Friday, July 31, 2009

Climate Revolt: World’s Largest Science Group 'Startled' By Outpouring of Scientists Rejecting Man-Made Climate Fears!

Scientists seek to remove climate fear promoting editor and 'trade him to New York Times or Washington Post'

An outpouring of skeptical scientists who are members of the American Chemical Society (ACS) are revolting against the group's editor-in-chief -- with some demanding he be removed -- after an editorial appeared claiming “the science of anthropogenic climate change is becoming increasingly well established.”

The editorial claimed the "consensus" view was growing "increasingly difficult to challenge, despite the efforts of diehard climate-change deniers.” The editor now admits he is "startled" by the negative reaction from the group's scientific members. The American Chemical Society bills itself as the "world's largest scientific society."

The June 22, 2009 editorial in Chemical and Engineering News by editor in chief Rudy Baum, is facing widespread blowback and condemnation from American Chemical Society member scientists. Baum concluded his editorial by stating that “deniers” are attempting to “derail meaningful efforts to respond to global climate change.”

Dozens of letters were published on July 27, 2009 castigating Baum, with some scientists calling for his replacement as editor-in-chief.

The editorial was met with a swift, passionate and scientific rebuke from Baum's colleagues. Virtually all of the letters published on July 27 in castigated Baum's climate science views. Scientists rebuked Baum's use of the word “deniers” because of the terms “association with Holocaust deniers.” In addition, the scientists called Baum's editorial: “disgusting”; “a disgrace”; “filled with misinformation”; “unworthy of a scientific periodical” and “pap.”

One outraged ACS member wrote to Baum: "When all is said and done, and you and your kind are proven wrong (again), you will have moved on to be an unthinking urn for another rat pleading catastrophe. You will be removed. I promise."

Baum wrote on July 27, that he was "startled" and "surprised" by the "contempt" and "vehemence" of the ACS scientists to his view of the global warming "consensus."

"Some of the letters I received are not fit to print. Many of the letters we have printed are, I think it is fair to say, outraged by my position on global warming," Baum wrote.

Selected Excerpts of Skeptical Scientists:

“I think it's time to find a new editor,” ACS member Thomas E. D'Ambra wrote.

Geochemist R. Everett Langford wrote: “I am appalled at the condescending attitude of Rudy Baum, Al Gore, President Barack Obama, et al., who essentially tell us that there is no need for further research—that the matter is solved.”

ACS scientist Dennis Malpass wrote: “Your editorial was a disgrace. It was filled with misinformation, half-truths, and ad hominem attacks on those who dare disagree with you. Shameful!”

ACS member scientist Dr. Howard Hayden, a Physics Professor Emeritus from the University of Connecticut: “Baum's remarks are particularly disquieting because of his hostility toward skepticism, which is part of every scientist's soul. Let's cut to the chase with some questions for Baum: Which of the 20-odd major climate models has settled the science, such that all of the rest are now discarded? [...] Do you refer to 'climate change' instead of 'global warming' because the claim of anthropogenic global warming has become increasingly contrary to fact?"

Edward H. Gleason wrote: “Baum's attempt to close out debate goes against all my scientific training, and to hear this from my ACS is certainly alarming to me...his use of 'climate-change deniers' to pillory scientists who do not believe climate change is a crisis is disingenuous and unscientific.”

Atmospheric Chemist Roger L. Tanner: "I have very little in common with the philosophy of the Heartland Institute and other 'free-market fanatics,' and I consider myself a progressive Democrat. Nevertheless, we scientists should know better than to propound scientific truth by consensus and to excoriate skeptics with purple prose."

William Tolley: "I take great offense that Baum would use Chemical and Engineering News, for which I pay dearly each year in membership dues, to purvey his personal views and so glibly ignore contrary information and scold those of us who honestly find these views to be a hoax."

William E. Keller wrote: “However bitter you (Baum) personally may feel about CCDs (climate change deniers), it is not your place as editor to accuse them—falsely—of nonscientific behavior by using insultingly inappropriate language. [...] The growing body of scientists, whom you abuse as sowing doubt, making up statistics, and claiming to be ignored by the media, are, in the main, highly competent professionals, experts in their fields, completely honorable, and highly versed in the scientific method—characteristics that apparently do not apply to you.”

ACS member Wallace Embry: “I would like to see the American Chemical Society Board 'cap' Baum's political pen and 'trade' him to either the New York Times or Washington Post."

More HERE. (See the original for links)

Carbon trade fraud already happening in Europe

The government on Wednesday said it would make carbon emissions credits exempt from value-added tax (VAT) from Thursday in response to fraudulent trading on a French emissions exchange. Skip related content

"The new law, which takes effect from midnight tonight, follows evidence that commodity trading in emissions allowances is being used by fraudsters to steal VAT revenues from the UK, and that the UK may become a major target for this activity in the coming months," the government said in a statement.

"The threat became apparent after fraudulent trading on the BlueNext exchange prompted the French government to remove VAT from supplies of emissions allowances in France."

France and the Netherlands made changes to their carbon credit VAT rules after rumours began circulating that a recent surge in trading volumes on BlueNext was related to carousel tax fraud. In carousel fraud, also called missing trader fraud, fraudsters import goods VAT-free from other countries, then sell the goods to domestic buyers, charging them VAT. The sellers then disappear without paying the tax to the government.

Spain is reportedly looking into following suit.


Climate skeptic trumps British Met office with accurate medium-range forecast

The official Met office predicted a "BBQ summer" but July in Britain has in fact been wet and miserable -- which doesn't say much for the usefulness of the models they rely on, particularly since they have got it wrong 3 years a in a row. Private forecaster and climate skeptic Piers Corbyn works from different assumptions, enabling much more accurate prediction

In response to the question 'Does the technology exist?' to do the 'seasonal forecasting' the Met office find so hard. Piers said: "It is not a matter of technology but of the application of Physics and equations. Just as computer models of the economy fail so does the Met office approach to long range forecasting. We can predict in detail months ahead how solar particle and magnetic effects modulated by the moon cause the Jet stream - the tracks of lows - to shift. That is the key to weather type change prediction in Britain & Ireland."

He read out his WeatherAction summer forecast headline (see below) issued on 22 February which well describes the summer so far - and said it also gave more detail in 13 weather periods through the summer which were developed into 27 weather periods in the monthly forecasts. This contrasted dramatically with the Met Office 'barbecue summer' forecast issued in April - which made no attempt to identify sub-periods - and their recent meandering admissions of failure.

Piers said key points about his Solar Weather Technique (SWT) of long range forecasting are available on the web and more would come but some investors were countenancing against that. Philip Avery of BBC/Met Office then commented "Yes, because they make money". In response to this admission by the Met Office that there is merit in WeatherAction forecasts Piers said: "Yes, more will be published but you and governments will not welcome it because it will pull the rug from under your belief in man-made global warming. The world is now cooling and we can explain why."

Afterwards Piers said:

"Our summer forecast under SWT25d has gone excellently. We are especially pleased with the DETAIL in July (see below). Our month ahead forecast graph issued at end of June specifically predicted that Tuesday 28th July would be the best day in the S/E for a while, which it was.

We said the period 29th-31st would be a 'TOP Extra Activity' Red Weather Warning period with High Whirlwind/tornado risk and that during this period a month's worth of rain was likely in a few hours in places. "These extremes have been realised. Some western parts were hit by 60mm of rain on 29th and whirlwind / tornado events hit Scotland and Western parts with floods in places.

We issue weather warnings over forty days ahead while the Met Office often finds it hard to make them four hours ahead. "It's a pity that Climate campers don't feel able to use our forecasts and are getting drenched once again because their dogmatic belief in the unbelievable provided by their mates in the Met Office means they cannot make weather-wise plans. I hope soon that real climate Karma will run over their Dogma!"


Pesky Great Lakes

Warmists are determined that their water level will fall, but it is instead rising

For some time now, global warming alarmists have been squawking about how global warming will evaporate the Great Lakes to such a large extent that it will totally change the ecology of the entire region of the U.S. and Canada. Here's an article (just one of many examples mind you) from the Detroit News more than a year back about how global warming will lower lake levels: Global warming may drop Great Lakes water levels (Thu May 29, 2008). Here's a snippet from that article:
The report draws on science about global warming to make predictions for the Great Lakes, such as:

• Climate change will boost daily high temperatures between 5.4 and 10.8 degrees.

• Warmer lakes will mean less ice cover and lower water levels of 1 to 3 feet in the next century.

• Biological "dead zones," where plants and animals can't live, will spread.

• Intense storms will swamp stressed sewage treatment plants, forcing them to release raw and partially treated sewage into the lakes.

Unfortunately for the ignorant MSM, observable data contradicts their assertions and alarmism. I have pointed to data that the Great Lakes have seen increases in water levels, not decreases....

But hey - why let inconvenient observable data interfere with the narrative? The meme now is that the recovery is temporary and that global warming will still chop 3 feet off the Great Lakes and change the ecology of the entire region and parts of Canada. Groan. From The Detroit News: "Great Lakes water levels rebound after long slump".
Great Lakes water levels are rebounding after a decade-long slump that hammered the maritime industry and even fed conspiracy theories about plots to drain the inland seas that make up nearly one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water.

The three biggest lakes -- Superior, Huron and Michigan -- have risen steadily since fall 2007, when for a couple of months Superior's levels were the lowest on record and the others nearly so. Erie, shallowest of the lakes, actually exceeded its long-term average in June. So did Lake Ontario, although its level is determined more by artificial structures than nature.

The lakes follow cycles, rising and falling over time. Scientists say it's a natural process with environmental benefits, such as replenishing coastal wetlands. But extreme ups or downs can wreak havoc for people.

During the mid-1980s, levels got so high that houses, businesses and even sections of roads were swept away along Lake Michigan's southeastern shoreline.

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

Environment before people, says Australia's Wilderness Society

Article by Sara Hudson

The misanthropic attitude of conservationists was revealed on Tuesday night when a group of Aboriginal protestors from Cape York gate-crashed a Wilderness Society and green fundraiser.

Dressed in chains and in two giant koala suits, the Cape York Aborigines crashed the party to protest against Queensland’s Wild Rivers legislation, which bans development within two kilometres of the Lockhart, Stewart and Archer rivers.

The protestors blame the Wilderness Society for instigating the legislation, which they argue denies them the ability to build businesses and enterprises on their traditional land – so that more of their people can move out of welfare into the real economy. Tania Major, the spokesperson for the Cape York Aborigines, said they weren’t against conservation but they were protesting because the Wilderness Society had not consulted with them or given them a choice on how to manage their land.

These arguments left the Wilderness Society members unmoved, with spokesperson Anna Christie saying on ABC Radio that environmental sustainability should come before people.

Only those comfortably off are able to so quickly disregard the importance of economic development. They forget that the only reason they can afford to shop at Macro and buy organic food is because they live in an industrialised society. Try living in the outback and getting an organic soy latte.

The fact that the greenies and the Aborigines have fallen out over this issue is a first. Historically, the green movement has tended to support Aboriginal causes. Protesting against the Intervention and the Howard government was a trendy pastime for many greenies.

However, the green movement has failed to address the causes of Aboriginal disadvantage, tending to rely on detached commentary rather than tackling real issues.

The green way of looking at sustainable development is typical of the affluent world that sees sustainability as being environmentally friendly—recycling, living in eco houses, and driving fuel-efficient cars. But for the poor and disadvantaged, sustainability is about having essential services such as housing, water, sewerage, and transport.

It is deeply hypocritical for the green movement to deny Aboriginal development on the premise that this will preserve the environment when they owe their own comfortable existence to Australia’s developed economy.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated July 31st. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590. Telephone ph: +61 2 9438 4377 or fax: +61 2 9439 7310

Is this the wackiest global warming accusation yet?

Dozens of elementary school students in Cirebon, West Java were injured after the ceiling of their classroom collapsed on Wednesday. Subagja, a fifth-grade teacher at SD Negeri Kramat III Cirebon, said the accident happened at noon, when 54 students were hard at work studying the Indonesian language. “I’d warned the children to be careful because the ceiling had cracked, but I really didn’t expect this to happen,” he said.

Five students suffered serious injuries, while dozens of other students were slightly injured. “The students were screaming because they were frightened and they instantly rushed out of the class,” Subagja said. “I saw that some of them were bleeding.”

Subagja said the two-floor building was built with state funds and had been in use for just three months. However, the cracks on the ceiling had been noticeable for some time, he said. Subagja said the steel beams used to support the ceiling had expanded over the summer.

School headmaster Sukhemi blamed the contractor who built the school, and said the builder should take responsibility for the accident.

Dedi Windiagiri, the head of the Cirebon school board, denied that the contractor was to blame. Climate change, he said, was the true cause of the accident. “I’ve already asked the contractor to fix the ceiling immediately,” he 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 is a mirror of this site here.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Interdict lifted

Well. That didn't take long. This blog was under a Google interdict that forbad me from posting anything new here. But that was lifted within 24 hours so I am posting here at around my normal time. All that hard work that the Warmists did in "flagging" this blog was for naught! Their attempted censorship was a flop!

Original versus "adjusted" temperature data

It sure speaks for itself

As CA readers know, Phil Jones keeps his CRU data secret. Embarrassingly, the UK Met Office relies on this secret data and says that it is unable to provide this supporting data for the most relied upon temperature data set in the world. Their statements in response to FOI requests as to what they actually hold seem contradictory, but most recently they state that they do not hold original data, but only the "value added version" provided to them by Phil Jones. Whether they are entitled to keep the "value added version" secret is something that their FOI officer is presently considering.

Recently, Anthony Watts discovered that the Honolulu Observatory data, which NOAA and NASA lost track of in the 1980s, continued to the present day. Anthony observed the substantial difference between trends at Honolulu airport and at more rural sites.

When I've done previous benchmarking of GISS data, I've usually tried to use relatively isolated stations so that the effect of data inclusions and exclusions could be simplified. Since Hawaii is relatively isolated, it seemed like it would be an interesting exercise to look at the Hawaiian gridcell, to get a preview of whether the "discovery" of a long data set might have an impact at the gridded level.

As so often, when one goes down a climate science rabbit hole, wonderland awaits. First, here's a graphic showing an interesting contrast between the CRUTEM gridded data and the NOAA/GHCN gridded data for the Hawaii gridcell (157.5W, 22.5N). In one of his FOI obstructions, Phil Jones argued that CRUTEM data was already available at GHCN. But as you see, the CRUTEM gridded version for the Hawaii gridcell is remarkably different from the NOAA GHCN version.


One "precautionary policy" that WOULD make sense

by Jonah Goldberg

This vision of the end times came to me on hearing the news that something hit Jupiter in the breadbasket the other week and nobody saw it coming. It left a Jovian scar as "small" as the Pacific Ocean or as big as Earth. An amateur astronomer in Australia saw it first because none of the pros were even looking. Then again, the rock was probably pretty small, between 50 and a few hundred meters wide. That is to say, about the size of John Edwards' house.

Now, I know what you're saying: So what? It's not like we need an early warning system for Jupiter, a "gassy giant." What have the Jovians done for us? When God starts pelting rocks at Earth, or our own gassy giants, like Chris Dodd, then we can worry.

Well, He has been, on a regular basis. In March, a meteor called 2009 DD45 came within a few inches, astronomically speaking, of smashing into Earth (about 45,000 miles). Fortunately, we spotted that one ahead of time -- a mere three days ahead of time. That's just enough warning for Keith Olbermann to knock out several top-notch diatribes on why George Bush is to blame, but not enough time to, you know, keep New York City from being liquefied.

In 1908, a DD45-sized meteor exploded over Siberia with a force 1,000 times the Hiroshima blast. It leveled 80 million trees over an area twice the size of Los Angeles. If it had arrived five hours later, St. Petersburg would have been gone.

Scientists think there are millions of such "small" near-Earth meteors out there, and more than 1,000 that are at least a kilometer wide. Those are the ones that really leave a mark. Just ask the dinosaurs. And we're discovering more every day.

A few years ago, a book titled "The Black Swan" came out. No, it's not about swans singled out by the Cambridge Police Department for breaking into their own roosts, but about sudden, unpredictable events occurring far more often than we'd like to think. There are flocks of black swans out there, but we find it discomfiting to contemplate their existence.

In 2008, science writer Gregg Easterbrook surveyed preparedness for a "space-object strike" for the Atlantic magazine. He found that even though serious experts believe there's as much as a 1-in-10 chance of a significant Earth strike within the next century, NASA doesn't much care.

Things are improving, but it's still a cottage industry. A scientist quoted last month in Maclean's magazine noted that "there are more people working in a single McDonald's than there are trying to save civilization from an asteroid." Meanwhile, the global warming industry -- and it is an industry now -- could fill football stadiums.

It makes you wonder. For all the rush and panic, the truth is, climate change -- if real -- is a very slow-moving catastrophe. Moreover, it happens to align with an ideological and political agenda the left has been pushing for generations: Unregulated economic growth is bad and must be controlled by experts; nature is our master, and we must be her servants. What a convenient truth for environmentalists.

Meanwhile, a "deep impact" is a terribly inconvenient threat, partly because it requires making peace with the idea that nature can be conquered. Better to not even think about it.


Africa’s real climate crisis

By an African writer, Fiona Kobusingye

Life in Africa is often nasty, impoverished and short. AIDS kills 2.2 million Africans every year according to WHO (World Health Organization) reports. Lung infections cause 1.4 million deaths, malaria 1 million more, intestinal diseases 700,000. Diseases that could be prevented with simple vaccines kill an additional 600,000 annually, while war, malnutrition and life in filthy slums send countless more parents and children to early graves.

And yet, day after day, Africans are told the biggest threat we face is – global warming. Conferences, news stories, television programs, class lectures and one-sided “dialogues” repeat the claim endlessly. We’re told using oil and petrol, even burning wood and charcoal, will dangerously overheat our planet, melt ice caps, flood coastal cities, and cause storms, droughts, disease and extinctions.

Over 700 climate scientists and 31,000 other scientists say humans and carbon dioxide have minimal effects on Earth’s temperature and climate, and there is no global warming crisis. But their views and studies are never invited or even tolerated in these “climate crisis” forums, especially at “ministerial dialogues” staged with United Nations money. Al Gore refuses to debate any of these experts, or even permit questions that he hasn’t approved ahead of time.

Instead, Africans are told climate change “threatens humanity more than HIV/AIDS.” More than 2.2 million dead Africans every year?

We are warned that it would be “nearly impossible to adapt to the loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet,” which would raise sea levels by “5 to 15 meters.” That certainly would impact our coastal communities. But how likely is it? The average annual temperature in Antarctica is minus 50 degrees F! Summer in its Western Peninsula barely lasts two months and gets maybe 10 degrees above freezing for just a few hours a day. Not even Mr. Gore or UN computer models talk about raising Antarctic temperatures by 85 degrees F year-round. So how is that ice supposed to melt?

Let’s not forget that sea levels have risen 120 meters since the last Ice Age ended. Do the global warming alarmists think cave men fires caused that? Obviously, powerful natural forces caused those ancient glaciers to come and go – and caused the droughts, floods and climate changes that have affected Africa, the Earth and its animals and people for millions of years.

Just consider northern Africa, where green river valleys, hippopotami and happy villages suddenly got turned into the Sahara Desert 4,000 years ago. Scientists don’t know why, but it probably wasn’t Egyptian pharaohs building pyramids and driving chariots.

However, the real problem isn’t questionable or fake science, hysterical claims and worthless computer models that predict global warming disasters. It’s that they’re being used to justify telling Africans that we shouldn’t build coal or natural gas electrical power plants. It’s the almost total absence of electricity keeping us from creating jobs and becoming modern societies. It’s that these policies KILL. The average African life span is lower than it was in the United States and Europe 100 years ago. But Africans are being told we shouldn’t develop, or have electricity or cars because, now that those countries are rich beyond anything Africans can imagine, they’re worried about global warming.

Al Gore and UN climate boss Yvo de Boer tell us the world needs to go on an energy diet. Well, I have news for them. Africans are already on an energy diet. We’re starving! Al Gore uses more electricity in a week than 28 million Ugandans together use in a year. And those anti-electricity policies are keeping us impoverished. Not having electricity means millions of Africans don’t have refrigerators to preserve food and medicine. Outside of wealthy parts of our big cities, people don’t have lights, computers, modern hospitals and schools, air conditioning – or offices, factories and shops to make things and create good jobs.

Not having electricity also means disease and death. It means millions die from lung infections, because they have to cook and heat with open fires; from intestinal diseases caused by spoiled food and unsafe drinking water; from malaria, TB, cholera, measles and other diseases that we could prevent or treat if we had proper medical facilities. Hypothetical global warming a hundred years from now is worse than this?

Telling Africans they can’t have electricity and economic development – except what can be produced with some wind turbines or little solar panels – is immoral. It is a crime against humanity.

Meanwhile, China and India are building new coal-fired power plants every week, so that they can lift their people out of poverty. So even if Africa remains impoverished – and the US and Europe switched to windmills and nuclear power – global carbon dioxide levels would continue increasing for decades.

Even worse, the global warming crusaders don’t stop at telling us we can’t have electricity. They also campaign against biotechnology. As American, Brazilian and South African farmers will tell you, biotech seeds increase crop yields, reduce pesticide use, feed more people and help farmers earn more money. New varieties are being developed that can resist droughts – the kind Africa has always experienced, and the ones some claim will increase due to global warming.

Environmental radicals even oppose insecticides and the powerful spatial insect repellant DDT, which Uganda’s Health Ministry is using along with bed nets and modern ACT drugs to eliminate malaria. They claim global warming will make malaria worse. That’s ridiculous, because the disease was once found all over Europe, the United States and even Siberia.

Uganda and Africa need to stop worrying about what the West, the UN and Al Gore say. We need to focus on our own needs, resources and opportunities. We don’t need more aid – especially the kind that goes mostly to corrupt officials who put the money in private bank accounts, hold global warming propaganda conferences and keep their own people poor. We don’t need rich countries promising climate change assistance (maybe, sometime, ten years from now), if we promise not to develop.

We need to stop acting like ignorant savages, who thought solar eclipses meant the gods were angry with them, and asked witch doctors to bring the sun back. We need to stop listening to global warming witch doctors, who get rich telling us to keep living “indigenous,” impoverished lives. We need trade, manufacturing, electricity and transportation fuels to power modern industrial economies. We need to do what China and India are doing – develop – and trade more with them. That is how we will get the jobs, prosperity, health and environmental quality we deserve.


Global warming is the new religion of First World urban elites

Ian Plimer gets a plug in the Vancouver Sun

Ian Plimer has outraged the ayatollahs of purist environmentalism, the Torquemadas of the doctrine of global warming, and he seems to relish the damnation they heap on him. Plimer is a geologist, professor of mining geology at Adelaide University, and he may well be Australia's best-known and most notorious academic. Plimer, you see, is an unremitting critic of "anthropogenic global warming" -- man-made climate change to you and me -- and the current environmental orthodoxy that if we change our polluting ways, global warming can be reversed.

It is, of course, not new to have a highly qualified scientist saying that global warming is an entirely natural phenomenon with many precedents in history. Many have made the argument, too, that it is rubbish to contend human behaviour is causing the current climate change. And it has often been well argued that it is totally ridiculous to suppose that changes in human behaviour -- cleaning up our act through expensive slight-of-hand taxation tricks -- can reverse the trend.

But most of these scientific and academic voices have fallen silent in the face of environmental Jacobinism. Purging humankind of its supposed sins of environmental degradation has become a religion with a fanatical and often intolerant priesthood, especially among the First World urban elites.

But Plimer shows no sign of giving way to this orthodoxy and has just published the latest of his six books and 60 academic papers on the subject of global warming. This book, Heaven and Earth -- Global Warming: The Missing Science, draws together much of his previous work. It springs especially from A Short History of Plant Earth, which was based on a decade of radio broadcasts in Australia.

That book, published in 2001, was a best-seller and won several prizes. But Plimer found it hard to find anyone willing to publish this latest book, so intimidating has the environmental lobby become. But he did eventually find a small publishing house willing to take the gamble and the book has already sold about 30,000 copies in Australia. It seems also to be doing well in Britain and the United States in the first days of publication.

Plimer presents the proposition that anthropogenic global warming is little more than a con trick on the public perpetrated by fundamentalist environmentalists and callously adopted by politicians and government officials who love nothing more than an issue that causes public anxiety.

While environmentalists for the most part draw their conclusions based on climate information gathered in the last few hundred years, geologists, Plimer says, have a time frame stretching back many thousands of millions of years.

The dynamic and changing character of the Earth's climate has always been known by geologists. These changes are cyclical and random, he says. They are not caused or significantly affected by human behaviour.

Polar ice, for example, has been present on the Earth for less than 20 per cent of geological time, Plimer writes. Plus, animal extinctions are an entirely normal part of the Earth's evolution. (Plimer, by the way, is also a vehement anti-creationist and has been hauled into court for disrupting meetings by religious leaders and evangelists who claim the Bible is literal truth.)

Plimer gets especially upset about carbon dioxide, its role in Earth's daily life and the supposed effects on climate of human manufacture of the gas. He says atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at the lowest levels it has been for 500 million years, and that atmospheric carbon dioxide is only 0.001 per cent of the total amount of the chemical held in the oceans, surface rocks, soils and various life forms. Indeed, Plimer says carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, but a plant food. Plants eat carbon dioxide and excrete oxygen. Human activity, he says, contributes only the tiniest fraction to even the atmospheric presence of carbon dioxide.

There is no problem with global warming, Plimer says repeatedly. He points out that for humans periods of global warming have been times of abundance when civilization made leaps forward. Ice ages, in contrast, have been times when human development slowed or even declined. So global warming, says Plimer, is something humans should welcome and embrace as a harbinger of good times to come.


Greenie bird and landscape lovers stymie Greenie warming-haters

There's no such thing as a happy Greenie

Europe's largest onshore windfarm project has been thrown in severe doubt after the RSPB and official government agencies lodged formal objections to the 150-turbine plan, it emerged today. The setback adds to the problems facing the government's ambition to install 10,000 new turbines across the UK by 2020 as part of its plan to cut the carbon emissions causing climate change.

The proposed 550MW windfarm, sprawling across the centre of Shetland's main island, would add almost 20% to existing onshore wind capacity. But the objectors say the plans could seriously damage breeding sites for endangered birds, including a rare wader, the whimbrel, which was unexpectedly discovered by the windfarm developer's own environmental survey teams. Other species at risk include the red throated diver, golden plover and merlin.

The RSPB heavily criticised the proposal from Viking Energy after initially indicating it could support the scheme. The RSPB also claims now that installation of the turbines could release significant carbon dioxide from the peat bogs affected, undermining the turbines' potential to combat global warming. The group's fears have been endorsed by the government's official conservation advisers, Scottish Natural Heritage, and SNH has also objected to the "magnitude" of the scheme, claiming it could kill many of these birds through collisions with the 145-metre-high structures.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), which oversees pollution and waste laws in Scotland, has also formally objected, making it inevitable the scheme will now go to a full public inquiry and intensifying pressure on the developers to alter the scale of the project.

In a detailed critique of the proposal, Sepa has asked Viking Energy to significantly rethink its plans to cut out and dump up to 1m cubic metres of peat during construction, and asked ministers to impose tough conditions to protect local water quality and freshwater species .

Bill Manson, a director of Viking Energy, the community-owned company which is collaborating with Scottish and Southern Energy on the scheme, said it would be prepared to negotiate. "I believe there's a dialogue to be had, which will assuage their fears, I hope," he said.

A Scottish government consultation on the £800m scheme closed yesterday, with more than 3,600 of Shetland's 21,000 islanders signing a petition calling for the project to be scrapped. The Shetland Amenity Trust, a local heritage and archaeological charity, and one of Scotland's major countryside access organisations, the John Muir Trust, have also objected, arguing that the proposal would have a "hugely damaging detrimental impact" on the treeless, hilly landscape.

The dispute has highlighted the conflicts arising over the siting of major windfarms on land, between the need to exploit the most windy locations and the desire to preserve the rural environment.

The government wants to have an additional 6,000 onshore and 4,000 offshore wind turbines installed by 2020 to meet its legally binding target of generating 15% of all energy from renewable sources . There are currently about 2,400 turbines. Ed Milliband, the energy and climate change secretary, has set out an ambitious plan to transform the UK to a low-carbon economy. But the plans to change the planning system to make windfarm approvals quicker and give priority to renewable projects in granting national grid connections prompted significant criticism on the siting and cost of windfarms.

Within a week, the newly formed National Association of Wind Action Groups pledged to campaign against the harmful impact of wind turbine developments on communities and landscapes. Another blow came from the decision of Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas to close the UK's only blade manufacturing plant on the Isle of Wight. The company said the UK wind market was not growing fast enough and that projects had been slowed down by planning objections.

Existing windfarms have 3,000MW of capacity, but another 9,600MW is in the planning process. A further 6,000MW has planning permission but no funding and on Monday the government announced a £1bn loan package to try to fill that funding gap. It argues that the UK has the largest potential for wind power in Europe and already has more offshore wind installed than any other country. Miliband has said that climate change poses a greater threat to landscapes than windfarms and that opposing them should be "socially unacceptable".

Scotland is already home to more than half the UK's onshore wind capacity and Shetland is a key location. The islands reputedly experience the highest and most consistent wind speeds of any comparable place on earth. One small turbine at Lerwick, known as Betsy, is believed to be the world's most productive, reaching 59% of its potential output.

The Viking scheme, if approved by ministers, would alone generate a fifth of Scotland's domestic electricity needs and earn up to £37m a year in profits for Shetland. Manson said yesterday that the scheme had to be large-scale for the energy regulator and National Grid to agree to lay the £300m interconnector cable that would carry the electricity to the mainland. A scheme even half its current size would not be commercially viable. But opponents claim that the scheme is far too large and that, with a further 62 miles of access roads, it would significantly affect a fifth of the main island's desolate interior and industrialise the landscape.

"We can't simply build our way out of climate change," said John Hutchison, chairman of the John Muir Trust. "It is both cheaper and less destructive to reduce energy need and waste, rather than cover the wild landscapes that define Scotland and its people with wind turbines."


Germany stymies carbon capture plan

Another Greenie nostrum bites the dust

It was meant to be the world's first demonstration of a technology that could help save the planet from global warming – a project intended to capture emissions from a coal-fired power station and bury them safely underground. But the German carbon capture plan has ended with CO2 being pumped directly into the atmosphere, following local opposition at it being stored underground.

The scheme appears a victim of "numbyism" – not under my backyard. Opposition to the carbon capture plan has contributed to a growing public backlash against renewable energy projects, raising fears that Europe will struggle to meet its low-carbon commitments. Last week, the Danish firm Vestas blamed British "nimbies" opposing wind farms for its decision to close its turbine factory on the Isle of Wight.

Many countries continue to use coal for generating power as it is the cheapest and most readily available fuel in the world. It will probably power the development of China and India. But coal is also seen as the dirtiest fuel. So, Vattenfall's Schwarze Pumpe project in Spremberg, northern Germany, launched in a blaze of publicity last September, was a beacon of hope, the first scheme to link the three key stages of trapping, transporting and burying the greenhouse gases.

The Swedish company, however, surprised a recent conference when it admitted that the €70m (£60.3m) project was venting the CO2 straight into the atmosphere. "It was supposed to begin injecting by March or April of this year but we don't have a permit. This is a result of the local public having questions about the safety of the project," said Staffan Gortz, head of carbon capture and storage communication at Vattenfall. He said he did not expect to get a permit before next spring: "People are very, very sceptical."

The spread of localised resistance is a force that some fear could sink Europe's attempts to build 10 to 12 demonstration projects for carbon capture and storage (CCS) by 2015. The plan had been to transport up to 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the power plant each year and inject it into depleted gas reservoirs at a giant gasfield near the Polish border.

Scientists maintain that public safety fears are groundless: the consequences of escaping CO2 would be to the climate, not to public health. Many big environmental groups support CCS, both off and onshore, as a necessary evil in the battle against climate change. But Jim Footner, a Greenpeace climate campaigner, said the German protests were "a stark warning to those that think CCS is an easy solution to the huge climate problems of coal-fired power stations".

The first wake-up call came in March, when a Dutch council objected to Shell's plans to store CO2 in depleted gas fields under the town of Barendrecht, near Rotterdam. This was despite a successful environmental impact assessment and the enthusiastic backing of the Dutch government, which, in September, must decide whether to give Shell the green light, despite the council's opposition.

Wim van de Wiel, a Shell spokesman, said: "For Shell the only suitable location for the tender was, and still is, Barendrecht, because of the safety and the depleted status of the [gas] field."

Jeff Chapman, chief executive of the the Carbon Capture & Storage Association, said Vattenfall should study the example of Total, which made great efforts to engage the local community when it launched its CCS pilot project in Lacq, southern France.

Stuart Haszeldine, a CCS expert at the University of Edinburgh, warned of the danger of opposition towards CCS snowballing into a "bandwagon of negativity" if too many early projects were rejected. "Once you've screwed up one or two of them, people are going to think 'if they rejected this in Barendrecht, there must be a reason'," he said.

In the UK, CCS is one of the four "pillars" of the government's decarbonisation strategy. A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "We plan to store the CO2 from CCS plants offshore, for example in depleted oil and gas fields in the North Sea. We are one of the first countries to have legislation … to regulate environmental and safety risks."



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A carbon protection racket

If your neighbors were making a terrible racket, would you offer to pay them to stop? Of course not. Sure, they'll stop today. But they'll soon be clamoring for more payments.

One of the major features of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill – the ambitious climate change legislation recently passed by the House – offers just such payments. It pays polluting countries not to pollute. And, as with the noisy neighbor, this will just encourage a continuing racket.

Here's the story: India has offered to cap its greenhouse-gas emissions – but only at a level 10 times higher than its own emission rate. China will not accept a cap at all, and at the Major Economies Forum on July 9, China and India even blocked setting a target for world emissions in 2050. This trend confirms that other developing countries will also stick with their anti-cap positions, leaving half the world's emissions unchecked and growing far faster than emissions from the industrialized nations.

The Waxman-Markey bill was supposed to remedy this problem by providing US leadership, which poor nations would follow by accepting caps. But this hope ignored the inequities of caps and ignored the bill's offer of an estimated $13 billion a year – growing to $83 billion annually in 2050 – to buy "international offset credits" from developing countries.

Such offset purchases encourage poor countries not to accept caps. Global cooperation requires a reversal in US climate policy toward developing countries. We must reward cooperation rather than the lack of it.

Buying offset credits pays emitters in developing countries to emit "less than they would have emitted." But implementing a cap cuts back on what "they would have emitted," and reduces their profits from selling offsets.

The House bill did not create this offset problem. The European Union's cap-and-trade scheme has long allowed European companies to buy UN-certified offset credits instead of cutting their own emissions. As Stanford researchers Michael W. Wara and David G. Victor found over a year ago, Europe's offset purchases have not drawn developing countries into "substantial limits on emissions," but have, "by contrast, rewarded them for avoiding exactly those commitments." As a result of this perverse incentive, Europe's cap-and-trade market is considering rules to ban the purchase of UN offset credits from major developing countries.

One of the offset schemes that Europe might ban involves a type of chemical plant found, among other places, in China. While dumping a notorious greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, the plant's owners suggest to the UN that the plant could incinerate the gas instead – if the owners were allowed to sell offsets. The particular gas emitted is 11,700 times worse than carbon dioxide, so naturally the UN agrees that the owners can sell 11,700 tons of emission offsets for every ton of gas incinerated. With offsets worth about $15 a ton, the profits have been enormous.

By purchasing such offsets, Europe pays poor countries not to harm the climate, and the House bill would do the same. Most markets, however, pay for "goods," not for stopping "bads." In the private sector, we call a market for not doing harm a "protection racket." By offering to pay protection money – by buying offset credits – we invite the protection-racket way of thinking into the realm of international negotiations.

For example, if China had committed to even a weak cap or carbon tax, it would have curbed its horrendous chemical-plant emissions. But instead, the Chinese and others have allowed these emissions to continue and have offered to protect the world from them – for a price.

There's nothing wrong with contributing funds to fight climate change in poor countries. They have done little to harm the climate. But our contributions should reward those who commit to join us in the fight. Although China and India are not likely to reconsider caps, there is still hope for a policy that rewards cooperation. Top economists, from N. Gregory Mankiw on the right to Joseph E. Stiglitz on the left, have long recommended a carbon tax as far better than a cap.

Poor countries reject effective caps because they limit their per-person emissions to far less than our own. But carbon taxes lack this offensive inequality. So China, India, and others might well commit to taxing carbon, especially if given some assistance for doing so.

With half the world rejecting caps, we must change course. First, remove the foreign offsets from the Waxman-Markey bill. They cost us dearly and only work against us. Then, devise a policy to reward those who commit to join us. Offering to be the "mark" for a global protection racket is no way to lead the world toward climate stability.


British Met Office/CRU Finds the Mole

Climate data must be kept secret!

by Steve McIntyre

Late yesterday (Eastern time), I learned that the Met Office/CRU had identified the mole. They are now aware that there has in fact been a breach of security. They have confirmed that I am in fact in possession of CRU temperature data, data so sensitive that, according to the UK Met Office, my being in possession of this data would, “damage the trust that scientists have in those scientists who happen to be employed in the public sector”, interfere with the “effective conduct of international relations”, “hamper the ability to protect and promote United Kingdom interests through international relations” and “seriously affect the relationship between the United Kingdom and other Countries and Institutions.” [Wow! If that's not a confession that they deceive the public about their data, I don't know what would be]

Although they have confirmed the breach of security, neither the Met Office nor CRU have issued a statement warning the public of the newCRU_tar leak. Nor, it seems, have they notified the various parties to the alleged confidentiality agreements that there has been a breach in those confidentiality agreements, so that the opposite parties can take appropriate counter-measures to cope with the breach of security by UK institutions. Thus far, the only actions by either the Met Office or CRU appear to have been a concerted and prompt effort to cover up the breach of security by attempting to eradicate all traces of the mole’s activities. My guess is that they will not make the slightest effort to discipline the mole.

Nor have either the Met Office or CRU contacted me asking me not to further disseminate the sensitive data nor to destroy the data that I have in my possession.

By not doing so, they are surely opening themselves up to further charges of negligence for the following reasons. Their stated position is that, as a “non-academic”, my possession of the data would be wrongful (a position with which I do not agree, by the way). Now that they are aware that I am in possession of the data (and they are aware, don’t kid yourselves), any prudent lawyer would advise them to immediately to notify me that I am not entitled to be in possession of the data and to ask/instruct me to destroy the data that I have in my possession and not to further disseminate the sensitive data. You send out that sort of letter even if you think that the letter is going to fall on deaf ears.

Since I am always eager to help climate scientists with these conundrums, I’ll help them out a little here. If, prior to midnight Eastern time on Thursday, a senior executive of the Met Office or the University of East Anglia notifies me that I am in wrongful possession of the data and directly requests me to destroy my copies of the CRU station data in question and thereby do my part in the avoidance of newCRU_tar proliferation, I will do so.

I will, of course, continue my FOI requests since I do not believe, for a minute, that their excuses have any validity nor am I convinced that the alleged confidentiality agreements actually exist nor, if they exist, am I convinced that they prohibit the provision of the data to me.


BOOK REVIEW of "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years"

The book has been out for some time but for those who have not had time to read it, the following review by Rachel Alexander may be helpful

S. Fred Singer, a climate physicist, and Dennis T. Avery, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, have written the definitive book about global warming. They carefully explain the complexities and facts so the average person can understand. It is true the earth goes through warming phases, but they are cyclical and not manmade. Climate change is not a dramatic event but something as regular and dull as grass growing. A close look at the evidence reveals that climate change is probably due to variations in the sun’s radiation – sunspots. Global warmings and coolings have occurred regularly about every 1,500 years. The earth’s temperature increased in the early 20th century, before most man-made emissions began, but stopped increasing in the latter half of the century when man-made emissions were highest.

Higher levels of CO2 are not responsible for the current warming trend. Satellite and high-altitude weather balloon data confirm that the lower atmosphere is not trapping lots of additional heat due to higher CO2 concentrations. It is earth’s surface that is warming, and it is warming more rapidly than the lower atmosphere where the CO2 is accumulating.

Global warming alarmists assume that the increase in CO2 is also due to an increase in water vapor. Water vapor makes up about 60% of the natural greenhouse effect, with CO2 only making up about 20%. Minor gases including ozone, nitrous oxide, and methane make up the remaining 20%. If there was only an increase in CO2, the difference in temperature would be miniscule, so alarmists are forced to assume that water vapor is increasing too. North Dakota state climatologist John Bluemle has stated that doubling CO2 levels would have a miniscule effect on temperature. It is true that warmer air can hold more water vapor. But there is no evidence that the water vapor is remaining in the air – contributing to the greenhouse effect - or whether it is raining down more quickly.

Antarctic ice cores reveal that there is a close correlation between CO2 levels and the earth’s temperatures throughout the last three ice ages including global warmings. However, CO2 levels have lagged behind the global warmings by about 800 years, evidence that CO2 is not the causal factor. According to Hulburtus Fischer, an environmental physicist, and his research team from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, when the ocean warms, it releases CO2, stimulating more plant and tree growth. As the vegetation absorbs the additional CO2, it becomes lusher and bigger in size. This process takes approximately 800 years. So in reality, whenever earth’s temperatures have risen, things have improved on earth. A two degrees Celsius change would result in more beneficial conditions than now. “The Romans, Chinese and Medieval Europeans all tell us that the last two warming phases of the 1,500 cycle were prosperous times for humanity…The prosperity of the Medieval Warming is apparent to us today through the beautiful castles and cathedrals of Europe, which date mainly from that period. How could these have been built if the warmings were accompanied by the flooding, epidemics of malaria, massive famine, and constant storms assumed by the gloomy advocates of man-made warming?”

Unlike the computer simulation models environmental alarmists rely upon to create artificial worst-case scenarios, evidence shows that the earth has done a pretty good job regulating its atmospheric temperatures. Studies done by NASA’s Goddard Space Center and a NASA-MIT study in 2001 led by atmospheric physicist Richard Lindzen found that the ocean’s surface temperature always remains at 28-30 degrees Celsius due to self-regulation. When the temperature rises, more water evaporates into the air, which in turn creates more clouds that send cool, dry downdrafts of air that lower the sea temperature. “When the clouds deposit the increased moisture from that rapid evaporation on polar ice caps and glaciers around the world, the ice caps and glaciers will actually grow unless the local temperatures are warm enough to increase local melting.”

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is responsible for much of the global warming alarmism. It has been highly criticized by genuine scientific organizations like the International Union for Quanternary Research (INQUA). INQUA is a 75-year old scientific think tank that researches global environmental and climate changes throughout history. INQUA asserts that the IPCC ignored the scientists who produced most of the data and observations on sea level science, substituting computer models which produce “the falsification of scientific observational facts.”

The IPCC and its simulated computer models cannot explain why the earth became colder between 1940-1975. The frequently cited landmark 1996 global warming report issued by the IPCC simply omitted the portions contributed by scientists which expressed skepticism about global warming, instead relying principally upon the writings of global alarmist extremists like scientist Ben Santer of the U.S. government’s Lawrence Livermore National Library. Sentences like this were deleted from the report by Santer, “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.”

There is plenty of evidence indicating that the earth has not been warming in recent years. The Indian Ocean’s level was higher between 1900-1970 than it is today. The Maldives, 1,200 islands which sit in the Indian Ocean, are 20-30 cm lower today than they were in 1970. Lester R. Brown, an agricultural economist who has made wrong predictions about world famines since the 1960s, claims that First World countries are flooding the Pacific Islands due to greenhouse gases from power plants. In reality, since 1993, the island of Tuvalu has seen ocean levels decrease by four inches.

The environmental extremists’ simulated computer models can be manipulated to generate any outcome wished. They are even further askew considering they are based on thermometers located in urban areas where there is a concrete jungle effect, increasing temperatures and overstating surface temperature increases by as much as 40 percent. Using the models’ conclusions, there should have been a rise of several degrees Celsius at the poles since 1940. In reality, the temperature at both poles has been decreasing. Temperatures at and near the North and South poles are lower than they were in 1930. This is evidence the Greenhouse Theory is not correct, because manmade emissions began dramatically increasing around 1940. In fact, 97% of the Antarctic has been cooling since the mid-1960’s. Alarmists point to the 3% that is warming because that is where most of the scientists and thermometers are, and it reinforces their Greenhouse Theory.

If the earth warms, wetlands won’t dry up. They will simply move slightly upslope, as they have in years past when the climate warmed. Similarly, animals will change locations and relocate to areas most conducive to their habitat. By the time Arctic regions have warmed enough to shift penguins and polar bears around, they will begin cooling again and the animals will shift back to their previous habitats, without causing any extinction. Glaciers also naturally shift around, which includes both retreating and growing. Physicist and meteorologist professor Johann Oerlemans of Utrecth University in the Netherlands produced a graph in 2001 which showed that the major glaciers of the world started to shrink around 1850, but by 1940 only half of them were still shrinking, and many of them had started to grow again.

The U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol was little more than a scam designed to punish wealthier countries. It did not enforce restrictions upon big developing countries like China and India, which refused to sign it. The only evidence provided for the Protocol was that the temperature of the earth had increased by .6 Celsius over the last century (conveniently omitting that the increases had mostly been during the first forty years of the century), along with simulated computer models that created any conclusions chosen to be programmed.

Global warming extremists like to point to the “Scientists Statement on Global Climatic Disruption” petition from the group Ozone Action as evidence that a majority of scientists believe manmade global warming is occurring. It was signed by 2,611 scientists worldwide in 1996 and sent to President Clinton. But according to Citizens for a Sound Economy, only about 10 percent of the signers had degrees in fields related to climate science – about 260 signers total. The signers included landscape architects, psychologists, a traditionally trained Chinese doctor, and a gynecologist.

On the other hand, these extremists ignore the Oregon Petition, which was signed by more than 17,000 scientists and expressed doubt about man-made global warming. More than 2,600 of its signers have climate science credentials. Global warming extremists tried to discredit it by saying a few of the signers were fake names, but there were only a few and were probably planted there by extremists in order to later discredit the petition.

In 2001, the IPCC issued a report that included a “hockey stick” graph showing global warming trends since the year 1000. The graph eliminated the Little Ice Age which occurred during the 17th and 19th centuries, and exaggerated the increase in global warming in the 20th century, making it appear as if this was the highest hike in global warming in the past 1000 years. This graph was discredited when it was pointed out that the earth’s warming in the early 15th century greatly exceeded any warming in the 20th century.

There was also a greater warming at the beginning of the last 1000 years. About the time the Vikings discovered Newfoundland, they also discovered “Vinland,” so named in 1001 A.S. due to the widespread growth of grape vines. This area has remained too cold to sustain grape vines, even up until today when environmental extremists tell us we are experiencing a dramatic increase in global warming unprecedented in the last 1000 years.

Sallie Baliunus, an astrophysicist with a degree from Harvard, and Willie Soon, also an astrophysicist, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, looked at 102 studies which analyzed whether the 20th century was the warmest, and found that 78% of them did not. Another four studies found that the earliest part of the 20th century was the warmest – before most manmade CO2 emissions.

Global warming alarmists warn that animal species will die out as the earth warms. In reality, not a single species has become extinct due to the .6 percent increase in the earth’s temperature over the past 150 years. Most alarmists point to a single species they claim has become extinct due to global warming, the Golden Toad of Costa Rica. In reality, the toad became extinct due to clearing by natives of the lowlands it inhabited. Overall, there are less species becoming extinct today than in the past. The United Nations Environmental Program issued a report in 2002 which found that the world lost only half as many major species during the last 30 years of the 20th century as it did during the last 30 years of the 19th century.

The artificial divide set up by global warming extremists between the underdeveloped countries and First World developed countries falsely portrays industrialized countries as the ones responsible for air pollution. The environmental movement uses an emotional argument to make people feel guilty about its wealth. In reality, “richer people have f children, feed themselves with much less land per capital, gradually but largely reduce industrial pollution, generally plant more trees than they cut, do most of the research on environmental preservation, and make most of the investments in actual conservation.” Whereas “primitive peoples have never ‘lived in harmony with nature’ as the urban legend would have us believe. They have, instead, exploited nature unsustainably because their populations always crept upward to the absolute limits of their resources – and then beyond…today [they] practice slash-and burn farming, cook and heat with wood from trees they don’t replant….”

Global warming alarmists never discuss using nuclear power, the only non-CO2 producing energy alternative that would be a cost-effective alternative to today’s energy uses. Unfortunately, activist lawsuits have driven up the costs of nuclear regulation. It is possible however; France currently gets about ¾ of its energy from nuclear reactors. Many of the environmentalists’ proposed energy solutions wouldn’t work. For example, to convert energy use to rely upon windmills, a landmass the size of South Africa would have to be cleared of all forests in order to install enough windmills. And that wouldn’t even cover the cloudy/windless/high-wind days.

There will always be environmental alarmists. In 1975, environmental alarmists warned that the earth was cooling. The National Academy of Scientists issued a report claiming “…a finite possibility that a serious worldwide cooling could befall the Earth within the next 100 years…”

It’s better to look at rocks, fossils, and sediment cores as more reliable predictors of climate temperature than simulated computer models. They reveal that there is a correlation between variations in the sun’s irradiation and the earth’s temperature. When there are larger sunspots, the earth’s temperature increases, and visa versa. In addition, some of the increased temperatures may be artificially due to urban heat islands, since the vast majority of higher temperatures have been reported in industrialized areas.

The authors conclude:

Human society should attempt to put binding constraints on human emissions of greenhouse gases only if the advocates of man-made warming can demonstrate three things:

1. That the greenhouse gases are certain to raise global temperatures significantly higher than they rose during previous natural climate warming cycles;

2. That the warming would severely harm human welfare and the ecology;

3. That rational human actions could actually forestall such overheating.

To date, the advocates of man-made warming have not been able to meet any of these minimum requirements. The IPCC’s claim to have found the ‘human fingerprint’ in the Modern Warming was bogus when Ben Santer first altered the science chapter in the IPCC’s 1996 report, and it remains bogus today. No one has been able to distinguish natural from man-made warming.


British Air passenger tax is just another burden for families that will stop those nasty average people from messing up tourist spots

WITH so much grim news at home, from the recession to swine flu, plenty of us are hoping that summer holidays will be a much needed respite from the doom and gloom. Unfortunately, even when we try to get away from it all and take a holiday, the Government uses that as another excuse to raid our bank account. Last summer, the TaxPayers' Alliance revealed that a family of four travelling to Florida for a summer holiday faced a £200 tax bill before they even got on the aircraft.

Part of that big tax bill is the Air Passenger Duty (APD) that is charged on airline tickets. You would hope that the Government might try to help out and cut the burden on ordinary families when the country is in recession. Since 2006, however, APD for one-way, short-haul flights to Europe has doubled to £10 and it is set to rise to £12 by the end of next year – that means we'll have had a 140 per cent increase in four years.

This week we've discovered that APD isn't just pushing up the cost of travelling abroad. It is also contributing to a cut in the number of flights available, making it less likely that we can go where we want, when we want. The no-frills airline Ryanair, Europe's largest operator, has announced that it is to cut flights from UK airports. These cuts, which amount to a 40 per cent reduction in capacity, are most likely to fall on London Stansted, the start of many families' holidays.

Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief executive, blamed the "Scottish misers", as he described the Chancellor and Prime Minister, and said the move was a protest against plans to increase Air Passenger Duty on short flights, which he branded "insane and damaging". It is not just Ryanair which has criticised excessive APD rates. Easyjet, Ryanair's chief rival, has attacked the tax, branding it "certifiably bonkers".

Virgin Atlantic has also come out against the tax and started printing anti-APD messages on their e-tickets. BALPA, the airline pilots' union, has said that the rise will cripple the industry and put long-haul holidays out of reach of ordinary families while the Association of British Travel Agents has said the rise in APD will have a substantial impact on the airline industry.

Attacking the airlines like this will have serious consequences for the British economy. Ryanair's cuts are set to cost 2,500 jobs – from its own staff and among workers such as baggage handlers.

Air Passenger Duty isn't just hurting airlines and travel agents. With the pound so low against the dollar and euro, we should be attracting more tourists, but visits from abroad are down by 32.8 million. Big taxes on flights put off people from visiting the UK.

Ironically, earlier rises in APD probably increased emissions from air travel. Air Passenger Duty encourages people to fly further within its "bands", to Sydney instead of New York or the south of Italy instead of the north of France for example, and that means higher emissions. That issue has been addressed to a certain extent by the new bands introduced this year, but it is still doing little to reduce emissions.

There are other anomalies, too. For example the distance is measured to each country's capital city, so flights to Barbados, an eight-hour flight from London, are charged at a higher rate than flights to Los Angeles, which is 11 hours away. That can mean punishing extra bills for families – for example a family of four travelling to Egypt, just a couple of hours from Europe, will pay an extra £240 from 2010.

APD is supposed to be a green tax designed to correct negative externalities. Put simply, the Government makes polluters pay for the costs they impose on everyone else by increasing the level of climate change in the years to come, that way they will only pollute if the benefits of doing so really outweigh the costs.

TaxPayers' Alliance research has shown that we are already being charged more than we should in green taxes to compensate for the greenhouse gases that Britain produces. The Department for Transport itself has produced research which shows taxes on flights are higher than necessary to compensate for the environmental harm created by aircrafts' emissions.

It is clear that Air Passenger Duty is functioning not as a green tax but as another means to raise revenue. All that is achieved by increasing the cost of air travel is to make it harder for ordinary families to enjoy a much-needed break, as the higher taxes mean not just more expensive flights but fewer options over when and where to fly.

It really is sad that the people who suffer the most are those who were able to enjoy foreign holidays for the first time when budget airlines made them affordable.


Some wind power disillusionment from Britain

An aquarium in Devon has taken down two wind turbines after seagulls were killed when they collided with the blades.

The 15m (50ft) high 6kW turbines at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth were installed in 2006 for a £3.6m sustainable energies project. But the Hoe-based attraction has taken them down after several birds died, it said. The aquarium also said they had not produced as much electricity as hoped.

Caroline Johnson, of the aquarium, said: "The major problems included where they were positioned. "The eddying effect of the wind meant they weren't producing as much energy as they potentially could have. "The loss of life of seagulls flying into the turbines was also a problem and, following a gale, the turbines were damaged."


Australia: Greenie sewage scheme stinks

Google is on the nose with the workers and residents of Pyrmont, and it’s got nothing to do with the quality of its products. A mystery pong has been lingering around the harbourside Sydney suburb for weeks. The epicentre of the offensive odour appears to be the sewer mining facility connected to Google's new Sydney headquarters, which produces recycled water for toilet flushing and irrigation of the site.

The stench is impossible to avoid for anyone working or living around the Darling Island wharf or Star City casino. For many workers at Pyrmont-based companies including Fairfax Media, Google, Seven Network and Accenture, eating lunch by the water has become a hazard best avoided. ‘‘It honestly smells like something has died - I haven’t smelled anything like that since a sewerage pipe burst in my neighbour’s house,’’ an office worker said. Another said: ‘‘We decided it smells like dead bodies buried by the Mafia and coming up to the surface.’’ ‘‘It’s gross, and kind of turns me off the whole recycled water thing,’’ said another.

The stench is particularly offensive in the early morning and early evening but it has also put the kybosh on some midday exercise and sports sessions in the nearby park. Google initially blamed a Sydney Water vent located a few metres from its building but a Sydney Water spokesman said it had not determined the exact source of the smell. Later, a Google spokeswoman said: ‘‘It’s a bit of a mystery to us Pyrmont residents. We’re definitely downwind from something whiffy. Sydney Water tells us they’re looking into it - and we’re holding our breath.’’

The Sydney Water spokesman all but pointed the finger at the sewage recycling facility connected to Google’s headquarters. ‘‘Sydney Water’s sewer is functioning normally with no interruption to the natural flow. It’s also worth pointing out that our nearby sewage pumping station does not store waste water for any length of time,’’ the spokesman said.

GPT Group, which owns the innovative building that houses Google, named workplace 6, appeared to take responsibility for the pong, saying: ‘‘We’ve undertaken significant work to address the problem to date’’ and promising to ‘‘continue to work to resolve the issue’’. ‘‘There’s the Sydney Water [sewerage] plant and then there’s the plant that’s connected to our building ... my understanding is it’s that connection that’s the problem,’’ the GPT spokesman said.

The issue is particularly worrying for food-catering company Doltone House, which plans to open a cafe, food and wine emporium and conference centre in workplace 6 in October. The smell could turn customers off, particularly those seated outside. ‘‘We understand that GPT, the building owner, has it under control and is in the process of having it rectified,’’ Doltone House project manager David Hume said.

Michael Mobbs, a sustainability coach who helps businesses with environmental issues such as this, blamed the expensive, over-the-top sewage recycling facility connected to Google’s headquarters. He called it ‘‘the caviar approach to sewage treatment’’ and said a much simpler, cheaper system would have done the job far more effectively. ‘‘They’ve got this rocket-science filtration system - it’s basically a mini desal plant which is so fussy and fiddly that it requires almost a full-time maintenance person to adjust it as the stuff gets caught up in the very fine filters,’’ he said. ‘‘The same sort of system kept failing in Melbourne.’’

Complicating matters further is the fact that some Pyrmont residents have reported experiencing similar foul smells in the area for some years, long before Google’s new office opened earlier this year. It’s not clear whether or not there are multiple sources of the odour but Sydney Water said it starting investigating foul smells in the area only after workplace 6 opened and the building’s management raised the issue.

The Sydney Water spokesman said both it and the building’s management had conducted gas monitoring on the site but they had yet to sit down and compare results. ‘‘We will establish the cause as soon as possible,’’ he 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 is a mirror of this site here.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What Does & Does Not Cause Climate Change and the threat to integrity in science

by Piers Corbyn

A letter to Professor Sir Peter Knight, Senior Principal at Imperial College for research strategy and deputy to the Rector

Dear Peter

Further to the very interesting discussions we had at the Imperial College centenary dinner event in 2008 on matters of Climate Change and the integrity of Science I attach my updated presentation on What Does & Does not Cause Climate Change. This extends the points I made to you to include new findings I presented at the RCSA Centenary dinner on Dec 9th 2008 and the New York International Climate Change Conference on March 10th 2009 and also new graphs from USA scientists showing continuing decline in world temperatures despite rising CO2 levels.

The point I made that the CO2 driver theory of Climate Change is refuted by the evidence and will be cast aside by solar-based science and therefore it would be better for Imperial to lead its demise and advances in new science rather than lose credibility by defending the indefensible, stands more strongly than ever.

The CO2-centered Climate theory and all that stands with it in business and politics is doomed; or if it is not doomed then the integrity of science itself is surely doomed. It is incumbent on scientists of with moral fibre to defend evidence-based science and the integrity of science.

I recall that 40 years ago this week I and other students at Imperial stayed up all night to watch the Moon landing on 20th July 1969. That was an historic moment. If science and engineering then had been conducted at the abysmal level of integrity now displayed by 'Climate Science' & the theory of man-made Global Warming, the Moon landing would never have succeeded and neither would much of the advances of science since then.

Please have a look at and feel free to circulate the presentation and also the information I include therein about the proven significant skill of our solar-based method of long range forecasting (Solar Weather Technique) and let me know of any comments you may have.


On wood, burning questions

Once again, there's no such thing as a happy Greenie

Along the banks of the Piscataqua River, an ancient energy source is being transformed into retro chic renewable power. Every minute, a conveyor belt dumps about a ton of matchbook-sized wood chips into a seven-story-tall boiler that generates enough electricity to power 50,000 homes and, in the process, supporters say, helps combat global warming.

Wood - or biomass as it is often called - is hailed by many environmentalists, scientists, and politicians as a renewable energy source because it can easily be replenished by planting trees - and because the new trees will, over time, absorb the greenhouse gases the power plants emit.

But with more than 10 wood-burning power plants proposed throughout New England - including three extraordinarily controversial proposals in Western Massachusetts - wood’s green credentials are coming under attack. Just like wind projects, where concerns about bird safety and aesthetics have stalled dozens of proposals, biomass is the latest alternative energy source to undergo deep public scrutiny.

More than 400 people packed a Greenfield school last month to protest a proposed biomass plant there, for example. And, sparked partly by the opposition, Massachusetts energy and environmental officials are launching an in-depth review of biomass, from how the fuel is harvested to how quickly new trees can recapture the heat-trapping gases emitted from burning wood. Biomass plants burn virtually any wood material - from stumps to whole trees to branches and treetops left over from logging.

“Everyone says it is sustainable, but how do we know it is?’’’ said Mary Booth, an ecologist and cofounder of the Massachusetts Environmental Energy Alliance, a research and advocacy group that opposes large wood-burning power plants. While many biomass developers promise to burn wood leftover from logging or tree-trimming operations her group fears vast tracts of forests will be heavily cut. “There is no definition . . . no rules,’’ she said.

Advocates acknowledge that biomass will never make up a huge part of US power production, maybe somewhere between 5 percent and 10 percent by 2030. Today in New England, less than 3 percent of electricity comes from biomass.

Yet supporters say burning trees is important because, in the end, they don’t add any heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere that contribute to global warming. Biomass power plants do emit these gases, supporters say, but the same amount is reabsorbed by new trees planted to replace the burned ones - essentially recycling the pollutants over and over again. Fossil fuels, like coal, are extracted from deep in the earth and add extra gases to the atmosphere. Decades of burning fossil fuels has emitted so many heat-trapping gases, there is no natural way to absorb them all.

A growing number of states are adopting rules, or plan to, to ensure that biomass fuel is green, including potentially banning the burning of wood from threatened landscapes and requiring environmentally sensitive logging practices. Environmentalists, meanwhile, are working to ensure federal climate legislation includes rules for biomass.


Save the habitat, kill the turtles

By Vin Suprynowicz

in the name of heaven, I demand to know -- are those responsible for enforcing the Endangered Species Act going to do something about remediating the habitat devastation and starting to recover the minuscule remaining population, before it has dwindled past the point of no return, of that brave and noble beast, the poodle?

What? Are you serious, Vin? There are, like, 68 million domestic pet dogs in this country, and the poodle is the seventh most numerous breed. There are millions of poodles out there.

As a matter of fact, purebred poodles are among the 4 million to 6 million dogs euthanized in America each year because homes can't be found for them. America's dog and cat problem is not species extinction; it's overpopulation.

Well, to anyone tempted to respond in that manner, let me clarify for you what the Endangered Species Act is really all about. You see, the number of poodles living in domestic captivity doesn't count. Once we have succeeded in getting the noble poodle listed as threatened or endangered -- as it most certainly is, in the traditional range of its wild habitat -- all that will matter is the number of wild, untouched acres set aside. Once you've developed a house and a yard and put two happy poodles in it, for purposes of the federal ESA, you might as well have just shot the pups, because you have destroyed wild poodle habitat, and we are going to count your poodles as "taken," meaning dead. In fact, we may have to take steps to stop you from allowing them to breed, up to and including "euthanizing" your captive slave dogs, since "Unlimited breeding of an endangered species in captivity is something the community has to look into."

You think I'm making this up? Here in Las Vegas, Clark County's Desert Conservation Program -- a well-paid division of the county Department of Air Quality and Environmental Management -- is currently going hat in hand to the appropriate chain of federal agencies, asking "permission" to amend the so-called Desert Tortoise (and 77 other critters, including bugs and mosses) Habitat Plan, with the purpose of "allowing" the county to develop an additional 215,000 acres of adjoining stinking desert in the decades to come.

The theory, you see, is that any human activity which "moves dirt" destroys tortoise habitat, and cannot be allowed unless developers obtain federal permits for the "incidental take" of tortoises (regardless of whether a single tortoise is seen or killed), including a fee or fine of $550 per acre, which is used to build "tortoise fences" to keep the turtles from crossing the road to get to water, and so forth.

Wow. Under that theory, there must be practically no tortoises left in the Las Vegas Valley, which has now been heavily developed for decades. Right?

Actually, officials have rounded up more than 10,000 of the little buggers, right here in the Vegas Valley, turning them over to the Fish and Wildlife's Desert Tortoise Conservation Center, where they and their progeny are farmed out as pets, or for experiments. Those that aren't euthanized for having runny noses, you understand. Marci Henson of the county's Desert Conservation Program estimates about 2 percent of the poor little "threatened" reptiles get "euthanized." ("Run, little tortoises, run!" as former County Commissioner Don Schlesinger once put it.)

Sometimes, on a Saturday morning, I drive around this town, visiting garage sales. I've seen quite a few kids playing with their desert tortoises in their driveways. Cliven Bundy, the last cattle rancher in Clark County, tells me when the Kern River pipeline people came through and did a federally mandated tortoise population density study as part of their required Environmental Impact Statement, they found several times more tortoises per acre on the lands where the Bundys have water tanks for their cattle than they found in the hot, dry desert -- and literally 10 times the tortoise population density -- the highest densities recorded -- right here in the Las Vegas valley.

This isn't even counterintuitive. Early explorers found precious few tortoises in the dry Mojave desert, where the toothless reptiles struggle to find enough water and edible tender shoots. The Spaniards found only shells and thought them extinct. These animals developed in an ecosystem which had large toothy vegetarians -- deer, elk, whatever -- to crop back the brush, a role now filled only by cattle.

In the 1920s and 1930s, tortoise populations swelled artificially as ranchers ran cattle on these lands and killed the tortoises' main predators, the coyote and the raven. As "environmentalists" have succeeded in running the ranchers off the land, the cattle have vanished, no one is any longer shooting coyotes and ravens, and thus tortoise populations have slumped back to historically normal levels.

Are there now more tortoises, or fewer, than when cattle grazed the land? How many tortoises are there? Fish and Wildlife is still working to establish a "baseline population number," Ms. Henson replies.

Twenty years after the tortoise received an "emergency listing" as a threatened species in 1989, they're still trying to establish a "baseline"? So when will they be able to tell us whether we have enough new tortoises, bred in their joyous cattle-free paradise, to de-list the species and allow humans to get back to developing our land as we see fit? Eighty years from now? Eight hundred?

Twenty years and no one has done a simple control experiment, releasing 300 tortoises on Cliven Bundy's grazed land with its water tanks and cattle, and another 300 tortoises on an adjoining dry, desolate and cattle-free valley, coming back three years later to count which valley has more tortoises and which seem healthier?

All this bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo is based on the presumption that any "human interference" with the dry and stinking desert ruins it as tortoises habitat, when the truth -- that tortoises actually do much better with people around, just like roaches and pigeons and hummingbirds -- stares us right in the face.

Cue "Thus Spake Zarathustra." Remove the blindfold, please. No, Mr. Tortoise, you haven't died and gone to heaven. We call this ... a golf course.

If they really wanted more tortoises, any old desert rat can tell them the solution is to shoot ravens and coyotes. Mind you, I'm not recommending that. We've got plenty of tortoises right now. These people don't care about tortoises -- they're euthanizing them, for heaven's sake. The tortoise -- or whatever moss or bug or flycatcher eventually takes it place -- is merely a stand-in, a cat's paw, to give federal bureaucrats and their lunatic green pals complete control over development of private land in the West.

Just how fecund are those 10,000 captive tortoises, I asked Marci Henson. "Oh, we think a lot of those ten thousand were pet tortoises, we believe as few as 2 percent may have actually been wild." How can they tell -- the turtles came in wearing little knitted sweaters and booties? They keep trying to sit up and shake hands? Besides, Ms. Henson said, quite seriously, "Unlimited breeding of an endangered species in captivity is something the community has to look into." "To stop it?" I asked. "Yes," said Marci Henson.


Global warming was good for the Incas

Supreme military organisation and a flair for agricultural invention are traditionally credited for the rise of the Incas. However, their success may have owed more to a spell of good weather — a spell that lasted for more than 400 years.

According to new research, an increase in temperature of several degrees between AD1100 and 1533 allowed vast areas of mountain land to be used for agriculture for the first time. This fuelled the territorial expansion of the Incas, which at its peak stretched from the modern Colombian border to the middle of Chile. “Yes, they were highly organised, and they had a sophisticated hierarchical system, but it wouldn’t have counted a jot without being underpinned by the warming of the climate,” says Dr Alex Chepstow-Lusty, a palaeo-ecologist from the French Institute for Andean Studies in Lima, Peru.

As the treeline moved higher up the mountains, the Incas re-sculpted their landscape to maximise agricultural productivity. They carved terraces into the mountainsides and developed a complex system of canals to irrigate the land. Although the climate remained dry, the gradual melting of glacial ice meant that they had a constant supply of water to nourish their crops.

The resultant surplus of maize and potatoes freed a large part of the growing population for activities outside food production, such as constructing roads and buildings, and serving in an increasingly ambitious army. “It was the perfect incubator for the expansion of a civilisation,” says Dr Chepstow-Lusty, who led the study.

The Incas’ Royal Road, which went through the highlands for a distance of 3,250 miles, and the Coastal Road, which stretched for 2,520 miles, were both constructed during the warm spell. So, too, was Machu Picchu, “the Lost City of the Incas”, where temples, sanctuaries and houses stand remarkably intact today, demonstrating the scale and the skill of Inca architecture.

By the time the Spanish colonials arrived in 1533, the Incas had built up food supplies to last the population more than ten years. However, internal divisions, the Spanish invasion and the consequent introduction of new diseases led to the Inca population plummeting.

The team behind the study identified the change in climate by examining the sediment on the floor of a small lake called Marcacocha, in the Cuzco region of the Peruvian Andes, from where the Incas began their expansion. Each layer of sediment represents a period of time, rather like the rings in the trunk of a tree. By analysing pollen, seeds and other environmental indicators buried in the layers of mud, the team were able to find clues to the climate at the time.

