2 increases the heat the atmosphere holds on an infinite unlimited basis. That conclusion is absolutely false, and the CRU and the IPCC have had to falsify and invent data to make it appear that it does.

In reality water is so overwhelming abundant on Earth, it dominatingly, completely, and overwhelmingly governs the climate equilibrium of the Earth. It is 71% of the total surface area of the planet, 333 Million cubic miles (a cubic mile is an imaginary cube measuring one mile on each side) of water exist here, by far outweighing all other greenhouse gasses.

Can our climate undergo changes due to the addition of greenhouse gasses? Yes, but only under circumstances great enough to overwhelm the presence of 333 million Cubic miles of water, such as the impact of a large Asteroid and the tremendous heat it would add instantly. Carbon Dioxide is very far inside the greenhouse effect’s self-regulatory barriers. Amounts even double our current emissions, cannot overwhelm this equilibrium. Only the Sun has that immense amount of power, and only water exists in quantities large enough to effect such a change. As long as the sun’s activity is the “business-as-usual” fluctuations and there is water on Earth, CO2 cannot cause or increase global warming.


In order to correctly understand why this is, it is necessary to recognize that what is important here is the equilibrium between the incoming energy from the sun (heating) and the outgoing longwave (infra red) energy (cooling). The 40% of the planet that is not cloud covered at any given time allows for solar radiation to be absorbed at the surface. The most effective form of cooling is the evaporation of water, which takes heat energy from the surface and puts it into the air. Clouds form which do three things: 1) create more cloud cover reflecting solar radiation away from the planet which also 2) releases heat into the very high upper atmosphere where it too is radiated out into space as the clouds condense into precipitation, and 3) drops much cooler water back down to the surface cooling things even further. This is an oversimplification for the sake of brevity and clarity, the interactions here are very complex as is the equation which describes it (the detailed mathematics can be found below in "The Saturated Greenhouse Effect Theory of Ferenc Miskolczi"). However, this does not change the simple fact that our planetary climate system is at equilibrium, and the Miskolczi Constant allows science to completely describe that equilibrium. For the first time, we can do so accurately with raw data, and match observed data with the results. No “hide the decline” needed when simply describing reality.

Climate scientist and fellow Hungarian, Dr. Miklos Zagoni in his paper “CO2 Cannot Cause any more “Global Warming”” dated December 2009 describes this discovery and its meaning. Dr. Zagoni beautifully sums it up all up:
“Since the Earth’s atmosphere is not lacking in greenhouse gases [water vapor], if the system could have increased its surface temperature it would have done so long before our emissions. It need not have waited for us to add CO2: another greenhouse gas, H2O, was already to hand in practically unlimited reservoirs in the oceans.”
Dr. Zagoni explains:
“Earth type planetary atmospheres, having partial cloud cover and sufficient reservoir of water; maintain an energetically uniquely determined, constant, maximized greenhouse effect that cannot be increased further by emissions. The greenhouse temperature must fluctuate around this theoretical equilibrium constant; [change] is possible only if the incoming available energy changes.”

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Economic Stimulus Funds Went to Climategate Scientist

In the face of rising unemployment and record-breaking deficits, policy experts at the National Center for Public Policy Research are criticizing the Obama Administration for awarding a half million dollar grant from the economic stimulus package to Penn State Professor Michael Mann, a key figure in the Climategate controversy.

"It's outrageous that economic stimulus money is being used to support research conducted by Michael Mann at the very time he's under investigation by Penn State and is one of the key figures in the international Climategate scandal. Penn State should immediately return these funds to the U.S. Treasury," said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center's Free Enterprise Project.

Professor Mann is currently under investigation by Penn State University because of activities related to a closed circle of climate scientists who appear to have been engaged in agenda-driven science. Emails and documents mysteriously released from the previously-prestigious Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom revealed discussions of manipulation and destruction of research data, as well as efforts to interfere with the peer review process to stifle opposing views. The motivation underlying these efforts appears to be a coordinated strategy to support the belief that mankind's activities are causing global warming.

"It's no wonder that Obama's stimulus plan is failing to produce jobs. Taxpayer dollars aren't being used in the ways most likely to spur job creation. The stimulus was not sold to the public as a way to reward a loyalist in the climate change debate. Nor was the stimulus sold as a way to promote the Obama Administration's position on the global warming theory. This misuse of stimulus money illustrates why tax cuts are a better way to stimulate the economy than letting the government decide where to spend taxpayer dollars. As is often the case, political considerations corrupt the distribution of government funds," said Deneen Borelli, a fellow with the National Center's Project 21 black leadership network.

"Mann's credentials as a climate change alarmist seems to fit the political criteria for stimulus funds sometimes known as 'Obama money'," added Deneen Borelli.

Mann is a central and controversial figure in climate change research. Mann's so-called "hockey stick" graph depicting temperature changes over a 1000 year period was used as evidence in the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2001 report to conclude carbon dioxide from industrial activity is causing global warming. Mimicking the shape of a hockey stick, the graph showed a long period of stable temperatures (the shaft) followed by a rapid rise in temperatures (the blade) during the last hundred years.

Critics of the hockey stick claim Mann manipulated data to eliminate the medieval warming period and the little ice age to eradicate the visual impact of natural global temperature variation. The emails from Climategate reveal that the inner circle of climate scientists were troubled by the methods Mann used to produce the graph.

"It's shocking that taxpayer money is being used to support a researcher who seemingly showed little regard to the basic tenet of science - a dispassionate search for the truth," said Tom Borelli.

The $541,184 grant is for three years and was initiated in June 2009.


Penn State Protects Michael “Climategate” Mann

Circle the wagons, Penn State. That’s the take from today’s article at Onward State regarding the Penn State University investigation of Michael Mann. And we have to agree.

As regular readers know, last week an ex-CIA agent went after Mann by telling his associates they could receive millions of dollars in Whistleblower rewards if they have anything on him. While it’s reported he’s not exactly a likable fellow around campus, still, the university must protect their own. As Onward State tells it:
What makes the investigation more interesting is that, according to University Policy the outcome of the committee’s deliberations may be kept confidential. Like many Universities around the country, probes into faculty misconduct are protected, “to the maximum extent possible.” Additionally, many people are outraged that no one from outside Penn State is being asked to review the situation. Since this is the case, is it conceivable that Penn State is trying to save face to ensure that research dollars keep rolling in?
And who is on the committee? The committee, which will be investigating the situation for 120 days, includes Henry Foley (Vice President for Research), William Brune (Mann’s boss in the Meteorology Department) and Candice Yekel (Director of the Office of Research Protections). If found guilty, Mann will have 14 days to respond.

Oh, and there are five other “tenured professors” that will be called upon. Nice. Hardball! I wonder if any of these eight are either a) liberals and b) believe in man made global warming… Just sayin’.


Cap-and-trade will INCREASE CO2 emissions

The big sales point of cap-and-trade is that it will reduce CO2 emissions, and thereby save the world from self-destruction. Blah, blah, blah, we’re all going to die, we know.

Just like progressive taxation–in the minds’ of liberals–does not increase government revenues and instead simply punishes those who work hardest in society, cap-and-trade will not reduce CO2 emissions and instead simply punish the producers of goods in developed nations. In fact, you really think about it, cap-and-trade will increase carbon emissions.

You see, liberals make projections based upon “static” behavior. They assume that new legislation causes no behavioral changes. Again, looking at progressive taxation, high earners work less, restructure their income, stash money in tax-free bonds, move businesses (and even themselves) out of state or out of country, and a number of other things. In the case of cap-and-trade, businesses in developed nations will outsource business to undeveloped nations that get a free ride in cap-and-trade (actually, a profitable ride), or will simply not be able to compete due to the higher costs of running a business in a developed nation. In other words, developed nations (who ironically have the best emissions control) will pollute less because they will produce less, and undeveloped nations will pollute more, a lot more, as they pick up the slack and produce in very high polluting manners.

But emissions control is not really the goal of cap-and-trade, and any thinking person can see this. It’s about control and punishment, not to mention money in the pockets of politicians, academia and all the various middlemen who take their share along the way.

Leading climate scientist James Hansen has some thoughts on this subject. Here’s a taste, click on through to read the whole article.
The problem is that the emissions just go someplace else. That’s what happened after Kyoto, and that’s what would happen again, if—as long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy, they will be burned someplace. You know, the Europeans thought they actually reduced their emissions after Kyoto, but what happened was the products that had been made in their countries began to be made in other countries, which were burning the cheapest form of fossil fuel, so the total emissions actually increased.


Something fishy in whaling debate

Ecoterrorists are actually likely to prolong Japanese whaling, says Australian anthropologist Adrian Peace. Pearce has an excellent coverage of the Japanese viewpoint but rather inexplicably overlooks something very basic about all East-Asian socities: Face. If the Japanese yielded to the ecoterrorists, it would be a huge loss of face -- and as such would be strenuously resisted. So as long as the ecoterrorists keep up their publicity-hungry antics, the Japanese will continue whaling

IF the profits were high and it required a substantial labour force, it would be possible to understand why the Japanese run the gamut of international condemnation at this time of year. But whaling nowadays entails minimal economic return and directly employs only a few hundred workers. A number of social scientists, Japanese and non-Japanese, have tried to explain why this intensely capitalist country persists in this seemingly irrational economic behaviour. The main points they make are worth thinking about.

The first explanation lies in the realm of Japanese culture and national identity.

When the International Whaling Commission holds its annual meetings, the intensity of the media gaze provokes pro-whaling claims about the Japanese being involved in this maritime industry for several centuries. But it is not necessary to go that far back. In the early 20th century, canned whale meat became a staple food for the Japanese military, while in post-war years the entire population acquired almost half of its animal protein from whale meat.

Older Japanese believe whale meat has saved them from famine. Subsequently, it became a regular item in lunch boxes (obentos), while for many people today whale meat in the form of sushi and other dishes is a special treat.

So the notion of an exceptional and distinctive whale eating culture (gyoshoku bunka) is a significant one which Japanese discourse (nihinjin roh) incorporates into a sense of national identity, for a unique population. As the anti-whaling movement has become the dominant international discourse, the consumption of whale meat has become a significant counter symbol of belonging to an inimitable Japanese tribe. As one anthropologist puts it: "The whaling issue serves to strengthen much-cherished Japanese myths about their identity, which itself helps fuel one form of Japanese nationalism."

The second explanation is that the Japanese do not think about whales in a manner similar to Western societies. Japanese categorise whales as fish, rather than as mammals, and this is indexed by the fact that the character (kanji) for the whale (kujira) has two parts, the first being the sign for a fish (uo-hen).

The Japanese do not raise strident objections to other societies' routine ways of eating. So on what grounds do Australians so vehemently object to the situation in Japan? The typical Japanese response is that cattle, pigs and chickens are often reared under horrendous conditions throughout their brief, caged lives, while whales live long ones in complete freedom. In this light, it is difficult to see why it is morally questionable to kill a whale rather than to slaughter a pig for much the same purpose; but easy to specify which population makes its food source suffer most. This explanation specifies the political hypocrisy of the West.

At another level, the Japanese do not see whales as having intrinsic value. Consequently, they look upon current conflicts in the Southern Ocean as little more than a political sideshow, and express minimal interest in non-government organisations such as Greenpeace that claim otherwise.

The third explanation directs attention to more rudimentary questions of the organisation of the Japanese state. Since whales fall in the category of fish, they are under the aegis of Japan's Fisheries Agency. Not only is this a notoriously conservative part of the Japanese state, it is also dominated by the ideology of science which it practices to the exclusion of all other ways of thinking about the world.

The Fisheries Agency and its ministry strive to ensure that their scientific understanding of whale stocks, and thus the continuation of whaling, is not somehow watered down by the politically responsive and ideologically liberal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Its position is also informed by the threat of a domino effect on other fish supplies: if the whaling industry is curtailed by external pressure, then dolphin, tuna, salmon and the rest will quickly come under threat too. Since the organisation of whaling in the Southern Ocean is directed by the Fisheries Agency, it is hardly surprising that the hunt proceeds, whatever the level of international outcry.

The fourth explanation is the most radical. It is argued that an alliance of senior politicians and public servants, a prominent media agency and other media figures mobilised the government and popular opinion behind whaling to maintain the status quo. This is not to say that whale meat was not part of Japanese cuisine. It is claimed, however, that those considerations most likely to sustain governmental and popular support behind whaling were strategically packaged for popular consumption to realise maximum political effect in society.

This strategic management of meaning began in the aftermath of the 1982 moratorium over commercial whaling. Industry representatives, concerned politicians and powerful figures in the Fisheries Agency and its ministry set about persuading, cajoling and seducing influential media representatives into adopting and then broadcasting select perspectives on whaling and the consumption of whale meat.

Once again, the relative autonomy of major institutions within the modern state was integral to the success of this calculated approach. What was critical was the distinctive political arrangement known as the kisha kurabu system in which editors, journalists and the like are incorporated into select political circles, with all the material and other perks this entails, to ensure they report faithfully what their political and industrial masters tell them.

This political arrangement thrives, according to this line of argument, because scientific specialists in particular are accorded a high level of infallibility. Their findings are broadcast without qualification or critique. As it worked to promote and privilege a particular set of understandings about Japan's whale eating culture and the threat to it from abroad, the kisha kurabu exercise especially exploited this unqualified deference towards scientists in the Fisheries Agency.

The twist to this fourth explanation is that, while at the outset the goal was to end the 1982 moratorium on commercial whale fishing, current arrangements have come to serve national interests. The Japanese can kill a substantial number of whales each year; there is little serious opposition inside the broader society; and the many government subsidies that have become available since 1982 to prop up an industry that is commercially non-viable continue to flow unabated.

There is some truth to all of these explanations. Militant action by the Australian government is most likely to reinforce a broadly nationalist response from the Japanese people and a narrowly bureaucratic one from those who effectively determine the country's whaling policy. This is not to suggest militancy is a poor option, only that it is more likely to draw out the conflict instead of forshortening it.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

Propaganda lives on

As record setting snows storms and low temperatures continue throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere, Climategate continues to bite deep. With the island covered with snow, the British press is questioning the Climate Research Unit’s (CRU) sister organization – the UK Meteorological Office (Met Office). This fall, the Met Office used its state of the art supercomputer and software programs to predict that this winter in England will be mild. It has been anything but – with bitter consequences. At the UN warmfest in Copenhagen, the Met Office predicted 2010 will be the hottest year ever on record – no doubt based on part from the warming El Nino occurring in the Pacific. The start has not been auspicious.

The US mainstream press seems to be in Climategate denial. Journalists seem to be unaware why the suppression of physical evidence contrary to the global warming hypothesis is so important. Perhaps they should be reminded of the words by the person frequently called the father of modern advertising. Edward Bernays opens his 1928 classic, Propaganda, with these lines: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an import element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

Yet Bernays dropped tobacco companies as clients when he realized that the companies were suppressing strong statistical evidence of the association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.

Fortunately, others appear to realize the importance of Climategate. A physicist who lectures jurists on science remarked to us that at his last seminar the judges were concerned about Climategate. When asked by a judge how did he as a scientist feel about Climategate, the lecturer’s thoughtful response was: much like every judge in this room would feel if a fellow judge was convicted of corruption.

In science, you do not cut corners.

From "The Week That Was" (January 9, 2010) by SEPP

A refresher on the history of the scam

By S. Fred Singer, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

In line with what seems to be an IPCC plan of claiming increasing confidence in AGW (anthropogenic global warming) with each successive report, the Summary of IPCC Third Assessment Report [IPCC-TAR, 2001] promised new information to support a conclusion of AGW. This new information turned out to be the “Hockeystick,” a dramatic graph that showed temperatures since 1000 AD steadily decreasing – until, suddenly, here was a huge warming in the 20th century. No trace of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and the Little Ice Age (LIA), so clearly shown in earlier IPCC reports and supported by both physical and historic data.

The hockeystick (HS) graph was based on the ‘multi-proxy’ (mainly using tree-ring data) analysis of Mann, Bradley, and Hughes (MBH) [Nature 1998]. Strangely, there was little challenge from the paleo-climate community, perhaps because the statistical method used to combine different kinds of proxy data was not familiar. Soon and Baliunas published a paper (with great difficulty) that contradicted MBH but they were shouted down. As I related (in Science Editorial #1-2010), I questioned Mann as to why his proxy analysis did not go beyond 1980. And Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick (MM), in Energy & Environment 2003, found many irregularities in the data that MBH had assembled.

But it was only later that MM and Wegman discovered fatal errors in MBH’s statistical methodology and in their tree-ring calibration. A convincing demonstration of this was that even random data treated with Mann’s methodology would always yield a HS. While I consider it likely that Mann was not fully aware of his statistical problems in 1998, when he first published his analysis, any subsequent use of the HS to support AGW certainly borders on fraud.

The National Academy of Sciences undertook to investigate the HS controversy and produced an ambivalent report that was used by some to ‘whitewash’ MBH. It mildly criticized the MBH analysis but confusingly claimed that the 20th century was the warmest in the past 400 years – without mentioning that the 16th century was near the depth of the LIA. A Congressional investigation (headed by Rep. Joe Barton) pulled no punches and condemned not only the HS analysis but also the clique of scientists that protected it from legitimate criticism by withholding information, misusing the peer-review process, and even pressuring editors of scientific journals to turn down dissenting papers. The ClimateGate e-mails have served to confirm what had been known or suspected.

A final word: The IPCC-TAR’s case for AGW rested on the claim that the 20th century was ‘unusual’ in the past 1000 years. But it was not. See, for example, the paper by Craig Loehle [E&E 2007], who did not use tree-ring data and showed a MWP substantially warmer than the 20th century. (For other examples, see the NIPCC Summary report.) Besides, there is nothing magic about 1000 years; there are many periods in the Holocene that are even warmer than the MWP.

SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #2-2010 (Jan 9, 2010)

The Next Big Hoax: Ocean Acidification

By Alan Caruba

Just when you thought “global warming” has been put to rest by the revelations of how the computer models supporting the hoax had been deliberately falsified to “hide the decline” in the Earth’s temperature, along comes the next Big Lie, focused again on carbon dioxide (CO2).

Wednesday, January 13, has been designated “Wear Blue for Oceans Day” by some coalition calling itself Clean Ocean Action. I don’t even care whose funding this scam, but Friends of the Earth is proudly announcing it is part of it.

They are still smarting over the December debacle in Copenhagen despite being “one of the main groups organizing a December 12 march that attracted more than 100,000 participants…” The FOE neglected to mention they all stood out in a snow storm to make their voices heard on the way the Earth was warming.

Perhaps sensing that people might begin to wonder where all the global warming had gone since a global cooling cycle began in 1998, these perpetrators of the fraud turned their attention to the fact that the same CO2 that was supposed to “cause” global warming was nonetheless building in the atmosphere and that means in the oceans as well.

At far back as February 2009, these scare mongers organized an international symposium, the second one actually, on “The Ocean in a High-CO2 World.” It brought together “150 marine scientists from 26 countries” who allegedly are “calling for immediate action by policy-makers to sharply reduce CO2 emissions so as to avoid widespread and severe damage to marine ecosystems from ocean acidification.”

An article in Science Daily reported that “The scientists note that ocean acidification is already detectable and is accelerating.”

What these scientists are more interested in detecting is where the next wasted billions in government and foundation grants can be found.

The oceans of the world comprise some 70% of the Earth’s surface. They are like the lungs of the Earth, absorbing and releasing carbon dioxide. They have been doing this for billions of years and a rise in the amount of CO2 is essentially meaningless.

“It is well established among researchers that the uptake of increased amounts of carbon dioxide will make ocean water more acidic as the gas dissolves to create carbonic acid,” said the Science Daily article and, to scare you just a bit more, “Ocean chemistry is changing 100 times more rapidly than in the 650,000 years that preceded the modern industrial era…”

The global warming fraud was based on the assertion that, as the Earth encountered greater industrialization, the increased use of oil, natural gas, and coal as sources of energy, the CO2 released was “causing” the Earth to warm exponentially.

The only problem with that “theory” is that it was (1) based on phony computer models and other false interpretations of data, and (2) the latest, perfectly natural climate cycle, is causing havoc around the world by dumping mountains of snow everywhere along with breaking cold temperature records faster than new readings can be taken.

So, please, do not “Wear Blue for Oceans Day” on Wednesday because it will only indicate you are one of the idiots who still believe in global warming and that you are now prepared to further confirm that by thinking the oceans cannot handle a rise in CO2 in the same fashion they have for eons.


The Congressional Junket to Copenhagen

"CBS had only half the story"

Statement of National Center for Public Policy Research vice president David A. Ridenour: "Thanks to CBS's Sharyl Attkisson, we have an idea of the size of the carbon footprint left by Nancy Pelosi's delegation to the global warming conference in Copenhagen last month. It was big -- so big that it would take more than 1,300 Bangledeshis a year to produce as much carbon.

Attkisson reported that the delegation consisted of at least 101 people, including 20 members of Congress. The delegation was so large, she reports, that it required three military aircraft to transport them. The aircraft were two 737s (presumably, 737-700s) and one Gulfstream V (presumably, a Gulfstream 500 or 550).

Assuming the highest possible performance for these models, the Gulfstream V spewed about 60 metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere for the 8,100 mile round-trip journey while the 737s together produced an additional 262 metric tons of the greenhouse gas. But the three aircraft weren't enough. Due to space limitations, at least 37 of the attendees had to fly a somewhat longer commercial flight. That added perhaps another 56 metric tons in emissions (based on a CarbonFund calculator and assuming a stop at Heathrow), so the delegation produced at least 378 metric tons of CO2 and probably considerably more.

It takes 1,303 Bangladeshis to produce that amount of carbon over an entire year. It takes 326 Indians to do the same thing. Here at home, we produce less than 20 tons of carbon per capita per year. On average, members of Pelosi's group produced about 19% of that in just two days.

But that's only the tip of the iceberg. An estimated 45,000 people flocked to Copenhagen to participate in the conference, most of them self-avowed environmentalists who didn't have any official function in the negotiations. Assuming an average of a half ton a head -- a third of that used by commercial passengers traveling from D.C. – over 22,000 were burned in this pointless exercise. That's enough to run St. Helena and the Caicos Islands for a year, with change to spare.

No one expected a new binding agreement to come out of Copenhagen and that fact had been known for weeks in advance of the meeting. The effort was not only spectacularly hypocritical, but stupid.

Attkisson says one Democrat told her that the large American presence in Copenhagen shows the world how serious the U.S. is about climate change. It certainly does: We're not at all serious. But judging by the enormous numbers of attendees traveling from the far corners of the earth, neither is anyone else.


Fear of nuclear power and global warming

The article below is heavily supported by graphed data but I have reproduced the text only. Link to the original at the end of the article for those who want to see more

As is commonly known, about 20% of the US Electrical supply comes from Nuclear power. Let us imagine that the US never built any nuclear power plants, but instead built more coal plants to generate the electricity those nuclear plants would have generated. According to the Energy Information Administration (1) since 1971, 18.6 billion MWh (Mega Watt Hours) of electrical power have been generated by nuclear sources. Had this power been generated by Coal plants, an additional 4,428 million metric tons of Carbon would have been released into the atmosphere. What would this have made our Carbon emissions record look like?

In all, Carbon emission would have been significantly higher. This is why many leading environmentalists, such as James Lovelock (author of the Gaia Hypothesis) are ardent supporters of Nuclear power. But this chart is not entirely fair to Nuclear power, because the growth of nuclear power was severely derailed by environmentalist hyperbole and outright scare mongering. Because of the attacks by environmentalists on Nuclear power, many planned power plants were cancelled, and many existing plants licenses were not renewed. The result, according to Al Gore himself was:

“Of the 253 nuclear power reactors originally ordered in the United States from 1953 to 2008, 48 percent were canceled, 11 percent were prematurely shut down, 14 percent experienced at least a one-year-or-more outage…Thus, only about one fourth of those ordered, or about half of those completed, are still operating”

Let us take a look at US Carbon emissions if the US had simply built and operated the power plants that were originally planned. Yup, that’s right people, if the US had simply built and operated the Nuclear power plants it had planned and licensed, it would today be producing not only less Carbon emissions than it did in 1972, but would in fact be emitting almost half the Carbon emissions it is now.

But lets not forget that the very planning and licensing of Nuclear power plants was drastically affected by the anti-scientific opposition. Looking again at the Energy Information Administrations figures, the average sustained growth for Nuclear generating capacity was increasing by about 26 million Megawatt-hours for a 20 year period of heightened growth.

Here we see a chart taken from the EIA data which shows the growth of Nuclear generating capacity in blue, and the projected growth in red, had the growth of the previous 20 year period been sustained (remember, this is still only about a quarter of the intended capacity)

Now lets take this projected growth and imagine the US had actually built a nuclear infrastructure at this level, what would our Carbon emissions look like? Incredibly, our Carbon emissions today would be almost a quarter of what they are currently. In case you think my numbers are fanciful, lets see if there are any countries out there that did not get entirely persuaded by the anti-nuclear hysteria, and how that affected their carbon emissions.

After the energy crisis of the 70’s, France, which was highly dependant on imported oil for electricity production, decided to divest themselves of Middle Eastern oil dependence. Lacking significant fossil fuel deposits they opted for a nuclear infrastructure. Today Nuclear Power generates about 78% of France’s electrical power supply, and it is today the world’s largest exporter of electrical energy.

While we do not see the production in France dropping to half it’s 1970’s levels as we would have in the US had it continued the transition to a nuclear infrastructure, the 40% reductions are tremendously significant.

Extrapolating this to the global climate, let’s take a look at the global Carbon emissions levels and compare them against a world where the US sustained the first two decades of it’s nuclear infrastructure growth. In green, we see the existing carbon emissions levels and in purple is the US carbon emission levels if it continued to adopt a nuclear infrastructure. In red then, as a result, we see the global carbon levels are almost 15% lower than current levels.

I invite readers to extrapolate then where the total global carbon emissions would be if all the post industrialized nations had adopted nuclear power – as their natural technological progressions would have dictated – if it were not for the hi-jacking of this process by anti-scientific hyperbolic scare mongering by extremist environmental activists. Many organizations – such as green peace, still ardently oppose nuclear power. And these levels, mind you, are only about 1/10th of what the Atomic Energy Commission was projecting based on demand during the 60’s, where at it’s height 25 new nuclear power plants were being built every year, and the AEC anticipated that by 2000 over 1,000 nuclear power plants would be in operation in the US. Today only about 120 operate.

This is why I frequently say that if Anthropogenic Global Warming is a real problem, then it was in fact caused by environmental alarmism. That is not to say that some environmentalism has been good, but this atrocious abandonment of reason hangs as an ominous cloud over everything environmentalists advocate. Rational environmentalists who want a high standard of living for humans and a clean planet are quick to change their minds about Nuclear power. Irrational environmentalists who actually do NOT desire wealthy comfortable lives for all people on the planet as well as a clean planet actively oppose nuclear power. Nuclear power is a litmus test for integrity within the environmentalist community.

If you want to spur the economy, stop global warming, and undermine the oil fueled terrorist breeding murderous theocracies in the world, the solution is simple – build nuclear power plants.


The Climate is Changing

Comment on Australia from the Wall Street Journal: "The rise of Tony Abbott is part of a worldwide reconsideration of the costs of cap-and-trade"

When I say the climate is changing, I do not mean, as many people do, that man-made global warming is destroying Planet Earth. I mean that the politics of climate change is changing rapidly all over the globe. Al Gore's moment has come and gone.

In the United States, Democrats, nervously facing midterm elections, are calling on President Obama to jettison the cap-and-trade bills before the Senate. In Canada, the emissions-trading scheme—another term for cap-and-trade—is stalled in legislative limbo. In Britain, Tories are coming out against David Cameron's green stance. In the European Union, cap-and-trade has been the victim of fraudulent traders and the carbon price has more than halved to $18.50 per ton. In France, the Constitutional Council has blocked President Nicolas Sarkozy's tax on carbon emissions that was set to take effect in the New Year.

In Copenhagen, meanwhile, the United Nations' climate-change summit went up in smoke. And in Mexico City later this year hopes for any verifiable, enforceable and legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gases—and to bring in developing nations such as China and India that were, insanely, omitted from the Kyoto protocol in 1997—are a chimera.

Add to this that Washington was buried by record-breaking snowfalls last month, that hurricane activity is at a 30-year low in the U.S., that London is bracing itself for its coldest winter in decades, and that there has still been no recorded global warming this century, and it is no wonder public skepticism is rising across the world.

Nowhere is the changing climate more evident than in Australia. Last month, the Senate voted down the Labor Government's legislation to implement an emissions-trading scheme. Polls show most Aussies oppose the complicated cap-and-trade system if China and India continue to chug along the smoky path to prosperity. The center-right Liberal-led opposition, moreover, is now led by Tony Abbott, a culture warrior who has described man-made global warming in language unfit to print in a family newspaper and cap-and-trade as "a great big tax to create a great big slush fund to provide politicized handouts, run by a giant bureaucracy."

Until Mr. Abbott's election as opposition leader last month, the climate debate in Australia had been conducted in a heretic-hunting, anti-intellectual atmosphere. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd claimed that climate change is the "greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time." In clear breach of the great liberal anti-communist Sidney Hook's rule of controversy—"Before impugning an opponent's motives, answer his arguments"—Mr. Rudd linked "world government conspiracy theorists" and "climate-change deniers" to "vested interests." Much of the media, business and scientific establishment deemed it blasphemy that anyone dare question his Labor Party's grand ambitions.

Australians had heard a lot of science, much of it poorly explained. But the "dismal science" had been conspicuously absent from the climate debate. There was very little serious analysis of the economic consequences of climate change: What choices did we have to mitigate its effects, and how much would these choices cost us? Labor ministers had emitted a lot of hot air about global warming and the urgency with which resource-rich Australia (which accounts for only 1.4% of global emissions) must act.

All of this has now utterly changed: Australia's debate has entered a new phase, one that goes beyond the religious fervor and feel-good gestures that had held sway all too often. Suddenly, political strategists are thinking the unthinkable: far from presaging an electoral debacle that was inevitable under Mr. Abbott's green predecessor Malcolm Turnbull, the issue could be a godsend for conservatives Down Under.

Already, Mr. Abbott—an Anglophile, Rhodes scholar, patron saint of Australian conservatives and protégé of former Prime Minister John Howard—is gaining ground in the polls. In their first test at the ballot box since they killed the government's climate legislation last month, his Liberal Party recorded impressive victories in by-elections in Sydney and Melbourne—confounding the conventional wisdom that opposition to cap-and-trade will damage a center-right party in metropolitan seats.

In this environment, Mr. Abbott deserves praise for persuading Australia's conservatives to fight Labor on climate change—even when the liberal wing of his own party would happily bow to Mr. Rudd. Not only will he raise the temperature over the inevitable higher costs in energy, transport and groceries under the next tax—and thus appeal to Labor's working-class and coal mining and other energy-intensive constituencies—Mr. Abbott will also radiate the technological optimism that has characterized the human species since time immemorial. His case is not an appeal to do nothing, but to avoid doing something stupid. And unilateral Australian action in a post-Copenhagen world would be stupid: Economic Pain For No Environmental Gain. Not a bad slogan during an election scare campaign.

To be sure, Mr. Rudd remains politically popular on the back of a strong local economy that has weathered the global financial storm. But as the changing climate shows, Mr. Abbott is tapping into a more skeptical mood about climate change. If he wins the federal election later this year, Australia's opposition leader will be a role model to conservative skeptics around the world.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

Nasty one for the "extreme weather" cries of the Warmists

Like the Southern USA, Northern Australia has a lot of very severe wind events -- called hurricanes in the USA and cyclones in Australia. So Northern Australia is a prime place for detecting an increase in "extreme" weather. But it isn't happening. So how do the Warmists respond? Not in a scientific way by deferring to the facts but by saying that extreme weather is like the second coming of Christ or the collapse of capitalism: It will happen "one day"

AUSTRALIAN government climate experts have failed to detect an increase in the intensity of tropical cyclones after analysing 26 years of data since the early 1980s. Climate scientists have warned that Australia should expect to see more intense cyclones in the future fuelled by rising global temperatures caused by greenhouse gases. But this latest research from seven Bureau of Meteorology scientists shows that so far there is no conclusive evidence to suggest this is already happening.

Scientists told The Courier-Mail the findings, which will fuel the debate among skeptics of human-caused climate change, did not mean climate change would not cause an increase in the frequency of powerful cyclones in the future.

Appearing in the prestigious Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres, published by the American Geophysical Union, the scientific paper analysed satellite data and images for all the tropical cyclone seasons in Australia from 1981 to 2007. The research concluded: "In the Australia region, no significant trends in the total numbers of Tropical Cyclones, or in the proportion of the most intense TCs, have been found."

Co-author of the research, Dr John McBride, said: "We still expect more intense cyclones but we are comfortable with the fact that you cannot yet see that in the data." The research did find a positive trend in the numbers of the most intense cyclones in the Southern Indian Ocean region. But the authors said while it was "possible" that the trend could show climate change at work, this finding could instead be down to "changes in data quality".

In theory, scientists say ongoing rises in ocean temperatures should see the numbers of intense cyclones increase. Professor David Karoly, a world-leading climatologist at the University of Melbourne, said the research did not change this expectation. "It's very very difficult with a 20 or 30-year time scale to separate a climate change signal from natural variation. You would not expect to see a signal until about 2030."

Last week Opposition Leader Tony Abbott criticised the Government's proposed emissions trading scheme, saying it should "not politicise events such as floods or cyclones to try to justify a new tax."


Global Warming Fully Covers the UK with Snow and Ice

So NASA does a coverup

ISLAND SNOW: Last week when NASA's Terra satellite orbited over Europe, it saw something very unusual. The normally temperate British Isles were completely covered by snow. On Jan. 7th, from an altitude of 420 miles, Terra's MODIS (Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) camera snapped this picture:

Quite an embarrassment for the NASA "Global Warming" team, which seems never to cease its efforts to obscure and contort the facts of nature. If you go to their website right now, you'll see they actually have scrubbed this same photo, and replaced it with one showing only part of the UK, so you won't get the "wrong" impression that ALL of the UK was under snow and ice when the photo was made. But it was.

It's not only Britain. Heavy snowfall and record-low temperatures have spread across Europe, closing schools, paralyzing airports, and downing power lines. Much of North America and parts of Asia are experiencing the same brutal cold.


It's 15 below zero as weathermen go witch-hunting

By Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent

It is snowing big time in my town in Kent. The family sits in front of the television to discover whether there is more of the white stuff to come. However, instead of an informative weather forecast we are offered a political broadcast.

A dramatic sounding voiceover informs us that David Shukman, who is the BBC's environment and science correspondent, will report "on how one of the longest cold snaps for a generation fits in with theories of a warming planet and global climate change". Adopting a solemn tone that hints at catastrophes to come, Shukman announces that it is minus 15C in the Pennines and five cars are stranded before stating, "No wonder many are asking, `What about global warming?' "

Just in case the cold temperature encourages the British public to assume a degree of scepticism towards climate change alarmism, Shukman reassuringly informs us that the big freeze is not inconsistent with theories of global warming. A swift cut to a chap from Kew Gardens who insists that "snowdrops are already blooming" . Apparently flowering is starting much earlier than previously, which must mean that the world is getting very, very warm.

Concern that the present episode of cold weather might encourage public scepticism towards apocalyptic climate change scenarios is not confined to the BBC: "Britain's cold snap does not prove climate science wrong," argue two climate alarmist journalists in The Guardian. Leo Hickman and George Monbiot helpfully inform their readers that "weather is not the same as climate and single events are not the same as trends".

They are, of course, absolutely right, but rather selective in the way they minimise the significance of a single weather event. A few years ago when the temperature was relatively high and there was little rainfall across southeast England, weather forecasters and campaigning journalists ignored the distinction between climate and weather and insisted it was all a symptom of global warming. Indeed, an unexpected rise in temperature is presented as yet more evidence of the disaster to come.