They noted the appearance for the first time of a range of trees and crops at the lake, which is 11,000ft above sea level, over the critical period, corresponding to a tree line edging upwards. The lake sediments also revealed a major drought that took place around AD880, and that may have been responsible for the collapse of a previous empire, known as the Wari.

The study’s authors say that the findings have important implications for Peru and other countries facing the prospect of the most extreme shifts in climate because of global warming. For many countries, the prospect of warming is unwelcome. However, with the correct landmanagement techniques some of these countries might be able to turn a warmer climate to their advantage.


Treason in the Air

by Bjørn Lomborg

Discussions about global warming are marked by an increasing desire to stamp out “impure” thinking, to the point of questioning the value of democratic debate. But shutting down discussion simply means the disappearance of reason from public policy.

In March, Al Gore’s science adviser and prominent climate researcher, Jim Hansen, proclaimed that when it comes to dealing with global warming, the “democratic process isn’t working.” Although science has demonstrated that CO2 from fossil fuels is heating the planet, politicians are unwilling to follow his advice and stop building coal-fired power plants.

Hansen argues that, “the first action that people should take is to use the democratic process. What is frustrating people, me included, is that democratic action affects elections, but what we get then from political leaders is greenwash.” Although he doesn’t tell us what the second or third action is, he has turned up in a British court to defend six activists who damaged a coal power station. He argues that we need “more people chaining themselves to coal plants,” a point repeated by Gore.

The Nobel laureate in economics Paul Krugman goes further. After the narrow passage of the Waxman-Markey climate-change bill in the United States House of Representatives, Krugman said that there was no justification for a vote against it. He called virtually all of the members who voted against it, “climate deniers” who were committing “treason against the planet.”

Krugman said that the “irresponsibility and immorality” of the representatives’ democratic viewpoints were “unforgivable” and a “betrayal.” He thus accused almost half of the democratically elected members of the House, from both parties, of treason for holding the views that they do – thereby essentially negating democracy.

Less well-known pundits make similar points, suggesting that people with “incorrect” views on global warming should face Nuremburg-style trials or be tried for crimes against humanity. There is clearly a trend. The climate threat is so great – and democracies are doing so little about it – that people conclude that maybe democracy is part of the problem, and that perhaps people ought not to be allowed to express heterodox opinions on such an important topic.

This is scary, although not without historical precedent. Much of the American McCarthyism of the 1940’s and 1950’s was driven by the same burning faith in the righteousness of the mission – a faith that saw fundamental rights abrogated. We would be well served to go down a different path.

Gore and others often argue that if the science of climate change concludes that CO2 emissions are harmful, it follows that we should stop those harmful emissions – and that we are morally obliged to do so. But this misses half the story. We could just as well point out that since science tells us that speeding cars kill many people, we should cut speed limits to almost nothing. We do no such thing, because we recognize that the costs of high-speed cars must be weighed against the benefits of a mobile society.

Indeed, nobody emits CO2 for fun. CO2 emissions result from other, generally beneficial acts, such as burning coal to keep warm, burning kerosene to cook, or burning gas to transport people. The benefits of fossil fuels must be weighed against the costs of global warming.

Gore and Hansen want a moratorium on coal-fired power plants, but neglect the fact that the hundreds of new power plants that will be opened in China and India in the coming years could lift a billion people out of poverty. Negating this outcome through a moratorium is clearly no unmitigated good.

Likewise, reasonable people can differ on their interpretation of the Waxman-Markey bill. Even if we set aside its masses of pork-barrel spending, and analyses that show it may allow more emissions in the US for the first decades, there are more fundamental problems with this legislation.

At a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars annually, it will have virtually no impact on climate change. If all of the bill’s many provisions were entirely fulfilled, economic models show that it would reduce the temperature by the end of the century by 0.11°C (0.2°F) – reducing warming by less than 4%.

Even if every Kyoto-obligated country passed its own, duplicate Waxman-Markey bills – which is implausible and would incur significantly higher costs – the global reduction would amount to just 0.22°C (0.35°F) by the end of this century. The reduction in global temperature would not be measurable in a hundred years, yet the cost would be significant and payable now.

Is it really treason against the planet to express some skepticism about whether this is the right way forward? Is it treason to question throwing huge sums of money at a policy that will do virtually no good in a hundred years? Is it unreasonable to point out that the inevitable creation of trade barriers that will ensue from Waxman-Markey could eventually cost the world ten times more than the damage climate change could ever have wrought?

Today’s focus on ineffective and costly climate policies shows poor judgment. But I would never want to shut down discussion about these issues – whether it is with Gore, Hansen, or Krugman. Everybody involved in this discussion should spend more time building and acknowledging good arguments, and less time telling others what they cannot say. Wanting to shut down the discussion is simply treason against reason.


Ignoring Science

A further comment on a paper I mentioned on 24th

A new scientific paper says that man has had little or nothing to do with global temperature variations. Maybe the only place it's really getting hotter is in Al Gore's head. Because he must be getting flustered now, what with his efforts to save the benighted world from global warming continually being exposed as a fraud.

The true believers will not be moved by the peer-reviewed findings of Chris de Freitas, John McLean and Bob Carter, scientists at universities in Australia and New Zealand. Warming advocates have too much invested in perpetuating the myth. (And are probably having too much fun calling those who don't agree with them "deniers" and likening skeptics to fascists.) But these scientists have made an important contribution to the debate that Gore says doesn't exist.

Their research, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, indicates that nature, not man, has been the dominant force in climate change in the late 20th century. "The surge in global temperatures since 1977 can be attributed to a 1976 climate shift in the Pacific Ocean that made warming El Nino conditions more likely than they were over the previous 30 years and cooling La Nina conditions less likely" says co-author de Freitas. "We have shown that internal global climate-system variability accounts for at least 80% of the observed global climate variation over the past half-century. It may even be more if the period of influence of major volcanoes can be more clearly identified and the corresponding data excluded from the analysis."

These findings are largely being ignored by the mainstream media. They simply don't fit the worn narrative that man is dangerously warming the Earth through his carbon dioxide emissions and a radical alteration of Western lifestyles mandated by government policy is desperately needed. They will be ignored, as well, by the Democratic machine that is trying to ram an economy-smothering carbon cap-and-trade regime through Congress.

Despite efforts to keep the global warming scare alive, the growing evidence that humans aren't heating the planet is piercing the public consciousness and alarmists are becoming marginalized. Sharp Americans are starting to understand H.L. Mencken's observation that "The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it." That pretty much sums up the modern environmentalist movement.



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Heh! I guessed right about clouds

In the update to my post yesterday about the cloud research that has recently been giving Warmists uncontrollable erections, I guessed that the direction of cause was not clear. Physicist Lubos Motl discusses the study briefly below and also ends up with that point


Amy Clement, a sexy climate employee, and two of her less sexy colleagues have published a very different paper in the July 24th issue of Science:

They argue that the clouds themselves are actually a positive feedback. That would be counterintuitive from an atmospheric viewpoint. But more importantly, it also contradicts what the models say - because the models may claim that the total feedback is positive but they don't say that clouds themselves are a positive term.

What methods do they use to achieve their unusual conclusion?
Using observational data collected over the last 50 years and complex climate models, the team has established that low-level stratiform clouds appear to dissipate as the ocean warms, indicating that changes in these clouds may enhance the warming of the planet.

Well, they use some data but also "complex models". It's clearly a basic logical error to try to show that the models represent a feature of the climate incorrectly, while using the same models to derive this conclusion.

In other words, Lindzen's and Choi's paper shows that the combination "reality and models" is logically inconsistent, so one can derive anything - both correct and incorrect statements - from such an inconsistent set of axioms. Whatever you derive is therefore inevitably untrustworthy.

So it's not a "stunner", as Science claims. The Clement et al. paper is rather another example of the same stupidity that we have already gotten used to. The models will first have to be fixed - especially when it comes to the cloud-temperature interactions - and only when this job is done, they can be used to derive new sensible predictions and retrodictions about the cloud-temperature relationships.

Moreover, the Clement et al. paper really tried to study a small region in the Northeast Pacific whose cloud dynamics could be very different from the whole globe. So it would be another mistake to think that the paper would tell us something about the global climate, even if it were correct.

Also, the paper doesn't quite resolve the question which is the cause and which is its effect. We may summarize it: just forget Clement et al., it's irrelevant crap.


Even according to the IPCC, the earth's temperature over the entire 20th century rose by little more than one half of one degree -- which is tiny. We all experience much greater temperature changes every day. So projecting a similar rise into the 21st century would be most unexciting and non-alarming -- which would never do for the Warmists.

Warmists rely very heavily therefore on prophecies that such a small rise could be magnified into something much bigger by feedback mechanisms. And these feedback mechanisms are known collectively as the climate "sensitivity". But the degree of sensitivity they need to use in their models to produce anything even half-alarming needs to be high. So they assume that it is high. More and more, however, objective measurements of what the earth's climate sensitivity actually is are becoming available, and they all show that the sensitivity of the climate is much less that what the Warmists need to assume. The Lindzen paper mentioned above is an example of actual observations being used to calibrate climate sensitivity -- with a result that shows sensitivity as being nothing like what the Warmists require. Lindzen mentions that work briefly in his general-audience article below -- JR

Resisting climate hysteria: A Case Against Precipitous Climate Action

by Richard S. Lindzen (Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations. Such hysteria simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth, and the exploitation of these weaknesses by politicians, environmental promoters, and, after 20 years of media drum beating, many others as well. Climate is always changing. We have had ice ages and warmer periods when alligators were found in Spitzbergen. Ice ages have occurred in a hundred thousand year cycle for the last 700 thousand years, and there have been previous periods that appear to have been warmer than the present despite CO2 levels being lower than they are now. More recently, we have had the medieval warm period and the little ice age. During the latter, alpine glaciers advanced to the chagrin of overrun villages. Since the beginning of the 19th Century these glaciers have been retreating. Frankly, we don’t fully understand either the advance or the retreat.

For small changes in climate associated with tenths of a degree, there is no need for any external cause. The earth is never exactly in equilibrium. The motions of the massive oceans where heat is moved between deep layers and the surface provides variability on time scales from years to centuries. Recent work (Tsonis et al, 2007), suggests that this variability is enough to account for all climate change since the 19th Century. Supporting the notion that man has not been the cause of this unexceptional change in temperature is the fact that there is a distinct signature to greenhouse warming: surface warming should be accompanied by warming in the tropics around an altitude of about 9km that is about 2.5 times greater than at the surface. Measurements show that warming at these levels is only about 3/4 of what is seen at the surface, implying that only about a third of the surface warming is associated with the greenhouse effect, and, quite possibly, not all of even this really small warming is due to man (Lindzen, 2007, Douglass et al, 2007). This further implies that all models predicting significant warming are greatly overestimating warming. This should not be surprising (though inevitably in climate science, when data conflicts with models, a small coterie of scientists can be counted upon to modify the data. Thus, Santer, et al (2008), argue that stretching uncertainties in observations and models might marginally eliminate the inconsistency. That the data should always need correcting to agree with models is totally implausible and indicative of a certain corruption within the climate science community).

It turns out that there is a much more fundamental and unambiguous check of the role of feedbacks in enhancing greenhouse warming that also shows that all models are greatly exaggerating climate sensitivity. Here, it must be noted that the greenhouse effect operates by inhibiting the cooling of the climate by reducing net outgoing radiation. However, the contribution of increasing CO2 alone does not, in fact, lead to much warming (approximately 1 deg. C for each doubling of CO2). The larger predictions from climate models are due to the fact that, within these models, the more important greenhouse substances, water vapor and clouds, act to greatly amplify whatever CO2 does. This is referred to as a positive feedback. It means that increases in surface temperature are accompanied by reductions in the net outgoing radiation – thus enhancing the greenhouse warming. All climate models show such changes when forced by observed surface temperatures. Satellite observations of the earth’s radiation budget allow us to determine whether such a reduction does, in fact, accompany increases in surface temperature in nature. As it turns out, the satellite data from the ERBE instrument (Barkstrom, 1984, Wong et al, 2006) shows that the feedback in nature is strongly negative -- strongly reducing the direct effect of CO2 (Lindzen and Choi, 2009) in profound contrast to the model behavior. This analysis makes clear that even when all models agree, they can all be wrong, and that this is the situation for the all important question of climate sensitivity.

According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the greenhouse forcing from man made greenhouse gases is already about 86% of what one expects from a doubling of CO2 (with about half coming from methane, nitrous oxide, freons and ozone), and alarming predictions depend on models for which the sensitivity to a doubling for CO2 is greater than 2C which implies that we should already have seen much more warming than we have seen thus far, even if all the warming we have seen so far were due to man. This contradiction is rendered more acute by the fact that there has been no statistically significant net global warming for the last fourteen years. Modelers defend this situation by arguing that aerosols have cancelled much of the warming, and that models adequately account for natural unforced internal variability. However, a recent paper (Ramanathan, 2007) points out that aerosols can warm as well as cool, while scientists at the UK’s Hadley Centre for Climate Research recently noted that their model did not appropriately deal with natural internal variability thus demolishing the basis for the IPCC’s iconic attribution (Smith et al, 2007). Interestingly (though not unexpectedly), the British paper did not stress this. Rather, they speculated that natural internal variability might step aside in 2009, allowing warming to resume. Resume? Thus, the fact that warming has ceased for the past fourteen years is acknowledged. It should be noted that, more recently, German modelers have moved the date for ‘resumption’ up to 2015 (Keenlyside et al, 2008).

Climate alarmists respond that some of the hottest years on record have occurred during the past decade. Given that we are in a relatively warm period, this is not surprising, but it says nothing about trends.

Given that the evidence (and I have noted only a few of many pieces of evidence) strongly implies that anthropogenic warming has been greatly exaggerated, the basis for alarm due to such warming is similarly diminished. However, a really important point is that the case for alarm would still be weak even if anthropogenic global warming were significant. Polar bears, arctic summer sea ice, regional droughts and floods, coral bleaching, hurricanes, alpine glaciers, malaria, etc. etc. all depend not on some global average of surface temperature anomaly, but on a huge number of regional variables including temperature, humidity, cloud cover, precipitation, and direction and magnitude of wind. The state of the ocean is also often crucial. Our ability to forecast any of these over periods beyond a few days is minimal (a leading modeler refers to it as essentially guesswork). Yet, each catastrophic forecast depends on each of these being in a specific range. The odds of any specific catastrophe actually occurring are almost zero. This was equally true for earlier forecasts of famine for the 1980's, global cooling in the 1970's, Y2K and many others. Regionally, year to year fluctuations in temperature are over four times larger than fluctuations in the global mean. Much of this variation has to be independent of the global mean; otherwise the global mean would vary much more. This is simply to note that factors other than global warming are more important to any specific situation. This is not to say that disasters will not occur; they always have occurred and this will not change in the future. Fighting global warming with symbolic gestures will certainly not change this. However, history tells us that greater wealth and development can profoundly increase our resilience.

In view of the above, one may reasonably ask why there is the current alarm, and, in particular, why the astounding upsurge in alarmism of the past 4 years. When an issue like global warming is around for over twenty years, numerous agendas are developed to exploit the issue. The interests of the environmental movement in acquiring more power, influence, and donations are reasonably clear. So too are the interests of bureaucrats for whom control of CO2 is a dream-come-true. After all, CO2 is a product of breathing itself. Politicians can see the possibility of taxation that will be cheerfully accepted because it is necessary for ‘saving’ the earth. Nations have seen how to exploit this issue in order to gain competitive advantages. But, by now, things have gone much further. The case of ENRON (a now bankrupt Texas energy firm) is illustrative in this respect. Before disintegrating in a pyrotechnic display of unscrupulous manipulation, ENRON had been one of the most intense lobbyists for Kyoto. It had hoped to become a trading firm dealing in carbon emission rights. This was no small hope. These rights are likely to amount to over a trillion dollars, and the commissions will run into many billions. Hedge funds are actively examining the possibilities; so was the late Lehman Brothers. Goldman Sachs has lobbied extensively for the ‘cap and trade’ bill, and is well positioned to make billions. It is probably no accident that Gore, himself, is associated with such activities. The sale of indulgences is already in full swing with organizations selling offsets to one’s carbon footprint while sometimes acknowledging that the offsets are irrelevant. The possibilities for corruption are immense. Archer Daniels Midland (America’s largest agribusiness) has successfully lobbied for ethanol requirements for gasoline, and the resulting demand for ethanol may already be contributing to large increases in corn prices and associated hardship in the developing world (not to mention poorer car performance). And finally, there are the numerous well meaning individuals who have allowed propagandists to convince them that in accepting the alarmist view of anthropogenic climate change, they are displaying intelligence and virtue For them, their psychic welfare is at stake.

With all this at stake, one can readily suspect that there might be a sense of urgency provoked by the possibility that warming may have ceased and that the case for such warming as was seen being due in significant measure to man, disintegrating. For those committed to the more venal agendas, the need to act soon, before the public appreciates the situation, is real indeed. However, for more serious leaders, the need to courageously resist hysteria is clear. Wasting resources on symbolically fighting ever present climate change is no substitute for prudence. Nor is the assumption that the earth’s climate reached a point of perfection in the middle of the twentieth century a sign of intelligence.


Greenland not exceptionally warm now

Another new paper was just published in Journal of Climate. Jason Box, Lei Yang, David Bromwich, and Le-Sheng Bai wrote an article called "Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Air Temperature Variability: 1840–2007" (See here) ...

which discusses data from Greenland since 1840. No unprecedented recent warming is found. For example, they find that the 1919-1932 warming was 1.33 times greater than the 1994-2007 warming.

A subset of the authors was very kind to Lonnie Thompson from the same Ohio State University: they wrote about their insights in a very diluted way, so that Mr Thompson's AGW religious sensibilities are not hurt too much.


Is the Climate Science Debate Over? No, It’s Just Getting Very, Very Interesting (with welcome news for mankind)

The available terrestrial temperature data is corrupt and shows temperatures as higher than they actually are

How many times have you been told that the debate on the science of climate change is “over”? Probably almost as many times as Al Gore has traveled in private jets and limousines to urge audiences to repent of their fuelish ways.

Although tirelessly intoned by politicians, major media, advocacy groups, academics, and even some Kyoto critics, the “debate is over” mantra is just plain false. The core issues of climate-change attribution, climate sensitivity, and even anthropogenic detection remain very much in play.


The world has warmed overall during the past 130 years, as evidenced by melting glaciers, longer growing seasons, and both proxy and instrumental data. However, the main era of “anthropogenic” global warming supposedly began in the mid-1970s, and ongoing research by retired meteorologist Anthony Watts leaves no doubt that in recent decades, the U.S. surface temperature record–reputed to be the best in the world–is unreliable and riddled with false warming biases.

Watts and a team of more than 650 volunteers have visually inspected and photographically documented 1003, or 82%, of the 1,221 climate monitoring stations overseen by the U.S. Weather Service. In a report summarizing an earlier phase of the team’s investigation (a survey of 860+ stations), Watts says, “We were shocked by what we found.” He continues:

We found stations located next to exhaust fans of air conditioning units, surrounded by asphalt parking lots and roads, on blistering-hot rooftops, and near sidewalks and buildings that absorb and radiate heat. We found 68 stations located at wastewater treatment plants, where the process of waste digestion causes temperatures to be higher than in surrounding areas.

In fact, we found that 89 percent of the stations–nearly 9 of every 10–fail to meet the National Weather Services’s own siting requirements that stations must be 30 meters (about 100 feet) or more away from an artificial heating or radiating/reflecting heat source. In other words, 9 or every 10 stations are likely reporting higher or rising temperatures because they are badly sited.

“It gets worse,” Watts continues:

We observed that changes in the technology of temperature stations over time also have caused them to report a false warming trend. We found gaps in the data record that were filled in with data from nearby sites, a practice that propagates and compounds errors. We found adjustments to the data by both NOAA and another government agency, NASA, cause recent temperatures to look even higher.

How big a problem is this? According to Watts, “The errors in the record exceed by a wide margin the purported rise in temperature of 0.7ºC (about 1.2ºF) during the twentieth century.” Based on analysis of 948 stations rated as of May 31, 2009, Watts estimates that 22% of stations have an expected error of 1ºC, 61% have an expected error of 2ºC, and 8% have an expected error of 5ºC.

Much more HERE

The Cocktail Conversation Guide to Global Warming

The Cocktail Conversation Guide to Global Warming offers succinct replies to questions about climate change. The Cocktail Guide is a handy reference for anyone following the efforts of the U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration to construct domestic and global restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions (and the energy producing those emissions).

When climate alarmists publicly state that the threats of global warming should be exaggerated to motivate regulation, it is hard for the public to know what the truth about climate change really is. The Cocktail Guide considers 8 basic questions about the scientific basis for global warming.

"Every American should understand these central issues to the global warming debate," Marshall Institute President Jeff Kueter said. "President Obama and the Congress have set the U.S. on a precarious path based on assumptions and preconceptions, not documented facts. Our Guide will help the public become better informed about the uncertainties in the scientific evidence used to justify severe constraints on energy use and intrusions into day-to-day lives of the American people."

Please contact the Marshall Institute at 202-296-9655 or for details on how to obtain your "Cocktail Party Pak" (15 copies of the Guide, cocktails napkins and drink swizzles), everything you would need to host your own climate change cocktail party!

Full Text of "The Cocktail Conversation Guide to Global Warming" (PDF, 1117 KB)


British "organic" farmer goes broke

These jerks always think that they are so holy, that they know it all and that everyone else is a fool. Reality has a way of intruding, however

It is The Good Life dream that turned sour. Just months after landing a job as the “food champion” of the London mayor Boris Johnson, Rosie Boycott has had to wind up her organic farm after it failed to make a profit. The demise of the smallholding, set over eight acres in Somerset, left Boycott, a former editor of the Daily Express, and her husband £200,000 out of pocket and has resulted in the couple falling out with their former farm manager.

Boycott launched the venture more than four years ago in an attempt to grow healthy, locally produced, affordable food. She charted her progress as townie-turned-country dweller in a book called Spotted Pigs and Green Tomatoes.

It was Boycott’s passion for sustainable living which inspired Johnson, the capital’s Tory mayor, to appoint her as his principal food adviser in September last year. Boycott said at the time: “There are many aspects of our current food system which are damaging the environment through wasteful practices and producing poor-quality food. “It simply does not need to be the case that Londoners cannot have access to locally produced, top-quality food but we have to have a radical rethink to find ways to make this happen.” Since taking up the role, for which she is paid up to £20,000-a-year, Boycott has been busy drawing up plans to convert unused plots of land in London, including the roof of the Hayward art gallery, into public vegetable patches.

However, her own rural idyll appears to have been unravelling. The Gloucestershire old spot pigs and chickens Boycott once kept have long gone and the site of her farm, Dillington Park Nurseries, has now been converted into allotments. Accounts filed at Companies House show that the farm never made a profit. Early on, monthly outgoings were £2,329 and income a meagre £1,544. The last published set of accounts, for the year ending 2007, reveal a loss of more than £41,000.

Boycott, a former alcoholic, and her second husband, Charles Howard, a barrister, paid £70,000 to set up the farm at the end of 2004 on the site of a Victorian walled garden on the Dillington estate near Ilminster. It was located close to the Dairy House, a weekend retreat that the couple rented since 2002. Boycott wrote in her book: “We were looking to make every square inch as productive as possible and we were looking to find as many ways as possible to generate an income. “Our friends all too often refer to our farm as a hobby but I realise that has changed. It’s not just a hobby any more, it’s something that matters very much to Charlie and me and our life together. Somehow it has to succeed.”

To smooth their way, the couple recruited David Bellew to manage the farm. Last week, however, it emerged that Bellew, who is listed as a director and shareholder of Dillington Park Nurseries, has fallen out with Boycott and moved on to another job. A local shop owner said: “David worked his fingers to the bone. He was the unsung hero. Yes, Rosie financed it, but it was David’s expertise that got it off the ground and kept it going. He came very close to pulling it off.” Bellew refused to elaborate on the acrimony this weekend. “With hindsight I wish I had never got involved,” he said. “Ironically, I’m better for the experience. I’ve learnt the true value of things and people.”

When asked about the farm’s collapse and her relationship with Bellew, Boycott referred inquiries to her lawyers at Harbottle & Lewis, a firm which acts for the Prince of Wales, Kate Moss and David and Victoria Beckham. The lawyers sought to deflect a series of questions from The Sunday Times and threatened to sue on grounds of privacy, citing the European Convention on Human Rights.

Boycott claimed through her lawyers that the decision to convert her farm into new plots for up to 18 families had been mutually agreed between herself, Lord Cameron, the owner of Dillington estate and a former head of the Countryside Agency, and the Allotments Association, which controls the project. Boycott and Howard have retained one of the allotment strips.

A spokeswoman for Boris Johnson said the mayor thought Boycott was doing a “terrific” job. “She seizes opportunities in the most unlikely corners and through her force of personality and uncompromising commitment will leave a lasting legacy in London of thousands of extra food- growing spaces,” he 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 is a mirror of this site here.


Sunday, July 26, 2009


There has been much debate over how clouds would affect global warming. Would they slow it down or amplify it? Warmists are at the moment in a state of frabjous joy over a study which appears to show that cloud changes amplify global warming. Rather than note any of the Warmist comments, I simply reproduce below the summary from "Science" magazine which describes the study concerned:

Clouds Appear to Be Big, Bad Player in Global Warming

Richard A. Kerr

The first reliable analysis of cloud behavior over past decades suggests —but falls short of proving —that clouds are strongly amplifying global warming. If that's true, then almost all climate models have got it wrong. On page 460, climate researchers consider the two best, long-term records of cloud behavior over a rectangle of ocean that nearly spans the subtropics between Hawaii and Mexico. In a warming episode that started around 1976, ship-based data showed that cloud cover—especially low-altitude cloud layers—decreased in the study area as ocean temperatures rose and atmospheric pressure fell. One interpretation, the researchers say, is that the warming ocean was transferring heat to the overlying atmosphere, thinning out the low-lying clouds to let in more sunlight that further warmed the ocean. That's a positive or amplifying feedback. During a cooling event in the late 1990s, both data sets recorded just the opposite changes—exactly what would happen if the same amplifying process were operating in reverse.

Science 24 July 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5939, p. 376

The caution I have highlighted in red seems generally to have been ignored. Note also that for the last 10 years there has been no warming for clouds to amplify (or not) so the question is probably moot anyway. There is considerable cloud expertise among climate skeptics so I expect that we will hear more about this in the next few days


My comment above is brief because my professional expertise is not in climatology and I am quite happy to leave further comment to those who are experts. I have therefore only glanced at what the findings were. I have however long been a critic of scientific assumptions in other fields and I suspect that what we have above is another iteration of the utterly fallacious but still common claim that correlation is causation. In other words the results could in fact show that warming causes clouds rather than vice versa. A very clear temporal succession would be needed to settle the matter either way. So it will be interesting to hear if an unambiguous succession of that kind was shown. "I hae me doubts", as the Scots say

BOOK REVIEW of "Global warming false alarm" by Ralph Alexander

"I wrote this book because I’m a scientist. Because I’m offended that science is being perverted in the name of global warming – today’s environmental cause célèbre. Because the world seems to have lost its collective mind and substituted political belief for the spirit of scientific inquiry." -- From the Preface of “Global Warming: False Alarm” by Ralph Alexander, PhD. Review below by Lubos Motl

You might think that there are already many books about climate change on the market. But Ralph Alexander's book is special and unusually appropriate for both beginners and experts in the field because of its balanced attitude to the problem.

That doesn't mean that Dr Alexander ends up with a "mixed" answer to the basic question. Just like a majority of books on the subject, Dr Alexander makes the readers understand that the global warming alarm is almost completely an artifact of manipulation with the human psychology and with the data. But unlike the case of many other books, you will see that Dr Alexander is actually a mainstream scientist (and an applied scientist in the environmental sector) who cares about the good name and functioning of science. Years ago, he was inclined to believe the "general wisdom" about the problem. His diametrically opposite conclusions are a result of his long research of the problem. And his pride of a scientist has been hurt. Climatology has become an ugly example of a scientific discipline that has largely ceased to be scientific.

Dr Alexander determines that the "ring" and the international character of the IPCC, the climate panel of the United Nations, are the main drivers of the hysteria so the IPCC, its process, and its reports are the main players investigated by this text. He analyzes the history and structure of the IPCC and finds out that this panel is just a particular and heavily funded group of loud partisans and activists that is meant to defend a predetermined conclusion and that doesn't reflect the scientific opinion of the world's scientific community, at least its financially and otherwise unbiased part, and certainly not the available body of data. Lots of numbers about the percentages of the scientist who agree and disagree with various statements are included.

The following chapters are dedicated to the standard topics in this debate: an introduction to the enhanced greenhouse effect and why it cannot account for most of the climate variability; computer models as the main basis underlying the alarm and their flaws; the CO2 and temperature records and reconstructions, their comparisons, and their flaws (including the urban heat effect); cherry-picking in various "concerned" studies; the interactions with politics (in both directions); corruption of the conventional peer review process; the biased IPCC evaluation of the climate sensitivity (warming from CO2 doubling); the lag in the correlation showing that the temperature is a driver, not an effect, of trace gas concentrations; solar, oceanic, cosmic, and other natural drivers that have to be crucial (even though the author honestly says that science doesn't yet understand their precise and separate effects); the high possibility of a cooling in the 21st century.

A significant portion of the text is also concerned with the economic consequences of the alarm; the failures of the cap-and-trade systems in the past, the differences between various countries; and the false hopes in green, luxurious sources of energy.

The book contains many wise stories and analogies from the history, useful data from the present, some jokes, and black-and-white pages that summarize the IPCC claims and their flaws in various sections. Two appendices discuss the feedbacks and the effect of Pacific Decadal Oscillation. And indeed, Dr Alexander had to include some equations, too. The book has a short glossary, 30 pages of technical endnotes (including many references that don't disturb you in the main text), and an index. At any rate, it is quite an amazing piece of work that is fun to read - because of its detailed data, its convincing case, and warm style - and I wholeheartedly recommend you to buy it and read it.


Double Breakthrough: Nature publishes Letter by 6 climate skeptics which tells of another breakthrough: A major scientific society has agreed to reconsider its alarmist Statement on Climate Change

Petitioning for a revised statement on climate change

By S. Fred Singer, Hal Lewis, Will Happer, Larry Gould, Roger Cohen & Robert H. Austin

We write in response to your issue discussing "the coming climate crunch", including the Editorial 'Time to act' (Nature 458, 10771078; 2009). We feel it is alarmist.

We are among more than 50 current and former members of the American Physical Society (APS) who have signed an open letter to the APS Council this month, calling for a reconsideration of its November 2007 policy statement on climate change (see open letter at; APS statement at The letter proposes an alternative statement, which the signatories believe to be a more accurate representation of the current scientific evidence. It requests that an objective scientific process be established, devoid of political or financial agendas, to help prevent subversion of the scientific process and the intolerance towards scientific disagreement that pervades the climate issue.

On 1 May 2009, the APS Council decided to review its current statement via a high-level subcommittee of respected senior scientists. We applaud this decision. It is the first such reappraisal by a major scientific professional society that we are aware of, and we hope it will lead to meaningful change that reflects a more balanced view of climate-change issues.

Nature 460, 457 (23 July 2009)

Government monopsony distorts climate science

The climate industry is costing taxpayers $79 billion and counting. (A monopsony is where there is only one buyer or provider of funds)

The Science and Public Policy Institute announces the publication of Climate Money, a study by Joanne Nova revealing that the federal Government has a near-monopsony on climate science funding. This distorts the science towards self-serving alarmism. Key findings:

Ø The US Government has spent more than $79 billion of taxpayers’ money since 1989 on policies related to climate change, including science and technology research, administration, propaganda campaigns, foreign aid, and tax breaks. Most of this spending was unnecessary.

Ø Despite the billions wasted, audits of the science are left to unpaid volunteers. A dedicated but largely uncoordinated grassroots movement of scientists has sprung up around the globe to test the integrity of “global warming” theory and to compete with a lavishly-funded, highly-organized climate monopsony. Major errors have been exposed again and again.

Ø Carbon trading worldwide reached $126 billion in 2008. Banks, which profit most, are calling for more. Experts are predicting the carbon market will reach $2 - $10 trillion in the near future. Hot air will soon be the largest single commodity traded on global exchanges.

Ø Meanwhile, in a distracting sideshow, Exxon-Mobil Corp is repeatedly attacked for paying just $23 million to skeptics—less than a thousandth of what the US government spends on alarmists, and less than one five-thousandth of the value of carbon trading in 2008 alone.

Ø The large expenditure designed to prove the non-existent connection between carbon and climate has created a powerful alliance of self-serving vested interests.

Ø By pouring so much money into pushing a single, scientifically-baseless agenda, the Government has created not an unbiased investigation but a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Ø Sound science cannot easily survive the vice-like grip of politics and finance.

Says Nova, “For the first time, the numbers from government documents have been compiled in one place. It’s time to start talking of “Monopolistic Science”. It’s time to expose the lie that those who claim “to save the planet” are the underdogs. And it’s time to get serious about auditing science, especially when it comes to pronouncements that are used to justify giant government programs and massive movements of money.”

Robert Ferguson, SPPI’s president, says: “This study counts the cost of years of wasted Federal spending on the ‘global warming’ non-problem. Government bodies, big businesses and environmental NGOs have behaved like big tobacco: recruiting, controlling and rewarding their own “group-think” scientists who bend climate modeling to justify the State’s near-maniacal quest for power, control, wealth and forced population reduction.

“Joanne Nova, who wrote our study, speaks for thousands of scientists in questioning whether a clique of taxpayer-funded climate modelers are getting the data right, or just getting the “right” data. Are politicians paying out billions of our dollars for evidence-driven policy-making, or policy-driven evidence-making? The truth is more crucial than ever, because American lives, property and constitutional liberties are at risk.”


Even Warmists don't believe their own guff -- deeds speak louder than words

The guy writing below is a Warmist true-believer so struggles to understand why his allegedly Warmist colleagues behave "hypocritically". He ends up attributing their inconsistent behavior to incompetent communication. Yet his interlocutors are very well informed, so what level of communication would be needed to change them? North-Korean-style brainwashing? That seems to be where his argument leads

At a recent dinner at the University of Oxford, a senior researcher in atmospheric physics was telling me about his coming holiday in Thailand. I asked him whether he was concerned that his trip would make a contribution to climate change - we had, after all, just sat through a two-hour presentation on the topic. "Of course," he said blithely. "And I'm sure the government will make long-haul flights illegal at some point."

I had deliberately steered our conversation this way as part of an informal research project that I am conducting - one you are welcome to join. My participants so far include a senior adviser to a leading UK climate policy expert who flies regularly to South Africa ("my offsets help set a price in the carbon market"), a member of the British Antarctic Survey who makes several long-haul skiing trips a year ("my job is stressful"), a national media environment correspondent who took his family to Sri Lanka ("I can't see much hope") and a Greenpeace climate campaigner just back from scuba diving in the Pacific ("it was a great trip!").

Intriguing as their dissonance may be, what is especially revealing is that each has a career predicated on the assumption that information is sufficient to generate change. It is an assumption that a moment's introspection would show them was deeply flawed.

It is now 44 years since US president Lyndon Johnson's scientific advisory council warned that our greenhouse gas emissions could generate "marked changes in climate". That's 44 years of research costing, by one estimate, $3 billion per year, symposia, conferences, documentaries, articles and now 80 million references on the internet. Despite all this information, opinion polls over the years have shown that 40 per cent of people in the UK and over 50 per cent in the US resolutely refuse to accept that our emissions are changing the climate. Scarcely 10 per cent of Britons regard climate change as a major problem.

I do not accept that this continuing rejection of the science is a reflection of media distortion or scientific illiteracy. Rather, I see it as proof of our society's failure to construct a shared belief in climate change.

I use the word "belief" in full knowledge that climate scientists dislike it. Vicky Pope, head of the Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Change in Exeter, UK, wrote in The Guardian earlier this year: "We are increasingly asked whether we 'believe in climate change'. Quite simply it is not a matter of belief. Our concerns about climate change arise from the scientific evidence."

I could not disagree more. People's attitudes towards climate change, even Pope's, are belief systems constructed through social interactions within peer groups. People then select the storylines that accord best with their personal world view. In Pope's case and in my own this is a world view that respects scientists and empirical evidence.

But listen to what others say. Most regard climate change as an unsettled technical issue still hotly debated by eggheads. Many reject personal responsibility by shifting blame elsewhere - the rich, the poor, the Americans, the Chinese - or they suspect the issue is a Trojan horse built by hair-shirted environmentalists who want to spoil their fun.

The climate specialists in my informal experiment are no less immune to the power of their belief systems. They may be immersed in the scientific evidence, yet they have nonetheless developed ingenious storylines to justify their long-haul holidays.


Conservative wobbles over climate laws in Australia

There is a widespread awareness among Australia's Federal conservative politicians that global warming is a hoax but they also see various political hazards in completely rejecting Warmist laws. The conservative coalition as a whole is fairly demoralized and disorganized so they are not game so far to declare that the emperor has no clothes. With strong leadership they could probably win an election by proclaiming the hoax but they don't have such leadership so would almost certainly lose an election fought on that basis

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has described the Opposition's demands on climate change as a "shopping list" aimed at patching up divisions within the Coalition. The Opposition says it is willing to vote for the emissions trading scheme (ETS) if the Government agrees to a number of changes.

Mr Rudd says he is surprised Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has put forward a raft of amendments, just 19 days before the ETS will be voted on. "[It is] a shopping list, which I think has more to do with patching up some of the internal divisions in the Liberal Party than it has to do with much else," he said.

Mr Turnbull has today responded to criticism of his emissions policy backflip, particularly from backbencher Wilson Tuckey. "The shadow cabinet is as arrogant as Wilson Tuckey is humble," he said. He has also refused comment on whether the policy change is simply about stopping the Government calling an early election.

Mr Turnbull says he is confident he will get the support of a majority of the party room on an ETS. "What we've said is that if the scheme is presented in its current form on August 13 then we will vote against it and that's what we agreed to do in the party room," he said. "If the changes are satisfactory, if they address the issues that we've set out in the statement and it's a different scheme, then we'll take it back to the party room."

Some National senators have expressed concerns about the change of position, but Mr Turnbull told Saturday AM it is rare for any decision to have the entire support of the party room. "We're not seeking unanimity we're seeking consensus, we're seeking the support of a majority," he said.

He has conceded that there is little chance the Government will hold off on voting on an ETS until after the United Nations climate change meeting in December. "As far as the delaying a vote until after Copenhagen, I still believe that would be more prudent and we make that point in the statement," he said. "But the reality is, Mr Rudd is the Prime Minister, he's running the legislative agenda, he's going to force a vote before Copenhagen - that's his decision.

"And so the question is, presented with that less than ideal timing, how do we react to it? And so we are reacting to it in a constructive and effective way that the Australian people will understand, is an Opposition that is seeking to engage and ensure as best we can that the emissions trading scheme is right for jobs and right for the environment."



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Saturday, July 25, 2009


An email from John A []

The history of science is rife with examples of political, social and moral fashions which not simply influence, but pervert the scientific method and corrupt the conduct of scientists. Einstein faced off the political and moral fashions of Nazism and eugenics but plenty of his colleagues happily incorporated those twin systems into their own research. Eugenics also laid the foundations for the moral crusade against alcohol in early 20th Century America which was again a supposedly scientific assessment delivered as a moral panic which must be addressed immediately lest America fall into a deep pit of moral degeneration.

The example of Trofim Lysenko and the political outlawing of Mendelian genetics in Stalinist Russia is a particularly scary example of a political fashion given to be a moral and political imperative by a dangerously unstable man who became President of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The parallels with the modern global warming scare are obvious.

Another example would be neo-Malthusianism as popularized in the 20th Century repeatedly by Paul Erlich first in the 1960s and more recently by the scarily named "Optimum Population Trust" which includes such luminaries as Dir David Attenborough calling for mandatory limits on family size to prevent near future overpopulation and mass starvation. Once again, a supposed scientific analysis is communicated as a moral imperative.

John Holdren, now President Obama's Climate Czar, co-wrote several books with Paul Erlich in the 1970s at least one of which argued argued for forced abortions, forced adoptions of illegitimate children or from mothers "who contribute to general social deterioration by overproducing children" and the introduction of chemicals into water and food that rendered people sterile. All of this to forestall a crisis of overpopulation by the year 2000! See here for the original citations.

Carl Sagan, Erlich and others began and propagated the Nuclear Winter story of the 1980s, together with scary scenarios about likely darkening of the skies due to dust from burning cities rising into the stratosphere and blocking out the Sun. All with the aid of computer models with extremely rubbery parameters and dubious simplifications. A moral imperative against nuclear weapons? You betcha. Even Richard Feynman, iconoclast as he was, while averring that the underlying theory was nonsense, could not raise his voice too loud lest people think he was in favour of nuclear proliferation. Moral panics do that to the best of scientists.

There are lots more examples, but you get the idea. These scientific fashions all in their own time held great sway in academia and mainstream media. They divided scientists into those who were credible and those who were so morally and intellectually corrupt as to actually oppose these ideas.

Modern environmentalism has most, if not all of the above ideas incorporated into the unholy fusion of science and Marxist political theory now called "ecology", but is really a manifestation of what David Henderson memorably called "Global Salvationism".

The most interesting thing about all of this is that I, as a classical liberal, can find common cause with people from a wide spectrum of political and philosophical beliefs that the lessons of history are that moral fashions in science are endemic, cyclical and a constant menace to the real business of scientists to understand how the Universe works.

Scientists don't live in a fashion-free vacuum. They dress themselves in the fashions of the day, read the latest scare stories of the day, follow the latest celebrity soap operas of the day and most of all abide by rules to not upset the funding apple-cart from which their work is done, whatever their personal and moral qualms, at least until retirement.

I am pleased to say that during my time as an active academic researcher, I spent MOST of my time attacking the intellectual fashions of my day -- although I DID have tenure! You can see some of my efforts from that time here -- JR


An email from Stephen Ashworth []

Kenneth Chang in the New York Times reports that some observations seem inconsistent with the solar magnetic field--cosmic ray--cloud formation hypothesis. He wrote:
Terry Sloan, a cosmic ray expert at the University of Lancaster in England, said if the idea were true, one would expect the cloud-generation effect to be greatest in the polar regions where the Earth's magnetic field tends to funnel cosmic rays.

"You'd expect clouds to be modulated in the same way," Dr. Sloan said. "We can't find any such behavior." Still, "I would think there could well be some effect," he said, but he thought the effect was probably small. Dr. Sloan's findings indicate that the cosmic rays could at most account for 20 percent of the warming of recent years. [sic -- he clearly means the *reduction* in cosmic ray influx to the Earth in recent decades of the more active Sun -- SA]

I am skeptical about Dr Sloan's claim. The reason is as follows.

A few years ago I read a suggestion that an interstellar space probe might be able to do a flyby of the star Sirius, and use its gravity to redirect itself to a subsequent flyby of Procyon, in the same way that Pioneer, Voyager and other probes have used the gravity of Jupiter to redirect themselves to Saturn and beyond. I have a formula for the change in direction caused by a flyby of a massive body, so I was able to check this idea numerically.

It turned out that if the interstellar probe was travelling at a speed that was a significant fraction of the speed of light, say 0.1c -- which it would have to if it was to reach Sirius in only a few decades flight time -- then the deflection of its trajectory even on a flyby which grazed the star's atmosphere was only in the region of one degree, totally insufficient to redirect it to Procyon.

The lesson was that the gravitational fields of planets and even stars (Sirius is more massive than our Sun) are almost imperceptible to a vehicle if it is travelling at such a high speed.

Cosmic ray particles come into the Solar System at a significant fraction of the speed of light. I would therefore expect them to be largely immune to our local gravitational and magnetic fields. I would not expect Earth's magnetic field to funnel them towards the poles, as it does with the lower-energy solar particle flux. (Presumably someone has already checked this numerically?)

It would seem that Svensmark's cosmic ray--cloud formation hypothesis depends on the difference in strength between the Sun's and the Earth's magnetic fields: the Sun being strong enough to modulate the cosmic ray flux in the inner Solar System over its longer-term cycles of activity, while the Earth is too weak to redistribute incoming particles geographically during their last second or so of flight before hitting the atmosphere.


A split between rich and poor nations in the run-up to climate-change talks widened on Thursday. India rejected key scientific findings on global warming, while the European Union called for more action by developing states on greenhouse gas emissions.

Jairam Ramesh, the Indian environment minister, accused the developed world of needlessly raising alarm over melting Himalayan glaciers. He dismissed scientists’ predictions that Himalayan glaciers might disappear within 40 years as a result of global warming. “We have to get out of the preconceived notion, which is based on western media, and invest our scientific research and other capacities to study Himalayan atmosphere,” he said. “Science has its limitation. You cannot substitute the knowledge that has been gained by the people living in cold deserts through everyday experience.” Mr Ramesh was also clear that India would not take on targets to cut its emissions, even though developed countries are asking only for curbs in the growth of emissions, rather than absolute cuts.

His stance was at wide variance with that of Andreas Carlgren, his Swedish counterpart. Sweden holds the European Union’s revolving presidency until a conference in Copenhagen in December at which governments will try to hammer out a successor to the Kyoto protocol on curbing greenhouse emissions – the main provisions of which expire in 2012. Mr Carlgren said in Are, Sweden, that developing countries such as India, China and Brazil must propose more ambitious plans to reduce emissions if they were to receive finance from wealthy nations.

Rich and poor countries have been squabbling over the issue of financing for months, imperilling the outcome of the Copenhagen talks. Rich countries have not agreed to provide the funding that poor nations say is necessary to help them cut their emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Mr Carlgren went on the offensive on Thursday, saying poorer countries must come up with firm plans to cut emissions before financing will be forthcoming. States such as China and India have produced plans for curbing the growth in their emissions but these have not been formalised within the negotiating process. Mr Carlgren also criticised rich countries for failing to agree to cut their emissions by the amounts needed. “So far, what we have seen from other countries is too low. We expect more from developed countries,” he said.

But the Swedish environment minister said poor countries must also do more to forge an agreement. “We are prepared to put money on the table. But it should also be said that if we don’t see significant reductions that will really deviate from business as usual ... then there is no money,” Mr Carlgren said, singling out China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia. “We are also prepared to deliver financing, but we must see that there is something to pay for.”

India has taken the hardest line in the negotiations so far. Along with China, India refused at the meeting of the Group of Eight industrialised nations this month to sign up to a target of cutting global emissions by half by 2050. The countries were holding out to gain concessions from the west on financing. The claims from Mr Ramesh that Western science was wrong on the question of melting Himalayan glaciers appeared to reinforce Delhi’s recalcitrant stance. Mr Ramesh this week challenged Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, over her appeal to India to embrace a low-carbon future and not repeat the mistakes of the developed world in seeking fast industrialisation.

The consequences of depleted glaciers – sensitive to rising temperature and humidity – would be dire. Seven of the world’s greatest rivers , including the Ganges and the Yangtze, are fed by the glaciers of the Himalayas and Tibet. They supply water to about 40 per cent of the world’s population. Water supply is likely to become an increasing national security priority for both India and China as they seek to maintain high economic growth rates and sustain large populations dependent on farming. Some scientists have warned that rivers such as the Ganges, Indus and Brahmaputra could become seasonal rivers as a result of global warming.

Indians are also fearful of weakening monsoon rains. Some parts of India, including Delhi, the capital, are still waiting anxiously for this year’s rains to come in earnest. A late, or a poor, monsoon would be a drag on economic growth.

Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, has described melting glaciers as a “canary in the climate-change coal mine”, warning that billions of people depend on these natural water storage facilities for drinking water, power generation and agriculture.

Mr Ramesh said the rate of retreat of glaciers in the Himalayas varied from a “couple of centimetres a year to a couple of metres”, but that this was a natural process that had taken place occurred over the centuries. Some were, in fact, growing, he said. The glaciers – estimated by India’s space agency to number about 15,000 – had also been affected by debris and the large number of tourists, he said. [In some parts of the Himalayas, the glaciers have actually been growing. A British study published in 2005 by the American Meteorological Society found that glaciers are only shrinking in the eastern Himalayas. Further west, in the Hindu Kush and the Karakoram, glaciers are "thickening and expanding".]



The mutt was too thick to allow for Asian politeness

At the end of his trip to China in May, Senator Kerry was feeling positively giddy about the prospects of a deal with China at Copenhagen: “Based on these meetings, I am very optimistic at the possibility of producing a successful outcome in Copenhagen,” said Kerry. He described his talks in Beijing as the “most constructive and productive” climate change talks he had ever had with China.

He’s sounding down right desperate these days. In a report released on Thursday (but apparently not yet available online) by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which Kerry chairs, we are reminded that neither the US or China “has been willing to take the dramatic actions that many experts deem necessary to achieve critical mass for a global effort. . . .Many in the United States frankly doubt China’s commitment to reduce emissions.”

It also notes that “the absence of specific emissions reduction commitments from China has stoked fears of an unfair economic advantage for China, a hobbled U.S. economy and an insufficient response to the threat of global climate change.”

Commitments from China you say? It’s looking like Congressman Sensenbrenner (R-WI) formed the clearest perception of China’s climate change position after his own trip here in May. At the news conference which ended his visit (as part of a Congressional delegation headed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi), he stated that from his perspective: "It’s business as usual for China. The message that I received was that China was going to do it their way regardless of what the rest of the world negotiates in Copenhagen."

The Congressman’s motives for such statements may be suspect (he voted against Waxman-Markey, for instance), but he seems to have been quite prescient. Were the authors of yesterday’s opinion piece in the Shanghai Daily entitled “China fights climate change in its own way” determined to prove the Wisconsin Congressman correct? Here’s the essence of the article: "Vice Premier Li Keqiang, told Secretary Chu, a Nobel laureate who is a strong promoter of clean energy, that China adhered to the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” as it actively responds to global climate change. “Common but differentiated responsibilities” refers to the responsibilities of both developed and developing countries in reducing their carbon footprints respective to their developmental abilities."

This language is, of course, climate change code for “we don’t have the slightest intention of signing up at Copenhagen for any absolute carbon caps or carbon growth limit reductions.”



“Academics, like teenagers, sometimes don’t have any sense regarding the degree to which they are conformists.” So says Thomas Bouchard, the Minnesota psychologist known for his study of twins raised apart, in a retirement interview with Constance Holden in the journal Science

Journalists, of course, are conformists too. So are most other professions. There’s a powerful human urge to belong inside the group, to think like the majority, to lick the boss’s shoes, and to win the group’s approval by trashing dissenters.

The strength of this urge to conform can silence even those who have good reason to think the majority is wrong. You’re an expert because all your peers recognize you as such. But if you start to get too far out of line with what your peers believe, they will look at you askance and start to withdraw the informal title of “expert” they have implicitly bestowed on you. Then you’ll bear the less comfortable label of “maverick,” which is only a few stops short of “scapegoat” or “pariah.”

A remarkable first-hand description of this phenomenon was provided a few months ago by the economist Robert Shiller, co-inventor of the Case-Shiller house price index. Dr. Shiller was concerned about what he saw as an impending house price bubble when he served as an adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York up until 2004.

So why didn’t he burst his lungs warning about the impending collapse of the housing market? “In my position on the panel, I felt the need to use restraint,” he relates. “While I warned about the bubbles I believed were developing in the stock and housing markets, I did so very gently, and felt vulnerable expressing such quirky views. Deviating too far from consensus leaves one feeling potentially ostracized from the group, with the risk that one may be terminated.”

Conformity and group-think are attitudes of particular danger in science, an endeavor that is inherently revolutionary because progress often depends on overturning established wisdom. It’s obvious that least 100 genes must be needed to convert a human or animal cell back to its embryonic state. Or at least it was obvious to almost everyone until Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University showed it could be done with just 4.

The academic monocultures referred to by Dr. Bouchard are the kind of thing that sabotages scientific creativity. Though they sprout up in every country, they may be a particular problem in Confucian-influenced cultures that prize conformity and respect for elders. It’s curious that Japan, for example, despite having all the ingredients of a first rate scientific power – a rich economy, heavy investment in R&D, a highly educated population and a talented scientific workforce – has never posed a serious challenge to American scientific leadership. Young American scientists can make their name by showing their professor is dead wrong; in Tokyo or Kyoto, that’s a little harder to do.

If the brightest minds on Wall Street got suckered by group-think into believing house prices would never fall, what other policies founded on consensus wisdom could be waiting to come unraveled? Global warming, you say? You mean it might be harder to model climate change 20 years ahead than house prices 5 years ahead? Surely not – how could so many climatologists be wrong?

What’s wrong with consensuses is not the establishment of a majority view, which is necessary and legitimate, but the silencing of skeptics. “We still have whole domains we can’t talk about,” Dr. Bouchard said, referring to the psychology of differences between races and sexes.


Blunt warning about Greens under the bed

Once the lure of communism seduced the idealistic. Today’s environmental ideologues risk becoming just as dangerous

Britain is, thankfully, an ideologically barren land. The split between Right and Left is no longer ideological, but tribal. Are you a nice social liberal who believes in markets, or a nasty social liberal who believes in markets? Anthony Blunt’s memoirs, published this week, reveal a different age, one in which fascism and communism were locked in a seemingly definitive battle for souls.

Blunt talks of “the religious quality” of the enthusiasm for the Left among the students of Cambridge. There is only one ideology in today’s developed world that exercises a similar grip. If Blunt were young today, he would not be red; he would be green.

His band of angry young men would find Gore where once they found Marx. Blunt evokes a febrile atmosphere in which each student felt his own decision had the power to shape the future. Where once they raged about the fleecing of the proletariat and quaked at the march of fascism, Blunt and his circle, transposed to today’s college bar, would rage about the fleecing of the planet and quake at its imminent destruction. If you squint, red and green look disarmingly similar.

Both identify an end utopia that is difficult to dispute. The diktat “from each according to his ability, to each according to his means” sounds lovely on paper. Greens promise a world in which we actually survive a coming ecological apocalypse. A desirable outcome, undoubtedly.

But the means to these ends seem similarly insurmountable. Both routes demand an immediate suspension of human nature.

Ideologies often credit man with either more nobility or more venality than he deserves. In reality he is a mundane creature. He wants a home for himself and those he loves, stocked with food. And he wants to have the right to control his own destiny, own his own stuff, and to acquire more if he can without interference or fear of imminent death. Such low-level acquisitive desires support high concepts: property rights and the rule of law, without which there would be no foundation for democracy.

My desire to live a free, mundane life is a fundamental cog in our messy, glorious, capitalist democracy. It is built on millions of such small entrenched postitions. Red-filtered, my desires are despicable and bourgeois and must be beaten out of me with indoctrination or force. Green-filtered, my small desires are despicable acts of ecological vandalism. My house is a carbon factory. My desire to travel, to own stuff, to eat meat, to procreate, to heat my house, to shower for a really, really long time; all are evil.

The word evil is used advisedly. Both the green and red positions are infused with overpowering religiosity. Dissenters from the consensus are shunned apostates. Professor Ian Pilmer, the Australian geologist and climate change sceptic, could not find a publisher for his book Heaven and Earth, which questions the orthodoxy about global warming. He is the subject of hate mail and demonstrations. It is entirely immaterial whether he is right or wrong. An environment that stifles his right to a voice is worse than one that is overheating.

Even within the convinced camp, dissent from certain party lines is frowned upon. Nuclear power is the cheapest, greenest alternative to fossil fuels that we possess, yet it is anathema to advocate its proliferation at the expense of wind and sun. Fans of nuclear are the Trotskys of the movement, subject to batterings by verbal ice pick.

The great ecological timebomb is population growth. By 2050 the United Nations’ demographers expect the world’s population to reach 9.2 billion, compared with 6.8 billion today. That’s 2.4 billion extra carbon footprints. Half measures seem futile. We all hope for some new technology to rescue us. But what if it never materialises? The logical position is to be a cheerleader for swine flu, but not in my backyard. Do we have to pray for swine flu to ravage foreign children, to save our own from frying in the future?

We are at the early stage of the green movement. A time akin to pre-Bolshevik socialism, when all believed in the destruction of the capitalist system, but were still relatively moderate about the means of getting there. We are at the stage of naive dreamers and fantasists. Russia was home to the late 19th-century Narodnik movement, in which rich sons of the aristocracy headed into the countryside to tell the peasants it was their moral imperative to become a revolutionary class. They retreated, baffled, to their riches when the patronised peasants didn’t want to revolt. Zac Goldsmith and Prince Charles look like modern Narodniks, talking glib green from the safety of their gilded lives.

Indulge me in some historical determinism. We, the peasants, are failing to rise up and embrace the need to change. We will not choose to give up modern life, with all its polluting seductions. Our intransigent refusal to choose green will be met by a new militancy from those who believe we must be saved from ourselves. Ultra-green states cannot arise without some form of forced switch to autocracy; the dictatorship of the environmentalists.

The old two-cow analogy is a useful one. You have two cows. The communist steals both your cows, and may give you some milk, if you’re not bourgeois scum. The fascist lets you keep the cows but seizes the milk and sells it back to you. Today’s Green says you can keep the cows, but should choose to give them up as their methane-rich farts will unleash hell at some unspecified point in the future. You say, sod it, I’ll keep my cows thanks. Tomorrow’s green, the Bolshevik green, shoots the cows and makes you forage for nuts.

If the choice is between ecological meltdown, or a more immediate curtailment of our freedom, where do those of us who are neither red nor green, but a recalcitrant grey, turn? Back to those small desires, and a blinkered hope that the choice never becomes so stark. If it does, I’ll take my chances with Armageddon.



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Why computer models are a joke as the sole basis for policy

By John Droz, jr., Physicist and Environmental Advocate

Everyone readily admits that things aren't always what they seem. But are we really applying this knowledge in our daily dealings - are we consciously ferreting out the illusionary from the reality? I think not. For instance, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, we aren't really being run by pandering politicians, self-serving lobbyists, fanatical environmentalists, and greedy Wall Street manipulators! They are the illusion. There is another even more powerful (but much less visible) agent, behind all of these puppets.

The person behind the screen is the computer programmer. And, just like in the Wizard of OZ, they do not want you to look at this real controller. I'll probably have to turn in my membership card, but as a computer programmer (and physicist and environmental activist) I'm here to spill the beans about the Wiz.

The first hint of trouble is spelled out in Wikipedia's explanation about computer programmers: "The discipline differs from many other technical professions in that programmers generally do not need to be licensed or pass any standardized (or governmentally regulated) certification tests in order to call themselves `programmers' or even `software engineers.'"

Hmmm. My layperson explanation is that computer programming is all about making assumptions, and then converting these into mathematical (boolean) equations. The big picture question is this: is it really possible to accurately convert complex real-world situations into one's and zero's? Hal may think so, but higher processing brains say no. Yet this is continuously attempted, with very limited success.

Let's pull the screen back a bit more. We'll start with an example about how such a model makes assumptions. One of the computer programs I wrote was for debt collectors. A typical scenario was that a debtor was given a date to make a payment, and then the collection company doesn't receive it by that date. What response is then appropriate? In such a circumstance the computer program typically sends out an automatic letter (or makes an automatic phone call) to the debtor. (Remember there are thousands of these debtors, and it would be prohibitively time consuming for an agency person to manually check into and follow up each case.)

So what to say in this correspondence to the debtor? Well, it comes down to the assumptions made by the computer programmer. The programmer tries to simplify such situations into mathematical options. In this case they may decide that it comes down to "does the debtor have the money to make this payment: YES or NO?" This relatively basic choice then leads to a Boolean progression within the program.

How does the programmer (model) decide on YES or NO? Well other indicators would be used (e.g. were prior payments made on time) to come up with a statistical probability. Of course any computer model is not ONE set of choices, but rather a whole series of YES/NO (IF/OR) calculations that lead to a conclusion. In a complex situation (e.g. debt collection, climate change, or financial derivatives) there could easily be a hundred such choices to deal with.

To understand the implications of that, let's just consider the case where there are TEN such decision points - each with a YES or NO answer. At the end of such a pipeline, that means that there are 210 (i.e. 1024) possible results. That's a LOT of different potential conclusions!

Unfortunately there are actually MANY more possibilities! My assumption that this debtor situation could be condensed down to a YES or NO answer, is not accurate. There are several other real situations that fall outside of YES or NO. For instance, what if the debtor never got a notice in to first place that the amount was due by the date the agency is monitoring? Or what if the debtor sent the money and it got lost in transition? Or what if the debtor made the payment to the original person they owed, rather than the collection agency? Or what if the debtor sent in the money on time, and the collection agency incorrectly didn't credit the debtor for the payment? Etc., etc.

For the computer program (model) to be accurate, ALL of these scenarios need to be able to be handled properly (legally, timely, etc.). Can you begin to see the complexity here, just with this very simple example of a payment not being received on time?

There is still another significant factor (we're up to #4 now) not mentioned yet. What about the situation where the debtor hasn't paid, but it's because his child has MS, and he has no insurance? How does a computer programmer write code for more abstract concepts, like "fairness"? In other words, can ones and zeros be arranged in such a way to represent intangibles? I think not.

So the bottom line question is this: is there any way that a computer program can correctly handle ALL of these real-world possibilities - even in this simple debt collection case? The answer is no. NO!!!

We have considerable difficulties just translating the relatively simple thing we call language - e.g. Greek biblical texts into English. How many versions of the Bible are there? Why isn't there just one? Can we possibly hope to translate a process much more complicated than just words?

We can certainly try, but clearly the answer is that there is a LOT lost in the translation of any complex scenario (debtors, energy performance, etc.) into mathematical equations and computer code. Some uninformed parties believe that the user has control of all the variables, and can manually (and accurately) change scenarios. That is incorrect, as the user-controlled elements only represent a small fraction of the actual number of factors that are built into the computer model.

A similar fallacy is to think something like "we know the assumptions that the programmers made, and are adjusting accordingly." Wrong! In writing a computer program of any complexity, there are literally hundreds of assumptions made. The computer programmer does NOT reveal all these to his customer, for much the same reasons that an accountant does not tell his client all of the assumptions made in preparing a tax return. He goes over a few of the more basic items, and then says "sign here."

Oh, yes, this example brings up still another MAJOR variable (#7): the data the programmer uses as the basis for his creation. Just like preparing a tax return depends on two parties working together, writing a computer model is a collaboration between scientist and programmer. If the taxpayer gives incomplete or inaccurate data to the accountant, the result will be wrong. What's disconcerting is that in many cases, neither party will know that the results are in error...

Similarly if the scientist gives incomplete or inaccurate date to the programmer to use in his creation, the result will likewise be wrong. AND neither party will know it! I hate to keep going on here, but this is important stuff! Believe it or not, there is still one more significant variable (#8) that we have to take into account.

After a computer model is generated, there is then an interpreter (e.g. IPCC) that translates the "results" for politicians and the public (i.e. the media). Here's a surprise: these public interpretations are influenced by such factors as political, religious, environmental, financial, and scientific opinions. In their public revelations, do the interpreters explain all of their underlying biases? By now you know the answer: absolutely not. When these are introduced into the equation we obviously have strayed so far from scientific fact that it is not even in sight anymore.

Soooo, we need to think VERY CAREFULLY before we take major actions (e.g. spend a few Trillion dollars based on climate predictions, wind energy projected performance, etc.) that are almost entirely based on computer models. What to do? Should we just scrap all computer models? No, that's the other extreme. Computer models have merit - but shouldn't be the tail wagging the dog. We should realistically see computer models for what they are - tools to assist us in organizing our thoughts, and highly subjective results that are simply starting points for real scientific analysis.

Because of their inherent limitations (which I've just touched on here) ALL computer models should be treated with a very healthy degree of skepticism. To insure appropriate integrity, ALL computer models regarding matters of importance should be subjected to the rigors of scientific methodology. If they can't accurately and continuously replicate the results of real world data, then they should be discarded.

Unfortunately that is not what is happening. We have gotten so addicted to the illusion that these programs are accurate - and some have become so agenda driven - that we are now adjusting or discarding real world date that doesn't agree with the model. This is insane! If a model has not been proven to fully reflect reality, then it has very limited use, and should be treated with the same degree of consideration that one might give a horoscope.


Peer-Reviewed Study Rocks Climate Debate! Nature not man responsible for late 20th century global warming

'Surge in global temps since 1977 can be attributed to a 1976 climate shift in the Pacific Ocean'

A new peer-reviewed climate study is presenting a head on challenge to man-made global warming claims. The study by three climate researchers appears in the July 23, 2009 edition of Journal of Geophysical Research.

Three Australasian researchers have shown that natural forces are the dominant influence on climate, in a study just published in the highly-regarded Journal of Geophysical Research. According to this study little or none of the late 20th century global warming and cooling can be attributed to human activity.

The research, by Chris de Freitas, a climate scientist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, John McLean (Melbourne) and Bob Carter (James Cook University), finds that the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a key indicator of global atmospheric temperatures seven months later. As an additional influence, intermittent volcanic activity injects cooling aerosols into the atmosphere and produces significant cooling.

"The surge in global temperatures since 1977 can be attributed to a 1976 climate shift in the Pacific Ocean that made warming El Niño conditions more likely than they were over the previous 30 years and cooling La Niña conditions less likely" says corresponding author de Freitas.

"We have shown that internal global climate-system variability accounts for at least 80% of the observed global climate variation over the past half-century. It may even be more if the period of influence of major volcanoes can be more clearly identified and the corresponding data excluded from the analysis.”

Climate researchers have long been aware that ENSO events influence global temperature, for example causing a high temperature spike in 1998 and a subsequent fall as conditions moved to La Niña. It is also well known that volcanic activity has a cooling influence, and as is well documented by the effects of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption.

The new paper draws these two strands of climate control together and shows, by demonstrating a strong relationship between the Southern Oscillation and lower-atmospheric temperature, that ENSO has been a major temperature influence since continuous measurement of lower-atmospheric temperature first began in 1958.

According to the three researchers, ENSO-related warming during El Niño conditions is caused by a stronger Hadley Cell circulation moving warm tropical air into the mid-latitudes. During La Niña conditions the Pacific Ocean is cooler and the Walker circulation, west to east in the upper atmosphere along the equator, dominates.

"When climate models failed to retrospectively produce the temperatures since 1950 the modellers added some estimated influences of carbon dioxide to make up the shortfall," says McLean.

"The IPCC acknowledges in its 4th Assessment Report that ENSO conditions cannot be predicted more than about 12 months ahead, so the output of climate models that could not predict ENSO conditions were being compared to temperatures during a period that was dominated by those influences. It's no wonder that model outputs have been so inaccurate, and it is clear that future modelling must incorporate the ENSO effect if it is to be meaningful."

Bob Carter, one of four scientists who has recently questioned the justification for the proposed Australian emissions trading scheme, says that this paper has significant consequences for public climate policy. "The close relationship between ENSO and global temperature, as described in the paper, leaves little room for any warming driven by human carbon dioxide emissions. The available data indicate that future global temperatures will continue to change primarily in response to ENSO cycling, volcanic activity and solar changes.”

“Our paper confirms what many scientists already know: which is that no scientific justification exists for emissions regulation, and that, irrespective of the severity of the cuts proposed, ETS (emission trading scheme) will exert no measurable effect on future climate.”

Reference: McLean, J. D., C. R. de Freitas, and R. M. Carter (2009), Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature, Journal of Geophysical Research, 114, D14104.


Time series for the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) and global tropospheric temperature anomalies (GTTA) are compared for the 1958−2008 period. GTTA are represented by data from satellite microwave sensing units (MSU) for the period 1980–2008 and from radiosondes (RATPAC) for 1958–2008. After the removal from the data set of short periods of temperature perturbation that relate to near-equator volcanic eruption, we use derivatives to document the presence of a 5- to 7-month delayed close relationship between SOI and GTTA. Change in SOI accounts for 72% of the variance in GTTA for the 29-year-long MSU record and 68% of the variance in GTTA for the longer 50-year RATPAC record. Because El Niño−Southern Oscillation is known to exercise a particularly strong influence in the tropics, we also compared the SOI with tropical temperature anomalies between 20°S and 20°N. The results showed that SOI accounted for 81% of the variance in tropospheric temperature anomalies in the tropics. Overall the results suggest that the Southern Oscillation exercises a consistently dominant influence on mean global temperature, with a maximum effect in the tropics, except for periods when equatorial volcanism causes ad hoc cooling. That mean global tropospheric temperature has for the last 50 years fallen and risen in close accord with the SOI of 5–7 months earlier shows the potential of natural forcing mechanisms to account for most of the temperature variation.


British wind power plan blown off course

The Government was facing a growing credibility gap over green jobs last night as environmental campaigners and trade unionists united to fight the closure of Britain's sole major wind turbine plant.

Only last week, ministers proclaimed a green employment future for the UK involving 400,000 jobs in environmental industries such as renewable energy – yet this week they are declining to intervene over the forthcoming closure of the Vestas Wind Systems plant on the Isle of Wight, with nearly 600 redundancies.

Workers at the Newport factory, which makes wind turbine blades, were last night staging their third night of occupation of the plant in an attempt to prevent the closure which is scheduled for 31 July. In an alliance not seen before, they were being helped by climate-change campaigners who have set up an ad hoc camp outside the factory and yesterday helped to get food to the occupiers.

Vestas, a Danish company which is the world's biggest wind energy group, announced in April it was pulling out of the UK, citing the difficulties of getting wind farms built in Britain in the face of local "Nimby" opposition campaigns and the slowness of the planning system.

"A problem we are facing is our inability to get planning consent," said a senior company executive. "We needed a stable long-term market and that was not there in the UK. We have made clear to the Government that we need a market. We do not need money."