Just in case you are a complacent sceptic, Hickman and Monbiot seize on an announcement made by Australia's Bureau of Meteorology that claims that the past 10 years are officially the hottest since records began. Apparently a rise in temperature in Australia may have direct significance for making sense of harsh wintry conditions in Britain. They speculate that the cold of the north and the warmth of the south "could be related". It could be, and no doubt their alarmist imagination will have no problems in linking the two as different forms of extreme weather.

The term extreme weather speaks for itself and has become the new normal. "Extreme weather on the rise," warns the website of the Australian Weather Channel. It communicates a sense of helplessness: "But our emergency response teams are under stress" so "who is going to help you"? This is a rhetorical question.

Extreme weather is not so much a scientific as a cultural metaphor that expresses the anxieties of our time. The conceptual linkage of weather with extreme symbolises a growing tendency to endow natural phenomena with moral meaning. We can no longer accept that sometimes harsh climatic conditions just happen. As in ancient times when superstition reigned, we interpret bad weather as a symptom of divine displeasure.

Today unexpected weather conditions are blamed on the impact of human beings on the environment. In medieval times unusual climatic episodes were seen as the handiwork of wicked demonic forces. Witchcraft was used to account for virtually every misfortune and unpleasant act. It was the climatic change brought by the so-called Little Ice Age in the 16th century that led to a resurgence of witch-hunting in Europe. From 1380 onwards, accusations of magic and weather-making increased dramatically in inquisitorial trials.

The resurgence of witch-hunting in the late 16th century was influenced by the belief that witches possessed demonic powers that could manipulate the climate in order to undermine the welfare and health of the communities in which they lived.

Throughout history people have sought to blame unusual climatic conditions on demonic forces. What the association of witchcraft with weather-making accomplished was to mobilise people's fears against the evil forces of heretics and non-believers. Scaremongering about witchcraft promoted the idea that its demonic powers could literally dominate nature. Father Friedrich Spee, a Jesuit critic of witch-hunting, noted sarcastically that "God and nature no longer do anything; witches, everything". But such beliefs were no joke. A late winter in the province of Treves in the 15th century led to more than 100 people being burned at the stake.

Since burning witches leaves a big carbon footprint, we are likely to find more environmentally friendly ways of punishing those who transgress society's confusing moral boundaries.


FL: Snow, chill culling unwanted iguanas & pythons

The more pythons gone the better, says a Florida wildlife official. But snow and unusual cold are also straining survival of native species like sea turtles and snook in the tropical Sunshine State. Below: Manatees gather in the warm water discharged from the Florida Power and Light Riviera Beach power plant into the Intracoastal Waterway. The cold weather has threatened native species like manatees and turtles. Don't tell me that one of those evil power stations is doing good!

An extended cold stretch gave way Saturday to what early Floridians called an “extraordinary white rain” – snow to the rest of us – as state wildlife biologists reported frozen iguanas falling out of trees, shallow water fish like snook dying in droves, and a record number of rare sea turtles facing the reptile version of hypothermia in St. Joseph Bay and the Mosquito Lagoon area.

The rare snow fall – only the 17th such event in modern history to ever hit the state in January – only highlighted the unusually long-lasting dip of Arctic air and its impact on both native and invasive species in the largely tropical landmass draping off the southern United States. “A cold-stunning event of this magnitude is very infrequent,” says Jim Squires, general manager of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island, which has taken in 10 cold-stunned sea turtles from Florida in recent days. Turtle rescuers worked around the clock, gathering over 700 passed-out turtles by Saturday and putting them in heated tanks at zoos and wildlife centers around the region to revive.

But if the extended cold threatened rare native species like turtles and the Florida manatee, it may also function as nature’s way of targeting invasive species that Florida wildlife officials, frankly, want to see gone from the state, and which have been causing a political stink for years.

In fact, the cold has given wildlife officials backup in their fight against two species that came uninvited to Florida: the green iguana and the Burmese python. Officials have one message to residents who feel sorry for frozen-stiff iguanas: Don’t try to rescue them by wrapping them in towels and bringing them inside. (As “iguana girl” does.) “We have calls coming in about iguanas dropping from trees and landing on people’s windshields … [but] the best thing to do with the iguanas is let nature take its course, since it’s the only way to help control this population,” says Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Gabriella Ferraro, adding that the iguanas “shouldn’t even be here.”

Florida’s big chill also plays into one of the biggest Florida stories last year: The controversy over the explosion of the Burmese python in and around Everglades National Park, and whether it should lead to a national ban on some exotic pets. After Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) brought a massive python hide to Congress to highlight the up to 150,000 large non-native snakes plying the swamps and threatening the ecosystem and even humans, the state last summer introduced its first-ever python bounty hunt, which has had limited success in pushing back the extremely reclusive and hard-to-find snakes. (Read a Monitor article about the python bounty hunt here.)

But Friday the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission put out a press release urging hunters to use the cold to help them find the pythons. The animals are likely to be forced by the cold to come out of their hiding places and find sunny spots – along roads and levees – to bask. The release reads: “All properly licensed and permitted hunters have the authority, if they wish, to harvest pythons and other reptiles of concern (Indian python, reticulated python, northern and southern African rock python, amethystine or scrub python, green anaconda and Nile monitor lizard) on Everglades, Francis S. Taylor, Holey Land and Rotenberger WMAs and Big Cypress National Preserve.” “The more pythons removed, the better,” says Ms. Ferraro.

Whether wanted or unwanted, animals and fish are struggling across Florida, and even revived sea turtles could face further problems since reptile hypothermia can lead to a compromised immune system, says Mr. Squires at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. “Sea turtles are endangered, and with only one out of several thousand hatchlings surviving to reach reproductive age, an event like this obviously takes on significance,” he adds.

In Riviera Beach, north of Miami, and Apollo Beach, near Tampa, manatees and rays are using outflows from nuclear power plants as hot tubs, drawing scores of curious Floridians to watch. In St. Pete Beach and other places around the state, biologists have reported significant cold-related fish kills including snook, catfish, and juvenile lane snapper unable to deal with the region’s big chill.


Hydrogen cars versus hybrids

British motoring writer Jeremy Clarkson plugs an old dream -- and is justly derisive of the Prius

For about a century, there was no real change of direction for the motor industry. While there were experiments in the early days with electric and steam-powered vehicles, petrol was the obvious way forward because nothing else produces quite so much power for so little fuss and expense.

Sure, the cars that clothed the petrol engines evolved bit by bit, with fewer running boards, and indicators instead of trafficators. But then, one day, Margaret Thatcher decided the world was heating up and that Arthur Scargill must be replaced with a cleaner form of energy. As a result, the car industry, for the first time in a hundred years, made an idiotic dogleg turn to the left.

Whether you believe man is responsible for global warming or whether you don’t think there is any such thing is immaterial. One day the oil will run out and the concept of using those last few drops for personal travel is stupid.

It seems to me perfectly clear that hydrogen is the obvious replacement. It is the most abundant gas in the universe. It can be stored on a credit card. And a car that runs on hydrogen produces no noise and only H2O from the tailpipe. What’s more, you could plug such a car into your house at night and even if your house is Blenheim Palace, it will run all the electrical appliances, silently and at no cost to the environment.

Of course, the former trade unionists and CND activists who now bill themselves as eco-mentalists know this and it scares them. They don’t want the world to carry on as before with a new type of power. So they constantly point out that it’s very bothersome to make hydrogen from water.

They’re right. It is bothersome. But what happened to the days when we went to the moon and did the other things because they were hard? Why have we now suddenly decided that actually it’s much better to take the easy option?

Which brings me on to the Prius: a car that has a normal petrol engine and then an electric motor to help it along. Dead simple. But since it has two engines, it is not remotely eco-mental and will do nothing to eke out the planet’s oil reserves. But it is marketed as “green” and because man is now fundamentally lazy, it’s convenient to believe the hype. Demand has therefore been strong, and, as a result, the entire car industry is now engaged in a headlong, blind charge to offer a wide variety of hybrid cars with two engines. And that in turn means no one is doing serious work on hydrogen.

The Pious, then — which went on worldwide sale in 2001 — is far and away the most important car of the past decade. But it is also the worst. It is reckoned by the foolish to be the Pied Piper, but it’s playing the wrong tune. It is the incorrect sat nav instruction that will lead us to a dead end. It bills itself as a “hybrid” but mongrel means much the same thing. And that’s what it is. A flea-infested, built-for-profit mutt that will be the death of us all.


Global Warming as Climastrology

The good news for 2010 is that the climate fraudsters are on the run. The bad news is that they are hoping against hope that the sheriff’s posse won’t catch ‘em. Because the real reason for “global warming” is now clear beyond any reasonable doubt. The reason is ten trillion dollars in taxpayer dough for politicians, transnational bureaucrats, and phony science types. Put away those old world records for the Great Train Robbery and Bernie Madoff. You can junk Bonnie and Clyde. The climate fraudsters have now set the biggest record for massive fraud in human history.

BBC’s climate doom correspondent Paul Hudson asked plaintively a few months ago: “What happened to global warming?” Wrote Mr. Hudson: "This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might the fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998. But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures."

Here’s a guy who built a glittering career on global warming fraud. That BBC headline should have collapsed the whole fraud right there and then. After all, the Bolshie Beeb has been leading this charge for decades. Paul Hudson’s public confession is like Gorbachev finally ‘fessing up that Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Fidel, Kim, Pol Pot (and Obama) had it completely wrong after all. All those 100,000,0000 dead people and nothing to show for it. The Beeb’s Orwellian Ministry of Truth has been pushing global warming every single hour of the day for lo these many years. Now the New York Times actually had to go out and find an honest man to break the news to its readers (John Tierney). Its global frauding correspondent, Andrew Revkin, has resigned and fled the scene of the crime.

Scientists used to be poor but honest, but that was when they slept in garrets and dressed in grungy sweaters. Today they have glittering dollar signs where their eyeballs used to be, like a Vegas slot machine, and their magic number has 13 zeroes: ten trillion dollars for climate fraud. That’s an official estimate from the “Stern Review,” authored by distinguished British fraudocrat Lord Nicholas Stern in 2006. The same number also comes from the skeptical side, from the Marshall Institute, which has done careful economic projections about the cost of “global warming” abatement.

That’ll be ten trillion dollars, please. Cha-ching! Shall I wrap up that planet or do you want to eat it here? Ten trillion buckarooneys is why all those green fraudsters jetted into Copenhagen, and that’s why they kept going for a while even after Climategate ripped open their fraud for all the world to see.

Mr. Obama himself promised in his Democratic Party acceptance speech that “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Just like King Canute. Even before, that same Senator Obama co-sponsored a Senate Global Poverty Act, which

… would force America to adopt the UN’s “Millennium Development Goals” as official U.S. policy. This means outsourcing to the United Nations all important decisions concerning the use of U.S. foreign aid dollars. Not only that, but the fee for allowing the UN to play the “middle man” in our global war on poverty would be a tax of .7 percent of the U.S. Gross National Product … for an estimated $845 billion over the next 13 years.

But that was before Obama became president and the EPA declared CO2 plant nutrition to be a global warming toxin. You can’t breathe out any more, because all the suckers have been convinced that CO2 is killing Mother Earth.

Actually, ten trillion glittering zlotnicks, while a nice round number, was only going to be the start. For example, here’s the National Resources Defense Council estimate of the cost of global warming for the United States alone:

A comprehensive estimate, based on state-of-the-art computer modeling, finds that doing nothing on global warming will cost the United States economy more than 3.6 percent of GDP — or $3.8 trillion annually (in today’s dollars) — by 2100. On the other hand, a detailed, bottom-up analysis finds that just four categories of global warming impacts — hurricane damage, real estate losses, increased energy costs and water costs — will add up to a price tag of 1.8 percent of U.S. GDP, or almost $1.9 trillion annually (in today’s dollars) by 2100.

“The longer we wait, the more painful and expensive the consequences will be. This report’s findings are undeniable – we must act now,” said Dan Lashof, director of NRDC’s Climate Center.”

Tony Blair, whose Labour government in the UK helped put the fraudocrats in place at Hadley CRU, actually had the immortal gall to say in Copenhagen, “The world must take action on climate change even if the science is not correct.” That’s like your plumber telling you, “You know what I told you about ripping out all the pipes in your house? Well, that was wrong, but you owe me the same amount to fix it.”

That’s when Annie got her gun, and so should we. As a newly minted Catholic, I trust Tony Blair will go to his priest for a long, long confession now about telling the biggest whopper of his whole career.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

Antarctic sea water shows 'no sign' of warming

SEA water under an East Antarctic ice shelf showed no sign of higher temperatures despite fears of a thaw linked to global warming that could bring higher world ocean levels, first tests showed yesterday. Sensors lowered through three holes drilled in the Fimbul Ice Shelf showed the sea water is still around freezing and not at higher temperatures widely blamed for the break-up of 10 shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula, the most northerly part of the frozen continent in West Antarctica.

"The water under the ice shelf is very close to the freezing point," Ole Anders Noest of the Norwegian Polar Institute wrote after drilling through the Fimbul, which is between 250m and 400m thick. "This situation seems to be stable, suggesting that the melting under the ice shelf does not increase," he wrote of the first drilling cores.

Antarctica holds enough water to raise world sea levels by 57m if it ever all melted, so even tiny changes are a risk for low-lying coasts or cities from Beijing to New York.

The Institute said the water under the Fimbul was about -2.05C. Salty water freezes at a slightly lower temperature than fresh water. And it was slightly icier than estimates in a regional model for Antarctica, head of the Norwegian Polar Institute's Center for Ice, Climate and Ecosystems, Nalan Koc, said. "The important thing is that we are now in a position to monitor the water beneath the ice shelf. "If there is a warming in future we can tell."

She said data collected could go into a new report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due in 2013-14. The last IPCC report, in 2007, did not include computer models for sea temperature around the Fimbul Ice Shelf.

Experts have generally raised estimates for sea level rise - the United Nations spoke in late 2009 of a maximum 2m rise by 2100, up from 18-59cm estimated by the IPCC in 2007 that excluded any possible acceleration from Antarctica.

The break-up of ice shelves does not in itself contribute to raising sea levels since the ice is already floating. The risk is that pent-up glaciers on land will flow faster towards the ocean if the shelves are removed.


Could we be in for 30 years of global COOLING?

Britain's big freeze is the start of a worldwide trend towards colder weather that seriously challenges global warming theories, eminent scientists claimed yesterday. The world has entered a 'cold mode' which is likely to bring a global dip in temperatures which will last for 20 to 30 years, they say.

Summers and winters will all be cooler than in recent years, and the changes will mean that global warming will be 'paused' or even reversed, it was claimed. The predictions are based on an analysis of natural cycles in water temperatures in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. They are the work of respected climate scientists and not those routinely dismissed by environmentalists as 'global warming deniers'. Some experts believe these cycles - and not human pollution - can explain all the major changes in world temperatures in the 20th century. If true, the research challenges the science behind climate change theories, and calls into question the political measures to halt global warming.

According to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado, the warming of the Earth since 1900 is due to natural oceanic cycles, and not man-made greenhouse gases. It occurred because the world was in a 'warm mode', and would have happened regardless of mankind's rising carbon dioxide production. And now oceanic cycles have switched to a 'cold mode', where data shows that the amount of Arctic summer sea ice has increased by more than a quarter since 2007.

The research has been carried out by eminent climate scientists, including Professor Mojib Latif. He is a leading member of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He and his colleagues predicted the cooling trend in a 2008 paper, and warned of it again at an IPCC conference in Geneva in September. Working at the prestigious Leibniz Institute in Kiel University in Germany, he has developed methods for measuring ocean temperatures 3,000ft under the surface, where the cooling and warming cycles start.

For Europe, the crucial factor is the temperature in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. He said such ocean cycles - known as multi-decadal oscillations or MDOs - could account for up to half of the rise in global warming in recent years. Professor Latif said: 'A significant share of the warming we saw from 1980 to 2000 and at earlier periods in the 20th century was due to these cycles - as much as 50 per cent. 'They have now gone into reverse, so winters like this one will become much more likely. All this may well last two decades or longer. 'The extreme retreats that we have seen in glaciers and sea ice will come to a halt. For the time being, global warming has paused, and there may well be some cooling.'

Many meteorologists have blamed the current freeze on 'Arctic oscillation' - a weather pattern in which areas of high pressure have pushed the warming jetstream away from Britain. They have insisted this temporary change will have no effect on long-term warming patterns.

But another expert, Professor Anastasios Tsonis, head of the University of Wisconsin Atmospheric Sciences Group, said MDOs will continue to determine global temperatures. He said: 'They amount to massive rearrangements in the dominant patterns of the weather, and their shifts explain all the major changes in world temperatures during the 20th and 21st centuries. We have such a change now.'

SOURCE. A more comprehensive version of the above article here

Russian prediction: Earth on the Brink of an Ice Age

The earth is now on the brink of entering another Ice Age, according to a large and compelling body of evidence from within the field of climate science. Many sources of data which provide our knowledge base of long-term climate change indicate that the warm, twelve thousand year-long Holocene period will rather soon be coming to an end, and then the earth will return to Ice Age conditions for the next 100,000 years.

Ice cores, ocean sediment cores, the geologic record, and studies of ancient plant and animal populations all demonstrate a regular cyclic pattern of Ice Age glacial maximums which each last about 100,000 years, separated by intervening warm interglacials, each lasting about 12,000 years.

Most of the long-term climate data collected from various sources also shows a strong correlation with the three astronomical cycles which are together known as the Milankovich cycles. The three Milankovich cycles include the tilt of the earth, which varies over a 41,000 year period; the shape of the earth’s orbit, which changes over a period of 100,000 years; and the Precession of the Equinoxes, also known as the earth’s ‘wobble’, which gradually rotates the direction of the earth’s axis over a period of 26,000 years. According to the Milankovich theory of Ice Age causation, these three astronomical cycles, each of which effects the amount of solar radiation which reaches the earth, act together to produce the cycle of cold Ice Age maximums and warm interglacials.

Elements of the astronomical theory of Ice Age causation were first presented by the French mathematician Joseph Adhemar in 1842, it was developed further by the English prodigy Joseph Croll in 1875, and the theory was established in its present form by the Serbian mathematician Milutin Milankovich in the 1920s and 30s. In 1976 the prestigious journal “Science” published a landmark paper by John Imbrie, James Hays, and Nicholas Shackleton entitled “Variations in the Earth's orbit: Pacemaker of the Ice Ages,” which described the correlation which the trio of scientist/authors had found between the climate data obtained from ocean sediment cores and the patterns of the astronomical Milankovich cycles. Since the late 1970s, the Milankovich theory has remained the predominant theory to account for Ice Age causation among climate scientists, and hence the Milankovich theory is always described in textbooks of climatology and in encyclopaedia articles about the Ice Ages.

In their 1976 paper Imbrie, Hays, and Shackleton wrote that their own climate forecasts, which were based on sea-sediment cores and the Milankovich cycles, "… must be qualified in two ways. First, they apply only to the natural component of future climatic trends - and not to anthropogenic effects such as those due to the burning of fossil fuels. Second, they describe only the long-term trends, because they are linked to orbital variations with periods of 20,000 years and longer. Climatic oscillations at higher frequencies are not predicted... the results indicate that the long-term trend over the next 20,000 years is towards extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation and cooler climate."

During the 1970s the famous American astronomer Carl Sagan and other scientists began promoting the theory that ‘greenhouse gasses’ such as carbon dioxide, or CO2, produced by human industries could lead to catastrophic global warming. Since the 1970s the theory of ‘anthropogenic global warming’ (AGW) has gradually become accepted as fact by most of the academic establishment, and their acceptance of AGW has inspired a global movement to encourage governments to make pivotal changes to prevent the worsening of AGW.

The central piece of evidence that is cited in support of the AGW theory is the famous ‘hockey stick’ graph which was presented by Al Gore in his 2006 film “An Inconvenient Truth.” The ‘hockey stick’ graph shows an acute upward spike in global temperatures which began during the 1970s and continued through the winter of 2006/07. However, this warming trend was interrupted when the winter of 2007/8 delivered the deepest snow cover to the Northern Hemisphere since 1966 and the coldest temperatures since 2001. It now appears that the current Northern Hemisphere winter of 2008/09 will probably equal or surpass the winter of 2007/08 for both snow depth and cold temperatures.

The main flaw in the AGW theory is that its proponents focus on evidence from only the past one thousand years at most, while ignoring the evidence from the past million years -- evidence which is essential for a true understanding of climatology. The data from paleoclimatology provides us with an alternative and more credible explanation for the recent global temperature spike, based on the natural cycle of Ice Age maximums and interglacials.

In 1999 the British journal “Nature” published the results of data derived from glacial ice cores collected at the Russia’s Vostok station in Antarctica during the 1990s. The Vostok ice core data includes a record of global atmospheric temperatures, atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases, and airborne particulates starting from 420,000 years ago and continuing through history up to our present time.

The graph of the Vostok ice core data shows that the Ice Age maximums and the warm interglacials occur within a regular cyclic pattern, the graph-line of which is similar to the rhythm of a heartbeat on an electrocardiogram tracing. The Vostok data graph also shows that changes in global CO2 levels lag behind global temperature changes by about eight hundred years. What that indicates is that global temperatures precede or cause global CO2 changes, and not the reverse. In other words, increasing atmospheric CO2 is not causing global temperature to rise; instead the natural cyclic increase in global temperature is causing global CO2 to rise.

The reason that global CO2 levels rise and fall in response to the global temperature is because cold water is capable of retaining more CO2 than warm water. That is why carbonated beverages loose their carbonation, or CO2, when stored in a warm environment. We store our carbonated soft drinks, wine, and beer in a cool place to prevent them from loosing their ‘fizz’, which is a feature of their carbonation, or CO2 content. The earth is currently warming as a result of the natural Ice Age cycle, and as the oceans get warmer, they release increasing amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Because the release of CO2 by the warming oceans lags behind the changes in the earth’s temperature, we should expect to see global CO2 levels continue to rise for another eight hundred years after the end of the earth’s current Interglacial warm period. We should already be eight hundred years into the coming Ice Age before global CO2 levels begin to drop in response to the increased chilling of the world’s oceans.

The Vostok ice core data graph reveals that global CO2 levels regularly rose and fell in a direct response to the natural cycle of Ice Age minimums and maximums during the past four hundred and twenty thousand years. Within that natural cycle, about every 110,000 years global temperatures, followed by global CO2 levels, have peaked at approximately the same levels which they are at today.

Today we are again at the peak, and near to the end, of a warm interglacial, and the earth is now due to enter the next Ice Age. If we are lucky, we may have a few years to prepare for it. The Ice Age will return, as it always has, in its regular and natural cycle, with or without any influence from the effects of AGW.

The AGW theory is based on data that is drawn from a ridiculously narrow span of time and it demonstrates a wanton disregard for the ‘big picture’ of long-term climate change. The data from paleoclimatology, including ice cores, sea sediments, geology, paleobotany and zoology, indicate that we are on the verge of entering another Ice Age, and the data also shows that severe and lasting climate change can occur within only a few years. While concern over the dubious threat of Anthropogenic Global Warming continues to distract the attention of people throughout the world, the very real threat of the approaching and inevitable Ice Age, which will render large parts of the Northern Hemisphere uninhabitable, is being foolishly ignored.


Rock-solid British bias: Climategate investigated by the 'National Domestic Extremism' team

Likening climate whistleblowing to Muslim terrorism. The Leftist British government is very protective of Muslim extremists so can we climate skeptics expect similar indulgence? Perhaps not. The fact that this blog is blocked on official British computer services is surely a straw in the wind

Finally the Norfolk rozzers are on the case of Climategate. Are they investigating fraudulent misuse of grant funds? Misleading manipulation of data by a taxpayer-funded research institute? Conspiracy to encourage the squandering of trillions of dollars on a non-existent problem?

Not according to the researches of the estimable blogger Bishop Hill. This morning he contacted the Norfolk Constabulary to ask them how the case was going: had they yet ascertained whether it was a leak or a hack. His response has just arrived:
Norfolk Constabulary continues its investigations into criminal offences in relation to a data breach at the University of East Anglia. During the enquiry officers have been working in liaison with the Office of the Information Commissioner and with officers from the National Domestic Extremism Team. The UEA continues to co-operate with the enquiry however major investigations of this nature are of necessity very detailed and as a consequence can take time to reach a conclusion. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.
The National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (NETCU) is a British police organization funded by, and reporting to, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) that coordinates police action against groups in the United Kingdom it describes as extremist. As of April 2007, it was headed by Superintendent Steve Pearl.[1] Because the ACPO is not a public body but rather a private limited company, NETCU is exempt from freedom of information laws and other kinds of public accountability, even though they are funded by the Home Office and deploy police officers from regional forces.[2]

AND GUESS WHAT? Because it is a ‘Private’ Company it is free form FOI REQUESTS!



Four current articles below

Whales not worth risking Japanese relations for, says Abbott

If Australia continues its antagonism to Japan and support for terrorists, Japan could cut off all imports of Australian farm products in response -- which would cause great woe in Australia -- possibly enough woe to unseat Rudd. There have been great battles to get access to the Japanese primary-products market so a Japanese cutoff of that would be an obvious response to continued hostility from Australia's Green/Left government

OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has declared Australia's relationship with Japan is too important to risk over whaling. Mr Abbott yesterday said it was not Coalition policy to take Japan to the International Court to stop its annual whale hunt in the Southern Ocean, according to a report in the Courier-Mail.

"We don't like whaling. We would like the Japanese to stop," he told Macquarie Radio yesterday. "On the other hand, we don't want to needlessly antagonise our most important trading partner, a fellow democracy, an ally."

Relations with Japan have reportedly been strained in the wake of last week's dramatic clash between whalers and protesters. The Government yesterday said there had been robust discussions between the two countries but the issue had not harmed the relationship with Tokyo

The Opposition also has accused the Rudd Government of failing to follow through on numerous pre-election promises to end whaling in the Southern Ocean. Acting Environment Minister Penny Wong said if the Government could not resolve the matter diplomatically, it would take legal action.

SOURCE. There is a good commentary on the terrorist mentality and tactics involved here

Record heat -- just like a century ago

A very bad fit to the Warmist narrative

Melbourne has notched its equal hottest-ever night, with a sweltering minimum matching the city's other warmest evening, recorded more than 100 years ago. The overnight temperature did not drop below 30.6 degrees, and this dip was only reached at 8.49am, the Bureau of Meteorology said this morning.

This was warm enough to equal Melbourne's highest recorded daily minimum temperature, set on February 1, 1902, Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Terry Ryan said. ‘‘The overnight minimum temperature was 30.6 and that was recorded at 8.49am,’’ Mr Ryan said. ‘‘The previous record for the warmest night was also 30.6 degrees recorded on February 1, 1902, and we equalled that this morning," he said.

Mr Ryan said at 8am, the overnight heat was so intense it seemed the 1902 mark would be smashed. ‘‘It was going up to 34 degrees at 8am but then a weak cool change moved through the city and temperatures started falling again,’’ he said. The change threatened to cost the record, but 30.6 was as cool as it got.

Duty forecaster Stuart Coombs said a cool change this morning made a lasting impact to temperatures. ‘‘It appears we’ve dodged a bit of a bullet ... that cool air was deep enough to stop the temperature from rising further,’’ he said. By 12.45pm, the temperature had dropped to 30 degrees celsius, with isolated showers and cooler weather predicted for the evening.


Conservative leader defends Aboriginal rights against Green/Left laws

OPPOSITION leader Tony Abbott has come out swinging in his campaign against the Bligh government's controversial Wild Rivers legislation, labelling Bligh's regime as "outrageous" and the Rudd government "cowardly" for not stepping in.

In Cairns this morning, Mr Abbott formally announced his intention to introduce a Private Member’s Bill to override the Wild Rivers legislation on Cape York, after his move was revealed by The Australian today.

Mr Abbott, flanked by Cape York traditional owners, said the Wild Rivers legislation - which declared the Archer, Lockhart and Stewart river systems on Cape York as wild rivers - was an "attack on the rights of Aboriginal people". "(It will) suffocate at birth all proposals for economic development on Cape York," Mr Abbott said.

He said he will introduce the Private Member’s Bill when parliament resumes in February, but without the support of the Rudd government, it would die. Mr Abbott said he would be appealing to Mr Rudd and Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin to step in and let the bill live.

SOURCE. More commentary on the Leftist hypocrisy involved here

Ecology and compulsion: The Divine Right of Environmentalists

The problem facing the Commonwealth government in Peter Spencer’s case is that on the one hand it’s embarrassing to have him dying of starvation up a pole because they denied him justice after forcibly taking billions of dollars worth of property in violation of the Constitution; and embarrassing to be caught out ignoring him, and lying to the population that it was all the States’ fault. But on the other hand, the Commonwealth has stolen too much property to be able to pay for it; and is too greedy to give it back. It is no defence of this injustice to say that other environmental and planning laws also restrict people’s private property use-rights. That only begs the question whether they also represent unjust acquisitions.

It does not answer to assert that government acts in the national interest. That is precisely what is in issue. If it’s in the national interest for the government to take people’s property without their consent in breach of the law by threatening them with force, then presumably armed robbery and extortion might be in the national interest too.

It is no answer to say that the laws are to protect native vegetation. Native vegetation is not an ecological category: it is an historical and aesthetic category. It means species that were here before 1788, that is all. The issue is not native vegetation itself: it is whether some people should be able to indulge their fancy of having a ‘pre-1788’ botanical museum imposed on other people’s property, paid for by the subject property-holders, or by the productive portion of the population under compulsion.

No doubt many environmentalists are genuinely well-intentioned, and shocked to be considered abusive and unjust, and will say that was not their intention. However the abusiveness and injustice of these laws does not come from the laws’ intent, but from their effect.

Nor is it any answer to say that the native vegetation acts were done to protect biodiversity. The mere fact that biodiversity is a value does not automatically justify the violation of property rights. It may be said that biodiversity is the necessary basis of life on earth, and therefore the need to conserve it is a precondition to any discussion of subsequent human utility. However it is hyperbole to suggest that we’re all going to die unless the environmentalists can steal other people’s land, which is what the argument amounts to.

Even assuming that ecological viability itself were in issue, it is still entirely unjustified and unjustifiable to jump to a conclusion that government is able to centrally plan the ecology and the economy, by bureaucratic command-and-control. This destructive belief, or rather delusion, has no basis in reason. Those wishing to run that argument must first refute Ludwig von Mises’ arguments which definitively prove that public ownership of the means of production is not only impossible in practice, but is not even possible in theory.

As to ecological sustainability, this attractive-sounding catch-phrase is meaningless. Ecology is the distribution and abundance of species. Species are made up of their individual members. The distribution and abundance of these are permanently and constantly changing forever, every second of every day, always have been, always will be. The ideal of sustainability is a dream of stasis; a utopian fantasy of paradise in which the economic problems of natural scarcity have been solved forever by the omnipotence, omniscience and benevolence of big government.

And if ecological sustainability is not meaningless, then how could or would a power to achieve it ever be limited, even only conceptually? Since all human action affects the environment, a power to manage the environment must necessarily be able to control any and every human action, and therefore it must be an unlimited power. In other words, the well-intentioned advocates of such a system are incapable of saying how they could prevent, or even identify, abuses of arbitrary power, as Spencer’s case is proving. It is completely incompatible with constitutional government.

It is said that the native vegetation laws were desirable because of the problem of land clearing. But just because something is desirable does not mean we are justified in using force to obtain satisfaction of our desire. The desire for money does not, of itself, justify robbery; the desire for sex does not, of itself, justify rape; and the desire to use land to grow native vegetation does not, of itself, justify confiscating other people’s property.

Either biodiversity is a higher social value than food or other produce, or it’s not. If it’s not, then there is no justification for using force to pay for it. But if it is, then there is no need for compulsion to pay for it. If society - people in general - really do attach a higher value to biodiversity as the environmentalists assert, then those same people are perfectly capable of representing their own values and protecting biodiversity directly by buying the land on which to grow native vegetation. Many people do it voluntarily. But so far as the rest don’t do it voluntarily, this proves that it is not a higher social value as the environmentalists claim.

Therefore environmentalists have not got to square one in establishing a justification for the native vegetation laws. If they genuinely believe the issue is ecology, this shows their confusion. For the issue is not ecology – it is power.

In truth, all that the advocates of the native vegetation laws have established is that they should have to buy the land that they would like to use to grow native vegetation; an idea they receive with shock and indignation. Yet why not? There are many who agree, the cost of contributions would be divided between millions of people, and in the end would amount to a monthly payment by each to finance it. But they don’t want to do that. Why not? Because they know that in order to do it, they would have to sacrifice other values they consider more important – like consuming internet bandwidth.

Why would they have to sacrifice such other values if they were to buy the land? To pay the price of the land. And what gives rise to the price of land? It comes from the values of all those in the market who buy and sell, or abstain from buying or selling the land and what it can produce.

In other words, the reason the environmentalists don’t want to have to pay for the land is because of the height of the price of land, and the reason the price of farm land is what it is, and the reason farmers were clearing land, is because six billion people, through the price mechanism, are telling farmers that they want that land used to produce food.

How disgraceful, and how disgusting, that rich Australians are forcibly shutting down food production on a massive scale at a time when millions of the poorest people are facing food shortages. The ecologists have morphed into social Darwinians, advocating the stronger using force and threats to arbitrarily violate and steal from the weaker. They think it goes without saying that they should not suffer the shortage they are imposing on others.

Of course the ordinary peasants must pay if they want land to be used to satisfy their want for food, but the intellectuals shouldn’t have to pay if they want land to be used to satisfy their own less urgent want for ‘biodiversity’, for which they refuse to pay voluntarily. So Peter Spencer, and thousands of Aussie farmers, have been expropriated of their livelihoods, in breach of the Constitution, to stop their land from producing food, causing people in the poorest countries to sacrifice their lives so Australia’s spoilt environmentalists will not have to sacrifice the slightest luxury!

All of a sudden all their protestations about equality and social justice go out the window, and we are back to the age of feudal privilege, and a pampered and self-absorbed elite of parasites feeding on the productive class, with a political philosophy dangerously close to divine right of kings.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010


I guess I do hate frauds. A reader writes: "I am a frequent reader of your Blog and tried to access it from computers in internet cafes while in the UK last summer. Your site, Greenie Watch, is censored in the UK from public computers such as libraries, internet cafes, etc. It seems your site contains or promotes hate speech and is banned. I presume but don't know if private parties can access your site."

Any readers who encounter such problems should ask the proprietor of the computer service concerned to unblock access. Point out that the blog is an academic one that makes no mention of minorities other than climate skeptics.

In the meantime, there are ways around the block. There are two mirror sites that are unlikely to be blocked. See here.

More on the radon hysteria

The EPA goes ever further downhill scientifically

We read here a summary of the evidence by a consultant on the subject:
"There are NO valid studies that have conclusively demonstrated that typical residential exposures to radon increase the risk of cancer at all. In fact, all of the valid studies performed thus far show one of two things: 1) No risk and/or 2) a decreasing risk of cancer."

"So, just how hazardous is radon? We have to remember that there are degrees of exposure, ranging from massive doses seen in miners who also inhale other contaminants, to minimal, negligible doses seen in residential scenarios. The “hazard” (risk) is incumbent on the dose received, and the duration of the received dose, not on some absolute “harm” associated with the radioactive gas at any dose. Elevated levels of radon (and thus the SLRDs) are unquestionably a significant health hazard, but similarly, we simply do not see those kinds of elevated levels in homes, and at concentrations of radon seen in residences, there appears to be no elevated risk (and many studies show the risk of cancer is actually is lower in an house with a little radon than in an house with “no” radon.)"
When a consultant, whose job depends on being right, to the point of probably being legally culpable for bad advice, contradicts the accepted EPA "wisdom," I think it's probably a good bet we can trust him. He also gives references that allow us to check his conclusions.