Several weeks before the closure announcement, Vestas bosses led by the chief executive, Ditlev Engle, went to 10 Downing Street for a high-level meeting attended by the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband, where they made specific demands for more direct government support. When this was not forthcoming, the closure was announced.

While the Government may not have felt able to respond to what were in effect threats from a private manufacturing company, the consequence of allowing the country's major wind energy manufacturing plant to fold has attracted ferocious criticism from the green movement.

This was not least because of the prospect that the 7,000 or so wind turbines Britain will install over the next decade to help meet its climate-change targets will have to come from abroad, even though last week both Mr Miliband and the Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, launching the Government's climate strategy, went to great lengths to stress the green business opportunities of Britain becoming a low-carbon economy.

"Last week Labour promised Britain would install thousands of wind turbines in the coming years. Are ministers really now saying they'd rather buy those turbines from abroad than make them here in the UK?" said Robin Oakley, head of the Greepeace climate campaign. "Letting this factory close is like a football manager saying he's up for the cup then dropping his only goal scorer. It just doesn't make sense.

"It is factories like this and engineers like the ones occupying it that Britain desperately needs if ministers are serious about launching a green industrial revolution."

Caroline Lucas, the Green Party leader and the Isle of Wight's MEP, sent a message of support to the workers and called for immediate government intervention to save the factory from closure. "The decision to close the facility represents a spectacular failure by government ministers to adequately promote green industries, and protect the future of manufacturing in this country," she said.

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, said: "This closure exposes the hollow truth of Labour's climate change strategy." Five Labour MPs have already signed a Commons motion protesting against the closure.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said the company had taken a commercial decision to reduce its production capacity across northern Europe. She acknowledged there were "cultural and planning issues" behind the construction of wind farms, but promised they would be tackled by the climate strategy. She said: "We are hopeful Vestas will go ahead with their plans for a research and development facility on the Isle of Wight which could provide up to a further 300 jobs and also help develop and test products that are suitable for the UK offshore market."

Vestas erected a fence around the site in response to the protest. Workers claimed it was being put up to stop food or drink being sent in. One said: "We are convinced this is against the Human Rights Act because we are being denied humanitarian aid."

Three protesters were arrested outside the site. Hampshire Police said a 28-year-old man from Southampton had been arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and a 49-year-old man from Portsmouth was arrested on suspicion of a breach of the peace.

A London man, aged 38, was arrested on suspicion of a breach of the peace and later released without charge.


Source Of Man Made Warming Discovered!

It's imperfect ground-based measurements, used in preference to more accurate satellite data. Excerpt only below

Folks, after years of scientific measurement and debate we have determined global warming is indeed man made, and we have isolated the source for 100% of the man made global warming.

The reason it took years to resolve is we had to have a few decades of actual measurements to confirm global warming is a man-made phenomena and to determine the source. With decades of highly accurate, global and time correlated satellite data we have succeeded in both goals!

What we have seen in the last decade or so is a divergence between the models predictions of warming and the actual measurements. This divergence has been getting worse up until the point the someone had to take action. And what they did proved beyond a doubt the real source of global warming:

NOAA proclaimed May 2009 to be the 4th warmest for the globe in 130 years of record keeping. Meanwhile NASA UAH MSU satellite assessment showed it was the 15th coldest May in the 31 years of its record. This divergence is not new and has been growing. Just a year ago, NOAA proclaimed June 2008 to be the 8th warmest for the globe in 129 years of record keeping. Meanwhile NASA satellites showed it was the 9th coldest June in the 30 years of its record.

So how could satellite data - which covers the entire globe and is measured many times a day (not just once or twice) record May 2009 as the 16th warmest year in 31 years, while NOAA reports the same month as the 4th warmest in 130 years? Clearly, one set of data is clearly flawed and in error. And the fact this divergence is consistent means the error is systemic - it repeats no matter what satellite data is used (satellite instruments are swapped out constantly as the birds end their missions and new ones take over).

The answer is basically called smearing bad data over good data. Modern satellite sensors are incredibly accurate. We can measure the height of the ocean waves to the centimeter level from space. No buoys on the surface can do this, and not across the entire globe. Maybe you can get a rough data point within a couple thousand square miles, but only satellites can measure ocean wave heights across the globe from a single sensor (which makes all the measurements consistent to one sensor’s performance, not the random performance of innumerable and un-calibrated sensors spread all over the globe).

Satellite systems are by far the most accurate and global measurement systems - unless they tell you something you would prefer to pretend did not exist. Then they all of sudden become secondary to antiquated, aging and inconsistent ground based sensors. It like saying I would prefer to navigate via sextant and clock than use a GPS receiver with built in maps and routes.

And that desperate grasp to outdated and error prone measurements is the only methodology showing any global warming, and even this requires a significant amount of massaging the accuracy out of the data to create the science fiction that is man-made CO2 driven global warming:

NOAA and the other station base data centers suffer from major station dropout (nearly 3/4ths of the stations) many of them rural, there has been a tenfold increase in missing months in remaining stations, no adjustment for urbanization even as the population grew from 1.5 billion to 6.7 billion since 1900 and documented bad station siting for 90% of the observing sites in the United States and almost certainly elsewhere.........

Anthony mentions how in testimony in March 2009 before congress, NCDC’s director Tom Karl opined about satellite data and the “adjustments” required:

“It is important to note raw satellite data and rapidly produced weather products derived from satellite sensors are rarely useful for climate change studies. Rather, an ordered series of sophisticated technical processes, developed through decades of scientific achievement, are required to convert raw satellite sensor data into Climate Data Records (CDRs).”

It is not all that sophisticated really. It is, in fact, a cheesy and blatant act of misinformation. There is no reason for the 30 years of satellite data not to be right in and of itself. It is fair to say when you go back into history before the era of satellite-based temperature measurements there is room to debate. But within the satellite era the measurements cannot be inconsistent.

There is no way the ground experienced 4 warmer Mays in the last 30 years when the satellites measured 15. And when we go back 130 years this premise or theory becomes improbable, at best. Here is the real data, un-smeared:

So we now have irrefutable proof of the existence and source of man-made global warming. The source is falsified data that spreads low quality and less precise measurements over more consistent and higher precision satellite data, masking the fact the Earth has not seen any warming in 3 decades and is right now cooling off slightly (as anyone can see from the cold records being broken).

The cause is man-made bad data, the source is the alarmist. Is there a direct correlation between CO2 and warming? Well, if you correlate all the hot air these snake oil salesmen produce as they raise the false alarm bells then I guess there is one.

Face it, these people are trying to steal our money by taxing energy so they can get rich. It’s not all that complicated.


Green Desperation

By Alan Caruba

The environmental movement and, in particular, “global warming”, has become a joke. That is always a sign of decline. Unless you’re a comedian, when people start laughing at you it’s never a good thing.

There are often defining moments in the death of a movement and I think I may have spotted one when the Australian July issue of Rolling Stone featured a naked Miranda Kerr on its “Green Issue” cover, chained to a tree while demurely covering her naughty parts to advance the cause of koala bears. Ms. Kerr is described as a “super model” and terribly concerned that there are only 100,000 koalas left. Apparently, “global warming” has something to do with that.

If you have to use nudity to sell your nonsense, you are scrapping bottom; People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals does it all the time.

Back in the U.S. one of the biggest idiots in the U.S. Senate, a former candidate for President, John Kerry, had convened a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which predicted that “massive crop devastation, melting glaciers, water shortages, (and) millions of displaced people…will drag the U.S. military into conflict if global climate change goes unchecked.”

Observers may have noticed that Greens no longer refer to “global warming” much anymore as opposed to “climate change.” This is because (a) there is NO global warming and (b) the climate has always been in a process of change over the past 4.5 billion years. If you wanted to ensure that the U.S. military continued to receive billions for defense, claiming that “rising sea levels” will lead to conflicts is a pretty silly way of justifying it, given the threats to peace in the Middle East and elsewhere.

My friend, John Brignell, a British emeritus professor and expert on statistics, maintains a website that features a page devoted to the endless events, trends, and predictions attributed to “global warming.” It is a hoot.

Among the things attributed to “global warming” are acne, a saltier Atlantic Ocean, a decline in the duck and goose population, and, my favorite, why “global warming” is responsible for blizzards and colder winters.

A recent story on claimed that the dark-colored sheep of the Scottish St. Kilda islands may fall victim to “rising temperatures”, replacing them with lighter ones. The whole of the British Isles has been experiencing colder weather thanks to a cooling cycle that has been occurring for the past ten years. It’s worse than mere twaddle, a story like this is just one of thousands desperately trying to advance and keep alive the absurd “global warming” theory.

$79 Billion Spent on Climate Change "Science"!

Here in the United States, the Science and Public Policy Institute just announced the publication of “Climate Money”, a study by Joanne Nova that reveals the federal government has a near-monopoly on climate science funding and has spent “more than $79 billion of taxpayer’s money since 1989 on policies related to climate change, including science and technology research, administration, propaganda campaigns, foreign aid, and tax breaks.”

The study concludes, understandably, that “Most of this spending was unnecessary.”

The entire bogus “Cap-and-Trade” Act languishing in Congress is about selling “carbon credits.” This is just one degree more disingenuous than selling bottled water when the H2O that comes out of your kitchen faucet is as clean and safe as any you will find from an artesian well. Meanwhile, worldwide, the trading reached $126 billion in 2008.

This is why everything about environmentalism is a scam. Can you think of a single good reason to spend $126 billion for the right to emit carbon dioxide when 97% of it comes from nature? The Earth emits CO2 all the time in the form of volcanic activity, the action of the oceans, storing and releasing it. When you exhale six pounds of it every day?

The desperation you’re seeing and hearing represents Green organizations whose entire agenda is devoted to keeping Americans from having access to any form of energy, destroying our economy, and from the bankers like Goldman Sacks who figure to make billions trading carbon credits.

Americans, many of whom are increasingly out of work, losing their homes and cars, putting off vacations, college for their kids, and any prospect of ever being able to retire are growing tired of this insanity. They have more important things to worry about.


Humanity can't power progress with green faith

By Martin Ferguson (Martin Ferguson is the federal Resources and Energy Minister in Australia's centre-Left Federal government)

ENVIRONMENTALISTS who oppose everything except renewable energy are condemning billions to poverty. THE federal government's support for a liquefied natural gas development in the Kimberley and the Four Mile uranium mine in South Australia has generated heated opposition from people who say they are true environmentalists.

The same people oppose the government's $2.4 billion commitment to accelerate low-emission coal technologies. And, despite a renewable energy target of 20 per cent by 2020 and more than $2bn also being spent to accelerate and commercialise renewable technologies, they don't like biomass even though it is proven and often the most affordable, efficient and practical of the renewable technologies on offer today. Some also oppose geothermal energy.

Such opposition demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of where our electricity comes from, how much it costs, who pays for it and what the future global energy landscape looks like. There are 1.6 billion people in the world with no access to electricity. They are the poorest people on the planet. As the developing world continues to modernise and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development economies continue to grow, global energy consumption is set to nearly double in the next 20 years.

China is the obvious case study. It already has 11 nuclear power stations in operation and a further 29 under construction or announced. China's LNG imports are set to double this year and increase a further 50 per cent next year. It already has more renewable energy capacity than any other nation and renewable energy's share of domestic capacity in China will grow to 15 per cent in 2020.

And every four months, from now until 2020, China will build new coal-fired power stations possessing the same capacity as Australia's entire coal-fired power sector. Clearly, no serious response to climate change can ignore the need to clean up coal. Those who oppose the development of Australia's uranium and LNG resources, and low-emission coal technologies, need to answer the following two questions.

Do they want the world's poor to have access to electricity? If so, how do they propose to generate it? The answers would be yes and renewables. Admirable, but impossible today. I have yet to meet anyone who opposes the use of cheap, reliable renewable energy. However, the factors limiting the uptake of renewables remain technical, not political. We must have a rational, science-based pathway to overcome those hurdles. Faith alone will not get us there.

That is precisely why the federal government is making unprecedented investments in clean-energy technology development and our budget this year contained $4.5bn to achieve this goal. Governments across the world are taking similar steps because technology created this problem and only an energy technology transformation will solve it. Many different technology pathways are being pursued because it is too early to pick winners.

Technologies capable of producing clean, affordable, reliable base-load power from the sun, the wind or the ocean, or from low-emission coal, may still be several years away. Any objective assessment of available global energy options would conclude that gas and uranium are essential transition fuels as the world moves to a cleaner energy future.

During the next few decades, uranium and LNG are set to play a significant role in the global response to climate change and, put simply, blanket opposition to these industries is a political stance, not a practical one. As an energy-rich nation with a wide range of options, Australia does not need to pursue a domestic nuclear power industry, yet many nations are not so lucky. For them, a nuclear energy capacity is vital to respond to the challenges of climate change and energy security.

With about 40 per cent of the world's uranium, Australia has an obligation to be a responsible supplier of uranium for peaceful purposes and an opportunity to make a significant contribution to global carbon dioxide abatement efforts.

This comes with significant economic benefits. Australia's uranium exports are forecast to nearly double by 2014, to $1.6bn. Our LNG sector is set to have an even greater impact.

Australia is already the fifth largest LNG exporter, with exports worth nearly $10bn in 2008-09. With the range of projects under consideration in northwestern Australia and at Gladstone, LNG exports could triple in the next decade. These are big employers and big investors. Take Woodside's Pluto LNG project in the Pilbara, Australia's largest single investment project at about $12bn. Today, at the peak of construction, it is employing about 4000 people, one in four of whom come from the east coast.

Later this year, Chevron, Shell and ExxonMobil expect to make a final investment decision on the Gorgon LNG project, also in the Pilbara. And the race is on to develop Inpex's Ichthys project in Darwin, the Sunrise project in the Timor Sea and various coal seam methane-based LNG projects in Gladstone, Queensland. The Gorgon project alone could involve total investment in the order of $50bn. That's a one-project, private sector economic stimulus package.

The federal government is also working with industry, the West Australian government and the Kimberley Land Council to establish a new regional LNG hub in the Kimberley to develop Browse Basin gas reserves. We have committed more than $340 million in the West Kimberley during the next four years to close the gap on indigenous disadvantage. An LNG hub could secure the future economic and social empowerment of indigenous communities in the Kimberley as well as add to national wealth and provide a new clean energy source for our neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region.

As an electricity source that emits about half the CO2 of coal today, a rapidly expanding Australian LNG industry will have a very positive environmental effect for the planet. When LNG is used instead of coal to generate electricity in China, nine tonnes of CO2 emissions are saved for every tonne of LNG produced.

The global energy landscape of the 21st century is complex and dynamic. As the world moves -- appropriately -- to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, the true environmentalists are those willing to embrace science and technology in the search for safe, environmentally sustainable and affordable ways to deliver uranium, LNG, low-emission coal and renewable energy technologies. The world needs all of them for a cleaner energy future.



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Thursday, July 23, 2009


An email from Brad Arnold []

In the July issue of the International Journal of Global Warming, Bo Nordell and Bruno Gervet of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Lulea University of Technology in Sweden have come up with a remarkable finding that completely changes the way we understand global warming. By the way, the article "Global energy accumulation and net heat emission" is peer reviewed (in other words, it is credible science). See here and here.

The scientists' calculations show that three fourths of accumulated heat is from heat emissions. In other words, most of the global warming is from heat humans have generated, not from increased levels of greenhouse gas in the air.

The IPCC stated that the probability that global warming was caused by human emissions is over 90%. Instead, the heat our power plants, motors, and furnaces put into the environment are at least as significant as the greenhouse gas they emit into the air. Now we know, and knowing is half the battle.

Among the startling implications of this major change to the theory of global warming is nuclear power. Although nuclear power has a small carbon footprint, it will not slow down global warming because it produces heat emissions equivalent to three times the energy of the electricity it generates.


Supporting India's stand that it would not budge under pressure from the western world to accept emission reduction standards, noted environmentalist R K Pachauri today said New Delhi cannot be "pressurised" on the issue and asked the developed world to act first.

Pachauri said the statement made by Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh during a joint interaction with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that India would not budge under pressure from the western world to accept emission reduction standards was the country's principled stand.

"I think it is a principled stand. What he (Ramesh) said is absolutely right. India cannot be pressured into taking commitments. There is no rational basis for asking India to do that," Pachauri, also the Chairman of the Noble prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told PTI in an interview.



Planning delays caused by a transition to a new government after next year's election threaten to hold up investment needed to secure Britain's energy supplies and cut carbon dioxide emissions, industry leaders have warned. Ernst & Young, the professional services group, says in a report on Tuesday that the years to 2015 will be "critical" in determining whether Britain meets targets to develop renewable energy and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

Over the next seven years the industry will have to invest £90bn ($149bn) in new wind farms, power stations, electricity networks and energy efficiency measures to have a chance of achieving the government's objectives, E&Y believes.

But concerns are growing in the energy industry that Tory plans to sweep away the new planning system being introduced by Labour will create uncertainty and delay investment plans until well after the next election, expected to be held in May next year.

Tony Ward, a partner in E&Y's power team, said: "If a transition to a new government doesn't happen seamlessly, then the risk is we won't be on the critical path for some investments. If a new nuclear power station, for example, is to be operating in 2018, there are critical decision points only 12 to 18 months away."

Industry concerns centre on the new Infrastructure Planning Commission, which will take decisions on large projects including energy investments, and the National Policy Statements, due in the autumn, which are intended to shape planning decisions.

The Conservatives plan to subsume the IPC into the Planning Inspectorate and pass its role for decisions on strategic projects to a minister, probably the energy secretary in the case of power stations, wind farms and grid connections. The energy industry fears another period of uncertainty while the new system beds down. The Tories plan to retain the NPSs, but the statements are subject to consultation and parliamentary scrutiny and the industry is keen to avoid further delay.

Sarwjit Sambhi, director of power generation at Centrica, which commissioned the E&Y study, said: "We don't have a problem with [the Tory plan] per se; we just hope that it happens expediently and smoothly."



Britain's largest low-cost airline is to cut almost a third of its flights from Stansted this winter, blaming "unfair" passenger taxes for making the routes uneconomical. Ryanair, which currently runs 40 aircraft from Stansted, its main London hub, will run just 24 planes from October, leading to a 30 per cent reduction in the number of weekly flights. It is the latest airline to cut its schedules, increasing the pressure from the aviation and tourist industries on the Chancellor to review the controversial air passenger duty (APD).

Belgium, Holland, Greece and Spain have all reduced or scrapped similar taxes to boost tourism during the recession. Yesterday Ryanair's arch-rival easyJet joined in the attack, branding the tax "certifiably bonkers".

The British Air Transport Association (Bata) has already approached the Government over the issue as many of its members have warned the measure could have a disastrous impact on an industry already suffering heavily from the effects of the recession. An industry analyst, Rigas Doganis, said that the decline of the aviation industry had been "absolutely frightening".

However, industry sources believe that while a £1 rise in the tax in November appears to be a "fait accompli", they are concentrating their efforts on stopping a doubling of the tax, due to come in next year. APD first came into effect in 1994 but was overhauled in the pre-Budget report last November. The tax is in four bands, dependent on how far the passenger flies. In Europe, there is currently a flat £10 fee for passengers on shorthaul economy flights, rising to £40 to fly further. This will rise to £22 and £90 from November next year. The Government introduced it as a green tax, which easyJet rejected yesterday. "As an environmental tax it is stupidity itself as it is a flat rate. A passenger flying on the most environmentally friendly plane will pay the same as one on a dirty old banger."

Virgin Atlantic also came out against the tax, and has started printing anti-APD messages on its e-tickets. Sir Richard Branson called it "one of the most unjust taxes out there" on a website launched railing against APD. He said there was "not a shred of evidence to suggest the £2bn-plus currently raised is going towards environmental or sustainable projects".



It usually doesn't happen this quickly in Washington. But President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are finding that the old maxim that what goes around, comes around applies to them, too. Less than six months into his term, Mr. Obama's top initiatives -- health-care reform and "cap and trade" energy legislation -- are in serious jeopardy and he has himself and his congressional allies to blame.

Their high-pressure tactics in promoting and passing legislation, most notably the economic "stimulus" enacted in February, have backfired. Those tactics include unbridled partisanship, procedural short cuts, demands for swift passage of bills, and promises of quick results.

With large majorities in Congress and an obsequious press corps, Mr. Obama was smitten with the idea of emulating President Franklin Roosevelt's First 100 Days of legislative success in 1933. Like FDR, Mr. Obama tried to push as many liberal bills through Congress in as brief a time as possible.

He made a rookie mistake early on. He let congressional Democrats draft the bills. They're as partisan as any group that has ever controlled Congress, and as impatient. They have little interest in the compromises needed to attract Republican support. As a consequence, what they passed -- especially the $787 billion stimulus -- belongs to Democrats alone. They own the stimulus outright.

That makes them accountable for the hopes of a prompt economic recovery now being dashed. With the economy still faltering and jobs still being lost, Mr. Obama's credibility is sinking and his job approval rating is declining along with the popularity of his initiatives. Republicans, who had insisted the stimulus was wasteful and wouldn't work, are being vindicated. [...]

In urging fast action, Mr. Obama sounded apocalyptic: "If we do not move swiftly to sign the [stimulus] into law, an economy that is already in crisis will be faced with catastrophe. . . . Millions more Americans will lose their jobs. Homes will be lost. Families will go without health care."

Once the stimulus passed, Democrats said the impact would be practically instant. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) predicted "an immediate jolt." Economic adviser Larry Summers said, "You'll see the effects almost immediately." White House Budget Director Peter Orszag said it would "take only weeks or months" to be felt.

A similar sequence of appeals, claims, promises and a speedy vote was followed when the cap and trade bill, which would put a ceiling on greenhouse gas emissions, came before the House on June 28. The bill's architect, Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.), presented a crucial 300-page amendment at 3 a.m. It passed 16 hours later.

But even that was not fast enough. Mr. Waxman was irritated by House Republican leader John Boehner's hour-long address in opposition. As Mr. Boehner spoke, Mr. Waxman demanded he be cut off. He wasn't, but after Mr. Boehner finished, Mr. Waxman asked the presiding officer, who was then Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D., Calif.), how long the "two minute speech" had lasted. "The customary amount of time" for the minority leader, she replied.

Mr. Waxman's testiness won't make final passage of cap and trade easier. Nor will the Obama administration gain from its crude attempt last week to punish -- and silence -- Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) for saying the stimulus should be cancelled. Four cabinet members wrote to his governor, Republican Jan Brewer, to ask if she wanted to forfeit stimulus money for her state.

Mr. Obama's health-care and energy initiatives, the core of his far-reaching agenda, were bound to face serious opposition in Congress in any case. Hardball tactics and false promises have only made the hill he has to climb steeper. Now he may lose on both. The president and his congressional allies should have known better.


Global Warming’s Missing Link: EPA Whistleblower Exposes Agenda’s Fatal Flaw

The Environmental Protection Agency is pushing the greatest regulatory intervention in US history, seeking to declare that carbon dioxide poses an "endangerment" under the Clean Air Act, threatening human health and the environment. To hear the EPA tell it, CO2 - which nonetheless remains indispensible to life on earth and without which plants die, more of which produces higher crop yields, etc. - will kill us all.

This proposal is a cornerstone of the Obama administration's attempt to bring the energy sector of the economy under state control just as it seeks to do with health care, essentially ruining something in order to take it over in the name of cleaning up capitalism's mess. It's an old play, which the statists have run for decades, certain that every now and then it will break for a big gain. But an inconvenient EPA career professional just doing his job assessed the premise and informed his superiors, in the sole substantive report presented in the Agency's internal deliberations, that upon scrutiny CO2 clearly does not drive temperatures or climate but oddly enough, the sun and oceans do. His boss told him to shut up, that nothing good could come to their office by injecting this analysis into the process, as the decision had been made.

One problem with that, of course, is that the decision is not allowed to be made before the process has run its course. That is the entire purpose of an internal debate which, internal documents now prove, was truncated and in fact illusory.

For his troubles, this physics graduate of Cal Tech and MIT PhD economist - which are why he had his job - was subjected to the ritual smear job as unqualified by the thugs running the global warming industry. The nicest thing said about him was "He's not a climate scientist!" shrieked by legions of non-scientists nonetheless cocksure of their own wisdom, insight and informed judgment on the matter.

Left unmentioned were the scientific credentials of the EPA administrator, President Obama, and the 535 members of Congress who are tasked with deciding the issue. "He's just an economist!" the non-scientists' line continued, ignoring that whole physics-degree thing and that, ah, well, the UN's "chief climate scientist" is "just an economist." Again, as the whistleblower Dr. Alan Carlin learned, facts have little weight in this debate. Still, one key truth that Carlin brought to the fore exposes how - assuming that sanity prevails in the Senate and Congress is unable to impose "cap-and-trade" energy rationing - his exposé will carry the day in court.

This is man-made warming theory's missing link. The global warming industry and its political enablers have been getting away with an amazing stunt of backing out from the equation inconvenient things which your lying eyes might tell you. Amid the cries of "warming proceeding even faster than predicted" - an actual, common claim among alarmists, politicians and the media - observations reveal that the recent cooling has brought us to the average of the entire 30-year history of the satellite temperature record.


New York's waterless urinals miss the mark

State workers say new devices leading to splashes, stink

The Department of Environmental Conservation's effort to maintain eco-friendly bathrooms at its downtown headquarters has made quite a splash but not in the way the state intended. DEC has been getting complaints by state workers that waterless urinals at their building have created a fetid mess complete with "splash back," "puddles (of urine) on the floor," and "unpleasant odor."

Those using the restrooms at DEC's 625 Broadway headquarters grew so disgusted that in April they filed a union grievance alleging a health hazard and a violation of work rules protecting employees from "elements, such as filth or pathogens," according to records obtained by the Times Union. The grievance was dismissed by DEC, then taken to the Governor's Office of Employee Relations earlier this month where it also was dismissed.

Nonetheless, GOER's Assistant Director for Safety and Health, Charles Vejvoda, conceded that "if indeed back splash or public urination is occurring, there is a violation of human dignity and decorum." He also recommended that the union and DEC try to work out the issues. Displaying some bureaucratic humor, he listed possible remedies including the use of such protective equipment as rain gear, aprons, rubber boots, gloves, or even reducing fluid intake, but concluded that wasn't feasible.

Since its grievance was dismissed, the Public Employees Federation union has begun urging DEC employees to e-mail and otherwise inform management when there is a problem. "Let's work with them until someone in 'authority' takes effective steps to mitigate the stench and this third-world situation," wrote PEF steward Stanley Byer in a recent memo. "At this point, our position is that management can work with the landlord of the building to resolve the situation," said PEF spokeswoman Darcy Wells.

Installation of waterless toilets was part of DEC's effort to have an environmentally benign building as its headquarters, noted agency spokeswoman Lori Severino. The headquarters, leased from the Picotte Cos. and managed by the state Office of General Services, has Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, designation by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Use of waterless toilets is important in earning such a rating, which is one reason more builders and landlords are buying them, said Bill Hughes, an American Society of Plumbing Engineers designer. Waterless toilets, he explained, work well but require maintenance such as replacing cartridges and frequent cleaning. "It gets quite specific on what you have to do," said Hughes.

While PEF members appear satisfied with the cleaning efforts, they were apparently concerned with some cases of poor aim as well as odor -- which GOER also rebutted in its decision. For example, Vejvoda in his report wondered if workers were exaggerating the extent of problems, writing "this reviewer does find the assertion that someone is 'urinating above the urinals' quite troubling inasmuch as such a healthy stream would be uncommon in a workforce whose average age is 48." He also suggested that "certain individuals may come up short," as an explanation for the complaint about puddles.



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A very pointed question recently asked in Britain's House of Commons

An email from the skeptical Peter Lilley [], an economist and energy analyst who is also a member of Parliament on behalf of the Conservative party:

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Edward Miliband): "Today’s debate is held at an appropriate time — a week after the 17 countries of the Major Economies Forum met in L’Aquila in Italy and accepted the long-held scientific consensus that we should seek to prevent dangerous climate change above 2° C…"

Peter Lilley: "The average temperature in Cornwall is more than 2° C higher than the average temperature in the north-east of England. Is it really dangerous for someone to move from Newcastle to Cornwall? Would it be dangerous if the north-east of England became as warm as Cornwall? Would it be dangerous if Cornwall became as warm as the Loire valley? That is what a 2° C increase would involve."

See Cols 462 & 482 of Hansard for 16th July


In this month’s article at EconLib, I provide an introduction to the economics of climate change, and discuss some of its major controversies. Follow the above link for the full story, but in a nutshell here are the main issues:

(1) The Discount Rate. Economists give wildly different estimates of the “social cost of carbon” and hence the “optimal” tax on an additional unit of emissions. These differences are not primarily due to the assumptions about climate systems or human vulnerabilities to warming. On the contrary, the main difference between, say, the policy recommendations of the Stern Review (very aggressive) and William Nordhaus’ DICE model (very moderate) is that Stern uses a very low discount rate, while Nordhaus plugs in an estimate of the market’s rate of return on capital.

Efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions impose large, upfront costs on the economy (in terms of forfeited potential output of goods and services), while the benefits will not accrue until decades in the future (in the form of avoided climate change damage). Thus, the lower the interest rate used to evaluate present and future events, the greater the perceived net benefits of mitigating emissions.

(2) Modelling Uncertainty. One of the most popular lines of attack against the conventional carbon-pricing models concerns the treatment of uncertainty, or how they handle small-probability worst case scenarios. Martin Weitzman is the leader in this assault. Weitzman argues that the orthodox approach of people like William Nordhaus neglects the small probability of truly catastrophic outcomes. However, I think many people who are only vaguely familiar with economic models are misunderstanding the debate.

In a standard economics model in which there is uncertainty, the “expected utility” from a given course of action is computed as the sum of the realized utilities under various possible scenarios, weighted by their respective probability of occurring. Some people hear this and mistakenly assume that economists are therefore assuming that people are “risk neutral,” meaning that a guy would gladly pay $1000 to play a game where there is a 1/1000 chance to win $2 million. (The expected payout is $2 million x 0.1% = $2000, which is twice as much as the price of $1000 to play the game. So a person who didn’t care about risk would gladly play that game.)

However, rest assured that the standard economic models do not assume everyone is risk neutral; of course most people wouldn’t pay $1,000 for a 1/1000 chance to win $2 million. The point is a bit technical for the present post, but what happens is that the models have agents maximize not the expected payoff, but rather the expected utility. And so if a utility function (in terms of wealth) is concave (not linear), then a person is “risk averse” and would be willing to pay slightly higher than actuarially fair premiums for fire insurance, etc. To give the intuition, most economic models assume that a person does NOT get twice as many utils from twice as much money. It’s far more devastating to lose all of your wealth, compared to the gain from doubling your wealth. So that’s why people (in such models) are risk averse, and therefore it’s not true (as I think some climate activists believe) to say that standard economic models don’t appreciate improbable but damaging climate scenarios.

Nordhaus has written a great response [.pdf] to Weitzman’s formal work on this subject. Nordhaus has shown that Weitzman’s approach (which climate activists love, because it provides a justification for very aggressive limits on emissions) leads to apparent absurdities, such as justifying the expenditure of trillions of dollars to remove a 0.0001% probability of an asteroid’s destroying the planet.

(3) Differences in Wealth. One of the most ironic aspects to the debate over climate change is that, under all but the most catastrophic scenarios, the future generations who will benefit from our efforts to limit emissions will be much, much richer than we are. Of course, if there is a true “market failure” leading to an inefficient amount of emissions, then our great-grandchildren will be poorer than they otherwise would be. But the point is, that “poverty” is a relative concept–our great-grandchildren are going to be fantastically wealthy by our standards, even if they have to devote a portion of their GDP to more air conditioners and sea walls.

(4) Government Failure. The mainstream economics of climate change literature takes it for granted that greenhouse gas emissions constitute a “market failure,” requiring corrective government action (in the form of a carbon tax, a cap & trade program, etc.). Yet students of Public Choice and Austrian economics know that there are institutional flaws with government efforts to “fix” the market. Even if one takes the more alarmist climate models at face value, it still takes heroic assumptions to conclude that giving more money and power to bureaucrats will make things better. The Public Choice’ers know that it is very naive to assume that politicians will actually implement a policy lining up with what the climate scientists recommend, while the Austrians know that no group of experts can command all of the relevant knowledge when making such monumental decisions.

In conclusion, I refer readers to my earlier post on the cost/benefit calculations of Waxman-Markey, showing that its advocates have not demonstrated that its emissions targets are a good idea, even with textbook implementation.



As if Big Coal’s protests weren’t enough, here’s another reality check for “clean coal.” Harvard’s Belfer Center just released an analysis of the costs of carbon capture and storage for coal-fired plants. The good news? Clean coal could become an economically viable alternative source of energy down the road. The bad news? It’s a long road—and the short term isn’t pretty.

“The Realistic Costs of Carbon Capture,” which examined the economics of trapping carbon emissions from coal-fired plants now and in the future, concludes that making coal plants “clean” will be an expensive undertaking until the technology is mature. Actually storing the stuff underground might cost more money, or might be a source of revenue, depending whether it’s used to juice tired oil fields or just stuck in caves.

How much will clean coal cost? The first generation of plants will be able to capture 90% of their carbon emissions at a cost of between $100 and $150 a ton. In layman’s terms, that would add between 8 and 12 cents per kilowatt hour to the cost of coal plants (the national average electricity price is about 9 cents per kilowatt hour).

Once the technology is mature and more efficient plants are up and running, the economics look better: It will cost between $30 and $50 per ton of carbon, or an extra 2 to 5 cents per kilowatt hour. To quote the report: “The range of estimated costs for [future] plants is within the range of plausible future carbon prices, implying that mature technology would be competitive with conventional fossil fuel plants at prevailing carbon prices.”

The problem is determining just when clean coal leaves behind its gawky adolescence and enters adulthood. It’s not a question of getting a couple of demonstration plants up and running; rather the world needs to make a huge, concerted push to enjoy economies of scale and the like. Harvard figures that “maturity” means between 50 and 100 gigawatts of clean coal plants in operation. Right now, there are four demonstration plants in the world, not including FutureGen.

One interesting tidbit: Less is not more. That is, “clean coal” doesn’t get any cheaper by capturing fewer of the plant’s emissions (as the reborn FutureGen seeks to do). To wit: “Indeed for the benchmark of a conventional coal plant…costs decrease markedly with increasing capture rates… There do not seem to be any grounds based on unit cost of abatement to prefer lower capture rates” for advanced coal plants.


Al Gore's hometown Nashville's Record Cold Breaks 1877 Temp Record 'Set when Rutherford B. Hayes was President'‏

Cool weather has broken a previous low temperature for July 21 in Nashville that was set when Rutherford B. Hayes was president. When the temperature at the National Weather Service station dipped to 58 degrees at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, it wiped out the previous record low for the date of 60 degrees, which was set in 1877. NWS forecaster Bobby Boyd noted it was the third consecutive morning when Nashville either tied or broke a daily low temperature record.

Temperatures were cool, but did not break records at several Tennessee cities. Knoxville dropped to 59 degrees Tuesday morning, Chattanooga had 60 degrees, Tri-Cities recorded 58 degrees and Memphis was 69 degrees.


A loony sect of modern flagellants

by Vin Suprynowicz

There is one good thing about the lunatic "global warming" catechism now taught our youth in the mandatory government youth propaganda camps :

When they are finally forced to admit that the globe has been cooling again, not warming, for the past decade, yet proceed to demand precisely the same remedies for "global cooling" (which they will cleverly dub "climate change") as they did for "global warming" -- that is to say higher electric bills, more government controls, taxes sufficient to cripple our industrial economy and generally lower our standard of living in keeping with the world socialist doctrine that America and particularly the "capitalist rich" must be "punished" and "made to sacrifice" in penitence for our former prosperity -- there is finally a decent chance they'll simply be laughed out of town.

"The same punishments to be inflicted on us in retribution for global cooling, as you prescribed for us in punishment for global warming?! Ha ha! Good one! Have you heard the one about the prostitute and the midget?"

For the record:

1) The globe is now again cooling, albeit infinitesimally, just as Time and Newsweek declared in major feature stories back in 1975 -- and the next Ice Age is indeed the real problem, since (if the world were to warm again), modest warming is actually good for us, since more people die of cold than heat, and warm climates allow us to grow more food.

2) The modest fluctuations in question, of a couple of degrees per century, are of minimal importance to anyone. Even the "rising ocean levels" predicted by the extremists' worst-case scenarios are on the order of one inch.

3) During years when the globe has warmed, man-made carbon dioxide has had no significant impact on that warming, which is caused by the oceans and mostly the sun. (Mars warms in a rhythm which matches the Earth's. Do we believe this is because Martians are driving too many SUVs and burning too much coal?) Mankind creates about 3 percent of the atmosphere's carbon dioxide, which is not the largest contributor to the blessed greenhouse effect, in the first place. Water vapor is.

4) Even if we could de-populate and throw America back into the Stone Age tomorrow, and even if man-made carbon dioxide did contribute in some measure to global warming, this would still have no effect on the climate, since the authority of Mr. Reid and Mr. Obama does not extend to India and China, which are building new coal-fired power plants every day.

"Man-made global warming" is a scam promoted by those who want more taxes, more control of our lives, less enjoyment of the freedom represented by private automobiles and single-family homes -- a modern sect of flagellants who (when you come right down to it) view mankind as a pox and parasite on an otherwise lovely world full of weeds and bugs more deserving of care, opportunity and "protection" than our own children, a sect who would view as a "regretful necessity" any government policy that could reduce the number of humans by at least half.

I'm not making this stuff up. See here, here or here

Or, if you're willing to do a little old-fashioned book reading, try the fine new book "Climate of Extremes/Global Warming Science They Don't Want You To Know," from the Cato Institute, by Patrick J. Michaels and Robert C. Balling, Jr., or "Re-Thinking Green/Alternatives to Environmental Bureaucracy," from the Independent Institute, edited by Robert Higgs and Carl P. Close.

These are thoughtful, well-documented books. Choose your favorite and buy copies for all your friends.


Britain: ‘Low carbon’ is code for low ambitions

The UK’s new climate change plan shows how the green ethos is used to add a gloss of respectability to economic and visionary failure

Given its isolation, unpopularity and dysfunctional relationship with ‘the vision thing’, it seems highly unlikely that Gordon Brown’s government is capable of starting a revolution. Yet that, apparently, is what it did yesterday.

Ed Miliband, the UK climate change secretary, unveiled the government’s plans for cutting carbon emissions in the UK by 34 per cent by 2020 and by 80 per cent by 2050. In the fields of manufacturing, energy production, transport and housing, revealed Miliband in 650 pages of shiny manifestos and strategy documents, carbon-use will be slashed. Commentators were overjoyed, describing it as ‘nothing less than a green industrial revolution’, which might rank as ‘one of the most important moments in British economic history’ (1).

Steady on. There is nothing remotely revolutionary about Miliband’s plans. And the only sense in which they are historic is that they represent – albeit in a coded, PC fashion – Britain’s disavowal of its own industrial history and its final embrace of the slow life, low ambitions and the realities of economic failure. Miliband’s vision, or rather anti-vision, reveals what the politics of low carbon is really all about: accommodating to the economic downturn and to the dearth of big plans for the future.

Where growing and aspirational nations like China and India produce carbon – which is simply the byproduct of large-scale energy production and manufacturing – sluggish and increasingly insignificant nations like Britain produce less carbon, or no carbon, or now, in the words of Miliband, ‘low carbon’: codeword for a nation that isn’t doing very much at all. Miliband’s plans expose how the green ethos can be used to add a gloss of respectability to already-existing economic and visionary failure.

In many ways, the documents published by Miliband yesterday represented a bizarre celebration of Britain’s slowdown, particularly in manufacturing, over the past 15 to 20 years. In the kind of green lingo that excites officials and commentators, Miliband effectively boasted about the fact that Britain is producing and building fewer tangible things today than it was in 1990. He outlined how New Labour has committed Britain to cutting carbon emissions by 34 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020, and then said we are already more than half way to achieving that goal. ‘We’ve already achieved around a 21 per cent cut since 1990’, his factsheet said, ‘[which is the] equivalent of cutting emissions entirely from four cities the size of London’ (2).

But it is deeply disingenuous to present a 21 per cent fall in carbon emissions since 1990, the equivalent of getting rid of four Londons, as a product of some conscious, profound desire to rein in carbon-use and make the nation cleaner. Such a reduction in emissions was not brought about by the erection of a few windfarms off the south coast of England or the introduction of bin-monitoring recycling policies in the cities; more fundamentally, it reflects the contraction of manufacturing in Britain and the creeping replacement of a one-time productive economy with a services-based economy, aspects of which are not productive at all (especially the financial services sector).

Over the same period now presented by Miliband as the Glorious Era of Low Carbon, the British economy underwent huge changes. In 1986, manufacturing made up around 21 per cent of British economic activity; today it accounts for only 13 per cent. At the same time, the service side of the economy grew enormously: in 1975 services accounted for 55 per cent of British GDP; today they account for 75 per cent (3).

The post-1990 fall in carbon emissions, the effective winding down of four cities, was brought about by the closure of the remaining coalpits, the shutting up of factories, the export of car manufacturing overseas (most notoriously, with the sale of MG Rover Group for a song to Nanjing Automobile Group in 2005), and so on. All that the 21 per cent reduction in CO2 really tells us, in any meaningful sense, is that Britain is producing less real stuff today; it has fewer and fewer workers whose job is to create real, tangible things and who in the process emit the byproduct of carbon. A services-based economy tends to be ‘cleaner’ than a manufacturing-based economy. Miliband is cynically presenting manufacturing downturn, and all the job losses and city and community deprivation that go along with it, as a brilliant central-government strategy to ‘clean up Britain’ (4).

When it comes to planning for the future, Miliband’s documents show how ‘building a low-carbon Britain’ is justification for ditching big plans. Between now and 2020, when 34 per cent of CO2 emissions will have been cut, Miliband envisages that a whopping 50 per cent of that cut will be in the ‘power and heavy industry’ sector, compared with 20 per cent in transport, 15 per cent in homes, 10 per cent in workplaces, and five per cent in agriculture (5). It is striking, and also rather predictable, that the climate change secretary of a nation that was once the ‘workshop of the world’ but which now carries out less and less manufacturing should envision the biggest fall in CO2 emissions taking place in heavy industry. What he really means is that fewer things will be done in that area in the next 10, 20 or 30 years; but, rather than seeing that as a potential problem he celebrates it as part of the process of creating a new kind of world-beating low-carbon nation.

There is a glaring contradiction in some of Miliband’s plans. He opportunistically celebrates the lower carbon levels that have fundamentally resulted from the sclerosis of properly productive activity, yet doesn’t realise that such sclerosis is likely to impact even on his low-carbon plans. For example, in order to cut CO2 emissions in the energy sector, Miliband proposes building vastly more windfarms and new nuclear power stations (he can keep his windfarms, but more nuclear is a very good idea). However, earlier this year Vestas, the wind turbine manufacturer, closed its major factory on the Isle of Wight, with the loss of 600 jobs, and cited lack of investment and too much red tape in planning procedures as the main problem (6). In response to Miliband’s nuclear proposals, energy companies have complained that, actually, Britain is not conducive to big building projects right now, because everything gets tied up in endless judicial reviews and public consultations (7).

In short, Britain’s general lack of manufacturing-based productivity has made the country ‘cleaner’, yes, but it has also made it far harder to get anything done. A lack of investment in manufacturing and big build projects has lowered carbon, but it has also lowered the chances of making things happen speedily and effectively. The irony is too much: Britain is low carbon because it produces less stuff, and it is that very lack of productivity that might hamper some of Miliband’s plans to make Britain even more low carbon, for example by building new nuclear power stations.

In transport and house-building, too, the low-carbon approach has clearly become a way of presenting the death of vision as something wonderful. Yesterday the minister for transport, Lord Adonis, spelt out his vision for a low-carbon transport system: his plan is not to overhaul roads, build more motorways or lay down vastly more railtracks, but rather to play around with the vehicles that travel on the already-existing creaking infrastructure. So he will introduce tougher regulation of cars that emit a lot of CO2, perhaps taxing their drivers more than others, and will spend £250million on customer incentives designed to promote electric cars. He also wants to create ‘sustainable travel cities’: places where people travel by foot or by bike (8). Here, Britain’s lack of transport vision, its abandonment of road-building and infrastructure investment over the past 10 to 15 years, is re-presented as part of the big, conscious plan for a low-carbon future.

In housing, where 10 per cent of the planned CO2 cuts will happen between now and 2020, there is not nearly enough talk of building the millions of new homes that Britain needs. Instead there is a headline focus on monitoring how we all live in the homes we have right now. One plan is to put ‘smart electricity meters’ in 26million homes, so that we can measure how much energy we’re using: those who use small amounts will be rewarded with financial incentives. This is probably what Lord Mandelson meant yesterday, when he said the big low-carbon project would ‘reshape our lives’ (9).

The Miliband plan reveals something profound about the politics of environmentalism: it justifies, even celebrates, underdevelopment and lack of investment in infrastructure, but in the dishonest language of ‘low carbon’ and ‘cleaner futures’. This is the opposite of revolutionary. Indeed, the government’s adoption of a new language that effectively heralds Britain’s position as a slow, meek and visionless nation is, in many ways, the final nail in the coffin of the industrial revolution that gave birth to modern Britain.



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shock from NYT: Missing Its Spots: 'Sun may be on verge of falling into an extended slumber' could cause 'extended chilly period'‏

Is the NYT setting the stage to blame the Sun? Is NYT joining man-made climate skeptics? The bottom may be falling out of CO2 hysteria! A fair and balanced article below!

The Sun is still blank (mostly). Ever since Samuel Heinrich Schwabe, a German astronomer, first noted in 1843 that sunspots burgeon and wane over a roughly 11-year cycle, scientists have carefully watched the Sun’s activity. In the latest lull, the Sun should have reached its calmest, least pockmarked state last fall. Indeed, last year marked the blankest year of the Sun in the last half-century — 266 days with not a single sunspot visible from Earth. Then, in the first four months of 2009, the Sun became even more blank, the pace of sunspots slowing more. “It’s been as dead as a doornail,” David Hathaway, a solar physicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., said a couple of months ago.

The Sun perked up in June and July, with a sizeable clump of 20 sunspots earlier this month. Now it is blank again, consistent with expectations that this solar cycle will be smaller and calmer, and the maximum of activity, expected to arrive in May 2013 will not be all that maximum. For operators of satellites and power grids, that is good news. The same roiling magnetic fields that generate sunspot blotches also accelerate a devastating rain of particles that can overload and wreck electronic equipment in orbit or on Earth.

A panel of 12 scientists assembled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now predicts that the May 2013 peak will average 90 sunspots during that month. That would make it the weakest solar maximum since 1928, which peaked at 78 sunspots. During an average solar maximum, the Sun is covered with an average of 120 sunspots. But the panel’s consensus “was not a unanimous decision,” said Douglas A. Biesecker, chairman of the panel. One member still believed the cycle would roar to life while others thought the maximum would peter out at only 70.

Among some global warming skeptics, there is speculation that the Sun may be on the verge of falling into an extended slumber similar to the so-called Maunder Minimum, several sunspot-scarce decades during the 17th and 18th centuries that coincided with an extended chilly period.

Most solar physicists do not think anything that odd is going on with the Sun. With the recent burst of sunspots, “I don’t see we’re going into that,” Dr. Hathaway said last week. Still, something like the Dalton Minimum — two solar cycles in the early 1800s that peaked at about an average of 50 sunspots — lies in the realm of the possible, Dr. Hathaway said. (The minimums are named after scientists who helped identify them: Edward W. Maunder and John Dalton.)

With better telescopes on the ground and a fleet of Sun-watching spacecraft, solar scientists know a lot more about the Sun than ever before. But they do not understand everything. Solar dynamo models, which seek to capture the dynamics of the magnetic field, cannot yet explain many basic questions, not even why the solar cycles average 11 years in length. Predicting the solar cycle is, in many ways, much like predicting the stock market. A full understanding of the forces driving solar dynamics is far out of reach, so scientists look to key indicators that correlate with future events and create models based on those.

For example, in 2006, Dr. Hathaway looked at the magnetic fields in the polar regions of the Sun, and they were strong. During past cycles, strong polar fields at minimum grew into strong fields all over the Sun at maximum and a bounty of sunspots. Because the previous cycle had been longer than average, Dr. Hathaway thought the next one would be shorter and thus solar minimum was imminent. He predicted the new solar cycle would be a ferocious one. Instead, the new cycle did not arrive as quickly as Dr. Hathaway anticipated, and the polar field weakened. His revised prediction is for a smaller-than-average maximum. Last November, it looked like the new cycle was finally getting started, with the new cycle sunspots in the middle latitudes outnumbering the old sunspots of the dying cycle that are closer to the equator.

After a minimum, solar activity usually takes off quickly, but instead the Sun returned to slumber. “There was a long lull of several months of virtually no activity, which had me worried,” Dr. Hathaway said.

The idea that solar cycles are related to climate is hard to fit with the actual change in energy output from the sun. From solar maximum to solar minimum, the Sun’s energy output drops a minuscule 0.1 percent. But the overlap of the Maunder Minimum with the Little Ice Age, when Europe experienced unusually cold weather, suggests that the solar cycle could have more subtle influences on climate.

One possibility proposed a decade ago by Henrik Svensmark and other scientists at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen looks to high-energy interstellar particles known as cosmic rays. When cosmic rays slam into the atmosphere, they break apart air molecules into ions and electrons, which causes water and sulfuric acid in the air to stick together in tiny droplets. These droplets are seeds that can grow into clouds, and clouds reflect sunlight, potentially lowering temperatures. The Sun, the Danish scientists say, influences how many cosmic rays impinge on the atmosphere and thus the number of clouds. When the Sun is frenetic, the solar wind of charged particles it spews out increases. That expands the cocoon of magnetic fields around the solar system, deflecting some of the cosmic rays. But, according to the hypothesis, when the sunspots and solar winds die down, the magnetic cocoon contracts, more cosmic rays reach Earth, more clouds form, less sunlight reaches the ground, and temperatures cool.

“I think it’s an important effect,” Dr. Svensmark said, although he agrees that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that has certainly contributed to recent warming. Dr. Svensmark and his colleagues found a correlation between the rate of incoming cosmic rays and the coverage of low-level clouds between 1984 and 2002. They have also found that cosmic ray levels, reflected in concentrations of various isotopes, correlate well with climate extending back thousands of years.

But other scientists found no such pattern with higher clouds, and some other observations seem inconsistent with the hypothesis. Terry Sloan, a cosmic ray expert at the University of Lancaster in England, said if the idea were true, one would expect the cloud-generation effect to be greatest in the polar regions where the Earth’s magnetic field tends to funnel cosmic rays. “You’d expect clouds to be modulated in the same way,” Dr. Sloan said. “We can’t find any such behavior.” Still, “I would think there could well be some effect,” he said, but he thought the effect was probably small. Dr. Sloan’s findings indicate that the cosmic rays could at most account for 20 percent of the warming of recent years.

Even without cosmic rays, however, a 0.1 percent change in the Sun’s energy output is enough to set off El Niño- and La Niña-like events that can influence weather around the world, according to new research led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. Climate modeling showed that over the largely cloud-free areas of the Pacific Ocean, the extra heating over several years warms the water, increasing evaporation. That intensifies the tropical storms and trade winds in the eastern Pacific, and the result is cooler-than-normal waters, as in a La Niña event, the scientists reported this month in the Journal of Climate. In a year or two, the cool water pattern evolves into a pool of El Niño-like warm water, the scientists said.

New instruments should provide more information for scientists to work with. A 1.7-meter telescope at the Big Bear Solar Observatory in Southern California is up and running, and one of its first photographs shows “a string of pearls,” each about 50 miles across. “At that scale, they can only be the fundamental fibril structure of the Sun’s magnetic field,” said Philip R. Goode, director of the solar observatory. Other telescopes may have caught hints of these tiny structures, he said, but “never so many in a row and not so clearly resolved.”

Sun-watching spacecraft cannot match the acuity of ground-based telescopes, but they can see wavelengths that are blocked by the atmosphere — and there are never any clouds in the way. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s newest sun-watching spacecraft, the Solar Dynamics Observatory, which is scheduled for launching this fall, will carry an instrument that will essentially be able to take sonograms that deduce the convection flows generating the magnetic fields. That could help explain why strong magnetic fields sometimes coalesce into sunspots and why sometimes the strong fields remain disorganized without forming spots. The mechanics of how solar storms erupt out of a sunspot are also not fully understood.

A quiet cycle is no guarantee no cataclysmic solar storms will occur. The largest storm ever observed occurred in 1859, during a solar cycle similar to what is predicted. Back then, it scrambled telegraph wires. Today, it could knock out an expanse of the power grid from Maine south to Georgia and west to Illinois. Ten percent of the orbiting satellites would be disabled. A study by the National Academy of Sciences calculated the damage would exceed a trillion dollars.

But no one can quite explain the current behavior or reliably predict the future. “We still don’t quite understand this beast,” Dr. Hathaway said. “The theories we had for how the sunspot cycle works have major problems.”


India tells Clinton: No carbon cuts

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton struggled Sunday to find a silver lining in India's rejection of legally binding carbon-dioxide-emissions reductions, saying a plan can be devised to fight climate change and boost India's economic development at the same time.

Addressing one of the most contentious issues between New Delhi and Washington on the first day of her visit to the Indian capital, Mrs. Clinton tried to focus on the positive aspects of India's environmental record, such as its interest in clean energy.

Her Indian hosts, however, got straight to the point. "We are simply not in a position to take on legally binding emissions reduction targets," India's minister of environment, Jairam Ramesh, told reporters, standing beside the secretary at New Delhi's ITC Green Center, which is designed to use maximum natural light with windows that keep out heat, reducing the need for air conditioning.

India and China are leading a group of developing countries opposed to Western calls for specific targets in a treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012. A major summit is scheduled for early December in Copenhagen, where the United States and other developed countries hope to make significant progress.

Aware that no global treaty can work without commitment from the world's biggest polluters, Mrs. Clinton tried to convince India that such progress can be achieved without sacrificing their development needs. "I'm very confident the United States and India can devise a plan that will dramatically change the way we produce, consume and conserve energy and in the process spark an explosion of new investment and millions of jobs," she said.

She did not elaborate. A senior State Department official traveling with Mrs. Clinton said she did not have a specific plan in mind and that her confidence was based on various ideas she has heard on both sides.

While conceding that developed countries have harmed the environment, particularly during their industrialization, Mrs. Clinton said developing nations must not repeat their "mistakes."


Eco-friendly light bulbs flip switch on problems

An energy-efficiency measure is turning into a ticking green time bomb

The federal government plans to require consumers over the next several years to replace incandescent light bulbs with more expensive but more energy-efficient and longer-lasting compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).

But improper disposal of the mercury-powered bulbs poses an environmental hazard, and the federal government has given little guidance to consumers. The outlets for safe disposal are few and haphazard, and history suggests that compliance will be spotty.

"The problem to the environment comes when millions get disposed of and the cumulative effect becomes problematic. That is when the [Environmental Protection Agency] gets concerned," said Neal Langerman, a former chairman of the American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Health and Safety. "If you have a municipal urban landfill and have a population of 450,000 households disposing of one or two CFLs a year - you do the arithmetic. Put one-half milligram of mercury per bulb, it amounts to a significant loading, and mercury does migrate into groundwater."

Although California has banned CFLs from trash since 2006, local governments there estimate that less than 10 percent of CFLs receive proper disposal and recycling, said San Francisco's KGO-TV.

Revised standards for home appliances and lighting under the December 2007 energy bill require incandescent light bulbs - the basic model that has been used for 130 years - to be phased out in order to achieve about 25 percent greater efficiency for bulbs by 2014 and about 200 percent greater efficiency by 2020.

Without organized programs to educate consumers on safe handling and disposal of used or broken bulbs, landfills are likely to become even more polluted, Mr. Langerman told The Washington Times. "The appropriate thing for us as a nation is not to dispose but have an aggressive take-back program," said Mr. Langerman, who advocates a profit incentive for recycling, a system where "if you go out of your way [to safely dispose or recycle the bulbs] you get some money back. People will do this if made convenient."

The federal Web site Energy Star ( notes that each CFL bulb contains an average of 4 milligrams of mercury, compared with the 500 milligrams contained in old-style glass thermometers. None of the mercury is released in operation, and leakage is a risk only if the bulbs are broken.

The site says "electricity use is the main source of mercury emissions in the U.S.," so it's important that CFLs use less electricity than incandescent lights. The EPA says that "a 13-watt, 8,000-rated-hour-life CFL (60-watt equivalent; a common light bulb type)" will save enough energy over its lifetime to offset even all of its mercury leakage into landfills.



The system of trading carbon emissions at the heart of the ambitious low-carbon plan announced by the government last week is seriously flawed and close to becoming irrelevant, according to researchers behind a new analysis.

So-called "hot air" carbon credits – those which do not result in any actual emissions cuts – could be so numerous that companies covered by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme would not have to make any cuts to their own emissions until 2015, says the report from climate campaign group, Sandbag. The hot air permits result from the over-allocation of emissions allowances and from those going unused as the recession cuts economic activity.

The ETS covers 50% of the UK and EU's carbon emissions, mainly in the energy, cement, steel, glass and manufacturing sectors. Companies in these sectors are allocated allowances for the carbon they emit, with the total number shrinking over time, theoretically forcing companies to buy additional permits to pollute if they do not cut their emissions.

A large proportion of the UK's promised cut of 34% by 2020 will come via British companies in the ETS. Globally, the carbon trading market was worth €92bn (£79bn) in 2008, trading 5bn tonnes. However, the large number of carbon permits that have been allocated and a fall in emissions due to the recession, have made the trading system less effective.



You may recall the Beyond the Fringe sketch in which Squadron Leader Peter Cook tells Jonathan Miller, the doleful pilot, that he must set out on a doomed mission because “we need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war”.

I was irresistibly reminded of this by Ed Miliband, the energy secretary, in his launch of plans to cut carbon emissions by switching to “renewables” for more than 30% of our energy use. This, he claimed, would “rise to the moral challenge of climate change”.

Miliband is of the generation of politicians struggling to find a great moral cause. Earlier in the Labour administration Tony Blair thought he had found it with wars of choice far from home, but that has, to put it mildly, lost its lustre. Now it is the “war against climate change”, given additional moral potency by the notion that the greatest concentration of sufferers from global rising temperatures would be among the world’s poorest.

Miliband’s citing of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech in support of his policy of subsidising the construction of many thousands of otherwise uneconomic wind turbines might appear grotesque, even comical; but not if you genuinely believe that Britain’s switching from coal to wind power for its electricity generation will save the lives of countless Africans.

I have no idea whether Miliband truly believes that it will - but if he does, he is deluded. The UK is responsible for less than 2% of global carbon emissions - a figure set to fall sharply, regardless of what we do, as a result of the startlingly rapid industrial-isation of countries such as China and India: each year the increase in Chinese CO2 emissions alone is greater than those produced by the entire British economy. On the fashionable assumption that climate change is entirely driven by CO2 emissions, the effect on global temperatures of Britain closing every fossil fuel power station would be much smaller than the statistical margin of error: in effect, zero.

The scientists at the energy and climate change department know this, but their political masters see things differently. Gordon Brown claims: “Britain is leading the world in the battle against climate change.” Such remarks are regarded as absurd in the chancelleries of Europe: if you do take as a measure of such commitment the proportion of domestic energy already supplied by renewables, the UK occupies 25th place in the European Union league table, above only Malta and Luxembourg.

Nevertheless, there is one great merit in being a follower rather than a leader in renewable energy: we can see how other European countries have fared in the experiment. Germany has long been subsidising wind power to the extent of almost €5 billion a year. Yet recent German Green party internal e-mails leaked to Der Spiegel magazine show this has not led to a reduction of a single gram of CO2 emitted on the continent of Europe. The much-vaunted emissions trading system is one reason: Germany’s unused certificates were snapped up at negligible cost by coal producers in countries such as Poland and Slovakia, which were thus able to increase their output of greenhouse gases.

There is a second reason, which would remain even if the European emissions trading system were to be scrapped. Because the wind blows intermittently, and may be at its calmest at times of freezing weather, Germany has not been able to close a single one of its conventional power stations, despite its vast investment in wind power.

Indeed, Paul Golby, who runs the British operations of E.ON, Europe’s biggest wind-power producer, has told the government that a 90% fossil fuel or nuclear back-up will be needed for any of the National Grid’s future wind-power capacity. As Martin Fuchs, his German boss, pointed out: “The wind, sadly, does not blow where large quantities of power are required . . . on September 12 last year wind power contributed 38% of our grid power requirements at all times, but on September 30 the figure went down to 0.2%.”

The powerful wind-turbine lobby in Germany constantly harps on about the number of jobs “created” by its subsidised investment, quite ignoring the number of jobs destroyed by high-cost energy, or indeed the greater number of jobs that could be created if the same amounts were invested in more profitable activities. This is why the Bremen Energy Institute argues that “wind energy macro-economically has a negative employment impact”.

Given the run-down state of our conventional generating capacity, it is easy to see that the government’s suspiciously round number of a “£100 billion” expenditure on installing 7,000 offshore steel structures, each the height of Blackpool Tower, at a projected rate of more than two every working day over the next decade, does not begin to cover the real cost. This is why the overall price of wind energy is a multiple of that incurred by nuclear power, which is equally carbon-free but does not appeal to the moral vanity of politicians.

Admittedly, the Labour government has made a belated commitment to replacing our ageing nuclear reactors – far too late to fill the yawning energy gap that Britain faces in the coming decade. As Professor Ian Fells points out in the new Civitas pamphlet Nations Choose Prosperity: “The energy agenda is focused on carbon emissions rather than security of supply and potential costs. What is rarely considered is the consequential costs when power cuts are inflicted.” These costs are not just measured in the collapse of business, but also in human lives, especially of the elderly and infirm.

Miliband claimed last week that the result of his proposals would be an increase in costs to energy users of about 17%. However, the business and enterprise department admitted last year that Britain’s existing “climate policies” - even before Miliband’s latest Big New Idea - would add an extra 55% to energy bills. It’s obvious where this will lead: to the exit from Britain (and, indeed, Europe) of much of what remains of energy-intensive manufacturing industry - the euphemistic jargon term is “carbon leakage”.

Jeremy Nicholson, the director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, which represents such industries as steel and aluminium, is exasperated beyond measure: “A future administration will have to say in public what ministers and their officials already admit in private, that the renewables target is neither practical nor affordable. Outsourcing our emissions is not a solution to a global problem. Politicians need to understand that unilateral action will come at a terrible cost in terms of UK manufacturing jobs, investment and export revenue, for no discernible environmental gain - is that really what they want?”

On the day Nicholson said this to me, last Thursday, Anglesey Aluminium, the biggest consumer of electricity in Wales, announced that it would cease production, precisely because it could see no prospect of signing up to a long-term supply of electricity at a rate at which it could make a profit. And on the day of Miliband’s announcement, a group of Labour MPs presented a “Save Our Steel” petition, saying: “We need to make sure we act before the light goes out.”

It may well be that the English steel mills will become unable to compete globally, even at current domestic energy prices; but deliberately to make them uncompetitive is industrial vandalism - and even madness when the consequence of Miliband’s Martin Luther King moment may be the lights going out not just for producers but for all of us in our homes. This is worse than a futile gesture: it is immoral.



By Holger Krahmer (Holger Krahmer, German Liberal, is a member of the European Parliament's environment committee and of the temporary committee on climate change)

Many around the world believe the environment can be protected through regulation. Even the United States is going down this path now. Before it acts too swiftly, the United States might want to consider some of the lessons that we have learned the hard way in Europe.

As a member of the European Parliament, I have worked on environmental protection for years, particularly as rapporteur for the European Union's Air Quality Directive that was successfully implemented last year.

This experience has taught me two key things:

(1) Economic growth is the base for the political and technological capacity necessary to make a clean environment possible. A dynamic economy is not inimical to a healthy environment; it is a prerequisite.

(2) Political leaders can achieve real results for the environment when they take a no-nonsense, pragmatic approach and work together.

Coming from East Germany, I saw firsthand how heavy-handed bureaucracy led to both poor economic performance and a poor environment. For decades, East Germany had among the worst environmental protection records in all of Europe.

Indeed, we are still paying a high environmental toll for the years of eschewing market forces while permitting the political class to make economic choices for the nation. Poverty is the planet's real environmental crisis. So policymakers who care about a clean and healthy environment need to support policies that promote economic growth.

The United States is now considering legislating about greenhouse gases emitted from industrial activities. In its current form, this legislation will almost surely put a significant damper on economic growth and throw environmental protections into jeopardy.

Europe has already adopted a cap-and-trade regulatory apparatus similar to the one being debated in Washington. Europe's experiment is called the Emissions Trading System (ETS), and it hasn't worked very well. For starters, we agreed to give emission permits away for free, a political compromise required to get industrial groups onboard. This is something the current legislation in Washington does as well. This created a windfall for emitting industries and sowed confusion in the market. At the same time, it did little to place downward pressure on emissions.

As a result, permit prices have swung wildly, as much as 70 percent in a single day. They continue to fluctuate on average about 17 percent a month. This makes sensible, long-term industrial development much more costly and difficult. Besides, giving investment bankers another area where they can wildly speculate and create artificial bubbles paid for by the consumers is not the soundest of ideas.

There is a cautionary tale here -- one way to reduce emissions is to weaken your economy. Such a goal is politically unacceptable, which is why policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic opt for the cap-and-trade systems that are too complex and notoriously opaque and difficult for the public to understand.

This is not to say there aren't sensible and environmentally friendly ways of working on emissions reductions. For example, the United States and the European Union could work together to reach an agreement at COP 15 (the United Nations Climate Change Conference) in Copenhagen this December that allows for economic growth and technologically driven solutions to climate change.

This would encourage innovation and development of low or zero-emission technologies, and expand the range of options for addressing emissions and climate change to include geo-engineering and adaptation strategies. This approach would also help create real jobs in green research and development rather than fake jobs in bureaucratic emissions trading.

Hasty government decision-making, particularly in pursuit of ideologically motivated goals, can do lasting harm. It is the experience of my former country of East Germany and of others that put utopian aims ahead of the concerns of citizens and the environment.

It would be a shame for Americans to overlook the lessons of recent history.



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Very old map displays warmer period than the present

Derived from the Roman warm period, the Medieval warm period or earlier? It certainly shows Antarctic coastal detail now under ice

A recently discovered and publicized ancient map of the globe disproves the theory of man-made global warming. The enormous significance of the map has only now become apparent as Congress considers sweeping legislation intended to combat global warming supposedly caused by human activity.

The map was discovered in the Library of Congress, Washington DC, in 1960 by Charles Hapgood. It was drawn by well-known French cartographer, Oronteus Finaeus, in 1531. There is no serious question about the authenticity of the map. Finaeus was a well-known scholar and was an expert in cartography, astronomy, mathematics and military weaponry. The map is based on numerous source maps, some of them going back to the time of Alexander the Great (335 BC).

One section of the map pictures the globe from the perspective of the South Pole. Antarctica is clearly shown on this map and is pictured as being largely ice-free with flowing rivers and a clean coastline. Some of the mountain ranges pictured on the map have only been recently discovered. Photographs of the map can be found on numerous websites; one such photograph appears below:

The other half of the map, which is not shown, pictures the globe from the perspective of the North Pole. Continents and islands clearly pictured on the map above include Antarctica (center), South America (lower right), Africa (lower left), Madagascar (left of center) and Australia (upper left).

There are numerous sensational features of the map-one of them being the reality that it clearly pictures Antarctica long before it was "discovered" in 1820. Also significant is the fact that Antarctica is depicted as largely free of ice, at least in the coastal areas. This means that some of the source-maps were drawn before the mile-thick ice-cap covered the continent. This is not surprising because it is well-known that when the Vikings settled Greenland in 980 AD, it too was much warmer than today. The Vikings in Greenland numbered about 5,000 by 1200AD, but as the earth cooled, the settlers died off or moved away.

The Finaeus depiction of Antarctica is extraordinarily accurate-so much so that modern cartographers are mystified as to how it could have been drawn with such amazing accuracy. The mapmaking ability of earlier people (perhaps the Phoenicians), including their abilities in mathematics and geometry, must have been far superior to what has recently been imagined.

The map demonstrates that Antarctica had been extensively explored and mapped long before it was known to the Western world. Since Antarctica was much warmer when some of the source-maps were drawn than it is today, the theory that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of climate change must be given up.

How can the accuracy of this map be explained? One of the earliest authorities on mapmaking was Claudius Ptolemaeus (referred to in the West as "Ptolemy") who lived from about AD 85-168. Ptolemy was a cartographer, mathematician, astronomer and geographer. He lived in Alexandria under the Roman Empire.

Ptolemy wrote a monumental work on mapmaking, Guide to Geography, also known as Geographia, in about 150 AD. Geographia was lost to most of the civilized world for more than a thousand years until it was re-discovered around 1300 AD. The book demonstrates that Mediterranean people of 2,000 years ago had the knowledge and expertise to sail far and wide and to make accurate maps of their travels.

Ptolemy's book describes longitudinal and latitudinal lines and how they are drawn. The book identifies the location of numerous geographical sites by means of those lines. The book additionally specifies how important locations can be accurately placed on maps by means of celestial observations. That is, the book explains how accurate maps can be made and how to navigate based on those maps by means of celestial navigation relying on the perceived locations of the sun, moon, planets and stars.

When Ptolemy's Geographia was translated from Greek into Latin in Western Europe in 1406, its global coordinate and navigational system revolutionized European sailing and mapmaking abilities-putting them on a previously unknown scientific basis. The knowledge Europeans gained from Ptolemy enabled them to engage in their own explosion of exploration and cartography beginning in the 15th Century.