For a further debunking of the EPA crap see: Hyping Health Risks – Environmental Hazards in daily Life and the Science of Epidemiology by Geoffrey C. Kabat. The author is a cancer epidemiologist and currently holds the position of senior epidemiologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Chapter 6 provides chapter and verse on radon and studies about its impact on cancer, or lack of impact unless you happen to be a smoker.

Editorial reviews from Amazon:
"Hyping Health Risks provides a valuable counterpoint to the confusion and paranoia that seems to grow proportionate to the constant barrage of health risk studies. Examining four of the most persistent and controversial issues in public health, Kabat's lucid and well-written book gives the lay reader all the basic concepts and epidemiological tools she needs to understand the available evidence. His presentation allows us to better discriminate between what matters to our health and what matters to the 'hypers'-a wide array of stakeholders, some well-intentioned, some much less so. -- Ernest Drucker, Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Geoffrey C. Kabat, a respected epidemiologist, provides an insider's account of how a number of ostensible health hazards have been blown out of proportion. While we face a daily barrage of health scares, Kabat cuts through the confusion and provides a lucid and rigorous rationale for rejecting much of the fear culture that permeates our society. -- Shelly Ungar, University of Toronto

With clarity and dispassion, Geoffrey C. Kabat challenges widespread beliefs that secondhand smoke, low levels of radon, and other ostensible environmental nemeses are certain killers. In making his case, Kabat draws extensively on scientific evidence while shunning rhetoric and political posturing. The result is an admirable search for scientific truth amid a sea of conflicting and often uninformed opinions. -- Leonard Cole, Rutgers University

Climate change: the true price of the warmists' folly is becoming clear

From the Met Office's mistakes to Gordon Brown's wind farms, the cost of 'green' policies is growing, warns Christopher Booker from Britain

Impeccable was the timing of that announcement that directors of the Met Office were last year given pay rises of up to 33 per cent, putting its £200,000-a-year chief executive into a higher pay bracket than the Prime Minister. As Britain shivered through Arctic cold and its heaviest snowfalls for decades, our global-warming-obsessed Government machine was caught out in all directions.

For a start, we saw Met Office spokesmen trying to explain why it had got its seasonal forecasts hopelessly wrong for three cold winters and three cool summers in a row. The current cold snap, we were told with the aid of the BBC – itself facing an inquiry into its relentless obsession with “global warming” – was just a “regional” phenomenon, due to “natural” factors. No attempt was made to explain why the same freezing weather is affecting much of the northern hemisphere (with 1,200 places in the US alone last week reporting record snow and low temperatures). And this is the body on which, through its Hadley Centre for Climate Change and the discredited Climatic Research Unit, the world’s politicians rely for weather forecasting 100 years ahead.

Then, as councils across Britain ran out of salt for frozen roads, we had the Transport Minister, Lord Adonis, admitting that we entered this cold spell with only six days’ supply of grit. No mention of the fact that the Highways Agency and councils had been advised that there was no need for them to stockpile any more – let alone that many councils now have more “climate change officials” than gritters.

Then, with the leasing out of sites for nine giant offshore wind farms, there was Gordon Brown’s equally timely relaunch of his “£100 billion green revolution”, designed, in compliance with EU targets, to meet a third of Britain’s electricity needs. This coincided with windless days when Ofgem was showing that our 2,300 existing turbines were providing barely 1/200th of our power. In fact, 80 per cent of the electricity we used last week came either from coal-fired power stations, six of which are before long to be closed under an EU anti-pollution directive, or from gas, of which we only have less than two weeks’ stored supply and 80 per cent of which we will soon have to import on a fast-rising world market.

In every way, Mr Brown’s boast was fantasy. There is no way we could hope to install two giant £4 million offshore turbines every day between now and 2020, let alone that they could meet more than a fraction of our electricity needs. But the cost of whatever does get built will be paid by all of us through our already soaring electricity bills – which a new study last week predicted will quadruple during this decade to an average of £5,000 a year. This would drive well over half the households in Britain into “fuel poverty”, defined as those forced to spend more than 10 per cent of their income on energy.

Finally, following Mr Brown’s earlier boast that his “green revolution” will create “400,000 green jobs”, there was the revelation that more than 90 per cent of the £2 billion cost of Britain’s largest offshore wind farm project to date, the Thames Array, will go to companies abroad, because Britain has virtually no manufacturing capacity.

At last, in all directions, we are beginning to see the terrifying cost of that obsession with “global warming” and “green energy” which for nearly 20 years has had all our main political parties in its grip. For years governments, including the EU, have been shovelling millions of pounds into the coffers of “green” lobby groups, such as Friends of the Earth and the WWF, allowing them in return virtually to dictate our energy policy. Not for nothing is a former head of WWF-UK now chairman of the Met Office.

The bills for such follies are coming in thick and fast. Last winter’s abnormal cold pushed Britain’s death rate up to 40,000 above the average, more than the 35,000 deaths across Europe that warmists love to attribute to the heatwave of 2003. Heaven knows what this winter will bring. And remember that the cost of the Climate Change Act alone has been estimated by our Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband at £18 billion every year until 2050 – a law that only three MPs in this Rotten Parliament dared oppose. Truly have they all gone off their heads.


British Warmists undercut German Warmists

Climate science faces a new controversy after the Met Office denounced research from the Copenhagen summit which suggested that global warming could raise sea levels by 6ft by 2100. The research, published by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, created headline news during the United Nations summit on climate change in Denmark last month. It predicted an apocalyptic century in which rising seas could threaten coastal communities from England to Bangladesh and was the latest in a series of studies from Potsdam that has gained wide acceptance among governments and environmental campaigners.

Besides underpinning the Copenhagen talks, the research is also likely to be included in the next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This would elevate it to the level of global policy-making.

However, the studies, led by Stefan Rahmstorf, professor of ocean physics at Potsdam, have caused growing concern among other experts. They say his methods are flawed and that the real increase in sea levels by 2100 is likely to be far lower than he predicts. Jason Lowe, a leading Met Office climate researcher, said: "These predictions of a rise in sea level potentially exceeding 6ft have got a huge amount of attention, but we think such a big rise by 2100 is actually incredibly unlikely. The mathematical approach used to calculate the rise is simplistic and unsatisfactory."

The row comes just weeks after the so-called climategate affair when emails leaked from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit revealed how scientists tried to withhold data from public scrutiny.

The new controversy, which has no connection with Climategate, dates back to January 2007, when Science magazine published a research paper by Rahmstorf linking the 7in rise in sea levels from 1881-2001 with a 0.7C rise in global temperature over the same period. Most scientists accept those data and agree that sea levels will continue to rise. However, Rahmstorf then parted company from colleagues by extrapolating the findings to 2100 — when the world is projected to have warmed by up to 6.4C unless greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced. Based on the 7in increase in 1881-2001, Rahmstorf calculated that such a spike in temperature would raise sea levels by up to 74in — a jump that stunned other experts. They say it is unsafe to use the relatively small increases in sea levels seen in the 19th and 20th centuries to predict such extreme changes in future.

Another critic is Simon Holgate, a sea-level expert at the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, Merseyside. He has written to Science magazine, attacking Rahmstorf's work as "simplistic". "Rahmstorf is very good at publishing extreme papers just before big conferences like Copenhagen when they are guaranteed attention," said Holgate. "The problem is that his methods are biased to generate large numbers for sea-level rise which cannot be justified but which attract headlines."

One key problem cited by Holgate is that much of the 1881-2001 sea-level rise came from small glaciers melting in regions such as the Alps and Himalayas. Such glaciers are, however, disappearing fast and will be largely gone by 2050. It means further rises in sea levels would have to come from increased melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets.

These hold enough water to raise global sea levels by more than 200ft, but their recent contribution to sea-level rise has been negligible. Jonathan Gregory, a sea-level specialist at the Met Office, said: "We do not know enough about the physics of large ice sheets to predict how global temperature rise will affect them. My concern about these extreme predictions is that they could discredit the whole process because they are not backed up by solid science and that is vital in such a political area of research.”

Rahmstorf said he accepted the criticisms but his work was "the best system we have got". He added: “I agree that there has been too little research into the behaviour of ice sheets but that is exactly why I did this research. It uses simple measurements of historic changes in the real world to show a direct relationship between temperature rise and sea level increase and it works stunningly well.”

Rahmstorf said the last decade had, however, seen preliminary evidence suggesting that the ice sheets of Greenland and West Antarctica were becoming unstable. He said: "In my heart I hope my critics are right because a rise of the kind my work predicts would be catastrophic," he said. "But as a scientist I have to look at the evidence . . . my figures for sea-level rise are likely to be an underestimate of what the world will face by 2100."


Britain's thinking on climate is frozen solid

The recent icy temperatures have been accompanied by negligible amounts of wind. If we had already decommissioned any of our fossil-fuel power stations and replaced them with wind power, we would now be facing a genuine civil emergency rather than merely inconvenience

Here’s how it is down our way. The oil tank that powers our central heating is running worryingly low, but for days fuel lorries have been unable to navigate the frozen track that links us to the nearest main road. We would have gained much welcome heat from incandescent light bulbs, but as those have been banned by the government as part of the “fight against climate change”, no such luck.

On the good side, the absence of delivered newspapers — even the faithful paperboy has given up the unequal struggle to reach us — means I won’t be getting any more headaches from attempting to read newsprint under the inadequate light shed by “low-energy” bulbs. Nevertheless, the news has reached our Sussex farmhouse that the Conservatives have already begun the general election campaign, covering hoardings nationwide with pictures of David Cameron looking serious.

Many will be appalled by the promise of months of being force-fed with party political argument. There is something much worse than being confronted with non-stop debate, however: it is the prospect of being offered no choice and no debate when all three main parties have the same policy. This is what happened in the general election of 1992, when the Conservative government and its Labour and Liberal Democrat opponents were united in the view that sterling should remain linked to the deutschmark via the exchange-rate mechanism (ERM). This had been forcing the unnecessary closure of thousands of businesses as Bank of England interest rates went up and up to maintain an exchange rate deemed morally virtuous by the entire political establishment — and, indeed, by every national newspaper.

As everyone now knows (and as we deeply unfashionable “ERM deniers” warned at the time), it would all end in tears. A few months after that general election, the re-elected Conservative government was compelled by the forces of reality to abandon this discredited bulwark of its economic policy, a humiliation that destroyed the Tories’ reputation for competence or even common sense.

Now, almost a generation later, we face another election in which the main parties are united in a single masochistic view: that the nation must cut its carbon emissions by 80% — this is what all but five MPs voted for in the Climate Change Act — to save not just ourselves but also the entire planet from global warming. For this to happen — to meet the terms of the act, I mean, not to “save the world” — the typical British family will have to pay thousands of pounds a year more in bills, since the cost of renewable energy is so much higher than that of oil, gas and coal.

The vast programme of wind turbines for which the bills are now coming in will not, by the way, avert the energy cut-offs declared last week by the national grid. Quite the opposite: as is often the case, the recent icy temperatures have been accompanied by negligible amounts of wind. If we had already decommissioned any of our fossil-fuel power stations and replaced them with wind power, we would now be facing a genuine civil emergency rather than merely inconvenience.

There are other portents of impending crisis caused entirely by the political fetish of carbon reduction. As noted in this column three weeks ago, the owners of the Corus steel company stand to gain up to $375m (£234m) in European Union carbon credits for closing their plant in Redcar, only to be rewarded on a similar scale by the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism fund for switching such production to a new “clean” Indian steel plant. That’s right: the three main British political parties — under the mistaken impression that CO2 is itself a pollutant — are asking us to vote for them on the promise that they are committed to subsidise the closure of what is left of our own industrial base.

The collapse of the UN’s climate change summit in Copenhagen makes such a debacle all the more likely. Countries such as India, China and Brazil have made it clear they have not the slightest intention of rejecting the path to prosperity that the developed world has already taken: to use the cheapest sources of energy available to lift their peoples out of hardship, extreme poverty and isolation. Britons may be forced by their own government to cut their carbon emissions — equivalent to less than 2% of the world’s total; but we can forget about the idea that this will encourage any of those much bigger countries to defer their own rapid industrialisation.

Just as the British public never shared the politicians’ unanimous worship of the ERM totem (which is why the voters’ subsequent vengeance upon the governing Tories was implacable), so the public as a whole is much less convinced by the doctrine of man-made global warming than the Palace of Westminster affects to be: the most recent polls suggest only a minority of the population is convinced by the argument. This has caused some of the more passionate climate change catastrophists to question the virtues of democracy and to hanker after a dictatorial government that would treat such dissent as treason. As Professors Nico Stehr and Hans von Storch warned in Der Spiegel last month: “Climate policy must be compatible with democracy; otherwise the threat to civilisation will be much more than just changes to our physical environment.”

The threat of a gulf between a sceptical public and a political class determined — as it would see it — on saving us from the consequences of our own stupidity can have only been increased by the Arctic freeze that has enveloped not just Britain but also the rest of northern Europe, China and the United States. Of course one winter’s unexpected savagery does not in itself disprove any theories of man-made global warming, as the climate change gurus are hastily pointing out. Steve Dorling, of the University of East Anglia’s school of environmental sciences — yes, the UEA of “climategate” email fame — warns that it is “wrong to focus on single events, which are the product of natural variability”.

Quite so; but it would be easier to accept the point that a particular episode of extreme and unexpected cold was entirely due to “natural variations” if the UEA’s chaps had not been so adept at publicising every recent drought or heatwave as possible evidence of “man’s impact”, and if David Viner (then a senior climate scientist at UEA) had not made a headline in The Independent a decade ago by warning that in a few years “British children just aren’t going to know what snow is”.

A period of humility and even silence would be particularly welcome from the Met Office, our leading institutional advocate of the perils of man-made global warming, which had promised a “barbecue summer” in 2009 and one of the “warmest winters on record”. In fact, the Met still asserts we are in the midst of an unusually warm winter — as one of its staffers sniffily protested in an internet posting to a newspaper last week: “This will be the warmest winter in living memory, the data has already been recorded. For your information, we take the highest 15 readings between November and March and then produce an average. As November was a very seasonally warm month, then all the data will come from those readings.”

After reading this I printed it off and ran out into the snow to show it to my wife, who for some minutes had been unavailingly pounding up and down on our animals’ trough to break the ice. She seemed a bit miserable and, I thought, needed cheering up. “Darling,” I said, “the Met Office still insists that we are enjoying an unseasonably warm winter.”

“Well, why don’t you tell the animals, too?” she said. “Because that would mean they are drinking water instead of staring at a block of ice and I am not jumping up and down on it in front of them like an idiot.”


Japan loses patience with Australia's support for ecoterrorists

JAPAN has risked an open breach with the Rudd government by hitting back hard at Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard's handling of last week's whaling confrontation in the Southern Ocean. Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials have accused Ms Gillard of aggravating the whaling controversy between Tokyo and Canberra, and called for Australian action to prevent further illegal activities by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

The officials warned a senior Australian diplomat on Friday that Ms Gillard's statements immediately before and after the collision between Sea Shepherd's speedboat and a Japanese whaling ship were inflaming public opinion in Japan and making diplomatic resolution of the underlying dispute harder to realise.

This is the toughest public stance a Japanese government has taken towards Australia on Antarctic whaling -- or any other issue -- in recent times and is also highly unusual in singling out for criticism a senior member of a friendly government.

The move betrays Japanese frustration with the Australians' political management of the issue, including Kevin Rudd's repeated threats of international legal action against so-called scientific whaling, while not obviously helping to curb hazardous protest activities, including Sea Shepherd's efforts to disable whaling ships.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs senior officials told acting Japan ambassador Allan McKinnon it was "not appropriate" for Ms Gillard to urge Japanese whalers and the activists in equal terms to show restraint, "notwithstanding the Sea Shepherd itself was conducting the unlawful rampage".

Sea Shepherd accuses the Shonan Maru 2 crew of deliberately running over Ady Gil during a day of confrontation in which the activists' speedboat ran across the Japanese factory ship's bow and allegedly tried to entangle its propellers.

Ms Gillard yesterday stood by her call for calm on both sides and for Japanese and Sea Shepherd skippers to ensure crews' safety as their first duty. "These are extremely dangerous conditions and it is likely Australia would be called upon to deploy a search and rescue mission if things were to go horribly wrong," Ms Gillard said. "It is not therefore inappropriate for Australia to call for calm from both sides in these circumstances."

Japanese officials questioned the jurisdiction of Australia's Maritime Safety Authority to investigate last week's collision. Without access to the crew of Shonan Maru 2, any finding by an Australian inquiry into the collision is likely to be meaningless.

The Japanese have agreed to co-operate with a New Zealand investigation (Ady Gil was New Zealand-registered) and they are expected to vigorously contest a piracy complaint lodged in a Dutch court by Sea Shepherd on Friday...

Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, in answer to questions from The Australian, have called for the Australian Federal Police to investigate Sea Shepherd's actions the next time its vessels put into an Australian port. Japanese officials were already annoyed that the Steve Irwin, which uses Australian ports for its annual Southern Ocean campaigns, was allowed to put into Hobart without question late last month after initiating the first clashes of the season.

They told Mr McKinnon that Ms Gillard's call for the Institute of Cetacean Research to suspend charter flights monitoring the Sea Shepherd vessels that have been harrying the whaling fleet since mid-December "has already unnecessarily provoked the Japanese public opinion". "This has invited the Japanese public (to) call for a strong protest and it might impair both governments' will to lead the whaling issue to a resolution through diplomatic efforts," said a Foreign Ministry spokesman.

Japan aims to slaughter nearly 1000 minke whales this summer for "scientific research", as well as 20 rare fin whales and 50 humpbacks. It has urged Canberra to distinguish between official Australian opposition to Antarctic whaling and illegal acts in international waters that put at risk Japanese crewmen and ships....

Ms Gillard yesterday maintained that the Australian government was "pursuing its anti-whaling position through the appropriate diplomatic and legal channels very strongly". "The government also respects the right of those who also oppose whaling to protest, and to do so peacefully," she said. [The ecoterrorists are "peaceful"???]

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop said yesterday the government's handling of whaling was damaging Australia's relationship with Japan. She said Mr Rudd should either fulfil his pre-election promise to pursue international legal sanctions against Japan or withdraw the threat.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

How come we never noticed? EPA says 20,000 Americans Killed by radon in 2009

An email below from Michael Anderson, Program Director, Environmental Health Committee. See here

The World Health Organization has released their mortality statistics for 2009 and a startling statistic about in-home causes of death surfaced. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Radon Gas causes over 20,000 deaths annually in the United States. To put that into perspective, Radon caused more deaths in 2009 than drunk driving, fires, and carbon monoxide.

The EPA is urging the U.S. media to assist in creating awareness of this silent killer by declaring January National Radon Awareness Month. Radon problems have been detected in almost every county in the United States. The Surgeon General and American Lung Association have also taken action to help prevent these needless deaths by recommending that all homes in the U.S. be tested regardless of geographic location or foundation type.

Please help promote this very worthy cause by writing an article or running a news story about indoor Radon Gas. Together, we can work toward saving thousands of lives in 2010! You can learn more about Radon Gas and National Radon Action Month 2010 at .

I don't know who is the wackiest here: The EPA or Mr Anderson. At least I have done what he asked -- though not perhaps in the way he wished. Mr Anderson does not seem to welcome debate. The email address from which the above originated was: The graphic above originates from the EPA. One suspects heroic assumptions behind it

Don't you love that global warming?

At least the Russians predicted global cooling

SCORES of flights have been cancelled across Europe as snow covers swathes of the continent, severing key highways and disrupting rail and electricity links. Germans were urged to buy enough food and medicines to last for up to four days in the face of a blizzard. The government said all non-essential travel should be avoided.

More than 200 flights were cancelled at Frankfurt, Europe's third largest airport, yesterday, spokesman Juergen Harrer said, adding that many more had been delayed. Traffic on the A5 highway between Germany and France was paralysed after French police blocked off the border road to trucks due to heavy snow, German traffic police said.

With much of Britain already shivering through the worst spell of bad winter weather for more than 30 years, a further blanketing was expected. Forecasters say up to 20cm could settle in the east. The conditions hit weekend sports games - five English Premier League football matches were called off and five out of the six Premiership rugby union fixures were also cancelled.

In London, the Serpentine outdoor swimming lake in Hyde Park was closed for the first time in about 140 years amid icy conditions.

Air travel was also being disrupted - at London's Heathrow airport, staff have been working round the clock to keep the runways clear and predicted delays and cancellations. The Eurostar rail link between Britain and continental Europe said it was operating two-thirds of services. Twenty-seven major companies in Britain were ordered to stop using gas on Friday in order to maintain overall supplies amid unprecedented levels of demand.

In France, significant snowfalls caused major delays to train services and southern areas experienced electricity cuts, with at least 7000 households affected, according to officials. With more snow forecast, authorities asked airlines to cut a quarter of flights today at Paris's main Charles de Gaulle airport. Traffic was suspended at Toulouse airport but expected to resume later today. Several trains were cancelled and many high-speed trains were running late, the national rail operator SNCF said.

Ireland, experiencing its worst weather since 1963, was again hit by fresh snowfall in the east which led Dublin airport to suspend all operations. Education Minister Batt O'Keefe ordered all state primary and secondary schools to remain closed until January 14. Police and the Automobile Association said temperatures were "well below zero" on all routes with dense freezing fog causing additional problems.

Freezing temperatures were reported on Saturday in Spain and Portugal, affecting road links. Authorities in Lisbon kept two metro stations open overnight to shelter the homeless.

In the Netherlands, thousands took to the ice as skating federation KNSB gave the green light for impromptu skating events on three lakes in the centre and north-east of the country. Dutch Railways deployed special teams to prevent railway points from freezing at key junctions but nevertheless warned of possible delays.

Scores of flights were cancelled in Brussels as Belgium experienced its first heavy snowfalls. Traffic on highways was affected.

Polish authorities said about 25,000 households were without electricity in the southern region of Kielce and Katowice after power lines were snapped by heavy branches felled in the snow.

In Italy, heavy winds and rain toppled trees in the centre of the country and around Rome, leaving about 65,000 people without electricity, civil protection officials said.


As of December 31, 2009: 12-Year U.S. Cooling Trend Is Now -11.03°F Per Century

Overall decade-long global cooling trend has not abated. Both the U.S. and the world are definitely not experiencing global warming, in any sense of the concept. The case for AGW is without merit as temperatures have done exactly the opposite of what IPCC experts and climate models predicted a decade ago.

In the case of U.S. cooling, it has generally been happening since 1998. If the trend for the U.S. were to continue, temperatures would drop some 11 degrees over a 100 year span - that's global cooling on steroids, which (we hope) is not likely to happen.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Carbon dioxide is not the right villain. Doubling the amount of carbon dioxide yields a 70% increase in plant growth

Not so many years ago, schoolchildren were taught that carbon dioxide is the naturally occurring lifeblood of plants, just as oxygen is ours. Today, children are more likely to think of carbon dioxide as a poison. That’s because the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased substantially over the past 100 years, from about 280 parts per million to 380.

But what people don’t know, say the scientists at Intellectual Ventures labs in Bellevue, Wash., is that the carbon dioxide level some 80 million years ago — back when our mammalian ancestors were evolving — was at least 1,000 parts per million. In fact, that is the concentration of carbon dioxide you regularly breathe if you work in a new energy-efficient office building, for that is the level established by the engineering group that sets standards for heating and ventilation systems.

So not only is carbon dioxide plainly not poisonous, but changes in carbon dioxide levels don’t necessarily mirror human activity. Nor does atmospheric carbon dioxide necessarily warm the earth: Ice-cap evidence shows that over the past several hundred thousand years, carbon dioxide levels have risen after a rise in temperature, not the other way around.

Meet Ken Caldeira, a soft-spoken man with a boyish face and a halo of curly hair. He runs an ecology lab at Stanford University for the Carnegie Institution. Caldeira is among the most respected climate scientists in the world, his research cited approvingly by the most fervent environmentalists. He and a co-author coined the phrase “ocean acidification,” the process by which the seas absorb so much carbon dioxide that corals and other shallow-water organisms are threatened. He also contributes research to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore for sounding the alarm on global warming.

If you met Caldeira at a party, you would likely place him in the fervent-environmentalist camp himself. He was a philosophy major in college, for goodness’ sake, and his very name — a variant of caldera, the crater-like rim of a volcano— aligns him with the natural world. In his youth (he is 53 now), he was a hard-charging environmental activist and all-around peacenik.

Caldeira is thoroughly convinced that human activity is responsible for some global warming and is pessimistic about how future climate will affect humankind. He believes that “we are being incredibly foolish emitting carbon dioxide” as we currently do.

Yet his research tells him that carbon dioxide is not the right villain in this fight. For starters, as greenhouse gases go, it’s not particularly efficient. “A doubling of carbon dioxide traps less than 2% of the outgoing radiation emitted by the earth,” he says. Furthermore, atmospheric carbon dioxide is governed by the law of diminishing returns: Each gigaton added to the air has less radiative impact than the previous one.

Caldeira mentions a study he undertook that considered the impact of higher carbon dioxide levels on plant life. While plants get their water from the soil, they get their food — carbon dioxide, that is — from the air. An increase in carbon dioxide means that plants require less water to grow. Caldeira’s study showed that doubling the amount of carbon dioxide while holding steady all other inputs— water, nutrients and so forth— yields a 70% increase in plant growth, an obvious boon to agricultural productivity. “That’s why most commercial hydroponic green houses have supplemental carbon dioxide,” a colleague says. “And they typically run at 1,400 parts per million.”

“Twenty thousand years ago,” Caldeira says, “carbon dioxide levels were lower, sea level was lower — and trees were in a near state of asphyxiation for lack of carbon dioxide. There’s nothing special about today’s carbon dioxide level, or today’s sea level, or today’s temperature. What damages us are rapid rates of change. Overall, more carbon dioxide is probably a good thing for the biosphere — it’s just that it’s increasing too fast.”

The gentlemen of Intellectual Ventures abound with further examples of global warming memes that are all wrong. Rising sea levels, for instance, “aren’t being driven primarily by glaciers melting,” Lowell Wood says, no matter how useful that image may be for environmental activists. The truth is far less sexy. “It is driven mostly by water-warming — literally, the thermal expansion of ocean water as it warms up.” Sea levels are rising, Wood says — and have been for roughly 12,000 years, since the end of the last ice age. The oceans are about 425 feet higher today, but the bulk of that rise occurred in the first thousand years. In the past century, the seas have risen less than eight inches.

As to the future: Rather than the catastrophic 30-foot rise some people have predicted over the next century — goodbye, Florida! — Wood notes that the most authoritative literature on the subject suggests a rise of about one and a half feet by 2100. That’s much less than the twice-daily tidal variation in most coastal locations. “So it’s a little bit difficult,” he says, “to understand what the purported crisis is about.”

Caldeira, with something of a pained look on his face, mentions a most surprising environmental scourge: trees. Yes, trees. As much as Caldeira personally lives the green life — his Stanford office is cooled by a misting water chamber rather than air conditioning — his research has found that planting trees in certain locations actually exacerbates warming because comparatively dark leaves absorb more incoming sunlight than, say, grassy plains, sandy deserts or snow-covered expanses.

Then there’s this little-discussed fact about global warming: While the drumbeat of doom has grown louder over the past several years, the average global temperature during that time has in fact decreased.

In the darkened conference room, Intellectual Ventures co-founder Nathan Myhrvold cues up an overhead slide that summarizes IV’s views of the current slate of proposed global warming solutions. The slide says: * Too little; * Too late; * Too optimistic

Too little means that typical conservation efforts simply won’t make much of a difference. “If you believe there’s a problem worth solving,” Myhrvold says, “then these solutions won’t be enough to solve it. Wind power and most other alternative energy things are cute, but they don’t scale to a sufficient degree. At this point, wind farms are a government subsidy scheme, fundamentally.” What about the beloved Prius and other low-emission vehicles? “They’re great,” he says, “except that transportation is just not that big of a sector.”

Also, coal is so cheap that trying to generate electricity without it would be economic suicide, especially for developing countries. Myhrvold argues that cap-and-trade agreements, whereby coal emissions are limited by quota and cost, can’t help much, in part because it is already …

Too late. The half-life of atmospheric carbon dioxide is roughly one hundred years, and some of it remains in the atmosphere for thousands of years. So even if humankind immediately stopped burning all fossil fuel, the existing carbon dioxide would remain in the atmosphere for several generations. Pretend the United States (and perhaps Europe) miraculously converted overnight and became zero-carbon societies. Then pretend they persuaded China (and perhaps India) to demolish every coal-burning power plant and diesel truck. As far as atmospheric carbon dioxide is concerned, it might not matter all that much. And by the way, that zero-carbon society you were dreamily thinking about is way …

Too optimistic. “A lot of the things that people say would be a good thing probably aren’t,” Myhrvold says. As an example, he points to solar power. “The problem with solar cells is that they’re black, because they are designed to absorb light from the sun. But only about 12% gets turned into electricity, and the rest is reradiated as heat — which contributes to global warming.”

Although a widespread conversion to solar power might seem appealing, the reality is tricky. The energy consumed by building the thousands of new solar plants necessary to replace coal-burning and other power plants would create a huge long-term “warming debt,” as Myhrvold calls it. “Eventually, we’d have a great carbon-free energy infrastructure but only after making emissions and global warming worse every year until we’re done building out the solar plants, which could take 30 to 50 years.”


Obama's Green Jobs Program: $135,294 Per Job

The White House announced Friday the awarding of $2.3 billion in tax credits — the money comes from last year’s stimulus bill — to companies to create “green jobs.” The announcement was rather obviously timed to counter the news that the nation lost 85,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate stayed at 10% — bad news for an administration that once promised to hold unemployment to 8% by the end of 2009.

So the administration sought to change the tune by talking about all those green jobs in the pipeline. “Building a robust clean-energy sector is how we will create the jobs of the future — jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced,” President Obama said Friday.

Yes, but getting these jobs is burning a hole in the national wallet. The problem is that even advocates like Obama concede that these programs are not very cost-effective in creating jobs. Obama says the grants will create 17,000 cleantech jobs. Well, get out your calculator. $2.3 billion for 17,000 jobs equals $135,294 per job. (And that’s not including the eventual interest on this deficit spending). Those green jobs had better pay well over six figures to justify that expense.

Not to worry, the administration has a plan to solve this, too. It wants Congress to approve another $5 billion for “tens of thousands” more green jobs.


Skeptical Canadian journalist pushed out

But he has a new spot on a more conservative publication

The National Post has welcomed with open arms a public broadcaster and former marquee Globe & Mail columnist apparently smarting from being pushed out of his coveted Saturday spot.

Rex Murphy’s official debut in the Post was today. It looks like it was a foray into the right-leaning opinion pages that finally landed him in hot water with the new Globe management. The Cross Country Checkup host – and long-time CBC host and pundit – penned an A-section screed for the Financial Post, December 5th, on climate change.

It seems the article was only what “got the ball rolling” in the words of one insider. Less than commentary in a rival paper; several sources have suggested Globe and Mail Editor in Chief John Stackhouse was simply unimpressed with the increasingly esoteric opinions of this elder-statesman of Canadian opinion. One example widely cited is this CBC appearance (subsequently praised by Terrance Corcoran of the Post.)

So, “climate change denial” is widely rumored to have been the last straw. Perhaps sensing the loquacious Newfoundlander would prompt unneeded bad PR if sacked; I’m told Stackhouse offered to move him to Mondays. As evidenced by the quick decampment to the National Post, it seems that went over like a tonne of bricks with Murphy.

The move was announced this past Thursday by Peter Mansbridge on CBC’s the National, where Murphy still resides as one of the few opinion columnists left on television. Editor of the Vancouver alternative weekly the Georgia Straight, Charlie Smith is pleased with the move: “I don’t know if Murphy jumped or if he was pushed by Stackhouse. Regardless, I’m looking forward to picking up a Saturday Globe and Mail without one of Murphy’s typically ill-informed attacks on climate-change scientists.”

Well it looks as if the answer is: Rex Murphy was pushed a little and jumped.

SOURCE (See the original for video, graphics etc.)

Australia: Rogue sharks to be killed -- but only if they are small

This is Greenie craziness. ALL sharks found near swimmers should be shot immediately. There is a whole ocean for them to live in. The little strip of it near land should be off-limits to them

Rogue sharks that attack beachgoers this summer will be hunted down, shot in the head and sawed apart until their spines are severed. [Seeing they don't have spines, that could be tricky]

The Sunday Times can today reveal the graphic methods put in place by the WA Government's Shark Hazard Committee for dealing with man-eaters. In a candid interview, WA Department of Fisheries strategic compliance manager and shark committee member Tina Thorne said a rogue shark that attacked a swimmer would be slaughtered if it continued to pose a significant threat to beachgoers and if it could be positively identified as the offending shark. But the kill order would only be given in "extreme circumstances" as a last resort where there was an immediate danger to the public.

Ms Thorne said fisheries officers would first use a baited drumline and put "attractant" in the water to try to hook the shark. Then the creature would be hauled aboard a boat where officers would "have to use a large firearm to dispatch the animal". "That is not an easy task, as sharks have very small brains," she said. Once shot through the head, fisheries personnel would take a final step to ensure the creature was dead by "severing the spinal cord and bleeding it out". "Even if you hook it, you can't just fly over in a chopper and shoot it because of refraction (of the bullets) in the water," Ms Thorne said.

While the shoot-to-kill methods had been put down in policy by the Shark Hazard Committee, Ms Thorne stressed great whites - the species responsible for most fatal attacks - were protected and a special exemption from the law was required by Fisheries Minister Norman Moore to kill one. "It's not something we would take lightly," Ms Thorne said, after a spate of shark sightings and beach closures across Perth this week.

Trying to catch a large shark was extremely dangerous, she said, and in most cases the creatures disappeared into the depths after an attack. Ms Thorne said in three of the past four fatal attacks in WA the shark responsible was never spotted. Only after the fatal attack in 2008 on 51-year-old Port Kennedy man Brian Guest did the shark linger. In that case, there was no immediate danger to other beachgoers, so authorities tried to tag the animal.

The statements about killing sharks angered the family of Mr Guest. A friend of the family told The Sunday Times Mr Guest's widow Charmaine and son Daniel stuck by their comments that sharks belonged in the marine environment and should not be harmed.

Ms Thorne agreed, saying "they live in the ocean and we don't". Six people have been killed by sharks in WA in the past 20 years.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

US Weather Bureau Report

The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at Bergen, Norway. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.
The report above was from November 2, 1922 as reported by the AP and published in The Washington Post. Sounds like it was warmer then than it is now.


The graph below is also interesting. It shows that there was no pack ice off Iceland for about 180 years from 1020 to 1200 AD. So it was warmer then than now too. It seems clear that the alleged unusual warming of the late 20th century is totally bogus and nothing more than faked statistics from crooked Green/Left "scientists".

(Larger version of the graphic here)


Climategate: You should be steamed

By NEIL FRANK (Neil Frank, who holds a Ph.D. from Florida State University in meteorology, was director of the National Hurricane Center (1974–87))

Now that Copenhagen is past history, what is the next step in the man-made global warming controversy? Without question, there should be an immediate and thorough investigation of the scientific debauchery revealed by “Climategate.”

If you have not heard, hackers penetrated the computers of the Climate Research Unit, or CRU, of the United Kingdom's University of East Anglia, exposing thousands of e-mails and other documents. CRU is one of the top climate research centers in the world. Many of the exchanges were between top mainstream climate scientists in Britain and the U.S. who are closely associated with the authoritative (albeit controversial) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Among the more troubling revelations were data adjustments enhancing the perception that man is causing global warming through the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other atmospheric greenhouse gases.