This Quiet Sun

The Sun has gone back to blank after having had just one sunspot group that caused otherwise rational people to go off their heads… Here’s the magnetogram of the Sun showing precisely nothing that presages any sunspot formation:

As a comparison, here is the sun image from the Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope at 304 ångstroms for today and near solar maximum in 2000 by way of comparison

Now its easy to see how quiet the Sun really is at the moment. The prominences are weak, the coronal holes are very small, the corona (the solar atmosphere) shrunken.

All of this can be seen to be normal behaviour for the Sun, except that this hiatus between Solar Cycle 23 finally winding down and the next cycle is unprecedented in nearly a hundred years. (By the way, the overuse of “unprecedented” by climate alarmists has me wincing at using it as a cliché)

Eventually the solar cycle must return. The question is whether solar scientists gain insight into the behaviour of the Sun by understanding why their models failed (see below). The result can only be better science.

SOURCE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Americans need to pay for CHINESE emissions!

Another example of the folly that wrong assumptions lead to

With the U.S. secretaries of energy and commerce in China this week, much of the attention focused on the standoff over emissions reductions or small breakthroughs in clean-tech cooperation.

But yesterday, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said something amazing—U.S. consumers should pay for part of Chinese greenhouse-gas emissions. From Reuters:

“It’s important that those who consume the products being made all around the world to the benefit of America — and it’s our own consumption activity that’s causing the emission of greenhouse gases, then quite frankly Americans need to pay for that,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke told the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.

The idea that rich-country consumers should pick up the tab for some of China’s industrial emissions has been gaining currency lately—but not from within the Obama administration. The argument is that many of China’s factories churn out cheap stuff for the West, not for domestic consumption, so those consumers are actually responsible for the emissions. China, of course, loves the idea.

This could just be another area for trade tensions with China over the environment. The House climate bill includes a provision for mandatory “carbon tariffs” on dirty imports from countries such as China, which might be illegal under international trade law and which have riled up Beijing. President Obama and Senate leaders have frowned on hardline trade measures.

But Secretary Locke’s statement could open up a new can of worms—right when China’s actions on energy and the environment are proving so crucial to mustering support among wavering senators for the administration’s big cap-and-trade bill.

UPDATE: The Commerce Department sent this clarification late Friday:

“Secretary Locke has been very clear on emphasizing the importance of fair trade as a part of the United States’ relationship with China. He believes U.S. companies should not be disadvantaged by Chinese imports not bound by responsible policies to reduce carbon emissions. China and the US must work together to ensure a level playing field and reduce our carbon footprints. The Secretary’s trip to China demonstrated his commitment to fair trade and his belief that both the United States and China can benefit from shared investments and cooperation in clean energy that will lead to commercial and environmental benefits for both countries.”


More deceit from Hansen

Claim: Utah Farm Bureau CEO Randy Parker: In his latest column before this week's conference, he blasted NASA scientist James Hansen as a radical seeking to control the issue. "This is the same James Hansen who in 2008 called for trials of climate skeptics for 'high crimes against humanity.'"

Hansen Response: Hansen said Thursday in an e-mail » "I have never said any such thing about 'climate skeptics,' who, by the way, are more accurately termed 'contrarians,' as they simply state a position inconsistent with what the relevant scientific community (e.g., the National Academy of Sciences) has concluded." See here

Reality Check: UK Guardian: NASA scientist calls for putting oil firm chiefs on trial for 'high crimes against humanity' for spreading doubt about man-made global warming

June 23, 2008 Excerpt: James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer. […]In an interview with the Guardian Hansen said: "When you are in that kind of position, as the CEO of one the primary players who have been putting out misinformation even via organisations that affect what gets into school textbooks, then I think that's a crime."

Liars and the Global Warming Lies They're Telling

By Alan Caruba

It must be that the believers in “global warming” all live in caves and do not wander out to discover what is really happening on the planet. The constant and hysterical cries from the global warming crowd claim that we have merely months, weeks and days before we’re toast.

Of course, the “solution” they offer is the appalling “Cap-and-Trade” bill that the Obama gang is trying to rush through Congress. We are supposed to believe that a huge tax on all use of electricity will “solve” the peril of global warming by cutting “greenhouse gas emissions.”

We are supposed to believe it is wise policy to slow or stop the building of coal-fired or nuclear plants to generate electricity. We are supposed to believe that the vast coal, oil, and natural gas resources throughout the nation are not to be extracted to keep us warm in the coming years of cold weather or to fuel the nation’s vast fleet of cars and trucks.

For many throughout the nation and the world, a walk outside tells them a very different story. Over at the headlines read: “Baltimore: ‘Record low temp tied, another on the way—a summer without much heat.’” And “Not so peachy: Ohio cold snap takes bite out of local peach crop.” Remember, it’s JULY.

At you will find notices of cold spells in Peru, the coldest May in New Zealand, reports of frost in Canada, and of temperature records shattered in northern Michigan and throughout New England.’s Chief Meteorologist, Joe Bastardi, an expert on long range forecasting, is predicting that “cooler-than-normal weather this summer in the Northeast could point to a cold, snowy winter for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states.”

Ironically, Bastardi predicts that the cold weather will be “centered over the area from Boston to Washington, D.C.” On September 8, the “climate bill”, aka “Cap-and-Trade” is scheduled for a vote and who knows, the snow could be several feet thick in the streets outside the Capitol? Last year when protesters gathered to demand the coal-fired plant providing energy to the Capitol Building be shut down did so in a snow storm!

Is the Earth cooling? Yes and it has been for a decade. The cooling is likely to continue for several more decades and you better pray it doesn’t turn into a full-fledged new ice age because the planet is at the end of a 11,500 year interglacial period similar to previous cycles that preceded ice ages.

Bastardi attributes his forecast to factors that include “a combination of El Nino and worldwide volcanic activity over the past six to nine months” which he says “may have played a role in causing this trend.”

Not mentioned is the present inactivity of sunspots, solar storms on the Sun that has been ongoing for quite some while. For an explanation of why this is bad news relative to the planet’s overall climate, click here.

The purpose of this exercise is, of course, to point out the obvious. The climate of the Earth, wherever one happens to be is cooling and is likely to continue. That is why anyone and everyone citing “global warming” is a liar and deserves the contempt, derision, and acrimony of the Earth’s entire population.



By David Whitehouse

Something noteworthy has happened at I've always regarded a little unfavourably, thinking that it was rather extreme and narrow minded; the AGW equivalent to the many "it's nothing to do with CO2" websites out there. The single time I posted a comment on the site - in response to an unwarranted personal criticism - it was "moderated," ie removed. But, such trivialities aside, realclimate has just posted a guest commentary by Kyle Swanson of the University of Wisconsin-Milwakee asking "has the climate recently shifted?" It raises some interesting points.

In January 2008 Realclimate posted an article partly in response to an article of mine in the New Statesman asking what the apparent flatlining of global temperatures since 2001 meant, "Has Global Warming Stopped?" I asked. Their answer was a definite no! It was backed up by a rather biased and shoddy piece of analysis using trend lines.

Late in 2008 realclimate was unimpressed with a paper in the journal Nature by Keenlyside et al that suggested the standstill in global temperature was real, possibly due to the influence of decadal oceanic variations.

So Dr Swanson's posting is interesting. It suggests that the flatline seen since 2001 is indeed real. It is suggested that a "break" has occurred in the Earth's climate from the warming seen between 1976/7 - 2001-2 (I could argue slightly with those figures believing that 1980-1996 is more accurate). (Bear in mind that since Realcimate dismissed the whole notion of a standstill there has only been one annual temperature data point added to the record.)

While the media, commentators, pressure groups, past and present government advisors and many scientists keep telling us that the "science is settled" Dr Swanson clearly doesn't think so. Regarding the relative importance of CO2 forcing and natural variability he says "significant issues remain to be resolved about their relative importance." Swanson reckons that we are not seeing a global cooling but a "pause in warming." But I maintain there is another way to look at the data.

Swanson says that global warming will recommence around 2020. Given that the recent global warming fuss is the result of the 1980 - 1996 warming spell it could be argued that rather than the post 2001 standstill being anomalous the 1980 - 1996 period should be awarded that status.

Swanson believes that the super-El Nino of 1998 forced the Earth's climate to change mode, "something extraordinary happened to the climate system in response to the 1997-98 super el nino," he says. It will take me a while to digest fully Swanson's arguments but in essence he says that the Earth has to dissipate the extra energy introduced by the super el nino and that until this is done long-term global warming will be paused. The way the earth gets rid of this extra energy is by getting colder in a way that overwhelms the AGW increase!

Swanson adds that there is no guarantee as to how the climate may respond. In doing so he emphasises that in this cutting-edge aspect of climate science - the interpretation of the bedrock raw real-world data - this is all hypothesis, speculation and in many cases wishful thinking. Remember that when you are told by the media that "the science is settled." Such a debate taking place in demonstrates that the science is far from settled and never has been.

In essence what we have here is a standstill in global temperature that is real but according to the 'consensus' the computer models predict it will be temporary and warming will resume. The fact that those self-same computer models in which faith is put failed to predict the standstill in the first place is often ignored as an inconvenient truth as it shows the ludicrous nature of the circular and illogical argument and conclusion.

The standstill in earth's climate is obvious and pronounced in the Met Office's HadCRUT3 data set, though the Met Office denies its reality. Personally I hope they change their view as I think their own data warrants it and that they will start describing the data not spinning it.


Comment on the above from F. James Cripwell []

I find it interesting that we have had a succession of forecasts of global temperatures not rising. First there was Smith in Science, with temperatures increasing after 2009; then Keenleyside in Nature, with the rise after 2015; now with have Swanson delaying this until 2020. Note that none of the models forecast any fall in global temperatures.

The Smith model seems to have the quaint idea, that if you adjust the fudge factors, and hindcast the data, this gives magical powers to the computer code, and allows accurate forecasts to be made. So far as I am aware, the only way to successfully validate a model, is to establish a history of accurate forecasts. However, it is clear that not all three forecasts can be correct. The first that will come under scrutiny, will be the Smith model. The UK Met Office puts out a forecast each January as to what the expected temperature is going to be for the year. They have been using the Smith model in recent years. This forecasts that half the years after 2009 will be warmer than 1998. What will the Met Office do in January 2010?

There are all sorts of possibilities, one of which would be to admit that the Smith model is just plain wrong, and abandon it’s use. It is not long to wait.


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 is a mirror of this site here.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Corruption of our National Academies -- as discovered by an environmentalist

Up until a few months ago, I was a big supporter of our National Academies. No more.

A fact of life today is that the internet has facilitated the rapid and continuous dissemination of misinformation and disinformation by those promoting nothing more than self-serving interests. Lobbyists are full well aware of this power and have launched an unprecedented "marketing" assault on citizens and politicians. The motivations are simple: greed and power. Yes they have always been around, but today we have the perfect storm. We now toss around "Trillions of dollars" like these are some reasonable amounts! These staggering and unprecedented disbursements have (not surprisingly) spawned the most sophisticated and aggressive breed of profiteers that we have ever encountered.

As a physicist and longtime environmental advocate, I know that it is critically important that (to counter this onslaught) there be a source of competent, objective, scientific information on the technology issues (like energy) that we face today. I had looked to the National Academies to fill that essential role. No more. Here is the tale of woe that came about when I happened to peek under an innocent looking rock. It started by my looking over a report in one of my fields of expertise: "Electricity from Renewable Sources..."

Having read many hundreds of energy reports, it didn't take long to see that this document was nothing more than agenda propaganda, and that any connection with science was inadvertent and purely happenstance. I was surprised that such a PR piece had been released by the Academies, and decided to investigate whether this was an aberration, or a degradation of their standards. I was put in touch with a senior person at the Academies - we'll play Dear Abby here and (to protect the innocent) call him "Dr. D."

I had several lengthy correspondences with Dr. D, and the more I heard, the more concerned I became. In the beginning, after I objected to the lack of science and objectivity in this report, Dr. D tried to dismiss my contentions by stating that I simply didn't like it's conclusions. That, of course, was a disingenuous response, as I had said nothing about the report's conclusions, and had focused my comments on its methodology.

Unfortunately, this was a sign of similar foolishness to come. After receiving a barrage of excuses for the report's unscientific methods, I finally asked Dr. D outright: are you more a defender of the Academies' existing report system, or a person genuinely interested in improving it? He quickly assured me that he was both. Unfortunately that also has proved to be inaccurate, as in our entire 21 pages of correspondence there was not a single matter where he said anything remotely like: "That's a good idea - I will do everything I can to incorporate that into our report process."

My main message to him was: "I have been an ardent supporter of the National Academies. Due to their good standing in the scientific and political community, the Academies have been targeted by lobbyists to become another outlet for promotion of their financial interests." "Despite your belief that that the Academies' report system is robust, it HAS been compromised by the "Electricity from Renewable Resources" report."

I won't bore you with all the details of our communications, but what I eventually did was to boil down the many issues we covered, into four key ones. To make absolutely sure that I was not reading something into what Dr. D might have rashly said to me, I asked him to answer these four questions (regarding reports put out by the Academies):

1 - What's more important: the Process or the Result?

2 - What's more important: "consensus science" or scientific methodology?

3 - What's more important: Confidentiality or Transparency?

4 - Does a committee member whose employment is directly connected to the results of their report have a bias or a conflict of interest?

Please give these some thought, before reading about his answers. I made these particular queries as to me the core issue here is scientific integrity. If the Academies are not an objective bastion of scientific information, then who is? To simplify matters, I purposely phrased each question so that the second option was what I believe is the correct answer. Surprisingly (to me), despite some pontification, Dr. D said that the Academies chose the first option to each of the questions. And I found none of his responses to be satisfactory, or science-based.

My most disturbing observation is that Dr. D studiously avoided the Academies from taking the "scientific role" throughout this whole report process. For instance, his astounding answer to my first question (I'm paraphrasing) was: the less evidence there is available, the more the Academies deviate from scientific standards. (Huh?!) This flies in the face of ALL logic. It would seem to me that "where the available evidence is thin, or not definitive, or when deep ideological divisions exist" that all three of those circumstances would scream out: BE EXTRA CAREFUL, AND GET MORE EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE BEFORE PROCEEDING!

Yet Dr. D said no to that, and instead stated that it was the Academies' policy to let a select handful of biased people make a guess that suited their agenda. Furthermore, regarding the Renewable's Electricity report, there are some 100,000 turbines actively producing data throughout the world today. Exactly how and why can the data from 100,000 turbines be "thin" or "not definitive"? The only conceivable explanation for that would be that the keepers of such data know that the results do not promote their financial interests, and therefore prefer not to release it. ---------

In Dr. D's answer to my second question, he begrudgingly acknowledged that the result is "important." However, he then stated that results "need to be supported by the best evidence available" which is a good sound bite, but is precisely what did NOT happen with the Renewable's Electricity report - and he already made an excuse for it in his prior answer. Good evidence DOES exist in this case, and if the committee members made a formal, public complaint about it's "non-availability," it is extremely likely that it would then get released. The fact that they took no such action would indicate that the majority (along with their complicit "monitors") were willing to settle for speculation - even though they knew that hard data existed.

This exactly follows Dr. D's full script where he effectively said "the results need to be supported by the best evidence available, but if real evidence isn't easy to come by (or if it doesn't support the agenda of the majority of the committee) then the committee will forgo such evidence, and instead rely on a consensus adjudication."

Amazing. I can't say it any better than this: "The work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus." -----------

Regarding my third question, he again made a token acknowledgment, saying "Transparency is, of course, essential to the results..." The problem is that (despite these good words) there is essentially zero transparency in this report (and evidently in the Academies' normal review process). Transparency is when ALL of the review comments provided are published (e.g. as an addendum and after the report is issued), and each of these are identified as to their source. That did NOT happen here. Based on his words, Dr. D believes that "transparency" simply means listing the names of the reviewers and the monitors.

Right after admitting that transparency was good, he then went about arguing against it. His first claim (unsupported) was that "transparency results in less quality reviews." I sent him a study that concluded otherwise. Despite providing no data that supports his contention, he persists with this illogical opinion. His second justification for doing an inferior job at transparency boiled down to his belief that other institutions do a worse job at transparency than the Academies do. I asked him if he was familiar with the adage "Two wrongs don't make a right?" No reply.


Oregon school textbooks too skeptical

According to the complaint below. Where is the "Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda" when you need them?

While visiting Portland recently, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood proclaimed that "Portland is the green capital of our country." Well, maybe when it comes to streetcars and light rail, but not when it comes to the public school curriculum.

Today's most pressing environmental issue is climate change. James Hansen, chief climatologist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, warns of "a potential for explosive changes with effects that would be irreversible -- if we do not rapidly slow fossil fuel emissions over the next few decades." Climate change, noted environmental writer/activist Bill McKibben declares, is "the one overarching global civilizational challenge that humans have ever faced."

And yet the textbooks used in the Portland area -- texts that are playing a larger and larger role in the curriculum -- adopt a Rush Limbaugh-like skepticism toward global warming.

In Oregon, high school students take only one required class devoted to the state of the world: Global Studies. The textbook for this course in many area school districts -- Portland, Beaverton, Reynolds, Tigard-Tualatin, Sherwood, among others -- is "Modern World History," published by McDougal Littell, a subsidiary of the giant Houghton Mifflin. "Modern World History" buries its discussion of climate change on Page 679. The second of its puny three paragraphs devoted to the issue begins, "Not all scientists agree with the theory of the greenhouse effect."

This is simply false.

French mathematician and physicist Joseph Fourier discovered the "greenhouse effect" in 1824, and today no scientist disagrees with it. The textbook writers likely intended to say that not all scientists agree with the theory that the climate is changing as a result of human-created greenhouse gases. But even if we forgive the book's sloppy scholarship, why are Portland-area schools endorsing material that calls into question the human role in global warming?

The rest of the book's three paragraphs is little better. Acknowledging that the Earth's climate is "slowly warming," the Global Studies textbook tells students that, "To combat this problem, the industrialized nations have called for limits on the release of greenhouse gases. In the past, developed nations were the worst polluters." They still are. Per capita greenhouse gas emissions of the wealthy nations far exceed the emissions of any of the so-called developing countries. Instead, the textbook turns poor countries into eco-villains: "So far, developing countries have resisted strict limits."

Remember, this is not one of those tattered textbooks of yesteryear. This book is copyright 2007 and was adopted by Portland during Vicki Phillips' tenure as superintendent. (Portland purchased these books for all high schools, whether or not teachers wanted them.)

And it's not only social studies texts that adopt a ho-hum attitude about global warming. In the widely used Pearson/Prentice Hall textbook "Physical Science: Concepts in Action," high school students don't meet the concept of climate change until Page 782. The few paragraphs on the human causes of climate change are littered with doubt. The section begins: "Human activities may also change climate over time." May? And then in boldface as the key to the section: "One possible climate change is caused by the addition of carbon dioxide and certain other gases into the atmosphere."

Possible climate change? The text is thick with a mealy language of "might," "could" and "may": "Carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicles, power plants, and other sources may contribute to global warming."


Models of Illusion

Everyone readily admits that things aren't always what they seem. But are we really applying this knowledge in our daily dealings -- are we consciously ferreting out the illusionary from the reality? I think not. For instance, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, we aren't really being run by pandering politicians, self-serving lobbyists, fanatical environmentalists, and greedy Wall Street manipulators! They are the illusion. There is another even more powerful (but much less visible) agent, behind all of these puppets.

The person behind the screen is the computer programmer. And, just like in the Wizard of OZ, they do not want you to look at this real controller. I'll probably have to turn in my membership card, but as a computer programmer (and physicist and environmental activist) I'm here to spill the beans about the Wiz.

The first hint of trouble is spelled out in Wikipedia's explanation about computer programmers: "The discipline differs from many other technical professions in that programmers generally do not need to be licensed or pass any standardized (or governmentally regulated) certification tests in order to call themselves 'programmers' or even 'software engineers.'" Hmmm.

My layperson explanation is that computer programming is all about making assumptions, and then converting these into mathematical (boolean) equations.

The big picture question is this: is it really possible to accurately convert complex real-world situations into one's and zero's? Hal may think so, but higher processing brains say no. Yet this is continuously attempted, with very limited success. Let's pull the screen back a bit more. We'll start with an example about how such a model makes assumptions.

One of the computer programs I wrote was for debt collectors. A typical scenario was that a debtor was given a date to make a payment, and then the collection company doesn't receive it by that date. What response is then appropriate? In such a circumstance the computer program typically sends out an automatic letter (or makes an automatic phone call) to the debtor. (Remember there are thousands of these debtors, and it would be prohibitively time consuming for an agency person to manually check into and follow up each case.)

So what to say in this correspondence to the debtor? Well, it comes down to the assumptions made by the computer programmer. The programmer tries to simplify such situations into mathematical options. In this case they may decide that it comes down to "does the debtor have the money to make this payment: YES or NO?" This relatively basic choice then leads to a Boolean progression within the program. How does the programmer (model) decide on YES or NO? Well other indicators would be used (e.g. were prior payments made on time) to come up with a statistical probability.

Of course any computer model is not ONE set of choices, but rather a whole series of YES/NO (IF/OR) calculations that lead to a conclusion. In a complex situation (e.g. debt collection, climate change, or financial derivatives) there could easily be a hundred such choices to deal with.

To understand the implications of that, let's just consider the case where there are TEN such decision points -- each with a YES or NO answer. At the end of such a pipeline, that means that there are 2 to the tenth power (i.e. 1024) possible results. That's a LOT of different potential conclusions!

Unfortunately there are actually MANY more possibilities! My assumption that this debtor situation could be condensed down to a YES or NO answer, is not accurate. There are several other real situations that fall outside of YES or NO.

For instance, what if the debtor never got a notice in the first place that the amount was due by the date the agency is monitoring? Or what if the debtor sent the money and it got lost in transition? Or what if the debtor made the payment to the original person they owed, rather than the collection agency? Or what if the debtor sent in the money on time, and the collection agency incorrectly didn't credit the debtor for the payment? Etc., etc.

For the computer program (model) to be accurate, ALL of these scenarios need to be able to be handled properly (legally, timely, etc.). Can you begin to see the complexity here, just with this very simple example of a payment not being received on time?

There is still another significant factor (we're up to #4 now) not mentioned yet. What about the situation where the debtor hasn't paid, but it's because his child has MS, and he has no insurance? How does a computer programmer write code for more abstract concepts, like "fairness"? In other words, can ones and zeros be arranged in such a way to represent intangibles? I think not.

So the bottom line question is this: is there any way that a computer program can correctly handle ALL of these real-world possibilities -- even in this simple debt collection case? The answer is no. NO!!!

We have considerable difficulties just translating the relatively simple thing we call language -- e.g. Greek biblical texts into English. How many versions of the Bible are there? Why isn't there just one? Can we possibly hope to translate a process much more complicated than just words? We can certainly try, but clearly the answer is that there is a LOT lost in the translation of any complex scenario (debtors, energy performance, etc.) into mathematical equations and computer code.

Some uninformed parties believe that the user has control of all the variables, and can manually (and accurately) change scenarios. That is incorrect, as the user-controlled elements only represent a small fraction of the actual number of factors that are built into the computer model.

A similar fallacy is to think something like "we know the assumptions that the programmers made, and are adjusting accordingly." Wrong!

In writing a computer program of any complexity, there are literally hundreds of assumptions made. The computer programmer does NOT reveal all these to his customer, for much the same reasons that an accountant does not tell his client all of the assumptions made in preparing a tax return. He goes over a few of the more basic items, and then says "sign here."

Oh, yes, this example brings up still another MAJOR variable (#7): the data the programmer uses as the basis for his creation. Just like preparing a tax return depends on two parties working together, writing a computer model is a collaboration between scientist and programmer. If the taxpayer gives incomplete or inaccurate data to the accountant, the result will be wrong. What's disconcerting is that in many cases, neither party will know that the results are in error...

Similarly if the scientist gives incomplete or inaccurate date to the programmer to use in his creation, the result will likewise be wrong. AND neither party will know it!

I hate to keep going on here, but this is important stuff! Believe it or not, there is still one more significant variable (#8) that we have to take into account. After a computer model is generated, there is then an interpreter (e.g. IPCC) that translates the "results" for politicians and the public (i.e. the media).

Here's a surprise: these public interpretations are influenced by such factors as political, religious, environmental, financial, and scientific opinions. In their public revelations, do the interpreters explain all of their underlying biases? By now you know the answer: absolutely not. When these are introduced into the equation we obviously have strayed so far from scientific fact that it is not even in sight anymore.

Soooo, we need to think VERY CAREFULLY before we take major actions (e.g. spend a few Trillion dollars based on climate predictions, wind energy projected performance, etc.) that are almost entirely based on computer models.

What to do? Should we just scrap all computer models? No, that's the other extreme. Computer models have merit -- but shouldn't be the tail wagging the dog. We should realistically see computer models for what they are: tools to assist us in organizing our thoughts, and highly subjective results that are simply starting points for real scientific analysis. Because of their inherent limitations (which I've just touched on here) ALL computer models should be treated with a very healthy degree of skepticism.

To insure appropriate integrity, ALL computer models regarding matters of importance should be subjected to the rigors of scientific methodology. If they can't accurately and continuously replicate the results of real world data, then they should be discarded. Unfortunately that is not what is happening.

We have gotten so addicted to the illusion that these programs are accurate -- and some have become so agenda driven -- that we are now adjusting or discarding real world date that doesn't agree with the model. This is insane!

If a model has not been proven to fully reflect reality, then it has very limited use, and should be treated with the same degree of consideration that one might give a horoscope.


Warming or no warming? It's up in the clouds

Roy Spencer explains how climate models work and points out that altering the assumptions regarding just one variable about which we know little -- clouds -- can alter whether warming or cooling is predicted by the model concerned

Anthropogenic Global Warming in Climate Models

Our addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels is estimated to have caused an imbalance of about 1.5 Watts per sq. meter between the 235 to 240 Watts per sq. meter of average absorbed sunlight and emitted infrared radiation. The extra CO2 makes the infrared greenhouse blanket covering the Earth slightly thicker. This energy imbalance is too small to be measured from satellites; it must be computed based upon theory.

So, if the Earth was initially in a state of energy balance, and the rate of sunlight being absorbed by the Earth was exactly 240 Watts per sq. meter, then the rate of infrared loss to outer space would have been reduced from 240 Watts per sq. meter to 238.5 Watts per sq. meter (240 minus 1.5).

This energy imbalance causes warming in the climate model. And since a warmer Earth (just like any warmer object) loses infrared energy faster than a cool object, the modeled climate system will warm up until energy balance is once again is restored. At that point, the rate at which infrared energy is lost to space once again equals the rate at which sunlight is absorbed by the Earth, and the temperature will once again remain fairly constant.

What Determines How Much the Model will Warm?

The largest source of uncertainty in climate modeling is this: will the climate system act to reduce, or enhance, the small amount of CO2 warming? The climate model (as well as the real climate system) has different ways in which an energy imbalance like that from adding CO2 to the atmosphere can be restored. The simplest response would be for the temperature alone to increase. For instance, it can be calculated theoretically that the ~40% increase in atmospheric CO2 humans are believed to have caused in the last 150 years would only cause about 0.5 deg. C warming to restore energy imbalance. This theoretical response is called the “no feedback” case because nothing other than temperature changed.

But a change in temperature can be expected to change other elements of the climate system, like clouds and water vapor. These other, indirect changes are called feedbacks, and they can either amplify the CO2-only warming, or reduce it. As shown in the following figure, all 20+ climate models currently tracked by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) now amplify the warming.

This amplification is mostly through an increase in water vapor — Earth’s main greenhouse gas — and through a decrease in low- and middle-altitude clouds, the primary effect of which is to let more sunlight into the system and cause further warming. These indirect changes in response to warming are called feedbacks. The models amplify the CO2 warming with positive water vapor feedback, and with positive cloud feedback. But is this the way that the real climate system operates?

Uncertainties in Climate Model Cloud and Water Vapor Processes

The climate model equations are only approximations of the physical processes that occur in the atmosphere. While some of those approximations are highly accurate, some of the most important ones from the standpoint of climate change are unavoidably crude. This is because the real processes they represent are either (1) too complex to include in the model and still have the model run fast on a computer, or (2) because our understanding of those processes is still too poor to accurately model them with equations.

This is especially true for cloud formation and dissipation, which in turn has a huge impact on how much sunlight is absorbed by the climate system. The amount of cloud cover generated in the model in response to solar heating helps control the Earth’s temperature, so the manner in which clouds change with warming is of huge importance to global warming predictions.

Climate modelers are still struggling to get the models to produce cloud cover amounts and types like those seen in different regions, and during different seasons. The following NASA MODIS image of the western U.S. and eastern Pacific Ocean shows a wide variety of cloud types which are controlled by a variety of different processes.

The complexity of clouds is intuitively understood by everyone, experts and non-experts alike. It is probably safe to say that all climate modelers recognize that the modeling of cloud behavior accurately is very difficult, and is something which has not yet been achieved in global climate models.

All of the IPCC climate models reduce low- and middle-altitude cloud cover with warming, a positive feedback. This is the main reason for the differences in warming produced by different climate models (Trenberth and Fasullo, 2009). I predict that this kind of model behavior will eventually be shown to be incorrect. And while the authors were loathe to admit it, there is already some evidence showing up in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that this is the case (Spencer et al., 2007; Caldwell and Bretherton, 2009).

I believe that the modelers have mistakenly interpreted decreased cloud cover with warming in the real climate system as positive cloud feedback (warming causing a cloud decrease), when in reality it was actually the decrease in clouds that mostly caused the warming. This is basically an issue of causation: one direction of causation has been ignored when trying to estimate causation in the opposite direction (Spencer and Braswell, 2008).

The fundamental issue of causation in climate modeling isn’t restricted to just clouds. While warming will, on average, cause an increase in low-level water vapor, precipitation systems control the water vapor content of most of the rest of the atmosphere. As shown in the following illustration, while evaporation over most of the Earth’s surface is continuously trying to enhance the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect by adding water vapor, precipitation is continuously reducing the greenhouse effect by converting that water vapor into clouds, then into precipitation.

But while the physics of evaporation at the Earth’s surface is understood pretty well, the processes controlling the conversion of water vapor into precipitation in clouds are complex and remain rather mysterious. And it is the balance between these two processes — evaporation and precipitation — that determines atmospheric humidity.

Even in some highly complex ‘cloud resolving models’ – computer models that use much more complex computations to actually ‘grow’ clouds in the models – the point at which a cloud starts precipitating in the model is given an ad hoc constant value. I consider this to be a huge source of uncertainty, and one that is not appreciated even by most climate modelers. The modelers tune the models to approximate the average relative humidity of the atmosphere, but we still do not understand from ‘first principles’ why the average humidity has its observed value. We would have to thoroughly understand all of the precipitation processes, which we don’t.

In the end, many of the approximations in climate models will probably end up being not very important for forecasting climate change…but it takes only one critical process to be wrong for model projections of warming to be greatly in error. The IPCC admits that their largest source of uncertainty is low cloud feedback, that is, how low cloud cover will change with warming. And, as just mentioned, I believe how precipitation efficiency might change with temperature is also a wild card in climate model predictions.

Sources of Global Warming: Humans or Nature?

At this point hopefully you understand that climate modelers think global warming is the result of humans ‘upsetting’ the Earth’s radiative energy balance. And I agree with them that adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere must have some effect…but how large is this change in comparison the energy imbalances the climate system imposes upon itself?

It turns out that the modelers have made a critical assumption that ends up leading to the their conclusion that the climate system is very sensitive to our greenhouse gas emissions: that the climate system was in a state of energy balance in the first place.

There is a pervasive, non-scientific belief in the Earth sciences that nature is in a fragile state of balance. Whether it is ecosystems or the climate systems, you will hear or read scientists claims about the supposed fragility of nature. But this is a subjective concept, not a scientific one. Still, it makes its way into the scientific literature (read the abstract to this seminal paper on the first satellite measurements of the Earth’s energy budget…look for “delicately balanced”). Just because nature tends toward a balance does not mean that balance is in any way ‘fragile’. And what does ‘fragile’ even mean when nature itself is always upsetting that balance anyway?

Why is this important to climate modeling? Because if climate researchers ignore naturally-induced climate variability, and instead assume that most climate changes are due to the activity of humans, they will inevitably come to the conclusion that the climate system is fragile: that is, that feedbacks are positive. It’s a little like some ancient tribe of people believing that severe weather events are the result of their moral transgressions.

If the warming observed during the 20th Century was due to human greenhouse gas emissions, then the climate system must be pretty sensitive (positive feedbacks). But if the warming was mostly due to a natural change in cloud cover, then the climate system is more likely to be insensitive (negative feedbacks). And there is no way to know whether natural cloud changes occurred during that time simply because our global cloud observations over the last century are nowhere near accurate enough.

So, climate modelers simply assume that there are no natural long-term changes in clouds, water vapor, etc. But they do not realize that in the process they will necessarily come to the conclusion that the climate system is very sensitive (feedbacks are positive). As a result, they program climate models so that they are sensitive enough to produce the warming in the last 50 years with increasing carbon dioxide concentrations. They then point to this as ‘proof’ that the CO2 caused the warming, but this is simply reasoning in a circle.

Climate modelers have simply assumed that the Earth’s climate system was in a state of energy balance before humans started using fossil fuels. But as is evidenced by the following temperature reconstruction for the last 2,000 years (from Loehle, 2007), continuous changes in temperature necessarily imply continuous changes in the Earth’s energy balance.

And while changes in solar activity are one possible explanation for these events, it is also possible that there are long-term, internally-generated fluctuations in global energy balance brought about by natural cloud or water vapor fluctuations. For instance, a change in cloud cover will change the amount of sunlight being absorbed by the Earth, thus changing global temperatures. Or, a change in precipitation processes might alter how much of our main greenhouse gas — water vapor — resides in the atmosphere. Changes in either of these will cause global warming or global cooling.

But just like the tribe ancient people not understanding that there are physical processes at work in nature that cause storms to occur, climate modelers tend to view climate change as something that is largely human in origin – presumably the result of our immoral burning of fossil fuels.

Faith-Based Climate Modeling

There is no question that much expense and effort has gone into the construction and improvement of climate models. But that doesn’t mean those models can necessarily predict climate 20, 50, or 100 years from now. Ultimately, the climate researcher (and so the politician) must take as a matter of faith that today’s computerized climate models contain all of the important processes necessary to predict global warming.

This is why validating the predictions of any theory is so important to the progress of science. The best test of a theory is to see whether the predictions of that theory end up being correct. Unfortunately, we have no good way to rigorously test climate models in the context of the theory that global warming is manmade. While some climate modelers will claim that their models produce the same “fingerprint” of manmade warming as seen in nature, there really is no such fingerprint. This is because warming due to more carbon dioxide is, for all practical purposes, indistinguishable from warming due to, say, a natural increase in atmospheric water vapor.

The modeler will protest, “But what could cause such a natural change in water vapor?” Well, how about just a small change in atmospheric circulation patterns causing a decrease in low cloud cover over the ocean? That would cause the oceans to warm, which would then warm and humidify the global atmosphere (Compo and Sardeshmukh, 2009). Or how about the circulation change causing a change in wind shear across precipitation systems? This would lead to a decrease in precipitation efficiency, leading to more water vapor in the atmosphere, also leading to a natural ‘greenhouse’ warming (Renno et al., 1994).

To reiterate, just because we don’t understand all of the ways in which nature operates doesn’t mean that we humans are responsible for the changes we see in nature.

The natural changes in climate I am talking about can be thought of as ‘chaos’. Even though all meteorologists and climate researchers agree that chaos occurs in weather, climate modelers seem to not entertain the possibility that climate can be chaotic as well (Tsonis et al., 2007). If they did believe that was possible, they would then have to seriously consider the possibility that most of the warming we saw in the 20th Century was natural, not manmade. But the IPCC remains strangely silent on this issue.


Meteorologist says man not cause of climate issue

Dave Dahl, chief meteorologist at KSTP in the Twin Cities, told Hudson Rotarians that man is not the culprit when it comes to global warming, or climate change, issues. Dahl spoke to the Hudson Thursday Noon Rotary Club on July 9 and said what was called “global warming” is now tabbed “climate change” because temperatures on the planet have decreased in the past couple years. “Over 30,000 scientists are now saying that humans are not causing changes in global conditions,” Dahl said. “The climate has ‘changed’ since the planet began.”

He said that the heating of the earth — which is mostly a good thing — is caused primarily by water vapor — about 98 percent. He said carbon and other elements account for about 2 percent of the mix. Of that 2 percent, human involvement represents only about 2 percent of that (.0004 percent). “It is my feeling, and the opinion of more and more scientists, that the sun is the driving force behind climate changes — heating and cooling,” Dahl said. “Solar activity, including flares and sunspots, is usually quite active during warm stretches. The activity has been very quiet the past couple of years and the temperatures have dropped.”

He said last year’s solar activity was the quietest in 100 years. So far in 2009, the activity is even less. “In the northern hemisphere, the 2007-08 winter was the coldest in 50 years and 2008-09 was the coldest in a century,” Dahl said.

Another flaw in the entire system is the recording of temperatures around the world, he said. “The United States has the most reputable system, but the recording system in nearly nine out of 10 locations does not meet National Weather Service standards. Many of the sites are located on tar roofs, next to air conditioner exhaust fans, etc. The records are questionable.”

He said we should be using only satellite information, which shows that temperatures have been cooling for several years. “Even believers of man-made ‘global warming’ have begun to realize that we do not face global warming — that’s why the terminology has been changed to ‘climate change,’” Dahl said.

Another key factor in the study of earth temperature is the sequence of events. “People who believe in man-made global warming claim that an increase in carbon dioxide leads to global warming,” Dahl said. “Concrete scientific evidence shows throughout history that temperatures increase first, then carbon levels increase (carbon comes from many sources in addition to man-made pollution). That’s contrary to the claims made in the Al Gore movie (‘Inconvenient Truth’).” Dahl claims that the Gore movie contains at least 50 factual errors — he called them absolutely false.

Dahl said that carbon spewed from one of the many volcanoes around the world adds much, much more carbon to the atmosphere than all the cars combined. “I’m all for limiting pollution, but carbon is not necessarily a pollutant – plants would prefer more carbon,” Dahl said.

He noted that there has been much publicity about the shrinking of the polar ice cap. “Evidence shows that the cap was much smaller in the 1930s when we went through a warm period,” Dahl said. “Siberian ice has grown 20 percent in the past two years.”

Dahl noted that throughout history there is evidence of warm and cold periods. “It’s a recurring pattern and the sun in the key ingredient,” Dahl said. “The fact is, we could very well be headed for a cool period. Some scientists believe we are headed into a 20-30-year cooling trend based on historical patterns.”

He said it is unfortunate that the science of climate has been mixed in with political policy and political agendas. “Many scientists are afraid to speak out because much of the funding comes from the government and they are afraid they will lose funding,” Dahl said. “The political landscape endorses only one view — that humans are causing global warming. The policy-makers and media drive what people hear. People like to think that we can control our destiny — this is one thing we can’t control. People don’t like to hear that.”

Dahl hopes that what he considers to be the truth will become evident in the next five to 10 years.



Herbert Reul is the new head of the EU Parliament's powerful Industry Committee. The Christian Democrat questions the consensus on climate change, defends energy companies and is fighting summer time plans.

On Monday evening, the 42 EU Members of the Christian Democratic parties CDU and CSU, nominated the 56-year-old as chairman of the powerful Industry Committee. As a result, Reul will play a key role in coming years with regards to the EU's legal proceedings following the conclusion of the Copenhagen climate change negotiations.

The former Secretary General of the CDU in North Rhein-Westphalia is known to question the global consensus on climate change. "I doubt that humans really contribute as much to global warming as is generally claimed," Reul admits. "But the political decisions on climate change have been taken and as chairman of the industry committee, I must now ensure that they are implemented in a reasonable way." [transl. BJP]



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Saturday, July 18, 2009


An email from Donn Dears []

It is troubling to see how people use the term “Energy” as in “energy Independence” or “energy needs” when the issues that bedevil America and Europe are three energy delivery issues.

1. The first is the generation and use of electricity.

2. The second is the use of oil for the transportation system.

3. Third is the use of natural gas for heating.

Referring to energy, without identifying the real issues merely obfuscates the discussion. For example, saying that the United States needs to become energy independent conceals the fact that the U.S. is already independent in terms of generating and using electricity. The U.S. is also independent when it comes to using natural gas for heating. It would be better to say that the U.S. needs to achieve “independence from foreign oil”.

Describing the proposed [very expensive] Desertec project “as providing 15% of Europe’s energy needs” isn’t a very helpful description of what it will accomplish. It will not help one iota in solving Europe’s natural gas or oil import problem. It will supply electricity, which Europe could accomplish more economically with coal or nuclear. The CO2 emission debate has distorted the market so that greater emphasis is placed on uneconomic methods for generating electricity.

Similarly in the U.S. the bogus claim is made that wind and solar can achieve energy independence. Wind, solar, hydrokinetics generate electricity … they do not produce oil. Since the U.S. is already independent when it comes to generating electricity the push to produce electricity from wind etc. is caused by a desire to cut CO2 emissions ... which distorts the market.

Unscrupulous politicians hide behind “Energy”. They say wind etc. can achieve energy independence, when, as we have seen above, wind etc. can have no impact on America’s use of oil or natural gas.

It would be much better if everyone stopped using the term “Energy” and described instead the real issue, whether it be generation and usage of electricity or the use of oil for the transportation system or the use of natural gas for heating. This has been a pet peeve of mine because we have allowed politicians to bundle all energy issues under the term “Energy” which has allowed them to mislead people.


An email from Hermann Burchard []

Might not climate fear, apparently partly irrational, come from peak oil fear? The idea that we are about to run out of energy is unbearable, so we castigate ourselves and depict the issue as being really one of man despoiling nature, a sacrilege which must be stopped at all cost. This could be an example of Freudian Displacement, shifting fear from dreaded energy starvation onto another target, abhorred environmental violation. (A revival of Freudian psychology seems to be underway.)

Philip Stott in his hilarious "Mr Lemuel Gulliver Visits Milibandia" manages to cast in a brilliant, comical light the frenzy of climate fear related activities, suggesting an irrational side of the climate movement, a kind of "moronic inferno."

The silliness of peak oil fear, on the other hand, can be seen from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy presented by Mark Finley, Head of BP Energy Analysis, London, on June 27, 2008 at the Baker Institute, Rice University, Houston TX. The event was broadcast on C-SPAN2. What we learn from the BP report is that World Petroleum Reserves have been going up year after year, and not down as peak oil predicted up until recently. See here.

In the Q&A afterwards Mr Finley waved off a question about renewables by repeating and stressing his point that oil reserves are on the rise, not in depletion. He then used the opportunity to remark that discovery of new petroleum occurs in deep waters off the continental margins. Clearly, he meant to convey the new oilbearing strata are different in kind from those familiar to the public.


Yet more of the gradual retreat by the Warmists

The nightmare global warming scenario which provided the plot for a Hollywood blockbuster -- the Atlantic Ocean current that keeps Europe warm shuts down and triggers rapid climate change -- has long worried scientists. But a study published Thursday in the journal Science found it may not occur as quickly as previously feared.

There is evidence that this current has shut down with some regularity in the past -- and sometimes quite rapidly -- in response to large influxes of fresh water from melting glaciers. However, it appears as though the current rate of glacial melt is occurring at a more gradual pace which will "give ecosystems more time to adjust to new conditions," said study co-author Peter Clark, a professor of geosciences at Oregon State University. "Our data still show that current is slowing, and may decline by 30 percent by the end of this century," Clark said. "That's very significant, and it could cause substantial climate change. But it's not as abrupt as some concerns that it could shut down within a few decades."

Clark and his colleagues constructed a massive computer model which simulated the atmospheric and oceanic conditions of the height of the last ice age and the changes which resulted in the Earth's last major global warming some 14,500 years ago. The simulation presented results that are in line with the fossil and geological record and confirms the accuracy of some models of future climate change scenarios.

It found that the "climate dominos" began to fall when the glaciers which blanketed most of North America began to melt, said co-author Zhengyu Liu, director of the Center for Climatic Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Note from Benny Peiser: The results of this climate modelling should be taken with a large pinch of salt. There are significant uncertainties about the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, the basic assumption on which the model is based. For some of these uncertainties see Carl Wunsch's paper


A new paper in Science reports that a careful study of satellite data show the assumed cooling effect of aerosols in the atmosphere to be significantly less than previously estimated. Unfortunately, the assume greater cooling has been used in climate models for years. In such models, the global-mean warming is determined by the balance of the radiative forcings—warming by greenhouse gases balanced against cooling by aerosols. Since a greater cooling effect has been used in climate models, the result has been to credit CO2 with a larger warming effect than it really has.

This question is of great importance to climate modelers because they have to be able to simulate the effect of GHG warming in order to accurately predict future climate change. The amount of temperature increase set into a climate model for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 is called the model's sensitivity. As Dr. David Evans explained in a recent paper: “Yes, every emitted molecule of carbon dioxide (CO2) causes some warming—but the crucial question is how much warming do the CO2 emissions cause? If atmospheric CO2 levels doubled, would the temperature rise by 0.1°, 1.0°, or by 10.0° C?”

The absorption frequencies of CO2 are already saturated, meaning that the atmosphere already captures close to 100% of the radiation at those frequencies. Consequently, as the level of CO2 in the atmosphere increases, the rise in temperature for a given increase in CO2 becomes smaller. This sorely limits the amount of warming further increases in CO2 can engender. Because CO2 on its own cannot account for the observed temperature rise in the past century, climate modelers assume that linkages exist between CO2 and other climate influences, mainly water vapor (for a more detailed explanation of what determines the Global Warming Potential of a gas see my comment “It's not that simple”).

To compensate for the missing “forcing,” models are tuned to include a certain amount of extra warming linked to carbon dioxide levels—extra warming that comes from unestablished feedback mechanisms who's existence is simply assumed. Aerosol cooling and climate sensitivity in the models must balance each other in order to match historical conditions. Since the climate warmed slightly last century the amount of warming must have exceeded the amount of cooling. As Dr. Roy Spencer, meteorologist and former NASA scientist, puts it: “They program climate models so that they are sensitive enough to produce the warming in the last 50 years with increasing carbon dioxide concentrations. They then point to this as ‘proof’ that the CO2 caused the warming, but this is simply reasoning in a circle.”

A large aerosol cooling, therefore, implies a correspondingly large climate sensitivity. Conversely, reduced aerosol cooling implies lower GHG warming, which in turn implies lower model sensitivity. The upshot of this is that sensitivity values used in models for the past quarter of a century have been set too high. Using elevated sensitivity settings has significant implications for model predictions of future global temperature increases. The low-end value of model sensitivity used by the IPCC is 2°C. Using this value results, naturally, in the lowest predictions for future temperature increases. According to the paper “Consistency Between Satellite-Derived and Modeled Estimates of the Direct Aerosol Effect” published in Science on July 10, 2009, Gunnar Myhre states that previous values for aerosol cooling are too high — by as much as 40 percent —implying the IPCC's model sensitivity settings are too high also.


A real choice on climate change: Do nothing

Global efforts to mitigate climate change are resulting in the most ineffectual diplomacy since U.S. Secretary of State Frank Kellogg and French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand tried to end all war with international law-eleven years before Hitler launched World War II.

The fecklessness of climate diplomacy was on full display last week at the Group of Eight summit of industrialized countries in Italy, where the international community simultaneously vowed to limit global warming and disavowed the necessary action to do so.

During the summit, U.S. President Barack Obama convened a Major Economies Meeting of 17 countries responsible for 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Together, these countries agreed that they "ought" to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown labeled this "historic" and German Chancellor Angela Merkel called it an "important step." A more apt description of the temperature target is "impossible." Here's why.

As a recent study in the scientific journal Nature notes, global greenhouse gas emissions must fall more than 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 in order to have a 75 percent chance of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius. According to research compiled by the United States Climate Change Science Program (now the Global Change Research Program), a clearinghouse for global warming science conducted by federal agencies, reducing global emissions by 50 percent below 2000 levels by 2050 would require developing countries to reduce per capita greenhouse gas emissions by 62 percent below business as usual, even if developed countries somehow cut greenhouse gases by 100 percent.

Yet the G8 pledged to reduce emissions "only" 80 percent-from an undefined baseline-by 2050. And before the ink was dry on the summit's climate communiqué, Russian and Canadian officials publically questioned the feasibility of the 80 percent emissions cuts for their countries. Developing countries rejected any limits altogether, refusing to commit to expensive emissions cuts that could jeopardize their number-one priority: poverty reduction.

Clearly, the emissions calculus to reach the 2 degree Celsius target doesn't add up. There are three possible scenarios to bridge this gap between rhetoric and reality.

The first is for everyone to quit. Developing countries have a sovereign right not to act on climate change, and their rapidly growing economies will account for the preponderance of future growth in global emissions, which gives developed countries little reason to limit emissions themselves. As Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told The New York Times, it makes little sense for the G8 to commit to stringent emissions reductions if "five billion people continue to behave as they have always behaved."

The second scenario is for developed countries to pay trillions of dollars to finance a green energy revolution in developing countries. But this is politically unthinkable: Can anyone sanely imagine the U.S. Congress appropriating hundreds of billions of dollars for China, an economic competitor?

The final possibility is for developed countries to compel developing countries to reduce emissions by taxing the carbon content of their exports. Countries like China depend on export-driven economic growth, so a carbon tariff would surely get their attention, but in a very bad way-retaliation in kind would be almost assured. That would launch a global trade tariff war of the sort that exacerbated the Great Depression. That is the last thing the ailing global economy needs.

Of all three prospects, the smart money is on global inaction. "Doing something" about global warming doesn't come cheap-the International Energy Agency estimates it would cost $45 trillion to halve emissions by 2050-and there is no precedent for international burden sharing of this magnitude for anything short of a world war. Thus, history implies that a global response to global warming is impossible. Current climate diplomacy certainly suggests as much.

That's not a cause for despair. There is ample evidence that the benefits of economic growth unhindered by costly emissions controls surpass the deleterious effects of global warming. According to World Bank estimates, nearly 2 billion people in developing countries rely on dung, wood and charcoal to heat their homes and cook their food. For the impoverished, a coal-fired power plant giving them access to affordable energy would be a blessing. We can afford to let the climate be.



Daniel Rice, manager of the BlackRock Energy & Resources Fund, is the best-performing U.S. equity fund manager of the past decade, according to Morningstar. He's also not afraid to speak his mind, especially when it comes to the subjects of global warming and alternative energy, as revealed in the accompanying video.

Rice paints a "pretty dire picture" of the whole alternative energy industry, with the possible exception of wind, based on the following:

• Global warming patterns have reversed in the past decade, Rice says, citing studies by meteorologist Dr. Judah Cohen, whom BlackRock has on retainer. Ten years is microscopic in geological terms but "you'd better hope global warming is caused by man-made [carbon dioxide] if you're investing in these sectors," he says. "I think that's a huge risk based on some of the evidence that's been coming out."

• Alternative energies are not economical without major government subsidies or a large enough carbon tax. The cap and trade legislation currently being debated is "not enough to do anything," Rice says. "All it does is provide Obama a pass to Copenhagen" where the U.N. is hosting a climate change conference in December.

• More government subsidies for alternative energy could be forthcoming but "governments across the world are being stretched" by the economic crisis, Rice notes. "There's not a lot of excess money, excess credit, [and] not as much risk capital willing to go into these sector."

So unless the global warming patterns reverse and go higher again or the global economy makes a major recovery, Rice believes alternative energies like Exxon's algae fuel initiative will remain very much on the fringe, and investors in the space will face further disappointments.



So you will have to have the time, health and inclination to do a lot of walking even after you have paid a bomb to park your car

Drivers who want to live in an environmentally friendly "eco-town" will have to pay £13,000 for a parking space, Government documents reveal.

The news comes as ministers prepare to unveil the sites for the first ever eco-towns. Four sites in southern and central England which have received backing from their local councils are likely to go ahead to the planning stage - less than half the 10 eco-towns which were first mooted by Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, nearly two years ago.

According to Whitehall guidance on parking in the towns, motorists will be expected to leave their vehicles in car parks on the edge of the towns. The guidance, which has been obtained by the Conservatives, urges "car-free development" which involves "limited parking, separated from the residential areas".

It continues: "A parking space in one of the car parks at the edge of the development must be rented or purchased (at a cost of approximately £12,500 plus a monthly management fee). This cost is entirely separate from the cost of buying or renting a home".



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Friday, July 17, 2009

UN IPCC 'Lead Author' Tom Tripp Dissents on man-made warming: 'We're not scientifically there yet'‏

The Utah Farm Bureau opposes the notion that humans are responsible for climate change, and this week at its midyear convention, the state's largest agricultural group is making its case through the words of keynote speaker Tom Tripp. The bureau, in promoting the event, described Tripp as a Nobel Peace Prize winner, elevating him to that status because he is one of several thousand members of a U.N. panel that shared the prize with former Vice President Al Gore, even though Tripp disagreed with the panel's position that human actions are causing the planet to warm.

Tripp, a metallurgical engineer for U.S. Magnesium and Grantsville city councilman, is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, which shared the Nobel Prize with Gore in 2007.

Another of the panel's members and others question whether it is appropriate for Tripp to be identified as a Nobel winner, given his tangential connection to the honor. David Randall, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University and a coordinating lead author for the IPCC, said Thursday it is inaccurate to call any of its members Nobel winners. "It is a fact that the prize was awarded to the IPCC organization, not to individuals. I would never call myself a Nobel Peace Prize winner."

Tripp, a member of the IPCC since 2004, is listed as one of 450 IPCC "lead authors" who reviewed reports from 800 contributing writers whose work in turn, was reviewed by more than 2,500 experts worldwide.

Scientists, industry experts and public officials from more than 130 countries contributed to the 2007 report, said Brenda Ekwurzel with the Massachusetts-based Union of Concerned Scientists. That comprehensive body of work was the latest of five climate change reports dating to 1988 recognized by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

On Thursday at the convention, a bureau official said it was appropriate to invite Tripp to speak and label him a Nobel winner, even though he disagrees with the panel's findings. "It shows what the IPCC touts as a consensus is less than a consensus. Even within that group not everyone is in total agreement," said bureau CEO Randy Parker. On Tripp being a prize winner: "He is. The prize was given to Al Gore and 2,000 IPCC members." For his part, Tripp said the label is "technically correct," adding that the IPCC chairman and others in the organization have said all IPCC members were awarded the prize.

At Thursday's convention, Tripp found a receptive audience among the 250 people attending the conference. He said there is so much of a natural variability in weather it makes it difficult to come to a scientifically valid conclusion that global warming is man made. "It well may be, but we're not scientifically there yet."

He also criticized modeling schemes to evaluate global warming, but stopped short of commenting on climate modeling used by the IPCC, saying "I don't have the expertise."

But meteorologist Thomas Reichler did just that. He was involved in a University of Utah study that the IPCC models "are quite accurate and can be valuable tools for those seeking solutions on reversing global warming trends."

Neal Briggs, who farms nearly 300 acres in Syracuse, said he's comfortable that the Farm Bureau presents only one side of the climate debate because "the science behind it isn't sound. From what I've researched, we are not a large contributor to global warming."

Utah Farm Bureau CEO Randy Parker » In his latest column before this week's conference, he blasted NASA scientist James Hansen as a radical seeking to control the issue. "This is the same James Hansen who in 2008 called for trials of climate skeptics for 'high crimes against humanity.' "

Hansen said Thursday in an e-mail » "I have never said any such thing about 'climate skeptics,' who, by the way, are more accurately termed 'contrarians,' as they simply state a position inconsistent with what the relevant scientific community (e.g., the National Academy of Sciences) has concluded."


Solar cycle affecting global climate, say scientists

Research led by scientists at the National Science Foundation-funded National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, has shown that maximum solar activity and its aftermath have impacts on Earth similar to that caused by ocean currents La Niña and El Niño in the tropical Pacific Ocean. The research, while establishing a key link between the solar cycle and global climate, may pave the way toward predictions of temperature and precipitation patterns at certain times during the approximately 11-year solar cycle.

"These results are striking in that they point to a scientifically feasible series of events that link the 11-year solar cycle with ENSO, the tropical Pacific phenomenon that so strongly influences climate variability around the world," said Jay Fein, program director in NSF's Division of Atmospheric Sciences. "The next step is to confirm or dispute these intriguing model results with observational data analyses and targeted new observations," he added.

The total energy reaching Earth from the sun varies by only 0.1 per cent across the solar cycle and scientists now think these ups and downs cause natural weather and climate variations other than the their subtle effects from the larger pattern of human-caused global warming.

Building on previous work, the NCAR researchers used computer models of global climate and more than a century of ocean temperature to answer longstanding questions about the connection between solar activity and global climate. The research, published this month in a paper in the Journal of Climate, was funded by NSF, NCAR's sponsor, and by the US Department of Energy. "We have fleshed out the effects of a new mechanism to understand what happens in the tropical Pacific when there is a maximum of solar activity," says NCAR scientist Gerald Meehl, the paper's lead author. "When the sun's output peaks, it has far-ranging and often subtle impacts on tropical precipitation and on weather systems around much of the world."

The new paper, along with an earlier one by Meehl and colleagues, shows that as the Sun reaches maximum activity, it heats cloud-free parts of the Pacific Ocean enough to increase evaporation, intensify tropical rainfall and the trade winds, and cool the eastern tropical Pacific. The result of this chain of events is similar to a La Niña event, although the cooling of about 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit is focused further east and is only about half as strong as for a typical La Niña. Over the following year or two, the La Niña-like pattern triggered by the solar maximum tends to evolve into an El Niño-like pattern, as slow-moving currents replace the cool water over the eastern tropical Pacific with warmer-than-usual water. Again, the ocean response is only about half as strong as with El Niño.

True La Niña and El Niño events are associated with changes in the temperatures of surface waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean. They can affect weather patterns worldwide.

The paper does not analyse the weather impacts of the solar-driven events. But Meehl and his co-author, Julie Arblaster of both NCAR and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, found that the solar-driven La Niña tends to cause relatively warm and dry conditions across parts of western North America. More research will be needed to determine the additional impacts of these events on weather across the world. "Building on our understanding of the solar cycle, we may be able to connect its influences with weather probabilities in a way that can feed into longer-term predictions, a decade at a time," Meehl says.

Scientists have known for years that long-term solar variations affect certain weather patterns, including droughts and regional temperatures. But establishing a physical connection between the decadal solar cycle and global climate patterns has proven elusive. One reason is that only in recent years have computer models been able to realistically simulate the processes associated with tropical Pacific warming and cooling associated with El Niño and La Niña. With those models now in hand, scientists can reproduce the last century's solar behavior and see how it affects the Pacific.

To tease out these sometimes subtle connections between the sun and Earth, Meehl and his colleagues analyzed sea surface temperatures from 1890 to 2006. They then used two computer models based at NCAR to simulate the response of the oceans to changes in solar output. They found that, as the sun's output reaches a peak, the small amount of extra sunshine over several years causes a slight increase in local atmospheric heating, especially across parts of the tropical and subtropical Pacific where Sun-blocking clouds are normally scarce. That small amount of extra heat leads to more evaporation, producing extra water vapor. In turn, the moisture is carried by trade winds to the normally rainy areas of the western tropical Pacific, fueling heavier rains. As this climatic loop intensifies, the trade winds strengthen. That keeps the eastern Pacific even cooler and drier than usual, producing La Niña-like conditions.

Although this Pacific pattern is produced by the solar maximum, the authors found that its switch to an El Niño-like state is likely triggered by the same kind of processes that normally lead from La Niña to El Niño. The transition starts when the changes of the strength of the trade winds produce slow-moving off-equatorial pulses known as Rossby waves in the upper ocean, which take about a year to travel back west across the Pacific. The energy then reflects from the western boundary of the tropical Pacific and ricochets eastward along the equator, deepening the upper layer of water and warming the ocean surface. As a result, the Pacific experiences an El Niño-like event about two years after solar maximum. The event settles down after about a year, and the system returns to a neutral state.

"El Niño and La Niña seem to have their own separate mechanisms," says Meehl, "but the solar maximum can come along and tilt the probabilities toward a weak La Niña. If the system was heading toward a La Niña anyway," he adds, "it would presumably be a larger one."


Oops! UN IPCC Wrong Again: Deserts Getting Greener -- 'It has been assumed that global warming would cause an expansion of the world's deserts'

It has been assumed that global warming would cause an expansion of the world's deserts, but now some scientists are predicting a contrary scenario in which water and life slowly reclaim these arid places. They think vast, dry regions like the Sahara might soon begin shrinking. The evidence is limited and definitive conclusions are impossible to reach but recent satellite pictures of North Africa seem to show areas of the Sahara in retreat.

It could be that an increase in rainfall has caused this effect. Farouk el-Baz, director of the Centre for Remote Sensing at Boston University, believes the Sahara is experiencing a shift from dryer to wetter conditions. "It's not greening yet. But the desert expands and shrinks in relation to the amount of energy that is received by the Earth from the Sun, and this over many thousands of years," Mr el-Baz told the BBC World Service. "The heating of the Earth would result in more evaporation of the oceans, in turn resulting in more rainfall." But it might be hard to reconcile the view from satellites with the view from the ground.

While experts debate how global warming will affect the poorest continent, people are reacting in their own ways. Droughts over the preceding decades have had the effect of driving nomadic people and rural farmers into the towns and cities. Such movement of people suggests weather patterns are becoming dryer and harsher.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned recently that rising global temperatures could cut West African agricultural production by up to 50% by the year 2020. But satellite images from the last 15 years do seem to show a recovery of vegetation in the Southern Sahara, although the Sahel Belt, the semi-arid tropical savannah to the south of the desert, remains fragile. The fragility of the Sahel may have been exacerbated by the cutting of trees, poor land management and subsequent erosion of soil.

The broader picture is reinforced by studies carried out in the Namib Desert in Namibia. This is a region with an average rainfall of just 12 millimetres per year - what scientists call "hyper-arid". Scientists have been measuring rainfall here for the last 60 years. Last year the local research centre, called Gobabeb, measured 80mm of rain. In the last decade they have seen the local river, a dry bed for most of the year, experience record-high floods. All this has coincided with record-high temperatures.

"Whether this is due to global change or is a trend anyway, it's hard to distil actually out of the [data] but certainly we've had record highs of temperature," said Joh Henschel, director of Gobabeb. "Three years ago we had the hottest day on record, 47 degrees Celsius." The mean annual evaporation is several hundred times higher than the actual rainfall. This is an intense environment.

His colleague Mary Seely agrees. "Deserts and arid areas always have extremely varied rainfall," she said. "You would have to look at a record of several hundred years to maybe say that things are getting greener or dryer. For the last few years there has been higher than average rainfall. "That said, there is even greater variability in the rainfall and the weather patterns than there has been in the past."

Though positioned on the Atlantic coast, the rain that falls on the Namib desert actually comes from the Indian Ocean, having travelled across Africa. It is therefore hard to explain an increase in rainfall without accepting that higher temperatures globally are causing shifts in established patterns. The thing these scientists are most keen to work out is what is man-made change and what is natural fluctuation. Since 1998 the centre has observed a steady but unmistakable trend of rising levels of C02. They are sure this increase has not been caused locally, since Gobabeb is in a pristine, isolated part of the world with no local sources of pollution. This is a change that comes about on a global level.


British 'green jobs’ claim a sham

Government claims that Britain already supports nearly one million “green-collar” jobs have been exposed as a sham after the figures were found to include North Sea gas industry workers as well as some petrol station attendants and skylight manufacturers.

Britain’s Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, outlined yesterday by Lord Mandelson, claimed that the economy already supported 880,000 “low-carbon jobs” — a figure that he said was poised to grow by up to 400,000 by 2015 to more than 1.28 million. But a detailed breakdown of the figures obtained by The Times shows that they include an extraordinarily loose definition of the term.

About a third of the jobs (266,000), comprises workers in “alternative fuels” — a category that includes the production and supply of natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), as well as nuclear power and conventional “green” fuels such as biodiesel, bioethanol and hydrogen.

John Sharp, of Innovas, a consultancy in Winsford, Cheshire, which was paid by the Government to produce the figures earlier this year, confirmed that this included thousands of workers on gas production platforms in the North Sea as well as petrol station attendants on forecourts where liquefied petroleum is dispensed and employees at gas-fired power stations. The list also includes manufacturers of a bizarre array of products — from skylights to wooden pallets and noise insulation materials, on the basis that they use recycled materials. Figures supplied by Innovas showed that the total included 207 jobs in the supply and manufacture of animal bedding, 90 providing equestrian surfaces and 164 in the recycling of footwear, “slippers and other carpet wear”. Mr Sharp acknowledged that there were some “weird and wonderful” categories. “We try to capture as much of the supply chain as possible,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change claimed that Innovas had defined the methodology used in the report. “They are looking at the whole low- carbon supply chain, not just at the end-energy production,” she said.

Robin Oakley, climate change campaigner for Greenpeace, said that the definition used by the Government seemed unfeasibly broad and that there was “no need for the Government to massage the figures” because it was unquestionable that the economic future opportunity in the low-carbon sector would be huge.

Yesterday Lord Mandelson said: “The Government is determined to ensure the economic and employment opportunities that this transition [to a low-carbon economy] offers to us.”

Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said that the low-carbon economy presented “big potential” for economic growth and job creation.

But The Times revealed yesterday that a factory in Newport, Isle of Wight, which is Britain’s only significant manufacturer of wind turbines, will produce its last batch of seven-tonne blades this week. More than 600 people employed at the plant and a related facility in Southampton, will be made redundant at the end of the month. All 7,000 turbines that the Government committed itself yesterday to installing over the next decade will be manufactured overseas.

By 2020, renewable energy sources will provide 31 per cent of Britain’s electricity, up from 6 per cent today, while nuclear’s share will fall to 8 per cent from current levels of between15 per cent and nearly a quarter, depending on the variable output of nuclear plants.


Global cooling hits India hard

Cooler oceans mean less evaporation and less rain so global cooling COULD be the culprit but there are many other possible factors at work. But global warming has been blamed for lots of things so why not blame this on the recent temperature downturn?

India is looking anxiously to the skies as the worst start to the monsoon in 80 years raises fears of food shortages, power cuts and riots. In Bhopal a young couple and their son were beaten and stabbed to death yesterday, allegedly after a dispute with their neighbours over water in the drought-stricken city. In the surrounding state of Madhya Pradesh water tankers were under police guard as they visited areas where normal drinking supplies have been exhausted for weeks. “Street brawls are happening as the water supplies are coming in. It’s hot; tempers are short; people are thirsty and frustrated,” said Indira Khurana, of WaterAid India.

The monsoon’s prolonged tropical downpours, which account for 80 per cent of India’s annual rainfall, should have started early last month but have only just begun. The delayed onset of the rainy season has pushed back the planting of staples such as rice and grain after a scorching June, in which temperatures in the northwest hovered 6-7C above historical averages, and led to vegetable crops and paddy nurseries withering in the sun.

While food prices have risen, the stock market in Mumbai has plummeted. Last week it suffered its worst falls since October over fears that a failed monsoon could ruin the livelihood of millions of poor consumers. Economists now fear that the vagaries of the weather could wreck a national economy that has weathered the financial storms of the global credit crisis relatively unscathed.

State governments in the central region of Jharkhand and the north eastern region of Manipur have already declared droughts — a highly unusual step so early in the growing season. Assam, also in the northeast, which produces tea and rice, said 14 of its 28 districts are suffering drought.

In Punjab, the northern region known as the bread basket of India, rainfall has been less than half the historical average. Across the country as a whole it is about 30 per cent below normal. The Government banned wheat exports from the country this week, over concerns that a poor harvest will lead to shortages and price increases.

The looming crisis has emphasised just how dependent India remains on the monsoon — even to keep the lights on. The country relies on hydroelectric generation for about a quarter of its power output. With electricity being diverted to irrigate crops, vast areas face blackouts.

Meanwhile, most of the 800 million Indians who rely on agriculture for their living are hanging on the weather man’s every word. Here, at least, the latest news is comforting, with the heavy rains that have descended on much of the country in the past few days forecast to continue. Indians pray that now the rains have started they will continue.


Australia: The real reason I’ll fight in the Senate on climate change

by Senator Steve Fielding

Climate change is real. Yes that’s right, contrary to the misreporting in the media, I do believe in climate change. That might come as a shock to some of those on the left side of politics, but it’s the truth. The question that concerns me, however, is what is driving it? Is it increasing levels of human made carbon dioxide emissions, variations in solar radiation or something else?

Around three months ago one of my advisors pulled me aside and asked me what I thought was driving climate change. I smiled and said automatically that it was obviously a result of increasing carbon dioxide emissions. I had never really looked at the science and just assumed what was reported in the media to be true. Well wasn’t I in for an enormous shock.

My advisor presented me with data and some comments from a number of scientists which suddenly had me asking many questions. This led me to do some further reading and I ultimately decided to head over to Washington on a self funded trip so I could find out more about the science behind climate change.

In the US I met with numerous scientists on both sides of the debate. Some media outlets would have you believe that I met only with climate skeptics who they accuse of being paid off by the fossil fuel industry. These claims are wholly inaccurate.

Moreover, I strongly believe in giving everyone a fair hearing even if it isn’t the most popular view. I believe it’s my role as a a politician, to wade through all of the spin and come up with my own conclusions after hearing all of the facts.

Some of the data led me to question whether the Rudd government had got the science right. I then took some of the information and questions I had to the White House where I met with one of President Obama’s senior climate change advisors. While these discussions were fruitful, I was left at the end with even more questions than when I had started.

In an effort to try to get to the bottom of the issue I started to talk to a number of scientists based in Australia to get a feel for what their views were on the subject. Amongst the many presentations, one item really stood out. I was presented with a graph based on data that IPCC use which showed carbon dioxide emissions sky rocketing over the last 15 years while global temperatures had remained steady.

Above: The chart Senator Fielding says sparked his doubts about climate change

This graph left me nothing short of flabbergasted. Up until this point I had truly believed that human made carbon dioxide emissions were responsible for climate change.

However, this graph basically said otherwise. I was left asking myself how I could vote for a carbon pollution reduction scheme if it appeared as though carbon dioxide emissions were not driving climate change. It is important to point out that the IPCC had predicted in their models that there would be a direct correlation between increasing carbon dioxide emissions and increasing global temperatures. However, if you look at the graph it is obvious to everyone that this correlation simply does not exist.

Armed with this information I sat down with Minister Wong, the Chief Scientist and Professor Will Steffen of the ANU to hear their explanation. After an hour and a half I left none the wiser.

I received a written response to my questions from the Minister a few days later which had me even more uncertain. According to the Minister, air temperature, a measurement relied upon by the IPCC and the Rudd Government to justify its emissions trading scheme was irrelevant.

Instead, I was told that I should really be concerned with the variability in ocean temperatures. Not only did this contradict all of the information which the Minister had provided me with only a few days earlier but I was also aware of an IPCC report which stated that the measuring of ocean temperatures was not reliable.

I went back to the government with this question but was met with a wall of silence. They had clearly decided it was safer not to engage with me because I had legitimate questions which they probably were unable to answer.

I was left feeling that the only responsible thing to do was to vote against this legislation. At the end of the day, it would be a betrayal of my duty to the Australian people to put at risk the national economy and many thousands of jobs on what is clearly inconclusive science.

But then enter Al Gore. Here was a man who had a lot of power and went around the world preaching about climate change. I thought he might have the answer for me, the ones I couldn’t extract from the Rudd government. I briefly met Mr Gore at a breakfast in Melbourne attended by more than a thousand people. He was aware of the important role Family First plays in the senate and was keen to catch up.

After a series of phone calls I was met with a stonewall of resistance. I offered to meet Mr Gore at any place at any time but had no luck. Here we had the former Vice President of the United States, a self proclaimed climate change preacher running away from me over a few simple questions. I could hardly believe it.

I would have thought if Al Gore was really committed to the cause he would want to meet with all senators who had concerns about the science if it would help ensure that the CPRS legislation would pass. Obviously I was wrong.

I have written to every senator urging them to look at the graph and ask themselves the key question - what is driving climate change? If they can’t answer that simple question they shouldn’t be voting for a CPRS. This decision is the biggest economic decision in this country’s history, one which is too important to vote along party lines.

I call on the government to answer my question with a straight answer. If they’re not prepared to do so, I’m happy to fight the lone battle in the senate until those senators who are honest with themselves break party lines.



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Thursday, July 16, 2009


The top U.S. climate envoy is doubtful that any meaningful global agreement on climate change can be forged at December's climate talks in Copenhagen. Jonathan Pershing, the US deputy special envoy for climate change, said that the talks won't fail, but they "will likely be inadequate," reports

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is more optimistic, however, Reuters reports. Lula de Silva was heartened by the increasing participation of the U.S., saying "The United States is assuming the responsibility to discuss this issue, something they haven't done since the Kyoto Protocol was signed."

Pershing's comments came in front of the Committee on America's Climate Choices, which Congress last year directed the National Academy of Science to convene. The committee is scheduled to release four reports this year and a final report sometime in 2010.

Instead of December's meeting in Copenhagen, Pershing expects real components of climate change to come from 2010 meetings, likely to be held in Mexico. Recommendations from Copenhagen, however, should provide what Pershing called "real space for doing an agreement."

Whatever results from global climate talks, Pershing said he expects it be different from the Kyoto Protocol's reliance on a central authority to assign greenhouse caps. Instead, he said that the next global plan likely would begin with development of various domestic plans, which ultimately would be amassed into a single global deal.

The U.S. can't look to blame the world for lack of progress on climate talks, Pershing said. Indeed, the lack of comprehensive climate legislation in the U.S. has other nation's holding their cards. It's generally agreed that the U.S., as the biggest emitter, must take the lead. Then, the U.S. must reach an agreement with China, which is not far behind the U.S. in emissions.



Unknown processes account for much of warming in ancient hot spell

No one knows exactly how much Earth's climate will warm due to carbon emissions, but a new study this week suggests scientists' best predictions about global warming might be incorrect. The study, which appears in Nature Geoscience, found that climate models explain only about half of the heating that occurred during a well-documented period of rapid global warming in Earth's ancient past. The study, which was published online today, contains an analysis of published records from a period of rapid climatic warming about 55 million years ago known as the Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum, or PETM.

"In a nutshell, theoretical models cannot explain what we observe in the geological record," said oceanographer Gerald Dickens, a co-author of the study and professor of Earth science at Rice University. "There appears to be something fundamentally wrong with the way temperature and carbon are linked in climate models."

During the PETM, for reasons that are still unknown, the amount of carbon in Earth's atmosphere rose rapidly. For this reason, the PETM, which has been identified in hundreds of sediment core samples worldwide, is probably the best ancient climate analogue for present-day Earth.

In addition to rapidly rising levels of atmospheric carbon, global surface temperatures rose dramatically during the PETM. Average temperatures worldwide rose by about 7 degrees Celsius -- about 13 degrees Fahrenheit -- in the relatively short geological span of about 10,000 years.

Many of the findings come from studies of core samples drilled from the deep seafloor over the past two decades. When oceanographers study these samples, they can see changes in the carbon cycle during the PETM. "You go along a core and everything's the same, the same, the same, and then suddenly you pass this time line and the carbon chemistry is completely different," Dickens said. "This has been documented time and again at sites all over the world."

Based on findings related to oceanic acidity levels during the PETM and on calculations about the cycling of carbon among the oceans, air, plants and soil, Dickens and co-authors Richard Zeebe of the University of Hawaii and James Zachos of the University of California-Santa Cruz determined that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased by about 70 percent during the PETM.

That's significant because it does not represent a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Since the start of the industrial revolution, carbon dioxide levels are believed to have risen by about one-third, largely due to the burning of fossil fuels. If present rates of fossil-fuel consumption continue, the doubling of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels will occur sometime within the next century or two.

Doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide is an oft-talked-about threshold, and today's climate models include accepted values for the climate's sensitivity to doubling. Using these accepted values and the PETM carbon data, the researchers found that the models could only explain about half of the warming that Earth experienced 55 million years ago.

The conclusion, Dickens said, is that something other than carbon dioxide caused much of the heating during the PETM. "Some feedback loop or other processes that aren't accounted for in these models -- the same ones used by the IPCC for current best estimates of 21st Century warming -- caused a substantial portion of the warming that occurred during the PETM."


Journal abstract follows:

Carbon dioxide forcing alone insufficient to explain Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum warming

By Richard E. Zeebe et al.

The Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (about 55 Myr ago) represents a possible analogue for the future and thus may provide insight into climate system sensitivity and feedbacks1, 2. The key feature of this event is the release of a large mass of 13C-depleted carbon into the carbon reservoirs at the Earth's surface, although the source remains an open issue3, 4. Concurrently, global surface temperatures rose by 5-9 °C within a few thousand years5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Here we use published palaeorecords of deep-sea carbonate dissolution10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and stable carbon isotope composition10, 15, 16, 17 along with a carbon cycle model to constrain the initial carbon pulse to a magnitude of 3,000 Pg C or less, with an isotopic composition lighter than -50. As a result, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increased during the main event by less than about 70% compared with pre-event levels. At accepted values for the climate sensitivity to a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration1, this rise in CO2 can explain only between 1 and 3.5 °C of the warming inferred from proxy records. We conclude that in addition to direct CO2 forcing, other processes and/or feedbacks that are hitherto unknown must have caused a substantial portion of the warming during the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. Once these processes have been identified, their potential effect on future climate change needs to be taken into account.



Here are two sentences that I believe capture the state of the science on global warming better than anything else I have read this year:

".....our examples lead to an inevitable conclusion: since the climate system is complex, occasionally chaotic, dominated by abrupt changes and driven by competing feedbacks with largely unknown thresholds, climate prediction is difficult, if not impracticable" and "Hence, it appears that one should not rely on prediction as the primary policy approach to assess the potential impact of future regional and global climate change. We argue instead that integrated assessments within the framework of vulnerability ...offer the best solution, whereby risk assessment and disaster prevention become the alternative to prediction."

They come from Roger Pielke Sr., who I interviewed recently (see here and here), and are found on his weblog, Climate Science.

Roger Pielke Sr. believes that global warming is real, and a threat. But about half the global warming community characterises him as a 'denier,' and treat him as an enemy. This is because he does not subscribe 100% to the received wisdom as put out by the most ardent proponents of anthropogenic global warming. They actually treat him as badly, if not worse, than outright skeptics. (Historians amongst us will recall that the same dynamic played out in religious conflicts as well as more recently in political struggles between factions of the Left--as a Leftist, I hate that this is true, and hate even more that this lack of logic has bled through to a scientific controversy.)

The reason those statements are important today, perhaps more than they were yesterday, is because one of the bastions of the rigid climate change world view has published an article saying that global warming may take a holiday. The weblog Real Climate (and please remember I've been sharply critical of their contributors recently, and some of their commenters have been sharply critical of me--politics alert! I'm trying to play fair, but be advised...) titled Warming, interrupted: Much ado about climate variability. It was submitted as a guest post by Kyle Swanson.

The thesis of the piece is that the Earth's temperature overshot in the record year of 1998--that some sort of important event occurred, and that the climate warming caused by CO2 may not be visible to us for 10 years. It says the recent plateau in global temperatures is a result of this event, and will persist--leading to essentially 20 years of no warming, despite the fact that we are emitting lots of CO2. The paper believes we will pay later, in terms of even greater temperature rises.

And that leads us to an overwhelming question. Can we trust these people? The political timing of this is fraught--Cap and Trade is now before the Senate, and the bill is a monstrosity. The G8 walked away from their meeting in Italy having made momentous but conveniently vague promises. The EPA is pondering how it will regulate CO2 under the Clean Air Act, and wondering which of its staff to listen to.



If I were an environmental activist, I would be despairing right around now about ever getting meaningful action on global warming. Over the last eight years, eco-warriors had managed to convince themselves that the main obstacle to their grand designs to recalibrate the Earth's thermostat was a stupid and callow U.S. president unwilling to lead the rest of the world.

But with Barack Obama in office they no longer have that problem. In fact, they have a charismatic and savvy spokesman who combines a deep commitment to their cause with considerable powers of persuasion. Yet his call to action at last week's G-8 summit in Italy yielded little more than polite applause, and that only when he issued a mea culpa. "I know that in the past, the United States has sometimes fallen short of meeting our responsibilities," he said amid cheers. "So let me be clear: Those days are over."

What did this brave self-flagellation yield? To be sure, he got the attendees to collectively declare that they would never ever let the Earth's temperature rise two degrees centigrade from pre-industrial levels. This is supposedly a prelude to the real horse-trading over emissions cuts that will begin in a Copenhagen, Denmark, meeting this December.

But the depressing thing for climate warriors was that Obama could not get developing countries, without whose cooperation there is simply no way to avert climate change, to accept--even just in theory--the idea of binding emissions cuts. India's prime minister took the occasion to position his country as a major victim of a problem not of its making. "What we are witnessing today is the consequence [of] over two centuries of industrial activity and high-consumption lifestyles in the developed world," he lectured. "They have to bear this historical responsibility." And even before the summit began, China declared the West had "no right" to ask it to limit its economic growth.

Rather than engage with the issues, eco-pundits are grasping for all kinds of fanciful pseudo-scientific theories to explain why Obama's sweet-talking ways are leaving the rest of the world cold. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, for instance, recently blamed the lack of progress on the faulty circuitry evolution has wired into the human brain. According to Kristof, evolution has programmed us to be alert to immediate threats, such as snakes, or enemies with clubs, but not for vastly greater but less imminent dangers that require forethought. If this sounds like a warmed-over, 21st-century version of the Calvinistic crooked-timber view of human nature, that's because it is.

Not to be outdone, Kristof's Nobel Prize-winning colleague at the Times, Paul Krugman, pulled out the folk story about the frog and the boiling pot in his latest column to explain our collective torpor over climate change. Just as the proverbial frog wasn't able to feel the gradually rising temperature before he boiled to death, so too, in Krugman's telling, human beings are not equipped to comprehend the dangers of an overheating planet before they fry to death.

But this psychologizing only exposes the inability of climate activists to take seriously the rational case for inaction. In fact, there is a perfectly good reason developing countries are unwilling to act on climate change: What they are being asked to do is more awful than climate change's implications--even if one accepts all the alarmist predictions.

Consider what would be necessary to slash global greenhouse-gas emissions just 50% below 2000 levels by 2050--a far less aggressive goal than what the enviros say is necessary to avert climate catastrophe. According to U.S. Chamber of Commerce calculations, even if the West reduced its emissions by 80% below 2000 levels, developing countries would still have to return their emissions to 2000 levels to meet the 50% target. However, Indians currently consume roughly 15 times less energy per capita than Americans--and Chinese consume seven times less. Asking them, along with the rest of the developing world, to go back to 2000 emission levels with a 2050 population would mean putting them on a very drastic energy diet.

The human toll of this is unfathomable: It would require these countries to abandon plans to ever conquer poverty, of course. But beyond that it would require a major scaling back of living standards under which their middle classes--for whom three square meals, cars and air-conditioning are only now beginning to come within reach--would have to go back to subsistence living, and the hundreds of millions who are at subsistence would have to accept starvation.

In short, the choice for developing countries is between mass death due to the consequences of an overheated planet sometime in the distant future, and mass suicide due to imposed instant starvation right now. Is it any surprise that they are reluctant to jump on the global-warming bandwagon?

The Waxman-Markey climate change bill that just passed the U.S. House of Representatives wants to force developing countries to accept this fate by resorting to the old and tired method of protectionism. Should this monstrosity become law, starting in 2020 the United States will impose carbon tariffs on goods from any country that does not accept binding reductions. But this is a path to mutually assured economic destruction--not to combating climate change.

For starters, by 2020, when these tariffs go into effect, India and China--with GDPs projected to grow anywhere from 6% to 10% annually--will have much bigger economies with huge domestic markets that they are increasingly opening to each other. Thus they might well be better off forgoing access to the U.S. market than accepting crippling restrictions on their growth.

Also, by then they will also have more economic clout on the world stage to enforce their own ideas of who ought to take moral responsibility for climate change. The West's case for restricting Indian and Chinese exports rests on the claim that these countries' total emissions will exceed those from the West within the next few decades. (China's emissions are already at par with those of the U.S., the biggest emitter).

But these countries have, and will continue to have, far lower emissions on a per-capita basis, given that China's are now around one-fifth those of the United States and India's one-twentieth. Thus they would have an equally valid case for imposing countervailing restrictions on American exports based on per-capita emissions. The West might well be the bigger loser in this economic warfare if it is barred from accessing new, growing markets.

Obama obviously understands this--which is why he has condemned the House's turn down the protectionist path. So what should climate warriors do? Right now the only certain way to save lives is by calling off this misguided war on climate change. If and when climate change promises to claim more casualties than poverty and starvation, the world will begin heeding their calls. If, however, these climate-change casualties don't materialize, there would have been no need to act in the first place. Either way, the world has far more immediate and scarier problems than climate change to address right now.



We are at the verge of entering solar cycle 24. It is interesting to watch this solar cycle unfold. Recently Rachel Howe and Frank Hill of the National Solar Observatory from their studies of the solar jet stream, which is actually a plasma current called a torsional oscillation, indicate the sun is about to wake up from a rather long magnetic slumber. Time will tell. As of the end of June, the cumulative number of spotless days (days without sunspots) in this transition into solar cycle 24 stands at 651. As this solar minimum comes to an end, the number of spotless days per month will quickly tapper off.

The transitions into Solar Cycles (SC 16-23), referred to as "recent solar cycles" (years 1923 to ~2008), averaged 362 cumulative spotless days. Those minimums ranged from 227 - 568 spotless days. Since the current transition now exceeds 568 spotless days, it is fairly clear that the sun has undergone a state change. The solar Grand Maxima state that has persisted during most of the 20th century has come to an abrupt end. The "old solar cycles" (SC 10-15, years 1856 to 1923) averaged 797 spotless days, over twice that of the "recent solar cycles". Those solar minimums ranged from 406 - 1028 spotless days. If this solar minimum ends soon then the upcoming solar cycle may be similar to the "old solar cycles".

An increase in the number of cumulative spotless days during a solar minimum appears to correlates to a reduction in the number of sunspots over the entire solar cycle. The "old solar cycles" produced overall 38% fewer International Sunspot Numbers than the "recent solar cycles". This might lead one to erroneously conclude that solar storms will diminish in intensity during the upcoming solar cycle. But historically observations show the exact opposite. The "old solar cycles" produced far more intense solar storms than the "recent solar cycles".

In terms of spotless days, there are two numbers to watch. These are 654 and 736. The range between these two numbers may represent a "sweet spot" for enhanced solar storm activity.

The solar minimum preceding Solar Cycle 10 had 654 spotless days. The largest known solar storm in modern history occurred during Solar Cycle 10. On 1 September 1859, an extremely rare white light flare occurred on the surface of the sun. This event was referred to as the Carrington flare. Minutes later a burst of high energy protons struck earth. This Solar Proton Event (SPE) was the strongest observed in 450 years producing an omni-directional fluence of 18.8 billion solar protons (with energies greater than 30 MeV) per square centimeter. Seventeen hours and forty minutes later the main mass of the Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) struck the earth like a large battering ram distorting the earth's magnetic field producing a massive geomagnetic storm. The intensity of this storm is estimated as magnetic intensity Disturbance Storm Time (Dst) of 1,760 nT (nano-Teslas). By comparison, the strongest geomagnetic storm since 1957 occurred on 13 March 1989 with a Dst of 589 nT.

If a geomagnetic storm with the magnitude of the solar storm of 1859 were to occur today, the effect on our modern technologically dependent society would be extremely grave. Of these, the greatest threat would lie in the loss of stable electrical power.

A massive solar storm could induce a major electrical blackout. Actually that would be an understatement. Perhaps the term "Mother of all Blackouts" might come closer to fitting the mark. A recent report by the National Academy of Science titled "Severe Space Weather Events" indicates a massive solar storm could damage approximately 365 Extra High Voltage (EHV) power transformer in the United States causing a blackout affecting around 130 million people. Many EHV transformers are large, the size of a small house, and very unique. They are not off-the-shelf items. They are costly (around $10 million each) and have a manufacture lead-time of a year or more for replacement. As a result, restoration would be slow and the massive blackout could extent through many months.

The solar cycle with the next highest number of cumulative spotless days was Solar Cycle 13 with 736 spotless days. Five very large SPE's occurred in Solar Cycle 13. These SPEs produced solar proton fluence of 2.3 billion, 7.7 billion, 11.1 billion, 8.0 billion and 3.1 billion respectively. The (11.1 billion) SPE was the second strongest Solar Proton Event detected in 450 years of ice core records. By way of comparison, the strongest SPE's during the past 5 solar cycles (1954 to ~2008) had a solar proton fluence of 8.0 billion for a November 1960 event and 5.0 billion for an August 1972 event.


Uekoetter’s “Green and Brown” Condensed and Critiqued

Excerpt from a big book review by William Walter Kay. There was a powerful Greenie movement in the Germany of the 1920s and 30s too. It was called Nazism

Culture wars like real wars have direct hits, collateral damage, and friendly fire. Professor Uekoetter’s The Green and the Brown: a History of Conservation in Nazi Germany (Cambridge University Press, 2006) is an example of friendly fire. The book was written to contain damage caused by growing awareness that Nazism is the forbearer of German environmentalism but it is yet another trove of facts affirming the Nazi-environmentalist connection. German conservationism, and its attendant tendencies and sentiments, was not a distinct social movement separable from German fascism. Parallel to the Gestapo’s nightmarish dragnet ran a green reign of terror of intrusive eco-activism. German conservationism survived World War II. What follows is a critical condensation of Green and Brown.

According to Uekoetter, research on the Nazi-environmentalist connection dates to the 1970s but much of this was “a vicious effort to throw dirt on a worthy cause.” (1) Historians published compilations of quotes showing how Nazism permeated German conservationism. (2) Historians concluded German conservationism was on a direct course toward Nazism. Uekoetter assures us the new thinking amongst the “band of environmental historians working on the Nazi era,” of which he is a member, “is unanimous in its rejection of such a line of reasoning.” (3)

German environmentalists coped with the Nazi-environmental connection with a “tradition of forgetfulness.” (4) Amidst the German public: “interest in the Nazi past of conservation was almost nonexistent.” (5) This changed when the German Environment Minister summoned a conference on the topic in Berlin, 2002. Bielefeld U prof J. Radkau was invited and he brought along a doctoral student: Uekoetter. Radkau and Uekoetter published a book on the conference proceedings; then, to refine the environmentalist line, Uekoetter wrote Green and the Brown in 2006.

As an environmental historian, Uekoetter writes of nature protection “in a sympathetic mode” – bias unconcealed. (6) He is an environmentalist and a protector of the German environmental movement. He refers to the Nazis’ National Conservation Law as “excellent” and “one of the best laws of the time.” (7) Nazi animal rights efforts derived from “noble goals.” (8) He personally finds it: “disheartening to see that conservationists observed few taboos in the rapprochement to the Nazis.” (9) It was also “disheartening” for him to retell how green heroes looked to Himmler for support. (10) For Uekoetter the hydrological regulation of a river is the “destruction” of a river. (11) He has a phobia about “geometric design” in landscape. He dismisses a modern German hydrologist with: “it had not yet occurred to this official that thinking in terms of straight and curvaceous lines might be part of the problem.” The cancellation of a hydro-electric dam was a “happy conclusion.” (12)

Uekoetter was aware he was entering dangerous territory. Too much had been unearthed for German environmentalists to go on pretending Nazism was not part of their heritage or was an insignificant accident of history. (13)

Even before the Berlin conference: “environmentalists, also realized that any discussion of the past would run an enormous risk of being overtly divisive. It is striking that references to the Nazi era were notably rare in the ongoing internal debates. Perhaps lack of knowledge was to blame: the notion of an ‘environmental revolution’ nourished a widespread impression that the environmental movement had no history worth talking about. However environmentalists may also have refrained from meddling with the past because raising the Nazi issue was the discursive equivalent of the ‘nuclear option’: arguing that somebody was standing in line with the Nazis is clearly the ultimate insult in German politics...” (14)

Uekoetter’s band of environmental historians was moved to action because “extreme right-wing parties have made some attempts in Germany to enter the political mainstream in recent years through claiming ecological credentials.” As well, the Nazi-environmentalist connection was: “important to everyone working on international conservation issues, for authoritarian regimes continue to be an unfortunate presence on the global scene. It would be wrong to refrain from conservation work in authoritarians states, but it would be equally wrong to behave like the conservation community during the Nazi era: to simply take advantage of the opportunities that authoritarian regimes offer...” (15)

The main aim of Green and Brown (which it utterly fails to achieve) is revealed thusly: “There is no way – at least no logically consistent way – to tarnish environmentalism in general through a reference to the Nazi era: in fact such an argument constitutes an abuse of history. If you came upon this book hoping to be told that today’s environmentalists are actually Nazis in disguise, then I hope you paid for it before reaching this sentence.” (16)

Uekoetter hopes by having environmentalists plead guilty to the lesser offence of opportunism they can avoid conviction on the graver charge of fascism. His case is framed as follows: “It made no sense to stand up against Nazi had to leap at opportunities. The German conservation movement acted on the basis of an exceedingly simple political philosophy: any legal provision, and any alliance with the Nazi regime, is fine as long as it helps our cause. Rarely does one get the impression, going through the records and books of the Nazi era, that there was something that the conservationists would not do to push their agenda...It is on this attitude that the rapprochement on the conservation movement to the Nazi regime was based, and it is this attitude that needs to be challenged retrospectively. (17)

Uekoetter is fond of quoting historian R. Dominick from whom we learn that of 18 top German conservationists in 1938, ten were Nazi Party members and one had been refused membership. (18) What Uekoetter neglects to relay is that Dominick concluded 60% of German conservation organization members were card-carrying Nazis. (19) Uekoetter places membership in the conservation movement inside the Third Reich at 5 million. Nazi Party membership was also in the low millions. During MOST of the Third Reich MOST active German conservationists were Nazi Party members and MOST Nazi Party members were active in conservationist organizations. We are not dealing with two camps of men. We are dealing a single fascist/conservationist camp. Uekoetter concedes this on several occasions: “...most members of the conservation community touted nature protection as a quintessential goal of Hermann Goring and Adolf Hitler.” (20) “The “green” and the “brown” were not two camps at a distance...but two groups that shared many convictions and came to work together to a stunning extent...” (21) "All that it took to join the conservation community during the Nazi era was a willingness to cooperate with Nazi authorities – and of course, a readiness to be silent about any points of disagreement. As it turned out, the vast majority of the German conservationists were willing to pay the price.” (22)

Uekoetter is satisfied there was never a “seamless merger” between Nazism and German conservationism. The latter’s regionalism and elitism created “stumbling blocks that inevitably stood in the way of a seamless merger.” (23) And: “Conservationists often came to adopt Nazi rhetoric, but a seamless merger of both sets of ideas never materialized.” (24)

In keeping with his opportunism defence much is made of the fact that many conservationists joined the Nazi Party only after 1933. In 1933 Party membership grew from 850,000 to 2.5 million. (A temporary ban on new members was enacted on May 1, 1933.) (25) But German fascism was a movement. There were many fascistic parties and organizations (Fatherland Party, Steel Helmet, Freedom Party, Thule Society, etc.). In the early 1930s these groups united into the Nazi Party. For many conservationists joining the Nazis was not their intro to fascism....

Green-Brown’s Golden Years 1933-45

In 1933 conservationists welcomed the new regime. They joined the Nazi Party en masse. Their literature proclaimed conservationism as the quintessential Nazi goal. (48) ‘Hitler-Oaks’ were planted in hundreds of towns. (49) Dedicated Nazi E. Gritzbach spouted: “National Socialism is a true nature-protection movement.” A colleague counselled caution: “even the authoritarian government of National Socialism can only gradually come to exorcise the demon that finds its expression in the mistreatment of the landscape.” (50) Conservation advisor W. Lienenkamper, a convinced Nazi, claimed their “First Commandment” to be the “merciless extermination of the utilitarian perspective.” He declared: “Our service needs to be a battle: a battle in words and in writing against ignorance and brutality. Quick intervention if Heimat treasures are under siege. Our work does not tolerate delays, for even a single day can mean destruction beyond remedy.” (51) In 1936 he added: “If Mother Nature is threatened, the true friend of nature does not care about jurisdiction.” (52) A coterminous pamphlet read: “you are worthless as a conservationist if you do not partake with your heart, if you do not act out of love and a deeply held belief in the beauty, in the eternal powers and miracles of our Heimat nature.” (53)

Conservationist author, H. Schwenkel ushered in the Nazi era exclaiming: “the age of purely materialistic design of the landscape...” and “regulated brooks and rivers” was finished. (54) He said rooting German folk character in the land strengthened the case for landscape protection. (55) This echoed Hitler’s directive that: “It is imperative to preserve German landscape, for it is, and always was the ultimate foundation of the power and the strength of the German people.” Hitler intoned: “We will not only create a Germany of power, but also a Germany of beauty.” (56) Schwenkel later added (1938): “the Jew does not know nature protection...Only cultivated man, and almost exclusively Nordic man, develops a completely new relationship with nature” H. Stadler warned Jewish timber merchants had bought “the last of the strong oaks and the last of the beautiful walnut trees” and were exterminating pear trees. (57)

Uekoetter’s book overflows with evidence of an ideological/organizational fusion between German conservationism and Nazism. Examples: “The distance between the conservation community and the Nazis was much smaller in practice than one would expect...cooperation was far too intensive, and far too cordial to be explained by a partial coincidence of goals.” (58)

Much more HERE


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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The ultimate in Greenie pretentiousness

Greenpeace activities seem mainly to be a means of having fun with boats but the story below makes that pale into insignificance: Ostentatious extravagance in the name of conservation! Though Al Gore is probably still well ahead in the conspicuous consumption stakes. Green is the colour of hypocrisy

LIBERTY, ecology, gastronomy! If only all revolutions were this pleasant. A Michelin-starred chef, an international adventurer and a veritable UN of diners - French, Swiss, Russian, South African, Singaporean, Australian, plus a Korean celebrity and his film crew - gathered for lunch on a remote sandbank on the Great Barrier Reef.

Surely this was not what Marie Antoinette had in mind when she allegedly decreed of the starving French peasantry, "let them eat cake". But 220 years after the storming of the Bastille, the House of G.H. Mumm, one of the world's largest champagne houses, had an entirely different revolution in mind when it convened its third Explorer Experience on Undine Cay, about 100km north of Cairns yesterday.

Partnering with South African explorer Mike Horn, Mumm devised the concept of the Explorer Experience to extol the virtues of protecting the environment, while enjoying it in some of the most opulent and extreme ways possible. "It is another philosophy of luxury," said Yann Soenen, Mumm's regional director in the Asia-Pacific, aboard Horn's 35m ketch Pangaea. "We believe that you can enjoy luxury, but you can enjoy it with a consciousness, with knowledge and appreciation of craftsmanship, skill and ability."

Hence, the first Experience involved Michelin two-star chef Sylvestre Wahid preparing dinner on an iceberg drifting in the Sermilik Fjord in Greenland.

Horn and his crew then set sail for Antarctica, for a second repaste prepared by Michelin three-star chef Gerard Boyer, convened at the spot where French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot famously celebrated his arrival on the ice floe in 1904 by opening a bottle of Mumm champagne.

Not surprisingly, the Mumm team felt it was time for warmer climes. And Horn, whose remarkable, custom-built boat has become a flagship for environmental causes as well as a training ground for his Young Explorers (interns from around the world, aged 16 to 20) in destinations as disparate as the Amazon and the Arctic, agreed a pristine atoll on the Great Barrier Reef would be entirely appropriate. "The impossible only exists until we find a way of making it possible," Horn said. "Today, real luxury is the freedom of making your dreams come true."

To continue the tradition of "extreme gastronomy", Mumm threw down the gauntlet to 33-year-old Italo-Argentinean tyro Mauro Colagreco, who was awarded his first Michelin star within a year of opening Mirazur, overlooking the French Mediterranean, in 2006.

This year, the restaurant stormed the hotly anticipated S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list, entering at No35.

Colagreco's challenge was to prepare a five-course gourmet meal for 20 people using local produce, some of which he had never tasted before visiting the Cairns markets on the weekend - finger limes were, apparently, a revelation to him.

He also had a portable kitchen comprising just two hobs and one sink with limited running water, on a remote sandbank. "Here, he is alone with his stove and delivering what musicians would call an unplugged live performance," Soenen said. "There are no special effects. Just unspoilt landscapes and the opportunity to consider the threat of climate change. The gastronomic challenge is to celebrate the original purity that these spots have kept untouched."

Highlights of the meal, freshly caught and plucked from the reef and coastal ridges beyond, included individual shots of eschallot cream, granny smith apples and seaweed foam; grilled abalone with sesame sauce and tomato compote; and wild barramundi with paw-paw, green mango and citrus sauce. All accompanied, of course, by sand-encrusted bottles of the finest Mumm vintages.

Surely only the French could dream up a way of fighting to save the planet that also involves fine champagne and Michelin-starred chefs? And for that alone, it seemed appropriate to sit back on Bastille Day and toast the Tricolore: blue for the cobalt ocean surrounding us, white for the sun-bleached sand, and red for the colour slowly creeping across our shoulders and staining our noses as we popped just one more Mumm cork.


Gore lies about British court case

A leading UK lawyer, who represented the parent that sued Al Gore in the British High Court, has laughed off claims by the former vice-president that the judge ruled in his favour.

Speaking from London John Day, a senior partner in Malletts Solicitors, said Mr Gore was misrepresenting what the judge had found. Mr Day represented a British parent who sued the UK Ministry of Education when they wanted to distribute and show Mr Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth to every British school child.

In the 2006 documentary Mr Gore claimed humanity is in danger because of man made Global Warming. He also claimed flooding and disease would increase with the destruction of most of the world's major cities including New York, London and Shanghai. As a result Mr Gore was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize and the documentary won an Oscar.

However, after a lengthy hearing a High Court Judge, Mr Justice Burton, found that An Inconvenient Truth contained significant scientific errors in nine key areas.

But questioned about the embarasing High Court decision during a current trip to Australia Mr Gore stated on ABC Australia "Well, the ruling was in my favour".

However, this has been rejected by Mr Day who said Mr Gore's latest claims are "difficult to square with the reality of the judgement". "The judge found there were nine serious scientific errors in the film." He said the court ordered that the film was "not suitable to be shown in British schools without a health warning".

"Mr Justice Burton said an Inconvenient Truth wasn't fit to be shown in British schools without suitably corrected guidance which drew attention to the errors in the film and its political partisanship."

Among the errors listed by Mr Justice Burton were Mr Gore claims that rising sea levels would destroy cities in the near future, that the polar bear was endangered and that the snows of Kilimanjaro were melting all because of Global Warming. The judge found these to be scientific errors. He also dismissed Mr Gore's claims that Hurricane Katrina was caused by Global Warming.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Wind farms will be a monument to an age when Britain's leaders collectively went off their heads

Let us be clear: Britain is facing an unprecedented crisis. Before long, we will lose 40 per cent of our generating capacity. And unless we come up quickly with an alternative, the lights WILL go out. Not before time, the Confederation of British Industry yesterday waded in, warning the Government it must abandon its crazy fixation with wind turbines as a way of plugging this forthcoming shortfall and instead urgently focus on far more efficient ways to meet the threat of a permanent, nationwide black-out.

There are a few contenders for the title of the maddest thing that has happened in our lifetime. But a front-runner must be the way in which politicians of all parties have been seduced by the La-La Land promises of the wind power lobby. If you still haven't made your mind up about wind power, just consider some of the inescapable facts - facts which the Government and the wind industry do their best to hide from us all. So far we have spent billions of pounds on building just over 2,000 wind turbines - and yet they contribute barely one per cent of all the electricity that we need. The combined output of all those 2,000 turbines put together, averaging 700 megawatts, is less than that of a single, medium-sized conventional power station.

What's more, far from being 'free', this pitiful dribble of electricity is twice as expensive as the power we get from the nuclear, gas or coal-fired power stations which currently supply well over 90 per cent of our needs - and we all pay the difference, without knowing it, through our electricity bills.

But despite its best efforts to conceal the fact that wind turbines expensively and unreliably generate only a derisory amount of electricity, the Government keeps on telling us of its megalomaniac plans to build thousands more of them - at a cost of up to £100billion.

The prime reason for this is that we are legally obliged by the European Union to generate 32 per cent of our electricity from 'renewable' sources by 2020. And with just 11 years to go until that deadline, we hope to meet the target by building highly-subsidised wind turbines. But this is a farce. In fact, as the Government is privately well aware, there is not the faintest hope that we can do anything of the kind - even if we wanted to.

Gordon Brown talks airily of building 4,000 offshore turbines by our target date - plus another 3,000 onshore. But this would mean sticking two of these 2,000-ton monsters, each the height of Blackpool Tower, into the seabed every day for the next 11 years. Nowhere in the world has it proved possible to install more than one of them a week. The infrastructure simply isn't there to build more than a fraction of that figure. Furthermore, such are the weather conditions around Britain's coasts that it is only possible to work on these projects for a few months every summer.

Then there are the 3,000 promised onshore turbines - many of which are to be erected in the most beautiful stretches of Britain's countryside. These are meeting with so much local hostility that the Government has continually had to bend the planning rules in order to force them through over the wishes of local communities and the democratic opposition of local councils.

But wind power is not just the pipedream of deluded politicians. As the CBI was trying to warn yesterday, the real disaster of this great wind fantasy is that it has diverted attention from the genuine energy crisis now hurtling towards us at breakneck speed. For while the Government is trying to force a scattering of useless wind turbines through the planning offices, the truth is that the rest of us will lose 40 per cent of our power stations within as little as seven years.

If this happens, and we don't have an alternative, our kettles won't boil, our computers won't work and our country will face economic meltdown. There is little hope now of an 11th hour reprieve. Eight of our nine nuclear power stations - which presently supply 20 per cent of our electricity needs - are so old they will have to close. Nine more large coal and oil-fired power plants will also be forced to shut down under an EU anti-pollution directive.

But more alarming still is the astonishing naivete of almost all our politicians when it comes to working out how we are going to fill the 40 per cent shortfall left in their wake. Very belatedly, the Government has said that it wants to see a new generation of nuclear reactors. Yet there is little hope that any of them can be up and running earlier than 2020. What's more, they will have to be built by foreign-owned companies because, as recently as October 2006, the Government sold off our last world-class nuclear construction company, Westinghouse, to the Japanese at a knockdown price.

At the same time, our Energy And Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband, now says he will not allow any new coal-fired power stations to be built unless they have 'carbon capture' - piping off CO2 to bury it in holes in the ground. This technology not only doubles the price of electricity but hasn't even yet been properly developed. And so the only hope of keeping the lights on will be to build dozens more gas-fired power stations - at a time when North Sea gas is fast running out. And then we will be forced to rely on imports from politically unreliable countries such as Russia, at a time when gas prices are likely to be soaring.

In any event, over the past 20 years, our politicians have made an even more unholy shambles of Britain's energy policy than they have of our economy - and the cost, when the chickens come to roost in a few years' time, will be almost unimaginable.

The causes of Britain's impending energy crisis are manifold. Michael Heseltine's 1992 'dash for gas', when he closed down most of our remaining coal mines because North Sea gas was still cheap and abundant, and because its CO2 emissions were only half those of coal, was one of them. But nothing has done more to take the politicians' eye off the ball, egged on by environmentalist groups such as Friends Of The Earth and Greenpeace, than their quite incomprehensible obsession with windmills. For these white elephants can never produce more than a fraction of the electricity we need, and by no means always when we need it - as we saw last winter when, for weeks on end, they were scarcely turning at all. Do politicians never look outside the windows of their centrally-heated offices to see how often the wind is not blowing?

The Government has now shovelled so much money in hidden subsidies into the pockets of the turbine companies that the 'wind bonanza', promoted on a host of fraudulent claims, has become one of the greatest scams of our age. But if and when our lights do go out, it will be important to remember just why we got carried away by such a massive blunder.

Left with a land blighted with useless towers of metal, we shall look on those windmills as a monument to the age when the politicians of Britain and Europe collectively went completely off their heads.


Climate change: The sun and the oceans do not lie

Even a compromised agreement to reduce emissions could devastate the economy - and all for a theory shot full of holes, says Christopher Booker

The moves now being made by the world's political establishment to lock us into December's Copenhagen treaty to halt global warming are as alarming as anything that has happened in our lifetimes. Last week in Italy, the various branches of our emerging world government, G8 and G20, agreed in principle that the world must by 2050 cut its CO2 emissions in half. Britain and the US are already committed to cutting their use of fossil fuels by more than 80 per cent.

Short of an unimaginable technological revolution, this could only be achieved by closing down virtually all our economic activity: no electricity, no transport, no industry. All this is being egged on by a gigantic publicity machine, by the UN, by serried ranks of government-funded scientists, by cheerleaders such as Al Gore, last week comparing the fight against global warming to that against Hitler's Nazis, and by politicians who have no idea what they are setting in train.

What makes this even odder is that the runaway warming predicted by their computer models simply isn't happening. Last week one of the four official sources of temperature measurement, compiled from satellite data by the University of Huntsville, Alabama, showed that temperatures have now fallen to their average level since satellite data began 30 years ago.

Faced with a "consensus" view which looks increasingly implausible, a fast-growing body of reputable scientists from many countries has been coming up with a ''counter-consensus'', which holds that their fellow scientists have been looking in wholly the wrong direction to explain what is happening to the world's climate. The two factors which most plausibly explain what temperatures are actually doing are fluctuations in the radiation of the sun and the related shifting of ocean currents.

Two episodes highlight the establishment's alarm at the growing influence of this ''counter consensus''. In March, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has a key role in President Obama's plans to curb CO2 emissions, asked one of its senior policy analysts, Alan Carlin, to report on the science used to justify its policy. His 90-page paper recommended that the EPA carry out an independent review of the science, because the CO2 theory was looking indefensible, while the "counter consensus'' view – solar radiation and ocean currents – seemed to fit the data much better. Provoking a considerable stir, Carlin's report was stopped dead, on the grounds that it was too late to raise objections to what was now the EPA's official policy.

Meanwhile a remarkable drama has been unfolding in Australia, where the new Labor government has belatedly joined the "consensus'' bandwagon by introducing a bill for an emissions-curbing "cap and trade'' scheme, which would devastate Australia's economy, it being 80 per cent dependent on coal. The bill still has to pass the Senate, which is so precisely divided that the decisive vote next month may be cast by an independent Senator, Stephen Fielding. So crucial is his vote that the climate change minister, Penny Wong, agreed to see him with his four advisers, all leading Australian scientists.

Fielding put to the minister three questions. How, since temperatures have been dropping, can CO2 be blamed for them rising? What, if CO2 was the cause of recent warming, was the cause of temperatures rising higher in the past? Why, since the official computer models have been proved wrong, should we rely on them for future projections?

The written answers produced by the minister's own scientific advisers proved so woolly and full of elementary errors that Fielding's team have now published a 50-page, fully-referenced "Due Diligence'' paper tearing them apart. In light of the inadequacy of the Government's reply, the Senator has announced that he will be voting against the bill.

The wider significance of this episode is that it is the first time a Western government has allowed itself to be drawn into debating the science behind the global warming scare with expert scientists representing the "counter consensus" – and the "consensus" lost hands down.

We still have a long way to go before that Copenhagen treaty is agreed in December, and with China, India and 128 other countries still demanding trillions of dollars as the price of their co-operation, the prospect of anything but a hopelessly fudged agreement looks slim. But even a compromise could inflict devastating damage on our own economic future – all for a theory now shot so full of holes that its supporters are having to suppress free speech to defend it.


Al Gore and friends create climate of McCarthyism

By Bjorn Lomborg

ANYONE who questions green orthodoxy is accused of committing treason. Discussions about global warming are marked by an increasing desire to stamp out "impure" thinking, to the point of questioning the value of democratic debate. But shutting down discussion simply means the disappearance of reason from public policy.

In March, Al Gore's science adviser and prominent climate researcher Jim Hansen proclaimed that when it comes to dealing with global warming, the "democratic process isn't working". Although science has demonstrated that CO2 from fossil fuels is heating the planet, politicians are unwilling to follow his advice and stop building coal-fired power plants.

Hansen argues that "the first action that people should take is to use the democratic process. What is frustrating people, me included, is that democratic action affects elections, but what we get then from political leaders is greenwash." Although he doesn't tell us what the second or third action is, he has turned up in a British court to defend six activists who damaged a coal-fired power station. He argues that we need "more people chaining themselves to coal plants", a point repeated by Gore.

The Nobel laureate in economics Paul Krugman goes further. After the narrow passage of the Waxman-Markey climate change bill in the US House of Representatives, Krugman said that there was no justification for a vote against it. He called virtually all of the members who voted against it "climate deniers" who were committing "treason against the planet". Krugman said that the "irresponsibility and immorality" of the representatives' democratic viewpoints were "unforgivable" and a "betrayal". He thus accused almost half of the democratically elected members of the house, from both parties, of treason for holding the views that they do, thereby essentially negating democracy.

Less well-known pundits make similar points, suggesting that people with "incorrect" views on global warming should face Nuremberg-style trials or be tried for crimes against humanity. There is clearly a trend. The climate threat is so great -- and democracies are doing so little about it -- that people conclude that maybe democracy is part of the problem, and that perhaps people ought not be allowed to express heterodox opinions on such an important topic.

This is scary, although not without historical precedent. Much of the American McCarthyism of the 1940s and 50s was driven by the same burning faith in the righteousness of the mission: a faith that saw fundamental rights abrogated. We would be well served to go down a different path.

Gore and others often argue that if the science of climate change concludes that CO2 emissions are harmful, it follows that we should stop those harmful emissions, and that we are morally obliged to do so. But this misses half the story. We could just as well point out that since science tells us that speeding cars kill many people, we should cut speed limits to almost nothing. We do no such thing, because we recognise that the costs of high-speed cars must be weighed against the benefits of a mobile society. Indeed, nobody emits CO2 for fun. CO2 emissions result from other, generally beneficial acts, such as burning coal to keep warm, burning kerosene to cook, or burning petrol to transport people. The benefits of fossil fuels must be weighed against the costs of global warming.

Gore and Hansen want a moratorium on coal-fired power plants, but neglect the fact that the hundreds of new power plants that will be opened in China and India in the coming years could lift a billion people out of poverty. Negating this outcome through a moratorium is clearly no unmitigated good.

Likewise, reasonable people can differ on their interpretation of the Waxman-Markey bill. Even if we set aside its masses of pork-barrel spending, and analyses that show it may allow more emissions in the US for the first decades, there are more fundamental problems with this legislation. At a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars annually, it will have virtually no impact on climate change. If all of the bill's many provisions were entirely fulfilled, economic models show that it would reduce the temperature by the end of the century by 0.11C, reducing warming by less than 4 per cent.

Even if every Kyoto-obligated country passed its own, duplicate Waxman-Markey bills -- which is implausible and would incur significantly higher costs -- the global reduction would amount to just 0.22C by the end of this century. The reduction in global temperature would not be measurable in 100 years, yet the cost would be significant and payable now.

Is it really treason against the planet to express some scepticism about whether this is the right way forward? Is it treason to question throwing huge sums of money at a policy that will do virtually no good in 100 years? Is it unreasonable to point out that the inevitable creation of trade barriers that will ensue from Waxman-Markey could eventually cost the world 10 times more than the damage climate change could ever have wrought?

Today's focus on ineffective and costly climate policies shows poor judgment. But I would never want to shut down discussion about these issues, whether it is with Gore, Hansen, or Krugman. Everybody involved in this discussion should spend more time building and acknowledging good arguments, and less time telling others what they cannot say. Wanting to shut down the discussion is simply treason against reason.



Four current articles below

Predictions, Forecasts or Just Pure Guesses?

By veteran Queensland computer scientist Richard Kelly

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its Fourth Assessment Report, forecasts a "likely" increase in average global temperatures of between 1.5 and 4.5oC by the year 2100, with a "best estimate" of 3oC, and attributes this increase to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases, most notably CO2.

Now, politicians of almost every persuasion, bureaucrats, economists and "global warming soothsayers (such as Al Gore)" tell us that there is now a "scientific consensus that global warming and climate change is a fact, not a theory" and that, unless we spend trillions of dollars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next century, "the whole world will be devastated by catastrophic climatic events"!

Meanwhile, thousands of eminent scientists continue to demonstrate that the IPCC's statistics and computer models are fundamentally flawed (even fudged), yet their opinions are censored and suppressed by those on the populist bandwagon!

Interestingly, there appears to be no rigorous definition of what the term "average global temperature" means. Is it the average between daily maxima and minima; or between day and night temperatures; summer and winter; northern and southern hemispheres; the poles and the tropics; sea-level and mountain tops; or the oceans and the outback? Importantly, what does the term "average" mean across such diverse locations?

Unlike Melbourne (which often experiences "Four seasons in the one day"), Brisbane has one of the most stable and predictable climates in the world (as we like to claim: "Beautiful one day, perfect the next"). For this reason, one might expect that the Bureau of Meteorology, with all of its highly-skilled scientists, monitoring stations, weather balloons, radar stations, satellite observations, over 100 years of accurate historical data and state-of-the-art weather-modelling computers, to fairly accurately predict Brisbane's minimum and maximum temperatures for the following 24 hours!

Interestingly, despite this plethora of knowledge and technology, they rarely attempt to forecast temperatures more than 7 days ahead. With this in mind, I've been monitoring the Brisbane Bureau's 24-hour temperature forecasts and actual temperatures for a total of 2834 days (over 7-3/4 years). So how have they managed to perform?

In 2834 days, they've managed to predict both the minimum and maximum temperatures correctly on only 239 occasions - approximately one day in 12 (or 8.4% of the time). The average total error in their predictions was 2.4 degrees, whilst their maximum error was 9 degrees! If, on the other hand, one made the assumption that "Brisbane's weather is so predictable, that tomorrow's temperatures will be the same as today's", one would have been correct on 187 occasions - one day in 15 (or 6.7% of the time). More recently, I've been monitoring their 7-day forecasts as well, and have found that their forecast is correct only 4.1% of the time or once every 25 days, with an average error of 3.43 degrees.

According to the IPCC's "Guidance on Addressing Uncertainties", any prediction with less than 10% probability is "very unlikely" to be correct! So, where does this leave their own projection of a rise in Average Global Temperature of between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees over the next 100 years and with what accuracy?

Earlier this year, I happened to hear a Senior Meteorologist from the Melbourne Bureau interviewed on the ABC's 7.30 Report, who was asked: "How accurate are forecasters today?" Given the statistics I've quoted above, his response literally staggered me: "Well, on average, around about 85-90 per cent - that's the accuracy of the temperature forecast; that's looking at one day ahead. And that falls away to about 60 to 65 per cent out to 7 days." -

Ignorance? Wishful thinking? Or just plain hype? Actually, in quoting the above statistics, I am not attempting to denigrate the Bureau of Meteorology or its staff - merely to highlight the difficulty of reliably predicting temperature changes in the immediate, let alone the distant, future.

In summary, the global warming protagonists have failed to define what they mean by "average surface temperatures", have fewer than 30 years of accurate world-wide temperature measurements, upon which to base their projections, and completely ignore natural phenomena, which have produced global warming and cooling cycles over millions of years.

And what will be the outcome of government-imposed reductions in CO2 emissions, emissions trading schemes, renewable energy targets, etc? - Huge increases in energy bills and the price of food, the distortion of agricultural and farming practices, increased taxes and galloping inflation - not forgetting the adverse impacts on the poorer countries and their economies! These outcomes are already evident in countries such as the USA and the EU, which have mandated and subsidised the addition of ethanol to motor fuels, causing sky-rocketing prices for grains and meat and shortages of other commodities.

Call me a sceptic if you must, but I'm prepared to accept that "the Earth is flat" and that "the Sun revolves around the Earth", before I am willing to accept "the fact that global warming is solely due to human emissions of CO2 and that it will have catastrophic climate change consequences"!

Article received direct from the author

In Melbourne: Big Al, Small Protest

ANYONE who denies global warming is in the pay of big oil. Remember that is what the big man, Al Gore, said in his movie ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. But like so much that Mr Gore says, it just isn’t true.

Consider the 30-odd protesters who held placards outside the breakfast he spoke at this morning in Melbourne. The scruffy-lot, lead by a farmer Leon Ashby, were not there because someone paid them, but because they are outraged by Al Gore and what he has thrust on the world. In particular, his belief that we already have a climate crisis and that the only solution is carbon trading.

It might all sound well meaning. But it is going to be expensive. Indeed, quoting Ronald Bailey from Reason magazine, cap and trade in the US will be the largest corporate welfare program ever enacted in the history of the United States. And the corporations hope government is just as generous to them here in Australia.

Indeed if there were any in the pay of big oil at Dockland Peninsula this morning, they would have been inside applauding the big man. Has the big end of town ever taken to holding placards? I don’t think so.

A protest like the one in Melbourne this morning was about the seemingly disempowered and disenfranchised attempting to be heard. Of course history is replete with stories of such groups finding their voice and a crowd – eventually.


Greenie goes yellow (as in yellowcake)

Economic realities defeat ideology -- jobs and revenue needed -- even from the evil uranium

PETER GARRETT, whose first tilt at politics was a run for the Senate with the Nuclear Disarmament Party, gave the go-ahead for a new uranium mine yesterday. The Environment Minister approved the Four Mile mine in far northern South Australia, the first fully fledged uranium project to be approved by the former Midnight Oil frontman and one-time anti-uranium campaigner. Last year Mr Garrett approved an expansion of the Beverley mine, about 600 kilometres north of Adelaide. The Four Mile mine is about 10 kilometres from the Beverley project.

As Mr Garrett's opponents rushed to ridicule yesterday, he said the decision was difficult and "came after a rigorous and comprehensive assessment". "I have not taken the decision lightly," he said in a statement. "As with all proposals examined under national environment law, this mine was subject to a comprehensive, scientifically robust and transparent assessment process."

The Opposition environment spokesman, Greg Hunt, accused Mr Garrett of hypocrisy by reminding him of his speech to the ALP national conference in 2007 in which he spoke against abolishing Labor's three-mine policy on uranium. "I have long been opposed to uranium mining and I remain opposed to it. I am unapologetic about this. In fact, I am proud of it," Mr Garrett said two years ago.

He said there was no absolute guarantee Australian uranium would not end up in nuclear weapons "but we can guarantee all Australian uranium will become nuclear waste". The conference voted to abolish the three-mines policy and this made possible the approval of the Four Mile project, which will become Australia's fourth operational uranium mine.

The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, said the decision was consistent with party policy. Despite expanding the uranium industry, he remained opposed to nuclear energy in Australia, saying our low emissions energy future lay in "clean, green renewables".

The South Australian Liberal senator, Simon Birmingham, said the Government was sending mixed messages and should now ratify a deal to export uranium to Russia for peaceful purposes.

After entering politics in 2004, Mr Garrett accepted he was bound by party policy. "I'll be expected to accept the policies of the party. It doesn't mean that my strong views about different issues can't be expressed but they'll be expressed within the party," he said.


State Premier goes in to bat for coal industry

THE Queensland government is demanding special treatment to shield its coalmines from the cost of Canberra's action on climate change. Jolted by a $15 billion crash in treasury revenue, Premier Anna Bligh has written to the federal government's junior climate change minister, Greg Combet, raising "a number of significant outstanding issues" with its greenhouse emission trading scheme, known officially as the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

"The CPRS will significantly reduce the competitiveness of coal production in Queensland," Ms Bligh wrote in a letter tabled during a state parliamentary estimates committee hearing in Brisbane yesterday. "Options to assist the coal industry ... need to be developed that go beyond that currently proposed."

Ms Bligh said modelling by the federal Treasury confirmed that Queensland faced the greatest impact from emissions pricing, with the biggest cut in economic growth of any state or territory by 2050. Her decision to go in to bat for the coal industry betrayed the Premier's fears of further job-shedding in the state's struggling mining sector. The state budget in June predicted the mining downturn would rob Treasury of $1.6bn in royalty revenues this financial year. It also forecast a $15bn cut to revenue through taxes, royalties and the GST over the next three years.

Forced to defend her economic management yesterday, Ms Bligh conceded that the 110,000 jobs she has promised to create through an $18bn infrastructure program over the next three years might merely replace jobs shed elsewhere in the private sector. She blamed wet weather on underspending by $900 million in last year's capital works program.

Ms Bligh also defended her decision to sacrifice the state's AAA credit rating by plunging Queensland deep into debt to pay for record infrastructure spending. "Every single project is absolutely necessary. It might be all very well for rating agencies to sit down and look at our set of numbers, but they don't live here."

In her letter to Mr Combet, Ms Bligh warned that hundreds of jobs could be lost when NSW abolished its Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme, to be replaced by the CPRS in 2011. The NSW scheme gave an incentive to generate electricity using waste gas from coalmines. "As a consequence (of the scheme's abolition) existing ... projects that are delivering lower emission electricity are at risk of closure with the potential for hundreds of jobs to be lost," she wrote. "Clearly this would be a most perverse outcome."

Ms Bligh called on the federal government to give "specialised assistance" to Queensland underground coalmines which she described as being "very gassy", with limited capacity to cut emissions. "Some coal companies have also advised that they cannot pass on carbon-related costs to their energy generator customers because of restrictive long-term contracts. Firms would need to absorb these costs, with a direct reduction in the profitablility of these investments," she said.

A spokesman for Mr Combet said yesterday the minister had not yet seen Ms Bligh's letter, written last Thursday.



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Warmist site admits that there may be decades of No Warming

Reality finally recognized 10 years after the warming stopped. Certainty replaced by unsubstantiated theorizing

Over at Real Climate they are busy giving climate skeptics reason to cheer:
We hypothesize that the established pre-1998 trend is the true forced warming signal, and that the climate system effectively overshot this signal in response to the 1997/98 El Niño. This overshoot is in the process of radiatively dissipating, and the climate will return to its earlier defined, greenhouse gas-forced warming signal. If this hypothesis is correct, the era of consistent record-breaking global mean temperatures will not resume until roughly 2020.”

Imagine, twenty-two or more years (1998 to ~2020) of no new global temperature record. What would that do to the debate? Real Climate does say something very smart in the piece (emphasis added):
“Nature (with hopefully some constructive input from humans) will decide the global warming question based upon climate sensitivity, net radiative forcing, and oceanic storage of heat, not on the type of multi-decadal time scale variability we are discussing here. However, this apparent impulsive behavior explicitly highlights the fact that humanity is poking a complex, nonlinear system with GHG forcing – and that there are no guarantees to how the climate may respond.”

As I've argued many times, uncertainty is a far better reason for justifying action than overhyped claims to certainty, or worse, claims that any possible behavior of the climate system is somehow "consistent with" expectations. Policy makers and the public can handle uncertainty, its the nonsense they have trouble with.


Gaia’s right

Environmentalism seeks to return us to the age of kings

By Mark Steyn

According to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, we only have 96 months left to save the planet. I’m impressed. 96 months. Not 95. Not 97. July 2017. Put it in your diary. Usually the warm-mongers stick to the same old drone that we only have ten years left to save the planet. Nice round number. Al Gore said we only have ten years left three-and-a-half years ago, which makes him technically more of a pessimist than the Prince of Wales. Al’s betting that Armageddon kicks in sometime in January 2016 — unless he’s just peddling glib generalities. And, alas, even a prophet of the ecopalypse as precise as His Royal Highness is sometimes prone to this airy-fairy ten-year shtick: In April, Prince Charles predicted that the red squirrel would be extinct “within ten years,” which suggests that, while it may be curtains for man and all his wretched works come summer of 2017, the poor doomed red squirrel will have the best part of two years to frolic and gambol on a ruined landscape.

So, unless you’re a squirrel, don’t start any long books in 95 months’ time, because time is running out! “Time is running out to deal with climate change,” said Steven Guilbeault of Greenpeace in 2006. “Ten years ago, we thought we had a lot of time.”

Really? Ten years ago, we had a lot of time? Funny, that’s not the way I remember it. (“Time is running out for the climate,” said Chris Rose of Greenpeace in 1997.) So what’s to blame for this eternally looming rendezvous with the iceberg of apocalypse? As the British newspaper the Independent reported: Capitalism and consumerism have brought the world to the brink of economic and environmental collapse, the Prince of Wales has warned. . . . And in a searing indictment on capitalist society, Charles said we can no longer afford consumerism and that the ‘age of convenience’ was over.

He then got in his limo and was driven to his other palace.

It takes a prince, heir to the thrones of Britain and Canada and Australia, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, and a bunch of other places, to tell it like it is: You pampered consumerists are ruining the joint. In the old days, we didn’t have these kinds of problems. But then Mr. and Mrs. Peasant start remodeling the hovel, adding a rec room and indoor plumbing, replacing the emaciated old nag with a Honda Civic and driving to the mall in it, and next thing you know, instead of just having an extra yard of mead every Boxing Day at the local tavern and adding a couple more pustules to the escutcheon with the local trollop, they begin taking vacations in Florida. When it was just medieval dukes swanking about like that, the planet worked fine: That was “sustainable” consumerism. But now the masses want in. And, once you do that, there goes the global neighborhood.

By contrast, as an example of an exemplary environmentalist, the prince hailed his forebear, King Henry VIII. True, he had a lot of wives, but he did dramatically reduce Anne Boleyn’s carbon footprint.

I always enjoy it when the masks slip and the warm-mongers explicitly demand we adopt a massive Poverty Expansion Program to save the planet. “I don’t think a lot of electricity is a good thing,” said Gar Smith of San Francisco’s Earth Island Institute a few years back. “I have seen villages in Africa that had vibrant culture and great communities that were disrupted and destroyed by the introduction of electricity,” he continued, regretting that African peasants “who used to spend their days and evenings in the streets playing music on their own instruments and sewing clothing for their neighbors on foot-pedal powered sewing machines” are now slumped in front of Desperate Housewives reruns all day long.

One assumes Gar Smith is sincere in his fetishization of bucolic African poverty, with its vibrantly rampant disease and charmingly unspoilt life expectancy in the mid-forties. But when a hereditary prince starts attacking capitalism and pining for the days when a benign sovereign knew what was best for the masses, he gives the real game away. Capitalism is liberating: You’re born a peasant but you don’t have to die one. You can work hard and get a nice place in the suburbs. If you were a 19th-century Russian peasant and you got to Ellis Island, you’d be living in a tenement on the Lower East Side, but your kids would get an education and move uptown, and your grandkids would be doctors and accountants in Westchester County. And your great-grandchild would be a Harvard-educated environmental activist demanding an end to all this electricity and indoor toilets.

Environmentalism opposes that kind of mobility. It seeks to return us to the age of kings, when the masses are restrained by a privileged elite. Sometimes they will be hereditary monarchs, such as the Prince of Wales. Sometimes they will be merely the gilded princelings of the government apparatus — Barack Obama, Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi. In the old days, they were endowed with absolute authority by God. Today, they’re endowed by Mother Nature, empowered by Gaia to act on her behalf. But the object remains control — to constrain you in a million ways, most of which would never have occurred to Henry VIII, who, unlike the new cap-and-trade bill, was entirely indifferent as to whether your hovel was “energy efficient.” The old rationale for absolute monarchy — Divine Right — is a tough sell in a democratic age. But the new rationale — Gaia’s Right — has proved surprisingly plausible.

Beginning with FDR, wily statists justified the massive expansion of federal power under ever more elastic definitions of the commerce clause. For Obama-era control freaks, the environment and health care are the commerce clause supersized. They establish the pretext for the regulation of everything: If the government is obligated to cure you of illness, it has an interest in preventing you from getting ill in the first place — by regulating what you eat, how you live, the choices you make from the moment you get up in the morning. Likewise, if everything you do impacts “the environment,” then the environment is an all-purpose umbrella for regulating everything you do. It’s the most convenient and romantic justification for what the title of Paul Rahe’s new book rightly identifies as “soft despotism.”

The good news is that, at this week’s G8 summit, America’s allies would commit only to the fuzziest and most meaningless of environmental goals. Europe has been hit far harder by the economic downturn. When your unemployment rate is 17 percent (as in Spain), “unsustainable growth” is no longer your most pressing problem. The environmental cult is itself a product of what the prince calls the “Age of Convenience”: It’s what you worry about it when you don’t have to worry about jobs or falling house prices or collapsed retirement accounts. Today, as European prime ministers are beginning to figure out, a strategic goal of making things worse when they’re already worse is a much tougher sell.


Cap and Tax: Government vs. America

There is still time to stop the legislative monstrosity known as the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill before the Senate approves it. But for that to happen, Americans must learn how bad it is. Let's briefly review the basics: The bill is ostensibly designed to curb man-caused carbon emissions (presumably without outlawing breathing) to retard global warming.

Even if we accept, for purposes of argument, the assumptions of radical, hysterical leftist environmentalists that man-caused global warming will destroy the planet if evil, rich capitalists don't radically curtail their own contributions to the catastrophe, Waxman-Markey would not prevent this Armageddon.

Climate scientist Chip Knappenberger, of New Hope Environmental Services, calculates that the bill would only reduce Earth's temperature by 0.1 to 0.2 degree Celsius by 2100. The Heritage Foundation's Ben Lieberman says he's found no "decent refutation of the assertion that the temperature impact would be inconsequential."

Unfortunately, the bill's negative impact on the economy would not be inconsequential. Lieberman says the bill would cause estimated job losses averaging about 1.15 million from 2012-2030, and the cumulative projected loss in gross domestic product would be almost $10 trillion by 2035. The national debt from this bill alone, disregarding the multiple bailouts, stimulus packages and health care "reform," would increase by 2035 for a family of four by 26 percent, or $115,000.

Heritage is not alone in making these claims. The far more liberal Brookings Institution estimates the bill would cost 1.8 percent of GDP in 2035 and 2.5 percent by 2050. Heritage's "Foundry" blog concludes, "Economists from liberal think tanks, conservative think tanks, and industry associations agree that Waxman-Markey will reduce income by hundreds of billions of dollars per year." These facts are enough to make you question why people aren't threatening a sit-in in the Senate until this recklessness stops. But there are other things about the bill you should know -- just in case you have an unusually high outrage tolerance:

--As noted, the bill contains a hidden provision establishing unemployment benefits for up to three full years for workers displaced as a result of this "job creations" bill, as well as health insurance premium subsidies and $1,500 each for job search and relocation expenses -- all at taxpayers' expense.

--The American Issues Project has exposed Section 204 of the bill, called the "Building Energy Performance Labeling Program," which gives the federal government unprecedented authority over your home. AIP says the section mandates that new homes be 30 percent more energy-efficient than the current building code on the very day the law is signed. The requirement increases to 50 percent by 2014 and continues to increase until 2030.

--The program would also affect existing properties you already own. It requires states to label residential and nonresidential buildings based on their efficiency ratings and to publicize this information. This will lead to "a number of circumstances under which the states could inspect a building," such as if you want to renovate your house in a way that requires a building permit, sell your house, or change the name of the person responsible for paying its utilities. The federal commissars, in their infinite compassion with other people's money, have also set aside a fund to help homeowners retrofit their properties. Of course, there's a formula, to be administered by the bureaucratocracy. The more radically you purify your property the more "awards" you receive

-- up to $12,200. Be aware, though, that further fine print requires the property owner to pay at least half of these retrofitting costs, no matter how much their "awards" from the government. I suppose this is the Marxists' nod to self-reliance and fiscal responsibility.

--The bill is so egregiously obscene that even the strong Democratic majority in the House couldn't have passed it without bribing some recalcitrant representatives -- also with our money. To buy, er, secure Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur's vote, they offered a new federal power authority, which, according to The Washington Times, is "stocked with up to $3.5 billion in taxpayer money available for lending to renewable energy and economic development projects in Ohio and other Midwestern states." Just swell.

--In addition to all the economic destruction the bill would cause, in the end, it is not so much about global warming as Obaman wealth redistribution. "The Foundry" says Obama's own budget "promises to raise $650 billion in revenues by selling carbon permits (which are the exact same thing as an energy tax)," only $150 billion of which will go to alternative energy production. The rest will be redistributed to people who "don't pay income taxes."

The Founding Fathers and our fathers are rolling over in their graves as this great country voluntarily abandons its dreams of equal opportunity, achievement and prosperity and sows the seeds of its own destruction. This just cannot stand.


Green good intentions cause chaos in two German towns

Residents near Dortmund were evacuated this week after the ground collapsed around a geothermal heat pump, while in another German town, almost 190 buildings have now been damaged by a geothermal project gone awry. Residents of the small town of Kamen, near Dortmund, had a shock this week when ground around a construction site collapsed as a result of drilling for a geothermal heat pump. Many locals had to be evacuated amid fears that houses could collapse, and many nearby buildings now have long cracks in the walls.

For residents of the southern German village of Staufen, the news came as little surprise: their town began sinking - and then rising - as a result of geothermal drilling almost two years ago. Until then, Staufen had just been a quaint day-trip destination, visited by German pensioners looking for a slice of Black Forest cake and history buffs drawn to the town's links to Johann Georg Faust, the legendary alchemist and magician, who - so the story goes - made a pact with the devil here.

But in 2007, Staufen became known in Germany for another reason. The town council decided to do its bit for the environment and use geothermal power to heat the newly refurbished historic and new town halls. In September that year, the council hired a company to drill deep into the earth's surface to harness the geothermal power there. A few weeks later, fine cracks began appearing in the walls and floors of the town halls and surrounding buildings, including the historic guest house where Faust is believed to have stayed. At least 187 buildings now have cracks, some up to 15 centimeters wide.

Initially, parts of the town began sinking, but now the earth is rising. During the digging, water came into contact with anhydrite: a mineral, which – when exposed to water – expands and turns into gypsum. That has been causing the earth to swell, pushing the buildings up with it, and causing the cracks. Authorities are now drilling to find out if the swelling process can be stopped.

Staufen Mayor Michael Benitz told Deutsche Welle that there are thousands of similar drilling projects in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg alone, and he cannot understand why Staufen has had such problems. "These drillings were all over the place and this swelling phenomenon didn't appear anywhere else," he said.

Staufen authorities say the ground under the city has been rising by up to one centimeter a month - a very significant amount in geological terms - and while they say that no buildings are in danger of collapsing, they have had to use wooden beams to reinforce windows in the new town hall.

Marianne Pfadt, a local tour guide, says the damage runs right through the center of Staufen. "If this continues, we'll have to use hiking boots to get into town," she said, laughing.

Pfadt may be able to joke about the situation in her home of 20 years, but in truth, she and other locals are angry. One resident watching helplessly is Claudia Woelfle, manager of a café which backs onto the drilling site. The facade of her business along with the stone floor inside are covered with cracks. "You can see that they are getting bigger and bigger," Woelfle said. "And more and more are appearing, too."