Particularly disturbing was the way the core IPCC scientists (the believers) marginalized the skeptics of the theory that man-made global warming is large and potentially catastrophic. The e-mails document that the attack on the skeptics was twofold. First, the believers gained control of the main climate-profession journals. This allowed them to block publication of papers written by the skeptics and prohibit unfriendly peer review of their own papers. Second, the skeptics were demonized through false labeling and false accusations.

Climate alarmists would like you to believe the science has been settled and all respectable atmospheric scientists support their position. The believers also would like you to believe the skeptics are involved only because of the support of Big Oil and that they are few in number with minimal qualifications.

But who are the skeptics? A few examples reveal that they are numerous and well-qualified. Several years ago two scientists at the University of Oregon became so concerned about the overemphasis on man-made global warming that they put a statement on their Web site and asked for people's endorsement; 32,000 have signed the petition, including more than 9,000 Ph.Ds. More than 700 scientists have endorsed a 231-page Senate minority report that questions man-made global warming. The Heartland Institute has recently sponsored three international meetings for skeptics. More than 800 scientists heard 80 presentations in March. They endorsed an 881-page document, created by 40 authors with outstanding academic credentials, that challenges the most recent publication by the IPCC. The IPCC panel's report strongly concludes that man is causing global warming through the release of carbon dioxide.

Last year 60 German scientists sent a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel urging her to “strongly reconsider” her position supporting man-made global warming. Sixty scientists in Canada took similar action. Recently, when the American Physical Society published its support for man-made global warming, 200 of its members objected and demanded that the membership be polled to determine the APS' true position.

What do the skeptics believe? First, they concur with the believers that the Earth has been warming since the end of a Little Ice Age around 1850. The cause of this warming is the question. Believers think the warming is man-made, while the skeptics believe the warming is natural and contributions from man are minimal and certainly not potentially catastrophic à la Al Gore.

Second, skeptics argue that CO2 is not a pollutant but vital for plant life. Numerous field experiments have confirmed that higher levels of CO2 are positive for agricultural productivity. Furthermore, carbon dioxide is a very minor greenhouse gas. More than 90 percent of the warming from greenhouse gases is caused by water vapor. If you are going to change the temperature of the globe, it must involve water vapor.

Third, and most important, skeptics believe that climate models are grossly overpredicting future warming from rising concentrations of carbon dioxide. We are being told that numerical models that cannot make accurate 5- to 10-day forecasts can be simplified and run forward for 100 years with results so reliable you can impose an economic disaster on the U.S. and the world.

The revelation of Climate­gate occurs at a time when the accuracy of the climate models is being seriously questioned. Over the last decade Earth's temperature has not warmed, yet every model (there are many) predicted a significant increase in global temperatures for that time period. If the climate models cannot get it right for the past 10 years, why should we trust them for the next century?

Climategate reveals how predetermined political agendas shaped science rather than the other way around. It is high time to question the true agenda of the scientists now on the hot seat and to bring skeptics back into the public debate.


Not by Fire but by Ice

By Alan Caruba

Considering the thousands of absurd claims made about the discredited fraud of “global warming”, a recent National Geographic News story, “North Magnetic Pole Moving East Due to Core Flux”, struck me as potentially far more significant.

“Earth’s north magnetic pole is racing toward Russia at almost 40 miles a year due to magnetic changes in the planet’s core, new research says.” The article by Richard A. Lovett, noted that “The core is too deep for scientists to directly detect its magnetic field, but researchers can infer the field’s movements by tracking how Earth’s magnetic field has been changing at the surface and in space.”

Most people are familiar with magnetic north because that is where compass needles actually point. It is not the same as the North Pole and, currently, magnetic north is close to Canada’s Ellesmere Island on the edge of the Arctic. The movement has been erratic since first located by scientists in 1831. In 1904, it began to shift northeastward at about nine miles per year. In 1989, it sped up a bit and is now “galloping toward Siberia.”

If I hadn’t read Robert W. Felix’s latest book, “Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps”, I frankly would have paid little attention to the news, but I had to pause because Felix asks, “Could this movement be the beginning of the next reversal? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t rule it out.”

Why is this of interest? Because ice ages recur every 11,500 years and right now the Earth is at the end of the latest interglacial period, i.e., the interim between ice ages.

Since ice ages and magnetic reversals appear to occur together, it is entirely likely that what we’re really looking at is the next ice age and, to make matters much worse, a potential magnetic reversal.

“Among the many species of mammals now existing in Europe and Asia, all but six appeared during the past two million years, with no time to evolve,” says Felix, neatly dispatching Charles Darwin’s theory that species evolve over tens of millions of years.

At some point in the past 200,000 years Homo sapiens climbed down out of the trees, stood upright, and began their trek toward what we call civilization and civilization as we know it—the spread of agriculture and the rise of cities—is only about 5,000 years old.

The late paleontologist, Stephen Jay Gould, said, “We have not a shred of evidence for any genetic improvement since then. I suspect that the average Cro-Magnon, properly trained, could have handled computers with the best of us.”

The bad news about magnetic reversals is that they have often been accompanied by massive extinctions and, as noted, they return in a dependable, predictable cycle. “Mass extinctions,” says Felix, “have been the rule, rather than the exception, for the 3.5 million years that life has existed on this planet.”

Many scientists maintain that the last magnetic reversal occurred about 780,000 years ago at the Brunhes/Matuyama boundary, but in addition to full-scale reversals, Felix includes magnetic “excursions” in his calculations.

Magnetic excursions are times when the earth's magnetic north pole moved south for a short while--sometimes as much as 500 years--and then moved back. Magnetic excursions are apparently aborted magnetic reversals, says Felix. They recur about every 11,500 years. And they are deadly.

The last one, the Gothenburg magnetic excursion, took place about 11,500 years ago. Is it just a coincidence that some 40 percent of the large animal species, including the sabre-toothed cat, the mammoth, the mastodon, and the great Dire wolf went extinct at the time? "No," says Felix. "That was no coincidence.”

Nor is it a coincidence that more than one million huge elliptical holes - some the size of a small city - were blasted into the earth at the same time. Today, those huge holes are sometimes known as Carolina Bays, Grady Ponds, Maryland Basins, or, in Texas, Salinas.

Then there was the Mono Lake magnetic excursion of 23,000 years ago, when the earth descended into catastrophic glaciation, and the mammoths were almost decimated. And prior to that was the Lake Mungo magnetic excursion of 33,500 years ago, when the Neanderthal went extinct and the earth descended into yet another period of glaciation.

If this cycle holds true, says Felix, the next magnetic reversal—--and extinction—is due any day.

Solar scientists have been watching the sun with a fair amount of trepidation lately. As Felix notes, “At the beginning of each (geological) cycle, magnetic polarity on the Sun reverses and magnetic north becomes magnetic south. No one knows why.”

We are in the Holocene cycle that began about 10,000 years ago.

Anthony Watts, a climate scientist—-one of the many that did not buy into the global warming fraud—-recently reported that “The sun has seen a resurgence of activity in December, with a number of cycle 24 sunspots being seen.” That’s good news because sunspot activity seems to correlate with warming and cooling cycles. The fewer the sunspots, the cooler the Earth becomes.

“If the past two years have taught us anything,” says Watts, “it is that the sun can be tricky and unpredictable.”

Will the next ice age begin shortly? Depends on what you mean by “shortly” because it could be tomorrow or it could be another two centuries or so. One thing is sure; the Earth’s latest interglacial period is nearing an end.

A magnetic reversal would likely have a devastating effect on planet Earth and, frankly, I don’t want to be around when it occurs.


How Dense Can They Get?

When it comes to power, energy density is the key. Solar power, wind power, and ethanol are so expensive because they are derived from very diffuse energy sources. It takes a lot of energy collectors such as solar cells, wind turbines, or corn stalks covering many square miles to produce the same amount of power that traditional coal, natural gas, or nuclear plants can on just a few acres.

Each of these alternative energy sources is based on mature technology. Agriculture and fermentation have their roots in prehistory; windmills date back at least to 65 B.C.; the photovoltaic effect was discovered in 1839. Yet nowhere in the world are these technologies serving as primary energy sources without significant government subsidies. While incremental improvements can be expected, it would take an order-of-magnitude increase in productivity for them to become viable. As old and as well-researched as the technologies are, such improvements are possible but unlikely. As significant future energy sources, these technologies are dead ends, which is why the government, and not the private sector, is funding them.

Industry is more than willing to risk research dollars on technologies that show real promise, but it is not willing to flush shareholder money down a rat hole. Politicians, however, operate from different incentives. When a crisis, real or imagined, makes headlines, they want voters to see them “doing something” about it, and they must move quickly because election cycles and constituent attention spans are short. Funding long-term research in promising technologies doesn’t meet politicians’ needs. Solar panels, wind turbines, and ethanol refineries are all current technology and can be erected quickly with fanfare and photo ops. By the time these alternative power sources prove to be financial and, possibly, environmental busts, the politicians will have been reelected and voters’ attention will have shifted to the next crisis.

Another benefit of subsidizing “shovel ready” solutions is that existing technologies have existing supporters who can provide campaign funds. Such supporters, however, constitute a well-financed status quo that will make government funding, once started, difficult to end. For example, even though corn-based ethanol has driven up food and fuel prices, increased auto emissions, raised atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations (by causing additional acreage to be tilled), and possibly resulted in net energy losses, the government is still subsidizing the industry and still requiring that the fuel be added to gasoline.

Wind energy, for its part, has been “just a few years away” from being economically competitive with conventional power for at least the last 25 years, and this will not change any time soon. The Energy Information Agency predicts that in 2016 wind power will still be 49 percent to 77 percent more expensive than electricity from either coal or natural gas. Furthermore, because wind turbines work only when the wind blows, wind farms cannot replace conventional plants. Backup power from conventional sources, usually gas turbines, must be ready to come on line the moment the wind fails. Despite these fundamental problems, subsidies continue to flow thanks to an entrenched lobby.

By contrast, consider the significant oil-industry investments in researching biofuels made from algae. Unlike ethanol, biofuels are chemically similar to fuel made from petroleum and, like petroleum-based fuels, have a significantly higher energy content than ethanol. Biofuels can also be handled by current fuel distribution systems and can be burned in today’s vehicles.

Algae can be grown in brackish water on desert land and, with today’s technology, can produce over 2,000 gallons of fuel per acre each year. This compares favorably with the approximately 250 gallons of ethanol that can be produced from an acre of corn—a ratio of 8 to 1. Accounting for the differences in BTU content, the ratio jumps to over 12 to 1. It may even be possible to boost productivity to 100,000 gallons per acre per year, raising algae’s potential to over 600 times that of corn-based ethanol!

Biofuels are carbon-neutral because the carbon dioxide released when they are burned is extracted from the atmosphere by the algae. Unlike burning petroleum-based fuels, then, burning biofuels will not result in a net increase in atmospheric CO2 levels.

With algae’s vast potential, it is easy to understand why private industry is interested and why no government subsidies are needed to encourage investment. Moreover, if algae-based fuels do not prove viable, the companies now researching them will have no “status quo” problems with ending their investments and shifting scarce resources to more promising technologies—where “promise” is measured in density.


“We Want to be Regulated”

Efforts in Washington to write a major climate-change law are causing some Bootlegger/Baptist coalitions to fall apart and new ones to emerge. In late September Exelon Corporation, a major electric utility, followed industry partners Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and PNM when it resigned from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber opposed the Waxman-Markey climate-change bill, which would sharply limit carbon emissions, raise the cost of power, and in effect impose as much as a 15 percent tax increase on each U.S. household. Exelon, PG&E, and PNM favor the law. They are also heavy nuclear-power producers.

In an earlier comment on the fracturing of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), an industry-environmentalist coalition pushing for cap-and-trade carbon emission controls, Environmental Defense Fund president Fred Krupp repeated a commonly held misconception about government regulation when he said: “It’s very unusual for big corporations to raise their hands and say, ‘We want to be regulated for something that we’re not regulated for now.’” Exelon, PG&E, and PNM apparently make his point.

But as a matter of fact, industry support of regulation is not rare at all; indeed, it is the norm. And in the United States it is as American as apple pie.

Historical Examples

A somewhat casual investigation of business history reveals that it was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with the special assistance of General Electric president Gerard Swope, that supported passage of President Roosevelt’s 1933 National Industrial Recovery Act. The Act, with its Blue Eagle codes affecting 2.3 million employers, attempted to place all American industry in a price-fixing cartel. But while the Chamber and many large firms supported FDR’s cartel, many other firms, including Ford Motor Company, did not.

Going back further, we are reminded by Howard Marvel, writing in the 1977 Journal of Law and Economics, that it was the owners of the newly built water-powered textile plants that supported the English Factory Acts (1802 and on), not the owners of older mills that used far more labor per unit of output. The legislation limited child labor and hours and conditions of work, which raised the costs of labor-intensive producers. The industrialists who joined with other crusaders to support the legislation are remembered as philanthropists.

In 1907 it was the electric utility industry, led by Samuel Insull, that lobbied for state regulation in the hopes of escaping less predictable and intractable municipal control. In 1910 American Telephone and Telegraph Company chairman Theodore Vail successfully called for federal regulation of long-distance telephone calling just when the Bell patents were expiring and new competition was, as he put it, “skimming the cream” from the market. Even the Magna Carta (line 35) specifies a standard width for all cloth sold in the kingdom—all in the name of consumer protection, scholars tell us. The standard happened to be the width of looms operated by the London weavers. The less fortunate Bristol weavers had to break and modify their looms to compete.

A focus on environmental regulation reveals a host of Bootleggers and Baptists who have coalesced, sometimes quietly, to support output restrictions. In hearings before passage of the 1972 federal Water Pollution Control Act, industrialists located along the Ohio River argued for the law. They faced pollution controls imposed by the Ohio River Sanitation Commission and wanted a national level playing field. Only federal regulation would solve their problem, and they supported it. It was the coal interests in Ohio and West Virginia, along with environmentalists, that lobbied for the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments requiring scrubbers on newly built and modified coal-fired electric utilities. As Bruce Ackerman and William Hassler famously noted in their 1981 book, Clean Coal/Dirty Air, the scrubber requirements eliminated the clean-burn advantage of western coal and kept the eastern coal producers happily burning their higher-sulphur coal.

Yes, industry support of legislation that imposes restrictions on output is commonplace, but one begins to understand this more fully after careful scrutiny of the lobbying process. It is seldom the case that every firm in an industry supports restrictions. When John Deere petitioned the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to increase the stringency of the air-emission standard on small gasoline engines, it was because Deere had a patent on cleaner engines. When the Chicago meat packers lobbied Congress to pass the 1906 Meat Inspection Act, it was because of markets lost to consumer fear over Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and Argentine beef producers who were invading the U.S. market with lower-priced food.

And when nuclear-power producers Exelon, PG&E, PNM, and others lobby for a federal statute that would impose high costs on coal-fired competitors, there should be no question why.


Australia: Hunger strike is a desperate response to a Greenie-motivated injustice

On Tuesday I visited Peter Spencer, 10 metres up a wind monitoring mast on his property in the high country south of Canberra. Spencer lives there these days, inside a tent on a small platform. State laws restricting the clearing of native vegetation have helped make his land unviable. Some years ago he was unable to meet his mortgage repayments and his sister and brother-in-law took over the debt from the bank. Spencer has been unable to repay them, and soon the sheriff will be arriving to arrange for a forced sale of the property. There are important political issues here, but it is also a family tragedy, and a personal one.

Spencer has talked a lot in recent weeks about climate change and carbon sinks, but the root of his problem with government lies in the native vegetation laws that have prevented him from clearing - and farming - much of his land. In 2004 the Productivity Commission produced a report on the impact of the laws. It recorded how many farmers had lost income, their property had been devalued, and they had received very little or no compensation, and said the worst affected "often suffered serious personal stress in the face of the resultant marginal viability, or even loss, of their property".

The effect on Spencer has been greater than on most, because of his unique personal circumstances. He's now 61, but in his younger days worked in the hotel and tourism industry in Papua New Guinea. Apparently he was successful there, and ended up owning some hotels. He sometimes stopped fights between tribesmen and at one point had his nose pierced so he could wear a bone through it on festive occasions. (You can still see light though the hole if you catch him in profile.) ABC television made a documentary on him in the 1980s.

Spencer's long-term dream was to return to NSW and become a farmer in the high country, where his mother's people had lived for generations. From 1980 he began buying adjacent blocks of land as they came up for sale at Shannons Flat, just south of the Australian Capital Territory. It took him about 15 years to put together a holding that was big enough, and to build a house. He finally had a farm of 5600 hectares, of which 60 per cent was cleared. It was his intention to keep the other 40 per cent uncleared, and to log its alpine ash and mountain gum in a sustainable manner.

During this period he was still working in Papua New Guinea, so he did little farming, and vegetation grew on much of the cleared land at Shannons Flat. In the mid-'90s he was hired by the office of the PNG prime minister, and wrote a paper on corruption and law and order that didn't make him many friends. He says one night some men knocked on the door of his home, dragged him outside and tried to shoot him with a homemade gun. It misfired and Spencer escaped in the dark. Shortly after, he hopped on a plane and hasn't been back. He settled at Shannons Flat, with the intention of spending the rest of his life as a farmer.

A pressing task was to clear the saplings that had grown over much of the previously cleared land on his property, but with the clearing bans he discovered his farm had been turned into a vast nature reserve. He ran sheep on the small proportion that was still cleared, but was unable to make a living. Land clearing was not his only problem. His farm was not good grazing country on the whole, and like many farmers he was affected by the drought and by low wool prices. Opinions differ as to how important these various factors were to his financial failure. Some of his family believe he was undercapitalised and not a good farmer. A rural counsellor who tried to help him says much of the blame lies with the land-clearing regulations.

Spencer could have walked off his farm, but he was too attached to it to do this. He protested for years about what had been done to him. This included complaints to politicians, unsuccessful efforts to motivate the NSW Farmers Association, and many court cases, where he often represented himself. A passionate and intelligent man, although without much formal education, he spent a lot of his time learning about the law. After a while his third wife, Anna, left the farm and took their young sons to Europe to live with her parents.

Meanwhile his sister and brother-in-law were looking to recover the debt he owed them. They felt he was turning to political argument and legal action when he should have been more concerned about repaying them. Maybe government had hurt him, but that was life: it was time to sell up and move on.

Spencer's legal actions failed. One of them involved a government offer, made many years after the land clearing restrictions came in, to buy the farm. The price was based on the property's present value, but Spencer argued it ought to be the value had the land clearing bans not been in place.

In 2008 Justice Stephen Rothman in the Supreme Court rejected this claim, but expressed some sympathy for Spencer's situation. He noted: "The State Vegetation Acts had a crippling effect … on the business of Mr Spencer … it is an extremely disheartening and sad occasion that a person, whose life and resources have been placed into rural property for the purposes of conducting a grazing and farming business, has been required to resort to this action." He further observed: "While all members of society must accept that there will be restrictions on their activities for the 'greater good of society', when those restrictions prevent or prohibit a business activity that was hitherto legitimate, because of the area in which it is operating, and assistance is offered which does not fully compensate for the restrictions imposed, society is asking Mr Spencer, and people in his position, to pay for its benefit … it is a most unfortunate aspect of the operation of the scheme that a person in Mr Spencer's position is effectively denied proper compensation for the restrictions imposed upon him by a scheme implemented for the public good." However, he concluded, "that is a matter for government [not the courts]".

Peter Spencer is a complicated and volatile character. Most of us would regard going on a hunger strike as extreme, and he has shown a propensity for self-harm in the past. There was an occasion about 1970 when he went up a hill in Canberra and shot himself, as part of an effort to get attention during a dispute with his first wife.

Some of those who deal with him have described him as obsessive, and this is certainly my limited experience. I stayed in touch with him after writing a column on land clearing five years ago, and on one occasion when I wasn't displaying enough sympathy he hung up and didn't speak to me for a year. He can be a thoughtful and articulate human being who draws on a considerable experience of life, but he is also a righteous man given to monologues and high emotion.

Spencer's siblings are upset about what has happened, and believe politics has clouded what is essentially a family dispute over a loan. This is understandable, yet there is a genuine political issue here. The land clearing bans have played a big role in what has happened to him.

Spencer has now been without food for 48 days. He spends the time listening to animals and reading the Bible. On Thursday night he said he was losing strength and would give no more interviews.

How should politicians respond to the action he has taken? They should not change laws because of a hunger strike. But it might give them pause to reflect on those laws. Others are already doing this: in the past week there has been a lot of media coverage here and some overseas, and much discussion on the internet. In a poll on Today Tonight, 14,000 people (98 per cent of those who voted) wanted Kevin Rudd to meet with Peter Spencer.

This level of response is a reminder of the moral ambiguity of a hunger strike. On the one hand it allows people to question the mental health of the person engaged in the strike. On the other, it can attract attention to an important injustice: if Spencer hadn't embarked on this action, no one today would be talking about land clearing. His action has been effective precisely because it is unusual, and unusual things tend to be done by unusual people.

Mr Rudd has been much praised for making public apologies to Aboriginal people and to those who suffered as children in state care. These apologies are welcome, but in a historical sense they are (as I'm sure he would agree) regrettably late. With farmers and land clearing, we could say sorry while there's still time to do something about the suffering that's been caused.

But if anyone's going to say sorry, it ought to be the Premier of NSW. After all, it was the State Government that brought in the native vegetation laws.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

Letter to Gavin Esler BBC Presenter "Newsnight"

Letter from Piers Corbyn Msc (astrophysics), ARCS, FRAS, FRMetS, WeatherAction long range weather and climate forecaster. Excerpt:

Further to Newsnight tonight (7th Jan 2010) where the Met Office and BBC so-called expert lied about the reality of long-range forecasting:

We at WeatherAction predicted this very cold weather SIX months ago using solar activity (nothing to do with CO2) and added extra detail weeks ahead. Our forecasts of EXTREME events are consistently 85% reliable.

There is no need for the UK and Europe to be unprepared and run out of salt. The consequent suffering and road deaths are a direct consequence of the Met Office and BBC failed science and litany of lies.

Would the BBC care to hear from us as to why the Met Office fail, fail and fail again in medium and long range forecasting and when this cold weather will end and then return? I Suspect not. Would you care to consider the following -

1. The Met Office statement on Newsnight that they 'verify' their climate forecasts against past dates

2. That the said past data was fraudulently produced by, for example, the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia and exposed in the CLIMATEGATE files..

3. It is therefore unsurprising that the Met Offices climate and season ahead forecasts fail fail and fail again. They are rooted in failed science and falsified data.

- The world has been cooling for at least 7 years while CO2 has been rising - contrary to their foreacst.

- The floody 'non barbecue' summers of 2007, 2008 and 2009 and the cold winter 08/09 and now 09/10 were ALL the opposite of the Met office forecast and ALL as predicted by WeatherAction months ahead. Met Office scored 0/5 and WeatherAction scored 5/5.

4. The failed Met Office forecast for this winter and the consequent unnecessary suffering and road deaths should be laid at the feet of the University of East Anglia, the Met Office and the BBC -- and charges of collective manslaughter be issued.

Letter received from the author:

Climategate: UK MET office head gets a grilling and fails miserably

Oh this is good, really good. We did a story two days ago, UK Met Office’s enormously wrong weather predictions earn department big pay increases, and it turns out now even the BBC is questioning The Met Office’s weather forecasting record, and record salaries. And questioning surprisingly hard.

In this clip, Andrew Neil grills Met Office chief John Hirst.


The best line (4:08) of the video and perhaps of the year: “Since you can’t the summer or the winter right in your forecasts, why should we give any credence to your forecast to what the temperature will be in the 2050 or 2020, which is what you do.”

This is the BBC? Sound more like Fox News, and we love it!


BBC probes bias in its coverage of science and the environment

The body which oversees the BBC is to launch a full-scale review into whether its coverage of science and the environment is biased. The BBC Trust acted after a string of complaints that the corporation is acting as a cheerleader for the theory that climate change is a man-made phenomenon. There have also been concerns over its coverage of genetically-modified foods and the MMR vaccine.

The year-long investigation will establish whether the complaints are justified – and could result in guidelines on how to treat important scientific stories. It will scrutinise the way the BBC has handled scientific debate in areas which affect ‘public policy’ and are ‘matters of political controversy’.

Richard Tait, BBC trustee and chairman of the governing body’s editorial standards committee, said: ‘Science is an area of great importance to licence fee payers, which provokes strong reaction and covers some of the most sensitive editorial issues the BBC faces. ‘Heated debate in recent years around topics like climate change, GM crops and the MMR vaccine reflects this, and BBC reporting has to steer a course through these controversial issues while remaining impartial. ‘The BBC has a well-earned reputation for the quality of its science reporting, but it is also important that we look at it afresh to ensure that it is adhering to the very high standards that licence fee payers expect.’

A scientific expert will be hired to lead the review and it will concentrate on coverage of the issues featured in its news and factual output to see whether they meet the corporation’s Royal Charter and requirement that controversial subjects are covered impartially. The review will also focus on the way the BBC reports on new technologies including Wi-Fi wireless internet.

The review comes after repeated criticism of the broadcaster’s handling of green issues. Critics have claimed that it has not fairly represented the views of sceptics who do not agree that climate change is caused by human action, leading to a string of complaints over coverage of the issue. Lord Monckton, a leading climate change sceptic, has claimed that his views have been deliberately misrepresented by the BBC. He said he had been made to look like a ‘potty peer’ on a TV programme that ‘was a one-sided polemic for the new religion of global warming’.

Earth: The Climate Wars, which was broadcast on BBC 2 in September 2008, was billed as a definitive guide to the history of global warming, including arguments for and against.

Last night, Lord Monckton, a former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, said: ‘My complaint against the BBC is not about one programme, it is that there has been a relentless institutional prejudice against the very large number of eminent climate scientists who fundamentally disagree with all the major conclusions that we are told inaccurately is the scientific consensus about climate change. It is high time the BBC examined itself.’


A much simpler explanation of recent temperature oscillations

Twentieth Century Temperature Correlation with no CO2 influence

The Climate Science community has made the claim that average global temperatures during the 20th century can not be calculated without incorporating the influence of carbon dioxide as a cause of warming. This appears to be invalid since the graph below was constructed assuming no influence from carbon dioxide. The calculated temperature anomalies are produced by the rather simple procedure of combining the time-integral of sunspot count with the 32-year trends of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).

The pink line on this graph is a slightly smoothed (each year's value is averaged with values from the two adjacent years) plot of average global temperature anomalies. The global anomalies from 1880 and more recent are as reported by NOAA on 14 October 2009.

Earlier data which were used to determine a proportionality constant are from Vostok ice cores. The influence of the sunspots is determined by an energy balance on the planet. The energy gained by the planet is assumed to be proportional to the time-integral of sunspot count. The energy radiated from the planet is proportional to the time-integral of the fourth power of the average global temperature. The proportionality constant, 6.36E-9, was adjusted to get a fairly constant net energy from 1700 to about 1940 as described in the pdf file titled SUNSPOTS; THE CAUSE OF THE 20TH CENTURY TEMPERATURE RUN-UP. The sunspot data set used here was copied from here.

The energy difference is divided by a constant, 4000, to get a value close to the temperature anomalies and an offset, 0.4, is subtracted to move the plot to overlay the measured anomalies. The up trend or down trend periods ascribed to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) are taken as 32 years long for all periods.

The temperature range for the PDOs alone was taken to be 0.45 K for all of the PDOs. Thus, for a PDO uptrend the value added to the above sunspot calculation is 0.45 multiplied by the fraction of the PDO time period that has taken place. For a PDO downtrend, the value added to the above sunspot calculation is 0.45 minus 0.45 multiplied by the fraction of the PDO time period that has taken place.

These calculations produce the black line on the graph. Variations in this line reflect the solar cycles which were obscured in the previous work by coarse time steps. The extension of this line beyond the present assumes that future sunspot count is zero. Future temperature anomalies depend on future sunspot counts and future PDO behavior neither of which can be confidently predicted.

No attempt was made to match the local oscillations in the measured temperatures. These are likely due to an interaction of various short-cycle ocean oscillations such as el Nino with each other and with the approximately 11 year long solar cycles.

Between 1900 and 2008 the standard deviation between concurrent points on the two graphs is 0.0634. The deviation prior to 1890 is probably due to PDO behavior different from that observed during the 20th century.

This work shows the influence that sunspots appear to have had on 20th century climate. The precise points to make calculations of the effective influence without bias are somewhat uncertain. I used the temperatures calculated at the end points of the PDO trends. Sunspots had little effect prior to about 1941. The temperature decline from 1941 to 1973 would have been about 57% greater if not for the high sunspot-count-timeintegral during that period. The sunspot-time-integral contributed about 47% to the temperature rise from 1973 to 2005.


Another beautiful natural landscape blighted by the British obsession with windmills

And Greenies both want and don't want it -- as usual

The most controversial and significant energy project in Scotland for a generation was given the go-ahead yesterday, to the deep dismay of environmentalists and local communities across the country. Scottish ministers, citing the pressing need for Scotland’s renewables potential to be harnessed, announced that they had given their approval to the upgrading of the power transmission line stretching the 137 miles between Beauly, west of Inverness, and Denny, near Falkirk.

The £350 million project, which sparked the biggest and most expensive planning inquiry ever held in Scotland and attracted a mammoth 18,000 objections, will see 600 pylons, each up to 65 metres (213ft) tall erected, within ten years, along the spectacular scenic spine of Scotland.

There had been growing speculation that ministers might order part of the upgraded line to be laid underground but this proved unfounded. In a note attached to his Parliamentary statement, Jim Mather, the Scottish Energy Minister, claimed that under the Electricity Act, Scottish ministers have no power to order that electricity infrastructure should be constructed underground, although this was disputed by objectors.

There was also a continuing mystery over the delay in announcing the decision, with opposition parties and some objectors claiming that it had actually been made a year ago but that ministers had sat on it for either political or technical reasons.

Mr Mather’s performance in delivering the statement to MSPs also came in for harsh criticism with opponents claiming that he had been unable or unwilling to answer key questions about the measures put in place to mitigate the impact on communities and the environment. Opposition parties said Mr Mather’s performance had been “shambolic”.

Last night, the reaction from most environmental groups was a combination of outrage and deep regret. The John Muir Trust environmental body described the decision as “a black day for Scotland’s world-class landscape”.

The Beauly-Denny Landscape Group, which is composed of some of the country’s biggest and most influential conservation bodies, including the National Trust for Scotland and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, said that the project would become a legacy of poor decision-making by the SNP government. The group accused ministers of ignoring their calls to reopen the inquiry process. However, supporters claimed that the scheme was a vital addition to Scotland's energy infrastructure.

Colin Hood, Chief Operating Officer of Scottish and Southern Energy, one of the developers, said the project had rightly been subject to a huge degree of scrutiny and that the need to provide more electricity network capacity for renewable sources of energy “is overwhelming”.

Mr Mather pointed out that the approval of the upgrade came with a range of conditions aimed at protecting communities, the environment and the Scottish tourism sector. Liason groups would advise on issues such as landscape restoration.

Duncan McLaren, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, welcomed the decision, saying the potential environmental damage from climate change was much greater than any caused by the new line.


Beat poverty first, then tackle emissions

THE climate change debacle at Copenhagen last month underlined the reality that any new global agreement will be on the terms set by developing countries. Leading commentators have written that China's leading role in this was a demonstration of its new influence as an economic power.

In one important sense they are wrong. This was not just China, but India, Brazil and the Arab oil states as well. Furthermore, the position of these countries and the rest of the developing world has not changed in the 20 years since climate change has been on the global agenda.

For developing countries, climate change and other environmental strategies which retard economic development are unacceptable. They scored this into UN orthodoxy at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. They executed the principle when they emasculated the Kyoto Protocol by insisting only rich countries cut emissions.

The failure at Copenhagen was not the result of the greater influence of developing countries, it was a failure, yet again, of Green activists and environmental officials in rich countries to understand the position of developing countries and the political implications of that.

China used its enhanced authority to deliver the developing country message in the form of a humiliating public snub to Western leaders at Copenhagen. China sent an official, not a political leader, to negotiate with Barack Obama.

The European Community, the champion of the Kyoto Protocol, was shut out of the negotiations between the US and the leading developing economies. When the Danish Prime Minister nominated an Indian minister to pair with Penny Wong to sort out differences on one issue, the Indian minister simply did not show up.

The zealotry which has imbued the campaign to halt global warming has blinded environmental officials and many politicians to the reality of what can be achieved. Any experienced UN negotiator would have warned it was a mistake to send a large number of heads of government to Copenhagen in the belief that that would overcome the deep and fundamental divide between rich and poor.

The justification for engaging in such a diplomatic suicide mission is that stopping global warming is the overriding moral issue of the time. Not to everyone. In India and China alone there are 600 million people living below the poverty line. Eradicating poverty is the moral imperative in the developing world.

The leading US climate change economist, William Nordhaus at Yale, has maintained for years that if developing countries cut emissions too sharply and too soon as advocated by Greenpeace, WWF and the European Union, they would further impoverish their people.

What is the solution of environmental activists? Greenpeace and WWF laid theirs out before Copenhagen. They recognised that the result of their strategies to increase power costs and cease conversion of forests to more economically productive activities in developing countries would lower economic growth and hinder efforts to increase agricultural production.

Their solution? Double current aid budgets (presently about US$100 billion per year).

This became a mantra among Western leaders before Copenhagen. If more aid is not on the table, no deal is possible, intoned Gordon Brown, Nicolas Sarkozy and Hillary Clinton. But they were talking to Green activists, not developing countries, and still viewing climate change through a rich country lens. They had bought the Green line that the world's poor were on the same side as the activists. They clearly are not.

Welfare is provided to the disadvantaged in rich countries (as in the Rudd plan to compensate low-income earners harmed by the emissions trading). So do the same to compensate the world's poor for the cost of global emissions trading.

They have forgotten a golden rule of aid that developing countries have not used it to promote economic growth, not to provide cash. The rich country plan is correctly perceived as a form of global green welfare compensation for the loss of jobs and income which would be caused by deep and early cuts in emissions by developing countries.

Zealots have short life spans when the cost and impracticality of what they urge becomes apparent. Only now are the costs of their climate change plans becoming apparent. If Copenhagen was not a climate change epiphany for Western leaders, they will never be able to envisage a practicable global strategy to reduce global warming. Any strategy has to protect the capacity of poor countries to eradicate poverty. What rational person would reject that proposition?



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

Japanese ship falsely accused of ramming anti-whaling vessel

This is the sort of crap that Israel has to put up with. Aggression provokes a strike-back and then the attacked party is blamed for striking back -- with the reliable collusion of a Green/Left media, of course. The whole episode was a blatant setup. The vessel rammed was a highly maneuverable diesel-powered (biodiesel, of course) trimaran that could easily have skated out of the way of the monohulled Japanese ship. They were only rammed because they wanted to be rammed. They want to be seen as the victims rather than the aggressors that they really are. It's just another Greenie PR stunt. The report below is from the Murdoch media, so gives some balance. Australia somehow seems to have been dragged into the affair -- probably because it is the nearest Western country

SEA Shepherd captain Paul Watson today accused Japanese whalers of a high seas hit-and-run, disputing claims a collision with one of its speedboats was accidental. Six crew members aboard the anti-whaling ship Ady Gil were rescued, one with broken ribs, after it and the Japanese whalers' ship the Shonan Maru 2 collided in remote Antarctic waters. The high-tech trimaran was ripped apart in the collision.

Japan's Fisheries Agency has blamed the Ady Gil for the crash, saying it slowed suddenly while crossing in front of the Shonan Maru.