Even though the cracks appeared shortly after the geothermal project began, there is still no hard evidence to prove that drilling is behind the problem. Regular tectonic activity underneath the city could also be responsible - but that is unlikely. However, the lack of proof means that legally, locals have no one to blame and no one to foot the bill, which is expected to run into the millions. Pfadt says locals do not how they are going to pay for the damage. "They're desperate," Pfadt says. "(These houses are) their old age pension," she says. "Everybody plans, 'oh, in old age, I'll sell the house and move', but you can't sell these houses."

Pfadt says locals have been sending angry letters to local newspapers, and some have threatened to go to court to get repair bills paid. In the meantime, the town council has set up a fund for donations to help pay for the damage, and local businesses may even get a slight boost from day-trippers who are curious about Staufen's cracking problem.

A new influx of tourists would be at least a bit of welcome news for Staufen's residents, since authorities have been unable to say when, or if, the swelling - and cracking - will stop.



Three current articles below

Christian party Senator queries Warmist science

FAMILY First senator Steve Fielding has urged senators to look closely at the science on climate change before committing the nation to an emissions trading scheme. In a letter to senators yesterday, Senator Fielding -- who has recently emerged as parliament's most vocal climate change sceptic -- said carbon emissions had "skyrocketed" over the past 15 years, but temperatures had remained steady.

Senator Fielding said Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and Australia's chief scientist had failed to explain why this was the case. He said it ran counter to assumptions underpinning the carbon pollution reduction scheme that carbon emissions were the leading cause of global warming. "Therefore, I ask you to think carefully before voting on the CPRS legislation, a multi-billion-dollar tax that could cripple our economy with little benefit to environment," he wrote.

The letter comes after Kevin Rudd was overhead voicing doubts to Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen about the ability of world leaders to reach an agreement at global climate change talks in Copenhagen at the end of the year.

Senator Fielding said he could not understand how any member of parliament could vote for the scheme, especially ahead of other countries. "Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong are hanging the Australian economy out to dry if the rest of the world doesn't follow suit," he said. "It's economically irresponsible for the parliament to pass the CPRS legislation before Copenhagen, when we'll have more of an idea what the US, China, India and Brazil are going to do on this front."

Senator Fielding has requested a meeting with climate campaigner Al Gore, who challenged the Rudd government at the weekend to show leadership by rolling out the CPRS before the Copenhagen summit. Senator Fielding wants to present a graph to Mr Gore, which was included in his letter to senators, which compares average temperatures over the past 15 years to carbon emissions.

A spokesman for Senator Fielding last night said he was still waiting to hear whether Mr Gore had agreed to the meeting.


Long-range weather forecasts too unreliable to be of use to farmers

But forecasts for 40 years ahead are reliable???

FARMERS have lost faith in long-term weather forecasts because they're unreliable, the South Australian Farmers Federation said. "The lack of accuracy of the current modelling methods and long-term predictions makes them a less than useful tool in agricultural farming systems in South Australia,'' the federation said in a submission to a federal inquiry into long-term meteorological forecasting.

"Agriculture has long called for the accurate long-range climate forecasting to improve decision making and risk management on-farm, but now question if we are pursuing the 'holy grail'.

"The scale of current models make them unreliable measures.

The federation said farmers preferred to use their own historical data as well as predictive modelling to determine the future weather, as they did not rely fully on one method.

"This is primarily due to farmers losing faith in previous long-range forecasting, which is crucial in this current drought,'' it said.

The House of Representatives' Industry, Science and Innovation Committee today held a public hearing in Adelaide for its inquiry into long-term meteorological forecasting in Australia.


Power cuts already looming because of proposed climate laws

ELECTRICITY generators are cutting back major maintenance work, raising the risk of California-style power brown-outs, because of uncertainty caused by the federal government's carbon pollution reduction scheme. Victorian generator Truenergy's managing director Richard McIndoe said yesterday that with $950 million of debt to be refinanced this year and banks wary of the impact of the CPRS on the industry, the company had decided it could not justify the cost of major maintenance.

Mr McIndoe said the company had cancelled work at its Yallourn coal-fired power station in Victoria's Latrobe Valley this year, saving $100m, and other generators were also cutting back. "We won't be doing any major overhaul this year," he told The Australian.

Truenergy supplies gas and electricity to 1.1million homes in Victoria, South Australia and NSW.

Mr McIndoe warned the cutting back of maintenance budgets meant there was an increased risk of under-investment in electricity generation, which led to the California power crisis of 2000-01. "You had unsound policy there that led to underinvestment. These are long lead-time events and the longer you continue in this situation, the higher the likelihood of serious supply interruption."

He said uncertainty over the final form of the CPRS -- the bill is delayed in the Senate and the start date has been postponed until 2011 -- was also increasing market volatility, which made it harder to sell long-term electricity supply contracts. One of the big four domestic banks was already refusing to lend to coal-fired generators, and international players looked on Australia as a sovereign risk.

Energy Supply Association of Australia chief executive Brad Page said there was always an increased risk of "less reliable supply" when generators cut back on routine maintenance. "It doesn't take a lot for one of these plants to have an unanticipated failure," he said. He added that because of the national electricity grid, supply interruptions in Victoria could cascade and cause outages in other states. He noted that a power failure at a NSW Hunter Valley substation last week cut power across five states.

The ESAA warns that the government is not giving the industry enough help to adapt to the CPRS and remain viable. It wants a similar deal to the 15 to 20-year commitment to support that electricity suppliers in the US and Europe have been given. The government had offered what amounted to $3.5 billion in support when the industry needed $20bn to survive the CPRS in its current form. "The whole thing is a recipe for financial stress in the coal-fired generation sector," Mr Page said. Victoria is most affected by the CPRS because 90 per cent of its supply is generated from highly polluting brown coal.

A spokesman for the Business Council of Australia said the treatment of the coal and electricity industries under the CPRS remained one of the areas where it had outstanding issues with the government. "Getting the detail right means ensuring the scheme doesn't reduce the competitiveness of Australian industry." The council wants the CPRS bills passed by the end of the year so businesses can begin planning for the scheme's introduction.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said yesterday the government should continue to move forward with action on reducing carbon emissions, despite Kevin Rudd's admission last Friday he held little hope that the UN's climate change conference in Copenhagen in December would lead to a global agreement on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Monday, July 13, 2009

"Cap & trade" as a civil war re-enactment

A reader writes that it is just another scheme to favour the rich and privileged:

Cap-and-trade, i.e., buying "carbon off-sets" (such as what Al Gore does to keep his big mansion air-conditioned), looks a lot like the old, U.S. Civil War-era practice of rich families buying their sons' way out of the draft. If you had the money and the inclination back then, you could pay someone else (a poorer person, usually, someone from the "less advantaged" classes) to take you place among the conscripts and stop the bullet with your name on it.

Buying your way out of conscription was a form of big fish eating little fish, the ultimate kick-the-cat scenario. No one mentions that.

Right now everyone is filled with the noble purpose of reducing carbon emissions, and trading green for carbon privileges, which strikes the proponents of C&T as a grand idea. It's fundamentally class- and wealth-based, just as Civil War draft avoidance was.

Gore: U.S. Climate Bill Will Help Bring About 'Global Governance'

Do you fancy giving a billion Muslims a say in your government?

Former Vice President Al Gore declared that the Congressional climate bill will help bring about “global governance.” “I bring you good news from the U.S., “Gore said on July 7, 2009 in Oxford at the Smith School World Forum on Enterprise and the Environment, sponsored by UK Times. “Just two weeks ago, the House of Representatives passed the Waxman-Markey climate bill,” Gore said, noting it was “very much a step in the right direction.”

Gore touted the climate bill, claiming it “will dramatically increase the prospects for success” in combating what he sees as the “crisis” of man-made global warming. “But it is the awareness itself that will drive the change and one of the ways it will drive the change is through global governance and global agreements.”

Gore's call for “global governance” echoes former French President Jacques Chirac's call in 2000. On November 20, 2000, then French President Chirac said during a speech at The Hague that the UN's Kyoto Protocol represented "the first component of an authentic global governance." “For the first time, humanity is instituting a genuine instrument of global governance,” Chirac explained. “From the very earliest age, we should make environmental awareness a major theme of education and a major theme of political debate, until respect for the environment comes to be as fundamental as safeguarding our rights and freedoms. By acting together, by building this unprecedented instrument, the first component of an authentic global governance, we are working for dialogue and peace,” Chirac added.

Former EU Environment Minister Margot Wallstrom said, "Kyoto is about the economy, about leveling the playing field for big businesses worldwide." Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper once dismissed UN's Kyoto Protocol as a “socialist scheme.”

In addition, calls for a global carbon tax have been urged at recent UN global warming conferences. In December 2007, the UN climate conference in Bali, urged the adoption of a global carbon tax that would represent “a global burden sharing system, fair, with solidarity, and legally binding to all nations. “Finally someone will pay for these [climate related] costs,” Othmar Schwank, a global tax advocate, said at the 2007 UN conference after a panel titled “A Global CO2 Tax.” Schwank noted that wealthy nations like the U.S. would bear the biggest burden based on the “polluters pay principle.” The U.S. and other wealthy nations need to “contribute significantly more to this global fund,” Schwank explained. He also added, “It is very essential to tax coal.” ...

The environmental group Friends of the Earth advocated the transfer of money from rich to poor nations during the 2007 UN climate conference. "A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources,” said Emma Brindal, a climate justice campaigner coordinator for Friends of the Earth.


It's Getting Cold Out There

No wonder skeptics consider the left's belief in man-made global warming as akin to a fad religion -- last week in Italy, G8 leaders pledged to not allow the Earth's temperature to rise more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. For its next act, the G8 can part the Red Sea. The worst part is: These are the brainy swells who think of themselves as -- all bow -- Men of Science.

The funny part is: G8 leaders can't even decide the year from which emissions must be reduced. 1990? 2005? "This question is a mystery for everyone," an aide to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said.

And while President Obama led the charge for the G8 nations to agree to an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in industrial nations by 2050, the same Russian aide dissed the standard as "likely unattainable."

No worries, the language was non-binding. Global-warming believers say that they are all about science, but their emphasis is not on results so much as declarations of belief. Faith. Mystery. Promises to engage in pious acts. Global warming is a religion. While Obama was in Italy preaching big cuts in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, he was losing some of his flock in Washington. The House may have passed the 1,200-page cap-and-trade bill largely unread, but Senate Democrats are combing the fine print and not liking what they see. As Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said of the bill, "We need to be a leader in the world but we don't want to be a sucker."

Republicans who oppose the legislation are positively gleeful. For some issues, it can be more fun being part of the opposition, as Democrats are discovering. During the last administration, Senate Dems could slam President George W. Bush for not supporting the 1997 Kyoto global-warming treaty, secure in the knowledge that they would never have to vote yea or nay on a treaty that they knew could be poison for the coal industry and family checkbooks. That's why the Senate in 1997 voted 95-0 against any global-warming treaty that exempted developing nations like China. Now China wants none of the G8's goal for it to halve its greenhouse gases -- and the Dems are stuck with a leader who wants to save the planet.

When the GOP was in the White House, Democrats got to play scientific martyrs. James Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, would go running to the New York Times or Washington Post with the lament that the Bushies were trying to muzzle his pro-global-warming science. No matter how many times he appeared on TV, the stories kept reporting on allegations that Bush was censoring science.

Now GOP senators have their own Hansen: Alan Carlin of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Be it noted, Carlin is not a scientist. He's an MIT-trained economist, albeit with a degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology, who has worked as an analyst at the EPA since 1974. In March, he co-wrote a 98-page paper that began, "We have become increasingly concerned that EPA and many other agencies and countries have paid too little attention to the science of global warming." He fears politics are steering what should be scientific research.

The analysis noted that global temperatures have declined over the last 11 years while carbon emissions have increased. It cited a 2009 paper that found "solar variability" may have had more to do with any warming over the last few decades than rising greenhouse gas levels. Carlin also wondered why the EPA bought into global-warming doom scenarios, when, despite increased greenhouse gas levels, U.S. crop yields are up, air quality is improved and Americans are living longer.

Did the EPA welcome a dissenting voice? Au contraire. According to e-mails released last month by Sam Kazman, general counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank, Carlin's supervisor told him not to "have any direct communication" with anyone in-house or elsewhere on the issue. And: "I don't want you to spend any additional EPA time on climate change." Only later, Carlin told me, did the EPA grant him permission to post the paper on his personal website and talk to the media.

Kazman argues that the EPA's failure to post Carlin's paper officially violates court rulings that require agencies to disclose discarded evidence when making rules. And: "The bigger irony is that this administration has been touting its commitment to scientific integrity and agency transparency."

Now, you can argue that the Obama administration simply wanted to present a clear message on a policy on which it already had settled. But why is it muzzling science when Bush did it, but not worthy of a New York Times story when Obama does it? Don't say that Obama has science on his side. As the Carlin paper noted, "We do not believe that science is writing a description of the world or the opinions of world authorities on a particular subject ... The question in our view is not what someone believes, but how what he or she believes corresponds with real world data."

The global-warming community's reaction to real-world data -- and the lack of warming in this century -- has been to remain true believers. Except now they call it "climate change."


G8 leaders - 'arrogant' arbiters of global thermostat

A leading skeptic of "manmade global warming" says Group of Eight leaders have embraced a new movement he calls "climate astrology."

President Obama and other Group of 8 leaders promised Wednesday they would keep temperatures from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 Celsius) above average levels of more than a century ago. They also agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

Marc Morano, executive editor of, says it is ridiculous for the G8 leaders to believe they have the power to turn up or down the earth's thermostat. "This is the height of arrogance," he exclaims. "This is the madness of our age that world leaders, including our own president, can go up there with a straight face and act as though they can control the earth's thermostat -- act as though they control nature."

Morano compares the G8 leaders' mindset to a Third World mentality. "In Uganda, they're blaming drought and disease on angry gods," he notes, "and people are saying, 'Oh, if only they knew. They need to be educated [and told that] it's manmade climate change.' "Well, who actually needs to be educated here?," Morano asks. "Is it the Ugandans who blame bad weather on angry gods -- or is it Western leaders who actually think they can control the climate?"

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has said that science tells him for certain what the earth will be like 100 years from now -- which leads Morano to ask: "At what point should Secretary Chu be on a boardwalk with a full deck of tarot cards dispensing this?"


BBC standards are falling - and bosses are too scared to do anything about it

Peter Sissons, the veteran newsreader who announced his retirement last month, has launched a withering attack on the BBC - claiming standards have fallen and accusing producers of being too mired in political correctness to do anything about it.

Writing in The Mail on Sunday today, he says: 'At today's BBC, a complaint I often heard from senior producers was that they dared not reprimand their subordinates for basic journalistic mistakes - such as getting ages, dates, titles and even football scores wrong - it being politically incorrect to risk offending them.'

Mr Sissons, 66, who has worked for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, says there was 'great attention' to the text of news bulletins when he joined the Corporation 20 years ago, but that now appeared to be lacking.

In a wide-ranging attack, he also claims it is now 'effectively BBC policy' to stifle critics of the consensus view on global warming. He says: 'I believe I am one of a tiny number of BBC interviewers who have so much as raised the possibility that there is another side to the debate on climate change. 'The Corporation's most famous interrogators invariably begin by accepting that "the science is settled", when there are countless reputable scientists and climatologists producing work that says it isn't. 'But it is effectively BBC policy... that those views should not be heard.'

He also takes a swipe at BBC executives for failing to defend him when he was criticised for wearing a burgundy tie on the day the Queen Mother died in 2002. He says a senior executive urged him to wear the burgundy tie, but that the BBC then said it had been his own choice.

The reaction of BBC 'top brass' to coverage of the death of Princess Diana also rankles. 'We did a lot to be proud of that day,' he says. 'Some weeks afterwards, the top brass took themselves off to a Cambridge hotel to congratulate each other. None of the footsoldiers who actually made the programmes was invited.'

Mr Sissons once accused the BBC of ageism, saying he had attended 'too many' leaving parties for people over 50.


British officialdom snipes at Prince Charles’s ‘misguided’ green thinking

Senior government figures have revealed serious concerns about the Prince of Wales’s “misguided” green philosophy, which advocates dramatic changes in lifestyle and attitudes as the key to saving the world. One senior Whitehall source dismissed Prince Charles’s green vision as “fatuous”, and others were equally dismissive. The rift illustrates just how politically charged the environmental issues on which Charles has campaigned for decades have now become.

He has long called on people and politicians to rethink their attitudes to the planet, economic growth and consumption. Recently, however, government policy has become based on the notion that problems such as climate change are best addressed through science and technology - without compromising economic growth or consumerism. This difference is becoming a source of tension, and some of Charles’s aides are planning for him to continue to make public his opinions when he eventually becomes king.

Charles, who gave the Richard Dimbleby lecture last week, took care to endorse the climate-change report of the former Downing Street adviser Lord Stern, who, he said, had “set out the case as to why, even in traditional economic terms, it is quite irrational to continue as we are”.

But he went much further, saying our consumerist society had brought the world to the brink of collapse, and warning that “nature, the biggest bank of all, could go bust”.

A senior Whitehall source, while not directly criticising the prince, said a “misconceived” ideology lay at the heart of the green position on tackling climate change, wrongly seeking to change our whole way of life. “We are aiming to cut emissions by a third in the next 10 years and then by 80% in the next four decades. These things are not happening because the population has had a green psychological transformation,” he said. “If that were true, we’d never get anywhere, we’d never have got rid of slavery or brought in seatbelts or abolished hanging. No social change is force-driven by mass psychological change. It is about government leading and people changing accordingly.

“Within its core, represented strongly in organisations such as Friends of the Earth andGreenpeace, environmentalism still has an ideological greenness that does not like the way we live and does not believe this is what creates fundamentally decent society. That continues to infect the way they think about the changes that we need, so in that sense it is fundamentally wrong.”

Charles has selected two former directors of Friends of the Earth (FoE) to advise him: Jonathon Porritt, who ran FoE from 1984-90, and Tony Juniper, who quit last year for the Prince’s Rainforest Project. Craig Bennett, a former FoE campaigner, co-directs the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change. Last year the prince also recruited Benet Northcote, former chief policy adviser for Greenpeace UK, as his deputy private secretary. Charles’s green advisers contributed to the speech, which contained pointed references to the management of the economy. He said the Earth could no longer afford consumerism, and that the “age of convenience” was over.

A senior Whitehall source sought to avoid criticising the prince personally, and said: “We would never say that Prince Charles is wrong. It all helps. I would not say that it is of no use, but that it is not enough and we are going to get on with it anyway.” However, he also said lifestyle and thinking changes - which have been advocated by Charles - were “third-order issues” in terms of the impact they have in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. They included making personal decisions, such as to cycle or walk to work rather than drive, or to take holidays within Britain, or to eat meat only once a week.


Demonstration against big Al in Australia

THE massive challenges of climate change should be viewed as opportunities, US climate campaigner Al Gore says. The former US vice president and Nobel Prize and Oscar winner was in Melbourne launching non-government organisation Safe Climate Australia at a breakfast of 1000 Australian leaders.

Mr Gore said the world, while facing the dual challenges of environmental and economic crisis, should not be afraid of the difficulties ahead. "We should respond not only to the danger but also to the opportunity," he said. "Because we face this crisis at a moment when the world is in an economic crisis as well."

Outside the function, about 30 protesters from the Climate Sceptics Party staged a peaceful demonstration bearing placards, including one that read "Stop Junk Science". Several party members also wore T-shirts splashed with the slogan "Carbon Really Ain't Pollution - CRAP".

But Mr Gore warned the crisis was gaining momentum. "The planet now has a fever," he said. "We have to act."

On Sunday, Mr Gore said the Rudd Government's carbon emission targets were not what he would have devised but stressed he was "realistic about what can be accomplished within the political system as it is".



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Sunday, July 12, 2009


An email from Peter Salonius [] -- slightly edited for clarity -- JR

An Australian paper entitled Solar Power Realities deals only with photovoltaic electricity generation and storage by pumped water, air pressure or batteries while declaring, based on this incomplete picture, that solar power will “never supply the reliable low cost electricity”. Forbes asks about what he surmises to be tremendous areas of land required for solar collectors, and asks: "“How many card tables do we need to run the trains, factories, fridges, homes, heaters, hospitals and tools of a big city?”

Forbes appears not to have heard of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) generation with parabolic mirror collectors in deserts, that gather solar heat and store it in molten salt for generating steam driven electricity even during periods when the sun is not shining -- and that is forecast to be cost competitive with conventional generating sources within a few years -- see the TREC site at The TREC site shows a map of North Africa, featuring squares representing the small fraction of land required to supply: Europe, North Africa/Middle East or the entire World with desert generated CSP.

Desert CSP installations, such as those that are now operational in the U.S Southwest and in Spain, deserve consideration for a future that will be characterized by fossil and nuclear energy depletion before dismissing solar generated electricity as impractical and excessively expensive.


An email from Ian McClintock []

I have had a look at the Desertec site which claims that this technology will be "cost competitive with conventional generating sources within a few years". When you look at the costs of producing the power however, they talk about 10 - 20 Euro cents / KWh, which is 18 - 38 cents Australian at today's exchange rate.

Avg. power generation costs (including coal, hydro, gas, oil and other) in Victoria (predominantly from Brown coal) are 2.8 c/KWh, NSW (black coal) 3.9 c/KWh, Qld & SA 3.2 c/KWh. (Retail 18 - 25 c/KWh)

The power generators claim that about 4 c/KWh would be required to finance new coal fired power plants (to be viable).

So at 4c/KWh our power is now 5 to 10 times cheaper than the claimed Desertec production costs. If you have to also store heat to provide for a 24 hour electricity supply, the costs of the power would be significantly higher again. This does not look like a commercially competitive alternative power supply to me.

Meet The Man Who Has Exposed The Great Climate Change Con Trick

An excerpt below from The Spectator, mainstream journal of British conservatism

James Delingpole talks to Professor Ian Plimer, the Australian geologist, whose new book shows that ‘anthropogenic global warming’ is a dangerous, ruinously expensive fiction, a ‘first-world luxury’ with no basis in scientific fact. Shame on the publishers who rejected the book

Imagine how wonderful the world would be if man-made global warming were just a figment of Al Gore’s imagination. No more ugly wind farms to darken our sunlit uplands. No more whopping electricity bills, artificially inflated by EU-imposed carbon taxes. No longer any need to treat each warm, sunny day as though it were some terrible harbinger of ecological doom. And definitely no need for the $7.4 trillion cap and trade (carbon-trading) bill — the largest tax in American history — which President Obama and his cohorts are so assiduously trying to impose on the US economy.

Imagine no more, for your fairy godmother is here. His name is Ian Plimer, Professor of Mining Geology at Adelaide University, and he has recently published the landmark book Heaven And Earth, which is going to change forever the way we think about climate change.

‘The hypothesis that human activity can create global warming is extraordinary because it is contrary to validated knowledge from solar physics, astronomy, history, archaeology and geology,’ says Plimer, and while his thesis is not new, you’re unlikely to have heard it expressed with quite such vigour, certitude or wide-ranging scientific authority. Where fellow sceptics like Bjorn Lomborg or Lord Lawson of Blaby are prepared cautiously to endorse the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) more modest predictions, Plimer will cede no ground whatsoever. Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory, he argues, is the biggest, most dangerous and ruinously expensive con trick in history.

To find out why, let’s meet the good professor. He’s a tanned, rugged, white-haired sixtysomething — courteous and jolly but combative when he needs to be — glowing with the health of a man who spends half his life on field expeditions to Iran, Turkey and his beloved Outback. And he’s sitting in my garden drinking tea on exactly the kind of day the likes of the Guardian’s George Monbiot would probably like to ban. A lovely warm sunny one.

So go on then, Prof. What makes you sure that you’re right and all those scientists out there saying the opposite are wrong? ‘I’m a geologist. We geologists have always recognised that climate changes over time. Where we differ from a lot of people pushing AGW is in our understanding of scale. They’re only interested in the last 150 years. Our time frame is 4,567 million years. So what they’re doing is the equivalent of trying to extrapolate the plot of Casablanca from one tiny bit of the love scene. And you can’t. It doesn’t work.’

What Heaven And Earth sets out to do is restore a sense of scientific perspective to a debate which has been hijacked by ‘politicians, environmental activists and opportunists’. It points out, for example, that polar ice has been present on earth for less than 20 per cent of geological time; that extinctions of life are normal; that climate changes are cyclical and random; that the CO2 in the atmosphere — to which human activity contributes the tiniest fraction — is only 0.001 per cent of the total CO2 held in the oceans, surface rocks, air, soils and life; that CO2 is not a pollutant but a plant food; that the earth’s warmer periods — such as when the Romans grew grapes and citrus trees as far north as Hadrian’s Wall — were times of wealth and plenty.

All this is scientific fact — which is more than you can say for any of the computer models turning out doomsday scenarios about inexorably rising temperatures, sinking islands and collapsing ice shelves. Plimer doesn’t trust them because they seem to have little if any basis in observed reality.

‘I’m a natural scientist. I’m out there every day, buried up to my neck in sh**, collecting raw data. And that’s why I’m so sceptical of these models, which have nothing to do with science or empiricism but are about torturing the data till it finally confesses. None of them predicted this current period we’re in of global cooling. There is no problem with global warming. It stopped in 1998. The last two years of global cooling have erased nearly 30 years of temperature increase.’

Plimer’s uncompromising position has not made him popular. ‘They say I rape cows, eat babies, that I know nothing about anything. My favourite letter was the one that said: “Dear sir, drop dead”. I’ve also had a demo in Sydney outside one of my book launches, and I’ve had mothers coming up to me with two-year-old children in their arms saying: “Don’t you have any kind of morality? This child’s future is being destroyed.’’’ Plimer’s response to the last one is typically robust. ‘If you’re so concerned, why did you breed?’

This no-nonsense approach may owe something to the young Ian’s straitened Sydney upbringing. His father was crippled with MS, leaving his mother to raise three children on a schoolteacher’s wage. ‘We couldn’t afford a TV — not that TV even arrived in Australia till 1956. We’d use the same brown paper bag over and over again for our school lunches, always turn off the lights, not because of some moral imperative but out of sheer bloody necessity.’

One of the things that so irks him about modern environmentalism is that it is driven by people who are ‘too wealthy’. ‘When I try explaining “global warming” to people in Iran or Turkey they have no idea what I’m talking about. Their life is about getting through to the next day, finding their next meal. Eco-guilt is a first-world luxury. It’s the new religion for urban populations which have lost their faith in Christianity. The IPCC report is their Bible. Al Gore and Lord Stern are their prophets.’


If it’s true that “as California goes, so goes the nation,” Americans should be very afraid

While Al Gore ridiculously compares his global warming crusade to the battle against Nazism and Congress hastily debates a behemoth 1,200-page climate change bill, recent news from the test laboratory known as the state of California presages troublesome times ahead for American power consumers.

As a consequence of foolish environmental regulations, California officials express increasing alarm that the state’s renewable energy mandates threaten widespread power shortages in the near future. Blackouts, brownouts, skyrocketing energy bills – take a good look at your possible future, America.

This warning to the rest of America has been almost ten years in the making.

Over the past decade, sanctimonious California lawmakers have imposed increasingly stringent power requirements as part of their broader climate-change agenda. By 2002, legislation required utilities to produce 20% of their power from renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass and geothermal by the year 2010. By 2008, however, only 12% of California’s total electricity derived from such sources, and even this amount is misleading because 60% of that total originated from geothermal plants built long before “green power” became the latest fashion.

Despite these hard realities, California lawmakers actually toughened the state’s already-infeasible benchmarks. Following new laws and executive orders issued in just the past year, California utilities must now generate 33% of their power from renewable sources by the year 2020.

According to a recent report from state energy authorities, this stricter mandate could double the cost of achieving the previous 20% requirement, at a total exceeding $114 billion. In other words, even as California’s economy and fiscal woes reached crisis mode, lawmakers actually exacerbated these self-inflicted wounds.

Blissfully oblivious to the looming collision between reality and environmental utopianism, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proudly proclaimed, “this will be the most aggressive target in the nation.”

The repercussions are already being felt.

State auditors announced that California’s energy mandates pose a “high risk” to the state’s economy, and the California Energy Commission warned of power shortages in 2011 if current trends continue. Energy officials also report that the state will miss its renewable energy targets by five years or more, meaning that these laws may bring all pain and no gain.

The sad reality is that California’s renewable energy mandates, in conjunction with draconian environmental constraints on traditional sources of power, have undermined utilities’ capacity to provide sufficient power to consumers. Very few conventional power plants have been built in recent decades, leading to a classic instance of demand outpacing supply. Additionally, these renewable energy requirements necessitate construction of new transmission lines and facilities connecting power sources to ever-growing California cities. Not only does this impose even more costs upon already-strapped utility providers, but it also triggers the usual parade of new environmental-impact roadblocks, property condemnations, bureaucratic obstacles and other costly requirements.

These converging realities are forcing California to re-learn the lesson that the laws of economics are no more mutable than the laws of gravity. Namely, when you jeopardize power supply at a time of increasing demand, shortages and higher costs inevitably result.

Although California’s reckonings may elicit snickers from those living outside the state, they sound an alarm for every American as Congress prepares to impose similar renewable energy requirements across the country.

With the mammoth Waxman-Markey climate change bill that Congress narrowly passed on June 26, California’s problem may soon become the entire nation’s problem. Under that legislation, all states would be required to generate 15% of their power through renewable sources by the year 2020. What makes this even more alarming is the fact that only 4% of the nation’s electricity currently derives from renewable resources, compared to California’s 12%.

Accordingly, under Waxman-Markey, the United States must somehow quadruple its renewable energy output in just ten years. By commanding the very same sort of unworkable power supply mandates that California imposed, energy shortages and higher utility bills will inevitably result.

This federal effort to do to the nation what state lawmakers have done to California is even more puzzling in light of the fact that scientific and public skepticism toward the environmentalists’ agenda is steadily growing. Just this week, global-averaged satellite temperature data revealed that Earth’s temperature continues to drop. Since 2006, the globe has cooled .74 degrees Fahrenheit, continuing a downward trend since 1998.

Additionally, scientific opinion polls reveal that the American public is increasingly skeptical of climate change alarmism, and hostile toward climate legislation like Waxman-Markey. According to Rasmussen Reports, 56% say they are “unwilling to pay more in taxes and utility costs to generate cleaner energy and fight global warming,” yet this is precisely what Waxman-Markey aims to do. Further, 52% assert that it’s more important to keep energy costs as low as possible than it is to impose environmentalists’ agenda.

As the climate change battle shifts from the House to the Senate, it is therefore critical that Americans learn from California’s example and call their Senators’ offices to express their opposition in no uncertain terms.

Otherwise, California’s problems will soon become the entire nation’s.



India and China need to resist pressure from industrialised countries on the issue of climate change, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday. The developed countries are by far the biggest polluters of the environment since the start of the Industrial Age. Now some of them are asking India, China and other emerging economies to commit themselves to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to curb climate change.

Both countries are unwilling, saying this would hamper their development.

"There is a lot of pressure on India and China on the issue of climate change. We have to resist it. I have put India's views on this before other countries (at the G8-G5 summit in Italy)," the prime minister said while returning from the G8-G5 summit in Italy. "It is also quite clear that as citizens of global economy we have an obligation to do our bit to control emissions. Therefore, all countries have an obligation to depart from business as usual. We are quite alive to the dangers of climate change which is already taking place.

"We recognise our responsibilities by way of mitigation and adaptation. I presented India's climate action plan -- national mission -- and we are willing to do more if there is arrangement to provide additional financial support as well as technology transfers from the developed to the developing countries to ensure clean, sustainable development can really become effective instrument for strengthening strategies for climate change," Manmohan Singh said.

The G8 and G5 countries could not agree on the issue of climate change at the summit. While the G5 wanted the developed (G8) countries to commit to early reduction in emissions, 40 percent by 2020 and over 80 percent by 2050, the G8 countries were ready only to commit for 50 percent emission cuts by 2050. With no consensus being reached on the issue of climate change at the L'Aquila summit, the leaders are hoping that a breakthrough will be made before or during the crucial UN summit on climate change to be held in Copenhagen this December.



When King Canute of lore wanted to teach his citizens a lesson, he set his throne by the seashore and commanded the tides to roll out. Canute's spirit was back in business this week at the G-8 summit in Italy, where the assembled leaders declared that the world's temperature shall not rise: "We recognize the scientific view that the increase in global average temperature above pre-industrial levels ought not to exceed 2 degrees [Celsius]," or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, said the summit declaration. So let it be written, so let it be done. As for how they will achieve this climate-defying feat, well, the leaders were somewhat less definitive: "we will work . . . to identify a global goal for substantially reducing global emissions by 2050."

Translation: Since the heads of the world's leading economies couldn't agree on an actual policy on climate change, they opted instead to command the clouds, the seas and all of the Earth to cool. Or maybe they were finally admitting that this whole climate business is getting too expensive, so let's just throw out a goal that everyone knows is beyond the reach of kings, much less democratic leaders.

The politics of climate change have always been long on apocalyptic rhetoric but short on policy realism. But a global economic crisis does have a way of shearing away illusions about the price people and their leaders, elected or otherwise, are willing to pay in higher taxes, higher prices and economic competitiveness to perhaps make a fractional dent on the temperature.

Concerns about high costs and lost jobs have already threatened or killed carbon-emissions control schemes in enviro-conscious Australia and New Zealand. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, another sunshine environmentalist, insisted on exemptions for German industry, including cement and steel, from last year's EU climate deal, which pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020. Italy engineered its own escape clause, requiring the EU to renegotiate its climate policy after a U.N. climate change summit in Copenhagen later this year. That probably kills the European deal, since China (the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases), India and other developing countries showed this week that they are unlikely to agree to any draconian emissions cuts.

European politicians have been wondrously adept at signing on to climate pacts, like the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which they have no real intention of honoring even as they enjoy taking the political credit. But really binding agreements are becoming harder to reach this time around, thanks to mounting opposition from businesses and labor unions.

Philippe Varin, chief executive of Corus, Europe's second-largest steel producer, told the London Independent in December that the cost of carbon credits and new technologies needed to reduce emissions would destroy European steel production, forcing manufacturers overseas. Poland's Jaroslaw Grzesik of the Solidarity trade union estimated last month that the EU's climate policy would cost 800,000 European jobs. The London-based Open Europe think tank has estimated the climate package would cost European economies over a trillion dollars in the coming decade.

Meanwhile, the supposed economic benefits of "green technologies" are evaporating. In Germany, government subsidies for installing solar panels -- and, it was presumed, thereby creating domestic manufacturing jobs -- backfired when it turned out that it was cheaper to make solar panels in China. A recent paper from Spanish economist Gabriel Calzada Álvarez noted that since Spain started investing in a "green jobs" policy nine years ago, the country has lost 110,500 jobs in other parts of the economy. That amounts to 2.2 jobs lost for every green job created.

European leaders still do pray to the climate gods, and they would love to see the U.S. burden its own industries with the kind of cap-and-tax bill just approved by the House. But even Senate Democrats are getting wise to the political risks they run for tying the economy down with regulatory schemes that America's competitors in Europe and Asia will either flout or ignore.

In the legend of Canute, the king, after failing to stop the rising tide, told the assembled crowd: "Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth and sea obey by eternal laws." If a medieval monarch could draw the right conclusion, how hard can it be for his sophisticated 21st-century successors?



The Population Bomb is one of the founding texts of the modern environmental movement. It popularised neo-Malthusian concerns that current rates population growth would lead to human and environmental disaster, a fear revived every year on the UN's World Population Day (Saturday July 11).

Since its release, The Population Bomb has received aplomb and approbation in more or less equal measure. But writing in the new issue of the Electronic Journal of Sustainable Development, its authors Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich (unnamed co-author of the original book) have few regrets: indeed, they argue that "perhaps the most serious flaw in The [Population] Bomb was that it was much too optimistic about the future".

From global warming and ozone depletion to collapsing fisheries and industrial agriculture, the Ehrlichs say that "the environmental and resource impacts of past and future population growth will haunt humanity for a long time."

But another paper in the new issue of the EJSD suggests that the Ehrlich's doom-and-gloom scenarios are unwarranted. Indur Goklany - co-editor of the EJSD - argues that "despite unprecedented growth in population, affluence, consumption and technological change, human well-being has never been higher."

Reduced hunger and malnutrition, improved access to clean water and sanitation, higher literacy and schooling - all of these things mean that we now live longer and better lives than we did forty years ago - a stark contrast to the scenario painted in the Population Bomb.

Goklany concedes that the record is mixed for the environment - but argues that this justifies more, not less, wealth and technology: "Initially, in the rich countries, affluence and technology worsened environmental quality, but eventually they provided the methods and means for cleaning up the environment... After decades of deterioration, their environment has improved substantially."

The main worry for Goklany and others is that the "policy preferences of some environmentalists and Neo-Malthusians, founded on their skepticism of affluence and technology, would only make progress toward a better quality of life and a more sustainable environment harder. Their fears could become self-fulfilling prophecies."

The above is a press release from the International Policy Network []. For details see HERE


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 is a mirror of this site here.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fraud Exposed: Electric Cars

A government report says reliance on electric cars will do little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and may merely shift our dependence on foreign sources from one set of dictators to another.

It's a beautiful theory highways full of electric cars emitting no greenhouse gases or pollutants after being plugged into an outlet in our garages overnight. The problem, according to a new Government Accountability Office report, is that the effort may only shift the problem somewhere else. "If you are using coal-fired power plants, and half the country's electricity comes from coal-powered plants, are you just trading one greenhouse gas emitter for another?" asks Mark Gaffigan, co-author of the GAO report. The report itself notes: "Reductions in CO2 emissions depend on generating electricity used to charge the vehicles from lower-emission sources of energy."

The GAO report says a plug-in compact car, if recharged at an outlet drawing its power from coal, provides a carbon dioxide savings of only 4% to 5%. If the feeling of saving the environment from driving an electric car causes people to drive more, that small amount of savings vanishes entirely.

It's much the same effect we saw when the Corporate Fuel Economy Standards were passed in the '70s. Aside from forcing us into less-safe downsized vehicles that increased highway fatalities, the promise of more miles per gallon caused people to drive more miles. The promised energy independence never materialized as we imported more foreign oil than ever before.

Okay, so how about a zero-emission source of electricity nuclear power? The administration has done little to promote it beyond lip service. The administration recently killed the safest place on the planet to store what is erroneously called nuclear waste at the nuclear repository that was being built at Yucca Mountain, Nev. This "waste" is in the form of spent fuel rods the French and others have safely stored and reprocessed. These rods still contain most of their original energy and reprocessing them makes nuclear power renewable as well as pollution-free. The French get 80% of their electricity from nukes, and nobody in Paris glows in the dark.

They will have a place to plug in their electric cars, but right now we don't. The government is promoting solar and wind, which is fine if the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. Both have their own environmental drawbacks. Both require huge amounts of land. Wind turbines tend to slice and dice birds, including endangered species. Solar panels of the size that might be competitive require huge amounts of water to clean. Water is a rare commodity in the areas the sun shines most the arid land of the West and Southwest.

There are the hazards of the cars themselves. We don't yet fully comprehend the hazards to drivers, passengers and first responders after, say, a collision between an electric clown car and an 18-wheeler. Then there's a whole new problem of disposing of a new generation of batteries using lithium.

As for the lithium, Bolivia, under the thumb of its leftist leader Evo Morales, has about half the world's proven reserves. "The United States has supplies of lithium, but if demand for lithium exceeded domestic supplies," warns the GAO, "the U.S. could substitute reliance on one foreign source (oil) for another (lithium)."

Then there are environmental consequences. Just as coal and oil must be extracted from the earth, so must lithium. "Extracting lithium from locations where it is abundant, such as South America, could pose environmental challenges that would damage the ecosystem in this area."

While advertised as "zero emission," electric cars have their own set of issues. As physicist Amory Lovins once put it, "Zero-emission vehicles are actually 'elsewhere-emission' vehicles."


The "Greenest" wheels yet

Designed in Germany but made in China. Hint! Read the license plate

This is not a toy, not a concept car. It is a newly developed single seat car in highly aerodynamic tear-shape road-proven real car. It is ready to be launched as a single-seater for sale in Shanghai in 2010 for a mere RMB 4,000 (US$600)!

Interested? Wait till you learn that it will cruise at 100-120 Km/Hr with an unbelievable 0..99litre/100Km (258 miles/gallon)!!

Impressed? Totally, after you have read all the details below about the hi-tech and space-age material input into this car !!! The Most Economic Car in the World will be on sale next year

More HERE (This story has been around for a while and has not yet pissed on it so maybe it is for real)

G-8 a bust for climate accord

As I predicted yesterday, the G-8 meeting finally reached a climate-control accord, but one with almost no meaning at all, as the developing nations laughed off suggestions that they hamstring their growing economies. Instead of agreeing to cap carbon emissions or commit to industrial limits on energy use, the Western nations instead opted to pledge not to make the Earth warmer:

The world’s leading industrial nations tentatively agreed Wednesday to try to prevent global temperatures from rising above a fixed level, after a more far-reaching proposal to slash production of greenhouse gases fizzled, according to U.S. and European negotiators.

Leaders meeting here for the Group of Eight summit said they would pledge to keep temperatures from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above average levels of more than a century ago, before large-scale industrial pollution occurred.

Temperatures have already risen by nearly half that amount, leaving little wiggle room. It was unclear what mechanisms, if any, would be adopted to enforce the target. Some environmental groups saw the announcement as a weak nod at the obvious.

What does this mean? Absolutely nothing. It allows the leaders of the G-8 nations to brag about reaching an agreement that literally binds them to do nothing at all. With temperatures decreasing since 1998’s peak even by the earlier, flawed NASA study, the issue could just as easily be moot.

The environmental groups that had hoped for the imposition of draconian limits on industry struggled to respond to the non-event. Greenpeace didn’t bother to hide its scorn, expressing its disappointment in the “limited” result. The Sierra Club lauded the “symbolic” nature of the agreement. No one pretended that this changed anything at all.

In fact, the G-8 showered disappointment in all directions. The leaders of the free nations made sure to express its “impatience” with Iran over its nuclear program, and to scold the mullahs for the crackdown on protesters following its rigged presidential election. However, they couldn’t quite bring themselves to expand the sanctions on Iran for either of those two issues.

Talk, talk, talk. Blather, blather, blather. They could have reduced the temperature in L’Aquila, Italy, by avoiding the emissions of the empty gas of their rhetoric.


Senate punts 'cap and trade' until after recess

The Senate pushed back consideration of a sweeping climate change bill until after the August recess in Congress.

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) announced that she'd pushed back her self-imposed deadline to pass cap-and-trade legislation that squeaked through the House in late June.

Boxer said senators would take up the legislation "as soon as we get back" from the August recess, according to Reuters. She said she's "not a bit" worried the Senate will be able to complete and vote on a bill this year, however.

Boxer also acknowledged that the intense focus in the Senate on healthcare has detracted from her ability to craft a climate change bill to complement the House bill. "A lot of our colleagues are on the health committee," she said. "It's been difficult."

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), the ranking Republican on the committee and a noted global warming skeptic, suggested that it was political opposition, not timing, that spurred the delay. "There is no question that the American public flatly rejected the House ramming through legislation that would have devastating impacts on American consumers," Inhofe said in a statement. "So with this delay, the public should expect more arm-twisting and backroom deals — or, in other words, more business as usual in Washington."


Overcoming the Next Ice Age

The most interesting application for climate geo-engineering might be to overcome the next ice age. Milankovich astronomical theory and also the experience of the last 2 million years suggest that the current interglacial period (Holocene) will soon come to an end and that the earth will soon enter into another glaciation. Alarms of an imminent ice age have been raised from time to time, for example in the 1970s after a prolonged period of climate cooling, and even more recently as the climate cooled slightly in the past few years. One needs to distinguish, however, between a Little Ice Age that may be part of a more-or-less regular 1,500-year cycle (and likely related to solar activity) and a true ice age that relates to a change in solar irradiance brought about by changes in earth’s orbit, axis inclination and precession.

Not everyone agrees that such a Milankovich glaciation is imminent. For example, Andre Berger et al believe it might be as much as 40,000 years away. In any case, everyone agrees that a glaciation would bring about unprecedented hardship to the world, including crop failures, starvation – and wipe out much of the earth’s human population.

The accepted mechanism for the initiation for a glaciation is the survival of a snow field at high northern latitudes during the summer, with feedback (due to increased albedo and cooling) enlarging the snow and ice area gradually over the years to cover much of the Northern Hemisphere. This effect may be the ‘Achilles heel’ of glaciation. Can it be stopped before it spreads?

The geo-engineering task would consist of three phases: (1) a more detailed studied of the Milankovich glaciation mechanism; (2) setting up a protocol for satellite search for surviving snowfields; (3) field experiments with soot dispersal to decrease the albedo and cause the disappearance of snowfields so they absorb solar radiation instead of reflecting it.

1. A search of climate literature suggests that the sensitive region for initiation of an ice age is in the vicinity of 56 deg North latitude, which would place it into Canada, Scandinavia, or Siberia. The coldest areas in these regions are likely to be at the higher altitudes, which narrows the search to particular locations. Since the initiation mechanism depends on the survival of high-albedo snowfields throughout the whole summer, one can search existing data sources for such locations and define others where the duration of a high-albedo snowfield might extend well into the summer before melting. It may turn out that the initiation mechanism is more complicated and depends on being “kicked-off” by a century or even a decades-long period (like a Little Ice Age) -- or perhaps even by a major volcanic eruption like the one that led to the very cold summer of 1816 – that promotes the survival of the initiating snowfield.

2. Once the likely locations are defined, one can set up a protocol whereby weather satellites can routinely observe and track the albedo in these regions, locate snow fields that survive during the summer and expand from year to year -- and alert decision makers on the possibility of an ice-age initiation. This task seems fairly routine and could be initiated with existing resources.

3. Finally one would like to demonstrate the feasibility of artificially melting and removing a snowfield. This task would investigate the technical resources needed and define the details and costs of such an operation. One possibility that comes to mind will be to use “crop-duster” planes to distribute soot material over the snow field and observe the rate of melting, comparing it to what would be expected from theory. Such field experiments could be usefully conducted while the other parts of the project are proceeding.

The end result would be to demonstrate a reliable means of overcoming the initiation of a future ice age. The geo-engineering operation of removing the high-albedo snow fields might have to be done year after year until the astronomical conditions change sufficiently so that the sun itself could operate to remove the possibility of an ice age.

SOURCE (SEPP Science Editorial #21-2009)

Gallup survey found global warming ranked dead last in the U.S. among ENVIRONMENTAL issues

The folks behind World Water Day -- a largely U.N.-sponsored effort to focus attention on freshwater resource management, observed this past Sunday -- may be on to something. Pollution of drinking water is Americans' No. 1 environmental concern, with 59% saying they worry "a great deal" about the issue. That exceeds the 45% worried about air pollution, the 42% worried about the loss of tropical rain forests, and lower levels worried about extinction of species and global warming.

All eight issues tested in the 2009 Gallup Environment survey, conducted March 5-8, appear to be important to Americans, evidenced by the finding that a majority of Americans say they worry at least a fair amount about each one. However, on the basis of substantial concern -- that is, the percentage worrying "a great deal" about each -- there are important distinctions among them.

The four water-related issues on the poll fill the top four spots in this year's ranking. In addition to worrying about pollution of drinking water, roughly half of Americans also express a high degree of worry about pollution of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs (52% worry a great deal about this), and water and soil contamination from toxic waste (52%). About half worry about the maintenance of the nation's supply of fresh water for household needs (49%).

Air pollution places fifth among the environmental problems rated this year; 45% are worried a great deal about it. That issue is closely followed by the loss of tropical rain forests, with 42% -- although significantly more Americans say they worry little or not at all about rain forests than say this about air pollution (32% vs. 24%).

Extinction of plant and animal species and global warming are of great concern to just over a third of Americans. However, since more Americans express little to no worry about global warming than say this about extinction, global warming is clearly the environmental issue of least concern to them. In fact, global warming is the only issue for which more Americans say they have little to no concern than say they have a great deal of concern.


Another Meteorlogist Dissents: 'Does carbon dioxide drive the climate? The answer is no!'‏

Chief Meteorologist David Paul, a holder of the AMS (American Meteorological Society) Seal of Approval and the upgraded AMS CBM (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) holds a degree in meteorology and is currently at Louisiana’s KLFY TV10, dissented from man-made global warming fears in July 2009.

“Is there a climate crisis? I say, absolutely not!” Paul wrote in a July 8, 2009 article on KLFY TV 10’s website. “Does carbon dioxide drive the climate? The answer is no! Natural cycles play a much bigger role with the sun at the top of the list,” Paul explained. “There's much more driving the climate than carbon dioxide. There are so many variables at work, known and unknown, that not a single person, or computer model, can predict the future climate for sure,” Paul wrote.

“Then there's El Nino Southern Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation, the Arctic Oscillation, the Pacific-North American Teleconnection, Milankovitch forcing, ocean variations, and so on and so forth. Is there any way to model all these variables? Again, the answer is no! The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, has tried and failed!” Paul added.

Just know this; climate change has occurred in the past, is occurring now, and will occur in the future. Trying to pinpoint that change on carbon emissions and human really a stretch.

“Since before the industrial revolution the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been rising, up to around 385 parts per million by volume today. That amounts to a miniscule 0.0385% of the atmosphere. Increased CO2 levels are beneficial to plants since they require carbon dioxide to grow. In this experiment, plants exposed to CO2 levels of 1,090 parts per million by volume by far exhibited the most growth,” Paul wrote.

“As a forecaster I'll tell you this. Forecasting in the short-term is fairly accurate compared to forecasting long-term. So if these climate models are so far off already, there's really little chance of them being right further out.



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Friday, July 10, 2009

More Greenie nonsense: Global warming shrinks Greenland glacier

Since there has been no global warming since 1998, the explanation given is not just speculative but obviously false. Greenland glaciers are however known to be responsive to changes in the surrounding ocean currents

One of the world's largest glaciers, on the west coast of Greenland, is shrinking at an alarming rate as a result of global warming - with potentially dire consequences. Ilulissat, a UNESCO-listed glacier, is shedding ice into the sea faster than ever before, according to one of Denmark's top experts on glaciology. Andreas Peter Ahlstroem, a researcher with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland institute, said the glacier has receded by more than 10 miles (15 km) since 2001.

The Ilulissat glacier and icefjord have been on UNESCO's world heritage list since 2004 and it is the most visited site in Greenland. Its ice and pools of emerald-blue water are admired by tourists and studied by scientists and politicians around the world.

The Danish government chose Ilulissat as the venue for recent talks with some 30 countries to discuss ways to slow global warming - a place that Shfaqat Abbas Khan, a glacier expert from the Danish Space Centre, describes as the "most visible and striking example of climate change." The glacier is the most active in the northern hemisphere, producing 85 million tonnes of icebergs per day, according to Mr Khan.

He has been studying Ilulissat using satellites, GPS or through his own visits to the area and says December's UN climate change conference in the Danish capital of Copenhagen may come too late to save the glacier. "A lot of glaciers in Greenland are melting at more or less the same pace and even with an ambitious agreement at the summit ... it will be impossible to stop this," Mr Khan said.

The melting ice is both a consequence and a cause of global warming: ice reflects heat, as opposed to water which absorbs it and warms up the climate, thus causing more glaciers and snow to melt. Khan explained that Ilulissat is losing more than 30 cubic kms (seven cubic miles) of ice a year, compared to 10 cubic kilometres in 2000 and just five in 1992. "We should aim to at least reduce CO2 emissions and limit the damage done," he said.


Solar update: Sun still quiet

An email from James Marusek []

The sun is still quiet. As of the end of June the cumulative number of spotless days (days without sunspots) now stands at 651 days. The minimum leading up to the "old solar cycles" (SC 10-15) averaged 797 spotless days.

The Ap index is a proxy measurement for the intensity of solar magnetic activity as it alters the geomagnetic field on Earth. It has been referred to as the common yardstick for solar magnetic activity. The Ap Index for the month June was "4". An Ap index of "4" is the lowest recorded number since measurements began in January 1932.

The monthly Ap index beginning in November 2008 have been three months at "4", then two months at "5" followed by another three months at "4". Magnetically, the sun has shown very little signs of waking up.

Existing climate models are based on guesswork about the effects of soot

As the recent journal article below points out

In-situ measurements of the mixing state and optical properties of soot with implications for radiative forcing estimates

By Ryan C. Moffeta and Kimberly A. Pratherb


Our ability to predict how global temperatures will change in the future is currently limited by the large uncertainties associated with aerosols. Soot aerosols represent a major research focus as they influence climate by absorbing incoming solar radiation resulting in a highly uncertain warming effect. The uncertainty stems from the fact that the actual amount soot warms our atmosphere strongly depends on the manner and degree in which it is mixed with other species, a property referred to as mixing state. In global models and inferences from atmospheric heating measurements, soot radiative forcing estimates currently differ by a factor of 6, ranging between 0.2–1.2 W/m2, making soot second only to CO2 in terms of global warming potential. This article reports coupled in situ measurements of the size-resolved mixing state, optical properties, and aging timescales for soot particles. Fresh fractal soot particles dominate the measured absorption during peak traffic periods (6–9 AM local time). Immediately after sunrise, soot particles begin to age by developing a coating of secondary species including sulfate, ammonium, organics, nitrate, and water. Based on these direct measurements, the core-shell arrangement results in a maximum absorption enhancement of 1.6× over fresh soot. These atmospheric observations help explain the larger values for soot forcing measured by others and will be used to obtain closure in optical property measurements to reduce one of the largest remaining uncertainties in climate change.



The economic reality of climate-change policy is sinking in at last

Climate change is set to figure prominently in this week's Group of Eight summit in Italy, but take any pronouncements about greenhouse-gas emissions targets with a grain of salt. While leaders may still think it's good politics to sing from the green hymnal, other realities are finally starting to sink in, especially in Old Europe. To wit: Restrictions on greenhouse-gas emissions involve huge costs for uncertain gains and are just what economies in recession don't need.

Concerns about high costs and lost jobs have already threatened carbon-emissions control plans in Australia and New Zealand, and to make sure cap-and-trade would pass in the U.S. House of Representatives, supporters had to push through the legislation before anyone could read it. The fraying of the anti-carbon consensus in Western Europe is especially striking. Polls consistently show that voters in most Western European countries support attempts to ameliorate climate change, at least in the abstract. The EU implemented a cap-and-trade Emissions Trading Scheme in 2005.

But that enthusiasm may be reaching its limit. Governments in industry-heavy countries are now less willing to sacrifice jobs for cooler temperatures. Germany's generally environmentalist Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted on exemptions for her country's industry from December's EU climate package, which pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2020. Germany also plans to build several dozen coal-fired power plants in the next few years.

Italy insisted on a clause in the December climate deal that requires the EU to renegotiate its climate policy after the United Nations summit in Copenhagen later this year. That amounts to a veto since China and India aren't expected to sign up for aggressive emissions targets; any renegotiated EU deal is likely to contain even more loopholes and exemptions to keep from denting European competitiveness.

Just as telling, Europe has been at best half-hearted in meeting its emissions-reduction targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. To the extent Europe appears on track to meet its targets, it's largely because warmer weather and higher market prices for energy have driven consumption down.

Credit a deteriorating economy for this about-face. Businesses and unions finally are starting to speak out against intrusive and expensive emissions regulations. In December, Phillipe Varin, chief executive of Corus, Europe's second-largest steel producer, told the London Independent that the cost of carbon credits and new technologies needed to reduce emissions would destroy European steel production, forcing manufacturing overseas.

Jaroslaw Grzesik, deputy head of energy at Poland's Solidarity trade union said last month that the union estimated the EU's climate policy would cost 800,000 European jobs. Before the December negotiations, the London-based think tank Open Europe estimated the EU climate package would cost governments, businesses and householders in the EU-25 more than €73 billion ($102 billion) a year until 2020. No wonder leaders decided to water it down.

Meanwhile, the supposed economic benefits of climate-change amelioration are evaporating. In Germany, government subsidies for installing solar panels -- and, it was presumed, thereby creating domestic manufacturing jobs -- backfired when it turned out that it was cheaper to make solar panels in China. A recent paper by Gabriel Calzada Álvarez, an economics professor at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, said that since Spain starting investing in "green jobs" policies in 2000, the country has lost 110,500 jobs in other parts of the economy. That amounts to 2.2 jobs lost for every new "green job" created.

This has politicians worried. They might have been willing to sacrifice a few jobs when they signed Kyoto in 1997. But economic times were flush then. Now a global slowdown is forcing a rethink on whether emissions control is worth the cost. With the scientific debate about the causes, effects and solutions of climate change growing more vigorous, that's a question worth asking.

Despite all the backtracking in practice, climate rhetoric is still alive and well. Sweden, which assumed the EU presidency last week, promises more action on emissions control. Gordon Brown, Nicolas Sarkozy and other leaders continue to talk a good game. Mr. Brown has even proposed a $100 billion-a-year fund to help countries like China and India clean up their emissions acts. Good luck getting that passed in the current fiscal and economic environment.

In other words, Western European leaders are the latest to discover that climate-change talk is cheap, but carbon-emissions regulation is expensive. That might be bad news for green activists, but it's very good news for Europeans worried about their jobs and their economy.



The world's major economies will not strike a deal on climate protection at the September meeting of the Group of 20, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday.

"There won't be a breakthrough on climate, but there will certainly be talks on the sidelines of Pittsburgh. It's the last direct opportunity for heads of states to meet up," Merkel told reporters after a meeting of the Group of Eight industrialized nations and the Group of Five emerging economies. "The issue won't be solved in Pittsburgh, it will only be carried forward."

An agreement by big industrialized countries on medium-term targets to reduce greenhouse gas emission is possible by the end of the year in time for the climate change conference in Copenhagen, she said.

"I believe we can succeed to have medium-term targets in the industrialized nations by the end of the year," Merkel said. "They might not always be corresponding, but we have a timeframe until 2050."



So all the “Gs” gathered in Italy this week appear to be floundering in their efforts to craft some sort of meaningful deal on climate change. Rich countries agreed to far-off, ambitious targets on emissions reductions, but shuddered at any more immediate commitments. Developing countries basically punted altogether. None of that bodes well at all for the year-end climate confab in Denmark.

Here’s a thought: What if, instead of putting so much energy into global conferences and far-off targets, countries rich and poor put their efforts into actually cleaning up their economies now? That’s the thrust behind a new paper from academics at Oxford University and the London School of Economics, “How To Get Climate Policy Back on Course.” Among the authors are a couple of familiar names—British professor and longtime Kyoto critic Gwyn Prins and U.S. political scientist and critic of current climate policy Roger Pielke, Jr.

The upshot: Current climate policy, exemplified by the Kyoto Protocol and its likely successor, has failed. Emissions targets are unenforceable and usually tough for signatories to meet. By leaving out developing countries, Kyoto may have even been counterproductive.

Real progress on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions will be easier—and crucially, cheaper—if the world focuses less on headline-grabbing targets and more on doing what it’s done for the last two centuries. That is, steadily decarbonizing the energy system by using cleaner forms of energy, more efficient industrial processes, and the like.

The authors point to Japan’s much-maligned strategy of making its economy more energy-efficient—rather than pledging European-style cuts–as the best way to curb emissions. The biggest benefit is that making the energy and industrial sectors more efficient saves money. That should appeal to rich and poor countries alike, the authors say, and even global-warming skeptics.

So how to get there? A modest carbon tax which would finance more government investment in clean technology, the authors propose, citing the technophiles at the Breakthrough Institute: “The core argument of the Breakthrough Institute is an elementary political truth, namely that clean energy will only advance radically when it is made cheaper than dirty energy at point-of-use by the consumer.”


Chicago has its coolest July 8 in 118 years

For the 12th time this meteorological summer (since June 1), daytime highs failed to reach 70 degrees Wednesday. Only one other year in the past half century has hosted so many sub-70-degree days up to this point in a summer season -- 1969, when 14 such days occurred.

Wednesday's paltry 65-degree high at O'Hare International Airport (an early-May-level temperature and a reading 18 degrees below normal) was also the city's coolest July 8 high in 118 years -- since a 61-degree high on the date in 1891.



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Warmist critic of vituperative gibberish engages in vituperative gibberish

Below are some comments from the original moonbat himself. He accuses climate skeptics of vituperative gibberish. But what is his article if it is not vituperative? I can see no mention of any single scientific fact in it. It is all abuse: "native idiocy", "infantile blathering" etc. And, as for "gibberish", his paranoid ravings that his critics are "astroturfers" (i.e. in the pay of "big oil" and the like) ignores all the eminent retired and tenured climate scientists (Singer, Lindzen, Kininmonth etc.) who need no pay from anyone to point out that global warming stopped more than 10 years ago. And paranoia is a type of madness, madness that often produces "gibberish" such as Monbiot's

On the Guardian's environment site in particular, and to a lesser extent on threads across the Guardian's output, considered discussion is being drowned in a tide of vituperative gibberish. A few hundred commenters appear to be engaged in a competition to reach the outer limits of stupidity. They post so often and shout so loudly that intelligent debate appears to have fled from many threads, as other posters have simply given up in disgust. I've now reached the point at which I can't be bothered to read beyond the first page or so of comments. It is simply too depressing.

The pattern, where environmental issues are concerned, is always the same. You can raise any issue you like, introduce a dossier of new information, deploy a novel argument, drop a shocking revelation. The comments which follow appear almost to have been pre-written. Whether or not you mentioned it, large numbers will concentrate on climate change – or rather on denying its existence. Another tranche will concentrate on attacking the parentage and lifestyle of the author. Very few address the substance of the article.

I believe that much of this is native idiocy: the infantile blathering of people who have no idea how to engage in debate. Many of the posters appear to have fallen for the nonsense produced by professional climate change deniers, and to have adopted their rhetoric and methods. But it is implausible to suppose that this is all that's going on. As I documented extensively in my book Heat, and as sites like DeSmogBlog and Exxonsecrets show, there is a large and well-funded campaign by oil, coal and electricity companies to insert their views into the media.

They have two main modes of operating: paying people to masquerade as independent experts, and paying people to masquerade as members of the public. These fake "concerned citizens" claim to be worried about a conspiracy by governments and scientists to raise taxes and restrict their freedoms in the name of tackling a non-existent issue. This tactic is called astroturfing. It's a well-trodden technique, also deployed extensively by the tobacco industry. You pay a public relations company to create a fake grassroots (astroturf) movement, composed of people who are paid for their services. They lobby against government attempts to regulate the industry and seek to drown out and discredit people who draw attention to the issues the corporations want the public to ignore.

Considering the lengths to which these companies have gone to insert themselves into publications where there is a risk of exposure, it is inconceivable that they are not making use of the Guardian's threads, where they are protected by the posters' anonymity. Some of the commenters on these threads have been paid to disseminate their nonsense, but we have no means, under the current system, of knowing which ones they are.

Two months ago I read some comments by a person using the moniker scunnered52, whose tone and content reminded me of material published by professional deniers. I called him out, asking "Is my suspicion correct? How about providing a verifiable identity to lay this concern to rest?" I repeated my challenge in another thread. He used distraction and avoidance in his replies, but would not answer or even address my question, which gave me the strong impression that my suspicion was correct.

So what should we do to prevent these threads from becoming the plaything of undisclosed corporate interests? My view is that everyone should be free to say whatever they want. I have never asked for a comment to be removed, nor will I do so. I believe that the threads should be unmoderated, except to protect the Guardian from Britain's ridiculous libel laws. But I also believe that everyone who comments here should be accountable: in other words that the rest of us should be able to see who they are. By hiding behind pseudonyms, commenters here are exposed to no danger of damaging their reputations by spouting nonsense. Astroturfers can adopt any number of identities, perhaps posting under different names in the same thread. We have no idea whether we are reading genuine views or corporate propaganda. There is also an asymmetry here: you know who I am; in fact some people on these threads seem to know more about me than I do. But I have no idea who I am arguing with.

Some people object that verifiable identities could expose posters to the risk of being traced and attacked. This is nonsense. I make no secret of my whereabouts and attract more controversy than almost anyone on these pages, but I have never felt at risk, even when, during the first few months of the Iraq war, I received emails threatening to kill, torture and mutilate me almost every day. For all the huffing and puffing in cyberspace, people simply don't care enough to take it into the real world.

So how could it best be done? Amazon prevents people from reviewing their own work by taking credit card numbers from anyone who wants to post. Is this the right way to go, or is there a better way of doing it? What do you think?


British Greenie academics say it's time to ditch "cap and trade" climate policies

Just when everyone has decided that "cap and trade" is the holy grail! What a nasty spanner in the works!

An international group of academics is urging world leaders to abandon their current policies on climate change. The authors of How to Get Climate Policy Back on Course say the strategy based on overall emissions cuts has failed and will continue to fail. They want G8 nations and emerging economies to focus on an approach based on improving energy efficiency and decarbonising energy supply. Critics of the report's recommendations say they are a dangerous diversion.

The report is published by the London School of Economics' (LSE) Mackinder Programme and the University of Oxford's Institute for Science, Innovation & Society. LSE Mackinder programme director Gwyn Prins said the current system of attempting to cap carbon emissions then allow trading in emissions permits had led to emissions continuing to rise. He said world proposals to expand carbon trading schemes and channel billions of dollars into clean energy technologies would not work. "The world has been recarbonising, not decarbonising," Professor Prins said.

"The evidence is that the Kyoto Protocol and its underlying approach have had and are having no meaningful effect whatsoever. "Worthwhile policy builds upon what we know works and upon what is feasible rather than trying to deploy never-before implemented policies through complex institutions requiring a hitherto unprecedented and never achieved degree of global political alignment."

The report has drawn an angry response from some environmentalists, who acknowledge the problems it highlights but fear that the solutions it proposes will not work. Tom Burke, from Imperial College London and a former government adviser, said: "The authors are right to be concerned about the lack of urgency in the political response to climate change. "They are also right to identify significant weaknesses in the major policy instrument currently being negotiated. "But nothing could be more harmful than to propose that the world stop what it is doing on climate change and start again working in a different way," Professor Burke contested.

"This is neither practical nor analytically defensible - and it seems to have been born more out of frustration than understanding of the nature of the political processes involved. "This is a far more complex, and urgent, diplomatic task than the strategic arms control negotiations and will require an even more sophisticated and multi-channel approach to its solution. Stop-go is not sophisticated."

G8 leaders will discuss climate change on Wednesday before joining leaders of emerging economies on Thursday for a meeting chaired by President Obama.



A target set by the G8 for developed countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 is unacceptable for Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev's top economic aide said Wednesday. "For us the 80 percent figure is unacceptable and likely unattainable," Arkady Dvorkovich told reporters. "We won't sacrifice economic growth for the sake of emission reduction," he added.

Dvorkovich declined however to unveil Russia's precise targets, saying that releasing them would be premature. Dvorkovich also said there was no consensus by which year emissions would have to be reduced. "This question is a mystery for everyone," he said. "The calculations are being done. There are different scenarios," he said, adding they ranged from 20 percent to 60 percent by 2050.

"Discussions on climate are of political nature and are sensitive for everyone," said the aide, within hours of his boss Medvedev apparently signing up to the deal. "There remains a lot of questions. No one wants to sacrifice their economic growth."

The Russian official was speaking on the margins of a three-day Group of Eight summit in the earthquake-shattered Italian town of L'Aquila. G8 leaders agreed on the summit's opening day Wednesday to bear the brunt of steep global cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, agreeing to cut overall world emissions by 50 percent by 2050. At the same time they called on a broader bloc of developed countries to reduce pollution by 80 percent by the same year.

Medvedev's top economic aide also said the target to reduce emissions by 80 percent as compared to 1990 reflected the position of the European Commission but not the G8 as a whole.

Major developed and developing economies face mounting pressure to make ambitious commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions with the clock ticking ahead of the key Copenhagen climate change meeting to set international targets. "We still have the time to agree our positions before Copenhagan," Dvorkovich said.


No More Green Guilt

Every investment prospectus warns that “past performance is no guarantee of future results.” But suppose that an investment professional’s record contains nothing but losses, of failed prediction after failed prediction. Who would still entrust that investor with his money?

Yet, in public policy there is one group with a dismal track record that Americans never seem to tire of supporting. We invest heavily in its spurious predictions, suffer devastating losses, and react by investing even more, never seeming to learn from the experience. The group I’m talking about is the environmentalist movement.

Consider their track record—like the dire warnings of catastrophic over-population. Our unchecked consumption, we were told, was depleting the earth’s resources and would wipe humanity out in a massive population crash. Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 bestseller, The Population Bomb, forecasted hundreds of millions of deaths per year throughout the 1970s, to be averted, he insisted, only by mass population control “by compulsion if voluntary methods fail.”

But instead of global-scale famine and death, the 1970s witnessed an agricultural revolution. Despite a near-doubling of world population, food production continues to grow as technological innovation creates more and more food on each acre of farmland. The U.S., which has seen its population grow from 200 to 300 million, is more concerned about rampant obesity than a shortage of food.

The Alar scare in 1989 is another great example. The NRDC, an environmentalist lobby group, engineered media frenzy over the baseless assertion that Alar, an apple ripening agent, posed a cancer threat. The ensuing panic cost the apple industry over $200 million dollars, and Alar was pulled from the market even though it was a perfectly safe and value-adding product.

Or consider the campaign against the insecticide DDT, beginning with Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring. The world had been on the brink of eradicating malaria using DDT—but for Carson and her followers, controlling disease-carrying mosquitoes was an arrogant act of “tampering” with nature. Carson issued dire warnings that nature was “capable of striking back in unexpected ways” unless people showed more “humility before [its] vast forces.” She asserted, baselessly, that among other things DDT would cause a cancer epidemic. Her book led to such a public outcry that, despite its life-saving benefits and mountains of scientific evidence supporting its continued use, DDT was banned in the United States in 1972. Thanks to environmentalist opposition, DDT was almost completely phased out worldwide. And while there is still zero evidence of a DDT cancer risk, the resurgence of malaria needlessly kills over a million people a year.