But Mr Watson today labelled the claim ridiculous, saying the whaling ship deliberately rammed the boat in a high seas "hit and run". "The Ady Gil was stationary at the time it was struck," Mr Watson said on Macquarie Radio. "The Shonan Maru did a quick turn and came in real fast, they were aiming for the cockpit, where the crew were, and fortunately we got the engines in reverse and backed up just enough so that the front of the ship was torn off instead of hitting the cockpit. "They were trying to sink the ship. We put out a mayday distress signal and the Japanese refused to respond - it was a hit and run really."

Mr Watson said it would be impossible to salvage the Ady Gil, meaning a loss of $2 million for the Sea Shepherd organisation.

A spokesman for the Institute of Cetacean Research in Tokyo, Glenn Inwood, contradicted Sea Shepherd's account of the incident. "The (Ady Gil) skipper put the boat into full sting to try to cut the Shonan Maru off," he said on ABC Radio. "You can see that the Shonan Maru is moving to the port to try and avoid a collision and there's no avoiding the collision with the Ady Gil. "It's a fast boat, she heads off full steam in front of it and miscalculates. So it's no wonder that it came to the grief that it has."

Asked if the environmental group would press charges against the whalers, Mr Watson said: "There's no law down here, there's no way to bring charges against anybody. "Japan does what it wants, where it wants. They're killing these whales in violation of international law. And if they were to injure or kill any of us, their government will justify and defend their actions."

Before leaving, Captain Pete Behune said he was planning to take the fight right to the harpoon vessels. "We will be on the fleet the whole time. Once we engage them, every day we'll be looking to mess them over," Bethune said. "My first job is to get my boat down there and get my crew down there and back safely and look at the risk."

Mr Watson again called on the Federal Government to send naval ships to stop the whalers exploiting the southern ocean whale sanctuary, which falls in Australia's Antarctic Territory waters. "Peter Garrett promised before he was elected that he would come down here and stop the illegal Japanese whaling activities - we're still waiting for him to do so," Mr Watson said.

But the Japanese Fisheries Agency hit back in a statement, accusing the Ady Gil of causing the collision. "These acts of sabotage that threaten our country's whaling ships and crew were extremely dangerous," it said. "It is totally unforgivable."

Environment Minister Peter Garrett yesterday said he had no plans to send a vessel to police the situation, instead calling on both parties to exercise restraint.

Japan aims to slaughter nearly 1000 minke whales this summer as well as 20 rare fin whales and 50 humpbacks. "They are becoming increasingly desperate," Mr Watson said yesterday. "This is a war. It's a war to save the whales and it just got a lot uglier."


Another unusually realistic comment below, this time from "The Punch". "The Punch" seems to be intended as the "intellectual" (and hence generally Left-leaning) blog of

Do you reckon if Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson was roaming the streets of Melbourne in a high-tech armoured car deliberately provoking drug dealers and putting his young acolytes in harm's way he'd be welcomed on to the national broadcaster to tout his particular brand of vigilantism? I doubt it.

We're not big on vigilantes in this nation, which has an imperfect but workable system of the rule of law, enforced by publicly funded police. Yet for some reason the ridiculous antics currently under way off the tip of Antarctica are allowed to carry on unchecked, and have prompted a frenzy of boys-own-adventure cheering here at home.

Whomever is ultimately responsible for the sinking of the Ady Gil yesterday afternoon, it was highly irresponsible of the Sea Shepherd organisation to put the crew in such danger. But there was Mr Watson on the ABC this morning being hailed a hero for protecting the whales from the Japanese factory ships. He was also on Macquarie Radio, no doubt Fairfax radio, most TV stations and in every newspaper.

Politicians including the Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard have condemned the Japanese authorities, but not Sea Shepherd. Prominent Australians including Terri Irwin, and former environment minister Ian Campbell have proudly associated themselves with this group of adrenaline junkies.

How are they going to look if someone gets killed? The only person talking any sense on this is Environment Minister Peter Garrett, who has urged both sides to back off.

Let me be clear. I'm pro-whale. I think the Japanese should immediately disband the Institute of Cetacean Research and stop hunting whales in the Southern Ocean. I think the Australian Government should continue to put diplomatic pressure on Japan, and I think Sea Shepherd and other environmental organisations should continue to protest and raise awareness. I think we should refuse to fuel and supply the factory ships, and we should refuse to provide them with private air surveillance support.

But this is not "war". Splashing $1.5 million on a (not very well) armoured stealth boat that looks like something out of a James Bond movie, then sending it to the bottom of the earth to play chicken with a much larger ship is just stupid.

Demands from Mr Watson that the Australian Navy steam south to provide his boats with protection are offensive and his language is inflamatory. As an example: "We now have a real whale war on our hands and we have no intention of retreating." Mr Watson seems oblivious to the fact he's not authorised to declare war on anything, let alone on behalf of this nation and its military.

In the end it doesn't matter who rammed who. If someone gets seriously injured or killed Paul Watson will have to shoulder some of the blame. Maybe then we'll stop giving him free run to sprout his version of the war on whaling, when all he really is is a vigilante.


Regarding the American Chemical Society Public Policy Statement On Climate Change

A proposed Open Letter to Board of Directors of the American Chemical Society -- received by email from Peter Bonk []. The existing very Warmist ACS Public Policy Statement on Climate Change, issued in 2007, can be found here. I gather that there are already a large number of ACS members who are signatories to the open letter but more are sought

As chemists and engineers who are familiar with the science issues, and as current and past members of the American Chemical Society, we the undersigned urge the ACS Board of Directors to appoint a group of senior scientists, without vested interest, to revisit the science behind climate change in light of new scientific findings instead of relying on the report of the IPCC.

This group would share their conclusions with the members of the ACS in open forums, discussions and submit majority and minority reports (if so needed) to revise the current statement of the ACS on climate change. As counterpoint to the current statement, we recommend the change to as follows, so as to more accurately represent the current state of the science:
Greenhouse gas emissions, such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, accompany human industrial and agricultural activity. While substantial concern has been expressed that emissions may cause significant climate change, measured or reconstructed temperature records indicate that 20th -21st century changes are neither exceptional nor persistent, and the historical and geological records show many periods warmer than today. In addition, there is an extensive scientific literature that examines beneficial effects of increased levels of carbon dioxide for both plants and animals.

Studies of a variety of natural processes, including ocean cycles and solar variability, indicate that they can account for variations in the Earth's climate on the time scale of decades and centuries. Current climate models appear insufficiently reliable to properly account for natural and anthropogenic contributions to past climate change, much less project future climate.

The American Chemical Society supports an objective scientific effort to understand the effects of all processes - natural and human -- on the Earth's climate and the biosphere's response to climatic processes. The Society promotes technological options for meeting environmental challenges, regardless of cause.

We also are willing to accept a new statement that is based on the independent assessment being requested

Due diligence by the ACS Board of Directors on this issue is timely and important given the discovery of substantial scientific misconduct by senior practitioners of climate science and IPCC members, both in the UK and US which were uncovered in the past few weeks.

For Obama, Global Warming Trumps National Security

On Christmas Day, a Nigerian-born terrorist named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to blow up a Detroit-bound passenger airplane. Only the bravery of a fellow passenger prevented the catastrophe. President Obama called the terror attempt a "systemic failure" on the part of American national security agencies. In particular, he blamed the CIA for the foul-up.

There is no doubt that the CIA should have done something more to prevent this attack. But, then again, President Obama has been keeping them busy: With global warming. Seriously.

According to the New York Times on Jan. 5, just a few days after Obama excoriated the CIA publicly, "The nation's top scientists and spies are collaborating on an effort to use the federal government's intelligence assets -- including spy satellites and other classified sensors -- to assess the hidden complexities of environmental change." This project, the Times reports, "has the strong backing of the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In the last year, as part of the effort, the collaborators have scrutinized images of Arctic sea ice from reconnaissance satellites in an effort to distinguish things like summer melts from climate trends ." While missing a potentially catastrophic terror attack is problematic, it's good to know that we've got the inside dossier on the mating habits of polar bears.

This isn't a shock coming from the "watermelon" Obama White House -- green on the outside, red on the inside. The simple truth is that the Obama administration believes that the solution to global warming is the same as the solution to terrorism: Marxist-style global redistributionism.

When it comes to global warming, Obama feels that "as the world's largest economy . America bears our share of responsibility in addressing climate change." Therefore, America must pay for the "financing that helps developing countries adapt, particularly the least-developed."

Similarly, when it comes to terrorism, Obama sees global economic leveling as the answer. On Jan. 2, Obama described the Christmas Day bombing attempt: "[T]he investigation into the Christmas Day incident continues, and we're learning more about the suspect. We know that he traveled to Yemen, a country grappling with crushing poverty ." Yemen's poverty is obviously irrelevant to the situation; Abdulmutallab wasn't from Yemen, and he certainly wasn't poor. In fact, when he lived in London, Abdulmutallab lived in a $4 million flat.

But to Obama, Yemen's poverty is precisely the problem -- if Yemen were a rich country, no terrorist could have trained there. Poverty, in his view, causes terrorism. As Obama puts it in his Bill Ayers-written memoir, "Dreams From My Father," on 9/11 history "returned . with a vengeance," because of the "underlying struggle . between worlds of plenty and worlds of want." Terrorism, he says, springs from "the desperation and disorder of the powerless." The solution? Destroying America's economy in the name of a one-world utopian flat economic earth.

To Obama, a dollar spent rectifying the economic imbalances between America and poor countries is a dollar spent on a safer world, whether we spend that dollar on climate change or national security. Or, as a like-minded thinker once wrote, "The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism."

Sadly for Obama, the world is not that simple. No grand unifying theory of politics can provide a cure-all as easy as "give away your wealth." A dollar spent on the global warming hoax is a dollar not spent on national security, because redistributionism cannot buy national security. Curing all economic imbalances will not end the plague of Islamic bombers hoping to establish a Shariah-governed world, nor will it buy their love. But killing as many of them as possible can and will help our national security.

On Dec. 24, the U.S. launched an airstrike against radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar Awlaki. We missed him. The next day, Abdulmutallab, an Awlaki disciple, boarded an airliner with a bomb in his undershorts. There is little doubt that Awlaki directly authorized Abdulmutallab's strike.

A few CIA satellites might have come in handy the evening of Dec. 24. Killing Awlaki might even have stopped the Dec. 25 bombing attempt. But at least we now know at what rate the Arctic glaciers are melting. And according to President Obama, that should be enough to make us feel safe.


Copenhagen's Dodged Bullet

Modern men have lived through 20 sudden global warmings

Al Gore said the other week that climate change is "a principle in physics. It's like gravity. It exists." Sarah Palin agreed that "climate change is like gravity," but added a better conclusion: Each is "a naturally occurring phenomenon that existed long before, and will exist long after, any governmental attempts to affect it."

Over time climates do change. As author Howard Bloom wrote in The Wall Street Journal last month, in the past two million years there have been 60 ice ages, and in the 120,000 years since the development of modern man, "we've lived through 20 sudden global warmings," and of course this was before--long before--"smokestacks and tail pipes."

In our earth's history there has been both global warming and global cooling. In Roman times, from 200 B.C. to A.D. 600, it was warm; from 600 to 900 came the cold Dark Ages; more warming from 900 to 1300; and another ice age from 1300 to 1850. Within the past century, the earth has warmed by 0.6 degree Celsius, but within this period we can see marked shifts: cooling (1900-10), warming (1910-40), cooling again (1940 to nearly 1980), and since then a little warming. The Hadley Climatic Research Unit global temperature record shows that from 1980 to 2009, the world warmed by 0.16 degree Celsius per decade.

As for the impact of reducing global warming, Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, outlined in The Wall Street Journal that Oxfam concluded that if wealthy nations diverted $50 billion to climate change that "at least 4.5 million children would die and 8.6 million fewer people could have access to HIV/AIDS treatment." And if we spent it on reducing carbon emissions? It would "reduce temperatures by all of one-thousandth of one degree Fahrenheit over the next hundred years."

All of which brings us to the Copenhagen global warming conference. It involved 193 nations getting together to discuss the threat that global warming poses to our planet and what can be done about it. The goal was to create a global agreement that extended and expanded the Kyoto Protocol so that a global organization could influence and monitor all nations' efforts to reduce their CO2 emissions.

Global warming believers did not get their way, either in extending the Kyoto agreement or in forming any global organization to tell all of the world's people how to lead their lives. But developing nations did get something--a promise of support for $30 billion over the first three years and a goal of growing it to $100 billion annually by 2020.

The developing nations saw climate change as an enormous financial bonanza if, under the banner of the environment, they could get wealthy nations to transfer wealth to them. The wealthy nations of course saw this as a trap: Why would they want to depress their economic growth by giving money to developing nations? The truth of the Copenhagen agreement is that developing countries want cash from other countries with few strings attached.

So the final Copenhagen deal did not establish greenhouse gas emission targets or specifically address how nations must limit temperature increases to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, but it did agree that CO2 emissions could be measured, reported and verified by . . . well, someone. That, in China's terms, means "developed countries must take the lead" in making emission cuts and providing financial and technical support for developing countries.

As for the U.S., President Obama's, Sen. John Kerry's, and Rep. Edward Markey's support for global-warming control is very strong and long lasting. So passage of the Waxman-Markey or Boxer-Kerry cap-and-trade legislation will be high on their agenda. The problem is that most Americans are changing their mind about the global warming propositions: A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that Mr. Obama's approval rating on the subject has dropped to 45% from 61% in April.

In truth, the world dodged a bullet in Copenhagen. There could have been significant damage to many nations' economies if the warming alarmists' full agenda had been adopted.

But of course the game has not ended. Here in America, Mr. Obama, Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency all seem committed to regulating our behavior and consumption under the guise of addressing a crisis that is not a crisis. They will do so in a way that will not meaningfully reduce global temperatures, but will substantially hurt the economies and opportunities of the world's people.


Skepticism from Russia

You will have to read the original to see why I have headed this article with a picture of a glamorous Russian lady getting off a glamorous Russian train

The "Climategate" over the alleged rigging of temperature data in support of global warming might not have contributed to the failure of the world summit in Copenhagen but it highlighted the need for a fresh look at the problem of climate change. Russia, for one, has pledged to undertake such a review. A new climate doctrine signed into law by President Dmitry Medvedev during the Copenhagen conference stresses the importance of making "independent assessments and conclusions on the basis of exhaustive, objective and authentic information on the current and possible future climate changes."

The objectivity of the data supporting man-made global warming was thrown into doubt when a thousand private emails were hacked in November from the computer of the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (Hadley CRU) and posted on a Russian website in what came to be known as the "Climategate." In the emails, climatologists apparently discussed doctoring the raw temperature figures to show a relentlessly rising global warming trend and silencing dissenting scientists.

Russian researchers poured more fuel in the scandal, accusing British climatologists of manipulating weather data for Russia. In a report released last month, the Moscow-based Institute for Economic Analysis (IEA) said the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research of the British Meteorology Office used only carefully selected statistics from weather stations in Russia that fitted its global warming theory, and ignored those that did not.

The Hadley Centre ignored data from three quarters of the weather stations in Russian territory. This means 40 per cent of Russia's territory is not represented in the world's most important temperature database, on which the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and others have relied for more than two decades.

Worse still, the British climatologists preferred data from warmer urban met stations in Russia to those in rural areas, especially Siberia, the IEA report said. All in all, the institute evaluated "the overstating of the scale of the warming" for Russia between 1870s and 1990s, at 0.64 degrees Celsius at the very least. Distorted temperatures for Russia, which accounts for 12.5 per cent of the global landmass, must have led to exaggerated global warming levels (estimated at 0.74 C over the past 100 years), the report said.

Discussing climate change with Russia's leading scientists in the run-up to the Copenhagen summit, Mr. Medvedev said politics, commercial interests and emotions "heavily weighed down on" climate predictions. He suggested that the human factor in climate change could be greatly overstated and drew parallels with the 2000 software scare that prompted governments and businesses to spend an estimated $300 billion to fight the non-existent "millennium bug." "When the clocks rolled over into 2000 nothing happened, but moneys were earned and pocketed," the Russian leader said.

Russian Academy of Sciences Vice-President Nikolai Laverov recalled the ozone depletion scare that led to an international ban on Freon gas in the 1980s and enriched a U.S. company that introduced an alternative refrigerant. "We have since proved that refrigerants do not destroy the ozone layer," the academician told Mr. Medvedev. He said the post-Kyoto climate debate amounted to "an attack on countries rich in oil and gas."

"The anti-hydrocarbons bias is there, of course," Mr. Medvedev agreed. "We must not allow them to pull the wool over our eyes." Analysts see Europe as the main driving force behind the anti-carbon campaign. "Europe's own hydrocarbon reserves are fast dwindling and hence it is actively promoting the idea of giving up oil and gas for ecological reasons," says Konstantin Simonov of the Russian Centre for Current Politics think tank.

Mr. Medvedev strongly warned against trying to tax hydrocarbons producers, calling such proposals "witch-hunting" that would kill any climate agreement. A growing number of Russian scientists - solar physicists, biologists, palaeontologists, geographers - believe that the world climate changes in recurring cycles are related to solar activity and many other natural factors (The Hindu, July 10, 2008).

The new Russian doctrine reflects the widespread scepticism in the Russian scientific community over climate change. "The doctrine mirrors the view of our scientists that the human impact on climate change is still unclear and hard to gauge," Mr. Medvedev's economic adviser Arkady Dvorkovich said. "In large measure, climate change is linked with long-playing global trends, and irrespective of what we do changes will persist due to natural causes; therefore, we will take measures to adapt to changes."

Yet in Copenhagen, Russia did nothing to undermine the talks. Addressing the conference, the President pledged to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 25 per cent or 30 billion tonnes by 2020 compared with 1990 so long as this was part of a global pact. His offer did not mean that he had become a climate change zealot. Rather he backed a global agreement in Copenhagen because it would facilitate access for Russia to energy saving technologies and thereby help advance his goal of modernising the Russian industry.

"We must be in the mainstream . in order to try and solve our economic problems and create an energy efficient economy," Mr. Medvedev said before travelling to Copenhagen. "The so-called global climate deal gives us a real chance to expand scientific innovation cooperation with our partners . an opportunity to switch to advanced technologies."

Russia, which is the third largest producer of carbon dioxide today, would strive to cut emissions by adopting energy efficiency measures rather than by slapping restrictions on industry, Mr. Medvedev said. He has promised to make Russia 40 per cent more energy efficient by 2020. "We will not make any emission reduction commitments that may negatively affect our economic growth," Mr. Dvorkovich said. This idea underlies the Russian doctrine. "The strategic goal of climate policy is to guarantee the secure and stable development of the Russian Federation," the doctrine declares. Russia will shape its climate policy "on the basis of national interests."

Over the next decade or so, emission cuts will not hamper Russia's growth. Its emissions declined so sharply when the industrial sector collapsed after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 that the 25-per cent reduction target Mr. Medvedev announced in Copenhagen would actually mean an increase of 13 per cent from 2007. Russia feels it has already made more than a generous contribution to the Kyoto process. "Our country accounts for half of all emission reductions in the world over the last 20 years," Mr. Medvedev said at the summit. "This has gone a long way towards offsetting increases in harmful emissions in other countries."

His use of the term "harmful emissions," instead of "carbon dioxide" or "greenhouse gases," is significant. Many Russian scientists believe that the anti-CO2 warriors are diverting attention from the real problem of air and water pollution. "We should fight real harmful emissions, such as nitrogen oxides and a range of other pollutants spewed by our industry and vehicles, not carbon dioxide, a perfectly harmless gas which is moreover essential for the life of plants and animals," said academician Andrei Kapitsa, a renowned Russian geographer.

Climatologists deliberately confuse the two issues, claiming that a low-carbon economy would kill two birds with one stone - save the world from global warming and improve ecology. However, if man is powerless to influence climate, as Russian scientists say, why throw away billions of dollars on burying carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels underground or combating methane emission from animal husbandry. Surely, not because corporate interests are salivating to create a carbon emissions credits market double the size of the oil market? Wouldn't it be more sensible, as the Russian doctrine proposes, to concentrate on measures to adapt to climate changes?

Russia's open mind on climate issues and emphasis on independent studies could pave the way for a truly objective international review of the causes and effects of climate change. "It is necessary to fund and organise climate research in such a way that scientists are protected from the state's political interference and even from fellow scientists," says Prof. Konstantin Sonin of the New Economic School in Moscow

A vast body of scientific evidence challenging the man-made warming theory has been accumulated in Russia and other countries. It shatters the myth of a Global Warming Consensus. The BRIC group, whose sustainable development plans would be derailed if the West imposes its selfish climate agenda on the world, could take the initiative in launching climate research outside the framework of the U.N. Panel on Climate Change, which has sought to exclude critics from the debate. The two-decades-old Indo-Russian Integrated Long-Term Programme (ILTP) of scientific collaboration could provide an initial basis for multination across-discipline studies of climate-related problems.


The Green-Economy Mirage

If you got an email offering you the chance to invest in a business that would create new profitable industries, employ millions of people, reduce energy consumption without reducing quality of life, and improve environmental quality, would you be skeptical? And if the email went on to claim that the technologies to do all this exist now and could save existing businesses billions of dollars in just a few years by reducing waste and energy use, would you wonder why no one was already implementing all these "common sense" ideas? If the email went on to promise that you could do this all at no risk by investing borrowed money, you'd likely be reaching for the delete key.

If we substitute "the federal government" or "the United Nations Environment Programme" or "the European Union" for "you" and change the email to a proposed law, however, we discover that politicians from Washington to Brussels are embracing measures to "green" the economy and create "green jobs" with an almost religious fervor, despite weak empirical support for these proposals. The Obama administration included billions of spending and tax incentives for green initiatives in its budget, and last spring's "stimulus" bill poured $62 billion in transfers plus $20 billion in tax cuts into "green initiatives."

Unfortunately, the rhetoric about "greening the economy" or creating "green jobs" is just political window-dressing for some of the same central-planning measures proposed by the left for years. Behind that rhetoric are proposals built around government subsidies for favored technologies, measures to limit trade, and a great deal of wishful thinking about alternative energy measures not quite ready for prime time.

What Counts as Green?

The first problem in untangling the claims made by green-economy proponents is determining what counts as a "green" job or technology. Many times no definition at all is provided; even when the term is defined, different groups pick quite different definitions. For example, the U.S. Conference of Mayors' report Current and Potential Green Jobs in the U.S. Economy defines a green job as
any activity that generates electricity using renewable or nuclear fuels, agriculture jobs supplying corn or soy for transportation fuels, manufacturing jobs producing goods used in renewable power generation, equipment dealers and wholesalers specializing in renewable energy or energy-efficiency products, construction and installation of energy and pollution management systems, government administration of environmental programs, and supporting jobs in the engineering, legal, research and consulting fields.
Interestingly, the mayors count jobs in existing nuclear power plants but not in new ones.

In contrast the United Nations Environment Programme's Green Jobs: Towards Decent Work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World excludes all nuclear jobs, but includes all jobs said to "contribute substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality."

If we take politics into account we can explain these definitions. The Conference of Mayors is concerned with building a coalition for spending to benefit its members. Those mayors with nuclear power plants in their cities want to claim credit for greening their economy through nuclear plants (which also pay lots of local taxes). The U.N. report, on the other hand, was aimed at gaining support from an international environmental movement that detests nuclear power, which explains why it didn't count any nuclear jobs.

Neither applies any objective criteria to the problem of defining which industries will gain and which will lose. For example, both define as "green" any jobs related to nonfossil-fuel technology, even if these energy sources (such as wood) release as much carbon dioxide per BTU of energy generated as fossil-fuel sources-or more. (Wood is much less efficient in terms of carbon emissions than either natural gas or gasoline on a per-BTU basis.) Moreover, burning many renewable fuels produces considerable particulate pollution, both inside homes and outside-a serious problem particularly for women and children in developing countries.

Green-economy proponents also disagree about how green hydroelectric plants are. Many who advocate government spending on alternative energy also want to dismantle existing hydro projects to restore rivers and improve fish habitats. (And many of those dams were built with subsidies by the Bureau of Reclamation and Army Corps of Engineers and would have flunked any serious cost-benefit analysis.) But small hydro, their preferred alternative, is by definition "small." As a result, it would take quite a few small hydro plants to produce sufficient energy to replace even a single large dam or coal-fired power plant. Not surprisingly, there is no evidence of a large-scale building boom in small hydro projects or even a serious effort to identify where such projects might be located.

Even more interestingly, both definitions are expansive enough to include "supporting jobs in the engineering, legal, research, and consulting fields." Indeed, the Conference of Mayors found that the top two U.S. jurisdictions for current green jobs are New York City and Washington, D.C., suggesting that the investment in green technology so far is producing a lot of consultants, lawyers, and lobbyists rather than engineers or factory workers. Another estimate found more secretaries, management analysts, bookkeepers, and janitors among "green jobs" than environmental scientists.

Defining terms is essential to a rational policy debate; without clarity we end up with a division between favored and disfavored technologies driven by interest groups rather than by either market forces or logical thinking. Unfortunately, so far the green-economy literature has mostly produced lists of "technologies we like" and "technologies we don't like" based on politics. We certainly shouldn't be spending billions of dollars promoting what we can't define.

Where Do Estimates Come From?

Even if we don't quite know what a green economy looks like, its advocates assure us there will be lots of jobs and other benefits from converting to it. Not surprisingly, most green-economy proposals predict huge benefits at low cost, making them politically appealing. Jobs will appear in economically depressed areas, and energy efficiency will soar, saving firms, consumers, and governments billions. Unfortunately these benefits are largely due to inappropriate economic forecasting methods. In particular, most estimates are produced via "input-output analysis," the same technique used to produce outlandish claims for the benefits of municipal stadium projects.

In an input-output analysis a vast matrix is calculated from economic data as they exist today, tracing connections between firms in different industries. For example, an automobile plant uses steel, aluminum, plastic, batteries, paint, tires, and other materials to produce cars with a particular amount of labor per car under current technology. If we thought that the plant would begin producing more cars, the input-output matrix could be used to calculate how much more steel, aluminum, and other inputs would be demanded by the car industry and how many more workers would be hired to work in it.

There is a role for such calculations in industry forecasts (predicting steel demand from auto production helps steel plants decide about investing in new capacity, for example). But using them to predict the impact of government programs to green the economy is problematic because the method rests on two assumptions that green proposals violate: constant prices and constant technology.

By definition, efforts to change energy technology are going to change technology and prices. The relationships in an input-output matrix based on using coal to generate electricity and gasoline to fuel cars simply aren't applicable to an economy where substantial amounts of energy come from high-cost sources like wind and solar and the cars are hybrids or run on ethanol.

Worse, the green-economy predictions rest on extremely optimistic estimates of the impact of spending on new technologies. Almost no advocates of these policies deduct the jobs lost from replacing existing technologies with the new, green ones. Refinery workers, coal miners, fossil-fuel power plant workers, and many others will all lose their jobs if the proposed shift to nonfossil fuels takes place. Some of those workers may find jobs insulating public buildings or bolting together windmills, but many will not. Because all that public spending to produce these new technologies comes from taxes (whether today or in the future), it reduces private spending and so eliminates the jobs that would have been created by the higher private spending displaced by the taxes.

Any estimates of major changes are likely to be imprecise even if all these factors are taken into account because of the considerable uncertainty surrounding these relationships. Ignoring all the downsides, as green-economy proponents do, suggests that they are less interested in accurate predictions than in creating political pressure for policies regardless of their impact.

Labor Productivity

Even if we set aside these technical issues, however, there are still some serious problems with green-economy plans. Perhaps most important, the literature mistakenly glorifies low-productivity jobs on grounds that more employment is better. For example, the UN Environment Programme criticizes modern agriculture because "labor is extruded from all points in the system," argues wind and solar are better technologies because producing each BTU of energy requires more labor than in fossil-fuel industries, and argues that the steel industry has evolved to use too little labor.

To see why this is a problem, let's consider ethanol. Although even many environmentalists now recognize ethanol's problems, it was the darling of alternative-energy proponents for many years, and hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies have produced a substantial corn-based ethanol industry in the United States. (Despite these subsidies, the fuel remains uncompetitive with gasoline at current gas prices.) Corn-based ethanol requires more labor to produce than gasoline does, largely because growing and processing corn is more labor-intensive than pumping and refining oil. As a result, green-economy advocates score ethanol higher than gasoline since each BTU of energy in ethanol takes more labor to make than a BTU of gasoline.

But lower labor productivity is a bad thing not a benefit. Not only does more labor mean higher costs, but higher-productivity jobs (generally those that involve working with greater amounts of capital) can pay higher wages precisely because they are more productive. Low-productivity jobs are low-paying jobs because employers cannot afford to pay their employees more than the employees generate. If more labor were the metric, we'd all be better off using quills and parchment in place of computers.

Rejecting Trade

The advocates for greening the economy reject more than basic labor economics. They also believe that a green economy is one with relatively little trade. The literature emphasizes buying locally produced goods over those from other areas, both to save the transportation costs and to promote self-sufficiency. Not surprisingly, the UN Environment Programme criticizes Walmart for its global supply chain:
Companies like Wal-Mart (with its policy of global sourcing and especially its policy of searching for cheap products, with potential negative impacts for labor and the environment) are major drivers and symptoms of [increased global trade]. . . . Ultimately a more sustainable economic system will have to be based on shorter distances and thus reduced transportation needs. This is not so much a technical challenge as a fundamental systemic challenge.
To be fair, the benefits of trade are sometimes hard to understand. Nobel Prize-winner Paul Samuelson said the theory of comparative advantage was a contribution of economic theory that was both "nonobvious and nontrivial," and generations of Econ 101 instructors have proved his point by struggling to get students to understand it. But the libertarian case for trade is remarkably simple and clear: Voluntary exchanges must make people better off or they wouldn't occur, so a world with more voluntary exchange is preferable to one with less. Even the person most confused by trade theory can understand that autarky (producing everything locally) is a recipe for disaster by examining the record of Albania under communist dictator Enver Hoxha or North Korea today, two examples of societies where the rulers reject virtually all trade.

Moreover, the idea of locally grown food (a key component of the green economy) is hard to accept for those of us living far enough north to lack a year-round growing season. From my home in rural Illinois, I can see miles of soybean and corn fields. I am delighted that my neighbors can trade their corn and soybeans to people living elsewhere and that people in countries from France to Honduras to Israel to New Zealand send agricultural products here in return. I can buy French wine, Honduran bananas, Israeli citrus, and New Zealand lamb in my local grocery store because of trade, enriching both the variety and healthfulness of my diet. Even if it didn't make us better off, the freedom to trade would be an important liberty. Since it does, it is indispensable to the vastly better lives we live today compared to our ancestors.

Ignoring Incentives

Those advocating for a green economy often appear to believe that no one will undertake any measures to improve environmental quality or conserve resources without a government program to show them the way. We know this is false because we have over a hundred years of experience with market incentives for both providing environmental quality and reducing resource use.

Studies of income levels and environmental quality have found what is termed the "environmental Kuznets curve," a U-shaped relationship between national income and environmental quality. As very poor countries begin to develop, environmental quality often falls as energy production and use increase, factories appear, and people begin to consume more. But once per capita gross domestic product (GDP) reaches about $5,000, people can afford to spend more on improving the environment. Not surprisingly they do, and environmental quality improves after that point with respect to most pollutants for which we have data. In short, richer is greener.

The Environmental Kuznets Curve

Environmental quality also improves because market incentives spur firms to reduce energy and resource use. Any firm that cuts its energy use can devote the savings to undercutting its competitors' prices. This has happened on an economy-wide basis. For example, from the 1970s to 2000, energy use per dollar of real GDP fell by 36 percent as firms economized on energy without reducing output.

Each unit of energy input yielded four times as much useful heat, moved people 550 times farther, provided 50 times more illumination, and produced 12 times as much electricity in 2000 compared to 1900-a stunning success story. Major energy-using industries like steel, aluminum, and paper have all become more energy- and resource-efficient, while consumer goods like refrigerators have become larger, more feature-rich, and cheaper to operate. It doesn't take a government program to make firms more efficient, but it does take a market economy.

According to its proponents, the green economy will run on biofuels, wind, and solar power, ushering in a new age of clean energy. Unfortunately, this is mostly wishful thinking. The Department of Energy (DOE) says wind currently contributes less than 0.6 percent of total U.S. energy production. (Usually green-energy advocates note that it contributes 7 percent of renewable electricity generation, ignoring the less flattering total energy numbers.) Moreover, wind is both expensive and unreliable, as wind turbines produce energy only when the wind blows. Plus the massive wind farms green-energy advocates envision would require building what DOE estimates are $60 billion of new transmission lines (which many environmentalists oppose) and offshore wind farms like the Cape Wind project (blocked for years by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, who objected to its impact on the view from his sailboat). There are also important questions about wind turbines' effects on bird populations and the impact of "shadow flicker" from the turbine blades on neighbors. Similarly, solar power (mostly solar thermal and hot-water production) currently produces only 0.05 percent of U.S. energy consumption and is projected by DOE to rise to just 0.13 percent by 2030. Solar panel arrays take a great deal of land, usually in sensitive desert environments where endangered-species issues have already blocked some proposed photovoltaic sites. And both solar and wind power require expensive backup plants for when weather conditions aren't right (such as at night and on days without wind).

None of these problems are insurmountable, and it is quite possible (and perhaps likely) that as the prices of natural gas and oil rise in the future, an entrepreneurial inventor will find ways to make these technologies viable. The problem is that they are not viable today and will not become so in an environment of subsidies.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010


Hard-up pensioners have resorted to buying books from charity shops and burning them to keep warm. Volunteers have reported that ‘a large number’ of elderly customers are snapping up hardbacks as cheap fuel for their fires and stoves.

Temperatures this week are forecast to plummet as low as -13ºC in the Scottish Highlands, with the mercury falling to -6ºC in London, -5ºC in Birmingham and -7ºC in Manchester as one of the coldest winters in years continues to bite.

Workers at one charity shop in Swansea, in south Wales, described how the most vulnerable shoppers were seeking out thick books such as encyclopaedias for a few pence because they were cheaper than coal. One assistant said: ‘Book burning seems terribly wrong but we have to get rid of unsold stock for pennies and some of the pensioners say the books make ideal slow-burning fuel for fires and stoves. A lot of them buy up large hardback volumes so they can stick them in the fire to last all night.’ A 500g book can sell for as little as 5p, while a 20kg bag of coal costs £5.

Since January 2008, gas bills have risen 40 per cent and electricity prices 20 per cent, although people over 60 are entitled to a winter fuel allowance of between £125 and £400.

Jonathan Stearn, energy expert for Consumer Focus, said: ‘If pensioners are taking such desperate measures to heat their homes it is shocking. With low wholesale prices and increasing profit margins, there is clearly room for energy companies to make price cuts immediately.’

Ruth Davison, of the National Housing Federation, said: ‘The spiralling cost of energy means heating homes has become a luxury rather than a necessity for many people – particularly the elderly, low paid and unemployed.’



Household gas and electricity bills are expected to rocket fourfold to nearly £5,000 a year by the end of the decade to meet Government-imposed green targets. And the price heavy industry will have to pay by 2020 is so high that energy-dependent firms could be wiped out, causing thousands of job losses, said an industry spokesman.

A massive rethink on the cost of 'green energy' is taking place in Whitehall among senior regulators and industry, leading some to question whether the public will be prepared to pay increasingly high bills for the UK to become greener than most countries.

Officials at regulator Ofgem now privately admit that a report they issued only last year severely underestimates the cost of cutting carbon emissions by building a new energy infrastructure for the UK. The watchdog's earlier report suggested that gas and electricity prices could double to £2,000 by 2020 to meet the £233.5 billion cost of going green by investing in nuclear energy and wind and wave power.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said the Government-imposed 2020 target of a 34 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020 and the 2050 target of an 80 per cent cut in greenhouse gases, both from 1990, were among the most ambitious in the world.

Ofgem's worries about those figures are backed up by new research from an energy-switching company that calculates £548 of the average household bill of almost £5,000 in 2020 would be to pay for the investments in nuclear and renewable energy. This does not take into account payments to keep energy prices low for poorer people and grants for lagging and insulation for the fuel poor.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch, said: 'The £5,000-a-year energy bill may seem like an outside possibility, but we have to remember that energy bills doubled in the past five years alone and that the huge investment needed just to keep the lights on will alone add £548 a year to our bills.'

Already energy bills are loaded up by five separate charges to help fund the battle to combat climate change and become greener. They are the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, the Renewables Obligation, the Community Energy Saving Programme and shortly there will be a levy on investing in clean coal projects.

Although householders will be badly hit, the damage to industrial energy users will be even more dramatic. These companies, which range from steel and chemical plants to industrial gas companies, are dependent on reasonable energy prices that can, in some cases, account for 70 per cent of their entire costs.

Jeremy Nicholson, spokesman for the Energy Intensive Users' Group, said the Government's own figures showed that the price of electricity would go up by up to 70 per cent and the price of gas by a further 50 per cent as a direct result of meeting its renewable energy targets. 'We are not against cleaning up the environment, far from it,' he said. 'If every country faces these costs then so be it, but the UK has decided to be greener than any other country. The huge costs involved will make us totally uncompetitive. 'We are already highly efficient and cannot cut our costs further. If we find ourselves faced with these sort of increases, there will not be any heavy industry left in this country. We will be wiped out and with that thousands of jobs will go.'

But despite the pressure for energy prices to go up in the medium and longer term, gas bills are likely to come down this spring. Wholesale prices fell dramatically last year and industry sources said this would finally be passed on to customers.



Arctic air and record snow falls gripped the northern hemisphere yesterday, inflicting hardship and havoc from China, across Russia to Western Europe and over the US plains.

There were few precedents for the global sweep of extreme cold and ice that killed dozens in India, paralysed life in Beijing and threatened the Florida orange crop. Chicagoans sheltered from a potentially killer freeze, Paris endured sunny Siberian cold, Italy dug itself out of snowdrifts and Poland counted at least 13 deaths in record low temperatures of about minus 25C (-13F).

The heaviest snow yesterday hit northeastern Asia, which is suffering its worst winter weather for 60 years. More than 25 centimetres (10in) of snow covered Seoul, the South Korean capital — the heaviest fall since records began in 1937.

In China, Beijing and the nearby port city of Tianjin had the deepest snow since 1951, with falls of up to 8in and temperatures of minus 10C. In the far north of China, the temperature fell to minus 32C. More than two million Beijing and Tianjin pupils were sent home and 1,200 flights were delayed or cancelled at Beijing’s international airport.

The same far-eastern weather system took its toll of Sakhalin, the Russian island off Siberia, which was hit by blizzards and avalanches. Farther west, in northern and eastern India, more than 60 people, mainly homeless, died of exposure. Thousands of schools were closed. In Uttar Pradesh, the state neighbouring Nepal, the authorities spent £1.3 million on blankets and firewood for needy households.

Western Russia suffered a deep freeze as snow swept across the Baltic and north-central Europe, leaving the worst devastation in Poland, where 13 people died, bringing the toll from the cold this winter to 122.

Up to ten skiers died or were missing in avalanches. The worst incident was in the Diemtig Valley in Switzerland on Sunday, when avalanches hit a group of skiers and then the rescuers who went to their aid. Eight people were pulled from the snow alive, but four died, including an emergency doctor, and three more were missing.

In Italy, emergency services struggled with rare cold and ice. Motorways in the northeast were closed and military helicopters were sent to Sicily with medical aid.

In the United States, heavy snow fell again on the northeast. In Burlington, Vermont, a record 33in of snow fell in a weekend storm. The previous record in a three-day period was set in 1969. Residents of the Northern Plains were warned to expect lethally cold temperatures of about minus 30C.

The icy conditions of Western Europe, which broke records in half a dozen countries in December, are expected to last for at least another week.

Guo Hu, the head of the Beijing Meteorological Bureau, linked this week’s conditions to unusual atmospheric patterns caused by global warming. [Yep! Warming causes extreme cooling! And black is white]



As scientists struggle to predict exactly how global climate change will affect our environment, economists are grappling with another question: How well can humans adapt? Judging from the history of wheat production in North America, the answer is very well, says Paul Rhode of the University of Michigan.

In a paper done together with Alan Olmstead of the University of California-Davis, which he presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association, Mr. Rhode looks at how wheat production fared between the mid-1800s and the late 1900s, as production moved into parts of North America with harsher climates. The conclusion: Production adapted successfully as farmers introduced new strains that grew well in the new climates. “We’ve been there and done that in terms of adjusting wheat production to new climates,” he said.

According to the paper, production proved resilient to temperature changes of as much as two to five degrees centigrade — similar to the changes scientists expect to occur over the next 90 years as a result of the proliferation of greenhouse gases.

To be sure, the results don’t demonstrate that humans as a whole can be better off in a warmer world, and don’t suggest that measures to combat global warming are unnecessary. For one, the data are limited to wheat production and to North America, where the impact of climate change on agriculture is likely to be less severe than in developing nations such as India. Beyond that, the changes in wheat production happened over a very long period. Farmers and seed breeders could have a much harder time adjusting to more rapid changes in climate.

Still, Mr. Rhode says the research suggests adaptability is a factor “that should not be discounted.”



An alternative fuel for diesel engines is off to a shaky start this year though it emits fewer pollutants and cuts down on petroleum use because it's made from environmentally friendly waste and vegetable oil. A federal tax credit that provided makers of biodiesel $1 for every gallon expired Friday. As a result, some U.S. producers say they will shut down without the government subsidy.

Biodiesel's woes come on top of a year of problems for the fledgling biofuel industry - an irony given the push to cut down on greenhouse gases and ease the nation's need for foreign oil. A key driver for the alternative fuel - the high cost of oil - disappeared as diesel prices dropped 18 percent since the beginning of the recession. Then in March the European Union placed import-killing tariffs on biodiesel and other biofuels.

It was a huge hit for U.S. biofuel makers, with Europe taking 95 percent of all global exports.

Biodiesel, which is usually blended with traditional fuel, had over the past few years been the fastest growing fuel among fleet vehicles like buses, snow plows and garbage trucks. Those fleets, however, can shift to traditional fuel, as some have, when the prices of diesel drops.

The biodiesel industry is now operating at only 15 percent of its potential capacity, according to the National Biodiesel Board, largely because the price of traditional diesel has collapsed.


Australia: Greenie-inspired attacks on electricity usage spark fears of more deaths during heatwaves

SOARING power bills have sparked fears of more deaths during heatwaves as battlers turn off fans and air-conditioners. Welfare agencies want more financial aid for hundreds of thousands of Victoria's poorest households to cope with crippling price rises. Struggling pensioners, singles and families are telling emergency relief services they will have to cut back on food and children's education costs. Some households face being slugged $400 extra for electricity this year unless they shop around.

Even more financial pain is predicted amid proposed federal climate change policies and an industry push to upgrade electricity poles and wires.

A Victorian Council of Social Service report has called for a boost to winter energy concessions, as well as cash to help pay for the installation of new smart meters. "Prices are rising so dramatically that concession payments are simply not keeping energy affordable," VCOSS deputy director Carolyn Atkins said.

The Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre fears the problem will get worse, with potentially deadly consequences, as companies switch to "time of use" billing in coming years. This method charges more for power used in peak periods. "We are concerned some people will dangerously resort to not using cooling or heating in their homes because of the impact on their budgets," CUAC chief Jo Benvenuti said.

Ms Atkins said the winter energy discount paid to 740,000 Victorian households should be lifted from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent. She said a rebate for smart meters was also needed.

A State Government spokeswoman said: "Organisations such as VCOSS regularly put forward suggestions for the coming Budget at this time of year, however we always make our Budget announcements in May. "Victoria is widely considered to have the most robust and comprehensive energy consumer protection regime in Australia."


Mr Rudd, your misguided warming policies are killing millions

An open letter to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd from The Right Honourable The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley below. Australian cartoonist ZEG has a fuller version up. Kevvy is too much of a Leftist to be bothered with facts and logic, however

YOU say I am one of "those who argue that climate change does not represent a global market failure". Yet it is only recently that opinion sufficient to constitute a market signal became apparent in the documents of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is, however, a political rather than a scientific entity. There has scarcely been time for a "market failure".

Besides, corporations are falling over themselves to cash in on the giant financial fraud against the little guy that carbon taxation and trading have already become in the goody-two-shoes EU, and will become in Australia if you get your way.

You say I was one of "those who argue that somehow the market will magically solve the problem". In fact I have never argued that, though in general the market is better at solving problems than the habitual but repeatedly failed dirigisme of the etatistes predominant in the classe politique today.

The questions I address are a) whether there is a climate problem at all; and b) even if there is one whether waiting and adapting, if necessary, is more cost-effective than attempting to mitigate the supposed problem by trying to reduce the carbon dioxide our industries and enterprises emit.

Let us pretend, solum ad argumentum, that a given proportionate increase in CO2 concentration causes the maximum warming imagined by the IPCC. By the end of this month, according to the Copenhagen Accord, all parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change are due to report what cuts in emissions they will make by 2020. Broadly speaking, the Annex 1 parties, who will account for about half of global emissions over the period, will commit to reducing current emissions by 30 per cent by 2020, or 15 per cent on average in the decade between now and 2020.

Thus, if every Annex 1 party to the Copenhagen Accord complies with its obligations to the full, today's emissions will be reduced by about half of that 15 per cent, namely 7.5 per cent, compared with business as usual. If the trend of the past decade continues, with business as usual we shall add 2 parts per million by volume/ year, or 20 ppmv over the decade. Now, 7.5 per cent of 20 ppmv is 1.5 ppmv. One-fiftieth of a Celsius degree of warming forestalled is all that complete, global compliance with the Copenhagen Accord for an entire decade would achieve. Yet the cost of achieving this result - an outcome so small that our instruments would not be able to measure it - would run into trillions of dollars.

You say "formal global and national economic modelling" shows "that the costs of inaction are greater than the costs of acting". Yet, every economic analysis except that of the now discredited Lord Stern, with its near-zero discount rate and its absurdly inflated warming rates, comes to the same ineluctable conclusion: adaptation to climate change, if necessary, is orders of magnitude more cost-effective than attempts at mitigation. In a long career in policy analysis in and out of government, I have never seen so cost-ineffective a proposed waste of taxpayers' money to stop the tide from coming in.

I have done this calculation on the basis that everyone complies with the Copenhagen Accord yet precedent does not look promising. The Kyoto Protocol has been in operation for more than a decade. So far, after billions spent, global CO2 emissions have risen.

Remember, too, that we have assumed the maximum warming that might occur in response to an increase in CO2 concentration. Yet even the IPCC's central estimate of CO2's warming effect, according to an increasing number of serious papers in the peer-reviewed literature, is a five-fold exaggeration. If those papers are right, warming forestalled may prove to be just one-thousandth of a degree.

You led a delegation of 114 people to Copenhagen to bring back a non-result. Half a dozen were all that was really necessary. If you and your officials are not willing to tighten your belts, why should the taxpayers tighten theirs?

You say that our aim, in daring to oppose the transient fashion for apocalypticism, is "to erode just enough of the political will that action becomes impossible". No. Our aim is to ensure that the truth is widely enough understood to prevent the squandering of precious resources on addressing the non-problem of anthropogenic "global warming". The correct policy response to a non-problem is to have the courage to do nothing.

You say that I and others like me base our thinking on the notion that "the cost of not acting is nothing". Well, after a decade and a half with no statistically significant "global warming", and after three decades in which the mean warming rate has been well below the ever-falling predictions of the UN's climate panel, that notion has not been disproved in reality.

However, the question I address is whether the cost of taking action is many times greater than the cost of not acting? The answer is yes.

Millions are already dying of starvation in the world's poorest nations because world food prices have doubled in two years. That was caused by a sharp drop in world food production, caused by suddenly taking millions of acres of land out of growing food for people who need it, to grow biofuels for clunkers that don't. The policies that you advocate are killing people by the million. At a time when so many of the world's people are already short of food, the UN's right-to-food rapporteur, Herr Ziegler, has rightly condemned the biofuel scam as "a crime against humanity".

Yet this slaughter is founded upon a lie: the claim by the IPCC that it is 90 per cent certain that most of the "global warming" since 1950 is man-made. This claim - based not on science but on a show of hands among political representatives, with China wanting a lower figure and other nations wanting a higher figure - is demonstrably false. Peer-reviewed analyses of changes in cloud cover over recent decades - changes almost entirely unconnected with changes in CO2 concentration - show that it was this largely natural reduction in cloud cover from 1983-2001 and a consequent increase in the amount of short-wave and UV solar radiation reaching the Earth that accounted for five times as much warming as CO2 could have caused.

Nor is the IPCC's great lie the only lie in the official documents of the IPCC and in the speeches of its current chairman, who has made himself a multi-millionaire as a "global warming" profiteer.

It is also a fact that, while those of the UN's computer models that can be forced with an increase in sea-surface temperatures all predict a consequent fall in the flux of outgoing radiation at top of atmosphere, in observed reality there is an increase. In short, the radiation that is supposed to be trapped here in the troposphere to cause "global warming" is measured as escaping to space much as usual, so that it cannot be causing more than about one-fifth of the warming the IPCC predicts.

It would be kinder to your working people to wait another decade and see whether global temperatures even begin to respond as the IPCC has predicted? What is the worst that can happen if you wait? Just 0.02C of global warming that would not otherwise have occurred. It's a no-brainer.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

Climate change far worse than thought before

As respects temperature, the article below is false. It says anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide are happening at a rate higher than projected saying: "Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels in 2008 were 40 percent higher than in 1990. The recent Copenhagen Accord said warming should be contained within two degrees, but every year of delayed action increases the chances of exceeding the two-degree warming mark." And it says: "Over the past 25 years temperatures have increased at a rate of 0.19 degree Celsius per decade. The trend has continued over the last 10 years despite a decrease in radiation from the sun."

This latter assertion is simply false. There has been no statistically significant trend in global temperature over the past decade, and global temperature is now lower than in the El Nino year of 1998. So, "every year of delayed action " since 1998 has not had an effect that has induced any observable warming above the then global temperature. The article is plain nonsense. Most of their other assertions are questionable too but their getting the basic facts of temperature wrong makes further comment superfluous

Global alarm over climate change and its effects has risen manifold after the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Since then, many of the 2,500-odd IPCC scientists have found climate change is progressing faster than the worst-case scenario they had predicted.

Their studies will be considered for the next IPCC report, but since that will come out only in 2013, the University of New South Wales in Sydney has just put together the main findings in the last three years. Most are by previous IPCC lead authors "familiar with the rigour and completeness required for a scientific assessment of this nature", a university spokesperson said.

The most significant recent findings are:

* Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels in 2008 were 40 percent higher than in 1990. The recent Copenhagen Accord said warming should be contained within two degrees, but every year of delayed action increases the chances of exceeding the two-degree warming mark.

Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas (GHG) warming the atmosphere.

* To keep within the two-degree limit, global GHG emissions need to peak between 2015 and 2020 and then decline rapidly. To stabilise climate, near-zero emissions of carbon dioxide and other long-lived GHG should be reached well within this century.

More specifically, the average annual per-capita emissions will have to shrink to well under one tonne carbon dioxide by 2050. This is 80-95 percent below the per-capita emissions in developed nations in 2000.

* Over the past 25 years temperatures have increased at a rate of 0.19 degree Celsius per decade. The trend has continued over the last 10 years despite a decrease in radiation from the sun.

* The studies show extreme hot temperature events have increased, extreme cold temperature events have decreased, heavy rain or snow has become heavier, while there has been increase in drought as well.

They also show that the intensity of cyclones has increased in the past three decades in line with rising tropical ocean temperatures.

* Satellites show recent global average sea level rise (3.4 mm/year over the past 15 years) to be about 80 percent above IPCC predictions. This acceleration is consistent with a doubling in contribution from melting of glaciers, ice caps, and the Greenland and West-Antarctic ice sheets.

New estimates of ocean heat uptake are 50 percent higher than previous calculations. Global ocean surface temperature reached the warmest ever recorded in June, July and August 2009. Ocean acidification and ocean de-oxygenation due to global warming have been identified as potentially devastating for large parts of the marine ecosystem.

* By 2100, global sea level is likely to rise at least twice as much as projected by the IPCC in 2007; if emissions are unmitigated the rise may well exceed one metre.

The sea level will continue to rise for centuries after global temperatures have been stabilised, and several metres of sea level rise must be expected over the next few centuries.

* A wide array of satellite and ice measurements demonstrate that both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are melting at an increasing rate. Melting of glaciers and ice-caps in other parts of the world has also accelerated since 1990.

The contribution of glaciers and ice-caps to global sea level rise has increased from 0.8 mm per year in the 1990s to 1.2 mm per year today. The adjustment of glaciers and ice caps to present climate alone is expected to raise sea level by about 18 cm. Under warming conditions they may contribute as much as around 55 cm by 2100.

The net loss of ice from the Greenland ice sheet has accelerated since the mid-1990s and is now contributing 0.7 mm per year to sea level rise due to both increased melting and accelerated ice flow. Antarctica is also losing ice mass at an increasing rate, mostly from the West Antarctic ice sheet due to increased ice flow. Antarctica is currently contributing to sea level rise at a rate nearly equal to Greenland.

* Summer-time melting of Arctic sea-ice has accelerated far beyond the expectations of climate models. The area of summertime sea-ice 2007-09 was about 40 percent less than the average prediction from IPCC climate models in the 2007 report.

* The studies say avoiding tropical deforestation could prevent up to 20 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.

* New ice-core records confirm the importance of GHG for temperatures on earth, and show that carbon dioxide levels are higher now than they have been during the last 800,000 years.


BBC Spins Cherrapunji Myth

Ever heard of Cherrapunji, in the remote north-east of India? No? Well neither had I. But it does have a place in the Guinness Book of Records because it is the wettest place on earth, with up to 1,000 inches of rain falling in a year, though the average is nearer 350 inches.

What’s the relevance? You may recall from previous postings that BBC environment editor Peter Thomson is part of the Society of Environmental Journalists which pushes a Columbia University guide on brainwashing techniques to persuade people of ‘climate change’ alarmism. So I have been digging further to see if there is any hard evidence on the BBC website that Mr Thomson has been evangelising among his colleagues, and if so, whether it has had an impact.

It’s here that Cherrapunji becomes interesting. Apparently, it’s been a little drier of late and this has attracted the interest of BBC Calcutta correspondent Subir Bhaumik at least three times. Back in 2003, he filed a story explaining that water holes were drying up out of the monsoon season and that locals were worried about the impact on tourism. Mr Bhaumik is quite clear about the causes. Quoting SC Sahu, deputy director of the Central Meteorological Department of the local India region, he says:

Mr Sahu blames it (the drop in rainfall) on the deforestation in the area and environmentalists agree. "Ever since Meghalaya became a separate state, there has been a rise in deforestation," says Ba Mark West, convenor of the Cherrapunji Soil Research Society. "Tree felling is rampant and the loss of forest cover around Cherrapunji is more serious than ever before," he says. In 1960, Cherrapunji was still a town of just 7,000 people. Now, there are 15 times that number and a cement plant at Mamlukcherra, a few kilometres away, was built 20 years ago. The cement plant polluted the environment and added to the population pressure in the area. And if there are more people, the pressure on the forests will increase.

I’ve quoted that at some length, because it could not be more specific. No mention of global warming at all, and none, of course of ‘climate change’ in its current loaded sense, because it had not yet been invented. According to Mr Bhaumik, Cherrapunji’s woes are the result of mushrooming population (from 7,000 to 105,000 in fifty years), industrialisation and reckless tree-felling. Of that, the local met office is sure.

Spool forward to August 2007, Mr Bhaumik, seemingly with total amnesia about his previous report, said:

Khasi tribes people in the Indian state of Meghalaya have decided to honour former US Vice President Al Gore for promoting awareness on climate change. They say changes in the weather are devastating the picturesque hill state. The tribes people say that they also want to honour him for his award-winning 2006 documentary…which….dramatically highlights changes to the environment because of global warming. The award will be handed over at the second Dorbar Ri (People's Parliament) on 6 October near a sacred forest at the village of Mawphlang, which has been preserved untouched for more than 700 years.

Astonishing! Then just before Christmas just gone, Mr Bhaumik revisited Cherrapunji again and now, the propaganda message is complete. Hey presto!

Residents say their heavenly abode in the clouds is hotter and drier than ever before - and they blame it on global warming.

He then quotes Millergrace Symlieh, no less, a senior member of Sohra Science Society, who seemingly either doesn’t know the area or has had a remarkable loss of memory. He states:

"We never cut a branch in these sacred forests. So you cannot say this adverse weather change is our creation. We are affected by what's happening all over the world. This hot weather and less rain here is not due to huge deforestation or massive industrialisation," says Mr Symlieh. "We only have a cement plant near here."

Over the next three pages, Mr Bhaumik gradually embroiders –without providing a scrap of hard evidence - this alarmist picture and readers are left in no doubt: the locals need more money to be compensated for the terrible injustice they have suffered. It’s the terrible West and its ‘climate change’ pollution that’s to blame, and Cherrapunji is on the edge of the abyss. The role of the locals in this alleged catastrophe has been totally airbrushed out.

So what has happened between 2003 and 2009 to account for this? I can only assume that Mr Bhaumik has read very carefully and ingested fully the Thomson/Columbia University diatribe, or perhaps been on a BBC brainwashing weekend.

The evidence of his writing elsewhere is that Mr Bhaumik is a typical BBC lefty. For example, on his rather polemical and partisan blog, he spouts vitriolic anti-UK anti-US sentiment and lauds the EU as the model to India’s prayers:

We cannot trust…the US because (it )…would not hesitate to use military force and other forms of power against us. As they say, if US is your friend, you really don’t need an enemy. The European Union is our long term ally of choice. But India has this huge problem of looking at Europe through Britain and Britain is in the European Union but not quite in it. It has still not accepted the Euro and it wants to retain its national identity and it is behaving like a surrogate of the US. India will not only have to look closely at the European model to create a new kind of union, so that we can handle the separatist tendencies and other internal conflicts - India will have to befriend the European Union as its ally of choice in the global arena in years to come.

So perhaps Mr Thomson didn’t have a very difficult task in converting Mr Bhaumik. I think that all adds up to a bit of a smoking gun. We know that between 2003 and 2009 the BBC news top brass all became fanatical ‘climate change’ acolytes; and we know that people like Peter Thomson took up positions in AGW organisations, who in turn proselytise that reporters should find local examples of their creed. Here, from the north-west frontier of India, is firm evidence that there’s been a concerted effort to make sure that when it comes to lying to the world about ‘climate change’, facts should never get in the way of the BBC mission to deceive. And Mr Bhaumik, it seems, is happy to do his masters’ bidding because it ties in nicely with his anti-US venom.


Record snow brings misery to Asia

It's not just America, Britain and Europe. The cooling is GLOBAL!

RECORD snow has disrupted air and road travel in northeast Asia today, grounding dozens of planes in China and South Korea and forcing schools to close in Beijing. The Chinese capital received its heaviest daily snowfall in nearly six decades on Sunday, the state news agency Xinhua reported, and more snow was predicted to follow.

The mountains of central Japan were also badly hit. One person was killed and at least two others were missing after heavy snow.

The Central Meteorological Administration reported that up to 12 inches had fallen on Beijing and Tianjin over the weekend. While skies were clear in the Chinese capital Monday, more snow was expected in northeast China. At Beijing's international airport, where nearly 1,200 flights were canceled or delayed Sunday, workers had cleared the runways and the situation was returning to normal. More than 100 flights were nevertheless delayed and two dozen canceled as of early Monday, an airport spokesman said. "I don't remember ever seeing such heavy snowfall in the city," a Beijing resident told the China Daily newspaper.

Around 10 inches of snow fell in the South Korean capital Seoul Monday, marking the biggest snowfall since record keeping began in 1937, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration. The blanket of thick white snow forced the cancellation of dozens of domestic flights and about 40 international flights were delayed, airport officials said.

On the roads, up to 30 highways in Beijing and the surrounding areas were closed or only partially open to traffic Monday, the China News Service reported. Inner-city roads remained icy and covered with snow. More than 5,000 volunteers were deployed to keep order at crowded bus stops, Xinhua quoted Song Jianguo, head of the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau, as saying.

In Seoul, traffic chaos forced the late start of a cabinet meeting, with ministers stuck in the wintry mess. More snow was expected in Seoul later Monday, but clear skies were forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Farther east in Japan, police said they had found the body of a climber on Mount Hodaka but it was not immediately clear if it was the body of one of three climbers who went missing there at the weekend. Another party of seven was rescued safely after becoming stranded on Mount Terachi due to the heavy snow, police said.


The new Deniers

We are witnessing the development of a very interesting phenomenon, in that the global warming “Alarmists” are rapidly becoming the new “Deniers.”

Ever since the now-famous e-mails from the University of East Anglia in England were made public, the global warming alarmists have been falling all over themselves to claim that those e-mails were just “inter-academic banter,” containing nothing to destroy their claims that the world is still warming up at a dangerous rate.

This is really denying the facts when they are staring you in the face. That is, if you really wish to inform yourself on the subject and not just pick and choose your data and manipulate them to suit a political purpose.

While most climate scientists generally take a long view in support of their growing understanding of how world climate really works, the alarmists have a relatively short horizon by comparison. The famous Mann “hockey stick,” for instance, manipulated data over a period of about a thousand years. Most alarmist promoters focus on the past two centuries, at best.

The vital difference between the two camps, the real climate scientists and the alarmists, is that only the very long historic view will provide insight into the constant variability of weather phenomena during billions of years. There is a rough periodicity in climate patterns, the most popularly known of which are the glacial and current inter-glacial period which we have been “enjoying” during the past 10,000 years or so. And, by the way, its not too distant future is likely to end in a much colder period, not warmer.

Within this latest interglacial there have been many warmer as well as colder periods, such as the Roman Warming (250 BC - 450 AD), the cold Dark Ages (550 AD - 850 AD), the Medieval Warming (900 AD - 1400 AD) and lastly, the most recent Little Ice Age (1500 AD - 1850 AD). Particularly during the warmer periods CO2 levels were much higher than today while there was no industrialization, no major land surface changes, and certainly no threat of catastrophic global warming.

In other words, when studying these past climatic variations it doesn’t take a graduate degree to realize that what we have observed during the past 150 years is most likely driven by the same natural climate forcing powers, such as solar emission and magnetic variabilities, global precession and orbital variances, to name but a few, that previously caused much-worse climate issues. Only because we have had the benefit of personally and consciously experiencing so much more about our worldly environment than previous generations, doesn’t mean that those same recently observed climate changes are therefore, ipso facto, caused by man!

Hence, deliberately ignoring well-researched historic phenomena is not just shortsighted, it is also very un-scientific and un-professional, while it does a huge disservice to humanity’s efforts to bring more and more millions of people out of their historic misery into a more humane and productive future.

So why all the current commotion? Could it be that unrelated, yet powerful, political motivations are really driving many environmentalists and global warming alarmists to want to destroy our singularly successful “free market” system and replace it with a version of a centrally planned “one world” type system under the aegis of the UN??

Whatever the nefarious motivations of the alarmist crowd, they should be totally discredited and ignored from here on. Governments, including our own, should come to their senses and get out of the way of the market and our industries by lowering taxes and regulations so our economy can grow again and produce jobs.

That’s a government’s primary responsibility because without a booming economy there is no money for anything else, certainly no money to pay for the exorbitant “stimulus” packages already created out of thin air.

So to conclude, while the erstwhile global warming Alarmists are now the new Deniers, the good news is that we may, perhaps, still have a shot at correcting the damage done by them before our politicians do even more very foolish things.


Greenie cattle farming

British report below. A bit amusing but if it will keep the Greenies and the food freaks from interfering with carnivores like me, well and good

New findings on traditionally reared beef and dairy foods could lead to their reinstatement as “protective foods”, as they were once known. Far from causing illness, they may play a key role in defending the body against modern diseases. Even more remarkably, their production is now being seen as part of a land management system that benefits the planet. Though methane from ruminant animals undoubtedly adds to greenhouse gases, they can play a far more important role in cutting carbon dioxide.

Britain has a long tradition of livestock farming dating from Neolithic times. Two thirds of Britain’s farmland are occupied by grassland, much of it in the hilly West and North of the country where few other crops can be grown. The climate and soils of western Britain are well suited to grass, which is why this country has long been renowned for the quality of its beef.

Today, livestock production is moving away from grassland. Around the world, large numbers of animals are confined to sheds or yards and fed diets rich in high-energy and high-protein foods such as cereal grains, maize and soya. These systems appeal to farmers because they reduce costs and speed up production. But because the feed crops are grown with heavy inputs of chemical fertiliser, pesticides and diesel fuel, they can hardly be considered “climate-friendly”. Even worse, large tracts of rainforest are felled to produce the grain for cattle.

Now the pendulum may be about to swing back in favour of grassland. The evidence is stacking up that meat and dairy foods from animals grazing fresh pasture are healthier than the grain-fed versions. Pasture-fed beef and lamb contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants such as vitamin E. Pasture-fed meat and milk are also rich in a remarkable compound known as CLA, which protects against many cancers and heart disease. When animals are fed large amounts of grain, the levels of these health-protecting nutrients fall rapidly in the resulting foods.

Grasslands have another gift for humanity, one only now coming to light. Pioneering US farmers believe they could become a key weapon in the climate change battle. Scientists have long been aware of grassland’s ability to capture or “sequester” carbon. Grass leaves take in carbon dioxide from the air, converting it to sugars by photosynthesis. Some of the resulting carbon compounds are transferred to the roots and released into the soil through the normal cycles of growth and decay.

Agriculture accounts for 7 per cent of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions and, of this, methane from ruminant animals makes up one third. Cows on a grass diet produce more methane than those fed on cereal grains, but grasslands more than compensate in other ways. Some pasture plants, such as bird’s-foot trefoil, are known to reduce methane emissions. In any case, about 18 per cent of methane is neutralised by bacteria in the soil under grassland. Carbon capture through photosynthesis is thought by scientists to account for up to 40 per cent of the UK’s farming emissions.

But if these American farmers are right, with skilled management the grasslands can capture far more carbon. Their inspiration has been the prairie grassland that once covered vast areas west of the Mississippi. Grazed by great wandering herds of bison, these natural grasslands built up huge stores of carbon in their soils. The level of organic matter — the carbon-rich residues of decayed plants and animals — could be as high as 20 per cent. In many UK arable soils, organic matter content averages just 2 per cent. When European settlers arrived on the prairies, they ploughed the grassland, turning it over to wheat. The vast stores of soil carbon were released into the atmosphere, adding greatly to greenhouse gases. By the 1930s the prairie soils, their fertility exhausted, blew away in dustbowls, an event that inspired Steinbeck’s classic novel The Grapes of Wrath.

Today a group of US farmers are discovering that they can build up those same high levels of soil carbon under their own pastures. The key is to get their cattle to mimic the behaviour of the wild bison herds. As a defence against predators, these herds packed closely together and were constantly moving. This meant that each patch of grassland was trampled and grazed hard, then left to recover for weeks or months until the grazing herd returned.

Under this regime the soil carbon store builds rapidly, as today’s farmers are now discovering. They call it “mob grazing”. Using electric fences, farmers split their pastures into a large number of small paddocks. Putting their cattle into each paddock in turn, they graze it off quickly before moving the herd to the next. US farmers report that their animals stay very healthy on this grazing regime, putting on weight fast. At the same time the soil quickly becomes more fertile as it accumulates carbon compounds.

Joel Salatin, one of the Virginia farmers practising mob grazing, describes it as the closest thing he has found to a free lunch. “It doesn’t require combines, ploughs, tractors or buildings,” he says. “It’s the fastest way to sequester carbon, collect solar energy, and rebuild soil. Grazing is truly amazing.”

Mob grazing hasn’t yet arrived in the UK. But there is no reason why it shouldn’t be adapted in a country with such a long grazing tradition. It could give a boost to the livestock- rearing communities of the West and give hard-pressed farmers a new crop to sell — soil carbon. Then we could tuck into a steak with a clear conscience.


2009 Australia's second hottest year on record -- according to the BOM

But now we know how Australian temperature records are compiled, you would be gullible to believe them

THE past calendar year - 2009 - was the second warmest on record in Australia since 1910, the Australian government's Bureau of Meteorology reported today. The bureau said the high temperatures were driven by unusual or extreme heatwaves, with a temperature trend consistent with global warming, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Australia's annual mean temperature for 2009 was 0.90 degrees Celsius above a 1961-90 average, making it the nation's second-warmest year since high-quality records began in 1910, the bureau reported in an annual climate statement. The warmest was 2005.

High temperatures were especially notable in the south-east during the second half of 2009, with Australia nationally and the states Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales independently all recording their warmest July-December periods on record.

Extreme heatwaves occurred across much of southern Australia during late January/early February, resulting in a new maximum temperature record in the Victorian capital Melbourne of 46.4 degrees and a new Victoria state maximum temperature record of 48.8 degrees.

An unusual winter-time heatwave occurred in August over large parts of the inland and resulted in Australia's warmest August on record, while a prolonged heatwave occurred during November across central and south-east Australia. "Based on the analysis of daily maximum and minimum temperature data...there are clear upward trends in the number of hot events and downward trends in the number of cold events over the period 1960 to date, consistent with global warming," the bureau reported, without citing a cause for global warming.

The end of 2009 also saw the end of Australia's warmest decade on record, with a decadal mean temperature anomaly of 0.48 degree above a 1961-90 average [Picking an arbitrary base-year for your averages is fun]. This meant that in Australia, each decade since the 1940s has been warmer than the preceding decade, it reported.

As for rainfall, the overall Australian mean rainfall total for 2009 was 453 millimeters, down a little from a long-term average (1961-90) of 464 mms, it reported. During July to October 2009, serious rainfall deficiencies were experienced over large areas of Queensland and isolated parts of New South Wales, consistent with the development of an El Nino event during this time.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

Climategate: Michael Mann's very unhappy New Year

As I said yesterday, one of our jobs this year is to wipe the complacent smiles off the smug faces of the lobbyists, “experts”, “scientists”, politicians and activists pushing AGW.

This is why I am so glad to report that Michael Mann – creator of the incredible Hockey Stick curve and one of the scientists most heavily implicated in the Climategate scandal – is about to get a very nasty shock. When he turns up to work on Monday, he’ll find that all 27 of his colleagues at the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University have received a rather tempting email inviting them to blow the whistle on anyone they know who may have been fraudulently misusing federal grant funds for climate research.

Under US law, regardless of whether or not a prosecution results, the whistleblower stands to make very large sums of money: it is based on a percentage of the total government funds which have been misused, in this case perhaps as much as $50 million. (Hat tip: John O’Sullivan of the wonderful new campaigning site

Here’s that email in full:
"After the recent whistleblower revelations of emails between climate researchers and data from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, there are on-going investigations into potential fraudulent use of grant funds in Climate Research in the US. I am assisting interested parties who may have details of fraud in climate research to make contact with the proper authorities, and to share in the rewards paid when the funds are recovered.

Whistleblower Rewards Program

The federal government has established vigorous programs to identify and prosecute fraudulent grant applications and administration. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) administers the False Claims Act. It allows rewards for those who come forward with details of grant fraud to share in the recovery of federal funds. This reward can be as much as 30% of the total amount reclaimed. The program is almost completely reliant on insiders to report their knowledge of the fraud in their institutions.