Time and time again, the supposedly scientific claims of environmentalists have proven to be pseudo-scientific nonsense, and the Ehrlichs and Carsons of the world have proven to be the Bernard Madoffs of science. Yet Americans have ignored the evidence and have instead invested in their claims—accepting the blame for unproven disasters and backing coercive, harmful “solutions.”

Today, of course, the Green doomsday prediction is for catastrophic global warming to destroy the planet—something that environmentalists have pushed since at least the early 1970s, when they were also worried about a possible global cooling shifting the planet into a new ice age.

But in this instance, just as with Alar, DDT, and the population explosion, the science is weak and the “solutions” drastic. We are told that global warming is occurring at an accelerating rate, yet global temperatures have been flat for the last decade. We are told that global warming is causing more frequent and intense hurricanes, yet the data doesn’t support such a claim. We are warned of a potentially catastrophic sea level rise of 20 feet over the next century, but that requires significant melting of the land-based ice in Antarctica and Greenland. Greenland has retained its ice sheet for over 100,000 years despite wide-ranging temperatures and Antarctica has been cooling moderately for the last half-century.

Through these distortions of science we are again being harangued to support coercive policies. We are told that our energy consumption is destroying the planet and that we must drastically reduce our carbon emissions immediately. Never mind that energy use is an indispensable component of everything we do, that 85 percent of the world’s energy is carbon-based, or that there are no realistic, abundant alternatives available any time soon, and that billions of people are suffering today from lack of energy.

Despite all of that, Americans seem to once again be moving closer to buying the Green investment pitch and backing destructive Green policies. Why don’t we learn from past experience? Do you think a former Madoff investor would hand over money to him again?

It’s not that we’re too stupid to learn, it’s that we are holding onto a premise that distorts our understanding of reality. Americans are the most successful individuals in history – even in spite of this economic downturn – in terms of material wealth and the quality of life and happiness it brings. We are heirs to the scientific and industrial revolutions, which have increased life expectancy from 30 years to 80 and improved human life in countless, extraordinary ways. Through our ingenuity and productive effort, we have achieved an unprecedented prosperity by reshaping nature to serve our needs. Yet we have always regarded this productivity and prosperity with a certain degree of moral suspicion. The Judeo-Christian ethic of guilt and self-sacrifice leads us to doubt the propriety of our success and makes us susceptible to claims that we will ultimately face punishment for our selfishness–that our prosperity is sinful and can lead only to an apocalyptic judgment day.

Environmentalism preys on our moral unease and fishes around for doomsday scenarios. If our ever-increasing population or life-enhancing chemicals have not brought about the apocalypse, then it must be our use of fossil fuels that will. Despite the colossal failures of past Green predictions, we buy into the latest doomsday scare because, on some level, we have accepted an undeserved guilt. We lack the moral self-assertiveness to regard our own success as virtuous; we think we deserve punishment.

It is time to stop apologizing for prosperity. We must reject the unwarranted fears spread by Green ideology by rejecting unearned guilt. Instead of meekly accepting condemnation for our capacity to live, we should proudly embrace our unparalleled ability to alter nature for our own benefit as the highest of virtues.

Let’s stop wallowing in Green guilt. It’s time to recapture our Founding Fathers’ admiration for the pursuit of each individual’s own happiness.



Wild sheep on a remote Scottish island are shrinking, and new research suggests that they're global warming's latest warning. But is climate change really to blame for the dip in this mouton célébré's size?

According to Tim Coulson and colleagues at Imperial College London, Soay sheep on the Outer Hebridean island of Hirta shrank by two kilos over the 25-year long study. And it's not because they've discovered the Atkins diet: Professor Coulson says that climate change is shortening Europe's harsh winters, allowing the puny sheep that would normally perish in the cold to survive. 'The Soay sheep provides another example of how far-reaching and unpredictable the effects of climate change can be', he remarks in the Times.

While there's no doubt that Europe's winters have become markedly warmer since the '70s, allowing the sheep to shrink, not all scientists are as sure as Professor Coulson that climate change is pulling the strings. This 2007 study by Dr Anastasios Tsonis, for example, points the finger at natural variability rather than greenhouse gas emissions. The North Atlantic Oscillation, the northern hemisphere's weather-maker, has simply been stuck in 'positive' (a.k.a. winter-warming) mode since the 1970s, he suggests.

'The standard explanation for the post 1970s warming is that the radiative effect of greenhouse gases overcame shortwave reflection effects due to aerosols', notes Dr Tsonis. 'However [our models suggest] an alternative hypothesis, namely that the climate shifted after the 1970s event to a different state of a warmer climate, which may be superimposed on an anthropogenic warming trend', he concludes.

So: William Blake's 'Little Lamb' can still thank the mild and the meek for its existence - but not necessarily climate change.



The Democratic Party has won the White House and both houses of Congress. While Democrats won support from across the country their base of support is in the North-East. The US is in the midst of real economic, and alleged environmental, crises. During the Hundred Days the President has brought environmentalists into the senior realms of government and Congress has floated a raft of environmentalist legislation. The stage is set for a major federal government expansion that will change how electricity is generated and will restrict the amount of land available for development. The year is 1934.


New Green/Left policy: Keep those ordinary scum Australians off Ayers rock

Only "special" people (like Greenies) should be allowed to set foot on it

Andrew Bolt

Whose rock is it anyway? And is this really about religion ... or power?
The Northern Territory Labor government and the federal opposition are furious with a federal plan to close the climb to the top of Uluru, saying Peter Garrett is slamming the gate on a world famous tourism experience.

A 10-year draft management plan for Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, released yesterday, indicates the days of climbing the rock are coming to an end: “For visitor safety, cultural, and environmental reasons, the director and the board will work towards closure of the climb,” it says.

One reason to instinctively distrust this try-on is the claim that a ban is also for “visitor safety” and “environmental reasons”. Every visitor who climbs it knows full well from all the signs that it’s a challenge, and it’s clearly their own judgment that the climb is worth the risk, just as countless people judge that flying is worth the risk of deep vein thrombosis. By what right does Garrett insist it’s not? As for the “environmental reasons”, I rather suspect that a million more people may walk on this giant rock without grinding the thing into a pile of sand.



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Prius a paler shade of green

Hybrid car buyers aren't as concerned about the environment as they would like us to believe, according to the maker of the world's most popular brand. At the launch of the new-generation Toyota Prius in Sydney yesterday, chief engineer Akihiko Otsuka admitted the company had opted for a bigger, more powerful engine because customers had demanded it.

He said the new car, which remains the most fuel-efficient in the country, could have been designed to use less fuel than the 3.9 litres per 100 kilometres it achieves. "With a different approach, we could have done even better. However, customers told us they wanted more performance. In response, we selected a larger engine." The car also has an eco-unfriendly power button that allows drivers to sacrifice economy for better acceleration.

The new Prius is 20 per cent more powerful than its predecessor, but only 10 per cent more fuel efficient. It is almost 40 per cent more powerful than the first-generation Prius launched in 1997. As a result, the Prius is no longer a standout leader in fuel efficiency. The diesel version of BMW's new Mini uses the same amount of fuel while Ford's new Fiesta Econetic model, due out towards the end of the year, will use less. European car makers argue that diesel engines are just as efficient as hybrids.

But Toyota yesterday hit back, claiming diesels were dirtier and produced more carbon dioxide. The new Prius produces just 89 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre compared with the Mini's 104 g/km.

The new Prius has several other tricks up its sleeve, with solar roof panels and plastics made from plants rather than petroleum-based chemicals.



The boys in green are coming as the Environment Agency sets up a squad to police companies generating excessive CO2 emissions.

The agency is creating a unit of about 50 auditors and inspectors, complete with warrant cards and the power to search company premises to enforce the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), which comes into effect next year.

Decked out in green jackets, the enforcers will be able to demand access to company property, view power meters, call up electricity and gas bills and examine carbon-trading records for an estimated 6,000 British businesses. Ed Mitchell, head of business performance and regulation at the Environment Agency, said the squad would help to bring emissions under control. “Climate change and CO2 are the world’s biggest issues right now. The Carbon Reduction Commitment is one of the ways in which Britain is responding.”

The formation of the green police overcomes a psychological hurdle in the battle against climate change. Ministers have long recognised the need to have new categories of taxes and criminal offences for CO2 emissions, but fear a repetition of the fuel tax protests in 2000 when lorry drivers blockaded refineries.

The central unit, based in Warrington, Cheshire, can call on the agency’s national network of hundreds of pollution inspectors, many of whom will soon be trained in CO2 monitoring.

It will also be able to demand energy bills from utilities without the companies under investigation knowing they are being watched.

Perhaps most worrying for managers will be the publication of an annual league table ranking companies by performance in cutting emissions. The government hopes the potential shame of a lowly placing will drive organisations to greater energy efficiency.

Mitchell predicted the unit would audit about 1,200 businesses a year. The first stage would be a desk study of their energy bills and activities, followed by a visit when numbers do not add up. “The inspectors will carry warrant cards giving them powers of entry to collect evidence. We will also have access to company accounts with suppliers,” he said.



Researchers in the U.S. have proposed a new way of allocating responsibility for carbon emissions they say could solve the impasse between developed and developing countries. The Princeton researchers estimated that in 2008 half of the world's emissions came from just 700 million people. The method sets national targets for reducing carbon emissions based on the number of high-income earners in each country, following the theory that people who earn more generate more CO2.

"It's fairer than some other ideas out there in the sense that we attribute responsibility for emission reductions based only on the number of high-emitting people in the country -- if the country has large number of people who are high-emitters then it has more work to do," said Shoibal Chakravarty, a research scholar at Princeton Environmental Institute.

When researchers at Princeton started working on the project two years ago, one of their first aims was to find a reliable way to estimate the average emissions of high-income earners. "There's actually a very strong relationship in every country between emissions and income," Chakravarty told CNN. "By and large for every 10 percent increase in income, the emissions from a certain person go up about six to 10 percent. This is true pretty much everywhere in the world."

Researchers based their estimates on decades of data from national statistics offices and the World Bank.

"What happens is that initially people spend their money mostly on direct use like transportation, air conditioning, heating and cooling and so on," Chakravarty said. "But they also spend a lot of their money on buying goods, and buying stuff. And to make stuff you use energy and you produce emissions."



Four articles below:

Great Barrier Reef will be gone in 20 years, says prophet

This B.S. about disappearing coral has been going on for decades but the reef is still there. The galoot below "forgets" that "coral reefs were exposed throughout their geological history to higher temperatures and CO2 levels than at present and yet have persisted". See here

The Great Barrier Reef will be so degraded by warming waters that it will be unrecognisable within 20 years, an eminent marine scientist has said. Charlie Veron, former chief scientist of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, told The Times: “There is no way out, no loopholes. The Great Barrier Reef will be over within 20 years or so.”

Once carbon dioxide had hit the levels predicted for between 2030 and 2060, all coral reefs were doomed to extinction, he said. “They would be the world’s first global ecosystem to collapse. I have the backing of every coral reef scientist, every research organisation. I’ve spoken to them all. This is critical. This is reality.”

Dr Veron’s comments came as the Institute of Zoology, the Royal Society and the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) held a crucial meeting on the future of coral reefs in London yesterday. In a joint statement they warned that by mid-century extinctions of coral reefs around the world would be inevitable.

Warming water causes coral polyps to eject the symbiotic algae that provide them with nutrients. These “bleaching events” were widespread during the El Niño of 1997-98, and localised occurrences are becoming more frequent. (During an El Niño, much of the tropical Pacific becomes unusually warm.) Reefs take decades to recover but by 2030 to 2050, depending on emissions and feedback effects, bleaching will be occurring annually or biannually.

Although surface sea temperatures are rising fastest in tropical regions the other big threat to coral reefs comes from the higher latitudes. The cold water there absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide more readily than warm water and acidifies more easily. When carbon dioxide concentrations reach between 480 and 500 parts per million warm water is no barrier to acidification, and the pH in equatorial regions will have dropped so far, meaning higher acidity, that coral reef growth becomes impossible anywhere in the ocean. [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]

“Coral reefs are the most sensitive of marine ecosystems,” said Alex Rogers, scientific director of IPSO. “Increased temperature and decreased pH will have a double-whammy effect. Reefs were safe at CO2 levels of 350 parts per million. We are at 387ppm today. Beyond 450 the fate of corals is sealed.”

In the five mass extinction events in geological history, key was the carbon cycle, in which carbon dioxide is the primary currency. Its concentration in the atmosphere is higher than it has been for 20 million years. In the Permian extinction, as in all the big extinctions, tropical marine life was the hardest hit. Reef-building corals took more than ten million years to return.

The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest and most diverse marine ecosystem, is worth $4.5 billion (£2.8 billion) a year to Australia. Worldwide, reefs are worth $300 billion. “But that is trivial compared with the costs if coral reefs fail,” Dr Veron said. “Then it won’t be a matter of no income, it will be a matter of damage to livelihoods, economies and ecosystems.”

Yesterday’s meeting renewed calls for networks of marine conservation zones to boost the resilience of reefs.


It's getting chilly but still not cool to be a sceptic

Andrew Bolt

NOW that it's so chilly, I can understand why Climate Change Minister Penny Wong wants us to stare at the sea, instead. Better that than have us stare at the latest satellite data showing the world has now cooled down to the average temperature of the past 30 years.

Last month Family First senator Steve Fielding asked Wong a question she could no longer ignore: what proof did she really have that man's gases were heating the world to hell? And what got her attention was Fielding's threat: if she didn't give a good answer, the Rudd Government would not get his crucial vote in the Senate for its plan to slash our emissions with huge new taxes.

Specifically, asked Fielding: "Is it the case that carbon dioxide increased by 5 per cent since 1998 while global temperature cooled over the same period? If so, why did the temperature not increase; and how can human emissions be to blame for dangerous levels of warming?" An excellent question, even if it's more accurate to say the world has cooled since 2001, despite a big increase in the gases we're told will make us fry.

So I thought the media might be interested in Wong's remarkable response a week later, given that she now said we'd all been wrong to fret about the air temperature. You see, "at time-scales of around a decade, natural variability can mask the atmospheric warming trend caused by the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases". Translated, that means, sure, it might be cooling now, which we still refuse to actually confirm, but one day it will warm again, just like we said. Just wait.

And then there was this appeal to start checking the seas instead: "(I)n terms of a single indicator of global warming, change in ocean heat content is most appropriate." So all that ominous talk about hotter temperatures at this city or that town? Just kidding. Meaningless.

Last weekend we could understand better why Wong is no longer keen on data on surface and atmospheric warming. NASA's Aqua satellite - one of the four main measurements of world temperature - found June had dropped back to just .001 degrees above the average for the past 30 years. That means we're back to "normal", even if "normal" now is slightly warmer than the average for last century, during which the planet came out of the Little Ice Age that ended 150 years ago.

Other land and satellite records agree the planet has cooled for most of the past decade, and while it's still too early to say global warming has stopped, rather than just paused, it's not too early to ask why there's less warming than most climate models predicted.

But what of Wong's claim that the true measure of global warming is the sea? Well, even Fielding's scientific advisers agree that's true, even if Wong never mentioned that before. But as world-ranked climate scientist Professor Roger Pielke Sr noted this week, three recent papers confirm that even the oceans seem to have stopped rising and warming since about 2004, or at least have slowed in doing so. "All of these analyses are consistent with no significant heating in the upper ocean and a flattening of sea level rise, and even more clearly, that these climate metrics are not 'progressing faster than was expected a few years ago'," he said.

I know the panic is on. I know almost no politician, other than Fielding, dares publicly confess that the science of global warming is not at all settled. But know this: the data shows less warming than the alarmists claimed, and no warming for several years. It may start warming again soon, but until then a sane person will keep his head -- and his doubts.


Climate change laws to "de-energize" poor Australians

POLITICALLY correct zealots penning new national energy laws have pulled the plug on the word "disconnection". The word is being replaced with the bizarre term "de-energisation". Angry consumer groups have accused the boffins behind the draft of making it easier for power companies to hide harsh treatment of customers struggling to pay their bills.

Consumer Action Law Centre policy director Nicole Rich said the bureaucrats were out of touch and should go back to the drawing board. "This is more than political correctness gone mad," she said. "It's worse, because it could have the effect of keeping the community in the dark about hardship problems by lumping in records of these disconnections with power being cut for maintenance and safety reasons."

The warning comes as households and businesses brace for higher electricity bills because of policies to combat climate change.

A team of state and territory bureaucrats wrote the draft of the National Energy Customer Framework, which notes: "De-energisation of premises means the deactivating or closing of a connection in order to prevent the flow of energy from a distribution system at the supply point".

Ms Rich said there was a distinct difference between power shutdowns for maintenance, or when customers moved house, and supply cuts to those battling with bills. Critics fear the national laws will also strip Victorians of protections such as bans on late payment fees, security deposit restrictions and compensation of $250 a day for wrongful disconnections. But the Herald Sun believes Victoria will not sign the laws unless key consumer protections are retained.

Ms Rich said the number of Victorians disconnected for not paying had dropped to the nation's lowest rate, about 6500 a year, since a renewed focus on repayment plans and hardship policies from 2004. Federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson's office said the document was an early draft, and more consultations would be held.


Urban planners are the biggest culprits in keeping grocery prices higher than they need to be

Greenie anti-development and anti-"sprawl" thinking is the major influence on urban planners these days

By Michael Costa

THE decision by Kevin Rudd and Consumer Affairs Minister Craig Emerson to scrap the federal government's ill-conceived Grocery Choice website has to be applauded. Grocery Choice was a political stunt that was inevitably bound to backfire on the government. The real problem with retail price increases is to be found in the archaic anti-market planning laws that deliver significant economic rents to those with the resources to establish monopolies over the limited key retail sites.

While it is appropriate to criticise the government for making its announcement on the day Michael Jackson died, so that it could minimise the political fallout from this significant political backflip, it should not be the main concern with the decision.

Emerson, having worked as an adviser to Bob Hawke, saw first-hand the importance of sensible market reform. Having inherited the portfolio from Chris Bowen, who with no doubt an eye to promotion, appears to have become enamoured with Rudd's anti-market rhetoric, Emerson would have realised the potential political disaster Grocery Choice was. The failure of Grocery Choice will, for political purposes, no doubt be blamed on the major supermarket chains. The reality is that with or without the co-operation of these supermarket chains, this was a ham-fisted way to address retail competition.

Despite the claims of Choice, the self-appointed friend of consumers, there was no chance of the website working properly or gaining broad community participation. The problem for consumers has never been information; it has been a real lack of competitive alternatives at the point of the actual retail spends. If Choice wants to bat on with Grocery Choice it should do it at its own expense, not with taxpayers' funds. A subscription-based service will prove whether there is a real public demand for this sort of information.

The July 2008 Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report into the competitiveness of retail prices for standard groceries concluded that while there was "little doubt that food prices have increased significantly in recent times in Australia", this was due to a number of domestic and international factors. Domestic factors such as the drought and international factors such as an increased global demand for food production resources have led to rising farm input costs such as fuel and fertiliser. On the basis of an examination of these factors and the gross margins of the major retail chains, the ACCC concluded that only "one-twentieth of the increase in food prices over the past five years could be directly attributable to the increase in gross margins" by the dominant duopoly.

This conclusion sits uncomfortably with other observations within the report that seemed to highlight the clear dominance of the majors in key retail sub-categories, such as dry groceries. The ACCC observed "that gross margins have experienced larger increases in categories where Coles and Woolworths have a relatively larger share of national sales". The report further observed that the more efficient of the two majors, Woolworths, has earning margins among the highest of all international grocery retailers. Whatever the degree of economic rent flowing to the majors because of the structure of the industry, it is clearly difficult to determine. Nevertheless there is a problem and a public perception that this is leading to higher grocery prices.

The real danger in the government's decision to walk away from its election commitment is not lack of consumer information but rather that the major underlying problem in retail competition, planning barriers to entry, will not be addressed effectively. Problems here are in jurisdictions normally outside the control of the federal government: state government planning departments and local councils. The ACCC correctly identified that state planning laws which contributed to a lack of suitable sites for new grocery retailers were a significant barrier to entry for competitors to the majors. Its recommendation that competition issues be taken into account when approvals are assessed for new supermarkets is laudatory but politically naive. State planning departments and local councils are structurally incapable of implementing this recommendation.

The issue is both ideological and political. Most state and local government planning agencies have been captured by planning zealots who are hostile to market-driven economic development. These planners believe the market is the fundamental problem in urban land use allocation. Rather than harnessing the power of the market to produce economically sensible land allocation outcomes they try to fit these decisions within the current cookie-cutter ideological fashion. The present fashion in urban planning focuses on what are called centres policies and urban villages. This fashion is dressed up in different language in different areas for local consumption but is essentially the same approach to urban planning and is not unique to Australia.

The policy results in the concentration of major retail activity in central locations and satellite local centres with much more limited retail opportunities. Urban planners don't seem to understand that by mandating that major retailers be concentrated in a limited urban footprint they are creating artificial scarcity, higher prices and monopoly opportunities. Retailers in the urban villages can't compete against the price advantages the large volume retailers have and they are limited in their consumer offerings. Eventually the areas become economically unviable and potentially urban crime zones.

This urban planning ideology creates an uncompetitive environment as new entrants cannot locate in the centres because these prime monopoly positions have already been secured by the major retail operators. The consequence of this type of planning approach as the ACCC noted is that it "significantly impedes the ability of competing supermarkets to access prime locations". This of course leads to higher retail prices for consumers.

There are many examples, as the ACCC acknowledges, where major retail operators, shopping centre providers and major supermarkets have used the planning laws to try to frustrate direct competition. In states such as NSW where local government areas haven't been properly reformed the problem is even greater for retail consumers, due to the greater influence of small community interest groups, who don't even support the restrictive centres policy and seek to eliminate all retail expansion, even within the designated centres.

Until there is a properly functioning competitive market for retail space it is impossible to gauge whether existing retail competition and retail margins are reflective of sound economic factors, or monopolistic rent seeking behaviour. The federal government needs to deal with urban planning and land use as part of its national competition reform agenda. The argument that this is a state and local government issue does not have credibility given the federal government intrusion through its environmental legislation into what were traditionally state and local government issues.

Surely the economy is still as important as the environment.



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Tropics are on the move (?)

Below is an article summarizing a non-peer-reviewed and unpublished paper which was primarily written by a woman employed by an Australian university Department devoted to climate change (full details of that below). Despite its undistinguished origins, however, it has made the news so I think a few comments are in order.

For a start, she could well be right that the tropical climate zone expanded in recent years. That it might shrink again is her unexamined assumption, however. There WAS global warming in the '80s and '90s and that has more or less plateaued since then, though in the last two years we have seen what seem to be the first signs of a corrective downswing in temperature.

That really is all one needs to say but a couple of minor points just for fun: She characterizes the sub-tropical zone as dry. I live in that zone in Australia, so I wonder if she would like to explain the rain falling outside my window at the moment in what is normally the driest time of the year here (winter)? She seems not to consider that global warming might increase precipitation in ALL areas of the globe -- as it should in theory do (more warmth means more evaporation off the sea and hence more rainfall).

She also concedes that a tropical climate is best for biodiversity -- but seems to imply that that is a bad thing -- an unusual stance for a Greenie!

She also says that disease patterns of the tropics will spead more widely -- completely ignoring that cold weather is a lot more fatal than warm weather and that an expansion of the warm zone should therefore SAVE lives.

She also says that warming will cause more extreme rainfall events in the tropics, with the implication that that is a bad thing. I have news for her. I was born and bred in the middle of an area that CONSTANTLY had extreme rainfall events (Tully to Babinda) and we did quite well there. With around 7 yards of rain a year the crops certainly grew like mad.

I could go on but what is the point in arguing with a religion? -- JR

A review of scientific literature released today by James Cook University shows that the Earth’s tropical zone is expanding and with it the subtropical dry zone is extending into what have been humid temperate climate zones. The authors of the review concluded that the effects of a poleward expansion of the tropical and subtropical zones were immense, resulting in a variety of social, political, economic and environmental implications.

Conducted by Dr Joanne Isaac, Post-Doctoral Fellow at JCU’s Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change, with Professor Steve Turton, from JCU’s School of Earth and Environment Sciences, the review looked at scientific findings from long-term satellite measurements, weather balloon data, climate models and sea surface temperature studies.

Professor Turton said that the review - Expansion of the Tropics: Evidence and Implications - encompassed about 70 peer-reviewed scientific papers and reports from scientists and institutions right around the world. The review found that of particular concern were regions which border the subtropics and currently experience a temperate Mediterranean climate. “Such areas include heavily populated regions of southern Australia, southern Africa, the southern Europe-Mediterranean-Middle East region, the south-western United States, northern Mexico, and southern South America – all of which are predicted to experience severe drying.

“If the dry subtropics expand into these regions, the consequences could be devastating for water resources, natural ecosystems and agriculture, with potentially cascading environmental, social and health implications.”

The survey reveals that scientific data suggests while these areas could experience an increased frequency of droughts, the expansion of the tropical zone could result in extreme rainfall events and floods to regions which have not previously been exposed to such conditions, and a poleward shift in the paths of extra-tropical and possibly tropical cyclones in the next 100 years.

“A further implication of the expansion of the tropical zone is the possible expansion of tropical associated diseases and pests.” The review looked at scientific findings in relation to dengue among other tropical diseases and reports that some models predict the greatest increase in the annual epidemic potential of dengue will be into the subtropical regions, including the southern United States, China and northern Africa in the northern hemisphere, and south America, southern Africa, and most of Australia in the southern hemisphere.

The tropical zone is commonly defined geometrically as the portion of the Earth’s surface that lies between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn at 23.5 degrees latitude north and south respectively.

Evidence accumulating: “In general, atmospheric scientists estimate the climatic boundaries of the tropics extend further from the equator to around 30 degrees latitude north and south,” the review reports. “In recent years a variety of independent studies, employing different methodologies have found evidence for the widening of the topical region, as defined by climate scientists.

“However, while evidence is accumulating for the widening of the tropical belt and shifts in other climatic events, there is still much uncertainty regarding the degree of the expansion and the mechanisms which are driving it. “For example, across the studies reviewed the estimates of the increase in the tropics vary from 2.0 to more than 5 degrees of latitude approximately every 25 years. That makes the minimum agreed expansion of the Topics zone equivalent to around 300 kilometres. “This variation of estimates makes predicting future shifts difficult. Estimates for the expansion of the tropical zone in next 25 years (assuming the rate of movement is the same as the past 25 years) range from approximately 222 kilometres to more than 533 kilometres depending on which estimate is used.”

The tropics currently occupy approximately 40 per cent of the Earth’s land surface and are home to almost half of the world’s human population and account for more than 80 per cent of the Earth’s biodiversity. The majority of the world’s endemic animals and plants, which are found nowhere else on earth, are found in the tropics and are adapted to the specific climatic conditions found there.

“Thus, the implications of a poleward expansion of the tropical and subtropical zones are immense and the effects could result in a variety of social, political, economic and environmental implications,” the review said.


NYT: Polar Bear Populations in Decline

The predicted outcome of the recent polar bear "summit" has been duly delivered. They are "endangered" -- a conclusion reached while the man who has studied them longest, Mitchell Taylor, was barred from the meeting. HE says that the bears are increasing in numbers

There is rising concern among polar bear biologists that the big recent summertime retreats of sea ice in the Arctic are already harming some populations of these seal-hunting predators. That was one conclusion of the Polar Bear Specialist Group, a network of bear experts who met last week in Copenhagen to review the latest data (and data gaps) on the 19 discrete populations of polar bears around the Arctic. The group, part of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, includes biologists in academia and government and at nonprofit conservation organizations. Only one bear population is increasing (in the Canadian high Arctic), while eight are declining in numbers, the scientists said. At its last meeting, in 2005, the group concluded that five populations were in decline. Three populations appear to be stable and seven are too poorly monitored to gauge a trend.

The data gaps exist in important regions, including the Russian Arctic, where there are no ongoing population studies despite poaching problems. The group said that in Canada, home to two-thirds of the world’s polar bears, population studies have been so sporadic that there is no reliable way to track trends. The meeting was not without controversy. Mitchell Taylor, a Canadian expert on polar bears who was in the specialists’ group for many years, told some reporters that he was excluded this year because he disputes that the bears are in danger and that human-caused global warming poses a substantial threat to them. But Andrew Derocher, the current chairman of the group, wrote a detailed rebuttal on Tim Lambert’s Deltoid blog rejecting the assertions.

While pressing for cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions and better efforts to control hunting, both legal and illegal, the participating scientists concluded on an optimistic note, saying they were “optimistic that humans can mitigate the effects of global warming and other threats to polar bears, and ensure that they remain a part of the Arctic ecosystem in perpetuity.”


An amusing footnote on the official reason why Dr. Taylor was not allowed at the meeting. Dr Taylor has just recently retired so the convenor of the meeting grabs that as a bureaucratic excuse and says that is why Dr. Taylor's vast knowledge has suddenly become useless: "Involvement with the PBSG is restricted to those active in polar bear research and management and Dr. Taylor no longer fits within our guidelines of involvement". What a laugh!

The convenor concludes: "The PBSG has heard Dr. Taylor's views on climate warming many times. I would note that Dr. Taylor is not a trained climatologist and his perspectives are not relevant to the discussions and intent of this meeting".

But the meeting was (at least ostensibly) about polar bears, not climate! So that conclusion is a total red herring!

U.S. Government Scientist: 'Climate Model Software Doesn't Meet the Best Standards Available'

Plus: Another Gov't Scientist admits 'chaotic component of climate not predictable beyond two weeks, even theoretically'

Two prominent U.S. Government scientists made two separate admissions questioning the reliability of climate models used to predict warming decades and hundreds of years into the future.

Gary Strand, a software engineer at the federally funded National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), admitted climate model software “doesn't meet the best standards available” in a comment he posted on the website Climate Audit. “As a software engineer, I know that climate model software doesn't meet the best standards available. We've made quite a lot of progress, but we've still quite a ways to go,” Strand wrote on July 5, 2009, according to the website

Strand's candid admission prompted WattsUpWithThat's skeptical Meteorologist Anthony Watts to ask the following question: “Do we really want Congress to make trillion dollar tax decisions today based on 'software [that] doesn't meet the best standards available?'”

Meteorologist Watts also critiqued the current climate models, noting, “NASA GISS model E written in some of the worst FORTRAN coding ever seen is a challenge to even get running. NASA GISTEMP is even worse. Yet our government has legislation under consideration significantly based on model output that Jim Hansen [of GISS] started. His 1988 speech to Congress was entirely based on model scenarios.”

Another Government Scientist Admits Climate Model Shortcomings

Another government scientist -- NASA climate modeler Gavin Schmidt -- admitted last week that the "chaotic component of climate not predictable beyond two weeks, even theoretically." Schmidt made his admission during a June 29, 2009 interview about the shortcomings of climate models. Schmidt noted that some climate models “suggest very strongly” that the American Southwest will dry in a warming world. But Schmidt also noted that “other models suggest the exact opposite.”

“With these two models, you have two estimates — one says it's going to get wetter and one says it's going to get drier. What do you do? Is there anything that you can say at all? That is a really difficult question,” Schmidt conceded. “The problem with climate prediction and projections going out to 2030 and 2050 is that we don't anticipate that they can be tested in the way you can test a weather forecast. It takes about 20 years to evaluate because there is so much unforced variability in the system which we can't predict — the chaotic component of the climate system — which is not predictable beyond two weeks, even theoretically. That is something that we can't really get a handle on,” Schmidt lamented.


MIT Climate Scientist on man-made climate fears: 'Ordinary people see thorough this -- but educated people are very vulnerable'

Scientific foundation for climate fears 'falling apart'

MIT climate scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen mocked man-made global warming fears in a July 2, 2009 radio interview on WRKO's Howie Carr program. (Full audio of Lindzen's interview available here.) He noted that man-made climate fears were "divorced from nature" and the scientific foundation for climate fears was "falling apart."

"How did we get a population that can be told something that contradicts their senses and go crazy over it?" Lindzen asked on the program. Lindzen recently co-signed an open letter to Congress with a team of scientists warning: "You Are Being Deceived About Global Warming' -- 'Earth has been cooling for ten years.'

When asked about climate fears, Lindzen dismissed the notion that "ordinary" Americans are buying into former Vice President Al Gore's climate views. "We are too smart for that. You look at the polls, ordinary people see thorough this, but educated people are very vulnerable," Lindzen quipped. (at 09:14 min. mark on audio)

Lindzen noted that people are being told that if they change a lightbulb, they are "saving the Earth", they are "virtuous, they are smart." "Now you are told if you that if you don't understand global warming is going on, you are dumb, but if you agree to it, you are smart," Lindzen explained.


Does climate catastrophe pass the giggle test?

The argument for doing drastic things to prevent global warming has two parts. The first has to do with climate change, with reasons to think that the earth is getting warmer and that the reason is human action, in particular the production of CO2. The second has to do with consequences of climate change for humans.

Most of the criticism I have seen, in comments to this blog and elsewhere, has to do with the first half, with critics arguing that the evidence for global warming, or at least the evidence it is caused by humans and will continue if humans do not mend their ways, is weak. I don not know enough to be sure that those criticisms are wrong; pretty clearly climate is a very complicated and not terribly well understood subject. But my best guess, from watching the debate, is that the first half of the argument is correct, that global climate is warming and that human action is at least an important part of the cause.

What I find unconvincing is the second half of the argument. More precisely, I find unconvincing the claim that climate change on the scale suggested by the results of the IPCC models would have catastrophic consequences for humans. Obviously one can imagine climate change large enough and fast enough to be a very serious problem—a rapid end of the current interglacial, for example. And if, as I believe is the case, climate is not very well understood, one cannot absolutely rule out such changes.

But most of the argument is put in terms not of what might conceivably happen but of what we have good reason to expect to happen, and I think the outer bound of that is provided by the IPCC models. They suggest a temperature increase of about two degrees centigrade over the next hundred years, resulting in a sea level rise of about a foot and a half. What I find implausible is the claim that changes on that scale at that speed would be catastrophic—sufficiently so to justify very expensive measures now to prevent them.

Human beings, after all, currently live, work, grow food in a much wider range of climates than that. Glancing over a U.S. climate map, it looks as though all of the places I have lived are within an hour or two drive of other places with an average temperature at least two degrees centigrade higher. If people can currently live, work, grow crops over a temperature range of much more than two degrees, it is hard to imagine any reason why most of them couldn't continue to do so, about as easily, if average temperature shifted up by that amount—especially if they had a century to adjust to the change. That observation raises the question with which I titled this post: Does climate change catastrophe pass the giggle test? Is the claim that climate change of that scale would have catastrophic consequences one that any reasonable person could take seriously?

I can only see two ways of defending such a claim. The first is some argument to show that present arrangements are, due to divine intervention or some alternative mechanism, optimal, so that any deviation, even a small one, can be expected to make things worse. The second, and less wildly implausible, is the observation that people have adapted their activities—the sort of houses they live in, the varieties of crops they grow—to current conditions. Put in economic terms, we have sunk costs in our present way of doing things. Even if the planet has not been optimized for us, we have optimized our activities for the planet, with the details depending in part on the local climate. Hence any change in either direction can be expected to be a worsening, making our present way of doing things less well adapted to the new conditions.

That would be a persuasive argument if we were talking about a substantial change occurring over five or ten years. But we aren't. We are talking about a not very large change occurring over a century. In the course of a century, most existing houses will be replaced. If temperatures are rising, they will be replaced with houses designed for a (slightly) warmer climate. If sea levels are rising, they will be replaced, in low lying coastal areas, with houses a little farther inland. Over a century, farmers will change at least the varieties they are growing, very possibly the kind of crop, multiple times, in response to the development of new crop varieties, shifting demand, and similar changes. If temperatures are rising, they will gradually shift to crops adapted to a (slightly) warmer climate.

Climate aside, we do not live in a static world—consider the changes that have occurred over the past century. The shifts we can expect to occur due to technological progress alone, even without allowing for political and demograpic shifts, are much larger than the shifts required to deal with climate change on the scale I am discussing.

My conclusion is that this version of climate catastrophe, at least, does not pass the giggle test. There may be other versions, based on more pessimistic predictions of climate change, that do. But the claim that we now have good reason to expect climate change on a scale that will produce not merely problems for some but catastrophe for many is one that no reasonable person should take seriously.


Another Moonwalker Defies Warmists

NASA Astronaut Dr. Buzz Aldrin rejects global warming fears: 'Climate has been changing for billions of years'

At a House global warming hearing on Capitol Hill on April 24, 2009, former Vice President Al Gore once again compared skeptics of man-made climate fears to “people who still believe that the moon landing was staged on a movie lot in Arizona." Gore appears ignorant that his several years old analogy has been refuted by two of NASA's moonwalkers themselves -- Moonwalker and Award-Winning NASA Astronaut/Geologist Jack Schmitt – who recently declared he was a global warming skeptic and now, Award-Winning NASA Astronaut and Moonwalker Dr. Buzz Aldrin.

Gore was not asked during his April 24, 2009 Congressional hearing how he can link climate skeptics to people who believed the moon landing was "staged" when two prominent moonwalkers themselves are man-made global warming skeptics.

NASA's Dr. Aldrin -- who earned a Doctorate of Science in Astronautics at MIT -- declared he was skeptical of man-made climate fears in a July 3, 2009 UK Telegraph interview. "I think the climate has been changing for billions of years," Aldrin, the second person to walk on the Moon, said.

On July 20, 1969, Aldrin and astronaut Neil Armstrong made their historic Apollo 11 moonwalk, becoming the first two humans to set foot on the Moon. According to his bio, "Aldrin has received three U.S. patents for his schematics of a modular space station, Starbooster reusable rockets, and multi-crew modules for space flight." Aldrin was also decorated with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest American peacetime award and he has received numerous distinguished awards and medals from 23 other countries.

"If it's warming now, it may cool off later. I'm not in favor of just taking short-term isolated situations and depleting our resources to keep our climate just the way it is today," Aldrin explained. "I'm not necessarily of the school that we are causing it all, I think the world is causing it," Aldrin added.

Aldrin joins fellow moonwalker Schmitt, who flew on the Apollo 17 mission, in declaring their skepticism of man-made global warming fears. "The 'global warming scare' is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making. It has no place in the Society's activities," Schmitt, who flew on the Apollo 17 mission, said in 2008.



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Monday, July 06, 2009

"Denialists hiding behind ideology" (?)

Green/Left "projection" at work again. The post below is from the Warmist in Chief of a major Australian newspaper. He accuses "denialists" of being governed by ideology but look at what he says. There is NOT ONE scientific fact mentioned in what he writes. It is ALL ideology!

In ExxonMobil’s 2008 corporate citizenship report, the fossil fuel giant said this: "In recent years, we have discontinued contributions to several public policy research groups whose position on climate change diverted attention from the important discussion on how the world will secure the energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner."

If only it were true. This from the Sydney Morning Herald, via The Guardian: "Company records show ExxonMobil gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to such lobby groups last year. These include the National Centre for Policy Analysis in Dallas, which received $75,000, and the Heritage Foundation in Washington, which received $50,000."

Heritage was one of the groups which helped to fund the conference - mutual denialist back-slapping - which Senator Steve Fielding attended a few weeks ago before returning to Australia having swallowed their nonsense. From it’s title, you might think the NCPA was a genuine centre of repute. Not so. This from their website: "NCPA scholars believe that while the causes and consequences of the earth’s current warming trend is still unknown.."

Wow. These guys are scholars. Aren’t they supposed to read stuff? At least have a stab at a theory. Back in May, Professor Geoffrey Heal, professor of finance and economics at Columbia Business School, told an audience at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the following"

"It is mainly politicians on the right, who champion the efficiency of free markets, that have tended to dispute both the science and economics of climate change. They have a problem because they believe that governments should not intervene in markets. But environmental problems, such as climate change, cannot be tackled without governments acting. In addition, there are many on the right in the United States who are hostile to science because of their beliefs, whether it is evolution or climate change."

And who’d have thunk it? So it’s not down to science after all - just a bunch of free-market ideologists and Christians desperately trying to justify their beliefs.


He also greatly misrepresents both what Exxon Mobil did and what it reported. They did in fact cease funding some "denialist" organizations and their contributions to "denialist" groups in total came to only 4% of what they gave to groups interested in the environment. See my third post down here. Warmists just wallow in deception. It's all they've got


An email from David Evans []

The Fielding-Wong meeting spawned a brief email debate between climate heavyweights. The alarmist started it by patronizing Fielding's independent scientists, but it seems that when you call the bluff of a government funded alarmist scientist and put a direct question you don't get a direct reply -- only evasion and arrogance. Typical alarmist-skeptic exchange, but this one is now public for all to see. Read all about it here

BTW, climate alarmism is a paper tiger -- there is no evidence. There has been a change in direction by the alarmists, as shown by their new "Synthesis Report". They have abandoned air temperatures as a measure of global temperature, for obvious reasons, and switched to ocean temperatures.

They claim that ocean temperatures are rising and rising fast. This is rubbish, but it will take time to inform the public and politicians that it is rubbish. With the US climate bill and Copenhagen coming up, they only need to make the public believe their schtick for a few months. All the public education we did with air temperatures starts all over again with ocean temperatures:

1. Ocean temperatures can only be adequately measured by the Argo buoy network. Argo buoys duck dive down to 700m, recording temperatures, then come up and radio back the results. There are 3,000 of them floating around all the world's oceans.

2. The Argo buoys have only been operational since the end of 2003. Since then they show a slight cooling, See here and here and here

3. Josh Willis, who runs the Argos buoy program, said in March 2008: "There has been a very slight cooling, but not anything really significant":

4. The Argo network initially showed definite cooling, but were recalibrated in 2007. After recalibration they showed slight warming, but now show slight cooling. See here

5. The Argo data shows that the AGW hypothesis is wrong, because temperatures are definitely not rising as fast as predicted by AGW

6. Before the Argo network we used bathythermographs (XBTs) to measure ocean temperatures. Those records are inadequate both for depth and geographical coverage

Global temperatures 'have plunged .74°F since Gore released 'An Inconvenient Truth'

The latest global averaged satellite temperature data for June 2009 reveals yet another drop in the Earth's temperature. This latest drop in global temperatures means despite his dire warnings, the Earth has cooled .74°F since former Vice President Al Gore released "An Inconvenient Truth" in 2006.

According to the latest data courtesy of "For the record, this month's Al Gore / 'An Inconvenient Truth' Index indicates that global temperatures have plunged approximately .74°F (.39°C) since 'An Inconvenient Truth' was released." (see satellite temperature chart here with key dates noted, courtesy of - The global satellite temperature data comes from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.)

Gore has not yet addressed the simple fact that global temperatures have dropped since the release of his global warming film. A record cool summer has descended upon many parts of the U.S. after predictions of the "year without a summer." There has been no significant global warming since 1995, no warming since 1998 and global cooling for the past few years.

In addition, New peer-reviewed scientific studies now predict a continued lack of global warming for up to three decades as natural climate factors dominate.

This means that today's high school kids being forced to watch Al Gore's “An Inconvenient Truth” – some of them 4 times in 4 different classes – will be nearly eligible for AARP (age 50) retirement group membership by the time warming resumes if these new studies turn out to be correct.

Claims that warming will “resume” due to explosive heat in the "pipeline" have also been thoroughly debunked. See: Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. 'There is no warming in the pipeline'

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


Clean-energy research and engineering posts could be poised for a growth spurt in the United States if a predicted 'green-job' explosion becomes reality. But some critics suggest that green jobs - those with a role in reducing waste and pollution and benefiting the environment - are replacing other jobs and are costly to create.

The Clean Energy Economy, released on 10 June by the Pew Charitable Trusts, based in Washington DC, and Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy, released last month by the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, Massachusetts, are enthusiastic about the effect of clean energy on the US economy and about the potential for job growth. A related document from the Union of Concerned Scientists, Clean Power, Green Jobs, predicts that some 297,000 new green jobs will be created in sectors such as agriculture, forestry, manufacturing and construction by 2025. And the Pew report counted 770,000 existing green jobs in the United States as of 2007.

The Pew report, which claims to be the first analysis to count actual jobs, business and investments for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, notes that venture-capital investments in clean technology plunged 48% in the first quarter of 2009 compared with the same period the year before, but points out that that's still better than the 61% drop seen across all sectors. Clean technology growth has varied widely from state to state, the report found. Nineteen states had more than the 2007 national average of 15,106 clean-energy jobs (referred to as 'large' states on map, below), and 18 'fast-growing' states had average annual growth between 1998 and 2007 that was above the national average of 1.9%.

Representatives from both organizations agree that green-job growth is most likely to occur in the manufacturing and construction sectors, although they predict expansion in science and engineering research positions as well. Kil Huh, project director of research at the Pew Center on the States in Washington DC and lead researcher on the report, cannot estimate how many of the green jobs in the report are in science or science research. But he says that clean energy, energy efficiency and environmentally friendly production are magnets for venture capital and federal fiscal stimulus investment, which, he predicts, will generate new research positions.

But economist Roger Meiners, a senior fellow with the Property & Environment Research Center, an environmental think tank based in Bozeman, Montana that in May published 7 Myths About Green Jobs, says that green jobs actually cost the economy. The report says that in Spain, for example, each green job created has destroyed 2.2 existing jobs in other sectors.

The report says green-job outlays take resources from other sectors, raise energy prices, and encourage companies to move production facilities to lower-cost nations.

Meiners says building and construction, not research, is the focus of nearly all green jobs. "Most federal funds are designed to force construction of wind and sun technology," says Meiners. But Jeff Deyette, an energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, points to a clean-energy bill that is currently under congressional review. If passed, billions of dollars in federal funding will be directed to science research in clean energy and clean technology over the next several decades. Research targets such as wave power and hydrokinetics, nanotechnology and photovoltaic-cell technology are likely to receive federal funding, he says.

Nature, 25 June 2009

The Carbonated Congress

Orszag nails it: The 'largest corporate welfare program' ever

President Obama is calling the climate bill that the House passed last week an "extraordinary" achievement, and so it is. The 1,200-page wonder manages the supreme feat of being both hugely expensive while doing almost nothing to reduce carbon emissions.

The Washington press corps is playing the bill's 219-212 passage as a political triumph, even though one of five Democrats voted against it. The real story is what Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House baron Henry Waxman and the President himself had to concede to secure even that eyelash margin among the House's liberal majority. Not even Tom DeLay would have imagined the extravaganza of log-rolling, vote-buying, outright corporate bribes, side deals, subsidies and policy loopholes. Every green goal, even taken on its own terms, was watered down or given up for the sake of political rents.

Begin with the supposed point of the exercise -- i.e., creating an artificial scarcity of carbon in the name of climate change. The House trimmed Mr. Obama's favored 25% reduction by 2020 to 17% in order to win over Democrats leery of imposing a huge upfront tax on their constituents; then they raised the reduction to 83% in the out-years to placate the greens. Even that 17% is not binding, since it would be largely reached with so-called offsets, through which some businesses subsidize others to make emissions reductions that probably would have happened anyway.

Even if the law works as intended, over the next decade or two real U.S. greenhouse emissions might be reduced by 2% compared to business as usual. However, consumers would still face higher prices for electric power, transportation and most goods and services as this inefficient and indirect tax flowed down the energy chain.

The sound bite is that this policy would only cost households "a postage stamp a day." But that's true only as long as the program doesn't really cut emissions. The goal here is to tell voters they'll pay nothing in order to get the cap-and-tax bureaucracy in place -- even though the whole idea is to raise prices to change American behavior. At the same time -- wink, wink -- Democrats tell the greens they can tighten the emissions vise gradually over time.

Meanwhile, Congress had to bribe every business or interest that could afford a competent lobbyist. Carbon permits are valuable, yet the House says only 28% of the allowances would be auctioned off; the rest would be given away. In March, White House budget director Peter Orszag told Congress that "If you didn't auction the permit, it would represent the largest corporate welfare program that has ever been enacted in the history of the United States."

Naturally, Democrats did exactly that. To avoid windfall profits, they then chose to control prices, asking state regulators to require utilities to use the free permits to insulate ratepayers from price increases. (This also obviates the anticarbon incentives, but never mind.) Auctions would reduce political favoritism and interference, as well as provide revenue to cut taxes to offset higher energy costs. But auctions don't buy votes.

Then there was the peace treaty signed with Agriculture Chairman Colin Peterson, which banned the EPA from studying the carbon produced by corn ethanol and transferred farm emissions to the Ag Department, which mainly exists to defend farm subsidies. Not to mention the 310-page trade amendment that was introduced at 3:09 a.m. When Congress voted on the bill later that day, the House clerk didn't even have an official copy.

The revisions were demanded by coal-dependent Rust Belt Democrats to require tariffs on goods from countries that don't also reduce their emissions. Democrats were thus admitting that the critics are right that this new energy tax would send U.S. jobs overseas. But instead of voting no, their price for voting yes is to impose another tax on imports from China and India, among others. So a Smoot-Hawley green tariff is now official Democratic policy.

Mr. Obama's lobbyists first acquiesced to this tariff change to get the bill passed. Afterwards the President said he disliked "sending any protectionist signals" amid a world recession, but he refused to say whether this protectionism was enough to veto the bill. Then in a Saturday victory lap, he talked about green jobs and a new clean energy economy, but he made no reference to cap and trade -- no doubt because he knows that energy taxes are unpopular and that the bill faces an even tougher slog in the Senate.

Mr. Obama wants something tangible to take to the U.N. climate confab in Denmark in December, but the more important issue is what this exercise says about his approach to governance. The President seems to believe that the Carter and Clinton Presidencies failed by fighting too much with Democrats in Congress. So his solution is to abdicate his agenda to Congress -- first the stimulus, now cap and trade, and soon health care. We wish he had told us he was running to be Prime Minister.


Australia: Senator Barnaby Joyce dismisses climate nonsense

"The ETS is the Employment Termination Scheme"

Senator Barnaby Joyce has a good grasp of political issues and the ability to speak in a language the people understand. When Oppositions fail to do their job properly, an individual, a group or party faction inevitably steps forward to fill the power vacuum. In the case of the Rudd Government's proposed emissions trading scheme (ETS), Queensland Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce has moved to fill the space of a credible policy alternative by speaking out against a scheme which has the potential to devastate Australia's economy.

Rather than take a leadership stand on behalf of the Opposition, Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull has taken the soft option of calling for a delay in any government decision until after the United Nations climate talkfest in Copenhagen in December. Moreover, Mr Turnbull has also called for yet another inquiry - this time by the Productivity Commission. Presumably, Mr Turnbull is incapable of striking a balance between the Liberal Party's climate-change believers, such as Greg Hunt, and its sceptics, such as WA MP Dennis Jensen, and does not want to be "wedged" on the issue.

His position is one of agreement with the Rudd Government's steps to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to 20 per cent below 2000 levels. However, he wants to delay action for another few months. The Labor Party rightly criticises Mr Turnbull for continually moving the goalposts without offering a feasible alternative policy.

If Mr Turnbull's suggestion of a referral to the Productivity Commission is taken up, at least officials in that organisation will be familiar with the subject matter. The commission has already completed as many as a dozen separate reports on the economic effects of attempting to contain greenhouse gases, stretching back to 1991 before the issue was even fashionable. Most recently, the Productivity Commission produced yet another - a substantial 93-page submission to the Garnaut Climate Change Review, itself the landmark advice to the Rudd Government on moving the policy forward.

However, Senator Joyce is arguing that any Senate deferral of the ETS until after Copenhagen would be the equivalent to voting it down. "The ETS is the Employment Termination Scheme for working families in the coal-mining and farming belts of Australia," Senator Joyce wrote in a statement late in May. "It is undeniable that this scheme will put our major export at risk and also put us on the path to further exacerbate the loss of our food sovereignty. "You cannot take the major income-earner out of the house, then put more impediments on the food in the cupboard and expect the life in the house will go on as before. "The mining industry has clearly spelled out this will be a disaster. The farming sector has shown us that this could lead to a 20 per cent reduction in the economy of some regions. The ramifications will flow up every street, no matter where you live."

Senator Joyce argues that ETS basically is tokenism, an ineffective gesture when put against the vast quantity of emissions from overseas. In a typical turn-of-phrase he describes it as a sop to Labor's constituency at "the Mystical Monkey Coffee Shop in inner suburban Nirvanaville".

From his arrival in Canberra from Queensland in 2005 as an unpredictable maverick who was prepared to defy his party and Liberal colleagues to repeatedly cross the Senate floor on key issues, Senator Joyce has slowly graduated into the mainstream of political debate. He has a good grasp of issues and - that rare commodity in politics - the ability to speak in a language that people understand. He also understands that riding shotgun alongside the Liberal Party but without a gun, is as good as useless. In other words, the party has to stand for something or die.

In September last year, Joyce was elected without fanfare as Nationals leader in the Senate, but, critically, he refused to take an Opposition portfolio responsibility. This meant that, even though he was in the Coalition leadership group, he was not locked into a Coalition policy straightjacket and had the ability to continue to speak his mind.

Reluctantly, Nationals MPs are coming around to realising that Senator Joyce's aggressive, independent strategy is more effective in raising the Nationals brand name - particularly while in Opposition. Some Nationals MPs resent the publicity that Senator Joyce manages to attract, and they consider him an unpredictable upstart. But older and wiser hands, such as long-time Queensland Senator Ron Boswell, whose loyalty to the Coalition was never given the recognition it deserved, realise that a separate identity for the party is vital. Events are moving in a way whereby Nationals will soon be asking: is Senator Joyce a leader in the making?



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Sunday, July 05, 2009

A garden of piggish delights

Two main things to understand about Waxman-Markey: First, it will not reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, at least not at any point in the near future. The inclusion of carbon offsets, which can be manufactured out of thin air and political imagination, will eliminate most of the demands that the legislation puts on industry, though in doing so it will manage to drive up the prices consumers pay for every product that requires energy for its manufacture — which is to say, for everything. Second, it represents a worse abuse of the public trust and purse than the stimulus and the bailouts put together. Waxman-Markey creates a permanent new regime in which environmental romanticism and corporate welfare are mixed together to form political poison. From comic bureaucratic power grabs (check out the section of the bill on candelabras) to the creation of new welfare programs for Democratic constituencies to, above all, massive giveaways for every financial, industrial, and political lobby imaginable, this bill would permanently deform American politics and economic life.

The stimulus bill was the legislative equivalent of the famous cantina scene from Star Wars, an eye-popping collection of the freakish and exotic, gathered for dubious purposes. The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, known as ACES (the American Clean Energy and Security Act), is more like the third panel in Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights — a hellscape that disturbs the sleep of anybody who contemplates it carefully.

Two main things to understand about Waxman-Markey: First, it will not reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, at least not at any point in the near future. The inclusion of carbon offsets, which can be manufactured out of thin air and political imagination, will eliminate most of the demands that the legislation puts on industry, though in doing so it will manage to drive up the prices consumers pay for every product that requires energy for its manufacture — which is to say, for everything. Second, it represents a worse abuse of the public trust and purse than the stimulus and the bailouts put together. Waxman-Markey creates a permanent new regime in which environmental romanticism and corporate welfare are mixed together to form political poison. From comic bureaucratic power grabs (check out the section of the bill on candelabras) to the creation of new welfare programs for Democratic constituencies to, above all, massive giveaways for every financial, industrial, and political lobby imaginable, this bill would permanently deform American politics and economic life.

The House of Representatives, famously, did not read this bill before passing it, which is testament to either Nancy Pelosi’s managerial incompetency or her political wile, or possibly both. If you take the time to read the legislation, you’ll discover four major themes: special-interest giveaways, regulatory mandates unrelated to climate change, fanciful technological programs worthy of The Jetsons, and assorted left-wing wish fulfillment. We cannot cover every swirl and brushstroke of this masterpiece of misgovernance, but here’s a breakdown of its 50 most outrageous features.


1. The big doozy: Eighty-five percent of the carbon permits will not be sold at auction — they will be given away to utility companies, petroleum interests, refineries, and a coterie of politically connected businesses. If you’re wondering why Big Business supports cap-and-trade, that’s why. Free money for business, but higher energy prices for you.

2. The sale of carbon permits will enrich the Wall Street investment bankers whose money put Obama in the White House. Top of the list: Goldman Sachs, which is invested in carbon-offset development and carbon permissions. CNN reports: "Less than two weeks after the investment bank announced it would be laying off 10 percent of its staff, ***Goldman Sachs confirmed that it has taken a minority stake in Utah-based carbon offset project developer Blue Source LLC. . . . “Interest in the pre-compliance carbon market in the U.S. is growing rapidly,” said Leslie Biddle, Head of Commodity Sales at Goldman, “and we are excited to be able to offer our clients immediate access to a diverse selection of emission reductions to manage their carbon risk.”

3. With its rich menu of corporate subsidies and special set-asides for politically connected industries, Waxman-Markey has inspired a new corporate interest group, USCAP, the United States Climate Action Partnership — the group largely responsible for the fact that carbon permits are being given away like candy at Christmas rather than auctioned. And who is lined up to receive a piece of the massive wealth transfer that Waxman-Markey will mandate? Canada Free Press lists:

Alcoa, American International Group (AIG) which withdrew after accepting government bailout money, Boston Scientific Corporation, BP America Inc., Caterpillar Inc., Chrysler LLC (which continues to lobby with taxpayer dollars), ConocoPhillips, Deere & Company, The Dow Chemical Company, Duke Energy, DuPont, Environmental Defense, Exelon Corporation, Ford Motor Company, FPL Group, Inc., General Electric, General Motors Corp. (now owned by the Obama administration), Johnson & Johnson, Marsh, Inc., National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, NRG Energy, Inc., Pepsico, Pew Center on Global Climate Change, PG&E Corporation, PNM Resources, Rio Tinto, Shell, Siemens Corporation, World Resources Institute, Xerox Corporation.

One major group of recipients of the free money being given to industry in the form of carbon permits are the electric utilities, represented in Washington by the Edison Electric Institute. Along with the coal and steel businesses, the utilities are positioned to receive a huge portion of the carbon permits — some of which will be disguised as measures for consumers — and have become one of the nation’s highest-spending lobbies, working to ensure that their interests are served by cap-and-trade.


Energy Leninism

"The worse, the better," Vladimir Lenin is said to have observed. What Lenin meant was that the worse social conditions became in Russia, the more likely he and the Bolsheviks could foment a communist revolution. President Barack Obama's White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel recently updated Lenin's maxim, saying, "Never allow a crisis to go to waste."

Last Friday, the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives took those maxims to heart when they pushed through their 1,200-page American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act by a vote 219 to 212. The bill is supposed to address the twin crises of economic recession and climate change by creating millions of new "green" jobs. Instead of an old-fashioned Soviet-style five-year plan, ACES can be thought of as 50-year plan to radically transform how Americans produce and use energy.

The new climate and energy bill would create a convoluted cap-and-trade scheme that aims to curb the emissions of carbon dioxide by American consumers and businesses. Why? Because the extra carbon dioxide emitted into the air from burning fossil fuels like coal and oil to produce energy is heating up the atmosphere. That additional heat will melt glaciers, raise sea levels, change rainfall patterns, cause plants and animals to shift their habitats, and so forth. To avoid these consequences, argue congressional Democrats, it is necessary for Americans to shift from cheap fossil fuels to expensive renewable energy fuels.

So the 1,200-page House bill would set a declining cap on carbon dioxide emissions that, by 2020, reduces them by 17 percent below 2005 levels and by 83 percent below by 2050. Each year the Environmental Protection Agency would issue a lower number of carbon dioxide emissions permits. Under the House bill 85 percent of the permits would be given away for free to various energy producers and users while the remaining 15 percent would be auctioned off. A company must have a permit for each ton of carbon dioxide it emits. The idea is that some companies will be more efficient in reducing their emissions and so will have some permits left over that they can sell to other, less-efficent emitters.

Trading permits in the market will set a price on carbon dioxide emissions. This means that electricity and automobile fuels produced using coal and oil will become more expensive. Higher electricity and gasoline prices are intended to encourage consumers to buy more fuel-efficient automobiles and appliances and to cut back on home heating and cooling. These higher energy prices will also boost what Americans pay for most goods and services. Finally, higher prices are supposed to incentivize inventors and entrepreneurs to develop and deploy lower carbon energy sources like solar and wind power. Sounds simple, but ACES is anything but simple.

The bill is replete with tax breaks, subsidies, and mandates aimed at buying off various special interest groups and industries. For example, it authorizes $60 billion for carbon capture and sequestration projects, $15 billion in subsidies to small and medium sized businesses to finance the cost of clean energy manufacturing products, and $2.5 billion for residential energy efficiency block grant programs to states. The bill also puts $150 million in an Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Worker Training Fund, and so on.

The new 50-year energy plan leaves little to chance. Congress has issued a flood of mandates large and small. For example, utilities must purchase 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, states and utilities are obliged to build regional infrastructures to support plug-in electric vehicles, new homes have to be 30 percent more energy efficient and—since no detail is too small to escape congressional notice—requires rising energy efficiency standards for outdoor lighting.

Will Americans tolerate such sweeping interventions into their lives and workplaces? Perhaps not. The American Clean Energy and Security Act is even bigger in scope and complexity than President Bill Clinton's 1993 Health Security Act. Clinton's 1,364-page bill would have created over 100 new federal bureaucracies, hundreds of new regulations, and massive changes in the tax code. At the same time, President Clinton in 1993 proposed a tax on the heat content of various fuels, known as the BTU (British Thermal Units) tax. This tax aimed to reduce pollution and encourage conservation. It was estimated that the BTU tax would increase energy costs for the typical household by 4.5 percent or about $105 in 1996. The price of gasoline would have risen by 7.5 cents per gallon. Public and business opposition effectively killed both the health care scheme and the BTU in 1994. Even supporters of ACES, who are eager to low-ball its costs, admit that it will eventually boost gasoline prices by 25 cents per gallon and household energy bills by $175 per year. Other estimates suggest that ACES will force energy prices far higher.

In 2009, a Democratic president and Democratic Congress are once again proposing costly and intrusive changes in both health care and energy supplies. The 1994 mid-term election became a referendum on big government and ushered in Republican control of both the Senate and House of Representatives for the first time since the early 1950s. Given the Republican Party's current disarray, it's unlikely that 2010 will see another "Republican Revolution." However, as the new energy policies slow economic growth and impose vast new costs on consumers, it will be the Republicans who are quietly saying, "The worse, the better."


More tax oppression

Why did a bare majority (219-212) of the members of the U.S. Congress vote for the largest tax increase in American history this past Friday, under the claim it was a vote to save the climate?

Before you answer the question, consider the following facts. The proponents claim this tax bill will reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, which are purported to cause global warming. First, despite the claims of President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and many in the media, there is no consensus in the scientific community about how much climate change, other than the normal cycles, is taking place, nor how severe it will be, and how much man-made CO2 is responsible. None of the climate models predicted the unexpected global cooling of the last decade.

It is known that the legislation will have a negligible effect on global CO2 emissions, particularly since the big polluters, such as China and India, are not playing ball. It is also known that the "cap and trade" system that the legislation calls for has been a failure in Europe, where it has been in operation for the last few years, in that it has proven to be far more costly than envisioned, has not met the CO2 reduction targets, and has been highly susceptible to corruption and abuse.

In addition, because the legislation requires Americans to use more inefficient energy (wind and solar) sources, it cannot help but raise costs for American businesses and citizens, and hence will kill jobs rather than create them (as contrasted to what Mr. Obama and Mrs. Pelosi have incorrectly claimed).

In sum, serious people understand the legislation will hurt the U.S. economy, reduce the standard of living and yet not accomplish its claimed intent; therefore, why were so many members of Congress willing to vote for it?

Are they idiots, or do they have another agenda? Yes, a few are not that bright, but many more see this as an opportunity to extract wealth from one group of Americans, give it to other groups of Americans they favor, and to their political cronies who will reward them in campaign contributions and in other ways — both seen and unseen. They are willing to engage in more tax oppression in exchange for more political power to themselves.

The tendency for political leaders — even those fairly elected — to look out more for their own personal interests rather than the greater good is not confined to America. The Organization for Cooperation and Development (OECD), whose 30 members are the major industrialized democratic countries, was formed half a century ago to promote policies to increase economic growth and free trade.

Unfortunately, political leaders in high-tax states (notably France and Germany) have captured part of the OECD and are using it as an instrument — by creating "black" and "gray" lists — to squash tax competition from low-tax-rate countries and financial freedom and privacy (which are important for global economic growth).

A European economic policy organization, Institut Constant de Rebecque, has just published an important study, "Tax burden and individual rights in the OECD: an international comparison." As part of the study, the author, Pierre Bessard, created a Tax Oppression Index by using OECD and World Bank data to measure the overall tax burden, public governance, and taxpayer rights. Italy and Turkey were judged to have the most tax oppression, while Austria, Luxembourg and Switzerland were judged to have the least oppressive tax systems. A sample of the major countries in the index can be seen in the accompanying table.

Those who advocate bigger governments and more repressive tax systems claim that the additional tax revenue is needed to promote the common good. In 2007, the government spending in Switzerland was equal to 35.7 percent of GDP (very close to the government share of GDP in the United States of 37.4 percent) while the Italians had a government sector equal to 48.5 percent of GDP.

The Italians and the Swiss share a long peaceful border, but Italy is far richer in natural resources and access to the sea than land locked Switzerland. Yet the Swiss are far more prosperous and do a much better job in delivering government services than do the Italians (or French with 52.4 percent of government spending) while, at the same time, engage in far less tax repression. The Austrian government spends 48.2 of its GDP, which is almost equal the size of the Italian government spending, but manages to raise the necessary tax money in a far less oppressive way.

The United States is in about the middle of the pack, but could have a lower score if it improved its public governance by reducing the corruption and inefficiency in Washington, and did a much better job in protecting taxpayer rights. (The U.S. Constitution explicitly gives citizens the presumption of innocence, but the Internal Revenue Service chooses to ignore the Constitution in this and many other matters.)

The world would be richer and more just if the low-tax-rate countries that protect taxpayer rights and privacy could penalize the states that engage in high levels of tax oppression, rather than vice versa, which is now the case.

The empirical evidence from the new Institut Constant study clearly shows (as have many other studies) that it is not necessary to have high tax rates or deny taxpayers basic rights and financial privacy for the government to obtain all of the revenue it legitimately needs. But as the vote on the "climate" (tax) bill in the Congress clearly showed last week, for all too many politicians, tax policy is not about revenue but political power and control.


A right to pollute being enacted

The House passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act Friday was billed as a narrow victory for President Obama and the green lobby. But was it a victory for real environmentalism? Sadly, no. The legislation's many loopholes that had to be added to secure its passage will make it far less effective -- to be charitable. The "cap and trade" regime that the bill would create promises to ratchet down carbon emissions over time but creates a dangerous precedent for the environment.

Cap and trade essentially creates a property right out of polluting. Once Company A has an emissions permit, it can release a certain amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Or it can sell its permit rights to Company Z. The bright idea is to create an incentive to decrease carbon emissions so that a company can profit off its excessive permits. In reality, what it does is create an enforceable right to pollute.

In the past, pollution was seen as a sort of "necessary evil" that could be regulated or rescinded if necessary. Now companies will have a right to pollute because they were already in the polluting business and were grandfathered in, or because they paid good money for that right. Cap and trade guarantees the right to pollute over a certain, fixed amount of time. The bill ratchets down the amount of carbon emissions allowed over time by a schedule. That sounds like a win for environmentalism. However, the percentages and dates create expectations that go along with these permits being sold.

Companies will purchase permits from each other with the expectation that they will be able to emit a specific amount of carbon over a specific time period. These percentages and dates are political goals and are not based on solid scientific research. That could lead to unexpectedly bad results. For example, the amount of carbon emissions allowed could turn out to be incredibly dangerous to the public. Under a cap and trade regime, if the government attempts to "fix" the problem the action would amount to a "taking." Lawyers would then tie it up in court for years.

And the "cap" part of cap and trade is hardly set in stone. The bill allows companies to offset their carbon emissions beyond their permitted use by "helping the environment" in some other politically favored way. For example, if a company pays to preserve an acre of rain forest, it secures the right to release more carbon emissions. That might superficially seem to maintain the balance between carbon producers and carbon reducers, but that balance is a convenient myth.

Forget for a moment that the generous offsets allowed by the bill were crafted in response to industry prodding. There is no hard evidence that carbon offsets actually work.

And, remember, the environment is far bigger than the United States. Companies can often go elsewhere. Congress has to take into consideration that pushing companies out of the United States into other, less regulated areas, would have the opposite effect of the bill's intention.

Politicians need to realize there is a difference between doing "something" to help combat global warming and doing "anything" on that front. It's unwise to ram a 1,500-page bill through the House in the dead of the night -- with a last minute 300-page amendment tacked on to buy needed votes -- and expect that to work.

All it amounts to now is a "feel good" bill with no realistic environmental benefits at a huge cost to individuals.



The last time global warming came to the Andes it produced the Inca Empire. A team of English and U.S. scientists has analyzed pollen, seeds and isotopes in core samples taken from the deep mud of a small lake not far from Machu Picchu and their report says that "the success of the Inca was underpinned by a period of warming that lasted more than four centuries."

The four centuries coincided directly with the rise of this startling, hyper-productive culture that at its zenith was bigger than the Ming Dynasty China and the Ottoman Empire, the two most powerful contemporaries of the Inca.