Attorney Literally “Wrote the Book” on Fraud Recovery Lawsuits

Joel Hesch, Esq., of Hesch and Associates, literally wrote the book on how to report federal fraud. He has an extensive background in representing whistleblowers in all types of federal funding fraud cases, including Educational/ Research Grant Fraud. According to Mr Hesch: “Many institutions receive grants, whether for research or educational purposes. When they lie to get the grant or keep the grant or if they use the funds for purposes outside the grant, they are liable under the DOJ program. There have been many grant cases brought by whistleblowers.”

If you know of anyone who might have details about fraudulent statements or actions by recipients of federal grant funds for climate research, please have them contact me immediately at the below email or cell phone. Alternatively, they may also contact Mr Hersch directly, and let him know that they were referred by me. All communications are completely confidential. They may want to consider using a third party email service (Yahoo, Hotmail, or other) instead of work email to communicate.

30% of $50 million is more than $12 million. Ask your friends to do the right thing, and be rewarded for doing it. Our country, and in fact, the entire world is counting on someone to stand up and tell the truth about climate research. The effects of moving forward with taxes and policies based on fraudulent science could potentially cripple the US economy and cost lives and jobs for generations. Look forward to hearing from you.

It Didn't Start With Climategate

The whistleblower at the University of East Anglia who leaked emails and other documents that reveal the fraud that is being perpetrated by the world's leading global warming alarmists did us all a great service. But it is important to realize that the deception didn't just begin: rather, the global warming hysteria movement has been shot through with fraud from the start.

The most important document in the history of the anthropogenic global warming movement was the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Second Assessment Report, which was published under the auspices of the United Nations in 1996. This report was the principal basis for the Kyoto Accord which was signed in 1997, and for the nonsense that has been inflicted on the world's elementary school students ever since.

But the Second Assessment Report was hijacked by an AGW activist who re-wrote key conclusions and injected a level of alarmism that had not been present in the consensus document. You can get the whole story here, along with a great deal more information about the global warming controversy. The Science and Environmental Project summarized what happened as follows:
IPCC assessment reports, and particularly their Summaries for Policymakers (SPM), are noted for their selective use of information and their bias to support the political goal of control of fossil fuels in order to fight an alleged anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

Perhaps the most blatant example is IPCC's Second Assessment Report (SAR), completed in 1995 and published in 1996. Its SPM contains the memorable phrase "the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate." You may recall that this 1996 IPCC report played a key role in the political deliberations that led to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

This ambiguous phrase suggests a group of climate scientists, examining both human and natural influences on climate change, looking at published scientific research, and carefully weighing their decision. Nothing of the sort has ever happened. The IPCC has consistently ignored the major natural influences on climate change and has focused almost entirely on human causes, especially on GH gases and more especially on carbon dioxide, which is linked to industrial activities and therefore 'bad' almost by definition.

How then did the IPCC-SAR arrive at "balance of evidence"? It was the work of a then-relatively-junior scientist, Dr Benjamin D. Santer of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), who has recently re-emerged as a major actor in ClimateGate. As a Convening Lead Author of a crucial IPCC chapter, Santer carefully removed any verbiage denying that human influences might be the major or almost exclusive cause of warming and substituted new language. There is no evidence that he ever consulted any of his fellow IPCC authors, nor do we know who instructed him to make these changes and later approved the text deletions and insertions that fundamentally transformed IPCC-SAR.

The event is described by Nature [381(1006):539] and in a 1996 WSJ article by the late Professor Frederick Seitz (See also my Science Editorial #2-09). Seitz compared the draft of IPCC Chapter 8 (Detection and Attribution) and the final printed text. He noted that, before printing, key phrases had been deleted from the draft that had earlier been approved by its several scientist-authors.
This is from Professor Seitz's 1996 Wall Street Journal article:
This IPCC report, like all others, is held in such high regard largely because it has been peer-reviewed. That is, it has been read, discussed, modified and approved by an international body of experts. These scientists have laid their reputations on the line. But this report is not what it appears to be--it is not the version that was approved by the contributing scientists listed on the title page. In my more than 60 years as a member of the American scientific community, including service as president of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Physical Society, I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process than the events that led to this IPCC report.

A comparison between the report approved by the contributing scientists and the published version reveals that key changes were made after the scientists had met and accepted what they thought was the final peer-reviewed version. The scientists were assuming that the IPCC would obey the IPCC Rules--a body of regulations that is supposed to govern the panel's actions. Nothing in the IPCC Rules permits anyone to change a scientific report after it has been accepted by the panel of scientific contributors and the full IPCC.

The participating scientists accepted "The Science of Climate Change" in Madrid last November; the full IPCC accepted it the following month in Rome. But more than 15 sections in Chapter 8 of the report--the key chapter setting out the scientific evidence for and against a human influence over climate--were changed or deleted after the scientists charged with examining this question had accepted the supposedly final text. Few of these changes were merely cosmetic; nearly all worked to remove hints of the skepticism with which many scientists regard claims that human activities are having a major impact on climate in general and on global warming in particular.

The following passages are examples of those included in the approved report but deleted from the supposedly peer-reviewed published version:

"None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed [climate] changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases." "No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed to date] to anthropogenic [man-made] causes." "Any claims of positive detection of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate system are reduced."

The reviewing scientists used this original language to keep themselves and the IPCC honest. I am in no position to know who made the major changes in Chapter 8; but the report's lead author, Benjamin D. Santer, must presumably take the major responsibility.

IPCC reports are often called the "consensus" view. If they lead to carbon taxes and restraints on economic growth, they will have a major and almost certainly destructive impact on the economies of the world. Whatever the intent was of those who made these significant changes, their effect is to deceive policy makers and the public into believing that the scientific evidence shows human activities are causing global warming.
Fred Singer, in the SEPP editorial quoted above, continues:
[I]n addition to these text changes there are also two key graphs that were doctored in order to convey the impression that anthropogenic influences are dominant. Again, my Hoover essay gives the details.

1. According to all climate models, [greenhouse] warming shows a characteristic 'fingerprint': a 'hot spot' in temperature trend values in the tropical upper troposphere. Michaels and Knappenberger [Nature 384 (1996):522-523] discovered that the IPCC's claimed agreement with observations was spurious and obtained by selecting a convenient segment of the radiosonde temperature data and ignoring the rest.

2. Santer also claimed that the modeled and observed patterns of geographic surface temperatures were correlated, with the correlation coefficient increasing over time (suggesting to the reader that a growing human component gradually emerged from background noise). I found, however, that Santer had obtained this result by simply deleting from a published graph all the trend lines that disagreed with his desired outcome [Eos 80 (1999):372]. In fact, the original paper had Santer himself as lead author and did not appear in print until after the IPCC report was completed - in contravention of IPCC rules.

It is interesting that these several documented falsifications went largely unreported and had little impact on scientists and politicians, who went on to support the passage of the Kyoto Protocol -- in spite of the absence of any scientific support.
So the Kyoto protocol was based on fictitious science, exaggerated or fabricated outright for political purposes. The same Professor Santer who hijacked the Second Assessment Report figures prominently in Climategate. Many of his emails were disclosed by the East Anglia whistleblower; among other things, they show Santer resisting all efforts by independent scientists to obtain information, through Freedom of Information Act requests, about the statistical manipulations that Santer applies to raw climate data to "prove" the existence of anthropogenic global warming.

Fraud: it is the one constant in the history of the global warming hysteria movement.


Global warming misses Britain

Britain faces coldest winter for 25 years as big freeze causes chaos for millions returning home after Christmas break

Families heading home after the Christmas break faced perilous driving conditions tonight as Britain faced up to the coldest winter for a quarter of a century. Police and motoring organisations warned drivers to take extreme care as a fresh wave of snow and freezing temperatures caused major disruptions on the roads and one motorist died. The scale of the big freeze will be underlined by Met Office figures due to be released on Monday which are expected to show the country is currently experiencing the coldest winter for 25 years.

Lancashire Police said the conditions could have been to blame for the death of one driver who was killed in a crash on the M55 motorway near Blackpool around 8am. The transport network also suffered as a number of rail lines were closed in Scotland and more than 45 bumps and crashes were recorded on the roads. Six vehicles crashed in Greater Manchester on the M6 near Orrell shortly after 10.30am, causing long delays. Poor driving conditions were reported on the M60, M602 and the M66 while and Snake Pass, which runs between Manchester and Sheffield, was closed. Police closed the M9 in Scotland between junctions one and two near Edinburgh Airport for three hours after the area was 'inundated' with snow flurries. Drivers were forced to abandon their cars causing further problems on the road according to Lothian and Borders Police. It was reopened at 8pm with traffic still moving slowly. Inverness Airport was closed due to snow and ice....

Forecasters say the big freeze is set to continue for the first half of the month with fresh snowfall, severe frosts and ice on the roads. A Highways Agency spokesman said: 'Our winter fleet has been working flat out and will continue to treat the network as long as the cold weather continues. 'Our advice to drivers is to drive according to the conditions, and even when roads are treated they should still be negotiated with care.'

The AA said that by 4pm today it had dealt with more than 11,000 breakdowns, with the number expected to rise to 16,000 by the end of the day. This compares with 8,000 calls for help on a average Saturday.

The biting conditions, which are expected to last for the first 10 days of the new year, follow the coldest December in more than a decade. Forecasters said temperatures could drop as low as minus 15C in some parts of Scotland and northern England over the next few days....

Much of Britain entered the New Year buried beneath several inches of snow as temperatures plummeted towards -10C (14F) and forecasters admitted there was ‘no end in sight’ to the big freeze. As millions prepared to return to work, the combination of ice and snow raised fears that the weather could once again cripple the transport network.

Up to 10in (26cm) of snow fell across the country yesterday, with the North East hardest hit, whilst the Met Office issued severe weather warnings and predicted a ‘prolonged’ cold snap. By next week temperatures running into double figures below zero are expected across the country whilst snow and rain and the subsequent threat from ice will make many roads virtually impassable. It will stay bitingly cold for the next ten days at the very least.

Met Office forecaster Dave Elliott said: ‘This cold spell is here for the foreseeable future. It will certainly stay with us right through this coming week and even then we can’t see an end to it.’

Last month was the coldest December for 13 years and the continued bitter weather could make this the hardest winter since 1979. Severe weather warnings were issued for Wales, the South West, the North East and in Scotland....

The freezing conditions are expected to continue well into next week, with severe frosts and ice on untreated surfaces. Temperatures in the South could drop to -6C (21F).

More here

It has a gigantic supercomputer, 1,500 staff and a £170m-a-year budget. So why does Britain's Met Office get it so wrong?

Could the fact that it has become a Greenie-run temple of Warmism be involved? It has been run by committed environmentalists for years now and, in typical Green/Left style, they are destroying what they control

'Cold of a variety not seen in over 25 years in a large scale is about to engulf the major energy-consuming areas of the northern hemisphere. The first 15 days of the opening of the New Year will be the coldest, population weighted, north of 30 [degrees] north worldwide in over 25 years.' That is the chilling (quite literally) verdict of Joe Bastardi, a weather forecaster on the American TV channel AccuWeather.

Yet, while many months ago he and several of his rivals correctly forecast a pre-Christmas freeze, the organisation that told us last year to prepare for a 'barbecue summer' was getting it wrong again. This is our own famous Met Office, which last September confidently predicted a warmer than average winter for Britain. Tell that to Eurostar passengers stuck in the Channel Tunnel for 18 hours before Christmas, the breakdown of their trains blamed on the coldest weather for 15 years. Not until late November did the Met Office tone down its prediction by saying that there was a '50 per cent chance' of a mild winter.

Spinning a coin could have given the same result - not one you would expect from an organisation that spends nearly £170million a year, has 1,500 staff and a team of scientists operating a £30million supercomputer capable of 1,000 billion calculations every second, with a carbon footprint the size of a small town. Yet even with this brand-new computer in action since last August, on December 10 the Met Office predicted that it was 'more likely than not that 2010 will be the warmest year in the instrumental record, beating the previous record year which was 1998'. That prediction stands unchanged.

How could the Met Office be so wrong, both about its barbecue summer and the mild winter? And could the answer to that question have anything to do with its remarkable transformation in recent years? From a fuddy-duddy organisation created in 1854 to provide a service to mariners, and then aviators when the aeroplane was invented, the Met Office became an arm of the Ministry of Defence. But it has since transmuted into a powerful advocacy unit that sees its main mission to convince the world that we are prey to 'dangerous climate change'.

Much of this is down to one man - John Houghton (now Sir John) who was the director-general and later chief executive of the Met Office between 1983 and 1991. It was he, way back in 1988, who attended the first World Conference on the Changing Atmosphere in Toronto and later became the first scientific chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It was Houghton who, with one of her senior advisers, Sir Crispin Tickell, convinced the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to fund a new Met Office unit called the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research. Opened in 1990, it is now based in Exeter and employs more than 200 staff, having become a temple to what many regard as the climate change 'religion'.

Its pivotal role is now well-recognised as it is this centre, working with the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, that produces one of the most relied-upon data sets used to track the global temperature and tell us that the planet is heating up. Crucially, it is that same CRU that has been embroiled in the so-called 'Warmergate' scandal, where leaked emails suggest that climate scientists may have manipulated the evidence when it did not give the answers that proved that global warming was continuing. The University of East Anglia has ordered an independent review into the Warmergate row and the allegations made against the CRU.

The point of this row - which is often poorly understood - is that the so-called 'global temperature' which these scientists produce, upon which rests the whole case for 'dangerous global warming', is not a matter of observed fact. The data collection system is far from perfect, designed primarily for weather recording, not long-term climate prediction. Reflecting the military origins of the Met Office, many weather stations are situated on airfields. They are there to provide real-time observations for aviators and to provide the basis for short-term forecasts. They are not climate monitoring stations and arguably should not be used as such.

Furthermore, the likes of Manchester and Aberdeen airports, which were once grass airstrips, are now vast stretches of concrete, ramping up temperatures well above the surrounding countryside. This is known as the urban heat island effect. Because of this effect, instrument changes, inbuilt errors and the huge gaps in the record, the crude data has to be 'adjusted' - sometimes several times. Then sophisticated statistical techniques have to be applied before a single global figure can be produced.

The complexity of the calculations, and the considerable element of human judgment in choosing which of the limited number of specific temperatures to use from the thousands of weather stations all over the world, leave the process wide open to error and bias. Thus, the final results may actually reflect, to one degree or another, no more than the opinions of the scientists producing them.

This is where the good faith and the impartiality of the scientists involved is so important, and why the Warmergate scandal was so damaging. Far from being impartial custodians of the truth, some scientists were shown to have feet of clay, guarding their own patch rather than the science.

This was reinforced shortly after Warmergate, when Russian analysts complained that the Hadley Centre had been 'cherry-picking' temperatures from the Russian data set, using only those that were untypically high. Similar complaints have been made of the United States' data set, where urban heat island effect and positioning errors may taint as much as 80 per cent of the weather station records. Last month the Met Office denied 'cherry-picking' and said it used data from a network of individual stations designated by the World Meteorological Organisation.

But there is an even greater reason to doubt the impartiality of the Met Office and the Hadley Centre. Having had at its helm Sir John Houghton, a conviction 'warmist', in 2006 it acquired a new and highly controversial chairman - Robert Napier. Described as a 'committed conservationist' and then a 'passionate environmentalist', before taking over the most senior position at the Met Office, Napier had for seven years been the chief executive of World Wildlife Fund-UK, one of the foremost activist groups in the climate-change business.

Up to then, WWF was primarily concerned with wildlife issues and conservation. It is widely acknowledged that Napier put climate change on the map during his tenure, using his position to 'leverage the power and experience of the whole organisation', changing its focus to the extent that campaigning on this issue became its main activity. Among other things, he was particularly effective in making alliances with big business, doing deals with the likes of the insurance giant Allianz and convincing the company that there was money to be made out of climate change.

Bizarrely, although the Met Office is still part of the MoD and its staff are civil servants (who, as the Met Office itself says, 'cannot support individual campaigns that actively lobby for policy change'), the organisation has taken its cue from its new leader. It has become a powerful and vocal climate-change lobbyist, contributing hugely to the climate-change conference in Copenhagen last month, at which it launched its prediction that this year would be the hottest on record.

That raises the question whether the Met Office can still be relied upon to give accurate forecasts. Predicting the weather - both short-term and long - is not an exact science. Computers can do the number crunching but the programs or 'models' they work to are devised by human beings. Exactly the same computer models that are used to forecast that we will fry by the year 2030, 2050 or even 2080, are also those used to produce the shorter-range forecasts. It was these models, back in September, that told us we were going to have a mild winter.

But the problems do not stop there. From a technical body, the Met Office has now become the producer and purveyor of endless propaganda on climate change. Its latest production is an expensive, glossy, 20-page pamphlet. It is packed with highly controversial and disputed assertions that are delivered with the authority of a government agency as if they were unarguable fact.

There is no room for doubt, for instance, in the assertion that humans are causing climate change. 'Human activities like burning coal, oil and gas have led to...extra warming. As a result, over the past century there has been an underlying increase in average temperatures which is continuing.' Yet no discernible warming has been recorded since 1998. Indeed, it has snowed in the UK for the past three years, famously last October as MPs were voting through the Climate Change Bill. Each winter has been harsher than the last, and many independent meteorologists, including Joe Bastardi, believe the Earth has entered a cooling cycle.

What was once a highly respected organisation risks becoming a laughing stock in the weather community and a danger to the rest of us. Farmers who rely on the Met Office risk their animals dying and their crops being destroyed. Local authorities, who ran down their grit stocks because the Met Office said it would be mild, are putting the lives of motorists and pedestrians at risk. Airlines, unprepared for the snow, have lost millions of pounds, while the travel plans of hundreds of thousands of people have been disrupted.

The Met Office seems to have forgotten what it was set up for - to predict weather day by day. Instead, it is devoting it energies to the fantasy that it can predict climate decades ahead when it cannot even tell you whether it is going to snow next week, or whether we might have a barbecue summer.


Modern green romanticism is misanthropic

By John Cox -- writing from Australia

The start of the modern environmental movement is often taken as the publication in 1962 of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, which described the excessive use of pesticides in the US. The first page of this book was dedicated to Albert Schweitzer and quoted his words: "Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the earth." Carson was very much influenced by Schweitzer's philosophy of "reverence for life", which has been described as Jesus Christ's ethic of love and compassion between humans widened to all living beings. There is a case, therefore, in arguing that Schweitzer was the father of the modern environmental movement.

If this is so then I must be counted as one of the first environmentalists in Australia, having been influenced during the late 1950s by this reverence-for-life philosophy in my university days. I immediately gave up my sporting life of hunting kangaroos, foxes and rabbits in the mid-north of South Australia and pledged, like Schweitzer, to work in developing countries.

Schweitzer and Carson were children of the Enlightenment, which emphasised the progress of civilisation through the primacy of reason. Schweitzer's philosophy was an attempt to find a rational ethical basis to lead Western civilisation away from the tragedies of the first half of the 20th century. Carson's book was a well-argued, scientific study of the effects of pesticides on various aspects of nature, particularly birds.

Today, however, I find myself nearly always opposed to the viewpoints taken by the modern greens who seem to trace their roots back to the 19th-century romantic period, which was a reaction against the scientific rationalism of the 18th century. Emotions, nature mysticism, intuition and a sense of the whole being more important than the parts were considered more important than a clear-cut view of nature's laws that could be analysed and used for human progress. This was evident in the music, literature and lifestyles of this romantic period and can be expressed best in the words of Goethe: "All theory is grey, dear friend; Green is the golden tree of life".

This romantic view of nature has lead to the pervasive influence of an ecocentric rather than an anthropocentric life view in today's world and was manifest in the Traveston Dam decision to put the possible effects of this dam on a few species ahead of the interests of hundreds of thousands of human beings. Other decisions such as this seem to be a radical wish to return to a primitive, animistic, anti-technology, Jean-Jacques Rousseau-inspired agrarian society so as to avoid any possible harm to nature.

Having worked for more than 20 years on transport projects in Southeast Asia to help raise human beings from their poverty, I find this ecocentric view to be immoral in many ways. I consider that India and China have been morally correct in their decisions to put present economic growth and the elimination of poverty ahead of possible future environmental benefits. In my transport field I find myself coming up against environmentalists who cannot see the economic and environmental benefits of putting more traffic on freeways that have 30 per cent less fuel and greenhouse emissions, 50 per cent less particulate emissions, 70 per cent fewer crash fatalities and 30 per cent lower economic vehicle operating costs than on stop-start arterial roads.

I also find myself up against public transport advocates who cannot admit that the motor car has given people the freedom to work, travel and live where they want. They cannot admit that the car is the most equitably distributed form of transport that Australia has seen and that it was a major instrument for the promotion of gender equity in the 20th century. It has allowed women to do what they want to do because they can now make chained trips to work, shop, drop children off to school and make social visits, trips which are not possible in any other form of transport.

It is also not well known that cars are a more sustainable form of transport than public transport as the cost of a car trip, including externalities, is lower than a public transport trip including government subsidies.

The anti-motor car ideologues remind me a little of the duke of Wellington who was opposed to the development of railways because they allowed "the masses to travel needlessly".

I also find myself in the camp of the sceptics with respect to anthropogenic global warning. Not, it must be said, in the right-wing camp but in the geological scientists' camp, having researched the formation and engineering properties of the deltaic clays in Southeast Asia. The rise in temperatures of more than 6C and the rise in sea level of 130m during the past 15,000 years, without any anthropogenic emissions, show me that the forces in our solar system are much larger than our puny efforts in affecting climate change.

It may be that humans are rebelling against a purely intellectual approach to life and are cleaving to a more emotional, romantic view of an organic, holistic world. Rationalism does not, however, have to kill what it dissects, and there are many of us who still cling to the concepts of rationalism, a web of being and reverence for life that still leave human beings as important members of this world.


Scepticism stems from a worthy spirit of inquiry

By Greg Melleuish -- writing from Australia

WE are truly living in a strange world when the word sceptic, as in the term climate sceptic, has come to be used as an insult. It used to be the case that there was something honourable about being a sceptic. It meant one did not merely take things on trust; that one insisted on a rigorous examination of both evidence and argument before exercising one's judgment on a particular matter.

Even then a good sceptic would recognise that this judgment was only provisional, as more evidence or a better explanation could emerge. Human beings are fallible creatures; none of us can claim to have a monopoly on truth. Be it physics, history or even climate science, there will always be competing explanations.

Attempts to impose a single model or explanation will always be doomed to failure. I recently read Ross Honeywell's Lamarck's Evolution, in which he discusses the career of Australian biologist Ted Steele. Steele has defied the Darwinian consensus and argues for a more Lamarckian view of evolution. Despite much opposition from within the scientific community, the evidence has emerged to support Steele's position.

A democratic society can only flourish if it allows a range of ideas and views to thrive. Some of these ideas will turn out to be wrong; the price of openness is to allow both the sensible and the ratbags to have their say. Open societies work. Failed ideas can be discarded and replaced by better ones rather than congealing into dogmas and ideologies. Scientific ideas, like historical interpretations, are never settled. There will always be challenges as new data comes to light.

What does it mean then when supporters of one interpretation of climate change claim that those who do not support them are deniers, not really scientists and therefore not worthy of a hearing? It can only mean one thing. One group of people has attempted to turn its particular interpretation into a dogma that is beyond challenge. It has become a form of absolute truth. This is not a form of scientific activity but a political act.

It can be quite difficult to move from the messy world of science, its provisional explanations and need for revisions, to that of public policy in which governments take action. Definite action requires certainty. The science cannot be open to question. There is a real conflict here between the provisional nature of scientific and academic activity and the need for governments to take clear-cut and definite action. They cannot be reconciled because those engaged in the world of ideas and science will always find qualifications and possible objections to any theory.

However, we now have a generation of scientists and academics with a desire to have an impact on the world. They are willing to create dogmas so governments will act according to their wishes. This represents the triumph of political over academic and scientific values.

I was struck recently by the similarity between the present debate on climate change and the referendum on the republic held in 1999. On that occasion I asked some of my academic colleagues their views on the effect of changing the wording of sections of the commonwealth Constitution. They told me they had not looked at the proposed changes. They would simply support the case for a republic on trust.

It seems to me that we are now in an analogous situation. Many people are supporting the case for climate change simply on trust. The scientists have spoken and they are happy to accept what they have said.

What is odd is that many of those who are willing to accept climate change dogma are well educated. They have been educated at universities that are supposedly devoted to encouraging rigorous analysis and respect for a diversity of intellectual views.

Why are climate change advocates so willing to accept so much on authority and not use their critical faculties? There is an obvious answer. Their education has taught them that the political is more important than the intellectual. Political action trumps rigorous intellectual investigation. This attitude is no longer confined to the humanities and the social sciences; as climate change dogma indicates, it has also infected the so-called hard sciences.

It is a sad state of affairs. For a democracy to flourish, it needs also to be an open society in which a variety of viewpoints can jostle for public attention. When the term sceptic becomes a term of abuse, and there is willingness by many to demonise those who do not agree with them, then one must be concerned about the future of our democracy.

What is particularly worrying is that those who are leading this drive away from discussion and debate towards a passive acceptance of climate change dogma are often very well educated. What has happened to their spirit of open inquiry?



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

Silly little Sharon Begley doesn't even know the difference between a lake and a reservoir

And she finds rainfall shocking! Typical that she writes for NEWSWEAK. Her article below is about dam reservoirs but she heads it as "The Lake Effect" -- and implies that it tells us something about global warming! Even the fact that dams have discharge pipes to control their water level seems unknown to her. Dams are actively managed. It's only a weir where water runs over the top in an uncontrolled way. And there are some very old weirs that are still working fine too

Unfortunately for the denialists, examples of how human activities can alter climate keep accumulating. The latest has nothing to do with the greenhouse effect but underlines the fact that ordinary activities can have unexpected meteorological consequences. To wit: large dams seem to be altering rainfall patterns.

Geophysicists have suspected as much for years, notes a team of scientists in a paper in the Dec. 1 issue of Eos, a publication of the American Geophysical Union. But it is becoming clearer that in addition to providing lots of water to evaporate and then return to the ground as rainfall, as scientists at MIT described in a 1996 study, dams also make local meteorological conditions more conducive to precipitation.

In particular, explain Faisal Hossain and Indumathi Jeyachandran of Tennessee Technological University and Roger Pielke Sr. of the University of Colorado, Boulder, dams increase atmospheric instabilities in the vertical profile of temperature and humidity. Those instabilities arise because the presence of a dam—specifically, the reservoir it creates—increases evaporation and therefore atmospheric moisture. That enhances the amount of convective energy in the air above the reservoir. The end result: more precipitation.

Weather records support this theoretical reasoning. For one thing, there are more thunderstorms in the vicinity of a large dam compared with before the dam was built. For another, large dams are contributing to the "when it rains, it pours" phenomenon: longer periods without precipitation punctuated by drenching, flood-inducing downpours. Extreme precipitation events (rainfall that's greater than 99 percent of historic rainfalls) around large dams have increased significantly, as Hossain describes in an upcoming paper: 99th-percentile downpours in the region of a large dam have increased 4 percent per year after a large dam was built, especially in southern Africa, India, the western United States, and Central Asia. Other studies have shown how changes in land cover as seemingly innocuous as irrigating fields and draining swamps can alter local precipitation patterns, as this paper as well as this one have described.

The significance of dams altering local weather is not merely another example of the power of human activities to change the climate. There is also a more practical issue. When dams are constructed, engineers make assumptions about how frequently large floods will occur, and they build the dam to withstand them. But if the proverbial 100-year flood occurs more frequently because of the very presence of a dam, that calculation is wrong, and the dam may be subjected to more frequent and more extreme flood-inducing downpours. A "flood-safe" dam may not be.

As the Eos authors warn, "it is therefore possible that a large dam may be found years later to actually have been designed for a flood with a much lower recurrence interval (or higher frequency) than originally expected because the frequency of extreme precipitation events has increased due to the reservoir's presence. Such a possibility raises concerns about dam safety…[That risk is] compounded by the fact that conventional dam and reservoir design over the past century has been 'one- way,' with no acknowledgment of the possible feedback mechanisms" between the presence of a dam and rainfall. "Indeed, dam design protocol in civil engineering continues to assume unchanging [patterns of] extreme precipitation events." The risk is also compounded by the age of dams: some 85 percent of large dams in the United States will be more than 50 years old by 2020.


Pesky Swiss glaciers

They are actually melting more slowly now than in the 1940s. And the melting correlates with measures of radiation from the sun! But the Greenie authors are not admitting anything. It's possible to dream up an ad hoc (unpredicted) explanation for anything and the Greenies are good at that. They need to be

The most recent studies by researchers at ETH Zurich show that in the 1940s Swiss glaciers were melting at an even-faster pace than at present. This is despite the fact that the temperatures in the 20th century were lower than in this century. Researchers see the main reason for this as the lower level of aerosol pollution in the atmosphere.

In Switzerland, the increase in snow in wintertime and the glacier melt in summertime have been measured at measurement points at around 3,000 metres above sea level -- on the Clariden Firn, the Great Aletsch glacier and the Silvretta glacier -- without interruption for almost 100 years. As part of his doctoral work, Matthias Huss used this unique range of measurements to examine how climate change in the last century affected the glaciers. The work was carried out under the supervision of Martin Funk, professor and head of the Department for Glaciology at the Laboratory for Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology ('VAW') at ETH Zurich, who is also co-author of the study.

Solar radiation as the decisive factor

In its work, the research team took into account the solar radiation measured on the Earth's surface in Davos since 1934. Studies over the past two decades have shown that solar radiation varies substantially due to aerosols and clouds, and this is assumed to influence climate fluctuations. Recent years have seen the emergence of the terms 'global dimming' and 'global brightening' to describe these phenomena of reduced and increased solar radiation respectively. These two effects are currently the subject of more and more scientific research, in particular by ETH Zurich, as experts feel that they should be taken into account in the climate models.

The new study, published in the journal 'Geophysical Research Letters', confirms this requirement. This is because, taking into account the data recorded for the level of solar radiation, the scientists made a surprising discovery: in the 1940s and in the summer of 1947 especially, the glaciers lost the most ice since measurements commenced in 1914. This is in spite of the fact that temperatures were lower than in the past two decades. "The surprising thing is that this paradox can be explained relatively easily with radiation," says Huss, who was recently appointed to the post of senior lecturer at the Department of Geosciences at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.

On the basis of their calculations, the researchers have concluded that the high level of short-wave radiation in the summer months is responsible for the fast pace of glacier melt. In the 1940s, the level was 8% higher than the long-term average and 18 Watts per square metres above the levels of the past ten years. Calculated over the entire decade of the 1940s, this resulted in 4% more snow and ice melt compared with the past ten years.

Furthermore, the below-average melt rates at the measurement points during periods in which the glacier snouts were even advancing correlate with a phase of global dimming, between the 1950s and the 1980s.

Less snow fall and longer melt periods

The researchers arrived at their findings by calculating the daily melt rates with the aid of climate data and a temperature index model, based on the half-yearly measurements on the glaciers since 1914. These results were then compared with the long-term measurements of solar radiation in Davos.

Huss points out that the strong glacier melt in the 1940s puts into question the assumption that the rate of glacier decline in recent years "has never been seen before." "Nevertheless," says the glaciologist, "this should not lead people to conclude that the current period of global warming is not really as big of a problem for the glaciers as previously assumed." This is because it is not only the pace at which the Alpine glaciers are currently melting that is unusual, but the fact that this sharp decline has been unabated for 25 years now.

Another aspect to consider -- and this is evidenced by the researchers' findings -- is that temperature-based opposing mechanisms came into play around 30 years ago. These have led to a 12% decrease in the amount of precipitation that falls as snow as a percentage of total precipitation, accompanied by an increase of around one month in the length of the melt period ever since this time. Scientists warn that these effects could soon be matched by the lower level of solar radiation we have today compared with the 1940s.


CRU’s forecast: UK winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”

Richard North from the EU Referendum writes of a curious juxtaposition of forecasts, then and now. I thought it worth sharing here since it highlights the chutzpah with which CRU botched their forecast in March of 2000. At least they didn’t claim that UK snowfall was in a “death spiral”.

From The Independent on 20 March 2000 we got the headline: “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past”. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

Then, from the Telegraph online today we get: “Snow and ice to hit Britain at New Year.” The mercury is set to drop to 28°F (-3°C) in most of England and Wales on Thursday night, New Year’s Eve, and 17°F (-8°C) in Scotland, with widespread snow showers also predicted. New Year’s Day will also be chilly, with the northern half of Britain’s struggling to get above freezing during the day, while London will do well to reach 39°F (4°C). The forecast follows a spell of snow, sleet and ice which has gripped Britain for more than a week but relented in most parts over recent days.

It is so good to see in The Independent that the CRU is living up to its justly acquired reputation for accuracy. I’ll also point out that this “very rare and exciting event” happened in London last year also. "Snow blankets London for Global Warming debate – first October Snow in over 70 years"

SOURCE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Greenie panic as an excuse for extreme socialism again

Review below from a Leftist site of "Time’s Up", by Keith Farnish

Environmentalists are often accused of wanting to send us back to the dark ages, but in three years of researching and writing about green issues, I’ve only come across a handful of people who actually advocate a complete undoing of industrial society (I’m not one of them, by the way). To that small collection I can now add Keith Farnish and his book on human overreaching, Time’s Up: An uncivilized solution to a global crisis.

It’s an unusual book. It begins with a series of chapters that zoom out from the microscopic to whole ecosystems – an elaborate way of showing the sheer scope of our meddling in the earth’s systems, from viruses to forests, and the extent to which we have left ourselves vulnerable. It could be the little things that get us, the changing disease patterns that climate change and industrial farming are creating, or it could be the big things, like deforestation. Either way, “nothing is so dependent on other forms of life as humans, the ultimate consumers.”

So who are we to have put ourselves outside the rest of creation in this way? And does it matter? Having set out the parameters of the problem, Farnish spends the next section of the book examining humanity and our place in the world. Eventually he narrows our dillemma down to cultural factors: “much of humanity has become a commercial entity” he concludes, a culture that puts economic gain above all else, regardless of the consequences. Here he hits on what I’d describe as a spiritual insight, although Farnish wouldn’t use that term himself – “sustainability is not just about the use of natural resources; it is about the use of our lives.”

In order to bring our lives back into balance, we need to establish a connection with the natural world, a connection that has “ebbed away from the majority of humans”. Fatally so, as far as the author is concerned. “Failure to connect is the reason humanity is pulling the plug on its life support machine.” Unfortunately, the whole of our culture is engineered to prevent us connecting, and to keep us in the man-made bubble of consumerism. Farnish’s outines ten strategies, and these are very useful, describing how our culture gives us selected freedoms, uses our fear against us, idolises choice and exploits our trust. Unfortunately, we’re all implicated. We rail against the system, but we are the system.

For Farnish then, there’s only one possible solution. Industrial civilization is “fatally flawed and needs to be removed from the face of the earth, before the inevitable ecological collapse brings it down in far more horrible circumstances.” The best thing to do then it to pull out, to unplug from it and go it alone, and this is where I part company with Farnish. The closing chapters of Time’s Up describe a world with “no cities, no paved roads, no pylons, no offices or factories”, but there were cities and paved roads long before industrialization. Among the skills that Farnish recommends we learn are ’shelter building’, but are all our houses going to collapse along with the stock markets?

I agree that industrial civilization is unsustainable and inhuman and has to go, but I believe in transitioning out of it. I believe we can adapt, commit to an ‘energy descent’ path, downsize. We have to live with less, not with nothing. We need appropriate technology, not no technology, and we need to be able to offer people a compelling view of the future. People would rather continue in denial than vote for wilderness.

Time’s Up ends up rather patchy, full of good ideas but ultimately not very useful. On one page, the author observes that “true selfishness happens when the veneer between survival and excess is breached.” That’s a rather neat idea, but then just two paragraphs later he says “selfishness is not some innate, unlearned behaviour: it is something almost totally alien to pre-industrial society.” The constant warfare of history begs to differ, and Jarred Diamond and others have shown that plenty of pre-industrial societies lived beyond their means, as far back as the Neanderthals driving buffalo herds over cliffs because it was easier than hunting. I also disagree with Farnish’s assertion that hope is fundamentally disempowering, as we lose the will to act. I’d argue that hope is active, not passive, and is the most empowering thing in the world. Passive hope is not hope at all, but wishful thinking.

In short, Time’s Up remains a worthwhile read, but it falls short on the practicalities. Farnish almost admits as much, and hosts the ongoing discussions on his blogs, the unsuitablog and the earth blog.


Wasteful "energy-saving" nonsense in Britain

Telling power companies to go around insulating houses is something that only "off the planet" socialists would have thought of. So no wonder that the power companies look for loopholes

Twelve million low-energy light bulbs were posted to households over Christmas by an energy company as part of its legal obligation to cut carbon emissions, despite government advice that many would never be used. Npower sent out the packages last month to escape a ban on issuing unsolicited bulbs, which came into force yesterday. The German-owned company saved millions of pounds by giving away the bulbs. Alternative ways of meeting its obligation, such as insulating homes, are much more effective but up to seven times more expensive. It faced a fine of more than £40 million, or 10 per cent of its turnover, if it failed to meet its target for improving efficiency in homes under the carbon emissions reduction target scheme.

Households have received more than 180 million free or subsidised low-energy bulbs in the past 18 months. A survey in July by the Energy Saving Trust found that the average home had six unused ones lying in drawers and cupboards.

In 2008 the Government ordered the big energy companies to invest in measures for improving energy efficiency and cutting fuel poverty. Companies can choose how to meet their obligations. Each measure they fund is given a score for the lifetime carbon savings that it achieves.

The scheme made assumptions about the usage of light bulbs that turned out to be wildly optimistic. Companies were allowed to register immediate carbon savings from every bulb issued on the assumption that all recipients instantly installed them in some of their most intensively used light sockets. In reality, many people either stored the bulbs or threw them away, often because they were the wrong fitting or wattage.

The companies can also meet their obligations by paying for homes to be insulated. This guarantees energy savings but is much more expensive.

According to the latest government estimates, each low-energy bulb costs an energy company £2.97 and saves 0.04 tonnes of carbon over its lifetime. Insulating the external solid walls of a three-bedroom semi-detached house costs £8,760 and saves 18.08 tonnes. A company can achieve the same score of 18.08 tonnes by posting 452 bulbs, costing only £1,342.

In the first 18 months of the scheme, companies issued 182 million bulbs but insulated only 17,000 solid-wall homes. Britain has 6.6 million solid-wall homes requiring insulation. Companies can pass on all the costs of the scheme to their customers. Over three years it is expected to add more than £100 to the average household’s energy bills.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change quietly admitted in June that the scheme was flawed and resulting in significant wastage. In a paragraph buried in a 30-page “impact assessment”, the department said: “Government is increasingly concerned that the number of lamps already distributed has been so high that it may work out at more than the average number of highest-use light fittings in a house. “As such, there is an increasing risk to carbon savings under the scheme where lamps are not used, are installed on low-use light fittings, or replace existing [low-energy bulbs].”

It said that direct mailouts of bulbs would be banned from January 1, 2010, allowing six months for companies to wind down their schemes.

Npower, which had a turnover of £427 million in 2008, initially focused on home insulation but was named a few months ago as the energy supplier that was farthest from achieving its green energy target. Companies that fail to meet their obligations by 2011 will be fined up to 10 per cent of their turnover. It began posting 12 million bulbs on November 27, five months after the ban had been announced and just as the postal system was struggling to cope with the volume of Christmas mail.

A spokeswoman for the energy company said that the scheme was designed to be completed on New Year’s Eve, hours before the ban came into force at midnight. She admitted that Npower did not know how many of the bulbs would be used. “There is nothing under [the carbon emissions reduction target scheme] that means we have to get evidence that bulbs are being used. It’s up to the customer,” she said.


Australian electricity prices set to double under Warmist laws

THE wholesale price of electricity will more than double within two years and triple in the next two decades under the Rudd Government's plans to tackle climate change. New modelling by the Government's energy market operator reveals the wholesale price of electricity will rise from $30 per megawatt hour in 2010 to about $100 by 2024. In a national transmission report released before Christmas, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) predicts the price will double to $60 per megawatt hour by 2012. The wholesale price makes up less than half of the final bill that reaches each customer, who also pays distribution costs.

The AEMO modelling is based on Treasury's carbon price estimates under the proposed emissions trading scheme, which from next year will force big polluters to pay for their emissions.

Opposition energy spokesman Nick Minchin yesterday accused the Rudd Government of trying to hide the real costs of tackling climate change. "I think Australians will be stunned to learn that their power bills could more than triple as a result of Mr Rudd's climate change policies," Senator Minchin said.

Earlier this week, the Rudd Government released its own Treasury modelling, which it said revealed low-income households would be $190-a-year better off under its proposed scheme. The Government said its measures to cut carbon emissions would cost low-income households $420 a year, but they would receive $610 in assistance from the Government to offset the higher prices.

The price shock comes as Queenslanders prepare for surging power bills next year with the latest draft proposal by the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) estimated to add $250 to the average household bill. Households also face the prospect of paying more for their electricity during peak times, with State Cabinet due to consider a suite of proposed new tariffs as part of a QCA review early this year. Peak pricing measures are aimed at reducing power use at times during the day when electricity is more expensive to supply.

The Federal Government was also warned in October about the likely impact of its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme on energy costs in a report prepared by the Australian Energy Market Commission, an advisory body to energy ministers. "The underlying costs of supply might also become more volatile. This will translate to customers being exposed to higher prices, and potentially more frequent price changes," it said.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

More on British Met Office deception

Re my post "Another example of strange data selectivity by British climatologists", my correspondent has been doing a bit more investigation and reports as follows:

Harkening back to my old standby, Wolfram Alpha...: Again, click on "All" in the drop-down menu of the "History & forecast section" displaying "Current week" to see that the temperature record is essentially flat over the period surveyed -- from 1945 on. While the curve fitting indicates a tiny (statistically insignificant) increase, it can be seen that is because of a low initial value followed by more than a decade of apparently missing data that seem to be included in the curve fitting.

So, there is data, and it shows NO SIGNIFICANT WARMING. Naturally they didn't use it.

Dry period in the Amazon?

Possibly contemporaeous with the Little Ice Age in Europe?

With the aid of satellite imagery from Google Earth, soon archeologists in Brazil will be finding more and more large geometric designs carved into the ground in the Amazon rainforest. The geoglyphs are believed to have been sculpted by ancient people from the Amazon region around 700 years ago, though their purpose is still unknown. So far, nearly 300 geoglyphs have been identified, but with advances in satellite imaging--and increased clearing of the jungle coverage--scientists are hoping to discover many more of these strange, geometric designs.

One of the factors that contributed to so many geoglyphs being undetected prior to the aid of satallites is their enormous size. According to leading geoglyph scientist Alceu Ranzi, his latest discoveries--five sets of geometric shapes, with circles, squares and lines--can measure more than a mile from one extreme to another. "You do not see them in field. There is a difference in the color of grass but is very thin. If there were no satellite images, there would be no possibility [of making these new discoveries]."

Because they've been so hard to find, the first geoglyphs weren't discovered until the 1970s. Since then, scientists have been trying to piece together what significance they may have had to ancient Amazonians. What ever the purpose may have been, there's one thing that is certain: the ancient civilizations of the rainforest were more numerous and sophisticated than previously imagined.

According to a report from Globo, the new marks were only discovered because the jungle coverage had been removed to due to deforestation in the Amazon. These structures are deep, with grooves are as large as 12 meters wide and four deep, but it is believed that they were built when jungle abounded--which would make their construction all the more difficult.

Ranzi seems open to other possibilities: "Was it really forest [when the drawings were built] or did they occupy this area at a time of climate crisis, like that of 2005?"


CRU antics were probably illegal as well as unethical and unscientific

By Garth Paltridge, an atmospheric physicist and former chief research scientist with Australia's CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research

THE Climategate scandal continues to unfold. The thousands of emails leaked to the internet from the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia reveal a tight-knit, influential group of scientists whose attitude to their profession is, to say the least, distorted.

It seems that a religious belief in disastrous climate change has destroyed their common sense and their appreciation of what is the appropriate way to carry out research.

Climategate may at least demonstrate that the concept of a scientific consensus with regard to global warming is nonsense. There may indeed be thousands of scientists contributing to the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but on any particular aspect of the overall story all have to rely on the word of the few scientists who are directly involved. And when the particular aspect concerns experimental data on which the whole story rests, the data purporting to show the world is getting warmer, then the consensus argument is indeed on shaky ground.

On the evidence so far, there is not much doubt that the group of scientists linked to the CRU has behaved fairly badly. Any individual email from the Climategate pile may be explained and excused as a stupid mistake of the time, but when all are taken together it seems obvious enough that there have been lots of violations of what might be called the scientific code. The most glaring examples concern efforts to keep basic sets of data out of the hands of people who may not be sympathetic to the official story about the disastrous nature of global warming. This, when the CRU is specifically paid to collate the data gathered by national meteorological services across the world, and to make the data available to outside scientists to check and to use.

In any event, the CRU information is covered by environmental information regulations that specifically require public bodies in Britain to make their data progressively available to the public by electronic means that are easily accessible.

So the ducking and weaving in the face of reasonable requests for CRU data by outside scientists and indeed in the face of Freedom of Information requests by those same outside scientists may not be just bad scientific form. It may be illegal. Which makes the lukewarm reaction to Climategate by the great and powerful of the scientific establishment even more difficult to swallow. The journal Nature, for instance, has this to say: "If there are benefits to the email theft, one [of those benefits] is to highlight yet again the harassment that denialists inflict on some climate-change researchers, often in the form of endless, time-consuming demands for information under the US and UK Freedom of Information Acts."

Let us ignore the fact that even a prestigious journal such as Nature is happy to label scientific scepticism as the work of "denialists", which is good evidence that the CRU disease has spread far and wide into the general science community. Prior to Climategate, there were probably fewer than a dozen FOI demands to CRU. There would have been no need even for those if the information had been made available when it was first requested.

I said recently in my book The Climate Caper that most scientists simply cannot believe that their colleagues would deliberately oversell a scientific conclusion for the benefit of a political cause. Dishonesty of that nature would fly in the face of everything that the rather idealistic typical scientist has been taught about his profession.

Perhaps Climategate will provide a medium for introducing typical scientists to the real world and perhaps as well it will re-introduce them to the idea that scepticism is the basis of the profession.


It’s Always the End of the World as We Know It

By New Zealand philosopher Denis Dutton

IT seems so distant, 1999. Bill Clinton had survived impeachment, his popularity hardly dented, Sept. 11 was just another date and music fans were enjoying a young singer named Britney Spears....

The Y2K catastrophe was promoted with increasing shrillness toward century’s end: headlines proclaimed a “computer time bomb” or “a date with disaster.” Vanity Fair’s January 1999 article “The Y2K Nightmare” caught the sensationalist tone, claiming that “folly, greed and denial” had “muffled two decades of warnings from technology experts.”

Among the most reviled of the Y2K deniers was Bill Gates, who not only declared that Microsoft’s PCs would take the date turnover in stride, but had the audacity to blame those who “love to tell tales of fear” for the worldwide anxiety. Mr. Gates’s denialism was ignored as governments and corporations set in place immensely expensive schemes to immunize systems against the Y2K bug.

They weren’t the only ones keen to get in on the end-time spirit. The Rev. Jerry Falwell suggested that Y2K would be the confirmation of Christian prophecy, “God’s instrument to shake this nation, to humble this nation.” The Y2K crisis might incite a worldwide revival that would lead to “the rapture of the church.” Along with many survivalists, Mr. Falwell advised stocking up on food and guns.

So the scene was set here in New Zealand for midnight on Dec. 31, 1999. We are just west of the dateline, and thus would be the first to experience not only popping Champagne corks and fireworks, but the Y2K catastrophe, if any. As clocks hit midnight, Champagne and skyrockets were the only explosions of interest, since telephones, ATMs, cars, computers and airplanes worked just fine. The head of the government’s Y2K Readiness Commission declared victory: “New Zealand’s investment in planning and preparation has paid off.”

Confident that our millions were well spent, we waited for news of the calamities sure to hit countries that had ignored Y2K. Asia, a Deutsche Bank official had predicted, was going to be “burnt toast” on New Year’s Day — not just the lesser-developed areas of Vietnam and China, but South Korea, which by 1999 was a highly computer-dependent society. South Korea, one computer expert told me, had a national telephone system similar to British Telecom’s. But where the British had wisely sunk millions of pounds into Y2K remediation, South Korea had done next to nothing.

However, exactly 10 years ago today, as the date change moved on through the Far East, India, Russia, the Middle East and Europe, it became apparent that it made little difference whether you lived in Britain, which at great expense had revamped many of its computer systems, or the lackadaisical Ukraine, which had ignored the issue.

With minor glitches that would have gone unnoticed any other day of the week, the world kept ticking on. It must have been galling for computer-conscientious Germans to observe how life continued its pleasurable path for feckless Italians, who had generally paid no attention to Y2K. There were problems, to be sure: in Australia, a bus-ticket machine stamped the wrong date, while in Britain a tide gauge in Portsmouth Harbor failed. Still, the South Korean phone system came through unscathed.

By the time midnight reached the United States, where upward of $100 billion had been spent on Y2K fixes, there was little anxiety. Indeed, the general health of American information systems, fixed and not, became clearer in the new year. The Small Business Administration calculated that 1.5 million businesses had undertaken no Y2K remediation. On Jan. 3, it received about 40 phone calls from businesses that had experienced minor faults, like cash registers that misread the year “2000” as “1900” (which seemed everywhere the single most common error caused by Y2K).

KNOWING our computers is difficult enough. Harder still is to know ourselves, including our inner demons. From today’s perspective, the Y2K fiasco seems to be less about technology than about a morbid fascination with end-of-the-world scenarios. This ought to strike us as strange. The cold war was fading in 1999, we were witnessing a worldwide growth in wealth and standards of living, and Islamic terrorism was not yet seen as a serious global threat. It should have been a year of golden weather, a time for the human race to relax and look toward a brighter, more peaceful future. Instead, with computers as a flimsy pretext, many seemed to take pleasure in frightening themselves to death over a coming calamity.

No doubt part of the blame must go to those consultants who took businesses and governments for an expensive ride in the lead-up to New Year’s Day. But doom-laden exaggerations about Y2K fell on ears that were all-too receptive. The Y2K fiasco was about more than simple prudence.

Religions from Zoroastrianism to Judaism to Christianity to U.F.O. cults have been built around notions of sin and the world’s end. The Y2K threat resonated with those ideas. Human beings have constructed an enormous, wasteful, unnatural civilization, filled with sin — or, worse in some minds, pollution and environmental waste. Suppose it turned out that a couple of zeros inadvertently left off old computer codes brought crashing down the very civilization computers helped to create. Cosmic justice!

The theme of our fancy inventions ultimately destroying us has been a favorite in fiction at least since Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” We can place alongside this a continuous succession of spectacular films built on visions of the end of the world. Such end-time fantasies must have a profound, persistent appeal in order to keep drawing wide-eyed crowds into movie theaters, as historically they have drawn crowds into churches, year after year.

Apocalyptic scenarios are a diversion from real problems — poverty, terrorism, broken financial systems — needing intelligent attention. Even something as down-to-earth as the swine-flu scare has seemed at moments to be less about testing our health care system and its emergency readiness than about the fate of a diseased civilization drowning in its own fluids. We wallow in the idea that one day everything might change in, as St. Paul put it, the “twinkling of an eye” — that a calamity might prove to be the longed-for transformation. But turning practical problems into cosmic cataclysms takes us further away from actual solutions.

This applies, in my view, to the towering seas, storms, droughts and mass extinctions of popular climate catastrophism. Such entertaining visions owe less to scientific climatology than to eschatology, and that familiar sense that modernity and its wasteful comforts are bringing us closer to a biblical day of judgment. As that headline put it for Y2K, predictions of the end of the world are often intertwined with condemnations of human “folly, greed and denial.” Repent and recycle!


A "Green" nuke?

It would be if Greenies were logical but their reactions are akin to kneejerks, with very little influence from the cerebral cortex at all

The thick hardbound volume was sitting on a shelf in a colleague’s office when Kirk Sorensen spotted it. A rookie NASA engineer at the Marshall Space Flight Center, Sorensen was researching nuclear-powered propulsion, and the book’s title — Fluid Fuel Reactors — jumped out at him. He picked it up and thumbed through it. Published in 1958 under the auspices of the Atomic Energy Commission as part of its Atoms for Peace program, Fluid Fuel Reactors is a book only an engineer could love: a dense, 978-page account of research conducted at Oak Ridge National Lab, most of it under former director Alvin Weinberg. What caught Sorensen’s eye was the description of Weinberg’s experiments producing nuclear power with an element called thorium.

At the time, in 2000, Sorensen was just 25, engaged to be married and thrilled to be employed at his first serious job as a real aerospace engineer. A devout Mormon with a linebacker’s build and a marine’s crew cut, Sorensen made an unlikely iconoclast. But the book inspired him to pursue an intense study of nuclear energy over the next few years, during which he became convinced that thorium could solve the nuclear power industry’s most intractable problems. After it has been used as fuel for power plants, the element leaves behind minuscule amounts of waste. And that waste needs to be stored for only a few hundred years, not a few hundred thousand like other nuclear byproducts. Because it’s so plentiful in nature, it’s virtually inexhaustible. It’s also one of only a few substances that acts as a thermal breeder, in theory creating enough new fuel as it breaks down to sustain a high-temperature chain reaction indefinitely. And it would be virtually impossible for the byproducts of a thorium reactor to be used by terrorists or anyone else to make nuclear weapons.

Weinberg and his men proved the efficacy of thorium reactors in hundreds of tests at Oak Ridge from the ’50s through the early ’70s. But thorium hit a dead end. Locked in a struggle with a nuclear- armed Soviet Union, the US government in the ’60s chose to build uranium-fueled reactors — in part because they produce plutonium that can be refined into weapons-grade material. The course of the nuclear industry was set for the next four decades, and thorium power became one of the great what-if technologies of the 20th century.

Today, however, Sorensen spearheads a cadre of outsiders dedicated to sparking a thorium revival. When he’s not at his day job as an aerospace engineer at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama — or wrapping up the master’s in nuclear engineering he is soon to earn from the University of Tennessee — he runs a popular blog called Energy From Thorium. A community of engineers, amateur nuclear power geeks, and researchers has gathered around the site’s forum, ardently discussing the future of thorium. The site even links to PDFs of the Oak Ridge archives, which Sorensen helped get scanned. Energy From Thorium has become a sort of open source project aimed at resurrecting long-lost energy technology using modern techniques.

And the online upstarts aren’t alone. Industry players are looking into thorium, and governments from Dubai to Beijing are funding research. India is betting heavily on the element.

The concept of nuclear power without waste or proliferation has obvious political appeal in the US, as well. The threat of climate change has created an urgent demand for carbon-free electricity, and the 52,000 tons of spent, toxic material that has piled up around the country makes traditional nuclear power less attractive. President Obama and his energy secretary, Steven Chu, have expressed general support for a nuclear renaissance. Utilities are investigating several next-gen alternatives, including scaled-down conventional plants and “pebble bed” reactors, in which the nuclear fuel is inserted into small graphite balls in a way that reduces the risk of meltdown.

Those technologies are still based on uranium, however, and will be beset by the same problems that have dogged the nuclear industry since the 1960s. It is only thorium, Sorensen and his band of revolutionaries argue, that can move the country toward a new era of safe, clean, affordable energy.

Named for the Norse god of thunder, thorium is a lustrous silvery-white metal. It’s only slightly radioactive; you could carry a lump of it in your pocket without harm. On the periodic table of elements, it’s found in the bottom row, along with other dense, radioactive substances — including uranium and plutonium — known as actinides....

Uranium is currently the actinide of choice for the industry, used (sometimes with a little plutonium) in 100 percent of the world’s commercial reactors. But it’s a problematic fuel. In most reactors, sustaining a chain reaction requires extremely rare uranium-235, which must be purified, or enriched, from far more common U-238. The reactors also leave behind plutonium-239, itself radioactive (and useful to technologically sophisticated organizations bent on making bombs). And conventional uranium-fueled reactors require lots of engineering, including neutron-absorbing control rods to damp the reaction and gargantuan pressurized vessels to move water through the reactor core. If something goes kerflooey, the surrounding countryside gets blanketed with radioactivity (think Chernobyl). Even if things go well, toxic waste is left over.

When he took over as head of Oak Ridge in 1955, Alvin Weinberg realized that thorium by itself could start to solve these problems. It’s abundant — the US has at least 175,000 tons of the stuff — and doesn’t require costly processing. It is also extraordinarily efficient as a nuclear fuel. As it decays in a reactor core, its byproducts produce more neutrons per collision than conventional fuel. The more neutrons per collision, the more energy generated, the less total fuel consumed, and the less radioactive nastiness left behind.

Even better, Weinberg realized that you could use thorium in an entirely new kind of reactor, one that would have zero risk of meltdown. The design is based on the lab’s finding that thorium dissolves in hot liquid fluoride salts. This fission soup is poured into tubes in the core of the reactor, where the nuclear chain reaction — the billiard balls colliding — happens. The system makes the reactor self-regulating: When the soup gets too hot it expands and flows out of the tubes — slowing fission and eliminating the possibility of another Chernobyl. Any actinide can work in this method, but thorium is particularly well suited because it is so efficient at the high temperatures at which fission occurs in the soup.

In 1965, Weinberg and his team built a working reactor, one that suspended the byproducts of thorium in a molten salt bath, and he spent the rest of his 18-year tenure trying to make thorium the heart of the nation’s atomic power effort. He failed. Uranium reactors had already been established, and Hyman Rickover, de facto head of the US nuclear program, wanted the plutonium from uranium-powered nuclear plants to make bombs. Increasingly shunted aside, Weinberg was finally forced out in 1973.

That proved to be “the most pivotal year in energy history,” according to the US Energy Information Administration. It was the year the Arab states cut off oil supplies to the West, setting in motion the petroleum-fueled conflicts that roil the world to this day. The same year, the US nuclear industry signed contracts to build a record 41 nuke plants, all of which used uranium. And 1973 was the year that thorium R&D faded away — and with it the realistic prospect for a golden nuclear age when electricity would be too cheap to meter and clean, safe nuclear plants would dot the green countryside.


U.S. Climate Legislation in 2010

In the wake of the bruising political battle over health care reform, several U.S. senators have signaled that they don't want to take up climate legislation during the upcoming 2010 election year.

According to Politico, Sen Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is one of many senators telling their party leaders or the administration to give up on legislation to curb global climate change. "I am communicating that in every way I know how," Sen. Landrieu says in a Politico article.

Similarly, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), told Politico, "We need to deal with the phenomena of global warming, but I think it's very difficult in the kind of economic circumstances we have right now."

As several studies have shown, the Waxman-Markey climate bill narrowly passed by the House could have severe consequences on the U.S. economy and American consumers. It could sharply raise energy costs, reduce household buying power, and result in the destruction of more than 2 million American jobs. At a time when the nation's unemployment rate stands at 10 percent, enacting Waxman-Markey climate legislation could have very unfavorable economic repercussions.

Yet, the administration continues to support a Waxman-Markey-style cap-and-trade plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "'We think that a cap-and-trade mechanism is the best way to achieve the most cost-effective reductions,'" a senior administration official told reporters last week," Politico reported.

Some senators believe that Congress should focus on passing an energy bill rather than climate legislation. Earlier this year, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported out a bill that would open the Eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil and natural gas development. Opening this area, which includes the Destin Dome proven natural gas field, would make it possible for the United States to produce more of its own energy, create jobs and generate revenue for state, federal and local governments.

Legislation that would allow for the development of domestic oil and natural gas could help to keep energy affordable and improve U.S. energy security. The United States should open more areas to energy exploration and production.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, 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 January, 2010

The more we produce CO2, the more that plants and oceans gobble it up

We actually live in a low carbon era so this is no surprise. Potential capacity for carbon absorption is large

Most of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activity does not remain in the atmosphere, but is instead absorbed by the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems. In fact, only about 45 percent of emitted carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere.

However, some studies have suggested that the ability of oceans and plants to absorb carbon dioxide recently may have begun to decline and that the airborne fraction of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions is therefore beginning to increase.

Many climate models also assume that the airborne fraction will increase. Because understanding of the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide is important for predicting future climate change, it is essential to have accurate knowledge of whether that fraction is changing or will change as emissions increase.

To assess whether the airborne fraction is indeed increasing, Wolfgang Knorr of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol reanalyzed available atmospheric carbon dioxide and emissions data since 1850 and considers the uncertainties in the data.

In contradiction to some recent studies, he finds that the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide has not increased either during the past 150 years or during the most recent five decades.

SOURCE. Journal abstract here.

German Physicists Trash Global Warming “Theory”

For any non-scientist interested in the climate debate, there is nothing better than a ready primer to guide you through the complexities of atmospheric physics – the “hardest” science of climatology. Here we outline the essential points made by Dr. Gerhard Gerlich, a respected German physicist, that counter the bogus theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).

Before going further, it’s worth bearing in mind that no climatologist ever completed any university course in climatology–that’s how new this branch of science really is. Like any new science the fall-back position of a cornered AGW proponent is the dreaded “appeal to authority” where the flustered debater, out of his or her depth, will say, “Well, professor so-and-so says it’s true – so it must be true.” Don’t fall for that proxy tree-ring counter’s gambit any longer. Here is the finest shredding of junk science you will ever read.

In a recently revised and re-published paper, Dr Gerlich debunks AGW and shows that the IPCC “consensus” atmospheric physics model tying CO2 to global warming is not only unverifiable, but actually violates basic laws of physics, i.e. the First and Second Law of Thermodynamics. The latest version of this momentous scientific paper appears in the March 2009 edition of the International Journal of Modern Physics.

The central claims of Dr. Gerlich and his colleague, Dr. Ralf Tscheuschner, include, but are not limited to:

1) The mechanism of warming in an actual greenhouse is different than the mechanism of warming in the atmosphere, therefore it is not a “greenhouse” effect and should be called something else.

2) The climate models that predict catastrophic global warming also result in a net heat flow from atmospheric greenhouse gasses to the warmer ground, which is in violation of the second law of thermodynamics.

Essentially, any machine which transfers heat from a low temperature reservoir to a high temperature reservoir without external work applied cannot exist. If it did it would be a “perpetual motion machine” – the realm of pure sci-fi.

Gerlich’s and Tscheuschner’s independent theoretical study is detailed in a lengthy (115 pages), mathematically complex (144 equations, 13 data tables, and 32 figures or graphs), and well-sourced (205 references) paper. The German physicists prove that even if CO2 concentrations double (a prospect even global warming advocates admit is decades away), the thermal conductivity of air would not change more than 0.03%. They show that the classic concept of the glass greenhouse wholly fails to replicate the physics of Earth’s climate. They also prove that a greenhouse operates as a “closed” system while the planet works as an “open” system and the term “atmospheric greenhouse effect” does not occur in any fundamental work involving thermodynamics, physical kinetics, or radiation theory. All through their paper the German scientists show how the greenhouse gas theory relies on guesstimates about the scientific properties involved to “calculate” the chaotic interplay of such a myriad and unquantifiable array of factors that is beyond even the abilities of the most powerful of modern supercomputers.

The paper’s introduction states it neatly:

(a) there are no common physical laws between the warming phenomenon in glass houses and the fictitious atmospheric greenhouse effects, (b) there are no calculations to determine an average surface temperature of a planet, (c) the frequently mentioned difference of 33 degrees Celsius is a meaningless number calculated wrongly, (d) the formulas of cavity radiation are used inappropriately, (e) the assumption of a radiative balance is unphysical, (f) thermal conductivity and friction must not be set to zero, the atmospheric greenhouse conjecture is falsified.

This thorough debunking of the theory of man made warming disproves that there exists a mechanism whereby carbon dioxide in the cooler upper atmosphere exerts any thermal “forcing” effect on the warmer surface below. To do so would violate both the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics. As there is no glass roof on the earth to trap the excess heat, it escapes upward into space.Thus we may conclude that the common sense axioms are preserved so that the deeper the ocean, the colder the water and heat rises, it does not fall. QED.

SOURCE. Journal abstract here.

Natural Variability Led to Extra-Cold 2008, Research Finds

An especially cold year in North America in 2008 led some members of the public and the media to question the scientific consensus on human-induced global warming. In addition, the cool global temperatures during the past decade may appear to contrast with the warming expected due to human influence.

To clarify the roles of human influence and natural climate variability, Perlwitz et al. used observed temperature data and a suite of climate model simulations to analyze factors contributing to the 2008 North American temperature conditions.

The researchers found that the anthropogenic forcing in 2008 did contribute to temperatures warmer than would otherwise have occurred but that those human-induced effects were overwhelmed by a particularly strong bout of natural cooling. The authors determined that the North American cooling likely resulted from a widespread natural coolness in the tropical and northeastern Pacific Ocean. [Right on! Just as natural influences caused a slight warming in the late 20th century]

The study implies [but does not prove] that the abnormally cool 2008 is not likely part of a prolonged cooling trend and that general warming trends are likely to continue.


College kids fall for "Green" hokum

I suppose it's no worse than studying "Theory" in English literature courses

Colleges are rapidly adding new majors and minors in green studies, and students are filling them fast. Nationwide, more than 100 majors, minors or certificates were created this year in energy and sustainability-focused programs at colleges big and small, says the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. That's up from just three programs added in 2005.

Two factors are driving the surge: Students want the courses, and employers want the trained students, says Paul Rowland, the association's executive director.

"There's a great perception that there's a sweet spot with energy to do good and do well, and it appears to be the place of job growth," says Rob Melnick, executive dean of the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University.

The institute started an undergraduate program in sustainability studies — with a focus on solar — a year and a half ago. It now has about 600 students who've declared sustainability a major. "The growth rate is unprecedented," even though the program has the toughest admission standards of any school at the university, Melnick says.

Other schools are also seeing big demand, including:

•Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. The school of 21,000 students has 65 majors in renewable energy, a program started in 2008 with help from a $1 million Department of Energy grant. The program has "more students wanting in than we can handle," says Richard Boser, chair of the Department of Technology. Nearby employers, including those in wind energy, hope to hire future graduates, Boser says.

•Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In September it launched a minor in energy studies. A student survey said 43% of freshmen and sophomores were very or extremely interested in it. "That's a very large number," says Vladimir Bulovic, associate professor of communication and technology. MIT's student energy club has 1,700 members, vs. several hundred a few years ago, Bulovic says.

•University of California-Berkeley. The school has seen student interest in its introductory energy class explode. Ten years ago, it attracted 40 or so students. Now, the class runs 270, says Daniel Kammen, director of the school's Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory.

The Obama administration has estimated that jobs in energy and environmental-related occupations will grow 52% from 2000 through 2016, vs. 14% for other occupations. That's partly why budget-strapped schools are adding energy and sustainability programs even while cutting other majors, Rowland says.


Next climate conference likely to be a fizzer too

The climate conferences never stop and never achieve anything -- but they are great paid holidays for the participants

IT has been said that Copenhagen was all about attitudes and aspirations and the meeting this year in Mexico City will be about results. But without the leadership of the US - which accounts for 20 per cent of all greenhouse gases - the prospects of an enforceable, verifiable and legally binding new global treaty on emissions reductions are virtually zero.

All the evidence indicates that President Barack Obama won't be able to lead the world to a post-Kyoto deal. This is because the politics of the environment have shifted dramatically in recent months. There are many reasons for the changing climate in Washington. Here are four of them:

First, both Congress and the White House remain pre-occupied with other policy priorities from overhauling the healthcare and immigration systems and increasing 30,000 troops to Afghanistan to implementing new Wall Street regulations and tackling double-digit unemployment and skyrocketing debt and deficit.

Second, polls and surveys Pew, Gallup, Zogby, Rasmussen show Americans are quickly losing faith in the science of man-made climate change. A Harris Poll found that those who believe that carbon dioxide leads to global warming have dropped from 71 per cent two years ago to only 51 per cent today. And this poll was conducted before Climategate erupted.

It may be the case that the thousands of leaked emails and documents from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit do not disprove the science of man-made global warming. But it is also true that the uproar over allegations that some IPCC scientists manipulated data, hid inconvenient evidence and tried to silence dissenting views has led to calls for government inquiries and congressional hearings into the scandal. After all, US tax dollars fund many climate scientists.

Third, world leaders are recognising that reaching a global consensus on climate change is even more difficult than reaching a global consensus on multilateral trade. China and India insist they won't be part of what they see as an economic suicide pact. In Canada, a Kyoto signatory that has increased its emissions much faster than the US, the ETS bill is stalled in legislative limbo. In Australia, the conservative opposition parties just defeated Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

In the EU, cap and trade has not only been the victim of fraudulent traders; emissions from the 27 member states have increased by nearly 2 per cent since the ETS was implemented in 2005.

Copenhagen itself failed to produce a climate deal of any substance. In this environment, the argument goes, why should the US go out on a limb and disadvantage industry?

Fourth, this year is an American election year. A huge new energy tax that threatens to cut wages and jobs unnerves politicians facing a mid-term vote. And not just Senate Republicans either. "Blue Dog" Democrats from the South as well as "Brown Dog" Democrats from the Midwest and Great Plains, whose states are dependent on coal and manufacturing, are uneasy about the administration's energy policies.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the US will help raise $US100 billion ($111bn) a year to defray the cost of climate-change mitigation in the developing world. But although the idea that rich nations should pay for poor nations to adapt to non-carbon technology may be accepted wisdom at Harvard University and The New York Times, it is hardly a vote winner in middle America during a recession. Imagine a Democrat senator from a Rust Belt state telling his coal mining constituents that they should pay higher taxes to help China become more energy efficient and more economically competitive.

Not surprisingly, nine Democrat senators recently set out the terms of their support for an emissions trading scheme, including that every other nation, especially China and India, enact and enforce carbon laws of their own. With the failure of Copenhagen, that won't happen.

Contrary to expectations, the ETS legislation that the House of Representatives narrowly approved last June failed to pass the Senate this year. Only 41 senate votes are required to filibuster the vote. And now some moderate Senate Democrats are urging the White House to ditch the ETS bill this year. At this stage, most seasoned observers in Washington think cap and trade is dead.

The administration does have one card up its sleeve: the Environmental Protection Agency. It could override Congress and impose taxes and regulation across the entire economy under clean-air laws. But such action would almost certainly be tied up in litigation for years.

Having struggled to get his landmark healthcare plan through Congress, Obama faces an uphill battle in trying to enact his energy and climate policy. If he fails at home, then expect another debacle and more disappointment at this year's climate change conference in Mexico City.


Utah snowstorm squelches climate change protest

A downtown protest of the climate change talks in Copenhagen became a victim of Wednesday's snowstorm. "Not many people showed up because of the blizzard conditions," said organizer Clea Major, an international studies student at the University of Utah.

It didn't take long for the six friends to pack up a bullhorn and posters they'd planned to use for their "scream-in," an outlet for their frustration about the failure of the Copenhagen climate talks earlier this month to curb the pollution blamed for climate change.

Still, they chatted with a few passers-by during the commuter-hour protest near the Gateway, and explained that, blizzard aside, climate change is expected to bring chaos to the global climate, said Major.

She called Wednesday evening's effort a success and possibly the first in a series. As for the snow, it's not entirely new; a protest she attended last year in Washington, D.C., suffered a similar fate. "There is always the irony element," Major said. [True believers are not swayed by reality]



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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:

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....

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.”

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").

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

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

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


"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.

"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

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?

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.

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)

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."