"This period of increased temperatures," the scientists say, "allowed the Inca and their predecessors to expand, from AD 1150 onwards, their agricultural zones by moving up the mountains to build a massive system of terraces fed frequently by glacial water, as well as planting trees to reduce erosion and increase soil fertility.

"They re-created the landscape and produced the huge surpluses of maize, potatoes, quinua and other crops that freed a rapidly growing population to build roads, scores of palaces like Machu Picchu and in particular the development of a large standing army."

No World Bank, no NGOs.

The new study is called "Putting the Rise of the Inca within a Climatic and Land Management Context" and was prepared by Alex Chepstow-Lusty, an English paleo-biologist working for the French Institute of Andean Studies, in Lima. Alex led a team that includes Brian Bauer, of the University of Illinois, one of today's top Inca-ologists. The study is being published in Climate of the Past, an online academic journal.

Alex spends a lot of time in Cuzco and he told me the other day that the report "raises the question of whether today's global warming may be another opportunity for the Andes."

The core samples from the sediment of the little lake, Marcacocha, in the Patakancha valley above Ollantaytambo, show that there was a major cold drought in the southern Andes beginning in 880 AD lasting for a devastating century-plus through into 1000AD. This cold snap finished off both the Wari and the Tiahuanaco cultures which had between them dominated the southern Andes for more than a millennium.

It was at this same time that the Classic Maya disappeared in Yucatan. It was also a time, on the other side of the Pacific when major migrations from East Asia took place into Polynesia, an indication of a major Niño event; a Niño sees western Pacific currents switch to flow from West to East.

Core samples from glaciers and from the mud beneath lakes in the Andes, the Amazon and elsewhere have built up a history of the world's climate and the message is crystal clear. It is that changes have taken place in the past, during the six or seven thousand years of our agriculture-based civilizations, that are just as big as the ones we are facing from today's CO2 warming.


Australia: "Green" investment options a flop

Real Greenies probably have no money left to invest after they have spent all their money on solar panels, water tanks and "organic" food etc.

A decade ago, a fresh wave of interest in sustainable investing broke out in Australia — and elsewhere — but things have not turned out quite as the sector's advocates expected. Howard government changes to allow a choice of super funds would let people dictate how their money was invested. This democratisation would translate into greener, more human financial markets.

Mainstream institutions such as Westpac, AMP and Perpetual launched funds into a niche market — call it ethical, socially responsible or sustainable investing — that had been held by principled specialists such as Australian Ethical Investment and Hunter Hall, who did nothing else. Real money was expected to flow into this niche, then worth about $1.4 billion. Big companies such as BHP may not have cared what a few tiny green fund managers did with their money, but failure to pass a sniff test backed by powerful financial institutions with billions to invest posed a different reputational risk.

After the Dow Jones Sustainability Index was launched in 1999, for example, everybody wanted to make the cut. But the fund managers had a dilemma: how to offer investment-grade sustainable funds that conformed with industry rules about diversification? Get too green and you limit your investment options and your chance of beating the market. No trustee or their consultant would endorse a fund likely to underperform. Not green enough and you get shot down for hypocrisy and lose your marketing edge — the offer of a true alternative — as well as any upside from green investing that might exist.

A crop of funds were launched that balanced performance against integrity to varying degrees. Slowly money trickled in, except most super fund members almost never chose the sustainability option offered by their fund. Most mandates were wholesale. By the end of last year, according to Super Ratings managing director Jeff Bresnahan, take-up of the sustainable options offered by super funds was "pitiful".

A recent Super Ratings survey, answered by 76 funds with 15 million members and $370 billion in assets, found that for 90 per cent of respondents, sustainable investments — now offered by almost two-thirds of funds — represented well under 5 per cent of net assets.

For example Vision Super, a $4 billion fund, had just $8.5 million invested in its sustainable options. The $28 billion Australian Super had just $29 million invested in its comparable green plan — that's only 0.1 per cent. "People just aren't voting with their feet with (these) options," Bresnahan says. "A lot of funds have done the research among their members, and it comes back with a resounding 'yes', but there's very little take-up."

It's not the performance that's a turn off. In fact there's nothing in it — sometimes they're ahead, sometimes behind, depending on the time period, asset allocation, research used, and so on. Super Ratings found that sustainable super options underperformed by a measly 33-38 basis points a year over the five years to the end of May, with the median option delivering annual returns of 4.37 per cent (balanced) or 6.72 per cent (shares) after tax and fees.

Morningstar data for retail (non-super) funds shows a similar underperformance of 45 basis points a year over the five years to May. That's also after fees, which is part of the explanation — the added research required to analyse sustainable investments costs fund members 1.81 per cent, or an extra 21 basis points, a year more than mainstream funds.



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Saturday, July 04, 2009


Lots of good emails today -- via Benny Peiser. The first email below is from Dr. Albrecht Glatzle [] of Filadelfia, Paraguay -- noting the myths about cow farts, sheep burps, etc. It was originally sent to TGS Newsletter editor, Ian Partridge, in Queensland, Australia

Yesterday I received the latest TGS Newsletter (Volume 25 No. 1 & 2). It was a pleasure to look at the beautiful photographs of various well known personalities from the Australian pasture science scene. But when I got to the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) chapters I was a bit embarrassed about how much you Australians seem to be concerned on the GHG emissions by ruminant livestock and their potential effects on climate change. I'd like to make some comments on this topic:

1) Except the fossil fuel borne CO2-emissions by the livestock industry (production, processing and commercialization of meat and milk) and except some unique biosphere borne CO2-emissions, associated with land use change (e.g. deforestation), domestic animal husbandry is totally "climate neutral" (using a controversial terminology, only justified under the assumption of any measurable effect of anthropogenic GHG-emissions on global temperature). Why? Because all the CO2 emitted by forage digestion and respiration had previously been captured from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Therefore, not a single CO2 molecule is added additionally to the atmosphere that had not been there before, recently.

2) This is also true for the methane produced by internal fermentation. Methane derives from organic substances originating from recent photosynthetic processes. And - as Richard Douthwaite from Ireland correctly points out in his letter (page 11) - methane molecules in the air are oxidized to CO2 and water at the end of their residence time in the atmosphere, closing the cycle. As a matter of fact the methane concentration has stabilized or even passed its peak just at the beginning of the new millennium. So obviously, just as much methane is oxidized in the atmosphere as is added to the air per unit of time. The resulting CO2 is available to be re-captured by photosynthesis. Therefore animal borne methane (how much its proportion ever may be among the total global methane emissions), just like CO2, forms part of a natural cycle, and not a single methane molecule is added additionally to the atmosphere by rumen fermentation that had not been there before, recently, unless livestock numbers increase.

3) The European satellite ENVISAT measured over a three years period the world wide close-to-the-surface-methane-concentrations. The average values are shown in figure 2 (source: University of Bremen here). Not even international organizations like the IPCC or FAO seem to have taken notice of the fact, that even the humid tropical forests do obviously emit far more methane than grazing cattle. How can the big grazing areas of the world (Australia, Southern Latin America, South and East Africa, and Western United States with hundreds of millions of cattle) and even India with the highest cattle density worldwide show such low methane concentrations? Something wrong with the theory?

4) While it is banally true that all improvements in the efficiency of livestock production reduce herbage intake and along with it GHG emission per unit of product (meat or milk), the often cited figure of 18% of anthropogenic GHG emissions originating from domestic animal husbandry, as claimed by the highly controversial FAO-Report "Livestock's Long Shadow" is clearly exaggerated. This document, that has done so much damage to the reputation of the livestock industry, was still proudly exposed at an international FAO symposium on the "Mitigation of GHG Emissions from Livestock", held last month in Asunción, Paraguay:

a) How can the FAO claim that 25% of the domestic-livestock-borne CO2-equivalents originate from internal fermentation (methane), considering what has been outlined in the paragraphs 2 and 3? Just like CO2-emissions from the biosphere, animal borne methane emissions are part of a natural steady state equilibrium. So the 25% should be corrected to 0% as long as livestock numbers are constant.

b) How can the FAO claim that one third of the domestic animal borne CO2-equivalents come from deforestation (land use change), considering FAO yearbook numbers telling us that net deforestation on a world wide scale is almost zero? Close to 30% of the terrestrial surface are covered by forests and woodlands with very little change over the past 6 decades. So, once again just one scale pan of the balance has been taken into account.

5) When looking a little bit beyond GHG emissions and balances, e.g. how good the alarming IPCC projections fit the empirically observed mean global temperatures, one starts to doubt whether the so called Green House Gases (particularly the very small proportion of total emissions originating from human activity) really do have any notable effect on the planet's climate. Since about the change of the millenniums global temperature (satellite measured lower troposphere mean temperature anomalies, University of Alabama, Huntsville) decreased, just inversely proportional to the smoothed atmospheric CO2 concentration. Not one single IPCC model projected this "inconvenient truth" (just for some). Surprise? No! Even the theory tells us that the infrared absorption is almost saturated at present CO2 levels. In order to reach such prominent temperature increases as projected by the IPCC, one has to make very risky assumptions of strongly reinforcing feedbacks of the very slight warming effect intrinsic to CO2, even when doubling or tripling its concentration in the air.

6) Recent studies discovered the stalagmites in this globe's caves as very reliable climate archives conserving a range of precious indicators of past climates and solar activity. Looking to what these archives reveal, we cannot find any unusual or scaring temperature development during the past decades. No need, whatsoever, for anthropogenic Greenhouse Gases to explain the slight temperature increase observed during the past century.

So definitely there is no need at all to be concerned about our livestock's emissions of so called Greenhouse Gases! We won't save the planet distorting ourselves in an effort to teach our cattle how to emit less methane. And we will not harm the planet when we go on with our cattle industry business as usual. Let's just rebut unqualified attacks (unfortunately also originating from such prominent organizations as the FAO) on our livelihood! The sound arguments are ours.


An email from Brian Porter []

It appears that the US and its CO2 constraining allies will most likely get an unpleasant surprise in a few years when the global production of hydrocarbons will be hard-hit by currently falling levels of capital investment. Around that time the global economy should start to rebound and demand for hydrocarbons (among other commodities) will pick up substantially in developing countries.

In that sellers market rebound, the US, as a major dependent purchaser, will be at a significant economic disadvantage due to both its high import tariffs and its politically constrained environment for domestic production. It will in effect be strangling itself by enforcing an artificial constraint on a critical economic input. Therefore, any attempt to force others into compliance with ill-advised policies using tariffs and repressive political policies - will backfire.

This looming energy supply shortage will exacerbate an ongoing US economic crisis brought on by an apparent ignorance of the fact that it is savings, production and free markets that drive economic growth - not debt, consumption, government planning, political subterfuge and outright market manipulation.

This kind of aggressive posturing only proves that the war has already been lost by its perpetrators. One is left only to consider the reparations - or war on another front...


An email from Prof. James H. Rust [] below:

The United States House of Representatives narrowly passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, also called Waxman-Markey, June 26. Many features are in this act and little has been published about ramifications of these features. Most notable are requirements that United States greenhouse gas emissions be 17 percent below those of 2005 by 2020 and 15 percent of electric power generation is from renewable sources(wind, solar, biomass, or geothermal) by 2020.

The United States has always been a growing nation; so the 2020 population is estimated forty million greater than the 296 million of 2005--a 13.5 percent increase. So the per capita energy use due to fossil fuels must fall from 284 million Btu per year to 206 million Btu per year by 2020. This 28 percent decrease in fossil energy use will present a challenge unless many creature comforts such as hot water, heating, and air conditioning are curtailed.

Many states in the United States are unsuitable for use of solar or wind as electricity sources. These states will have to purchase power from more gifted states at considerably higher rates. In 2005 the total electric power generation for the United States was about 4 trillion kilo-watt-hours. If there is no growth for the 15 years to 2020--which is quite unlikely--the amount of electricity due to renewables would have to be 600 billion kilo-watt-hours. Because of solar power's higher costs, wind power will probably be the greatest source of renewable power. The typical 1.5 megawatt wind power plant produces about 3.3 million kilo-watt-hours per year. Thus in the eleven years to 2020, the United States would need about 180 thousand 1.5 megawatt wind turbines. This means 45 new wind turbines per day.

As a means to keep utilities from shutting down operating coal plants, Waxman's Malarkey Bill allows fossil fuel users to purchase carbon offsets that nullify carbon dioxide production by removing carbon dioxide at other locations. This feature should make investors with similar dispositions to Bernard Madoff weep for joy. The offsets may sell $50 to $80 per ton of carbon. The offsets may be from planting forests in Brazil or constructing hydroelectric dams in China. The same tree may be used as offsets for different countries or utilities. What is to prevent trees planted for offsets being harvested for fuel consumption? All kinds of mischief should be possible from this means to forestall reductions in fossil fuel use.


An email for Madhav Khandekar []

The Indian Monsoon & by extension the Asian Monsoon which impact about 4 B people (70% of world's humanity) today is perhaps the most complex feature of the earth's climate system and climate models have achieved only a limited success so far in simulating many features of this complex system.

Normally the Indian monsoon arrives at the southern tip of Indian Peninsula (about 8N) by May 25 and by June 7/8 the Monsoon onset begins over Mumbai (largest Indian city, pop: ~20 M) and it progresses further into central India and by June 25th to June 30th the Monsoon generally spreads over most of India. Despite year-to-year variations in these dates, the onset dates over a 150-yr database (one of the best datasets) shows Monsoon arrival dates remarkably robust. Delay in Monsoon arrival is often associated with anxiety about water shortage, impact on agriculture and of course an increased hype about "global warming, climate change and possible adverse impact". A careful examination of past data, however, shows such 'fears' about adverse global warming impact are without any merit.

Despite significant advances in Monsoon meteorology, predicting onset and overall intensity and distribution of Monsoon rainfall during the four summer months (June-September) is still a daunting task and considerable research efforts are needed at present to improve predictability of Indian/Asian Monsoon. Since the Indian/Asian Monsoon system transfers sufficient energy across the entire climate system, any future projection of earth's climate must include an improved modelling of the Monsoon system than what is available at present.

This year's Monsoon was predicted to be about normal (96% of normal) by the IMD ( India Met Dept) as early as April 18th and an early arrival (second week of May) of Monsoon rains at the southern tip of India suggested this year's Monsoon to be about two weeks early. However, further progress of Monsoon was stalled for reasons that we meteorologists do not fully understand and this stalling and later creating acute shortage of water in Mumbai and New Delhi ( India's capital city with a pop, ~14 M) has evoked comments like "Monsoon gamble, looming spectre of a drought etc" from many, including a scientist working with Greenpeace.

It must be remembered that such delays in Monsoon arrival have occurred in the past and has affected India's agricultural output, but such delays and irregular Monsoon progression are all part of natural variability, quite possibly linked to large-scale atmospheric circulation systems like the ENSO phase in Eq pacific, Eurasian and Himalayan winter snow cover, QBO (Quasi-Biennial Eq Stratospheric Wind Oscillation) phase and perhaps a host of other regional features. This is what makes the Indian/Asian Monsoon so very complex and a challenging scientific problem.

In 1972 the Indian Monsoon was delayed, esp in Peninsular India by almost six weeks and that year proved to be one of severest drought year for the Monsoon (most certainly this was attributed to the 1972 strong El Nino) which resulted in sharply reduced rice yield that year.

Earlier in 1961 Monsoon rains were heaviest during the four months with extensive flooding over many parts of India. Such floods and droughts have occurred irregularly and are still not fully understood. The worst ever drought was in 1877 which sparked an article (Proc of Royal Society) by Henry Blanford (British Met Reporter for the then Govt of India) to speculate linkage between extensive snow cover over Himalayas during preceding winter and weak Monsoon.

Climate modellers almost 100 years later were able to simulate this inverse relationship. However much remains to be understood about how winter Eurasian snow cover impacts Monsoon circulation few months down the road and how the easterly Jet Stream that emanates from east of Bangkok to Saudi Arabia at about 12 km level over Peninsular India (during Monsoon months) evolves and influences Monsoon rains.

Per most recent IMD communication, Monsoon seems to be spreading over most of India (by June 30th) and this season's rains would be only about 93% of normal. The month of July is the most critical month with regular rains over most of eastern & western Gangetic Plains during normal Monsoon. Whether the Monsoon this year "behaves normally" for the rest of the season remains to be seen. The ENSO phase is about normal at this point in time, so NO adverse impact from Eq Pacific is expected. Winter snow cover was heavy during the past winter, however the continued westerly phase of the QBO may help produce good rains over next few weeks.

Accurate Monsoon simulation and prediction with a lead time of few weeks to few months still remains an intractable problem for climate scientists.


You've probably all heard of Svensmark and the Galactic Cosmic Ray (GCR) to cloud cover modulation theory by now. Lot's of warmists say it is "discredited". However, CERN in Switzerland isn't following that thinking, and after getting some encouraging results in the CLOUD06 experiment, they have funded a much larger and more comprehensive CLOUD09 experiment. I figure if it is "discredited", a bunch of smart guys and gals like CERN wouldn't be ramping up the investigation. There's also word now of a new correlation:

Correlation recently reported between solar/GCR variability and temperature in Siberia from glacial ice core, 30 yr lag (ie. ocean currents may be part of response)

I get so many tips now it is hard to choose, but this one is a gem. If you look at nothing else this month, please take the time to download the slide show from CERN's Jasper Kirkby at the end of this article.

He does a superb job of tying it all together. I found Kirkby's slide show quite interesting, and I've grabbed some slides for our WUWT readers. He proposes a GCR to cloud droplet mechanism, which to me, makes sense meteorologically. He also touches on the possibility that the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) may have been shifted due to GCR modulation during the LIA/Maunder Minimum. This ties in with Willis Eschenbach's theories of the ITCZ being a "thermostatic mechanism" for the planet with some amplification effects.

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

A pipedream of six turbines a day until 2020

Lord Hunt has made one of the most absurd claims that can ever have been uttered by a British minister, writes Christopher Booker

Last Wednesday, two days before our Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband, told us that motorists could help save the planet by changing more quickly to a lower gear, his underling Lord Hunt made one of the most absurd claims that can ever have been uttered by a British minister. Solemnly reported by the media, he said that by 2020 he hopes to see thousands more wind turbines round Britain's coasts, capable of producing '25 gigawatts (GW)" of electricity, enough to meet "more than a quarter of the UK's electricity needs".

In three ways this was remarkable. First, as most of us know by now, thanks to the intermittency of the wind, the actual output from 25GW of turbine capacity would only average out at 7.5GW. Since Britain's peak demand is 56GW, Lord Hunt's turbines would meet barely a seventh of our needs, just over half what he claims.

Nor did he mention their cost. Thanks to the British Wind Energy Association telling us that the current price of offshore turbines is £3.1 million per megawatt, the bill we would all have to pay for Lord Hunt's dream would be £77 billion, plus the £15 billion that he did admit would be needed to pay for cabling to connect his windmills to the grid. For the same £92 billion we could build 34 nuclear power stations, enough to meet all Britain's needs, at a seventh of the cost for each unit of electricity.

The second remarkable feature of Lord Hunt's vision is that, in practical terms, there is no conceivable way it could happen. To build the 10,000 turbines that would be required by 2020 would mean installing more than two of these 2,000-ton monsters, the size of Blackpool Tower, every day for the next 11 years. But, thanks to weather conditions at sea, it is only possible to carry out the work for four months each summer. So the true rate would be more like six a day. Nowhere in the world has anyone managed to instal more than one a week, as opposed to Lord Hunt's hypothetical 45.

The third, perhaps most disturbing point is that the media dutifully reported Lord Hunt's absurd claims without asking any of the elementary questions that could have revealed that he was talking utter nonsense. One cannot of course expect Opposition MPs to take an intelligent interest in such matters. But if journalists allow ministers to get away with talking such tosh, the slide into unreality can only continue.



Brazil wants historic emissions to be the basis for greenhouse gas pollution targets, slated for discussion during December climate talks in Copenhagen, Brazil's top climate negotiator said in an interview. Jose Miguez, who heads Brazil's Interministerial Commission on Global Climate Change, said Brazil is not yet proposing targets for emissions cuts under the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol because developed nations should take the lead. "The greenhouse effect is not caused by emissions, it is caused by the accumulation of emissions in the atmosphere," he said. "We are proposing that the second period of (Kyoto Protocol) commitments be based on the historic responsibilities of each country." Miguez said China, India and South Africa will back the historic emissions proposal in the United Nations talks aimed at reining in warming that the U.N. climate panel says will cause more droughts and crop failures and raise sea levels.

In China, which scientists say has surpassed the United States as the world's biggest carbon polluter, a state think tank this year proposed a greenhouse gas trading plan to reflect the historic emissions of rich and poor nations. Miguez said Brazil opposes "carbon intensity" proposals that measure emissions per dollar of GDP because they favor bigger economies and risk allowing continued increases in global emissions as economies grow. "It's the proposal backed by the U.S., Japan and Germany, it's good for countries with big GDPs," said Miguez.


Note from Benny Peiser: It would appear that President Obama's climate policies run the serious risk of alienating international allies in the developing world, democratic nations (such as India, Brazil, South Africa, etc) that may even turn into potential adversaries if the West's foolish strategy of green protectionism were to take hold. It would be a historical tragedy if future climate conflicts and trade wars were triggered by Western climate hysteria and political extremism rather than anything the climate is throwing at us.


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Friday, July 03, 2009

Everything is bent to promote global warming -- even the size of sheep

Crazy stuff. Why? 1). Since there has been no global warming for 10 of the 24 years concerned, the explanation given fails its most basic assumption. More likely is that some imported pest has reduced the amount of forage available and that factor enhances the survival of smaller animals. 2). Most sheep in Australia run wild and do so in much warmer climates than St. Kilda -- and they are generally big healthy animals. By the logic below they should all be the size of Chihuahuas

CLIMATE change has caused a flock of wild sheep on a remote northern Scottish island to become smaller, according to an unusual investigation published on Thursday. The study explains a mystery that has bedevilled scientists for the past two years.

The wild Soay sheep live on Hirta, in the St. Kilda archipelago in the storm-battered Outer Hebrides, and have been closely studied for nearly a quarter of a century. The law of evolutionary theory says the brown, thick-coated ungulates should have got progressively bigger. Tough winters mean that bigger sheep have a better chance of survival and of reproducing than smaller ones, and eventually they would dominate in the flock's numbers. But in 2007, stunned researchers realised that the average size of the Hirta sheep, instead of rising, had been progressively falling.

The answer, British biologists said on Thursday, lies in climate change. A team led by Tim Coulson, a professor at Imperial College London, pored over data for the animals' body size and life history over 24 years. They found that the sheep were not growing as fast as they once did and smaller sheep were likelier to survive into adulthood instead of perishing as lambs. This gives smaller sheep a shot at reproduction, which means that the average sheep size has fallen - by 81gram per year on average.

Coulson believes that shorter, milder winters mean that lambs do not need to put on as much weight in the first months of life in order to survive to their first birthday, as they did when winters were colder. “In the past, only the big, healthy sheep and large lambs that had piled on weight in their first summer could survive the harsh winters on Hirta,” he said. “But now, due to climate change, grass for food is available for more months of the year and survival conditions are not so challenging - even the slower-growing sheep have a chance of making it, and this means smaller individuals are becoming increasingly prevalent in the population.”

Another factor in the sheep shrinkage is a so-called “young mum effect.” Ewes that give birth earlier tend to produce smaller sheep, thus adding to the smaller average size.

Man-made climate change is already having an impact on species in terms of habitat and migratory patterns. But scientists say it is hard to predict which will be winners and losers from the change, partly because of the complexity of separating out evolutionary pressures from environmental factors.

The new study, published in the US journal Science, could help, said Coulson. “Biologists have realised that ecological and evolutionary processes are intricately intertwined, and they now have a way of dissecting out the contribution of each,” he said. “Unfortunately, it is too early to tell whether a warming world will lead to pocket-sized sheep.”



Henrik Svensmark et al have a new GRL paper in press entitled: 'Cosmic ray decreases affect atmospheric aerosols and clouds'

The Abstract states:

Close passages of coronal mass ejections from the sun are signaled at the Earth's surface by Forbush decreases in cosmic ray counts. We find that low clouds contain less liquid water following Forbush decreases (FDs), and for the most influential events the liquid water in the oceanic atmosphere can diminish by as much as 7%. Cloud water content as gauged by the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) reaches a minimum around 7 days after the Forbush minimum in cosmic rays, and so does the fraction of low clouds seen by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and in the International Satellite Cloud Climate Project (ISCCP). Parallel observations by the aerosol robotic network AERONET reveal falls in the relative abundance of fine aerosol particles which, in normal circumstances, could have evolved into cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). Thus a link between the sun, cosmic rays, aerosols, and liquid-water clouds appears to exist on a global scale.

The paper concludes:

Our results show global-scale evidence of conspicuous influences of solar variability on cloudiness and aerosols. Irrespective of the detailed mechanism, the loss of ions from the air during FDs reduces the cloud liquid water content over the oceans. So marked is the response to relatively small variations in the total ionization, we suspect that a large fraction of Earth's clouds could be controlled by ionization. Future work should estimate how large a volume of the Earth's atmosphere is involved in the ion process that leads to the changes seen in CCN and its importance for the Earth's radiation budget. From solar activity to cosmic ray ionization to aerosols and liquid-water clouds, a causal chain appears to operate on a global scale.

Reference: Svensmark, H., T. Bondo, and J. Svensmark (2009), Cosmic ray decreases affect atmospheric aerosols and clouds, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2009GL038429, in press. (accepted 17 June 2009)


Exxon-Mobil gives peanuts to climate skeptics

Skeptics get $365,000 out of a total of 9 million (4%) given to all environment groups

Company records for 2008 show that ExxonMobil gave $75,000 (£45,500) to the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) in Dallas, Texas and $50,000 (£30,551) to the Heritage Foundation in Washington. It also gave $245,000 (£149,702) to the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington.

The list of donations in the company’s 2008 Worldwide Contributions and Community investments is likely to trigger further anger from environmental activists, who have accused ExxonMobil of giving tens of millions to climate change sceptics in the past decade. All three groups have raised questions about global warming. [How awful1 Raising questions! Unforgiveable] The Heritage Foundation published note last year that said: “Growing scientific evidence casts doubt on whether global warming constitutes a threat, including the fact that 2008 is about to go into the books as a cooler year than 2007”.

ExxonMobil promised in 2006 to stop funding climate change sceptics after it was criticised by the Royal Society for giving money to researchers who were “misinforming the public about the science of climate change”. In its 2008 corporate citizenship report, published last year, ExxonMobil repeated that it would cut funds to several groups that “divert attention” from the need to find new sources of clean energy.

The company has cut funding to several of the more controversial groups, including Frontiers for Freedom, who said in 2007: “The truth is, there is no conclusive or reliable scientific proof that the sky is falling or that Earth’s climate is experiencing cataclysmic warming caused by man’s activities.” The George C Marshall Institute also did not receive any Exxon money last year.

The oil giant also funded a range of environmental groups last year, giving $110,000 (£67,222) to the Alliance to Save Energy, $105,000 (£64,166) to the Annapolis Center for Science-based Public Policy, $100,000 (£61,113) to the Energy research centre at Columbia University and $35,000 (£21,389) to the Center for Clean Air Policy.

A spokesman for ExxonMobil said the company reviews its contributions annually and that it had “the same concerns as people everywhere, and that is how to provide the world with the energy it needs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We take the issue of climate change seriously and the risks warrant action.”

ExxonMobil donated a total of $9 million (£5.5million) to environment-related groups in 2008, and a total of $225million (£137million) to charity, 1/200th of its $45.2billion (£27.6billion) profits for the year.



General Motors this week announced it is quitting its three-decade joint venture with Toyota at the vaunted NUMMI plant near San Francisco. The facility has been much ballyhooed over the years for its cooperative symbolism - it benefited then-neophyte Toyota to employ UAW labor as it entered a wary, protectionist-minded, 1980s U.S. market, while GM was eager to learn Toyota's vaunted manufacturing techniques - but that has outlived its usefulness now that GM and Toyota are struggling with overcapacity today.

But the little details of the NUMMI plant are equally newsworthy.

NUMMI is Toyota's most expensive manufacturing facility in North America - and it is the only auto manufacturing plant in California, period (despite the Golden State's status as America's largest auto market). Why? Because California is a nightmare for large manufacturing.

Its high energy costs, high taxes, and heavy-handed environmental regulation make it prohibitively expensive to build cars relative to other states in the union. Yet Washington is rushing headlong to adopt California's economic and regulatory model for the entire country.

And that means future large manufacturing will be going overseas.


Green-industrial complex gets rich from carbon laws

THE word environmentalist usually conjures images of down-at-heel campaigners in tie-dyed T-shirts who eat only organic muesli. In truth, going green has become big business. We are witnessing the emergence of a green-industrial complex, an alliance between national governments, corporations and powerful individuals that is using the politics of fear to transform the economic and political worlds.

For a snapshot of the government and business interests intertwined in the rise of green capitalism, consider Al Gore. He's getting rich from environmentalism, not just by being paid a whopping $US175,000 ($217,500) a speech but by using political pressure to force government policy in a direction that benefits his business interests.

Gore is chairman of the Alliance for Climate Protection, an outfit that seeks to "persuade people of the importance, urgency and feasibility" of going green. It recently launched a $US300 million ad campaign to coax American people and politicians to embrace the carbon-lite lifestyle.

But Gore is also chairman of a greeninvestment firm called Generation Investment Management, which is a member of the Copenhagen Climate Council, an international collaboration of businesses and science bodies, and which invests in firms that produce renewable energy and low-carbon technology. So Gore uses one of his multimillion-dollar organisations, the Alliance for Climate Protection, to put pressure on government to promote the low-carbon lifestyle that will furnish one of his other multimillion-dollar organisations, General Investment Management, with booming business.

Gore's activities provide only a glimpse into the new collusion between greens, businesses and government. So speedily has this network come together that according to one critic of the politics of environmentalism, Bjorn Lomborg, it is not going too far to liken the new green-industrial complex to the military-industrial complex that president Dwight Eisenhower warned of in the 1950s.

Governments across the world are promoting green ideology and economics on the back of the recession. President Barack Obama has spoken of a "green revolution" and spending $US150 billion to create five million "green-collar" jobs. As a result, the race is on among green-leaning businesses to snap up new government contracts and among not-so-green businesses to improve their green-industrial credentials in the hope of reaping government cash.

Yet the international evidence suggests the attempt to create green jobs will hamper economic recovery. Obama cited Spain as a country where green jobs have improved economic matters. In fact, according to a study by a professor of economics at Juan Carlos University in Madrid, for every green job created by the Spanish government in recent years, an average of 2.2 other jobs were destroyed to make way for it. Furthermore, green jobs tend not to be permanent; in Spain, only 1 in 10 green jobs exists for a significant period.

In Britain, green-industrial activists have used their political clout and scientific research, much of it derived from studies that underpin the business-science alliance of the Copenhagen Climate Council, to pressure the government to adopt a green new deal. In response, Gordon Brown announced in April that he would create 400,000 green jobs and a "low-carbon economy".

Yet his figures don't add up. The Brown government imagines that by 2015 it will have created 39,600 new jobs in geothermal energy, 74,900 in the development of alternative fuels, 25,300 in solar power and 69,300 in the construction of wind turbines. Yet, as a result of Britain's debilitating crisis of credit, the renewables industry, in which tens of thousands of new jobs are apparently going to be created, is in a dire state. Five of Britain's biggest wind-energy projects have been abandoned or put on hold indefinitely and British Petroleum recently cut 620 jobs in its solar-energy division because it wasn't profitable. As journalist Christopher Booker argues, Brown's "green revolution" is "babyish make-believe".

The Spanish and British experiences suggest Obama should not so enthusiastically sign up for the creation of a post-recession US informed by the politics and prejudices of the green-industrial complex. But, then, Obama and other leaders' embrace of the green-industrial complex is not about effecting real change, far less about making economies properly more productive. Rather, it is about instituting a new political outlook, one in which government intervention on the side of science-exploiting, globally conscious corporations becomes the solution to contemporary problems.

Indeed, green activists talk openly about the recession being a good thing. A leading European scientist whose views inform the Copenhagen Climate Council recently said, "It's a cruel thing to say ... but if we are looking at a slowdown in the economy, there will be less fossil fuels burning, so for the climate it could be an advantage."

This captures the complex's cavalier attitude towards individual hardship and its disdain for anything other thanbig government-big business solutions. This is about creating a new mission for the elite while enforcing a culture of low horizons among the "little people".

We should remember that the green-industrial complex's business interests played a role in bringing about the recession. The company whose collapse precipitated the credit crunch, Lehman Brothers, enthusiastically embraced the idea of carbon trading, which is held up by all members of the green-industrial complex as the way forward. In its 2007 report, The Business of Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities, Lehman expressed hope that it might become a "prime brokerage for (carbon) emissions permits", meaning it aspired to make money not only from speculating in mortgages but also from trading in thin air.

Lehman was inspired by European carbon-trading schemes. Under the plan first proposed in the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and introduced in Europe in the early and mid-2000s, the EU and UN allocated to industry legal titles to emit a certain amount of CO2. Because the titles are transferable and because large numbers were allocated to large corporations when the licenses were first introduced, there arose a market in carbon trading. Powerful businesses were able to sell their CO2 permits to smaller companies that needed to emit a certain amount of CO2.

Many smaller public institutions suffered as a result.

In Britain, for example, the University of Manchester forked out pound stg. 92,500 for CO2 permits - and when the carbon-trading market hit the recession and the value of CO2 permits fell, the university would be doing well, said one report, "if it managed to get pound stg. 1000 for the lot of them".

The green-industrial complex's transformation of CO2 into a tradeable commodity empowered large corporations over smaller ones.

Now there are calls for an international carbon-trading regime. The World Bank has proposed that it broker "carbon rights" between the developed and developing world. In the already international and informal world of "carbon offsetting", wealthy individuals in the West pay large sums to charities that fund "eco-friendly" farming and industry in the developing world. It was recently revealed that Prince Charles has made donations to a charity that encourages Indian farmers to use foot pumps rather than machinery to draw water for their crops. In short, guilt-ridden rich people are paying poor people to stay poor so that they can continue living carbon-rich lives over here.

Formalising such an unequal relationship with international brokerage of carbon-emission rights would be a disaster, a form of eco-slavery.

Far from ushering in a brighter future, the green-industrial complex's activities hinder economic experimentation, individual initiative and human aspiration. Theirs is a recipe for economic stagnation rather than recovery and for a new form of politics dominated by an elite green clique and closed off to us mere mortals.


Renewable sources of enegy? No Thanks! Say Greenies

There's no such thing as a happy Greenie
17 Miles Of Maine's Kennebec River Restored

It's been 10 years since the federal government ordered the Edwards Dam on Maine's Kennebec River to be torn down. Regulators had decided that the public would be better served by a free-flowing river than the tiny amount of electricity produced by the dam's hydro plant. Removing the dam has changed the environment — for the better.

More HERE. (NPR Audio at link)


Three posts below

Greenie people-hate on display again

MILLIONS of dollars worth of luxury waterfront homes at Byron Bay will be demolished in the name of climate change following a council decision to enshrine "planned retreat" in law. The radical step to block homeowners protecting their property from rising sea levels was contained in a coastal planning policy released by the Greens-run Byron Bay Council yesterday. It would be the first time in NSW that the idea of planned retreat - where nature is allowed to take its course - will be imposed on existing dwellings under state law. And it means that, once gazetted by the State Government, any house under threat of erosion can be legally demolished.

NSW Environment Minister Carmel Tebbutt, under threat in her own seat of Marrickville from the NSW Greens, has refused to intervene. She said it was up to residents to lobby the council.

Some of the country's rich and famous face losing their homes to rising sea levels, including former actor, now recluse, John Cornell. The council has prevented them building rock walls to help protect their beachfront homes from storm surges. They will now proceed with legal action against the council, claiming they have been denied the basic right of being able to protect their homes. The local business chamber has written to Premier Nathan Rees calling for State Government intervention to stop what they described as "lunacy".

Local business group Byron United president Ed Ahern said the actions of the local council were "alarming". "The State Government needs to intervene in these matters and take over responsibility," he said. "We urgently request that the Government intervenes in this important matter." He said landowners had been prevented from protecting their properties and the issue was now the subject of a formal complaint to the NSW Ombudsman.

Byron Bay Mayor Jan Barham, of the Greens, has defended the move, previously claiming planned retreat had been a policy in Byron Bay since the 1980s. Ms Barham, who is reported to be considering a move to the NSW Upper House, did not return a request to be interviewed. However, she has said that wealthy residents who built their homes along the beach were always aware of the erosion issue.

Ms Tebbutt said the NSW Government would continue to encourage Byron Shire Council to take a practical and reasonable approach when dealing with the affected landowners. "Our draft policy allows landowners affected by coastal hazards, including sea level rise, to seek approval from their local council to protect their property," she said. [In other words: "Get lost"]


Greenie delusions

A solar power station that will generate power 24 hours a day? Really?? I must be missing something. The moon must be VERY bright in South Australia

WHYALLA's 301 days of annual sunshine will be driving the world's first solar power station, producing electricity 24 hours a day by this time next year.

The $15 million plant will again put South Australia's regional areas at the forefront of sustainable and emission-free energy production. It will also address the problem of finding an emission-free electricity source capable of providing a base-load, or 24-hour, power supply, which is a necessity for the world to combat climate change.

Construction of the solar-thermal power plant, Whyalla Solar Oasis, began last week. It will initially comprise four "Big Dishes" while the technology is demonstrated, generating power for up to 1000 homes. The long-term plan is for 600 dishes to be built, each 500sq m in area, in a 2km by 1km area at the city's northern entrance. The expanded plant is expected to generate about 130 gigawatts of power a year, enough for 19,000 average homes and preventing 129,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions being produced – equal to that generated by 36,000 cars each year.

Whyalla Council deputy mayor Eddie Hughes said it was "incredibly exciting" for work to start after 12 years of planning and 30 years of research by the Australian National University.


Business baulks at extra green tape

A PUSH to force state governments and local councils to refer development proposals with a large carbon footprint to the federal government for approval has alarmed business groups, who claim it could stall economic recovery. The proposal is contained in the interim report of a review of the federal Environment Protection Act, released this week. Green groups have proposed adding greenhouse gas emissions to the seven triggers that require any proposed development to be referred to the federal environment minister.

The panel reviewing the act, chaired by former ANU chancellor Alan Hawke, rejects the idea of a permanent trigger, but says such a mechanism could be introduced as an interim measure until the onset of a national emissions trading scheme, now not anticipated until 2011 at the earliest. "If there is to be a delay in effective establishment of the carbon pollution reduction scheme, then there is a much stronger case for introduction of a greenhouse gas trigger to drive down emissions in the interim period," the report says.

The potential for significant projects to be tied up in an extra layer of bureaucracy would appear to flow counter to yesterday's push at the Council of Australian Governments to develop national performance measures on development approvals designed to speed economic recovery.

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia's Brendan Lyon said the interim report was a cause for concern on several fronts because it could risk further unnecessary delay to critical infrastructure projects. "Climate change is an important consideration and infrastructure will play a major role in equipping Australia to cut reductions, while sustaining living standards and economic productivity," Mr Lyon said. "But the mechanism for carbon abatement should be through an emissions trading scheme backed by a price on carbon. "Australia's economy will adapt best through the phasing in of a robust price for greenhouse gas emissions, rather than through adding an additional layer of complexity and potential delays in approval processes."

The present seven triggers in the act, covering actions by government or private enterprise with "a significant impact on a matter of national environmental significance", have not significantly affected major developments. But the trigger for endangered species caused a stoush recently between the NSW and federal governments after federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett temporarily halted logging in a NSW state forest out of concern for declining numbers of superb parrots.

John Sheahan from the Australian Property Institute said the key point about a greenhouse trigger would be its design, given such a move would represent "the most significant intrusion ever" by the commonwealth into land use. "Some projects might end up spending many months in that office in Canberra waiting to be assessed," he said. Mr Sheahan said the innate conservatism of local councils would mean Mr Garrett's office could be flooded with referred applications it did not have the resources to deal with.

Aaron Gadiel from developers' lobby Urban Taskforce said an extension of the Environment Protection Act was "the last thing the Australian economy needs right now".



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Thursday, July 02, 2009


A new paper has been published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society titled 'Tropical Cyclone Damages in China: 1983 to 2006" by Zhang et al. available here in PDF. The paper finds no trends in either tropical cyclone landfalls or in normalized damage, as indicated in the following two figures from the paper.

The paper concludes:

The direct economic losses and casualties caused by landfalling tropical cyclones in China during 1983–2006 are examined using the dataset released by the Department of Civil Affairs of China. . . The direct economic losses trended upward significantly over the past 24 yr. However, the trend disappears if considering the rapid increase of the annual total GDP of China, suggesting that the upward trend in direct economic losses is a result of Chinese economic development. There is no significant trend in tropical cyclone casualties over the past 24 yr.

What does this mean? This means everywhere that scholars have looked and published results in the peer-reviewed literature (including the United States, Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, China, India, non-China East Asia, and Australia), there have been no trends identified over the periods of record in either landfalling tropical storms or their damage.

Even though this is what the peer reviewed literature says, acknowledging as much is enough to get you labeled a "denier." We do live in interesting times.

SOURCE. (See the original for links, graphics etc.)


A new paper has been published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics by Jean-Louis Le Mouël, Elena Blanter, Mikhail Shnirman, and Vincent Courtillot, entitled: 'Evidence for solar forcing in variability of temperatures and pressures in Europe.'

The Abstract states:

Daily temperature and pressure series from 55 European meteorological stations covering the 20th century are analyzed. The overall temperature mean displays a sharp minimum near 1940 and a step-like jump near 1987. We evaluate the evolution of disturbances of these series using mean squared inter-annual variations and "lifetimes". The decadal to secular evolutions of solar activity and temperature disturbances display similar signatures over the 20th century. Because of heterogeneity of the climate system response to solar forcing, regional and seasonal approaches are key to successful identification of these signatures. Most of the solar response is governed by the winter months, as best seen near the Atlantic Ocean. Intensities of disturbances vary by factors in excess of 2, underlining a role for the Sun as a significant forcing factor of European atmospheric variations. We speculate about the possible origin of these solar signatures. The last figure of the paper exemplifies its main results.

The paper concludes:

In concluding, we find increasingly strong evidence of a clear solar signature in a number of climatic indicators in Europe, strengthening the earlier conclusions of a study that included stations from the United States (Le Mouël et al., 2008). With the recent downturn of both solar activity and global temperatures, the debated correlations we suggested in Le Mouël et al. (2005), which appeared to stop in the 1980s, actually might extend to the present. The role of the Sun in global and regional climate change should be re-assessed and reasonable physical mechanisms are in sight.



Real Climate posted a weblog on June 21 2009 titled “A warning from Copenhagen”. They report on a Synthesis Report of the Copenhagen Congress which was handed over to the Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen in Brussels the previous week. Real Climate writes
“So what does it say? Our regular readers will hardly be surprised by the key findings from physical climate science, most of which we have already discussed here. Some aspects of climate change are progressing faster than was expected a few years ago - such as rising sea levels, the increase of heat stored in the ocean and the shrinking Arctic sea ice. “The updated estimates of the future global mean sea level rise are about double the IPCC projections from 2007″, says the new report. And it points out that any warming caused will be virtually irreversible for at least a thousand years - because of the long residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere.”

First, what is “physical climate science”? How is this different from “climate science”. In the past, this terminology has been used when authors ignore the biological components of the climate system. More importantly, however, the author of the weblog makes the statement that the following climate metrics “are progressing faster than was expected a few years ago”

1. “rising sea levels”

NOT TRUE; e.g. see the University of Colorado at Boulder Sea Level Change analysis. Sea level has actually flattened since 2006.

2. “the increase of heat stored in the ocean”

NOT TRUE; see Update On A Comparison Of Upper Ocean Heat Content Changes With The GISS Model Predictions. There has been no statistically significant warming of the upper ocean since 2003.

3. “shrinking Arctic sea ice”

NOT TRUE; see the Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Anomaly from the University of Illinois Cyrosphere Today website. Since 2008, the anomalies have actually decreased.

These climate metrics might again start following the predictions of the models. However, until and unless they do, the authors of the Copenhagen Congress Synthesis Report and the author of the Real Climate weblog are erroneously communicating the reality of the how the climate system is actually behaving.

Media and policymakers who blindly accept these claims are either naive or are deliberately slanting the science to promote their particular advocacy position.


A National Hero

Dr. Alan Carlin is a national hero. And one imagines that, years from now, as the nation still stands prosperous—and its industries remain free—future generations will owe him an extraordinary debt of gratitude for saying what needed to be said.

After all, monuments are built for those who stood against the tyranny of the masses. That is exactly what Dr. Carlin has done. And now the scribes of liberty are duly taking note to give this hero the plaudits he deserves.

What did he do? He brought to light inside the shadowy Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) bureaucracy scientific findings that did not tow the company line on “man-made” climate change. And in so doing, he exposed an Obama Administration boldface cover-up.

According to the paper compiled by Dr. Carlin, a PhD economist in EPA’s Office of Policy, Economics, and Innovation, the EPA’s “Technical Support Document for Endangerment Analysis for Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act” (TSD) uses data that is out-of-date and ignores the decade-long decline in the earth’s temperature despite CO2 levels rising and CO2 emissions accelerating.

The EPA’s official findings, writes Carlin, are based largely on the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) AR4 report published in 2007. That report’s data, according to Carlin, “is at best three years out of date in a rapidly changing field.”

Carlin writes that the “IPCC projections for large increases [in temperature] are looking increasingly doubtful” in light of “recent substantial decreases in global temperatures”. The most damning finding: “If global temperatures are viewed as suggested in Figure 2-8 below the large downward drop in 2007-8 appears to be simply a return to the 1978-97 range and might not be particularly noteworthy. If, on the other hand, global temperatures are viewed as an increasing trend, which the Draft TSD appears to do, then the 2007-8 would appear to bring temperatures well outside the likely range suggested by the IPCC projections.”

And now this week, Senator Jim Inhofe called for an investigation into the EPA’s suppression of the paper highly critical of the pseudoscience behind the “global warming consensus”. The Senator said that before proceeding with a highly controversial bill to enact mandated reductions in national carbon emissions, the Carlin matter must be fully investigated.

In a recent interview with FOX News Senator Inhofe said, “We’ve already ordered an investigation.”

As well the Senate should. This is one of the most egregious and abusive scandals in scientific history. And it is certainly one of the greatest frauds perpetrated on the American people. Carlin’s paper was clearly suppressed by Administration officials in order to cover up evidence compiled in the scientific community that shatters the so-called “global warming consensus.”

In other words, the EPA has revealed itself as having no real interest in any scientific evidence showing that such hydrocarbon fuels as oil, gasoline, coal, and natural gas do not actually cause the earth’s temperature to increase. And that is particularly alarming when one realizes that their recommendations allegedly depend upon science entirely in order to be accurate.

But accuracy was clearly not on the EPA agenda. And make no mistake about it: their deception was deliberate.

When Carlin attempted to have his comments included in the final report issued by the EPA, National Center for Environmental Economics Director Al McGartland told him thanks, but no thanks: “The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision… I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office.”

In other words, the paper would have been damaging to the Administration’s case for climate change policy which is still moving through Congress. Instead, the IPCC’s flawed, computer-modeled projections of temperature increases are being accepted on faith by an agency that Congress depends upon for research.

In short: don’t confuse us with the facts; we’ve already made up our minds.

The legislation Barack Obama and his EPA have been duplicitously pushing, HR 2454, would force carbon-emitting industries coal, oil, gasoline, and natural gas to purchase carbon permits. The bill claims that it aims to reduce industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. The House voted in favor of the legislation was 219 to 212 on June 26th—when no member had been presented with Dr. Carlin’s findings prior to the vote.

In the Senate, it needs to be different. The members of the Senate must get to the bottom of why Carlin’s report was suppressed by the EPA before any action is taken on the Waxman-Markey bill. They must also seriously consider his compilation of research. And they must expose and prosecute those responsible for the cover-up.

The fact is, there are numerous dissenting views in the scientific community calling into serious doubt the science underpinning the “man-made” global warming hypothesis. Quite simply, the IPCC’s predictions of increased temperatures because of increased CO2 levels has proven to be false.

For having the courage of his convictions to bring that to the attention of Barack Obama’s EPA as it was ready to plunge forward with its flawed policies, Dr. Alan Carlin is a national hero. Perhaps Barack Obama might want to have him stop by the Oval Office one day soon to pick up the Presidential Medal of Freedom for exposing such an outrageous cover-up. But then again, perhaps not.


No climate debate? Yes, there is

by Jeff Jacoby

IN HIS weekly address on Saturday, President Obama saluted the House of Representatives for passing Waxman-Markey, the gargantuan energy-rationing bill that would amount to the largest tax increase in the nation's history. It would do so by making virtually everything that depends on energy -- which is virtually everything -- more expensive.

The president didn't describe the legislation in those terms on Saturday, but he made no bones about it last year. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle in January 2008, he calmly explained how cap-and-trade -- the carbon-dioxide rationing scheme that is at the heart of Waxman-Markey -- would work:

"Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket . . . because I'm capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, natural gas, you name it. . . . Whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money, and they will pass that [cost] on to consumers."

In the same interview, Obama suggested that his energy policy would require the ruin of the coal industry. "If somebody wants to build a coal-fired plant, they can," he told the Chronicle. "It's just that it will bankrupt them, because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."

The justification for inflicting all this financial misery, of course, is the onrushing catastrophe of human-induced global warming -- a catastrophe that can be prevented only if we abandon the carbon-based fuels on which most of the prosperity and productivity of modern life depend. But what if that looming catastrophe isn't real? What if climate change has little or nothing to do with human activity? What if enacting cap-and-trade means incurring excruciating costs in exchange for infinitesimal benefits?

Hush, says Obama. Don't ask such questions. And don't listen to anyone who does. "There is no longer a debate about whether carbon pollution is placing our planet in jeopardy," he declared in his Saturday remarks. "It's happening."

No debate? The president, like Humphrey Bogart, must have been misinformed. The debate over global warming is more robust than it has been in years, and not only in America. "In April, the Polish Academy of Sciences published a document challenging man-made global warming," Kimberly Strassel noted in The Wall Street Journal the other day. "In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to tap Claude Allegre to lead the country's new ministry of industry and innovation. Twenty years ago Allegre was among the first to trill about man-made global warming, but the geochemist has since recanted. . . . Norway's Ivar Giaever, Nobel Prize winner for physics, decries it as the 'new religion.'"

Closer to home, the noted physicist Hal Lewis (emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara) e-mails me a copy of a statement he and several fellow scientists, including physicists Will Happer and Robert Austin of Princton, Laurence Gould of the University of Hartford, and climate scientist Richard Lindzen of MIT, have sent to Congress. "The sky is not falling," they write. Far from warming, "the Earth has been cooling for 10 years" -- a trend that "was not predicted by the alarmists' computer models."

Fortune magazine recently profiled veteran climatologist John Christy, a lead author of the 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and co-author of the American Geophysical Union's 2003 statement on climate change. With his green credentials, Fortune observed, Christy is the warm-mongers' "worst nightmare -- an accomplished climate scientist with no ties to Big Oil who has produced reams and reams of data that undermine arguments that the earth's atmosphere is warming at an unusual rate and question whether the remedies being talked about in Congress will actually do any good."

No one who cares about the environment or the nation's economic well-being should take it on faith that climate change is a crisis, or that drastic changes to the economy are essential to "save the planet." Hundreds of scientists reject the alarmist narrative. For non-experts, a steadily-widening shelf of excellent books surveys the data in laymen's terms and exposes the weaknesses in the doomsday scenario -- among others, Climate Confusion by Roy W. Spencer, Climate of Fear by Thomas Gale Moore, Taken by Storm, by Christopher Essex and Ross McKitrick, and Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, by S. Fred Singer and Dennis Avery.

If the case for a war on carbon dioxide were unassailable, no one would have to warn against debating it. The 212 House members who voted against Waxman-Markey last week plainly don't believe the matter is settled. They're right.


The Censorious Left's Global Warming Denier Deniers

There is so much misinformation on the subject of global warming and so little consensus -- as to what environmental changes are occurring, whether human behavior is contributing to them, whether they are causing significant environmental damage, and whether the proposed cap and trade legislation would do anything to alleviate any of this -- it is no wonder our freedom-hating majority in the House insisted on cramming it through before they could even read, much less digest, what it contained.

It would be bad enough if they passed innocuous legislation to address an alleged problem (man-caused global warming) without first verifying there is a problem and then analyzing and assessing the extent of it, but it's outrageous that they would pass a measure that could have crippling effects on our economy and American taxpayers.

Who do these people think they are -- that they can claim a mandate to do anything they want to, that they can grab as much power as they want, that they can transform our government overnight into an enemy of the people, with no fear of accountability? Oh, I know; the government has already behaved like the people's enemy all too often, but never on the scale we're witnessing today -- from a party that had the audacity to accuse President George W. Bush of abusing his authority.

Just where is the journalistic skepticism in today's dominant media culture or the professed open-mindedness of Democrats?

What is their response when people have the temerity to challenge their assertions on catastrophic global warming? It is ridicule and abuse. Not only are the doubters flat-earth Neanderthals; they are darn near treasonous, according to the dogmatic left.

You don't believe me? In a piece about the cap and trade bill, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote, "As I watched the (global warming) deniers make their arguments, I couldn't help thinking that I was watching a form of treason -- treason against the planet."

Don't get me wrong. It's not really newsworthy when leftists incline toward criminalizing their political opponents. Both Krugman and his colleague Frank Rich wrote columns last month essentially blaming President Barack Obama's critics for the murders of abortion doctor George Tiller and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum security guard.

But I digress. While President Obama says that global warming "science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear" and Krugman says the "warming deniers" have "contempt for hard science," the record reveals a different story. If anyone has contempt for hard science, it is the Krugman leftists, who, either because of their political agenda or ideological predispositions, refuse to acknowledge -- let alone consider -- opposing opinions, even when they come from "hard scientists."

One way they deal with the very real fact that there is significant opposition to their dogmatic conclusions is to personally attack their opponents, usually saying evil corporations with vested interests in destroying the planet have bought them off. Just as often, they simply out-yell, ridicule, ignore or attempt to silence them. Remember when MIT's Richard Lindzen acknowledged that many scientists refuse to publicize their dissent to make "their lives easier"?

I would like to know how Krugman and Obama would explain away the fact that more than 31,000 scientists, including more than 9,000 with Ph.D.s, have signed a petition urging the United States government to reject the global warming agreement known as Kyoto -- "and any other similar proposals" -- because the "the proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind." Another 100 scientists have endorsed a newspaper ad by the Cato Institute challenging the president's "facts" on global warming.

But these authoritarian leftists don't just scoff at the hard science contradicting their conclusions about global warming and the extent to which man is contributing to it. In their close-minded arrogance, they completely eschew any scientific inquiry into whether cap and trade legislation would have any appreciable impact on the alleged problems.

But if they are so sure of their scientific position, why are we reading reports -- from the CBS Political Hotsheet, no less -- that "the Environmental Protection Agency may have suppressed an internal report that was skeptical of claims about global warming, including whether carbon dioxide must be strictly regulated by the federal government, according to a series of newly disclosed e-mail messages"?

That's right; the Hotsheet reports that "less than two weeks before the agency formally submitted its pro-regulation recommendation to the White House, an EPA center director quashed a 98-page report that warned against making hasty 'decisions based on a scientific hypothesis that does not appear to explain most of the available data.'"

What say you, President Obama? If you and your comrades are so sure of your science, why -- other than, perhaps, your mission to destroy capitalism -- are you silencing and/or ignoring dissenting science?



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009


An email from Clark Whelton []

No need to speculate on the potential impact of the Climate Cap and Trade bill that was recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. There is no chance this bill will be passed by the U.S. Senate.

Today it was revealed that the Obama administration deliberately suppressed a skeptical report from the Environmental Protection Agency that questions the need for such action. The report was suppressed until the House passed its Climate bill, thus allowing Obama and the Democratic Party to appease their political supporters inside the global warming cult.

However, even Obama extremists are aware that allowing such a bill to become law would be a disaster for the U.S. economy. Therefore, the EPA report was released in the expectation it would help assure defeat for the bill in the Senate. Thus do the Democrats hope to have their Climate cake and eat it, too.

Cap and trade will lead to capital flight

By Ron Paul

In my last column, I joked that with public spending out of control and the piling on of the international bailout bill, economic collapse seems to be the goal of Congress. It is getting harder to joke about such a thing however, as the non-partisan General Accounting Office (GAO) has estimated that the administration's health care plan would actually cost over a trillion dollars. This reality check may have given us a temporary reprieve on this particular disastrous policy, however an equally disastrous energy policy reared its ugly head on Capitol Hill last week.

The Cap and Trade Bill HR 2454 was voted on last Friday. Proponents claim this bill will help the environment, but what it really does is put another nail in the economy's coffin. The idea is to establish a national level of carbon dioxide emissions, and sell pollution permits to industry. HR 2454 also gives federal bureaucrats new power to regulate a wide variety of household appliances, such as light bulbs and refrigerators, and further distorts the market by providing more of your tax money to auto companies.

The administration has pointed to Spain as a shining example of this type of progressive energy policy. Spain has been massively diverting capital from the private sector into politically favored environmental projects for the better part of a decade, and many in Washington apparently like what they see. However, under no circumstances should anyone serious about economic recovery emulate an economy that is now approaching 20 percent unemployment, where every green job created, eliminated 2.2 real jobs and cost around $800,000 each!

The real inconvenient truth is that the cost of government regulations, taxes, fees, red tape and bureaucracy is a considerable expense that has to be considered when companies decide where to do business and how many people they can afford to hire. Increasing governmental burden directly causes capital flight and job losses, as Spain has learned. In this global economy its easy enough for businesses to relocate to countries that are more politically friendly to economic growth. If our government continues to kick the economy while its down, it will be a long time before it gets back up. In fact, jobs are much more likely to go overseas, compounding our problems.

And for what? Contrary to claims repeated over and over, there is no consensus in the scientific community that global warming is getting worse or that it is manmade. In fact over 30,000 scientists signed a petition recently directly disputing the claims on which this policy is based. Legitimate environmental claims should instead be directed towards the public sector. The government, especially the military, is the most serious polluter in the country, and is exempt from most EPA regulations. Meanwhile Washington bureaucrats have classified the very air we exhale as a pollutant and have gone unchallenged in this incredible assertion. The logical consequence is that there will come a time when we will have to buy a government permit just to emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from our own lungs!

The events on Capitol Hill last week just demonstrate Washington's audacity in manufacturing problems just so they can expand government power to solve them.


Obama focuses on light bulbs

Definitely a big-picture man

President Obama said Monday that light bulbs will have to meet tougher efficiency standards in order to slash energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions. Mr. Obama's announcement came three days after the House of Representatives passed a sweeping climate bill that is the centerpiece of the president's plan to curb carbon dioxide emissions, reform the nation's energy markets and tackle global warming.

Backers say the bill that passed the House of Representatives late last week is designed to move the nation toward a clean energy economy, but its fate in the Senate is uncertain. Administration officials have been anxious to maintain the momentum on the issue as lawmakers return to their districts for a weeklong Fourth of July recess. "I know light bulbs may not seem sexy," Mr. Obama said, "but this simple action holds enormous promise because 7 percent of all the energy consumed in America is used to light our homes and our businesses."

Mr. Obama told reporters that the tougher standards for fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs will help consumers save $4 billion a year on energy bills between 2012 and 2042. The standards will also conserve enough electricity to power every home in America for 10 months, reduce carbon emissions equal to the amount produced by 166 million cars each year and eliminate the need for as many as 14 coal-fired power plants, he added.

Republicans accused Mr. Obama of focusing on small measures while ignoring more market-friendly alternatives. "Everyone wants more efficiency, but the president is simply dropping the ball when it comes to the big picture on energy," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio. Mr. Steel said House Republicans have a offered a comprehensive "all of the above" plan for a cleaner, healthier environment, lower costs and less dependence on foreign oil.

Standing beside Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Mr. Obama said the White House will lead the way by identifying and replacing wasteful light bulbs.

A 2007 energy bill passed by Congress allowed the Energy Department to issue energy conservation standards for home appliances, as well as fluorescent and incandescent lamps. Mr. Obama asked Mr. Chu in February to speed up the rule-making process and the light bulb standards announced Monday which go into effect in 2012 are a key part of the larger effort.

Mr. Obama said that commercial and residential buildings must also be made more efficient because they consume 40 percent of the nation's energy and cause 40 percent of its carbon emissions. The president said implementing more-efficient heating and cooling systems, windows, smart sensors and controls will make buildings 80 percent more efficient. Adding solar panels on roofs and geothermal energy from underground could lead to "net zero" buildings that consume virtually no energy or create as much energy as they use. "Now, progress like this might seem farfetched. But the fact is we are not lacking for ideas and innovation; all we lack are the smart policies and the political will to help us put our ingenuity to work," he said.

To expedite the development, deployment and use of this energy-efficient technology, Mr. Obama released $346 million in funding from the economic stimulus bill he passed in February. "The nation that leads the world in creating a new clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy. That's our choice," he said.



DOOM-MONGERS have got it wrong - there is enough space in the world to produce the extra food needed to feed a growing population. And contrary to expectation, most of it can be grown in Africa, say two international reports published this week.

The first, projecting 10 years into the future from last year's food crisis, which saw the price of food soar, says that there is plenty of unused, fertile land available to grow more crops. "Some 1.6 billion hectares could be added to the current 1.4 billion hectares of crop land [in the world], and over half of the additionally available land is found in Africa and Latin America," concludes the report, compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

If further evidence were needed, it comes in a second report, launched jointly by the FAO and the World Bank. It concludes that 400 million hectares, straddling 25 African countries, are suitable for farming.

Models for producing new crop land already exist in Thailand, where land originally deemed agriculturally unpromising, due to irrigation problems and infertile soil, has been transformed into a cornucopia by smallholder farmers. As in Thailand, future success will come by using agriculture to lift Africa's smallholder farmers out of poverty, aided by strong government measures to guarantee their rights to land, say both reports.


NOTE: both reports are available online. See here and here


It doesn't weaken America enough

The United States set the bar too low and offered the world a poor example when it passed its climate change bill on Friday, according to a senior Chinese climate change official. Li Gao, a division director with the Climate Change Department of the National Development and Reform Commission, said the US did not live up to international expectations when it approved the document. Li said the bill's mid-term carbon emission target would probably be seized upon as the new standard by developed countries in the battle against global warming.

And the official told China Daily the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA) - disappointing though it is - may still not clear the Senate this fall because it was only approved by 219 votes to 212 in the House of Representatives. ACESA compels large US companies to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide - through a cap-and-trade system - by 17 percent of 2005 levels by 2020 and by 83 percent by 2050.

Although the passing of the bill was a "positive step", Li said the mid-term target fell short of international expectations of what industrialized countries needed to do to effectively fight warming. "The emission target, if converted to a 1990 baseline, is only about 4 percent by 2020," Li said. "This is far away from what China and the Group of 77 developing countries have requested of (developed countries)."

Developing countries have called on industrialized economies to reduce greenhouse gases by 25 to 40 percent of 1990's level by 2020. "Instead of aiming high, some developed countries will follow suit and push for lower targets," Li said.

The US' mid-term target will also "expand discrepancies" among developed countries at climate change talks because the European Union has proposed a 20 percent reduction on 1990's level, added Yu Hongyuan, an associate professor with the Shanghai Institute for International Studies.

Li said he was also concerned about a clause in ACESA that calls for tariffs after 2020 on imports from countries without systems for pricing or limiting carbon dioxide emissions. He said mixing up climate change and trade will only "make the issue more complex" and "damage international cooperative efforts to combat global warming".

US President Barack Obama, who called the bill "an extraordinary first step", also backed away from the provision, saying the US had to be very careful about "sending protectionist signals out."



Consumers will need to pay more for energy if the UK is to have any chance of developing the technologies needed to tackle climate change, according to a group of leading scientists and engineers. In a Royal Society study to be published today, the experts said that the government must put research into alternatives to fossil fuel much higher among its priorities, and argued that current policy in the area was "half-hearted".

"We have adapted to an energy price which is unrealistically low if we're going to try and preserve the environment," John Shepherd, a climate scientist at Southampton University and co-author of the report said. "We have to allow the economy to adapt to higher energy prices through carbon prices and that will then make things like renewables and nuclear more economic, as carbon-based alternatives become more expensive."

Shepherd admitted higher energy costs would be a hard sell to the public, but said it was not unthinkable. Part of the revenue could be generated by a carbon tax that took the place of VAT, so that the cost of an item took into account the energy and carbon footprint of a product. This would allow people to make appropriate decisions on their spending, and also raise cash for research into alternatives. "Our research expenditure on non-fossil energy sources is 0.2% of what we spend on energy itself," said Shepherd. "Multiplying that by 10 would be a very sensible thing to do. We're spending less than 1% on probably the biggest problem we've faced in many decades."

He said that the priority should be to decarbonise the UK's electricity supply. Measures such as the government's recent support for electric cars, he said, would be of no use unless the electricity they used came from carbon-free sources.

Though the creation of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was a good move, Shepherd said: "We've had a lot of good talk but we still have remarkably little in the way of action." He cited the recent DECC proposals on carbon capture and storage (CCS) as an example. The department plans to legislate that any new coal-fired power station must demonstrate CCS on a proportion of its output. Once the technology is proven, a judgment made by the EnvironmentAgency around 2020, power plants would have five years to scale up to full CCS.

Shepherd said the proposals were not bold enough. "Really, it needs to be 'no new coal unless you have 90% emissions reductions by 2020'. That is achievable and, if that were a clear signal, industry would get on and do it. It's taken a long time for that signal to come through and now that it has, it's a half-hearted message."

A spokesperson for DECC argued that its proposed regulatory measures were "the most environmentally ambitious in the world, and would see any new coal power stations capturing at least 20-25% of their carbon emissions from day one".

Ed Miliband, energy and climate change secretary, said that a white paper due next month will lay out how Britain will source its energy for the coming decades. "This white paper will be the first time we've set out our vision of an energy mix in the context of carbon budgets and climate change targets. We have identified ways to tackle the challenges – we will need a mix of renewables, clean fossil fuels and nuclear and we're already making world-leading progress in those areas. It's a transition plan, a once in a generation statement of how the UK will make the historic and permanent move to a low-carbon economy with emissions cut by at least 80% in the middle of the century."

The Royal Society report will argue that energy policy has been too fragmented and short-term in its outlook, with a tendency to hunt for silver-bullet solutions to climate change. "That really isn't the case. What we need is a portfolio of solutions, horses for courses," said Shepherd.



As people continue to resist draconian greenhouse gas control schemes that would virtually re-order society around energy rationing and technocratic authoritarianism, proponents of such an eco-revolution are ratcheting up the rhetoric of hate.

People such as James Hansen and Al Gore have long been at the forefront of slandering those who oppose them. As my colleague and I wrote in “Scenes from the Climate Inquisition”:
Anyone who does not sign up 100 percent behind the catastrophic scenario is deemed a “climate change denier.” Distinguished climatologist Ellen Goodman spelled out the implication in her widely syndicated newspaper column last week: “Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers.” One environmental writer suggested last fall that there should someday be Nuremberg Trials—or at the very least a South African-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission—for climate skeptics who have blocked the planet’s salvation.

Former Vice President Al Gore has proposed that the media stop covering climate skeptics, and Britain’s environment minister said that, just as the media should give no platform to terrorists, so they should exclude climate change skeptics from the airwaves and the news pages. Heidi Cullen, star of the Weather Channel, made headlines with a recent call for weather-broadcasters with impure climate opinions to be “decertified” by the American Meteorological Society.

At the time, we thought that this jihad against skepticism had peaked. But a column by Paul Krugman in the New York Times today shows that we were being overly optimistic. Not content with calling critics of the abominable Waxman-Markey energy and climate plan skeptics (or even just “deniers,” the previously favored slander of the eco-topians), Krugman suggests that the very act of questioning whether or not climate change science may still have a few bugs in it, or questioning draconian greenhouse gas control schemes such as Waxman-Markey, is outright treason.

Regarding the “debate” over Waxman-Markey, Krugman says: "And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a form of treason—treason against the planet."

Yes, you read that correctly. Paul Krugman, a Nobel Laureate, writing in America’s paper of record, just accused nearly half of the House of Representatives, including both Republicans and Democrats, as guilty of treason against the very planet—along, presumably with the many thousands of scientists, policy analysts, economists, and environmentalists who have raised objections to the Waxman-Markey energy bill.

Al Gore launched the drive to remake society into an eco-theocracy in his 1992 book Earth in the Balance. Gore stated the goal of these radical environmentalists quite plainly, saying that nothing less than a “wrenching transformation” of society would be necessary to prevent what he foresees as an eco-apocalypse brought on by our high-energy, technological lifestyle.

Eco-terrorists already engage in regular acts of arson, sabotage, and vandalism in the service of their radical eco-topian agenda. With his inflammatory rhetoric, Krugman gives such extremists still greater license to engage in the kind of personal violence that groups opposing animal research do in terrorizing university researchers, and that anti-abortion groups do in attacking physicians.

It is clear that those who hope to re-make America in the name of preventing climate change are growing frustrated with the public’s aversion to economic suicide. As they see their radical agenda slipping away, the Gore-ian revolutionaries are reaching for the torches and pitchforks. Krugman’s declaration that skepticism about climate science or policy constitutes treason is nothing less than an incitement to violence, and when the extremists of the environmental movement engage in ever greater acts of violence, responsibility for the damage will rest with people such as Paul Krugman.



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 is a mirror of this site here.


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